Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Pastor's Ponderings, May 26, 2015

Don’t Forget To Encourage Others

I am once again preparing to “pace” a 3.1 mile race.  I will run at a certain pace and encourage those who are running with me.  I will let them know that they can do it if this senior citizen can do it!  This morning I continued my training, posted my results, and received support and encouragement from my family. 

It always feels great when getting positive support from others and it is a shame that we do not do more of it.   When others get promoted, get a nicer home, buy a better car, or are smiling more, do we congratulate them or are we angry because we are not the center of attention?

The Bible instructs us to encourage one and another (1 Thessalonians 5:11).  This is very important because we all need lifting up in various areas of our lives from time to time.  For example, we may be strong in public speaking while a friend of ours is strong in providing mentoring.  We can support and help each other in our various weak areas.  The Bible says that our good words to our hearers are like apples of gold in pictures of silver (Proverbs 25:11)

This week, encourage someone and don’t be shocked when a great smile breaks forth from them and a joyful feeling breaks forth inside of you!

1 Thessalonians 5:11
New International Version (NIV)
11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Romans 15:1
New International Version (NIV)
15 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.

Proverbs 25:11
Amplified Bible (AMP)
11 A word fitly spoken and in due season is like apples of gold in settings of silver.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Pastor's Ponderings, May 18, 2015

What Stands Between You and Your Purpose?

The Miami Mass Choir sings, “What God has for me is for me.” This is very inspirational implying that what God has planned for us will come forth. But sometimes it does not seem to happen. What stops us from reaching our goals?  Is it our fear, our anxiety, past experiences, other people, or lack of self-esteem? 

The Bible is clear about God’s purpose for our lives, which is to bring Him praise and glory and to obey Him (Isaiah 43:7, Ecclesiastes 12:13). Paul asked the Galatians in the Bible, “Who hindered thee?” (Galatians 5:7).  He answered his question by saying anything that distracts us from His truth such as fear, doubt, or unbelief will hinder us from reaching God’s purpose in our lives (Galatians 5:9). 

He has already given us everything we need for a good life (2 Peter 1:3).  He says that we can do anything through Jesus (Philippians 4:13).  

What is your purpose?  What is His time line for you?  Redeem your time, make it count, fight the good fight, press toward His standard and declare that what God has for you is for you and you will not allow fear, doubt, or unbelief to get you to not obey God’s word and you will reach your purpose in Him.

Isaiah 43:7
New International Version (NIV)
everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made

Ecclesiastes 12:13
13 Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.

Galatians 5:7, 9
Amplified Bible (AMP)
7 You were running the race nobly. Who has interfered in (hindered and stopped you from) your heeding and following the Truth?
9 A little leaven (a slight inclination to error, or a few false teachers) leavens the whole lump [it perverts the whole conception of faith or misleads the whole church].

2 Peter 1:3
New International Version (NIV)
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

Philippians 4:13
New International Version (NIV)
13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Pastor's Ponderings, May 11, 2015

What Is On Your Mind?

In the 1995 movie, Batman Forever, Edward Nygma and Bruce Wayne have a conversation.
Mr. Wayne asks, “Mr. Nygma, you’ll forgive me for being rude, but what exactly is on your mind?” 
Mr. Nygma replies, “Precisely. What’s on all of our minds? Brainwaves!” 

In reality, whatever is on our minds can be a source of strength or failure. If we keep our minds upon the challenges of the day, our moods, our thoughts, and our actions will follow them.  If our team wins, if our company’s profits are up, if we graduate on time or if things generally go our way, our thoughts are upbeat, happy, and joyful.  If things do not go our way, our thoughts are filled with despair and frustration.

However, the Bible says that if we keep our minds on God, He will keep us in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). Those of us who love the Lord do not have to allow circumstances to determine our attitudes.  We are in this world but not of it and do not have to let tragic events or outstanding successes determine our joy, our peace, or our relationship with our Savior. 

Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher, wrote, “Everything changes and nothing stands still”. Thank God that He never changes (Hebrews 13:8).  We can put our confidence, our peace, and our future in His hands and He will keep us in His perfect peace when we keep our mind on Him and His words for us.

Isaiah 26:3
Amplified Bible (AMP),
You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You

Hebrews 13:8
New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Pastor's Ponderings, May 4, 2015

Be Still and Know That He is God

On April 19, 2015, Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African American man living in Baltimore, Maryland, died in police custody. As a result, riots broke out in a number of large cities and talking heads presented wildly differing explanations about the cause of the unrest. Depending on one’s political persuasion, one can say the main cause was the political-economic system, Mr. Gray’s fault, or simply a random unpredictable set of events. 

The Bible says that there is a time for every purpose under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1).  We can scream, cry, point fingers and blame people, places, and things or we can say that this is God’s day and in spite of the extraordinary events, we will rejoice and be glad (Psalm 118:24). 

This is not to say that we are to hide our heads in the sand by staying away from political discussions.  However, those who love the Lord must ask Him what should we do (Proverbs 3:5, 6).  Should we march carrying signs, write letters, petition our leaders, or should we begin to seriously and simply pray, thank God for His guidance, and rejoice because of what He is doing (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)? 

Paul Washer wrote, “Live on your knees. Anything that can be accomplished without prayer is not worth pursuing." In these confusing times, let us continue to pray to our God, thanking Him and rejoicing in Him.

Ecclesiastes 3:1
New International Version (NIV)
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

Psalm 118:24
New International Version (NIV)
24 The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad.

Proverbs 3:5-6
New International Version (NIV)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
New International Version (NIV)
16 Rejoice always,
17 pray continually,
18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.