Monday, July 27, 2015

Pastor's Ponderings, July 27, 2015

What Gives God Pleasure?

Those of us who love the Lord want to please and obey Him.  We go out of our way to know the things that will displease Him and avoid them.  But today let's focus on what actually pleases God.

It is astounding that the great I AM, the great King of Kings and Lord of Lords is so happy when His children do well (Psalm 35:27).  He desires that his children live to their full potential, be healthy and live productive lives. God is not overjoyed when sickness, disease and torment falls upon us, even if it is something we must experience for a season. Unlike popular media who depict a harsh God who is anxious to bring earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornadoes upon the heathen, He actually wants us to thrive in every part of our lives (3 John 1:2)

He also rejoices when more children are added to the kingdom so that they can also live blessed lives (Luke 15:7). He wants us to live lives of faith (Hebrews 11:6), continually praise Him, strive to do the right things and share with those in need (Hebrews 13:15-16). This is the life that pleases God. 

The Bible states that when our lives please the Lord, we receive great benefits (Proverbs 16:7).  Enoch made God so happy that He decided that he did not want him to die but decided to take him to be with Him while he lived (Hebrews 11:5).

This week, let us remember to think about, honor, worship, and praise God for this pleases Him. Know that it is His fervent desire to please us also.

Psalm 35:27
New International Version (NIV)
27 May those who delight in my vindication shout for joy and gladness; may they always say, “The Lord be exalted, who delights in the well-being of his servant.”

3 John 1:2
New International Version (NIV)
Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.

Luke 15:7
New International Version (NIV)
I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

Hebrews 11:5
New International Version (NIV)
By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.

Hebrews 13:15-16
New International Version (NIV)
15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

Proverbs 16:7
New International Version (NIV)
When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way, he causes their enemies to make peace with them

Monday, July 20, 2015

Pastor's Ponderings, July 20, 2015

What A Wonderful World!

In 1967, Louis Armstrong sang, “What A Wonderful World” written by Bob Thiele and George David Weiss.  This song had uplifting lyrics. “I see trees of green, red roses, too, I see them bloom, for me and you. And I think to myself, what a wonderful world. 
I see skies of blue, and clouds of white, the bright blessed day, the dark sacred night. And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.”  This thought was reinforced when Astronaut Alex Gerst took jaw-dropping pictures of earth from space showing what a perfect world God created.

During the Annual Ann Arbor Michigan Art Fair, we saw booth after booth demonstrating the artists’ magnificent imaginations.  We saw a cacophony of creativity, a kaleidoscope of colors, and carousels of downright cool. God has created a marvelous world (Genesis 1:31)! 

Amazingly, the Creator has poured His wisdom and understanding into man made in His image.  He has given special wisdom to His artists. Through His artistic creativity, He comforts, caresses, and calms us. Bezalel, born a Hebrew slave, became God’s master artist through God’s wisdom (Exodus 35:30-35.) 

Although some miscreants are despicably destroying art and historical artifacts and selling the remainder on the black market, we can still thank God for creating such a marvelous world.  We get a small peek into heaven’s delights when we observe His gorgeous, awesome, and beautiful world. While we can still have the opportunity, please remember to appreciate His wonders.  Let us not allow His wonderful world to pass by us.  God is good!

Genesis 1:31
Amplified Bible (AMP)
31 And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good (suitable, pleasant) and He approved it completely. And there was evening and there was morning, a sixth day.

Exodus 35:30-35
New International Version (NIV)
30 Then Moses said to the Israelites, “See, the Lord has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah,
31 and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills—
32 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 

33 to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic crafts.
34 And he has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others.
35 He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them skilled workers and designers.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Pastor's Ponderings, July 13, 2015

Let’s Have A New Year’s Resolution Reset

My Goodness!  It is already the middle of July and we are hurtling quickly towards the fall and winter seasons.  We should have made a half-year’s progress on those great New Year’s resolutions that we made with such hopefulness.  Perhaps you have not done as much as you would have liked. I have great news.  You still have almost six months to go.  You can still complete the tasks that you have begun.  It is only the evil one that will try to convince you that it is too late, your season has passed, opportunity has knocked and has gone on to the next in line. 

In the Bible, Jonah missed his first opportunity to warn the one hundred and twenty thousand citizens of Nineveh of their coming destruction.  He ran from God and went in the opposite direction (Jonah 1:1-3).  But God knows that He will bring you to His expected end  (Jeremiah 29:11).  He gave him another chance. Jonah did not miss it this time and completed his task (Jonah 2:1-3).

We are in the second half of the New Year.  We can press the reset button and start again to accomplish the vision that God has given to us at the beginning of the year.  Don’t be discouraged, don’t be depressed, and don’t be disappointed.  We can run any race or complete any task that we have knowing that our God will never leave us (Hebrews 12:1, Deuteronomy 31:6)!  Let us dust off our New Years resolutions and begin anew!!

Jonah 1:1-3
New International Version (NIV)
The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai:
2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”
But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish…

Jeremiah 29:11
New International Version (NIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jonah 3:1-3
New International Version (NIV)
1 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time:
2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”
3 Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh…

Hebrews 12:1
King James Version (KJV)
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

Deuteronomy 31:6
New International Version (NIV)
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Monday, July 6, 2015

Pastor's Ponderings, July 6, 2015

Smile, God Thinks You Are Wonderful

We live in a world where businesses make a lot of money while making people feel uncomfortable about themselves, their looks, their body images, their intelligence, or their accomplishments.  They persuade us into thinking if we buy this, follow this group, act this way, or follow this formula, all will be right with the world.  Yet, in spite of trying everything that the world tells us to do or buy, we are still left with feeling uncomfortable with who we are. 

Thankfully, the Bible tells us that we are created in God’s Holy image and He says that everything He made is good just like it is (Genesis 1:26, 27, 31).  He did a great job making us intricate, wonderfully complete and complex. We are His masterpiece and were created for His purpose (Psalm 139:14, Ephesians 2:10).  It does not matter if we got here through marriage, outside of marriage, adoption or surrogacy. He knew all about us before we arrived on planet Earth.  In fact He gave us an assignment even before we got here (Jeremiah 1:5).  Our Holy God has even decided to take up a residence in us (1 Corinthians 6:19).

We are left to wonderingly ask Him, who are we that He should do so much for us, think so much about us, or care so much for us (Psalm 8:4, 5).  We don’t have a good answer for that but one day we will understand. In the meantime, let us remember that while man wants us uncomfortable in our skin for his own benefit, it is God’s opinion about us that is so important.  So, go ahead and smile! Since God created you, He thinks you are wonderful!

Genesis 1:26, 27, 31
New Living Translation (NLT)
26 Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”
27 So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
31 Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good! And evening passed and morning came, marking the sixth day.

Psalm 139:14
New Living Translation (NLT)
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

Ephesians 2:10
New Living Translation (NLT)
10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Jeremiah 1:5
New Living Translation (NLT)
“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”

1 Corinthians 6:19
New Living Translation (NLT)
19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself,

Psalm 8:4, 5
New Living Translation (NLT)
4 what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them?
5 Yet you made them only a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor.