Monday, April 25, 2016

Pastor's Ponderings, April 25, 2016

Don’t Forget To Pray

In the aftermath of the outpouring of grief over the loss of musical icons, Glenn Fry, David Bowie and Prince, in 2016, one comment stood out. Wait a few days before you waste any prayers.” Prince, the noted entertainer, assured his fans that his health was fine so they did not need to pray for him.  Whether or not their prayers may have affected his life is unknown since only God knows our end from our beginning (Psalm 139:16). 

We do know that in the Bible, King Hezekiah prayed to the Lord and God gave him fifteen more years (Isaiah 38:5).   The Bible also says that when righteous person prays, it is powerful and effective (James 5:16).  The Bible advises us that if we ask anything in the name of Jesus, he will do it (John 14:14). Therefore, those who love the Lord ought to always pray and not give up in spite of how things look (Luke 18:1). 

Let us remember to pray for those who are in leadership, those who God sends across our path, and our relatives, friends and neighbors.  Let us remember to plead to God in prayer for those who seem to be doing great, but may be suffering in silence.  God says our prayers are powerful and effective.  Do not forget to pray.

Psalm 139:16
New Living Translation (NLT)
16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

Isaiah 38:5
New International Version (NIV)
5 "Go and tell Hezekiah, 'This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life.

James 5:16
New International Version (NIV)
16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

John 14:14
New International Version (NIV)
14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Luke 18:1
New International Version (NIV)
18 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Pastor's Ponderings, April 18, 2016

The Finisher’s Medal

On Saturday, my youngest daughter and I ran the Kona Cheesecake Run, a five-mile race.  Other than the overwhelming satisfaction of completing the race, we got a great t-shirt, an awesome medal and some delicious cheesecake. As I looked at the cheesecake shaped medal, I noticed the words printed “finisher.”  It did not tell the speed or pace, it did not declare a winner, nor did it indicate the place of the runner.  It just said “finisher.”

It is great to know that God has a plan for each of us to finish what He started and He wants to give us our “finisher” medal.  He created us and laid out all of our moments before we were born (Psalm 139:16).  He left nothing to chance, creating us marvelously and wondrously (Psalm 139:14). 

He arranged all of life for the good of all of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). The strongest or the fastest people may not win but those who endure to the end will receive God’s salvation (Matthew 24:13).  Only those who remain faithful to God until the end will win God’s reward (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

We can feel great knowing that we will finish our course in life with God. Like Paul, those who love God can one day say that we have fought the good fight, we have finished our course and now we can receive the crown that is waiting for us at the finish line (2 Timothy 4:7-8). 

Psalm 139:16
New Living Translation (NLT)
16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

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.

Romans 8:28
New Living Translation (NLT)
28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Matthew 24:13
New Living Translation (NLT)
13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

2 Timothy 4:7-8
New Living Translation (NLT)
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.
And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Pastor's Ponderings, April 11, 2016


So...whom have you offended or hurt lately?  Who have you upset knowingly or unknowingly and when someone pointed out your offense, how did you respond?  Did you try to play it off by implying that it was just as much their fault as it was yours?  Did you try to laugh it off inferring it was unimportant and their concern was unimportant? Sadly, offenses and conflicts can have deadly consequences. On Sunday, April 10, 2016, Cardell Hayes and Will Smith, a former NFL defensive end had a clash that led to a fatal shooting.

While most of us look at anger as simply a part of human nature, God looks upon anger just like He looks at murder (Matthew 5:21-22). The Bible says that conflicts and quarrels come from inside our hearts (James 4:1, 2).  It can be very difficult to make peace with someone that you have offended; the Bible says it is harder than conquering a whole city (Proverbs 18:19).

We have to remember that you cannot offer praises and worship to God when you know that you have offended someone.  The Bible says that we are to stop and go and make peace with those who you have hurt or offended and then you can return and worship God  (Matthew 5:23, 24).  God wants to bless us, but we must forgive others in spite of their offenses so that He will in turn forgive us (Mark 11:24-25).

Let’s therefore endeavor to live peacefully with our neighbors and ask for forgiveness when we harm others.  Moreover, remember to forgive others so that God can continue to forgive and bless us.

Matthew 5:21-24
New International Version (NIV)
21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’
22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be  subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you,
24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.

James 4:1, 2
New International Version (NIV)
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?
You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.

Proverbs 18:19
Amplified Bible (AMP)
19 A brother offended is harder to win over than a fortified city, And contentions [separating families] are like the bars of a castle.

Mark 11:24-25
New International Version (NIV)
24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

Monday, April 4, 2016

Pastor's Ponderings, April 4, 2016

Who Are You Going to Call, GhostBusters?

In 1984, the blockbuster movie, “GhostBusters” was released with an immensely popular lyric, “I ain’t afraid of no ghosts.” However, many do have phobias or fears that they cannot shake from Ablutophobia- Fear of washing or bathing to Zoophobia- Fear of animals. There are over five hundred different fears in the Phobia List including a fear of ghosts called Phasmophobia. 

But fear is not from God. He does not send fear but gives us power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).  On the contrary, those who love God can go about as bold as lions (Proverbs 28:1).  A good example of obeying God rather than fear is found in the biblical book of Jeremiah. The prophet Jeremiah gave directions to Zedekiah, the last king of Israel, to obey God who could deliver him from death.   However, the king was afraid of the citizens killing him.  Jeremiah warned him that he would live only if he obeyed God’s command (Jeremiah 38:19-20).  Jeremiah could give this direction easily because God had directed him not be afraid of anyone (Jeremiah 1:8).

What are you afraid of today?  Is it ISIS, the Zika virus, some phobia on the list or some new torture from the evil one? This week, we have to remind ourselves that fear is not of God. Let us not choose fear, but chose obedience to God who will bless and protect us.

Proverbs 28:1
King James Version (KJV)
28 The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion

2 Timothy 1:7                                                    
New International Version (NIV)
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

Jeremiah 38:19-20
New International Version (NIV)
19 King Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “I am afraid of the Jews who have gone over to the Babylonians, for the Babylonians may hand me over to them and they will mistreat me.”
20 “They will not hand you over,” Jeremiah replied. “Obey the Lord by doing what I tell you. Then it will go well with you, and your life will be spared.

Jeremiah 1:8
New International Version (NIV)
Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.