Monday, March 27, 2017

Pastor's Ponderings, March 27, 2017

Despair or Hope?

Although Americans had been having longer and longer life expectancies, researchers, Anne Case and Angus Deaton, found that the mortality rate had been rising dramatically between 1999 and 2013 among white Americans, ages 45 to 54. It seems that “a lack of steady, well-paying jobs for whites without college degrees has caused pain, distress and social dysfunction to build up over time. These deaths of despair have been accompanied by reduced labor force participation, reduced marriage rates, increases in reports of poor health and poor mental health. Clearly, life may not seem great no matter your race, social economic status, gender, age, or ethnicity.

Yet, in an article in the Scientific American, The United States is the envy of the world for its conspicuous consumption of worldly goods.  Although America is only 5% of the world’s population, it consumes “one-third of the world’s paper, a quarter of the world’s oil, 23 percent of the coal, 27 percent of the aluminum, and 19 percent of the copper.”  In spite of all of the control of resources in the United States, there is still deadly despair.

The Bible talks about the end times when men’s hearts will fail them because of fear (Luke 21:26).  However, no matter what group that you may find yourself in today, the Bible says there is hope for your future. Even though sickness, fear, and anxiety may attack, we must remember that no weapon that is formed against us shall prosper (Isaiah 54:17).  We may be hearing bad news and scary statistics for our group, but we must remember that we have a blessed hope for the future when we live godly lives (Titus 2:12-13). We do not have to focus on the sadness, fear, and worry that may plague us; we have an inheritance in God’s kingdom of light (Colossians 1:12). God will dispatch His angels to keep tabs on us (Psalm 91:10, 11).

This week, do not let fear of the future, worry about the present, or regret about past bad lifestyle choices cause you to lose hope in Christ.  This is not to say that we can live any kind of life that we want without consequences, but we can look expectantly to God who is in control of our lives. We can rejoice knowing that our God has us in His hands.  Thank God for the researchers and their analyses, but we can choose to believe the report of the Lord that we have the victory in every area of our lives when we put our trust in Him.

Luke 21:26
New International Version (NIV)
26 People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.

Isaiah 54:17
New International Version (NIV)
17 no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord.

Titus 2:12-13
New International Version (NIV)
12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,
13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,

Colossians 1:12
New International Version (NIV)
12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.

Psalm 91:10, 11
New International Version (NIV)
10 no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;

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