Monday, January 29, 2018

Pastor's Ponderings, January 29, 2018

God Promised A Special Place For Us 

A moving song called "Somewhere (There's a Place for Us)" was from the 1957 Broadway musical West Side Story. Some of the lyrics were, “There's a place for us, somewhere a place for us. Peace and quiet and open air wait for us somewhere. There's a time for us, some day a time for us, time together with time to spare, time to look, time to care, someday! Somewhere.”

Thank God that we know that place and time!  God has promised that although we may have trouble on earth, we have a heavenly dwelling that is not built by human hands (2 Corinthians 5:1, 4).  Our Saviour, Jesus Christ, promised us that He was going away to prepare that place with Him for us so that we could sit down with Him forever, a place of endless time where He can show His grace and care for us throughout the ages to come (John 14:2-3, Ephesians 2:6-7).

Let us know that there is a place for us where there is no crying, pain, death, or worry because He will wipe all of that away (Revelation 21:4).  We can rejoice knowing that our special place waits for us.  Let us believe it, receive it and realize that for all those who love the Lord there's a place and time for us eternally in Him.

2 Corinthians 5:1, 4
New International Version (NIV)
1 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.
4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.

John 14:2-3
New International Version (NIV)
2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

Ephesians 2:6-7
New International Version (NIV)
6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,
7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

Revelation 21:4
New International Version (NIV)
4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Monday, January 22, 2018

Pastor's Ponderings, January 22, 2018

God Wants The Best For His Children

What would you wish for if you had three wishes besides, of course, more wishes?  Throughout history there have been many stories of genies, leprechauns, demons and other denizens of the supernatural that appear and make this fantastic offer.  It usually ends up badly for the victim who thinks they can get something for nothing.

But what does God want for us?  If we would ask God about His creation, He might say that He wants the best that life can give us. He wants us to be in health and to prosper (3 John 2).  Our Creator wants us to cast all of our cares upon Him (1 Peter 5:7).  Jesus Christ has an expected end for our lives of hope and well being (Jeremiah 29:11). 

He wants us to be blessed and prosperous in everything that we do (Deuteronomy 28:8). He wants to be that go-to person that we first call upon when we are in trouble to deliver us since He will never leave us (Psalm 91:15).  The Eternal God, our Saviour, wants to guide our path through life so that we can avoid things that needlessly hurt us.  Finally, after we have lived an obedient life before Him during our earthly travails, He wants us to live with Him in His house forever (Psalm 23:6).

We can appreciate the fact that our Saviour is not trying to trick us or shortchange us or deprive us of our blessings.  He truly will not hold back on any good thing for those who love the Lord (Psalm 84:11). We have the awesome privilege of being able to joyfully go through our lives knowing that He does not want us to just have three wishes, but He wants to give us the desires of our hearts.  God wants the very best in life for us.

3 John 2
New International Version (NIV)
2 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.

1 Peter 5:7
New International Version (NIV)
7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

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.

Deuteronomy 28:8
New International Version (NIV)
8 The LORD will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The LORD your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.

Psalm 91:15
New International Version (NIV)
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.

Psalm 23:6
New International Version (NIV)
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalm 84:11
New International Version (NIV)
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Pastor's Ponderings, January 16, 2018

Living An Abundant Life In Christ

Dr. Martin Luther King, on April 3, 1968, spoke at the Mason Temple, which is the Church of God in Christ Headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee and delivered his famous, "I've Been to the Mountaintop” speech. He was a great symbol for freedom and social justice and died fighting for what he believed was important. In his speech, he used language that indicated he knew he may soon die, but was unafraid because he had truly lived for what he believed God wanted him to do.

Like Dr. King, we should live our lives unafraid of death because for those who love the Lord, death on this earth simply means to be in the presence of the Lord in eternity (2 Corinthians 5:1).  If we have this mindset then death has no sting for us nor does the grave defeat us (1 Corinthians 15:55).  We are free to go boldly through life doing all that God has called us to do knowing that we don’t have to wait until we get to heaven to have eternal life; we have it right now (1 John 5:13).

I believe that God wants us to live our lives to the fullest since He announced that He came to the earth so that we might have a full, rich and abundant life in Him (John 10:10).  The Apostle Paul went further and wrote that Christ lives His divine life through us (Galatians 2:20). Given that we live in uncertain and challenging times, let us decide that we will redeem our time upon earth making the most of every opportunity to celebrate our life in Christ (Ephesians 5:15, 16). 

2 Corinthians 5:1
New International Version (NIV)
5 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hand

1 Corinthians 15:55
King James Version (KJV)
55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

1 John 5:13
New International Version (NIV)
13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

John 10:10
New International Version (NIV)

10 … I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Galatians 2:20
New International Version (NIV)
20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Ephesians 5:15, 16
New International Version (NIV)
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 
16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Pastor's Ponderings, January 8, 2018

Let Us Speak The Truth

In the January 8, 2018 issue of New York Times, Alex Stone wrote an article entitled, “Is Your Child Lying to You? That’s Good” The article specified that, in an experiment, lying children were smarter than the truth tellers.  The article further indicated, “Other research has shown that the children who lie have better “executive functioning skills” (an array of faculties that enable us to control our impulses and remain focused on a task) as well as a heightened ability to see the world through other people’s eyes, a crucial indicator of cognitive development known as “theory of mind.” 

This research sheds some light on what brings success in this worldly system. The Bible agrees that the people in the worldly system are shrewder than the people of the light (Luke 16:8).  But the Bible also says all liars have an appointment with the Lake of Fire (Revelation 21:8).  In another scripture the Bible said there is no profit if one shrewdly gains the whole world, but loses his own soul (Mark 8:36).  Jesus went further and said liars are like their own father, the devil, who lies as a matter of course (John 8:44).

God honors the truth tellers who will tell the truth from their heart even if it hurts them (Psalm 15:1, 2, 4).  He even says that when we speak the truth in love, we will grow up to be like Him who is the Head of the Body of Christ (Ephesians 4:15).  Only the truth will make us free (John 8:32). Even though some may say that the truth is out of style and that facts do not matter, let us be like Christ and speak the truth in every situation.

Luke 16:8
New International Version (NIV)
8 “The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light.

Revelation 21:8
New International Version (NIV)
8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

Mark 8:36
New International Version (NIV)
36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?

John 8:44
New International Version (NIV)
44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Psalm 15:1, 2, 4
New International Version (NIV)
1 Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain?
2 The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart;
4 who despises a vile person but honors those who fear the Lord;
who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind;

Ephesians 4:15
New International Version (NIV)
15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.

John 8:32
New International Version (NIV)
32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”