Monday, July 30, 2018

Pastor's Ponderings, July 30, 2018

It Is Time To Encourage Ourselves In The Lord

In the book of Samuel, an enemy of David, the Amalekites, raided David’s town called Ziklag and took all the residents.  Because his men spoke of stoning him, David became distressed. However, he then encouraged himself (1 Samuel 30:6).  In spite of the challenges of loss of family, possessions, and respect from his soldiers, David turned to God in his time of worry.

Today, we are living in stressful times. Wildfires in California, political turmoil in Washington, and lead in the water in Flint may cause many to wonder what catastrophes lie ahead.  We hear of dire predictions that our current national deficits may lead to cuts in healthcare, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.  Ruth Caye Jones wrote a song with the lyrics, “In times like these, we need a Savior. In times like these, we need an anchor. Be very sure, be very sure your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock. This Rock is Jesus, Yes, He's the one…”

Many may trust in other people, their friends, our government, strong institutions or our financial system.  However, throughout history, everything that mankind has depended upon has failed at one time or another.  Jesus Christ, our solid Rock, never fails (Psalm 18:2). God knows what He thinks about our glorious destiny (Jeremiah 29:11). He created us to be His sons, holy, and blameless (Ephesians 1:4-5). Let us choose to encourage ourselves in the one true God knowing that others may leaves us, but He will never leave us.  Others may use and misuse us, but we can depend upon Him who loved us so much. 

1 Samuel 30:6
New International Version (KJV)
And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.

Psalm 18:2
New International Version (NIV)
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

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.

Ephesians 1:4-5
New International Version (NIV)
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 
he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—

Monday, July 23, 2018

Pastor's Ponderings, July 23, 2018

Smile, We Are All On Candid Camera!

In June 28, 1947, Allen Funt created the show, “Candid Camera” where unaware persons were being recorded for a later television broadcast.  It was a very popular and hilarious show with a great deal of humor from the forties to the seventies. Naturally, the victims agreed to the broadcast before they were shown on television. 

In marked contrast, Nina Golgowski, in the July 22, 2018 business section of the Huffington Post, wrote that an Uber driver secretively filmed over 700 passengers for months without their consent and broadcasted them on a video streaming platform called Twitch.  This is very disturbing news. It would be very disconcerting to know that your every word or action was being observed and evaluated and broadcast to the world without your knowledge or consent.  

The Bible says at the Day of Judgment, we will all have to give an account of every idle word (Matthew 12:36).  Even though the Uber passengers may be embarrassed being caught doing what they would not like to be seen doing publicly, God has all of our records (2 Corinthians 5:10).  For those who are worried their secret deeds shall come to light, the Bible says every hidden deed good or evil shall be exposed (Ecclesiastes 12:14).  In spite of God having seen everything we have done, are doing, and will do, He loves us anyway.  He gave His Son Jesus Christ for our salvation from our sins (John 3:16)

Since everything that we do shall be exposed, let us spend our time doing good for others.  We should not worry that we will not get proper credit or glory for our kindness, because God says that we will get a benefit if we don’t give up (Galatians 6:9). The Bible says that since we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1), let us run the race that He has set before us.  God is watching us and wants us to win our race, so let us obey His word and smile!

Matthew 12:36
New International Version (NIV)
36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the Day of Judgment for every empty word they have spoken

2 Corinthians 5:10
New International Version (NIV)
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

Ecclesiastes 12:14 
New International Version (NIV)
14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.

John 3:16
New International Version (NIV)
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Galatians 6:9
New International Version (NIV)
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Hebrews 12:1
New International Version (NIV)
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,

Monday, July 16, 2018

Pastor's Ponderings, July 16, 2018

Let Us Give Our Cares to a Caring God

On Monday, July 16, 2018, President Trump and President Putin are scheduled to talk in Helsinki, Finland.  The world awaits this discussion with trepidation since their decisions can affect many lives.  Perhaps they will agree to peace in our time; perhaps they will leave in anger and the world may have to prepare for World War III.  Those who love the Lord do not have to be as concerned about this momentous event because we are citizens of another kingdom (Hebrews 13:14) and our hearts and minds are on Christ (Colossians 3:1-2). 

The Bible says we are not to be anxious about anything (Philippians 4:6). God controls all of the world leaders (Proverbs 21:1).  Not only that, He holds everything with His word (Colossians 1:16-17).  Our responsibility is to pray for all of those who are in authority since our prayers are effective (James 5:16).  

When we hear people are stressing out about what is going to happen, we can assure them that nothing can happen without God’s permission.  Laurie London had a song entitled; “He's Got the Whole World in His Hand.” He holds the babies, you, everyone and me under his loving concern.  So let us cast all of our concerns, cares, and worry upon Him because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).

Hebrews 13:14
New International Version (NIV)
14 For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.

Colossians 3:1-2
New International Version (NIV)
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Philippians 4:6
New International Version (NIV)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Proverbs 21:1
New International Version (NIV)
In the Lord’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water that he channels toward all who please him

Colossians 1:16-17
New International Version (NIV)
16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 
17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

James 5:16
New International Version
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.

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

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Pastor's Pondering, July 10, 2018

Wake, Pray, Slay

I recently saw a shirt with the “Wake. Pray. Slay” motto on the back. I imagined waking up, praying to God for direction, and then taking a sword and suddenly and violently slaying everything that was not like God.

In the Bible, Christ established a unique way of living. He communicated often with His Father and performed miracles people had never seen before. He healed the sick, commanded evil spirits to come out of people, and even turned water into wine. Towards the end of his life on earth He tells his disciples that they will do even greater things than He did (John 14:12)!

Although that may seem hard to believe, God wouldn’t have said it if he didn’t mean it. As Christians or “followers of Christ” (Acts 11:26) when we first wake up, we are to act just like Christ (1 John 4:17b), pray (Mark 1:35) and do not accept evil spirits in ourselves or others (Mark 1:39, Mark 16:17). Just like Jesus told Satan, we are to also tell him to get behind us (Luke 4:8). 

Every morning the world presents itself to us as something overwhelming. But we have the Greater One and we are to go about doing what Jesus did. He laid hands on the sick for their recovery, He fed the hungry, He comforted the lonely; He healed all of those who devils had attacked (Acts 10:38).  This morning and every morning, let us wake up ready to act like Jesus, let us pray just like Jesus and let us work His work and slay everything that is not like Him.

John 14:12
New International Version (NIV)
12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

Acts 11:26
New International Version (NIV)
26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.

1 John 4:17b
New International Version (NIV)
17 … In this world we are like Jesus

Mark 1:35
New International Version (NIV)
35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.

Mark 1:39
New International Version (NIV)
39 So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.

Mark 16:17
New International Version (NIV)
17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues;

Luke 4:8
King James Version (KJV)
And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

Acts 10:38
New International Version (NIV)
38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Pastor's Ponderings, July 2, 2018

How Will You Respond To The Call For Sacrifice?

In a year where selfish acts seem to dominate the media, Bethany Hines wrote an article about a man who saved a young boy from drowning on Saturday, June 23, 2018.  She wrote, “Even though he couldn't swim, Victor Mozqueda jumped into a raging river to save a 5-year-old boy from drowning. He rescued the boy, but died in the process.”  He was risking his own life, “But Mozqueda never let go of the child.”  How many of us would be willing to lose our lives to save someone else?  

The Bible says that there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for your friend (John 15:13).  Mr. Mozqueda’s sacrificial act of love was unbelievably awesome, but Jesus gave His life for the entire world (1 John 3:16). God so loved the entire world that ignored Him, mocked Him, and made idol gods to worship.  In spite of this, God gave His Son, Jesus, to deliver us from eternal damnation so that we could have eternal life (John 3:16).

Most of us will never have to lay down our natural lives for others, but how many of us will give up our precious time for others?  How many of us will go out of our way so that others can have decent meal or babysit their children so that they can see a movie in peace? How many of us will become active in civic life to champion a cause rather than complain about our political leaders? The Bible says that we are to present our bodies a living sacrifice to God (Romans 12:1).  He wants us to give our lives to Him so that He can work through us to bless the world.  

When the prophet Isaiah saw a vision of God, He heard a voice asking who will go and work for God and he agreed that he would go (Isaiah 6:8).  God is looking for those who will give their lives sacrificially for His cause to help those in need, to put others before ourselves and to allow God to use us.  Victor Mozqueda answered his call.  Will you?

John 15:13
New International Version (NIV)
13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

1 John 3:16
New International Version (NIV)
16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.

John 3:16
New International Version (NIV)
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Romans 12:1
New International Version (KJV)
12 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service

Isaiah 6:8
New International Version (NIV)
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”