Monday, February 24, 2020

Pastor's Ponderings, February 24, 2020

Working Together In Unity

Allyson Chiu wrote an article in the July 26, 2019 issue of the Washington Post entitled, ‘It snuck up on us’: Scientists stunned by ‘city-killer’ asteroid that just missed Earth.”  It went on to state that “ had seemingly appeared from “out of nowhere,” Michael Brown, a Melbourne-based observational astronomer, told The Washington Post.”  Apparently, the asteroid had come within one-fifth of the distance from the earth. Further, the article stated, “… “It would have gone off like a very large nuclear weapon” with enough force to destroy a city.”  Since no one can realistically predict which city might be destroyed, it seems that we are in this together.

Benjamin Franklin wrote, “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”  God has given man the resources, the wisdom, the knowledge and the understanding to solve many of our problems.  The Bible says that He has given us everything that pertains unto life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).  The Bible further states that if any two of us would agree about anything, that God would do it for us (Matthew 18:19).  

Knowing that we are facing climate change, worldwide pollution, cybercrimes, and unknowable catastrophes which may await us, we have the power to effectively deal with these problems with God’s direction.  He said that if His people who are called by His Name, would humble themselves, turn from their evil ways and seek His face, then He would hear from heaven and heal our land (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Truly our land needs healing.  Currently our superficial differences in doctrine, beliefs, political groups, and ethnic groups prevent us from seeing that we are all in this together. If one small asteroid can wipe us out, perhaps we can draw solace from the scriptures that say greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4) and if He is for us, who can be against us (Romans 8:31).  Let us work together in unity with God.  

2 Peter 1:3
New International Version (NIV)
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

Matthew 18:19
New International Version (NIV)
19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.

2 Chronicles 7:14
New International Version (NIV)
14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

1 John 4:4
New International Version (NIV)
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

Romans 8:31
New International Version (NIV)
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Pastor's Ponderings, February 18, 2020

God Is Bigger Than Our Fears

Carla Herreria wrote an article in the 2/14/2020 issue of the Huffington Post entitled, “L.A. Officials Say Asian Teen Was Assaulted, Bullied Over Coronavirus Fears.”  It went on to indicate, “Asian American leaders denounced the rise in anti-Asian sentiment in the U.S. as misinformation has spread fearmongering over the new virus.” The saddest line in the article was, “The student’s family was afraid to speak out, according to KABC-TV in Los Angeles.”

The devil is the master at misdirection.  He traffics in fear, doubt, worry, and anxiety.  God has not given us the spirit of fear of the coronavirus or anything else (2 Timothy 1:7) but wants us to have His abundant life (John 10:10).  The devil will get people stirred up and terrified, but then point them in the wrong direction so that they do not realize that it is he that comes to kill, steal, and to destroy (John 10:10).  He does it because he is the Father of Lies (John 8:44).  

We must remember that God’s perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18). Many have died as a result of a mob’s anger and fear to attack the innocent or those who were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Today many are worried about the coronavirus.  In the past, it was AIDS, the West Nile Virus, or SARS.  While these are legitimate health concerns, let us not attack the wrong source.  The devil wants us divided and not looking unto Jesus the author and the finisher of our faith. Instead, we can look to Jesus who is able to do anything even greater than we can ask or think (Hebrews 12:2, Ephesians 3:20). God is greater than our fear.

2 Timothy 1:7
King James Version (KJV)
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

John 10:10
New International Version (NIV)
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

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.

1 John 4:18
New International Version (NIV)
18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

Hebrews 12:2
New International Version (NIV)
2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Ephesians 3:20
New International Version (NIV)
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,

Monday, February 10, 2020

Pastor's Ponderings, February 10, 2020

Are You An Oscar Winner?

On Sunday, February 9, 2020, many persons in the movie industry had their most exciting night at the Academy Awards.  Since 1929, how the movie industry sees one at this occasion has defined their careers.  The glitz, the drama, and the pizazz dazzle a worldwide audience.  This spectacle is an awesome display of talent, hard work, and exclusivity.

As inspiring as this ceremony may be, we must ask ourselves if our lives deserve Academy Awards? The Bible says that we must give an account of every word and deed before Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10).  On the Day of Judgement, will awards, promotions, praise, statuettes, wonderful outfits, or clever comments be important?  The Bible says that only what you do for Christ will last (1 Corinthians 15:58).  Many during Christ’s day just like the present would rather have the praise of men rather than of God (John 12:42-43).

The Bible says that we must lay up treasure in heaven rather than upon the earth (Matthew 6:19-21).  When a rich man in the Bible decided to build up bigger barns to accommodate his wealth, the Lord told him that he would die that evening and asked him who would get what he had prepared for himself (Luke 12:20, 21). He was not criticized for having things but because he was not rich in his relationship to God.

God wants us to truly enjoy the life that He has given us, and He gives us the means to prosper, but He really wants our hearts turned towards Him rather than to our accomplishments, fame, or fortune. During the Oscar season, when people are focused on fleeting fame, let us look toward pleasing God rather than the ephemeral praise of men. You will receive your award in heaven one day.

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.

1 Corinthians 15:58
New International Version (NIV)
58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

John 12:42, 43
New International Version (NIV)
42 Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; 
43 for they loved human praise more than praise from God.

Matthew 6:19-21
New International Version (NIV)
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 
20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Luke 12:20, 21
New International Version (NIV)
20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

Monday, February 3, 2020

Pastor's Pondering, February 3, 2020

Let Us Be On One Accord

Ms. Josephine Harvey wrote an article in the 1/28/2020 issue of U.S. News entitled, “Bystanders Lift SUV Off Of Pinned Woman In Dramatic Manhattan Rescue.”  She wrote, “…almost a dozen people were seen running across a street on the Lower East Side to collectively heave the vehicle onto two wheels in order to rescue a trapped woman…”  The victim survived the ordeal and was taken to the hospital.  These noble rescuers truly demonstrated the saying, “United we stand, divided we fall.”

What really stood out in this article was that these were people just standing in the area who could have just as easily turned and walked away.  They ran to the trapped woman when they could have just morbidly watched to see what would happen.  Seemingly they worked together to rescue someone in need. 

There is something powerful that happens when a group comes together in one accord.  In the Bible, the Lord God came down to see a group that decided to build a tower to Heaven, and He stated that nothing would be impossible for them while they are united (Genesis 11:5-6).  In the New Testament, Jesus prayed to the Father that His disciples would be one as He and the Father were one (John 17:21-23).  In another passage, Jesus declared that if two people would agree asking anything in His Name, He would give it to them (Matthew 18:19).  Finally, God demonstrated the power of unity when the disciples received the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4).

Today our politics are riven with disunity. Even proven and accepted scientific laws are no longer accepted.  Ancient educational standards are uprooted daily. It seems there is more joy in hostility and animosity than in understanding and unity. Let us join together and declare that we will be those who are searching for common ground and that we can disagree agreeably.  Let us be on one accord. 

Genesis 11:5-6
New International Version (NIV)
But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building.
The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.

John 17:21-23
New International Version (NIV)
21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one
I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

Matthew 18:19
New International Version (NIV)
19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.

Acts 2:1-4
King James Version (KJV)
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.