Monday, April 27, 2020

Pastor's Ponderings, April 27, 2020

Speak God’s Word to the World

William J. Broad and Dan Levin wrote an article entitled, Trump Muses About Light as Remedy, but Also Disinfectant, Which Is Dangerous. There was a great hue and cry about these comments.  The article went on to say, “Apparently reassured that the tests he was proposing would take place, Mr. Trump then theorized about the possible medical benefits of disinfectants in the fight against the virus.”

The major issue is that the leader of the Free World said something that many found outrageous, but its impact was broad. Poison control calls for bleach and Lysol have increased across the country.  What he says impacts the economy, world opinion, politics and everything in between. While the president has the power to impact the world, our words should also have an impact. 

Jesus declared to the body of Christ that all power in heaven and earth has been given unto Him.   As a result, those in the body of Christ are to go out through the world declaring the Good News (Matthew 28:18-20).  We must say what God says about the world (Job 22:28).

We are not, must not, and cannot be simply passive observers of world events. The Bible declares that we have the power to declare things lawful and unlawful (Matthew 16:19).  We don’t simply have to bemoan our fate, we can pray for our leaders that God will change their hearts (Proverbs 21:1, 2).  

Our fight includes actions such as voting, petitioning, protesting, and letter writing which are all important tools in a democracy.  But we also have the right and responsibility to struggle on the spiritual level against evil spiritual rulers who attempt to dictate men’s affairs (Ephesians 6:12).  

When your friends, neighbors, and relatives are complaining about this or that comment or policy, we can be comfortable knowing that all ruling authority has been established by God (Romans 13:1). He will raise those who He wants in His time (Psalm 75:6-7) and all things will work together for good for those who love the Lord God (Romans 8:28). In this frightened, worried and anxious world, let us speak God’s word of victory.!

Matthew 28:18-20
New International Version (NIV)
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 
19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 
20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Job 22:28
King James Version (KJV)
28 Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways.

Matthew 16:19
Amplified Bible (AMP)
19 I will give you the keys (authority) of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind [forbid, declare to be improper and unlawful] on earth will have [already] been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose [permit, declare lawful] on earth will have [already] been loosed in heaven.”

Proverbs 21:1, 2
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.
2 A person may think their own ways are right, but the Lord weighs the heart.

Ephesians 6:12
New International Version (NIV)
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Romans 13:1 
New International Version (NIV)
13 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

Psalm 75:6-7
New International Version (NIV)
6 No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt themselves.
7 It is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another.

Romans 8:28
New International Version (NIV)
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Pastor's Ponderings, April 21, 2020

Christ Gives Us Healing From COVID-19

On Sunday, I received a message that at 9:00 pm, the recipient should pray along with other recipients that God would end the COVID-19 pandemic.  Around 9:00 pm, my wife and I prayed with what I can only imagine are thousands of others who are praying in unity to beat back this virus.  I believe that we are seeing a turning to God all over the world. 

When there is a crisis, it seems that many will turn to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords to deliver them from suffering and death.  God is so gracious and chooses not to remind us that church attendance is in steep decline, living together instead of getting married is becoming more and more popular, and illicit drug use is on the rise.  We glorify violence in entertainment, laugh at anyone who claims to have a relationship with God and generally praise evil and denigrate the good. A show entitled Lucifer even got five seasons on television!

Now more than ever, we should turn back to God and see what His word tells us to do for such a time as this. The Bible tells us that for people who revere God, He will rise with healing in His wings (Malachi 4:2).  God declares that He is the God that heals us (Exodus 15:26).  Jesus says that whatever we ask the Father in His Name, He will do it for them (John 16:23-24).  The Bible says further, when the enemy, and this virus truly is an enemy, comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against it (Isaiah 59:19). 

It is extremely painful seeing people of all ages, suffer and die from the virus.  My own friends and relatives have been attacked. My 93-year-old Aunt is fighting for her life against this virus, but is still declaring victory in Christ. Of course, we need to abide by what our public health and medical professionals are telling us. But we also have to say and keep saying, declare and keep declaring, speak and keep speaking that God is greater than any virus (Romans 8:31). In Christ, we have the victory over this virus!

Malachi 4:2
Amplified Bible (AMP)
But for you who fear My name [with awe-filled reverence] the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go forward and leap [joyfully] like calves [released] from the stall.

Exodus 15:26
New International Version (NIV)
26 He said, “If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.”

John 16:23-24 
New International Version (NIV)
23 In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 
24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.

Isaiah 59:19 
King James Version (KJV)
19 So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.

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?

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Pastor's Ponderings, April 15, 2020

Let’s Protect God’s Temple

Daily, I go to my mailbox to retrieve my mail. I put on my mask, bring the mail into the house, wipe the pieces down with wipes, wipe the doorknobs and wash my hands.  We have to be vigilant about not bringing any of the dread COVID-19 into our house.  We don’t go to gatherings of friends, we stay at least six feet from other people, and keep our masks on continually.  We have our food and medicine delivered and then sanitize before using. We are attempting to protect ourselves from the virus. This is a new world.

Just like our litany of new practices that we have to do to separate ourselves from the virus, the Bible talks about separating ourselves from the world (2 Corinthians 6:17).  Jesus prayed to the Father that His followers were to be in the world but not of the world (John 17:15-16).  We must think of ourselves as dead to sinful practices of the world (Romans 6:11).  Just like we cannot allow the virus to enter our lives, we must know that we have been rescued from the power of darkness and brought into the kingdom of His dear Son (Colossians 1:13) so that we will not bring any sin or rebellion into our bodies, the temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16). 

Perhaps we should let this time of avoiding the COVID-19 virus so that it does not touch our bodies give us insight into the necessity of avoiding sin in our lives.  Just like we are to be careful about preserving our earthly bodies from possible death, we ought to be vigilant about turning away from the deadly sins of our flesh and obey God with all of our hearts.  It is a new day in Christ Jesus. Let’s not let anything that would separate us from God enter our holy temple.

2 Corinthians 6:17
New International Version (NIV)
17 Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.”

John 17:15-16
New International Version (NIV)
15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 
16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.

Romans 6:11
New International Version (NIV)
11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus

Colossians 1:13
New International Version (NIV)
13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,

1 Corinthians 3:16
New International Version (NIV)
16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Pastor's Ponderings, April 7, 2020

Choose God’s Way of Thinking

An April 7, 2020 Washington Post article was entitled, “A man feared his longtime girlfriend had covid-19, which she didn’t. They died in a murder-suicide, police say.” Merely what they thought about, considered, and focused on led to this sad affair.  One may conclude that how people think may be a factor in dealing with challenges in their life.

The Bible says, as a man thinks in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7).  God further commands us to think thoughts that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of a good report (Philippians 4:8). We can be in perfect peace if we choose to focus on God (Isaiah 26:3). The Bible also says that a merry heart is good like a medicine while a broken spirit dries the bones (Proverbs 17:22).  Whatever one is thinking eventually comes out of one’s mouth and death and life are in the power of our tongues (Luke 6:45, Proverbs 18:21).  We can joyfully think on God’s benefits towards us since all of His thoughts toward us are for our good and to uplift us. He has something good in store for us (Jeremiah 29:11).

It is easy to follow the world’s thinking about anything. Political leaders want us to think well of them and vote for them. Advertisers are eager to have us to think positively about their products so their profit margins can increase.  However, the evil one wants us to despair, be worried, become depressed, and anxious to make us vulnerable to the scary things of the world. However, the Bible says for us not to be anxious about anything and to let God’s peace rule our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:6-7). You may be caught up with the stinking thinking of the world about any terrible things that are happening.  But God wants us to put our hope in eternal things rather than on things of the earth (2 Corinthians 4:18).  Let’s think God’s thoughts today.

Proverbs 23:7
King James Version (KJV)
7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.

Philippians 4:8
King James Version (KJV)
8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Isaiah 26:3
King James Version (KJV)
3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Proverbs 17:22
King James Version (KJV)
22 A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

Luke 6:45
New International Version (NIV)
45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

Proverbs 18:21
New International Version (NIV)
21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

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.

Philippians 4:6-7
New International Version (NIV)
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

2 Corinthians 4:18
New International Version (NIV)
18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.