Monday, September 28, 2020

Pastor's Ponderings, September 28, 2020

We Will Not Fear


The first inauguration of Franklin D. Roosevelt as the 32nd President of the United States was held on Saturday, March 4, 1933.  The Great Depression began in 1929 and would continue until 1939.  During his address, he said, “So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” 


Just like that terrible period in history, 2020 has been a terrible year for fear.  We are worried about getting COVID-19, job insecurity, general health problems, interpersonal relations, and growing national and international uncertainty.  We have seen and heard about man’s inhumanity to man, natural disasters, and the obvious effects of climate change.


However, the Bible tells us not to fear. We can trust in God because He said that He would cover us and protect us from deadly things (Psalm 91:2, 3).  Despite our hearing bad news constantly,  God tells us that we are not to fear bad things in the night or in the daylight. Even though others may fall, bad things will not come near us (Psalm 91:5-7).  


God did not promise us that we would not have trouble in our lives (Job 14:1) He promises to be with us in trouble because when we call upon Him, He will answer us (Psalm 91:15).   God promised to never leave us alone (Deuteronomy 31:6). Let us decide to believe His word and not fear. God is always with us.


Psalm 91:2, 3 

New International Version

2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.


Psalm 91:5-7

New International Version

5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,

6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.

A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.


Job 14:1

New International Version

14 “Mortals, born of woman, are of few days and full of trouble.


Psalm 91:15

New International Version

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.


Deuteronomy 31:6

New International Version

6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”




Monday, September 21, 2020

Pastor's Pondering, September 21, 2020

What Would You Do In Your Final Days?


U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spent her last days doing what she wanted to do. According to an article by Jessica Gresko in the Huffington Post, September 20, 2020, “She was seeing family. She was exercising. She was listening to opera. She was doing the work of the court. She even officiated at a wedding.”  Further, “she seemed to be coping with treatment for cancer and also making plans for events months away.”  She seemed to be at peace with what she was accomplishing in her life.


The Bible tells of a great man of God who also seemed to be a peace with what he was accomplishing and had accomplished in his life.  Paul wrote most of the books in the New Testament but had suffered greatly in his life after he decided to follow Christ (2 Corinthians 11:24-27). Nevertheless, Paul wrote to Timothy tell him that he had fought all of his battles, he did not lose faith in God, and he was confident that after death he would get a reward from God  (2 Timothy 4:6-8).  He had been willing and obedient to God and he knew he would get the blessings that he had been promised.  


He kept his focus on things that were eternal and unchanging (2 Corinthians 4:18) and not on circumstances that were constantly changing.  Just like Paul, we must make the decision that when we evaluate our life and our current actions, things we have done, and things that we will continue to do, I hope we can all say that we are obeying God’s word and pleasing him in every way.  In the final days of our lives, let us live our lives in a way that honors our relationship with him and the gift of salvation and eternal life.


2 Corinthians 11:24-27

New International Version

24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one
25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea,
26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 
27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.


2 Timothy 4:6-8

New International Version

6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 

7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.


2 Corinthians 4:18

New International Version

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.





Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Pastor's Ponderings, September 15, 2020

To err is Humane; to Forgive, Divine 

“To err is Humane; to Forgive, Divine.” This quote was written by the English poet Alexander Pope, in the poem An Essay on Criticism, Part II, 1711. “Pope explains that, while anyone can make a mistake, we should aspire to do as God does, that is, show mercy and forgive sinners.”  However, hearing about the unrelenting inhumanity expressed by some people and reading about recent examples of cruelty to others makes us want to despair for all of mankind.


We all have a tendency toward evil (Psalm 51:5).  That is why we need someone to rescue us from ourselves.  We need a Savior.  Although we may think we would never stoop to the level of people we read about we routinely justify committing other sins, Jesus went to the cross for all of our sins so that we could resist disobedience to God (1 Peter 2:24).  Miraculously, Jesus became the sacrifice so that we could be in right standing with Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). Because He forgave all of our past, present, and future sins we therefore ought to forgive others of their offenses against us (Ephesians 4:32).


When we forgive others, we demonstrate Jesus’ nature in us.  Because He forgave us from the penalty of disobedience, we can forgive others for what they have done to us.  We can do this because we can do everything through Christ who gives us the strength to do so (Philippians 4:13).  In our humanness, we will err, make mistakes, and commit sin but to forgive those who have offended us means that Jesus has taken up residence in us.  The divinity of Christ in us allows us to forgive others. Let us follow Christ and forgive like He has forgiven us.


Psalm 51:5

New International Version

5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.


1 Peter 2:24

New International Version
24 "He himself bore our sins" in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; "by his wounds you have been healed."


2 Corinthians 5:21

New International Version

21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.


Ephesians 4:32

New International Version

32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.


Philippians 4:13

New International Version

13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.





Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Pastor's Ponderings, September 9, 2020

Let Us Please God

Walter Hagen, a professional golfer said, “You're only here for a short visit. Don't hurry, don't worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.”  This is one view of life.  Another take on our time on earth can be seen in the famous quote, “I intend to live a fast life, die young and be a beautiful corpse,” published in a 1920 newspaper of a letter from Mrs. Irene L. Luce concerning her divorce. Both of these views of life focus on the few years we have on earth and give suggestions for how to spend those days.


The Bible also gives us guidance on how to spend our time wisely.  The book of Ecclesiastes says man must fear and obey God (Ecclesiastes 12:13).  In another passage, it says that we should act like our everyday lives are a loan from Him (Romans 12:1). He wants us to get rid of bitterness, rage and anger and to be kind to one and another and forgiving (Ephesians 4:31, 32). Also, He wants us to turn away from the evil so that we can do His good work (2 Timothy 2:21).


A few years ago, there was a saying about how we should act. It said, “What Would Jesus Do?”  He would want us to be about God’s business while recognizing that our actions have eternal consequences.  If we do what the Bible tells us to do, we will do well in life (Isaiah 1:19). Let us decide that we will spend our lives seeking God’s approval, direction, and wisdom. 


Ecclesiastes 12:13
Amplified Bible

13 When all has been heard, the end of the matter is: fear God [worship Him with awe-filled reverence, knowing that He is almighty God] and keep His commandments, for this applies to every person.


Romans 12:1

New International Version

12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.


Ephesians 4:31, 32

New International Version

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 

32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.


2 Timothy 2:21

Amplified Bible

21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things [which are dishonorable—disobedient, sinful], he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified [set apart for a special purpose and], useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.


Isaiah 1:19

New International Version

19 If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land;