Friday, January 29, 2021

Pastor's Ponderings, January 29, 2021

This post appeared in the January 25, 2016 Pastor's Pondering.  The nation was then looking forward to the election in the fall.  Although the current election is over, the call to pray for our leaders is still necessary.

Don’t Forget To Pray For Our Leaders

This fall, the United States of America will choose leaders who are currently struggling to convince the electorate that they are the person that must be designated political leader of the moment.  They imply that if they are not chosen, the country will suffer.  Candidates will spend billions of dollars using very skilled advertisers who will try to persuade us to make the right choice, which, of course, is their candidate.

This would all be rather confusing and depressing if we did not know that if God does not elevate the leader, he or she would be useless (Psalm 127:1).  We have heard various candidates pronounce they will definitely solve our problems, answer our questions, and increase our prosperity.  But the Bible says in spite of their boasts and idle promises, promotion to higher office only comes from God (Psalm 75:4-7).

As we feel God is leading, we should learn about the issues, make telephone calls, canvas door to door, write, or speak out in support of policies and politicians. But, most of all, in this political season, let those of us who love God resolve to pray for those in authority and that when they make decisions, they allow God’s direction to be more important than rich and powerful donors, pundits, voters, or influence-peddlers.  When we do this, we can live peaceful lives in Him (1 Timothy 2:1-3).

Psalm 127:1
New International Version (NIV)
Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.

Psalm 75:4-7
New International Version (NIV)
To the arrogant I say, ‘Boast no more,’ and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horns.
5 Do not lift your horns against heaven; do not speak so defiantly.’”
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.

1 Timothy 2:1-3
New International Version (NIV)
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 
for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 
This is good, and pleases God our Savior,

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Pray To God And Then Obey His Commands

James LaPorta from the 1/19/21Associated Press wrote an article entitled, 2 National Guard Members Removed From Biden Inauguration Over Militia Ties.  During times of global and national crises, we should be able to totally trust our elected officials, police officers, military, national guard and other authorized agencies to not have conflicts of interests, to protect us and to adhere to their constitutional responsibilities.  


The Bible says that we are to submit to these authorities because they are ordained by God (Romans 13:1-4).  We are not to fear them if we do what is right.  However, when those in authority do not adhere to their lawful rules and regulations, terrible results may ensue.  


What should the body of Christ do when there is wrongdoing among those responsible to protect us?  First, we must pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Second, although we must pray for everyone, we must especially pray for those who are in authority so that we all can live quiet and peaceful lives (1 Timothy 2:1-2).  


Third, while praying, we must ask for directions from God (Philippians 4:6).  During the Civil Rights movement, they were peaceful, prayerful, and made their petitions known to the proper authorities.  Last, we must then act on what God tells us to do.  Saint Augustinewrote, “Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.”  


God may be leading us to write letters to people and institutions of influence.  He may lead us to organize, and comment through the internet to change minds or to peacefully march. He may even tell us to cry out and speak truth to power because of evil doings (Isaiah 58:1).  Let us pray and then act obediently to God.


Romans 13:1-4

Amplified Bible

1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God [granted by His permission and sanction], and those which exist have been put in place by God. 

Therefore whoever resists [governmental] authority resists the ordinance of God. And those who have resisted it will bring judgment (civil penalty) on themselves.
3 For [civil] authorities are not a source of fear for [people of] good behavior, but for [those who do] evil. Do you want to be unafraid of authority? Do what is good and you will receive approval and commendation. 

4 For he is God’s servant to you for good. But if you do wrong, [you should] be afraid; for he does not carry the [executioner’s] sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an avenger who brings punishment on the wrongdoer.


1 Thessalonians 5:17

New International Version

17 pray continually, 


1 Timothy 2:1-2

New International Version

1 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 
for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.


Philippians 4:6

New International Version

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.


Isaiah 58:1

New International Version

1 “Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the descendants of Jacob their sins.





Monday, January 11, 2021

Pastor's Ponderings, January 11, 2021

Our God is Steady While the World is Shaking

In the January 6, 2021 Harvard Gazette, Christina Pazzanese wrote an article about the recent invasion of the US Capitol entitled, Concern over storming of the Capitol.  She quoted Professor Daniel Carpenter who stated, “So, what we saw today was an attack on the legislative foundations of our democratic republic and an attack on the popular sovereignty that legitimates our democratic republic. [And] for a moment, it succeeded,” he said.  According to a Department of Defense 2020 release, we have a $750 Billion dollar defense budget but it did not prevent a few thousand civilians from wreaking havoc on our government.  


In addition to this political attack, we suffered a health attack in that “Up to 30% of Americans may be infected with coronavirus by year-end, Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC on Monday.”  We have the best healthcare system in the world, but according to covid-19 worldwide stats, we are leading the world with COVID-19 deaths


Ben Werschkul wrote an article in the January 8, 2021 Yahoo finance entitled, There are 3 million fewer jobs now than when Trump took office. The article went on to indicate that an analysis of Trump’s jobs record and found that “job growth has actually slowed under Trump” compared to Obama but not by a significant amount.” In addition, Jeffry Bartash wrote an article in the September 11, 2020 MarketWatch entitled, U.S.’s annual budget deficit tops $3 trillion for the first time ever after coronavirus relief while  the 2016 the Fiscal Year budget deficit totaled $587 billion.   


While these attacks have shaken people, those who love the Lord can retain their peace if they keep their minds upon Him (Isaiah 26:3).  We can decide to throw up our hands and despair or we can have faith in the God that loves us so much that He sacrificed His Son Jesus so that we could have eternal life with Him (John 3:16).  Even when we are in the valleys of our life, He promised that He would accompany us and never leave us (Psalm 23:4, Hebrews 13:5).


Many people are terrified that there will additional and more deadly future attacks.  However, we who love the Lord must keep believing that God holds the whole world in His hands, and He controls what the leaders can and cannot do (Psalm 75:7).  Let us take heart and assure others that our hope is in the eternal God that can do anything (Luke 1:37).  The world may be shaky, but we can rest on an unshakeable God.


Isaiah 26:3

New International Version

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.


John 3:16

New International Version

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


Psalm 23:4

New International Version

4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.


Hebrews 13:5

New International Version

5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”


Psalm 75:7

New International Version

7 It is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another.


Luke 1:37

New King James Version

37 For with God nothing will be impossible.”





Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Pastor's Ponderings, January 5, 2021

Let’s Have Honest Words and Helpful Actions

Hayley Miller wrote an article in the January 3, 2020 Huffington Post stating that “President Donald Trump on Saturday pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a fellow Republican, to recalculate the state’s tally of presidential election votes to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s win”.  The reason that the world knows the details of this conversation was that it was recorded and leaked to the press. Whether you agree with the comments made during the recording or not, many of us would be horrified to know that our hidden words and activities were readily available to the public.


The Bible says that the hidden things will be exposed (Luke 12:2-3).  We have to recognize that despite our desires that our dirty laundry not be exposed we must know that we have to give an account of our life’s activities and negative words before an all-knowing God (2 Corinthians 5:10).  We may cover our lifestyle with expensive clothes and smooth words, but God knows our inner man (1 Samuel 16:7).


We should live our life knowing that God is keeping record of everything we do. Since we are being evaluated, let us all endeavor to live our lives as if we are  an open book, transparent and without devious motivations. Let us be transparent and not have devious motivations.  Let us not be hypocrites but honest, open, and straightforward. Let us decide that by honest words and actions, we will always be an encouragement to others (Ephesians 4:29).  As a result, we will never be ashamed when our words and activities are brought into the light.

Luke 12:2-3

New International Version

There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.

What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.


2 Corinthians 5:10

New International Version

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 Samuel 16:7

New International Version

7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”


Ephesians 4:29

New International Version

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.