Saturday, December 30, 2023

Pastor's Ponderings, December 30, 2023

The Beatitudes are God’s Blessings to Us

 

In our world where evil seems to dominate, the Bible lets us know that we can be blessed or happy. In the book of Matthew, Jesus taught the Sermon on the Mount.  In a few of the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-8), Jesus showed us some categories of people that will be blessed.  He taught that the poor in spirit, (those who regard themselves as insignificant) get the kingdom of heaven.  Why? In a world that prides itself on pride, the Scriptures tell us that those who humble themselves will be lifted (Matthew 23:12).

 

But what about those of us who have done terrible things and are suffering from guilt? For those who are mourning over their sins and are genuinely sorry for them, God promises they will be comforted (Matthew 5:4).  The Holy Spirit is there to comfort us when we repent. Moreover, in a world full of the self-serving, the scriptures promise that those who are meek, the kind-hearted, the sweet-spirited, and the self-controlled, will have the privilege of inheriting the earth.  This is because God gave the earth to man (Psalm 115:16).  Only the meek will understand and appreciate what God has given to us.

 

While we live in a vain, vicious, and vengeful world, He tells us that the merciful shall receive mercy.  While many merciful people have suffered and are suffering, somehow, they will receive mercy.  It may not be on this side of Heaven, but He promised it; we will receive it.

 

Lastly, He promises the pure in their heart will see God (Matthew 5:8). When the end of time is upon us, we will be those who running towards Him in joy and not running away in terror. While these scriptures make up some of the Beatitudes, let us stand up, look up and see that God’s blessings are coming.

 

Matthew 5:3-8

New International Version

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

 

Matthew 5:3-8

Amplified Bible

3 “Blessed [spiritually prosperous, happy, to be admired] are the poor in spirit [those devoid of spiritual arrogance, those who regard themselves as insignificant], for theirs is the kingdom of heaven [both now and forever].

4 “Blessed [forgiven, refreshed by God’s grace] are those who mourn [over their sins and repent], for they will be comforted [when the burden of sin is lifted].

5 “Blessed [inwardly peaceful, spiritually secure, worthy of respect] are the [a]gentle [the kind-hearted, the sweet-spirited, the self-controlled], for they will inherit the earth.

6 “Blessed [joyful, nourished by God’s goodness] are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness [those who actively seek right standing with God], for they will be [completely] satisfied.

7 “Blessed [content, sheltered by God’s promises] are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

8 “Blessed [anticipating God’s presence, spiritually mature] are the pure in heart [those with integrity, moral courage, and godly character], for they will see God.

 

Matthew 23:12

New International Version

12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

 

Psalm 115:16

New International Version

16 The highest heavens belong to the Lord, but the earth he has given to mankind

 

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Pastor's Ponderings, December 13, 2023

God Loves Cheerful Givers

 

According to Our Father’s House Soup Kitchen, there are four kinds of giving in the Bible; tithes, offerings, first fruits, and almsgiving.  While tithes are ten percent of your income (Malachi 3:10), offerings are what you want to give (2 Corinthians 9:6-8).  First fruits come from new blessings that one receives (Proverbs 3:9) and almsgiving (Matthew 6:3-4) are for mankind such as giving to the less fortunate in food, clothes, cash, or volunteering in shelters.  While tithes, offerings, first fruits are to God, almsgiving are for mankind. 

 

My youngest daughter shared a blessing that she received when she got unexpected money.  She used that and her personal money and gave it to a relative in need.  Less than 24 hours later, she was pleasantly surprised when she received ten times what she had originally received.  2 Corinthians 9:7 states, “…God loves a cheerful giver.” 

 

When we see famine, disease, and suffering throughout the land, we should remember that God is not trying to guilt anyone into helping others. However, when we give with the right motives, which is that one simply desires to help, He looks upon one’s heart. Let God lead you in your giving. He can bless you in so many ways.


Malachi 3:10

New International Version

10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.

 

2 Corinthians 9:6-8

New International Version

6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 
7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver
And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

 

Proverbs 3:9

New International Version

9 Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops

 

Matthew 6:3-4

King James Version

3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:

4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

  

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Pastor's Ponderings, December 16, 2023

Can God Count On You To Help Others?


Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party. This was a typing drill by a teacher named Charles E. Weller.  We can update this drill to “come to the aid of the world.”  The world is being asked whether they support the Ukrainians or the Russians.  Do they support Israel or Palestine?  The stories of worldwide evil are continual and heartbreaking. However, we cannot just sit on the sidelines, hide our heads in the sand and pretend that all is fine in the world.  Should we turn away from the suffering, or should we turn to God for direction?

 

The Bible asks when we see others in need and show no compassion for them, how can we say we have God’s love? (1 John 3:17-18).  On Judgement Day Jesus will declare that whatever one did for even the least of people, they did it to Him (Matthew 25:37-40).  What can we do when even the most brilliant of our leaders seem to offer no workable solutions?

 

First, we are to always pray and not give up (Luke 18:1).  Second, we are to ask God for wisdom (James 1:5), and third knowing God always hears us, we are to confidently ask God for His intervention (1 John 5:14-15).  God may tell us to sit-in, protest to our leaders, march for peace, or write letters to the decision-makers. If we are willing and obedient, we will get the best of the land (Isaiah 1:19)

 

A Hillel first-century Jewish scholar said, “If not you, then who? If not now, when?” Now is the time for all to come to the aid of the entire world.

 

1 John 3:17-18
New International Version

17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

 

Matthew 25:37-40

New International Version

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 
38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 

39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

 

Luke 18:1

New International Version

18 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.

 

James 1:5

Amplified Bible

5 If any of you lacks wisdom [to guide him through a decision or circumstance], he is to ask of [our benevolent] God, who gives to everyone generously and without rebuke or blame, and it will be given to him.

 

1 John 5:14-15

New International Version

14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 

15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

 

Isaiah 1:19

New Life Version

19 If you are willing and obey, you will eat the best of the land.

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Pastor's Pondering, December 9, 2023

Let Us Run Our Race Focused On Jesus

 

On August 17, 2013, I posted my first Pastor's Pondering describing my experience with running.  To bring you up to date, on November 27, 2023, I ran my most recent 5K race.  Unfortunately, I fell at the beginning of the race, hurt my knee, fractured my rib but ran anyway.  I even tripped over my youngest daughter's feet, but other runners picked me up and I continued to run.  My youngest daughter wore bright pink shoes, and I chose to forget the pain and other people, and to just to focus on her shoes for the remainder of the 3.1 miles. 

 

During the race I felt okay but afterwards I noticed the damage to my knee, and it would be a few weeks before I learned of my rib fracture. 

I’ve now been running ten years and I have learned that it is important to focus on my destination despite the many obstacles and to finish the course.  The August 17, 2013, Pastor’s Pondering blog, is a reminder that God wants us to focus on Him and “that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus(Philippians 1:6).  

 

August 17, 2013

 

Recently, I have had a major lifestyle change. Because of my youngest daughter’s encouragement, I have begun to run three- and six-mile races. Until I started racing, my past runs were limited to running to the refrigerator. Now I am eagerly preparing for a 13.1-mile half-marathon race this fall.

 

When I run, I am reminded of the race that Jesus spoke about in Hebrews. I put aside everything that might distract me or slow me down. I run despite the pain in my legs, sweat on my forehead, laborious breathing, and sometimes nausea in my stomach. But when I complete my race, all the effort is forgotten. I am thrilled at being a part of a group of finishers. Some ran faster than others and others just walked, but we finished our course.

 

Today is a bright new day for each of us. God has given all of us a unique opportunity to begin over again on a fresh path. He encourages us to forget about past failures, missed chances and failed goals. We are all standing at our own unsullied starting line. It does not matter how we performed yesterday; we can run this race with patience. We can get through our difficulties, our challenges, our failures, and our victories. We can run with joy knowing that Jesus is leading us.

 

Happy running with Jesus!

 

Philippians 1:6

New International Version

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

 

Hebrews 12:1, 2

New International Version (NIV) 

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, 

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith...

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Pastor's Ponderings, November 28, 2023

Let Us Be On The Lord’s Side

 

The November 27, 2023 Associated Press indicated that Hamas in the Gaza Strip had released more hostages during the truce between them and Israel. This is amazing news that even during war, chaos, suffering and horror, God can open a door.  We must believe that since God has begun a good work, He can work it out to completion (Philippians 1:6).  

 

Many people have begun to despair.  Either you are for Israel, or you are for the Palestinians.  Both are religious countries, and many are certain that God is on their side and that He defends their cause. However, saints of the Most High God must make the quality decision that people must be on His side rather than He choosing a side.  

 

We are to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6-8).  We are also for each other (James 5:16). We are to go to our knees and ask God for His divine intervention in a political leader’s affairs so that we can live peaceful lives (1 Timothy 2:1-2).  We are to pray that God’s will be done in all worldwide conflicts. 

 

In the Bible, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments, the people were out of control. Moses did not ask about the differing factions, groups, or opinions.  He asked who was on the Lord’s side (Exodus 32:25, 26).  In the latest Middle East conflict, we are not asking the right questions.  Who is on the Lord’s side?  He is not a supporter of political parties.  He does not run a democracy but a theocracy.  Now is the time for us to go before the Lord and intreat Him for His divine intervention and to declare that like the Levites, the priests, we will rally to Him.

 

Philippians 1:6

New International Version

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

 

Psalm 122:6-8

New International Version

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you be secure.

May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.”

For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.”

 

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 Timothy 2:1-2

New International Version

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

 

Exodus 32:25, 26

New International Version

25 Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of control and so become a laughingstock to their enemies. 26 So he stood at the entrance to the camp and said, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.” And all the Levites rallied to him.

 

Monday, November 20, 2023

Pastor's Ponderings, November 20, 2023

God Is Happy When We Succeed

 

Recently, our youngest daughter, Denise Fair Razo, won the 2023 Emerging Leader Award.  It was a wonderful occasion that honored Wayne State University Mike Ilitch School of Business graduates in various business fields.  The honorees were applauded by their families, friends, and colleagues. We were very happy to be among the cloud of witnesses watching this awesome event.  

 

Just as we were happy, God Himself is pleased when His children accomplish tasks for and in Him.  The Bible says that He wants us to prosper in all things (3 John 2).  Just as her family rejoiced over Denise, God wants us to have peace and well-being in our lives (Jeremiah 29:11).  In fact, He promised that He would perfect those things in our lives that concern us (Psalm 138:8).

 

While it may be easier to think that God is too busy for us, He is with us, loves us, and delights in us (Zephaniah 3:17).  When we in turn delight in Him, He makes our footsteps firm and helps us whenever we stumble (Psalm 37:23-24). Today when many are tearing others down, setting traps for them, and plotting against them, let us know that there is the One who is in your audience and who is pleased with your work. Let us rejoice knowing that God delights in us.


3 John 2

New King James Version

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.

 

Jeremiah 29:11

Amplified Bible

11 For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peaceand well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

 

Psalm 138:8

New King James Version

8 The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.

 

Zephaniah 3:17

New International Version

17 The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you,

 

Psalm 37:23

New International Version

23 The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him;

24 though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand




Monday, November 13, 2023

Pastor's Ponderings, November 13, 2023

God Has A Breakthrough For Us

 

Adam Fulton and (earlier) LĂ©onie Chao-Fong, Richard Luscombe, Ashifa Kassam and Reged Ahmad wrote an article in the November 10, 2023 Guardian entitled, “WHO says a child is killed every 10 minutes in Gaza – as it happened.”  The World Health Organization has given us a painful reminder that people are implying that childhood slaughter is justified, and payback is appropriate and an eye for an eye is just a good start. Perhaps we should consider the quote that some authors have attributed to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”  

 

What should those who love the Lord do when passions are inflamed, reason has fled the room, and one can only hope to slow down the inexorable death march?  First, since politicians, military leaders, media personnel have so far not been able to know how to stop the carnage, we must look to God’s wisdom for help and who promised to give it to us (James 1:5).  Second, we must petition leadership, protest the madness, and implore those who have the power to stop the fighting. Third, we must stay on our knees and ask God for divine intervention.  In the book of 2nd Chronicles, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites came to wage war against Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 20:1) and surrounded the Children of Israel. King Jehoshaphat prayed, “our eyes are upon thee.”Then God worked miraculously and defeated their enemies (2 Chronicles 20:12). 

 

In the book of Daniel, he also prayed, and the angel showed up twenty-one days later and explained that he had been held up by demonic forces but was helped by the archangel Michael (Daniel 10:12, 13). We must remember that this is a spiritual battle. We are not fighting against other people but against powerful demonic spirits (Ephesians 6:12). While it may look hopeless, God will show up and show Himself mighty in this conflict.  God is still in charge.

 

James 1:5

New International Version

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

 

2 Chronicles 20:1, 12

King James Version

It came to pass after this also, that the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them other beside the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle.

12 O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.

 

Daniel 10:12, 13

New International Version

12 Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. 13 But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia.

 

Ephesians 6:12

New International Version

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.



 

 

Monday, November 6, 2023

Pastor's Ponderings, November 6, 2023

Trusting God In Difficult Times

 

Have you found out that your goals may never be achieved?  Have you found out that the illness is very bad?  Have you ever been disappointed by those who you have trusted in and believed in?  Despite life’s disappointments, the Bible tells us to trust God with all our heart and don’t rely on what we understand (Proverbs 3:5-6).

 

Our great God is more than enough for all our problems.  It may seem like all is lost but He promised us that He would supply everything that we need (Philippians 4:19)It may not be now or even soon, but He will work things out for our good (Romans 8:28).  It may seem that God does not always come through for us. We know that people have, are, and will suffer catastrophes in their life even though God is All powerful. 

 

In the Bible, Job questioned God concerning all his trials and tribulations. In reply, God told Job what He had done and was doing.  As a result, Job repented and said that he had spoken carelessly (Job 42:1-3).  Many times, we will talk about the bigness of our problems and not consider the bigness of our God who wants to bring us hope and a successful conclusion in our lives (Jeremiah 29:11).

 

Let us look at our God and not focus on the world’s powerful distractions. We may not understand fully what is going on, but we must remember that God holds the whole world in His hands.  Let us have confidence in Him that He knows what He is doing.

 

Proverbs 3:5-6

New International Version

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight

 

Philippians 4:19

New International Version

19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

 

Romans 8:28

New International Version

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.

 

Job 42:1-3

New International Version
1 Then Job replied to the Lord:

2 “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.

3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.

 

Jeremiah 29:11

Amplified Bible

11 For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.


 

  

Monday, October 30, 2023

Pastor's Ponderings, 10 30 2023

Reprint from Pastor's Ponderings, October 29, 2018

God’s Love Abounds


Andy Campbell and Sebastian Murdock wrote an article on October 27, 2018, in a Huffington Post website entitled, “A Week Of American Hate: Bombs Mailed, Black People Executed, Jews Slaughtered.”  The article states, “A man executed two black people at a grocery store... A Donald Trump supporter…sent bombs in the mail to the president’s opposition. An avowed anti-Semite walked into a synagogue and killed 11… This was one week in American hate.”  

Many have engaged in violent words and acts of viciousness. Perhaps this week will mark a turning point in the escalating war of hatred. The Bible says that we are not to let evil overcome us, but that we must overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).  We must believe that the God that lives on the inside of us is greater than the evil outside of us (1 John 4:4). Even though we may totally disagree with people who have opposing views, Jesus tells us to love our enemies and to do good to those that persecute you (Matthew 5:44). God is love and His love covers many problems in life.

Martin Luther King had Six Principles Of Nonviolence. “Principle six states, “Nonviolence believes that the universe is on the side of justice. The nonviolent resister has deep faith that justice will eventually win. Nonviolence believes that God is a God of justice.” We have to remember that Jesus said that those who live by the sword will die by the sword (Matthew 26:52) and God is the one that has the last word on retaliation (Romans 12:19).   

This week, when evil confronts us, when negative words explode all around us, and when talk of retribution emerges; let us remember the words of Jesus. In the Sermon on the Mount, He said that peacemakers are blessed and will be called God’s children and those who are attacked for being righteous are blessed and will have the kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 5:9-10). Let us remember that our God is love.

Romans 12:21
New International Version (NIV)
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

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

Matthew 5:44
New International Version (NIV)
44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

Matthew 26:52
New International Version (NIV)
52 "Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to him, "for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.

Romans 12:19
New International Version (NIV)
19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

Matthew 5:9-10
New International Version (NIV)
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Monday, October 23, 2023

Pastor's Ponderings, October 23, 2023

God Will Work It Out

 

When we look at the challenges in the world, one thinks of the poem by Rudyard Kipling entitled “If.”  The first sentence gives us clarity in these confusing times.  “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you.” Many who seem to be casting about lost, anxious, angry and worried should remember the Douglas Miller song, “My Soul Has Been Anchored.”  Some of the lyrics are, “But if the storms don't cease and if the winds keep on blowing in my life, my soul has been anchored in the Lord.”

 

We hear repeatedly that we are in uncharted waters.  The rules of polite society and civilized behavior seem to be cast aside for those in the book, “Leviathan” by Thomas Hobbes.  He described man at his worst. "…continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." 

 

However, we thank God that He always causes us to win in Christ (2 Corinthians 2:14).  We can boldly proclaim that we are in Him and He has successfully overcome the world (John 16:33).  It is so crucial that we walk closely with the One who oversees the universe and not get distracted with the evil one.  The Bible says, despite worldly challenges, if God is for us, who can be against us (Romans 8:31)?

 

Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”   What are we going to do today to stop the triumph of evil?  We are going to allow God to lead us.  God may tell us to organize, protest, use social media or write letters to our leaders. 

 

We are not going to remain silent, hidden, hunched over, but we are going to lift our heads. We are going to lift our voices.  We are going to declare, say, speak that God is eternal, victorious, and He is going to work this thing out.  He will rise in His time and work things out for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). Let God’s people announce His triumph through word and deed. 

 

2 Corinthians 2:14
King James Bible

14 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.

 

John 16:33

New International Version

33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

 

Romans 8:31

New International Version

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

 

Romans 8:28

New International Version

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.


 

 

Monday, October 16, 2023

Pastor's Ponderings, October 16, 2023

God Still Reigns In The Middle East

 

On October 13, 2023, as the world looked on with horror, soldiers from Hamas from the Gaza Strip attacked Israel and succeeded in bringing death, chaos, confusion, and anger as they slaughtered their citizens and took away some for hostages.  When Israel returned fire, many advised caution because those living in the Gaza Strip were living in an open-air prison and were also suffering under the ruling regime of Hamas.  

 

The Bible proclaims that when wicked are in authority, their citizens suffer (Proverbs 29:2).  How should those who love the Lord respond to these and other acts of unspeakable and repugnant acts?  We must recognize that these acts do not come from God, but they come from our adversary the devil (1 Peter 5:8).  His purpose has not changed from the beginning of the world, which is to kill, steal and to destroy (John 10:10a). We are not fighting against people but against unseen evil forces (Ephesians 6:12)

 

Those who love the Lord must remember that Jesus came to destroy the devil’s work (1 John 3:8).  We are not using conventional warfare, terrorist tactics, or nuclear weapons but we use the weapons of God (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).  We have been given the authority to forbid and to permit knowing that whatever we forbid or permit in the earth has already been forbidden or permitted in heaven (Matthew 16:19). We must speak the word of God like Jesus spoke to the storm and said, “Peace, be still” (Mark 4:39). 

Let us not forget to pray for those in authority because they are in the hand of God (Proverbs 21:1).  Let us remember to pray for those on both sides who are suffering and dying.  Let us remember that even though these attacks are personally horrible and painful, our God is still in control.

 

Proverbs 29:2

New International Version

2 When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan.

 

1 Peter 5:8
New International Version

8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

 

John 10:10a

New International Version

10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy….

 

Ephesians 6:12

New Living Translation

12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

 

1 John 3:8

New International Version

8 The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.

 

2 Corinthians 10:4-5

New International Version

4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 
5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

 

Matthew 16:19

New Living Translation

19 And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.”

 

Mark 4:39

New King James Version

39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.

 

Proverbs 21:1

New International Version

21 In the Lord’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water that he channels toward all who please him


 

 

Monday, October 9, 2023

Pastor's Ponderings, October 9, 2023

Let’s Always Ask God For His Guidance

 

For this week’s Pastor’s Ponderings please click on the Pastor's Ponderings link to our blog and learn that God wants to be involved in all our life choices since He knows what is best.

 

We can be confident in Him and His divine guidance.

 

Let’s Always Ask God For His Guidance

 

In the 9/30/2023 Pastor’s Ponderings entitled, “We Are Healed Right Now”, I wrote that I was preparing to run in the Detroit Free Press Marathon on October 15th.  However, since I was injured, I have the option to postpone my registration until 2024.  Just like many of us, I must decide whether I should run this race or not.  I thank God that the Bible tells us that if anyone lacks wisdom, we can ask God in faith, and He will share His wisdom with us (James 1:5).   

 

We are blessed to serve the true and living God who knows the past, present and future.  He doesn’t need to guess, inquire into dusty books, slick computer programs, or consult with brilliant prognosticators.  All our life is laid out before Him (Psalm 139:16).  He holds everything in His hands (Psalm 24:1-2).  He promises to light our path in life and provide a lamp for our feet (Psalm 119:105).

 

God may direct us in circumstances, situations, people, or even a still small voice (1 Kings 19:12-13).  The Bible says that when the Holy Spirit comes, He will guide us in all truth letting us know what is to come (John 16:13).  It is wonderful to know that we are connected to the Eternal God who loves us, wants the best for us and covers us.  We can be confident in Him and His divine guidance.

 

James 1:5

New International Version

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

 

Psalm 139:16

New International Version

16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

 

Psalm 24:1-2

New International Version

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;

for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.

 

Psalm 119:105

New International Version

105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

 

1 Kings 19:12-13

New International Version

12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 
13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

 

John 16:13

New International Version

13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.