Saturday, August 19, 2023

Pastor's Ponderings, August 19, 2023

Let Us Press Toward God’s Finish Line


On Aug 27, 2022, I was blessed to run the ten-mile race at the 2022 Crim Festival of Races in Flint Michigan.  It was grueling, intense, and tiring and I was thrilled to see the finish line in the distance.  Suddenly, I forgot about my pain, exhaustion, and felt I had the power to eagerly finish.  I had this burst of energy and began running vigorously to complete the race.  My granddaughter, Kyra, later proclaimed, “Papa, you were running!”


We are all in the race of our lives.  However, the Bible tells us to press toward that which is ahead of us in Christ and to forget that which is behind us (Philippians 3:13, 14). During the Crim, I was trying to get a medal that I had finished. But those who love the Lord are looking for an eternal prize of life in heaven (Ephesians 2:6), living in an divine mansion that was not made with human hands (2 Corinthians 5:1) and to dwell in the presence of the Lord forever (Psalm 27:4).


We are all in the race of our spiritual lives, but we don’t run aimlessly for God but we discipline ourselves in living for Him, in studying His word, in meditating His commands, in seeking His face and delighting ourselves in Him (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).  We are all looking for Him at the finish line saying, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of the Lord” (Matthew 25:21).  Let us forget our struggles and joyfully press toward God’s finish line in Him.

Philippians 3:13, 14

New International Version

13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead

14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.


Ephesians 2:6

New International Version

6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,


2 Corinthians 5:1

New International Version

5 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.


Psalm 27:4

New International Version

4 One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.


1 Corinthians 9:24-27

New International Version

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 

25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 

27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others,  I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.


Matthew 25:21

King James Version

21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.


Saturday, August 12, 2023

Pastor's Ponderings, August 12, 2023

Let Us Give Ourselves To God’s Work


Martin Luther King once said, “If you have not discovered something you are willing to die for, then you are not fit to live.”  Jesus laid down His life for us (1 John 3:16).  You may not be called to sacrifice your physical life but greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).


My fellow pastor is currently being attacked because of his faith and commitment to the things of God.  However, he is still unmovable in his resolve to serve God. We must ask ourselves, “If this pastor is willing to risk his life, for what cause am I even willing to lay down my creature comforts?  For example, can I sacrifice cable to send money for starving children at home and abroad?


We might ask ourselves, “Can I spend an afternoon entertaining the child of a single parent? Could I spend an hour stopping at a nursing home to visit the aged whose offspring have left them alone.”  Instead of complaining about the infighting of our political system, have I involved myself by at least praying for those who have rule over us and clearly sharing my civic concerns with them?


Can we sacrifice our time, resources, and efforts for another? We may not be called like the prophets of old and the martyrs of the present to lay down our lives for others but let us at least sacrifice to help others.  The Bible tells that how we treat the least of us, we are doing it to our Savior.  Let us ask God for wisdom to guide us in our help to others.


1 John 3:16

New International Version

16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.


John 15:13

King James Version

13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.


Matthew 25:40

New International Version

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.’


Saturday, August 5, 2023

Pastor's Ponderings, August 5, 2023

This is a reprint of Pastor's Ponderings from August 6, 2018.  These words are still important as we deal with each other in an increasingly hostile world.

Let’s Speak Kindly To Each Other

In the play, The Merchant of Venice, William Shakespeare wrote, “The quality of mercy is not strained; it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath. It is twice blest; it blesseth him that gives and him that takes.”  It is amazing how many people choose to ignore these blessings. From vicious tweets, sexist body shaming, and angry conspiratorial lies to everyday humiliating insults, few seem to want to be left out of these hurtful attacks.  

But the Bible says that goodness and mercy shall follow us all of our lives (Psalm 23:6).  God says the merciful are blessed because they shall receive mercy (Matthew 5:7).  Showing mercy is part of the basic requirements of God, which is to act justly, love mercy and to walk humbly with Him (Micah 6:8). Coming before God in the Day of Judgment, we cannot expect to be applauded for how often we made others cry. The Bible says we are to lift others up with what we say (Ephesians 4:29). Furthermore, we are to treat others, as we would like to be treated.  

This week let us carefully consider our written and spoken words and decide whether we would like to receive them from others.  God said that vengeance is His alone and He will repay those attacks (Romans 12:19). Instead of escalating hurtful comments and raging threats, let us take advice of the Bible and remember that a soft answer turns away wrath (Proverbs 15:1).

Psalm 23:6
King James Version (KJV)
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Matthew 5:7
New International Version (NIV)
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Micah 6:8
New International Version (NIV)
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? He requires us to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Ephesians 4:29
Amplified Bible (AMP)
29 Do not let unwholesome [foul, profane, worthless, vulgar] words ever come out of your mouth, but only such speech as is good for building up others, according to the need and the occasion, so that it will be a blessing to those who hear [you speak].

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.

Proverbs 15:1
New International Version (NIV)
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.