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.