Ponder A Little (Blog)
Pondering the questions of Christianity, Christ and God's love for mankind.
|Posted on July 21, 2018 at 8:45 PM|
My soul was created to soar.
A longing within that needs to be stirred.
Fears ground me, seeking safety and security.
But I long to soar.
I climb mountains to reach the heavens.
I watch the eagle in majestic flight and dream.
Freedom. Strength. Serenity.
How I long to soar.
The earth below is full of Turmoil. Strife. Pain.
The load is heavy. The journey seems long.
Hope fades, if I let it.
But God calls me.
I will soar. On wings like eagles.
Because my hope is in the Lord.
God will renew my strength.
|Posted on July 12, 2018 at 1:10 PM|
|Posted on July 3, 2018 at 11:00 AM|
|Posted on June 26, 2018 at 6:40 PM|
|Posted on June 20, 2018 at 3:25 PM|
|Posted on May 26, 2018 at 7:00 PM|
Let’s face it… there are plenty of unbelievers that think Christians are crazy. We all know it. It’s a simple fact. They roll their eyes and snicker concluding that only imbeciles would believe in a God, waste time in church, study a book that is 2000 years old and follow a bunch of rules for living that don’t line up with modern day society.
The Bible even confirms this fact when it says, “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing” (1 Cor. 1:18). And “the devil has blinded the minds of those who do not believe” (2Cor. 4:4). Until non-Christians take the time to seriously consider the validity of the Bible and the Christian faith, they simply will not understand.
Primarily, there are 4 things only a Christian can understand…
1. God is real. God is alive. God is awesome.
- Only Christians who have a personal relationship with Jesus can understand how real and awesome God is. Until we choose to believe, we cannot know God.
2. God answers prayers. He has limitless power.
- It is pretty incredible to experience amazing answered prayers. When God answers a prayer in a miraculous way, we are full of celebration and praise.
3. God’s very words are found in the Bible.
- It’s not just a book. It is God communicating with man. We cherish every word and hear God speak directly to our individual hearts.
4. God is full of grace. His love and mercy are never deserved but always bountiful.
- The grace, the love and the mercy of God leave us speechless. God’s grace is always bigger than our sin.
Sadly, there will always be snickering unbelievers missing out on the best gift ever offered to mankind. Nonetheless, Christians will continue to press on, sharing the Good News of Jesus and praying that more will come to understand.
|Posted on May 17, 2018 at 8:05 AM|
How can Christians be thankful in all circumstances (1 Thess. 5:18)? Is it possible? Does this even make sense? Are we supposed to be grateful for bad news? The death of a relative, the loss of a job, a terminal diagnosis. Surely God does not expect us to smile and boast gratitude for these events in our lives?
No, He doesn’t. God is not morbid. Jesus wept when his good friend Lazarus died (John 11:35). God does not expect us to be thankful FOR all our circumstances. He only expects us to be thankful IN all circumstances (1 Thess. 5:18).
Our lives are supposed to be rooted in a heart of gratitude. Job after suffering enormous loss declared, “God gives and takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). We can weep and experience the pain of loss while still having a mindset that recognizes God is in control, He is good and He knows what is best.
Having a heart of gratitude moves our thoughts off of ourselves and the pain of our circumstances. An attitude of gratitude is healthy and beneficial for us. It keeps us focused on God’s sovereignty and the bigger picture of life from God’s perspective. Because for Christians, all things work together for good (Romans 8:28).
So how do we create an attitude of gratitude? First, we need to make it a habit. Gratitude is an action, not an emotion! Giving thanks to God is something we have to condition ourselves to do regularly. Second, it is achieved through the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). By feeding on the Word of God every day, the Holy Spirit will inevitably renew our minds in many different ways. One way is to develop a permanent mindset of gratitude in all aspects of life – the good and the bad. The result is a personal, greater sense of well-being and the peace of God.
Nurture the attitude of gratitude in your life today!
|Posted on May 11, 2018 at 10:45 AM|
It’s been said that the surest test of our spiritual integrity is the personal intimacy with God we experience in our prayer life. We can possess immense theoretical knowledge of God that is never transformed into a personal intimacy of communication with God. This would be like living as a Pharisee. All head knowledge and no heart knowledge.
The great men and women of the Bible not only knew God, they conversed intimately with Him. Even Jesus spent hours alone with His Father in prayer. In the Garden of Gethsemane, he passionately prayed. How much more do we need to be intimate with God in prayer. Knowledge of God is never enough.
We should each have a burning desire to know God but not from solely the goal of attaining more knowledge. Our primary goal should be intimacy with God. An intimacy that is based on knowledge and proven in prayer. An intimacy that experiences God’s powerful presence in our lives as believers, each and every day.
|Posted on May 1, 2018 at 1:30 PM|
|Posted on April 22, 2018 at 9:10 AM|
|Posted on April 11, 2018 at 6:50 PM|
Pastor Ray Johnson from Bayside Church in Sacramento, California says there is a new idol in the church today and it is called ‘Safety’. He says society today teaches Christians to be afraid of so many things. And the fears we have, limit God’s ability to use us.
Many Christians don’t serve, don’t give, don’t witness, don’t take a stand, don’t take a risk and why? Because it isn’t safe! Our fears result in playing it safe, which then shrinks our lives, shrinks our impact on the world and even shrinks our God.
The early church described in the New Testament never played it safe. They were bold in everything they did and God blessed them for it. Even being arrested did not stop them from speaking God’s truth and sharing the Good News.
Boldness is the cure for the new idol of Safety that dominates the lives of many Christians today. Non-Christians are standing up boldly for many things they believe in, that are in complete contrast to the Word of God. The church feels overwhelmed and outnumbered so in fear they draw back for safety.
Instead we should be letting our voice be heard regardless of the consequences. We should be resting in the confidence of the Holy Spirit’s power within us and then do the right thing that God wants us to do.
There are many opposites to Boldness. Such as fear, cynicism, negativity, discouragement and pessimism. Some are subtle. But they are all negative traits that create a negative attitude that is spreading through our churches. And all these traits cause us to run for safety.
The idol of ‘safety’ is diminishing our impact on a lost world. It is limiting the power of God within us to make the difference we are called to make. Choose Boldness! God is Mighty!
|Posted on April 4, 2018 at 9:25 AM|
|Posted on March 28, 2018 at 11:50 AM|
On the Christian calendar, Easter rates #1 for celebration! But the 20th century finds many of us getting caught up with chocolate bunny rabbits, Easter egg hunts and family reunions. So, plenty of people are only bystanders during the Easter season. They are present at the event but miss the true celebration.
The first bystander of Easter was Simon of Cyrene. Simon was visiting Jerusalem during the crucifixion and had travelled a great distance to celebrate the Jewish Passover. He was the man that the Roman soldiers forced to carry the cross when Jesus became too weak. He was expecting crowds for the Passover but never expected a crucifixion and certainly did not expect to be in the middle of it. You could say that he was at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Simon did not want to carry the cross of Jesus. He was merely a bystander in the crowd until he was ordered to walk behind Jesus carrying the cross (Luke 23:26). Simon was put on display for all to see and all to scoff at, as was Jesus.
Picture Simon reluctantly taking the heavy, blood-stained cross from Jesus who is overcome with weakness and pain. Simon now has the blood of Jesus on him. Imagine the moment their eyes first met. Looking into the eyes of Jesus, one can only find a look of immense love that would have melted the heart of Simon in a life-changing way.
Simon was no longer at the wrong place at the wrong time. Simon was no longer a bystander. Simon was no longer reluctant. Simon was the first to do what Jesus has commanded all of us to do: “Take up your cross each day and follow me” (Luke 9:23).
But Easter celebrations do not end at the cross. It only took 3 days for Jesus to walk out of the tomb defeating death. The real celebration is the resurrected Jesus, proving He was in fact God as He had claimed. And He is a living and all-powerful God! The real celebration is that God’s amazing love allowed His Son to pay the debt for our sins so that we could know peace and have hope of life eternal in His arms of love. Now that’s worth celebrating!!
Don’t be a bystander! Partake of the gift of salvation that Easter is all about. Then in gratitude for the gift and in obedience, take up your cross and follow Him! Carrying a cross involves pain. Following Jesus, instead of the world, involves sacrifice. But sharing in His path of suffering reaps many rewards! One of which is an eternal crown (1 Cor. 9:25).
|Posted on March 21, 2018 at 10:00 AM|
|Posted on March 14, 2018 at 6:05 PM|
Most people believe that discovering their purpose in life starts with themselves. But for the Christian, everything starts with God. If we want to learn our true purpose in this life we need to determine it from God’s perspective, not our own.
According to God, real life is only what’s built on eternity. We were created for an eternal purpose. A purpose that lasts forever, not just for the here and now. When we have the correct perspective of our life’s purpose everything makes sense and falls into place. As Christians, our purpose in life has four parts:
1. Glorifying God – We were created for God’s pleasure and He is pleased when we worship Him, trust Him, obey Him, praise Him, love Him and serve Him.
2. Becoming more like Jesus – This is an ongoing process that is cultivated through trials and temptations, and the work of the Holy Spirit. Since God is love, it is love that we need to master most of all.
3. Serving God - We each have unique, God given talents and abilities which God wants us to use serving others with humility and generosity. Serving others is an expression of our love for God.
4. Evangelism – Each of us are to share the gospel with unbelievers in a loving manner and with the help of the Holy Spirit. Every day, whether we know it or not, our lives are either a positive or negative testimony to those who don’t know Jesus. It is our job to enthusiastically share the best gift we have ever received.
Our lives on earth are richer and better when we fulfill the purpose God has for us. But life on earth is only a fraction of what is to come in eternity. Heaven is the hope of the Christian faith. The Bible describes it as an everlasting place of perfect peace, joy and love in the presence of God! We were created by God for the eternal purpose of someday living in heaven with Him.
|Posted on March 9, 2018 at 9:25 AM|
It has been heard time and time again that people are not interested in church because there are too many hypocrites.
Sadly, there are some hypocrites in the church! Even in Jesus’ day there were hypocrites and he rebuked them numerous times (Matthew 6:2, 5, 16; 7:5; 15:7; 22:18; 23:13, 15; 23:23, 25, 27, 29; 24:51; Mark 7:6; Luke 6:42; 12:56; and 13:15).
Unbelievers today ask, “Why would I want to be a Christian when I see Christians setting such bad examples?” The truth hurts. We often do fail to live godly lives.
But Christianity is not based on the behaviour of Christians in the past or present. It is based on Jesus Christ himself who was without sin. Jesus was not a hypocrite. He consistently lived what He taught. And He challenged those close to Him to find hypocrisy in Him but they couldn’t. The Christian faith is built only on Jesus so it cannot be invalidated by the behaviour of its followers. This by no means excuses the unchristian behaviour seen in professing Christians. Of course, Christians should be modeling their lives after Christ but none of us are perfect. Only Christ is perfect and without sin. Hypocrites abound everywhere in society because we are all sinful by nature. There is no escaping it (Rom. 3:23).
Fortunately, not all Christians are hypocrites. History gives many fine examples of good things done over the centuries in the name of Christianity. But the Church and Christians will always be a work in progress. The Holy Spirit always has more work to do in each of our hearts, to conform us more and more to the beauty of Jesus. And that is the humble desire of the true Christian.
If you are objecting Christianity because of Christians, please consider Christianity because of Jesus. He won’t let you down!
|Posted on March 1, 2018 at 10:15 AM|
I’ve heard non-Christians mistakenly quote the Bible saying, “Money is the root of all evil” and they assume that God thinks wealth is a bad thing. But the Scripture verse actually says that “the love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Tim. 6:10). So, what God doesn’t like is greed and pride.
God has blessed many people with wealth but He recognizes that not everybody can handle wealth. In fact, for some wealth can be dangerous. Wealth can lead some to a sense of self sufficiency and no need for God. God loves us and does not want to see money destroy our lives by leading us to sin and perhaps eternal separation from Him. Jesus himself said it is hard for a rich man to get into heaven (Matt. 19:23).
God knows us each intimately. He knows who will honour God with their money by blessing others with it. Jesus taught us that to give is better than to receive (Acts. 20:35). Money is for sharing, not hoarding. Jesus taught us to have compassion for the poor. Even Jesus did not have wealth. He taught that whatever we do to help the poor, we are doing for Him (Matt. 25:40).
God wants the blessing of money to be a source of gratitude in our hearts. When we have less money, we value and recognize God’s blessings more. It is when we are in need and that need is met, that we celebrate and give God thanks. A surplus of money means we are seldom in need, which for many results in no need for God and no gratitude to God.
Wealth needs to be viewed as a gift from God. The Bible says that whoever can be trusted with a little, can be trusted with a lot (Luke 16:10). So, if we are wise and generous with our money, God blesses us with more. God wants us to love to give. He does not honour a tight fist. In God’s eyes, money is to be used for blessing others and honouring Him.
|Posted on February 21, 2018 at 7:15 PM|
What does it mean to be a passionate follower of Jesus? What does it look like? How do we achieve it?
Passion is defined as “a strong and barely controllable emotion”. Passion is intense! There is no half-hearted, wish-y-wash-y-ness about it.
A passionate follower of Jesus is first of all, passionate about Jesus. So, he plans his life and each day around Jesus. For him, nothing on this earth is more important than Jesus and living for Him.
There are 3 key ingredients to being a passionate follower of Jesus and each involves personal action being taken…
1. Connect to God. This goes beyond the initial stage of becoming a Christian, accepting the plan of salvation and making the decision to be a follower. Unfortunately, too many Christians stay at this stage for their entire lives. They get saved and then carry on living pretty much the same way they always have, only now they go to church, read their Bibles and pray. But there is nothing passionate about it. There is no hunger for more. There is no desire for a deeper, more personal, more intimate relationship with God (Psalm 63:1). No desire to please God above all else. No desire to put God first (Matt. 6:33, John 3:30). There is no passion!
2. Grow in faith. The Bible says that without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6). Faith is similar to trust. When we first become Christians, we put our faith and trust in God to save us. Initially it is a baby faith. But God wants that faith to grow. The best way to stretch our faith is to have it tested. God knows this so He does just that. Difficult times enter our lives and how we respond to them is evidence of the strength of our faith in God (1 Pet.1:7). Nothing happens in our lives by accident. As children of God, each day of our lives is under His sovereign control. Passionate followers of Jesus welcome the trials of life that help our faith grow. Passionate followers of Jesus, fervently study and memorize the Word of God so that they will remain standing in faith through the trials that inevitably come.
3. Serve Others. Jesus himself came to earth to serve (Matt. 20:28). He served with humility and grace. We are called to follow His example (John 13:14-15). The Bible tells us to put what we learn from God into action (James 1:22), and that faith without service is worthless (James 2:14). Humbly serving others is evidence of our passion for God and obedience to God. It is our gift back to God for all He has done for us (Matt. 25:40). We are not saved by our good deeds and service. Only faith saves us. But after faith inevitably comes service if we are passionate followers of Jesus.
David was described by God as, “a man after God’s own heart”. He was completely devoted and full of faith. David was passionate!
Jesus said that there was no man greater than John the Baptist. Why? Because John the Baptist knew his purpose and fulfilled his purpose with passion!
What about you? Do you love God so much that you will do anything to know Him more, be like Him more and serve Him more? Ask God to stir up passion for Him and His ways!
|Posted on February 15, 2018 at 11:00 AM|
Agape is one of the many Greek words for love. Agape is love at its very best! It is not a family love, friendship love or romantic love. It is a self-sacrificing love that comes from God.
Rarely is a human capable of such a deep love. It is the love God has for each one of us. It is a love that sent Jesus, God’s Son, to the cross to die for our sins.
Do you know anyone who would be willing to die for a bad, evil person? Think of a horrible criminal and imagine someone willing to die for that person. Willing to die in the place of that criminal so that the corrupt, immoral individual could be set free.
While dying on the cross, Jesus said to the repentant criminal hanging next to Him, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” That is agape love! God offers that same love to each of us, no matter what our misdeeds or failings may be.
As believers, we are called to love everyone with an agape love (Rom. 5:5, John 4:8). Without the help of God’s Holy Spirit, we could not possibly achieve this. And even with the power of God within us, we often fail at agape love because of our humanness. But the Bible tells us that if we do not love, we do not know God (1 John 4:8). And Jesus said the two greatest commandments were to Love God and Love Each Other (Luke 10:27).
Agape love is a godly love. It is the love God has for us and the love we are to show to each other. Do you personally know and practice Agape?
|Posted on February 6, 2018 at 9:40 AM|
Christians around the world read the Bible. Why?
Because it is God's very words to us. In 2 Tim. 3:16 we read that the Bible is "God-breathed" which means the writers were inspired by God. It is a book filled with historical facts, scientific accuracy, fulfilled prophecy and infinite wisdom. Only God could write a book of that magnitude.
No other religious book or writing even mildly compares to the grandeur of the Bible's content. Many scholars who have attempted to discredit the Bible, have failed. The Bible itself says, "The Word of the Lord stands forever" (1Pet 1:25, Isaiah 40:8).
So, what does the Bible have to offer us Today?
It has the answers to the countless questions each one of us has about life... What is my purpose? What happens when I die? Why is there evil in the world? The Bible also provides us with wise advice for living... How to have a happy marriage, How to be a good parent, How to handle stress and How to be a better person.
Some choose to believe that the Bible is just a big book of rules but really it is a big book of wisdom. Even the "rules" for godly living are purely for our benefit. God knows we will be happier, healthier and more fulfilled if we follow His guidelines for living.
But we have to read the Scriptures to get the benefits. And if we study and even memorize verses of the Bible, the truths will than penetrate our soul and transform our mind. Then we will experience the joy and peace of living for Jesus. And we will find our eternal purpose and begin to understand just how big and amazing our loving God is.
Only good things come from studying the Bible! It is our source of wisdom, peace, joy and power.
If you are new to reading the Bible then let me suggest you start by reading the New Testament, the second half of the Bible, in the New International Version. If you do not have a Bible, it is available online or at a Christian Book Store. Contact us if you have any questions at email@example.com.