Thursday’s Blog

Welcome to the POG Blog!

Today YOU get to start the discussion on today’s scripture!  What is it saying to you today?  How does it relate to your life right now?  How does it relate to the message from Sunday?  Enjoy reading, meditating, and sharing your thoughts with others today!

Hebrews 13:1-3 New International Version (NIV)

Concluding Exhortations

13 Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.

Tuesday’s Blog

Welcome to the POG Blog!

Today YOU get to start the discussion on today’s scripture!  What is it saying to you today?  How does it relate to your life right now?  How does it relate to the message from Sunday?  Enjoy reading, meditating, and sharing your thoughts with others today!

James 2:1-10 New International Version (NIV)

Favoritism Forbidden

My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.

06.26.2017 “The Sheep and Goats”

Father God, please grab our hearts and minds today as we contemplate these words from You.  Block out the distractions of the day, and help us center on the message You are giving us through these verses.  Help us to really LISTEN!  Amen!

 

Matthew 25:31-46

The Message (MSG)

The Sheep and the Goats

31-33 “When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left.

34-36 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:

 I was hungry and you fed me,

I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,

I was homeless and you gave me a room,

I was shivering and you gave me clothes,

I was sick and you stopped to visit,

I was in prison and you came to me.’

37-40 “Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’

41-43 “Then he will turn to the ‘goats,’ the ones on his left, and say, ‘Get out, worthless goats! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because—

I was hungry and you gave me no meal,

I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,

I was homeless and you gave me no bed,

I was shivering and you gave me no clothes,

Sick and in prison, and you never visited.’

44 “Then those ‘goats’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn’t help?’

45 “He will answer them, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.’

46 “Then those ‘goats’ will be herded to their eternal doom, but the ‘sheep’ to their eternal reward.”

When I’ve read these verses in the past, I have to confess I would focus on the difference between sheep and goats, and which one God would think I am…  While I do believe we are the products of our upbringing, I also believe that as adults, we are given free will by our heavenly Father.  He waits patiently beside us, always a Gentleman, waiting for us to seek a relationship with Him, to communicate with Him through prayer and study of His Word.  He does not force Himself on us.  We can live our lives making decisions with or without Him.  Are we listening and obedient to His laws?  The consequences of decisions when we do or do not consult Him can be so very different!  I love what the commentary in my Bible (Life Application Bible, NIV) says about these verses:

25:31-46 God will separate his obedient followers from pretenders and unbelievers.  The real evidence of our belief is the way we act.  To treat all persons we encounter as if they are Jesus is not easy task.  What we do for others demonstrates what we really think about Jesus’ words to us – feed the hungry, give the homeless a place to stay, look after the sick.  How well do your actions separate you from pretenders and unbelievers?

25:34-40 We have no excuse to neglect those who have deep needs, and we cannot hand over this responsibility to the church or government.  Jesus demands our personal involvement in caring for other’s needs (Isaiah 58:7  What I’m interested in seeing you do is:  sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families. The Message)

How we decide to “act” throughout our lives will not determine our place in heaven – we are guaranteed that destination only by grace through our faith in Jesus Christ.  Having received this awesome gift, as undeserving as we are, we must love every person and serve them as if they were Jesus himself!

Father God, words cannot express the gratitude I have for the sacrifice and resurrection of Your Son for me.  Send Your Holy Spirit into my life to turn my thoughts towards the people surrounding me and their needs.  Rid my heart of selfishness, so that others will see Jesus in me.  Amen.

Saturday’s Blog

Welcome to the POG Blog!

Today is Saturday which means YOU get to start the discussion on today’s scripture!  What is it saying to you today?  How does it relate to your life right now?  How does it relate to the message from Sunday?  Enjoy reading, meditating, and sharing your thoughts with others today!

Proverbs 13:1 New International Version (NIV)

13 A wise son heeds his father’s instruction,
but a mocker does not respond to rebukes.

06.23.2017 “The Faith of a Child!”

Ephesians 6:1-4

Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.”

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.

 

I am enjoying this series highlighting children this week and tangible grace. Mark made an excellent point Sunday contrasting the popular interpretation of the passage warning us that unless we become as children we will miss the Kingdom.  While it appears this leans toward the tenderness and kindness of a child as the desirable attributes CHRIST is referencing, Mark pointed out it is more about humility.  Apparently back in those days children where not thought of very highly in the social pecking order.  Today’s passage highlights the importance of the complete family structure and the significance of each role, even the child.  The importance of the relationship between parents and children is so great GOD attached a promise to it.

 

As for me, I have always thought JESUS was talking about the heart of a child with their incredibly pure and innocent ability to love and believe almost unconditionally.  I recall being home a number of years ago with my youngest daughter (she was maybe 7 years old) who had the flu and had managed to infect dear old dad.  There we were, sitting on the couch in our pajamas, a large box of lotion enhanced Kleenex within arm’s reach, sufficiently medicated, watching daytime TV.  That we were both home during the day on a weekday was of course, rare.  At the time, one of the most popular daytime shows was something called the Home Show.  Without going into great detail, it had a variety/talk format with sort of a Home Depot theme.  I remember dozing in and out of the show but about halfway through my daughter woke me up with the exciting news that the show was having a contest.  To enter all you had to do was send in a video and you would be whisked off to Hollywood, be a guest on the show, and have your video shown on national television.

 

Needless to say, I tried to curb her enthusiasm.  But she was relentless so I finally gave in and supported her as much as I could.  The day we mailed that video off there was more electricity in the air than even on Christmas.  There was no way I could tell her that the real odds of her winning were at best dismal.  It would not have mattered anyway because she just believed she would win and could not be convinced otherwise.

 

That absolute, genuine, blind faith, trust, and belief is what I’ve always gotten from CHRIST’s references to children.  No one trusts like a child.  No one believes like a child.  No one loves like a child.  It is the brokenness of this world and disappointments that ultimately harden us and create doubt.  But the power in these passages and this series is in the pure uncontaminated heart and spirit of a child.  CHRIST knew that such faith makes all things possible, even a 7-year old’s Hollywood dreams.

 

Gracious heavenly FATHER, we give thanks and praise to YOU this wonderful day for all the wonders of this life and the assurance that all is completely under YOUR divine control.  When we feel the clouds of anxiousness and doubt today give us the heart and spirit of a child that we may have courage, faith, and peace.  In JESUS name, we pray! Amen

Thursday’s Blog

Welcome to the POG Blog!

Today YOU get to start the discussion on today’s scripture!  What is it saying to you today?  How does it relate to your life right now?  How does it relate to the message from Sunday?  Enjoy reading, meditating, and sharing your thoughts with others today!

Hebrews 12:7-9 New International Version (NIV)

7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live!

06.21.2017 “CRAVINGS-WORLDLY OR HEAVENLY-I GET TO CHOOSE!”

 

 

Matthew 5:1-3 New International Version (NIV)

Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.

The Beatitudes

He said:

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

Cindy and I have been blessed with “worldly riches”.  We have a nice house to live in, 2 nice cars to drive, 3 wonderful “successful” children, 3 beautiful grandchildren and 1 more on the way.  Yes we are truly blessed!  What else could we need?

That’s what Jesus is referring to.  My human pride gets in the way.  I am so conceited and content and think I have everything that I need.  I just think that I am satisfied.  I think that I am in control (I unfortunately think that a lot!) and independent.

But as “Pastor Mark” (as I affectionately like to call him) said Sunday “this has nothing to do with material wealth.”  Jesus is talking about my spiritual need.  He does not want me to be just satisfied with things of this world.  He wants me to yearn for more, to seek Him more, to depend on Him more, to (again as “Pastor Mark” said) “thirst for God”.

It is easy to be content with what I have.  But we as humans also many times yearn for more-more money, bigger house, to have what someone else has…  Jesus wants us to want more also!  But not to want for material things of this world.  He wants us to cry out to Him, for a relationship that only God can provide.  Just as poor seek to be rich, He wants us to seek Him with all of our love and compassion.  He wants us to need Him, be totally dependent on Him and completely rely on Him.  Be like children to the Father!

And what does God offer to me if I relinquish control and become totally dependent on Him? THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN!  Wow, that’s incentive!

Father God, please forgive me for trying/thinking I’m in control!  Please help me to be more dependent on you.  Please help me to not be satisfied with things of this world and to yearn for all of the riches that You offer in the “kingdom of heaven”.  Please remove my human pride and make me more humble.  I need you.  Please show me how to be a better disciple and a better follower.  Please use me to help others in need and to bring Your Word to all that I come in contact with today and every day.  Amen

jerry