The Pondering Pastor

These "Ponderings" originally appeared as articles in our church newsletter or bulletin or just as the musings of one bald pastor. I place them here to encourage you, my fellow blogite and maybe to help us all in our pondering.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

All or Nothing

OVER HEARD AT STARBUCKS, “Oh, you’re studying the Book of Hebrews? That’s one of the best; it’s one of my favorite.” Now, truth be known, I have also said that about certain passages or books from the Bible, but can we really say that one part is better than another? If it’s all God’s Word, then there are no better parts than others.

I realize that there are portions of God’s Word that grab more powerfully at our hearts, or challenge us more deeply in our journey of faith, but if it is all God’s Truth, then it all must have importance, and life for us. The Apostle Paul writes that, “all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17) All of it.

You might be thinking, “Come on Pastor Randy, you’re just making a mountain out of a mole hill, what’s wrong with having a favorite verse?” Nothing is wrong with having a favorite verse; I have a few my self. The problem comes subtly. For when we begin to raise some portions over others we run the risk of lessening the importance of others. We can actually begin to pick and choose what we desire to listen to, and that to which we will turn a deaf ear. This reality can be so clearly seen when the preacher announces his new sermon series from the book of Numbers or Leviticus!

So, go ahead and hold dearly to your favorite verse or favorite book of the Bible, but let’s not forget that God, in His Word, has set a bountiful table before us to enjoy. All of it good for our nourishment. Give it a try.

Care for a Brussels sprout?

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Eyes Have It

EXCEPT FOR THE FACT I CAN’T SEE WORTH BEANS, my eyes are in perfect shape. So says my optometrist. He said he could place pictures of my eyes in a text book with the declaration that these are “normal eyes.” Speaking of eye pictures, he actually took pictures of the inside of my eyes. Pretty cool technology.
While the doctor was explaining to me the various aspects of the inside of my eyes he noted that the eyes are the only place we can look at what is happening the arteries without cutting a person open. He said that we can often see indicators of what is happening in other parts of the body, things like hypertension that might not be readily observable from the outside. Thus, the saying, “The eyes are windows of the soul,” may be more true than we know.
The words of Jesus, recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, state, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:22-23) Here too, we see that the eyes can be indicators of the internal state of the soul. The picture is this; if we are filling our eyes with holy things then our souls shall be filled with holiness, but, if we fix our gaze on that which is unholy, well you get the picture.
It all comes down to a matter of focus. That which fills up our line of sight, fills our heart as well. That which we gaze at intently will determine our direction. To rephrase a Biblical directive, where our focus is, so is our heart.
So, upon what are we focusing? The things of our kingdoms or His? The realities of a new heaven and a new earth or the things of this one? The trials and temptations of this life or the joy and peace that is ours in the life we possess in Jesus Christ. I suppose we could ask are we looking with our eyes or His?
I wonder what would be seen in my eyes if that new-fangled machine could make note of not only the physical aspects of my eyes, but the spiritual? Hopefully the doctor would have discovered a spiritually healthy body as well.
Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, and you’ll always have something to look forward to.

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