FROM THE PASTOR’S DESK
May 6, 2020 – Update On Worship Services
God bless you, Mount Pisgah Church family. I thank God that He allows me to serve as your pastor. I want to thank you for the wonderful support that you continue to give to the church through your prayers, your tuning in to our services on Facebook Live and your financial support.
 
On May 5, 2020, Governor Roy Cooper signed an executive order that allows for more businesses to open as well as lifting the strict stay-at-home order in our state that is effective on May 8, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. It includes a section that removes gathering for worship from the definition of a Mass Gathering.  What that means is we can worship using social distancing guidelines along with the other safety measures like wearing face masks, using disinfectants, hand sanitizer and washing our hands a lot. Even though worship is allowed, we still have covid-19 as an issue, and we do not want to have worship service until we believe we are prepared as a church to hold services safely. In addition, many of our members fall into the high-risk groups that are encouraged to continue to stay at home.
 
As soon as we feel good about having worship service again, we will, but our top priority continues to be the welfare of our church family. We will keep you informed as we move forward.
 
The Lord bless you and keep you in His care.
 
Pastor Hinton
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April 30, 2020 – A Place of Peace
Isaiah 26:3-4 provide powerful insight into a place that allows us to enjoy the blessings of God’s wonderful provision of peace in our lives.  The King James Version reads in this manner, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.”  These verses are a part of a song that the people of Judah are encouraged to sing.  It states in very clear terms that we can have peace despite the circumstances that we face.  
 
The point that jumps out at us is the fact that God is the One that handles the details that allow us to enjoy the calmness and tranquility that we so often covet.  Peace is guaranteed to anyone who chooses to make God the focus of their thought processes.  So many thoughts bombard our minds that can take our thinking in so many directions, some of which can steal the peace that we desire.  The key is choosing to concentrate on God and His provision for us.  As we think on the Lord, the trust that allows us to have peace continues to grow as we acknowledge how great God is and His ability to handle any situation that we face.  
 
The refrain continues in verse 4 with the encouragement to continue to trust in the Lord with a great reason for trusting.  The song encourages intentionality on our part in choosing to constantly trust God. Trusting God includes remembering who God is in His fullness.  The Lord Jehovah is an eternal source of power in our lives and He is able to deal with the issues that are designed to disrupt our thought processes and create uneasiness.  
 
It is clear from this song that there is a place of peace that is available to us.  Jesus said in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  Despite the turmoil that  swirls around us, we have the assurance that there is a place of peace.
 
The Lord bless you and keep you in His care.
 
Pastor Hinton
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April 27,2020 – The Call To Bless The Lord, Part 4
As God’s children, we are blessed incredibly by His merciful approach towards us.  It is a theme that David highlighted as he continued listing some of the many reasons to bless the Lord in Psalm 103.
 
Verse 9 reads, “He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.”  The New Living Translation says it this way, “He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever.”  Given all of our shortcomings, God has plenty of reasons to bring charges against us, but He doesn’t.  He continues to operate in love towards us.
 
He continues beginning at verse 10, “He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.”  David gives us a beautiful picture of God’s mercy being expressed towards us.  God continues to show restraint in dealing with us, choosing to mete out considerably less than what we deserve.  His mercy is immeasurable as He continues to extend it to us.  God chooses to blot out our sins in response to us choosing to repent of our sins.  God’s paternal instinct drives His interaction with us and limits the harshness of His response to our failures.  
 
As I share with your, my heart is overwhelmed with the magnitude of God goodness.  It compels me to bless Him.  As we go through our day, let us reflect upon the reasons David included in Psalm 103 for blessing the Lord.
 
The Lord bless you and keep you in His care.
 
Pastor Hinton
 
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April 14, 2020 – The Call To Bless The Lord, Part 3
In a lengthy list of reasons to bless the Lord, David shares additional insight on why we should give glory and honor to our God in Psalm 103.
 
In verse 6, David says, “The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.”  It is wonderful to know that the God who knows everything is the One who takes it upon Himself to look out for those who cannot always look out for themselves.  We live in a time when bullying has gotten a lot of attention, but bullying has been around for a long time and it is directed at those who are at a disadvantage in defending themselves. It is a comfort to know that even though there are times when it appears that the bully is winning, the Lord will ensure that in the end righteousness and judgment is executed as it should be.
 
The reasons to bless God continue to grow.  Verse 7 says, “He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.”  Moses was blessed with a very unique position in his relationship with God.  As a result, he experienced things that others did not.  God gave him an intimate look at why He does what He does and allowed Moses to be more effective in leading God’s people.  David makes the distinction between Moses knowing the ways of God, while the children of Israel saw God’s acts.  They saw the manifestation of God’s power, but did not have the insight of the reason behind the actions.
 
David states in verse 8, “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.”  God is holy, righteous, pure and perfect, but He still extends mercy and grace to His creation.  He is longsuffering, providing us the opportunity to get things right with Him and He is overflowing with mercy, not giving us what we deserve.
 
It is crystal clear that we have so many reasons to bless the Lord.  As you read this post, I trust that you will take the time to give God the honor and glory that He deserves because of the great things He has done for you.
 
The Lord bless you and keep you in His care.
 
Pastor Hinton
 
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April 9, 2020 – The Call to Bless The Lord, Part 2
In my last post, I began looking at Psalm 103 and the call by the David to bless the Lord.  It was very compelling as he commanded his soul to give God the honor that He is due.  In this post, I raise the considerations for why blessing the Lord is appropriate.
 
David indicates that the benefits that come from God include several things as outlined beginning with verse 3, “Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases.”  To know that God chooses to forgive us for the sins that we have committed should compel us to bless Him.  We realize that sin separates us from God, but because of His great mercy, He chooses to forgive us simply because we ask Him.  In addition, God is the One who is Jehovah-rapha, the God who heals.  Despite the recent pandemic, God is still the One who heals body, soul and spirit.
 
David continues in verse 4, “Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies.”  If we only had an idea of the countless situations that God delivered us from, especially when they were deadly, we would be compelled to bless God.  It extends to the fact that God chooses to shower us with His matchless grace and mercy.  Most of us would agree that we are blessed because of serving a loving and merciful God.
 
The considerations continue in verse 5, “Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”  The Lord has a way of giving us what we don’t deserve and providing us with blessings that are beyond our ability to express.  He blesses us with His refreshing presence that allows us to continue to press forward for the cause of Christ.  Just thinking about these considerations about what the Lord has done is more than enough to stir us to bless His wonderful name.
 
The Lord bless you and keep you in His care.
 
Pastor Hinton
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April 7, 2020 – The Call To Bless The Lord
When difficult issues flood our lives, it is challenging to maintain our perspective about life as a whole.  The immediate situation consumes our being to the point that we are paralyzed in our thinking.  We are in one of those times now as we do our best to navigate the storm that we know as covid-19.  It is crucial for us to allow the Word of God to help us.  
 
In Psalm 103, the writer helps us with keeping the proper perspective about God.  We don’t have a preface to the psalm to give us insight into what motivated him to write, but we do have a sense of the importance to bless the Lord to the psalmist.  He begins with a command to his soul bless the Lord.  “Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.”  Our soul represents the eternal component of who we are.  Even when our earthly tents are dissolved, our souls will continue to exist. The psalmist speaks to himself and not only directs his soul to bless the Lord, he also indicates that his whole being should be engaged as well.  If we are not careful, we can allow our honor to God to be our mouths only.  Jesus had a problem with that approach as evidenced by Him rebuked those who honored Him with their lips, but their hearts were far from Him.  The way around that is an “all-in” praise. 
 
The psalmist continues his refrain in verse 2.  He says, “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.”  There are times when we must be insistent about some things and in this case it is blessing the Lord.  The psalmist realized that it was too important not to be appreciative of what the Lord has done for us.  During the coronavirus pandemic, we are finding that there are so many things that we took for granted that are very precious to us.  Things like greeting family and friends with a hug or a handshake are now off limits.  Being able to come to the house of worship and sing, pray and worship together was often dismissed, but there are millions of Christians across this country and around the world who look forward to being able to come together with our brothers and sisters.  We should never be guilty of having amnesia when it comes to the blessings of the Lord. 
 
On tomorrow, we will consider some of the benefits that we receive from the Lord. 
 
The Lord bless you and keep you in His care.
 
Pastor Hinton 
 
 
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April 4, 2020 – In The Morning
One of the things that I treasure is going to the beach, getting up early and watching the sun rise.  Just before the day dawns the sky is dark, often filled with clouds, but as dawn prepares for its appearance, there is a burst of colors in the clouds as the sun begins to peek over the horizon.  The majesty of seeing the sun at a distance with the waves breaking in the foreground is breathtaking.  The sun continues its ascension and all of the darkness disappears.
 
With the dark clouds of the covid-19 pandemic covering our skies, we need to be reminded that in the morning, the sun will rise again.  It is reminiscent of the familiar words penned by David in Psalm 30:5, “For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”  Admittedly, we are in a night season and it is closer to midnight than to dawn.  There will be more difficult nights ahead when we long for the morning.  We cannot lose sight on the fact that God, in His infinite wisdom, will bring this pandemic to a close.  In His favor is life.  Many of us have already shed tears as we received heartbreaking news about family and friends affected by this dreaded virus.  But the tears will end, the pain will lessen, and the weariness will pass in the morning.  
 
Be encouraged in this night season.  Joy cometh in the morning.
 
The Lord bless you and keep you in His care.
 
Pastor Hinton
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April 2, 2020 – “A New Normal”
Earlier today a received a text from Minister Barbara Holt-Bryant who is a former member of our church family.  She expressed her thoughts about the impact of the coronavirus when there is a return to life being as it was before the pandemic.  It is wonderful food for thought and I share it below.
 
For weeks I have heard people saying “ I just can’t wait for things to be back to normal.” I remember even saying that a few times myself. But as I’ve thought about our current situation I have realized how much I don’t want things to go back to the way they were. Here are a few of my thoughts…
1. I pray that the next time a friend grabs me and pulls me in for a hug, I actually take the time to appreciate the gift of their embrace.
2. I pray that when school resumes and I’m dropping my kids off, I take the time to thank the staff for the amazing gift that they give to our family.
3. I pray that the next time I’m sitting in a crowded restaurant I take the time to look around at the smiling faces, loud voices and thank God for the gift of community.
4. I pray that the next time I’m standing in church listening to the voices of praise and taking communion that I take a moment to thank God for the gift of congregation.
5. I pray that the next time I see a person or situation that needs prayer, I hope I pray as passionately and fervently as I have these past few weeks.
6. I pray that when I am at the grocery store that I take a moment to thank God that He provides us with the necessities of life and the amazing people who work so hard to keep us supplied.
7. I pray that I never again take for granted the ability to hop in the car and visit a friend, go to the mall, take my kids to a movie, etc.
So, truth is, I don’t want things to return to the way they once were. I pray that we take the lessons and challenges of the past few weeks and create a new normal. My goal is to pray more, love harder, and truly appreciate the daily abundance of blessings that were so easily overlooked just a mere few weeks ago.
 
Great advice for all of us.  There is a wonderful opportunity before us to turn the lemons of this experience into lemonade.  
 
The Lord bless you and keep you in His care.
 
Pastor Hinton
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April 1, 2020 – A Message To Our Youth: YOU CAN DO IT!!
Hey Young People!!  I trust that you and your family are doing well as you get used to going to school at home.  I am sure that it has been different, not being able to be with your classmates, spending time playing games and receiving help from your teachers as you normally would.  If may be hard right now, but I have faith in each of you and how God blessed you to be able to learn.
 
A man named Paul lived almost two thousand years ago and he found himself in a place that was not easy.  He was a Christian and sometimes he got in trouble because of it, not that he was doing anything wrong, but that others didn’t like him living for the Lord.  He found himself in prison, but instead of feeling sorry for himself, he chose to encourage other Christians.  In a letter to Christians that lived in a city called Philippi, Paul let them know that he had gotten to a place that he was able to deal with whatever he faced.  Sometimes things went great and at other times it was tough, but he was able to get along just fine.  Paul let them know that he learned that he could do all things through Christ who strengthened him.
 
I am convinced that each of you can do a great job doing your school work from home.  You might have to find a quiet place that allows you to concentrate on your work and complete your assignments. The place that you do your work is not the classroom, but it is the same work.   You might need to spend more time working on your assignments and you may see the need to check with your teacher for some help.  I believe in you and encourage you to have a positive attitude about being able to do well.  You can do it!!!
 
May the Lord bless you and keep you in His care.
 
Pastor Hinton
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March 31, 2020 – I am excited about the opportunity to share with the church family in a new forum on the church website.  It allows me share on a regular basis which is important in this season.  Special thanks to Sister Raquel McNeill and Sister Cynthia Harris for their efforts in making this possible.  Below is the first in a series of reflections from the Pastor’s desk.
 
Quiet Time
One of the things that I look forward to is prayer walking.  I leave our house, walk for an hour or so and pray as I walk.  It gets my day off to a wonderful start as I have the opportunity to commune with God.  I am not consumed with the busyness of my day and my sensitivity to the Holy Spirit is much greater.  A couple of days ago, the Spirit impressed upon me the need to just walk and be quiet, thereby giving God my undivided attention after my petition.  I was richly blessed by God’s willingness to speak to my heart about a number of things. I share this with our church family as a way of encouraging all of us to be intentional about having quiet time before the Lord.  He looks forward to hearing from us as we pray, but He also looks forward to us hearing from Him.
 
It is reminiscent of when the Prophet Elijah in 1 Kings 19 heard God speak to him.  He was running for his life after being threatened by Jezebel, the wife of King Ahab.  He went into a cave and while there he was able to hear the still small voice that God used to speak to him.  We are in a critical time with the coronavirus pandemic on the rampage. Even though it may get us out of our comfort zone, we must not be afraid to wait quietly for the Holy Spirit to speak.  Just as God gave encouragement and instruction to Elijah, if we choose to spend quiet time with God, we would be amazed at what He is willing to share.  
 
The Lord bless you and keep you in His care.
 
Pastor Hinton