Archive for February, 2012

Leaving the Past Behind

Hello everyone,
When I first started this project, I was trying to get it out on Wednesday, but over time it has moved to Monday. I now have to make sure it is out before Monday noon in order to meet the newspaper column deadline. I wonder, does this mean procrastination must end at some point?
It was a good week. The weather was fair, our extra piano found a new home, Alex and I went to a Pheasants Forever banquet, and Sunday worship was very well attended.
Sometimes I notice things that get in my thoughts and won’t go away. When that happens, I feel the Lord may be prompting me to address the issue. One that has been bugging me this week is people who seem to continually live in the past. Sometimes it is yearning for the “good old days.” Others don’t seem to be able to get past a family tragedy, or some other kind of personal issue. We do mourn, and grief is a natural part of who we are, but I believe at some point a person must move on.
Living in the past–what does the Bible say? The apostle Paul said this: “This one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the prize…” (Philippians 3:13). I don’t believe Paul is saying we shouldn’t remember the past, but that we don’t live there, and we don’t let the past keep us from going forward with our lives. God has called us to a future.
In Jeremiah 29:11 God’s message to his people is this: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” This does not mean we will be spared pain, suffering or hardship, but that God will see us through to a glorious conclusion.
Finally, for the Christian who is experiencing grief, Paul indicates that we do not grieve as those who do not know Jesus Christ. He says, “Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep (die), or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). The rest of that passage (verses 14-17) offers words of great encouragement for those who know and love the Lord.
The past is behind us, and even with trials and struggles yet to come, we have a glorious hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. Let these words encourage you today.

In His Love,
Pastor Jerry

Life Saver

I started this earlier in the week, but in fact, it is Monday morning as I finish writing this. Since last we talked, our hay from last summer has been sold and shipped. We thank the Lord for this answer to prayer.
Alex spent the weekend with his dad, and Milrae and I spent part of Saturday in Grand Island doing some shopping. Sunday evening I attended the Rose Church annual pancake supper, while Milrae went to Neligh to bring Alex home.
We are getting some rain this morning. It may turn to snow later, but I would be happy if it stays in liquid form.
At our Friday Bible study, one of the ladies was sharing her Lifesaver candies with everyone, and as she gave me one, I thought, “Isn’t it good to know the true Life Saver?”
What a blessing it is, to know the One who came to save the world from the bondage of sin and hopelessness. In him there is not only freedom from sin and guilt today, but a life of eternal joy and blessing after our time one earth has ended.
I just want to share some scripture this week. I pray one or more of these will bless you in some way, or maybe even cause you to consider whether or not you have received his gift of salvation.
Matt 1:21-The angel speaking to Joseph, the husband of Mary: “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
Hear Jesus’ own words in Luke 19: “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”
Then there are these: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Acts 2:21). “…There is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).
Finally, “He saved us, not by righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy” (Titus 3:5).
Do you know my Jesus? Can you say he is your true Life Saver?

Simply His,
Pastor Jerry

First or Last?

Hello everyone,
It’s been another reasonably mild week in the weather department. There were a couple of chilly days, but we’ve seen worse. Still, it’s not too bad for this time of the year. We’re all back to better health, after fighting colds for a couple of weeks.
I visited with my Mom this week. It had been a while since I had been there, because of those cold symptoms. Mom is doing pretty well, it seems. Her wit and humor are still intact, and is able to walk with some assistance.
By the time you read this, our church will have had its 6th annual Valentine’s banquet. Everyone had a good time, the food was excellent as usual, and the entertainment was special.
As I watched the people lined up to fill their plates at the banquet, I saw that all the people in line didn’t get their food at the same moment. Some are first, some are last, but all are fed. This brings to mind a story from the Bible.
In Matthew 20, Jesus tell a story about a man hiring workers for his vineyard. Some worked all day, some for half the day, and some for just an hour. At the end of the day, they were all paid the same amount. In simple terms, this is a picture of God’s grace, and his sovereignty. The vineyard represents the kingdom of heaven the landowner is God, the workers are believers, and their pay is eternal life.
God’s plan for salvation is that every person who believes in his Son receives the gift of salvation. There are no exceptions, and it matters not whether the person came to faith early in life, or on his deathbed. Everyone who comes on God’s terms receives the same eternal blessings (Matthew 20:1-16).
So, the next time you are standing in line at a banquet, I hope you will remember this illustration, and that it will make you think about your relationship with the heavenly Father.
It’s not about your position in line, what matters is that you have responded to his offer of salvation and its eternal reward.

Just thinking,
Pastor Jerry

Stand Up, Speak Up

Hi from our house,
Snow fell this week. We were in need of moisture, so it was a blessing in that respect. The snow was preceded by some rain, also. The good news here is we only got about 4 or 5 inches of the white stuff.
It was a rather uneventful week. I did make a trip north and bring back a few bales of hay that I had sold. We had planned on going to the other house and work on a project there, but decided to put it off for awhile.
We watched the Super Bowl game Sunday night, but weren’t really in to it, as none of our favorites made it that far. I don’t do the half-time show, and the commercials don’t seem to be as entertaining as they once were. I wonder if I’m becoming somewhat disinterested in the whole thing?
As I observe the actions of people who claim the name of Jesus, that is, those who call themselves Christians, I recall a devotional thought I had a few years ago. It came from being around livestock, and relates to the behavior of young bulls that I brought home from the sale. Before I would put them in with the older bulls, the new arrivals spent a little time in a separate pen, while they got accustomed to their new surroundings.
The newcomers would stand at the fence, bellowing and pawing dirt, trying to put on a show of strength and voicing their opinions. As soon as I would open the gate and let them in with the older bulls, they suddenly became quiet and tried to blend in with the others. When released into the larger pen, the young bulls seemed less inclined to make a show of their strength, and made every effort to be unnoticed.
I see this kind of behavior in Christians from time to time. Inside the friendly walls of our churches and Bible study groups, we voice our opinions and boast of our strength in the Lord, but when we get out into the real world, those things take a back seat to public opinion. We just try to blend in and keep quiet. The Lord had some things to say about this.
“I tell you whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God” (Luke 12:8-9). Also, “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven” (Matthew 10:32-33).
Fellow believers, let us not just acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord in our safe Christian circles, but out in the world as well. We are to be in the world, but not of the world. We are called to be separate from the world, not to blend with it. Our message is even more important outside the walls of the church. It is a message for the salvation of the world!

Stand up, Stand up for Jesus,
Pastor Jerry