Archive for June, 2012

Wrong Assumptions

We’re starting the week at Lake George. It’s foggy this morning. There is no rain in the forecast, but the fog keeps it from drying out any worse, at least temporarily.

We have a new tool here at the lake. Some might call it an expensive toy… We have traded our older tractor for a new, smaller one with four-wheel drive. Just the thing to help get the work done easier and faster.

Our 2012 VBS is in the books. There weren’t a large number of kids, and the helpers outnumbered the students. This is not a negative thing, the helpers also need to hear the gospel again. There were 27 at the program Friday evening, including parents, grandparents and babies. Thanks to the Hickey family for their willingness to provide this outreach in our community!

I have not had an original idea for this week’s column, so I am going to share part of an article from the Our Daily Bread devotional. It relates to conversations of the past week. We all know people who have died suddenly. In many cases we don’t know the person’s spiritual condition. One thing that becomes very clear at a time like this is that we all need to be ready for the time when suddenly, or not so suddenly, each one of us passes from this life to the next. Now to the aforementioned article:

“Some people have an assurance of salvation based on faulty thinking. They believe that church attendance, baptism, or just being good will gain them approval from God. But our thinking is faulty if it isn’t based on what God says in His Word. God says that “all have sinned” and that we are His enemies. But through the death and resurrection of His Son, we can be made right with God (Rom. 3:23; 5:8-10). By faith in what Christ has done, we can have peace with God (5:1) and the assurance of eternal life in heaven.

Do you believe it? Your eternity is at stake. Don’t trust faulty thinking but put your faith in Christ.” (Anne Cetas in Our Daily Bread)

Finally, this thought. This is something that I feel is very important: If you know Jesus as your personal Savior, please tell your family, your pastor or a friend. It will be great comfort to those you leave behind, if they know for certain that heaven is your eternal destination.

Because I care,
Pastor Jerry

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Preparations

It’s Monday. I want Monday to be my day off. It usually ends up involving work in some form, but it’s a change. We’re at the lake until Tuesday afternoon.We’ll return to Ericson then, because Vacation Bible School begins Wednesday morning and will run nine to noon for three days.

The lake level is going down. Since the spring rains have stopped, the water isn’t running out, and the concrete boat ramp we poured several years ago has begun to reappear. We will take this opportunity to extend it further onshore.. While the water level was high, it was almost unusable because of the soft soil between the ramp and high ground. It may be awhile before the water level reaches those of the past few years, but when it does we’ll be prepared.

On the subject of making plans and preparing for the future, I believe many people today are making plans for their lives that end when this life is over. Most, I would venture to say, have very little regard for what happens at the end of their earthly life. I’d like to address this topic today, even though I may lose many of you at the end of this sentence. It is my responsibility, you know.

The Bible says our lives here are like a mist, or a vapor (James 4:14). I know that when we’re young, or maybe even not so young, we get so caught up in living in the present that we give little or no thought to any afterlife. In a daily devotional that comes to my desk each day, I read this from the late Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones, “If you go and talk to many people about religion, you will find that they will talk to you at great length without ever mentioning the Lord Jesus Christ.”

He goes on to record a conversation in which a person talks much about God’s love, their belief in God, and the fact that they have lived a good life. When asked how all that helps, the person responds with this: “Well, I believe that if I acknowledge my sin to God and then ask Him to forgive me, He does forgive me, and I am relying on that.”

Dr. Lloyd-Jone finishes with this comment: “They seem to think that they can go to God directly without the Lord Jesus at all.”

The reality is this; while living in this world and in the present, we need to consider what happens next. One day, we will all stand before the God of the universe, and when we are asked why he should admit us into heaven, the only right answer is, “I believe in the Lord Jesus and have placed my faith in Him for my salvation.”

I’ll close with a verse you have heard many times before. Jesus is speaking: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

We may be well prepared for our immediate future, but what really matters are our preparations for eternity future. Are you ready?

Just thinking,
Pastor Jerry

Possessions

Hello friends,
I’m looking for things to slow down a bit this week. We’ll see how that goes. We’ve begun moving the rest of the important things from the ranch to our place at Lake George. With Mom’s passing, the ranch will be sold, so we’re beginning the process. I suppose I should have feelings of sadness over the pending sale, after all the place has been in the family since 1910. I can truthfully say I’m not sad. As a couple, Milrae and I lived there 38 years, and raised our two boys there. It was a good life and ranching was good to us. We have to look at this, not as the end of something, but the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. We will move on from here.
Scripture has much to say about the temporary nature of life and possessions. Over the years, as I have read and studied the Bible, I have come to understand that our possessions are on loan from the Lord, and he has the authority to both give them and take them away.
In the Old Testament, a man named Job lost everything near and dear to him, yet he said, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised” (Job 1:21).
Jesus said, “a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15). The apostle Paul wrote, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation…I can do everything through him who give me strength” (Philippians 4:11-13).
The apostle James, speaking to those who made “big plans” for the future, said, “Why you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while then vanishes.”
To Timothy, Paul wrote, “For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that” (2 Timothy 6:6-7). Corrie Ten Boom, who survived the Holocaust said, “Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open.”
I think it helps to remember the words of the old song… “This world is not my home, I’m just a’ passing through.”

In His care,
Pastor Jerry

A Cautious Walk

Hello everyone,
We have had another busy week, with lots of miles and many blessings. There were some moments that were less than wonderful, but that is normal.
I had the privilege of conducting a wedding ceremony in the beautiful outdoors of Nebraska (and the wind was not blowing). Also, Sunday was the monthly worship at the historic Rose church.
I’m sure you remember me saying a couple of weeks ago that I had participated in a graveside service for my mom’s friend. A former pastor reminded me that this lady, after she officially “retired”, lived by herself on her family ranch on the north side of the Niobrara River, where there were a good number of rattlesnakes. Pastor Dan could not remember her name, but he remembered her “cautious walk.”
At that comment, I thought, “we could all benefit from a cautious walk.” A cautious walk would keep us from all kinds of danger, and help us avoid falling into sin when tempted to be careless in our daily walk. Although the word cautious isn’t used much in the bible, I believe we could substitute the word “careful”. I found a number of verses using the word careful. I’ll give just a few of those here.
“Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today” (Deuteronomy 8:1). “Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God…” (Deut. 8:11). “Be careful to love the Lord your God” (Joshua 23:11).
In other places we are reminded to be careful with our thoughts and with our words.
Some New Testament passages remind us to be careful to do what is right, and to be careful how we live.
Having a cautious, or careful walk will keep us from getting bitten by rattlesnakes, but will also keep us from being bitten by the devil, who in scripture, is called “that ancient serpent” (Revelation 12:9).
I pray our cautious walk will be something people will remember about each of us, as well.

Blessings,
Pastor Jerry