Archive for July, 2012

Appearances

July is almost history. I personally don’t care to see another one this dry or this hot. As of this writing, I believe the fires in the Niobrara river canyon are fully contained. That is a matter of praise, and many thanks go out to all the firefighters, volunteers of all kinds, and a multitude of prayer warriors. There was much loss of property, but only a few minor injuries among all those people. More praise for their safety through all of this.

Now for a devotional thought: A funny thing happened on the way home from church today. The pastor got an unexpected shower. I must explain, then I’ll get to the lesson.

As we left the church, “someone” decided we could save some steps later, if we would move and restart the lawn sprinklers. It went well as we moved the ones in the church yard. When we go to our own yard, someone was having trouble getting the spike on the bottom of the sprinkler to stick in the ground. I took responsibility, knelt down and stuck it into the ground and adjusted the spray arc. As I got up and started for the house, “someone” turned the water on full force, and without warning I was getting a direct hit in the back. The good thing is the water was warm from the sun shining on the hose. We had a good laugh, and I got cooled off as the water began to evaporate out of my shirt.

As I result of this, I spent some time this afternoon making sprinkler repairs. We have couple of impulse sprinklers (aka Rainbird wannabe’s) that have never worked right. It should be no big surprise that lawn sprinklers do not always perform as advertised. What product does live up to its billing these days?

Many Christians don’t always perform as advertised. Other folks expect certain things from those who call themselves followers of Jesus Christ, but too often we don’t live up to the name. I find myself in this group more times than I like to admit. The genuine Christian’s faith will show in his actions, in his words, and in his treatment of other people. The apostle James said, “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?” (James 2:14).

I was able to do some minor repair and make a couple of adjustments, resulting in more fully functional sprinklers. In the same way, when we don’t live up to our names as Christians, if we will put ourselves in God’s hands, he will lovingly make the necessary adjustments that will restore us to like-new condition.

In His hands,
Pastor Jerry

Advertisements

Refreshing News

Hello friends,
Another week begins hot and dry. A wildfire rages in an area of our state that we consider home. Although we do not have property in the immediate area, those folks are our neighbors. We continue to pray for God’s intervention in that situation.

Elsewhere, there was an attack on innocent movie-goers in Aurora, Colorado. I’m sure there are very few, if any, who have not heard of that evil act. Often, it seems chaos is all around us, and everything is out of control.

Sometimes our souls seem to reflect those same conditions. We may feel we are either in a period of extended drought, or in the middle of a chaotic situation that is out of control. When that happens, we are reminded that the Lord invites us to experience “springs of living water”, and the peace that passes all human understanding.

I’m not going to try to explain the “whys” of all the things we’ve experienced in recent days. There are a lot of other more qualified people doing that already. What I will do is direct you to some scriptures that have helped me in times past.

From the Psalms first of all: “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken” (Psalm 62:1-2). “This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.” (Psalm 34:6-7).

These are the words of Jesus as recorded in Matthew 11:30. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

From Philippians 4:6-7…”Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ.”

Finally, from Revelation 7:17 concerning those who come out of the great tribulation: “For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

In His tender care,
Pastor Jerry

Sonlight

We are still looking for that cooling trend in the weather. Also, abundant rainfall would be very much appreciated. It’s times like this that test our faith and our patience. However, as I am fond of saying; If I’d known there would be a test, I would have studied!

We were looking out one of our windows on a recent morning and noticed some streaks on the glass. If you have washed many windows, you know that streaks happen. I remarked, “wasn’t that window recently washed?”

Milrae’s response: “Yes, it was, and it looks pretty good until the sun shines on it.” (No, I’m not saying who washed it.)

It is true also, that most people live pretty good lives, and like that window, to others we may look pretty clean. The test comes for us when the Son shines on us.

We get in the habit of living what seems to be the good Christian life, and we even compare ourselves to others. We imagine that we may be a little bit nicer than someone else, or to be fair, I might find at least one person who is more “righteous” than I. But guess what? The one to whom we must compare ourselves is the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Scripture tells us He is the “light of the world.”

Further, we are told: “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God” (John 3:19-21).

There is only one to whom we may compare ourselves. When held in His light, every character flaw, every sin and wrong deed is revealed for all to see.

When we are exposed to the light of the Son, what do people see? More importantly, what does God see?

Just thinking,
Pastor Jerry

A Lesson From the Hayfield

Does anyone remember the song “Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer”? It made it to #6 on the Billboard chart in 1963. If there ever were days like those, I think they are behind us. This year, it is more like “the crazy, busy, endless days of summer. I know it doesn’t rhyme well, but it’s the best I can do.

After another hot week, there is a hint of cooler weather for a few days, but no mention of any rain. Prayers for relief from the heat, and for rain are very much in order.

We celebrated the Fourth of July in Ericson, watching the parade and spending the rest of the day with two of our long-time friends from “home”. As I get older, air conditioning appeals more to me than sitting outdoors on a hot summer day.

Since it is haying season in our part of the world, I’d like to share an observation from the hayfield that I made a few years back. When mowing the hay, the person operating the mowing machine tries to mow cleanly. He or she wants to do a neat, clean job so that when the neighbors drive by they will see only a cleanly mowed field, not patches of standing grass. When the job is done, it may appear that all the grass was cut off evenly, but when the rake comes along the next day, what has been hidden will be revealed. Every mistake the mower made will be exposed for all to see.

There are millions of people who are trying to live clean lives, to do good and not make mistakes. They believe that if they do all these things well, God will surely let them into heaven. The problem with this thinking is that at the judgment day, all the exterior things will be taken away, and all the sins and mistakes will be revealed. It will be plainly seen that no one is that good.

Entrance to heaven is based solely on a right relationship with God the Father, and the only way to that kind of relationship is by placing our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:11-12a reads, “No one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the day will bring it to light.”

It is of utmost importance that we build on the foundation of Jesus Christ, anything less will not stand the test at the judgment.

Just thinking,
Pastor Jerry

True Freedom

Summer is totally here! Hot seems to be the weather word these days. Some real rain would be much appreciated, and the answer to many prayers. We spent a couple of days at our Rock County place early in the week. It was almost too hot to go outside and play with the new tractor. Maybe I should have spent the extra bucks for one with a cab and AC?

We will celebrate the birthday of our country on Wednesday. The emphasis will probably be on liberty and freedom. Those two words identify part of what makes America great. Almost daily, we are reminded how easily these can be lost, if we don’t remain vigilant. In fact, in light of recent news stories, we may have just lost some of our liberty and freedom.

The Bible speaks of freedom and liberty. To be liberated, according to the dictionary is to be “set free, as from oppression, confinement, or foreign control.”

Freedom goes hand-in-hand with liberty. Here are two definitions of freedom: 1. “The ability to exercise choice; free will.” 2. “The right of enjoying all the privileges of membership or citizenship.”

Jesus said, “The truth will set you free” (John 8:32). The truth he speaks of here is the truth of the gospel. The good news that Jesus Christ came to die in our place and set us free, or liberate us, from the bondage of sin.

We who have placed our faith in Jesus Christ’s finished work on the cross, then, are not enslaved to sin and guilt, but are free to live as citizens of heaven, and followers of Christ. And, as one Bible teacher has said, we are free to do as we please, as long as we do it within the framework of God’s will.

So, as you celebrate America this week, remember that as Christians, we have liberty and freedom in Christ, and these are promises of God. He is not a politician and He does not fail to keep his promises.

Celebrating!
Pastor Jerry