Archive for November, 2012

The Problem of Profanity

It’s a winter wonderland out there this morning. There is snow! Not a lot of snow, but enough to make the ground white, and not enough to warrant shoveling.

This is the week I finally get to have my knee surgery. I didn’t ever think I’d look forward to any kind of surgery, but this pain in my knee is getting very annoying. I suppose there is a lesson here for me, I just need to “get it”.

I have been bothered by something recently, so I thought maybe the Lord would want you to be bothered by it as well. It has to do with a trend in our culture that cannot be pleasing to him. It affects women as well as men. I’ll call it the problem of profanity.

More and more, I see and hear our conversations filled with profane words and statements. It is as prevalent among Christians, as it is in the world at large. I have to ask myself, “what makes Christians feel they have to post profanity on facebook and in other conversations. Have they not read the Lord’s command to let no unwholesome speech come from your mouth?

These are some verses that speak to this issue: Ephesians 4:29..”Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths..”; Colossians 3:8..”But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language from your lips.”

More: “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless” (James 1:26). “Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers (and sisters), this should not be” (James 3:10).

And finally, “Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips” (Proverbs 4:24).

Let’s begin by speaking and writing nice things, using nice words. Examine the things you post or repost to social media, such as facebook. If it contains profanity or filthy language, don’t pass it along. You will gain respect and maybe someone else will be encouraged to do the same.

In Truth and Love,
Pastor Jerry

Advertisements

Thanksgiving

Can you believe the Thanksgiving holiday is upon us? It will be Christmas before we know it. This week, we moved the lawn mower to the back of the shed, and brought the snowblower closer to the door. I suppose I will be criticized for wanting snow, but I’m just getting prepared for God’s answer to our prayers for moisture. At this point, I don’t care how it comes.

Thanksgiving is our topic for the week. As we contemplate giving thanks, I wonder if we give much thought to the idea. Are we truly thankful? A question I might ask some folks is this: Who are you thanking, anyway? It is God we thank. It is God who gives every good gift. (James 1:17)

Do we look back on our lives and thank God for what he’s done for us? In Psalm 138, we get a glimpse of King David’s heart as he gives thanks to his God. If you have a Bible, I’d like you to read Psalm 138. You might do this as your family gathers for the Thanksgiving meal. Just mute the ball game and read it aloud, as a reminder of God’s blessings..

In verses 1-3, he tells God that he will praise him with all his heart, he will do it publicly, with a proper attitude and posture, and with thanksgiving. In addition to the elements of his praise, he will give thanks for God’s love, for His faithfulness, for answers to past prayers and for the spiritual strength that God provides.

He then prays for all kings (leaders of nations) to acknowledge God’s favor to those who are humble and not arrogant or prideful (verses 4-6). David concludes by asking God to continue to work in his own life, bringing God’s plan for him to completion (verses 7-8).

As we offer praise to God and thank Him for material and spiritual blessings, let us not forget to thank him for answered prayer. Remember those times you asked him for protection, strength, comfort, patience, love or other special needs, and he supplied them. Beware of taking God’s provision and answered prayers for granted.

Scripture reminds us to “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Then we are to trust Him to complete the work he has begun in us (Philippians 1:6).

Giving thanks,
Pastor Jerry

Moving Forward

There was a taste of winter this week. The wind blew in some cold air, resulting in some light snow, but none of it lasted for long. Maybe it was just to remind us of things that need to be done before winter comes to stay.

On a personal note, I will be having surgery to repair some torn cartilage in my left knee. I’m not sure what caused it, but I’ve been told it’s a curse resulting from my lack of compassion for others suffering knee pain . 🙂

The election is over, the world did not end, the sun came up, and we go forward. Christians are given the command to be about the Lord’s business until he returns. I recently read this: “Our hope is not in the donkey, nor in the elephant. Our hope is in the Lamb of God!”

Our tendency at a time like this, is to want to sit down by the side of the road with our head in our hands, and give up. This is not what the Lord would have us to do. Though it seems the whole world is going directly away from God and the Bible, we Christians have been given the responsibility of proclaiming His truth to those who do not know Him.

The early Christians, beginning with Jesus’ disciples, proclaimed his gospel to the world in which they lived. They did so in the face of ridicule, persecution and even death. We are called to do the same.

Here are just a few verses that apply: Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus is speaking. “Therefore to and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them….and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

Acts 4:12…Peter preaching to the people and speaking of Jesus; “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Following this statement from Peter, he and John are brought before the authorities and commanded to stop preaching. Their answer? “We cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (4:20).

Finally, Peter writes in his first letter these words of instruction to believers: “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15).

Judging from the results of this last election, there are probably millions of people who don’t know, or who misapply God’s word. It is high time for His people to proclaim the saving gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. And to do it boldly, but with love and compassion, gentleness and respect.

Proclaiming Him,
Pastor Jerry

Powerless

It is good to live in the middle of America. We’ve had a nice week in regard to the weather. We are still in need of some rain, but feel blessed that we haven’t had the wind and other nasty things that have occurred in other parts of the country. We need to pray for our northeast coast residents, as they recover from the storm.

A headline caught my attention this week. After all, that’s what headlines are supposed to do. It was just one word: “POWERLESS.” We are reminded when a storm like “Sandy” comes along, that puny humans are just that. Powerless.

When the storm comes, we are powerless to do anything except ride it out. We are powerless to control the wind and the water, and when the power lines blow down, we are literally powerless, having become so accustomed to having electric power at our fingertips.

In a similar fashion, in our own strength, we have no power over sin, we have no power to save ourselves from sin’s penalty, and we have no power to work our way to heaven. In spite of our human wit and wisdom we can do nothing but throw ourselves on God’s mercy. It is only by the grace of God and his power that we can overcome sin and it is only by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and his finished work on the cross, that we are saved from the penalty of sin.

Very few of the people in the path of Hurricane Sandy thought they could withstand her fury in their own strength. Those who had that idea most certainly realized their weakness when the storm struck.

In Jeremiah 27:5, God says, “With my great power and outstretched arm I made the earth and its people and the animals that are on it…” And who controls the weather? “He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth; he sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses” (Psalm 135:7).

Yet, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak” (Isaiah 40:29). The Lord told the apostle Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” In other words, our weakness only magnifies God’s power. We are reminded in Ephesians 6:10 to “be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.”

Finally, this benediction from Jude: “To the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forever more! Amen.

If you are in situation you are powerless to change, call on the Lord. He cares, and he will give you strength to make it through the storm.

In His strength,
Pastor Jerry