Archive for December, 2012

Looking Ahead

Dear friends,
It’s the last day of 2012! Instead of looking back, I’d like to direct your attention to some Biblical perspective on the New Year.

For a devotional thought this week, let’s remember that no matter what happened in 2012, or what the new year will bring, God is still on His throne. Let us not live in the past, because it cannot be changed. Let us have the attitude of the apostle Paul: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

For, as Peter writes in his first letter, God has “given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…and into an inheritance…kept in heaven for us…and we rejoice even in trials because we are receiving the goal of our faith, the salvation of our souls” (1 Peter 1:3-9).

In the words of a song from the past, “Yesterday’s gone, and tomorrow may never be mine…”, but I know this: If tomorrow never comes, what matters most is “what have I done with Jesus?

One more thought from scripture that would apply here, from Ephesians 5:15-17: “Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” (hint: Read John 6:40).

May you have a Blessed and Happy New Year,
Pastor Jerry

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2012 Christmas

It’s that Christmas time of year again. I’m thankful for the opportunity to share some of my thoughts with you each week. As we prepare to celebrate the birth of the Savior, may each one of us be aware of the purpose for his coming.

I have wondered all week what I might write in regard to the school shootings on the 14th. One wonders how we could celebrate Christmas in the wake of an event like this. Every one of us, I’m sure, had feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, anger, disbelief, among others. I came across an article written by Ravi Zacharias, a well-known Christian apologist, who had some very insightful comments. I would just like to share a few sentences with you.

After pointing out some things wrong with our society, he comes to the point of his article. It is that sin (disobedience to God) is the root cause of all our problems.

I quote: “The Bible only speaks of one remedy for this: the transformation of the heart by making Christ the center. Those who mock the simplicity of the remedy have made evil more complex and unexplainable. Every heart has the potential for murder. Every heart needs a redeemer. That is the message of Christmas. The world took that child and crucified Him. But by his triumph over death He brings life to our dead souls and begins the transformation within. Unto us a child is born and He shall save us from our sins.”

My prayer this Christmas season is that everyone who reads this will look to Jesus, and receive the free gift of salvation he offers. Your life will be changed, and you will never, ever regret making that decision. If the gift is already yours, praise the Lord! Live each day for Him, to the praise and glory of God the Father. Amen!

Christmas blessings to all,
Pastor Jerry

Some Thoughts on This Week

We have had some praiseworthy events this week. Alex has permission from the doctor to start leaving the crutches behind. It appears his surgery is having the desired effect. My knee is healing, although I now know there is a problem with some arthritis. And, probably the most encouraging event of the past week has been the rain we received here Friday night into Saturday morning. I suspect there has been a lot of happy dancing out there.

The annual Wheeler County Community Choir concert was held Sunday afternoon in two locations. It is a blessing to hear talented volunteers sing the songs of the season, proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Still another violent tragedy has happened in our country. What happened at that school in Connecticut is beyond our comprehension. Most people have an opinion of why these things happen, but I believe the only source for the answer is God’s word. If we don’t understand these things from a Biblical perspective, we basically are left with no hope, and no answers. I also believe that we will never have all the answers, because God doesn’t give them all to us. However, he does give us enough to carry us through.

It is unimaginable to us that these things happen, but at this season of the year I believe it is of the greatest importance for us to remember that Jesus Christ came to earth to be the specific remedy for sin in the world. It is sin, after all that is at the root of this horrible act. I don’t pretend to know why God did not prevent this from happening. There are so many things in life for which we have no answer. I do know that God tells us his thoughts and his ways are not the same as ours. (Isaiah 55:8-9). In that same chapter of Isaiah, there is an invitation to come to God, to call on him for the forgiveness our of sin, and to receive his salvation.

At the risk of sounding overly simplistic, I must say I believe that unless and until all people acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, events similar to last Friday can and will occasionally happen. Until that time, God is still sovereign, He is still on His throne, and He is still in control of times and events. Praise His Name forever!

Leaning on the everlasting arms,
Pastor Jerry

The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown

I’m writing from the shores of frozen Lake George this morning. All through the night I could hear geese out my window. As the sun came up, there were literally thousands of Canada geese sitting on the ice waiting to head for the cornfields. What a sight and what a sound!

Last night (Sunday) Christmas candlelight services were held at the “historic” Rose Church. It was a great celebration of the birth of the Lord Jesus, and everyone enjoyed a soup and sandwich supper following the worship time.

In my message last night, I made these three points concerning Christmas taken in the Christian context:

1. We have the cradle. This is God relating to us. He came to experience life among the people he created. He experienced humanity at its level. “The Word (that is, Jesus) became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

2. We have the cross. God redeeming us. Mankind was under the death sentence of sin and in need of a Savior. Man was set free by Christ’s suffering. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24).

3. Finally, we have the crown. God reigning over us. Jesus did not come to remain in a cradle or on a cross. He must be more than your Savior, He must be Lord of your life. “Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Philippians 2:9-11).

The Bible says “today is the day of salvation.” Is Jesus your Savior, your Lord and your King? Wouldn’t the Christmas season be a great time to give yourself to Him?

Celebrating the Gift,
Pastor Jerry

Advent

The warm weather continues. The comment was made today in church, that with the shortage of livestock feed, we can be thankful that the cattle are consuming less on these mild days. I can report that my knee surgery is done, and the pain of the injury is gone. The pain I have now is much less severe, and hopefully healing follows. It appears I will soon be able to resume taking care of business.

Yesterday (Sunday), marked the beginning of the Advent Season. For most, it is a countdown to Christmas, and a reminder of the incarnation, or the first coming of the Lord Jesus. As I look at the things going on in the world today, I am convinced that we need to be looking for the second coming of our Lord. It is well and good to anticipate the Christmas season, but also to look forward to the promise of a time he will come for his people.

God promised that he would send a Savior, which he did when Jesus became a human baby. And while Jesus did everything necessary to save us when he came the first time, he also promised to come again. Then all God’s promises will be completely fulfilled. So again we are waiting. Waiting patiently for God to fulfill his promises is what it means to have faith.

I’m not one to dwell on the subject of the second coming, but it really is something to think about. For the Christian, it will be a time of rejoicing as we see the Savior face to face. For all who do not believe, it will be a time of dread and sorrow.

Jesus has promised to return and judge the world: “When the Son of Man comes n his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left” (Matthew 25:31-33). The rest of the chapter tells us the sheep will be rewarded with heaven and the goats will be judged and sent to eternal punishment.

Jesus is coming again! Are you ready?

Watching and waiting,
Pastor Jerry