Archive for March, 2013

Seeking the Lost

Spring is officially here, but someone forgot to turn up the thermostat. We just don’t seem to be able to get any warm days, but with April coming, we have hope. I saw a photo taken by one of our friends this week that reminded me of other March days when we would be out feeding and checking the cattle. It made me think of the following:

I was reading Luke 15 where Jesus was talking about the lost sheep (Luke 15:3-7), and I had a flashback to my days of calving out cows. I remembered some times when I spent hours looking for a missing baby calf. Some were at night, when it was almost totally dark, some in the pouring rain, other times it would be snowing and blowing. There might have been a time or two it was doing all the above.

It was what we did, and what some of you are still doing. When a calf was missing, we searched until we found it. The missing one might have crawled through the fence into a shelter belt, and we would find it asleep under a cedar tree. Others would wander off behind a hill, and the cow would be searching with us. Once, with the help of my horse, who stopped to sniff at a snowbank, I found the missing one under the snow. It is all about seeking and saving the lost, and we celebrated when we reunited the calf with its mother.

In Ezekiel 34:16, we read these words of the Lord, “I will search for the lost and bring back the strays.” It’s a picture of why Jesus came. In Luke 15:4, Jesus said “if a shepherd loses a sheep, does he not look for it until he finds it? And after he finds it he calls his neighbors to rejoice with him? He then went on to say, “in the same way there will be rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner.” He is describing someone who has been lost in sin, but who has turned to the Lord to be rescued from his sin. Then, in Luke 19:10, we read these words of Jesus, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”
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Jesus Christ came to rescue the lost. Heaven celebrates each one who is found and brought into the safety of the Lord’s care. Not only did he come to seek and to save the lost, he paid the penalty for our sin, and was raised from the dead so that we might live.

Something to remember this Holy Week, as we contemplate the reason Jesus came, and as we look toward Resurrection Day.

Because He Lives,
Pastor Jerry

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Sin In The Camp(er)

I don’t remember if I mentioned we bought a used camper last fall. When we got it, we knew it had some issues with water damage. Upon further examination, there was much more damage than first appeared. What we saw on the surface did not prepare us for the internal damage that had been done. I had planned to do the work myself, but we decided to take it to the camper repair place. They are doing a great job of restoring our “bargain” to usable condition.

Isn’t that just like what happens when we allow a small amount of sin such as anger, or bitterness to creep into our lives? It doesn’t seem to be a big deal on the outside, but left alone it can spread until it destroys everything on the inside.

In a spiritual sense, sin has the same effect on our lives as did the water that crept into the walls of our camper. Whether it is jealousy, envy, anger, bitterness, immorality, profanity, or any number of things I could mention, it starts out small and seemingly harmless. It then begins to spread until it takes over completely. There is no way we can get rid of it without help. The only one who can bring about restoration of the soul contaminated by sin is the Lord Jesus Christ. “Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good” (Titus 2:14).

If someone had taken steps to prevent the water from entering the camper walls, much damage could have been prevented. We, as Christians, also need to take preventive measures against sin creeping into our lives. Here are a few suggestions from Scripture: Flee from evil desires (2 Timothy 2:22). Resist the devil (1 Peter 5:8-9). Keep away from temptation (Galatians 6:1). Be in prayer (Mark 14:38).

And, if we find that sin has crept into our life, here is the remedy: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Faith in Christ is the remedy for removing the stain and guilt of sin in our lives. There is no other.

Because He lives,
Pastor Jerry

Sin’s Definition

Dear friends,
On the home scene, life remains busy. If there is a time in life when we are not busy anymore, it hasn’t appeared on my horizon. The change to daylight saving time supposedly gives us more daylight hours, and I’m going to need every minute.

I think it is clear to most people that it is not popular these days to talk about sin. Sin, as described in the Bible, is minimized, glossed over, white-washed, or ignored, but few people are willing to call it disobedience to God’s commands.

Here is a case in point: The television series “The Bible” is airing this month. I did not see all of the first installment, but I will. I did read a review of that episode. In it the reviewer stated that people watching it would get the idea that Sodom and Gomorrah were judged and destroyed for their lack of hospitality. When I read the account in the Bible, I come away with the understanding that those two cities were destroyed because of rampant sexual immorality, including the sin of homosexuality, and others. There were not even 5 people in the cities who met God’s standard of righteousness.

I believe the lesson here for us is this: If we don’t preach and teach that every word in his Book is faithful and true, we are setting ourselves up for a similar judgment at some point. Those ten commandments are not the “ten suggestions.”

Sin is sin. To call it anything else is to call God a liar (1 John 1:10). The good news is Jesus Christ died on the cross to provide forgiveness of sin, no matter what the sin. God forgives all who come to him on the basis of the shed blood of his Son. The end result of this, according to the apostle, is that the one who trusts in Christ will not continue in his or her sin. “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God” (1 John 3:9).

Let us call sin what it is. Follow that up with confession. Confession is agreeing with God that we are sinners. Then, ask his forgiveness, trust his Son Jesus to save you, and as Jesus said, “Go and sin no more.” And if you should sin again, which you may very well do now and then, do as we are instructed in 1 John 1:9… “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Forgiven,
Pastor Jerry

How To Know God

Hello friends
Well, here we are at the beginning of a new week and a new month. Reflecting on the past week, I wonder if it was really productive, or just busy?

Could I be allowed to wonder if our spiritual life sometimes is the same way? How many people actually have a daily Bible reading and study time, and of those who do, how many rush through, just to be able to check off another thing they have done? Do we ever think how different our lives would be if we would set aside time for some serious, in-depth study of God’s Word?

I’m sure this sounds like a topic I’ve written about in the past, but when we consider the problem of Bible illiteracy in the world today, I believe it is worthy of our attention.

In any relationship, how do we get to know the other person? The answer is, we spend time with them. If you are “in a relationship”, as many will post on their facebook page, do you not want to spend every minute of every day with that person? Of course, you do. How else do you get to know them in a personal, intimate way? It is the same in our relationship with God. If we want to know Him in the personal, intimate way that He desires, it is imperative that we spend as much time together with Him as possible.

How then, do we get to know God like that? The first thing we need is a Bible. It should be one of the more modern, easily readable versions that are available today. Most of us just don’t “get” the King James language of the older versions. Then set aside a period of time each day for the reading and study of your Bible. Keep a notepad and pencil handy for taking notes. Write down questions you may have, or things that catch your attention. You may want to take these things to your pastor for further clarification.

Also, spend time in prayer. This is nothing more than conversation with God. He has spoken to us through his Word, the Bible. We speak to Him by way of prayer. As you study and pray, God will become more personal to you, and he will reveal himself and his ways. Then, you will no longer be biblically illiterate

There is a new television series dealing with Bible stories. As you watch it, take notes, then go to the Bible and see if it measures up. Whether it is a preacher, Sunday School teacher, or a television miniseries, we need to compare what we see and hear with God’s written word. His Word is Truth, and it stands the test of time, every time.

Blessings,
Pastor Jerry