Archive for August, 2013

Accept No Substitutes

Do you remember the ad claims for some of the “butter substitutes”?: “Tastes just like butter”; I can’t believe it’s not butter!”; “Everything’s better with __________ on it!” I have always wondered if the substitute claims to be “just like” the original, what is the reason for the substitute?

So, the margarine substitute tastes like butter? Then what is wrong with just using butter? If God gave us butter first instead of margarine, does it mean he made a mistake? Why didn’t he just create margarine? The same thought applies to the claim that some exotic meats taste “just like chicken.” Thanks, but no thanks, I’d just as soon have chicken as rattlesnake, or alligator. Substitutes just aren’t the same.

The same line of thought can apply to self-help literature. When God gave us his Word, I believe it was for a purpose. Listen to the psalmist as he writes in Psalm 119… “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word” (verse 9); “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (verse 11); “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (verse 105). “Direct my footsteps according to your word, let no sin rule over me” (verse 133).

Exchanging the Bible for any other publication may seem like a good deal, but His plan is for us to pattern our lives on His Word, and nothing else. I have nothing against good literature of every kind, but those all have to be held up to the mirror of scripture. Libraries and bookstores are full of books that claim to have the answer to life’s problems or that want to show us the right way to live, but compared to the Bible they fall far short of being really helpful.

Self-help books, or God’s help Book. Which one do you think is the most helpful? Accept no substitutes.

Just thinking,
Pastor Jerry

Advertisements

Still Standing

I am amused when people say they can pick and choose which parts of the Bible to believe. Some even refuse to believe any part of it, nor do they even believe in the God of the Bible.The Bible is not a book of feel-good information. It is God’s eternal and unchanging word. It is not a cafeteria, which we may browse through and choose which part to believe and obey, discarding the rest.

The Bible says “Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him” (Proverbs 30:5). Jesus said, “It is written: ‘Man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

People have tried to destroy the Bible for centuries and it is still here , and it is still true. There is an old hymn I like to sing, called “The Bible Stands.” There is a line that says “The Bible stands like a mountain towering far above the works of men; Its truth by none ever was refuted, and destroy it they never can.”

God’s word says, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall but the word of the Lord stands forever.” (1 Peter 1:25).

In 2012, for it’s final print edition, Newsweek magazine ran an article that tried to refute the authenticity of the New Testament. How interesting; it is Newsweek that is out of print, not the New Testament.

How about you? As you read this, how do you see the Bible? Is it your road map for the journey of life, or is it just a collection of stories, not relevant for our time? I would hope it is an important part of your everyday life and that you read it every day, so that you can get to know its Author personally.

Standing on His Word,
Pastor Jerry

New Owner

Summer is winding down. Schools are starting soon. Our plans of taking some serious time off are fading fast. At least, next year we will have all the issues with the camper solved, and hopefully be able to enjoy the experience even more.

In other news,we have purchased a mobile home / RV park. I don’t know if this is wisdom, or just a sign of advancing senility. At any rate, it is a new thing for us. Usually, with a change of ownership, things don’t stay the same. So, as we take possession of this property and begin to make some needed improvements, people in the neighborhood are noticing those changes.

I see this as an illustration of what happens when a person comes to faith in the Lord Jesus. That person has a change of ownership. He goes from being a servant of the devil, to being a servant of the Lord. At that moment, the new “owner” begins to make changes and improvements in that person. These are noticeable changes, and others will see them.

In Ezekiel 36:26-27, God says to His people Israel, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17). We also are given a new attitude of our mind, and a new self, created to be like God (Ephesians 4:23-24).

There are many other passages of scripture that define the changes that occur in the life of a believer as he or she grows and matures in faith. Just know this, if you have had this change of ownership, change is coming. It is change for the better, and it will be noticed by those around you.

A note of caution is needed here. If you think you are under God’s ownership, and there is no change evident in your life after a period of time, it might be good to take the apostle Paul’s advice: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5).
In His amazing Love,
Pastor Jerry

The Wrath of God

As we get older, we find ourselves bemoaning the fact that things are just not the way they used to be. Sometimes new things are better than the old, sometimes not. In the past, I have at times been critical of what is called Contemporary Christian Music, or CCM. The reason for that criticism has been the lack of sound biblical doctrine in a fair share of that style of music, as compared to the older hymns.

This past week, it was reported that a major church denomination had elected not to include a modern hymn in its new songbook, because a line in that song was deemed offensive. The offending part of the song mentioned the “wrath of God”, and the committee decided that didn’t fit their image of a “loving God.” I’m quoting the article here: “Not wishing to portray a wrathful God, the committee requested permission from the song’s writers to change the line to speak instead of God’s love.” Permission was denied, so the song was removed.

There are those who insist the God of the New Testament is different than God in the Old Testament. They would have us believe only in the Old Testament does it speak of the wrath of God. In the New Testament, from John’s gospel to Revelation, we read of God’s wrath. We also read of God’s love.

Here is the truth of the matter: According to the Bible, sin arouses God’s wrath and demands payment. God is the righteous judge. He is also a loving and just God; in fact he loved the world enough that he sent his only Son to die that we might live. Jesus paid the penalty, God’s wrath was appeased, and all who will believe are saved. John 3:36 says, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”

We sing of the wrath of God, and of the cross, and of the blood of Jesus. These do not exclude God’s love, they magnify it! And, we can sing: “In Christ alone my hope is found…On that cross as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied…Here in the death of Christ I live!

In Truth,
Pastor Jerry