Archive for December, 2013

One Way

Happy New Year!

Christmas has been celebrated, the gifts opened, and families are back to “normal”. Now we can look ahead to 2014. I pray it is a good year for everyone. We will be heading up to Lake George for a few days this week.

 Once again, I have heard this comment: “There are many ways to God”.

 Why is it so hard to understand Jesus’ statement, when he says, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me?”

May I submit this thought to you? Every “religion” or “pathway to God” that people propose in the place of following Jesus, is nothing more than man trying to get to heaven by being “good enough” to please God.

The only way to be saved from our sin and receive eternal life, is when we stop trying to please God by being “good’, and turn to Him in brokenness, confessing our sin and turning from it. He will certainly hear and forgive us. The next step then, is to begin to live for him out of love and gratitude for what he has done. We must get to the place of the hymn writer: “In my hand no price I bring. Only to Thy cross I cling.”*

“For it is by grace you are saved, not by works, so that no man can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-10).

If you should die tomorrow without having placed your faith in Jesus Christ for your salvation, you will not go to heaven, no matter how good you have been. That is the word of God, not something Pastor Jerry just made up. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son” (John 3:16-18).

I’m saddened when I hear those “many paths” statements, because there are so many people who believe them. The sad fact is, they are believing a lie.

Will you come to Him today? You can start the new year with the sure knowledge of an eternity in heaven with the Lord Jesus when your earthly life is over.

In His love,

Pastor Jerry

* [Rock of Ages (August M. Toplady)]

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God With Us

It’s time again to reflect on the blessing of Christmas. I could  have said “blessings”, for there are many, but the Blessing of Christmas is my focus today. I  take us back to the Old Testament and the prophecy in Isaiah 9:6, concerning the promised Messiah..

“For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

What does this mean to us? Let’s look at these five truths: As the One with the government on His shoulders, we see Him as the one who holds the world together. “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (1 Corinthians 1:17). As Wonderful Counselor, He always gives wise counsel to those who will hear and obey Him.

As Mighty God, He can forgive sin, defeat Satan, redeem us, and restore our broken souls. As Everlasting Father, He is eternally in complete and sovereign control of His creation. He knows everything, and works everything for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

In His role as Prince of Peace, He brings real and lasting peace. Not peace as the world thinks of peace, but to those who believe in Him, He brings an inner peace that surpasses all human understanding (Philippians 4:7).

In summary, the prophecy of Isaiah 9:6, as fulfilled in the birth of the Savior, is the answer to all the confusion, chaos, complexity and conflicts of life. It is the gift of the newborn infant who is also the Father of all eternity. He is an innocent child, yet He is a wise counselor and mighty king. He is God with us. Emmanuel. May He bring you peace in these troubled times.*

In His amazing love,
Pastor Jerry

*[credit to Dr. John MacArthur for some content]

Going Home

It is the Christmas season, a time when people everywhere make plans to go home for the holiday, and reunite with family members. For the past week I have ministered to families who have experienced a loved one take the ultimate journey home. Their departed ones have gone to be with their Lord at Christmas time.

As hard as it sounds, I believe Christians have reason to celebrate Christmas, even in the midst of mourning the loss of a loved one. I will explain why I believe this is so.

First, scripture tells us that as believers in Jesus Christ, as we live here on earth, we are strangers in a foreign land (1 Peter 1:1; 2:11). The word used for strangers can be understood as “aliens, or temporary residents”, meaning that this world is not our home. Philippians 3:20 states, “our citizenship is in heaven.”

And, Jesus came to earth as a baby; God taking on human flesh, come to save His people from sin. The truth of this is what we celebrate at Christmas. However, He did not come to remain a precious infant in a manger. He came to die on a cross for our sins, and to be raised from the dead, in order to make a way for our salvation and to give us eternal life. John 3:36 says, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life.”
So, at this joyous season of the year, we can celebrate in the midst of sorrow, knowing that our loved ones are finally home. We will miss them, but we rest secure in the knowledge that they will be spending Christmas in the presence of their Savior and Lord, and we who know Him as Savior will be reunited with them, when we, also, are “finally home.”

Believing Heaven’s Promise,

Pastor Jerry

The Light of Christmas

Continuing the Christmas theme, I was noticing the many displays of Christmas lights soon after Thanksgiving. Actually, some were up and ready even before Thanksgiving, but that is another subject altogether.

My thought was this: All the festive lights of all the houses in the world cannot equal the Light we celebrate at Christmas. May I share a few verses concerning this Light?
The prophecy of Isaiah 9:2 is that God would send a Light. Read it with me: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; a light has dawned on those living in the land of darkness.” He expands on the prophecy in verse 6; “For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on his shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace”
In the New Testament we find these words: “There was a man named John who was sent from God. He came as a witness to testify about the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but he came to testify about the light. The true light, who gives light to everyone was coming into the world.” (John 1:6-9)

Jesus testified about himself: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

Finally, these Spirit inspired words from the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 4: “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God…For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:4-6).

The light of the world is Jesus. May all the bright lights of the Christmas season remind us daily of this truth.

Walking in His light,

Pastor Jerry

Immanuel, God With Us

It may come as a surprise to some, but Christmas is not grounded in Santa Claus, evergreen trees, winter scenery or the spending of huge amounts of money on gifts. It is first of all centered on the Incarnation, God’s miraculous gift of a Savior, born to a virgin, to be the sinless sacrifice for our sins.

” … the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph…The virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came to her and said, ‘Rejoice, favored woman! The Lord is with you….Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Now listen: You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will call his name Jesus… The Holy Spirit will come upon you…Therefore the holy One to be born will be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:26-35).

I wonder how many of us really understand the importance of the Incarnation and the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ? What does it matter that Jesus is “God with us?” It means that we do not have to pay for our own sin. Jesus, sinless from conception, came to be the sacrifice that would once for all cover the sin debt of all humanity. Without the virgin birth, there would be no salvation for sin, no way to restore our broken relationship with God. Without the virgin birth, our faith would be futile.

Now, when we see all the trappings of the season, and the excesses it brings, let us first know and understand why and how Jesus came. As we meditate on these truths, may we slow down and take the time to acknowledge the real “Reason for the Season.”

Thankful for His birth,
Pastor Jerry