Archive for May, 2014

Free to Obey

We are still in need of beneficial rains. I know there are some folks who would share if they could, because of their over-supply. I also know that God will provide in his good and perfect timing.

 

I trust you have taken time this long weekend to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service to our great country. Did you also take time to pray for our current leaders and military personnel? Did you thank God for the privilege of living here and enjoying the many freedoms we have?

 

Our sermon this week asked the question, “Do we have too small a view of God?” I believe we do. How many of us contemplate the thought of meeting God in a personal way? What if we could get a glimpse of his majesty, his power and his holiness?

 

Let’s consider Israel’s response to the Lord’s appearance on Mount Sinai. Smoke, fire and earthquakes accompanied God’s coming to the mountain. The people were so afraid they asked Moses to intercede on their behalf. Here is their request: “Go near and listen to all that the Lord our God says. Then tell us whatever the Lord our God tells you. We will listen and obey.” (Deuteronomy 5:27).

 

The majesty of God showed in the thunder, earthquakes and lightning as He came down to the mountain. His power showed in delivering His people from Egyptian slavery. His holiness exposed the sins of Israel, and it does the same for us.

 

God is the same as He has always been. He has not changed, and he demands and deserves our obedience. This is not for salvation. Remember, the law follows salvation. Once saved, God wants us to be obedient to his commands. His law is not the ten suggestions, but the Ten Commandments. It is not there for our salvation, but as a guide to living a Christ-like life.

 

The real lesson here is this: We need to see God in all His glory, infinite in size, power, and holiness. We also need to see God in Jesus Christ humbling Himself on a cross for our salvation.

 

The redeeming work of a holy God redeemed Israel from Egyptian slavery, and led them to desire to obey Him, and it is the redeeming work of Christ on the cross that empowers us to obey God today.

 

Free in Him,

Pastor Jerry

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Why the Law?

This week in church, we looked at three facts concerning God’s law. Our focus was upon the Ten Commandments. What was God’s reason for giving them to Israel, and by extension, to us?

First of all, we need to understand the law was not given to provide a means to salvation. Salvation was promised to Abraham as a result of his faith in God’s promise (Genesis 15:6); the Law came along some four hundred years later.

So, if the Law does not provide salvation, what is its purpose? Deuteronomy 10:12-13…”What does the Lord ask of you but to fear the LORD your God…and to observe the LORD’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?

The Law is given for our own good. It provides guidelines for living. It is not a fence to deny us freedom. It is there to give us the freedom to live as God wants us to live.

The Law was given in love, because God loves and protects His people. The Law demands perfection, but due to the sin problem, we cannot be perfect. Jesus Christ took care of that on the cross, and His love empowers us to exhibit that same love in our relationships with other people.

The commandments concerning adultery, murder, stealing, and covetousness and… “Whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:8-10).

To sum it up; the Law was given in love. The Law demands perfection. The end of the Law is love.

In His love,

Pastor Jerry

Prayers, or Positive Thoughts?

I have seen and heard people make statements similar to this: “I’m sending love and positive thoughts.” If I may, I’d like to share some of my thoughts about this.

I understand the sentiment of “sending love”, which would convey the idea that the person making the statement did so out of love for the recipient. But what are “positive thoughts”, and what comfort do they bring? At other times, well-meaning people offer to pray for a situation and I wonder, do they pray to the God who answers prayer, or do they even know Him?

Let’s look at some scriptures concerning prayers that God hears.

Proverbs 15:29…”The LORD is far from the wicked but he hears the prayer of the righteous.”

1 Peter 3:12… “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” James tells us ‘the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16).

The righteous person, as defined in the Bible, is one who is in right standing with God. Right standing with God is obtained only by placing one’s faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Romans 1:17 reminds us, “For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written, “the righteous will live by faith”, also, in Galatians 3:11, Hebrews 10:38, and others.

I believe the only prayer of an unbeliever God is obligated to answer, is the prayer of one who confesses his sin, asking God for forgiveness, and accepting Jesus as his or her Savior. My purpose in writing this devotional is to cause us to stop and consider whether or we have that relationship with God that makes our prayers truly effective.

As always, your questions or comments are welcome.

In His love,

Pastor Jerry

What’s New?

There are flowers, leaves on the trees, green grass and warm breezes, Can spring finally be here? I believe it is so! Now, as the Lord provides rain, things will really be looking up.
We celebrated some birthdays this past weekend. My wonderful wife and two of our dear friends were the birthday people, and we three couples got together for an evening of dining and fellowship. Our long-time Christian friends are just the best!
This time of the year always reminds me of God’s promise to someday bring renewal to the earth, in a grand and glorious way. There are so many scriptures that come to my mind in the spring. I’ll share a few, and I trust they are some of your favorites as well.
God, through the prophet Ezekiel, makes this promise to Israel regarding a time when he will gather them from among the nations: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26) Talk about a new beginning!
In 2 Corinthians 5:17, Paul writes, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
In Hebrews 10:30 we are told of a “new and living way”, made possible by the death of Christ on the cross. Though His death, burial and resurrection we are given new birth into a living hope (1 Peter 1:3).
In 2 Peter 3:13, we read, “But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.”
And, finally, some verses from Revelation, as the apostle John recorded his vision of heaven: “He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” The He said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:5).
All of this, and we are also given a new song to sing (Revelation 5:9). And it begins with the new birth that occurs when we place our faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Praise His Name!
Welcoming spring,
Pastor Jerry
Note: As always, I welcome your thoughts on these weekly articles. Send them to: lakecitynews@gmail.com