Archive for August, 2014

On the Tenth Commandment

More progress was made last week on the preparations for moving the house. Monday, the footings and stem walls were poured. Tuesday the forms were removed, and now we wait for the interior footings. This week I hope to get the old house ready for its move.

The area was blessed with more rain this week. The timely rains have helped keep lawn and garden watering to a minimum. We harvested our first cantaloupe this week, and more are ripening. There are signs that the garden is nearing the end of production for this year.

Our message this week was built on the Tenth Commandment: “Do not covet…anything that belongs to your neighbor” (Deuteronomy 5:21). Covetousness isn’t a word we use much these days, but it is alive and well. The advertising people understand the idea that we all want what our neighbor has. We probably don’t get to the point of taking our neighbor’s stuff, but we want to have the latest model of smart phone, car, or computer. Maybe it is the desire to move to a better neighborhood, or buy a bigger house. There is nothing inherently wrong with any of these things. It is when they become the over-riding focus of our lives that there is a problem

The truth of the matter is this. When we are dissatisfied with what God has given us, we are saying to Him, “I don’t appreciate what you have given me, I want more.”

When we covet someone else’s belongings, we are focused on our immediate circumstances and prevented from looking ahead. We need to make sure we live our lives with the proper perspective. What we experience now is temporary, and eternity is in our future.

Only the gospel can give contentment to the human heart. Everyone has the desire to search for satisfaction, and the road to satisfaction eventually leads back to God. Paul found his joy in the Lord continually. His happiness was not dependent on his circumstances. In Philippians 4:13, Paul described his ability to be content whether in good times or bad… “I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

Is God good enough for you? If you are in Christ, you do not need to define yourself by your possessions. You already have the greatest gift of all.

In Him,
Pastor Jerry

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What About the Children?

Dear friends,
We have new developments in moving our house. The plan is to get the concrete runners and the perimeter walls poured this week. The house mover has told me he can move the house in September. What fun! It also means I had better get busy getting the house ready for the move.
School starts in Wheeler county this week. Alex is a freshman this year, and his height has been officially measured at 6′ 3/4″. Needless to say, he has left grandpa and grandma in the dust…
I have no profound wisdom to share this week. I will just share an experience from our last visit to the grocery store. I hope what I am about to share will be food for thought.
You are probably aware of the new Coca Cola sales campaign that encourages you to share a Coke with a person named on the label. I admit to looking for my name on a bottle of Coke. So far, I’ve only found Alex’s name in our family, not that I send all my time looking at Coke bottles…
Back to the story: As we came down the soft drink aisle, there was a little girl sorting through the bottles on display. We asked if she was looking for a particular name. Her reply after some serious thinking was this: “How can I say this? I’m looking for one for Mommy’s friend, and one for Daddy’s  friend.”
This conversation made me very sad, but it is certainly a sign of the times in which we live. What is sad is the fact that we have all these children having to deal with things they shouldn’t be experiencing, because Mom and Dad are more concerned with their own “happiness”, than that of their kids.
Two verses of scripture come to mind here: 1) “Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged” (Colossians 3:21). 2) “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
I’m not just picking on fathers, there is plenty of blame to go around. However, as head of the household, fathers should make every effort to keep the family together.
I pray this little story will cause someone to stop and consider the effect that their actions will have on their children in the days and years to come.
In Christ’s love,
Pastor Jerry

 

Do You Know Him?

Hello friends,
Here we are at the beginning of a new week. We have been blessed again with abundant rain. The gauge here at the parsonage read 2.20″ in a little over 24 hours. The temperatures have been pleasant, as well.

It appears we will be able to get our house moved to Lake Ericson in September. We don’t have an exact date, but we know the month. If all goes according to plan, the concrete work and the removal of some unwanted trees will take place this week.

In our Sunday worship over the last few weeks, we have studied  eight of the Ten Commandments, as found in Deuteronomy, chapter 5. During the course of my studying, I have been reminded of this truth: At the end of life, it will not matter how many of the Ten Commandments we’ve kept, that won’t be the question. When we stand before God, He won’t ask if we’ve been good, or if we have lived up to His law. Those things do not provide salvation. The law shows us first of all that we are sinners, and when we have confessed our sin to Him, the law shows us how to live. The thing that matters at the end, is how we responded to the offer of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Let’s look at some verses that convince me of this. Ephesians 2:4-9: “But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in our transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved…For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.”

The apostle Paul, in his letter to the saints in Rome, wrote, “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.” And in verse 30, “There is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.”

I continue to write on this topic, because I am convinced there are people reading this who do not know their eternal destiny. They do not know Jesus as their Savior. The Bible is clear. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. (John 14:6).

Do you know my Jesus?

In His love,
Pastor Jerry

Frying Bacon

Dear readers,
We’ve been glad for some cooler temperatures. At least, we haven’t had any of those hundred degree days. We had a couple of small rain showers toward the end of the week. In other news, progress is being made toward moving our house to Lake Ericson.
Now to our devotional thought for the week: The  sixth commandment says we are not to commit murder. The Lord Jesus said anger out of control can result in murder. The lesson is that we need to keep angry thoughts and attitudes under control. The following story may cause us to pause and reflect on our attitudes concerning those we love.
Frying Bacon: One morning recently, while still harboring a bit of anger over a perceived slight the day before, I was frying bacon for breakfast. My dear wife was beside me frying the eggs. She likes her bacon crisp, while I like mine less so. I was determined to give her crisp bacon for a change. My attitude was “I’ll show her I can do this!”
As the bacon began to get crisp, it also took on a burnt look along the edge. I said, “Is this crisp enough?” Her response was, “Why are you being so naughty?”
Well, I denied any such motive, but she was right, and later I apologized for being so childish…after all, I am much too old for that kind of immature display…
The moral of the story: Don’t hang on to those angry thoughts, words, and attitudes. If you pay attention to the teachings of scripture, those are the very things that if left unattended, can lead to more than burnt bacon. Jesus said in Matthew 5:21-22, “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother (or wife, or husband) will be subject to judgement.”
Let’s ask the question of ourselves; Are there words, attitudes or actions we need to confess and ask forgiveness for? By doing so, we will restore our relationships with those we love, and with our Lord, as well.
One more thought for the married men out there: “Husbands…be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect…so that nothing will hinder your prayers” (1 Peter 3:7).
Forgiven,
Pastor Jerry