Archive for October, 2014

Finding the Way

Dear friends,
I detect a return to cooler weather this morning. Those northwest winds just sound different.

When we were waiting to get the concrete work started for our house, I got a call from the contractor telling me that since it rained where they were working, his crew would be at our place the next day. We saw this as a work of the Lord. Last week, after wondering how long it would be before we could get the foundation completed, another call came. It was the contractor saying, “The rain is good to you. It rained almost an inch where the block layer is working, and he’ll be at your place in the morning.” Our God is good!

Getting ready for my trip to Kansas, I brought up a map app on my phone, set my destination and plugged in the headset, listening for the voice of instruction to show me the way. I was startled a couple of times by the voice in my ear, but it was very effective in getting me where I was going.

We are becoming dependent on things like GPS devices and map programs on our phones to give us directions. In order for these to work we must turn on the power, then listen and obey the directions to reach our destination.

I saw these words on the back of a truck a few weeks ago: “Lost, but having fun.” I’m sure the person who put them there did so for a smile, but what a commentary on the lives of many people today. From a spiritual perspective, lost, but having fun has eternal consequences. In biblical terms, being lost is having no relationship with the Lord, headed for judgment and hell. This is not having fun. This is deadly serious.

We have the direction manual available, it’s called the Bible. It will keep us on the right road. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105). However, for it to be effective in guiding us, we must open it, read it, and obey its instructions. There is one major difference…God’s GPS never fails.

A final word of caution as we follow God’s directions; be prepared to be startled by the voice of the Lord as he speaks through His word.

Listening,
Pastor Jerry

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Stand Firm

Hello friends,
My trip to the annual meeting was the bright spot of the week. I came home refreshed, and renewed spiritually. It was good to listen to some great preaching.

If we think that the world isn’t in opposition to the message of God, we are sadly unaware of reality. One only has to watch a little bit of news to find out that Christians are in the bull’s-eye.

Take the news from Huston, Texas; 5 Christian pastors have been subpoenaed to hand over their sermons, their notes, and all communications concerning a Huston city ordinance allowing transgender people to use the public restroom of their choice.

In speaking out against this issue, the pastors are seen as criminals. This, I fear, is a harbinger of things to come. Christians are going to be challenged in many areas, and we need to be prepared to stand firm on our faith and convictions.

Is this persecution? Under the topic ‘Persecution’ in my Bible dictionary it says, “Persecution seeks to intimidate, silence, punish, or even to kill people.” How many of these describe what is going on with these pastors in Huston?

We are warned in scripture that if we stand on, and proclaim the word of God, we will be persecuted. “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name” (1 Peter 4:12-16).

Let us not forget the words of the Lord Jesus; “Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also” (John 15:20).

Let us pray for those five pastors, but also for those who oppose their message, so that they might know the truth of the gospel, the truth that sets people free (John 8:32).

In His love,
Pastor Jerry

Spot Free Rinse

We have the new cabinets installed in the house. This is the beginning of a complete kitchen remodel. Now that the house is only a mile or two away, I hope to actually finish some of these projects. What a blessing it is not to have to drive 75 miles to enjoy our little “cabin”.

I will be leaving Monday to travel to Hutchinson, Kansas for the annual meeting of our two-state Baptist Convention. I’m looking forward to some inspirational messages and fellowship with old and new Christian friends. It is also good to be part of the process of determining the direction our convention will be take in the future. I’ll be returning home Wednesday in time for our men’s Bible study.
It is interesting how little things can sometimes provide a theme for a devotional thought. We were in a car wash last week, and when the wash cycle neared the end, the sign came on that said, “Spot Free Rinse.” I’ve seen that little phrase before, but this time it seemed to mean something other that the fact that the car would dry spot-free.
It reminded me of the cleansing that takes place in the heart and soul of a person who comes to faith in Christ. Let’s take a look at some verses that I found.
This is from Paul’s instructions to husbands, “…Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing of the word” (Ephesians 5:25-26). Regarding salvation, Paul wrote to Titus, “When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).
As Jesus washed His disciples’ feet, he told Peter, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean” (John 13:10). When someone is saved, his sins are forgiven; but when the believer does sin, he does not need to start over, he only has to do what is taught in 1 John 1:9–“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
A “spot free rinse!” Something we all can use from time to time.
Just thinking,
Pastor Jerry

Birthdays

Hello everyone,

Today marks another birthday anniversary for me. I would try to ignore it, but people keep sending birthday greetings by email and through Facebook. I appreciate the sentiments, and thank my Lord for allowing me these 70 years. I’m excited to see what else He has for me.

We’re still working to get the house ready for winter. We still need our furnace and AC to be connected, and for the contractor to finish up the concrete work. In the meantime, we have been hanging some new cabinets to replace the ones we took out after the move.

While reflecting on the past years, I find we have been ministering here in Ericson for just over 15 years. In addition, I’ve had the privilege of writing these articles and devotional thoughts for almost 12 years. Today, as it has been since the beginning my intention is to introduce people to the Lord Jesus, and to build up and challenge those who already know Him.

I was thinking about the remodeling of our lake house, and how it might relate to our walk with Christ. Here is the thought: When we come to faith in Christ, he doesn’t begin a remodeling project. He makes us a whole new creation. It is not an upgrade, it is a new beginning.

Although I’m now 70 in human years, I was spiritually reborn 32 years ago. Here is what the Bible says about that.

A man named Nicodemus came to Jesus with questions about eternal matters, and this was Jesus’ answer to him: “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” (John 3:3). Further, Jesus said, “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” (John 3:16).

Romans 10:9. “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Then this: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

These are verses that are near and dear to my heart. I pray that you, also, will consider them for yourself.

Celebrating in Him,

Pastor Jerry