Archive for November, 2014

Lesson From a Leper

Dear readers.

Have you enjoyed these warmer days? Me, too. I suspect we had better appreciate them, because it is a long time until spring weather returns.

We’ve been working in the house this past week, getting some new cabinets installed in the kitchen. I’m looking forward to the day I can finally say, “it is finished,” and I can sit down, look out the window and really enjoy the view. Now for some thoughts on Thanks Giving.

In Luke’s gospel, we read a story about ten men with leprosy, who encounter Jesus. They called out to Him, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us.” He told them to go and show themselves to the priests, and as they went, they were healed.

We are told that one of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back, threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him. It was noted in the text that he was even a Samaritan.

Jesus then asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? The only one to come and thank me is this foreigner.” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:11-19)

What made the one different? He noticed.

All ten were healed, but this Samaritan noticed. He returned to Jesus to give thanks for his healing. It’s hard not to say something, when something spectacular has happened.

Genuine thanksgiving is spontaneous, even involuntary—you recognize you have been blessed and can’t help but share your joy through thanksgiving.

By returning to Jesus, he is given a second gift. He leaves Jesus not only healed but also blessed in his own recognition of healing, blessed at being drawn into a deeper relationship with the one he thanks, blessed at hearing himself commended for having great faith.

That’s the way thanks-giving always works—in giving thanks for a gift given, we are blessed again.

Be grateful for blessings. That is called gratitude.

Be thankful, that is, give thanks for blessings of all sizes.

Notice your blessings. For those with eyes to see, God’s blessings are all around us. And as we give thanks for them, we notice even more and are blessed over and over.

In this season of Thanksgiving, are you thanking the Lord for His many blessings? After all, He is the giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17).

Praise Him,

Pastor Jerry

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Life’s End: Who Decides?

Good Monday,
Well, it could be warmer, but still it’s a good day. Monday gets a bad rap, but I’ve never found it to be any more challenging than any other day of the week.

Deer hunting season is underway, and from what I’ve seen, it is mostly hunting at this point.

Turning to a more serious line of thinking, a couple of weeks ago, there was much in the news about a young woman in Oregon, named Brittany Maynard, who was planning to end her own life by way of “assisted suicide.” She had been diagnosed with a terminal brain cancer, and wished to die “on her own terms.” Today, I would like to share some thoughts on this from a Christian world-view.

We should never presume to know more than God when it comes to the length of our lives and the time of the end for us as individuals. He alone should be the final judge of when we die. When a person takes his life by suicide, he is taking on a responsibility that is God’s alone.

From the Christian world-view, death is the enemy. Death is not our friend. We are not to seek death as an escape. It has been said if we want to go to heaven to escape this life, we are wanting to go for the wrong reason. God tells his people to choose life over death (Deuteronomy 30:19).

The right to give life and to take it away is a right reserved for God by Himself (Job 1:21). We are told that we will have trials in this life, but nowhere do we see that we are to seek an early exit from life (James 1:24). Moses, Elijah, Job, and Jonah each asked God to take their lives, but in every case, God refused. The apostle Paul longed to be in heaven, but was content to remain alive, waiting for God to act in His own time.

Finally, we do not know how God might use us for His good purpose in our last days. Intentionally taking our life will definitely interrupt God’s plan for us. When we reach the God-ordained end of our lives as His faithful followers, He is pleased. “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints” (Psalm 116:15).

God has numbered our days. He doesn’t make mistakes.

Trusting Him,
Pastor Jerry

No Political Solution

Dear friends,

We have heat in the lake house, and not any too soon. I hear the cold wind blowing already.

In church news, last evening was the restart of our annual pancake supper. We had a rather small turnout, but the food and fellowship was inspiring. Put us on your calendar for next November, and we’ll see if it can be even bigger and better.

The election is over, and politically, the landscape has changed again. The same concerns are out there, and we wonder if, and how, things might be different. There are some things we need to remember as we contemplate what lies ahead.

Washington, D.C, is not in control of the universe, neither is any other political system or ruler or country. Our God is still in control of His creation, and it will be so for eternity. Those who think there is a political solution to all the troubles of the world are sadly mistaken.

The root problem is the sinful heart of man. The solution to the problem of sin is faith in the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ. Unless mankind is willing to put itself under His rule and authority, things will not change appreciably.

Over the years, many have fought and died for ideas and for the cause of freedom. Only one person has died to bring true freedom. That one is Jesus Christ, God’s own Son.

May I share some words from the Bible that relate to this? These first verses are usually read during the Christmas season: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever” (Isaiah 9:6-7).

Of Jesus, we read, “By Him all things were created: Things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16-17).

As the saying goes; “No Jesus, no peace; know Jesus, know peace!”

Blessings,

Pastor Jerry

Waiting for a Mansion

Hello all,
It’s cloudy and mild at the lake this morning. The trees have lost most of their leaves, and it’s looking like we need to be getting ready for winter.

Last week, as we were busy putting up new cabinets, and planning other improvements to the house, this comment was made: “It’s not a mansion, but it will do.” In this, I was reminded that this world is not my home; that there is a far better place to which I will go at the end of this life. This is true of everyone who has placed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

In Hebrews 11, that great chapter on faith, the faithful listed there are called aliens and strangers on earth. In describing the faithful who had died, the writer said, “If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them” (Hebrews 11:15-16).

The fine mansions people pride themselves in for this life, will someday disappear. Those whose hope is in the Lord will receive their reward. Listen to the words of Peter: “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare (you talk about global warming)…That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness” (2 Peter 3:10-13).

You have heard these words of Jesus many times: “In my Father’s house are many rooms (some versions say ‘mansions’); if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).

Be it a mansion or a room, it will be infinitely better to be in the presence of the Lord for all eternity! The old song has it right. This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through. Scripture reminds us we will walk on streets of pure gold (Revelation 21:21).

Looking for that city,
Pastor Jerry