Archive for March, 2015

Springtime Meditations

We are starting to see a green tinge developing in the grass. The prevailing breezes are shifting to the south, trees are budding, and spring is in the air. The only thing lacking in our area is rain. There have been numerous grass fires in recent days, and most everyone is praying for rain. If the forecast holds true, those prayers may be answered early this week.

At the lake house, I am getting very close to finishing the sun porch. Next, we will try to get some grass established before the weather gets to warm. I may seek professional help in that area, because Milrae would like to see some actual grass.

The church calendar shows Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Resurrection Day coming up very soon. The good thing is these observances have a message that is timeless. This sounds like a good topic for our devotional this week.

When we were ranching, spring was always a reminder of good things to come, and after becoming a Christian, it all held new meaning for me.

Things like the knowledge that through faith in Jesus, I was raised to new life by being born again. Given a new start. A new heart. Become a new creation. Renewed in my spirit. My broken relationship with God restored through faith in Christ and belief in His resurrection.

Follow me through these verses. In John 3:3, to Nicodemus, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” God makes a promise to his people; “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). “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).

New life. A new start. Salvation from sin and guilt. Eternity with my Lord and Savior. These are what Spring-time and the Resurrection mean to me.

In remembering the new little calves playing in the sunshine, I am also reminded of an Old Testament verse. “And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall” (Malachi 4:2).

Enjoying the Son shine,
Pastor Jerry

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On Updates

Dear readers,
Thursday, I went to Topeka, Kansas for a meeting. As I drove down highway 281, I saw power company workers stringing new wires along a line of new poles. This is being done to update the system in order to meet projected demands for electric power. Just last week our immediate area experienced a 6 hour outage, so work could be done on the new lines. It was a reminder how dependent we are on our electric system.

I believe we Christians, people who look to Jesus as our source of power for living, sometimes neglect our power source. By that, I mean we do not stay close to Him in our daily walk. It seems we get into maintenance mode, and just do the basics. We may attend church occasionally, or maybe think about reading a few verses of scripture now and then.

At our meeting Friday morning, we were challenged as pastors to update our technology, with a thought that neglecting those updates would be detrimental to our ministries. The idea is to keep current on ways to communicate the gospel to the people. There is a real danger of becoming stagnant and ineffective as God’s servants, if we neglect those periodic updates.

Have you been tapping your power source to its full potential? What about updating your relationship with the Lord? Have we slipped into maintenance mode? Has our connection to the church become a random post of a ‘religious’ sounding meme on Facebook?

Verses that come to mind include Hebrews 10:25. “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another…”
“Come near to God and he will come near to you…” (James 4:8a).
“I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being” (Paul in Ephesians 3:16).
“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father…encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word” (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17).

In our world of electronic communication, we need to stay updated. Why should it be any less important to update the connection to our Source of spiritual well-being?

Could it be time for a spiritual update? Do we need to get out of maintenance mode and rebuild that connection to our Father in heaven?

Just thinking,
Pastor Jerry

Real Peace

Here is a brief update from last week. The problem with the pickup was an injector that stuck open. It was a somewhat easy and relatively inexpensive fix. We’re thankful it wasn’t a major breakdown.

Sunday evening, we were at the lake house. I was sitting with a pen and yellow pad, looking out the window and thinking of a topic for this column. There was no wind, and the lake was as smooth as glass. It was just quiet and still, and it made me feel at peace.

Here are a few of my thoughts from this. There is much in the world that is far from peaceful and quiet, but for a short time, in that spot, there seemed to be real peace. In life most people are seeking peace of some kind. It may be that there would be peace between nations, that there would be no more war. Sometimes it is just that we would be at peace in our relationships with other people, or maybe that the battles within ourselves would cease.

Peace, as described in the Bible, begins with the knowledge of God. Isaiah, says of those without God: “The way of peace they do not know” (Isaiah 59:7). Paul quotes this verse in Romans 3, as he describes sinners (Romans 3:10-18).

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul tells those who have placed their trust in Jesus to be anxious about nothing, to bring their concerns and burdens to the Lord, and “The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7).

The peaceful scene at the lake won’t last. Storms will come and the wind will make waves upon the water. We are promised trials and tribulation in this world, but the one who is anchored in the Lord will have peace in the midst of the storm.

As children of God, we can say with confidence, “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” (Psalm 4:8).

I close this week with these words from 2 Thessalonians 3:16. “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.”

Held in His hands,
Pastor Jerry

Plans: Fail

Dear friends,
It is a bit cloudy this morning. There is a threat of winter precipitation in the forecast, but looking ahead we see signs of a warming trend. I am so ready for spring, and all that it brings. As I talk to people, I know I’m not alone in this.

We all have days when our plans for the future take unexpected turns. Saturday, we decided to go to Grand Island to get some more material for our lake house project. It seemed pretty simple; go get the things on our list, come home early and get some work done. As we pulled out on the highway, I noticed black smoke coming from the pickup exhaust. For a diesel, this is not a total surprise, but it continued all the way to the city, then as I stopped for a light, the smoke turned from black to white. This is not a good thing.

I knew son Ryan and Alex were somewhere south of York on another mission, so I called and they came to our rescue. I got someone to tow the pickup to the shop, Ryan and Alex met us at Menard’s, and with our purchases, took us back home. Now we will wait for the ‘good news’ concerning the pickup engine. As the poet said, “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”

This all reminds me of what the Bible says about our making plans, and what God makes of our plans. Here are a few: “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21).

This one from James about says it all: “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that’” (James 4:13-15).

Someone once said, “If you want to make the Lord laugh, just tell him your plans.” To this I can only say, “Amen!”

In His grip,
Pastor Jerry