Archive for April, 2015

A Cat Story

It was a busy weekend. Much time was spent driving and sitting in meetings, and I am glad to be home. More on that later. Today I want to give you a cat story.

We have a sliding patio door leading onto our back deck. The corner of the screen has been damaged and there is a square of cloth covering the hole. Over time, our cat and dog have used it for a pet door. Last week, a stray cat came through it into the house.

We tried several times to get him out. The first time he came to the door, he could not see how he came in. I opened the screen and we brought him around again. Still, he must have thought the screen was closed. He ran to the bathroom. We chased him back to the door. He hid under a bed. Finally, he took a chance and jumped out through the wide open door. He didn’t even come back and thank us.

Temptation many times seem harmless, so we take a small step into it, and find ourselves trapped. We cannot find the way out, even when loving, caring Christians try to help us see it. They show us from the Bible that Jesus is the way to freedom, but we refuse to believe them or to see their sincerity. Finally, out of desperation we take a chance, step through that door, and are set free.

Jesus says not only am I the door, I am the only door (or gate). I am the way, the truth and the life (John 10:9; John 14:6).

I visited with a young man this week, and found that he is a pastor to prisoners and people in recovery. He shared he had come to faith in Jesus out of that kind of background. Here are his words: There were people who tried to show me the way out of that lifestyle, but I would not listen. I wish I could find some of them, tell them what happened, and thank them.

If you have experienced that freedom, thank those who showed you the way. If you are one trapped in sin, Jesus is the way out. Place your faith in Him, your sins will be forgiven, and you will be set free. The Bible tells me so. (See John 6:37).

Free in Christ,
Pastor Jerry

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Marriage God’s Way

Finally, it rained! Now, it seems the wind takes center stage. At any rate, I guess it all goes with the territory. As someone said, it is part of living here.

I have not specifically addressed the issue of same-sex marriage and related topics in this column, but perhaps it is time I did so. Let me say first of all, I believe the concept is not even mentioned in the Bible. God established the institution of marriage as between a man and a woman (Genesis 2:18, 24; Genesis 5:2). I find no other description of marriage anywhere in His word.

This idea of people of the same gender having the right to enter into a marriage, is the furthest from what God intended. Those who believe the Bible is wrong in this area, or that it no longer is relevant, have believed a lie straight from the devil.

Now, I know there are those who will challenge me in this area, perhaps even quoting that scripture that says “judge not”. I cannot judge a person’s heart, that is God’s responsibility. However, I believe the Christian has the responsibility to call attention those things God has said are sinful. Remember, though, we are cautioned to deal with our own sin before attempting to help someone else.

I believe the Ten Commandments are commands, not suggestions, and they are not outdated. God’s word is true and He does not change. The things He calls sin are still sin. Just because the world is chasing after sensual pleasure and self-gratification of all kinds, doesn’t make it right or acceptable to God.

One more point that needs to be made here is this; being tempted to sinful behavior is not sinning. Giving in to temptation is sin. The good news is this: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins. (1 John 1:9). The follow-up is that we turn from that sin (John 8:1-8).

The Bible is not hard to understand when it comes to what it calls sin. Most of the things we don’t understand are probably not that important in our daily lives. Here is a quote from Mark Twain; “It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.”

In His love,
Pastor Jerry

On Christian Fellowship

The larger blessing of the past week has to be the rain that fell. Amounts vary over the area, but it was all greatly appreciated. It is good to see the daffodils, and tulips and now the wild plums are near to blooming. As mentioned before, spring has to be my favorite time of year.

Now to our devotional thought for the week. I often encounter people who say they are Christians, yet they do not think it is important to go to church. The usual reply is they can worship in the outdoors, while they are at the lake, in the hunting blind, or wherever they find themselves on a Sunday morning. In fact, in the days before I came to faith in Christ, I used the same argument for why I did not “attend church.” It is not just a Christian excuse.

Where do we get the idea we can be lone wolf Christians? Scripture does not indicate that this is a great idea. In fact, quite the opposite is taught by Jesus and the apostles.

Romans 12:5… “In Christ, we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”
1 Corinthians 12:27… “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”
Hebrews 10:24-25… “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the day approaching.”

I believe we are living in a time when it is becoming more and more important to spend as much time in Christian fellowship as possible. We are increasingly under attack for our Christian beliefs, and we must band together to stand strong.

There is a story about a man who stopped going to church. His pastor visited him on a cold day, and as they sat in front of the fireplace, the pastor took a hot coal from the fire and set it aside, where it began to cool and eventually went out. After a bit, the pastor moved the coal back closer to the live coals, where it immediately began to burn again. The man got the message and returned to church the next week.

In Him,
Pastor Jerry

On Blessings and Trials

You may have noticed there was no article from me last week. I had one of those springtime colds that left me no desire to do anything, except to survive. I am much better now, thank you.

I’ll give you a brief recap of the missing week: It started Monday with a trip on to Grand Island to get some things for the lake house. On my way home from Grand Island with the little trailer behind the van, I stopped for gas and realized I had lost the trailer. To say I was surprised, would be an understatement. On examination, I discovered the receiver hitch pin was missing, as was the hitch and trailer.

It was a little like the Bible story of the woman who had ten coins and lost one. She went to great lengths to find the lost one. I have several trailers, and I was not one bit concerned about the ones left at home, but was very interested in finding the lost one. I did find the trailer and its cargo sitting upright and in great condition, parked in the edge of a cornfield beside the highway. This was cause for celebration and praise to the Lord for keeping it safe and out of the way of others on the road.

Tuesday, there was a visit to the tax man. The blessing of that was, in spite of a fairly large amount of tax due the IRS, it could have been much worse.

In the middle of the week, came the beginning of the aforementioned cold or flu, whatever it was. I even stayed home from church that Sunday and let someone else preach in my place.

Last week was spent regaining my strength and motivation, and it ended yesterday celebrating the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus with many of our church family. I also had the privilege of conducting a baby dedication service just prior to the Easter message.

It was a couple of weeks of blessing and trial, with the several blessings making the trials seem less important. Looking back, I see that the happenings of the last 14 days allowed me to pause and see what matters most. It begins with my faith in the Risen Lord, and knowing that He is in charge of every situation, good or bad.

In His grip,
Pastor Jerry