Archive for July, 2015

Listen Closely

In our Sunday school discussion yesterday, the point was made that people need to listen to the Lord Jesus. When Jesus walked this earth, He told people to listen to His voice. Jesus called the crowd to Him and said, “Listen and understand” (Matthew 15:10). At the transfiguration, the disciples present heard the voice of God saying, “This is my Son whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him” (Matthew 17:5).

In our day, we can read the words of Jesus in the Bible, but as Jesus was preparing to return the Father, he taught his disciples to listen to the teaching of the Holy Spirit. These are Jesus’ words: “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to Me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you” (John 16:13-14).

Then, in Revelation, as Jesus speaks to John concerning the seven churches, we read these words. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22). Seven times in 2 chapters, he repeats this command, and when anything in scripture is repeated that many times, we need to pay attention.

Believers in John’s day had to deal with background noise from the culture around them that demanded careful listening to know what the Spirit was teaching. It is the same for Christians today. We must listen carefully to what the Spirit is saying, because the background noise can drown out His voice.

Few are those today, who actually listen to the words and commands of Jesus. Even fewer are those who obey Him.

Again, the words of Jesus: “If you love Me, you will obey what I command…Whoever has My commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves Me” (John 14:15, 21).

Simply His,
Pastor Jerry

Advertisements

Decision Time

We are enjoying some more time spent at our lake house. All the hard work on the house and yard is easing up, and it is nice just to sit and enjoy the view. We have a couple more camping trips in mind, but no specific dates or destinations yet. School starts in a month, and we will once more settle into a more structured routine.

Recent events in world and national affairs require we who are followers of Jesus Christ, and who believe in the Truth of God’s Word, to examine our commitment to the faith. One of those events is the ruling of the Supreme Court of the United States of America concerning same sex marriage. As one commentator said, “there is no longer any fence to sit on.” We must take a stand regarding what we believe on this topic. I’m reminded of the challenge of Joshua to the children of Israel as they prepared to enter the Promised Land.

“Now fear the Lord and serve Him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:14-15).

The question for us is this: Will we serve and obey the Lord, or will we give allegiance to the secular philosophy of the culture around us? It is time to choose. There is no fence left to straddle.

Jesus’ apostles were commanded by the Jewish Sanhedrin not to speak or teach in His name. Their response was, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God” (Acts 4:19).

Serving Him,
Pastor Jerry

On Contentment

After a hot weekend, it has cooled off a bit this morning. With the humidity being a little lower, maybe it will be somewhat more bearable. As usual, we need the warmth for the growing crops, and for the hay to cure. The problem is, everybody wants it perfect for their own pet project.

We could take a lesson from the apostle Paul, who said he had learned to be content in every circumstance. There is a lesson in this for all of us. Let’s look. Paul was thanking the church at Philippi for supporting him in some way. He wrote, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:11-13).

Paul gave similar instructions to Timothy, speaking to the issue of contentment in this way: “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that” (1 Timothy 6:6-8).

Paul goes further a few verses later in words that could probably apply to everyone in America:

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and be willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life” (1 Timothy 6:17-19).

The writer of Hebrews has similar advice: “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5).

All our “things” are on loan from God. Let’s be content with what we have.

In Him,
Pastor Jerry

Let Freedom Ring

Hello everyone,
Looking out my window this morning, I see rain falling. There will be no need to water the lawn and garden today.

Saturday we celebrated our nation’s independence. It was a great celebration here in Ericson, Nebraska. There was abundant sunshine, very little wind, parades in town and at the lake. Also, fireworks over the lake, and people everywhere enjoying the day.

As we celebrate America’s Independence Day, and the freedom we have, I am always drawn to the thought that Jesus Christ died on a cross to provide us with a different kind of freedom. Scripture says everyone is born with a sin nature as a result of Adam and Eve sinning in the Garden of Eden. Sin separates us from God and leaves us prisoners to our sin. The only way to escape the bonds of that sin is to place one’s faith and trust in the finished work of Christ on the cross.

Millions of people in the world today have allowed our enemy, the devil, to convince them that there is no escape from the prison they are in. They don’t know, or don’t care that God has provided a Savior in the person of his Son. People everywhere are searching for their ‘identity’, while at the same time seeking meaning and purpose in their lives.

I believe the Bible has the answers to these questions. The end result of the sacrifice of Jesus as payment of our sin debt, is that we can know not only who we are, but whose we are. The Scriptures tell us God created everyone in His image. He wants fellowship with us, but due to the effects of sin, that fellowship has been broken. When we put our trust in Christ as Savior, our relationship with God is restored. As a result of that restoration, we are then called His children. Our identity then, is child of God. And our purpose is to love, serve and worship Him for eternity.

“Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, he gave the right to become children of God…” (John 1:12).

“But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life” (Romans 6:22).

How’s that for identity and purpose?

His child,
Pastor Jerry