Archive for November, 2015

Christmas is Coming

Thanksgiving is past, and now we look forward to the Christmas season. As we anticipate the first coming of the Lord Jesus as an infant in a stable, we can also rest assured that He will return again. However, when He returns to earth the next time, it will not be as a helpless baby, but as scripture tells us, He will come as a conquering King.

In the Bible, He is also described as a sacrificial Lamb. “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain” (Revelation 5:12). In addition, He is called the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5), and King of kings (Rev 17:14).

As we celebrate the Christmas season, let us not just focus on the Baby in the manger, but as world events seem to spin out of control, let’s remember His promise to come again and set things right. He will come again, and He will bring judgment on the world. Those who have placed their faith in His finished work on the cross will go to spend eternity with Him in heaven, while all others are condemned to eternity in hell.

It is okay to celebrate Christmas. I enjoy the season as much as the next person, but His first appearance was just the beginning of the story. He grew to manhood, was hung on a cross as payment for our sins, was buried, rose from the dead, and today is seated at the right hand of God the Father. In God’s perfect timing, He will return to earth as victorious King, and we will see what John saw in Revelation 5:13…Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: “To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”

The Christmas season calls us to make a decision. To accept the Lord Jesus as Savior and Lord, or reject this Gift that God given to us. What will your answer be?

In Him,
Pastor Jerry

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Being Thankful

Rain! Who would have guessed we would have received so much rain in late November? Since I had taken the rain gauges inside for the winter, I don’t have an accurate measurement. All I know, is, I am very glad we didn’t get that much precipitation in the form of snow.

As we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, let me share some things I am thankful for. First of all, I am thankful for still being here to write these columns. In relation to that, I thank the Lord for bringing me though my medical crisis back in August. I believe I am almost back to normal. I am reminded in writing this that we too often take good health for granted. It only takes a moment for that to change in a big way. I am now more aware of the need to thank God for each new day; another day to be with family, another day to serve Him.

The topic of thanksgiving, I believe, should always turn our thoughts toward God, who provides for our every need. After all, He is our Provider, the Giver of every good gift. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like the shifting shadows” (James 1:17).

“For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving” (1 Timothy 4:4). Regarding our tendency to worry about the future: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).

The Psalms have much to say concerning being thankful to the Lord. Here are a few verses: “I will praise God’s name in song and glorify Him with thanksgiving” (Psalm 69:30). “Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song” (Psalm 100:4). “Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make music to our God on the harp” (Psalm 147:7).

Finally, the one thing for which we are eternally thankful, the gift of salvation through faith in Christ. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). “Thanks be to God for His indescribable Gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15)!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone,
Pastor Jerry

God’s Judgment

We arrived home from our Colorado trip just ahead of the nasty weather. It was good to be home when the wind and rain/snow arrived. It was good to see friends and family again, but home is always a welcome sight.

Last evening (Sunday), our church held its annual pancake and sausage supper. It is our gift to the community in which we reside. It was well attended and everyone enjoyed the food and fellowship.

One topic which seems to surface from time to time, is, why did God allow all those people in the Old Testament to be killed? I will attempt to give an answer from God’s own word.

All through the Old Testament, we see God commanding his people Israel to destroy the pagan nations. At times, though, he brings pagan nations against Israel as the means of executing judgment on them. We might ask what is up with this. If we study these situations, God gives the answer.

In Ezekiel, as God pronounced judgment on Israel, the prophet asked the question, “Oh, Lord God! Are you going to destroy the entire remnant of Israel when you pour out your wrath on Jerusalem?” God’s answer… “The iniquity (or sin) of the house of Israel and Judah is extremely great… I will not show pity or spare them.”

God also used Babylon to punish Israel for her sin, but Babylon went beyond what God had planned, and as a result, God brought judgment and punishment against that nation. Every time God punished nations, including his chosen people, it was for their disobedience and rejection of Him.

In the New Testament, we are warned of the consequences of turning our backs on God, and failing to acknowledge Him as Holy God, creator of everything. When we reject God, it is called sin. Romans 3:23 tells us, “all have sinned and come fall short of the glory of God.” Further, Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death…”

In the book of Revelation, we see a time of final judgment, when God once and for all brings judgment on the world for all its sin. He then brings those who have been obedient to his call to salvation into the new heaven and earth, where they will spend eternity with God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

In His love,
Pastor Jerry

Going Home

I’m writing this morning from Livermore, Colorado. We have had a good visit with friends, and later today, we will visit my brother and sister-in-law further down the road. We hope to return to Ericson Tuesday or Wednesday. That will depend on the weather, and it sounds as if Tuesday might be the day to head back home.

Thinking of going home, early this morning I was remembering a time several years ago when a cow of ours somehow got across the fence, and into an adjoining pasture. I didn’t know she was gone until the next morning when she was standing on the wrong side of the fence, wanting to get back into her home territory.

Knowing a little about bovine behavior, I figured she wasn’t welcome in the other group of cows, and she decided home wasn’t too bad. (I’m not too sure cows make too many conscious decisions, but who knows?)

Scripture reminds us Christians that we are aliens and strangers in a foreign land. One version of the Bible calls us strangers and temporary residents. We are in this world, but our true home is heaven. Many times, we don’t feel welcome in our world, and long for our heavenly home. The difference between us and a stray cow is that we are placed in this world by the Lord, and he expects us to remain here and influence our world on his behalf until he calls us home.

The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, told of his desire to go to be with the Lord. He wrote, “I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body” (Philippians 1:23-24). His desire was to be in heaven, but he also knew the Lord wanted him to stay in this world until his work for the Lord was completed.

At times the world around us seems to be moving further away from any notion of a sovereign God, and we, like Paul, sometimes desire to be at home with the Lord, but again, he has left us here to be salt and light to a dark world. And, when our work here is done, rest assured, he will take us to that home he has promised us.

Blessings,
Pastor Jerry

God’s Playbook

Dear friends,
We have been enjoying some cool fall weather, along with a little rain. Daytime temperatures have been comfortable, to say the least. Later this week, we’ll be taking the camper out for a few days. We’ll leave Thursday, and probably return Tuesday of next week. We’ll be visiting friends and relatives in Colorado, so we won’t be filling the water lines. It will be ‘dry camping’ in a literal sense. As far as weather related problems, the forecast is pretty good for that time period.

On a recent road trip, a billboard caught my eye. It was promoting a popular brand of beer. Now, I gave up supporting that industry years ago, but here is the ad: “(Insert brand name) beer, helping you live life by your own playbook.”

I have followed that playbook. I can assure you, it doesn’t live up to its promises. I have found the Word of God to be a much more dependable guide for life, than any personal “playbook”. It gives practical advice on dealing with every-day life. By following it, you will be living a life that is pleasing to God.

Let’s look at a few verses that support my position. “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word” (Psalm 119:9). “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you (Psalm 119:11). “Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him” (Proverbs 30:5).

Here some more passages that speak to the benefits of following God’s Word: “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers (Psalm 1:1-3). “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

A word of warning to close; “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22).

In Truth,
Pastor Jerry