Archive for July, 2016

Pleasing God

It’s been a hot week, but there are cooler days ahead. I was able to spend a little time fishing one day last week, but had no success. Maybe I can get serious this week…one can only hope. We would like to spend some time exploring some of our state parks before winter. Cooler weather might provide the incentive to get started.

Every now and then, the question is posed on Facebook, “Do you think our nation has forgotten God?” I don’t think it takes a lot of study to answer a resounding YES! The world at large has no concept of God as creator and sustainer of life.

We have indeed forgotten God. Romans 1, beginning at verse 18 describes the culture of today. As I read these verses, Paul is painting a picture of today’s society. Let’s look at this passage together: “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Romans 1:18-20). The rest of the chapter describes these godless people in words that are descriptive of people today.

In addition to those who deny God altogether, are people who are trying to please God by doing good works. They will not acknowledge Him for who He is, but try to gain His favor through good deeds. It is a little like trying to win the lottery by buying more tickets in the hope of improving your odds of winning, except that the odds of winning God’s favor are zero.

Hebrews 11:6… And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

Acknowledging and obeying God are not only beneficial in this life, there is an eternal element. In this life, the Christian has the assurance of heaven, but also there are rewards that will last for eternity.

It’s been said before, no one is guaranteed tomorrow. Choose God, trust Christ, be saved today.

In His love,
Pastor Jerry

Real Peace

Again this week, there have been incidents of violence, both in our country and in others. It seems the more pleas there are for peace, the further we get from any kind of real peace. This, I believe would be a good time to see what God has to say about what constitutes true peace.

First, we read in the Old Testament book of Isaiah, “You (God) will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:2). It starts with placing our trust in God. Trusting God will bring peace that will help us persevere (hang in there) in times of trouble. Isaiah goes on to say, “Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord is the Rock eternal” (verse 3).

King David wrote this: “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8).

Jesus, in John’s gospel, said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). Further in John’s gospel, as he prepared his disciples for his death, he said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.” (John 16:33).

Regarding the world, and unsaved persons, the apostle Paul said, “the way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:17-18).

Paul wrote this to the church at Philippi: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

Finally, this benediction: Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” (2 Thessalonians 3:16).

In summary, only faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, can bring genuine peace. I pray those who sow unrest would come to Him, and experience the peace that exceeds all human understanding.

Resting in Him,
Pastor Jerry

On Respect for Others

A lot has been said and written in recent days about what is wrong with our world. After all the violence and killing of the past week, we all need to stop and think.

I believe we need desperately to return to a biblical view of the world and identify the real problem. Sin is the problem. Its remedy is Jesus Christ, and obedience to God’s word. Much of what is missing in our society today would return, if people would only use the Bible for guidance. We could begin by restoring respect for authority, for one another, for country and for God… beginning with respecting God, followed by all the others.

Sadly, I feel there are too few of us willing to say. “Wait! What are we doing to our country and to each other with this disrespectful and selfish attitude? Whatever happened to “love your neighbor as yourself?” We are at the point of “love yourself, and no one else.” Do unto others as you would have them do to you, has become “the only one who matters is me.” People have become worshipers of self, and the law is disregarded in every level of society, from the government to the man on the street.

The Bible says much about this word respect. Respect is something the Bible teaches at all levels of society, from families to the highest levels of government.

From the Old Testament: Each of you must respect his mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths. I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 19:3). “Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord” (19:32).

And, in the New Testament: Romans 13:7— “Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).

Finally, these instructions from Peter to the readers of his second letter, “Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king (substitute mayor, governor or president).”

I wonder, might we begin to do these things again?

In His love,
Pastor Jerry

Free In Jesus

Independence Day! Let Freedom Ring! Patriotic greetings from our place to yours. Some of you will read this on the Fourth of July, some will read it in the newspaper later. I need deadlines to get things done, but sometimes they are inconvenient. When writing for newspapers, deadlines get moved, so I am actually writing this on July 1.

Independence and freedom can mean different things to different people. Every kid wants to be independent. Everyone wants to be their own “boss”. Freedom, to most people means being free to do as they please, all of the time. These are not exactly the true meanings of independence and freedom.

You see, both independence and freedom involve a degree of responsibility. Independence Day commemorates our country’s achieving independence and gaining freedom from English rule, but with that independence came the responsibility for the new government to care for its people.

Freedom came to the people of America at great cost, and it also carries the responsibility to be good citizens. Those responsibilities include obedience to the law, and support of our government leaders, among others.

The Bible speaks of freedom. It refers to freedom in the sense of the relationship of a free people to their leaders, as they submit to governmental and civil authority. “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men…Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God” (1 Peter 2:13-16).

Then, there is the concept of the Christian’s being freed from the bondage of sin. This happens when a person trusts in Jesus Christ, who died to set people free from their sins. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).

What then, are the responsibilities of one who has been set free from sin? James gives this advice: “Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom” (James 2:12). Paul cautions his readers to “be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak” (1 Corinthians 8:9).

“He (God) has sent me (Jesus) to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and… to release the oppressed” (Luke 4:18).

Free in Him,
Pastor Jerry