Archive for January, 2017

Restoration

Dear readers,
We’ve had our second major weather event for this winter season. I’m sure others received more snow than we did, but that’s okay. I know we complain about the weather, but without some winter-time moisture, it would be a bleak picture when spring comes. And, we cannot ignore the beauty of the new-fallen snow. The snow seems to restore the beauty of creation, giving a picture of the purity and holiness of our Lord.

On the topic of restoration, there are many people today who are involved in various types of restoration. We restore old cars, old tractors, old houses, and even old landmarks. There are products to restore hair color and any number of other “restorations”. Some would like to restore our culture to an earlier, simpler time, but sadly, this is an impossibility.

There is good news, however. God is in the restoration business, too. Hear the word of God: “In that day I will restore David’s fallen tent. I will repair its broken places, restore its ruins, and build it as it used to be, so that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations that bear my name, declares the Lord, who will do these things” (Amos 9:11-12).
“He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:5).
Psalm 23:1-3… “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul…”
In Acts 3:21, Peter speaks concerning Jesus: “He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.

1 Peter 5:10… “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong and steadfast.”
Again, Peter writes, “But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13).

There is more good news; God also does not merely restore people to a former state, he makes them into new creations. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

In Truth,
Pastor Jerry

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A Life Changed

The first month of 2017 is almost over. I suppose it’s my age, but I’m already thinking of summer and spending time at some of our state parks. Maybe we’ll just hook up to the camper and have a summer adventure. Who knows, maybe I’ll find some new things to write about.

The inauguration of a new president was in the news this week. Whatever your thoughts might be on this, we know the country is headed in a new direction. I pray it is also a good direction. As I think about this, I’ll share a story about a man whose life took a new direction.

It is a true story. There was a young man, a rancher, who was living his life pretty much day to day. He had very little thought of where he was headed in life. He had taken over his family ranch upon the death of his father a few years before, and was more or less feeling his way along. Like a lot of self-sufficient rancher types, he had virtually no thought of spiritual matters, and he saw no need for Jesus.

This young man had a wife and two young sons. Eventually, at the suggestion of his mother, he started taking his family to the little country church down the road. He was doing this for his boys, because he thought it would be good for them. Then a funny thing happened.

After a time, he realized his own need for a Savior, and the necessity of turning his life over to Jesus Christ. After years of thinking he was in control of his life, it was clear he could do nothing without God’s help. In time, this man was led into ministry, eventually becoming the pastor of another little country church, which he served for over 15 years.

What was it that caused him to turn his life around? It was the preaching of God’s word in that little country church, specifically the following passages. First the words of Jesus: “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Then from the apostle Paul; “If you confess you’re your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved… Everyone who calls on the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10: 9-13).

Now you know my story,
Pastor Jerry

Music in Worship

Dear friends,
Here is a lighter thought for the week. I like music. More specifically, I like good music. I prefer the old songs, although there is occasionally some good new music. However, to me, it seems no matter what the genre, the old music is much more comforting than the newer stuff. Maybe it is just a sentimentality issue from my perspective.

I took a trip into the past recently, via satellite radio, to listen to some of the songs that were popular when I was young. What I heard were songs reminiscent of what passes for music in many circles today. Apparently, songs with indistinguishable lyrics and non-melodic tunes, have been around longer than I thought. I found that some of the old-time stuff wasn’t all that good, musically speaking. I can understand my parents’ reaction to some of the ‘music’ I was listening to in the late 50’s and early 60’s.

God gave us music, I believe, and through it we have the blessing of using that music to worship Him. Scripture encourages us to use music in our worship, and because our worship is to bring God praise and glory, we would be wise to give our best. I’m not going to start a discussion of worship styles, or music preferences, but to draw attention to the praise aspect our music. Let’s look at some affirming scriptures.

Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him. Praise the Lord with the harp make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy (Psalm 33:1—3).

My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music (Psalm 57:7).

It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, to proclaim your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night, to the music of the ten-stringed lyre and the melody of the harp. For you make me glad by your deeds, O Lord; I sing for joy at the works of your hands (Psalm 92:1-4).

Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord (Ephesians 5:19).

And, remember, even if you can’t sing, you can still have a song in your heart.

Musically yours,
Pastor Jerry

Purity of Speech

Dear readers,
Christmas is over, a new year is before us, and we can look ahead to 2017. My prayer is that 2017 will be a good year for all who read this. My other prayer is that you who do not know Jesus Christ as Savior, will choose to do so soon. Also, that we who believe, would more than ever live the life to which He has called us. What follows relates to this thought.

I am somewhat of a Facebook junky. I enjoy seeing photos and inspirational posts, and even some of the news items. It puzzles me, though, when I see profane posts shared by those who call themselves Christians. In the ‘old’ days, we would excuse our profanity by saying “pardon my French”, but it wasn’t French. Now, we apologize in advance by saying something like, “this is a good message, but beware of an occasional “f” bomb.”

My question is this. If, as a Christian, you have to apologize for language in something you post on Facebook, why post it?

What does the Bible say about our speech? I’m glad you asked. “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be” (James 3:9-10).

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children… but among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving” (Ephesians 5:1-4).

If I may paraphrase Philippians 4:8; “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–post, share, and tweet such things.”

Here is another thought: If you must repost or share those things that contain those words, why not take the time to edit out the inappropriate content? I think you will find the information is the same without the profanity, if it isn’t, it probably isn’t worth putting out there in the first place. “The things that come out of the mouth come from the heart” (Jesus, in Matthew 15:18).

Think about it,
Pastor Jerry

Don’t Be Afraid

Happy New Year!
A new year is upon us, and it seems for many people that 2016 was stressful and worrisome in many ways. There are worries about terrorism, drive-by shootings and random violence. Many are concerned about finances and other issues. Here are some thoughts and some biblical assurances for those who could use some encouragement.

The Bible is packed with uplifting and encouraging passages, both in the Old and New Testaments. During a recent cold spell, I notice the little birds at our feeder, and remembered that God takes care of them by providing their food. He doesn’t put it in their mouths, but he does provide. Their responsibility, it would seem, is only to partake of his goodness. If we have a bird feeder, we become part of his plan to provide for those little birds. I doubt they worry, because I believe God created them be worry free.

These are His words for us:
“Do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

Matthew 6:25-27… “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”

Jesus spoke to his followers, telling them of persecution to come, and said this: “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear. Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Luke 12:4-7).

When we put our faith and trust in the Lord, we need not fear the future.

Have a worry-free 2017,
Pastor Jerry