Archive for January, 2023

Keep Looking Up

Dear friends,
Winter has us in its grip and seems unwilling to loosen up. We get a few days of moderating temperatures, and then the cold returns. I know in time this will be a memory, but for now we will look forward to spring and all that follows. Bring on the green grass and flowers!

The dark days of winter, and seemingly unending bad news from around the world tends to give us a negative outlook on life. As winter wears on, we seem to develop a pessimistic outlook and everything begins to appear dark. In contrast, the Bible would have us focus on the positive view.

Not one of us could say life has always been a bed of roses. Because we live in a fallen world, bad things happen. It is good to learn from the negative experiences in our lives, but it is better when we remember the positive things we have experienced, along with the blessings of life. As the scripture says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice in the Lord always. 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 our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus…. whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:6-9).

The apostle Peter, writing to Christians who were enduring persecution said this: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials” (1 Peter 1:1-6).

It is obvious we have not endured persecution like those to whom Peter wrote, but be encouraged in this; there are better times to come. Keep a positive outlook and keep looking up!

In His grip,
Pastor Jerry

God Knows

Dear readers,
Well the big snow has come. The storm Is gone, but the snow will be with us for a while. It has been a good long time since we have dealt with this much snow. I am glad machinery has improved over the years, but even with that a snowfall of that depth leaves us with the realization that we are pretty puny in light of the power of storms.

Today we see people dismissing the Word of God as mere superstition, or a manmade list of rules, even denying that God exists. If they acknowledge Him at all, they say the Bible is irrelevant and does not apply in our time. It seems they are just laughing at God and He is doing nothing to defend Himself.

Those who promote the taking of human life as “health care” are ignoring God’s command against committing murder. Others insist that marriage can be anything other than a life-long covenant between a man and woman. They are basically thumbing their noses at God. Although it appears they are evading judgment, God says there is a final judgment coming which no one can avoid.

The psalm writer Asaph had an enlightening moment, and he wrote these words:
“For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong.
They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills.
Therefore, pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves in violence.
From their callous hearts comes iniquity; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits.
They scoff, and speak with malice; in their arrogance they threaten oppression.
Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth…
They say, “How can God know? Does the Most High have knowledge?”

“When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God;
then I understood their destiny.
Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin.
How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors!”

He closes with these words: “Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge” (Psalm 73:3-19, 27-28).

In Him,
Pastor Jerry

Lights in the Darkness

Dear friends,
Have you been enjoying the milder weather? I am content with high thirties and low forties for daytime highs at this time of the year. The snow lingers, but is slowly melting and this is good news. Every nice day means we are closer to spring, however there is plenty of time for more cold and snow. Here at the lake there are still those hardy souls ice fishing. The long nights are maintaining the ice quality needed for safety.

Over the years, I have stressed the need for Christians to be involved in everyday life.

Pastor Greg Laurie shares this: “Commentator G. Campbell Morgan wrote, “Organized Christianity which fails to make a disturbance is dead.” Wherever the apostle Paul went, there was either conversion or a riot. In Thessalonica, religious leaders complained to the city council, “Paul and Silas, who have turned the world upside down have come here, too” (Acts 17:6 CSB).

It seems that there was never a dull moment with the first-century followers of Jesus. They didn’t have modern technology at their disposal. Thomas didn’t tweet. Paul didn’t have a television show. Peter didn’t use social media. Yet, in a relatively brief period of time, these disciples changed their world. They permeated their culture.

Tertullian, a Christian leader who was a contemporary of these early followers of Christ, made this statement about the first-century Church: “We have filled every place among you—cities, islands, fortresses, towns, marketplaces, camps, tribes, town councils, the palace, the senate, the forum; we have left nothing to you but the temples of your gods.” Tertullian was pointing out that the Church had permeated everything, even Caesar’s palace.

Today, we need Christians who will go out and make a difference. We need more Christians involved in the arts, making great films, and creating graphic design. We need Christians in politics, godly men and women in places of authority, because the Bible says that when the righteous rule, the people rejoice (see Proverbs 29:2). We also need Christian doctors, Christian lawyers, and Christian businesspeople.

In the first century, all believers understood that they were called to do their part. So they left their comfort zones and took risks. In the same way, the believers today need to go out and let their light shine in our present culture. We need believers who will turn the present world upside down.”

For Him,
Pastor Jerry

Carry On

Dear readers,
January has been interesting in the weather department. So far, we’ve had rain, sleet, snow, lightning and thunder, all in the same night! We had no issues with power outages here, but some were off for a short time. The volunteers here at the lake were out cleaning off the streets early after the storm, and did a great job. Thanks for your effort, guys.

As we prepare for this year of 2023, I’m prompted to go to God’s Word for some encouragement. Sometimes, the thought of what lies ahead is a bit scary…especially in our current situation and culture. A favorite Bible passage of mine is Psalm 62:1-8.

Psalm 62:1–8… My soul finds rest in God alone;
my salvation comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
How long will you assault a man?
Would all of you throw him down—
this leaning wall, this tottering fence?
They fully intend to topple him
from his lofty place;
they take delight in lies.
With their mouths they bless,
but in their hearts they curse. Selah
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.

These are encouraging words in uncertain times, and they have helped me many times in the past. A lot of attention has been focused on congress in recent days, and we pray our leaders will get back to the task of governing. Romans 13:1-. We are to pray for our government officials, that they would come to Jesus, and that they would govern justly. God has placed those in government because he wants them there, but make no mistake, government is not the answer to the mess we are in. God is the only one who can heal our land.

There will come a time when Jesus will set up His kingdom on earth and the prophecy of Isaiah 6:9 will be fulfilled. “For to us a child is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.” Until then, we carry on.

In Him,
Pastor Jerry

Read the Book

Dear friends,
We’ve been in survival mode this past week. Some nasty bug took hold of us, but after seeking medical counsel, it looks as if we’ll survive! The weather was nicer this week, at least it warmed up a bit. Ice fishing became a thing with the thicker ice, and skaters were enjoying the smooth ice, as well. Ah, to be young again. Our New Year’s Eve was spent at home, waiting for bed-time and the calendar turned a page without our help.

I have been noticing that people these days are confused about a lot of things in life. They are trying to redefine the most basic truths about our existence as a people, and our purpose for life. I want to offer some friendly advice: Just read the book!

The book I’m referring to is God’s Word, the Bible. God is truth, His book is true and no matter how people try to make it say something it does not, it will never change.

It is okay to bring our requests to the Lord, but let us not start to dictate to Him how we will interpret His Word. When Job, who had been attacked by Satan, came to God asking questions about God’s purpose in his situation, God began questioning Job.
“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! (Job 38:4-5). As God goes down the list of questions He has for Job, Job suddenly realizes how insignificant he is in front of God Almighty. Then Job answered the Lord: “I am unworthy—how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. I spoke once, but I have no answer—twice, but I will say no more.” (Job 40:3-5)
Oh, that those who would reinterpret God’s word, would see Him as Job did. God has the answers; it is our duty to take them as truth.

Are there questions about the definition of marriage? Look in the Book. Are you wondering about how to get to heaven? It’s in the Book. Do you wonder how you can have real peace? Right again. What about racism? Same answer. Parenting and families? The role of government? You get the picture.

The truth can change your opinion, but your opinion will not change the truth.

In Him,
Pastor Jerry