Archive for the ‘Bible’ Category

Stand Firm

Dear friends,
It has rained again. Our gauge showed very close to a half-inch, and we are thankful for it. We will not let up in praying for more, trusting the Lord to answer those prayers in His perfect timing. We visited Alex, Breanna and little Maria on Saturday. It was a good day, but we were glad to get back home after helping with some projects in their home. We are reminded again that we don’t have the staying power we used to have.

As we read the news, we are constantly reminded of the fact that the Christian values we grew up with have fallen out of favor with the current culture. Bible based truth is looked upon as outdated, old fashioned, out of step with reality and even man-made or racist.

There is a sharp dividing line between those who would proclaim the truth as seen in God’s word, and those who write it off as irrelevant to today’s society. In the modern mindset, those who stand by God’s word are increasingly on the “wrong side of history.” No matter the topic, if you proclaim God’s word as truth you are seen as being hopelessly out of the mainstream. To the world’s way of thinking, the truth is whatever the individual sees as truth. To them, absolute truth doesn’t exist.

I have shared these verses many times, and they never grow old or out of date: Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). “But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger” (Romans 2:8).

Jesus, praying for his disciples said, “Sanctify them (believers) by the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17). In the Old Testament book of Isaiah, God says, “I the Lord, speak the truth, I declare what is right” (Isaiah 45:29). Also, in Isaiah, “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever’ (40:8).

We Christians must stand for the truth, no matter what the world may perceive as “truth”, even though we may be persecuted for it. In the words of Carl F. H. Henry; the alternatives are clear: either we return to the God of the Bible or perish in the pit of lawlessness.

In Truth,
Pastor Jerry

Speaking Truth

Dear friends,
Thank you for letting me share my thoughts each week. We have harvested a few tomatoes from the garden. There will be more in due time. Rain continues to be in short supply for many, and we need to be faithful in prayer for God to provide. It has been said we can’t control the weather, but we know the One who does. We must believe He will send rain in accordance with His perfect will.

Truth seems to be in short supply these days. Each day there are claims that this person or that is giving us the truth concerning the events of that day. The next day we hear a different story. Scripture reminds us that as we get closer to the return of Jesus Christ, fewer people will know the truth and some will even deny the truth.

Truths are not created; they exist. God is truth and He has always been truth; therefore, Jesus is the end of the search for truth. He is the revealed Truth of God. Jesus said of himself; “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Christians are to speak the truth always. Paul’s instructions to Timothy were, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:2-5).

In other words, stay grounded in the truth of God’s word. Stand firm in the place He has called you to serve. Fight the good fight, finish the race, keep the faith. If you do this, you will receive God’s promised crown of righteousness on the day of Christ’s return. (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

“To the Jews who had believed Him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32).

For Truth,
Pastor Jerry

Warning Signs

Dear friends,
According to the weather man, we will see a whole week of cooler temperatures. This is something we have all been waiting for. We went to O’Neill Saturday afternoon for a yard party, and the temperature on our vehicle display showed 102 degrees at one point. Much too hot for this old guy!

Over the last several months there had been an issue with our pickup tires losing air where the tire bead contacts the rim. There is a handy warning message on the dash display that shows the message “Low tire pressure”, when the pressure falls below a certain level. When this message would appear, I got in the habit of making a few short trips before I would take the time to inflate the tires to the proper level. After all, it was such a slow leak there was no hurry.

In time, we got to the point where those tires needed replacing, so we purchased a new set. Saturday, when I got the pickup out of the garage, there was the dreaded low tire pressure warning. My thought was I don’t have time for this, it will wait until tomorrow. Even so, I took time to look at the tires and to my surprise, one was very flat! There was a screw head protruding from the tire. Ignoring that warning would have resulted in having to buy another tire.

The Bible contains warning messages. It is not good to ignore them; in fact, ignoring the warnings God has given us in His Word will have eternal consequences.
“So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall” (1 Corinthians 10:2).
“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise, but as wise” (Ephesians 5:15).
“We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard Him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to His will (Hebrews 2:1-4).
“Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts…” (Hebrews 12:15).

In Him,
Pastor Jerry

Defend Life

Dear readers,
We are starting this week camping out in South Dakota. We are at Alex’s place for a visit, and will probably head back home Tuesday. As always, plans are subject to change at any moment. We are glad for some moderate temperatures, but could definitely use some nice rain.

The big news of the week by any measure, was the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade. This is something that concerned Christians have prayed for and worked at for almost fifty years. Much has been said in recent days about the subject, so I will not argue the point in this article, except to point to Scripture.

The Bible places a high value on all human life, including that of the unborn. Bible teaching declares that life is a sacred, God given gift; “Then the Lord God formed the man out of the dust from the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and the man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7). The gift includes the life of children; “Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord, offspring, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons born in one’s youth” (Psalm 127:3-4).

God condemns those who take human life; “Do not murder” (Exodus 20:13), “The Lord says; I will not relent for punishing the Amorites for three crimes, even four, because they ripped open the pregnant women of Gilead in order to enlarge their territory” (Amos 1:13).

The development of unborn life is controlled by God; “For it was you who created my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise you because I have been remarkably and wondrously made. Your works are wondrous, and I know this very well” (Psalm 139:13-14).

In closing, we Christians will need to continue the effort to preserve life, not only in the unborn, but at all stages of life. “Provide justice for the needy and the fatherless; uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute. Rescue the poor and needy; save them from the power of the wicked” (Psalm 82:3-4).
“This is what the Lord says: Administer justice and righteousness… Don’t exploit or brutalize the resident alien, the fatherless, or the widow. Don’t shed innocent blood in this place” (Jeremiah 22:3).

Lastly, pray for America, and pray for many to come to faith in Jesus Christ.

In truth,
Pastor Jerry

Word

Dear readers,
My teen bride and I passed another milestone in our life journey this past week. We celebrated our 58th wedding anniversary! I’m sure neither one of us could have imagined the many roads we would travel in those years, and the journey continues.

I’ve been thinking about the apparent confusion in our culture and the debate concerning gender identity. First of all, I believe if people were to read and understand what God has said concerning his plan for creation there would be no controversy. People have not only forgotten God, they have little knowledge of the Bible and what it teaches. I will go further and make this statement: There are great numbers of people who just don’t believe in the God of the Bible. They deny his existence, or see the Bible as a man-made document that has no bearing on our present situation.

The Scripture is not man-made; it is the Word of God as recorded by those to whom he gave it. “Above all, you know this: No prophecy of Scripture comes from the prophet’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the will of man; instead, men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (1 Peter 1:20-21).

In the creation account from Genesis, we read; “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.” (Genesis 1:27-28a). Jesus said this, “But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female… For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife.” (Mark 10:6-7).

Concerning the godlessness of his age, the apostle Paul wrote these words; “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 1:18-21).
The evidence is there. He has revealed his existence. Only believe.

In His love,
Pastor Jerry

Elections Matter

Dear friends,
Isn’t it amazing how a little rain transforms the landscape and gives people a better outlook on life? Grass is growing, the flowering trees are in bloom, even the dandelions are a welcome sight after a long dry winter. Those recent rains were definitely an answer to many prayers. Let’s continue to thank the Lord for the blessing of rain.

Don’t forget to vote this Tuesday, May 10. It is our right as citizens to go to the polls and elect those who would represent us in the government. Pray that God would allow those in office who will stand for truth, and for biblical principles. Also, that those who do not know Him would see the light of His salvation, and be changed. Scripture commands us to pray for everyone. Paul wrote to Timothy, “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings (governors and presidents included), that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:1-4).

Christians are called to acknowledge those in authority as sent by God. The apostle Paul wrote these words: Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment upon themselves. (Romans 13:1-2).

Those who lead will also be held accountable. “Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One.
“Let us break their chains,” they say, “and throw off their fetters.”
The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.
Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,
“I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill…”
I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession…
Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling” (Psalm 2:1-6, 8, 10-11).

For Him,
Pastor Jerry

Back to Basics

Dear friends,
There is enough ice on the lake for fishing. With the changing temperatures, it has been a guessing game as to how thick the ice might be on a given day. I grew up spending a lot of time on the ice, and found out early you can’t tell just by looking if it is safe. There have been several fishermen this weekend, and no one fell through. I see some warm up for the next week, so caution is still in order.

Sometimes it is good to go back to the basics. It is no different as we experience the Christian life. I was looking through some early issues of this devotional project, and came across the following. It reminded me of the need for some plain old-fashioned gospel teaching.

This is what I wrote: For the past few weeks, I have been studying some important topics pertaining to the Christian life. Things like sin, repentance, confession, self-denial, discipline and the like. This is the kind of stuff that makes the preacher examine his life as he prepares to teach others about the truth of the Christian walk. It is not a pleasant experience at times, but what joy to find that Jesus is the one who enables us to overcome the things that hinder our walk. I will briefly tie these things together, in order that we may see how they are all connected.

Sin is disobedience to God; repentance is turning from sin and back toward God. Confession is agreeing with God that we have sinned. Self-denial means forgetting self and giving oneself over to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Discipline means self-control which is empowered by the Holy Spirit and which enables us to resist the temptation of sin, and to live a life pleasing to God.

My prayer is that we can put these truths to work in our individual lives, and begin anew to live as Jesus would have us to live. Then, those who do not have a relationship with our Lord Jesus would see him in us and have a desire to know him as well. He is still the way, the truth and the life, and no one comes to the Father except by him. (John 14:6).

May God bless each one in the coming days, and may you feel his presence in a special way.

For Him,
Pastor Jerry

Knowing the Truth

Hello friends,

There is not much to report as far as weather; just mostly cool temperatures, with some sun and some clouds. The fall colors have been extra special this year, but with the one really windy day last week many leaves have fallen.

I had the pleasure of speaking at Grace Bible Church this week. I thought it might be beneficial to share some thoughts from my sermon with all of you. Based on Paul’s first letter to Timothy, it tells us to be on guard against false teachers, of whom there are plenty these days.

All believers have a responsibility to be on the alert for false teachers. What are we to look for? Here are four things to keep in mind.

First, look at their understanding of Scripture, and ask if their teaching is biblically sound. Do they place extra-biblical teachings on a par with Scripture? That is, do they add or subtract from the value of God’s Word? Do they accurately handle the Word of truth? Scripture says, “Be diligent to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15).

Second, examine their goals. Do they seek to love, honor and glorify God? Or do they pursue self-love, material wealth, or personal happiness?

Third, examine their motives. Are they humble and selfless? Or do they seek to make a name for themselves?

Finally, examine the effect of their teaching. Do their followers understand clearly the gospel of Jesus Christ? Do they define the Gospel properly? Do they use the law properly, as part of the gospel message, or do they promote works righteousness? The law was given to show sinners their need for a Savior. The Law saves no one. Salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

In conclusion, to recognize and expose false teaching, we must spend time in the Bible. Not just to check off a passage of scripture as our daily reading, but to really spend time getting to understand what God has already said. Meditate on it.

We need not ask the Lord to speak to us. He has spoken. “But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed head of all things, and through whom he made the universe” (Hebrews 1:2).

In Christ alone,

Pastor Jerry

What Is Jesus Doing?

 Dear friends,

Another week has slipped away from us. Fall is definitely in the air. The colors of the season are as spectacular as any I have seen. What a great blessing to live where God has placed us. I can think of no other place I would rather be. Short fishing report; I caught a nice-sized bass one morning last week, and had it for supper Friday evening. It was even better than I had anticipated, it makes me want to catch another one or two!

On Saturday, I attended a conference for rural Christian workers. I was reminded of some things for Christians to focus on in our current reality, and thought they were worth sharing. A popular question from a few years back asked, “What would Jesus do?” Our speaker asked, “What would Jesus do today?” The following is a brief outline of his answer.

First, Jesus is still building his church. He said, “I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:18). We (believers) are the church, and He is still adding to it. As His people, are we helping build the church or are we tearing it down?

Second, He is still making disciples through his church. He commands us to make disciples. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).  As more people come to faith in Christ, we are to be discipling those new believers, teaching them how to follow Him.

Third, He is still seeking and saving the lost. “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). As followers of Jesus, one of our responsibilities is to point others to Him. We are to introduce the lost to the Savior. According to Acts 5:42, speaking of the early church, “Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.”

In summary; we are to love people the way Jesus loves them. Share the good news of Jesus’ salvation. Invite them to respond to His offer of salvation and be saved. We are not to be mere spectators.

For Him,

Pastor Jerry

Encouraging Words

Hello friends,
It was a beautiful weekend to end the summer season at the lake! There were activities for young and old alike, a family times enjoyed by all. It is good to see all the happy, smiling faces pass by my window. There continues to be improvements to the properties around the lake. There is an on-going effort to spruce up the area, and it is noticeable. Thank you to all who are involved in these projects. We can be proud to say we are residents of the Lake Ericson community.

I know with all the upheaval and strife, the Covid pandemic and the evil in the world, we can become stressed and anxious about the future. I believe the answer is to place our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. He has said we are not to worry: “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34).

I take comfort in the words of the apostle Paul:
Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed by our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
Therefore, we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christs, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:1-10).

In Him,
Pastor Jerry