Archive for the ‘Bible’ Category

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

It’s Christ Alone

Dear readers,
Rain report – 3.25”. I have my laptop back from the repair shop. The diagnosis was a failing hard drive, so now the old machine has a new solid-state replacement, which has no moving parts. I had to reset some things, but we are getting accustomed to each other. The news of the past week has been anything but encouraging, but we can be assured that God is not sleeping through these events.

As I write these articles each week, my aim is to share with all of you what the Bible says about life in general, and God’s plan of salvation in particular. His word is quite specific regarding Jesus Christ, and the fact that we are only save from our sin by placing our faith in His sinless sacrifice on the cross.

I have come across a recent study that shows some trends that concern me. This study found that over sixty percent of born-again Christians in America between the ages of 18 and 39 believe that Jesus isn’t the only way to heaven. Further, for those in that age group, over 30 percent say they either believe that Jesus sinned just like other people or aren’t sure. This begs the question, what in the world are they being taught? A Christless Christianity is a contradiction of terms. Scripture is quite clear on these two issues. I will let the Word speak for itself.

Jesus’ words: I am the way, the truth, and the life No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6). Jesus was fully human, but differed from all other people in two ways. First, He was born to a virgin; He had no human father. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit in Mary’s womb (Matthew 1:18-25). Second, unlike any other person, Jesus was without sin. He claimed to be sinless (John 8:46) and there is never a record of His confessing sin, although He told us to confess ours. Paul said that Jesus became sin for us but that He personally knew no sin (2 Corinthians 5:21).

In short, it is Christ alone who is uniquely qualified to save us from our sin. It is because He is the only way, and He alone is the sinless Lamb of God, sent to save the world from sin. Any other gospel is a false gospel.

On His Word alone,
Pastor Jerry

The Word of the Lord

Hello friends,
It’s time for another of our weekly conversations. Things have been going well here, we had a little rain and the temperatures have been tolerable. The garden plants are beginning to give us hope of some fresh veggies in the near future. We have had one small zucchini, and more are coming along. Beans are ready to pick and we have had a few green onions. Did I mention cucumbers? We will be enjoying them soon, also. Sunday, we attended church at Grace Bible Church, and enjoyed a fellowship meal afterward. We found some new roads on our way back home, but this is not unusual for us!

Regarding spiritual matters, I have been seeing articles referencing a trend in which high profile Christians have announced they are leaving the traditional evangelical church. The term being used is ‘exvangelical.’ The Scriptures long ago identified this trend, where people would follow false teachers and be led astray by false doctrine.

Many of these people started out believing God’s word as it was given to us. Then when the culture started to insist that marriage could be something other than between a man and a woman, and all kinds of other sinful behaviors were okay, it wasn’t popular to hold to those beliefs. Rather than stand on the Word, they said “God really didn’t mean what he said, that book is outdated, and we have to get with the new way of looking at these things.”

Hear the Word of the Lord!
“But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves” (2 Peter 2:1).
“I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them” (Romans 16:17).

“Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:16-17).
“God is not a man, that he might lie, or a son of man that he might change his mind. Does he speak and not act, or promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers 23:19).

Count on it: God’s Word is true.

In Him,
Pastor Jerry

Creation Speaks… Listen

Dear friends,
Another week has flown by, and it is already May. The weather continues to be variable, moving between hot and cool, calm and windy, dry and damp. In the midst of all this flowers are blooming, as are the ornamental trees and wild plums. And, we are seeing pairs of geese with their newly hatched goslings.

I’m reminded of these verses from the Psalms; “Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make music to our God on the harp.
He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills.
He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call” (Psalm 147:7-9).

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard” (Psalm 19:1-3).

There are many people in our world today who do not know God. It has always been so, but it seems those who will not acknowledge him are more antagonistic toward any talk of a righteous and just God. I believe the scriptures speak of this, and have warned us about times such as these. The evidence of a Creator is everywhere, but they refuse to believe their eyes.

I return to the book of Romans and read this; “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 psalmist has written;
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.
The Lord looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.
All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt;
there is no one who does good, not even one (Psalm 14:1-3).

I pray they see the truth, and come to Christ.

For Him,
Pastor Jerry

The Source of Truth

Dear readers,
It has been a week of cloudy skies, with a bit of fog, mist, and a snowflake or two. The best part is there has been no big snowstorm, and the temperature has remained cool; something I can live with. The news of the past week has been all about the situation in our country, with all the political upheaval and its related headlines.

I have always considered myself an optimist, but sometimes it is difficult to retain a sense of optimism. I’m learning to spend less time with the so-called mainstream media, and also most social media. There is so much misinformation out there that it is nearly impossible to discern the truth. The one exception would be World magazine, which brings news from a Christian perspective (world.wng.org). There are others out there with a Christian worldview, but sadly, they are not well known. And, yes, that was a plug for the magazine.

The one source of absolute truth is the Bible, but far too few people are informed about what it says about the human condition and the solution to healing a broken world.

Answering Pilate’s question about whether Jesus was a king, Jesujs said, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” (John 18:37).

Familiar passages in the Old Testament speak if the importance of knowing and obeying God’s Word:
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 (verse 11).
Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens (verse 89).
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path (verse 101).
You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word (verse 114).
Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me (verse 133).

Finally, Jesus’ words in John 14:6. “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

The result of ignoring God’s truth is found in Romans 1:18-32. I encourage you to read it for yourself.

For Truth,
Pastor Jerry

Last Days?

Hello friends,
It’s time for another of our weekly conversations; what’s new at our house, and other commentary. First, I need to let you know the garage project is nearing completion. By this time next week, it will be time for a new topic. We ventured out three times last week, first to get material for the garage, another day to get haircuts and groceries, and a third to the chiropractor. As our pastor said Sunday, we’re staying “cautious, but not captive.”

These days, we should be turning our thoughts to the possibility of the promised return of our Lord Jesus Christ. After all, the way things are going, we may be seeing more of the signs of His coming. How many of the following are showing up in our news sources?

When asked for the signs of his second coming, Jesus answered with these words: “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed… Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains” (Matthew 24:6-8).

Paul writing to Timothy said, “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power… 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’” (2 Timothy 3:1-5; 4:3-4).

From Peter to believers everywhere: “Above all, be aware of this: Scoffers will come in the last days scoffing and following their own evil desires, saying, “Where is his ‘coming’ that he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has from the beginning of creation” (2 Peter 3:3-4).

Christians rejoice in the truth of God’s salvation in Jesus Christ. Our responsibility, in our time, is to share our faith with those who do not know Him, in order that they, too, are prepared for His second coming.

Proclaiming His Good News,
Pastor Jerry