Archive for the ‘Blessings’ Category

Laughter

Hello friends,
As I write this Sunday evening, we have experienced the first real spring-like day of the year. This is the one we’ve been waiting for all winter. Someone said they hoped summer would come on the weekend this year. It seems spring did just that, but rest assured, someone will soon complain about the excessive heat.

Sometimes it is good to laugh at ourselves. One recent day, I got up early, put my pocket tee-shirt on, and went about my routine. Later on, after I had been out and about for a while, I came to the realization that the pocket that should have been on my left front was behind my right shoulder. My comment was, “I dressed all by myself today.” Milrae, who is no real fan of tee-shirts, said, “at least the neck wasn’t sagging!” The humor of that situation was good for most of the day.

Remember, the Bible indicates that laughter is good for us. “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22). Solomon wrote “There is a time to weep and a time to laugh. A time to mourn and a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:4). Also, “I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live” (Eccl. 3:12).

So, let’s all find something to laugh at this week, even if it is to laugh at yourself and bring some humor into someone else’s life. I will admit, some days it is hard to find anything to smile about, but it is worth the effort to find something.

Keep smiling,
Pastor Jerry

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Blessings

We have survived the great blizzard of ’18! We were able to keep the house in a state of semi-warmth with the camper generator and a cord run through the window to power a little electric heater. Kudos to the power company linemen, who brave the elements for the rest of us. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Counting our blessings was easy this week, and today I would like to highlight some scripture passages praising God for his goodness. I have found my postings taking on somewhat of a negative view over the last few weeks, so it’s time for a brighter outlook.

The Psalms are packed with praises to God, as are the writings of some of the prophets and New Testament writers. Here are some examples:

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens (Psalm 8:1).
I will praise you, O Lord with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High (Psalm 9:1-2).
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands (Psalm 19:1).

Shout with joy to God, all the earth! Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious! Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you. All the earth bows down to you; they sing praises to you, they sing praises to your name” (Psalm 66:1-4).

I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself (Psalm 89:1-2).

Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and redeemed his people (Luke 1:68).
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3).

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 (1 Peter 1:3).

Let’s just praise the Lord!
Pastor Jerry

What Can You Give?

It has been a good week for us. There were trips to Grand Island, Albion, and Ord. Doctor’s appointments, shopping at Menards and working together on some little projects around the house. Last Sunday, I spoke at a church in Chambers, Nebraska, then made it back home in time for a carry-in dinner and annual business meeting at our church. Next week, I’m off to Loup City to speak at Grace Bible Church, filling in for a friend. I was told recently by another friend; “You ain’t retired.” This was just affirmation of the fact that if you make yourself available to the Lord, he will keep you busy doing his work.

Speaking of doing the Lord’s work, I came across these verses in my daily Bible reading this week. In Exodus, when the tabernacle was being built, Moses had instructed the people to bring offerings of materials for construction. We read this: All the Israelite men and women who were willing brought to the Lord freewill offerings for all the work the Lord through Moses had commanded them to do. At one point, the workers came to Moses and said, “The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the Lord commanded to be done.” Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: “No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.” And so the people were restrained from bringing more, because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work. (Exodus 36:5-7)

Now, I know of no preacher who has ever said to his congregation, “Don’t bring anything else as an offering to the Lord’s work, we already have more than enough.” There are never enough resources for doing the Lord’s work, whether financial giving, or gifts of time and talent. There are never enough people willing to teach Sunday school, lead Bible studies, or evangelize their neighbors, their family members and acquaintances.

Jesus emphasized that we use our gifts until he returns (Luke 19:13). Can you even imagine how Christ’s church would grow, if there were more than enough resources and people to do the work? It would be amazing, I am sure! In what way are you helping grow the kingdom?

Just thinking,
Pastor Jerry

God Said No?

As I read my Bible each day, every now and then a verse, or even a phrase will catch my attention. It happened again this week. As I was reading in Genesis 17, I saw these words; God said no! I suppose I was reading without really paying attention, but those three words stopped me short. What? God said no?

God told Abraham that he and Sarah would have a child, but Abraham thought he had a better plan. “Abraham said to God, ‘If only Ishmael were acceptable to you!’” But God said “No. Your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will name him Isaac.” God said no! His promise still stood, and he would do what he said. Abraham just needed to wait on the Lord’s timing.

I wonder how many times we, in spite of his promises to us, thought we had a better plan? His answer is always the same: No! Just wait for my timing. God was patient with Abraham, but insisted He would carry out his plan for Abraham’s promised heir. It was up to Abraham to be patient, waiting in faith that God would do as he said.

Malachi 3:6… I the Lord, do not change. Also, God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he not promise and not fulfill? (Numbers 23:19)

1 Samuel 15:29; He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should change his mind.

Paul speaks of the Christian’s faith as “a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time.” (Titus 1:2)

If God should say no to your plans, rest assured, he has a better plan for you. Remember these words from scripture. “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails (Proverbs 19:21). “But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.

Truth,
Pastor Jerry

2018 Begins

Once again, we say goodbye to the old year, and prepare to welcome another. I wonder, if there was no calendar, would we notice the transition? Probably not, and this says to me there probably won’t be much difference between December 31 and January 1.

As the year 2017 comes to an end, and as I contemplate the events of the past 12 months, I am reminded of something a friend told me. He said, “the world has gone mad!” It has been several years since he said it, but it is even more true today.

Another statement I heard from an ‘old guy’ back in the early 70’s still holds true today: “Someday, the Lord will come again, and straighten out this mess!”

However, in spite of all the discord and strife we see happening, along with the disappearing morals and self-worship that is evident, there is truth, and there is hope.

First, there is a God in heaven, and he is still on his throne. Nothing is happening that is going to surprise him.
Secondly, His word is true, and he promises to come and judge all the unrighteousness in the world.
Thirdly, and not the least, is the fact that he has provided a means to escape the coming judgment.

The promised Savior of the world, whose incarnation we just celebrated, died for our sins. And as we confess our sins, and believe on his name, we will be saved.

Knowing this, I can wish all of you a very Happy and Blessed New Year!
Pastor Jerry

It’s Christmas

Dear friends,
I suppose it has something to do with being retired and finding ways to entertain ourselves, but we have begun to follow recipe pages on Facebook. One recent post caught my eye. It went something like this: “Ten Recipes That Taste Like Christmas!”

My first thought was, what does Christmas taste like? Followed close behind by, what color is Christmas? If I had an opinion on these two questions, I suppose I would say the tastes of Christmas might be those of candy canes, eggnog, cinnamon, gingerbread, and a host of other foods and sweets. Then I would say the colors of Christmas would definitely be red, green, and gold, or others, depending on the individual.

Immediately following these came the question, what in the world do these things have to do with the incarnation of the Lord Jesus? Answer: Nothing.

Later, I saw a quote saying, “Christmas is mostly about giving glory to the only God who would step down from on high to lift those he loves.” This was from a preacher who probably should have rethought that statement, because to me, Christmas is not mostly, but all about giving glory to God for his indescribable gift.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son (John 3:16). Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people” (Luke 2:10).

This is Christmas. At the stable in Bethlehem, the gift of a Savior was given. That gift was to include the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, followed by His resurrection. The gift of salvation. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

Have a Happy and Blessed Christmas,
Pastor Jerry

Return to Advent

The Advent season is here. Actually, it is well under way. It is the time leading up to Christmas, and in today’s emphasis on decorating, shopping, and finding the perfect gifts, Advent gets pushed aside.

Advent proclaims an advent—a time before, a looking forward—and it lacks meaning without Christmas at the end of it. In fact, Christmas lacks meaning without the season of advent going before it.

Advent is a time of waiting and anticipating. This is why Advent celebrations, both at home and in churches, focus on scriptures that anticipate the coming of Christ. In Micah, we read, “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, …out of you WILL come for me one who will be ruler over Israel…” And in Matthew, Joseph is told that Mary “WILL give birth to a son, and you ARE TO give him the name Jesus…” Also, Luke tells us “while they were there, the TIME CAME for the baby to be born.”

Things like Advent calendars and crèches that remain empty until Christmas Eve give a shape to the anticipation of the season. And a season of contrition and sacrifice prepares us to understand and feel something about just how great the gift is when at last the day itself arrives. In this day of ‘instant’ gratification, it is hard for most of us to wait for anything. We want it here and now!

It’s not too late to turn our attention away from the gifts to the advent of the Greatest Gift, and the anticipation of His return. As Paul tells us, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20).

We can still take time to spend time with our families, reading the scriptures that relate to Advent, pray, and sing some Christmas hymns that anticipate the coming of Christ.

Then, when Christmas Day arrives, we can greet it, not with a sense of relief that the Christmas season is almost over, but with joy for the great gift. Jesus Christ our Lord.

Blessings,
Pastor Jerry