Archive for the ‘Change’ Category

Memorial Stones

Dear Readers,
The cool weather continues for us. Along with it came some beneficial rains, for which we are very thankful. My bout with shingles is winding down. For this I am thankful also. Next time someone mentions getting a preventive inoculation, I will be first in line! I will be posting this early Monday morning, so any comments I might have concerning the solar eclipse will wait until next week.
I’ve been thinking about those who seem bent on removing anything that would remind Americans of their national identity and inheritance. There are several lines of conversation, or commentary that come from this behavior.
One truth from the lessons of history is that if a people wanted to conquer a civilization, they would remove all the landmarks and other reminders of their history and culture. In our day, we have seen ISIS destroying Christian landmarks, and in our country currently, there is a movement to remove reminders of our past.
When the children of Israel were entering the Promised Land, when the priests, who were carrying the ark of the covenant, stepped into the Jordan river, the water stopped flowing, so that they could cross on dry ground. After reaching the other side, they were instructed to set up stones as a memorial. Joshua told the people that they were setting up the stones as a permanent memorial, so that when their children asked the question, “What are these stones”, they could answer with a lesson from Israel’s history.
These are the words of the Lord, given through Joshua to the people: “In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cutoff before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever” (Joshua 4:6-7).
Sadly, after Joshua passed from the scene, Israel forgot her past, and began to be influenced by her pagan neighbors. The result of this was that God judged Israel and sent her into exile for seventy years. I fear America may be on a similar path. We who care about the rich history of our country need to pray fervently that God would intervene and put her back on the straight way.
Praying for America,
Pastor Jerry

Now I See

It is sunny, windy and warm as I write this. This is a drastic turnaround from last week. The snow is gone; the flowers have mostly recovered. The new grass seedlings in our back yard have responded well to all the moisture and the cool temperatures. As of this time, it seems spring is here for real.

Due to some corrective surgery on my eyelids this week, I have a renewed appreciation for sight and good vision. Having spent two-and- a-half days being unable to see, I have a tiny hint of the challenges of not being able to see. First, there is a sudden and complete dependency on others. Someone needs to take your hand and lead you to wherever you are going. And, it is soon discovered that your sense of direction and distance are completely gone.

Try getting up in the middle of the night blind-folded, and find the bathroom on your own. Now there is an eye-opener, so to speak. I was sure I was headed to the bathroom I normally use. As I was feeling my way along the wall, my lovely wife said, “What are you doing?”

“Going to the bathroom”, I answered, somewhat offended. “Well, you are headed into my bathroom,” she said. Sure enough. It turns out I cannot even find the bathroom without sight. I am happy to report that I now have the blinders off, and I can find my own way just fine, thank you!

Spiritual blindness is something that affects many people. The result of this is a loss of direction. The person is stuck in sin, with no sense of the right direction, or even where to turn for help. We are prone to take wrong turns, end up in places we had no intention of being, and our life is just confusion, helplessness, and hopelessness.

There is a story in the Bible of a man born blind and healed by Jesus. We read about it in John 9. The religious leaders did not believe his story. They called him in and asked how he was healed. He said Jesus did it. Disbelieving, they brought him in again, and tried to get him to deny that it was Jesus. His answer was classic. “One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”

To that I can only add, AMEN!
Pastor Jerry

Spring Things

Dear friends
Here we are in the month of April. One fourth of 2017 is history. Now that is a sobering thought. I wonder if I used that time wisely? I’m not sure I want to know the answer.

Saturday, we traveled to Kearney to a barbershop music concert. It was maybe the most entertaining 2 hours I have spent recently. There was some good clean comedy mixed in with the music, also. This is something of a rarity these days, and it was good to experience this once again, also.

Signs of spring are becoming more and more obvious. The flower bulbs we planted last fall are pushing up leaves, and the promise of blossoms is seen in little buds among those leaves. I have found that deer like tulip and daffodil leaves, so preventive measures have been taken.

Driving down the road, we see little calves in pastures and in calving lots. It is a busy time of the year for livestock producers, as I well remember. I do have to say, I appreciate them more now, from the window as we pass by.

Spring also brings thoughts of resurrection and new life, as portrayed in the biblical account of the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Let’s remember the words of the apostle. “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). This is the heart of the Easter message.

Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” The early Christians took those words seriously, as we read in Acts 5:42… “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.

By faith in Him, we are born again spiritually, we become a new creation, with a new life and a new identity. And in this season of new beginnings, we can celebrate our own new beginning and the promise of resurrection from the dead when our Savior returns for us on a day that seems to be fast approaching.

May we never get tired of telling, or of hearing, the old, old story!

In Him,
Pastor Jerry

It’s About Time

I’m looking forward to warmer days, so that I can begin bringing some fishing reports again. Some of you have seen photos of Game and Parks releasing some northern pike into Lake Ericson. Some of those fish were very nice, and I hope to catch one or two for the dinner table.

Here are some thoughts on daylight saving time, which began this week. In reality, there is no saving of time. There are still 24 hours in a day. No one gets any more or any less. The old saying is ‘time waits for no man.’ Time is marching on, regardless of man’s attempts to buy more of it.

“Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. The wind blows to the south and returns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning to its course” (Ecclesiastes 1:4-6).
In Ecclesiastes chapter 3, we are reminded, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” As Paul emphasized, “I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now it the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).

The Bible speaks of time as a line beginning with creation, continuing through history directed by God, and ending in the Day of the Lord. The Christian lives in time, but looks forward to the day when time shall be no more. This present age is the time of decision and service in the kingdom of God; the age to come is the full realization of God’s provision of eternal life. “Let us not become wearing in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9). “As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me.” (John 9:4).

As we consider the return of the Lord, and our salvation, Paul reminds us to “do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The Lord’s salvation waits for no man. Our God is patient, but salvation is a one-time deal. There is no second chance when our time on earth is done. Do not wait

It’s about time,
Pastor Jerry

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

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

Win or Lose

It is one of those days when I wonder how I will write a column that makes sense, when I don’t have a clue how to start. I have heard that the hardest part is writing the first word, so here goes.

In recent weeks, we have seen a number of contests, ranging from the World Series, to high school football and volleyball, to the election of a president. We have seen unlikely winners and surprising losers. Some contests were decided early, and others went down to the wire. But no matter which team or candidate you supported, there were winners and losers.

In sports or politics, there are rules of the game. When played by the rules, there is an honest outcome to the contest. One team wins, the other loses. Oh, there will be someone who will claim the rules weren’t followed, or that somewhere in the background there were ‘dirty politics’, or the umpires or referees will be somehow blamed, but in the end, the better team wins.

We’ve all heard the old saying, it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game. Might I suggest this; although it is not whether you win or lose, it does matter how you respond to losing or winning.

The important thing is how we react to either winning or losing in a given contest. We have seen winning celebrations turn into near riots, and we have seen reaction to losing a contest turn into protests and riots. Neither of these reflect well on those involved.

Here are a few verses that apply to how we win or lose. This is Paul’s advice to the Christians in Rome: “For the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment of yourself” (Romans 12:3). “Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes: if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor” Romans 13:7.

Again from Paul: “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone: (Colossians 4:6).

Win or lose, we are all made in the image of God. So, whether winning or losing, do it with grace, class, and respect for others.

Just thinking,
Pastor Jerry