Archive for the ‘Contentment’ Category

What is Hope?

Dear friends,
There has been some spring planting going on here at our little slice of heaven. So far, we have enlarged one flower bed, planted some new shrubs, some flowers, and put a few tomato plants in the garden area. This is not my favorite kind of work, but it’s worth it to see the smile on my bride’s face when it is done. There are still some seeds to be planted in the raised beds, mostly beans and cucumbers. I did consent to one zucchini plant, which is a first for me. On a personal note, we also have one eggplant.

There seems to be an epidemic of hopelessness in our country. I don’t know if it is related to the stresses of the Covid19 pandemic, or a combination of causes, but I believe there is a solution to this attitude of hopelessness. Some might argue that there is no one answer to the problem, and they would probably be right. I can tell you from experience that placing one’s faith in the Lord Jesus Christ will go far toward combating the hopelessness that sometimes overwhelms our minds and bodies.

The idea of hope is often presented as a feeling that what is wanted will happen. True hope, as presented in the Bible, is a settled fact that something promised will come to pass. It can be described as trustful expectation, particularly with reference to the fulfillment of God’s promises.

Christians live in hope for two basic reasons. The first is because of what God has done in 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). The second reason is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children” (Romans 8:16).

Given the assurance of hope, Christians live in the present with confidence and face the future with courage. Christian hope is the gift of God. “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” (Hebrews 6:19).

From my own experience, I can testify to the truth of this hope we have in Christ Jesus. Christ is the answer to hopelessness, but sadly many people, particularly the young, haven’t heard of him. If you are feeling hopeless today, come to Jesus.

In Him,
Pastor Jerry

Finding Blessings

Dear friends,
Are we ready for some warmer weather? I’m ready, and I am sure you are, too. I know of no one who actually likes it this cold outdoors. As promised, here is an update on the cat’s visit to the vet last week. Since I brought her home it has been so cold we have kept her indoors, but for an ex-alley cat this is almost unacceptable. She has learned to use a litter box, but only when her pleas to go outside have been ignored. I’m sure she will be glad for some warmer weather.

In other news, after having gone several years without satellite television, we have decided to get one of those newfangled smart TVs. It remains to be seen which is smarter, the TV set, or the operator. It has a larger screen; the reasoning is that with a bigger screen we can read the captions easier. After all, our eyesight isn’t what it once was. In fact, the hearing isn’t that great, either.

With the cold and snow, along with taking precautions against getting some virus, I still find things to be thankful for. There would be a long list if I would start writing them all down, but I’ll share a few. I’m thankful for a warm home, friends that keep in touch, church family that we see in person those Sundays we meet together, and for the technology that allows us to meet via our small screen devices.

I’m thankful for our God, who knows all about us, and who cares for each of His children. For His salvation, that ensures we will spend eternity in His presence. For the forgiveness of the sin debt that was paid on Calvary. For the Bible, His written word, that by it we come to know all about Him, who He is, and His plan for each of us.

Praise the Lord.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with tambourine and dancing,
praise him with the strings and flute,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the LORD. (Psalm 150)

For His glory,
Pastor Jerry

Christmas Hope

Hello all,
Our Christmas decorations are up, and now we can enjoy them. The lake community has taken on a festive look with all the lights on display and you are welcome to drive through the community and take a look. The lack of snow doesn’t give that “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” look, but in checking the forecast, this might change.

In the aftermath of the election, there is much discussion over what the future looks like. There are many opinions, but very few solid facts. The one thing that comes to me is this; if anyone is depending on politicians to save the world, they are placing their faith in the wrong thing. Don’t waste your time and energy on this one. Government will not save you, neither will a president, governor or king. Politics is not the savior of anyone. Only Jesus Christ can save. The Bible clearly states that the world is broken because of sin, and He is the only remedy.

In the Psalms we read, “Some trust in chariots and horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God” (Psalm 20:7).

At Christmas time, the old carols remind us of the reason He came, and they give us joy and a hope for the future.
Joy to the world, the Lord has come
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing….

One of my favorites is “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” Written in a dark time, it speaks of future hope. I’ll begin at verse three;
And in despair I bowed my head; “There is no peace on earth,” I said, “For hate is strong, and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will to men.”
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; The wrong shall fail, the right prevail, with peace on earth, good will to men.”
Then ringing, singing on its way, the world revolved from night to day—a voice, a chime, a chant sublime of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Do not despair. God is still on His throne. He is not sleeping. He is fulfilling his plan and purpose. Jesus said, “My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I, too, am working” (John 5:17).

In Him,
Pastor Jerry

Thanksgiving 2020

Dear friends,
There is an early copy deadline for this week, so this will be written ahead of my usual schedule. Since the Thanksgiving holiday is this week, I can use that as my topic. First, the carport is now a garage, with two doors and a cute little window between them. As we were finishing up the structural part, there was a narrow opening between the doors; Milrae asked, “Is this where the window goes?” Me: If you want a window, that is where it will be. Thanks to Google, I was able to find a window fourteen inches wide, and twenty-seven inches high. It’s perfect for that spot!

As we think of things to be thankful for, our current weather pattern would be near the top of the list. I believe most of us could use some extra time outdoors to get the fall work done, and this makes it pleasant, to say the least.

I wonder how many people in our current culture could give the dictionary definition of thanksgiving? I’m not speaking of the holiday itself, but the general meaning of the word. Here are four definitions from various dictionaries.

The act of giving thanks and grateful acknowledgement of benefits or favors, especially to God.
An expression of thanks, especially to God.
A public celebration in acknowledgement of divine favor or kindness.
A day set apart for giving thanks to God.

The holiday named Thanksgiving, came from the early settlers, who took time to thank God for His provision in the New World. Later, it became a national holiday in 1789, President George Washington issued a proclamation for a day to give thanks to God.

The psalmist said it best. “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations. (Psalm 100)

Instead of coming with a list of things we want, wouldn’t this be a good year to just thank Him for what we have? Who else would be worthy of our thanks and praise?

Blessed,
Pastor Jerry

Awesome God

Dear friends,
I’m writing this week from the shores of Lake Francis Case, on the Missouri River. I’ll not go into detail about how we arrived here. We stayed with Alex Saturday, then drove here Sunday afternoon. I know, I told you we were staying at Niobrara State Park, but plans change. We have now found our new favorite place. I’m sure we will return to Niobrara another time, after all, we need to stop in Verdigre for kolaches occasionally. However, Lake Ericson is still our number one place to be long term.

As we travel, even in our relatively small part of the world, I am awed by all aspects of God’s creation. We first read of God’s creation in Genesis, the very first book of the Bible. Read with me as I share some highlights:

Day one; God separated the light from the darkness. Morning and night.
Day two; He made the sky separate from the water. He then made the seas and the land.
Following that, on day three, he made the trees and plants, along with their seeds and fruit.
Day four, he made the sun, moon and stars.
On the fifth day, he made the creatures of the sea and all the birds of the air.
Finally, on the sixth day, he made all the animals, that is, wild animals and domestic livestock, followed by creating man and woman in His image.

Over and over, I am reminded of those praise psalms that we find in the Old Testament.
“O, Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens” (Psalm 8:1).
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1).
“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 the grass grow on the hills.
He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call” (Psalm 147:7-9).

Paul speaks of the fact of creation, and man’s responsibility to acknowledge God in this way: “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 1:20).

Praising Him daily,
Pastor Jerry

On Being Neighbors

Dear friends,
Well, the last official summer holiday is here. Labor Day weekend is always very busy here at beautiful Lake Ericson; this year was no exception. Many families were seen enjoying all the lake has to offer. The weather for the long weekend was perfect, with much sunshine and slightly cooler temps than expected. The mid-week forecast is for temperatures to resemble late fall, and comes with the promise of rain.

If we weren’t aware of how blessed we are living in this part of the world, we must certainly realize it in our current environment. As I look out of the window facing the lake and the street, I see a way of life that most of the world would die for. There are no rioters, just families and friends. No confrontations over politics or ideas, just a peaceful community of ordinary people. We stop in the street and ask about each other’s’ families, our health, our plans, just everyday conversations, and caring for each other. I believe this is how God intended for us to live; in harmony with our neighbors and acquaintances.

In the scriptures that follow, the Bible speaks to believers in Christ, but I believe if everyone lived by the principles stated, this world would be a nicer place. Obviously, not all will take this to heart, but what a difference might it make if a few more people would take note?

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load” (Galatians 6:2-5).

Something must be laid aside, if one is to be a burden-bearer and that is conceit, an attitude that breeds intolerance of error in others and causes one to think he is above failure. [The Bible Knowledge Commentary].

The apostle Paul wrote this: “For by 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, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you” (Romans 12:3).

Remember the commandment; Love your neighbor as yourself! Good words from God’s Word,

In Him,
Pastor Jerry

End Times; Who Knows?

Hello friends,
We’re back after spending three nights at one of my favorite places to park the camper. It’s one of those out of the way places that I think a lot of people bypass, because there is no Wi-Fi, and cell service is sketchy at best. It gives one a chance to think about things other than what you see on social media.

If there was a downside to the week, I came down with one of those nasty summer colds. I’ll be the first to admit that when it comes to a head cold, I’m just a wimp! I have dealt with things that others would consider painful, and they didn’t seem to be a big deal for me; not so with cold symptoms. It is Sunday as I write this, so I expect to be almost normal by Tuesday. An old family doctor once told me a cold lasts a week if you treat it, and seven days if you don’t!

I didn’t get any profound inspiration for a column while we were camped in that quiet place. It was good to just relax and enjoy the surroundings, although in the evenings, the mosquitos would drive me indoors.

The world is certainly in a mess these days. People are talking about the end times and wondering if the end of the world is upon us, but for anyone to say this is the beginning of the end is being presumptuous. No one can presume to know what is on God’s mind, or what day the Lord will return. Jesus said no one could know that day, not even the Son of God. It’s God’s plan, and he will bring it to conclusion in his time, and on his terms.

Our responsibility is not to sit around speculating on days and dates, but to be intentionally sharing the gospel with those who don’t know the Lord Jesus Christ.

The apostle Peter said this, “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:8-9).

The end will come. Do you know Jesus? Today is the day of salvation!

In Love,
Pastor Jerry

On Being Happy

Dear friends,
Warmer temps returned late in the week, but there could be a couple of cooler days before it returns to the nineties again mid-week. Ah, summer! We are so thankful that the Lord led us to this place by the lake, where we can live in relative peace and quiet, yet be part of a larger community. This is contentment.

Speaking of contentment, and being happy with your life, I don’t think I have ever seen an unhappy dog here at the lake. Head out the window, tail wagging, and a big old doggy smile on its face. Most of the human residents and visitors seem to have the same attitude.

True contentment and happiness is not about ‘don’t worry, be happy’, because this attitude denies reality. Not everything is a big party, but it is possible to be happy and content. Not every experience in life lends itself to happiness, but contentment is possible through faith in God. The Bible speaks of happiness, blessedness, and contentment as being connected. In various translations, the words happy and blessed are interchangeable, both being an evidence of contentment.

“I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live” (Eccl 3:12).
“A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit” (Proverbs 15:13).
“Taste and see that the Lord is good. How happy (blessed) is the person who takes refuge in him” (Psalm 34:8).
The apostle Paul said, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances…I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Philippians 4:11-12).

Last word: Keep yourselves free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

We can have true peace and joy, even happiness, if we are willing to put our lives in God’s hands, trusting that he has prepared a place in heaven for those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. In the words of Jesus, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest…and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:27-28).

Happy in Him,
Pastor Jerry