Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

Lights in the Darkness

Dear friends,
Have you been enjoying the milder weather? I am content with high thirties and low forties for daytime highs at this time of the year. The snow lingers, but is slowly melting and this is good news. Every nice day means we are closer to spring, however there is plenty of time for more cold and snow. Here at the lake there are still those hardy souls ice fishing. The long nights are maintaining the ice quality needed for safety.

Over the years, I have stressed the need for Christians to be involved in everyday life.

Pastor Greg Laurie shares this: “Commentator G. Campbell Morgan wrote, “Organized Christianity which fails to make a disturbance is dead.” Wherever the apostle Paul went, there was either conversion or a riot. In Thessalonica, religious leaders complained to the city council, “Paul and Silas, who have turned the world upside down have come here, too” (Acts 17:6 CSB).

It seems that there was never a dull moment with the first-century followers of Jesus. They didn’t have modern technology at their disposal. Thomas didn’t tweet. Paul didn’t have a television show. Peter didn’t use social media. Yet, in a relatively brief period of time, these disciples changed their world. They permeated their culture.

Tertullian, a Christian leader who was a contemporary of these early followers of Christ, made this statement about the first-century Church: “We have filled every place among you—cities, islands, fortresses, towns, marketplaces, camps, tribes, town councils, the palace, the senate, the forum; we have left nothing to you but the temples of your gods.” Tertullian was pointing out that the Church had permeated everything, even Caesar’s palace.

Today, we need Christians who will go out and make a difference. We need more Christians involved in the arts, making great films, and creating graphic design. We need Christians in politics, godly men and women in places of authority, because the Bible says that when the righteous rule, the people rejoice (see Proverbs 29:2). We also need Christian doctors, Christian lawyers, and Christian businesspeople.

In the first century, all believers understood that they were called to do their part. So they left their comfort zones and took risks. In the same way, the believers today need to go out and let their light shine in our present culture. We need believers who will turn the present world upside down.”

For Him,
Pastor Jerry

Carry On

Dear readers,
January has been interesting in the weather department. So far, we’ve had rain, sleet, snow, lightning and thunder, all in the same night! We had no issues with power outages here, but some were off for a short time. The volunteers here at the lake were out cleaning off the streets early after the storm, and did a great job. Thanks for your effort, guys.

As we prepare for this year of 2023, I’m prompted to go to God’s Word for some encouragement. Sometimes, the thought of what lies ahead is a bit scary…especially in our current situation and culture. A favorite Bible passage of mine is Psalm 62:1-8.

Psalm 62:1–8… My soul finds rest in God alone;
my salvation comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
How long will you assault a man?
Would all of you throw him down—
this leaning wall, this tottering fence?
They fully intend to topple him
from his lofty place;
they take delight in lies.
With their mouths they bless,
but in their hearts they curse. Selah
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.

These are encouraging words in uncertain times, and they have helped me many times in the past. A lot of attention has been focused on congress in recent days, and we pray our leaders will get back to the task of governing. Romans 13:1-. We are to pray for our government officials, that they would come to Jesus, and that they would govern justly. God has placed those in government because he wants them there, but make no mistake, government is not the answer to the mess we are in. God is the only one who can heal our land.

There will come a time when Jesus will set up His kingdom on earth and the prophecy of Isaiah 6:9 will be fulfilled. “For to us a child is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.” Until then, we carry on.

In Him,
Pastor Jerry

The Word of the Lord

Dear readers,

It seems cold weather is here to stay, at least for the next several days. Deer hunting season has arrived, and we are days away from Thanksgiving. Just beyond that is Christmas and the New Year. My, how time flies.

The election is over, and votes are still being counted in some places. There have been winners and losers, as is always the case. Whatever your viewpoint is in all of this, we can still be thankful to live in a country where we can make our choices in these matters. My prayer is that we might become united in our effort to make the United States an even better place to live. Perhaps an appropriate scripture would be Romans 12:3; “For by the grace given to 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.”

The divisiveness in our country these days is concerning. People are taking sides on issues that are in direct opposition to what the Bible says is right and just. Two things come to mind here: Number one, there are untold numbers of people that do not know what is written in God’s Word. There are more Bibles printed than ever before, yet most are on a shelf collecting dust.

The second is this, if those bibles are read, people only want to believe or accept the parts that appeal to them. It is like going into a cafeteria and selecting only the items you like and leaving the ones that you dislike. If we really believe the Bible is God’s unchanging word, then we would know that every word is there for a purpose. It has been said that the Bible will change our opinions, but our opinions will never change the Bible.

I love these words from Isaiah; “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

In closing, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever” (1 Peter 1:34-25).

For Him,

Pastor Jerry

Your Vote Counts

Hello friends,
Rain! This week, we had a nice gentle rain. My gauge showed .40’ when it was over; not a huge amount, but very much appreciated. This is only the beginning of what we need to get back to normal. Now is not the time to ease up in asking the Lord to bless us with more moisture.

We started a project this week that has been waiting all summer for me to get motivated. When we had the big windstorm last spring, the outside pane on our entry door was broken. This defeats the purpose of an insulated door, so a new one was ordered. It stood on the porch for months, but has been installed just as the weather begins to cool off. Now to get the window replaced that was broken by an unidentified flying object; either a stick or a rock thrown by the mower.

Vehicle repairs were a part of our week, also. First, there was a new alternator in our pickup, then I found the battery was defective as well. I guess a ten-year-old battery has outlived expectations.

November 8 is election day. The most important thing we can do that day is to get out and vote. Much of what we see happening in our country won’t be solved politically, but we can vote for the candidates that hold to traditional Christian values. The real problem in our country is not political, it is spiritual. The citizens of America must turn back to God, and obey His commands.

These are God’s words to the prophet Zechariah, “The Lord was very angry with your forefathers. Therefore, tell the people: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you’, says the Lord Almighty. Do not be like your forefathers, to whom the earlier prophets proclaimed: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Turn from your evil ways and your evil practices.’ But they would not listen or pay attention to me, declares the Lord….

“Then they repented and said, ‘The Lord Almighty has done to us what our ways and practices deserve, just as he determined to do.” (Zechariah 1:2-6).

Therefore, you kings (presidents, governors, mayors, senators, etc.), be wise; be warned you rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling” (Psalm 2:10-11).

God bless America,
Pastor Jerry

A Notable Event

Dear readers,
We still have no precipitation of any measure. Please continue to ask the Lord to send those soaking rains we so desperately need. We have cleaned up the garden in preparation for winter, and I was surprised to find the deer had eaten things I wouldn’t have expected; things like the tops of the tomato and pepper plants, along with rhubarb leaves. Who knew?

Saturday, we attended what is really a rare occasion; a 75th wedding anniversary. It was the celebration of a long lasting marriage, but also a time of visiting with old friends. We live in a time when it is becoming harder to find lasting marriage relationships. What a testimony of faithfulness to the marriage covenant! I am sure this couple would tell you it hasn’t always been easy, but obviously they took their marriage vows seriously.

Perhaps this would be a good time for a review of God’s plan for marriage and families. It started in the book of Genesis, as God was creating the world and everything in it. Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” On the sixth day, God created all animal life, then 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…” (Genesis 1:27-28a).

In chapter two, we read more of the creation of the man and woman. “the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being… The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” … So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:7, 18, 20-24).

The longevity of this marriage is rare, and worthy of recognition. Congratulations, friends!

Blessings,
Pastor Jerry

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

Chasing the Wind

Dear friends,

We are experiencing some cooler weather for a change. As I write this, we have received a welcome rain shower. I show a mere twenty hundredths, but hey, it’s rain! We will continue to pray the Lord will send beneficial moisture. With the summer season winding down, life here at the lake is taking a more leisurely turn. It has been good to see folks enjoying a taste of lake living, especially the families with children.

Now for some devotional thoughts. This is from a few years back, when we were still watching television, but the message hasn’t changed. One of the newer advertisements on the tube was from an automobile company that will remain unnamed. Their slogan was “Dedicated to life, liberty and the pursuit!”

One of the hallmarks of the culture of today is that many are dedicated to the “pursuit”, and have no vision of what they are pursuing. After all, I wonder, should there not be something to pursue? Most of us have some goal in mind as we go along our life’s journey. It may be only to provide food and shelter for our families, but there is something we are pursuing. The Bible has quite a bit to say about things that are important to pursue and those which are not worth chasing after.

Solomon wrote that many of the things people seek after are just chasing after the wind (Ecclesiastes 1:14). Again he writes, “What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun? All his work is pain and grief, even at night his mind does not rest. This too is meaningless (2:22-23).

At the end of the book, Solomon sums it up; “Now all has been heard, here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Eccl. 12:13).

Jesus said, “But seek first His (God’s) kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33). Our slogan could then be “Dedicated to a life of serving God, liberty from the bondage of sin and the pursuit of godliness.”

In summary, God will provide all we need for this life and the next, if we will only put all our faith and trust in Him.

Reflecting on His Word,

Pastor Jerry

The Better Way

Dear friends,
We have received almost .30” of rain early Sunday morning. The forecast is for the possibility of more, but we are thankful for what we have. After a warm week, we are having a couple of cooler days. This, too, is a blessing.

It saddens me to see that some Christians are following those who claim to predict the future. I do not believe this is what the Lord would want for His people. In His word, he warns against these practices.

“When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable practices of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord, and because of these detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the Lord your God… The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the Lord your God has not permitted you to do so” The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to Him… I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command Him. (Deuteronomy 18:9-15).

God’s people are to depend upon Him for their every need, and rely on His promises to care for them in every situation. There are those who would say “but that was Old Testament teaching.” True, but much of God’s law remains in effect in the New Testament. The Ten Commandments have not been revoked; they are for all time. What is called God’s moral law is also just as true as when it was given.

To be involved in occult practices is to be unfaithful to the Lord. We are encouraged to listen to God’s prophets instead. The ultimate prophet of God is Jesus Christ—the One who spoke God’s words and who provides deliverance for His people. He is the better way; “Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge” (Psalm 62:8).

In His love,
Pastor Jerry

Whose Health?

Hello friends,
It was a busy Independence Day weekend here at the lake. There were lots of people, and the fireworks display didn’t disappoint. The several fund-raising events were well attended and much needed dollars were donated toward lake projects. A big thank you to all who volunteered or helped out in any way.

As mentioned in last week’s article, the new camper window arrived mid-week and has been installed. If I ever need to do this again, I have gained valuable experience on the subject. it was done with a minimum of personal injury and no ER visits were necessary.

After some very hot days, the mowing has slowed down a bit, however there have been a few timely rains so I expect the grass to keep growing. The garden is doing well, we have had cucumbers and it is just a matter of time until we are overrun with tomatoes; this is a good thing. I had hoped for the gardening bug to start fading away, but there are plans for a larger garden space for next year.

Abortion is being called health care by its supporters; what about the health of the unborn baby? Let’s talk about that. There is so much misinformation being tossed around on this subject, we must be able to present the truth. The Bible indicates the unborn is as much a person as one who is born and grows to maturity. There is no thought that this is not true.

In God’s law as given to Moses, we read this. “If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise” (Exodus 21:22-25).

While unintentional life-taking was not usually a capital offense, here it clearly was. Also, the unborn child is viewed in this passage as just as much a human being as its mother; the abortion of a fetus was considered murder. (Bible Knowledge Commentary on Exodus 21:22-25).

These verses are basic to the pro-life position on abortion for they indicate that the aborting of a fetus was equivalent to the murdering of the child. (Warren Wiersbe’s Commentary).

For the unborn,
Pastor Jerry

One Way

Dear readers,
After a very cool overnight temperature (28 degrees here), we had a beautiful Sunday. Let’s hope this was the last we see of frost until fall. Our new garden plants and flowers escaped any damage because someone (not me) covered them all the night before. On the topic of weather, it would be good if all God’s people continued to pray for rain, as many areas are still in need of beneficial rains.

I had the pleasure of speaking at Grace Bible Church in Loup City on Sunday, and the ladies who provide the music let me join in. We had a guitar trio… two acoustics and an electric bass. It is good when God’s people worship in song.

The message for Sunday focused on the need for Christians to know what they believe and why. To quote a well-known evangelical pastor, we need to “remember what we know.” A survey from 2021 found that nearly three-fourths of U.S. adults said they believe in heaven, but there was widespread disagreement about how to get there. Among all Americans, nearly 40 percent said heaven will be the home of those who do not even believe in God. Among those calling themselves Christians, 58 percent said there are multiple religions that can lead to heaven. (Pew Research Center, November 23, 2021).

Many preachers today are preaching from the culture, making their message acceptable to everyone. We need preachers to preach the Word of God that convicts people of their sin, in order to turn them to the Savior. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). It does not speak of many ways, nor any other “truth.” He also said this; Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it” (Matthew 7:13).

Jesus also said, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep…; whoever enters through me will be saved” (John 10:7-9). Paul wrote, “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved” (Romans 10:9-10).

Blessings,
Pastor Jerry