Archive for the ‘Easter’ Category

Springtime Meditations

We are starting to see a green tinge developing in the grass. The prevailing breezes are shifting to the south, trees are budding, and spring is in the air. The only thing lacking in our area is rain. There have been numerous grass fires in recent days, and most everyone is praying for rain. If the forecast holds true, those prayers may be answered early this week.

At the lake house, I am getting very close to finishing the sun porch. Next, we will try to get some grass established before the weather gets to warm. I may seek professional help in that area, because Milrae would like to see some actual grass.

The church calendar shows Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Resurrection Day coming up very soon. The good thing is these observances have a message that is timeless. This sounds like a good topic for our devotional this week.

When we were ranching, spring was always a reminder of good things to come, and after becoming a Christian, it all held new meaning for me.

Things like the knowledge that through faith in Jesus, I was raised to new life by being born again. Given a new start. A new heart. Become a new creation. Renewed in my spirit. My broken relationship with God restored through faith in Christ and belief in His resurrection.

Follow me through these verses. In John 3:3, to Nicodemus, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” God makes a promise to his people; “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26). “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).

New life. A new start. Salvation from sin and guilt. Eternity with my Lord and Savior. These are what Spring-time and the Resurrection mean to me.

In remembering the new little calves playing in the sunshine, I am also reminded of an Old Testament verse. “And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall” (Malachi 4:2).

Enjoying the Son shine,
Pastor Jerry

Resurrection is Coming!

Saturday, it was 70 degrees, and a beautiful day. Sunday began with rain that changed to wet snow and high winds. The high temperature for the day was in the low 40’s, by late afternoon, it was near freezing. It must be spring in the Sandhills.

This week brings two events that mark the foundation of the Christian faith. Those two being Good Friday, and Easter. Good Friday is important because it was the day the Lord Jesus went to the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. “He was delivered over to death for our sins…” (Romans 4:25). The apostle Paul wrote, “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3).
Easter (I prefer Resurrection) Sunday commemorates the raising of Jesus from the dead. Peter puts it this way: “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).
Without these two, our faith would be useless, and we would have no hope for eternity. Paul sums it up in this way: “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith…and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:14-17).
I’ll close with this little poem:
“Easter time is here again
and bunnies everywhere,
Don’t salute a substitute,
there is no holy hare.
So colored eggs and jelly beans,
don’t mean a bunny thing,
Cause bunnies do, what bunnies do
and have no gifts to bring
So Easter time’s the time to know,
a lie could not survive.
And here’s the proof in gospel truth;
JESUS IS ALIVE!”
[William F. Heffner]
Because He Lives,
Pastor Jerry

Debt (and Guilt) Free

Can you say spring? I believe it is finally here. Yesterday was beautiful and ended with a thunderstorm and a nice rain shower. It has been much too long since we’ve experienced anything so welcome.
In my study for last week’s sermon, the scripture caught my eye. “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (Colossians 2:13-15).
Here is an experience of ours that might help explain this truth: During the agricultural “crash” of the mid-1980’s, the bank ordered us to disperse our cow herd. We had to sell everything and pay back what we had borrowed, which we did. The debt was canceled and a large sum of accrued interest was forgiven.As a condition of this, we could never do business with them again.
In comparison,when Christ died for our sins, he canceled the debt completely and forever; past, present and future. He nailed the canceled “note” to the cross. Our debt is paid and we are forgiven 100 percent, past, present and future. Not only that, we have a personal relationship with him forever.
In addition, the last verse gives assurance that the devil and his demons have no power over the Christian. His defeat was insured when Jesus’ work on the cross was finished, and an exclamation point was added when Jesus rose from the dead.
You might be interested in learning how your own sin debt can be canceled, allowing you not only freedom from sin, but freedom from guilt over sin you may have committed. Here is how it goes: Admit to God that you are a sinner, Believe Jesus died for your sins. Confess those sins and ask for his forgiveness (Romans 10:9-13). Then, obey his command to live a life worthy of the Lord, pleasing Him in every way….” (Colossians 1:10).
You will have peace with God, and the sure and the certain knowledge of spending eternity in the presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Forgiven!
Pastor Jerry

Seeking the Lost

Spring is officially here, but someone forgot to turn up the thermostat. We just don’t seem to be able to get any warm days, but with April coming, we have hope. I saw a photo taken by one of our friends this week that reminded me of other March days when we would be out feeding and checking the cattle. It made me think of the following:

I was reading Luke 15 where Jesus was talking about the lost sheep (Luke 15:3-7), and I had a flashback to my days of calving out cows. I remembered some times when I spent hours looking for a missing baby calf. Some were at night, when it was almost totally dark, some in the pouring rain, other times it would be snowing and blowing. There might have been a time or two it was doing all the above.

It was what we did, and what some of you are still doing. When a calf was missing, we searched until we found it. The missing one might have crawled through the fence into a shelter belt, and we would find it asleep under a cedar tree. Others would wander off behind a hill, and the cow would be searching with us. Once, with the help of my horse, who stopped to sniff at a snowbank, I found the missing one under the snow. It is all about seeking and saving the lost, and we celebrated when we reunited the calf with its mother.

In Ezekiel 34:16, we read these words of the Lord, “I will search for the lost and bring back the strays.” It’s a picture of why Jesus came. In Luke 15:4, Jesus said “if a shepherd loses a sheep, does he not look for it until he finds it? And after he finds it he calls his neighbors to rejoice with him? He then went on to say, “in the same way there will be rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner.” He is describing someone who has been lost in sin, but who has turned to the Lord to be rescued from his sin. Then, in Luke 19:10, we read these words of Jesus, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”
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Jesus Christ came to rescue the lost. Heaven celebrates each one who is found and brought into the safety of the Lord’s care. Not only did he come to seek and to save the lost, he paid the penalty for our sin, and was raised from the dead so that we might live.

Something to remember this Holy Week, as we contemplate the reason Jesus came, and as we look toward Resurrection Day.

Because He Lives,
Pastor Jerry