Archive for the ‘End Times’ Category

On Staying Close

It is 38 degrees here this morning, with a forecast low tonight of 31. I fear the global warming theory will be a hard sell in this area. Last week, I reported that we had sown the grass seed. After the rain this week, I see mowing in my future.

The local Canada goose population is on the increase. Goslings of varying sizes are making their appearance on the lake. I noticed one family with 4 little ones, three of them stayed pretty close to the parents, but one always seemed to be lagging behind. Lately, that goose family has only three young ones. I suspect the little straggler became lunch for some predator.

There is a lesson here for God’s people.

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 3:8). Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as the you see the day approaching (Hebrews 10:25).

Remember Paul’s words to the Ephesian elders, as he prepared to leave them: “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that when I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! (Acts 20:28-31).

Finally, from Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus: “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes…In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one…be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:11-18).

In an age when Christianity is being challenged and attacked, I believe it is more important than ever that we remain in close fellowship, encouraging each other in our faith. As the old saying goes, there is strength in numbers. The enemy’s strategy is to divide and conquer. We must stay in close fellowship with our God and with each other.

In Him,
Pastor Jerry

On Christian Fellowship

The larger blessing of the past week has to be the rain that fell. Amounts vary over the area, but it was all greatly appreciated. It is good to see the daffodils, and tulips and now the wild plums are near to blooming. As mentioned before, spring has to be my favorite time of year.

Now to our devotional thought for the week. I often encounter people who say they are Christians, yet they do not think it is important to go to church. The usual reply is they can worship in the outdoors, while they are at the lake, in the hunting blind, or wherever they find themselves on a Sunday morning. In fact, in the days before I came to faith in Christ, I used the same argument for why I did not “attend church.” It is not just a Christian excuse.

Where do we get the idea we can be lone wolf Christians? Scripture does not indicate that this is a great idea. In fact, quite the opposite is taught by Jesus and the apostles.

Romans 12:5… “In Christ, we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”
1 Corinthians 12:27… “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”
Hebrews 10:24-25… “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the day approaching.”

I believe we are living in a time when it is becoming more and more important to spend as much time in Christian fellowship as possible. We are increasingly under attack for our Christian beliefs, and we must band together to stand strong.

There is a story about a man who stopped going to church. His pastor visited him on a cold day, and as they sat in front of the fireplace, the pastor took a hot coal from the fire and set it aside, where it began to cool and eventually went out. After a bit, the pastor moved the coal back closer to the live coals, where it immediately began to burn again. The man got the message and returned to church the next week.

In Him,
Pastor Jerry

On the Relevancy of Scripture

Here is one more article concerning false teachers present today, then we’ll move on. I think it is important to point out some of the ideas about the Bible that are floating around out there.

A preacher of some renown, named Rob Bell, several years ago wrote a book promoting the idea that there is no literal hell, and that Jesus would eventually save everyone. Let me tell you right now, the Bible nowhere teaches such heresy. Now, this same person, appearing on a popular television program, announced that the church was on the verge of total commitment to same-sex marriage.

He went on to say that if the church wants to be relevant in our day, she needs to stop depending on what he called “2,000 year-old letters”.

Personally, I will continue to depend on those old letters we call God’s Word, the Bible, for judging what is true, and what is false. Contrary to what this man promotes, I believe the Bible is totally relevant to this discussion.

In 2 Peter, chapter 2, we get a vivid picture of the destination of those who distort God’s Word, and deceive their followers. That place is called hell, and it is definitely not a place of enjoyment.

As a pastor, I understand that I have a great responsibility to correctly handle God’s Word, and to speak it clearly. The Bible is no less relevant that it has ever been. May it always be so!

“Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly” (James 3:1).

Finally, this: “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” (2 Timothy 4:3).

In Truth,
Pastor Jerry

On Being Ready

Hello all,
Sunday evening we held our 9th annual Valentine supper. I think it is safe to say everyone in attendance was glad they came. Thanks to those who decorated, took reservations, and helped out in any other way. Special thanks to the catering crew for a great meal, and to Pastor Don for his special brand of music and cowboy poetry.

In news from the lake house, the sun porch continues on its way to completion. We had hoped to get some siding on, but the colder temperatures have slowed those plans. Maybe I can get the kitchen remodel finished up instead.

As we see events in the world unfolding, I am once again reminded of the Bible’s teaching concerning the times and events preceding the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the 24th chapter of Matthew’s gospel, we read the words of Jesus. He is speaking to his disciples: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. These are the beginning of birth pains. Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me” (Matthew 24:7-9). He goes on to say, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (verse 36).

What should be our response to this teaching? He follows with these words: “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him” (verses 42-44).

How are we to be ready? By confessing our sin, asking His forgiveness, and turning from our sinful ways. I do not write these things to frighten you. My prayer is that all who read these weekly articles would answer the Lord’s invitation to receive His gift of salvation. It is by and through making Him our Lord and Savior that we are able to face tomorrow, and the challenges it may bring.

In His love,
Pastor Jerry

He Will Return

It is good to be enjoying some spring-like weather. We made a concentrated effort at the end of the week to get our sun room enclosed. As I write this, the roof is on and all the windows are installed. Now, if it rains or snows, no worries. I have lived in this state long enough to know that spring-like weather in February has nothing to do with spring.

Our devotional thought this week comes again from Peter’s second letter. In chapter three, he warns us of false teachers who deny the second coming of Jesus Christ. In his day, they were basically making fun of Christians who were looking for His return. They were saying, things have been the same forever, and if He was coming back, He surely would have done so by now.

Peter says they (those who scoff at the idea of Jesus’ return) have forgotten that God formed the heavens and the earth. Then, in the time of Noah, He sent a flood to destroy the earth, excepting Noah and his family, because they were the only godly people on the earth at that time. God then repopulated the earth through Noah, with the promise that He would never destroy the earth with water, giving the sign of the rainbow that he would keep his word.

Because of sin, God will at a future date destroy the earth again. However, He is very patient, waiting until every person has had the opportunity to accept His gift of salvation. Peter says, “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 3:9).

Make no mistake, God will not be mocked (Galatians 6:7). His promises are true and will not be broken. Scripture says the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear…the earth and everything in it will be laid bare (2 Peter 3:10).

These are Peter’s words of advice to Christians: “What kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives…, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with Him.” (Verses 11-14).

How are we found to have these qualities? Only through faith in the One who died in our place.

Standing on His promises,
Pastor Jerry

Waiting for a Mansion

Hello all,
It’s cloudy and mild at the lake this morning. The trees have lost most of their leaves, and it’s looking like we need to be getting ready for winter.

Last week, as we were busy putting up new cabinets, and planning other improvements to the house, this comment was made: “It’s not a mansion, but it will do.” In this, I was reminded that this world is not my home; that there is a far better place to which I will go at the end of this life. This is true of everyone who has placed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

In Hebrews 11, that great chapter on faith, the faithful listed there are called aliens and strangers on earth. In describing the faithful who had died, the writer said, “If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them” (Hebrews 11:15-16).

The fine mansions people pride themselves in for this life, will someday disappear. Those whose hope is in the Lord will receive their reward. Listen to the words of Peter: “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare (you talk about global warming)…That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness” (2 Peter 3:10-13).

You have heard these words of Jesus many times: “In my Father’s house are many rooms (some versions say ‘mansions’); if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).

Be it a mansion or a room, it will be infinitely better to be in the presence of the Lord for all eternity! The old song has it right. This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through. Scripture reminds us we will walk on streets of pure gold (Revelation 21:21).

Looking for that city,
Pastor Jerry

The Response to Persecution

Hello friends,
We are experiencing some fall-like temperatures lately. If nothing else, folks are reminded that winter is not too far away. There is a sense that we need to get busy finishing up those summer projects.

You are all aware of the events taking place around the world. Christians in other places are facing persecution and even death for their faith. Other people who are not Christian are being killed just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. What are we to think of these things?

The Bible is clear that these things will be present in the world because of sin. Someday, the Lord will return and make everything right, but in the meantime, what are we to do?

I know there are those who think there is a political solution to everything that is going on, but the problems of the world will never be solved by political means. Politics cannot change the human heart, only God, working through the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and His Holy Spirit can change the heart of man.

In Matthew, chapter 24, Jesus answered his disciples’ question concerning the end of time. Space does not allow me to quote it here, but you can read it in your Bible.

Persecution will come to the Christian. It is a fact. The apostle Peter wrote, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Peter 4:12). John wrote in his first letter, “Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you” (1 John 3:13).

What is our response? Pray first of all for the enemies of God and His people. Pray for their salvation and for God’s Holy Spirit to work in their hearts and bring them to faith in the One True God. In the words of Jesus, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).

Then, pray for our leaders. Paul, writing to Timothy said this: “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority…” (1 Timothy 2:1-2).

Praying for our enemies is not an easy thing to do, but I believe we must pray fervently and without ceasing for God to bring about the heart change they so desperately need.

Praying,
Pastor Jerry

Moving Day

The move has been made. Our little house on the lake is now residing at a new location, by a different body of water. Another page has been turned in our life story.

Most of last week was spent moving the house. The phone rang at 3 PM Monday, and the man at the other end said, “We’ll be there tomorrow morning to load your house.” The rest of the week is somewhat of a blur, but by mid-afternoon Thursday, the house was in its new location.

We had been assured the house would be moved in September. We didn’t know it would be the second of the month, so we weren’t entirely ready when the call came. We hurried to Lake George and finished up by disconnecting the air-conditioner and the propane tank. There were still a few loose ends inside the house and the deck had to be moved back out of the way. We are thankful for neighbors with a tractor and loader, and the rain the night before that kept them out of the hayfield for a few hours.

We had been given plenty of time to make these preparations, but hadn’t developed a sense of urgency to get it done.

In the Bible we have been warned over and over that the Lord will someday return, and if we aren’t ready when He does, it will be too late to do anything about where we will spend eternity. When he does return for us, whether tomorrow or many years from now, it will happen. There will be a time when it will be too late. No one is guaranteed their next breath, or another sunrise.

Here is what the Bible says, and what we need to take to heart: “Now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2).”You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him” (Luke 12:40).

When we knew the moving of our house was at hand, a sense of urgency came over us. Decisions had to be made and soon. We had to take action, and we did.

The message of the gospel, that salvation comes through faith in Jesus, carries a sense of urgency. Again, to quote scripture; “Now is the day of salvation.” Will you take action now?

In Him,
Pastor Jerry

The Light of Truth

Hello friends,
Another week has come and gone. Our area got some beneficial rain, and
some places were on the receiving end of severe storms, including hail
damage to crops and other property.

In church news, Vacation Bible School was held this week. The number
of children available in our little town is small, but those attending
had a good time. We very much appreciated the two young ladies who
came to teach the lessons.

I am troubled by the increasing outcry from the more liberal voices in
our culture who seem bent on silencing those who would speak out on
behalf of Biblical truth and values. I have also been encouraged in
recent days by the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case.
Although one victory encourages us, the truth remains that the message
of salvation through faith in God and Jesus Christ is being shouted
down more and more.

God has clearly predicted these things in His word, as told by the
apostle Paul in his letter to Timothy. “For the time will come when
men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own
desires they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say
what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away
from the truth and turn aside to myths” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

In contrast, God’s people are told to be lights, shining the truth of
God’s word into the world. “You are the light of the world. A city on
a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it
under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to
everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before
men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in
heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm” (1 Corinthians 15:58). “Be
on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage, be strong”
(1 Corinthians 16:13). “So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the
teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or letter” (2
Thessalonians 2:15).

Finally, in the words of James, “You too, be patient and stand firm,
because the Lord’s coming is near” (James 5:8).

Standing on the Word of God,
Pastor Jerry

What’s New?

There are flowers, leaves on the trees, green grass and warm breezes, Can spring finally be here? I believe it is so! Now, as the Lord provides rain, things will really be looking up.
We celebrated some birthdays this past weekend. My wonderful wife and two of our dear friends were the birthday people, and we three couples got together for an evening of dining and fellowship. Our long-time Christian friends are just the best!
This time of the year always reminds me of God’s promise to someday bring renewal to the earth, in a grand and glorious way. There are so many scriptures that come to my mind in the spring. I’ll share a few, and I trust they are some of your favorites as well.
God, through the prophet Ezekiel, makes this promise to Israel regarding a time when he will gather them from among the nations: “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) Talk about a new beginning!
In 2 Corinthians 5:17, Paul writes, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
In Hebrews 10:30 we are told of a “new and living way”, made possible by the death of Christ on the cross. Though His death, burial and resurrection we are given new birth into a living hope (1 Peter 1:3).
In 2 Peter 3:13, we read, “But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.”
And, finally, some verses from Revelation, as the apostle John recorded his vision of heaven: “He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” The He said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:5).
All of this, and we are also given a new song to sing (Revelation 5:9). And it begins with the new birth that occurs when we place our faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Praise His Name!
Welcoming spring,
Pastor Jerry
Note: As always, I welcome your thoughts on these weekly articles. Send them to: lakecitynews@gmail.com