Archive for the ‘Eternity’ Category

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

Peace on Earth

We finished with painting some rooms in our house this week. I suppose this could be a Christmas gift of sorts. This is something my lovely wife has been wanting for some time, and I’m glad we were able to find someone to get the job done. I will have more on this in an upcoming article.

Where is the promised peace?
After the angel announced the birth of the Savior to the shepherds, we read this: “Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests’” (Luke 2:8-14).

The angel’s announcement to the shepherds was of peace on earth, and as we read the words, we see that this peace would come to those on whom God’s favor rests, meaning those who put their faith in this newborn babe.

Jesus himself did not promise that true peace would exist before his second coming. He said, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34).

Another prophecy fulfilled in Jesus Christ is found in Isaiah 42:1-4. “Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
He will not quarrel or cry out; no one will hear his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
til he leads justice to victory.
In his name the nations will put their hope.”

Two of the elements of the Advent season are hope and peace. For the Christian, this means hope as a settled assurance of things to come, and the peace that comes only from the Spirit of Jesus in our hearts.

Again, as he prepared to leave his disciples, Jesus promised to leave his peace with them. What did he mean, if he didn’t come to bring peace?

The peace he left us with is not peace as the world sees it (John 14:27), but instead, he leaves us with peace in our hearts because of our relationship with the Father through the Son. In this, we have hope.

Merry Christmas,
Pastor Jerry

Don’t Wait!

We are finishing up our last camping trip before cold weather sets in. No one knows exactly when that will be, we just know it is coming soon. The leaves are falling; many trees are already bare. The ones left with leaves are many-colored. Each on a different shade of red, orange, or yellow. Soon the tree line will be only cedars and pines with any color. Where there were signs of warm summer, the landscape will transition to winter, with its shades of gray and brown turning white with the winter snows.

The lake is being lowered for winter season, and people are getting their properties winterized. Those of us who are permanent residents are also making preparations for colder weather. We try to remember where we put that snow shovel, and which closet holds our winter coat and gloves.

As a nation, we are preparing for a general election and the choosing of a new president, along with other elected officials.

I wonder how many are making preparations for their eternity? The Bible speaks of making preparations for the day our earthly journey ends, yet in spite of all the signs and warnings, there are still a lot of folks who haven’t made those preparations.

These are the words of Jesus: “Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come… So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him” (Matthew 24:42-44). To the Pharisees and Sadducees, He said, “You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times” (Matthew 16:2)

Peter wrote, “First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.
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 3:3-9).

Frozen water pipes can be repaired. To delay responding to God’s invitation of salvation has eternal significance. Today is the day of salvation. Please, do not wait.

In His love,
Pastor Jerry

Pleasing God

It’s been a hot week, but there are cooler days ahead. I was able to spend a little time fishing one day last week, but had no success. Maybe I can get serious this week…one can only hope. We would like to spend some time exploring some of our state parks before winter. Cooler weather might provide the incentive to get started.

Every now and then, the question is posed on Facebook, “Do you think our nation has forgotten God?” I don’t think it takes a lot of study to answer a resounding YES! The world at large has no concept of God as creator and sustainer of life.

We have indeed forgotten God. Romans 1, beginning at verse 18 describes the culture of today. As I read these verses, Paul is painting a picture of today’s society. Let’s look at this passage together: “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For 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 1:18-20). The rest of the chapter describes these godless people in words that are descriptive of people today.

In addition to those who deny God altogether, are people who are trying to please God by doing good works. They will not acknowledge Him for who He is, but try to gain His favor through good deeds. It is a little like trying to win the lottery by buying more tickets in the hope of improving your odds of winning, except that the odds of winning God’s favor are zero.

Hebrews 11:6… And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

Acknowledging and obeying God are not only beneficial in this life, there is an eternal element. In this life, the Christian has the assurance of heaven, but also there are rewards that will last for eternity.

It’s been said before, no one is guaranteed tomorrow. Choose God, trust Christ, be saved today.

In His love,
Pastor Jerry

Making Reservations

We are looking at a few days of relatively nice weather. While we have some nice days, we have begun the process of transitioning to our lake house. I was asked recently why we wanted to move out of the parsonage. My reply was this; we moved the house down here to live in. We will continue to serve at the church, while the search committee works to find my replacement. Prayers would be appreciated.

Our devotional thought this week concerns the tendency of many of us to put things off until the last minute, and how it applies to our eternal destination. A disclaimer is needed here: Some may think I’m targeting individuals, but I am as guilty as anyone of procrastination.

When an event requires reservations to be made before a specific time, many folks will delay until after the cut-off date, then ask for an exception. There are instances when exceptions can be made without any difficulty, but there will be a stopping point.

Jesus offers the gift of salvation to those who believe in, and trust him. His invitation is “come to me and receive my salvation.” However, like those who delay making reservations for a hotel room, an airline flight, or maybe a formal dinner, many people delay in making a decision to trust Christ. In fact, they sometimes put it off until it is too late.

In Matthew 25:1-13, Jesus tells the story of ten virgins waiting for a wedding banquet. As they waited, darkness came. The five wise virgins had taken extra oil for their lamps, and five who the Lord called foolish had their lamps, but no oil for them. As the story goes, at some point the wedding party arrived, and the five who had no oil went to purchase oil, but by the time they returned to the banquet, it was too late, the door was locked. By failing to be prepared, they were denied entrance. He ended the story with these words. “Keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”

Jesus’ point was this: No one knows when it will be too late to accept his offer. We don’t get a second chance at salvation. No one is guaranteed tomorrow. “Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Be prepared. Do not delay.

In Him,
Pastor Jerry

CHOICES

The forecast for today (Monday) is for windy, with some snow showers. The good news? Sunshine is predicted for most of the rest of the week. I’ll be one of many who will be glad to see the sun again.
Our Sunday school lesson this week is the starting point for us today. In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus says, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” What was Jesus talking about when He was comparing the narrow to the wide?
He was speaking of a choice we each must make. Narrow road or wide road. The easy way or the hard way. It is the choice between spending eternity with Him, or spending eternity separated from Him. The narrow road means there is one way to God. In John 14:6, Jesus makes this statement: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” We are seeing that the narrow way is unpopular. It is called narrow minded, but the rewards at the end of this path are heaven and eternal reward.
This contrasts the popular wide, easy road that leads to destruction, and that so many people are choosing today. It offers temporary, worldly reward and satisfaction, but in the end, it leads to condemnation and an eternity in hell.
We all make choices every day. These choices range from what shall we eat or wear, what college will I attend, or to what political candidate will I support? The most important choice we make in life, I believe, is whether or not to follow Jesus Christ. You see the answer to that question is of eternal significance, whereas all the others are simply temporary.
“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him” (John 3:36).
This is a topic I visit from time to time. It is because I believe it to be of utmost importance. Delay in making the decision to follow Christ may result in a person being too late. We are not guaranteed tomorrow. Today is the day of salvation.
In His love,
Pastor Jerry