Archive for the ‘Faith’ Category

Blessings

We have survived the great blizzard of ’18! We were able to keep the house in a state of semi-warmth with the camper generator and a cord run through the window to power a little electric heater. Kudos to the power company linemen, who brave the elements for the rest of us. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Counting our blessings was easy this week, and today I would like to highlight some scripture passages praising God for his goodness. I have found my postings taking on somewhat of a negative view over the last few weeks, so it’s time for a brighter outlook.

The Psalms are packed with praises to God, as are the writings of some of the prophets and New Testament writers. Here are some examples:

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens (Psalm 8:1).
I will praise you, O Lord with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High (Psalm 9:1-2).
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands (Psalm 19:1).

Shout with joy to God, all the earth! Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious! Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you. All the earth bows down to you; they sing praises to you, they sing praises to your name” (Psalm 66:1-4).

I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself (Psalm 89:1-2).

Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and redeemed his people (Luke 1:68).
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3).

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).

Let’s just praise the Lord!
Pastor Jerry

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It’s Not Over

Hello all,
The cold bug stopped at our house last week. First, the wife came down with it, and I now have it. We’re hoping it runs its course soon, and we can get back to normal. We have been doing some remodeling to our camper, in anticipation of a new season. It seemed wise to make changes to this one, instead of spending more dollars to upgrade. After all, we don’t know if we’ll be doing this for much longer. Our first trip out will be on the 21st of April. It will be a short trip and a one night stay. Just the thing to see if we remembered to take everything we needed.

I think everyone who reads this is ready for some more spring-like weather. It seems we can’t get past the cold and snow this year. For example, it was a chilly 5 degrees here Saturday morning. That is almost unheard of for early April.

As I follow events in our culture, I am almost to the point of despair over the mess that is being created by those who would discard any sense of morality and any standard of decency. But, the Bible speaks plainly of a time when men will abandon all thought of a creator God, who rules the world and his creatures.

Of those who have rejected Him, God says, “For though they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became worthless, and their senseless hearts were darkened…
And because they did not think it worthwhile to acknowledge God, God delivered them over to a corrupt mind so that they do what is not right. They are filled with all unrighteousness, evil, greed, and wickedness… Although they know God’s just sentence–that those who practice such things deserve to die–they not only do them, but even applaud others who practice them. (Romans 1:21-32).

Instead of despair, we have the assurance that he is still in control, he knows what is happening, and he has a plan to redeem his creation from the effects of sin that we see around us.

“For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead” (Acts 17:31).

By His Word,
Pastor Jerry

Simple Truth

March weather is still in transition. From sunny, warm days to rain, snow and sleet, with cooler temperatures. All this in the space of 36 hours. Ah, springtime in Nebraska!

A well-known scientist and self-proclaimed atheist died this week. I would like to make some comments concerning the conflict between the intellectual mind, and the simplicity of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is not to demean any person, but with the purpose of telling of the saving grace of God, as shown through Bible, and its message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

First, a bit of my back-story, if I may. When I was younger, I thought of myself as something of an intellectual. I was interested in science and higher learning. Evolutionary theory interested me, and a favorite piece of literature was Self Reliance, an essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson. I was not really interested in God, although I knew about Him from reading my mom’s King James Bible.

Fast forward to the early eighties, when I started attending a Bible believing church. There, I found out my so-called self-reliance was really self-worship. I learned that the Bible is true, there is a God, who created the world and everything in it, and that he loved me enough to send His son to die for me. That same Bible told me that if I wanted to be saved from my sin and self-righteousness, I needed to accept Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord. Period. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8). There was nothing I could do to earn my way to heaven, only trust in Him.

At first, it seemed much too simple. Surely, there was something I could contribute. But, no! there is no other way, nor no other name by which I could be saved (Acts 4:12).

Scripture is clear. Those who deny the existence of God and who reject his Salvation, are doomed to spend eternity in hell. Everyone who believes is saved, and will spend eternity in heaven with Him. Do not rejoice, but mourn for those who have rejected God and his Salvation, for their destiny is eternal judgment.

There is a God. Have you placed your faith in Him? It is not too late.

In Him,
Pastor Jerry

Following Jesus

Hello all,
After a few warm and windy days, it appears the lake ice will be leaving soon. Ice fishing has been very popular for several weeks, but a new season is coming quickly. We will transition to daylight saving time this weekend, so there will be a longer period of daylight at the end of the workday (unless you are an agriculture person, and nothing will really change).
I attended a session of Sandhills Christian Leadership Center on Saturday. It is a course of study for those who wish to be further involved in ministry in their local churches, and who may feel led into pastoral ministry. It is sponsored by our local Baptist Church association. This was the third of four class sessions that began last October.
One of the topics of the day was “Making Disciples”, from Pastor John Shields. I will share some of his thoughts.
Marks of a disciple, or follower of Jesus Christ:
1. Disciples develop a lifelong commitment to learn and live God’s Word. To those Jews who had believed Him, Jesus said, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of mine…” (John 8:31).
They believe God’s Word is His clearest authority and revelation for life.
They believe God’s Word transforms those who respond in faith
2. Disciples increasingly live like servants, not owners. These are his words: “So, then, none of you can be my disciple who does not give up all his own possessions” (Luke 14:33).
The cost of really following Jesus is everything you have. Wealth and worry keep many from following Jesus.
3. Disciples have a deepening love for Jesus. We are called to love Him more than parents or other family, even more than ourselves. Luke 14:26.
This will cause relational tension with those who don’t know Him. This tension may be with family, friends, or co-workers.
These tensions can distract some from following Jesus.
4. Disciples deepen their love for other Christians. “By this all men will know you are my disciples” (John 13:35).
5. Disciples embrace Jesus’ mission as their own, and His mission was to glorify God.
“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples” (John 15:8).
The bottom line? If you want to follow Jesus, you have to follow Jesus, and no one else.
In His grip,
Pastor Jerry

Tri-Faith?

Hello friends,
It is good to look at the calendar and realize that spring is finally coming into view. The overnight temperatures are keeping the ice in great shape for those who are dedicated to winter-time fishing. As for me, I will wait for those warm spring days to get in the fishing mode. Now, on to today’s defense of the gospel.

Here is a headline: New York Minister Named First Executive Director of Omaha’s ‘Bold’ Tri-Faith Initiative.

Now, this should get our attention as Christians. Reading on, we find that on this organization’s property, there is a mosque, and a synagogue, with a church under construction. The executive director, we read, is from a liberal denomination in New York. He believes these diverse groups can work to bring about peace. Obviously, those promoting this, and who claim to be Christians, have no concept of God’s word. This is a line of thinking today that says we should just give equal legitimacy to every religion. This is not from God.

Scripture clearly instructs God’s people not to be involved with false religions. There are both Old Testament and New Testament commands for God’s people to be separate from all other faiths.

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is here between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God… Therefore, come out from them and be separate, says the Lord (2 Corinthians 6:14-17).

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” To those who disputed his claim to deity, he said, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me.” (John 8:42).

Regarding the gospel message, John had this to say: If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house and welcome him. Anyone who welcome him shares in his wicked work (2 John 1:10-11).

Jews do not recognize Jesus Christ as Messiah, and Islam sees as enemies both Christians and Jews. Do not be deceived.

Contending for the faith,
Pastor Jerry

For the Faith

It was a little warmer Sunday, although the temperature early was several degrees below zero. A little warm-up in the afternoon was welcome. There were several families and individuals enjoying some ice fishing on the lake. I am beginning to hear rumblings that people are tired of winter, but someone reminded me today that winter actually got a late start here. Temperatures were well above normal all the way up into November.

I keep reading of those who claim to be Christians promoting views of the Bible, of God and Jesus, that are nothing short of the devil’s lies. Many of these people are in positions of authority in churches, but they preach a different gospel than that given to the writers of Scripture. There are many warnings in the Bible dealing with those who would twist God’s word something he never intended. They claim to speak for Him, but are far from Him.

Here is a warning from the prophet Isaiah: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness, who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own opinion and clever in their own sight.
Isaiah 5:20-12

Their reward, as seen here, is woe. Used here, the word woe, refers to judgment. Jude, in the New Testament wrote about these false teachers. “For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. (Jude 4).

Jude, with a sense of urgency, encouraged his readers to, “contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3). The apostle Paul: “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!” (Galatians 1).

A number of these false teachers started well, and have attracted large numbers of followers. Now, they have drifted far from the path of righteousness, and those who listen to their teaching do not even know it. Be very careful who you listen to, and to the message they are presenting. All teaching should be measured up against Scripture.

Contending for the faith,
Pastor Jerry

God Said No?

As I read my Bible each day, every now and then a verse, or even a phrase will catch my attention. It happened again this week. As I was reading in Genesis 17, I saw these words; God said no! I suppose I was reading without really paying attention, but those three words stopped me short. What? God said no?

God told Abraham that he and Sarah would have a child, but Abraham thought he had a better plan. “Abraham said to God, ‘If only Ishmael were acceptable to you!’” But God said “No. Your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will name him Isaac.” God said no! His promise still stood, and he would do what he said. Abraham just needed to wait on the Lord’s timing.

I wonder how many times we, in spite of his promises to us, thought we had a better plan? His answer is always the same: No! Just wait for my timing. God was patient with Abraham, but insisted He would carry out his plan for Abraham’s promised heir. It was up to Abraham to be patient, waiting in faith that God would do as he said.

Malachi 3:6… I the Lord, do not change. Also, God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he not promise and not fulfill? (Numbers 23:19)

1 Samuel 15:29; He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should change his mind.

Paul speaks of the Christian’s faith as “a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time.” (Titus 1:2)

If God should say no to your plans, rest assured, he has a better plan for you. Remember these words from scripture. “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails (Proverbs 19:21). “But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.

Truth,
Pastor Jerry