Archive for the ‘Families’ Category

Give Thanks

Dear friends,
HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
What is the Thanksgiving holiday? It has always been about giving thanks to God, our Creator and Provider, for all things good. These would include crops harvested, good health, a roof over our heads, a warm bed to sleep in, food on the table, family, country, and especially thanks for our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.

Most people understand saying please and thank you, as a matter of being polite to one another. And, most people thank other people for kindnesses shown, for gifts at birthdays and Christmas, and at other times, as well. But when it comes to a thanksgiving holiday, who do those who do not believe in the God of the Bible thank for all their blessings? Think about that.

Who indeed, can we thank for the very breath we breath, if not a Creator? What sense could it make to thank some pool of primordial soup, as some see the beginning of life? The Bible says “In the beginning, God”, that is good enough for me, and I will praise Him to the end of time and beyond.

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. (Psalm 100:1-5).

Jesus said it: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).

The chorus to an old hymn comes to mind at this time of year:
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your many blessings, see what God has done.

May you have many blessings to count this Thanksgiving Day,

Praising Him,
Pastor Jerry

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Making Music

The Gospel Music Jam under the carousel at Lake Ericson is history. The weather was ideal, the music was uplifting, and a good time was had by everyone. I think everyone agrees that we need to do it again. As Willie Nelson sang, “the life I love is making music with my friends.”

We are in prayer for the people of Texas this week, especially the Huston area, as they deal with epic flooding. There are areas not too far from us, where it is a bit wet, but we have never seen flooding like this, and I can’t even imagine that kind of destruction. Those of you whose hay harvest has been delayed for a time because of wet meadows, count your blessings. It could be worse.

Labor Day weekend is almost here. For most, it is the last weekend of the summer season. After living here at the lake for just a few summers, we know the really busy time is coming to a close. It is good to see all the families enjoying the lake and its activities, but the quiet season is something we look forward to, also.

Back to the gospel music we all enjoyed this weekend; someone remarked how good it was to just spend the afternoon listening to God’s gift of music, seated in the midst of His creation, and for a time forgetting the cares of the world.

Scripture is filled with references to music as worship and praise. Here are a few of them:
“Praise the Lord with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre” (Psalm 33:2).
“It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High” (Psalm 92:1).
“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music” (Psalm 98:4).
“Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make music to our God on the harp” (Psalm 147:7).
And from the New Testament: “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19).

If you can’t sing, there are these from the English Standard Version:
“Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!”
(Psalm 95:1)
“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!” (Psalm 100:1)

Praising Him,
Pastor Jerry

Be Wise

After I posted the word monsoon on Facebook this week, one of my friends said they heard I was stockpiling pallets of gopher wood. There is no truth to that rumor. First of all, my name is not Noah, and second, the rainbow promises God will not send another flood (sorry). We did get a fair amount of rain, though, and I’m certain at some point, we will be wanting more. One thing is sure, God will provide for our needs.

Sunday, I was privileged to preach at a church up the road. The drive to and from there was quite enjoyable. It was good to see the hills turning green, and the valleys well-watered. I am always amazed at the way God works. The scripture text for my message this week was Proverbs 4:5; “Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them.” When I walked into the church, I picked up the bulletin and across the top were these words: Get Wisdom, Get Understanding. How cool is that?

I may as well share some highlights of that message with you. If you were there for it in person, you may skip this part.

There seems to be a lack of common sense in our world today. The Bible word would be wisdom. I believe one reason for this is that we are looking for wisdom in the wrong place. Secular thinking considers wisdom to be one of two things. One would be that wisdom is simply the art of learning how to succeed in life. The second, is that wisdom is a philosophical study of the essence of life.

Wisdom from the Bible’s perspective involves observation and instruction, but it really begins with God and one’s faith in Him as Lord and Savior. Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” There is no lack of knowledge these days, but precious little wisdom, it seems.

From Proverbs 2:6, we read, “For the Lord gives wisdom, and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” And our opening text: “Get wisdom, get understanding… Wisdom is supreme; therefore, get wisdom” (Proverbs 4:5-7).

Finally, a New Testament reference to wisdom: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).

Be wise,
Pastor Jerry

On the Right Path

We have had our first real taste of winter. The snow was wet and was welcome moisture. It’s been awhile since we had measurable rain, so this is good. My enthusiasm for the cooler temperatures is somewhat less than for the moisture. It is a bit of a shock to the system to go from 70 plus degrees to below freezing in less than 48 hours!

In other news, the rifle deer season has ended, and from reports I see, the deer population has rebounded from the disease losses of a few years back. What this means is that there is a better chance of hitting one with your vehicle.

As I watch and read the news lately, I see young people acting like very small children who do not get their way. I believe much of the behavior exhibited by these “protesters” is a direct result of allowing them to make their own choices from an early age. When I was a child (a long time ago), children didn’t order their own food at the restaurant, they ate the food ordered by the parents. Little kids didn’t choose what to wear, they dressed in the clothes laid out by Mom. There were two choices at mealtime, take it or leave it. There was no discussion

Another reason, I believe, we have come to this point, is that more and more people know less and less of what the Bible teaches regarding family structure and respect for parental authority. Here are a few helpful scriptures to make my point.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise” (Ephesians 6:1-2). Fathers, do not exasperate your children, instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).

Colossians 3:20-21… Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

The book of Proverbs is filled with instruction concerning the raising of children. “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him” (Proverbs 13:24). “Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death (Prov. 19:18).

Discipline is correcting a path, and the right path is clearly marked.

Just thinking,
Pastor Jerry

Family Reunion

Dear friends,
We spent the weekend reconnecting with family, some of whom we haven’t seen for most of twenty years. It was a good time, a perfect day, and an ideal location. It always interests me to see how well we have all aged (or not). I enjoyed the little kids and their exuberance for life. Then there are the older kids; they appear to be mostly bored and wishing they were home with their friends. And the old people? They just tell stories of how it used to be.

Family is one of those things the Lord has blessed us with, that too often we forget. It shouldn’t take a family reunion, wedding, or the funeral of a member of the family to get us together. In the “old days”, our families were not separated by distance as much as today, and yet with all the means we have available to stay in touch, it seems harder to stay connected. I don’t necessarily have any answers; I’m just thinking out loud here.

Time is fleeting. Life is short. We need to stay in touch, at least occasionally, because we have no guarantee that any of us will be here next week, or next year. This might be the time to remind ourselves if there is a broken or damaged relationship somewhere in our family, it is time to start the mending process. It would be better to have restored a relationship than a lifetime of regret for not doing so.

Today (Monday), I will check in at the hospital for a CT scan. It is just over a year since I had the medical emergency and night-time ride in the medical helicopter. The scan will tell the doctor if all is well, and if the medication is doing its job. This could be the reason for the thoughts on family and relationships this week.

I’ll leave you with two biblical references regarding our plans and the brevity of life: “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes… “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live…” (James 4:14-15). “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” (Isaiah 40:6-8).

Just thinking,
Pastor Jerry