Archive for the ‘Families’ Category

Milestones

It’s a beautiful Sunday morning as I write this. Across the street, the carousel sits empty, showing no signs of the graduation party held last evening for our grandson Alex, as we celebrated with friends and family from near and far. Thanks to all who helped with set-up and clean-up. Those who brought food, and those who came to partake. It was a fitting end to a wonderful day. The Lord gets the credit for providing a perfect day. Our congratulations to Alex, and to all his classmates on a job well done, with best wishes for the future.

Thus ends another chapter in our lives. It wasn’t a chapter I would have written if I was writing the book, but still, I wouldn’t want it to be any different. That is the neat thing about letting God write your life story. As we look back, we understand he always has the best plan. I’ve always said if you think following God will be boring, you are mistaken. The Christian life lived in obedience to God is nothing less than an exciting adventure. Boring? Not!

Proverbs are wise sayings, not necessarily promises, but here are a few: Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed (Proverbs 16:3); In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps (Prov. 16:9); Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails (Prov. 19:21).

There is also this promise to the those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, and have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). Notice this is for those who love him, it is not a blanket promise to all people.

We will wait to see what the Lord has in store for us, but in the meantime, the camper is waiting, and we plan to spend a little time enjoying some of our state’s attractions. But, as noted, our plans are subject to God’s will and purpose. As it says in James’ little epistle, “You do not even know what will happen tomorrow… Instead you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will do live and do this or that” (James 4:13-15).

Be blessed in all you do,
Pastor Jerry

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God, Our Hope

Hello friends,
We spent some time last week shopping for home improvement projects. We have installed new flooring in the kitchen and dining areas of the house, with new carpet to be laid in the master bedroom this week. I am reminded once again, that as we get older we are less flexible and it takes longer to recover from the effects doing physical labor. Nonetheless, it is satisfying to see the end result.

I have observed that it is no wonder young people of the day have little knowledge of what it means to live a moral life. First, there is no real understanding of the moral teachings of the Bible. This is partly due to the fact that few have had any exposure to the Word of God. Second, there is very little in the way of personal examples of moral living in the general population.

I suppose I started down this line of thinking as I was skimming the “for sale” posts on Facebook. There was a post in which a man was selling a washing machine. It read, “Selling for my mother, because she is moving in with her fiancé, and doesn’t need it.” Really.

This is not an isolated incident. Everywhere we look, there are these kinds of relationships, many of them among even those who are senior citizens, and who grew up with a shared understanding of moral values. Some say they cohabit because of finances, or for any number of other seemingly rational reasons. But to the person with a Christian worldview, these are just not right.

There are other examples of the lack of morals in our society. We see them in politics, sports, business, even in ‘churches’. There must be a return to common sense, Bible based values, or I fear our society will self-destruct. There is an answer, it is found in God’s instructions to Israel: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Also, in the New Testament; “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19).

In His love,
Pastor Jerry

It’s Christmas

Dear friends,
I suppose it has something to do with being retired and finding ways to entertain ourselves, but we have begun to follow recipe pages on Facebook. One recent post caught my eye. It went something like this: “Ten Recipes That Taste Like Christmas!”

My first thought was, what does Christmas taste like? Followed close behind by, what color is Christmas? If I had an opinion on these two questions, I suppose I would say the tastes of Christmas might be those of candy canes, eggnog, cinnamon, gingerbread, and a host of other foods and sweets. Then I would say the colors of Christmas would definitely be red, green, and gold, or others, depending on the individual.

Immediately following these came the question, what in the world do these things have to do with the incarnation of the Lord Jesus? Answer: Nothing.

Later, I saw a quote saying, “Christmas is mostly about giving glory to the only God who would step down from on high to lift those he loves.” This was from a preacher who probably should have rethought that statement, because to me, Christmas is not mostly, but all about giving glory to God for his indescribable gift.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son (John 3:16). Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people” (Luke 2:10).

This is Christmas. At the stable in Bethlehem, the gift of a Savior was given. That gift was to include the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, followed by His resurrection. The gift of salvation. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

Have a Happy and Blessed Christmas,
Pastor Jerry

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

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