Archive for the ‘God’ Category

God is Lord of All

Here are some early October observations: Nebraska scenery is unbeatable. We left Valentine last Sunday afternoon, drove to Keller Park WMA, and spent 2 nights. What a great place to get away. Here at Lake Ericson, it is definitely autumn. The leaves are falling, the nights are cooler, and the view is spectacular. I can’t think of any place I would rather be. On those days the world seems to be spinning out of control, there is everything to be said for living in America’s heartland.

In a totally different thought line, as I scroll through the posts on Face Book, I am seeing a number of articles promoting the consulting of mediums, and various other superstitions. I thought it might be beneficial to see what the Bible says about such things. Exactly what does the Bible say about these?

Let’s start with this: “I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior” (Isaiah 43:11). Our God wants first place in our lives. He is in control of the events of our lives. No angel, or any other created thing, including mediums, fortune tellers, etc., can take his place.

To Israel, he said, “Let no one be found among you… who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or cast spells, or who is a medium or spiritists or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord” (Deuteronomy 18:10-12).

We are cautioned against putting angels in the place of God. “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ… Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things… Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize” (Colossians 2:1-2; 18).

The apostle Paul stressed the fact that God has made himself known to man (Romans 1:20). Then this indictment; speaking of those who deny Him. “Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and reptiles” (verses 22-23). Included in the list of the acts of the sinful nature are these: Idolatry and witchcraft (Galatians 5:19).

I know, many of the things mentioned seem harmless, but let us be sure we are not putting the ungodly in place of God.

Food for thought,
Pastor Jerry

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Seeing the Details

I have taken up an old hobby—photography. When I was younger, I had wanted a nice camera. I had a desire to take the kind of photos you see in magazines; pictures of nature, wildlife and scenery. Eventually I was able to purchase a nice SLR camera, and spent time (and money) photographing those things. In time, other things got in my way, and my picture taking stopped. Recently, I have acquired a digital camera, and actually have the time to renew this interest There is something about viewing life through the lens of a camera that makes me more aware of God’s creation, and causes me to want to share those views with others.

Bible study is a little like photography. We can look at the Bible and get an overview of it, but only when we examine it through careful study can we see the little nuggets we might otherwise miss. The following passage may say it best regarding study of the scriptures. “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does” James 1:22-25.

As a photo preserves the details of the moment for closer examination, so careful study of God’s word shows us details we miss when we first read it. Very many people today have little or no knowledge of the Bible. We have become biblically illiterate, and the sad thing is, Bibles are more available than ever before. Let’s commit to the reading and study of God’s inspired Word, and let it begin to change our lives as it was intended. And, as you see those details of scripture, share them with others, so that they may receive a blessing, also.

Sharing the details,
Pastor Jerry

More Change

I am able to tell you today that this past Sunday was my official last day to preach at Sandhills Baptist Fellowship. The pastor search committee of the church has found the person they believe to be God’s man for the job. I had requested some time ago that they begin the process, as I felt the Lord leading me to pursue other interests.

I will continue to write these articles, and seek other ways to be involved in ministry. But, for the immediate future, we will finish moving into our house at the lake, and finding homes for all the items we don’t have room for. Then comes some time camping and just relaxing.

I am sure that God has more for us to do. I find no solid reference in the Bible to what we in America call “retirement.” In fact, the only reference I find is to the Old Testament priests retiring at age 50, then assisting the younger priests in their work (Numbers 8:25-26).

There are other passages that indicate God intends for us to commit to the long-haul as we serve and obey Him. Neither does He at some point stop His work in the believer’s life. Here are some scriptures for us to meditate on this morning.

Philippians 1:6, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” The apostle Paul tells us God has work for us to do. After he tells us our salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ, he says this: “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). Again in Philippians, Paul tells the believers there, “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:12-13).

I have many great memories of these years at SBF, and we have been blessed to serve here, but we will move on, seeking and following the Lord’s leading, as we go forward. I would not change these last 15+ years for anything, but we must go forward, running with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1).

Simply His,
Pastor Jerry

Which Jesus?

Hello friends,
In local news, our church’s 10th Valentine supper was held Sunday. The weather man is predicting warmer temperatures for the week ahead. I’m sure the ranchers will welcome this news, as calving season is very near.

What Jesus do you follow? Is it the Jesus of the Bible, or one of your own design? A recent article from BreakPoint, the radio ministry of Prison Fellowship Ministries, addressed this question. Many people would rather follow their idea of who they want Him to be, rather than who He really is.

Quoting from the article: “The purpose of the Bible is to reveal God. But for a growing number of progressive Christians, the God they want can’t be found in the pages of Scripture. So they look for Him elsewhere—in personal experience, through relationships with other people, and through private interpretations of when they say God “speaks into” their life.”

Some liberal churches insist that “God is still speaking.” They are actually suggesting that God has changed His mind on issues like morality and marriage, and that their ideas of who God should be trumps the God His word reveals.

One author writes that for Christians, Jesus, not the Bible, has the final word. To this statement, a Christian blogger asked this important question: To which “Jesus” are these folks referring? He then goes on to say, “The only real Jesus we have intellectual access to is the Jesus revealed to us in the Bible.” That Jesus reaffirmed the exclusivity of natural marriage, endorsed every “jot and tittle” of the Old Testament, and talked as much about hell and judgment as He did the Kingdom of Heaven.

A devotional that made the rounds on social media featured a pretty purple flower and a quote from Luke 4:7: “if you worship me, it will all be yours.” It’s meant to inspire—until you realize who said it: Satan.

How we use the Bible is important, and we should always consider the context of the scriptures we read. Our approach to the Bible is vitally important. God’s word is not a calendar of inspirational, feel good quotes. When we open the Bible, we are stepping into God’s story, understanding our place in His design and meeting Him on His terms, asking the question, “Are we looking for the real God, or remaking a god in our image?

In Truth,
Pastor Jerry

Decision Time

We are enjoying some more time spent at our lake house. All the hard work on the house and yard is easing up, and it is nice just to sit and enjoy the view. We have a couple more camping trips in mind, but no specific dates or destinations yet. School starts in a month, and we will once more settle into a more structured routine.

Recent events in world and national affairs require we who are followers of Jesus Christ, and who believe in the Truth of God’s Word, to examine our commitment to the faith. One of those events is the ruling of the Supreme Court of the United States of America concerning same sex marriage. As one commentator said, “there is no longer any fence to sit on.” We must take a stand regarding what we believe on this topic. I’m reminded of the challenge of Joshua to the children of Israel as they prepared to enter the Promised Land.

“Now fear the Lord and serve Him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:14-15).

The question for us is this: Will we serve and obey the Lord, or will we give allegiance to the secular philosophy of the culture around us? It is time to choose. There is no fence left to straddle.

Jesus’ apostles were commanded by the Jewish Sanhedrin not to speak or teach in His name. Their response was, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God” (Acts 4:19).

Serving Him,
Pastor Jerry

Second Chances

Earlier this month, we went on an overnight trip to Fremont to see a concert by Nebraska Ambassadors of Music. It was a great performance by a group of very dedicated young musicians.

On our trip home, I had a lesson about second chances. Assuming I knew the way back home, even though we were going a different way, I left the gps on my phone turned off. Twice I missed turns that would have put me on the right road, and in both cases I was given a second chance to get it right. The first time, I turned left, when I should have turned right. A mile down the road, there was a farmer’s driveway that afforded an opportunity to turn around.

The second time, it was a matter of failing to see an approaching intersection in time to get slowed to turn. Since it was on a 4-lane highway, I figured we would have to continue for miles before we could correct my mistake. Just past the missed turn was a drive that crossed over the median to the other side. You guessed it. I missed it also. However, to my surprise, a short way up the road was another connection to the other side of the road. It was as if the highway engineer had some foreknowledge that someone would need another second chance to get on the right road.

In matters of eternal significance, we have a God of second chances. He sometimes gives many opportunities to get on the right road. We must not, however, become complacent and assume that he will always give us another chance. The Bible tells us that if we come to the end of our life, and refuse to accept His salvation, there are no more ‘second’ chances. The scripture says “man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 6:2, “For he (God) says, ‘In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.’
I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”

The old gospel hymn asks, “Why do you wait dear brother? Why not come to Him now?” Why not indeed? Now is the day of salvation, there may not be another.

In His love,
Pastor Jerry

Springtime Meditations

We are starting to see a green tinge developing in the grass. The prevailing breezes are shifting to the south, trees are budding, and spring is in the air. The only thing lacking in our area is rain. There have been numerous grass fires in recent days, and most everyone is praying for rain. If the forecast holds true, those prayers may be answered early this week.

At the lake house, I am getting very close to finishing the sun porch. Next, we will try to get some grass established before the weather gets to warm. I may seek professional help in that area, because Milrae would like to see some actual grass.

The church calendar shows Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Resurrection Day coming up very soon. The good thing is these observances have a message that is timeless. This sounds like a good topic for our devotional this week.

When we were ranching, spring was always a reminder of good things to come, and after becoming a Christian, it all held new meaning for me.

Things like the knowledge that through faith in Jesus, I was raised to new life by being born again. Given a new start. A new heart. Become a new creation. Renewed in my spirit. My broken relationship with God restored through faith in Christ and belief in His resurrection.

Follow me through these verses. In John 3:3, to Nicodemus, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” God makes a promise to his people; “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). “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).

New life. A new start. Salvation from sin and guilt. Eternity with my Lord and Savior. These are what Spring-time and the Resurrection mean to me.

In remembering the new little calves playing in the sunshine, I am also reminded of an Old Testament verse. “And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall” (Malachi 4:2).

Enjoying the Son shine,
Pastor Jerry