Archive for the ‘God’s Word’ Category

God Knows

Dear readers,
Well the big snow has come. The storm Is gone, but the snow will be with us for a while. It has been a good long time since we have dealt with this much snow. I am glad machinery has improved over the years, but even with that a snowfall of that depth leaves us with the realization that we are pretty puny in light of the power of storms.

Today we see people dismissing the Word of God as mere superstition, or a manmade list of rules, even denying that God exists. If they acknowledge Him at all, they say the Bible is irrelevant and does not apply in our time. It seems they are just laughing at God and He is doing nothing to defend Himself.

Those who promote the taking of human life as “health care” are ignoring God’s command against committing murder. Others insist that marriage can be anything other than a life-long covenant between a man and woman. They are basically thumbing their noses at God. Although it appears they are evading judgment, God says there is a final judgment coming which no one can avoid.

The psalm writer Asaph had an enlightening moment, and he wrote these words:
“For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong.
They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills.
Therefore, pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves in violence.
From their callous hearts comes iniquity; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits.
They scoff, and speak with malice; in their arrogance they threaten oppression.
Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth…
They say, “How can God know? Does the Most High have knowledge?”

“When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God;
then I understood their destiny.
Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin.
How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors!”

He closes with these words: “Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge” (Psalm 73:3-19, 27-28).

In Him,
Pastor Jerry

Read the Book

Dear friends,
We’ve been in survival mode this past week. Some nasty bug took hold of us, but after seeking medical counsel, it looks as if we’ll survive! The weather was nicer this week, at least it warmed up a bit. Ice fishing became a thing with the thicker ice, and skaters were enjoying the smooth ice, as well. Ah, to be young again. Our New Year’s Eve was spent at home, waiting for bed-time and the calendar turned a page without our help.

I have been noticing that people these days are confused about a lot of things in life. They are trying to redefine the most basic truths about our existence as a people, and our purpose for life. I want to offer some friendly advice: Just read the book!

The book I’m referring to is God’s Word, the Bible. God is truth, His book is true and no matter how people try to make it say something it does not, it will never change.

It is okay to bring our requests to the Lord, but let us not start to dictate to Him how we will interpret His Word. When Job, who had been attacked by Satan, came to God asking questions about God’s purpose in his situation, God began questioning Job.
“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! (Job 38:4-5). As God goes down the list of questions He has for Job, Job suddenly realizes how insignificant he is in front of God Almighty. Then Job answered the Lord: “I am unworthy—how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. I spoke once, but I have no answer—twice, but I will say no more.” (Job 40:3-5)
Oh, that those who would reinterpret God’s word, would see Him as Job did. God has the answers; it is our duty to take them as truth.

Are there questions about the definition of marriage? Look in the Book. Are you wondering about how to get to heaven? It’s in the Book. Do you wonder how you can have real peace? Right again. What about racism? Same answer. Parenting and families? The role of government? You get the picture.

The truth can change your opinion, but your opinion will not change the truth.

In Him,
Pastor Jerry

The Word of the Lord

Dear readers,

It seems cold weather is here to stay, at least for the next several days. Deer hunting season has arrived, and we are days away from Thanksgiving. Just beyond that is Christmas and the New Year. My, how time flies.

The election is over, and votes are still being counted in some places. There have been winners and losers, as is always the case. Whatever your viewpoint is in all of this, we can still be thankful to live in a country where we can make our choices in these matters. My prayer is that we might become united in our effort to make the United States an even better place to live. Perhaps an appropriate scripture would be Romans 12:3; “For by the grace given to me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”

The divisiveness in our country these days is concerning. People are taking sides on issues that are in direct opposition to what the Bible says is right and just. Two things come to mind here: Number one, there are untold numbers of people that do not know what is written in God’s Word. There are more Bibles printed than ever before, yet most are on a shelf collecting dust.

The second is this, if those bibles are read, people only want to believe or accept the parts that appeal to them. It is like going into a cafeteria and selecting only the items you like and leaving the ones that you dislike. If we really believe the Bible is God’s unchanging word, then we would know that every word is there for a purpose. It has been said that the Bible will change our opinions, but our opinions will never change the Bible.

I love these words from Isaiah; “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

In closing, “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” (1 Peter 1:34-25).

For Him,

Pastor Jerry

Your Vote Counts

Hello friends,
Rain! This week, we had a nice gentle rain. My gauge showed .40’ when it was over; not a huge amount, but very much appreciated. This is only the beginning of what we need to get back to normal. Now is not the time to ease up in asking the Lord to bless us with more moisture.

We started a project this week that has been waiting all summer for me to get motivated. When we had the big windstorm last spring, the outside pane on our entry door was broken. This defeats the purpose of an insulated door, so a new one was ordered. It stood on the porch for months, but has been installed just as the weather begins to cool off. Now to get the window replaced that was broken by an unidentified flying object; either a stick or a rock thrown by the mower.

Vehicle repairs were a part of our week, also. First, there was a new alternator in our pickup, then I found the battery was defective as well. I guess a ten-year-old battery has outlived expectations.

November 8 is election day. The most important thing we can do that day is to get out and vote. Much of what we see happening in our country won’t be solved politically, but we can vote for the candidates that hold to traditional Christian values. The real problem in our country is not political, it is spiritual. The citizens of America must turn back to God, and obey His commands.

These are God’s words to the prophet Zechariah, “The Lord was very angry with your forefathers. Therefore, tell the people: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you’, says the Lord Almighty. Do not be like your forefathers, to whom the earlier prophets proclaimed: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Turn from your evil ways and your evil practices.’ But they would not listen or pay attention to me, declares the Lord….

“Then they repented and said, ‘The Lord Almighty has done to us what our ways and practices deserve, just as he determined to do.” (Zechariah 1:2-6).

Therefore, you kings (presidents, governors, mayors, senators, etc.), be wise; be warned you rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling” (Psalm 2:10-11).

God bless America,
Pastor Jerry

Stand Firm

Dear friends,
It has rained again. Our gauge showed very close to a half-inch, and we are thankful for it. We will not let up in praying for more, trusting the Lord to answer those prayers in His perfect timing. We visited Alex, Breanna and little Maria on Saturday. It was a good day, but we were glad to get back home after helping with some projects in their home. We are reminded again that we don’t have the staying power we used to have.

As we read the news, we are constantly reminded of the fact that the Christian values we grew up with have fallen out of favor with the current culture. Bible based truth is looked upon as outdated, old fashioned, out of step with reality and even man-made or racist.

There is a sharp dividing line between those who would proclaim the truth as seen in God’s word, and those who write it off as irrelevant to today’s society. In the modern mindset, those who stand by God’s word are increasingly on the “wrong side of history.” No matter the topic, if you proclaim God’s word as truth you are seen as being hopelessly out of the mainstream. To the world’s way of thinking, the truth is whatever the individual sees as truth. To them, absolute truth doesn’t exist.

I have shared these verses many times, and they never grow old or out of date: Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). “But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger” (Romans 2:8).

Jesus, praying for his disciples said, “Sanctify them (believers) by the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17). In the Old Testament book of Isaiah, God says, “I the Lord, speak the truth, I declare what is right” (Isaiah 45:29). Also, in Isaiah, “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever’ (40:8).

We Christians must stand for the truth, no matter what the world may perceive as “truth”, even though we may be persecuted for it. In the words of Carl F. H. Henry; the alternatives are clear: either we return to the God of the Bible or perish in the pit of lawlessness.

In Truth,
Pastor Jerry

Speaking Truth

Dear friends,
Thank you for letting me share my thoughts each week. We have harvested a few tomatoes from the garden. There will be more in due time. Rain continues to be in short supply for many, and we need to be faithful in prayer for God to provide. It has been said we can’t control the weather, but we know the One who does. We must believe He will send rain in accordance with His perfect will.

Truth seems to be in short supply these days. Each day there are claims that this person or that is giving us the truth concerning the events of that day. The next day we hear a different story. Scripture reminds us that as we get closer to the return of Jesus Christ, fewer people will know the truth and some will even deny the truth.

Truths are not created; they exist. God is truth and He has always been truth; therefore, Jesus is the end of the search for truth. He is the revealed Truth of God. Jesus said of himself; “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Christians are to speak the truth always. Paul’s instructions to Timothy were, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:2-5).

In other words, stay grounded in the truth of God’s word. Stand firm in the place He has called you to serve. Fight the good fight, finish the race, keep the faith. If you do this, you will receive God’s promised crown of righteousness on the day of Christ’s return. (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

“To the Jews who had believed Him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32).

For Truth,
Pastor Jerry

The Better Way

Dear friends,
We have received almost .30” of rain early Sunday morning. The forecast is for the possibility of more, but we are thankful for what we have. After a warm week, we are having a couple of cooler days. This, too, is a blessing.

It saddens me to see that some Christians are following those who claim to predict the future. I do not believe this is what the Lord would want for His people. In His word, he warns against these practices.

“When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable practices of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord, and because of these detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the Lord your God… The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the Lord your God has not permitted you to do so” The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to Him… I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command Him. (Deuteronomy 18:9-15).

God’s people are to depend upon Him for their every need, and rely on His promises to care for them in every situation. There are those who would say “but that was Old Testament teaching.” True, but much of God’s law remains in effect in the New Testament. The Ten Commandments have not been revoked; they are for all time. What is called God’s moral law is also just as true as when it was given.

To be involved in occult practices is to be unfaithful to the Lord. We are encouraged to listen to God’s prophets instead. The ultimate prophet of God is Jesus Christ—the One who spoke God’s words and who provides deliverance for His people. He is the better way; “Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge” (Psalm 62:8).

In His love,
Pastor Jerry

Contentment

Dear readers,
August has arrived, the month of fairs and students preparing to head back to school. Are you ready for another round of hot weather? Neither am I, but it seems we are about to experience that very thing. The garden continues to show promise of bounty to come. Cucumbers remain a steady part of our diet, but I’m looking forward to a change to tomatoes!

We live in uncertain times. I doubt that anyone would dispute this statement. I recall another time when uncertainty was the theme of our existence. It was shortly after I began my Christian life. During that time and in the years that followed, I learned to depend on God to provide for our daily provisions. I had begun to think I was pretty self-reliant, but He showed me I wasn’t the one in charge. It was a hard lesson, but a necessary one.

“Hebrews 13:5–6 reads, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’” (ESV). The author gives us a command to be content. And the power to do so comes from two things from Jesus.
First, the author says that Jesus has said that he will never leave nor forsake us. If we have God, there is nothing else we could be deprived of that would devastate us. But a lack of contentment reveals that we aren’t giving Jesus his proper weight.

Second, the author quotes a Psalm saying, “The Lord is our helper.” God loved us so much that he wouldn’t let death and hell or a cross keep him from rescuing us. And that same God promises to help us in all things. God has proven once and for all his willingness to help us.

Understanding these two things leads us to contentment. Are you content? Do you understand that in Christ, you can be satisfied with what you have because in him you have all you need?” [Devotional from J.D. Grear]

The apostle Paul, regarding his own situation said, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.… I can do everything through Him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:12-13).

In His grip,
Pastor Jerry

Warning Signs

Dear friends,
According to the weather man, we will see a whole week of cooler temperatures. This is something we have all been waiting for. We went to O’Neill Saturday afternoon for a yard party, and the temperature on our vehicle display showed 102 degrees at one point. Much too hot for this old guy!

Over the last several months there had been an issue with our pickup tires losing air where the tire bead contacts the rim. There is a handy warning message on the dash display that shows the message “Low tire pressure”, when the pressure falls below a certain level. When this message would appear, I got in the habit of making a few short trips before I would take the time to inflate the tires to the proper level. After all, it was such a slow leak there was no hurry.

In time, we got to the point where those tires needed replacing, so we purchased a new set. Saturday, when I got the pickup out of the garage, there was the dreaded low tire pressure warning. My thought was I don’t have time for this, it will wait until tomorrow. Even so, I took time to look at the tires and to my surprise, one was very flat! There was a screw head protruding from the tire. Ignoring that warning would have resulted in having to buy another tire.

The Bible contains warning messages. It is not good to ignore them; in fact, ignoring the warnings God has given us in His Word will have eternal consequences.
“So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall” (1 Corinthians 10:2).
“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise, but as wise” (Ephesians 5:15).
“We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard Him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to His will (Hebrews 2:1-4).
“Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts…” (Hebrews 12:15).

In Him,
Pastor Jerry

Look to Jesus

Hello friends,
It was another warm week. Our last good rain was a week ago, and we are ready for more. The heat is stressful for the cucumbers, but they are producing well with frequent watering. Small tomatoes are forming and we have been stocking up with bacon in anticipation of some BLT sandwiches! Disclaimer: Most of the work in this garden is done by my sweet wife.

Do you ever feel you are losing the battle against temptation? Here are some encouraging thoughts:
“As believers, we’ll struggle with indwelling sin for the rest of our lives. The greatest saints have experienced such bitter, unsuccessful struggles with sin, it almost drove them to despair. As the old hymn says, “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love. Here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it. Seal it for Thy courts above.”

Proverbs 24:16 reads, “… for the righteous falls seven times and rises again …” (ESV). The righteous fall often, but they get back up, looking heavenward. Put another way, we struggle a lot, but the trajectory of our lives should point heavenward; our lives are a cry for God to change our hearts.

But there are some who seem to just be going through the motions, participating in church like it’s a club or social organization. They don’t have evidence of a desire for God or a supernatural change. They’re not concerned about living in community or using their gifts to serve the body of Christ. And they’re content in not growing. It makes you wonder if they’ve ever really experienced the gospel.

When you struggle, do you get back up again, repenting and believing in faith that God is who he says he is, faithful to save you? Or do you go through the motions, unconcerned with how you’re living your life? The faith that saves is the faith that endures.” [Pastor J.D. Grear]

Remember these words from the apostle Paul: “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins…” (1 John 1:9).

Looking up,
Pastor Jerry