Archive for the ‘Holy Spirit’ 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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Harnessing the Wind

There is no fishing report this week. I hope to remedy that situation soon. Saturday, the lake community held its annual spring cleanup day. The weather was perfect for the projects that were planned, and if you were paying attention, you could see the Lord’s blessing on the day. I want to personally thank all who were involved. It takes a lot of cooperation and effort from everyone to keep everything nice for residents and visitors.

Sunday afternoon, I took a trip to northeast Holt County for a meeting of our local church association. This is an area with a recently installed wind farm. The approximately 200 wind turbines can be seen from a great distance, and were a reminder to me again, of the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a Christian.

In the Bible, the Lord Jesus speaks of the Spirit as unseen, like the wind, but working His power in the life of a believer. That power shows up in the changed life of a person who has given his life to Christ as his Savior and Lord. Let’s see what the Bible actually says about this.

First, in relation to salvation, and eternal life. A man named Nicodemus asked about miracles Jesus had been doing. Jesus said to him, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again!”

Nicodemus has another question. “How can a man be born again when he is old?”

Jesus continues; “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit… The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit” (John 3:1-8).

Jesus, as he was about to ascend into heaven, promised to send the Holy Spirit. These are His instructions to his disciples: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised… In a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit… You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be my witnesses…” (Acts 1:4-8).

This same Holy Spirit is given to every believer. His power is our strength, much as the wind powers those wind turbines.

Amen!
Pastor Jerry

Purity of Speech

Dear readers,
Christmas is over, a new year is before us, and we can look ahead to 2017. My prayer is that 2017 will be a good year for all who read this. My other prayer is that you who do not know Jesus Christ as Savior, will choose to do so soon. Also, that we who believe, would more than ever live the life to which He has called us. What follows relates to this thought.

I am somewhat of a Facebook junky. I enjoy seeing photos and inspirational posts, and even some of the news items. It puzzles me, though, when I see profane posts shared by those who call themselves Christians. In the ‘old’ days, we would excuse our profanity by saying “pardon my French”, but it wasn’t French. Now, we apologize in advance by saying something like, “this is a good message, but beware of an occasional “f” bomb.”

My question is this. If, as a Christian, you have to apologize for language in something you post on Facebook, why post it?

What does the Bible say about our speech? I’m glad you asked. “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be” (James 3:9-10).

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children… but among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving” (Ephesians 5:1-4).

If I may paraphrase Philippians 4:8; “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–post, share, and tweet such things.”

Here is another thought: If you must repost or share those things that contain those words, why not take the time to edit out the inappropriate content? I think you will find the information is the same without the profanity, if it isn’t, it probably isn’t worth putting out there in the first place. “The things that come out of the mouth come from the heart” (Jesus, in Matthew 15:18).

Think about it,
Pastor Jerry

On Aging

Hello all,
Last Friday, I found myself sitting with an old friend in front of an eating establishment in a neighboring town. We were just sitting and talking about the old days…Wait! I’m not that old am I? Oh, I do remember something in the Bible about wisdom and gray hair. “Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding” (Job 12:12); “The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old” (Proverbs 20:29). Maybe that describes my friend and myself after all.

On the subject of aging, hearing loss is part of that process, especially for those of us who have had long-term exposure to noisy tractors, etc. Last fall, I became the owner of hearing aids, and the audiologist told me I would hear sounds I hadn’t heard for a while. What he said is true, and they do work well in a one-on-one situation, but in a crowd of people you hear mostly noise.

Maybe it is much the same for hearing God’s voice. If we haven’t heard from Him for a time, it may be time to get away from the noise of the crowd (think world), and tune in to what He is saying. I don’t think hearing aids are necessary to hear God’s voice, but you do need to get away from the loud sounds of the busy world.

Elijah the prophet, heard God’s voice at the mouth of a cave. In 1 Kings we read of his experience. After spending the night in a cave, the word of the Lord came to Elijah, asking why he was there. Elijah is told to stand on the mountain as the Lord passes by. We read this, “Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks… but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake… after the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave” (1 Kings 19:9-13). Then he heard the Lord speak.

Has it been some time since you heard the gentle whisper of God’s voice? Just find a quiet place and listen.

In Him,
Pastor Jerry

Reflections

As I write this morning, it is Memorial Day. Yesterday (Sunday), here at the lake, there was a program honoring our veterans and those who gave all for our country. It was interesting to hear some of the veterans tell their stories of service, and I was reminded again of the sacrifices made to keep our country free. At the same time, I was reading on social media of the vandalism of patriot displays and cemeteries around the country. It makes one ask, “what is wrong with people today who have no respect for these things? Actually, the answer is found in the Bible. It starts in the hearts of people. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it” (Jeremiah 17:10)?

As I look out my window, I see the lake. Its surface is completely still this morning, and reflects the trees along the edge, and the sky above. It is much like a mirror. Many years ago, somewhere I remember reading that the color of the water on a given day, is a reflection of the sky. Sunny days, it appears to be blue. On gray cloudy days, the water is seen as dark and gray. I think this relates to my opening comment concerning the behavior of people. What we see in their words and actions are a reflection of their heart.

“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart, his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45).

Christians are to reflect the character and actions of the Lord Jesus. We are to be a mirror image of the One whose name we bear. “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son…” (Romans 8:29).

“And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven” (1 Corinthians 15:49). “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness…” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

It is not possible for any person to consistently exhibit right behavior without Christ in his or her heart. It is hard enough sometimes for the Christian to do so.

Just thinking,
Pastor Jerry

The Winds of Spring

More signs of spring have appeared. The ornamental trees around the lake are either blooming, or heavily budded. There is a report of the first hatch of wild goslings. Now if we could get over having freezing temperatures at night, we might believe spring is really here.

One thing that seems constant this time of year is the wind. Wind is something we really can’t see, but we can certainly see the results of its presence. The Holy Spirit of God has been described as a wind. A very strong wind can at times cause great damage, but a person controlled by the Holy Spirit, on the other hand is a force for good.

In Jesus’ conversation with a man named Nicodemus, he described the Holy Spirit this way: “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit” (John 3:5-8).

To the woman at the well, Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13-14).

A Christian under the influence of the Holy Spirit is equipped to do great good in the name of the Lord. Spiritual rebirth comes about through the work of the Holy Spirit. An illustration of the Spirit at work might look like a windmill turning by the power of the wind, pumping water for a thirsty person. These are the words of Jesus: “Whoever believes in me, as the scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him”. By this, he meant the Spirit, whom those who believe in him were later to receive. (John 7:38-39).

So, the next time you have trouble keeping your hat on because of the wind, just be reminded of the Holy Spirit at work in your life, and hang on to your hat.

In His grip,
Pastor Jerry

Renewing the Fire

We had our first freeze last week, although it didn’t seem to affect much of the vegetation right here in town. The leaves are changing colors and many are falling from the trees. I suspect winter is on its way.

I got some actual work done this week. It wasn’t much, but considering the time it has taken to regain a measure of strength since my hospital stay, it is a big improvement. There were some maintenance issues needing my attention, so I figured I might as well get at them.

A piece of siding had blown off the side of the house one windy day, so I got the ladder and put it back. I mowed the lawn (with the riding mower), and was going to trim, but the trimmer wouldn’t start. I quit trying to start it just before I gave out completely. After working on the trimmer a while, I decided the spark was weak. We went to town the next day, so I picked up a new spark plug. With the new plug installed, the trimmer started on the second pull of the rope. A stronger spark was all it needed.

Christians, I believe, sometimes lose their spark, so to speak. The zeal we have as new Christians seem to fade after a while, and we need to renew the spark. In Romans 12:11, believers are told, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” How do we renew, or regain that spark? I believe it begins with prayer. As we renew our relationship with the Lord through prayer, he will renew our passion for Him.

Psalm 51:10…A prayer of David; “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” To his disciples, Jesus said, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you…” (Acts 1:8).

“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

Paul prayed for the believers in Rome, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).

Trusting Him,
Pastor Jerry