Archive for the ‘Salvation’ Category

One Way

Dear readers,
After a very cool overnight temperature (28 degrees here), we had a beautiful Sunday. Let’s hope this was the last we see of frost until fall. Our new garden plants and flowers escaped any damage because someone (not me) covered them all the night before. On the topic of weather, it would be good if all God’s people continued to pray for rain, as many areas are still in need of beneficial rains.

I had the pleasure of speaking at Grace Bible Church in Loup City on Sunday, and the ladies who provide the music let me join in. We had a guitar trio… two acoustics and an electric bass. It is good when God’s people worship in song.

The message for Sunday focused on the need for Christians to know what they believe and why. To quote a well-known evangelical pastor, we need to “remember what we know.” A survey from 2021 found that nearly three-fourths of U.S. adults said they believe in heaven, but there was widespread disagreement about how to get there. Among all Americans, nearly 40 percent said heaven will be the home of those who do not even believe in God. Among those calling themselves Christians, 58 percent said there are multiple religions that can lead to heaven. (Pew Research Center, November 23, 2021).

Many preachers today are preaching from the culture, making their message acceptable to everyone. We need preachers to preach the Word of God that convicts people of their sin, in order to turn them to the Savior. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). It does not speak of many ways, nor any other “truth.” He also said this; Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it” (Matthew 7:13).

Jesus also said, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep…; whoever enters through me will be saved” (John 10:7-9). Paul wrote, “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved” (Romans 10:9-10).

Blessings,
Pastor Jerry

Easter Reflections

Dear readers,

Here is a sure sign of spring at Lake Ericson…kids with golf carts. This is not a bad thing, as it is good to see families enjoying the lake. Also, there were campers here this weekend. This reminds me to remind those who are contemplating camping at the lake, there are no campfires allowed until further notice. This is due to the extreme drought conditions in the area.

We, along with millions of other Christians, celebrated the resurrection of the Lord Jesus on Sunday. Because of our belief and faith in his finished work on the cross, we look forward with great anticipation to that day we will meet him face-to-face. As the old hymn says, “What a day that will be!”

It is a story I never get tired of hearing or telling. The idea that God would provide His Son as the sinless sacrifice for the whole world is impossible to grasp by our little minds. Yet, we are told in his word, that this is exactly what has taken place.

The following verses speak to this fact: “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God, though our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation” (Romans 5:6-11).

But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons (Galatians 4:6).

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God (John 1:12-13).

In His unending love,
Pastor Jerry

What Should We Do?

Hello friends,
After the winds of last week, we will not complain about a mild 25 mph breeze. We continue in prayer for those affected by the wildfire that destroyed so much in the south-central part of the state. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to dedicate some extra time to pray for rain. The lack of beneficial moisture is at a critical stage. We have some spring flowers starting to bloom, so I guess it’s time to start watering.

This week following Palm Sunday is when we begin to contemplate the events leading up to Easter, or to Resurrection Sunday, as I prefer to call it. It began with betrayal by one of his disciples, followed by the illegal trial orchestrated by the religious leaders who hated him, then the horrible mistreatment of him by the Roman soldiers, culminating in his death on a cross and burial in a borrowed tomb. We can never get our minds around what he went through as he suffered for us. He had asked the heavenly Father to spare him, yet yielded himself to God’s will. We could never pay our own sin debt, so he willingly took it upon himself.

Then came Sunday morning. The women who had followed him came to the tomb to prepare his body for burial, but found the tomb open, and the body of Jesus nowhere to be found. An angel sitting by the open tomb said, “Don’t be afraid, because I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here. For he has risen, just as he said.

Jesus is alive! So, we celebrate on Resurrection Sunday. Friday was good, in spite of the horror of the crucifixion. Good, in that from this we have forgiveness of our sins, and the promise of eternal life for those who believe.

Peter, in his sermon to the Jews on Pentecost said this, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know with certainty that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”
When they heard this, they were pierced to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:36-38).

Have you trusted him for your Savior?

Because He Lives,
Pastor Jerry

Child of God

Dear friends,
We received some rain and snow this past weekend. This is a major blessing, as it has been a while since we have had moisture of any kind.

It seems we are in a time of uncertainty, the likes of which we have not seen in recent memory. As I think about this, I am reminded of God’s promise to always be with his people. He is with us in the present, and he will be there when we get through the trials we endure.

“Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For the Lord your God is the one who will go with you; he will not leave you or abandon you” (Deuteronomy 31:6 CSB).

“The Lord is the one who will go before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or abandon you. Do not be afraid or discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:8 CSB).

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Isaiah 43:2-3a NIV).

We do need to remember these promises are for God’s people. Those, who by faith in Jesus Christ and his finished work on the cross, have become children of God. “He (Jesus) was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” (John 1:10-13).

Paul writes this, “because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship, and by him we cry Abba, Father. The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:14-17).

Simply His,
Pastor Jerry

Ready or Not?

Dear friends,
I believe my battle with Covid is over. With each new day, I see improvement. The recent cold snap has encouraged us to stay indoors and be thankful for a warm place to stay.

As our world gets crazier every day, it is important to remember that our God is not sleeping, nor is he surprised by the things that are happening. Scripture reminds us again and again of unsettled times that will come, even reminding us that these are indications of the eventual return of Jesus Christ.

We read these words in Scripture: As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “When will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.”

He goes on to say, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man… “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come… So you must also be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him” (Matthew 24:3-8; 36-44).

As we see the events of the day unfolding, let’s not focus on whether the Lord returns soon, but that we are ready when he does. Today is the day of salvation. It is not too late.

In His love,
Pastor Jerry

The Savior is Waiting

Dear friends,
The Covid bug has landed at our house. I had been having some odd symptoms, so I went to the clinic and consented to the test. It came in positive, so we’re enjoying some isolation time. Our nice weather is continuing, but we are in need of beneficial moisture. I think that is a thing upon which we all can agree. ‘Tis the beginning of calving and lambing, so no blizzards please, Lord.

Due to a lack of inspiration and ambition this week, I will share something from a few years back. As we were traveling, we saw a mule deer doe and her fawn crossing the road. The doe stopped at the edge of the road to wait for the fawn, and when he had reached her side, she continued to look back and wait. As I slowed down and wondered why she didn’t keep going on to safety, a second fawn ran across the road in front of us. All three then continued on toward the hills.

I see here a picture of our Lord. He waits for his children. The Bible says he will not let any of his children perish: “My sheep listen to my voice, I know them, and they follow me. I will give them eternal life, and they shall never perish” (John 10:27-28).

He waits also, for those who are not yet his. Listen to the words of 2 Peter 3:9b; “he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

In this illustration, I see two things we can count on. First, Jesus promised when we place our faith in him, we have eternal life and can never lose it. The word never means ‘not ever’.

Second, He promises patience with the one who has not yet chosen to follow him. If you are someone who has not asked Jesus onto your heart and life, he is waiting for you. Just know that someday he will return for his own and you need to be ready. He says in Matthew 24:44… “So, you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

In the words of the old gospel song, “Why do you wait dear brother, your Savior is waiting… why not come to him now?”

Simply His,
Pastor Jerry

God’s Love

Dear friends,
Sunday evening saw the return of our church’s annual Valentine’s dinner. Over fifty were in attendance, and it was a very enjoyable time. It is good to have an evening of great food, good fellowship, and an entertaining speaker with a gospel message.

The observance of Valentine’s Day is all about hearts and flowers, candy and sweet sentiments, along with love and starry eyed couples. From a biblical perspective, the message of God’s love is for all time, and for everyone, not just for couples. It is a message that becomes more urgent with each new day. The greatest love story of all time begins, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” That means all people. In the words of a dear friend, “All means all, that’s all all means. Every person who believes in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross has eternal life. Period.

Jesus came to seek and save the lost, no exceptions. Everyone has the opportunity to respond to his call. Galatians 3:28 reads, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave or free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Paul told us to pray for those in authority, because “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ, who gave himself for all men–” (1 Timothy 2:3-6a).

The apostle John wrote of Jesus, “He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him…, Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.

It is God’s will that all people will believe on Jesus for their salvation. Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21). “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:40).

In His love,
Pastor Jerry

God With Us

Dear readers,
There was some interesting weather last week, with much property damage, yet as far as I know there were no lives lost. For this we thank God. Not related to the storms, but needing prayer are those families who have lost loved ones in the last few days. Our prayers are for God’s comfort and healing in each of those situations.

Another Christmas celebration is upon us. This week I will share the following from a booklet titled, “God’s Gift of Christmas” by Dr. John MacArthur.

“God chose the name Jesus for His Son because its basic meaning defined the fundamental purpose for the Son’s coming to earth. Jesus is the Greek form of the Hebrew Joshua, or Jeshua, each of which means “Jehovah will save.” The baby Mary conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and gave birth to in the plan of God would grow up to testify to the Father’s salvation and would Himself be that salvation. By His own sacrificial death on the cross and triumphant resurrection from the grave He would save His own—all those who are drawn from sin to repentance and who receive faith to embrace His atoning work.

He would also be called Immanuel, which means, literally, “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). It is a promise of incarnate deity, a promise that God himself would appear as a human infant. Immanuel, God with us.” This baby who was to be born would be God Himself in human form.

If we could condense all the truths of Christmas into just three words, these words would be “God with us.” At Christmas we tend to focus on the infancy of Christ, but the greater truth of the holiday is his deity. He is the omnipotent Creator of the heavens and the earth!

Immanuel, infinitely rich became poor. He assumed our nature, entered our sin polluted world, took our guilt on Himself although He was sinless, bore our griefs, carried our sorrows, was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities (Isaiah 53:5). All of that is wrapped up in “God with us.”

The immeasurable gift of Christmas is this. Christ, God’s own Son gave up all His wealth and privilege to live as God with us, that He might save His people from their sins, and that through His poverty they might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9).

Merrie Christmas!
Pastor Jerry

Who is Jesus?

Dear readers,

A little snow fell this weekend. Here at the lake, it was three or four inches. With the warmer temps this week, I don’t expect it to hang around very long. The snow always adds to the beauty of the Christmas lights around the neighborhood. The first annual Trail of Lights was held last week, and by all reports was a huge success. Plans are being made for an even better display next season.

On the topic of Christmas, I wonder at times if there are people who don’t really know who, or why we celebrate at Christmas? Most folks would say it is about the birth of Jesus Christ, but do they really know who he is?

Who is this Jesus, whose birth we celebrate? Jesus asked his disciples at one point, “who do people say

that I am?” They answered him, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, one of the prophets.” “But you,” he asked them, “who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.”

Today, there are many who will say Jesus was a moral person, or that he was a great teacher. Some see him as a historical figure, and some believe he is just make-believe. There is only one right answer to the question, and Peter supplied the correct answer.

If one believes the Bible is God’s unchanging word, then Jesus is the promised Messiah, the Savior of the world. There are other descriptions of Jesus in the Bible; Light of the world, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, the Son of God, the Word. In Isaiah 9:6, the promised Messiah is called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Jesus, speaking of himself said, “I am the way the truth and the life” (John 14:6). Above all, He came to save the world from the penalty of sin. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Many years ago, in sharing my testimony, I appealed to my listeners with the following verses of scripture from the writer of Hebrews; “So as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts…” (Hebrews 3:7-8). Is He speaking to you today?

In Him,

Pastor Jerry

Why Christmas?

Dear friends,

As we contemplate the coming of Jesus to the manger in Bethlehem, I want to share a devotional from Pastor Greg Laurie.

“But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.”
—Galatians 4:4–5

We are on the verge of celebrating Christmas, and we’ll talk a lot about the Baby born in the manger and the beauty of the Incarnation. But the purpose of the Incarnation was so there would be the death of Jesus and, ultimately, the resurrection of Jesus.

Jesus came to Earth to die for the sins of the world. Yet His disciples didn’t get that because it was lost in translation. Their hope and belief was that He would establish an earthly kingdom then and there. Their hope and belief was that He would drive out the Romans who were occupying the land.

After Jesus fed the five thousand, His most popular miracle at the time, the people wanted to make Jesus king by force so that He would bring Rome’s occupation to an end. They didn’t understand that it wasn’t the reason He had come to this earth.

It was always God’s plan for Christ to die. Revelation 13:8 calls Him “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (NKJV). What does that mean? It means that before there was a planet called Earth and a garden called Eden, before there was a couple known as Adam and Eve who ate of the forbidden fruit, God knew that humanity would blow it.

Adam and Eve’s sin didn’t come as a surprise or shock to God. He knew it would happen. So He already had a plan. His Son would come to this earth and be born in a manger, live a perfect life, and die on the cross for the sins of the world.

Of course, one day Jesus Christ will come back and establish His kingdom. One day He will rule as King of kings and Lord of lords. But before Christ would wear a crown, He would first have to die on a cross and then rise from the dead.”

As Christmas approaches, let us not forget the Reason we celebrate.

In Him,
Pastor Jerry