Archive for the ‘Second Coming’ Category

Ready for Christmas?

I’ll begin this week with a bit of reminiscing, prompted by something that happened to me a few weeks back.

It was an email I received, reminding me that I don’t use rancher type illustrations or analogies in these articles anymore; I must say the person was right. There is at least one reason for this. When this project began in late 1999, we were living on the ranch with no real thought of ever being anywhere else. Our perspective was from the ranch life, period.

Beginning in the fall of 2000, we started our ministry in Ericson. Over the years, our focus changed from full-time ranching to full-time ministry, ending with retirement from ranching around 2012, and from full-time ministry last May. We no longer view life from our earlier situations, so the things we see going on around us have taken on a different slant.

In all this, however, the message has not changed—the message of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, and obedience to His Word. After all, it is possible to see illustrations of God’s truth in every situation and circumstance. As a side note, assuming I wrote an article a week for 16 years, that is a total of 832 devotionals. Amazing!

Now for this week’s devotional: As we traveled through some of our neighboring towns last week, we saw several people decorating houses and lawns for Christmas. The thought occurred to me, “I wonder how many of these folks are actually prepared to meet Christ, either at the end of their lives, or if he should return before they die?

A lot of time and effort is spent preparing to celebrate Jesus’ birth, much less is spent on preparing for eternity. This year, as you hang those lights, decorate the Christmas tree, and set up your nativity scene, why not reflect on whether or not you have Jesus in your heart?

There was no room for Him in the Bethlehem Inn; is there room for him in your heart? The answer to this question is much more important than all the Christmas decorations you can put up. After all, to quote a time-worn saying: He’s the Reason for the season.

Isaiah 6:9… For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.

Prepare Him room,
Pastor Jerry

Don’t Wait!

We are finishing up our last camping trip before cold weather sets in. No one knows exactly when that will be, we just know it is coming soon. The leaves are falling; many trees are already bare. The ones left with leaves are many-colored. Each on a different shade of red, orange, or yellow. Soon the tree line will be only cedars and pines with any color. Where there were signs of warm summer, the landscape will transition to winter, with its shades of gray and brown turning white with the winter snows.

The lake is being lowered for winter season, and people are getting their properties winterized. Those of us who are permanent residents are also making preparations for colder weather. We try to remember where we put that snow shovel, and which closet holds our winter coat and gloves.

As a nation, we are preparing for a general election and the choosing of a new president, along with other elected officials.

I wonder how many are making preparations for their eternity? The Bible speaks of making preparations for the day our earthly journey ends, yet in spite of all the signs and warnings, there are still a lot of folks who haven’t made those preparations.

These are the words of Jesus: “Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come… So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him” (Matthew 24:42-44). To the Pharisees and Sadducees, He said, “You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times” (Matthew 16:2)

Peter wrote, “First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:3-9).

Frozen water pipes can be repaired. To delay responding to God’s invitation of salvation has eternal significance. Today is the day of salvation. Please, do not wait.

In His love,
Pastor Jerry

Christmas is Coming

Thanksgiving is past, and now we look forward to the Christmas season. As we anticipate the first coming of the Lord Jesus as an infant in a stable, we can also rest assured that He will return again. However, when He returns to earth the next time, it will not be as a helpless baby, but as scripture tells us, He will come as a conquering King.

In the Bible, He is also described as a sacrificial Lamb. “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain” (Revelation 5:12). In addition, He is called the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5), and King of kings (Rev 17:14).

As we celebrate the Christmas season, let us not just focus on the Baby in the manger, but as world events seem to spin out of control, let’s remember His promise to come again and set things right. He will come again, and He will bring judgment on the world. Those who have placed their faith in His finished work on the cross will go to spend eternity with Him in heaven, while all others are condemned to eternity in hell.

It is okay to celebrate Christmas. I enjoy the season as much as the next person, but His first appearance was just the beginning of the story. He grew to manhood, was hung on a cross as payment for our sins, was buried, rose from the dead, and today is seated at the right hand of God the Father. In God’s perfect timing, He will return to earth as victorious King, and we will see what John saw in Revelation 5:13…Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: “To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”

The Christmas season calls us to make a decision. To accept the Lord Jesus as Savior and Lord, or reject this Gift that God given to us. What will your answer be?

In Him,
Pastor Jerry

On Being Ready

Hello all,
Sunday evening we held our 9th annual Valentine supper. I think it is safe to say everyone in attendance was glad they came. Thanks to those who decorated, took reservations, and helped out in any other way. Special thanks to the catering crew for a great meal, and to Pastor Don for his special brand of music and cowboy poetry.

In news from the lake house, the sun porch continues on its way to completion. We had hoped to get some siding on, but the colder temperatures have slowed those plans. Maybe I can get the kitchen remodel finished up instead.

As we see events in the world unfolding, I am once again reminded of the Bible’s teaching concerning the times and events preceding the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the 24th chapter of Matthew’s gospel, we read the words of Jesus. He is speaking to his disciples: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. These are the beginning of birth pains. Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me” (Matthew 24:7-9). 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” (verse 36).

What should be our response to this teaching? He follows with these words: “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him” (verses 42-44).

How are we to be ready? By confessing our sin, asking His forgiveness, and turning from our sinful ways. I do not write these things to frighten you. My prayer is that all who read these weekly articles would answer the Lord’s invitation to receive His gift of salvation. It is by and through making Him our Lord and Savior that we are able to face tomorrow, and the challenges it may bring.

In His love,
Pastor Jerry

He Will Return

It is good to be enjoying some spring-like weather. We made a concentrated effort at the end of the week to get our sun room enclosed. As I write this, the roof is on and all the windows are installed. Now, if it rains or snows, no worries. I have lived in this state long enough to know that spring-like weather in February has nothing to do with spring.

Our devotional thought this week comes again from Peter’s second letter. In chapter three, he warns us of false teachers who deny the second coming of Jesus Christ. In his day, they were basically making fun of Christians who were looking for His return. They were saying, things have been the same forever, and if He was coming back, He surely would have done so by now.

Peter says they (those who scoff at the idea of Jesus’ return) have forgotten that God formed the heavens and the earth. Then, in the time of Noah, He sent a flood to destroy the earth, excepting Noah and his family, because they were the only godly people on the earth at that time. God then repopulated the earth through Noah, with the promise that He would never destroy the earth with water, giving the sign of the rainbow that he would keep his word.

Because of sin, God will at a future date destroy the earth again. However, He is very patient, waiting until every person has had the opportunity to accept His gift of salvation. Peter says, “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9).

Make no mistake, God will not be mocked (Galatians 6:7). His promises are true and will not be broken. Scripture says the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear…the earth and everything in it will be laid bare (2 Peter 3:10).

These are Peter’s words of advice to Christians: “What kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives…, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with Him.” (Verses 11-14).

How are we found to have these qualities? Only through faith in the One who died in our place.

Standing on His promises,
Pastor Jerry

Waiting for a Mansion

Hello all,
It’s cloudy and mild at the lake this morning. The trees have lost most of their leaves, and it’s looking like we need to be getting ready for winter.

Last week, as we were busy putting up new cabinets, and planning other improvements to the house, this comment was made: “It’s not a mansion, but it will do.” In this, I was reminded that this world is not my home; that there is a far better place to which I will go at the end of this life. This is true of everyone who has placed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

In Hebrews 11, that great chapter on faith, the faithful listed there are called aliens and strangers on earth. In describing the faithful who had died, the writer said, “If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them” (Hebrews 11:15-16).

The fine mansions people pride themselves in for this life, will someday disappear. Those whose hope is in the Lord will receive their reward. Listen to the words of Peter: “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare (you talk about global warming)…That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness” (2 Peter 3:10-13).

You have heard these words of Jesus many times: “In my Father’s house are many rooms (some versions say ‘mansions’); if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).

Be it a mansion or a room, it will be infinitely better to be in the presence of the Lord for all eternity! The old song has it right. This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through. Scripture reminds us we will walk on streets of pure gold (Revelation 21:21).

Looking for that city,
Pastor Jerry

The Response to Persecution

Hello friends,
We are experiencing some fall-like temperatures lately. If nothing else, folks are reminded that winter is not too far away. There is a sense that we need to get busy finishing up those summer projects.

You are all aware of the events taking place around the world. Christians in other places are facing persecution and even death for their faith. Other people who are not Christian are being killed just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. What are we to think of these things?

The Bible is clear that these things will be present in the world because of sin. Someday, the Lord will return and make everything right, but in the meantime, what are we to do?

I know there are those who think there is a political solution to everything that is going on, but the problems of the world will never be solved by political means. Politics cannot change the human heart, only God, working through the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and His Holy Spirit can change the heart of man.

In Matthew, chapter 24, Jesus answered his disciples’ question concerning the end of time. Space does not allow me to quote it here, but you can read it in your Bible.

Persecution will come to the Christian. It is a fact. The apostle Peter wrote, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Peter 4:12). John wrote in his first letter, “Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you” (1 John 3:13).

What is our response? Pray first of all for the enemies of God and His people. Pray for their salvation and for God’s Holy Spirit to work in their hearts and bring them to faith in the One True God. In the words of Jesus, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).

Then, pray for our leaders. Paul, writing to Timothy said this: “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority…” (1 Timothy 2:1-2).

Praying for our enemies is not an easy thing to do, but I believe we must pray fervently and without ceasing for God to bring about the heart change they so desperately need.

Praying,
Pastor Jerry