Archive for the ‘Wisdom’ Category

On Aging

Dear friends,
The garden is done; the frost has had the last word. I wouldn’t consider it a fruitful season, except for the cucumbers and peppers. Tomatoes and green beans just couldn’t win. I’m sure there were several factors involved, including heat and drought. I suppose that much like zucchini, the neighbors were probably tired of seeing us coming to their doors with free cucumbers. They were gracious though, and accepted our offerings.

I am beginning to feel the changing of the season in the air. There is a chill in the air in the morning, the leaves are changing colors, with some starting to fall to the ground. The winds are becoming more northerly, and the birds are flocking together in preparation for migrating to a warmer climate.

Maybe it is because I just passed another milestone on my personal calendar that I am reminded of the seasons of life. Spring, when we are young, summer as we enjoy the middle years, autumn as we reach those golden years, and winter as we approach the end of our lives. It is a part of God’s plan for mankind.

The Bible speaks of aging in a generally positive light. It speaks of the wisdom of the aging: “Remember the days of old, consider the years of past generations. Ask your father, and he will tell you, your elders, and they will teach you” (Deuteronomy 31:7). “Wisdom is found with the elderly, and understanding comes with long life” (Job 12:12).

It speaks of the honor due the aging: “Honor your father and your mother so that you may have a long life in the land that the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:21).

The Bible also notes the continuing service of the aging believer; speaking of those who love God, it reads; “They will still bear fruit in old age, healthy and green,” (Psalm 92:14). Here is a promise from the Lord as we age; “I will be the same until your old age, and I will bear you up when you turn gray. I have made you, and I will carry you; I will bear and rescue you” (Isaiah 46:4).

Young and old each have their unique worth; they are not in competition. “The glory of young men is in their strength, and the splendor of old men is gray hair” (Proverbs 20:29).

In His strength,
Pastor Jerry

Chasing the Wind

Dear friends,

We are experiencing some cooler weather for a change. As I write this, we have received a welcome rain shower. I show a mere twenty hundredths, but hey, it’s rain! We will continue to pray the Lord will send beneficial moisture. With the summer season winding down, life here at the lake is taking a more leisurely turn. It has been good to see folks enjoying a taste of lake living, especially the families with children.

Now for some devotional thoughts. This is from a few years back, when we were still watching television, but the message hasn’t changed. One of the newer advertisements on the tube was from an automobile company that will remain unnamed. Their slogan was “Dedicated to life, liberty and the pursuit!”

One of the hallmarks of the culture of today is that many are dedicated to the “pursuit”, and have no vision of what they are pursuing. After all, I wonder, should there not be something to pursue? Most of us have some goal in mind as we go along our life’s journey. It may be only to provide food and shelter for our families, but there is something we are pursuing. The Bible has quite a bit to say about things that are important to pursue and those which are not worth chasing after.

Solomon wrote that many of the things people seek after are just chasing after the wind (Ecclesiastes 1:14). Again he writes, “What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun? All his work is pain and grief, even at night his mind does not rest. This too is meaningless (2:22-23).

At the end of the book, Solomon sums it up; “Now all has been heard, here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Eccl. 12:13).

Jesus said, “But seek first His (God’s) kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33). Our slogan could then be “Dedicated to a life of serving God, liberty from the bondage of sin and the pursuit of godliness.”

In summary, God will provide all we need for this life and the next, if we will only put all our faith and trust in Him.

Reflecting on His Word,

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

Defend Life

Dear readers,
We are starting this week camping out in South Dakota. We are at Alex’s place for a visit, and will probably head back home Tuesday. As always, plans are subject to change at any moment. We are glad for some moderate temperatures, but could definitely use some nice rain.

The big news of the week by any measure, was the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade. This is something that concerned Christians have prayed for and worked at for almost fifty years. Much has been said in recent days about the subject, so I will not argue the point in this article, except to point to Scripture.

The Bible places a high value on all human life, including that of the unborn. Bible teaching declares that life is a sacred, God given gift; “Then the Lord God formed the man out of the dust from the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and the man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7). The gift includes the life of children; “Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord, offspring, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons born in one’s youth” (Psalm 127:3-4).

God condemns those who take human life; “Do not murder” (Exodus 20:13), “The Lord says; I will not relent for punishing the Amorites for three crimes, even four, because they ripped open the pregnant women of Gilead in order to enlarge their territory” (Amos 1:13).

The development of unborn life is controlled by God; “For it was you who created my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise you because I have been remarkably and wondrously made. Your works are wondrous, and I know this very well” (Psalm 139:13-14).

In closing, we Christians will need to continue the effort to preserve life, not only in the unborn, but at all stages of life. “Provide justice for the needy and the fatherless; uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute. Rescue the poor and needy; save them from the power of the wicked” (Psalm 82:3-4).
“This is what the Lord says: Administer justice and righteousness… Don’t exploit or brutalize the resident alien, the fatherless, or the widow. Don’t shed innocent blood in this place” (Jeremiah 22:3).

Lastly, pray for America, and pray for many to come to faith in Jesus Christ.

In truth,
Pastor Jerry

Master Tuner

Hello friends,
We are officially observing Daylight Saving Time. I trust everyone made it to church on time Sunday. I have seen folks arrive in the parking lot just as worship was ending, and it was embarrassing for everyone.

I like music. I like to make music with my friends who play. I especially like playing when my guitar is in tune. Instruments have to be tuned to a standard, or else all you would have is a lot of meaningless noise. In the ‘old days’ that standard would have been a tuning fork, or a pitch pipe. These days there are electronic models with digital displays, allowing for exact pitch.

Our standard for living in tune with God is his Word. If we don’t return to him and retune, our lives can become like a musical instrument that needs tuning. As an out of tune instrument is not pleasing to the ear, a life not in tune with God has no purpose, nor does it bring him honor.

The Bible tells us that God’s word keeps us pure and in tune with his plan and purpose for our lives. Here are some examples; How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word (Psalm 119:9 NIV).
Your word is completely pure, and your servant loves it (Psalm 119:140 CSB).
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you (Psalm 119:11 NIV).
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path (Psalm 119:105).

Paul wrote, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:1-2). How do we renew our minds? By living according to God’s word and in his will.

Solomon wrote these words: Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man (Ecclesiastes 12:13 NIV). Does your life seem out of tune? Put it in the hands of the Master Tuner.
In Him,
Pastor Jerry

Knowing the Truth

Hello friends,

There is not much to report as far as weather; just mostly cool temperatures, with some sun and some clouds. The fall colors have been extra special this year, but with the one really windy day last week many leaves have fallen.

I had the pleasure of speaking at Grace Bible Church this week. I thought it might be beneficial to share some thoughts from my sermon with all of you. Based on Paul’s first letter to Timothy, it tells us to be on guard against false teachers, of whom there are plenty these days.

All believers have a responsibility to be on the alert for false teachers. What are we to look for? Here are four things to keep in mind.

First, look at their understanding of Scripture, and ask if their teaching is biblically sound. Do they place extra-biblical teachings on a par with Scripture? That is, do they add or subtract from the value of God’s Word? Do they accurately handle the Word of truth? Scripture says, “Be diligent to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15).

Second, examine their goals. Do they seek to love, honor and glorify God? Or do they pursue self-love, material wealth, or personal happiness?

Third, examine their motives. Are they humble and selfless? Or do they seek to make a name for themselves?

Finally, examine the effect of their teaching. Do their followers understand clearly the gospel of Jesus Christ? Do they define the Gospel properly? Do they use the law properly, as part of the gospel message, or do they promote works righteousness? The law was given to show sinners their need for a Savior. The Law saves no one. Salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

In conclusion, to recognize and expose false teaching, we must spend time in the Bible. Not just to check off a passage of scripture as our daily reading, but to really spend time getting to understand what God has already said. Meditate on it.

We need not ask the Lord to speak to us. He has spoken. “But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed head of all things, and through whom he made the universe” (Hebrews 1:2).

In Christ alone,

Pastor Jerry

Seeing, or Just Looking?

Dear friends,
Everyone at the lake is preparing for the Fourth of July celebration. Saturday morning, the comment was made that the lake front is looking very nice already. It takes dedicated volunteers to make that happen, and we are grateful for each and every one.

Very often, things need to be examined for possible problems, looking to see if there is something that has been overlooked. Maybe it is knowing that a piece of equipment isn’t working as it is supposed to, then one day a light comes on in your mind, and you see a problem you had not recognized. Here are a couple of examples from my week.

Lesson one: For longer than I should admit, I’ve known one of our outside water hydrants needed attention. The seal around the shutoff was leaking when the water was on. Monday, I decided to make repairs. I discovered it had been leaking under the house, and to delay was no longer an option. After a trip to town, and some time to make the repairs, all was well.

Lesson two: The kitchen cold water volume has been lower than the hot side for a long time. I could not figure it out, until just a few days ago. In an act of desperation, I looked under the sink one more time, and saw that the supply line to the cold side was a quarter inch line, as opposed to a half inch on the hot side. Eureka! How did I not see this before? Another trip to town, problem solved.

It is very much the same with our spiritual walk. Now and then, we need to stop and see if we are missing something that is right in front of us. All of us, if we were being honest, could say yes I need to check my life and see if I’m truly walking as the Lord wants me to. Here are a few verses to help us get started.

Psalm 26:2 Test me, O Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind.
Lamentations 3:40; Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.
2 Corinthians 13:5; Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.
1 Peter 1:15; But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do.

Blessings,
Pastor Jerry

Priority

Dear readers,
I believe the planting is done for this season, but that is not the final word. We had a few frosty mornings, but almost all the plants survived. The only possible casualty is the zucchini, but I will allow it to be replaced if necessary (insert smiley face). The Lord has seen fit to provide some needed moisture, and we will trust him to send more as needed.

I actually spent some time fishing last week. It has been awhile, and I realized this when I tried to open one of my tackle boxes. It sat on a shelf in the garage so long that it practically disintegrated at my touch! As far as catching any fish, I caught one small bass below the dam, and another slightly larger one in the lake proper. Both were released to bite/fight again another day.

Here is an observation I made a couple of weeks ago that reminds me of the need for parents to examine their priorities. Actually, the word should be priority since the word indicates there can really be only one, not multiples. So, what should be our one priority? According to scripture, it is to teach our children about God, the Bible, and their need for a Savior.

Recently on the news, I noticed parents were rushing to get their kids vaccinated for Covid19. It occurred to me they were in a hurry to protect them from something they might not have to deal with until they are older. At the same time, many of these parents are willing to let their children wait to make a decision on their salvation until they can decide for themselves. Where is the sense in that?

God’s instruction to parents, concerning his commands is this: “Teach them (His words) to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Deuteronomy 11:19). Paul’s instruction to fathers is this; “Bring them (children) up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

Our priority is always to secure our family members’ salvation by leading them to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Then, whatever happens, whether by some virus, an accident or any other means, at death their destination is heaven.

A final thought; Put first things first, always.

Because of Him,
Pastor Jerry

Creation Speaks… Listen

Dear friends,
Another week has flown by, and it is already May. The weather continues to be variable, moving between hot and cool, calm and windy, dry and damp. In the midst of all this flowers are blooming, as are the ornamental trees and wild plums. And, we are seeing pairs of geese with their newly hatched goslings.

I’m reminded of these verses from the Psalms; “Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make music to our God on the harp.
He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills.
He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call” (Psalm 147:7-9).

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard” (Psalm 19:1-3).

There are many people in our world today who do not know God. It has always been so, but it seems those who will not acknowledge him are more antagonistic toward any talk of a righteous and just God. I believe the scriptures speak of this, and have warned us about times such as these. The evidence of a Creator is everywhere, but they refuse to believe their eyes.

I return to the book of Romans and read this; “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. for since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Romans 1:18-20).

The psalmist has written;
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.
The Lord looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.
All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt;
there is no one who does good, not even one (Psalm 14:1-3).

I pray they see the truth, and come to Christ.

For Him,
Pastor Jerry

The Source of Truth

Dear readers,
It has been a week of cloudy skies, with a bit of fog, mist, and a snowflake or two. The best part is there has been no big snowstorm, and the temperature has remained cool; something I can live with. The news of the past week has been all about the situation in our country, with all the political upheaval and its related headlines.

I have always considered myself an optimist, but sometimes it is difficult to retain a sense of optimism. I’m learning to spend less time with the so-called mainstream media, and also most social media. There is so much misinformation out there that it is nearly impossible to discern the truth. The one exception would be World magazine, which brings news from a Christian perspective (world.wng.org). There are others out there with a Christian worldview, but sadly, they are not well known. And, yes, that was a plug for the magazine.

The one source of absolute truth is the Bible, but far too few people are informed about what it says about the human condition and the solution to healing a broken world.

Answering Pilate’s question about whether Jesus was a king, Jesujs said, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” (John 18:37).

Familiar passages in the Old Testament speak if the importance of knowing and obeying God’s Word:
How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word (Psalm 119:9).
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you (verse 11).
Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens (verse 89).
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path (verse 101).
You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word (verse 114).
Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me (verse 133).

Finally, Jesus’ words in John 14:6. “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

The result of ignoring God’s truth is found in Romans 1:18-32. I encourage you to read it for yourself.

For Truth,
Pastor Jerry