Faith Bible Baptist Church of Yuma
Faith Bible Baptist Church of Yuma

From the desk of Pastor Ed ... 2017 Archives

He Held Salvation in His Arms               December 25, 2017

 

“And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.  And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.  So he came by the Spirit into the temple.”

 

“And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus to do for Him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up into his arms and blessed God and said: ‘Lord, now You are letting your servant depart in peace according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a Light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.’”         (Luke’s Gospel 2:25-32).

 

Some men have had great aspirations:  win the Super Bowl, land on the moon, win the presidency, climb Mount Everest, meet Abraham Lincoln.  Simeon had a much greater aspiration to see the Messiah who would establish His glorious kingdom in the world.  Nothing could crush this hope:  not the iron grip of the pagan Roman Empire upon Israel; nor the blood-thirsty dictatorship of the despicable Herod the Great; nor the corruption of the religious establishment ruled by the chief priest Caiaphas.  The hope of Simeon was fastened on the integrity of the God of Abraham and the prophets.

 

Simeon had read the Scriptures discovering over 300 divine promises concerning the Messiah.  Now the Spirit of God promised Simeon that he would live to see the Lord’s Christ (Luke 2:26). The coming of the Messiah was long described by Jewish believers as the “Consolation of Israel.”  The Messiah-King would be strong, compassionate, and tender-hearted.    He was a “just (righteous) and “devout” (reverent) man who believed Jeremiah’s promise: “Behold the days are coming, says the LORD, that I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth, in His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; now this is His Name by which He shall be called:  THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” (Jeremiah 23:5-6). 

 

No one can bring more comfort than He could.  He would “Comfort, yes, comfort” the people of God (Isaiah 40:1-2).  How?  The Messiah-King would stop their constant battles to survive.  He would pardon all of their iniquities (perverse sins) and cleanse their souls to become as white as snow (1:18).  Like a shepherd “the LORD God shall come with a strong hand … and He will feed His flock … and gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young.”  (40:10-11).  The coming of the Messiah would renew their strength and their faith.

 

 The Scriptures contain God’s promise: “Have you not known?  Have you not heard?  The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth neither faints nor is weary, His understanding is unsearchable.  He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.  Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young man shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:28-31

 

The aged Simeon tenderly cradled Baby Jesus in his arms as his heart rejoiced in ecstasy.  Gazing into the eyes of Baby Jesus, he declared: “… My eyes have seen Your Salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a Light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.”  (Luke 2:30-32).  The salvation of our souls is connected exclusively in one Person, the Son of man, the Lord Jesus Christ.  On the Cross He made paid the price of redeeming lost souls and was raised from the tomb in victory.  Have you received Jesus, the Messiah, as your Savior?   I hope so.  Amen.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

It’s All About God’s Son               December 18, 2017

 

“Merry Christmas!”  To you and your loved ones.  What a wonderful time of the year.  Christmas is a national holiday in many countries around the world.  Many, many are taking flights to be with their loved ones.  Great metropolises, cities, and towns are lit up with manger scenes and reindeer.  Thousands of merchants depend on hordes of eager shoppers to keep their stores in the green ledger.  Lots of homes are decorated elegantly for this time of year.  Why?  It’s all about God’s Son!

 

God in heaven has a historical day-minder loaded with appointed times for planet earth.  The greatest of them all is “when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, to redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons … (to become) … heirs of God through Christ.”  (Galatians 4:4, 5, 7).  The greatest gift you and I can ever receive is adoption into the family of God. 

 

God in heaven sent His Son to redeem lost souls.  The miraculous birth by the God-blessed virgin Mary was the way God chose to reveal His Son as the Son of man.  Jesus was emphatic about the reality that God sent Him to be the Light of the world (John 1:5, 7-9).  John recorded forty-two times (42 in only 21 chapters!) in which Jesus declared God sent Him from heaven down to the earth.  His mission was to “save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).  Truly, God was manifested in the flesh.  He is Immanuel, God with us (1:23).  He is 100% God and 100% Man.  Why?  It’s all about God’s Son.

 

Jesus, when it was time, revealed His true identity.  The Jewish people marveled at His power from God to give sight to the blind, cleanse the leper, cast out demons, and raise the dead.  Some claimed that he was John the Baptist back from the dead.  But John did no miracle.  Some claimed that He was the famous Elijah who performed many miracles.  That was not true.  Others claimed He was Jeremiah or one of the prophets.  His true identity was revealed from God’s thunderous voice from heaven: “This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17) and “I have both glorified (Your Name) and will glorify it again.” (John 12:28).  God the Father would glorify His Son when He raised Jesus – body and soul -- from the dead and caught Him up into heaven to sit at His right hand (Hebrews 1:3).

God in heaven did not prepare a comfortable entrance to the land of Israel.  Ron Hamilton composed these lines: “Not a palace for the little King, nor a pillow for His bed; not a scepter for His royal hand, no a crown adorns His head.”  Herod the Great (a wicked man), residing in a palace or two, tried to kill Baby Jesus.  He died in extraordinary pain.  The chief priests and members of the Sanhedrin Council, knowing the prophecy of Bethlehem, turned their backs to their Messiah.  They did not notify the elderly Simeon of His coming.  They did not send good news to the godly widow Anna who looked for the redemption of the nation of Israel. 

 

Instead of going to the rich and mighty, God broke the good tidings to lowly shepherds by the angelic spokesman and “a multitude of the heavenly host.”   The sky was filled with heaven’s choir singing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men! … For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, Who is Christ the Lord!”  (Luke 2:13, 14, 11).  To them, it’s all about God’s Son.

 

As if that was not enough, God placed a new star in the skies.  Perhaps familiar with the prophecies of Jeremiah and Daniel, the Magi (powerful Gentile king-makers and astrologers) in an Eastern land, were shocked and excited by the Messianic star.  Shining over Bethlehem this star shed its beams on manger holding the Christ Child.  The Magi bowed in reverence and gave rich gifts.  It’s all about God’s Son.

 

May our Christmas celebrations be all about God’s Son.  Amen.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Great Joy from Heaven to Earth                       December 10, 2017

 

Great joy swept all over heaven when Jesus was taken up from the earth and welcomed back Home.  When the risen Son of God took His seat on the right hand of God, the 100 million angelic choirs broke out in a new song:  “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!!”  Every creature in the universe answered the angelic choirs, shouting, “Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!!”  (Revelation 5:11-13).  Why were the infinite number of angels and creatures so happy?     

 

The Scriptures tell us that the angels did not understand why the Son of God left the glories of heaven on a rescue mission.   What person would ever want to lower himself to the depraved level of humanity?  What prophets attempted to understand the divine plan of salvation?   Every bit of their inquiring and searching could not comprehend the amazing grace of God.  Why would the Son of God become Son of man and suffer the pain and shame of crucifixion?  (1st Peter 1:10-12).

 

How great the love of God for all those souls who have spread out on the face of the earth since our first parents were evicted from the Paradise of Eden.  Yet, Jesus declared that “… God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

 

The holiness of God repels the wickedness of the world.  Sins, transgressions, iniquities, and rebellion have kept billions in bondage to the wicked one—the devil.  The holy justice of the LORD, the supreme Judge, required punishment.  There is no punishment in heaven.  The evil one is destined to be judged and cast into the fires of hell (Matthew 25:41).

 

Jesus journeyed through every city and village of Israel calling sinners to “repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand” (Matthew 4:17).  He is not willing that any should perish (2nd Peter 3:9).  Jesus urged everyone to seek His pardon and be redeemed.  His joy was the prospect that millions would repent, believe in Him, and join Him in heaven.  Hebrews 12:2 declares:  “looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

 

Sadly, some religious leaders deceive lost souls saying that when Jesus died for all, it means that they are were saved—even if they do not know it.  Sinners are urged to make the most of their lives by helping all humanity.  Impossible.  Futile.  There is only one way to heaven.  His name is Jesus.

Peter and John preached: “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven, given among men by which we must be saved.”  Some of my readers may believe that fake “gospel”.  I urge you to seek the true Gospel proclaimed by Jesus Christ.

 

There is joy in heaven every time a sinner, a lost soul, repents of sin and puts his or her trust in Jesus.  He alone suffered, died, and rose again for me, for you.  Have you done this?  What amazing joy will fill your life when you begin living for Jesus Christ.  Are you “all in” for Him?

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

The Miraculous First Christmas            December 6, 2017

 

The first Christmas was miraculous.  Prophetic hints, as well as outright promises, are contained in the Word of God.  Several thousand years ago in the Garden of Eden, Eve and Adam knowingly broke God’s prohibition of eating the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge and
Evil.  Tempted by Satan, they ate the forbidden fruit.  The first prophecy was the mysterious prediction of the virgin birth and crucifixion of the Messiah (Genesis 3:15-16). 

 

Notice the prophetical terms “your seed” and “her Seed” in that text.  The former is the lineage of Satan and his cohorts.  The latter is both mysterious and seems to be an impossibility.  “Her” refers to the lineage of Eve with a reference to the Mary of Nazareth.  “Seed” of the woman is mysterious because men contain the “seed” to reproduce.  Women do not.  “There is a unique allusion in ‘her Seed,’ the first announcement of the virgin birth, for biologically in conception the seed (or sperm) is delivered by the man….” (Criswell).  We read in Luke 1:31-35 that the Holy Spirit of God would come to Mary and implant in her womb the “Seed”.  She was still a virgin.  This pregnancy was a miraculous work of our Creator God.  The angel Gabriel assured Mary that “with God nothing is impossible” (Luke 1:37).

 

That miraculous pregnancy would bring into this fallen world the “Seed” – the Man named Jesus.

Some deny it without a shred of proof.  But in the Bible, Moses predicted this and longed to see that day.  King David called Him “Lord” (Psalm 110:1).  Isaiah testified that “the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His Name Immanuel.”  (Isaiah 7:14).  Jeremiah was told by the Spirit to write of the “King who shall reign as … THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS”

(Jeremiah 23:5-6).  Daniel was told by Gabriel that the Messiah would sacrifice His life to save the lost (Daniel 9:24).  Micah was inspired to identify the city in which He was to be born –

Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).  Malachi predicted that John the baptizer would be the forerunner of Christ.  Is this amazing or is it not—for many centuries, men unrelated and in distant eras were in perfect agreement concerning the first Christmas in Bethlehem.  These prophecies were revealed by God Himself. 

 

Matthew affirmed the identity of the “Seed” when he began his Gospel with the genealogy of Jesus.  Matthew 1:16 – “And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born JESUS WHO IS CALLED CHRIST.”

 

Luke had a “perfect understanding of all things” of the “Seed.” (1:3).  The Spirit of God was the active Agent in the miraculous pregnancy of the virgin Mary (1:35).  The God of Abraham performed this fantastic miracle (1:37).

 

The Apostle Paul affirmed the identity of the “Seed” of the woman.  Galatians 3:16 – “Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made.  He does not say, ‘and to seeds,’ as of many, but as of one, ‘and to your Seed,’ WHO IS CHRIST.”

 

The Word of God contains over 330 prophecies of Christmas.  Only One could fulfill God’s promises:  JESUS CHRIST.  Let’s praise God for sending the perfect Savior to redeem our souls!

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Let Us Come Before the LORD with Thanksgiving  Nov. 27, 2017

 

Psalm 95:1-3, 6      

“Oh come, let us sing to the LORD!

Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation!

Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving.

Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms for the LORD is a great God!

Oh come! Let us worship and bow down;

Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.”

 

The writer of this psalm was very earnest in those 6 joyful and thankful lines.  Thanksgiving is a dominating theme of the 150 psalms in the Bible.  The Christian has countless reasons to love the LORD with all our heart, soul, and mind. 

 

  • The LORD is the Creator of the universe and this privileged planet we call earth.  Our planet was perfectly set at a certain distance from the sun to enable human life.  Our planet was given a moon like no other to control the ocean waves and enlighten the nights.  Our planet was given a “halo” (if I may call it that) reaching from sea level to an elevation of some 4-5 miles in which we live and breathe.  When I stop and think about this extremely thin “halo”, I am amazed.  Here in Colorado, Denver is called the “mile high city”?!  Compared the distance to the moon or the sun, that’s peanuts.  What a marvelous creation we live in.

 

  • The LORD our God made all of us in “His own image and likeness” (Genesis 1:27).  Humanity has a living soul, a mind that reasons, and a spirit of life.  Human life is not a self-creating nothingness.  It is not an accident of all accidents.  The theory of evolution, if taken to its ultimate conclusion, attempts futilely to comprehend it as an accident.  But something cannot come from nothing.   God is our Maker.

 

God’s Word declares creation to be fact.  Romans 1:20-22 – “For since the creation of the world (cosmos), His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, NOR WERE THANKFUL, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Professing to be wise, they became fools.”

 

Thanksgiving—how can an atheist express thanksgiving to some cause?  The true living, all-powerful, all merciful God deserves our deepest and grateful giving of thanks.  The LORD deserves our giving of thanks.  Great American leaders like Washington and Lincoln believed in God.  They knew that there could be no America without the authority and power of God Himself.  In our nation’s culture war, many are shouting that there is no God, no truth, no value in life, and no future.  Vanity of vanities, they have little for which to be thankful.

 

They “go astray, do not know My ways, and shall not enter My rest” (Psalm 95:10-11). Many others stand convinced by the evidence that there is the LORD Almighty, there is truth, there is value in life, and there is a future for them.  The LORD, knowing the world as a prodigal, doomed planet, sent His only begotten Son into this rebellious cosmos on a rescue mission to save souls from the coming judgment.  I sincerely hope that you will put your faith in Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and give thanks to Him.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

A Truly American Thanksgiving            November 20, 2017

 

The founding dream of religious liberty took root in the hearts of outstanding Americans.  Such great men include John Hancock, signer of the Declaration of Independence, as George Washington, called the Father of this country, and as Abraham Lincoln who saved the nation and signed the Emancipation Proclamation.  These men gave thanks to the Providence of Almighty God who made this “land of the free and of the brave” a reality.  Let’s recall their gratitude.

 

"I...appoint...a day of public thanksgiving and praise...to render to God the tribute of praise for His unmerited goodness towards us...by giving to us...

the Holy Scriptures which are able to enlighten and make us wise to eternal salvation....  And to pray that He would forgive our sins and ...cause the religion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to be known, understood, and practiced among all the people of the earth.”                                                                                                                                     John Hancock

 

George Washington: 

In 1789, as the first president of United States of America, declared November 26th “as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God.”  And, what is less known is the rest of his thanksgiving proclamation. The burden on his heart was a call for a national day prayer. 

           

 

He continued, “And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions.”

 

Abraham Lincoln:

The sad part of this historic call to prayer for God’s forgiveness was that it was not continued as President Washington hoped.  But, in the providence of God, many years later, in 1863, the “rail splitter” from out West in Illinois, better known as Abraham Lincoln, established a national day of prayer.

 

Grieved at the terrible cost of lives in the armies of the North and South, the president called on all Americans to pause, ponder, and pray.  He declared:  “It has seemed to me fit and proper that [the gifts of God] should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged with one heart and one voice by the whole American people.  I do, therefore, invite my fellow citizens … to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father that dwelleth in the heavens.”

 

We live in troublous times.  A cultural and spiritual war raging.  It’s the battle of God’s law versus lawless human opinions.  Let’s pray, thank God that He is merciful.  May God’s Providence once more deliver the soul of America.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Creating Harmony in Marriage             November 14, 2017

 

Creating harmony in your marriage takes more than presenting her with chocolates and baking some oatmeal cookies for him.  My wife discovered two chocolate Turtle candy-bars in my grocery bag—one for her.  Here is marriage counsel from the Lord, that if followed, will create lasting harmony in the home: “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Philippians 3:17).  It works!

 

Two things, if not followed, will create dis-harmony in marriage.  For the wife, the lack of respect for the husband will begin to bother him.  What bothers him will begin to irritate him, and what irritates him can so easily create a bitterness to fester in him. The Lord forbids a man to become bitter against her (Colossians 3:18-19).

 

Second, for the husband, his failure to treat her with the kind of love Jesus Christ has for Christians will begin to bother her.  What bothers her will begin to form resentment in her, and what she resents can so easily arouse a temper that destroys harmony at home.

 

How can these things be prevented?  3:17 – Pray that the Lord will help them to practice in word (control the tongue) and deed (behave in conduct) what pleases the Lord Jesus Christ.  What comes out of the tongue reveals the secret feelings of the heart. 

 

An uncontrolled tongue is like wind-blown prairie fires.  God’s Word describes this: “Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.  See how great a forest a little fire kindles.  And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity.  The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature, and it is set on the fire of hell.” (James 3:5-6).  This is serious stuff.

 

A Christian husband is commanded to love his wife as much as Jesus loves believers.  This Jesus-love is patient, kind, humble, does not behave rudely, does not keep a list of complaints, seeks the benefit of others, and endures all marriage situations (compare 1st Corinthians 13:4-8).  Jesus-love will also prompt him to ask forgiveness when necessary.  Jesus loved us before we ever loved Him (1st John 4:19).  The cross demonstrated the high price of His love—He died to save her soul.  But, to be bitter is the opposite of love.  God forbids it. 

 

A Christian wife is instructed to submit herself willingly to her husband (Ephesians 5:21-24).  If he loves her as Jesus loves her, such humbling of herself is not a problem (5:25ff).  She would be trusted by him to treat her good all of her life (Proverbs 31:11, 12, 31).  He would praise her because her “price is far above rubies” (31:10).  The bottom line is this:  practice what is fitting [proper and right] to the Lord their God.  Her love for him will stop her from being disrespectful. 

 

Such mutual love and respect are “fitting in the Lord.” They are the pleasant oils which smooth out the squealing sounds and replace it with sweet harmony in the home.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Staring Death in the Face                       November 6, 2017

 

How heart-braking it is to stare death in the face.  I cannot imagine the horror that the Baptist congregation in Sutherland Springs, Texas, experienced during its Morning Worship Service.

As I understand, 26 were slain by that gunman dressed in a black ballistic vest.  Others were seriously wounded.  Among those were several boys and girls—including the pastor’s 14-year-old daughter.  The unthinkable happened in this small town.  How can the survivors stare death in the face and cope with such a disaster?

 

We cannot pin down the reason’s, the how’s, and the why’s.  Yet, as Christians, we can go to Someone who stared death in the face with hot tears in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Jesus said, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death.”  Moments later, He collapsed face-down on the garden soil and prayed, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:38-39).

 

Why could Jesus pray “not as I will, but as you will”?  He forewarned His disciples: “Behold we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify.  And, the third day HE WILL RISE AGAIN.”  (16:18-19).  Our brethren in Sutherland Springs, Texas, have confidence that there will be the resurrection of the believer. 

Those who are born again—born anew in Christ—will be reunited in glory.  Christians have everlasting life assured by the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Jesus carried then, and He can “carry our sorrows” even today, (Isaiah 53:4).  As the famed British pastor, Charles H. Spurgeon, said: “When we cannot trace God’s hand, we can always trust God’s heart.”  In glory, we will stare everlasting life in the face of our resurrected and exalted Savior.

 

Just meditate on this certain hope from Ephesians 2:1-7; especially verses 6-7 – “and raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come, He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

 

Those who stare death in the face as laid out in the Bible can see the big picture.  By the sin of Adam and Eve, death entered this planet (Genesis 3:19).  The tragic result is that all are born with a sin nature.  By the sacrificial death of Christ, the Lamb of God, divine justice has been fully paid for.  The free gift of everlasting life given to the soul when one repents of sin and puts his or her faith in Christ and His death and resurrection.

 

This big picture involves the reality of death.  From conception to funeral death will overcome each of us (Hebrews 9:27).  Old age, heart attacks, cancers, strokes, traffic accidents, still births, wars, murders, storms of all kinds, falling, poisonous bites… on and on the list goes.  As the Gospel song says, “This world is not my home; I’m just a-passing through.  My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.”

 

May we weep with those who weep, embrace them with compassion, and listen to their grieving hearts.  I don’t have the answers.  But my Lord has been in the tomb and now lives eternally.  Someday those grieving will see their Savior first of all in heaven.  Only then, can we say,

 “It will be worth it all when we see Jesus.”

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

 

Enriching Your Soul by Singing              October 30, 2017

 

Colossians 3:16 – “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

 

The “word of Christ” is contained in the Holy Bible.  It is God speaking to man.  The “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” are man speaking to God.  If we would take time to search for music in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, we would be amazed how much sacred music there is.  I possess an old hymnal dating back to 1854 which has over 1,000 psalms and hymns in it.  The number of songs written to the LORD must number in the tens of thousands!

 

Just how does a Christian speak to God by singing psalms?  “Psalms” are meditative songs that praise and glorify God from the heart.  King David was also known for his music and talent on the ancient harp.  He composed 73 of the 150 psalms which were collected in the book known as “The Psalms.”  No matter how he felt – joyous or sad, triumphant or depressed, at peace or disturbed, trusting or fretting – almost without fail his psalm ended on a high note.  Whenever down in spirit, I find a lift through meditating on these psalms.  I can read to, and in some cases if I had the music, sing to my LORD and Savior.  Then sunshine of His love warms my soul.  Singing Psalm 23 we can praise God for His protection and certainty of heaven.

 

What are the “hymns” which Paul encouraged the new believers in the 1st century Colosse church?  Hymns have been composed from the majestic attributes of God, the glorious doctrines of Jesus Christ, and the Apostolic Doctrines defining the Christian faith.  Singing such wonderful truths is an excellent way God has created to help us remember and worship the LORD.   From eternity past, Heaven has been filled with the grand singing of the angels (Revelation 5:11-13) and even by God Himself (Zephaniah 3:17 -- Hmm?  Does God sing baritone?).  Hymns like “O Worship the King,” “Holy, Holy, Holy,” “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name,” and more recently like “How Great Thou Art” and “In Christ Alone,” praise the LORD our God and Savior.

 

“Spiritual songs” include songs of thanksgiving, of our relationship to God our Savior, of the amazing grace of Christ’s atoning blood on the cross, of our love for Christ, of His guidance in our lives, of personal commitment to Christ, of spiritual warfare, and of Christ returning soon.

 

Such songs are not trivial repetition, feel-good for the moment, nor mimicking the way and sound of the worldly non-Christian culture.  In the last century there has been a serious watering down of the majesty of God, the shed blood of our Redeemer, and what it means to live a holy and pure life.  I cannot forget the tears of a mother, a Christian school teacher, whose daughter backslid from Jesus Christ by what some call Christian music.  Music is a language, a sense of emotions (good or bad feelings).  Christian music is not to exalt the singer’s voice, performance, or fame.  Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs lift the heart and soul to worship the Almighty LORD, to exalt Christ, and to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.

 

Colossians 3:16 says it all: “singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”  The “word of Christ” declares that the sinner is saved by grace through faith in Christ alone.  Grace is the undeserved favor of God.  Grace is the death of Christ who died to pardon our sins.  Grace should be a pre-eminent theme of our singing!

 

Colossians 3:17 – “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”  This includes our singing, too.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

The Transformation of the Church                  October 23, 2017

 

One of the greatest transformations in Christian history was the conversion of Saul of Tarsus.  Listen to his testimony: “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor,  and an insolent (violently arrogant) man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.  And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.” (1st Timothy 1:12-14).  He was not reformed.  He was totally transformed. 

 

Imagine his terrible self-indictment:

 #1 – I was a “blasphemer.”  Acts 26:9-11 – “Indeed, I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth …. And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities.”

#2 – I was a “persecutor” of anyone who believed in Jesus as the Messiah.  1st Corinthians 15:9 “… I persecuted the Church of God.”  Acts 8:1 “… a great persecution arose against the Church which was at Jerusalem….” And 8:3 “As for Saul, he made havoc of the Church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.”

#3 – I was an “insolent man” (“aggressively insulting [to Him]” Amplified Bible).  Acts 9:1 – “Then Saul, still breathing out threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord….”  Jesus described the man from Tarsus: “They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he does God service (“a sacred service to God” Wuest Greek translation).   (John 16:1-2).

 

Believe his miraculous transformation: 

Acts of the Apostles 9:1-22.  Read this passage for yourself—this is “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me, I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see.”  (the personal testimony of John Newton, former slave-trader, then minister).

 

One morning, Saul and fellow persecutors got up and traveled several days from Jerusalem to a foreign city—Damascus.  Jewish synagogues were there on or near Straight Street.  In them were many new converts who were transformed by faith in Jesus as Messiah and Redeemer.  As he and comrades were approached the city gate, suddenly “a light shown around from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’  And he said, ‘Who are you, lord?’  Then the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.’  Trembling and astonished, he asked, ‘Lord, what do you want me to do?’ ….”  (9:3-6).

 

While fasting and praying for 3 days, Jesus, the Son of God appeared to this Pharisee in a vision.  What is conversion?  Let Saul, now known as the Apostle Paul explain it.  Romans 10:8-10, 13, 17 – “… The word which we preach; that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. … For whoever calls upon the name of the LORD shall be saved. …  So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

 

Saul was not just reformed.  He was not a wrecked car which got a new coat of exterior paint.  Paul was transformed—a total make-over, inside and out.  He described this very clearly:  Jesus Christ “… died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.”…. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”  (2nd Corinthians 5:15 & 17).  His heart and soul were transformed by faith alone in Christ alone.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

The Reformation and the Church                     October 16, 2017                                                  

 

This month brings the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.  At high noon on October 31, 1517, a monk by the name of Martin Luther “walked boldly toward the church … and posted upon the door a list of 95 theses, or propositions, against the doctrine of indulgences….  Luther declared, in a kind of preface, that he had written these theses with the express desire of setting the truth in the full light of day. He declared himself ready to defend them on the morrow, in the university, against all opponents.  Great was the attention they incited; they were read and passed from mouth to mouth.  Ere long the pilgrims, the university, and the whole city (of Wittenberg) were in commotion.” *  A much-needed reformation of the church had begun!

 

On that poster were 3 of the most controversial propositions:  #32 “Those who fancy themselves sure of salvation by indulgences will go to perdition along with those who teach them so.”  #76 “The indulgence of the pope cannot take away the smallest daily sin, as far as regards the guilt or the offense.”  #27 “They preach mere human follies who maintain that as soon as the money (coins) rattles in the strongbox, the soul flies out of purgatory.” 

 

What are indulgences?  A “remission of the temporal punishment due to sin, the guilt of which has been forgiven.” **   The practice of indulgences was instituted the Roman Church in the 11th century.  Contrary to the Bible, one could do good deeds and earn forgiveness of sins.  By the 15th century it was degraded to shelling out money to buy forgiveness of sins.  After Luther was converted and began to preach the Gospel, he realized indulgences were not Biblical at all.  A sinner is justified by faith alone and by Christ alone (Ephesians 2:5-10).

 

One of Luther’s greatest contributions was the translating the Latin Bible into the German language.  News of Luther’s tracts, the 95 theses, and affordable Bibles raced across Germany with the help of an invention of Gutenberg, a printer—a printing press with movable type. 

 

This Reformation began the process of rejecting abuses by the established state/church in Germany, and soon all Europe.  Religious liberty was almost unheard of.  Anyone who resisted the apostate state-church could be pilloried, whipped, jailed, or tortured in the rack.  John Hus was burned at the stake in Bohemia.  William Tyndale was arrested, strangled, and his body burned at the stake in 1536 in England.  For what crime? Translating the Bible into English.

 

Luther was nearly executed by Emperor Charles V because of severe threats from the state/church.  For what?  For declaring in court his conviction that the Bible was God’s final authority, not the state/church, and that his 95 theses were right.  His final words to the emperor were these: “Here I stand.  I can do no other!”  Luther’s friends hid him from the authorities.

 

What was the essence of the Reformation?  “It was a reform, not a revolt.  Continuity was preserved, so that the Reformers could justifiably claim what seemed to be the new church was indeed the old church purged of offences and reconstituted according to the scriptural norm.” ***  A church historian, Dr. Edward Panosian, observed that when reformers came out of the dominant Church of that era, they took too much furniture with them. 

 

Rather than an incomplete Reformation, Christians ought to follow the New Testament’s description—spiritual nature--of a church:  the absolute authority is the Holy Scriptures, the Headship of Christ, regenerate church membership, self-governing local congregation, soul liberty of conscience, two ordinances—believers’ baptism and the Lord’s Supper of remembrance (not of imparting forgiveness), and religious liberty. 

 

Romans 1:17 “…as it is written, ‘the just shall live by faith.’” The verse that transformed Luther.

 

 *         J. Merle d’Aubigne, The Triumph of Truth, a life of Martin Luther. Page 81.

**       Catholic Encyclopedia, VII, page 783.

*** Baker’s Dictionary of Theology, Everett Harrison, ed. Page 439.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

Pastor Ed’s Devotional                  October 12, 2017

 

 The Apostle Paul was very concerned about the new believers in the city of Colosse.  This ancient city was located 100 miles east of Ephesus in Asia Minor – in modern Turkey (Colossians 2:1). He knew them only through conversations with their pastor Epaphras a man had a genuine shepherd's heart (1:7; 4:12). What did these two pray earnestly for this local congregation?  3:17 - "... whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."

 

They encouraged them to "seek those things which are above."  Who was above?  The crucified, risen, and exalted Savior Jesus Christ (Colossians 3:1).  They were to put great focus on Him. Christians are to die to self, to their own ambitions, and to their own pleasures.  Jesus is to be pre-eminent over every part of their lives.  Such dedicated lives eagerly anticipate the moment they would "appear with Him in glory" -- heaven! (3:4). 

 

Paul and Epaphras urged these new Christians to "put on the new man," the one "renewed in knowledge" having the same heart after God's own heart that King David possessed (3:10).  This portrays the "garment of righteousness."  They were to take off and toss out the "garments of wickedness."  Sin was not to master them.  That kind of man would turn his back on every sin rampant in their community (check out the list of the "dirty dozen save one" sins-- 3:5-9).  Is your own life, your home life, and your everyday life miserable?  Are you a failure?   Please change your garments, your ragged garments which dirty and smelly, and put on the love of Christ.  What a life change that can be!  We cannot do it alone.  God must do it.  God can change your heart and life in ways thought impossible.

 

Paul and Epaphras exhorted them to put on the "garment of righteousness" that everyone wears who follows Jesus Christ.  As the indwelling Holy Spirit works in their hearts, He produces "tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, bearing with one another, forgiving one another" as "Christ forgave you, but above all these things, put on love" (3:12-14).  Jesus Christ was to be their all and in all to them (3:11).

 

How is this accomplished?  It's simple and yet it's hard.  Here's the heavenly formula:  "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly ...." (3:16).   First of all, set a time every morning to begin the day with reading the Bible.  The Holy Spirit will be your Teacher and Helper.  Second, the challenge is to study and meditate deeply on the Word of God and commit yourself to put into practice walking in the steps of Jesus Christ.

 

Such Bible meditations once taken to heart will change wives, husbands, children, and servants (3:18-25)    One last challenge -- "whatever you do, do it heartily as to the Lord and not to men" (3:23).

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

 

An X-ray of the Church That Jesus Founded             October 2, 2017

 

According to the Bible, there are only two kinds of churches.  The one may be spelled with a capital “C”; the other may be spelled with a lower case “c.”  Spiritually, this is what the Apostle Paul called the “body of Christ, the Church” (Colossians 1:24).  Physically, there is the local church, “the church that is in their house” (Romans 16:3-5).

 

What does this mean?  The “body of Christ, the Church” includes every true Christian from Pentecost into the 21st century.  Jesus declared to the apostles: “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this Rock I will build My Church….” (Matthew 16:18).  Bible scholars call this the “universal Church.”  The vast majority of these members have already passed on and are with Jesus—the Founder and sole Head of the Church universal.

 

The physical church includes all born again Christians living today.  These churches are not brick and stone—the church is people.  Those Christians may gather together to worship the Lord in several different places:  in buildings, in houses, in shelters under thatched roofs, and even under shade trees depending on which continent a Christian group of people live.

 

This brings us to the last two distinctive characteristics of the local churches.  The seventh X-ray defines autonomous churches and association with other local churches. In Christ’s blueprint, the autonomous local church governs its own affairs, selects its own pastor and deacons, owns the building and property, admits only true Christians into membership upon their profession of faith in Jesus Christ our Savior, and conducts its own church business.  The association is not a denomination; it is the voluntary fellowship with other local churches which believe the Word of God and practice what the New Testament says.  These have no hierarchy of power or authority outside of the local Bible-believing churches.

 

The eighth X-ray of the local church that Jesus established revealed something great, but some-thing lost for centuries:  religious liberty!  In the era of the apostles all local churches had an equality.  An apostle did not rule from Jerusalem or Rome.   It did not merge with civil governments or empires.  God formed government keep order and obey the laws of the land.  Christ formed the local churches to proclaim the Gospel (the good news) and disciple those who confessed their sins and received Jesus Christ as their personal Savior (Matthew 22:15-22). 

 

Tragically, over the centuries since then, state and church changed dramatically from the blueprint of Christ the Head of the Church and churches.  No wonder there was the horror of the Dark Ages, the religious wars, the Inquisition, and persecution of any group that a different group did not like.  Why did the pilgrims flee Europe to the American continent?  European authorities of state-religions coerced, demanded, and forced true Christians to bow or be whipped, banished, jailed, beheaded, or burned at the stake in the name of religion.

 

Do you realize that as the centuries moved on that 9 of 13 American colonies imported that same vicious authority here?  Roger Williams founded Rhode Island for religious liberty from the state-church of Massachusetts.  Baptists like John Leland and Isaac Backus prevailed upon James Madison and Thomas Jefferson to get laws passed for religious liberty in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  It took 7 years to approve it!  Only after persistent prayer and dedication did the Continental Congress to approve the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech….”  May American Christians stand for religious liberty.

 

These 8 X-rays are the blueprint of New Testament churches as given by the Lord Jesus Christ the Founder and only Head of the Church and described by His apostles. 

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

An X-ray of the Church That Jesus Founded             September 25, 2017

 

These next 3 X-rays are an essential part of the God-given pattern of the New Testament church.  Last week the focus spotlighted the foundation of the church:  The Word of God surpasses all other authorities of men or traditions.  Second, every member must testify to be a true Christian (Acts 2:38, 41, 42).  Third, every member has the privilege from Jesus Christ to be partakers in the New Testament priesthood.   Peter called it a “spiritual house, a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” and “a holy priesthood … to proclaim the praises of God who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. (1st Peter 2:5 & 9).   Each truth builds upon inspired Scriptures.  Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church.  Members must be Christians.  Those believers have direct connection with God through Christ Jesus the one and only “Mediator” between man and God (1st Timothy 2:5-6).

 

The fourth X-ray of the local church is congregational government (Acts of the Apostles 2:41-42). What are the responsibilities of the local church?  (a) the selection of its own pastor and deacons (1st Timothy 3:1ff; 3:8ff); (b)  the election of officers (Acts 6:1-6: 13:1-4);  (c)  the budget supported by free will offerings as well as ownership of its property and building (2nd Corinthians 8:1-5, 12; 9:4-5, 7).  Bible titles for leadership:  overseer (NASB; KJV “bishop” (1st Timothy 3:1), pastor (Ephesians 4:11), elders (Acts 20:17, 28 = pastors); deacons (1st Timothy 3:8f); brother Timothy, fellow-servant Epaphras, “minister” (servant), and minister (“spiritual service” Epaphroditus  (Philippians 2:25).  Did you know that Peter described himself as “a fellow-servant” and warned pastors not to “lord” (be a master) over the church but to lead by a mature Christian example?  Did you miss something?  There were no archbishops and no hierarchy outside and above the local church.  The local church Christ builds is autonomous.

 

The fifth X-ray of the local church reveals only two ordinances:  believer’s baptism and observing the Lord’s Supper.  Both symbolized great Christian truths.  Jesus Christ was baptized in the Jordan river by John the baptizer.  Notice this—Jesus “came up immediately from the water” (Matthew 3:16) and the new convert from Ethiopia and Philip "went down into the water, and he baptized him.  Now when they came up out of the water….”  (Acts 8:38-39).  Baptism is by immersion.  In the Great Commission, Jesus commanded His disciples to baptize believers (Matthew 28:19; compare Acts 8:37 and 4:31).  What spiritual truth does baptism portray?  Paul wrote: “Therefore we were buried with Him (Jesus) into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead” (Romans 6:4; and Colossians 2:12-13).  Our former lifestyle dies; our new life is our spiritual rising from death.  Does the waters of baptism cleanse from sins?  NO.  Only the blood of Christ can do that (1st John 1:7 & Ephesians 1:7).  Miss something?  No infants were sprinkled in the Bible.  Baptism by immersion portrays a great spiritual truth.

Jesus commanded all Christians to observe the Lord’s Supper “in remembrance of Me.” (1st Corinthians 11:25-26.  What does this portray?  The body of Jesus on the cross.  The life-blood of Jesus shed to satisfy divine justice.  We must never forget the high price the Son of God paid for our sins, transgressions, and iniquities.  Who is entitled to partake of the unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine?  Only born-again Christians.  Every believer is to examine his or her heart.  Any sin unconfessed to the Lord?  Confess it to Jesus; He is ready to forgive.

 

The sixth X-ray is individual soul liberty.  A Christian should study the Scriptures for himself and interpret them as the Holy Spirit leads him or her (2nd Timothy 3:15-17; Acts 17:11).  In these X-ray sequences take note that all are based on the Word of God.  A Christian is not to be compelled by moral, legal, or government force to believe doctrines or practices contrary to the Bible.  The “Golden Rule of Interpretation” is: “When the plain sense of the Bible makes common sense, seek no other sense.”  (David L. Cooper).  Our souls and conscience need to be nourished and taught by diligent study of the Bible.  That is our right and privilege (2nd Timothy 2:15).  The Bible is “sure, making wise the simple (and) enlightening the eyes” (Psalm 19:7-11).

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

An X-ray of the Church that Jesus Founded              September 18, 2017

 

It was on an isolated mountain-side north of the Sea of Galilee that Jesus huddled with His 12 disciples.  They were tired.  Ministry, crowds, 24/7 lives can wear one down.  As they rested, Jesus revealed 2 great mysteries:

The Cross and the Church.  These unexpected, radical changes would fulfill the great Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament found in the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Daniel.

 

 

 

The mystery of the Cross: (Ephesians 3:8-11) The Old Testament priesthood and sacrifices were ended by the vicarious, once for all, death of the Son of God, the Lamb of God. “For Christ suffered once for sins, the just (righteous One) for the unjust (not righteous), that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit.”  (1st Peter 3:18). 

The mystery of the Church: (Colossians 1:26-27). Jesus revealed the new: “And I also say unto you, that you are Peter, and upon this Rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it.”  (Matthew 16:18).  The Covenant of Moses would be changed by the Body of Christ, the Christian Church.

 

What is the Bible’s meaning of “Church”?   It is a gathered assembly of born again souls.  It is not a building of cold stones and brick.  It is not a denomination.  It is a gathered assembly of believers Jewish and Gentile, an spiritual assembly from every nation, tribe, people, and tongue from the time of the Cross to the return of Jesus Christ.  And, the Bible describes local churches, gatherings of the present time, who have been saved.

 

Who is the Head of the Church?  The risen and exalted Lord Jesus Christ became the Head of the universal Church of believers.  Not Peter, not James, or not John, nor any other mortal. (Ephesians 1:20-22).

 

The first X-ray of the Church reveals this:  BIBLICAL AUTHORITY.  The Bible is the God-given supreme authority of faith and practice.  It supersedes all traditions of men, all private interpretations of men, all hierarchical systems of governance of men, and all so-called “new” revelations of men. (Matthew 15:1-9; Jude 3-4).  The “pillar and ground of the truth” is authority derived from the inspired Word of God (1st Timothy 3:15-16; 2nd Timothy 3:16-17).

 

The second X-ray of the Church reveals the Gospel’s impact upon what kind of people should be members of the local church that Jesus Christ has built.  That is called a REGENERATE CHURCH MEMBERSHIP.  “Regenerate” means to make alive.  Jesus told the Jewish scholar Nicodemus, “You must be born again” spiritually (John 3:3-7).  Everyone is born with a sinful nature.  All are described as being spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1-5).  Let me illustrate:  when a boy of 9, I was physically alive but spiritually dead.  The moment I repented and put my faith in the Savior Jesus Christ, He gave my soul spiritual life.  Jesus is the “resurrection and the life.  He who believes in Him, though he may die (physically), he shall live (now and in eternity)” (John 11:25).  After that, I was buried in baptism as a testimony of my faith in Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:12-13).  The water only got me wet; the “blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleansed me of all my sin” before I was baptized (1st John 1:7; 2:2; 1st Corinthians 6:11).  The Bible teaches personal faith in Christ comes first and baptism follows.  Therefore, only regenerated, born again Christians are to become members of a local church.

 

The third X-ray of the Church reveals a new kind of priests.  THE PRIESTHOOD of the BELIEVER.  The old Levitical priesthood of the sons of Aaron ended at the Cross.  Jesus Christ has become the sole High Priest (Hebrews 4:14; 7:24-28).   Note this:  Peter himself described the Body of Christ, the Church universal, as “living stones…a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1st Peter 2:5 & 9).  Every Christian can pray directly to God.  Praying to anyone else is not in the what the Bible teaches.  What a privilege!  What a personal relationship!  God’s Word declares: “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all ….”  (1st Timothy 2:5-6).  I hope that you have experienced a new spiritual birth and are a child of God.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Has Nature Gone Wild?  What’s Happening to Us?                        September 11, 2017

 

Many Americans are straining to find the answer the ultimate question on nature:  Has nature gone wild?  What is happening to us?!  Is there a reason for the specific timing of 3 horrific hurricanes, the horrendous number of wild fires scorching the western states, and the 8-point earthquake in nearby Mexico, and all this on the observance of the 9-11 terrorist attack on America?  Even the media’s liberal minds are straining to uncover the mystery of theodicy, that is, why does God allow this or do that to happen.  The best way to track the reasons are to engage in a Christian world-view.  When we cannot trace God’s hands, we can always trust His heart.

 

How can Hurricane Harvey flood and virtually close down the 4th largest city in the USA?  Experts figure that in just 3 days 9 trillion gallons of water turned the metro-area into a swamp.  Can’t picture that?  Figure this:  if the 48 states were level, water 8.5 inches deep would form an ocean.

 

How can Hurricane Irma storm into the entire state of Florida and displace 6,000,000 citizens?  It may take months before all electrical power and phone service is restored to 3,000,000 people.  Record-breaking wind speeds (up as high as 185 mph) wiped out entire cities on some islands before reaching Florida.

 

Recent front-page articles in the New York Times, a liberal newspaper, brought up the scenario of apocalyptic omens of things to come.  9-11 frightened many Americans, especially New Yorkers, and for about 3 months most churches recorded high attendances by those seeking comfort and answers from God.  It did not last long.

 

Many movies and books have used the words “apocalyptic,” and “eschatological” carelessly to shock people in their pursuit of financial profits.  Millions get their “shock” treatment for the moment and then go on with life as boring as before.  The blasts of the hurricanes, of earthquakes, and of forest fires raging out of control are no

harmless, entertaining events with no lasting consequences.  Someone said that reality is a lot more intriguing than fiction.

 

Nature gone wild has no simple, logical behavior.  When Christians gather in prayer, God might just answer. In His wisdom, He might not.  Nature’s power and devastations remind us that we humans are not in charge.  We are but ants boasting how mighty we are to elephants.

 

In searching the Word of God sometimes natural disasters were divine retributions for the Jews falling into the traps of idolatry.  At other times God brought about drastic famines—He turns of the faucets of rain clouds in the skies for years.  Sometimes God allowed vicious enemies to invade the abused Promised Land and steal crops and cattle.  Its pages are filled with repetitive cycles of blessings or curses.  Obedience brings the good.  Disobedience brings consequences. That book ends:  And “… everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (21:25).  An undisciplined dog can cause a lot of damage.  Some innocents experience collateral damage because the nation deserved severe discipline.

 

Are the “End Times” here?  God knows.  We do not know when the exalted Son of God will return.  When He does, better be ready.  In the book of the Revelation, our storms will seem puny compared to the tribulation.

 

Do I know why this or that disaster hit my country?  No.  I am not a prophet.  But this I do know, God is not pleased when He is scorned by sinners, innocents are murdered before they are born, and Biblical morality is being sneered at by worldlings and by many claiming to be persons of faith.  What we sow, we reap.

 

What do I notice?  When storms go wild, true Christians grow stronger in faith in the LORD, are caring for the unfortunate, and are risking their lives to save neighbors and strangers.  The best thing Christians can do is to urge unbelievers to turn from their wicked ways and put their trust in Jesus Christ to save their souls.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Give Him the Pre-eminence Over All              September 5, 2017                                                                               

 

            “In vain we seek for peace with God, by methods of our own;

                                    Jesus, there’s nothing but Thy blood can bring us near the throne.

                        The threatenings of Thy broken law impress the soul with dread;

                                                If God the sword of justice draw, it strikes the spirit dead.

            But Thine illustrious sacrifice has answered these demands;

                        And peace and pardon from the skies came down from Jesus’ hands.”

                                                            by Isaac Watts, famous hymnwriter (d. 1748)

 

Mortals can be awestruck by the August 21st total eclipse of the sun by the moon.  That’s incredible.  The timing of it, the bewildering impact of “midnight” at high noon.  Mortals can be shocked by a hurricane named Harvey.  That is for good reason.  Just imagine this:  in 3 desperate days Houston got one year’s average amount of rain!  Imagine it:  if the 48 states of America were flat, Harvey’s deluge could have covered them with 8 inches of water.  That’s mind-boggling.  It’s overwhelming.

 

But much greater that these fantastic events of space and nature is what Jesus Christ, the Son of God has done.  He is the ingenious Creator of every mountain, every star, and every galaxy.  He is the fine Tuner of every neutron and proton—even sub-atomic particles, even our DNA.  His every touch is absolutely amazing.

 

The Bible declares that “He is the image of the invisible God” – the Son of God became the Son of man (Colossians 1:15).  Jesus instructed Philip saying that “He that has seen Me has seen the Father … I am in the Father, and the Father in Me” (John 14:9-10).  John also recorded that Jesus revealed that “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30).  He even claimed to be equal with God.  Because He is!  (10:33, 36).  His critics then, and cults now, deny that.  But truth is truth.  Jesus the Son of God is pre-eminent over all powers and dominions.

 

The Bible declares that Jesus is the “firstborn over all creation” (Colossians 1:15-16).  That being so, He was in existence before the first microscopic thing or the Milky way came into being. This means He is as eternal as God is eternal—no beginning, always has been.   His critics did not know where He came from.  Cults and “isms” claim the opposite; that He was created.  “Firstborn” has the concept of rank or position, a quality of kind, not time.  It means “He is before all things and by Him all things exist” (1:17).  Jesus, the Son of God, is pre-eminent over all creation, though it is, as scientists measure, over a half-million lightyears wide.

 

The Bible declares that “He has delivered us (believers) from the power of darkness and conveyed (transported) us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13-14).  Jesus did what the sacrificing of millions of animals could not do:  put away sins from our souls when we trusted in Him (Hebrews 10:1-6).  From Adam to Malachi sins were atoned for, covered over in the “forbearance” of God (Romans 3:25).  Jesus offered Himself as the ultimate, the pre-eminent Sacrifice for absolutely blotting out our sins.  The Bible reads:  “…but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Hebrews 9:26).  Cults of the 1st century denied this because the eyes of their souls were blinded by ancient “philosophy and vain deceit according to the tradition of men….” (Colossians 2:8).   The once of all death of Jesus, the Son of God and Son of man, paid the penalty of divine justice:  death and eternal separation from God.  Jesus, the Son of God, is the one and only pre-eminent Savior of sinners like me and like you.  Have you turned from sin and put your faith in Him for forgive you and bring you into the family of God?  If not, I urge you to do so today.

 

Finally, may we as believers give Jesus Christ the pre-eminent place in our hearts and lives (Colossians 1:18).

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

 

Pastor Ed’s Devotional                August 30, 2017

 

We have begun a study of Colossians.  A convert of the Apostle Paul named Epaphras planted that new church in his home town about 100 miles east of Ephesus.  Paul praised God for Christians who were born anew to their new-found faith, sincere love of fellow believers, and sure hope of heaven.  “We give thanks to the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ always praying for you.” (1:3)

 

Pastor Epaphras (1:7; 4:12-13) became concerned about some teachers of false doctrines attempting to downgrade the pre-eminence of Christ.  He asked for help from Paul.  Though Paul had never met them, he added these new Christians to his long prayer list and sent this book to the church there.

 

Paul knew that the devil and such heretics would try to deceive these Christians like he deceived Eve and Adam (read 2nd Corinthians 11:3, 13-15).   Paul’s letter and ancient history painted this picture:  Fake prophets were teaching a defiled stone soup consisting of Jewish mysticism and pagan folk tales.  Shaman-like leaders boasted of being wiser than Jesus Christ, of having visions of going to heaven and back, and of practicing pagan rites and rituals to scare away evil spirits and diseases.

 

The apostle used the word “wisdom” 6 times in this book to show Jesus Christ is pre-eminent over all creation, both visible and invisible, over all thrones or powers, and over all angelic beings (1:18). 

 

(1) 1:9 – Paul prayed that Christians would be “filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.”  This “knowledge” means vastly “superior knowledge” to any mysticism or cultic powers. True wisdom is found pages of the Word of God.  There is no other book like it. 

 

(2) 1:27-29 – Paul preached “warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom” which can make every believer “perfect” (complete, mature) in Christ Jesus.  This is possible only if “Christ is in you, the hope of glory.”  New Christians are targeted by devil.  Victory overcomes the deceiver when the Christian is indwelt by the Spirit of Christ.  He is our strength.  He is our truth. 

 

(3)  2:2-3 – “in Christ are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”   Christ proclaimed the “mysteries of God.”  Such “mysteries” are divine truths unknown and not understood by believers until God reveals them.  Like what?  The miraculous mystery of the incarnation of the Son of God—He became the perfect Man.  The redemption price Jesus paid when He died on the cross.  The resurrection and exaltation of Jesus Christ to sit on the right hand of throne of God.  These save lost souls.

 

(4)  2:23 – Negatively, some things “have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body” in ascetic living.  Cults and foreign religions are “fake.”  Beware…

 

(5)  3:16 – “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”  No

religion has pre-eminence over Christian music!!  From my Psalter (c. 1854) to my newest songbook Majesty Hymns my music library contains several 1000s of marvelous melodies and Gospel truths which are filled with God’s Wisdom.

 

(6)  4:5 – Here is wisdom in practice, “Walk in wisdom … redeeming the time.”  Walking in the Spirit of Christ is seen in our dedication—faith, love, and hope—in action.  Christ-like conduct glorifies the Lord and reveals that we have found and practice the Wisdom of God.

 

Jesus Christ has the pre-eminence over all creation, over all great nations, and over every man-made god there is!  He is King of kings and Lord of lords.  Let’s bow and worship Him.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

 

 

Pastor Ed’s Devotional                August 22, 2017

 

On Sunday, we had a good day and great sermons by Evangelist Gary Bill.   He has preached in Akron and Gunnison—that’s how I met him.  He connected two great, epic events—one from heaven and one from the skies.  The first great epic event in the life of any person is being “begotten again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”  (1st Peter 1:3).  The other great event is the marvel God’s handicraft work in creation—the total eclipses of the sun.

 

Both events are incredible!  One lasts an eternity longer than the other.  The movement of the eclipse start to finish is less than a half hour.  The actual total eclipse will last about 2 minutes. The miraculous resurrection of Jesus from the powerful grip of death not only lasts forever, but the benefits for the one who is spiritually born again lasts forever, too.

 

What benefit is the total eclipse to us?  It’s a fantastic showcase in the skies of what God coordinated at the creation—we can observe the sun, moon, Venus, and stars during the daylight!  The sun is severely hot and blinding, yet for a few minutes, earth’s miniature moon turns daylight to darkness for a few minutes.  It’s future for the observer is to stand in awe of it.  But it cannot change a man’s soul.  It cannot promise us an inheritance in Paradise with the Son of God who created all of it.  It’s memory.  By the hand of God, the resurrection of a Christian lasts forever.

 

What benefit is the resurrection to the believer?  It is a spiritual miracle to be “begotten again unto a living hope.”  Jesus declared, “Because I live, you shall also live.”  This is much more than a memory in the skies.  Jesus told the grieving sisters—Martha and Mary, that “I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” (John 11:25).

 

Not only does the believer have life after death, God gives more blessings:  an inheritance in heaven; a reservation for the believer in heaven; a promise to raise the believer’s body and soul to Paradise.

This inheritance so far surpasses any gift a mortal multimillionaire can give to us.  This earth will pass away, but God’s Paradise in the new heaven and new earth last forever!! (Revelation 21:1-7).

 

How can this happen?  We have to admit that no one is perfect.  The door into heaven opens only for pardoned souls.  The Apostle Peter gave us good news when he wrote down on a scroll (now the Bible) that Jesus, the Son of God, “bore our sins in His own body on the tree (cross), that we having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.” (2:24).

 

Jesus Christ offers the total forgiveness of sins to anyone.  He paid the price by dying in my place—and your place.  “The wages of sin is death.”  What must one do?  I prayed to the Lord and put my trust in Jesus Christ alone to be my Savior and Lord forever.  Now I know for sure I am going to go to heaven when this life is over.  You can do this, too, and be certain about your destiny.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

 

Pastor Ed’s Devotional                August 14, 2017

 

The greatest gift the Lord wants to give us is everlasting life with Him in heaven.  Since there is no ladder or space capsule that can get us there, we need God’s help.  The Lord planned another way, the only way possible:  the Cross on which Jesus died for us.  Jesus is the Door to heaven (John 10:9).

 

The most important words that Jesus uttered came at the very moment He died:  in triumphant joy, He shouted, “IT IS FINISHED!!” (Gospel of John 19:30).  “Finished”?  What was Jesus saying?

 

The apostles John and Paul reveal the answer:  1st John 4:9-10 “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God sent His only begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him.  In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”  John made it very clear: “And He Himself (Jesus Christ) is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world”  (2:2)

 

And, Paul wrote Romans 3:23-25 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance

God had passed over the sins that were previously committed.”

 

Propitiation?  Please don’t let this precious word confuse you.  The apostles meant this:  propitiation “portrays the placating of God’s wrath toward sin; hence, Christ’s death satisfied the just demands of God’s holy justice against sin.” (footnote from Criswell). (see also 1st John 1:7).  Imagine a courtroom scene:  poor man is on trial for breaking the law.  He is found guilty and assessed a fine of $1 billion. He’s helpless. Then Jesus walks into the courtroom and tells the judge that He will pay the penalty in full.  Upon payment, the judge declares with his gavel:  “Paid in full.”  Case resolved.  Reconciliation has been made.  The poor man goes free.  This is what Jesus meant when He shouted, “It is finished!”

 

The greatest gift the Lord has to give the sinner, me and thee, is the redemption payment for our sins.

Listen to God’s Word, the Holy Bible:  My and your salvation has been once for all purchased by Jesus Christ and offered to us as a gift.  Romans 5:11 and 5:15 “the free gift … by the grace of one Man, Jesus Christ”, 5: 16 “the free gift”; 5:17 “the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the one, Jesus Christ.”   And, Ephesians 2:8-10 makes the path of salvation clear:  “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast.  For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”  Receiving the gift of salvation produces good works; it is not the other way around.  The best we can do cannot propitiate our sinfulness.

 

How do we receive the gift?   “But as many as received Him (Jesus Christ), to them He gave the right to become the children of God, to those who believe in His Name.”  (John 1:12).  Through repentance and faith in Christ, I received the gift of God as a 9-year-old boy.  I sincerely hope you have, too.  If not, today is the best time to receive the gift of pardon and salvation from Jesus Christ.  He is waiting for you.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

 

What Wonders God Can Do with You             August 7, 2017

 

It was a beautiful, hot in July afternoon along the Chesapeake Bay.  Joni and her sister Kathy loved sports—especially swimming.  But, on July 30th, 50 years ago, Joni mistook the depth of the water.  Her head collided with a rock breaking her neck instantly.  In that terrible second, her life changed radically.  Just 2 years before Joni had received Jesus Christ as her personal Savior and Lord.  Now she was a quadriplegic for life.  What was worth living for?  Joni found out.

 

What was her dream as a young lady?  Joni’s testimony revealed this lifestyle:  I had “confused the abundant Christian life with the great American dream.  I was a Christian and would … marry a wonderful man who made $250,000 a year, and we would have 2-1/2 children.   It was me-focused.  (It was) What could God do for me?”

 

The next few years were extremely difficult.  Trying to accept helplessness left her emotionally distraught.  What would her Lord do with her life?  But God can build a life worth living from the ashes of disaster.  Here is her testimony as recorded in World magazine (August 5, 2017).  “I believe what happened to me was an example of Hebrews chapter 12 discipline.  I’ve had Christians ask, ‘How could you say that of God?  That’s awful for you to say He would discipline you by making you a quadriplegic.’” 

 

“No. No. No.,” she said.  “Read Hebrews 12.  God disciplines those He loves.  Had I not broken my neck I’d probably been on my second divorce, maxing out my husband’s credit cards, planning my next ski vacation.  I would not be here extolling the glories of the Gospel and the power of the grace of God to help a person smile, not in spite of the problems, but because of them.”

 

World editor Marvin Olasky commented: “That’s important: she’s had a better life ‘not in spite of the problems, but because of them.’  …We tend to blame God—but who knows better than God how much adversity we need to build our character, glorify Him, and fit us for heaven?’”

 

From her wheelchair, despite her useless limbs, Joni Eareckson Tada has founded a Christian ministry called “Joni and Friends” to help people with disabilities around the world, has become an artist (painting with the brush clenched in her teeth), an author, a singer, and testimony to the grace of her precious Savior, the Lord Christ Jesus.

 

With a pen in her teeth, she penned this in her own “hand” writing: “If we truly obey Him as our Lord, we can be assured of eternal life and the promise of Romans 8:28.”   That Scripture declares, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”  She discovered this truth.  She has no regrets.  She invites you to receive Christ as your personal Savior.  If you are a Christian, let’s say with the apostle Paul:  “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.”

 

May you, may I, discover God’s grace and blessings regardless of the past trials, the present tough times, and what the future brings.  With Jesus Christ, we can overcome all obstacles.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

 

Pastor Ed’s Devotional                July 31, 2017

 

Jesus became one of us that we might become one with Him.  William E. Booth-Clibborn composed a wonderful Gospel song that touches my heart deeply.  With a poet’s flair, he penned this vivid description of Jesus Christ:

 

                        Down from His glory, ever living story,

                                    my God and Savior came, and Jesus was his name.

                        Born in a manger, to His own a stranger,

                                    A man of sorrows, tears, and agony.

                        What condescension, bringing us redemption;

                                    That in the dead of night, not one faint hope in sight,

                        God, gracious, tender, laid aside His splendor,

                                    Stooping to woo, to win, to save my soul.

                        Without reluctance, flesh and blood His substance,

                                    He took the form of man, Revealed the hidden plan. 

                        O glorious mystery, Sacrifice at Calvary,

                                    And now I know Thou art the great “I AM.”

 

                        Chorus:          O how I love Him!  How I adore Him!

                                                            My breath, my sunshine, my all in all!

                                                The great Creator became my Savior,

                                                            And all God’s fullness dwelleth in Him.

 

To the thinking of many, the 12 apostles wore angelic halos all day long and set it beside their pillows at night.  Quite the contrary.  God’s honesty shows in Luke’s Gospel, chapter 22:24 – “Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest.”  Pride, status, privilege showed its ugly head.  Can you believe this happened in the upper room at the Passover meal?

 

Jesus loved His disciples dearly.  Without a word, Jesus got up, found the basin of water and towel, and on His knees washed 24 dusty, smelly feet.  Watching Him wash and dry men’s feet for the better part of an hour, Peter was aghast.  He had not offered to wash the feet of Jesus.  Minutes ago, his ambition got the best of him. Guilt engulfed his conscience.  When Jesus kneeled to wash his feet, Peter exclaimed, “You shall never wash my feet!!!”  His burning conscience recalled how he had objected to Jesus before and broke down confessing, “I am a sinful man, O Lord.”  (Luke 5:5, 8 and Matthew 16:21-23).  That mental picture of his Lord kneeling before him with a basin of water and a towel would never leave him.

 

Jesus came to serve, not to be served (Matthew 20:20-28).  As the Servant of God, Jesus came down from heaven’s throne and “being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of man, He humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”

(Philippians 2:6-8).  Jesus died a sacrificial “Lamb,” paid my sin debt, and arose from tomb.   Have you bowed to Him and asked Him to forgive your sins?   Peter did.  May you bow to Jesus before the sun sets today.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Pastor Ed’s devotional                July 24, 2017

 

The Lord Jesus Christ wants you.  He wants you so much that He left heaven’s beautiful and peaceful life so that He might offer you a new life.  Mission accomplished on the cross of Calvary, Jesus ascended to take his seat beside God on His throne.  Right this moment, Jesus is watching over every person who has placed their faith in Him.  In the past, Jesus did a lot for you, for me.  In the future, Jesus will do great things for you, for me.

 

What the Lord has done for us is gloriously amazing.  The Apostle Paul testified this about Jesus:  “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, Who being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men, and being found in appearance of a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death even the death of the cross.”  (Philippians 2:5-8).   Let’s dig into what the apostle said.

 

Heaven, the paradise that no one in his right mind should ever reject, was the eternal home of Jesus.  He is the eternal Son of God.  Yet because He wants to save your soul from judgment, soldiers pounded spikes through His hands and feet fastening His tortured body to the wooden cross.  Rejected by the religious establishment of 1st century Israel, Jesus endured slander, whippings, spitting, a crown made of thorns, and death itself for you, for me.  Our past life, our sins, our transgressions were charged against His pure and holy soul.  For 3 long, horrible, heart-rending hours—noon to 3:00 p.m., He suffered the condemnation and death sinners deserve.

 

After His lifeless body was taken down from the cross, two believers defied the religious establishment and the occupying Roman politicians by giving Jesus a decent burial.  Just as Jesus foretold, on the 3rd day His body emerged from the tomb in an incredible display of His power over death.

 

Because the Lord Jesus loved you, He accepted the call of God to make reconciliation possible.  Jesus told Nicodemus, a Jewish scholar, that “… God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

 

It is now the 21st century.  What is Jesus doing?  He has His mind upon you, and me.  For the believer, He is watching out for us.  He is answering our prayers.  He is interceding with God for us when we sin.  He is preparing our very own home for us.  He is keeping us in His hands—no one can pluck us out of His strong grip (John’s Gospel 10: 27-29).

 

When Sir Michael Faraday, that great Christian and famous scientist, was dying, some journalists questioned him as to his speculations for life after death.  “Speculations!?” he said, I am resting on certainties.”  Faraday then quoted what Jesus was doing for him that day: “I know my Redeemer lives” and “because He lives, I shall love also.”

 

What Jesus did for us 2,100 years ago offers a person a full pardon for sins.  What Jesus is doing for us now is keeping the believer safe in His powerful and loving hands.  He wants you to believe in Him.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

 

Pastor Ed’s devotional                July 10, 2017

 

May the Lord bless you through His unfailing promises in the Word of God.  My reading last week focused on the Psalms—great comforts there!  In my other reading is a book called “This Day in Baptist History.”  It has a true story for each day of the year.

 

The June 24th testimony was entitled, “From Sincerity to Reality.” *  Can you imagine a father so desirous of doing right that for 7 years he conducted family devotions morning and evening with his family, and yet, he had not received Jesus Christ as his personal Savior.  This man, William Baskett was born in 1741 in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  His parents were members of the Church of England.  He and his wife Mary were blessed with 13 children, 8 sons and 5 daughters.

 

Baptist preachers began visiting his neighborhood and his soul was challenged by their talk of assurance of salvation.  His curiosity became intense, so he decided to go and hear a Baptist preach.  John Corbley’s sermon so impressed him that he and his wife went again.  He had never seen a new believer’s baptism by immersion before.

 

His soul became more and more convicted because he had no assurance of salvation.  It was so overwhelming that, on a dark and rainy night he trudged 3 miles to visit his Anglican minister.  William just had to know if it was possible to have one’s assurance of salvation.  This man told him that personally he found satisfaction only in keeping the commandments.  Realizing that he had already been trying all he possibly could to do religious things and keep the commandments, William’s soul received no comfort.  He persisted in questioning the minister.  There had to be a way to find peace in his soul.  The minister became frustrated.  He accused William of being insane.

 

Some 8 months later, kneeling beside his bed he anxiously begged the Lord to save his soul.  A verse came to mind: “He that trusts in the Lord shall never be confounded.”  He testified that “God was, in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself not imputing their trespasses unto them.”  (2nd Corinthians 5:19).  Immediately, a complete transformation took place in his soul.  God’s Word gave him the assurance that God accepted him!  In Christ alone he found the peace that surpasses all understanding.

 

May you discover what joy and peace there is in trusting in Christ as your Savior.  And, like William, tell others that they can have the assurance of salvation.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

The Angel of the Lord is Near                July 3, 2017

                   

 

Once a month an email letter arrives from a pastor’s wife and church missionary.  Fran has been widowed two times and has a grown son with a heart disease, yet I have not seen her discouraged with the Lord’s care for her.  Tears yes, but joy comes in the morning.

 

She sends prayer requests, too.  The first one was for Wayne:  she wrote, “a son of one of our older ladies - had a stroke, has bleeding on the brain along with severe headaches, blood clots in his neck and loss of sight.  Sight has come back a little.  Wayne is 56 and has all these physical problems plus other trials.”   His mother must feel helpless and still gives her burdens to the Lord in prayer.

 

How should a Christian respond to very serious health and other types of difficulty?  Possibly no one who suffered as much as Job.  Read the book of Job, chapters 1-2.  A terrifying storm crushed the house and all 10 of their grown children died.  His response?  In great sorrow, He stood up and tore his robe. In his culture this was a way of expressing great grief.  Bowing on his knees he prayed: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there.  The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the Name of the LORD” (Job 1:20-21).

 

Reading Psalm 34:4-7 this morning, I was impressed with David’s faith.  We can find comfort when we seek the LORD.  The Son of God is called the Angel of the LORD who “encamps all around those who fear Him.”  He is the One who can deliver us from all our fears.  We can be radiant instead of having a dour face.  Why?  “This poor man cried out, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.”   The Lord is always “camping” near to His own flock.

 

Whether in this life or for sure in heaven to come, in Jesus Christ we find peace and joy.  When visiting my brother Dave in Minnesota, we rejoiced that his adopted niece, Robin, now 32 and totally helpless in her wheelchair, will receive a perfect, real resurrection body.  How beautiful she will be!  (1st John 3:2 & Revelation 21:1-7).

 

Our Lord sustained Job, He has and is sustaining Fran, and for over 20 years He has sustained Dave and his wife as they give loving care to Robin.

 

Let’s “trust and obey, for there’s no other way to the happy in Jesus.”

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

Adventures and Bruises              June 27, 2017

 

Life is full of adventures and, once in a while, some bruises.  While we drove 800 miles to the Minneapolis area to attend a nephew’s wedding, we enjoyed safe trip.  With that new radiator and hoses, all went well.  But, once in a while, hail falls in Holbrook, Nebraska.  It caught us there, but the hail was marble sized or less.  No dents. Our Joanna told us about the hail in Cheyenne a couple days ago.  Large chunks destroyed their friend’s windshield and rear window in their old car.  When we go through life, our adventures can be happy (that wedding) or can be bruising.

 

At the same time our sister-in-law is being treated for breast cancer, her oldest son and his fiancé was preparing to be married.  Concern and joy mixed.  The cancer was caught very early.  Good.  Chemo?  The downside.  The wedding was wonderful, and especially so because Jack was marrying a fine Christian young lady. 

 

Wise King Solomon wrote: “To everything there is a season.   A time for every purpose under heaven.  A time to be born, and a time to die.  A time to plant, and a time to pluck what has been planted.   A time to kill, and a time to heal.  A time to break down, and a time to build up.  A time to weep, and a time to laugh.   ….  I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied.  He has made everything beautiful in its time.  Also, He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.  I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God.”   (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4a & 9-13).

 

May the LORD, mighty and compassionate, strong and tender, be our soul’s Anchor in all our adventures and bruises of life.  Job reminded us that despite the fact that we cannot figure out what lies ahead of us, God is still on His throne watching over us.  He testified, “But He (God) knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.”  How can this happen to us?  “My foot has held fast to His steps; I have kept His way and not turned aside.  I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.”  (Job 23:10-12).

 

Let’s “trust and obey, for there’s no other way to the happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

God Our Father is Near and Dear to Us                      June 19, 2017

 

Most Christians know the first 6 words in the Lord’s Prayer.  But, did you know that in the Old Testament, there are only 15 verses which refer to God as father?   For example, in 1st Chronicles 29:10 King David declared, “the LORD God of Israel, our father.” To our knowledge, no one began to pray back then saying, “Our Father, which art in heaven.”   When Jesus began his ministry, He changed all that.

 

In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the count jumps to 65 times; and, the Gospel of John described God as the Father of believers over 100 times.  Why?  Though God was near to Adam and Eve, Noah, to Abraham, to Moses, and to prophets and kings, there is no closer relationship to God than the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Jesus was “God incarnate.”   He was God walking among us as the Son of man.  His great purpose:  the Son of God came on a rescue mission to save lost souls from the coming judgment (John 3:16-18).

 

The only person really qualified to begin praying “Our Father” is the one who has been delivered from the clutches of sin and power of death by the new birth (John 3:3-5).  The Bible says, “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.  And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!”   Therefore, you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”  (Galatians 4:4-7). 

 

“Abba, Father.”   In the Hebrew language “Abba” means Father.  A born again Christian has been qualified by God, never qualified by himself, to become a son and daughter of God Himself.  Is this not amazing grace?!  There is no closer position than this for God to be near us.

 

And, it does not stop there.  God our heavenly Father loves His adopted sons and daughters dearly.  Jesus loved the eleven disciples to the Nth, the greatest degree (John 13:1).  The cross proved His love for us.  1st John 4:10 says, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”  Yes, it is true.  God our Father is near and dear to us! 

 

May this sermon/message bless your hearts and draw us all closer to our Father in heaven.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

National Flag Day:  May God Bless America            June 14, 2017

 

May we all give thanks to the Almighty LORD for the privilege of being an American citizen.  Flag day is Wednesday, and we have our flag ready to wave over the land of the free and the brave.  May God shed His grace and mercy and mend our every flaw.  Here is a little history for Flag Day.  Take notice of the bold print which proves most of our founders trusted in God.

 

The Declaration of Independence

 

“When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary to one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with one another, and assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

           

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among them are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  ….

           

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states….

           

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”

                                                                                    Signed by John Hancock

 

The Pledge of Allegiance:

 

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and for the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

 

On the Liberty Bell housed in Philadelphia are the words from Leviticus 25:10 – “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land.”   And, below that verse, the Bible declares, “Ye shall not oppress one another; but thou shalt fear thy God, for I am the LORD thy God.”

 

May we fear (be in awe and great respect for) the LORD who in His providence formed a land of liberty, law, and moral goodness for the benefit of all its citizens.  President George Washington described America as a nation founded on “religion and morality.”  He knew that the Holy Bible had to be its foundation if God was to bless America.

Sincerely,

Ed Anderson,  pastor

 

 

 

Praise, Problems, & Perseverance                  June 5, 2017

 

Our Lord is to be praised!   King David had lots of experience with great victories and the gritty trials down in dark valleys.  In Psalm 103:2-4 he composed a true praise song: “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits!  Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your soul from destruction, Who crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercies.”

 

Politicians in the 1960s promised America would become a “Great Society” in which poverty would be eradicated.  Failed.  Some politicians these days are promising to make America great again.   Such human aspirations are fine and dandy; we hope it happens.  But the bottom line is this: “America bless God” first and foremost.   That sentiment holds true for you and me, too.  The more we praise God for who He really is and thank Him all the marvelous things He has done for believers, the more God will bless us.   The news media’s reports are very disheartening—every week, terrorists as well as emotionally distraught persons are unleashing the weapons of destruction on innocent civilians here and abroad.  But, in the LORD, there is hope.  There is news from heaven: “I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33)

 

In the era of the prophet Isaiah some 700 years before the birth of Jesus, Israelites were slaves in heathen Babylon.  All was disheartening.  But, God’s prophet was given this message for the godly remnant: “Comfort you, comfort you, My people, says your God.  Speak you comfortably [tenderly] to Jerusalem, and cry out unto her, that her warfare has ended, that her iniquity is pardoned; that she has received of the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.”  (Isaiah 40:1-2; for their sins, see Isaiah 1:1-18).  There hope for America if God sends a great spiritual revival.

 

Isaiah 40:29-31 described what God would do for His people when hearts were revived.  “He gives power to the faint; and to those who have no might, He increases strength.  Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young man shall utterly fall.  But, they that wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.”

 

In our lives, may we praise the Lord with comforting, confident, and persevering faith.  Jesus promised that no one can pluck us out of His powerful and gentle hand (John 10:28-30).

 

                                                            He will be with us all the way.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Jesus Christ:  Our Mediator                   May 29, 2017

 

Well, the Lord is blessing the fields, our lawns, and our gardens with rain in the northeast corner of Colorado.  We take time to thank the Lord for His many mercies.  The greater blessing than rain is that the eternal Son of God left the throne in heaven to partake in our humanity as the God-Man.  This is an astounding blessing:  Jesus came to be our Mediator!

 

The message last Sunday is a series of sermons on the titles and names awarded to the Lord Jesus Christ.  He saw my need of a Mediator.  He saw your need,  a Mediator.  He met that need.  God’s word declares that there is “one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus; Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1st Timothy 2:5-6).

 

There is a great gap between God and sinners.  My sins, your sins, everyone’s sins separate us from God.  God declared to ancient Israelites that “your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear,  …. None calls for justice, nor any pleads for truth; they trust in vanity and speak lies; the conceive mischief and bring forth (more) iniquity.”  (Isaiah 59:2 & 4).  That is so true for the 21st century American culture.   Violence, immorality, lies, murders, covetousness are corrupting things everywhere.  The prophet Jeremiah was deeply grieved that in his day sinners were not even capable of blushing while living such raunchy lifestyles.  That is as low as it gets.

 

God’s only begotten Son came down to stand between wickedness and righteousness.  On the cross He laid down His life and died in shame – our shame.  His life’s blood paid the ransom price of divine justice.  Now God offers a full and free pardon to all who will sincerely repent and put their trust in the crucified and risen Jesus Christ.

 

In the Mediator, we have been given a new covenant that blots out our sins from His book (Acts 3:19).  We have a perfect sacrifice in Christ who died once for all and forgives us when we sin.  (1st John 1:7-2:2).  We have been given a sinless, eternal High Priest whose compassion for us is amazing (Hebrews 4:14-16).   Hallelujah!  What a Mediator!

 

May we always look to Jesus the great Savior and Mediator for all the help we need.

May you be blessed as together we trust and obey the Lord during our sojourn on earth.  The New Heaven and New Earth is our destiny (Revelation 21:1).

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

A Parable of the Judge and the Sinner                       May 23, 2017

 

May you have a good 15 minutes in meditating on the precious Word of God today.  The Bible is God speaking to us.   He is glorious and majestic, but also is near and hears our prayer requests.  God is our shield.  He will shower His grace and mercies upon all them that walk uprightly. 

 

Sunday’s message was different:  Most of it was a modern parable about the Courthouse of the Judge of all the earth:  Almighty God.  A man, a wretched sinner, was brought in by an angelic constable to face serious charges against him. This parable was in one of Charles H. Spurgeon’s sermons.  It has been adapted and added to by me for our era and time.

 

The Judge on the royal throne called upon the man’s accusers:  13 men who knew his past life stared daggers at the accused.  He was trembling with fear.  One man charged him with blaspheming the name of Jesus.  A second man charged him for being violent and arrogant.  A third man blamed him for being an adulterer, alleging: “We caught him in the very act!”  All 13 of them shouted in unison:  “He must not live, and he shall not escape; he must be lost!”

           

The Judge sat quietly upon His throne.  The Judge ordered the next witness to step forward and identify himself.  He declared, “I am Law; the Law of that Moses brought down from the mount on two stone tablets.”   Law stood still, his cold heart glaring with a fiery countenance at the accused.

 

 ”What is your charge?“ asked the Judge.  Lifting high the stone tablets, he answered with a shrill voice:  “This wretch of a man has broken all of the Ten Commandments.  My demand is blood, for it is written in the Law and the Prophets that, ‘The soul that sins must die!’”   The accused man began to shake uncontrollably.

 

The Judge answered Mr. Law and commented: “Mr. Law, this wretch deserves to die.  Justice demands it.  Mr. Law, your charge is written in the law.”  Just then, the Son of God, the defense attorney, spoke out:  “Father, I will do Your bidding.  Impute, charge, levy his sins upon My righteous soul as the sacrificial Lamb of God.  You sent Me to the cross to die in his place.  You accepted that payment of his debt by raising Me from the grip of death and bondage of the wicked one.  I paid his death sentence in full.”

 

The Judge smiled His approval.  A third witness, unseen but spoke to the heart of the accused: “Yes, I must be punished.  I cannot deny the charges against me.  I deserve that place of extreme suffering.” His name was Conscience.  The Judge counselled the man: “No, your Conscience fears your past.”         Then the Judge picked up a branch of hyssop, dipped it into blood of the Savior which was on the altar in heaven, and sprinkled it his Conscience.  From the Holy Book He read, “How much more shall the Blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your Conscience from dead works to serve the living God.”  (Hebrews 9:14).

 

The Judge tenderly said to Conscience:  “Now what do you have to say?”  He responded, “Nothing.  Nothing.  No more will I grieve him.  I will be a good Conscience to him through the soul-cleansing Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ his Savior.”

 

The Judge asked if anyone else had a charge against the accused man.  Up from a vault below, a grim, black sinister fiend appeared.  He glared at the accused with a hellish majesty on his brow.  Seething with malice and wrath, the devil spit out these charges: “He made a league with hell, and a covenant with the grave.  In a drunken fit he asked God to destroy his soul.  He vowed that he would never turn to God.  See!  Here is his covenant with hell!” 

 

Sitting tall at the bench, the Judge reminded the adversary, Satan:  “There is an important precedent in the case.  A man named Saul of Tarsus wreaked havoc on the Church My Son founded.  By his own admission, he was the worst of sinners—a blasphemer, a murderer, and a violently arrogant man.  My Son appeared from heaven rebuking him.  Falling down on his knees, Saul humbly repented, confessing, ‘O wretched man that I am!  Who will deliver me from this body of death??’   At that moment Saul placed his faith in Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world (1st John 4:14).  Jesus Christ, the Judge of the living and the dead, granted him a full pardon.  He is known now as Paul the apostle.  His testimony:  My Savior “delivered me from the power of darkness, and has translated me into the Kingdom of His dear Son; in Whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins.”  (Colossians 1:13-14).

           

The devil was enraged, howling, “That man standing accused today in this court before many witnesses is my child fully deserving my wrath.  He deserves to die and be cast into the fiery darkness of lake of fire.  Would you pardon him and cast me down into my hellish pit?!”

 

The Judge pronounced the decision: “You, fiend, that serpent of old, called the devil and Satan, are to be cast out of this court forever, and will be cast down into the lake of fire and brimstone!”  (Revelation 12:9; 20:10).  You know full well that the accused committed these many sins before the day he kneeled in repentance at the foot of the cross.   My only begotten Son died in his place breaking the powers of sin and death (Hebrews 2:14-15; 1:3).  Just as My Son pardoned a thief on the cross—that murderer and thief—I declare this sinner pardoned! I have blotted out of My Book all charges against him and have written his name in the Book of everlasting Life.”

           

The Judge of heaven and earth welcomed that man into the kingdom of God! 

Luke 19:13-14 & Ephesians 2:1-10

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

                                                                                                                                   

 

 

Our Creator’s Handcrafting of Mothers                     May 15, 2017

 

May you have a good day in meditating on the precious Word of God.  The sermon on Mother’s Day centered on Proverbs 31:10-31.  God first created Adam and breathed into his nostrils the gift of life.  Matthew Henry, a British pastor a couple of centuries ago, added this thought about how much loving care God put into the creating of Eve: “The man was dust refined, but the woman was dust double-refined, one remove further from the earth.”

 

Pastor Henry continued his tribute to womanhood: “That Adam slept while his wife was in the making, that no room might be left to imagine that he had herein directed the Spirit of the Lord, or had been his counselor (Isaiah 40:13).  He had been made sensible of his want (lack) of a meet (comparable) help; but, God having undertaken to provide him one, he does not inflict himself with any care about it, but lies down and sleeps sweetly, as one that had cast all his care upon God, with a cheerful resignation of himself and all his affairs to his Master’s will and wisdom.”

 

No culture in the history of all the nations in this fallen world matches the honor and grace that our Creator placed upon womanhood.  Pastor Henry continued, “That the woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved.”

 

Tragically, Adam and Eve sinned grievously against their Creator God.  Both were punished by the righteous sentence of God with hard work, sweat, and pain (Genesis 3:14-21).  C. S. Lewis, in his book regarding his experience with the painful death of his wife, observed that “God whispers in pleasure, speaks in our conscience but shouts in our pain; (pain) is our megaphone to rouse a dead world.”  There is no pain of any kind attributed to the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31, yet, there is no doubt she experienced trying times of pain whether in her body or in her soul.  How might she have coped?  How could she endure it without anger?

 

G. K. Chesterton had a gift of one-liners in response to events.  One day, while he was walking down a cold London sidewalk in his heavy cloak, he turned at a corner was bumped hard by a grandfather clock a man was carrying.  Flat on his back, Chesterton looked up at the man and said: “Why don’t you wear a wristwatch like everyone else??”

 

Such an attitude will enhance every relationship by men and women everywhere.  Let’s strive by God’s grace to be filled with faith, hope, and love until our Lord returns in glory.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

The Virtuous Woman’s Worth is More Precious than Rubies                May 2017

 

One of the most precious memories I have of my mother Ida Earlene Robbins took place when Dad and Mom visited our home in Omaha.  I awoke early in the morning and discovered Mom sitting on the sofa, floor lamp on, and reading the Bible on her lap.  After the Lord took her Home to see the Lord Jesus Christ in heaven, Dad often would tell the seven of us children, “Mom was the most godly woman I ever met.”  Yes, the worth of a virtuous woman far surpasses the value of precious rubies.

 

Sometimes my Dad called my mother “Ruby.”  That was not her first name and not her middle name.  This name must have come from Proverbs 31:10.  The book of Proverbs ends with this commendation of a virtuous woman:  “Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.  Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.”  (Proverbs 31:29-30).  

 

What is a virtuous woman?  The literal translation of the word is “a woman of strength.”  It encompasses the ideas of the inner strength of soul, of deep value, capability, valor, and beauty.  Without the LORD, a woman cannot be virtuous in His sight.  When a teenager, Mom repented and received Jesus Christ as her personal Savior.

 

The Lord providentially brought my parents to meet in a small-town restaurant in mid-Arkansas.  Her father was a man of God and worked as a sharecropper.  My father was in army camp preparing to join the battle against Japan in World War II.  He and a couple of his army buddies had leave and drove north to see their families.  For my father, that meant Upper Michigan.  Stopping for a meal, a local waitress took their order:  beer.  Looking at one of them, she said he should not order that.  Dad: “Who is she to tell me what to do?”  But her virtue caught the attention of his heart.  On the return trip to the Texas boot camp, he was determined to stop again and order coffee with his meal.  He got her address.  They communicated by letters during the rest of the war.  Soon after he returned, they were married.

 

Were women in the 9th century before Christ just “property, servants, and second class”?  Not under the Bible-centered Mosaic culture!  Pagans treated women badly.  The LORD who handcrafted Eve also praised a woman’s place in society. 

 

Look carefully at what this virtuous woman was doing:  verse 10, 25 -- she always treated her husband good so that he trusted her;  verse 12-15 --she was a diligent homemaker;  verse16-19, 24-25 – she was a business woman and her house a shop; she made clothing for herself, her family, and for the poor, too;  verse 23 – she respected her husband’s achievements and she was honored in the city in which they lived;  verses 26-28 – on “her tongue was the law of kindness” (compare Proverbs 1:8-9), that is, she gave moral and spiritual instructions to her several children.  Her children loved, respected, obeyed her.  Her husband loved her from the heart and praised her virtue.   Boaz spoke gently to the heart of Ruth, too. (Ruth 2:11-16).

 

Were my parents without fault?  Am I?  Oh, no.  But, by the grace and help of the LORD our Savior, we strive to live for the glory of God.  May we all commit ourselves to walk with Jesus in the paths of righteousness and virtue, too.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

The Contented Soul                      May 2, 2017

 

Are the average American parents trying too hard to make the life of their children easy?  Can this “soft life” be the cause of unhappy young adults?  Studies prove that this is the case.  Here’s the attitude of one man about his extremely tough life:  “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say ‘Rejoice!’”  He had learned to be a contented soul in the school of hard knocks.  His testimony was this: “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.”  (Philippians 4:4, 11).

 

The man was Saul of Tarsus, better known as Paul, the apostle of Jesus Christ.  Here’s a short version of his dangerous experiences and survival episodes.  Facts:  for preaching Christ’s death and resurrection he was imprisoned several times, whipped violently 5 times, punished with wooden rods, almost killed by stone execution once, survived 3 shipwrecks in 1st century boats, and bobbing in the rough waters of the Mediterranean Sea all night long and into the next day.  That is just the starter:  in his trips of missionary evangelism he suffered perils of crossing raging rivers, of robbers, of persecution, of angry mobs in Greek cities, and malice from cult extremists.

 

What buoyed his soul?  “I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound.  Everywhere and in all things, I have LEARNED TO BE CONTENT.”  (Philippians 4:11).  How?!  “I can do all things THROUGH CHRIST who strengthens me.”  (4:13).  There is no one anywhere who can bring contentment to the souls as can Jesus Christ.

 

A Christian explained where contentment comes from.  He said that resentment comes from looking at others; but, genuine, deep down contentment comes from looking at God.  God promises the believer that He will never leave him nor forsake him.

 

What about a Christian man lying in a hospital bed after life-threatening surgery?  Last Friday I visited this man and read from the Bible: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;  and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  … whatever things are true, noble, righteous, pure, lovely, of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, MEDITATE on these things.  The things that you learned, received, heard, and saw in me, these do, and the GOD of PEACE WILL BE WITH YOU.”  (Philippians 4:6-9).  Then, I read verse 11 – “…I have learned in whatever state I am, TO BE CONTENT.”    As tears came to his eyes, he said quietly, “Yes, to be content.”  He knows that God will take care of him and make a way for him through the recovery weeks ahead.

 

Contentment of the soul begins with learning—increasing our knowledge of Christ by observing mature, contented Christians.  That’s the mindset.  Contentment of the soul is learned by practice.  This means our personal experiences with Christ.   Contentment of the soul is to learn the secret God’s providential care.  This refers to everyday of our life journey, whether good or bad, trusting in Christ bring contentment to the soul.

 

If you have put your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, He becomes your contentment.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Great Joy on That Sunday Evening                  April 25, 2017

 

Just before His death on the Cross, the words of Jesus were extremely enlightening.  He had revealed to His eleven disciples that “a little while, you will not see Me; and again a little while you will see Me, because I go to the Father” (John 16:16).  I imagine that if we were in the same situation, our reaction would be “huh??”    Please say that again….   His disciples stared at each other with blank expressions. (verse 19). 

 

Jesus continued, “… I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice, and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy.”  (16:20).  Their minds were in a thick fog just like I was on Saturday driving on highway 34 west of Akron, Colorado.  Jesus had often told the disciples about a certain event—an hour—a critical hour in His ministry.

 

To clear some of the fog in their heads, Jesus told a parable.  “A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.” (16:21).  The disciples who were married knew what their wives had gone through.  But what did that have to do with Jesus??

 

Let’s move past the cross on Calvary’s hill and the empty tomb.  Date:  On Sunday evening, 3 days later.  Setting:  the upper room filled by 10 depressed and frightened disciples.  Thomas, was absent.  Shocking news from an angel at the tomb: “He is not here; He is risen!”   A Person entered the room while the doors were locked shut, saying: “Peace be unto you.” That voice.  They recognized that voice. He displayed His pierced hands and side.  Seeing the Lord, their sorrows cleared.   Their souls were overwhelmed with gladness (John 20:20).

 

But, where was Thomas?  They ran to tell him that the Lord had risen from death’s grip just as He had said He would.  Thomas doubted: “I will never believe!” that unless I see Him and put my fingers on His hands and into His wounded side.   Eight days later Thomas was with the 10, when miraculously, Jesus appeared in His resurrected body of flesh and bone.   Jesus passed the test.  Tenderly Jesus encouraged him to stop doubting and believe.  He touched Him and his doubts cleared instantly.  Thomas shouted, “My Lord and my God!”  (John 20:28).  His faith in Jesus was restored for a lifetime on that Sunday evening.  What joy filled his soul.

 

May the Lord help us to believe with all our hearts and say, “My Lord and my God!”  Jesus can clear all our doubts and give us assurance that He is for real—that we can trust Him implicitly.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Paid His Taxes, too                        April 19, 2017

 

It’s a wonderful Spring day—warm sun shining, blue skies, and lilacs blooming.  Yet, for most Americans, there is the unpleasant business of 1040s, 1040es, and C, and D, and SE, and more.  Jesus knows how you feel.  He survived and so will we.  The King of kings paid taxes, too.

 

On one occasion when Jesus and His disciples strode into the city of Capernaum for ministry.  A tax-collector spotted Peter.  He surprised Peter demanding unpaid taxes, “Does your Teacher not pay the temple tax?”  (Matthew 17:24 – a half shekel of silver = $64.00).   Peter said that Jesus had been paying taxes.

 

Leaving the tax collector and entering Peter’s house, Jesus posed a question to Peter:  “What do you think?   From whom do the kings of the earth take customs or taxes--from their sons or from strangers?”  He responded, “From strangers (foreigners).”  Jesus reasoned that sons (citizens) were free—tax-exempt in that Jewish historical era.  What was the point?  If Jesus was King and the temple belonged to God, Jesus owed no temple tax.  This was a teaching moment for His disciples:  Why was Jesus exempt from paying taxes?   Jesus was born to be the King.

            But, to avoid upsetting the tax collector, Jesus told Peter to toss a fishhook into the lake, retrieve the coin from out of its mouth, and pay the tax.  Don’t you wish you could find a rich fish like that?  As high as taxes are now, you would have to catch a whale!

 

Sometime later, Jesus was confronted by a controversial tax issue (Matthew 22:15-22).   The Herodian political party and the Pharisaic religious party made an unholy alliance and promoted Roman taxation.  The Jews hated being taxed by their heathen conquerors.  After all, Israel was an occupied nation.  Jesus was put on the “hot seat” with this challenge:  “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”  If Jesus sided with politicians or with the people, one group or the other would hate Jesus for that.

            Asking for a coin (denarius = $32), Jesus challenged them: “Whose image and inscription is this?”  It was Caesar’s face.  “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”  Heathen politicians and dead religion advocates were stunned.  No one gets the best of Jesus.  He knows people inside-out.  Jesus exposed the dark schemes, the envy, and the hypocrisy in their hearts. 

 

What should Christians do?  Stand up for Jesus Christ in the 21st century.  Yes, pay taxes as due.  But, let’s put our heart into serving Jesus and laying up spiritual treasure in heaven. There are no taxes in heaven.  He has risen!  He is the coming King!

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Amazing Providence in An Ordinary Week               April 12, 2017

 

God’s involvement in the lives of Christians can be amazing.  It was not extraordinary for a pastor be asked by a 97-year-old lady to officiate her funeral.  It is somewhat unusual for a person that age to live another 5 years.  When Moses, the friend of God passed his century mark in age, he wrote: “LORD, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days that I may know how frail I am.” (Psalm 39:4).  The final days of a Christian are in the hands of God. 

 

In late March this sweet lady was in an assisted living center when she fell and was taken to the hospital.  Her daughter called to let me know that her mother Dolly was weakening.  Hospice care was being arranged. We had moved from Nebraska to Colorado two years ago—now an 800-mile roundtrip drive to return to Omaha, Nebraska. 

 

On April 3rd, the following Monday, Marie’s oldest son called informing me that his mother just began hospice care in her 82nd year.  She was a member of our church in Omaha.   I prayed that that the Lord would work this out.   Oh, my!  We had no idea how long each lady would be under hospice care.  Both dear Christian ladies expressed their desire to be in heaven with their Lord and Savior.  Two funerals not knowing when they would be.

 

On Wednesday, April 5th, 2017, Dolly’s daughter notified me that her mother had passed away. The funeral was scheduled by the family for Monday morning at 11:00.  The next day I went on-line to reserve a hotel room for Sunday night.

 

Two days later, Marie’s son called again—his mother passed away that day and the family set the funeral for the next week.   On Tuesday morning at 10:00.

 

This is God’s amazing providence!  Two funerals---one on Monday morning and the next on Tuesday morning. Two different families.  Two different funeral homes.  Same city.  No conflicting dates.  One 800-mile roundtrip, not 1600 miles on two long drives.  A pastor friend on late notice was happy to preach in my place on Sunday evening.  Oh, and the motel reservation did not go through; not sure how I might have made a mistake!  I had reserved a room on-line several times before without a hitch.  On Sunday night, we stayed overnight in Lincoln with relatives and on Monday night we were invited to stay with a wonderful Christian family.  A treat—it was the husband’s birthday that night.  We joined the family singing “Happy Birthday!” The Lord arranged so many things in such good order for our trip. (and on the drive back home we did not hit even one of 8 deer ready to cross the highway at dusk.) 

 

GOD IS FOR REAL!!   God’s personal involvement in our life was amazing again

 

When we wait on the Lord to see how He will work things out, He comes through in His timing and His way.   This is Romans 8:28 in the 21st century: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

That We Might Enter Heaven               April 2, 2017

 

The Passion Week brings to our minds to face the most important question about the death of Jesus Christ.  If we understand the answer, we may be one of those persons who has the assurance of entering heaven.  Why did Jesus have to die? 

 

John Charles Ryle has provided a clear and powerful answer to the question.  He wrote, “We must not be content with a vague general belief, that Christ’s sufferings on the cross were vicarious.”  Vicarious means that one person becomes a substitute, a representative, or proxy for someone else.  Jesus died a vicarious death.  He was never guilty of sin.  We mortals have all been born with a sin nature.  Here is why Jesus died that vicarious death on that old rugged cross.

 

“Was He scourged?  It was that through His stripes we might be healed” in our spirit and soul.   (Isaiah 53:4-5)

“Was He condemned though innocent?  It was that we might be acquitted though guilty.”            (Matthew 27:23; John 8:46).

“Did He wear a crown of thorns?  It was that we might wear the crown of glory. (Matthew 27:27-31; 1st Peter 5:4)

“Was He stripped of His raiment?  It was that we might be clothed in everlasting righteousness.”       Philippians 3:8-9).

“Was He mocked and reviled?  It was that we might be honored and blessed.” 

(Matthew 27:41-42).

“Was He reckoned a malefactor (bad person) and numbered among transgressors?  It was that He might be reckoned innocent and justified for all sin.”      (Isaiah 53:12).

“Was He declared unable to save Himself?  It was that He might be able to save others to the uttermost.”  (Matthew 27:41-43).

“Did He die at last, and that was the most painful and disgraceful of deaths?  It was that we might live forevermore, and be exalted to the highest glory.”       (Luke 23:33).

 

Why did Jesus have to die?  Because we cannot save ourselves from “the wages of sins (we have committed) is death” (Romans 6:23).  One of the criminals dying on a cross next to Jesus yelled to the other thief, “… Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation?  And we indeed justly for we receive the due rewards of our deeds; but this Man (Jesus) has done nothing wrong!” (Luke 23:40-41).

 

Yes, Jesus died a vicarious death for me, for you.  Will you, like that one murderer did, repent, turn from your sinful life, and ask Jesus, “Remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”

Jesus affirmed this man’s repentance and faith in the Lord comforting him:  “Assuredly, I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”  (Luke 23:43).

 

Jesus is the Door to heaven (John 10:9; Acts of the Apostles 4:12).

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Fact and Irony of the Passion Week                March 27, 2017

 

With the Easter season approaching, let’s take a closer look at the last days of Jesus in Jerusalem.  Jesus led His disciples down from Galilee to the hostile capital city of Jerusalem.  There is irony here in this event:  the ugly head of hostility arose in the very city whose name means “peace.” (“salem” = peace).  Several times ironies cropped up during Passion Week.  One of them is this:  The one who was mocked as king is indeed the King!

 

What is “irony”?   It is an expression in which the intended meaning is the exact opposite of its usual sense.  For example, a fireboat burned and sank.  This irony is found in Matthew 27:11, 29.  The Roman governor Pontius Pilate demanded, “Are you the king of the Jews?”  Jesus answered, “It is as you say.”  Not long afterwards, Pilate succumbed to fear and confusion to the blood-thirsty mob and delivered Jesus to be crucified. 

 

The next scene unfolds in the Praetorium (the governor’s headquarters).  A garrison of Roman soldiers surrounded Jesus, stripped off his clothing, threw an old scarlet robe over his shoulders, and placed that sharp crown of thorns upon His head.   Some wicked men made sport of the Jewish “king” screaming over and over, “Hail, King of the Jews!!”  Finally, when they tired of slanderous games, they spit in His face and one grasped a reed and with it pounded again and again on that thorny crown.  The severely abused figure stood silently — “His visage was marred more than any man … He has no form or comeliness (majesty); and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.  He is despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.”” (Isaiah 52:14 & 53:2-3).  A slanderous sign was fastened over the cross: “This is Jesus – the King of the Jews!”

 

Jesus had told Pilate:  “You say rightly that I am a king.  For this cause I was born, and for this cause I am come into the world….” (John 19:37).

 

The irony was that the King of kings was mocked—made slanderous sport of—but in reality, was King Jesus.  This depraved world may slander Him, but when He returns, Jesus will come as King of kings!  (Revelation 19:16).   Amen!!

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

 

What is Jesus Praying for You?             March 20, 2017

 

What Jesus prays for is always for our good.  Around the entire world there are not many praying for our good.  Why?  99.99% of the world’s population do not know me or you.  Even the rest did know our names, they very likely would not know what is best for you.  Most important is this:  they cannot guarantee the results.  I cannot do that.  Jesus can pray for us and can make it happen.

 

Just before Jesus was arrested by the armed guard of the High Priest, He and the Eleven were gathered for prayer.  In that prayer Jesus declared, “I have prayed for them … for they are yours.”  While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your Name (God) … none of them is lost except the son of perdition….’” (John 17:9 & 12).  What was Jesus praying for the Eleven?  “… that you should keep them from the evil one (the devil).”  (17:15).  The prayers were answered just like Jesus said.  Peter and the 10 might have slipped, but they were kept safe from the diabolic adversary’s “fiery darts” (Ephesians 6:16).

 

Jesus prayed specifically for Simon Peter. At times, he talked back to Jesus.  Sometimes he became over-confident in his strength. Jesus knew his weaknesses.  “And the Lord said, ‘Simon, Simon.  Indeed, Satan has asked for you that he might sift you as wheat.  But, I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen the brethren.’   But he said to Him, ‘Lord, I am ready to go with you, both to prison and to death.’  Then He (Jesus) said, ‘I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.” (Luke 22:31-34).  Jesus’ prayer was answered; the devil’s trap failed.

 

Jesus had finished preaching the redemptive message of the Kingdom of God in the region of Tyre and Sidon along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.   From there He walked with the 12 disciples traversing about 50 miles of hills and villages and spreading the Word of God.  When they came into Decapolis area on the southern tip of the Sea of Galilee, a man deaf and mute was brought by compassion friends to Jesus to be healed.  “Then looking up to heaven Jesus sighed and said to him, ‘Ephphatha.’ that is, ‘Be opened.’  Immediately his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was loosed and he spoke plainly. …. ‘He makes both the deaf to hear and the mute to speak!”  (Mark 7:31-37).  God answered His every prayer for others.

 

Jesus also had stipulations about praying.  Here is what He required of the Eleven: “And whatever you ask in My Name, that will I do, that the Father might be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:13).  Jesus is our Mediator to God in such prayers.  No mortal being is entrusted with such authority.  The expression “in My Name” denotes authority, not mere sayings the words.  God is not a celestial “Santa Claus” who gives whatever one demands from Him.

 

A second stipulation is this:  When Jesus prays, He always prays according to God’s will.  He does not ask on His own.  The Apostle John penned these sacred words, “Now this is the confidence we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us, we know we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” (1st John 5:14-15).  God’s will is best for us.  God’s time to answer is His best for us.

 

Let’s pray without ceasing – God is listening.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Jesus Is Praying for You               March 13, 2017

 

One of the most wonderful features of the Christian faith is that the Son of God is praying for us.  The Apostle John declared, “… And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (1st John 2:1).  What does this mean, an “Advocate”?

No one is perfect.  Our human nature is flawed.  Sinners, like me and like you, desperately need a defense attorney.   The Bible calls such a person an “Advocate.” No one is permitted to enter Heaven whose soul is at odds with God—the Holy One.  Unforgiven sinners will find the gates of Heaven are closed.  As long as a person continues in a sinful condition, he cannot “inherit the Kingdom of God” (1st Corinthians 6:9-10).

 

How can the Lord Jesus Christ become the “Advocate” we need?  Jesus answered the question.

“For even the Son of man (Jesus) did not come to be served, but to serve and give His life a ransom for many.”  (Mark’s Gospel 10:45).  Jesus is much more than an Advocate.  There are human defense attorneys:  the accused pays them to defend them in court.  Jesus, as our Defense Attorney, personally paid the bill for us!  His death on the cross paid our sin debt.  The debt is “the wages of sin death.” (Romans 6:23).  Jesus offered His life’s blood to make atonement for the sins of the world.

 

How can Jesus become your Defense Attorney?  Just ask him.  If we plead “guilty” and repent to God for our sins and put our faith in Jesus Christ alone, He will become your Defense Attorney.  What happens then?  “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” (Acts of the Apostles 3:19).  God will forever blot out sins committed in the past.  While computers “delete” buttons cannot wipe the slate clean forever, God’s “delete” can wipe out our sinful past permanently.

 

What about sins committed tomorrow?  Again, our Defense Attorney is in His office.  Call for Him!  What will he do for a Christian who sins?  The Apostle Paul explained it in this way: “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (1st Timothy 2:5-6).  He will defend you before the Judge of all the earth—God Himself.

 

The Christian’s requirement: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just (righteous) to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  (1st John 1:9).  Upon repentance, Jesus is our Mediator (lawyer) between God and sinner.  Jesus prays that God will pardon those sins.   God will accept the plea of Jesus—the Son of God.  Immediately, the Christian is acquitted and the case is closed. 

 

Salvation is the gift of God paid for in its entirety (Ephesians 2:8-10).  His gift is not received because we did some good thing to make up for sinning.  Forgiveness is the grace of God pardoning sins.  Praise the Lord, He is in Heaven praying to God for us.

 

Yes, The Lord Jesus Christ prays for our salvation and earnestly prays for our cleansing from sins.  Jesus is the “Door” to heaven.  He is always available to become our Defense Attorney.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Great Peace in Stressful Times             March 6, 2017

 

Several years ago, a verse caught my attention and has guided my life in stressful times.  It was penned by King David in that great 119th chapter of the Psalms. Verse 165, “Great peace have they who love Thy law, and nothing shall offend (cause to stumble, or become a stumbling block to) them.”  God can give the Christian peace of soul during times of stress and difficulty with people and tough times.

 

For example, when the young and courageous David offered to challenge the giant Goliath, his older brother’s tongue cut him down for pride and haughtiness (1st Samuel 17:28).   Eliab was about 40 years old and a trained fighter.  Yet he was afraid to volunteer.  His outburst was an attempt to save face.  David replied, “Is there not a cause?” and walked away without being offended or getting into a tongue-lashing.  David had a heart devoted to God.  The enemy’s blasphemy against God was more important than arguing among themselves.

      In the weeks following David’s heroism, King Saul became insanely envious of the praise being poured out on young David for slaying the giant.  At a royal dinner, David escaped death by ducking the king’s spear.  Once again, he never got mad at his king.  Rather, he put his trust in the LORD to deal with the king (1st Samuel 26:7-12).  David responded according to God’s will and had great peace in his heart.  His conscience was clear.

 

Another example:  What are some stumbling blocks that really put our tempers to the test?   It happened to Moses after God led the people of Israel into the wilderness where water was scarce.  Many angry men railed on Moses for leading them into a desert to die.  Tempers flared.   Bloodshed was in their eyes.   Moses bowed down and prayed earnestly.  God told him to pick up his rod, stand in front of maddening crowd, and strike the rock.   Out gushed a huge fountain of waters enough to quench the thirst of over a million people and millions of livestock.   He believed that God could do the impossible.  This is that great peace God gives when tempted to get mad (Exodus 17:1-7).

           

Many things try to stretch our faith in God when someone offends us.  It is impossible to live without facing bad times.  These low times can make or break us.  Reading the life story of David in the Psalms exposes a lot of his bad times, his brushes with death, and opposition from both friend and foe.  My rough estimate is that 90-95% of his Psalms, no matter what the issue or how good or bad it was, he always ended on a high note.  Time after time, God more than answered his prayers when he cried out in faith for help.  God will show great mercy upon the person “whose heart was after God’s own heart” (1st Samuel 13:14).

 

May the Lord help us all to see everything as God sees it and trust His hand.  We may see no way out.  But God can make a way.  A veteran of a lot of criticism and stressful episodes was the Apostle Paul.  He trusted God and could write: “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

(1st Corinthians 10:13).

 

To God be the glory!  He can make it possible.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

The Sure Destiny of the Christian                    February 21, 2017

 

One of the greatest things that the Christian can anticipate is living forever with Jesus.  Yes, there is a new paradise to replace the old.  It is a sure thing to the believer.  Can anyone be sure that they will go to Heaven when they die?  What must they do? “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”

 

In A. D. 125, a Greek man by the name of Aristides wrote to a friend explaining why this “new religion” [Christianity] was so successful.  He wrote: “If any righteous man among them passes from this world, they rejoice and offer thanks to God, and they escort his body with songs and thanksgiving as if he were setting out from one place to another nearby.” *

 

Just last month our church conducted a funeral service for a faithful Christian lady.  A nephew and his wife sang an old song with the theme, “We are going to a place where we will never grow old.”  What sweet comfort this song was to the immediate family and everyone present.

 

Ever wonder what believers’ bodies will be like in heaven?  Our bodies will be resurrected and be like the resurrected body of Jesus (read this in 1st John 3:1-2).  Each will miraculously be given a body that is real, tangible and will last forever without ever growing old.  It will possess the 5 senses:  sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste.  The capabilities of this heavenly body will vastly exceed our present bodies.

 

We will not become angels; they are spirits with no bodies.  We will have body, soul, and spirit – made in the “image and likeness of God” were Adam and Eve, our first parents created by God (read 1st Thessalonians 5:23).

 

What wonderful hope does that hold for the crippled, the aged in worn-out, the weak bodies, and the marred?  Joni Eareckson Tada broke her neck diving into shallow waters in a river.  She was paralyzed from the neck down.  Here is her wonderful testimony: “I still can hardly believe it.  I, with shriveled, bent fingers, atrophied muscles, gnarled knees, and no feeling from the shoulders down, will one day have a new body, light, bright, and clothed in righteousness—powerful and dazzling.  Can you imagine the hope this gives someone who has a spinal cord injured like me?  Or someone who is cerebral palsied, brain injured, or who has multiple sclerosis?  Imagine the hope this gives some who is manic depressive.  No other religion, no other philosophy promises new bodies, hearts, and minds.  Only in the Gospel of Christ do hurting people find such incredible hope.” **

 

Ever wonder if you will be among those who experience heaven?  Here is how Joni received this guarantee of heaven:  Romans 10:9-10, 13 “That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation … Whoever calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved.”  This can be you today!

 

Ever wonder what believers in heaven will do?  Rene Pache described it this way: “The future heaven centered more on activity and expansion, serving Christ and reigning with Him … The emphasis in the present heaven is on the absence of earth’s negatives, while in the future heaven it is the presence of earth’s positives magnified many times through the power and glory of resurrected bodies on a resurrected earth, free at last from sin and shame and all that would hinder both joy and achievement.”

 

Will you now put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for pardon of sins and the gift of everlasting life?

 

*  Randy Alcorn, Heaven, page x;   

**  Joni Eareckson Tada, Heaven, Your Real Home.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Love from One Heart to Another                     February 14, 2017

 

One evidence of a true romantic relationship is to save valentine cards from years past and give it again in love.  You might discover that you are just as much in love now as when those cards were first given.  Love “bears all things, believes all things, endures all things, (and with God’s help) love never fails (1st Corinthians 13:7-8).  Many old cards can be read anew keeping the candle of romance burning enlightening their lives.

 

Have you saved and re-used valentine cards??  This can awaken and warm up past romantic sentiments.  Now some husbands might have saved them just to save some $$$.  That’s a tightwad husband.  Some may have saved them, so that, if he forgot the 14th of February, he has an out.  He’s off the hook.  Many wives do save valentine cards and hope that their man will never leave them. 

 

Genuine love from the heart will show itself in the little as well as the big things he does when caring for her.  Just a couple of years before Jesus was born, it came to be the turn of Zacharias to offer incense in the temple at Jerusalem.  In the dim lights of the golden lampstand the elderly Jewish priest was startled by a heavenly creature.  The angel Gabriel prophesied that he and his wife would have a baby boy.  Zacharias refused to believe it, responding, “I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.”  What a “touch”!  That husband did not call her the old lady.  Love will find her car keys when she forgets where she last put them down.  Love will vacuum the carpet when she is rushing about expecting company.  Love sees the little “touches” that bless a marriage and nourish a good response.

 

Genuine love from the heart will show itself in the way he proves himself to be trustworthy.  The Christian husband will not get fresh with another woman.  Job never permitted his eyes stare at another woman (Job 31:1-4).   Far too many marriages are in deep trouble—lack of love, breaking their vows, falling apart.  A husband in that town had jilted his wife and kids. I will never forget the desperate look on our son’s face when he was about 8 years old.  He looked up at me, in fear and almost in tears, asking: “Daddy, you will never leave Mommy, will you?”  I immediately responded, “No, I never well leave Mommy.”  Marriage is a sacred commitment of one soul to another.  Those who keep their vows faithfully honor the Lord and are a blessing to their families.

 

Genuine love from the heart will show itself in the way he is responsible in nourishing and cherishing her in body, soul, and spirit.  A woman is both like a man and unlike a man.  He is stronger and focuses on getting a job done.  She is bound to her relationships with other women and children and strives to fulfill their needs.  A man is offended and brushes it off.  A woman’s soul is hurt and grieves over it.  If she hurts someone’s feelings, she apologizes.  If he hurts someone’s feelings, he moves on.  As is often the case, the Christian wife reads the Bible more than he does.  But, he is responsible to be the spiritual leader in the home (Ephesians 5:29 and Titus 1:9).  The apostle Peter was married.  He did his homework to know just how women “tick.”  Listen to his counsel: “Husbands, likewise dwell with them (wives) with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together (husband and wife) of the grace of life, that your prayers be not hindered (by his sorry behavior).”  (1st Peter 3:7).

 

The Christian husband will provide for her and family regardless of the time, effort, and expenditure.  Such a man gives his wife and family a sense of security. 

 

Yes, genuine love reaches from one heart to another, and, back again.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

What is Genuine Love?               February 7, 2017

 

The family consisting of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus loved Jesus.  They loved Him before their brother suddenly fell sick, died, and four days later was miraculously brought back to life.  Jesus loved them even before they met.  Taking action is one of the signs of genuine love.  Mary had such love.

 

Oswald Chambers penned his personal observation of how genuine love expresses itself: “If human love does not carry a man beyond himself, it is not love.  If love is always discreet, always wise, always sensible and calculating, never carried beyond itself, it is not love at all.  It may be affection, it may be warmth of feeling, but it has not the true nature of love in it.”

 

Mary’s love carried her to the dinner at the home of Simon, a former leper, with a single purpose—to anoint Jesus with costly oil of spikenard.  The price of that perfume was over $55.00 a pound.  Its wonderful aroma filled the large dining room.  Reclining there at the table, Judas Iscariot was grieved and called it a waste.  He attempted to cover his real intent by suggesting it be sold and money given to the poor.  Cover-up?  Yes.  He was the treasurer for the apostles.  Often his greedy hands slipped into their money bag.  His criticism was vocal and sharp.  Jesus not only heard every word, he knew that covetousness had utterly corrupted his soul.  The thief was mad at Mary. 

 

Jesus immediately rebuked him, “Let her alone!  Why do you trouble her?  She has done a good work for Me” (Mark 14:6).  The tone in His voice silenced all table conversation at once.  In verse 8, our Lord

continued, “She has done what she could.  She has come beforehand to anoint My body for My burial.”

 

This incident took place just two days before Passover—the offering of the lambs at the temple in Jerusalem.  Did Mary know Jesus would be crucified in just a couple days?   That’s very doubtful.  What motivated her to honor Jesus as royalty?

 

Genuine love cannot be hidden.  An act of love may strike an observer as a rather dumb to do.  A deed of kindness may be performed beyond the call of duty.  Taking action for the benefit, comfort, or blessing of another person is love in working clothes.   Genuine love resides in the heart and nature of Jesus.  Such amazing love pointed to the cross where Jesus went beyond duty.  Such love seemed a foolish thing, an agonizing way to demonstrate genuine.

 

The apostle John described genuine love perfectly:   1st John 4:7-10 – “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.  In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God sent His only begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him.  In this is love, not that we loved God, but He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”   (propitiation means to placate the wrath of God the Judge against sinful deeds thus satisfying divine justice due to the lawbreaker).

 

It was the genuine love of Jesus that drove Him to sacrifice His life’s blood as the Passover Lamb of God. 
The “wages of sin is death” both physically and spiritually; the “gift of God is everlasting life” (Romans 6:23).  Jesus arose, conquering the power of death and sin’s bondage.

 

God’s Word declares: “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all….”  (1st Timothy 2:5-6).  I hope you will believe in Jesus and discover His love for you today.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Love from Heart to the Ear                     February 6, 2017

 

February has a very special holiday on which millions of Valentine cards are sent to very special persons in their lives.  Should we express to our spouse only on this occasion?

 

There is a story of the Irish man who was convicted by a sermon that he had been remiss in expressing proper love and appreciation to his wife.  He hurried home and burst into the kitchen with a speech of belated gratitude to his faithful wife who was standing at the sink.  She stood transfixed, stared at him in utter bewilderment, then finally managed to say: “Well, this is too much!  This morning I broke one of my best plates, I’ve had a splitting headache all day, and now you’ve come home drunk!”

 

The source of real and lasting love comes from the heart of God. Our Creator handcrafted the bodies of Adam and Eve magnificently.  He loved them at first sight.  He also made them in His image and likeness so that, unlike the animal kingdom, He could engage them in talking, laughing together, and planning the arrangement of the Garden of Eden’s plant kingdom.

 

God’s love to Abraham, the father of the Israelites, is shown in Deuteronomy 7:6-9 – They were God’s “treasure.”  He “set His love” on them, not because they were the largest people group, but because He loved them and was forever committed to keep His oath to Abraham and his descendants.  

 

Despite all of the good and bad things that the Israelites did as they wandered away from God, He has been unbelievably true to them.  Born with a sin nature, as all persons are, God endured lies, backslidings, hatred for their brethren, murmurings in the wilderness of Sinai, idolatry with the golden calf, attempts to

usurp Moses’ God-given leader- ship, and the grievous sins recorded in the book of the Judges, and much more.  Are these sins worthy of a divine divorcement from that nation? 

 

Comparing the love story of Boaz and Ruth, we find a totally different setting.  Ruth was a Moabite, an outsider, who converted from idolatry to the God of Abraham.  She would not abandon her mother-in-law Naomi.  Once back in the land of Israel, Ruth had the initiative to go out and harvest the grain as low income people would by the regulations of God.  There Boaz observed her.  Romance might have been in the air when he in kindness and appreciation “spoke to her heart” (Ruth 2:13).

 

As the story continues, Boaz again spoke to her heart when Ruth requested he take her hand in marriage under the provisions of Levirate laws (3:10-11).  He would be true to word and he gave her a generous gift of food for both Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi.

 

The blessings of love are not only romantic words shared often and from the heart.  The blessings of love are expressions of one’s steadfast and faithful love for a lifetime.  The blessings of love are also the tenderhearted care for the needs and desires of the one loved. This kind of love is for real.  This kind of love is cherished more than the Valentine card received.

 

The Christian husband is to love his wife unconditionally.  No matter what happens or matter what the future brings, he is to love her as much as Jesus Christ love the Church (Ephesians 5:25).  The Christian wife is to show great respect for her husband – a respect blended with romantic, faithful, and enduring love. (Ephesians 5:33).

 

May you enjoy a very happy Valentine’s day!

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

The Man of God in the Family and in the Workplace                    January 30, 2017

 

Our Sunday sermon was a continuing series of messages out of the book of Ephesians.  We have arrived at the last chapter of that wonderful book.  In 6:4-9, the apostle Paul penned a greatly needed message to the 1st century culture in the Roman metropolis called Ephesus.  Our generation can profit greatly if it is taken to heart.

 

The first point is that a Christian husband should be a “man of God.”  The Bible described Moses as a “man of God” who was as vulnerable as any man to fear and facing powerful opposition.  Him, a fugitive and lowly shepherd, challenge King Pharaoh face to face!?   He could never do that!  But God could.

 

Time after time the Lord appeared to him in order to encourage him to trust and obey.  God would face down that king—the ten plagues absolutely devastated the kingdom of Egypt; the Pharaoh and his charioteers were drowned in the Red Sea as Moses watched safely on the eastern shore.  God can be trusted all the time.

           

A Christian husband should be a spiritual leader in the family (6:4). He ought to “add to his faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge (of the Bible), and to knowledge, temperance (self-control), and to temperance patience, and to (patient perseverance), godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness charity (love).”  2nd Peter 1:5-7.

 

Such a man will be able to nurture his family.  This makes him a better and faithful husband.  This involves raising their children successfully in body, soul, and spirit.  In mid-life, after being a nominal Christian for several years, my own father began in earnest to point us to Jesus Christ and the Bible.  I wanted a study Bible just like his.  What a legacy of learning from the Book of books.

 

Such a man will admonish his family.  That means to encourage and point his children in the right direction by both word and example.  All 7 of us (5 boys and 2 girls) came to faith in Christ.  He had a great influence on his grandchildren and great-grandchildren as well.

 

The second point was that he should be a “man of God” in the marketplace and in his career (6:5-9).  Note the apostle’s emphasis is that everything a man does should be “as unto Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, as bondservants of Christ, as unto the Lord.”  Here is honesty, integrity, sweat-equity.

 As Paul Harvey, America’s beloved commentator and newsman put it:  “God said, I need somebody to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper, and then go to town and stay up past midnight at a meeting of the school board.  So God made a farmer.  …. Somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed, and rake and disc and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk and replenish the self-feeder and finish a hard week’s work with a five-mile drive to church.  So God made a farmer.”

 

In the book of Ruth, Boaz was that “man of God” and farmer.  He sought the welfare of the hired hands.  He allowed the poor to do “work-fare” gathering free wheat or barley left behind in the fields to put bread on the table.  He cared for the sorrowing and suffering—Naomi, a relative and her daughter-in-law Ruth returned to Israel after its famine was over.  He “spoke friendly” (to her heart) bringing needed comfort to her spirit and to feeling secure in her soul.  (Ruth 2:13).

 

Let’s be men of God “as unto Christ” who is our Lord, Savior, and coming King.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

 

The Assurance of Eternal Life with Jesus Christ                  January 23, 2017

 

 

When you purchase a new car, a new refrigerator, or some other expensive item, you would want a warranty that covers its performance and durability.  Do you know that the Lord has the best warranty of our spiritual performance and durability?  The Bible contains such a guarantee.

 

Ephesians 1:11-14 spells out the details of this guarantee:  “In Him (Jesus Christ) also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,  that we  who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory, in Whom you also trusted, after you heard the Word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation;  in Whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, Who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”

 

Got that?  “the guarantee of our inheritance.”

 

The guarantee has been made through Jesus Christ.  He always keeps His word.  Many people think that they are the ones responsible for this guarantee of eternal life beyond the grave.  They try to reform and be good.  They join a church.  They get baptized.  They partake in the sacraments.  They do their best to be a good neighbor and a good Samaritan.   Stop and think—if those good works can manage to open the gate of heaven to you, then why did Jesus offer Himself to die on the cross?  That makes no sense at all.

It voids the guarantee.  It breaks the warranty because there is not one single human being that will never sin, or to use the automobile as an example, there has never been a car that never needs repair.

 

Romans 8:3 declares that our best efforts to keep the Law—the Ten Commandments—is futile.  The Bible explains the truth:  “For what the Law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh (our best efforts), God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin;  He condemned sin in the flesh.”

 

How can we get on this guarantee?  First of all, one must repent for our sinful nature and sins we have committed.  Jesus put this condition first:  “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand” (Matthew 4:17).

The apostle Peter appealed to a crowd, “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” (Acts 3:19).

 

Romans 10:9-10, 13 is the “contract” --  The word of faith is this.   “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  ….  For whoever calls upon the name of the LORD shall be saved.”

 

What blessings follow putting your trust in Christ alone to pardon and accept you?

      *    Our condemnation is gone—blotted out of God’s book  (Romans 8:1; John 3:18)

      *   The Holy Spirit will come and dwell in your heart and soul (Romans 8:9-11)

      *   You will be adopted into the family of God (Romans 8:14-16)

      *   You will be issued an inheritance in heaven by the Lord (Romans 8:17)

      *   You will be given a new resurrection body fit for life in heaven (Romans 8:23; 1st John 3:1-2)

 

How is this for a new life?  How is this for a guarantee of eternal life?  Jesus paid the high price of His life’s blood for me, for you.  Will you, right now, repent and put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ? 

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

 

The Redemption of the Body – Romans 8:23                       January 20, 2017

 

When God created Adam and Eve, He “handcrafted” them with perfection.  They were made in the “image and likeness of God” and blessed them (Genesis 1:26-28).  Unlike God, they possessed bodies—a physical, skin and bone, breathing creature.  Like God, each possessed a soul and a spirit.  Adam and Eve were the premier creatures of God possessing mind, emotion, and will.  God could have a rational conversation with them, and they could communicate verbally with Him. 

 

Then the crash came:  they were tempted by the arch-deceiver.  Satan spoke to them through an animated a serpent.   God judged them for this rebellion.  First, Eve would be subject to pain in childbirth.  Then Adam would be judged with laborious farming battling weeds, thorns, and infertility in nature.  God’s premier creatures retained soul, spirit, and body.  All three distinctive were corrupted as their sin nature pulled them away from God.  They were condemned to die.  So are we.  God made a plan for the salvation of one’s soul and the “redemption of the body.”

 

The beginning of a new life is found in Jesus, the Son of God.  The apostle Paul wrote: “What shall we say to these things?  If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).  The Son of God became the Son of man.  God sent Jesus Christ on a rescue mission delivering Him up to pay the death penalty for all the people in the world.  On the cross Jesus suffered an infinite death in soul, spirit, and body.   He was the one and only Representative all humanity.  Having died and raised to new life, Jesus called all humanity to believe God could now forgive them.  How?  by our repentance toward God and our faith in the Savior.   Then, praise God, there is “now no condemnation” (Romans 8:1-4).

 

The blessings of a new life in Jesus Christ are marvelous and merciful!   (1)  No condemnation – our sins blotted out (Acts 3:19).  (2)  The Holy Spirit comes to indwell the believer providing him a new divine nature (Romans 8:9-11; 2nd Peter 1:3-7).  (3)  The new believer is instantly adopted into the family of God

(Romans 8:14-16).  (4)  God gives the new believer an inheritance, blessing beyond our greatest imagination – all the blessings in heaven are ours (8:17).

 

Can all such blessings be given to us because we try to keep all Ten Commandments?  No.  It is utterly impossible never to sin.  Romans 8:3 explains this: “For what the Law could not do, in that it was weak through our flesh (our best efforts utterly crumble), God sending His Own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.”

 

The sure hope of eternal life is with Jesus Christ.  He alone guarantees the believer not only forgiveness for sinning, but gives a hope backed up with a promise: “For I reckon the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us.  ….   Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children (believers) of God.  For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now.  And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.”  (Romans 8:18, 21-23).

 

Jesus declared: “I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live!  And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die (forever).  Do you believe this?”

 

My question for you is:  Will you believe this and claim His promise of the redemption of your body, a body transformed prepared by God to live eternally with Jesus Christ in heaven?

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

A New Season, What Will It Bring                    January 9, 2017

 

“No matter what a man’s past may have been, his future is spotless.”  Dr. John R. Rice

 

2016 is history lived, filled with ups and downs, good times and bad days.  The Lord once again has opened a new year before us. How will the days and months unfold before us?  We have our hopes and our dreams, and yet you and I do not know with certainty what the new year will bring.  One thing is sure—“my Lord knows the way through the wilderness;  all I have to do is follow.”

 

Someone composed a thought-provoking poem entitled “His Unfailing Presence.”  Will you ponder the message with me?

 

            Another year I enter its history unknown;

                        Oh, how my feet would tremble to tread its paths alone!

 

            But I have heard a whisper, I know I shall be blest;

                        “My presence shall go with thee and I will give you rest.”

 

            What will the New Year bring me?  I may not, must not know;

                        Will it be love and rapture, or loneliness and woe?

 

            Hush!  Hush!  I hear His whisper; I surely shall be blest;

                        “My presence shall go with thee, and I will give you rest.”  selected

 

Is this a coincidence that I found this poem on the same morning that I read about a depressed and anxious man of God?  I came across it as I began my annual journey through the Word of God … God spoke these comforting words to Moses,

 

            “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”    Exodus 33:14

 

What caused Moses’ anxiety and depression?  The personal stress of leading a stiff-necked and self-centered multitude of over 600,000 men, their wives, and their children to the Promised Land. 

 

Almighty God delivered the Israelite slaves out from under the iron thumb of the wicked king of Egypt – the Pharaoh.  His hard oppression had made their lives extremely bitter.  Now they were free!  But human nature is inherently self-centered.  Griping and murmuring obsessed them:  No water!  No food!  No land of milk and honey!  And, then it happened—the impossible.  The ungodly, ungrateful mob made and bowed down to an idol – a golden calf.  Moses was exasperated.  He had had it.  Depression set in.

 

The Almighty God that counseled Moses on the mountain made a promise:  “My Presence will go with you.”  Assured that the Angel, the Messenger, would go with them and bring them to the land of milk and honey, Moses’ heart was recharged.  The Son of God led them, provided for them, and they entered the Promised Land.

 

Like Moses and Joshua, we can trust God to lead us and provide for us until we enter the gates the Promised Land.  Heaven is for real.  Every genuine Christian will enter into that rest to be with Jesus.

I hope that you know for sure that God has reconciled you to Jesus Christ.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Be Strong & Courageous in 2017                     January 2, 2017

 

One of my favorite Bible verses as a teen is found in the Book of Joshua, chapter 1, verse 8: “This Book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you might observe to do according to all that is written in it.  For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”  The LORD God urged Joshua, the leader of the Israelites, to do this with all his heart.   God promised him two benefits of practicing this every day:  he would be prosperous as God blessed him and he would experience a truly successful life.  We can have that, too.

 

The “Book” that God referred to is Deuteronomy.  This was the second presentation of God’s Laws.  It summarized God’s commandments, God’s holy days of worship, and God’s blessings for obedience and severe discipline if they broke His laws.  God, being good, wise, and compassionate formulated the best laws any nation ever had.  Moses declared: “What nation is there that has a God so near to it, as the LORD our God is to us, for whatever reason we call upon Him. And what great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this law which I set before you this day? (Deuteronomy 4:7-8).  One reason that America has prospered and had good success is that our founding fathers gleaned wisdom and beneficial laws such as God gave to Israel.

 

Three times Joshua was told to do two things: “Be strong and be courageous!!”  Having seen the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea, and seen God provide water out of the mountain rock for some 2 million people (and all their livestock), and seen God give them manna--angels’ food for 40 years, Joshua trusted God to continue to display His power.  By Joshua’s faith, the waters of the Jordan River piled up many miles north and all the Israelites walked across a dry river bed.   Not long after that, the army marched around the well defended city state of Jericho and the wall came tumbling down.  Not one enemy city could stop the war of liberation in the Promised Land.

 

Once in that land, Joshua commanded everyone to set up their tents and then gather around him.  He built an altar for worship and presented sacramental offering to God on Mount Ebal (Joshua 8:30-35).  There he inscribed a summary of God’s great laws on a large stone for all to see.  Having done that, he read all the words of God’s laws to the people.  God blessed them by carrying out every single word that He had promised to do (Joshua 21:43-45).

 

How can we benefit from God’s laws and regulations?

  • First, read them for yourself and then tell others about how great they are. 
  • Second, meditate on God’s words and download the wisdom of God into your mind.
  • Third, apply the goodness, wisdom and compassion of God into your life and place that into every day “shoe leather,” meaning action.

 

Meditating on God’s word means the careful reading, understanding, and practice of God’s will.  Dr. Harry A. Ironside made this observation: “It is by meditation that we really make the Word our own.  To read attentively is like eating the Word.  Meditation answers to digestion of the truth.  Mere intellectual acquaintance with the letter of Scripture avails little.  It is as we weigh carefully what God has revealed that we obtain from it that spiritual power that enables us to rise above our difficulties and triumph by grace over all our foes.  Thus we grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.   We become weak and are easily overcome when we neglect this important spiritual exercise, for the Word (of God) fed upon alone gives strength.”

 

May God Himself bless you with strength and courage in this new year!!

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

He Held Salvation in His Arms               December 25, 2017

 

“And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.  And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.  So he came by the Spirit into the temple.”

 

“And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus to do for Him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up into his arms and blessed God and said: ‘Lord, now You are letting your servant depart in peace according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a Light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.’”         (Luke’s Gospel 2:25-32).

 

Some men have had great aspirations:  win the Super Bowl, land on the moon, win the presidency, climb Mount Everest, meet Abraham Lincoln.  Simeon had a much greater aspiration to see the Messiah who would establish His glorious kingdom in the world.  Nothing could crush this hope:  not the iron grip of the pagan Roman Empire upon Israel; nor the blood-thirsty dictatorship of the despicable Herod the Great; nor the corruption of the religious establishment ruled by the chief priest Caiaphas.  The hope of Simeon was fastened on the integrity of the God of Abraham and the prophets.

 

Simeon had read the Scriptures discovering over 300 divine promises concerning the Messiah.  Now the Spirit of God promised Simeon that he would live to see the Lord’s Christ (Luke 2:26). The coming of the Messiah was long described by Jewish believers as the “Consolation of Israel.”  The Messiah-King would be strong, compassionate, and tender-hearted.    He was a “just (righteous) and “devout” (reverent) man who believed Jeremiah’s promise: “Behold the days are coming, says the LORD, that I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth, in His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; now this is His Name by which He shall be called:  THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” (Jeremiah 23:5-6). 

 

No one can bring more comfort than He could.  He would “Comfort, yes, comfort” the people of God (Isaiah 40:1-2).  How?  The Messiah-King would stop their constant battles to survive.  He would pardon all of their iniquities (perverse sins) and cleanse their souls to become as white as snow (1:18).  Like a shepherd “the LORD God shall come with a strong hand … and He will feed His flock … and gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young.”  (40:10-11).  The coming of the Messiah would renew their strength and their faith.

 

 The Scriptures contain God’s promise: “Have you not known?  Have you not heard?  The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth neither faints nor is weary, His understanding is unsearchable.  He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.  Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young man shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:28-31

 

The aged Simeon tenderly cradled Baby Jesus in his arms as his heart rejoiced in ecstasy.  Gazing into the eyes of Baby Jesus, he declared: “… My eyes have seen Your Salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a Light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.”  (Luke 2:30-32).  The salvation of our souls is connected exclusively in one Person, the Son of man, the Lord Jesus Christ.  On the Cross He made paid the price of redeeming lost souls and was raised from the tomb in victory.  Have you received Jesus, the Messiah, as your Savior?   I hope so.  Amen.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

It’s All About God’s Son               December 18, 2017

 

“Merry Christmas!”  To you and your loved ones.  What a wonderful time of the year.  Christmas is a national holiday in many countries around the world.  Many, many are taking flights to be with their loved ones.  Great metropolises, cities, and towns are lit up with manger scenes and reindeer.  Thousands of merchants depend on hordes of eager shoppers to keep their stores in the green ledger.  Lots of homes are decorated elegantly for this time of year.  Why?  It’s all about God’s Son!

 

God in heaven has a historical day-minder loaded with appointed times for planet earth.  The greatest of them all is “when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, to redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons … (to become) … heirs of God through Christ.”  (Galatians 4:4, 5, 7).  The greatest gift you and I can ever receive is adoption into the family of God. 

 

God in heaven sent His Son to redeem lost souls.  The miraculous birth by the God-blessed virgin Mary was the way God chose to reveal His Son as the Son of man.  Jesus was emphatic about the reality that God sent Him to be the Light of the world (John 1:5, 7-9).  John recorded forty-two times (42 in only 21 chapters!) in which Jesus declared God sent Him from heaven down to the earth.  His mission was to “save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).  Truly, God was manifested in the flesh.  He is Immanuel, God with us (1:23).  He is 100% God and 100% Man.  Why?  It’s all about God’s Son.

 

Jesus, when it was time, revealed His true identity.  The Jewish people marveled at His power from God to give sight to the blind, cleanse the leper, cast out demons, and raise the dead.  Some claimed that he was John the Baptist back from the dead.  But John did no miracle.  Some claimed that He was the famous Elijah who performed many miracles.  That was not true.  Others claimed He was Jeremiah or one of the prophets.  His true identity was revealed from God’s thunderous voice from heaven: “This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17) and “I have both glorified (Your Name) and will glorify it again.” (John 12:28).  God the Father would glorify His Son when He raised Jesus – body and soul -- from the dead and caught Him up into heaven to sit at His right hand (Hebrews 1:3).

God in heaven did not prepare a comfortable entrance to the land of Israel.  Ron Hamilton composed these lines: “Not a palace for the little King, nor a pillow for His bed; not a scepter for His royal hand, no a crown adorns His head.”  Herod the Great (a wicked man), residing in a palace or two, tried to kill Baby Jesus.  He died in extraordinary pain.  The chief priests and members of the Sanhedrin Council, knowing the prophecy of Bethlehem, turned their backs to their Messiah.  They did not notify the elderly Simeon of His coming.  They did not send good news to the godly widow Anna who looked for the redemption of the nation of Israel. 

 

Instead of going to the rich and mighty, God broke the good tidings to lowly shepherds by the angelic spokesman and “a multitude of the heavenly host.”   The sky was filled with heaven’s choir singing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men! … For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, Who is Christ the Lord!”  (Luke 2:13, 14, 11).  To them, it’s all about God’s Son.

 

As if that was not enough, God placed a new star in the skies.  Perhaps familiar with the prophecies of Jeremiah and Daniel, the Magi (powerful Gentile king-makers and astrologers) in an Eastern land, were shocked and excited by the Messianic star.  Shining over Bethlehem this star shed its beams on manger holding the Christ Child.  The Magi bowed in reverence and gave rich gifts.  It’s all about God’s Son.

 

May our Christmas celebrations be all about God’s Son.  Amen.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Great Joy from Heaven to Earth                       December 10, 2017

 

Great joy swept all over heaven when Jesus was taken up from the earth and welcomed back Home.  When the risen Son of God took His seat on the right hand of God, the 100 million angelic choirs broke out in a new song:  “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!!”  Every creature in the universe answered the angelic choirs, shouting, “Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!!”  (Revelation 5:11-13).  Why were the infinite number of angels and creatures so happy?     

 

The Scriptures tell us that the angels did not understand why the Son of God left the glories of heaven on a rescue mission.   What person would ever want to lower himself to the depraved level of humanity?  What prophets attempted to understand the divine plan of salvation?   Every bit of their inquiring and searching could not comprehend the amazing grace of God.  Why would the Son of God become Son of man and suffer the pain and shame of crucifixion?  (1st Peter 1:10-12).

 

How great the love of God for all those souls who have spread out on the face of the earth since our first parents were evicted from the Paradise of Eden.  Yet, Jesus declared that “… God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

 

The holiness of God repels the wickedness of the world.  Sins, transgressions, iniquities, and rebellion have kept billions in bondage to the wicked one—the devil.  The holy justice of the LORD, the supreme Judge, required punishment.  There is no punishment in heaven.  The evil one is destined to be judged and cast into the fires of hell (Matthew 25:41).

 

Jesus journeyed through every city and village of Israel calling sinners to “repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand” (Matthew 4:17).  He is not willing that any should perish (2nd Peter 3:9).  Jesus urged everyone to seek His pardon and be redeemed.  His joy was the prospect that millions would repent, believe in Him, and join Him in heaven.  Hebrews 12:2 declares:  “looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

 

Sadly, some religious leaders deceive lost souls saying that when Jesus died for all, it means that they are were saved—even if they do not know it.  Sinners are urged to make the most of their lives by helping all humanity.  Impossible.  Futile.  There is only one way to heaven.  His name is Jesus.

Peter and John preached: “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven, given among men by which we must be saved.”  Some of my readers may believe that fake “gospel”.  I urge you to seek the true Gospel proclaimed by Jesus Christ.

 

There is joy in heaven every time a sinner, a lost soul, repents of sin and puts his or her trust in Jesus.  He alone suffered, died, and rose again for me, for you.  Have you done this?  What amazing joy will fill your life when you begin living for Jesus Christ.  Are you “all in” for Him?

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

The Miraculous First Christmas            December 6, 2017

 

The first Christmas was miraculous.  Prophetic hints, as well as outright promises, are contained in the Word of God.  Several thousand years ago in the Garden of Eden, Eve and Adam knowingly broke God’s prohibition of eating the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge and
Evil.  Tempted by Satan, they ate the forbidden fruit.  The first prophecy was the mysterious prediction of the virgin birth and crucifixion of the Messiah (Genesis 3:15-16). 

 

Notice the prophetical terms “your seed” and “her Seed” in that text.  The former is the lineage of Satan and his cohorts.  The latter is both mysterious and seems to be an impossibility.  “Her” refers to the lineage of Eve with a reference to the Mary of Nazareth.  “Seed” of the woman is mysterious because men contain the “seed” to reproduce.  Women do not.  “There is a unique allusion in ‘her Seed,’ the first announcement of the virgin birth, for biologically in conception the seed (or sperm) is delivered by the man….” (Criswell).  We read in Luke 1:31-35 that the Holy Spirit of God would come to Mary and implant in her womb the “Seed”.  She was still a virgin.  This pregnancy was a miraculous work of our Creator God.  The angel Gabriel assured Mary that “with God nothing is impossible” (Luke 1:37).

 

That miraculous pregnancy would bring into this fallen world the “Seed” – the Man named Jesus.

Some deny it without a shred of proof.  But in the Bible, Moses predicted this and longed to see that day.  King David called Him “Lord” (Psalm 110:1).  Isaiah testified that “the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His Name Immanuel.”  (Isaiah 7:14).  Jeremiah was told by the Spirit to write of the “King who shall reign as … THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS”

(Jeremiah 23:5-6).  Daniel was told by Gabriel that the Messiah would sacrifice His life to save the lost (Daniel 9:24).  Micah was inspired to identify the city in which He was to be born –

Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).  Malachi predicted that John the baptizer would be the forerunner of Christ.  Is this amazing or is it not—for many centuries, men unrelated and in distant eras were in perfect agreement concerning the first Christmas in Bethlehem.  These prophecies were revealed by God Himself. 

 

Matthew affirmed the identity of the “Seed” when he began his Gospel with the genealogy of Jesus.  Matthew 1:16 – “And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born JESUS WHO IS CALLED CHRIST.”

 

Luke had a “perfect understanding of all things” of the “Seed.” (1:3).  The Spirit of God was the active Agent in the miraculous pregnancy of the virgin Mary (1:35).  The God of Abraham performed this fantastic miracle (1:37).

 

The Apostle Paul affirmed the identity of the “Seed” of the woman.  Galatians 3:16 – “Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made.  He does not say, ‘and to seeds,’ as of many, but as of one, ‘and to your Seed,’ WHO IS CHRIST.”

 

The Word of God contains over 330 prophecies of Christmas.  Only One could fulfill God’s promises:  JESUS CHRIST.  Let’s praise God for sending the perfect Savior to redeem our souls!

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Let Us Come Before the LORD with Thanksgiving  Nov. 27, 2017

 

Psalm 95:1-3, 6      

“Oh come, let us sing to the LORD!

Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation!

Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving.

Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms for the LORD is a great God!

Oh come! Let us worship and bow down;

Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.”

 

The writer of this psalm was very earnest in those 6 joyful and thankful lines.  Thanksgiving is a dominating theme of the 150 psalms in the Bible.  The Christian has countless reasons to love the LORD with all our heart, soul, and mind. 

 

  • The LORD is the Creator of the universe and this privileged planet we call earth.  Our planet was perfectly set at a certain distance from the sun to enable human life.  Our planet was given a moon like no other to control the ocean waves and enlighten the nights.  Our planet was given a “halo” (if I may call it that) reaching from sea level to an elevation of some 4-5 miles in which we live and breathe.  When I stop and think about this extremely thin “halo”, I am amazed.  Here in Colorado, Denver is called the “mile high city”?!  Compared the distance to the moon or the sun, that’s peanuts.  What a marvelous creation we live in.

 

  • The LORD our God made all of us in “His own image and likeness” (Genesis 1:27).  Humanity has a living soul, a mind that reasons, and a spirit of life.  Human life is not a self-creating nothingness.  It is not an accident of all accidents.  The theory of evolution, if taken to its ultimate conclusion, attempts futilely to comprehend it as an accident.  But something cannot come from nothing.   God is our Maker.

 

God’s Word declares creation to be fact.  Romans 1:20-22 – “For since the creation of the world (cosmos), His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, NOR WERE THANKFUL, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Professing to be wise, they became fools.”

 

Thanksgiving—how can an atheist express thanksgiving to some cause?  The true living, all-powerful, all merciful God deserves our deepest and grateful giving of thanks.  The LORD deserves our giving of thanks.  Great American leaders like Washington and Lincoln believed in God.  They knew that there could be no America without the authority and power of God Himself.  In our nation’s culture war, many are shouting that there is no God, no truth, no value in life, and no future.  Vanity of vanities, they have little for which to be thankful.

 

They “go astray, do not know My ways, and shall not enter My rest” (Psalm 95:10-11). Many others stand convinced by the evidence that there is the LORD Almighty, there is truth, there is value in life, and there is a future for them.  The LORD, knowing the world as a prodigal, doomed planet, sent His only begotten Son into this rebellious cosmos on a rescue mission to save souls from the coming judgment.  I sincerely hope that you will put your faith in Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and give thanks to Him.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

A Truly American Thanksgiving            November 20, 2017

 

The founding dream of religious liberty took root in the hearts of outstanding Americans.  Such great men include John Hancock, signer of the Declaration of Independence, as George Washington, called the Father of this country, and as Abraham Lincoln who saved the nation and signed the Emancipation Proclamation.  These men gave thanks to the Providence of Almighty God who made this “land of the free and of the brave” a reality.  Let’s recall their gratitude.

 

"I...appoint...a day of public thanksgiving and praise...to render to God the tribute of praise for His unmerited goodness towards us...by giving to us...

the Holy Scriptures which are able to enlighten and make us wise to eternal salvation....  And to pray that He would forgive our sins and ...cause the religion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to be known, understood, and practiced among all the people of the earth.”                                                                                                                                     John Hancock

 

George Washington: 

In 1789, as the first president of United States of America, declared November 26th “as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God.”  And, what is less known is the rest of his thanksgiving proclamation. The burden on his heart was a call for a national day prayer. 

           

 

He continued, “And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions.”

 

Abraham Lincoln:

The sad part of this historic call to prayer for God’s forgiveness was that it was not continued as President Washington hoped.  But, in the providence of God, many years later, in 1863, the “rail splitter” from out West in Illinois, better known as Abraham Lincoln, established a national day of prayer.

 

Grieved at the terrible cost of lives in the armies of the North and South, the president called on all Americans to pause, ponder, and pray.  He declared:  “It has seemed to me fit and proper that [the gifts of God] should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged with one heart and one voice by the whole American people.  I do, therefore, invite my fellow citizens … to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father that dwelleth in the heavens.”

 

We live in troublous times.  A cultural and spiritual war raging.  It’s the battle of God’s law versus lawless human opinions.  Let’s pray, thank God that He is merciful.  May God’s Providence once more deliver the soul of America.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Creating Harmony in Marriage             November 14, 2017

 

Creating harmony in your marriage takes more than presenting her with chocolates and baking some oatmeal cookies for him.  My wife discovered two chocolate Turtle candy-bars in my grocery bag—one for her.  Here is marriage counsel from the Lord, that if followed, will create lasting harmony in the home: “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Philippians 3:17).  It works!

 

Two things, if not followed, will create dis-harmony in marriage.  For the wife, the lack of respect for the husband will begin to bother him.  What bothers him will begin to irritate him, and what irritates him can so easily create a bitterness to fester in him. The Lord forbids a man to become bitter against her (Colossians 3:18-19).

 

Second, for the husband, his failure to treat her with the kind of love Jesus Christ has for Christians will begin to bother her.  What bothers her will begin to form resentment in her, and what she resents can so easily arouse a temper that destroys harmony at home.

 

How can these things be prevented?  3:17 – Pray that the Lord will help them to practice in word (control the tongue) and deed (behave in conduct) what pleases the Lord Jesus Christ.  What comes out of the tongue reveals the secret feelings of the heart. 

 

An uncontrolled tongue is like wind-blown prairie fires.  God’s Word describes this: “Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.  See how great a forest a little fire kindles.  And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity.  The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature, and it is set on the fire of hell.” (James 3:5-6).  This is serious stuff.

 

A Christian husband is commanded to love his wife as much as Jesus loves believers.  This Jesus-love is patient, kind, humble, does not behave rudely, does not keep a list of complaints, seeks the benefit of others, and endures all marriage situations (compare 1st Corinthians 13:4-8).  Jesus-love will also prompt him to ask forgiveness when necessary.  Jesus loved us before we ever loved Him (1st John 4:19).  The cross demonstrated the high price of His love—He died to save her soul.  But, to be bitter is the opposite of love.  God forbids it. 

 

A Christian wife is instructed to submit herself willingly to her husband (Ephesians 5:21-24).  If he loves her as Jesus loves her, such humbling of herself is not a problem (5:25ff).  She would be trusted by him to treat her good all of her life (Proverbs 31:11, 12, 31).  He would praise her because her “price is far above rubies” (31:10).  The bottom line is this:  practice what is fitting [proper and right] to the Lord their God.  Her love for him will stop her from being disrespectful. 

 

Such mutual love and respect are “fitting in the Lord.” They are the pleasant oils which smooth out the squealing sounds and replace it with sweet harmony in the home.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Staring Death in the Face                       November 6, 2017

 

How heart-braking it is to stare death in the face.  I cannot imagine the horror that the Baptist congregation in Sutherland Springs, Texas, experienced during its Morning Worship Service.

As I understand, 26 were slain by that gunman dressed in a black ballistic vest.  Others were seriously wounded.  Among those were several boys and girls—including the pastor’s 14-year-old daughter.  The unthinkable happened in this small town.  How can the survivors stare death in the face and cope with such a disaster?

 

We cannot pin down the reason’s, the how’s, and the why’s.  Yet, as Christians, we can go to Someone who stared death in the face with hot tears in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Jesus said, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death.”  Moments later, He collapsed face-down on the garden soil and prayed, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:38-39).

 

Why could Jesus pray “not as I will, but as you will”?  He forewarned His disciples: “Behold we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify.  And, the third day HE WILL RISE AGAIN.”  (16:18-19).  Our brethren in Sutherland Springs, Texas, have confidence that there will be the resurrection of the believer. 

Those who are born again—born anew in Christ—will be reunited in glory.  Christians have everlasting life assured by the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Jesus carried then, and He can “carry our sorrows” even today, (Isaiah 53:4).  As the famed British pastor, Charles H. Spurgeon, said: “When we cannot trace God’s hand, we can always trust God’s heart.”  In glory, we will stare everlasting life in the face of our resurrected and exalted Savior.

 

Just meditate on this certain hope from Ephesians 2:1-7; especially verses 6-7 – “and raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come, He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

 

Those who stare death in the face as laid out in the Bible can see the big picture.  By the sin of Adam and Eve, death entered this planet (Genesis 3:19).  The tragic result is that all are born with a sin nature.  By the sacrificial death of Christ, the Lamb of God, divine justice has been fully paid for.  The free gift of everlasting life given to the soul when one repents of sin and puts his or her faith in Christ and His death and resurrection.

 

This big picture involves the reality of death.  From conception to funeral death will overcome each of us (Hebrews 9:27).  Old age, heart attacks, cancers, strokes, traffic accidents, still births, wars, murders, storms of all kinds, falling, poisonous bites… on and on the list goes.  As the Gospel song says, “This world is not my home; I’m just a-passing through.  My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.”

 

May we weep with those who weep, embrace them with compassion, and listen to their grieving hearts.  I don’t have the answers.  But my Lord has been in the tomb and now lives eternally.  Someday those grieving will see their Savior first of all in heaven.  Only then, can we say,

 “It will be worth it all when we see Jesus.”

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

 

Enriching Your Soul by Singing              October 30, 2017

 

Colossians 3:16 – “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

 

The “word of Christ” is contained in the Holy Bible.  It is God speaking to man.  The “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” are man speaking to God.  If we would take time to search for music in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, we would be amazed how much sacred music there is.  I possess an old hymnal dating back to 1854 which has over 1,000 psalms and hymns in it.  The number of songs written to the LORD must number in the tens of thousands!

 

Just how does a Christian speak to God by singing psalms?  “Psalms” are meditative songs that praise and glorify God from the heart.  King David was also known for his music and talent on the ancient harp.  He composed 73 of the 150 psalms which were collected in the book known as “The Psalms.”  No matter how he felt – joyous or sad, triumphant or depressed, at peace or disturbed, trusting or fretting – almost without fail his psalm ended on a high note.  Whenever down in spirit, I find a lift through meditating on these psalms.  I can read to, and in some cases if I had the music, sing to my LORD and Savior.  Then sunshine of His love warms my soul.  Singing Psalm 23 we can praise God for His protection and certainty of heaven.

 

What are the “hymns” which Paul encouraged the new believers in the 1st century Colosse church?  Hymns have been composed from the majestic attributes of God, the glorious doctrines of Jesus Christ, and the Apostolic Doctrines defining the Christian faith.  Singing such wonderful truths is an excellent way God has created to help us remember and worship the LORD.   From eternity past, Heaven has been filled with the grand singing of the angels (Revelation 5:11-13) and even by God Himself (Zephaniah 3:17 -- Hmm?  Does God sing baritone?).  Hymns like “O Worship the King,” “Holy, Holy, Holy,” “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name,” and more recently like “How Great Thou Art” and “In Christ Alone,” praise the LORD our God and Savior.

 

“Spiritual songs” include songs of thanksgiving, of our relationship to God our Savior, of the amazing grace of Christ’s atoning blood on the cross, of our love for Christ, of His guidance in our lives, of personal commitment to Christ, of spiritual warfare, and of Christ returning soon.

 

Such songs are not trivial repetition, feel-good for the moment, nor mimicking the way and sound of the worldly non-Christian culture.  In the last century there has been a serious watering down of the majesty of God, the shed blood of our Redeemer, and what it means to live a holy and pure life.  I cannot forget the tears of a mother, a Christian school teacher, whose daughter backslid from Jesus Christ by what some call Christian music.  Music is a language, a sense of emotions (good or bad feelings).  Christian music is not to exalt the singer’s voice, performance, or fame.  Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs lift the heart and soul to worship the Almighty LORD, to exalt Christ, and to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.

 

Colossians 3:16 says it all: “singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”  The “word of Christ” declares that the sinner is saved by grace through faith in Christ alone.  Grace is the undeserved favor of God.  Grace is the death of Christ who died to pardon our sins.  Grace should be a pre-eminent theme of our singing!

 

Colossians 3:17 – “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”  This includes our singing, too.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

The Transformation of the Church                  October 23, 2017

 

One of the greatest transformations in Christian history was the conversion of Saul of Tarsus.  Listen to his testimony: “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor,  and an insolent (violently arrogant) man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.  And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.” (1st Timothy 1:12-14).  He was not reformed.  He was totally transformed. 

 

Imagine his terrible self-indictment:

 #1 – I was a “blasphemer.”  Acts 26:9-11 – “Indeed, I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth …. And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities.”

#2 – I was a “persecutor” of anyone who believed in Jesus as the Messiah.  1st Corinthians 15:9 “… I persecuted the Church of God.”  Acts 8:1 “… a great persecution arose against the Church which was at Jerusalem….” And 8:3 “As for Saul, he made havoc of the Church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.”

#3 – I was an “insolent man” (“aggressively insulting [to Him]” Amplified Bible).  Acts 9:1 – “Then Saul, still breathing out threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord….”  Jesus described the man from Tarsus: “They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he does God service (“a sacred service to God” Wuest Greek translation).   (John 16:1-2).

 

Believe his miraculous transformation: 

Acts of the Apostles 9:1-22.  Read this passage for yourself—this is “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me, I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see.”  (the personal testimony of John Newton, former slave-trader, then minister).

 

One morning, Saul and fellow persecutors got up and traveled several days from Jerusalem to a foreign city—Damascus.  Jewish synagogues were there on or near Straight Street.  In them were many new converts who were transformed by faith in Jesus as Messiah and Redeemer.  As he and comrades were approached the city gate, suddenly “a light shown around from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’  And he said, ‘Who are you, lord?’  Then the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.’  Trembling and astonished, he asked, ‘Lord, what do you want me to do?’ ….”  (9:3-6).

 

While fasting and praying for 3 days, Jesus, the Son of God appeared to this Pharisee in a vision.  What is conversion?  Let Saul, now known as the Apostle Paul explain it.  Romans 10:8-10, 13, 17 – “… The word which we preach; that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. … For whoever calls upon the name of the LORD shall be saved. …  So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

 

Saul was not just reformed.  He was not a wrecked car which got a new coat of exterior paint.  Paul was transformed—a total make-over, inside and out.  He described this very clearly:  Jesus Christ “… died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.”…. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”  (2nd Corinthians 5:15 & 17).  His heart and soul were transformed by faith alone in Christ alone.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

The Reformation and the Church                     October 16, 2017                                                  

 

This month brings the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.  At high noon on October 31, 1517, a monk by the name of Martin Luther “walked boldly toward the church … and posted upon the door a list of 95 theses, or propositions, against the doctrine of indulgences….  Luther declared, in a kind of preface, that he had written these theses with the express desire of setting the truth in the full light of day. He declared himself ready to defend them on the morrow, in the university, against all opponents.  Great was the attention they incited; they were read and passed from mouth to mouth.  Ere long the pilgrims, the university, and the whole city (of Wittenberg) were in commotion.” *  A much-needed reformation of the church had begun!

 

On that poster were 3 of the most controversial propositions:  #32 “Those who fancy themselves sure of salvation by indulgences will go to perdition along with those who teach them so.”  #76 “The indulgence of the pope cannot take away the smallest daily sin, as far as regards the guilt or the offense.”  #27 “They preach mere human follies who maintain that as soon as the money (coins) rattles in the strongbox, the soul flies out of purgatory.” 

 

What are indulgences?  A “remission of the temporal punishment due to sin, the guilt of which has been forgiven.” **   The practice of indulgences was instituted the Roman Church in the 11th century.  Contrary to the Bible, one could do good deeds and earn forgiveness of sins.  By the 15th century it was degraded to shelling out money to buy forgiveness of sins.  After Luther was converted and began to preach the Gospel, he realized indulgences were not Biblical at all.  A sinner is justified by faith alone and by Christ alone (Ephesians 2:5-10).

 

One of Luther’s greatest contributions was the translating the Latin Bible into the German language.  News of Luther’s tracts, the 95 theses, and affordable Bibles raced across Germany with the help of an invention of Gutenberg, a printer—a printing press with movable type. 

 

This Reformation began the process of rejecting abuses by the established state/church in Germany, and soon all Europe.  Religious liberty was almost unheard of.  Anyone who resisted the apostate state-church could be pilloried, whipped, jailed, or tortured in the rack.  John Hus was burned at the stake in Bohemia.  William Tyndale was arrested, strangled, and his body burned at the stake in 1536 in England.  For what crime? Translating the Bible into English.

 

Luther was nearly executed by Emperor Charles V because of severe threats from the state/church.  For what?  For declaring in court his conviction that the Bible was God’s final authority, not the state/church, and that his 95 theses were right.  His final words to the emperor were these: “Here I stand.  I can do no other!”  Luther’s friends hid him from the authorities.

 

What was the essence of the Reformation?  “It was a reform, not a revolt.  Continuity was preserved, so that the Reformers could justifiably claim what seemed to be the new church was indeed the old church purged of offences and reconstituted according to the scriptural norm.” ***  A church historian, Dr. Edward Panosian, observed that when reformers came out of the dominant Church of that era, they took too much furniture with them. 

 

Rather than an incomplete Reformation, Christians ought to follow the New Testament’s description—spiritual nature--of a church:  the absolute authority is the Holy Scriptures, the Headship of Christ, regenerate church membership, self-governing local congregation, soul liberty of conscience, two ordinances—believers’ baptism and the Lord’s Supper of remembrance (not of imparting forgiveness), and religious liberty. 

 

Romans 1:17 “…as it is written, ‘the just shall live by faith.’” The verse that transformed Luther.

 

 *         J. Merle d’Aubigne, The Triumph of Truth, a life of Martin Luther. Page 81.

**       Catholic Encyclopedia, VII, page 783.

*** Baker’s Dictionary of Theology, Everett Harrison, ed. Page 439.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

Pastor Ed’s Devotional                  October 12, 2017

 

 The Apostle Paul was very concerned about the new believers in the city of Colosse.  This ancient city was located 100 miles east of Ephesus in Asia Minor – in modern Turkey (Colossians 2:1). He knew them only through conversations with their pastor Epaphras a man had a genuine shepherd's heart (1:7; 4:12). What did these two pray earnestly for this local congregation?  3:17 - "... whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."

 

They encouraged them to "seek those things which are above."  Who was above?  The crucified, risen, and exalted Savior Jesus Christ (Colossians 3:1).  They were to put great focus on Him. Christians are to die to self, to their own ambitions, and to their own pleasures.  Jesus is to be pre-eminent over every part of their lives.  Such dedicated lives eagerly anticipate the moment they would "appear with Him in glory" -- heaven! (3:4). 

 

Paul and Epaphras urged these new Christians to "put on the new man," the one "renewed in knowledge" having the same heart after God's own heart that King David possessed (3:10).  This portrays the "garment of righteousness."  They were to take off and toss out the "garments of wickedness."  Sin was not to master them.  That kind of man would turn his back on every sin rampant in their community (check out the list of the "dirty dozen save one" sins-- 3:5-9).  Is your own life, your home life, and your everyday life miserable?  Are you a failure?   Please change your garments, your ragged garments which dirty and smelly, and put on the love of Christ.  What a life change that can be!  We cannot do it alone.  God must do it.  God can change your heart and life in ways thought impossible.

 

Paul and Epaphras exhorted them to put on the "garment of righteousness" that everyone wears who follows Jesus Christ.  As the indwelling Holy Spirit works in their hearts, He produces "tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, bearing with one another, forgiving one another" as "Christ forgave you, but above all these things, put on love" (3:12-14).  Jesus Christ was to be their all and in all to them (3:11).

 

How is this accomplished?  It's simple and yet it's hard.  Here's the heavenly formula:  "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly ...." (3:16).   First of all, set a time every morning to begin the day with reading the Bible.  The Holy Spirit will be your Teacher and Helper.  Second, the challenge is to study and meditate deeply on the Word of God and commit yourself to put into practice walking in the steps of Jesus Christ.

 

Such Bible meditations once taken to heart will change wives, husbands, children, and servants (3:18-25)    One last challenge -- "whatever you do, do it heartily as to the Lord and not to men" (3:23).

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

 

An X-ray of the Church That Jesus Founded             October 2, 2017

 

According to the Bible, there are only two kinds of churches.  The one may be spelled with a capital “C”; the other may be spelled with a lower case “c.”  Spiritually, this is what the Apostle Paul called the “body of Christ, the Church” (Colossians 1:24).  Physically, there is the local church, “the church that is in their house” (Romans 16:3-5).

 

What does this mean?  The “body of Christ, the Church” includes every true Christian from Pentecost into the 21st century.  Jesus declared to the apostles: “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this Rock I will build My Church….” (Matthew 16:18).  Bible scholars call this the “universal Church.”  The vast majority of these members have already passed on and are with Jesus—the Founder and sole Head of the Church universal.

 

The physical church includes all born again Christians living today.  These churches are not brick and stone—the church is people.  Those Christians may gather together to worship the Lord in several different places:  in buildings, in houses, in shelters under thatched roofs, and even under shade trees depending on which continent a Christian group of people live.

 

This brings us to the last two distinctive characteristics of the local churches.  The seventh X-ray defines autonomous churches and association with other local churches. In Christ’s blueprint, the autonomous local church governs its own affairs, selects its own pastor and deacons, owns the building and property, admits only true Christians into membership upon their profession of faith in Jesus Christ our Savior, and conducts its own church business.  The association is not a denomination; it is the voluntary fellowship with other local churches which believe the Word of God and practice what the New Testament says.  These have no hierarchy of power or authority outside of the local Bible-believing churches.

 

The eighth X-ray of the local church that Jesus established revealed something great, but some-thing lost for centuries:  religious liberty!  In the era of the apostles all local churches had an equality.  An apostle did not rule from Jerusalem or Rome.   It did not merge with civil governments or empires.  God formed government keep order and obey the laws of the land.  Christ formed the local churches to proclaim the Gospel (the good news) and disciple those who confessed their sins and received Jesus Christ as their personal Savior (Matthew 22:15-22). 

 

Tragically, over the centuries since then, state and church changed dramatically from the blueprint of Christ the Head of the Church and churches.  No wonder there was the horror of the Dark Ages, the religious wars, the Inquisition, and persecution of any group that a different group did not like.  Why did the pilgrims flee Europe to the American continent?  European authorities of state-religions coerced, demanded, and forced true Christians to bow or be whipped, banished, jailed, beheaded, or burned at the stake in the name of religion.

 

Do you realize that as the centuries moved on that 9 of 13 American colonies imported that same vicious authority here?  Roger Williams founded Rhode Island for religious liberty from the state-church of Massachusetts.  Baptists like John Leland and Isaac Backus prevailed upon James Madison and Thomas Jefferson to get laws passed for religious liberty in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  It took 7 years to approve it!  Only after persistent prayer and dedication did the Continental Congress to approve the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech….”  May American Christians stand for religious liberty.

 

These 8 X-rays are the blueprint of New Testament churches as given by the Lord Jesus Christ the Founder and only Head of the Church and described by His apostles. 

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

An X-ray of the Church That Jesus Founded             September 25, 2017

 

These next 3 X-rays are an essential part of the God-given pattern of the New Testament church.  Last week the focus spotlighted the foundation of the church:  The Word of God surpasses all other authorities of men or traditions.  Second, every member must testify to be a true Christian (Acts 2:38, 41, 42).  Third, every member has the privilege from Jesus Christ to be partakers in the New Testament priesthood.   Peter called it a “spiritual house, a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” and “a holy priesthood … to proclaim the praises of God who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. (1st Peter 2:5 & 9).   Each truth builds upon inspired Scriptures.  Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church.  Members must be Christians.  Those believers have direct connection with God through Christ Jesus the one and only “Mediator” between man and God (1st Timothy 2:5-6).

 

The fourth X-ray of the local church is congregational government (Acts of the Apostles 2:41-42). What are the responsibilities of the local church?  (a) the selection of its own pastor and deacons (1st Timothy 3:1ff; 3:8ff); (b)  the election of officers (Acts 6:1-6: 13:1-4);  (c)  the budget supported by free will offerings as well as ownership of its property and building (2nd Corinthians 8:1-5, 12; 9:4-5, 7).  Bible titles for leadership:  overseer (NASB; KJV “bishop” (1st Timothy 3:1), pastor (Ephesians 4:11), elders (Acts 20:17, 28 = pastors); deacons (1st Timothy 3:8f); brother Timothy, fellow-servant Epaphras, “minister” (servant), and minister (“spiritual service” Epaphroditus  (Philippians 2:25).  Did you know that Peter described himself as “a fellow-servant” and warned pastors not to “lord” (be a master) over the church but to lead by a mature Christian example?  Did you miss something?  There were no archbishops and no hierarchy outside and above the local church.  The local church Christ builds is autonomous.

 

The fifth X-ray of the local church reveals only two ordinances:  believer’s baptism and observing the Lord’s Supper.  Both symbolized great Christian truths.  Jesus Christ was baptized in the Jordan river by John the baptizer.  Notice this—Jesus “came up immediately from the water” (Matthew 3:16) and the new convert from Ethiopia and Philip "went down into the water, and he baptized him.  Now when they came up out of the water….”  (Acts 8:38-39).  Baptism is by immersion.  In the Great Commission, Jesus commanded His disciples to baptize believers (Matthew 28:19; compare Acts 8:37 and 4:31).  What spiritual truth does baptism portray?  Paul wrote: “Therefore we were buried with Him (Jesus) into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead” (Romans 6:4; and Colossians 2:12-13).  Our former lifestyle dies; our new life is our spiritual rising from death.  Does the waters of baptism cleanse from sins?  NO.  Only the blood of Christ can do that (1st John 1:7 & Ephesians 1:7).  Miss something?  No infants were sprinkled in the Bible.  Baptism by immersion portrays a great spiritual truth.

Jesus commanded all Christians to observe the Lord’s Supper “in remembrance of Me.” (1st Corinthians 11:25-26.  What does this portray?  The body of Jesus on the cross.  The life-blood of Jesus shed to satisfy divine justice.  We must never forget the high price the Son of God paid for our sins, transgressions, and iniquities.  Who is entitled to partake of the unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine?  Only born-again Christians.  Every believer is to examine his or her heart.  Any sin unconfessed to the Lord?  Confess it to Jesus; He is ready to forgive.

 

The sixth X-ray is individual soul liberty.  A Christian should study the Scriptures for himself and interpret them as the Holy Spirit leads him or her (2nd Timothy 3:15-17; Acts 17:11).  In these X-ray sequences take note that all are based on the Word of God.  A Christian is not to be compelled by moral, legal, or government force to believe doctrines or practices contrary to the Bible.  The “Golden Rule of Interpretation” is: “When the plain sense of the Bible makes common sense, seek no other sense.”  (David L. Cooper).  Our souls and conscience need to be nourished and taught by diligent study of the Bible.  That is our right and privilege (2nd Timothy 2:15).  The Bible is “sure, making wise the simple (and) enlightening the eyes” (Psalm 19:7-11).

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

An X-ray of the Church that Jesus Founded              September 18, 2017

 

It was on an isolated mountain-side north of the Sea of Galilee that Jesus huddled with His 12 disciples.  They were tired.  Ministry, crowds, 24/7 lives can wear one down.  As they rested, Jesus revealed 2 great mysteries:

The Cross and the Church.  These unexpected, radical changes would fulfill the great Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament found in the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Daniel.

 

 

 

The mystery of the Cross: (Ephesians 3:8-11) The Old Testament priesthood and sacrifices were ended by the vicarious, once for all, death of the Son of God, the Lamb of God. “For Christ suffered once for sins, the just (righteous One) for the unjust (not righteous), that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit.”  (1st Peter 3:18). 

The mystery of the Church: (Colossians 1:26-27). Jesus revealed the new: “And I also say unto you, that you are Peter, and upon this Rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it.”  (Matthew 16:18).  The Covenant of Moses would be changed by the Body of Christ, the Christian Church.

 

What is the Bible’s meaning of “Church”?   It is a gathered assembly of born again souls.  It is not a building of cold stones and brick.  It is not a denomination.  It is a gathered assembly of believers Jewish and Gentile, an spiritual assembly from every nation, tribe, people, and tongue from the time of the Cross to the return of Jesus Christ.  And, the Bible describes local churches, gatherings of the present time, who have been saved.

 

Who is the Head of the Church?  The risen and exalted Lord Jesus Christ became the Head of the universal Church of believers.  Not Peter, not James, or not John, nor any other mortal. (Ephesians 1:20-22).

 

The first X-ray of the Church reveals this:  BIBLICAL AUTHORITY.  The Bible is the God-given supreme authority of faith and practice.  It supersedes all traditions of men, all private interpretations of men, all hierarchical systems of governance of men, and all so-called “new” revelations of men. (Matthew 15:1-9; Jude 3-4).  The “pillar and ground of the truth” is authority derived from the inspired Word of God (1st Timothy 3:15-16; 2nd Timothy 3:16-17).

 

The second X-ray of the Church reveals the Gospel’s impact upon what kind of people should be members of the local church that Jesus Christ has built.  That is called a REGENERATE CHURCH MEMBERSHIP.  “Regenerate” means to make alive.  Jesus told the Jewish scholar Nicodemus, “You must be born again” spiritually (John 3:3-7).  Everyone is born with a sinful nature.  All are described as being spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1-5).  Let me illustrate:  when a boy of 9, I was physically alive but spiritually dead.  The moment I repented and put my faith in the Savior Jesus Christ, He gave my soul spiritual life.  Jesus is the “resurrection and the life.  He who believes in Him, though he may die (physically), he shall live (now and in eternity)” (John 11:25).  After that, I was buried in baptism as a testimony of my faith in Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:12-13).  The water only got me wet; the “blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleansed me of all my sin” before I was baptized (1st John 1:7; 2:2; 1st Corinthians 6:11).  The Bible teaches personal faith in Christ comes first and baptism follows.  Therefore, only regenerated, born again Christians are to become members of a local church.

 

The third X-ray of the Church reveals a new kind of priests.  THE PRIESTHOOD of the BELIEVER.  The old Levitical priesthood of the sons of Aaron ended at the Cross.  Jesus Christ has become the sole High Priest (Hebrews 4:14; 7:24-28).   Note this:  Peter himself described the Body of Christ, the Church universal, as “living stones…a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1st Peter 2:5 & 9).  Every Christian can pray directly to God.  Praying to anyone else is not in the what the Bible teaches.  What a privilege!  What a personal relationship!  God’s Word declares: “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all ….”  (1st Timothy 2:5-6).  I hope that you have experienced a new spiritual birth and are a child of God.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Has Nature Gone Wild?  What’s Happening to Us?                        September 11, 2017

 

Many Americans are straining to find the answer the ultimate question on nature:  Has nature gone wild?  What is happening to us?!  Is there a reason for the specific timing of 3 horrific hurricanes, the horrendous number of wild fires scorching the western states, and the 8-point earthquake in nearby Mexico, and all this on the observance of the 9-11 terrorist attack on America?  Even the media’s liberal minds are straining to uncover the mystery of theodicy, that is, why does God allow this or do that to happen.  The best way to track the reasons are to engage in a Christian world-view.  When we cannot trace God’s hands, we can always trust His heart.

 

How can Hurricane Harvey flood and virtually close down the 4th largest city in the USA?  Experts figure that in just 3 days 9 trillion gallons of water turned the metro-area into a swamp.  Can’t picture that?  Figure this:  if the 48 states were level, water 8.5 inches deep would form an ocean.

 

How can Hurricane Irma storm into the entire state of Florida and displace 6,000,000 citizens?  It may take months before all electrical power and phone service is restored to 3,000,000 people.  Record-breaking wind speeds (up as high as 185 mph) wiped out entire cities on some islands before reaching Florida.

 

Recent front-page articles in the New York Times, a liberal newspaper, brought up the scenario of apocalyptic omens of things to come.  9-11 frightened many Americans, especially New Yorkers, and for about 3 months most churches recorded high attendances by those seeking comfort and answers from God.  It did not last long.

 

Many movies and books have used the words “apocalyptic,” and “eschatological” carelessly to shock people in their pursuit of financial profits.  Millions get their “shock” treatment for the moment and then go on with life as boring as before.  The blasts of the hurricanes, of earthquakes, and of forest fires raging out of control are no

harmless, entertaining events with no lasting consequences.  Someone said that reality is a lot more intriguing than fiction.

 

Nature gone wild has no simple, logical behavior.  When Christians gather in prayer, God might just answer. In His wisdom, He might not.  Nature’s power and devastations remind us that we humans are not in charge.  We are but ants boasting how mighty we are to elephants.

 

In searching the Word of God sometimes natural disasters were divine retributions for the Jews falling into the traps of idolatry.  At other times God brought about drastic famines—He turns of the faucets of rain clouds in the skies for years.  Sometimes God allowed vicious enemies to invade the abused Promised Land and steal crops and cattle.  Its pages are filled with repetitive cycles of blessings or curses.  Obedience brings the good.  Disobedience brings consequences. That book ends:  And “… everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (21:25).  An undisciplined dog can cause a lot of damage.  Some innocents experience collateral damage because the nation deserved severe discipline.

 

Are the “End Times” here?  God knows.  We do not know when the exalted Son of God will return.  When He does, better be ready.  In the book of the Revelation, our storms will seem puny compared to the tribulation.

 

Do I know why this or that disaster hit my country?  No.  I am not a prophet.  But this I do know, God is not pleased when He is scorned by sinners, innocents are murdered before they are born, and Biblical morality is being sneered at by worldlings and by many claiming to be persons of faith.  What we sow, we reap.

 

What do I notice?  When storms go wild, true Christians grow stronger in faith in the LORD, are caring for the unfortunate, and are risking their lives to save neighbors and strangers.  The best thing Christians can do is to urge unbelievers to turn from their wicked ways and put their trust in Jesus Christ to save their souls.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Give Him the Pre-eminence Over All              September 5, 2017                                                                               

 

            “In vain we seek for peace with God, by methods of our own;

                                    Jesus, there’s nothing but Thy blood can bring us near the throne.

                        The threatenings of Thy broken law impress the soul with dread;

                                                If God the sword of justice draw, it strikes the spirit dead.

            But Thine illustrious sacrifice has answered these demands;

                        And peace and pardon from the skies came down from Jesus’ hands.”

                                                            by Isaac Watts, famous hymnwriter (d. 1748)

 

Mortals can be awestruck by the August 21st total eclipse of the sun by the moon.  That’s incredible.  The timing of it, the bewildering impact of “midnight” at high noon.  Mortals can be shocked by a hurricane named Harvey.  That is for good reason.  Just imagine this:  in 3 desperate days Houston got one year’s average amount of rain!  Imagine it:  if the 48 states of America were flat, Harvey’s deluge could have covered them with 8 inches of water.  That’s mind-boggling.  It’s overwhelming.

 

But much greater that these fantastic events of space and nature is what Jesus Christ, the Son of God has done.  He is the ingenious Creator of every mountain, every star, and every galaxy.  He is the fine Tuner of every neutron and proton—even sub-atomic particles, even our DNA.  His every touch is absolutely amazing.

 

The Bible declares that “He is the image of the invisible God” – the Son of God became the Son of man (Colossians 1:15).  Jesus instructed Philip saying that “He that has seen Me has seen the Father … I am in the Father, and the Father in Me” (John 14:9-10).  John also recorded that Jesus revealed that “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30).  He even claimed to be equal with God.  Because He is!  (10:33, 36).  His critics then, and cults now, deny that.  But truth is truth.  Jesus the Son of God is pre-eminent over all powers and dominions.

 

The Bible declares that Jesus is the “firstborn over all creation” (Colossians 1:15-16).  That being so, He was in existence before the first microscopic thing or the Milky way came into being. This means He is as eternal as God is eternal—no beginning, always has been.   His critics did not know where He came from.  Cults and “isms” claim the opposite; that He was created.  “Firstborn” has the concept of rank or position, a quality of kind, not time.  It means “He is before all things and by Him all things exist” (1:17).  Jesus, the Son of God, is pre-eminent over all creation, though it is, as scientists measure, over a half-million lightyears wide.

 

The Bible declares that “He has delivered us (believers) from the power of darkness and conveyed (transported) us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13-14).  Jesus did what the sacrificing of millions of animals could not do:  put away sins from our souls when we trusted in Him (Hebrews 10:1-6).  From Adam to Malachi sins were atoned for, covered over in the “forbearance” of God (Romans 3:25).  Jesus offered Himself as the ultimate, the pre-eminent Sacrifice for absolutely blotting out our sins.  The Bible reads:  “…but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Hebrews 9:26).  Cults of the 1st century denied this because the eyes of their souls were blinded by ancient “philosophy and vain deceit according to the tradition of men….” (Colossians 2:8).   The once of all death of Jesus, the Son of God and Son of man, paid the penalty of divine justice:  death and eternal separation from God.  Jesus, the Son of God, is the one and only pre-eminent Savior of sinners like me and like you.  Have you turned from sin and put your faith in Him for forgive you and bring you into the family of God?  If not, I urge you to do so today.

 

Finally, may we as believers give Jesus Christ the pre-eminent place in our hearts and lives (Colossians 1:18).

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

 

Pastor Ed’s Devotional                August 30, 2017

 

We have begun a study of Colossians.  A convert of the Apostle Paul named Epaphras planted that new church in his home town about 100 miles east of Ephesus.  Paul praised God for Christians who were born anew to their new-found faith, sincere love of fellow believers, and sure hope of heaven.  “We give thanks to the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ always praying for you.” (1:3)

 

Pastor Epaphras (1:7; 4:12-13) became concerned about some teachers of false doctrines attempting to downgrade the pre-eminence of Christ.  He asked for help from Paul.  Though Paul had never met them, he added these new Christians to his long prayer list and sent this book to the church there.

 

Paul knew that the devil and such heretics would try to deceive these Christians like he deceived Eve and Adam (read 2nd Corinthians 11:3, 13-15).   Paul’s letter and ancient history painted this picture:  Fake prophets were teaching a defiled stone soup consisting of Jewish mysticism and pagan folk tales.  Shaman-like leaders boasted of being wiser than Jesus Christ, of having visions of going to heaven and back, and of practicing pagan rites and rituals to scare away evil spirits and diseases.

 

The apostle used the word “wisdom” 6 times in this book to show Jesus Christ is pre-eminent over all creation, both visible and invisible, over all thrones or powers, and over all angelic beings (1:18). 

 

(1) 1:9 – Paul prayed that Christians would be “filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.”  This “knowledge” means vastly “superior knowledge” to any mysticism or cultic powers. True wisdom is found pages of the Word of God.  There is no other book like it. 

 

(2) 1:27-29 – Paul preached “warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom” which can make every believer “perfect” (complete, mature) in Christ Jesus.  This is possible only if “Christ is in you, the hope of glory.”  New Christians are targeted by devil.  Victory overcomes the deceiver when the Christian is indwelt by the Spirit of Christ.  He is our strength.  He is our truth. 

 

(3)  2:2-3 – “in Christ are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”   Christ proclaimed the “mysteries of God.”  Such “mysteries” are divine truths unknown and not understood by believers until God reveals them.  Like what?  The miraculous mystery of the incarnation of the Son of God—He became the perfect Man.  The redemption price Jesus paid when He died on the cross.  The resurrection and exaltation of Jesus Christ to sit on the right hand of throne of God.  These save lost souls.

 

(4)  2:23 – Negatively, some things “have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body” in ascetic living.  Cults and foreign religions are “fake.”  Beware…

 

(5)  3:16 – “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”  No

religion has pre-eminence over Christian music!!  From my Psalter (c. 1854) to my newest songbook Majesty Hymns my music library contains several 1000s of marvelous melodies and Gospel truths which are filled with God’s Wisdom.

 

(6)  4:5 – Here is wisdom in practice, “Walk in wisdom … redeeming the time.”  Walking in the Spirit of Christ is seen in our dedication—faith, love, and hope—in action.  Christ-like conduct glorifies the Lord and reveals that we have found and practice the Wisdom of God.

 

Jesus Christ has the pre-eminence over all creation, over all great nations, and over every man-made god there is!  He is King of kings and Lord of lords.  Let’s bow and worship Him.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

 

 

Pastor Ed’s Devotional                August 22, 2017

 

On Sunday, we had a good day and great sermons by Evangelist Gary Bill.   He has preached in Akron and Gunnison—that’s how I met him.  He connected two great, epic events—one from heaven and one from the skies.  The first great epic event in the life of any person is being “begotten again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”  (1st Peter 1:3).  The other great event is the marvel God’s handicraft work in creation—the total eclipses of the sun.

 

Both events are incredible!  One lasts an eternity longer than the other.  The movement of the eclipse start to finish is less than a half hour.  The actual total eclipse will last about 2 minutes. The miraculous resurrection of Jesus from the powerful grip of death not only lasts forever, but the benefits for the one who is spiritually born again lasts forever, too.

 

What benefit is the total eclipse to us?  It’s a fantastic showcase in the skies of what God coordinated at the creation—we can observe the sun, moon, Venus, and stars during the daylight!  The sun is severely hot and blinding, yet for a few minutes, earth’s miniature moon turns daylight to darkness for a few minutes.  It’s future for the observer is to stand in awe of it.  But it cannot change a man’s soul.  It cannot promise us an inheritance in Paradise with the Son of God who created all of it.  It’s memory.  By the hand of God, the resurrection of a Christian lasts forever.

 

What benefit is the resurrection to the believer?  It is a spiritual miracle to be “begotten again unto a living hope.”  Jesus declared, “Because I live, you shall also live.”  This is much more than a memory in the skies.  Jesus told the grieving sisters—Martha and Mary, that “I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” (John 11:25).

 

Not only does the believer have life after death, God gives more blessings:  an inheritance in heaven; a reservation for the believer in heaven; a promise to raise the believer’s body and soul to Paradise.

This inheritance so far surpasses any gift a mortal multimillionaire can give to us.  This earth will pass away, but God’s Paradise in the new heaven and new earth last forever!! (Revelation 21:1-7).

 

How can this happen?  We have to admit that no one is perfect.  The door into heaven opens only for pardoned souls.  The Apostle Peter gave us good news when he wrote down on a scroll (now the Bible) that Jesus, the Son of God, “bore our sins in His own body on the tree (cross), that we having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.” (2:24).

 

Jesus Christ offers the total forgiveness of sins to anyone.  He paid the price by dying in my place—and your place.  “The wages of sin is death.”  What must one do?  I prayed to the Lord and put my trust in Jesus Christ alone to be my Savior and Lord forever.  Now I know for sure I am going to go to heaven when this life is over.  You can do this, too, and be certain about your destiny.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

 

Pastor Ed’s Devotional                August 14, 2017

 

The greatest gift the Lord wants to give us is everlasting life with Him in heaven.  Since there is no ladder or space capsule that can get us there, we need God’s help.  The Lord planned another way, the only way possible:  the Cross on which Jesus died for us.  Jesus is the Door to heaven (John 10:9).

 

The most important words that Jesus uttered came at the very moment He died:  in triumphant joy, He shouted, “IT IS FINISHED!!” (Gospel of John 19:30).  “Finished”?  What was Jesus saying?

 

The apostles John and Paul reveal the answer:  1st John 4:9-10 “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God sent His only begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him.  In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”  John made it very clear: “And He Himself (Jesus Christ) is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world”  (2:2)

 

And, Paul wrote Romans 3:23-25 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance

God had passed over the sins that were previously committed.”

 

Propitiation?  Please don’t let this precious word confuse you.  The apostles meant this:  propitiation “portrays the placating of God’s wrath toward sin; hence, Christ’s death satisfied the just demands of God’s holy justice against sin.” (footnote from Criswell). (see also 1st John 1:7).  Imagine a courtroom scene:  poor man is on trial for breaking the law.  He is found guilty and assessed a fine of $1 billion. He’s helpless. Then Jesus walks into the courtroom and tells the judge that He will pay the penalty in full.  Upon payment, the judge declares with his gavel:  “Paid in full.”  Case resolved.  Reconciliation has been made.  The poor man goes free.  This is what Jesus meant when He shouted, “It is finished!”

 

The greatest gift the Lord has to give the sinner, me and thee, is the redemption payment for our sins.

Listen to God’s Word, the Holy Bible:  My and your salvation has been once for all purchased by Jesus Christ and offered to us as a gift.  Romans 5:11 and 5:15 “the free gift … by the grace of one Man, Jesus Christ”, 5: 16 “the free gift”; 5:17 “the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the one, Jesus Christ.”   And, Ephesians 2:8-10 makes the path of salvation clear:  “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast.  For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”  Receiving the gift of salvation produces good works; it is not the other way around.  The best we can do cannot propitiate our sinfulness.

 

How do we receive the gift?   “But as many as received Him (Jesus Christ), to them He gave the right to become the children of God, to those who believe in His Name.”  (John 1:12).  Through repentance and faith in Christ, I received the gift of God as a 9-year-old boy.  I sincerely hope you have, too.  If not, today is the best time to receive the gift of pardon and salvation from Jesus Christ.  He is waiting for you.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

 

What Wonders God Can Do with You             August 7, 2017

 

It was a beautiful, hot in July afternoon along the Chesapeake Bay.  Joni and her sister Kathy loved sports—especially swimming.  But, on July 30th, 50 years ago, Joni mistook the depth of the water.  Her head collided with a rock breaking her neck instantly.  In that terrible second, her life changed radically.  Just 2 years before Joni had received Jesus Christ as her personal Savior and Lord.  Now she was a quadriplegic for life.  What was worth living for?  Joni found out.

 

What was her dream as a young lady?  Joni’s testimony revealed this lifestyle:  I had “confused the abundant Christian life with the great American dream.  I was a Christian and would … marry a wonderful man who made $250,000 a year, and we would have 2-1/2 children.   It was me-focused.  (It was) What could God do for me?”

 

The next few years were extremely difficult.  Trying to accept helplessness left her emotionally distraught.  What would her Lord do with her life?  But God can build a life worth living from the ashes of disaster.  Here is her testimony as recorded in World magazine (August 5, 2017).  “I believe what happened to me was an example of Hebrews chapter 12 discipline.  I’ve had Christians ask, ‘How could you say that of God?  That’s awful for you to say He would discipline you by making you a quadriplegic.’” 

 

“No. No. No.,” she said.  “Read Hebrews 12.  God disciplines those He loves.  Had I not broken my neck I’d probably been on my second divorce, maxing out my husband’s credit cards, planning my next ski vacation.  I would not be here extolling the glories of the Gospel and the power of the grace of God to help a person smile, not in spite of the problems, but because of them.”

 

World editor Marvin Olasky commented: “That’s important: she’s had a better life ‘not in spite of the problems, but because of them.’  …We tend to blame God—but who knows better than God how much adversity we need to build our character, glorify Him, and fit us for heaven?’”

 

From her wheelchair, despite her useless limbs, Joni Eareckson Tada has founded a Christian ministry called “Joni and Friends” to help people with disabilities around the world, has become an artist (painting with the brush clenched in her teeth), an author, a singer, and testimony to the grace of her precious Savior, the Lord Christ Jesus.

 

With a pen in her teeth, she penned this in her own “hand” writing: “If we truly obey Him as our Lord, we can be assured of eternal life and the promise of Romans 8:28.”   That Scripture declares, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”  She discovered this truth.  She has no regrets.  She invites you to receive Christ as your personal Savior.  If you are a Christian, let’s say with the apostle Paul:  “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.”

 

May you, may I, discover God’s grace and blessings regardless of the past trials, the present tough times, and what the future brings.  With Jesus Christ, we can overcome all obstacles.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

 

Pastor Ed’s Devotional                July 31, 2017

 

Jesus became one of us that we might become one with Him.  William E. Booth-Clibborn composed a wonderful Gospel song that touches my heart deeply.  With a poet’s flair, he penned this vivid description of Jesus Christ:

 

                        Down from His glory, ever living story,

                                    my God and Savior came, and Jesus was his name.

                        Born in a manger, to His own a stranger,

                                    A man of sorrows, tears, and agony.

                        What condescension, bringing us redemption;

                                    That in the dead of night, not one faint hope in sight,

                        God, gracious, tender, laid aside His splendor,

                                    Stooping to woo, to win, to save my soul.

                        Without reluctance, flesh and blood His substance,

                                    He took the form of man, Revealed the hidden plan. 

                        O glorious mystery, Sacrifice at Calvary,

                                    And now I know Thou art the great “I AM.”

 

                        Chorus:          O how I love Him!  How I adore Him!

                                                            My breath, my sunshine, my all in all!

                                                The great Creator became my Savior,

                                                            And all God’s fullness dwelleth in Him.

 

To the thinking of many, the 12 apostles wore angelic halos all day long and set it beside their pillows at night.  Quite the contrary.  God’s honesty shows in Luke’s Gospel, chapter 22:24 – “Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest.”  Pride, status, privilege showed its ugly head.  Can you believe this happened in the upper room at the Passover meal?

 

Jesus loved His disciples dearly.  Without a word, Jesus got up, found the basin of water and towel, and on His knees washed 24 dusty, smelly feet.  Watching Him wash and dry men’s feet for the better part of an hour, Peter was aghast.  He had not offered to wash the feet of Jesus.  Minutes ago, his ambition got the best of him. Guilt engulfed his conscience.  When Jesus kneeled to wash his feet, Peter exclaimed, “You shall never wash my feet!!!”  His burning conscience recalled how he had objected to Jesus before and broke down confessing, “I am a sinful man, O Lord.”  (Luke 5:5, 8 and Matthew 16:21-23).  That mental picture of his Lord kneeling before him with a basin of water and a towel would never leave him.

 

Jesus came to serve, not to be served (Matthew 20:20-28).  As the Servant of God, Jesus came down from heaven’s throne and “being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of man, He humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”

(Philippians 2:6-8).  Jesus died a sacrificial “Lamb,” paid my sin debt, and arose from tomb.   Have you bowed to Him and asked Him to forgive your sins?   Peter did.  May you bow to Jesus before the sun sets today.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Pastor Ed’s devotional                July 24, 2017

 

The Lord Jesus Christ wants you.  He wants you so much that He left heaven’s beautiful and peaceful life so that He might offer you a new life.  Mission accomplished on the cross of Calvary, Jesus ascended to take his seat beside God on His throne.  Right this moment, Jesus is watching over every person who has placed their faith in Him.  In the past, Jesus did a lot for you, for me.  In the future, Jesus will do great things for you, for me.

 

What the Lord has done for us is gloriously amazing.  The Apostle Paul testified this about Jesus:  “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, Who being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men, and being found in appearance of a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death even the death of the cross.”  (Philippians 2:5-8).   Let’s dig into what the apostle said.

 

Heaven, the paradise that no one in his right mind should ever reject, was the eternal home of Jesus.  He is the eternal Son of God.  Yet because He wants to save your soul from judgment, soldiers pounded spikes through His hands and feet fastening His tortured body to the wooden cross.  Rejected by the religious establishment of 1st century Israel, Jesus endured slander, whippings, spitting, a crown made of thorns, and death itself for you, for me.  Our past life, our sins, our transgressions were charged against His pure and holy soul.  For 3 long, horrible, heart-rending hours—noon to 3:00 p.m., He suffered the condemnation and death sinners deserve.

 

After His lifeless body was taken down from the cross, two believers defied the religious establishment and the occupying Roman politicians by giving Jesus a decent burial.  Just as Jesus foretold, on the 3rd day His body emerged from the tomb in an incredible display of His power over death.

 

Because the Lord Jesus loved you, He accepted the call of God to make reconciliation possible.  Jesus told Nicodemus, a Jewish scholar, that “… God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

 

It is now the 21st century.  What is Jesus doing?  He has His mind upon you, and me.  For the believer, He is watching out for us.  He is answering our prayers.  He is interceding with God for us when we sin.  He is preparing our very own home for us.  He is keeping us in His hands—no one can pluck us out of His strong grip (John’s Gospel 10: 27-29).

 

When Sir Michael Faraday, that great Christian and famous scientist, was dying, some journalists questioned him as to his speculations for life after death.  “Speculations!?” he said, I am resting on certainties.”  Faraday then quoted what Jesus was doing for him that day: “I know my Redeemer lives” and “because He lives, I shall love also.”

 

What Jesus did for us 2,100 years ago offers a person a full pardon for sins.  What Jesus is doing for us now is keeping the believer safe in His powerful and loving hands.  He wants you to believe in Him.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

 

Pastor Ed’s devotional                July 10, 2017

 

May the Lord bless you through His unfailing promises in the Word of God.  My reading last week focused on the Psalms—great comforts there!  In my other reading is a book called “This Day in Baptist History.”  It has a true story for each day of the year.

 

The June 24th testimony was entitled, “From Sincerity to Reality.” *  Can you imagine a father so desirous of doing right that for 7 years he conducted family devotions morning and evening with his family, and yet, he had not received Jesus Christ as his personal Savior.  This man, William Baskett was born in 1741 in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  His parents were members of the Church of England.  He and his wife Mary were blessed with 13 children, 8 sons and 5 daughters.

 

Baptist preachers began visiting his neighborhood and his soul was challenged by their talk of assurance of salvation.  His curiosity became intense, so he decided to go and hear a Baptist preach.  John Corbley’s sermon so impressed him that he and his wife went again.  He had never seen a new believer’s baptism by immersion before.

 

His soul became more and more convicted because he had no assurance of salvation.  It was so overwhelming that, on a dark and rainy night he trudged 3 miles to visit his Anglican minister.  William just had to know if it was possible to have one’s assurance of salvation.  This man told him that personally he found satisfaction only in keeping the commandments.  Realizing that he had already been trying all he possibly could to do religious things and keep the commandments, William’s soul received no comfort.  He persisted in questioning the minister.  There had to be a way to find peace in his soul.  The minister became frustrated.  He accused William of being insane.

 

Some 8 months later, kneeling beside his bed he anxiously begged the Lord to save his soul.  A verse came to mind: “He that trusts in the Lord shall never be confounded.”  He testified that “God was, in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself not imputing their trespasses unto them.”  (2nd Corinthians 5:19).  Immediately, a complete transformation took place in his soul.  God’s Word gave him the assurance that God accepted him!  In Christ alone he found the peace that surpasses all understanding.

 

May you discover what joy and peace there is in trusting in Christ as your Savior.  And, like William, tell others that they can have the assurance of salvation.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

The Angel of the Lord is Near                July 3, 2017

                   

 

Once a month an email letter arrives from a pastor’s wife and church missionary.  Fran has been widowed two times and has a grown son with a heart disease, yet I have not seen her discouraged with the Lord’s care for her.  Tears yes, but joy comes in the morning.

 

She sends prayer requests, too.  The first one was for Wayne:  she wrote, “a son of one of our older ladies - had a stroke, has bleeding on the brain along with severe headaches, blood clots in his neck and loss of sight.  Sight has come back a little.  Wayne is 56 and has all these physical problems plus other trials.”   His mother must feel helpless and still gives her burdens to the Lord in prayer.

 

How should a Christian respond to very serious health and other types of difficulty?  Possibly no one who suffered as much as Job.  Read the book of Job, chapters 1-2.  A terrifying storm crushed the house and all 10 of their grown children died.  His response?  In great sorrow, He stood up and tore his robe. In his culture this was a way of expressing great grief.  Bowing on his knees he prayed: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there.  The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the Name of the LORD” (Job 1:20-21).

 

Reading Psalm 34:4-7 this morning, I was impressed with David’s faith.  We can find comfort when we seek the LORD.  The Son of God is called the Angel of the LORD who “encamps all around those who fear Him.”  He is the One who can deliver us from all our fears.  We can be radiant instead of having a dour face.  Why?  “This poor man cried out, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.”   The Lord is always “camping” near to His own flock.

 

Whether in this life or for sure in heaven to come, in Jesus Christ we find peace and joy.  When visiting my brother Dave in Minnesota, we rejoiced that his adopted niece, Robin, now 32 and totally helpless in her wheelchair, will receive a perfect, real resurrection body.  How beautiful she will be!  (1st John 3:2 & Revelation 21:1-7).

 

Our Lord sustained Job, He has and is sustaining Fran, and for over 20 years He has sustained Dave and his wife as they give loving care to Robin.

 

Let’s “trust and obey, for there’s no other way to the happy in Jesus.”

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

Adventures and Bruises              June 27, 2017

 

Life is full of adventures and, once in a while, some bruises.  While we drove 800 miles to the Minneapolis area to attend a nephew’s wedding, we enjoyed safe trip.  With that new radiator and hoses, all went well.  But, once in a while, hail falls in Holbrook, Nebraska.  It caught us there, but the hail was marble sized or less.  No dents. Our Joanna told us about the hail in Cheyenne a couple days ago.  Large chunks destroyed their friend’s windshield and rear window in their old car.  When we go through life, our adventures can be happy (that wedding) or can be bruising.

 

At the same time our sister-in-law is being treated for breast cancer, her oldest son and his fiancé was preparing to be married.  Concern and joy mixed.  The cancer was caught very early.  Good.  Chemo?  The downside.  The wedding was wonderful, and especially so because Jack was marrying a fine Christian young lady. 

 

Wise King Solomon wrote: “To everything there is a season.   A time for every purpose under heaven.  A time to be born, and a time to die.  A time to plant, and a time to pluck what has been planted.   A time to kill, and a time to heal.  A time to break down, and a time to build up.  A time to weep, and a time to laugh.   ….  I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied.  He has made everything beautiful in its time.  Also, He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.  I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God.”   (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4a & 9-13).

 

May the LORD, mighty and compassionate, strong and tender, be our soul’s Anchor in all our adventures and bruises of life.  Job reminded us that despite the fact that we cannot figure out what lies ahead of us, God is still on His throne watching over us.  He testified, “But He (God) knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.”  How can this happen to us?  “My foot has held fast to His steps; I have kept His way and not turned aside.  I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.”  (Job 23:10-12).

 

Let’s “trust and obey, for there’s no other way to the happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

God Our Father is Near and Dear to Us                      June 19, 2017

 

Most Christians know the first 6 words in the Lord’s Prayer.  But, did you know that in the Old Testament, there are only 15 verses which refer to God as father?   For example, in 1st Chronicles 29:10 King David declared, “the LORD God of Israel, our father.” To our knowledge, no one began to pray back then saying, “Our Father, which art in heaven.”   When Jesus began his ministry, He changed all that.

 

In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the count jumps to 65 times; and, the Gospel of John described God as the Father of believers over 100 times.  Why?  Though God was near to Adam and Eve, Noah, to Abraham, to Moses, and to prophets and kings, there is no closer relationship to God than the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Jesus was “God incarnate.”   He was God walking among us as the Son of man.  His great purpose:  the Son of God came on a rescue mission to save lost souls from the coming judgment (John 3:16-18).

 

The only person really qualified to begin praying “Our Father” is the one who has been delivered from the clutches of sin and power of death by the new birth (John 3:3-5).  The Bible says, “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.  And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!”   Therefore, you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”  (Galatians 4:4-7). 

 

“Abba, Father.”   In the Hebrew language “Abba” means Father.  A born again Christian has been qualified by God, never qualified by himself, to become a son and daughter of God Himself.  Is this not amazing grace?!  There is no closer position than this for God to be near us.

 

And, it does not stop there.  God our heavenly Father loves His adopted sons and daughters dearly.  Jesus loved the eleven disciples to the Nth, the greatest degree (John 13:1).  The cross proved His love for us.  1st John 4:10 says, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”  Yes, it is true.  God our Father is near and dear to us! 

 

May this sermon/message bless your hearts and draw us all closer to our Father in heaven.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

National Flag Day:  May God Bless America            June 14, 2017

 

May we all give thanks to the Almighty LORD for the privilege of being an American citizen.  Flag day is Wednesday, and we have our flag ready to wave over the land of the free and the brave.  May God shed His grace and mercy and mend our every flaw.  Here is a little history for Flag Day.  Take notice of the bold print which proves most of our founders trusted in God.

 

The Declaration of Independence

 

“When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary to one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with one another, and assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

           

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among them are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  ….

           

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states….

           

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”

                                                                                    Signed by John Hancock

 

The Pledge of Allegiance:

 

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and for the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

 

On the Liberty Bell housed in Philadelphia are the words from Leviticus 25:10 – “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land.”   And, below that verse, the Bible declares, “Ye shall not oppress one another; but thou shalt fear thy God, for I am the LORD thy God.”

 

May we fear (be in awe and great respect for) the LORD who in His providence formed a land of liberty, law, and moral goodness for the benefit of all its citizens.  President George Washington described America as a nation founded on “religion and morality.”  He knew that the Holy Bible had to be its foundation if God was to bless America.

Sincerely,

Ed Anderson,  pastor

 

 

 

Praise, Problems, & Perseverance                  June 5, 2017

 

Our Lord is to be praised!   King David had lots of experience with great victories and the gritty trials down in dark valleys.  In Psalm 103:2-4 he composed a true praise song: “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits!  Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your soul from destruction, Who crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercies.”

 

Politicians in the 1960s promised America would become a “Great Society” in which poverty would be eradicated.  Failed.  Some politicians these days are promising to make America great again.   Such human aspirations are fine and dandy; we hope it happens.  But the bottom line is this: “America bless God” first and foremost.   That sentiment holds true for you and me, too.  The more we praise God for who He really is and thank Him all the marvelous things He has done for believers, the more God will bless us.   The news media’s reports are very disheartening—every week, terrorists as well as emotionally distraught persons are unleashing the weapons of destruction on innocent civilians here and abroad.  But, in the LORD, there is hope.  There is news from heaven: “I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33)

 

In the era of the prophet Isaiah some 700 years before the birth of Jesus, Israelites were slaves in heathen Babylon.  All was disheartening.  But, God’s prophet was given this message for the godly remnant: “Comfort you, comfort you, My people, says your God.  Speak you comfortably [tenderly] to Jerusalem, and cry out unto her, that her warfare has ended, that her iniquity is pardoned; that she has received of the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.”  (Isaiah 40:1-2; for their sins, see Isaiah 1:1-18).  There hope for America if God sends a great spiritual revival.

 

Isaiah 40:29-31 described what God would do for His people when hearts were revived.  “He gives power to the faint; and to those who have no might, He increases strength.  Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young man shall utterly fall.  But, they that wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.”

 

In our lives, may we praise the Lord with comforting, confident, and persevering faith.  Jesus promised that no one can pluck us out of His powerful and gentle hand (John 10:28-30).

 

                                                            He will be with us all the way.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Jesus Christ:  Our Mediator                   May 29, 2017

 

Well, the Lord is blessing the fields, our lawns, and our gardens with rain in the northeast corner of Colorado.  We take time to thank the Lord for His many mercies.  The greater blessing than rain is that the eternal Son of God left the throne in heaven to partake in our humanity as the God-Man.  This is an astounding blessing:  Jesus came to be our Mediator!

 

The message last Sunday is a series of sermons on the titles and names awarded to the Lord Jesus Christ.  He saw my need of a Mediator.  He saw your need,  a Mediator.  He met that need.  God’s word declares that there is “one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus; Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1st Timothy 2:5-6).

 

There is a great gap between God and sinners.  My sins, your sins, everyone’s sins separate us from God.  God declared to ancient Israelites that “your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear,  …. None calls for justice, nor any pleads for truth; they trust in vanity and speak lies; the conceive mischief and bring forth (more) iniquity.”  (Isaiah 59:2 & 4).  That is so true for the 21st century American culture.   Violence, immorality, lies, murders, covetousness are corrupting things everywhere.  The prophet Jeremiah was deeply grieved that in his day sinners were not even capable of blushing while living such raunchy lifestyles.  That is as low as it gets.

 

God’s only begotten Son came down to stand between wickedness and righteousness.  On the cross He laid down His life and died in shame – our shame.  His life’s blood paid the ransom price of divine justice.  Now God offers a full and free pardon to all who will sincerely repent and put their trust in the crucified and risen Jesus Christ.

 

In the Mediator, we have been given a new covenant that blots out our sins from His book (Acts 3:19).  We have a perfect sacrifice in Christ who died once for all and forgives us when we sin.  (1st John 1:7-2:2).  We have been given a sinless, eternal High Priest whose compassion for us is amazing (Hebrews 4:14-16).   Hallelujah!  What a Mediator!

 

May we always look to Jesus the great Savior and Mediator for all the help we need.

May you be blessed as together we trust and obey the Lord during our sojourn on earth.  The New Heaven and New Earth is our destiny (Revelation 21:1).

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

A Parable of the Judge and the Sinner                       May 23, 2017

 

May you have a good 15 minutes in meditating on the precious Word of God today.  The Bible is God speaking to us.   He is glorious and majestic, but also is near and hears our prayer requests.  God is our shield.  He will shower His grace and mercies upon all them that walk uprightly. 

 

Sunday’s message was different:  Most of it was a modern parable about the Courthouse of the Judge of all the earth:  Almighty God.  A man, a wretched sinner, was brought in by an angelic constable to face serious charges against him. This parable was in one of Charles H. Spurgeon’s sermons.  It has been adapted and added to by me for our era and time.

 

The Judge on the royal throne called upon the man’s accusers:  13 men who knew his past life stared daggers at the accused.  He was trembling with fear.  One man charged him with blaspheming the name of Jesus.  A second man charged him for being violent and arrogant.  A third man blamed him for being an adulterer, alleging: “We caught him in the very act!”  All 13 of them shouted in unison:  “He must not live, and he shall not escape; he must be lost!”

           

The Judge sat quietly upon His throne.  The Judge ordered the next witness to step forward and identify himself.  He declared, “I am Law; the Law of that Moses brought down from the mount on two stone tablets.”   Law stood still, his cold heart glaring with a fiery countenance at the accused.

 

 ”What is your charge?“ asked the Judge.  Lifting high the stone tablets, he answered with a shrill voice:  “This wretch of a man has broken all of the Ten Commandments.  My demand is blood, for it is written in the Law and the Prophets that, ‘The soul that sins must die!’”   The accused man began to shake uncontrollably.

 

The Judge answered Mr. Law and commented: “Mr. Law, this wretch deserves to die.  Justice demands it.  Mr. Law, your charge is written in the law.”  Just then, the Son of God, the defense attorney, spoke out:  “Father, I will do Your bidding.  Impute, charge, levy his sins upon My righteous soul as the sacrificial Lamb of God.  You sent Me to the cross to die in his place.  You accepted that payment of his debt by raising Me from the grip of death and bondage of the wicked one.  I paid his death sentence in full.”

 

The Judge smiled His approval.  A third witness, unseen but spoke to the heart of the accused: “Yes, I must be punished.  I cannot deny the charges against me.  I deserve that place of extreme suffering.” His name was Conscience.  The Judge counselled the man: “No, your Conscience fears your past.”         Then the Judge picked up a branch of hyssop, dipped it into blood of the Savior which was on the altar in heaven, and sprinkled it his Conscience.  From the Holy Book He read, “How much more shall the Blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your Conscience from dead works to serve the living God.”  (Hebrews 9:14).

 

The Judge tenderly said to Conscience:  “Now what do you have to say?”  He responded, “Nothing.  Nothing.  No more will I grieve him.  I will be a good Conscience to him through the soul-cleansing Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ his Savior.”

 

The Judge asked if anyone else had a charge against the accused man.  Up from a vault below, a grim, black sinister fiend appeared.  He glared at the accused with a hellish majesty on his brow.  Seething with malice and wrath, the devil spit out these charges: “He made a league with hell, and a covenant with the grave.  In a drunken fit he asked God to destroy his soul.  He vowed that he would never turn to God.  See!  Here is his covenant with hell!” 

 

Sitting tall at the bench, the Judge reminded the adversary, Satan:  “There is an important precedent in the case.  A man named Saul of Tarsus wreaked havoc on the Church My Son founded.  By his own admission, he was the worst of sinners—a blasphemer, a murderer, and a violently arrogant man.  My Son appeared from heaven rebuking him.  Falling down on his knees, Saul humbly repented, confessing, ‘O wretched man that I am!  Who will deliver me from this body of death??’   At that moment Saul placed his faith in Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world (1st John 4:14).  Jesus Christ, the Judge of the living and the dead, granted him a full pardon.  He is known now as Paul the apostle.  His testimony:  My Savior “delivered me from the power of darkness, and has translated me into the Kingdom of His dear Son; in Whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins.”  (Colossians 1:13-14).

           

The devil was enraged, howling, “That man standing accused today in this court before many witnesses is my child fully deserving my wrath.  He deserves to die and be cast into the fiery darkness of lake of fire.  Would you pardon him and cast me down into my hellish pit?!”

 

The Judge pronounced the decision: “You, fiend, that serpent of old, called the devil and Satan, are to be cast out of this court forever, and will be cast down into the lake of fire and brimstone!”  (Revelation 12:9; 20:10).  You know full well that the accused committed these many sins before the day he kneeled in repentance at the foot of the cross.   My only begotten Son died in his place breaking the powers of sin and death (Hebrews 2:14-15; 1:3).  Just as My Son pardoned a thief on the cross—that murderer and thief—I declare this sinner pardoned! I have blotted out of My Book all charges against him and have written his name in the Book of everlasting Life.”

           

The Judge of heaven and earth welcomed that man into the kingdom of God! 

Luke 19:13-14 & Ephesians 2:1-10

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

                                                                                                                                   

 

 

Our Creator’s Handcrafting of Mothers                     May 15, 2017

 

May you have a good day in meditating on the precious Word of God.  The sermon on Mother’s Day centered on Proverbs 31:10-31.  God first created Adam and breathed into his nostrils the gift of life.  Matthew Henry, a British pastor a couple of centuries ago, added this thought about how much loving care God put into the creating of Eve: “The man was dust refined, but the woman was dust double-refined, one remove further from the earth.”

 

Pastor Henry continued his tribute to womanhood: “That Adam slept while his wife was in the making, that no room might be left to imagine that he had herein directed the Spirit of the Lord, or had been his counselor (Isaiah 40:13).  He had been made sensible of his want (lack) of a meet (comparable) help; but, God having undertaken to provide him one, he does not inflict himself with any care about it, but lies down and sleeps sweetly, as one that had cast all his care upon God, with a cheerful resignation of himself and all his affairs to his Master’s will and wisdom.”

 

No culture in the history of all the nations in this fallen world matches the honor and grace that our Creator placed upon womanhood.  Pastor Henry continued, “That the woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved.”

 

Tragically, Adam and Eve sinned grievously against their Creator God.  Both were punished by the righteous sentence of God with hard work, sweat, and pain (Genesis 3:14-21).  C. S. Lewis, in his book regarding his experience with the painful death of his wife, observed that “God whispers in pleasure, speaks in our conscience but shouts in our pain; (pain) is our megaphone to rouse a dead world.”  There is no pain of any kind attributed to the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31, yet, there is no doubt she experienced trying times of pain whether in her body or in her soul.  How might she have coped?  How could she endure it without anger?

 

G. K. Chesterton had a gift of one-liners in response to events.  One day, while he was walking down a cold London sidewalk in his heavy cloak, he turned at a corner was bumped hard by a grandfather clock a man was carrying.  Flat on his back, Chesterton looked up at the man and said: “Why don’t you wear a wristwatch like everyone else??”

 

Such an attitude will enhance every relationship by men and women everywhere.  Let’s strive by God’s grace to be filled with faith, hope, and love until our Lord returns in glory.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

The Virtuous Woman’s Worth is More Precious than Rubies                May 2017

 

One of the most precious memories I have of my mother Ida Earlene Robbins took place when Dad and Mom visited our home in Omaha.  I awoke early in the morning and discovered Mom sitting on the sofa, floor lamp on, and reading the Bible on her lap.  After the Lord took her Home to see the Lord Jesus Christ in heaven, Dad often would tell the seven of us children, “Mom was the most godly woman I ever met.”  Yes, the worth of a virtuous woman far surpasses the value of precious rubies.

 

Sometimes my Dad called my mother “Ruby.”  That was not her first name and not her middle name.  This name must have come from Proverbs 31:10.  The book of Proverbs ends with this commendation of a virtuous woman:  “Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.  Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.”  (Proverbs 31:29-30).  

 

What is a virtuous woman?  The literal translation of the word is “a woman of strength.”  It encompasses the ideas of the inner strength of soul, of deep value, capability, valor, and beauty.  Without the LORD, a woman cannot be virtuous in His sight.  When a teenager, Mom repented and received Jesus Christ as her personal Savior.

 

The Lord providentially brought my parents to meet in a small-town restaurant in mid-Arkansas.  Her father was a man of God and worked as a sharecropper.  My father was in army camp preparing to join the battle against Japan in World War II.  He and a couple of his army buddies had leave and drove north to see their families.  For my father, that meant Upper Michigan.  Stopping for a meal, a local waitress took their order:  beer.  Looking at one of them, she said he should not order that.  Dad: “Who is she to tell me what to do?”  But her virtue caught the attention of his heart.  On the return trip to the Texas boot camp, he was determined to stop again and order coffee with his meal.  He got her address.  They communicated by letters during the rest of the war.  Soon after he returned, they were married.

 

Were women in the 9th century before Christ just “property, servants, and second class”?  Not under the Bible-centered Mosaic culture!  Pagans treated women badly.  The LORD who handcrafted Eve also praised a woman’s place in society. 

 

Look carefully at what this virtuous woman was doing:  verse 10, 25 -- she always treated her husband good so that he trusted her;  verse 12-15 --she was a diligent homemaker;  verse16-19, 24-25 – she was a business woman and her house a shop; she made clothing for herself, her family, and for the poor, too;  verse 23 – she respected her husband’s achievements and she was honored in the city in which they lived;  verses 26-28 – on “her tongue was the law of kindness” (compare Proverbs 1:8-9), that is, she gave moral and spiritual instructions to her several children.  Her children loved, respected, obeyed her.  Her husband loved her from the heart and praised her virtue.   Boaz spoke gently to the heart of Ruth, too. (Ruth 2:11-16).

 

Were my parents without fault?  Am I?  Oh, no.  But, by the grace and help of the LORD our Savior, we strive to live for the glory of God.  May we all commit ourselves to walk with Jesus in the paths of righteousness and virtue, too.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

The Contented Soul                      May 2, 2017

 

Are the average American parents trying too hard to make the life of their children easy?  Can this “soft life” be the cause of unhappy young adults?  Studies prove that this is the case.  Here’s the attitude of one man about his extremely tough life:  “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say ‘Rejoice!’”  He had learned to be a contented soul in the school of hard knocks.  His testimony was this: “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.”  (Philippians 4:4, 11).

 

The man was Saul of Tarsus, better known as Paul, the apostle of Jesus Christ.  Here’s a short version of his dangerous experiences and survival episodes.  Facts:  for preaching Christ’s death and resurrection he was imprisoned several times, whipped violently 5 times, punished with wooden rods, almost killed by stone execution once, survived 3 shipwrecks in 1st century boats, and bobbing in the rough waters of the Mediterranean Sea all night long and into the next day.  That is just the starter:  in his trips of missionary evangelism he suffered perils of crossing raging rivers, of robbers, of persecution, of angry mobs in Greek cities, and malice from cult extremists.

 

What buoyed his soul?  “I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound.  Everywhere and in all things, I have LEARNED TO BE CONTENT.”  (Philippians 4:11).  How?!  “I can do all things THROUGH CHRIST who strengthens me.”  (4:13).  There is no one anywhere who can bring contentment to the souls as can Jesus Christ.

 

A Christian explained where contentment comes from.  He said that resentment comes from looking at others; but, genuine, deep down contentment comes from looking at God.  God promises the believer that He will never leave him nor forsake him.

 

What about a Christian man lying in a hospital bed after life-threatening surgery?  Last Friday I visited this man and read from the Bible: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;  and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  … whatever things are true, noble, righteous, pure, lovely, of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, MEDITATE on these things.  The things that you learned, received, heard, and saw in me, these do, and the GOD of PEACE WILL BE WITH YOU.”  (Philippians 4:6-9).  Then, I read verse 11 – “…I have learned in whatever state I am, TO BE CONTENT.”    As tears came to his eyes, he said quietly, “Yes, to be content.”  He knows that God will take care of him and make a way for him through the recovery weeks ahead.

 

Contentment of the soul begins with learning—increasing our knowledge of Christ by observing mature, contented Christians.  That’s the mindset.  Contentment of the soul is learned by practice.  This means our personal experiences with Christ.   Contentment of the soul is to learn the secret God’s providential care.  This refers to everyday of our life journey, whether good or bad, trusting in Christ bring contentment to the soul.

 

If you have put your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, He becomes your contentment.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Great Joy on That Sunday Evening                  April 25, 2017

 

Just before His death on the Cross, the words of Jesus were extremely enlightening.  He had revealed to His eleven disciples that “a little while, you will not see Me; and again a little while you will see Me, because I go to the Father” (John 16:16).  I imagine that if we were in the same situation, our reaction would be “huh??”    Please say that again….   His disciples stared at each other with blank expressions. (verse 19). 

 

Jesus continued, “… I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice, and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy.”  (16:20).  Their minds were in a thick fog just like I was on Saturday driving on highway 34 west of Akron, Colorado.  Jesus had often told the disciples about a certain event—an hour—a critical hour in His ministry.

 

To clear some of the fog in their heads, Jesus told a parable.  “A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.” (16:21).  The disciples who were married knew what their wives had gone through.  But what did that have to do with Jesus??

 

Let’s move past the cross on Calvary’s hill and the empty tomb.  Date:  On Sunday evening, 3 days later.  Setting:  the upper room filled by 10 depressed and frightened disciples.  Thomas, was absent.  Shocking news from an angel at the tomb: “He is not here; He is risen!”   A Person entered the room while the doors were locked shut, saying: “Peace be unto you.” That voice.  They recognized that voice. He displayed His pierced hands and side.  Seeing the Lord, their sorrows cleared.   Their souls were overwhelmed with gladness (John 20:20).

 

But, where was Thomas?  They ran to tell him that the Lord had risen from death’s grip just as He had said He would.  Thomas doubted: “I will never believe!” that unless I see Him and put my fingers on His hands and into His wounded side.   Eight days later Thomas was with the 10, when miraculously, Jesus appeared in His resurrected body of flesh and bone.   Jesus passed the test.  Tenderly Jesus encouraged him to stop doubting and believe.  He touched Him and his doubts cleared instantly.  Thomas shouted, “My Lord and my God!”  (John 20:28).  His faith in Jesus was restored for a lifetime on that Sunday evening.  What joy filled his soul.

 

May the Lord help us to believe with all our hearts and say, “My Lord and my God!”  Jesus can clear all our doubts and give us assurance that He is for real—that we can trust Him implicitly.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Paid His Taxes, too                        April 19, 2017

 

It’s a wonderful Spring day—warm sun shining, blue skies, and lilacs blooming.  Yet, for most Americans, there is the unpleasant business of 1040s, 1040es, and C, and D, and SE, and more.  Jesus knows how you feel.  He survived and so will we.  The King of kings paid taxes, too.

 

On one occasion when Jesus and His disciples strode into the city of Capernaum for ministry.  A tax-collector spotted Peter.  He surprised Peter demanding unpaid taxes, “Does your Teacher not pay the temple tax?”  (Matthew 17:24 – a half shekel of silver = $64.00).   Peter said that Jesus had been paying taxes.

 

Leaving the tax collector and entering Peter’s house, Jesus posed a question to Peter:  “What do you think?   From whom do the kings of the earth take customs or taxes--from their sons or from strangers?”  He responded, “From strangers (foreigners).”  Jesus reasoned that sons (citizens) were free—tax-exempt in that Jewish historical era.  What was the point?  If Jesus was King and the temple belonged to God, Jesus owed no temple tax.  This was a teaching moment for His disciples:  Why was Jesus exempt from paying taxes?   Jesus was born to be the King.

            But, to avoid upsetting the tax collector, Jesus told Peter to toss a fishhook into the lake, retrieve the coin from out of its mouth, and pay the tax.  Don’t you wish you could find a rich fish like that?  As high as taxes are now, you would have to catch a whale!

 

Sometime later, Jesus was confronted by a controversial tax issue (Matthew 22:15-22).   The Herodian political party and the Pharisaic religious party made an unholy alliance and promoted Roman taxation.  The Jews hated being taxed by their heathen conquerors.  After all, Israel was an occupied nation.  Jesus was put on the “hot seat” with this challenge:  “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”  If Jesus sided with politicians or with the people, one group or the other would hate Jesus for that.

            Asking for a coin (denarius = $32), Jesus challenged them: “Whose image and inscription is this?”  It was Caesar’s face.  “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”  Heathen politicians and dead religion advocates were stunned.  No one gets the best of Jesus.  He knows people inside-out.  Jesus exposed the dark schemes, the envy, and the hypocrisy in their hearts. 

 

What should Christians do?  Stand up for Jesus Christ in the 21st century.  Yes, pay taxes as due.  But, let’s put our heart into serving Jesus and laying up spiritual treasure in heaven. There are no taxes in heaven.  He has risen!  He is the coming King!

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Amazing Providence in An Ordinary Week               April 12, 2017

 

God’s involvement in the lives of Christians can be amazing.  It was not extraordinary for a pastor be asked by a 97-year-old lady to officiate her funeral.  It is somewhat unusual for a person that age to live another 5 years.  When Moses, the friend of God passed his century mark in age, he wrote: “LORD, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days that I may know how frail I am.” (Psalm 39:4).  The final days of a Christian are in the hands of God. 

 

In late March this sweet lady was in an assisted living center when she fell and was taken to the hospital.  Her daughter called to let me know that her mother Dolly was weakening.  Hospice care was being arranged. We had moved from Nebraska to Colorado two years ago—now an 800-mile roundtrip drive to return to Omaha, Nebraska. 

 

On April 3rd, the following Monday, Marie’s oldest son called informing me that his mother just began hospice care in her 82nd year.  She was a member of our church in Omaha.   I prayed that that the Lord would work this out.   Oh, my!  We had no idea how long each lady would be under hospice care.  Both dear Christian ladies expressed their desire to be in heaven with their Lord and Savior.  Two funerals not knowing when they would be.

 

On Wednesday, April 5th, 2017, Dolly’s daughter notified me that her mother had passed away. The funeral was scheduled by the family for Monday morning at 11:00.  The next day I went on-line to reserve a hotel room for Sunday night.

 

Two days later, Marie’s son called again—his mother passed away that day and the family set the funeral for the next week.   On Tuesday morning at 10:00.

 

This is God’s amazing providence!  Two funerals---one on Monday morning and the next on Tuesday morning. Two different families.  Two different funeral homes.  Same city.  No conflicting dates.  One 800-mile roundtrip, not 1600 miles on two long drives.  A pastor friend on late notice was happy to preach in my place on Sunday evening.  Oh, and the motel reservation did not go through; not sure how I might have made a mistake!  I had reserved a room on-line several times before without a hitch.  On Sunday night, we stayed overnight in Lincoln with relatives and on Monday night we were invited to stay with a wonderful Christian family.  A treat—it was the husband’s birthday that night.  We joined the family singing “Happy Birthday!” The Lord arranged so many things in such good order for our trip. (and on the drive back home we did not hit even one of 8 deer ready to cross the highway at dusk.) 

 

GOD IS FOR REAL!!   God’s personal involvement in our life was amazing again

 

When we wait on the Lord to see how He will work things out, He comes through in His timing and His way.   This is Romans 8:28 in the 21st century: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

That We Might Enter Heaven               April 2, 2017

 

The Passion Week brings to our minds to face the most important question about the death of Jesus Christ.  If we understand the answer, we may be one of those persons who has the assurance of entering heaven.  Why did Jesus have to die? 

 

John Charles Ryle has provided a clear and powerful answer to the question.  He wrote, “We must not be content with a vague general belief, that Christ’s sufferings on the cross were vicarious.”  Vicarious means that one person becomes a substitute, a representative, or proxy for someone else.  Jesus died a vicarious death.  He was never guilty of sin.  We mortals have all been born with a sin nature.  Here is why Jesus died that vicarious death on that old rugged cross.

 

“Was He scourged?  It was that through His stripes we might be healed” in our spirit and soul.   (Isaiah 53:4-5)

“Was He condemned though innocent?  It was that we might be acquitted though guilty.”            (Matthew 27:23; John 8:46).

“Did He wear a crown of thorns?  It was that we might wear the crown of glory. (Matthew 27:27-31; 1st Peter 5:4)

“Was He stripped of His raiment?  It was that we might be clothed in everlasting righteousness.”       Philippians 3:8-9).

“Was He mocked and reviled?  It was that we might be honored and blessed.” 

(Matthew 27:41-42).

“Was He reckoned a malefactor (bad person) and numbered among transgressors?  It was that He might be reckoned innocent and justified for all sin.”      (Isaiah 53:12).

“Was He declared unable to save Himself?  It was that He might be able to save others to the uttermost.”  (Matthew 27:41-43).

“Did He die at last, and that was the most painful and disgraceful of deaths?  It was that we might live forevermore, and be exalted to the highest glory.”       (Luke 23:33).

 

Why did Jesus have to die?  Because we cannot save ourselves from “the wages of sins (we have committed) is death” (Romans 6:23).  One of the criminals dying on a cross next to Jesus yelled to the other thief, “… Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation?  And we indeed justly for we receive the due rewards of our deeds; but this Man (Jesus) has done nothing wrong!” (Luke 23:40-41).

 

Yes, Jesus died a vicarious death for me, for you.  Will you, like that one murderer did, repent, turn from your sinful life, and ask Jesus, “Remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”

Jesus affirmed this man’s repentance and faith in the Lord comforting him:  “Assuredly, I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”  (Luke 23:43).

 

Jesus is the Door to heaven (John 10:9; Acts of the Apostles 4:12).

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Fact and Irony of the Passion Week                March 27, 2017

 

With the Easter season approaching, let’s take a closer look at the last days of Jesus in Jerusalem.  Jesus led His disciples down from Galilee to the hostile capital city of Jerusalem.  There is irony here in this event:  the ugly head of hostility arose in the very city whose name means “peace.” (“salem” = peace).  Several times ironies cropped up during Passion Week.  One of them is this:  The one who was mocked as king is indeed the King!

 

What is “irony”?   It is an expression in which the intended meaning is the exact opposite of its usual sense.  For example, a fireboat burned and sank.  This irony is found in Matthew 27:11, 29.  The Roman governor Pontius Pilate demanded, “Are you the king of the Jews?”  Jesus answered, “It is as you say.”  Not long afterwards, Pilate succumbed to fear and confusion to the blood-thirsty mob and delivered Jesus to be crucified. 

 

The next scene unfolds in the Praetorium (the governor’s headquarters).  A garrison of Roman soldiers surrounded Jesus, stripped off his clothing, threw an old scarlet robe over his shoulders, and placed that sharp crown of thorns upon His head.   Some wicked men made sport of the Jewish “king” screaming over and over, “Hail, King of the Jews!!”  Finally, when they tired of slanderous games, they spit in His face and one grasped a reed and with it pounded again and again on that thorny crown.  The severely abused figure stood silently — “His visage was marred more than any man … He has no form or comeliness (majesty); and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.  He is despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.”” (Isaiah 52:14 & 53:2-3).  A slanderous sign was fastened over the cross: “This is Jesus – the King of the Jews!”

 

Jesus had told Pilate:  “You say rightly that I am a king.  For this cause I was born, and for this cause I am come into the world….” (John 19:37).

 

The irony was that the King of kings was mocked—made slanderous sport of—but in reality, was King Jesus.  This depraved world may slander Him, but when He returns, Jesus will come as King of kings!  (Revelation 19:16).   Amen!!

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

 

What is Jesus Praying for You?             March 20, 2017

 

What Jesus prays for is always for our good.  Around the entire world there are not many praying for our good.  Why?  99.99% of the world’s population do not know me or you.  Even the rest did know our names, they very likely would not know what is best for you.  Most important is this:  they cannot guarantee the results.  I cannot do that.  Jesus can pray for us and can make it happen.

 

Just before Jesus was arrested by the armed guard of the High Priest, He and the Eleven were gathered for prayer.  In that prayer Jesus declared, “I have prayed for them … for they are yours.”  While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your Name (God) … none of them is lost except the son of perdition….’” (John 17:9 & 12).  What was Jesus praying for the Eleven?  “… that you should keep them from the evil one (the devil).”  (17:15).  The prayers were answered just like Jesus said.  Peter and the 10 might have slipped, but they were kept safe from the diabolic adversary’s “fiery darts” (Ephesians 6:16).

 

Jesus prayed specifically for Simon Peter. At times, he talked back to Jesus.  Sometimes he became over-confident in his strength. Jesus knew his weaknesses.  “And the Lord said, ‘Simon, Simon.  Indeed, Satan has asked for you that he might sift you as wheat.  But, I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen the brethren.’   But he said to Him, ‘Lord, I am ready to go with you, both to prison and to death.’  Then He (Jesus) said, ‘I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.” (Luke 22:31-34).  Jesus’ prayer was answered; the devil’s trap failed.

 

Jesus had finished preaching the redemptive message of the Kingdom of God in the region of Tyre and Sidon along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.   From there He walked with the 12 disciples traversing about 50 miles of hills and villages and spreading the Word of God.  When they came into Decapolis area on the southern tip of the Sea of Galilee, a man deaf and mute was brought by compassion friends to Jesus to be healed.  “Then looking up to heaven Jesus sighed and said to him, ‘Ephphatha.’ that is, ‘Be opened.’  Immediately his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was loosed and he spoke plainly. …. ‘He makes both the deaf to hear and the mute to speak!”  (Mark 7:31-37).  God answered His every prayer for others.

 

Jesus also had stipulations about praying.  Here is what He required of the Eleven: “And whatever you ask in My Name, that will I do, that the Father might be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:13).  Jesus is our Mediator to God in such prayers.  No mortal being is entrusted with such authority.  The expression “in My Name” denotes authority, not mere sayings the words.  God is not a celestial “Santa Claus” who gives whatever one demands from Him.

 

A second stipulation is this:  When Jesus prays, He always prays according to God’s will.  He does not ask on His own.  The Apostle John penned these sacred words, “Now this is the confidence we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us, we know we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” (1st John 5:14-15).  God’s will is best for us.  God’s time to answer is His best for us.

 

Let’s pray without ceasing – God is listening.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Jesus Is Praying for You               March 13, 2017

 

One of the most wonderful features of the Christian faith is that the Son of God is praying for us.  The Apostle John declared, “… And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (1st John 2:1).  What does this mean, an “Advocate”?

No one is perfect.  Our human nature is flawed.  Sinners, like me and like you, desperately need a defense attorney.   The Bible calls such a person an “Advocate.” No one is permitted to enter Heaven whose soul is at odds with God—the Holy One.  Unforgiven sinners will find the gates of Heaven are closed.  As long as a person continues in a sinful condition, he cannot “inherit the Kingdom of God” (1st Corinthians 6:9-10).

 

How can the Lord Jesus Christ become the “Advocate” we need?  Jesus answered the question.

“For even the Son of man (Jesus) did not come to be served, but to serve and give His life a ransom for many.”  (Mark’s Gospel 10:45).  Jesus is much more than an Advocate.  There are human defense attorneys:  the accused pays them to defend them in court.  Jesus, as our Defense Attorney, personally paid the bill for us!  His death on the cross paid our sin debt.  The debt is “the wages of sin death.” (Romans 6:23).  Jesus offered His life’s blood to make atonement for the sins of the world.

 

How can Jesus become your Defense Attorney?  Just ask him.  If we plead “guilty” and repent to God for our sins and put our faith in Jesus Christ alone, He will become your Defense Attorney.  What happens then?  “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” (Acts of the Apostles 3:19).  God will forever blot out sins committed in the past.  While computers “delete” buttons cannot wipe the slate clean forever, God’s “delete” can wipe out our sinful past permanently.

 

What about sins committed tomorrow?  Again, our Defense Attorney is in His office.  Call for Him!  What will he do for a Christian who sins?  The Apostle Paul explained it in this way: “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (1st Timothy 2:5-6).  He will defend you before the Judge of all the earth—God Himself.

 

The Christian’s requirement: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just (righteous) to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  (1st John 1:9).  Upon repentance, Jesus is our Mediator (lawyer) between God and sinner.  Jesus prays that God will pardon those sins.   God will accept the plea of Jesus—the Son of God.  Immediately, the Christian is acquitted and the case is closed. 

 

Salvation is the gift of God paid for in its entirety (Ephesians 2:8-10).  His gift is not received because we did some good thing to make up for sinning.  Forgiveness is the grace of God pardoning sins.  Praise the Lord, He is in Heaven praying to God for us.

 

Yes, The Lord Jesus Christ prays for our salvation and earnestly prays for our cleansing from sins.  Jesus is the “Door” to heaven.  He is always available to become our Defense Attorney.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Great Peace in Stressful Times             March 6, 2017

 

Several years ago, a verse caught my attention and has guided my life in stressful times.  It was penned by King David in that great 119th chapter of the Psalms. Verse 165, “Great peace have they who love Thy law, and nothing shall offend (cause to stumble, or become a stumbling block to) them.”  God can give the Christian peace of soul during times of stress and difficulty with people and tough times.

 

For example, when the young and courageous David offered to challenge the giant Goliath, his older brother’s tongue cut him down for pride and haughtiness (1st Samuel 17:28).   Eliab was about 40 years old and a trained fighter.  Yet he was afraid to volunteer.  His outburst was an attempt to save face.  David replied, “Is there not a cause?” and walked away without being offended or getting into a tongue-lashing.  David had a heart devoted to God.  The enemy’s blasphemy against God was more important than arguing among themselves.

      In the weeks following David’s heroism, King Saul became insanely envious of the praise being poured out on young David for slaying the giant.  At a royal dinner, David escaped death by ducking the king’s spear.  Once again, he never got mad at his king.  Rather, he put his trust in the LORD to deal with the king (1st Samuel 26:7-12).  David responded according to God’s will and had great peace in his heart.  His conscience was clear.

 

Another example:  What are some stumbling blocks that really put our tempers to the test?   It happened to Moses after God led the people of Israel into the wilderness where water was scarce.  Many angry men railed on Moses for leading them into a desert to die.  Tempers flared.   Bloodshed was in their eyes.   Moses bowed down and prayed earnestly.  God told him to pick up his rod, stand in front of maddening crowd, and strike the rock.   Out gushed a huge fountain of waters enough to quench the thirst of over a million people and millions of livestock.   He believed that God could do the impossible.  This is that great peace God gives when tempted to get mad (Exodus 17:1-7).

           

Many things try to stretch our faith in God when someone offends us.  It is impossible to live without facing bad times.  These low times can make or break us.  Reading the life story of David in the Psalms exposes a lot of his bad times, his brushes with death, and opposition from both friend and foe.  My rough estimate is that 90-95% of his Psalms, no matter what the issue or how good or bad it was, he always ended on a high note.  Time after time, God more than answered his prayers when he cried out in faith for help.  God will show great mercy upon the person “whose heart was after God’s own heart” (1st Samuel 13:14).

 

May the Lord help us all to see everything as God sees it and trust His hand.  We may see no way out.  But God can make a way.  A veteran of a lot of criticism and stressful episodes was the Apostle Paul.  He trusted God and could write: “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

(1st Corinthians 10:13).

 

To God be the glory!  He can make it possible.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

The Sure Destiny of the Christian                    February 21, 2017

 

One of the greatest things that the Christian can anticipate is living forever with Jesus.  Yes, there is a new paradise to replace the old.  It is a sure thing to the believer.  Can anyone be sure that they will go to Heaven when they die?  What must they do? “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”

 

In A. D. 125, a Greek man by the name of Aristides wrote to a friend explaining why this “new religion” [Christianity] was so successful.  He wrote: “If any righteous man among them passes from this world, they rejoice and offer thanks to God, and they escort his body with songs and thanksgiving as if he were setting out from one place to another nearby.” *

 

Just last month our church conducted a funeral service for a faithful Christian lady.  A nephew and his wife sang an old song with the theme, “We are going to a place where we will never grow old.”  What sweet comfort this song was to the immediate family and everyone present.

 

Ever wonder what believers’ bodies will be like in heaven?  Our bodies will be resurrected and be like the resurrected body of Jesus (read this in 1st John 3:1-2).  Each will miraculously be given a body that is real, tangible and will last forever without ever growing old.  It will possess the 5 senses:  sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste.  The capabilities of this heavenly body will vastly exceed our present bodies.

 

We will not become angels; they are spirits with no bodies.  We will have body, soul, and spirit – made in the “image and likeness of God” were Adam and Eve, our first parents created by God (read 1st Thessalonians 5:23).

 

What wonderful hope does that hold for the crippled, the aged in worn-out, the weak bodies, and the marred?  Joni Eareckson Tada broke her neck diving into shallow waters in a river.  She was paralyzed from the neck down.  Here is her wonderful testimony: “I still can hardly believe it.  I, with shriveled, bent fingers, atrophied muscles, gnarled knees, and no feeling from the shoulders down, will one day have a new body, light, bright, and clothed in righteousness—powerful and dazzling.  Can you imagine the hope this gives someone who has a spinal cord injured like me?  Or someone who is cerebral palsied, brain injured, or who has multiple sclerosis?  Imagine the hope this gives some who is manic depressive.  No other religion, no other philosophy promises new bodies, hearts, and minds.  Only in the Gospel of Christ do hurting people find such incredible hope.” **

 

Ever wonder if you will be among those who experience heaven?  Here is how Joni received this guarantee of heaven:  Romans 10:9-10, 13 “That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation … Whoever calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved.”  This can be you today!

 

Ever wonder what believers in heaven will do?  Rene Pache described it this way: “The future heaven centered more on activity and expansion, serving Christ and reigning with Him … The emphasis in the present heaven is on the absence of earth’s negatives, while in the future heaven it is the presence of earth’s positives magnified many times through the power and glory of resurrected bodies on a resurrected earth, free at last from sin and shame and all that would hinder both joy and achievement.”

 

Will you now put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for pardon of sins and the gift of everlasting life?

 

*  Randy Alcorn, Heaven, page x;   

**  Joni Eareckson Tada, Heaven, Your Real Home.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Love from One Heart to Another                     February 14, 2017

 

One evidence of a true romantic relationship is to save valentine cards from years past and give it again in love.  You might discover that you are just as much in love now as when those cards were first given.  Love “bears all things, believes all things, endures all things, (and with God’s help) love never fails (1st Corinthians 13:7-8).  Many old cards can be read anew keeping the candle of romance burning enlightening their lives.

 

Have you saved and re-used valentine cards??  This can awaken and warm up past romantic sentiments.  Now some husbands might have saved them just to save some $$$.  That’s a tightwad husband.  Some may have saved them, so that, if he forgot the 14th of February, he has an out.  He’s off the hook.  Many wives do save valentine cards and hope that their man will never leave them. 

 

Genuine love from the heart will show itself in the little as well as the big things he does when caring for her.  Just a couple of years before Jesus was born, it came to be the turn of Zacharias to offer incense in the temple at Jerusalem.  In the dim lights of the golden lampstand the elderly Jewish priest was startled by a heavenly creature.  The angel Gabriel prophesied that he and his wife would have a baby boy.  Zacharias refused to believe it, responding, “I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.”  What a “touch”!  That husband did not call her the old lady.  Love will find her car keys when she forgets where she last put them down.  Love will vacuum the carpet when she is rushing about expecting company.  Love sees the little “touches” that bless a marriage and nourish a good response.

 

Genuine love from the heart will show itself in the way he proves himself to be trustworthy.  The Christian husband will not get fresh with another woman.  Job never permitted his eyes stare at another woman (Job 31:1-4).   Far too many marriages are in deep trouble—lack of love, breaking their vows, falling apart.  A husband in that town had jilted his wife and kids. I will never forget the desperate look on our son’s face when he was about 8 years old.  He looked up at me, in fear and almost in tears, asking: “Daddy, you will never leave Mommy, will you?”  I immediately responded, “No, I never well leave Mommy.”  Marriage is a sacred commitment of one soul to another.  Those who keep their vows faithfully honor the Lord and are a blessing to their families.

 

Genuine love from the heart will show itself in the way he is responsible in nourishing and cherishing her in body, soul, and spirit.  A woman is both like a man and unlike a man.  He is stronger and focuses on getting a job done.  She is bound to her relationships with other women and children and strives to fulfill their needs.  A man is offended and brushes it off.  A woman’s soul is hurt and grieves over it.  If she hurts someone’s feelings, she apologizes.  If he hurts someone’s feelings, he moves on.  As is often the case, the Christian wife reads the Bible more than he does.  But, he is responsible to be the spiritual leader in the home (Ephesians 5:29 and Titus 1:9).  The apostle Peter was married.  He did his homework to know just how women “tick.”  Listen to his counsel: “Husbands, likewise dwell with them (wives) with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together (husband and wife) of the grace of life, that your prayers be not hindered (by his sorry behavior).”  (1st Peter 3:7).

 

The Christian husband will provide for her and family regardless of the time, effort, and expenditure.  Such a man gives his wife and family a sense of security. 

 

Yes, genuine love reaches from one heart to another, and, back again.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

What is Genuine Love?               February 7, 2017

 

The family consisting of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus loved Jesus.  They loved Him before their brother suddenly fell sick, died, and four days later was miraculously brought back to life.  Jesus loved them even before they met.  Taking action is one of the signs of genuine love.  Mary had such love.

 

Oswald Chambers penned his personal observation of how genuine love expresses itself: “If human love does not carry a man beyond himself, it is not love.  If love is always discreet, always wise, always sensible and calculating, never carried beyond itself, it is not love at all.  It may be affection, it may be warmth of feeling, but it has not the true nature of love in it.”

 

Mary’s love carried her to the dinner at the home of Simon, a former leper, with a single purpose—to anoint Jesus with costly oil of spikenard.  The price of that perfume was over $55.00 a pound.  Its wonderful aroma filled the large dining room.  Reclining there at the table, Judas Iscariot was grieved and called it a waste.  He attempted to cover his real intent by suggesting it be sold and money given to the poor.  Cover-up?  Yes.  He was the treasurer for the apostles.  Often his greedy hands slipped into their money bag.  His criticism was vocal and sharp.  Jesus not only heard every word, he knew that covetousness had utterly corrupted his soul.  The thief was mad at Mary. 

 

Jesus immediately rebuked him, “Let her alone!  Why do you trouble her?  She has done a good work for Me” (Mark 14:6).  The tone in His voice silenced all table conversation at once.  In verse 8, our Lord

continued, “She has done what she could.  She has come beforehand to anoint My body for My burial.”

 

This incident took place just two days before Passover—the offering of the lambs at the temple in Jerusalem.  Did Mary know Jesus would be crucified in just a couple days?   That’s very doubtful.  What motivated her to honor Jesus as royalty?

 

Genuine love cannot be hidden.  An act of love may strike an observer as a rather dumb to do.  A deed of kindness may be performed beyond the call of duty.  Taking action for the benefit, comfort, or blessing of another person is love in working clothes.   Genuine love resides in the heart and nature of Jesus.  Such amazing love pointed to the cross where Jesus went beyond duty.  Such love seemed a foolish thing, an agonizing way to demonstrate genuine.

 

The apostle John described genuine love perfectly:   1st John 4:7-10 – “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.  In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God sent His only begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him.  In this is love, not that we loved God, but He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”   (propitiation means to placate the wrath of God the Judge against sinful deeds thus satisfying divine justice due to the lawbreaker).

 

It was the genuine love of Jesus that drove Him to sacrifice His life’s blood as the Passover Lamb of God. 
The “wages of sin is death” both physically and spiritually; the “gift of God is everlasting life” (Romans 6:23).  Jesus arose, conquering the power of death and sin’s bondage.

 

God’s Word declares: “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all….”  (1st Timothy 2:5-6).  I hope you will believe in Jesus and discover His love for you today.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Love from Heart to the Ear                     February 6, 2017

 

February has a very special holiday on which millions of Valentine cards are sent to very special persons in their lives.  Should we express to our spouse only on this occasion?

 

There is a story of the Irish man who was convicted by a sermon that he had been remiss in expressing proper love and appreciation to his wife.  He hurried home and burst into the kitchen with a speech of belated gratitude to his faithful wife who was standing at the sink.  She stood transfixed, stared at him in utter bewilderment, then finally managed to say: “Well, this is too much!  This morning I broke one of my best plates, I’ve had a splitting headache all day, and now you’ve come home drunk!”

 

The source of real and lasting love comes from the heart of God. Our Creator handcrafted the bodies of Adam and Eve magnificently.  He loved them at first sight.  He also made them in His image and likeness so that, unlike the animal kingdom, He could engage them in talking, laughing together, and planning the arrangement of the Garden of Eden’s plant kingdom.

 

God’s love to Abraham, the father of the Israelites, is shown in Deuteronomy 7:6-9 – They were God’s “treasure.”  He “set His love” on them, not because they were the largest people group, but because He loved them and was forever committed to keep His oath to Abraham and his descendants.  

 

Despite all of the good and bad things that the Israelites did as they wandered away from God, He has been unbelievably true to them.  Born with a sin nature, as all persons are, God endured lies, backslidings, hatred for their brethren, murmurings in the wilderness of Sinai, idolatry with the golden calf, attempts to

usurp Moses’ God-given leader- ship, and the grievous sins recorded in the book of the Judges, and much more.  Are these sins worthy of a divine divorcement from that nation? 

 

Comparing the love story of Boaz and Ruth, we find a totally different setting.  Ruth was a Moabite, an outsider, who converted from idolatry to the God of Abraham.  She would not abandon her mother-in-law Naomi.  Once back in the land of Israel, Ruth had the initiative to go out and harvest the grain as low income people would by the regulations of God.  There Boaz observed her.  Romance might have been in the air when he in kindness and appreciation “spoke to her heart” (Ruth 2:13).

 

As the story continues, Boaz again spoke to her heart when Ruth requested he take her hand in marriage under the provisions of Levirate laws (3:10-11).  He would be true to word and he gave her a generous gift of food for both Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi.

 

The blessings of love are not only romantic words shared often and from the heart.  The blessings of love are expressions of one’s steadfast and faithful love for a lifetime.  The blessings of love are also the tenderhearted care for the needs and desires of the one loved. This kind of love is for real.  This kind of love is cherished more than the Valentine card received.

 

The Christian husband is to love his wife unconditionally.  No matter what happens or matter what the future brings, he is to love her as much as Jesus Christ love the Church (Ephesians 5:25).  The Christian wife is to show great respect for her husband – a respect blended with romantic, faithful, and enduring love. (Ephesians 5:33).

 

May you enjoy a very happy Valentine’s day!

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

The Man of God in the Family and in the Workplace                    January 30, 2017

 

Our Sunday sermon was a continuing series of messages out of the book of Ephesians.  We have arrived at the last chapter of that wonderful book.  In 6:4-9, the apostle Paul penned a greatly needed message to the 1st century culture in the Roman metropolis called Ephesus.  Our generation can profit greatly if it is taken to heart.

 

The first point is that a Christian husband should be a “man of God.”  The Bible described Moses as a “man of God” who was as vulnerable as any man to fear and facing powerful opposition.  Him, a fugitive and lowly shepherd, challenge King Pharaoh face to face!?   He could never do that!  But God could.

 

Time after time the Lord appeared to him in order to encourage him to trust and obey.  God would face down that king—the ten plagues absolutely devastated the kingdom of Egypt; the Pharaoh and his charioteers were drowned in the Red Sea as Moses watched safely on the eastern shore.  God can be trusted all the time.

           

A Christian husband should be a spiritual leader in the family (6:4). He ought to “add to his faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge (of the Bible), and to knowledge, temperance (self-control), and to temperance patience, and to (patient perseverance), godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness charity (love).”  2nd Peter 1:5-7.

 

Such a man will be able to nurture his family.  This makes him a better and faithful husband.  This involves raising their children successfully in body, soul, and spirit.  In mid-life, after being a nominal Christian for several years, my own father began in earnest to point us to Jesus Christ and the Bible.  I wanted a study Bible just like his.  What a legacy of learning from the Book of books.

 

Such a man will admonish his family.  That means to encourage and point his children in the right direction by both word and example.  All 7 of us (5 boys and 2 girls) came to faith in Christ.  He had a great influence on his grandchildren and great-grandchildren as well.

 

The second point was that he should be a “man of God” in the marketplace and in his career (6:5-9).  Note the apostle’s emphasis is that everything a man does should be “as unto Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, as bondservants of Christ, as unto the Lord.”  Here is honesty, integrity, sweat-equity.

 As Paul Harvey, America’s beloved commentator and newsman put it:  “God said, I need somebody to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper, and then go to town and stay up past midnight at a meeting of the school board.  So God made a farmer.  …. Somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed, and rake and disc and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk and replenish the self-feeder and finish a hard week’s work with a five-mile drive to church.  So God made a farmer.”

 

In the book of Ruth, Boaz was that “man of God” and farmer.  He sought the welfare of the hired hands.  He allowed the poor to do “work-fare” gathering free wheat or barley left behind in the fields to put bread on the table.  He cared for the sorrowing and suffering—Naomi, a relative and her daughter-in-law Ruth returned to Israel after its famine was over.  He “spoke friendly” (to her heart) bringing needed comfort to her spirit and to feeling secure in her soul.  (Ruth 2:13).

 

Let’s be men of God “as unto Christ” who is our Lord, Savior, and coming King.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

 

The Assurance of Eternal Life with Jesus Christ                  January 23, 2017

 

 

When you purchase a new car, a new refrigerator, or some other expensive item, you would want a warranty that covers its performance and durability.  Do you know that the Lord has the best warranty of our spiritual performance and durability?  The Bible contains such a guarantee.

 

Ephesians 1:11-14 spells out the details of this guarantee:  “In Him (Jesus Christ) also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,  that we  who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory, in Whom you also trusted, after you heard the Word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation;  in Whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, Who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”

 

Got that?  “the guarantee of our inheritance.”

 

The guarantee has been made through Jesus Christ.  He always keeps His word.  Many people think that they are the ones responsible for this guarantee of eternal life beyond the grave.  They try to reform and be good.  They join a church.  They get baptized.  They partake in the sacraments.  They do their best to be a good neighbor and a good Samaritan.   Stop and think—if those good works can manage to open the gate of heaven to you, then why did Jesus offer Himself to die on the cross?  That makes no sense at all.

It voids the guarantee.  It breaks the warranty because there is not one single human being that will never sin, or to use the automobile as an example, there has never been a car that never needs repair.

 

Romans 8:3 declares that our best efforts to keep the Law—the Ten Commandments—is futile.  The Bible explains the truth:  “For what the Law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh (our best efforts), God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin;  He condemned sin in the flesh.”

 

How can we get on this guarantee?  First of all, one must repent for our sinful nature and sins we have committed.  Jesus put this condition first:  “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand” (Matthew 4:17).

The apostle Peter appealed to a crowd, “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” (Acts 3:19).

 

Romans 10:9-10, 13 is the “contract” --  The word of faith is this.   “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  ….  For whoever calls upon the name of the LORD shall be saved.”

 

What blessings follow putting your trust in Christ alone to pardon and accept you?

      *    Our condemnation is gone—blotted out of God’s book  (Romans 8:1; John 3:18)

      *   The Holy Spirit will come and dwell in your heart and soul (Romans 8:9-11)

      *   You will be adopted into the family of God (Romans 8:14-16)

      *   You will be issued an inheritance in heaven by the Lord (Romans 8:17)

      *   You will be given a new resurrection body fit for life in heaven (Romans 8:23; 1st John 3:1-2)

 

How is this for a new life?  How is this for a guarantee of eternal life?  Jesus paid the high price of His life’s blood for me, for you.  Will you, right now, repent and put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ? 

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

 

The Redemption of the Body – Romans 8:23                       January 20, 2017

 

When God created Adam and Eve, He “handcrafted” them with perfection.  They were made in the “image and likeness of God” and blessed them (Genesis 1:26-28).  Unlike God, they possessed bodies—a physical, skin and bone, breathing creature.  Like God, each possessed a soul and a spirit.  Adam and Eve were the premier creatures of God possessing mind, emotion, and will.  God could have a rational conversation with them, and they could communicate verbally with Him. 

 

Then the crash came:  they were tempted by the arch-deceiver.  Satan spoke to them through an animated a serpent.   God judged them for this rebellion.  First, Eve would be subject to pain in childbirth.  Then Adam would be judged with laborious farming battling weeds, thorns, and infertility in nature.  God’s premier creatures retained soul, spirit, and body.  All three distinctive were corrupted as their sin nature pulled them away from God.  They were condemned to die.  So are we.  God made a plan for the salvation of one’s soul and the “redemption of the body.”

 

The beginning of a new life is found in Jesus, the Son of God.  The apostle Paul wrote: “What shall we say to these things?  If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).  The Son of God became the Son of man.  God sent Jesus Christ on a rescue mission delivering Him up to pay the death penalty for all the people in the world.  On the cross Jesus suffered an infinite death in soul, spirit, and body.   He was the one and only Representative all humanity.  Having died and raised to new life, Jesus called all humanity to believe God could now forgive them.  How?  by our repentance toward God and our faith in the Savior.   Then, praise God, there is “now no condemnation” (Romans 8:1-4).

 

The blessings of a new life in Jesus Christ are marvelous and merciful!   (1)  No condemnation – our sins blotted out (Acts 3:19).  (2)  The Holy Spirit comes to indwell the believer providing him a new divine nature (Romans 8:9-11; 2nd Peter 1:3-7).  (3)  The new believer is instantly adopted into the family of God

(Romans 8:14-16).  (4)  God gives the new believer an inheritance, blessing beyond our greatest imagination – all the blessings in heaven are ours (8:17).

 

Can all such blessings be given to us because we try to keep all Ten Commandments?  No.  It is utterly impossible never to sin.  Romans 8:3 explains this: “For what the Law could not do, in that it was weak through our flesh (our best efforts utterly crumble), God sending His Own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.”

 

The sure hope of eternal life is with Jesus Christ.  He alone guarantees the believer not only forgiveness for sinning, but gives a hope backed up with a promise: “For I reckon the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us.  ….   Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children (believers) of God.  For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now.  And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.”  (Romans 8:18, 21-23).

 

Jesus declared: “I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live!  And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die (forever).  Do you believe this?”

 

My question for you is:  Will you believe this and claim His promise of the redemption of your body, a body transformed prepared by God to live eternally with Jesus Christ in heaven?

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

A New Season, What Will It Bring                    January 9, 2017

 

“No matter what a man’s past may have been, his future is spotless.”  Dr. John R. Rice

 

2016 is history lived, filled with ups and downs, good times and bad days.  The Lord once again has opened a new year before us. How will the days and months unfold before us?  We have our hopes and our dreams, and yet you and I do not know with certainty what the new year will bring.  One thing is sure—“my Lord knows the way through the wilderness;  all I have to do is follow.”

 

Someone composed a thought-provoking poem entitled “His Unfailing Presence.”  Will you ponder the message with me?

 

            Another year I enter its history unknown;

                        Oh, how my feet would tremble to tread its paths alone!

 

            But I have heard a whisper, I know I shall be blest;

                        “My presence shall go with thee and I will give you rest.”

 

            What will the New Year bring me?  I may not, must not know;

                        Will it be love and rapture, or loneliness and woe?

 

            Hush!  Hush!  I hear His whisper; I surely shall be blest;

                        “My presence shall go with thee, and I will give you rest.”  selected

 

Is this a coincidence that I found this poem on the same morning that I read about a depressed and anxious man of God?  I came across it as I began my annual journey through the Word of God … God spoke these comforting words to Moses,

 

            “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”    Exodus 33:14

 

What caused Moses’ anxiety and depression?  The personal stress of leading a stiff-necked and self-centered multitude of over 600,000 men, their wives, and their children to the Promised Land. 

 

Almighty God delivered the Israelite slaves out from under the iron thumb of the wicked king of Egypt – the Pharaoh.  His hard oppression had made their lives extremely bitter.  Now they were free!  But human nature is inherently self-centered.  Griping and murmuring obsessed them:  No water!  No food!  No land of milk and honey!  And, then it happened—the impossible.  The ungodly, ungrateful mob made and bowed down to an idol – a golden calf.  Moses was exasperated.  He had had it.  Depression set in.

 

The Almighty God that counseled Moses on the mountain made a promise:  “My Presence will go with you.”  Assured that the Angel, the Messenger, would go with them and bring them to the land of milk and honey, Moses’ heart was recharged.  The Son of God led them, provided for them, and they entered the Promised Land.

 

Like Moses and Joshua, we can trust God to lead us and provide for us until we enter the gates the Promised Land.  Heaven is for real.  Every genuine Christian will enter into that rest to be with Jesus.

I hope that you know for sure that God has reconciled you to Jesus Christ.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Be Strong & Courageous in 2017                     January 2, 2017

 

One of my favorite Bible verses as a teen is found in the Book of Joshua, chapter 1, verse 8: “This Book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you might observe to do according to all that is written in it.  For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”  The LORD God urged Joshua, the leader of the Israelites, to do this with all his heart.   God promised him two benefits of practicing this every day:  he would be prosperous as God blessed him and he would experience a truly successful life.  We can have that, too.

 

The “Book” that God referred to is Deuteronomy.  This was the second presentation of God’s Laws.  It summarized God’s commandments, God’s holy days of worship, and God’s blessings for obedience and severe discipline if they broke His laws.  God, being good, wise, and compassionate formulated the best laws any nation ever had.  Moses declared: “What nation is there that has a God so near to it, as the LORD our God is to us, for whatever reason we call upon Him. And what great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this law which I set before you this day? (Deuteronomy 4:7-8).  One reason that America has prospered and had good success is that our founding fathers gleaned wisdom and beneficial laws such as God gave to Israel.

 

Three times Joshua was told to do two things: “Be strong and be courageous!!”  Having seen the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea, and seen God provide water out of the mountain rock for some 2 million people (and all their livestock), and seen God give them manna--angels’ food for 40 years, Joshua trusted God to continue to display His power.  By Joshua’s faith, the waters of the Jordan River piled up many miles north and all the Israelites walked across a dry river bed.   Not long after that, the army marched around the well defended city state of Jericho and the wall came tumbling down.  Not one enemy city could stop the war of liberation in the Promised Land.

 

Once in that land, Joshua commanded everyone to set up their tents and then gather around him.  He built an altar for worship and presented sacramental offering to God on Mount Ebal (Joshua 8:30-35).  There he inscribed a summary of God’s great laws on a large stone for all to see.  Having done that, he read all the words of God’s laws to the people.  God blessed them by carrying out every single word that He had promised to do (Joshua 21:43-45).

 

How can we benefit from God’s laws and regulations?

  • First, read them for yourself and then tell others about how great they are. 
  • Second, meditate on God’s words and download the wisdom of God into your mind.
  • Third, apply the goodness, wisdom and compassion of God into your life and place that into every day “shoe leather,” meaning action.

 

Meditating on God’s word means the careful reading, understanding, and practice of God’s will.  Dr. Harry A. Ironside made this observation: “It is by meditation that we really make the Word our own.  To read attentively is like eating the Word.  Meditation answers to digestion of the truth.  Mere intellectual acquaintance with the letter of Scripture avails little.  It is as we weigh carefully what God has revealed that we obtain from it that spiritual power that enables us to rise above our difficulties and triumph by grace over all our foes.  Thus we grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.   We become weak and are easily overcome when we neglect this important spiritual exercise, for the Word (of God) fed upon alone gives strength.”

 

May God Himself bless you with strength and courage in this new year!!

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

Print Print | Sitemap
© Faith Bible Baptist of Yuma - 1&1 IONOS MyWebsite