Sunday, January 12, 2020

The Silversmith

Bobservations Column
By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

Today in our reading, Malachi 3 says the Lord shall be as a refiner of gold and silver. We understand that with all the compromises that the Jews had made in their own faith and worship practices that this message was for them. But in Jeremiah 20, we find that the Prophet himself who speaks God’s Word also needed refining. Jeremiah finds himself under vengeful persecution because he spoke some of God’s harshest words to the people, and the people rebelled!

The Law was clear: Idol worshippers were doomed to eternal torment. Those that reject God, worship something else. We were designed to worship; we will worship something. But even for Believers living in the world, the world will have a conditioning effect on our thinking regarding faith and how/what/whom we worship. This is why Jesus warned that we are IN the world, but we’re not to be OF the world (Think of Lot, living among the citizens of Sodom).

In the case of the Jews of Jeremiah’s time, the Babylonian captivity was their judgment. But for Jeremiah personally, God was as a silversmith, turning up the heat to purify and perfect the one chosen to speak His message to His people. 

The silversmith faithfully watches over the vessel where the silver is being heated. To leave it unwatched is to invite ruining the silver by burning it. He’ll turn up the heat slowly to burn off more and more impurities from the silver. The “dross” is skimmed off as the heat is increased. The silver goes from being a hard gray solid to being a shiny silver in liquid. The silversmith knows when he has pure silver when he can see his own image on the surface of the silver. 

God is at work purifying all those that are His. Are you going through a tough time? It may well be God is turning up the heat. And, He is watching over you as He does so. Perfecting is His goal as He watches over us.

For those that regularly examine their own hearts, 1 John 3:2,3 says, 
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”
God shall see Himself in us when we finally reflect Him.








Sunday, January 5, 2020

Not Grace But Judgment

Bobservations Column
By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

When God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses, His commands were clear, and though consequences for breaking them were not given, there were no doubts left in the hearts of the people that there were some. New rules and laws are implemented because of the specific ways in which the lives of people are displeasing to the One in charge. Everyone could relate to each new commandment because they either encouraged or forbade behaviors that were familiar everyone. At the time, there was not an Israelite alive that didn’t relate to the behaviors that the Commandments scrutinized. 

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Egypt To Nazareth

Bobservations Column
By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

History and the Bible tell us much about King Herod’s reign. Placed on Israel’s Throne by the Roman occupiers of the Land, Herod was a cruel, domineering King. Last week, we talked about the threat that Jesus (the newborn King) posed to Herod. With “King Makers” (The Wise men of the East) poised within Judea, Herod was likely outraged that a military coup could well take place, and he would lose the Throne of Palestine. 

Herod’s family, AKA the Herodians, were filled with conspiracy, petty jealousies, murders, and intermarriages between brothers and their sisters-in-law; they were a rather distasteful lot! Distrust seemed to rule their lives. 

Saturday, December 21, 2019

The King Is Born

Bobservations Column
By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

Merry Christmas everyone! 

As the world readies itself to celebrate our Savior’s birth, we are caught up easily in the festivities, the lights, the giving of gifts, and all the rest that comes with this holiday. Though God never would have underwritten such a celebration, we find ourselves overjoyed about His faithful fulfillment of His promise, to send a Redeemer to a world that barely recognizes its need to be saved. 

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Ancient Paths, New Vessels

Bobservations Column
By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the Earth.” This simple and straight-forward verse carries with it much to consider. The reader is immediately introduced to God and time. In the beginning of what? Apparently, it was the beginning of everything on Earth that we are already familiar with, including “time”. 

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