Sunday, November 10, 2019

Tough Love

Bobservations Column
By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

Many State and Local Prisons had a program known as “Scared Straight.” It combined the efforts of Social Services, Faith-based Ministries, and each State’s Department of Corrections. Young men and women who had several low level arrests were “recruited” into a prison, where Inmates and Corrections Officers would present a very real experience of what it’s like to live behind bars. 

The testimonies of inmates in particular were frightening as they related their own experiences of mental, physical, and sexual abuse from different prison factions to the “recruits.” Scared Straight was a program designed to deter individuals from a life of crime. 

The judgments and punishments for violating God’s Law are clearly stated in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, and they were meant to deter God’s Chosen from breaking His Law, for it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of an all-powerful God! While God’s mercy and grace are limitless, and His love extends to all, His methods change when dealing with stubborn children. Tough Love is enacted, and He allows us to get a taste of what lays ahead for us if we continue in sin. 

In Genesis 9:1-6, in the days after the flood of Noah, new rules came into effect. After mankind rejected God’s authority, He blesses Noah and his family, and authorizes human government under which they were to live. Refusing to live righteously, man’s ability to reason and know right from wrong was now the guiding light of their eternal destination. God has given them these tools! 

The Apostles questioned Jesus about where He was going prior to departing from them. In John 14:5, “Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?" It was then that Jesus responded, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh to the Father but by me.” 

The phrase “Follow me” is found no less than 72 times in 28 verses of the New Testament (KJV). It would appear to be an important and vital directive! Is any lost? Follow Jesus. Are any confused about how to live in truth? Jesus is the only truth. Do any not know their reason for being alive. Following Jesus provides us with a life that is full of purpose and direction. 

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Take A Stand!

Bobservations Column
By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

The headlines in the media affirm scripture:  from 2 Timothy 3:13 - "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived."  The proof of this verse is in the fruit of the lives of many of our elected officials, and those that put their stamp of approval on ungodly acts.

It seems that more leaders of various organizations than not, government officials, and yes, even members of the clergy are being brought up short, and being directly charged with criminal offenses.  It comes as no surprise that the public has become disenchanted on so many levels with corruption running rampant in every echelon of our culture.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Signs From God

Bobservations Column
By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

In Genesis 9:11, we find God’s Covenant promise to never again destroy the Earth with a flood. This is part of the Noahic Covenant, promises God made to Noah. As with all God’s Covenants, His promises will hold throughout the existence of the earth: “...neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.” Protected from world-wide flood, we are not protected from drought!

Thursday, October 31, 2019

God's Roadmap

Bobservations Column
By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

You have heard before that we have four seasons in upstate New York:  Fall, Winter, Spring and Construction.  Detours are mild inconveniences.  But if you are already unfamiliar with the region around a detour, one could easily think, "I can't get there from here."  Happily though, the detour signs will direct us if we follow them.  They might not give us the shortest route, but the route will be the easiest one to follow, and it will be on better roads.  Just follow the big orange arrows posted at the side of the road.

That's what God had in mind when He gave mankind His Word.  The Jews were a stiff-necked and stubborn people though.  We can see the difficulty already.  Some will think they have a better idea than God.  If God's directions are true, then all other directions are heresy.  After a long period of not following God's directions, mankind had become unfamiliar with His voice, and with His Word.

The human race was "lost" and like Moses was sent to lead the people out of Egypt, Jesus was sent to seek and to save those that were lost.  The directions God gave had been compromised so God sent His only begotten Son to lead us back to His heavenly home.
No longer are we lost, we are found.  
No longer do we follow orange arrows, we have Jesus to lead us!  
No longer do we have a series of signs to follow, God sent His only begotten Son to guide us onto the right path to eternal life.
Humanistic shortcuts are dead-ends, wrong turns, and most certainly, tours with an altered destination.  The dangers on the short cuts are unknown to us as we proceed carelessly, even to our own hurt.  Jesus alone give us the most direct and safest route.  Following Jesus, we know that we'll get there.  It is even easier than operating your car's GPS unit.

Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life:  
No man cometh unto the Father, but by me."  - John 14:6

Seventeen times in the  Gospels, Jesus is recorded to have given really easy directions:  "Follow Me."  Selah!

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Idolatry's Results

Bobservations Column
By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

Jeremiah 13 - God instructs the Prophet to do something unusual, as a practical example of what God’s people have done, and its outcome. 

The application for us is simple, for it answers the question of “Why must I go through this, Lord?”: a question that many have asked at one time or another. God’s response to His people is just one of the judgments He can send our way for disobedience, but it is designed to get our attention, and to motivate us to righteousness, avoiding God’s judgments in the future. 

Christians are reminded that Halloween comes this week. And, just like the Jews of old, we will be tempted to celebrate falsehoods, idolatry, glorify evil, and honor Satan and his evil works on Thursday, October 31st. 

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