Sunday, May 31, 2015

Thy Word

Bobservations Column
by Pastor Bob Lawrenz

    Relationships are always based upon trust. They may start out in mutual attraction, or in common likes and dislikes, or even in a common goal and purpose, but they grow and flourish in an atmosphere of mutual trust. Without trust, they will flounder and end up on the rocks, and when trust is broken in an established relationship, the relationship is broken too.

     Whether the break is in a marriage, or in some other personal or business relationship, the outcome will be devastating. If it is a valued relationship, much work may be required to mend it. But mending it may, or may not be possible. 

     Jesus never breaks trust though. His Word is true, rock-solid, and steadfast. Jesus reveals to us the path to reconciliation, which runs through Him. The writer of Hebrews makes note of God’s unwavering Word. In a world where a man’s word is only as good as the man, it’s not comforting to learn that man’s heart is wicked and deceitful, from Jeremiah 17:9. But even in this disquieting knowledge, we find the source of true comfort in God’s unerring Word. He knows us better than we know ourselves. 

     In today’s study, we hear the heart of David, and we see his frustration and his fears come out in the printed word. David learned a lesson in relationships. In Psalm 118, David wrote that it was better to trust in the Lord, than to trust in man. David suffered through many broken relationships, some of which were his fault. The heart of an unregenerate man is too fickle, and will always watch for its own best interests, but God’s best interests are all about man’s benefit. Let me say that again: God’s best interests are all about man’s benefit.  

     Quite literally, there is nothing that God will not do to assist a person who is seeking faith, or seeking to deepen faith in Him. And along the way, that person will learn that God is true to His Word, and that His Word is always true. Count on it. Count on Him even when we find ourselves in error.

    “…it was impossible for God to lie, (that) we might have strong consolation,
who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which
hope we have as an anchor for our soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil…”   ~ Hebrews 6:18 & 19
(Within the veil is the Holy of Holies: the presence of Jesus Christ.)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Fields Are White

Bobservations Column
by Pastor Bob Lawrenz

The religious holiday of Pentecost coincides with the Memorial Day Holiday weekend this year. The Jews celebrated the harvest of wheat, and the sheaves became Wave Offerings to Jehovah God, fifty days after Passover. 

    On that first Pentecost after Jesus’ Resurrection, the holiday did not look back at what God had done in the harvest fields, rather, it pointed to the future and how Jesus was going to grow His Church. New meaning was given to this holiday. While the Jews still celebrate the wheat harvest, Jesus’ Church celebrates the harvest of men’s hearts and souls unto salvation, by the Holy Spirit. 

    Our National Holiday of Memorial Day is a reminder of those who have served in our nation’s Armed Services, many of whom gave their lives for the cause of freedom while defending our country. Wars have taken a costly toll on our military personnel over the years; and there seems to be more new enemies all the time. Countless white crosses adorn the fields of several foreign countries.

    King Solomon wrote, “There is nothing new under the sun.” It should not surprise us that we still fight some of those same enemies. It was President Thomas Jefferson that took our fleet of ships used for our own coastal defenses and formed the U.S. Navy. Among the Navy’s first deployments overseas was to the Mediterranean to fight Muslim Pirates (Barbary) from disrupting the free shipping trade routes along the African coastline, throughout the Mediterranean, and southward along Africa’s Atlantic coast. They would commandeer ships, steal cargo, and plunder coastal villages, threatening and enslaving both sailors and village inhabitants along Africa’s northern and western shores.   

    Some of the countries there still host the spiritual pirates of Islam who threaten, enslave, and kill. If you know a Veteran, thank him for his or her service to our country, and pray for those who serve today against an ancient enemy. See today’s wars as the Spiritual Battles that they truly are. The wars are ancient, yet the Spirit is renewed day by day, sounding the alarm against false gods, and cruel faiths, and Satan, mankind’s most ancient enemy.


“Say not ye, ‘There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest?’
Behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields;
for they are white already to harvest.”   ~ John 4:35

Sunday, May 17, 2015


Bobservations Column
by Pastor Bob Lawrenz 

    Today is my granddaughter’s 12th birthday, and knowing that she and her Mom would be traveling this weekend, my wife and I sent her gift ahead of time. Wednesday evening, she opened the gift we sent. How blessed we were to watch our granddaughter open our present via cell phone video, from her Florida home. 

    We are a culture that is used to fast results. Waiting for them is not something we do well any more. It is both a blessing, and a curse. While we love the instant results, we don’t get a chance to develop patience. 

    My car needed to have some work done at the dealership this past week. After checking in at the Service Desk, I was shown to the Customer Lounge, otherwise known as “The Waiting Room.” A mere one-hour wait seemed interminably long. 

    When someone says, “Wait, I’ll be right back,” it’s like terror sets in because we immediately ask them, “How long will you be?” God forbid we are left alone with our own thoughts for even a minute! 

    If waiting isn’t already a lost art, it soon will be. While you wait, there is nothing for you to do. Our next activity is scheduled to be shared with the person who has asked us to wait. And if waiting seems like a waste of time, you are wrong. It could be well be a respite provided by the Lord to draw us into fellowship with Him. Perhaps He will engage us to use these short waiting periods to better our relationship with Him. He might be giving us time to pray, or time to rethink a recent hasty decision. And a simple prayer of “Thanks” is always well received by Him. 

    We even pray, asking to be more like Him. He is plenteous in mercy, and long-suffering while He waits for us. (And I mean really looooooong-suffering!) But while He waits for us, He busies Himself with other things, ready to drop whatever it is to pay attention to us whenever we are ready to give Him all our attention. 

    Recently an acquaintance made a demand of me, and I felt the Lord saying, “Wait.” So I did nothing about the request except pray, and within a few weeks, the situation took care of itself, and required no direct intervention on my part at all. It doesn’t always work that way, but in this case, it did because I spent the intervening time praying, and waiting on the Lord. I was blessed. My acquaintance was also blessed. The Lord’s help is far better than anything a human can do. Practice waiting on the Lord. Cease from fretting. 

    Empty your “full plate” a little. Bring your endless worries to an end. Give your problems to Him, and then dote on Him while Jesus works things out.

“But they that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength…”  -Isaiah 40:31

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Heart of Every Mother

by Pastor Bob Lawrenz

The media recently covered a mother on a video shot from the riots in Baltimore. She had recognized her son on previous video coverage of the riots, and she was pretty upset about her son throwing rocks and causing bodily harm and property damage. She retrieved her son on-screen. She wanted something better for him than that kind of reputation. Many cheered her on, and quietly wished there were more moms like her. And sadly we must acknowledge that many fall short in that regard.   

    The heart of every Mother is that her children would grow healthy and strong, and learn how to make good decisions for themselves and their families. Along the way, comes the parental responsibility to teach, reprove, correct, and instruct our children. THAT’S what we witnessed on television as we watched that Mom protect her child from himself. 

    Successful children who learn such lessons and become productive members of family and society are a source of endless pride to any parent. On this day, I wonder how Mary dealt with Jesus, and then realize that He would not have gone through “the terrible twos,” or troublesome times as a teen. Then too, it must have been quite a trial to find that at the age of twelve, Jesus was teaching in the Temple, when His Earthly parents thought He was traveling with them, homeward bound after a holiday. 

    Mary’s relationship to her Son was a source of humbled pride, to have been chosen to bring the Savior into the world. From the Annunciation of Gabriel that she was to bear a son, to see Jesus’ ministry take off, and then have Him crucified, and then… to see Him resurrected. Today’s scripture passage is the last time we hear of Mary’s participation in the continuing ministry of her Son. But we can be sure that she took up her role, and performed it admirably, for Jesus had promised to return, and He had commissioned John to take care of her. Mary’s pride and purpose would continue as the Apostles, and His brethren took Jesus’ message to the world. 

"These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brethren." ~Acts 1:14


Sunday, May 3, 2015

The perfecting of the Saints

by Pastor Bob Lawrenz

   The Lord seems to speak (to me at least) in threes. I guess I have to hear it repeated three times before I give Him my full attention. I’d like to think that it’s each member of the Trinity speaking to me, but I know deep down it’s my pre-occupation with daily life that keeps me distracted. But boy! Am I ever glad that He knows how to get my attention!

    Recently, I heard someone quote Romans 8:28 –

“And we know that all things work together for the good, to them
that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”

   At the end of the verse, the person added these words: “If things have not worked out yet to the good of the Believer, then “things” must not be done yet.” So, God’s work is surely continuing!

    Just as when He spoke Creation into existence, it was when His work ceased, that God looked upon all that He had created and declared it to be “very good!” (Genesis 1:31). Then He rested. In a similar way, God will not rest until the work in us is also completed. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Being confident in this very thing; that He which hath begun a good work in you, will complete it until the Day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6) God did not begin Creation and stop half-way through. He has shown us the thoroughness with which He works. He begins a work, performs the tasks, and completes His endeavor.

    It is all done with God’s purpose in mind: The perfecting of the Saints. As hard as some days seem to be, God still pushes us through until we are eventually brought to the end of ourselves, and full trust in Him alone.

    Yesterday’s Our Daily Bread also brings the same thing to light. Leaning on the everlasting arms of the Lord we entrust our children to Him, especially those that do not walk with the Lord, for the end of the story is not yet written. And last week’s study in Matthew 24 reminds us, “…see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” (v.6)

    Better days lay ahead. Hard days lay ahead, too. But the best days lay beyond!

“And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song
of the Lamb, saying, ‘Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God
Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.’” –Rev 15:3

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