Sunday, June 28, 2015

Great Gain



Bobservations Column
by Pastor Bob Lawrenz
 
    Thankfulness seems to be a key to happiness in the scriptures. I can envision a door marked “Happiness.” There is a key to open it. Our life mission is to possess the key, and then share it with others. This is one of the messages of the Gospel. With our citizenship in heaven, the focus of every Believer should be our eternal life with Him, and to share the key with others is a desire of our hearts. 

    But there are millions of people who have rejected Jesus, or unbelievably, who have not ever heard of Him, or who remain apathetic towards Him. God has said that He will be found when we search for Him with all our heart. 

    For those that reject God, they seek their happiness in earthly places and Earthly relationships. A whole segment of our culture just received a stamp of approval from the U.S. Supreme Court. Many of them think this will be the key to their happiness: acceptance by their fellow earth-bound citizens. The Apostle Paul has written that those who refuse to worship God, and refuse to be thankful will end up with vain imaginations and darkened hearts.  

    To be thankful, and to worship God keeps our hearts bright and warm, and our imaginations clear and meaningful. When we are in such a state, happiness overflows and a sense of profound contentment washes over us. To be content is to rest from our labors, and look with appreciation to all that we already have at our finger-tips. It is an end of striving for bigger, better, newer, and the next “trending thing.”  

    Those feelings currently being enjoyed because of a Supreme Court Ruling will be short-lived, and disappointing. Soon enough, the daily grind sets in and socks or slacks have to be put on one foot, or one leg at a time. Such a life turns into a roller coaster ride of highs and lows, looking for and striving towards bigger, more frequent highs. It’s an endless cycle, and often frustrating. 

    The difference between these two types of happiness, involves one more component: Godliness. This brings and supplies a profound sense of contentment that the neither the world, nor the Supreme Court will ever bring. 

I Timothy 6:6 – “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”


















   

Sunday, June 14, 2015

House Rules



Bobservations Column
by Pastor Bob Lawrenz
 
    Happy Father’s Day, to all the Dads here today. We all may smile a bit about what many think is just another Hallmark Holiday. But folks have been celebrating Father’s Day for many years, and it’s not just here in the west. 

    The Monongah Mining Disaster of 1907 took the lives of 361 young men, and more than 260 of them were fathers. The region around Monangah, WV was left with more than a thousand fatherless children. Grace Golden Clayton

was grieving for her own father who had passed away in West Virginia at the time, but with the mining tragedy, she encouraged a local pastor to preach on the honor of fathers within the family. She may have been inspired by another nearby woman who had pushed for Mothers’ Day a couple of years prior. 

    In the northwest, locals were trying to do something similar in the State of Washington in 1910. Wider support was sought for the holiday then, and again in 1912. But it wasn’t until 1915 that a Bill was introduced in the U.S. Congress to officially recognize Father’s Day as a holiday. Even then, the celebration only gained momentum slowly. 

    Other nations also had holidays to recognize the role of fathers; all were generally celebrated in late spring to early summer. Today, more than 59 countries around the world recognize Father’s Day as a day to celebrate Dads everywhere. 

    Today as we finish Psalm 119, we see the role that The Father plays in all our lives. Its importance precedes anything that Grace Golden Clayton sought recognition for by about 5900 years, or anything anyone else had done, including Congress. Jehovah’s Ten Commandments are His “House Rules,” if you will. And it is through the keeping of them that we find ourselves in a good and healthy relationship between our heavenly Father and His children. The Father’s love for us shows through His Commandments, His judgments, His testimonies, precepts, and His Word, Jesus Christ. 

    In whatever way your family may celebrate Father’s Day today, make it a day to celebrate and glorify The Father of us all.

“We love him, because he first loved us.”  ~ 1 John 4:19






















PRE-OCCUPIED


Bobservations Column
by Pastor Bob Lawrenz 

 
In Hebrews chapter 11, the great chapter on faith supplies us with a glimpse of Abraham’s life. We are reminded that as with Abraham, our citizenship is in heaven, not on Earth. But the passage that describes Abraham’s faith-walk (verses 8-19) tells us also of his mindset. Abraham’s life was rooted in Ur of the Chaldees, but following God’s direction, he moved to a land that God promised to show him and to give to him and his descendants.

As progenitor of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, Abraham already had a vision for a new land for his family, but also beyond that, he saw something special: “But now they desire a better country, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be their God: for He hath prepared for them a city.” (Vs. 16)

Our faith-walk with Jesus should be similar, with the promise of heaven at the forefront of our minds, and the desire of our hearts. A recent devotional reading described this as being pre-occupied with heaven. As Jesus told the Apostles, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: I go to prepare a place for you.

Will still in high school, my parents had a new home built. It wasn’t far away, but it was the desire of their hearts. As the months passed by, the house went from an empty lot to a beautiful home. There was so much joy in their hearts, and the anticipation was palpable in the whole household. When moving-in day arrived, it was a monumental experience, yet it was still an earthly home, and though built as designed, it had the normal problems of every earthly home. After months of preoccupation with the new house, their new home was exactly what they wanted. But they still looked forward through faith to see a heavenly home with Christ Jesus.

The new house they built is now occupied by another family, and they have gone home to a heavenly reward. Their earthly goals have now passed, and their home now is with Christ. Promises fulfilled!

We have the blessed opportunity to occupy places on Earth of our own choosing, and as His children, we have a spiritual need to pre-occupy ourselves with thoughts of God and His wonderful provision and promises for our future, “in His Father’s mansion.”

“For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:” ~ Philippians 3:20
















 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

I Shall Live




Bobservations Column
by Pastor Bob Lawrenz

A friend passed along a riddle to me this week. And as with most riddles, once you hear the answer, it becomes perfectly obvious. Perhaps you will remember hearing it years ago. The answer to this riddle is a seven-letter word:

It preceded God.
It is greater than God.
It is more evil that Satan himself
Poor people have it.
Rich people are in need of it.
If you eat this, you will die.

        I imagine that a few of you are recalling it already, while others of you are stumped. It’s quite simple really, and it affords us the topic of today’s teaching. 

As King David continues to laud the glorious Word of God, we should find a greater and greater desire for more of it. 

    King David spends about 173 verses of this Psalm describing how phenomenal God’s Word is, and how nothing will replace it, nor surpass it in its role in our hearts and lives. God’s testimony; God’s judgments; God’s Commandments; God’s precepts; God’s statutes; God’s Law; God’s Word: 

    It is this Word of God that was made flesh and dwelt among men. Now the living and breathing Entity of God’s Word, Jesus Christ, will perform all of these things. He has begun a good work in men’s hearts and He will perform it until the Day of Jesus Christ. 

    Once a man realizes that he cannot live apart from God, then Jesus Christ makes it possible to reconcile with the Father, and not only live, but live eternally. Even the most hardened of hearts will not be able to resist Jesus’ grace and mercy as the living embodiment of God on Earth. Once a man meets Jesus, there will be no turning back, and that’s the testimony of Saul the Persecutor, turned Paul the Apostle. Jesus taught us:


I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.    ~ John 15:5










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