Sunday, September 29, 2019

The Father’s Heart

Bobservations Column
By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

If we believe that Jesus was God-in-the-flesh, then He shows a depth of emotion as He wept at the death of Lazarus. It was His personal sorrow. Perhaps even more is revealed as Jesus says, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem...” He spoke of the Jews as a whole, because they killed the prophets, and rejected their words; even God’s words. This then, is the heart of the Father. He has emotions! John 6:63 says this: “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” 

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Middle East Update

Bobservations Column
By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

This week's Bobservations is taken from "BEHOLD ISRAEL" NEWSLETTER - Amir Tsarfati, week of 9/15/19

"The Middle East is once again on the brink of war, and once again, Iran is in the center of the saga.  The 19 cruise missiles and drones that Iran sent towards the largest Saudi refineries in eastern Saudi Arabia managed to paralyze half of its daily oil production and cause some major tremors in the global energy markets.  Both the Americans and the Israelis can confirm that low-altitude cruise missiles were used in the Saudi oil attack and they were flown in from the north.  The missiles and drones were launched from an Iranian base near the border with Iraq.  US officials said that intelligence indicates that Iran was the staging ground for a debilitating attack on Saudi Arabia's oil industry and have shared the information with Saudi Arabia.  Both countries are weighing retaliatory strikes.  Iran, as always denied involvement." 

Sunday, September 15, 2019

I will be your God

Bobservations Column
By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

There are numerous verses in the Bible that tell us of God’s plan for His people here on Earth. While God’s love for mankind is never ending, and freely given, God offers us a conditional promise that accompanies His unconditional love. Namely, if we obey His word, He will be our God, and we shall be His people. As testimony to His grace and mercy, the Old Testament records this promise several times as God speaks through His Prophets to a rebellious and “stiff-necked” people.

A promise like this sounds to me like an exercise in frustration, but for our God, who forgives upon asking, and whose mercies are new every morning, it appears to be do-able. In addition to the promise itself, it’s His Word throughout all generations, and not applicable to the Jews only. Heaven is open to all who will return His love, and honor Him in all His mighty works by praising Him and living in righteousness.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Guard Your Heart

Bobservations Column
By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

We learn growing up about friendships. In our youth it happens without noticing, and in our adult years, it’s often more deliberate. We meet someone and enjoy their company. We learn of common interests, and find ourselves spending a little extra time with that other person. Ideas are exchanged, and experiences shared. A friend can become a close friend, and then even distance cannot divide the friendship. A distant friend may come to visit, and all the time of separation disappears.

But if there’s a rift between friends, there’s also a tearing of the fabric of the friendship. Then the friendship is in danger of being lost unless reparations are made and the disagreement is resolved. Frankly, the same is true in our relationship with God, and His Son Jesus the Christ. With Him, it’s His love that is the fabric of the relationship, and that’s not something to take for granted. 

Today in Jeremiah 6, we learn more of God’s Holy land, His Holy City, His Chosen People, and the Chosen Tribe of Judah living in that Holy City. They have corrupted themselves, and departed from God’s Holy Ordinances and His Word. And there’s the rift in a relationship with the Lord. God’s Chosen have done what Cain did in Genesis 4. Judah lived the way they wanted to live, not even perceiving to Whom it was that they were turning their backs. Genesis 4:16 says, “Cain went out from the presence of the Lord...” Deliberately ! 

We’ve heard of this before; a Christian friend may say they don’t feel close to the Lord any more. Well? Guess who moved in the relationship? God is not given to change. It is their own declaration that exposes their turn from our Lord. The loss of His favor is felt lightly at first, but it will increase and increase until our hearts are humbled and our repentance flows freely. 

Check in with Jesus regularly. Keep the friendship open and above boards. Allow yourself to be “transparent” (modern lingo) with the Lord. Ask Him to examine your heart and “see if there be any wicked way in (yourself.)” And then listen for His response.

“Search me O God, and know my heart:
try me and know my thoughts: and see if there be any
wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Psalm 139:23, 24

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Before Romans Chapter 1

Bobservations Column
By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

Growing up in the 1950’s, there were many temptations around the neighborhood. We learned who it was OK to play with, and who it was not a good idea to play with, and where we could ride our bikes, and how far we could go. Sometimes those limitations were based in common sense, and sometimes they were established “Because I said so,” to quote our parents. 

Behind the houses across the street from me was a small wooded glen with a shallow creek that ran through it. The glen ran up to a steep embankment, so in the heat of the summer, the glen was a cool place to play, or to fish, or just to catch crayfish from the water. And in the winter, the embankment made a great hill to ride our sleds down to the frozen creek. Of course, every ride down we’d be dodging trees, rocks, and maneuvering at the bottom to avoid the creek. 

The glen, and the corner lot where there was always a baseball game going on in the summer were places where all the neighborhood kids played together. But there was an underlying bigotry when it came to being real friends with anyone. Catholics had Catholic friends, Protestants had Protestant friends. It became really pointed when a Jewish family moved into the neighborhood. They had just one daughter. She dutifully rode the school bus with everyone else, but never had a playmate, and never invited anyone to her house. Socially, there was a separation that was never breeched. I didn’t understand it, but then, there was a lot I didn’t understand in the 1950’s. We had been taught in school that the USA was a “melting pot” where all could find a home and cultures would be blended. 

But 30 years later, in the 1980’s, I began to understand some of the limitations. God does not want His children to live in a melting pot where everything was mingled with everything else. He calls for us to be uniquely His among all mankind. It is a provision from God to protect our faith in Him, and guard us from false gods and the doctrines of men. 

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what
fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what
communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14)

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