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. 

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Pray Always And Pray About Everything

Bobservations Column
By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

"The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished" 2 Peter 2:9

Perhaps you have experienced the protection of the Lord when you have prayed for it, or maybe, when you weren't even looking for it.  We occasionally enter into circumstances that appear quite innocent outwardly, but once we enter in, we begin to get uncomfortable and look for ways to graciously extricate ourselves from them.  The innocence of being obedient to the Lord is frequently an offense to the unrighteous world around us.

When God says to "FLEE," doing so with grace and aplomb is usually impossible.  Things can get messy and unsavory at the drop of a hat.  Fleeing is the only obedient thing to do in such cases, whether gracious or not.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

The Pride of Life

Bobservations Column
By Pastor Bob Lawrenz The ancient Jews knew that they were God’s Chosen People. Aside from being receivers of God’s blessings and protection, we have to wonder if they knew what God had in mind, and for what “task” He had chosen them.
To protect the bloodline should have been at the forefront of their collective minds, but compromise was in their blood, just as it is in ours. It is easy to lose sight of God’s priorities for us when the world screams of alternative opportunities (temptations) for us.
Believing they would always enjoy God’s provision and protection, the Jews overlooked God’s Laws, and His Covenants, and took for granted His unchangeable character. In truth, God does not change. But neither does God alter His requirements for staying in His good graces. “If you love me, keep my commandments,” Jesus said. Conversely, if we don’t keep His commandments, will Jesus see that as a love that’s just lip-service, and not real?

Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Sacrifice of Praise

Bobservations Column
By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

In the old Testament, God made seven covenants with His people, Israel. Each one offered provision, protection, and precious promises to the Israelites. The covenants covered everything from their offspring, to their land, and even to their future as a nation. No less than seven times we find these words in the Jewish texts: "...they shall be my people; and I will be their God" almost verbatim.  Curious to me is the verb tense used: they shall be my people; I will be their God.  It indicates a yet future time when the relation between the Israelites and God will be finalized and complete.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

The Broken Covenant

Bobservations Column
By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

Early in my Christian walk, I learned that the New Testament is hidden in the Old, and the Old Testament is revealed in the New. Today’s study is one of many examples of the truth of this statement. 

Reading the Book of Revelation comes with its own blessings. And in the final chapter, there are warnings: 

1. Anyone adding to God’s words would result in the plagues of Egypt being added to that person’s life. 
2. Anyone taking away (deleting) the words of this prophecy, will have their name removed out of the Lamb’s Book of Life

Sunday, October 6, 2019

The God Who Saves

Bobservations Column
By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

The false gods of the Israelites in ancient Judea are the same gods that their neighboring nations worshiped. In fact, the entire Mediterranean region mostly worshiped the same gods, though they were called by different names according to each culture. From Egypt to the Middle East, from southern Europe to Asia minor, their false gods were just the same pagan gods that every non-Jewish culture followed and to which sacrifices were made. Ashtoroth, for example, was the goddess of fertility. She was also known as Astarte, Ishtar, Dianah and was called by several other names throughout the inhabited world. These gods ranged from the absolute paganism of ancient Egypt and Canaan, to the mythological gods of Greece and Rome. Each deity had their own counterpart in different cultures. 

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