Pastor's Corner

January 2017

January 29th, 2017

Lamentations 3:22-23: "Through the LORD'S mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness."

Lamentations does not identify its author but there are many reasons to believe that it was Jeremiah. Jeremiah was known as the weeping prophet, because he loved God’s people so much and when he looked at their lives and how they were living he was heartbroken. But Jeremiah was also known for his messages because God had called him to prophesy in a time that the message of God was not very popular.

In the midst of this, Jeremiah wrote “His compassions fail not; they are new every morning: great is Your faithfulness.” God is faithful, and I believe that is what needs to be emphasized. We talk about our faithfulness and we need to be faithful, but let me tell you I stand today as a great example of God’s faithfulness to me. He could have at any time wiped me out, but because His mercies are new every morning, I’m still standing.

God is faithful. So how does that affect us? God is faithful. How will that help us this week? God is faithful. How does that explain what is going on in our lives? So with all these questions I want you to realize some realities worth remembering.

1. Because God is faithful, we can have confidence when we pray.

2. Because God is faithful, we can conquer evil and temptations.

3. Because God is faithful, we can praise Him.

4. Because God is faithful, we can have courage when we are afraid.

Jeremiah’s point was: when you do not understand what is going on, and when things are not going as you would like, you can have courage in the time of trouble, if you understand that God is faithful.

1 John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. There are two words here that fit in with what Jeremiah is telling us and those two words are God is faithful and just. So the question we need to ask is why is He faithful and why is He just.

He is faithful because He will not go back on His word. Titus 1:2 tells us “who cannot lie” if God were to ever go back on His word one time He would cease to be God. He established His word, and His word is forever settled in the Heavens. In fact Hebrews 1:3 says “upholding all things by the word of His power”. That means if God were ever go back on His word everything around us would implode. All creation exists because He spoke.

I know we live in a time that men will not back up their word, but your Heavenly Father will. He won’t lie, Paul wrote to Timothy that even when we are faithless, He remains faithful. So He is faithful because He is true to His word. What confidence this gives us that He will do what He said He would do. What a comfort when one of our loved ones goes home and Jesus tells us “because I live you will live also” what a comfort; that we can count on.

Then He says He is just. He is just because of the finished work at Calvary of His dear sweet Son Jesus Christ. Sin was judged at Calvary so the Father could be just when He speaks.

In a time of uncertainty and not knowing what the world holds, the one constant that we can look to is the faithfulness of our Lord.

- Pastor Lee Cruse, who would be nothing if it were not for the loving faithfulness of my Lord.



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January 22nd, 2017

Psalms 142:4: "Look on my right hand and see, For there is no one who acknowledges me; Refuge has failed me; No one cares for my soul."

The Apostle Paul repeated this thought in Psalm and in II Timothy 4:16 when he said, “At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them."

We live in a culture in which Political Correctness has taken hold whether we want to believe it or not. But Political Correctness is a by-product of the belief in having an autonomous culture. Auto meaning self and onomous meaning law. We live in a time of self-law, whether we like it or not that is where we are and that is where we are heading and if it is self-law then it tells us that we are more concerned with our self and not our fellow man.

One of the greatest evidence of this is the national debt and that we are leaving our children with an unbelievable uncertain future and it seems nothing is being done about it.

I thank God that there were Christian people before me that cared enough to build or to risk and not just think of themselves but to think of those who would come after them and prepare for their future. As we consider the building program of this church I believe that is exactly what you and I are doing.

Great Story of a little boy who grew up in the only house in his subdivision that had trees. His family lived in the area of several generations and trees of all kinds surrounded his house. All of the others houses had small shrubs, pretty grass but they had no trees. In the summer, the boy enjoyed the shade of the big trees that were almost 75 years old and climbed high in their limbs.

On his 13 birthday, the boy’s father came home with a small seedling in his hand he took the boy by hand in the yard. When questioned him his father said, “It is the family tradition for every child on his or her 13th birthday to plant a seedling in the yard.” How long will it take for this tree to get tall enough for me to climb? Asked the boy, “About 50 years.” Came the answer. “I’ll be too old to climb it then, “said the boy.

“We have trees around this house because your great grand-parents came here on their 13th birthday and planted the first tree. The tree you are about to plant is not for you to climb, it’s to provide shade for your great-grandchildren.”

May each of us live our lives not for ourselves but live for the Lord that He through us make us a blessing not just for this time but for future generations to come.

- Pastor Lee Cruse, who prays that we as a congregation might get a vision of what God wants for our future and the future of our children and grandchildren.



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January 15th, 2017

Amos 4:12: "Therefore thus will I do to you, O Israel; Because I will do this to you, Prepare to meet your God, O Israel!"

How many times have you driven down the road and saw a sign or billboard that had on it “Prepare to meet your God”. This comes from the book of Amos and as you read chapter 4 you discover an interesting phrase that is mentioned not once but five times in the same chapter.

The Phrase is “Yet you have not returned to Me, Says the Lord." Five times the Lord repeats this, that He had stretched out His hand to His people but they had shoved it away and now they needed to meet the Judgement of the Lord.

When we look at all the attributes of our Heavenly Father, we talk about His Omnipotence, He is all powerful. We talk about His Omnipresence and that means He is everywhere. The Psalmist ask the question “where can I flee from His presence”, the answer is you can’t. Then there is His Omniscient and that means He knows everything. There are many other attributes that we can add about our Heavenly Father.

But the one thing that I just can’t seem to get over is His patience or He is long suffering. How patient He is with all of us, it reveals to us how much that He loves us for no one could put up with what He puts up with, without having everlasting love.

Peter says that “He is longsuffering not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. We all know who the oldest man who ever lived was, it was Methuselah and most know He lived to be 969 years old. But why did He? Because His name means “when He is dead it shall be sent”. What will be sent, the flood! God waited 969 years before He judged His people.

In the Book of Amos He warns His people 5 times before He tells them they will meet Him in judgement. And what about us, are we like the scoffers in II Peter 3 who said “where is the promise of His coming for things continue on as they were”. Why is there the period of time from the time Jesus ascended and went back to Heaven and now as we wait for His return? It is because of His love for you, He doesn’t want to destroy you He wants to give you life.

How many times has God allowed something to come into our lives just to get our attention that we need Him more than we realize. And if you are here today and have never come to Christ then how many close calls have you been through or will have to go through before you turn to Him? If God is saying to you today “ Yet you have not returned to Me” think about it.

- Pastor Lee Cruse, who hopes that I realize how much I need the Lord more today than I have ever.



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January 8th, 2017

II Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.

I must tell you that my heart is heavy, because as I watch and listen to those around me that I care about and love, I feel they are not ready for the Lord’s coming.  I see so many that are so caught up in the things of the world, so busy that they don’t have time for the things of God.

I see so many that have not sought the truth and yet Jesus told us that it is the truth that will make us free.  Many today who are in this post modern society  feel they have grown beyond a belief in God and the Bible, some even joke about it.

We have become so sophisticated that we think we don’t need the Bible, that we don’t need church.  Many today are into Eastern Culture and their beliefs like Hinduism, or Buddhism which are close to atheism.  We hear celebrities who are pushing their own brand of religion, which is no more than new age spiritualism.  But we are asleep and don’t realize that it is all a lie.  Many Americans are even caught up in Islam which like all religions is a work type of salvation.  Christianity is the only belief system that a person can know that they have a place in heaven, and it is all because of the finished work of our Lord Jesus Christ.

These are scary times and many today are unprepared for the day of the Lord and think about this, if things don’t turn around man will go out into eternity unprepared.  And we are talking about loved ones and people that we know.

The Bible tells you and me “the night is far spent and the day is at hand” we are running out of time.  We must begin to be active in seeking the lost and those living in darkness.

 

What do we need to do, here is what I believe every one that is saved needs to realize.

1.  The responsibility for the lost belongs to each one of us and not just to preachers.

2.  We need to begin to believe that there are those that only you can reach, if you don’t reach them then who will?

3.  We need to begin to pray that once you have identified those you have a burden for, that God will do the mystery within their heart and tenderize their heart so they will be receptive to what you want to tell them.

4.  I need to pray that God will give me the words that I need to say, but it also means I need to study and contemplate what questions they might have.  Also listen to them and what they say, let them talk.

5.  Be receptive to the leading of the Holy Spirit that He will show you who, when and what.

The problem that we have in this culture as Os Guiness said, “it is not the point that people don’t know it is that they don’t care.”  Is it any wonder that Jesus wept when He saw the people who were like sheep without a shepherd.  People are in danger and don’t realize it.

I believe this is life and death for all eternity but the Church needs to wake up then the ramifications will be unbelievable and that would include our loved ones and friends!

- Pastor Lee Cruse, who wants all of us to roll up our sleeves and go to work in reaching the Lost.



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January 1st, 2017

Psalms 37:23: "The steps of a godly man are ordered."

As we approach the New Year many people have already decided to make their goal and resolutions. For some they have decided to lose some weight or live healthier or to begin that big project that they have been putting off. Then for some because they have failed in the past they are not going to waste their time because they don’t believe they will follow through.

For me, I wish that I could become more organized and achieve the goals that I need to and the important things I want to do. Now God tells us that “the steps of a godly man are ordered.” The Bible also tells us that God is not the author of confusion.

So what I believe the Lord is telling me, is that if I truly want to simplify my life then I must give it to Him. If I truly want to get my life organized then I must give it to Him.

Can you imagine a life where all decisions, someone else makes them for you and all you have to do is just trust Him. I truly believe that is what our Father in Heaven is calling us to. Calling us to trust Him, to wait on Him and to learn to discern when He is leading us.

This was not a new concept for the apostle Paul, he lived His life this way. He said “It is no longer I who live but Christ Jesus who lives in me, and the life that I now live I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me. Gal. 2:20

The hardest part of this is learning to wait on Him. It is always on His time table it is never on ours. He is never late and He is never early. But you have to trust Him.

Think about this, the God of the Universe is way more intelligent than I am, the God of the Universe knows everything and I have limited knowledge. So who would be the best at running my life, me or Jehovah God. Well hello.

One of the great problems in getting organized is allowing those things that are the immediate things of life to take away from doing the important things in life. Jesus talked about this when He mentioned the “little foxes that spoil the vine.” How many of us start our day with things that we have in mind that we are going to complete and yet when the day is over because of all the immediate things that got our attention we realize that we didn’t complete any of the things that we wanted to.

So the key if I want to accomplish anything in life is to take the controls of my life and turn them over to my Heavenly Father. I believe that is the same in every area no matter what it is. If I want to lose weight or quit a habit or whatever.

- Pastor Lee Cruse, who is thankful that God loves me even though I am an unfinished project.



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