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A Thought From Your Pastor June 21, 2020

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Recently, I was mentally walking down memory lane and was thinking about some of the cars I had when I was younger.  My dad had this 1955 Chevy but it was a two door hard top.  When I was old enough to drive, we saw it on the lot and wanted to buy it back.  As we took a closer look, we saw it had been wreaked, repaired, but the red paint did not matching.  So we gave it up.  When I was younger, I was very fussy about my cars and cleaned and polished them quite often.  One other thing I did was read the car manual cover to cover.  I wanted to know how everything worked, what options I had and what I could expect from the car.  But when I got older sometimes I would browse thru the manual (a quick look).  Then it got to the point that I would only look at it when I was in trouble and needed some answers.  It has lost its excitement.

A Thought From Your Pastor!

As I was traveling down that old memory lane about these things, it made me stop and think.  Many times when people become a Christian, they can’t get enough of learning and studying about Jesus.  The Bible is like a book you can’t put down.  When you read the Word, you get excited about the new things you learn.  Just like those car manuals, there are times you find better things to do than read the Bible and it gets left on the shelf (lack of prayer goes hand in hand with that).  The only time you seem to have time for it is when you’re in trouble.  So, you try to find a scripture that will help you (if it doesn’t take too long).  We have a 2014 Chevy and we got the book out the other day and found out we have an option we didn’t know about.

This brings a question to my mind: How much are we missing out in our Christian walk by not taking the time to know our Bibles, cover to cover?  Do we really know our Jesus, our Lord and Savior, our friend that sticks closer than a brother? Is there excitement about our life in Christ?

I have come to the conclusion this is what I want:

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If we know and trust Jesus and what the Bible tells us, we are not defeated!  We are not worriers; we are rejoicing in our day to day lives.

Philippians 4:4-7 (NIV) 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 When those concerns and worries come, remember what the Word says:

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NIV) 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Isaiah 41:10 (NIV) 10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

An old Sunday school song says: “The joy of the Lord is my strength.”

Remember we are going to go through problems and uncomfortable times but Jesus has promised never to leave us or forsake us—trust Him and His Word and get to know Him better and better.

This will be my last devotional for awhile since we are back worshiping together.  I hope you have enjoyed them as much as I have had preparing them.  If they have encouraged you and hopefully made you laugh a little, To God be the glory for the great things He has done and I truly mean that.

Of course as always: Keep praying but also keep rejoicing in Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord.  See you at church.

God’s Blessing,                                                                                                                                   Pastor Gerry and Carolyn

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A Thought From Your Pastor 6/12/2020

6 14 20 1        6 14 20 2     6 14 20 3

Joy Ridderhof was born on March 30, 1903 in Minnesota as Joy Fanny Ridderhof. She died on December 19, 1984 in Stanton, California —-Joy lay sick in bed, wishing to get back to Honduras, where she had been a missionary. But while she recovered, the bright idea came to her to record some gospel stories and songs in Spanish. After one record came more and more and more, in one language after another.

One of Joy’s favorite sayings was:I have seen many find their way into a life of victory through rejoicing.”

A Thought From Your Pastor!

We read in Genesis 40:7 (NKJV): “Why do you look so sad today?”

Do you have a Merry Heart?  Do you look for the joy of living, especially living for Jesus?  Do you try to find the fun stuff around you?

Everyone has moments when they are sad. Grief, sorrow, and discouragement seep into our days like slow-moving landslides. But God does not want us to live in a state of chronic sadness. The Bible is filled with verses about joy, gladness, and triumph. Jesus said on five different occasions: “Be of good cheer!”

6 14 20 gater

Charlie and Snoopy didn’t come around to help me today, but Grouchy Gator did.  Is this how you feel with everything going on?  Are you getting tired of all the rules and regulations?  God tells us in the Bible that we should be joyful for what we have and what is in store for us.  This world is not our home we are only passing through.

Psalm 96:1-13 (ESV) 1 Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth! 2 Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. 3 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! 4 For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods. 5 For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the LORD made the heavens. 6 Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. 7 Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength! 8 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts! 9 Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth! 10 Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns! Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.” 11  Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; 12  let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy 13 before the LORD, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his faithfulness.

And have you ever noticed the three “merry” verses of the book of Proverbs?

   Proverbs 15:13 (NKJV) A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance                                      Proverbs 15:15 (NKJV) He who is of a merry heart has a continual feast.                                Proverbs 17:22 (NKJV) A merry heart does good, like medicine

An old Gospel song says: “Jesus is all the world to me, my life, my joy, my all; / He is my strength from day to day, without Him I would fall. / When I am sad, to Him I go, / No other one can cheer me so; / When I am sad, He makes me glad, / He’s my friend.”

Find your cheerfulness in Jesus today. The Lord wants to give you a merry heart.  Just think of the celebration we will have when we all can get together again.  Maybe we will have an early Christmas party, who knows what those St. Petrie people will come up with?

Of course as always: Keep praying but also keep rejoicing in Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord.  Hopefully we will be meeting together again in the near future.

God’s Blessing,                                                                                                                                     Pastor Gerry and Carolyn

6 14 20 hugs

Save those hugs up, one day we will be able to use them!

 

St. Petrie Lutheran Church Opening June 14th 

St. Petrie Lutheran Church is opening June 14th

We are a huggy bunch but we will all help each other keep social distancing.

We ask that you please wear your face covering.

We will have disposable gloves for those that want to use them and we have a few disposable masks if you don’t have one.

Song lyrics and bible readings will be provided in the bulletin.

Church will be at 9:30 as usual and there will not be Sunday School or Bible Study.

A Thought From Your Pastor 6/5/2020

6 5 2020

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”— John 14:27

A Thought From Your Pastor!

 Jesus Christ left us with a wonderful legacy when He left this world!

Do you ever feel that life moves too fast? Perhaps you can relate to the old saying Stop the world—I want to get off. Sometimes the world spins too fast; one day melds into the next; and, despite our frenzied and harried pace, we fall further and further behind on our obligations.

But God doesn’t want us to live this way. He wants us to Psalm 46:10 (ESV) “Be still, and know that I am God.  Jesus tells to us, Matthew 11:28 (ESV)  Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. In fact, God instituted the Sabbath, an important time of rest. When was the last time you sat still in God’s presence, enjoying His rest?

So many things try and take our time we don’t have time to read our Bible, pray, call a shut-in or many other things we know God wants us to do.  Sometimes we are so busy making a living, going to sporting event, concerts or just plain sitting home watching TV.  One thing this virus has done is help us slow down because some of these things we enjoy are not available.

6 5 2020 snoopy

We desperately need “downtime.” Dr. Richard Swenson, author of Margin, a book about reducing stress, says that we need to restore what he calls our “margins,” our reserves. He points out that we live overloaded lives today. But, Swenson says, we can’t deplete our spiritual, emotional, physical, financial, and time reserves for too long without paying for it in one way or another. 

  Jesus left a legacy to His disciples, a legacy we share in and  a legacy that keeps us from depleting all our resources. What is this legacy?  His peace. Christ declares to us, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you.” Oh, how we need it in these troubled times when people’s hearts literally fail them for fear. Threats of terrorists,        pandemic and crime rob millions of people of peace. Nervous breakdowns abound. Pharmacies sell tranquilizers by the millions of pounds each year. We desperately need Christ’s peace, and to gain it, all we need to do is surrender ourselves to God. We find the secret of peace in trusting in His perfect will for our lives, yielding ourselves to rest in His trustworthy arms.  Remember how much He loves us: John 3:16 (ESV) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Do you need a dose of peace today? Just look to Christ, the sovereign Lord of all      history. He will bring His peace as you trust in Him. Whatever your problems, fix your eyes upon Jesus, and peace will flood your soul.

Of course as always: Keep praying but also keep rejoicing in Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord.  Hopefully we will be meeting together again in the near future.

God’s Blessing,                                                                                                                                      Pastor Gerry and Carolyn

6 5 2020 Corrie Ten Boom                                                                                                                             Corrie Ten Boom says: “Don’t wrestle, just nestle!”

The Eleventh Hour June 2020

On April 14, 1912 at 11:40 PM, an iceberg scraped the ship’s starboard side of the famous Titanic ripping open six water-tight compartments.  By 2:20AM the next morning the ship sank with 712 saved in life boats and 1,522 dying in the icy waters of the North Atlantic.

One well-known pastor was aboard on his way back for a return preaching engagement at the Moody Church in Chicago accompanied by his six year old daughter.  John Harper was a man on fire for Christ and had a burden for souls.  During those final minutes in the cold water, John was near a man on a board drifting and asked him if he was saved?  The man said “no” and Harper shouted from the Bible: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.”  The man drifted out of sight.  Later, the man came back into sight and Harper asked him the question again, “Are you saved?”  The man said “no” and so John repeated Acts 16:31.  Before he could hear the man’s answer, drowning Harper slipped into his watery grave, but the man put his faith in Christ.  Later the survivor said that he was the pastor’s last convert.

John Harper may not have seen his little girl grow up, but his zeal for Christ was part of his life up to the end.  Do we have that zeal?  Ask Jesus to give us more of that desire to be His Light and guess what, He will!

The Information about Pastor Harper was from pages 16-25 of the book, “The Titanic’s Last Hero” by Moody Adams, the Olive Press.)

~CMS

A Thought From Your Pastor 5/31/2020

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Ronald Wilson Reagan:  February 6, 1911 – June 5, 2004) was an American politician who served as the 40th President of the United States from 1981 to 1989 and became a highly influential voice of modern conservatism.  Prior to his presidency, he was a Hollywood actor and union leader before serving as the 33rd governor of California from 1967 to 1975.

A Thought From Your Pastor!

 Reagan made many statements that are kept for posterity.  Some were political but many were for humorous, which he enjoyed.  The one statement that I appreciated was: “Within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all the problems men face.”

With his background and different things he was involved with, I’m sure he faced many difficult situations.  We may never have the worries or the responsibilities that he had, but I believe that statement still stands firm for us also (in fact, I have my life and my future based on that statement.)

We are all going through the same major problems that this pandemic is creating but with a little twist in our personal lives.  The Bible encourages us with: Psalm 91:5-9 (ESV)5  You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6  nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.  7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 8 You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked.  9 Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place— the Most High, who is my refuge—                                                                                                                                                                                  The Bible also tells us Luke 18:27 (ESV) 27 But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”  This is a very short verse of scripture but a powerful verse; just think about it.  The best brains in the world are trying to cure this virus. Read your Bible.  There were many plagues in the Bible, but at any time God wanted to stop them, He could do it instantaneous without the help of the learned people.

Take some time this week to first of all praise God for all His blessings to us.  We are all blessed whether we think about it or not.  Then pray that He will remove this curse on the world.  Pray that his healing touch on this world would bring repentance.  

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Remember that song that was fun to sing and just made you feel good; “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer”

 We do have a friend, better than what Charlie’s thinking about.  We have a friend that loves us more than we can imagine; no one is smarter or stronger or concerned about us like Him.  Take time to talk to Him today and bring all your joys, concerns and sorrows.  Then rest in the security that He has everything under control.

Of course as always: Keep praying but also keep rejoicing in Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord.  Hopefully we will be meeting together again in the near future.

God’s Blessing,                                                                                                                                Pastor Gerry and Carolyn

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This is how excited I am to see all of you; I pray that it will be soon!

 

 

 

 

 

A Thought From Your Pastor 5/24/2020

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Matthew 6:26-29 (ESV) 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

A Thought From Your Pastor!

One thing Carolyn and I enjoy doing is to pack a small lunch for supper and go down under the Illinois river bridge and eat our picnic lunch in the car.  Sometimes our friend Judy comes down and we talk from window to window (8 feet apart).  One day we were sitting there waiting for a barge to go by and I started watching this robin.  He would hop a few feet, sit for a second and then peck at the ground.  He only came up with a dirty beak.  He would hop a little farther and try again.  It took him many tries before he had success.  No matter what, he didn’t seem to get excited or upset he just kept hopping along and pecking the ground.  He kept doing what robins are meant to do and waited for the rewards.  With that patience he was finally rewarded. His countenance didn’t seem to change and he didn’t seem to get worried when he came up “empty–handed.”

Our scripture says: 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?   We had a shortage of toilet paper and now they are worried about meat. What’s next?

Scripture tells us: Psalm 50:10 (NIV):  for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.  My God fed the thousands on the hills, He took care of the prophets needs, He created everything around us and we’re worried about toilet paper?  We need to get into His word and just see what a wonderful and powerful God we serve.

Romans 10:17 (ESV)  faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.  Since we have some extra time let’s make it productive and get into the Word of God.  Let the Word build that faith in you that we can smile through this pandemic knowing our God is in control.  James 1:2-4 (ESV) 2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  Pray that you will come through this with joy knowing Jesus is walking through it with us.

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Hold on tight—not to a tree but to Jesus!                                                                                      He will bring us through!

Of course as always: Keep praying but also keep rejoicing in Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord.  Hopefully we will be meeting together again in the near future.

God’s Blessing,                                                                                                                                   Pastor Gerry and Carolyn

5 21 20 Ugly Bug

Don’t let that evil scary bug bother you.  Call the exterminator; Jesus never fails!

 

A Thought From Your Pastor 5/17/2020

5 17 Martin Luther

Martin Luther, (1483-1546) German theologian and religious reformer who initiated the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. Through his words and actions, Luther precipitated a movement that reformulated certain basic tenets of Christian belief.

I was surprised to read this: History provides guidance. When a deadly plague hit Wittenberg, Germany, in 1527, Martin Luther modeled pastoral care: “I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence.” But he added that if his neighbor needed him, he would go, taking precautions.

Luther experienced some of the same things we are.  It sounds like they had social distancing.  In those days viruses were even more dangerous without the health care we have.  We don’t hear any discontent or fear in Luther’s words.  There is a job to be done—reaching out to the lost and helping our brothers and sisters.  Helping people may be done by material needs but also putting a little joy or a little cheer in their lives. We have so many more ways available to us than Luther did.  The main things we need to maintain our joy and trust in God’s timing and direction.

Remember that Sunday school song: “The joy of the Lord is my strength!”  We need that joy as we go through these days of concern.  Proverbs 17:22 (ESV) 22 A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.  Where does that joy come from?  Psalm 34:4-8 (ESV) 4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. 5 Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. 6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. 7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. 8 Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

We have to make sure we don’t take Charlie’s thinking on loving people.  He only loves those that love him.  Listen to what Jesus tells us to do: Matthew 5:43-48 (ESV)  43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

5 17 Charlie Brown and Snoopy

“SORRY CHARLIE” you need to read your bible a little more.

My goal through this pandemic is to keep you looking to Jesus with joy in your heart and confidence that He will bring you through.  Now is the occasion to spend time in your Bible.  Confidence and joy only comes from our Lord Jesus Christ.  Take this special time to get to know Him better and more personal.  As you trust Him with your eternal life, trust Him in your day to day life.

I have to admit—-I really miss your smiling faces and hope we can get back together soon.

Of course as always: Keep praying but also keep rejoicing in Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord.  Hopefully we will be meeting together again in the near future.

God’s Blessing,                                                                                                                                      Pastor Gerry and Carolyn