Last Days…

July 2017
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“The Beehive”

 

Hello Folks!  We made it through the week! That’s no small feat considering that life these
days has its challenges, ups and downs, rocky roads, twists and turns, joys and blessings.
You name it – life has it! Like the “busy bee” that scurries about, we navigate through
our own honeycomb of life, darting about at light-speed, trying to get by.

Like most of us, we find ourselves so busy with life’s activity, that we sometimes don’t
take the time to stop, look around and appreciate all that God has blessed us with. Does
this sound familiar in your life?

Well… how about this strategy for the weekend? It’s time to rest… It’s time to stop and
consider what God is doing in our lives.

Speaking of being like “busy bees”, here is an interesting object in our Milky Way
Galaxy — it’s called “The Beehive Cluster”. I imaged this last week from our remote
robotic JMSM Observatory. This beautiful “Open Cluster” of stars is about 600 light
years distant from our Earth. It contains some 1,000 stars in its grouping. Beautiful, isn’t
it? Why do you suppose that God made such spectacular wonders like this Beehive
Cluster shown below?

Glad you asked! Part of the reason is; that God created us for His pleasure, that we may
have fellowship with Him, that we know Him through seeing and understanding His
divine nature through His Glorious Creation – the divine nature of God. Romans 1:20, “
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine
nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that
they are without excuse.”

The “… without excuse.” part of this scripture is important, for even though we have not
seen God, we all are witness to His Creation. 1 John 4:12, “No one has ever seen God;
but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”
Imagine that — God’s love is made complete in us. Well… you don’t have to imagine it
– it’s true! God cares about us and He wants to have fellowship with us through His Son
Jesus. 1 Corinthians 1:9, “God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship
with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Keep this understanding in your heart as you go through your busy “bee-like” activity,
and even though you may have had a difficult week, take the time this weekend to
recognize the wonderful blessings that God, by His Grace, has continually poured out to
you.

Need an example of God’s Grace? The simple fact that we live in this country is a
blessing. The fact that we have the freedom to go to church this Sunday and worship our
God is a blessing (which by the way, is not the case in some parts of the world these
days). Remember… You can’t out-give God! When we think about all that God has
done for us, it’s good that we take the time to give thanks to our Lord. We must also take
the opportunity to have fellowship with one another.

The Bible speaks about the importance of Christian fellowship in 1 John 1:7, “But if we
walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood
of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sins.” In addition, Christian fellowship with
one another is a way to affirm and remain strong in our faith. This is one of many
reasons why it is good to get connected with a Life Group (Small Group) Bible Study.
SVCC has many such Life Groups. By being part of a Life Group, we can experience
fellowship with other Christians, and we can grow in our understanding of God’s Word
as we learn to trust what God is doing in our lives.

Did you know that understanding God’s Word helps to protect us? Listen to what it says
in Proverbs 30:5, “Every work of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge
in Him.” As a practical matter, reading and studying God’s Word brings peace and
understanding to what is happening in our lives as we take refuge in the One that protects
us. This sanctifying process speaks to our “calling” as believers in Christ Jesus –
allowing us to take comfort in His tender mercies that flow into and through our lives.
1 Peter 1:5-10, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness;
and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control,
perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to
brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they
will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord
Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has
forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. Therefore, my brothers, be all the
more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will
never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ.”

Back to the Beehive Cluster image above… If you look closely… see if you can locate
some of the many interesting galaxies finding rest among the stars. Such is the wonderful
view that God gives us from our perspective here on Earth – His glory on display in the
heavens.

So… As you wind down from your busy week, relax and take time to rest. Take heart in
the fact that God has a plan for your life. Remember… we’re just a passing through…
We have the promise of eternal life through our faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord and
Savior. For it says in 2 Peter 3:123, “ But in keeping with his promise we are looking
forward to a new heaven an a new earth, the home of the righteousness.”
Therefore, be obedient to God in all you do, and our Lord who is the Creator of all things,
will bless you beyond measure.

Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own
understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Have a great weekend folks.

Your Brother in Christ,
Mike Sherick

“The Trojan Horse”

It’s incredible how Satan has deceived so many people in the world. The reality is, that
many people find their comfort in worldly things — living outside of God – never giving a
thought to their spiritual existence. They never consider the impact that Satan is making
in their lives. I thought I would share a few thoughts on this matter.

Recently, I was intrigued by a TV segment about the Trojan War, and the famed “Trojan
Horse”. As the story goes… After a failed 10-year siege against the City of Troy, the
Greeks had yet to breach the walls of the city – so went the Trojan War. The Greeks then
hatched a deceptive plan and built a giant wooden horse. They left it outside as a gift to
Athena, and proceeded to sail off – deceiving the Trojans. The Trojans proclaimed
victory and pulled the horse inside the city. What the Trojans didn’t know was that the
horse was hollow, and that the Greeks had hidden armed men inside. Later that night, the
soldiers inside the horse came out, killed the guards and opened the city gates. The
Greeks then came back, entered the city and slaughtered all the males. They then
proceeded to plunder and burn the city. Can you imagine what it was like living in those
times?

No doubt that life was fairly brutal back in those days. These days however, the Trojan
War is just a tale between the pages of the Iliad and the Odyssey (No, I haven’t read
them). The term “Trojan Horse” remains, and is commonly associated with “strategy,
deception, and trickery”.

What’s the big deal — and what does this have to do with Satan? That question alone
reveals part of the deception that is taking place in an apathetic world today. This is
interesting because we as Christians are confronted daily with deception on a massive
scale – and it’s being poured out into the world by the evil one – Satan. If you don’t
believe me, then go out and try sharing the message of Jesus, and hear firsthand what
people believe. What’s amazing is that much of the world today (Yes, even Christians)
are “pulling this deception into the city” (that is their lives, their hearts) at an increasing
rate. What is this grand deception? The answer is surprisingly twisted – “The growing
belief that what is right is wrong, and what is wrong is right.” What’s Satan involvement,
and just who is Satan?

The Bible gives us a hint about Satan in Ezekiel 28:15, “You were perfect in your ways
from the day you were created, till inequity was found in you.”; Ezekiel 28:17, “Your
heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of
your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, that they might gaze at
you.” Ezekiel 28:16, “By the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence
within, and you sinned; Therefore I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of
God; And I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones.”
Clearly Satan once had a special place in God’s Kingdom, and was given some measure
of power and authority by God. But Satan rebelled, so God cast him out. In addition,
when Satan was cast out of Heaven, the Bible says that one third of the angels were cast
out with him. Revelation 12:9, “So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old,
called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and
his angels were cast out with him.”

This fallen angel – Satan, has as his main products, lies and deception – all of which can
lead to a fallen world and man’s sinful behavior. However, much like the Trojan Horse,
the evil one (Satan) can perfectly mask this deception. 2 Corinthians 11:14, “And no
wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.”

Jesus has some stern words about Satan – speaking about the “children of the devil”.
John 8:44-45, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your
father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there
is no truth in him, When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the
father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!”
As Christians, how can we know of the evil that we are up against? What is this struggle
about? Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the
rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the
spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” NIV Let’s look at the New KJV as well
– “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against
powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of
wickedness in the heavenly places.” The fight is for our souls, and the stakes are high!
Note the terms God enlightens us with: Principalities; Powers; Rulers of Darkness; Hosts
of Wickedness in heavenly places. To be clear, there is an ongoing “spiritual battle”.
Make no mistake – we are involved in “Spiritual Warfare”.

What power do we as Believers have over Satan? How are we most susceptible to
Satan’s strategy? This is difficult to articulate, but it has a lot to do with closing off
“entry points of temptation”. Bottom line is that Satan has no power over a true Believer,
except that of temptation and the Believer’s willingness to give acceptance (yield) to
sinful behavior. Note that Jesus, perfect in all respects, could only be tempted by Satan.
You and me however, being sinful by nature, are far more vulnerable to Satan’s attacks.
This sinful nature of man is key to Satan’s strategy, and he works at if full time!
Therefore, we need to be constantly on-guard and strive to be above reproach – that is,
we need to recognize temptation for what it is, and flee from sin – all sin!
For unbelievers however, Satan has already gained a strong foothold. Hence the term
“lost”. We as Christians need to do what we can to educate the unbeliever – to make
known the Good News of Jesus so they might be saved.
What are Satan’s tactics? Satan’s attacks are usually subtle at first, in order to find
weaknesses in our spiritual defenses. These temptations (tactics) typically target our
mind – disclosed to us through slight perceptions and senses, such as our thoughts, sight,
feelings, touch, etc. So subtle are these temptations, that they are hardly noticeable. But
once an entry point is discovered by Satan, the sinful nature of our flesh is weakened
(overpowered in some cases), and Satan ramps up the temptation to levels that become
difficult to resist – and we give in to sin. Be careful, this can happen in a heartbeat!
Keep in mind, there is always a consequence to sin. Consider James 1:14-15, “ But every
man is tempted, when he is drawn away by his own desires, and enticed. Then when lust
has conceived, it bears sin: and sin, when it is finished, bears death.”

It doesn’t matter what the sin “is”, or the magnitude of the sin – Satan delights in all sin,
for he knows it leads to destruction. In this regard, we must remain alert and not allow
ourselves to be deceived by giving in to “so-called little sins” – sin is sin!

Further, the flesh is Satan’s playground – he will try every temptation possible to gain a
foot-hold through our lustful desires. If your flesh is weak, you can count on the fact that
Satan will be there – using every subtle deception to gain entry. We cannot outwit,
rationalize, negotiate, argue or otherwise interact with Satan – he loves this game, and is
master of it. Our only major defense is to put on the “full Armor of God” – Ephesians
6:10-18

As Christians, we can gain strength and shore up defenses through our faith in Jesus and
being obedient to God. We know that God discourages all sin (hates sin). Consider 1
John 3:9, “Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and
he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.”
What’s the best way for us to avoid being caught by Satan’s snare? Avoid Sin and take a
stand against Satan’s schemes! Here are some useful Scripture that you can apply to your
life:

1 Timothy 6:11, “But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness,
godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.”

Proverbs 21:29, “An upright man gives thought to his ways.”

Psalm 141:4, “Let no my heart be drawn to what is evil, to take part in wicked deeds with
men who are evildoers; let me not eat of their delicacies.”

1 Corinthians 10:14, “Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.”

1 Corinthians 6:18, “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the
body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.”

You get the idea… Flee from sin! Be alert to the subtle and suggestive ways of Satan.
Be immersed in God’s Word and be obedient to your faith in Christ Jesus. Call on God
in all situations, for we know that not all spirits are of God – test the spirits. 1 John 4:1,
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God;
because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” We must be careful what
worldly tolerance teaches.

And again, don’t forget to put on the “full Armor of God” in order to withstand the
deception of the evil one. Satan is the true “Trojan Horse” we face in the world today,
and millions of people are falling prey to his deception in these last days. Don’t be one
of them!

To change the tone a bit… Here is a Godly contrast to the theme of the Trojan Horse
discussed above. I have included an astro-photograph below that you may find familiar.
This object resides in or Milky Way Galaxy and lies next to the Great Orion Nebula.
This object is technically named ic434, and is commonly called “The HorseHead
Nebula”. The data for this image was acquired from my Sagrada Observatory here in Las
Cruces.

Here you can see some of the beautiful structure that God displays in His Creation. It’s
truly amazing how many of these heavenly objects look like something here on Earth. In
this case, the famous HorseHead. Perhaps it’s God’s way of making things familiar to us
in preparation for our eternal life in Heaven. Now that’s a nice thought !

One thing for certain, there is no deception in God’s Word. As you can see from the
image above, “The heavens declare the Glory of God;” Psalm 19:1

Let me close with what it says in John 1:1-5, “In the beginning was the Word, and the
Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All
things were made through Him, and with out Him nothing was made that was made. In
Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and
the darkness did not.”

Be comforted by the fact that the counterfeit that is Satan, cannot stand against God’s
Truth. So be strong in your faith to the end. “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe
in God, believe in Me.” John 14:1

Have a great week folks.

Your Brother in Christ,
Mike Sherick

“His Loving Hands”

 

Well…  TGIF ! Thank God I’m Forgiven!!!

You were probably thinking about this acrostic TGIF as “Thank God it’s Friday”.
Indeed… it is Friday, but the end of the week doesn’t have much meaning if we don’t
have something to look forward to. What is it that you are looking forward to?

I know it would please our Pastor if you said you were looking forward to his message
this Sunday, or it would certainly please your wife if you said you were looking forward
to doing something special for her this Valentine’s Day. The list goes on…

It goes without saying that there are an endless number of things to look forward to in
this world we live in. The old pessimistic saying, “The only thing we have to look
forward to is death and taxes.” is one way to look at the world. Most of us however, are
usually a bit more positive. Nonetheless, it does turns out to be a bit challenging at times
to pick and choose the “things we look forward to the most” – that is, realizing the desires
of our heart.

On a larger scale however, the deeper, and more significant question might look more
like, “What is it that we are really looking forward to in our Christian life? This speaks
to our level of contentment in life, and has a lot to do with what we value and appreciate.
In a real sense, we tend to become what we desire, and we desire to be steered by what is
in our hearts, and our hearts tend to reveal that which we look forward to. Many times
this comes down to an internal conflict of doing what “we” want to do, versus doing what
“God” wants us to do.

This opens us up to attacks by the evil one, so we must be careful in our worldly walk –
always being conscious of what we look forward to (that is, what we are thinking and
doing). 1 Peter 5:8, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around
like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
In a worldly sense, our will and God’s will are always at odds with one another, for we as
sinful man always have desires of the flesh (worldly desires), but as followers of Christ,
our desire is that which is of God. What is the right balance between the two? Is it
possible to “blend” these desires? We need to be careful not to dilute our understanding.
God’s Word talks about this matter of trying to serve “two masters”. In Ecclesiastes,
Solomon speaks about the futility of life apart from God (a chasing after the wind), and
he concludes in 12:13-14, “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will
bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”
In Romans 7, Paul speaks of the difficulty of struggling with our sinful nature, which
gives us a clue that worldly considerations have choices and consequences. Consider
what Paul is looking forward to as he concludes in 7:25 “Thanks be to God – through
Jesus Christ our Lord!”

From all this, we too can conclude that it is far better, to place God at the “center of our
lives” – that is, a Christ-Directed Life that considers Him in everything that we look
forward to. This mindset results in harmony with God’s plan for our life. As a practical
matter, only when we have a Christ-Directed Life, is it possible to realize the full
measure of goodness that God has planned for our life.
However, having a Christ-Directed Life does not mean a casual acceptance of Christ.
There is inherent responsibility in being a follower of Jesus. Let this serve as a starting
point that challenges us each new day. God desires that we elevate our thinking and
behavior so that we may grow as Christians. Listen to what it says in Proverbs 9:10.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

Don’t you wish there was a so-called “spiritual GPS” we could use to help us with all the
paths and turns we encounter in life – that when we approach life’s intersections, it would
call out to us in a Godly voice, “Go left at Straight Street, then turn right – your
destination is ahead.” The truth is, we as Christians have one – it’s called the Holy Spirit,
and He dwells within each of us. Not only that, God allows us “free will”, and if we
listen carefully to His instructions, the Holy Spirit will guide us as promised by Jesus.
For as it says in John 16:13-15, “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide
you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he
will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine
and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the
Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.”

Do you think that God puts trust in us? He does – and He has expectations of us all.
This certainly puts a different perspective on “what we look forward to”. Simply stated,
God desires that we look forward to Him, giving Him thanks in praise and worship – not
just on Sunday, but every day of our lives. God also desires that we are obedient. When
we do this, God gives back to us abundantly – for He knows we have worldly needs and
desires, and He takes care of everyone according to His will.

What are you looking forward to today?

When I think about God’s desire for us, it seems clear that His love is never ending.
After all, look at everything He has provided for us in this world. Not only in this world,
but the world to come.

In this, God also provided a way for the forgiveness of sins through what Jesus did for us
on the Cross — the atoning sacrifice of His Son Jesus so that we may have eternal life. As
we know, we can’t earn our salvation, as it is a free gift from God, made available all
through faith in Jesus Christ. (TGIF) What great love God has demonstrated to us!
Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still
sinners, Christ died for us.”

Even though we have struggles in this world, God continues to pour out His Grace upon
us. Even though we sometimes sin against Him – God continues to give us more than we
need. Sad to say, we may leave or ignore God sometimes, but listen to what God says in
Hebrews 13:5, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” God’s Guiding Light
always shines in our life — 24/7, and in every moment and circumstance He desires that
we come to Him in humble obedience – seeking Him — that He may tenderly hold us in
“His Loving Hands”.

When I try to visualize God’s “Loving Hands”, I’m reminded of a beautiful object in our
Milky Way Galaxy called “The Eagle Nebula”, technically named ic2177. This object is
very large and is considered an emission nebula. One small region that is part of this
nebula appears to me as “two hands” meshed together, gently holding that which needs to
be cared for.

Can you see the hands in this image? It is a good visual reminder of God’s Grace,
Mercy, and Love – all declared to us in His Creation.

This is the region of the Eagle Nebula that I call “Loving Hands”. I took this image last
year from our now snow covered JMSM Observatory near Mayhill, NM. Speaking of
“snow covered”, the photo below shows what conditions are like now at the observatory.
One thing we can always look forward to here in New Mexico — changes in the weather!


Yep… God has a plan – snow and all…  I hope this day brings you closer to God, and that as you go through your busy day and the upcoming Valentine’s Day weekend, you will reflect on the Glorious Hope we have in Jesus – and consider how wonderful it is to be held in “His Loving Hands”.
Now that’s something to look forward to!

Your Brother in Christ,
Mike Sherick

“The Sun Flower”

Good Morning Folks! Well… it’s no surprise that our Lord has blessed us with another
beautiful day! Did you look outside to see what the Lord our God has brought this day?
As I’m writing this, it’s hard to escape the beautiful start to the morning here in Las
Cruces. The sun is beginning to rise over the Organ Mountains — clear skies abound —
Springtime is on its way! The Moon is shown waning, which will make way for some
dark, starry-nights in the week ahead – a chance for all of us to look up at the night sky
and behold the “Glory of our Lord”. Isn’t it great to wake and give thanks to the Lord
with our “first thoughts”.

I think we could all admit however, that sometimes we wake up finding ourselves
burdened by our thoughts, thinking, “Yeah… another day… another day to face what the
world is throwing my way. If only I can only get through another day. Does anybody
really care what I’m going through?”

The answer of course, is that God indeed cares. In fact, He cares about everything in our
lives. When you think about it, it’s amazing that He has created all that we see, even that
which is unseen – He even created us! All that, and He still has time for you and me. In
this regard, it’s important to re-reflect on the fact that we were created in God’s image.
Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created
him; male and female he created them.”

Why then, if God created us in His image? — that sometimes, it is so hard to get through
this life? Why can’t things be easier if God cares so much about us and what we are
doing? When we talk to God, does He truly listen?
There are lots of answers to these questions, but in order to understand them, we must
first humble ourselves and embrace one simple fact — “God is God, and we are not!”
(Purpose Driven Life). This sounds pretty basic, but unless we come to grips with this
fundamental understanding, we will not be able to get beyond our worldly existence.
Even when we do acknowledge this, we sometimes find ourselves “feeling” distant from
God – at times, even disobedient to God (our sinful nature at work).
The simple truth is that God never gives up on us, He does care, and He does listen — to
all of us! Let us search our hearts on this matter, and consider a just a bit of “what we
know” from what is written in the Bible.

We know that we can make our request of God.

Psalm 54:2, “Hear my prayer, O God; listen to the words of my mouth.”
We know that God encourages us to bring forth our requests.
Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will
be opened to you.

We know that God has our best interest in mind.

Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for
welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”
We know that God looks after us, and that He has a plan for our lives.
1 Corinthians 2: 9-10, “However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no
mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” — but God has
revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of
God.”

We know that God, in protecting us, understands our limitations.

1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And
God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you
are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”
We know that God gives us rest and hope – He is our safe harbor.

Psalm 62:5-8, “ Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone
is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and
my honor depend on God; he is my might rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O
people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”

We know that someday, God will make all things known to us.

1 John 3:2-3, “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet
been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall
see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.”
We know that God constantly encourages us.

I Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you.
Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that you labor in
the Lord is not in vain.”

Best of all – we know the God is with us always.

Matthew 28:20, “ Jesus said, ‘Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
This is but a brief look at the many good Truths we know about God as written in the
Bible. In God’s Word, we can find the comfort and peace that we need to get through
each and every day — He make all things possible – even in our most difficult and trying
circumstances.

So… let us take to heart in the Truth found in Philippianss 4:13, “I can do everything
through him who gives me strength.” It is reassuring that God has blessed us with so
much. Even in our most challenging times and worldly difficulty, the Lord our God is
with us – He is faithful — so too, we need to be faithful and obedient to Him – the One
who makes all things possible.

I like what is says in Matthew, 6:28-30, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or
reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much
more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? “And
why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor
or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of
these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow
is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”
As Springtime approaches, I’m reminded of a beautiful flower that is found growing wild
in the fields in some areas. It is called the “Sunflower” — and it grows even in the
harshest conditions. It’s clear that God sees to it that this beautiful flower survives,
displaying its full beauty throughout the day.

There is another kind of Sunflower that God takes care of. It is a distant galaxy named
M63, commonly called “The Sunflower Galaxy”. Above is an image of this beautiful
spiral galaxy that I took recently from our remote observatory near Mayhill, NM. This
object lies in a group of galaxies and is about 37 million light years distant from Earth.
Notice the wonderful structure in this rich, densely formed galaxy. Also notice the
massive “linear jets”. You might say that this beautiful object is part of “God’s Heavenly
Garden” – God’s Glory on full display in the universe — for all to see!

Let this day, in all its splendor, be a blessing to all of us. Let us never cease to look to
God in all that we do — giving Him thanks and in humble recognition for what He has
done in our lives. Let us never forget the blessed hope that we have in Jesus.
John 14:2, “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told
you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.”

I wonder what our first thoughts will be when we wake up tomorrow?

Have a great day!

Your Brother in Christ,
Mike Sherick

“No Road is too long…”

 
Hello Folks, or as our beloved Pastor says, “Hello Church Family!”  The Lord has blessed us with another beautiful day! A perfect day for us to rejoice in, for His grace is upon us, and He gives us all we need. Praise the Lord!  I just returned from my week long trip to California. Perhaps some of you are thinking, “I didn’t even know you were gone.” :-) Indeed, that’s the way it goes in our busy life.  We come and go, without knowledge of the same in others. Where have you been this week? Like most of us, we are very busy doing all sorts of things as we go through our daily/weekly routine.  Sometimes this “road of life” we are on, leaves little time for others — let alone time for God. 
The Japanese have an expression for this — it’s called “Isogashii — Isogashii”. It means being very busy, or engaged in activity. That expression certainly points to the busy lifestyle many of us have these days. One question we might ask of ourselves, “Are we too busy for God?” How often do we go through our “isogashii world” without recognizing God in our life? 
By contrast, how great it is (as undeserving as we are) that we are lifted up by God in all we do. As Christians, it is only natural that we raise His name up high. We are blessed each day to find sanctuary in His presence. God’s glory abounds and His majesty knows no end. We can find comfort that His Laws are written on our hearts — His guiding Light always with us — always upon us. We find comfort as we humble ourselves, giving Him due honor, respect, and obedience — making God first place in our lives. We trust in God for everything in our lives, and we give Him thanks for the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross — God’s perfect plan. We acknowledge our salvation in accordance with God’s Word — as it says in Ephesians 2:8-10, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith— and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” 
Thank you Lord for all you do in our lives. You make this “worldly road” we are on a whole lot easier to travel — whatever our circumstances or situation. Amen!  Before I left on my trip, I asked the Lord to place someone in my path to share the Good News. As they say, “You have to be careful what you ask for — you might get it!” At every stop, the Lord indeed put someone in my path, and it was no surprise that He was there in every circumstance. Perhaps someday I can share these encounters with you face-to-face, if you like. It’s amazing how God orchestrates our walk with other people. 
It is clear to me that part of God’s plan for each of us, is that He wants us to help others – to be an encouragement to those in need — to speak openly of His Truth at every opportunity.  I marvel at God’s presence in everything we do — how God allows His mercy to work in our lives. His love for us has no end. 

  

I’ll mention one such a brief encounter I had on my return trip, which happened at my last stop enroute from Tucson to Las Cruces. I had stopped at McDonalds for some breakfast at around 6am — at apparently the same time a Greyhound Bus pulled in for the same reason. As I waited in line, there was a young girl (maybe 12 years old) standing in line in front of me. When she got up to the counter, she very quietly asked the person behind the counter if she could buy a biscuit. The lady at the counter said, “No, you can only get a biscuit if you buy a meal.” The young girl then asked how much it cost for a Hash Brown. The lady at the counter said, “We only sell the Hash Browns with a full meal.”  The little girl stood there and continued…  

 

While this dialog was taking place, I noticed that the little girl seemed to be by herself, and it was clear that she only money she had, was some change in her pocket. I then asked God what this was all about, and in that moment, I was prompted to tap the little girl on the shoulder and ask if she was hungry. She looked at me with her big eyes, and said, “Yes.” My heart melted, and at that moment, I realized that God had put me in that situation to help someone, so I bought her some food. She looked at me and said “Thank you”, and she ran off to board the Greyhound Bus that was parked outside. As she began to hurry off, all I had a chance to say was, “God Bless You Little One.”  As I got back in my truck and continued my trip, I thought back on times in my own young life (about the same age as this little girl) when I was alone in a place with no food, hungry, and wondering what would happen to me. I wondered… Who would be my friend? As I thought about what had happened at McDonalds, I began to realize that sometimes, all God wants us to be, is His witness as demonstrated by the love we show to others. Sometimes this takes place in small ways, as in helping this little girl with some food — sometimes it is on a larger scale.   
As I was driving along, I prayed for this little one’s safe travel — that the Lord would keep her safe wherever she was going. That He would protect her and keep her, and that someday as a grown woman, she would say, “I remember that time when I was a little child, alone and hungry — and a stranger helped me. Thank you Lord Jesus.”  Such is the love that God continually demonstrates for us — that we would do likewise and demonstrate the same to others. God looks upon all His children and seeks that not one would stray or be lost. Yes… and that someday, we to whom much has been given, will give Him thanks for His loving kindness, His mercy and grace — all bestowed on us in full measure — a free gift by the One that has “made a way for our salvation and eternal life”.   
God has given us so much — so how can we thank Him? By acting in obedience, listening to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, opening our hearts to Him in prayer, living in accordance to His will and following the Truth laid out for all to see — and always walking the road we travel in Christ Jesus.   

We know that this world is passing away, so we must strive to be faithful. Listen to what it says in 2 Peter 1: 3-10 about our calling:   

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.  For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. 
Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 
 
 Let God’s Word here in 2 Peter be an encouragement to you this day, and let His Light always shine on the road you travel.
  
 The astro-image here shows an interesting formation in our Milky Way Galaxy. It is called “The Tadpole Nebula”, technically named ic410. This set of “tadpoles” reminds me of a couple of “cosmic friends” — traveling on the road of God’s Creation. This also reminds me of an old Japanese saying, “No road is too long, when you walk with a friend” 
 

 

 Since we know the Truth, and have been blessed by the Truth, we can with full assurancesay that the true friend we have is in Jesus. Our loving Father is always there, no matterwhat our travels. For God says in Hebrews 13:5,  “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
 
 
 
 
 

Have a great weekend — See you at Church!
 
Your Brother in Christ,
Mike Sherick 
 
 
 
 

  

  

 

  
 
 

 

 

“Pillars of Creation”

 

Good morning!  It’s in my heart this morning to share a few thoughts with you before I head off on my trip
to California.

By the way, did you notice that God has blessed us with another beautiful day! Did you
see the wonderful cloud formations over the past couple of days? Some of them looked
like massive pillars extending up to the sky! In some respects, this awesome beauty
above us reminds me of the famous Hubble Space Telescope image called “The Pillars of
Creation”.

Back on Earth… I really love the seasonal changes and “micro-climates” we experience
here in Las Cruces. Each year the weather is slightly different as our seasonal
perceptions are challenged. I think it’s God’s way of nudging our senses — not letting us
get too comfortable in a particular setting — climate or otherwise. That’s good, because
God does not want to settle into this world — He has a better plan! The questions then,
for each of us to ponder: What is God’s plan for my life? How can I bring God’s plan for
my life into focus?

Coming to terms with these questions are vitally important for our life, because it largely
determines how we live our life, and the impact to our eternal destiny. More importantly,
understanding the answers to these questions are life-saving, in fact, they have eternal
consequences!

I have always found, that the best approach to answering any question, is to carefully
assess what is known about the truth that surrounds the question. The questions before us
being: “What is God’s plan for my Life; and how can I bring God’s plan for my life into
focus?” (Some of you quickly recognize where this is headed, but that’s good, as it tends
to re-sharpen our understanding — keep reading.)
First of all, we need to know that God loves us and offers a wonderful plan for our lives.
Do you really believe this?

We know of this love, because it says in God’s Word, John 3:16, “God so loved the
world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish
but have eternal life”. Not only that, but, we also have knowledge of God’s plan as stated
by Jesus, as written in John 10:10, “I came that they might have life, and might have it
abundantly.”

Why is it that most people are not experiencing that abundant life? This is because man
is sinful and separated from God. Thererfore, man cannot know and experience God’s
love and plan for his life. This state is spoken of in Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and
fall short of the glory of God.”.

You see… Man was created to have fellowship with God; but, because of his own
stubborn self-will, he chose to go his own independent way and fellowship with God was
broken. This self-will, characterized by an attitude of active rebellion or passive
indifference, is an evidence of what the Bible calls sin. This results in man being
separated fron God. as it says in Romans 6:33, “The wages of sin is death”. Can you
imagine the devastating nature of this — our being separated by a great gulf and never
being able to “reach God” by his our own efforts? How then can we or anyone, be able to
bridge this gulf?

Fortunately, God’s love is so amazing that He made a provision for us. In fact, Jesus
Christ is God’s only provision for man’s sin. Through Him (that is Jesus) you can know
and experience God’s love and plan for your life. He Died In Our Place, for as it says in
Romans 5:8, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet
sinners, Christ died for us.”.

Further… He rose from the dead! As it is confirmed in 1 Corinthians 15:3-6, “Christ died
for our sins… He was buried… He was raised on the third day, according to the
Scriptures… He appeared to Peter, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more
than five hundred…”

In addition, He is the only way to God, for it says in John 14:6, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am
the way, and the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but through Me.’ ”
Now… carefully reflect on what has happened here. As you just read, this amazing,
loving, omni-present God we have has made a “special provision” for those that are
separated from God. The eternal gulf that separated us from God is bridged by His Son,
Jesus Christ, who died on the cross in our place to pay the penalty for our sins. Just
imaging a “Cross” that serves as a bridge across the gulf between man and God. Now we
are starting to understand… But… it is not enough just to know God’s provision from the
above. Read on…

We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know
and experience God’s love and plan for our lives. What does this encompass?
We Must Receive Christ. Listen to John 1:12, “As many as received Him, to them He
gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.”
We Receive Christ Through Faith. For as it says in Ephesians 2:8-9, “By grace you
have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as
result of works that no one should boast”.

When We Receive Christ, We Experience a New Birth.
Take some time and read what is says in John 3:1-8.
We Receive Christ Through Personal Invitation.

As it says in Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears My
voice and opens the door, I will come in to him”. This receiving Christ really involves
truning to God, repenting of our sins, asking Christ to come into our lives to forgive our
sins and to make us what He wants us to be.

This is not an intellectual or emotional experience, but one of Faith — that is, we receive
Jesus Christ by Faith, as an act of our own free will. Having done that, true repentance
and true acceptance by faith, we can now experience what it means to leave the “selfdirected
life” we were once living, to that of living a “Christ-Directed Life”. Which kind
of life to you want to live?

Fortunately, we can receive Christ in our lives through prayer. God knows our heart, and
He knows our attitude — that is, the attitude of our heart. Let’s pray to God…
Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the
door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving
my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me
the kind of person You want me to be.

We can know that if this prayer expresses the desire of our heart, then Christ has come
into your life, and you can begin experiencing God’s plan for your life — just as He
promised.

OK… many of you recognize this as the Four Spiritual Laws described by the Campus
Crusade for Christ. If you got this far, then good — for it is always a nice refresher to
know how we can be saved. The best part is, the above is a good way to share the Good
News of Jesus and help someone know the Truth, and bring them into a new life —
eternally saved the loveing Grace of God, and through their faith in Jesus as their Lord
and Savior.

Here’s a challenge for you… Would you like to make God smile, and the Angels in
Heaven rejoice? Then go out this week, and make it a point to share God’s Plan of
salvation with someone — they will be eternally grateful you did. For as it says in Luke
15:10, “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God
over one sinner who repents.”

In closing, here is a wide-field of the Pillars of Creation image taken from my observatory here in Las
Cruces.   It’s interesting to see a different perspective of this object, expressing the awesome
and expansive nature of God’s Creation as revealed in each image. “The heavens declare the Glory of the
Lord.” Psalm 19:1 Just imagine what we will see when we get to Heaven !

So my prayer for you today is for God to place someone in your path that you can share
the Good News of Jesus. Praise the Name of Jesus! Amen! 

 Have a great week!

Your Brother in Christ,
Mike Sherick

“The Eye of God”

Good morning! The Lord has blessed us with another glorious day! Don’t believe
me? Then just take a minute before you start your day, and look outside at this beautiful
snow covered scene here in Las Cruces. Isn’t it amazing that each and every snowflake is
different — a testimoney to the awesome nature of God’s Creation! For it is said in John
1:3, “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was
made.” KJV. It’s wonderful to consider what a loving God we have — He made
everything, and provides for our every need. Amen!

God’s Creation is certainly a pleasant reminder of His grace shown to us each day. We
are a constant witness to this Creation, and are blessed with each new day. As it says in
Psalm 118:24, “This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” The
fact is, we are blessed to know the source of this gladness, and it is always good to give
thanks to God when we first start our day. Don’t miss the opportunity to let your “first
thoughts” be to that of God. As Christians, we do this out of faith and obediance.

It’s an interesting realization to consider that the “Eye of God” (worldly term) is upon us.
Sounds a bit scary until we come to grip with the fact God is all knowing. Psalm 139:2-3
says, “You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You
discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.”

With such perfect and loving knowledge, we can know that God truly cares about each of
us, imperfections and all — including every single thing we do in our lives. When we
humble ourselves before the one true God in prayer, submitting to Him and giving Him
our first waking thoughts — we find that our obedience is pleasing to Him, and He gives
us rest. According to His will, He lovingly gives us all we need — for He knows exactly
what we need — when we need it. As it says in Psalm 139:1, “O Lord, you have
searched me and you know me.”

Even though we cannot see God, His grace is continually upon us. Isn’t it comforting to
know that dispite our sinful nature, He still loves us. Hey… that’s you and me! Surely
God sees things in us that many times we can’t see for ourselves. What an awesome God
we have that tenderly cares for us! How else then can we begin each new day, but to give
thanks to the One that lifts us up, and makes all things possible. Amen!

This coming Monday, I will be driving by myself out to California to deliver some
telescope equipment to a friend in Manhattan Beach. It’s quite a long drive, so I will be
staying with some friends in Tucson, AZ for the night, and continuing on the next day.
After I drop off the equipment, I will continue on to Ventura, CA to see some old friends,
stay the night, then back on the road to Las Cruces. I plan to be back home on the 4th.
Please pray for my safe travel, and that God will place someone in my path this trip, so I
may share the Good News of Jesus.

One thing I’m looking forward to on this trip is listening to God’s Word. I have a digital
jump-drive loaded with the Bible on MP3 files. My truck’s sound system allows for
“voice recognition”, so all I have to do is to say, “Play track John 3:16” and it
automatically changes and plays John 3:16. This is kind of handy since as I listen to the
Bible, I hear verses that remind me of other verses. With this setup, I can quickly change
over to any part of the Bible I want. Anyway, it will be fun to be absorbed in God’s
Word for the 25 some hours driving this trip.

Speaking of listening to God’s Word… Has God ever spoken to you? I think we could
all say, “Yes”, but the larger question is, “Do we listen to Him?”. More importantly, do
we obey Him? When we think about it, obeying God is not an option. This gives rise to
our occassional tendency to hide from God, but who can escape the omniscience of God?
What is this Omni-wad-da-ya-call-it? Simply put, it is that God is all knowing, infinite,
infallable, independent, simultaneous — for all time — past, present, and future. Now
that’s something to think about! In concert with this, knowing that God is omniscient, we
must constantly reflect on our daily walk, making discernment with the guidance of the
Holy Spirit in all that we consider and all we do. We do this out of faith in God’s Truth,
because we know in our hearts that the Truth will set us free — recognizing all the while,
at every turn, where our salvaiton comes from. As you can imagine, this greatly
influences our daily behavior, our outlook on life, and our dealing with others. Let this
understanding be a blessing to all of us.

At this last Wednesday’s “early morning” Bible Study in Hebrews 12:14, the question
was raised about “sanctification”, which prompted questions on “justification”. As I
thought about the discussion, it prompted me to consider the difference between these
two terms, and perhaps the varying viewpoints on this topic. Now… I’m not a theologian,
and perhaps that’s a good thing, but perhaps like you, I DO want to stand firm in my
Faith, and I DO want to understand the Truth, and I DO want to grow in Christ. For what
reason? ETERNAL DESTINY of course! Let’s listen to what 1 John 2:17 says, “The
world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”
Some fundamental questions might be worth our considering, for how can we understand
our eternal destiny, if we don’t understand the basis of our Faith? And how can we
understand the basis of our Faith if we don’t understand God’s Truth? This is not to
promote circular reasoning or contradiction, for God’s Word is clear, but it does prompt
each of us for an exact undestanding of the reason for our hope.

Why all this fuss — we are all Christians, right? I think we can make that assumption, but
we want to get this right, for while we are in the world, being the body of Christ, in Christ
Jesus, we likewise need to set about doing our Father’s work. Fortunately, our church
(SVCC in my case) has a “Statement of Faith” that we agree with and adhere to — that is
to say, make clear our understanding, commitment, and obedience.stuff?

As Christians, we believe we are justified by faith.

This “justification” means that God has declared us as sinners, to be righteous. In so
doing, God “justifies” us as sinners when we put our faith in the sacrifice that Jesus made
on the cross, and trust that He is righteous. This is applied in our life by understanding
and doing what is says in Ephessians 2:8-10, “For by grace you have been saved through
faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one
should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

Keep in mind that this “Faith” we as Christians speak of, is not constrained to an
intellectual understanding or acknowledgement of God. Remember in James 2:19, “You
believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that— and shudder.”
Rather, our Faith is made secure by our belief in what Jesus did for us, even as we were
sinners. As Paul writes in Ephessians, this Faith (our Christian Faith) results in our being
saved.

So begins our “sanctification”… We have all heard the expression, “We can’t work our
way into Heaven.”. How true, but some of us feel unsure about this “works” thing. From
James 2:20, “You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless.”
This certainly makes us take notice! However, what James is really eluding to here is
that there are two kinds of faiths: one Faith that “leads to Godly deeds/works”, and one
faith that does not. I like what Henry said in one of our Men’s Bible Studies, “There are
no Christian plateaus. You’re either climbing or falling!” Hence, it is our Godly Faith
that we declare, inseparable from our walk in Christ, that allows us to grow as Christians
and bear good fruits. Having been justified, this is the ongoing process of our
sanctification.

So as we continue our climb in this world (that is, our Christian walk), let us proclain,
“How wonderous it is that God could save a sinner like me!” Let this beg the question
from those we encounter; those who have ears to hear, thereby giving us the opportunity
to share the Good News of Jesus — sharing with boldness the reason for our hope. After
all, we all have a “Story” — a testimony of how Jesus made an eternal difference in our
life. Share it with someone today! Make a difference in someone’s life! Draw someone
closer to the salvation that only comes through faith in Jesus!

Difficulties in this world abound — no mystery to any of us! In fact, some of us are
facing great personal difficulties right now. However, let us be encouraged and stand
firm in our Faith, with full understanding of God’s Truth — always growing in His Word –
– always walking humbly and in full view of God’s Gracious Spirit. As it says in Luke
12:2-3, “For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not
be known. Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light;
and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the
housetops.”

As such, let us all commit to obey God, and walk faithfully in His Light. For this, God
will reward us.

Speaking of God’s Light, I would like to share an astro image that I took from our remote
observatory near Mayhil, NM. This object is commonly called “The Helix Nebula”,
technically a Planetary Nebula named ngc7293. This object is within our own Milky
Way Galaxy, and is some 650 light years distant from Earth. It is the result of a star that
had turned into a “red giant” and is ejecting huge amounts of gas and dust.
This object is so unusual, that it has become known as “The Eye of God” — although it it
interesting to note that NASA rejects this name. In any case, let this image be a blessing
to you today, and a reflection of the discussion above.

My prayer for you this day is from Numbers 6:24-26,

“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be
gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.”

Have a great day, and a super weekend!

Your Brother in Christ,
Mike Sherick

“Gathering from the Four Winds”

Good Morning!  God has blessed us with another beautiful day! The “snow-capped” Organ Mountains sure gives us another reminder of God’s Creation. It’s amazing how the snow reveals such an unusual visual contrast that shows just how rugged these moutains really are!  How often have we looked upon this sight and taken it for granted? I know that I’m  guilty of that, as I go through my “busy day”. Blessed are we with such a beautiful scene that portrays God’s universal wonder — all for us to behold — right before our eyes!  As a followup from last week’s email… I had a sucessful trip to my mountain observatory 
last week. As I mentioned, I went up to this facility to troubleshoot some electronic equipment. Recall that we also prayed that God would place someone in our path to share the Good News of Jesus. I hope He did that for you. It’s amazing how God listens to our prayers — indeed, we really matter to Him! 
While I was up at the observatory site, I encountered all kinds of technical electronic problems with the computers not communicating/networking properly. I started the process of debugging the equipment, which included replacing the DSL Modem.  Nothing! The problems remained. I called the Internet Sercice Provider (PVT) and talked with their Technical Support. These folks were really helpful, and said they would investigate the Server conneciton and give me a call back in a few minutes. So I hung up and waited…  There I was, on top of a mountain, in the middle of nowhere. About five minutes after I had hung up, I heard a truck drive up. It was PVT’s field techs. These two guys announced that they were there to fix my DSL problem. There was no way they could have responded that quickly, but it happened ! I moved aside, and they began working on checking the gear and Internet connections. They worked with their Internal tech team and within about 15 minutes, the problems were solved.  I was somewhat in awe at these guys just “showing up”, and the quick nature of these repairs. I told them it was a blessing that they arrived so quickly to help resolve the technical issues. They proudly said, “That’s our job!” Subtle guy that I am, I then asked them directly if they knew Jesus, and they both replied yes. I said, “Praise the Lord!” and reminded them that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life — John 14:6.. They acknowledged this fact, and we prayed together. They left with a smile on their faces, and we were all filled with the encouragement that only our Lord can provide throught this kind of Christian interaction. 
I pondered what had happened, and once again realized that God truly cares about what we are doing in this world. Do you realize that God goes out of His way — just for us!  What a pleasant reminder that God is constantly calling His children together – sometimes in unusal ways and in odd circumstances — gathering His children from the four winds as it were. Have you had such an experience?  A key here is that as Christians, we must be alert to what God is placing before us. Our job is to listen to the Holy Spirit, and use discernment for every situation we encounter – both great and small, easy and difficult.  

Such is our walk in Christ, as in everything we do, we are called to be His witness.  Called to the task of spreading the Good News — sharing with others our reason for the hope we have. For as it says in 1 Peter 3:15, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,”. Praise the Lord for the hope we have in our Savior — Christ Jesus!”. Amen! 

Some may interpret this as a “passive” walk in Christ. That is… we are always waiting for someone to “ask us about Jesus”. I would like you to consider the hunger that people have for Jesus. Ever been hungry, and don’t know what to eat? Such is the case with the spiritual hunger in the world we live in today. The fact is, many people in this world are lost and have a spiritual hunger that can only be filled by believing in Jesus — they just don’t know “what to eat”. Many times we can fill that hunger by being more active in raising up the name of Jesus to those we discern are seeking to fill that hunger or emptyness in their life. It is truly a joy to discover that so many people are receptive to hearing the Good News of Jesus — if only we take an active role in sharing the Truth.  In addition, it is no less joyful for another Christian to re-hear the Gospel as an affirmation in their own life — bolstering strength and purpose to their life. This kind of affirmation tends to lift up our spirit, and adds to our desire to reach out to others in like manner. The old adage, “The more you do, the more you do.” is good model to apply to our Christian life — constantly keeping Christ in our “spiritual field of view”.  This field of view not only applies to our worldly walk, but more importantly, to our Spiritual Walk. When we place Jesus in the forefront of our lives, we see everything in the world differently, as we serve and grow in Christ. A test of this growth is seen as we become unafraid to mention and share the name of Jesus. In this regard, let God’s Word be our constant encouragement to help lift our hearts to be obedient and do His will.  When we do this, we are indeed a light unto others. 

When I think about our being a light for others to see — this truly represents a positive component in each of our lives. This essentially translates into opportunity to serve others as we serve the Lord — understanding that everything we have is provided by God. This “Servants Heart” further translates into purpose for our life as we do the will of God, and become a light to others. All this according to His Mercy and Grace — all from our Creator from whom everything is possible. 

Speaking of being a light to others….   Here is an astro-image of a heavenly object showing God’s Light in the universe — displayed in the heavens for all to see. I took this image this morning at 3am. This object is commonly called “The Hercules Globular Cluster”, technically named M13. This object is some 20,000 light years distant from our Earth, and resides in our own Milky Way Galaxy. It is home to over 100,000 stars – super packed in God’s cosmic space! I like the way the prominent star in the upper foreground shines — much like “God’s Guiding Light” — gathering together His children (that is you and me) from the four winds. As you gaze upon this gathering of stars, let this image showing God’s Glory in the heavens be a blessing to you today — and let us embrace what it means to be gathered together as fellow Christians.
 

Now is a good time for us to reflect on God’s Word, “And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” 

What a blessed hope we have in our Lord and Savior Jesus!  Have a great week! 

Your Brother in Christ,
Mike Sherick 

“Armor of God”

Good Morning! God has blessed us with another beautiful day — rain, wind, snow
and all — for every day in the Lord is a good day!

I’m driving up to our remote JMSM Observatory this morning to replace some electronic
equipment. Yeah… stuff always breaks down :-) The Good News is that Jesus is the
same yesterday, today, and forever! Praise the Lord !

Please pray for me, that I have safe travel in this marginal weather today. Lord willing
and the creek don’t rise, I’ll be back in Las Cruces early this afternoon.
Anyway, I was thinking about all of you this morning so I decided to share some
thoughts, and an astro-image that I took recently. A Brother recently expressed that he
was battling lustful thoughts and actions in his life — seems to be a constant battle with
men in this world, which I’m sure we can all relate to. This brought to my mind some of
the direction that God gives in His Word about putting on armor to do battle with the evil
one — that is say — Spiritual Battle, and Spiritual Warfare!

In Ephesians 6:11, God’s Word says, “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be
able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”

Many times, being caught up in the middle of temptation, we fail to realize our situation
and the presence of the enemy, and we don’t fully understand what putting on God’s
armor means. As a result, we go to battle unprepared, which when you think about it,
doesn’t make much sense does it? Afterall, why would we subject ourselves and engage
in full battle circumstances against any enemy, without any defenses?

Think about how sensitive we are to worldly things. We can look up at the sky and
discern the weather. We can look upon people around us and sense minute things about
them. But when it comes to discerning the evil one, it turns out to be a whole different
story. How quickly, instantly in some cased, are we caught by the subtle deception
spewed out by Satan. The Bible speaks about this matter, and gives caution to us
regarding being captive by the world. The truth is, as Brothers in Christ, although we are
in the world, we are no longer of this world. How then, if we have Christ in us, can we
then thrust Christ into our (any) sinful behavior. Clearly we must consider our
responsibility — our Spiritual Responsibilty.

So… what is this “armor of God” ? Ok — Let’s get ready for battle !

– We must girt our loins with the Truth, Eph 6:14. This is what holds everything
together.
– We must put on a breastplate of Righteouness, Eph 6:14. This covers our chest, and our
heart.
– We must shod our feet with The Gospel, Eph 6:15. This allow us to stand on God’s
Word as our Rock.
– We must carry a shield of Faith, Eph 6:16. This is what protects everything.
– We must put on the helmet of Salvation, Eph 6:17. This is what covers our head, which
influences our thinking, our hearing, and our seeing.
Not so hard to do, right? The simple fact is, we are all sinful by nature. Therefore, we
must strive to be obedient. The big question is, “Be obedient to what?” In a worldly
sense we are obedient by what controls us — that is, our sinful nature. By contrast, in
order to be obedient to God, we must put into practice “Godly Principles”, and apply
them to our lives.

Some of these principles apply to spiritual warfare, hence the importance of what God’s
Word says in Ephesians 6:11. In a real sense as Christians, when it comes to spiritual
warfare, we are all soldiers in Christ. Grasp this concept as a reality in your life, and as
part of your Christian walk — for as long as we are in his world, we are engaged in
spiritual warfare.

So… the next time circumstances allow the evil one to present temptation, have on your
armor of God, be prepared for battle 24/7, stand against the powers of darkness, hold on
to the power of His (that is the Lord) might, that you may withstand “the fiery darts” of
the evil one and that of his demons. Do this and the next battle (spiritual battle) you
encounter will give victory to you in Christ.

What a blessing is is to know the Lord. Amen! As men, our walk in this world is a
constant challenge. That’s just part of God plan for our lives. Take heart Brothers, for
we can rejoice in all that we encounter, for as it says in Romans 8:28-31,
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who
are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to
be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many
brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these
He alos justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say
to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

Knowing this, we can find comfort and strength by trusting in God, and being obedient to
His commands. In all this, God intends us to be strong, even when we face difficulty in
this world. Reflecting on all of the above, we know where the battle lines are drawn.
Make this your day to raise your sights, put on your spiritual armor (that is the armor of
God), break the enemy’s (that is the evil one) hold in your life, and proudly be a Soldier
in Christ.

Right now, before you do another thing, put on the “ARMOR OF GOD” !

The attached image is an astrophoto taken by me recently from our remote mountain
observatory. This object fits nicely into my heartfelt message to you this morning. It is
commonly called “Thor’s Helmet” and technically known as ngc2359. It is a Planteary
Nebula located in our Milky Way Galaxy. Beautiful — isn’t it ! God’s creation displays
His glory, and this object gives a hint of His power and majesty. So, when you look upon
this image of “Thor’s Helmet”, don’t think of the figure of greek mythology, rather focus
on it as a reminder of God’s glory in the heavens, and a way of remembering to put on the
full armor of God.

That’s it guys — I’m out the door headed to the mountains!  Have a blessed day, and make
it a point to share Jesus with someone today.

“This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)

Your Brother in Christ,
Mike Sherick