The Rev. Jerome N. Terry doesn't take the scriptures for granted.

The scriptures led Terry to Christ at an early age and sustained him through two military tours in Vietnam.

"The scriptures have been very valuable to me. I do believe that the scriptures are guidelines for life," said Terry, a resident of LaPlace and pastor of Bethel Lutheran Church in New Orleans.

Terry, 67, put together some of his favorite scriptures in the new devotional book "Daily As I Rise" (Westbow Press). He will be signing copies of his book from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 27 at Gospel Book Store, 91 Westbank Expressway, Suite 410, in Gretna.

"I hate to admit it, but it took me 11 years to do it," he said. "I thought God wanted everything decent and in order. I couldn't just put anything out there. I took my time writing what God led me to write. I believe this is what he wanted out there."

The 224-page book includes 366 daily devotions, each with a scripture, Terry's thoughts and a prayer.

For example: Day 66 — Terry starts out with Romans 8:37: "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him how loved us." Then he adds: "Life challenges us to live in his world yet remain apart from it. The world seeks to condemn our every action because it does not coincide with the ways of this world. Because we are different, we are attacked by those whose father is the prince of this world. The people of the world encourage Christians to adopt what the world considers as acceptable. If not, the world seeks to persecute followers of Christ, even to the point of death. Never betray the call of Christ as this leads to the better of the two choices: which is eternal life. The world leads to eternal death."

A New Orleans native, Terry served in the Army from 1968-71 and worked for the telephone company and U.S. Postal Service among other jobs. 

He graduated from Concordia Seminary St. Louis in 1986. In 2001, he took over as pastor of Bethel Lutheran, 4127 Franklin Ave. He was a longtime member of Trinity Lutheran Church in the Lower 9th Ward.

For more information, contact Terry at iamapreacherman@att.net.

Another day, another blessing

During his time in Athens, Greece, the Apostle Paul noticed people took religion very seriously.

The problem was it was all about religion, temple worship and idolatry; it wasn’t about a relationship with the true and living God. It wasn’t about pursuing the heart and mind of God.

Paul tries to help them out in Acts 17:24-27: “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.

"From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.”

That’s an awesome God. Too many people then and even today take physical objects — like houses, cars, and other people — or images and make that their god. The Bible calls that idolatry.

Notice the spelling: IDOL A TRY. Don’t give idols A TRY in your life. You can get hooked; you can become an idol addict. Idols (that car, home, etc.) can’t save you; idols can’t speak to your heart in the midnight hour; idols can’t heal you; idols can’t bring your children home; idols can’t relieve you of the pain you’re feeling physically or emotionally.

Try the ONE true God, the creator of the universe, the giver of life, our Everlasting Father. Paul reminds us to seek him because he’s never out of reach. 

Chosen by God

Many of us don’t know or fully understand the blessing of adoption.

My wife had three children the natural way, and we have been blessed. But many people choose to adopt.

What’s so amazing is that someone CHOOSES — is not forced, not surprised — a child to grow their families.

The natural birth takes nine months with some anxious moments in the delivery room. The adoption process can take years, can be costly and can involve lawyers and other relatives, testing of your character and finances, medical and DNA testing and more nerve-wracking moments.

You would almost think an adoptive child would have the advantage because they were WANTED (many are wanted very badly), fought for and waited on. That’s what God did for us. He had his only begotten son Jesus our brother then he added us to the family unit and he loves us all the same.

Since the beginning of time, God had a plan to adopt us into his family. He didn’t care about how we looked, what we had, how smart we were, where we came from, our hair color, our size, our race. None of that mattered. He was going to love us, no matter what we did, AND he was going to always love us even if we didn’t want to love or accept him as our father.

Ephesians 1:4-6 in the Living Bible puts it so powerfully like this: “Long ago, even before he made the world, God chose us to be his very own through what Christ would do for us; he decided then to make us holy in his eyes, without a single fault — we who stand before him covered with his love. His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by sending Jesus Christ to die for us. And he did this because he wanted to! Now all praise to God for his wonderful kindness to us and his favor that he has poured out upon us.”