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Archive for May, 2010

Live such a vibrant and fulfilled life for the Lord that your children and grandchildren will want the same thing.

Pastor Bill

NOTE: You may have noticed that today’s entry on this site is somewhat different than what you might expect to see. For the summer months of June, July and August, I will be posting THINGS I’VE LEARNED ON THIS JOURNEY on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The longer posts that have usually appeared on these three days will be on Tuesday and Thursday of each week.

I appreciate the encouraging comments a number of you have provided me. My prayer is that the material you read on this site will be encouraging, uplifting as well as challenging.

And a big “Thank You!” to those of you who have ordered a copy of my recent book, The Shelter Tree – First Edition – Revised. If you have not had a chance to look at it you can find it at www.blurb.com where you can simply type The Shelter Tree into the search box and you will see the book and even preview the first 15 pages. The book is 136 pages in length and sells for $11.95, plus shipping. May you be richly blessed as you read.

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If you are sharing with folks what God is doing in your life you are going to bother some people.

Pastor Bill

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It was a wonderful late fall day, even though it was a very cool one. I was headed west in a small pickup in south central Washington State. I was on a new section of interstate highway with little traffic to contend with and things just simply couldn’t have been going any better. There was good music on the radio and I had a fresh, steaming cup of coffee in my hand that I had picked up a few minutes earlier at a small mini-mart, just before getting onto the freeway. That would help keep me awake for this next stretch of the trip.

As I rolled along I decided that, since the highway was nice and smooth and there seemed to be so little traffic for me to be concerned with, I would pull the lid off the foam cup and just be careful not to make any quick movements that could cause me to spill it. That would make it much easier to drink than trying to sip it out of the little hole in the lid that had been provided.

The roadways had been dry for most of the trip, other than some patches of frost in areas where the highway was shaded by steep hillsides. But for the present, everything ahead of me looked fine.

As I approached a long overpass I was holding the coffee cup in my right hand. I was thinking about the meeting I was going to be a part of in a few short hours. I drove onto the concrete surface of the overpass and suddenly the pickup felt different. Without warning it began to slide sideways—the back wheels were acting as if they wanted to pass the front wheels. Oh, brother! Frost!

As the pickup continued to slide I lifted the coffee up and away from me in hopes it would not drench me in the next few moments. At the same time I used my left hand to turn the steering wheel to the left, in the direction of the skid. In the brief instant all this was occurring I yelled out, “Help me, Lord!”

The phrase “help me” is used 21 times in the NIV translation of the Bible. One example is in Psalm 109:26 where the writer is calling out to God: “Help me, O LORD my God; save me in accordance with your love.”

Many of the occasions when this phrase is used the person speaking or writing the words is facing some type of serious problem and is asking the Lord to help them out; to intervene on their behalf. I wonder how many times you and I have begun to pray by saying, “Dear God, help me.” We have probably done that more than just a few times, right?

And what is comforting is to know what happens when we pray with such words. In Psalm 34:17 we are told: “The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.”

Hey! I like that. I appreciate knowing that my Heavenly Father is listening when I call out to Him.

Just before the skidding pickup hit the dry pavement at the other end of the frosty overpass, which no doubt would have caused me to roll over, it straightened out and I continued on down the highway as if nothing unusual had happened. Thank You, Lord!

Prayer: Father, thank You, so very much, that we can live with the assurance that when we cry out to You, You hear us. And not only do You hear us, but You act on our behalf. Thank You, Lord. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.

Ps. By the way, I never spilled a drop of coffee!

Pastor Bill

 

 

Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™  Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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If you are completely “sold out” to Jesus Christ, you can trust Him for your happiness.

Pastor Bill

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Several days ago I found a small, tightly folded piece of paper that someone had discarded. Curious, I unfolded the paper and found that it was a handwritten letter. I could not determine who may have written the letter, but it was the person to whom the letter was addressed that grabbed my attention. It began with the simple salutation, “Dear God.”

Interesting. Someone had obviously written a letter to God and had then discarded it. As I scanned through the content of the single page it seemed that the person had been very serious about what they were sharing with God. I wondered why they had chosen to throw it away.

You know something? It would probably be beneficial for all of us to take time to write God a letter once in a while. There can be something therapeutic about putting our thoughts in written form on a piece of paper like the person had done who wrote the letter I found. Actually, writing a letter to God is simply praying to Him in written form. And it can be really good for us to do that.

In Jeremiah 32:16, in The Message, the Prophet Jeremiah appears to be writing a letter to God when he says: And then . . . . . . I prayed to God, “Dear God, my Master, you created earth and sky by your great power—by merely stretching out your arm! There is nothing you can’t do.”

Well, I guess it was a prayer he was writing out; but isn’t that like a letter to God? Sure, it is! Why not write Him one today. He would love to hear from you.

Prayer: Father, I would like to write a letter to you today. Would you show me how to set aside even a few minutes of time so I can do that? Help me be open and honest with you as I write. Allow me to bare my soul to you as I pen the words that form within my mind.Thank You, Lord. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.

Pastor Bill

 

 

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

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When you invite Jesus to change your life you put Hell behind you and Heaven before you.

Pastor Bill

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I flexed my arms and legs and it seemed that everything was still working alright. I rolled over, stood to my feet, and pulled my helmet off. Even in the darkness that was settling over us I could tell that landing in the burned area, covered with the ash and remains of the fire that had swept across the ridge top, had done nothing for the appearance of my white nylon jump suit. It was going to need some good cleaning when we returned to Idaho.

I unhooked my parachute and harness, and then climbed out of my jump suit. Say! It was nice to feel the coolness of this high mountain air against my skin. I opened the large pocket attached to the right leg of my jump suit pants and removed a baseball cap that would have to cover my head until the plane had dropped our gear to us.

I suddenly realized that the DC-3 was approaching overhead once again and I looked up just in time to see the last 3 smokejumpers fall away from the plane. They would be on the ground with the rest of us in a few minutes. Then the plane would lose about 800 feet of altitude and begin dropping our fire packs onto the ridge top near us. Then the work would begin!

I reached into my leg pocket once more and felt around till I found the battery operated headlamp we each carried. It was dark enough now that I needed it to insure that I got all my gear together and didn’t leave anything in the area where I had landed. I strapped the light around my head and turned it on. With its light I gathered my jump suit, helmet and parachute together and stored them in the two bags we all carried for just that purpose. By the time I had packed it all up I was sweating up a storm and I stopped to rest a moment. I looked out across the rugged landscape and I could see the twinkling lights of a city many miles away. I would not know how far away from civilization we really were until I could look at a map. But it was obvious we were far, far back in the mountains. There were no roads and very few trails in this area we had jumped into. In fact, we were in an area that had probably seen very few humans over the course of time.

Well, I needed to get moving. I turned towards the ridge top to see where the other fellows might be gathering to pile their gear. They seemed to be gathering together above me a short distance near some short scrub pine trees. I looked down at the ground so my headlamp would give me some idea of what was in front of me and suddenly stopped. What was that? I bent over for a closer look and there it was—a knife! A large knife that appeared to be about 12 inches in length, with a rusty blade about 7 inches long, lay on the ground partially covered by a few needles from the nearby pine trees. How did this knife happen to be up here on this mountain side? Who could have left it here in this desolate and secluded spot?

It was amazing what a person could find in a wilderness such as this. Who would have expected that I would land on this ridge top, in just this specific location, and look at the ground to see a knife that had obviously been here many, many years? The wilderness must have many secrets.

The word “wilderness” is used often throughout the Bible. In one particular place in Exodus Moses was herding sheep for his father-in-law in an area described as a wilderness. Moses didn’t find a knife—but he found God. Look at these words from Exodus 3:1-5, as we find it written in the New Living Translation of the Bible: One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock far into the wilderness and came to Sinai, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up. “This is amazing,” Moses said to himself. “Why isn’t that bush burning up? I must go see it.”

When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

“Here I am!” Moses replied.

“Do not come any closer,” the Lord warned. “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground.

Think about that. Moses was in a wilderness and yet he finds God is there. Not only is God there, but He speaks to Moses one-on-one. Hey! I must tell you that I like the sound of that. No one else is present; just God and Moses. Do you suppose there is a lesson in that for you and me?

I speak about this often, I suppose, but it seems that it is important for all of us to get away at times, alone, so that we can be “alone” with God, our Heavenly Father. How long has it been since you have done that—been alone with God? Maybe today would be a good time for that.

Prayer: Father, would you help me to make time for You, and You alone, in all of the demanding activity of this day that I am in. I know that I need to set aside some time just for You; but I have so much to do and there are so many things that need my attention. Maybe all of that is why I need this time with You. Show me how I can carve some time out of this day where I can bask in your presence, talk to You, and hear You speak to me. Thank You, Lord. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.

Pastor Bill

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

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If Jesus is truly going to be Lord of my life, I may have to change the way I’m doing things.

 

Pastor Bill

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I let out a big groan and grunt, as in the space of only a few seconds, my speed slowed from 120 miles per hour to about 3 miles per hour. The parachute came out of its pack and blossomed above me with a loud crack as the 32 foot diameter canopy of nylon filled with air over my head. I took a quick look up at the parachute to make sure it had opened correctly and there were no rips or tears in it as could sometimes happen. I looked around and spotted my two jump partners, one was out in front of me and a little lower and the other fellow was behind me and just a bit higher than I was. All three of us were headed towards the ridge top below us and that is where I looked as I began searching for the spot on the ridge top we had been directed to try and land in.

Say, now! It had really gotten dark. I had never jumped this late in the day where it was so difficult trying to pick out objects on the ground like this. I could see several of the smokejumpers already on the ground that had jumped earlier and some of them already had their headlamps on to help them see. And because we were dropping into an area the fire had already burned the ground was black. That made it even more difficult to discern where the ground was.

I pulled on one of the steering lines to adjust my direction so that I was headed for a spot that looked fairly open at a location near the top of the ridge. No one else seemed to have selected that spot to land in and the other two guys I had jumped with were far enough away from me that they were apparently trying for other locations to land in. I looked up a moment and could see that the fire was still active and seemed to be burning at a good rate of speed—but it was not any danger to us since we were landing in a burned area. My eyes went back to the ground and I realized I needed to make more adjustments so that I could steer myself into the landing spot I had selected.

As with every parachute jump I made I was aware of how quiet it abruptly becomes. Standing in the open door of the plane with the loud noise of the engines and the wind surrounding you one moment, and then suddenly be drifting quietly towards the ground beneath your parachute, always impressed me. Usually the only sound you heard was the fading sound of the plane as it flew away from you and then you would hear the sound of the nylon parachute flapping over your head. It was no different on this evening.

Boy, it was really hard to see things on the ground. I was concentrating on the landing spot as I continued to drop quietly through the evening sky. I was getting closer to the ground it wouldn’t be long now. Suddenly movement caught my and just below my feet appeared the canopy of another parachute. One of my partners was crossing beneath me and as I watched he went beneath me so close the heels of my boots dragged through a portion of his canopy. Hey! I had never had that happen before. I lifted my legs up as he continued past and then something else happened that was brand new to me. As my “friend” went beneath me I suddenly sensed I was starting to drop faster than I had been. It was almost as if my jump partner had “stolen” some of the air supporting my parachute. As I dropped past him I realized, too late, that I was about to strike the ground—and a split second later I did—hard!

I had not realized I was that close to the ground and had not prepared myself to make a typical landing where you hit the ground and roll in a prescribed manner which lessens the chance that you will be injured in any way. As my mother would have said, I “hit like a sack of spuds!” I don’t doubt that some of the other jumpers who were already on the ground heard the grunt and the following groans as my parachute collapsed on the ground next to me and I tried to get my bearings about me. Surprise, Bill. You’re on the ground in the Toiyabe National Forest of Nevada!

We speak of it often—how life is full of surprises. Some we enjoy; others we would just as soon do without. In the Old Testament, in Proverbs 3:21-26, as it is written in The Message, we are provided with some powerful words: Dear friend, guard Clear Thinking and Common Sense with your life; don’t for a minute lose sight of them.

They’ll keep your soul alive and well, they’ll keep you fit and attractive. You’ll travel safely, you’ll neither tire nor trip. You’ll take afternoon naps without a worry, you’ll enjoy a good night’s sleep. No need to panic over alarms or surprises, or predictions that doomsday’s just around the corner, Because God will be right there with you; he’ll keep you safe and sound.

Don’t you appreciate those words from our Lord, especially there at the end where we are told “God will be right there with you; he’ll keep you safe and sound.”

Prayer: Father, thank You for walking through this life with us. Thank You for the promise to keep us “safe and sound.” Yes! Thank You, Lord. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.

Pastor Bill

 

Scripture quotations from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © by Eugene H. Peterson 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group."

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Heaven and Hell are alike in one way—they last for eternity! The only thing that will keep you out of Hell is the forgiveness of your sins. Jesus is willing to do that.

Pastor Bill

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