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Archive for September, 2010

BIG GAME TRAILS

“Say, now, this is real game country,” I thought as I paused on the narrow ridge top. And when I used the word “game,” I meant big game—like elk! I was on a hunting trip but. But right at the moment I needed to catch my breath and allow the pounding of my heart to quiet down. It had been a steep trail I had been ascending the last few minutes.

My two friends and I had left the car alongside the road a short while earlier. After a brief discussion we had each headed into the mountains surrounding us in a different direction, planning to meet back at the car after several hours of hunting. I had chosen to travel east towards this tree-covered ridge I now stood on. I had been on another hunting trip here once, several years earlier, with my Dad. It was then I learned that elk could be found in this area.

As the pounding of my heart began to slow and my breathing became easier, I continued to look around me, watching for any movement or sign that there might be elk nearby. I began to realize that this cold, overcast day was not what some folks would think of as being the best of times to be out in the mountains. Hey! It didn’t bother me. I was familiar with conditions just like this. Of course, I would not mind if the wind slowed up just a bit. It had a pretty good sting to it and I was glad I had dressed for cold weather. I shuffled my feet around in the six inches or so of snow on the ground, noting that there were elk tracks going in several different directions from where I stood.

Okay, it was decision time—which way should I go? Should I stay on the ridge and head north or should I follow the tracks an elk had recently made in the snow as it wandered off down the east side of this ridge towards the creek, located somewhere below me. Which would be the best way to go?

I am reminded that all through life we are faced with decisions. Each day we make a multitude of choices, most of them so minor we give them little thought. Yet, other decisions we make are major—and can have long-lasting results. Some of the decisions we make come only after much thought and prayer. I like the way the psalmist spoke of God’s guidance in our lives in Psalm 37:7-8: For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory. . . . . . The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.

How I appreciate those words and the promise our Heavenly Father provides us in them. Allow Him to be your Guide today, will you?

Prayer: Father, help me to live my life with the realization that You walk each step of this journey I am on, next to my side. Thank You for protecting and guiding me each day. 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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Whatever God is doing on the inside of a Christian’s life will be reflected on the outside!

Pastor Bill

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Jesus wants to use you with what you have now, not what you wish you had!

 

Pastor Bill

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BREAKFAST ON THE BEACH

Peter turns to look and, sure enough, it is Jesus. He has come. He is back. And Peter realizes he has a fire going a short distance from him on the shore.

Peter is not one to wait. He gives his portion of the edge of the net to one of the others and jumps over the side of the boat into the water, making a doozy of a splash, and he heads for shore. Oh my. He must have been pleased to have a fire going and, as he draws closer, he realizes that Jesus is now standing next to it, warming his hands over the bed of glowing coals, and he is baking fish and bread, enough for all of them. Oh, it must have smelled so good that Peter’s mouth had to have been watering as he moved his dripping, wet body close to the fire.

A few minutes later the others have finally made it to shore and Jesus asks them for some of their fish to help out with breakfast. Peter gets back into the boat and helps the others with the fish and they begin to count them—and these were nice big ones. When they were all done they found there were 153 fish—can you believe it? They had brought in 153 fish as a result of being obedient—obedient to the Master.

I wonder what kind of talk there was around the fire at the edge of the lake that morning. I’ll tell you, there is nothing like good food enjoyed around a warm fire in the early morning hours, with people you care about. And to top it off, Jesus was there.

And one of the striking things in all of this is that this was not a breakfast buffet that they were attending. The scripture tells us that Jesus served them the fish and the bread.

I wonder if that morning on the edge of Galilee may not have been—no, I am sure of it—a holy moment. My prayer for you is that when you reach the end of this week you will be able to look back and realize that you had been part of some holy moments, and your life will never, ever be the same again—because of Jesus and what He has done in you and for you during this week.

Here is how we read this part of John 21:10-14, from The Message: Jesus said, "Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught." Simon Peter joined them and pulled the net to shore—153 big fish! And even with all those fish, the net didn’t rip.

Jesus said, "Breakfast is ready." . . . . . . Jesus then took the bread and gave it to them. He did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus had shown himself alive to the disciples since being raised from the dead.

Don’t try to convince me this was not a holy moment. It had to be! But you know something, you and I can experience “holy moments” if we determine that we are going to be faithful in spending time with Jesus and in being obedient to Him. Yes. We will truly experience “holy moments”—and they will change our lives!

Prayer: Father, help me to live my life being careful to take time to be with You each day. And please help me to always be completely obedient to your will for me. Thank You for loving me so very much. 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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We usually become discouraged when we focus our eyes on people, rather than upon Jesus.

 

Pastor Bill

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STRANGE FISH?

Well, the long night is nearly over for Peter and I expect he was glad it was. Working that net all night long and not catching a single fish must have been getting pretty tiresome. He certainly must have had plenty of time to think during those long hours—think about all that had been taking place with Jesus, while wondering at the same time about the future. Peter must have thought a lot about that.

The sky was getting brighter and it would not be long before the sun made its appearance for the day. Still, it must have been uncomfortably cool and I imagine the dampness associated with their work had them all giving an involuntary shiver now and then. I can picture the surface of the lake like a mirror, it was so quiet. Even the birds had not yet started on their choruses for the day. The only real noise was the sound of the breathing of the men and an occasional grunt as they tossed the net out from the side of the boat and began to retrieve it—again. And there was the quiet sound of the water dripping from the net along with the soft, muffled noise it made when it first hit the water.

Suddenly, the stillness of the early morning was broken by the sound of a man’s voice: “Catch any fish?”

Peter and the others looked towards shore and saw the form of a man at the edge of the water, looking out towards them. “No,” they answered, “Not a single one.”

They no doubt thought the figure at the water’s edge was one of the villagers who had come to purchase fish. Well, they weren’t going to be able to help him out this morning, that was for sure!

Then the man yelled back. “Try your net on the other side of the boat.”

The men in the boat must have looked at each other, probably thinking, “Oh, sure! What difference would that make? As if these were some kind of strange fish that were staying on one side of the boat and not the other? Oh, sure!”

But one of the guys in the boat apparently decides anything is worth a try, and out the net goes—on the other side of the boat from where they had been tossing it. The net hits the water and the weights begin heading for the bottom, pulling the net behind it until the floats stopped their descent. As the disciples begin to pull it in they suddenly realize it is heavy and they can feel the movement of fish caught in the net. Hey, wait a minute! This thing is full of fish—lots of fish. Big fish! As they continue to pull the net towards the boat they begin to realize that there are too many fish for them to pull the net into their boat. They are going to have to row in to shore and go to work on the fish there.

John is struck by the astounding thing that has just taken place. He suddenly realizes this has happened to them before. He looks at the man on shore again and suddenly says, “It’s Jesus! Sure it is. It’s the Lord!”

Ah, yes, there it is. It has happened. When they least expected it—Jesus showed up. And that is the way it happens to you and me so many times. When we least expect it, that is when Jesus seems to step into our lives. And when you and I experience the hand of God at work—we are often surprised—but we remember it.

In the New Testament, in the Book of John, there is an account about Jesus becoming involved in a person’s life—and the person was surprised. Jesus had stopped at a public well where he met a woman coming to get water. Here is what we read, beginning in John 4:8…… He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food. The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?” Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”

Have you been surprised by God recently? I wonder if we should not strive to live expectantly—realizing that God might just surprise us at any moment.

Prayer: Father, help me to live my life with an expectant attitude—understanding that You may come into my life at times I would never imagine. Help me to always be watchful for You at work in what might seem to be the everyday and commonplace times in life. Thank You, Father. 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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God calls ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

 

Pastor Bill

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