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Archive for October, 2010

Never get to the point in your Christianity that you are unable to say, “God, I blew it. I have sinned. I made a mistake. I’m sorry. Please forgive me.”

Pastor Bill

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THE HIGHWAY

It actually didn’t seem to take that much time to go back along the road I had walked over just a short time ago. I had to smile at myself for having gone the wrong direction when I came out onto the road earlier. My whole day seemed to be going that way. I was tired and sore, wet, and I hadn’t seen an elk in all my walking. The rifle seemed far heavier than the mere ten pounds or so that it was supposed to weigh. But my eyes suddenly caught a glimpse of orange ribbon waving at me from the branch of the tree alongside the road ahead and it seemed to cheer me up a bit.

Now I was on “fresh” ground and I knew, from the sign I had found where I turned around a while back, that the highway was ahead of me. That was now my goal—to get to the highway. I knew that the road I was on connected to the highway at a summit where the highway dropped downward whether I chose to go to the left or to the right. And this time I knew which direction I needed to go—to the left! From the summit I knew it was a walk of several miles to the location where the car was parked. It would probably seem like a long stretch but at least it was all downhill. I could handle that. I just needed to get to the highway, stay on it, and it would take me to the car.

I was reading in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy, in chapter two, as it is written in the paraphrase The Message. I began to realize that maybe I could relate, just a tiny bit, to what was taking place with Moses as he worked at leading the people of Israel out of the wilderness and toward the Promised Land. Look at what is being said in some of these verses, beginning with verse one: Then we turned around and went back into the wilderness following the route to the Red Sea, as God had instructed me. We worked our way in and around the hills of Seir for a long, long time.

See what I mean about being able to relate a little bit to what Moses might have been experiencing? But let’s keep reading: 2Then God said, 3“You’ve been going around in circles in these hills long enough; go north. . . . . . 7God, your God, has blessed you in everything you have done. He has guarded you in your travels through this immense wilderness. . . . . . . God, your God, has been right here with you. You haven’t lacked one thing.

Then, in verse 27, Moses is speaking to the People of Esau, and he said: “Let me cross through your land on the highway. I’ll stay right on the highway; I won’t trespass right or left. 28. . . . . Let me walk through. . . .31Then God said to me, “Look, I’ve got the ball rolling—. . . . . . Go ahead. Take it. It’s practically yours!”

So, what am I thinking as I read this? I am reminded that, when we are walking upon God’s “highway”—when we are in the center of His will, we are literally being guarded and protected by our Heavenly Father. He is walking through this life with us. He is supplying our needs. We are not simply walking around in a wilderness in circles—we are headed for Heaven and eternity spent with the Lord! I like that!

Let’s be sure we stay on the Lord’s highway.

Prayer: Father, thank You that for providing each of us with a highway upon which to travel—a highway that you accompany us upon as we journey through this life. And thank You for the “roadmap” that you have given us through the Bible, your Word, which provides us detailed instructions to help us make it to our destination. Thank You for being my constant Companion on this journey. 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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Be honest with God. Share your deepest hurts, feelings and questions with Him. God hears and He understands. You will experience healing as you share with your Heavenly Father.

Pastor Bill

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GO BACK

I couldn’t believe it! How in the world could I have gone the wrong direction when I came out onto that road a while ago? My old scoutmaster would have given me a frightful ribbing about that. He probably would have wanted to know where my compass was. I would have had to tell him it was at home in a safe place!

Well, there was no sense in putting off an unpleasant task. I needed to start walking, back the way I had just come. There is nothing quite like seeing the same piece of geography along a mountain road, on an overcast and cold winter day, for the second time—kind of like watching a rerun on TV twice in a row. The only thing that would have helped make a better story out of it would have been having the snow start falling again and maybe have the wind begin to blow!

I was beginning to think I might have an attitude problem, so I simply went to walking and determined there was no sense in whining about it. I had a 50/50 chance of making the right decision earlier, when I had come out of the trees and onto the road, but that chance did not come out in my favor. Oh, well.

As I began to walk purposefully along the road I realized there was, in fact, something good about all of this. I knew that, now, I was headed the right direction. All the guess-work was gone. I didn’t know how far I had to go but, I knew that if I kept going this way I would reach my goal—the highway. It was a fact—a certainty. The sign had made it clear.

In the Bible there are some accounts of people who had to turn around and go back the way they had come. In fact, one of those was a man who had been used in a powerful way to demonstrate the mighty power of God. Elijah had been having a rough time after God had used him, and he ended up in a situation where he was hanging out in a cave because he was all worn out from having walked for 40 days and 40 nights. God spoke to him. Elijah took this opportunity to do some whining to the Lord, and the Lord not only listened but He spoke to Elijah. Here is what we read in 1 Kings 19:14-16, as it is recorded in The Message: When Elijah heard the quiet voice, he muffled his face with his great cloak, went to the mouth of the cave, and stood there. A quiet voice asked, "So Elijah, now tell me, what are you doing here?" Elijah said it again, "I’ve been working my heart out for God, the God-of-the-Angel-Armies, because the people of Israel have abandoned your covenant, destroyed your places of worship, and murdered your prophets. I’m the only one left, and now they’re trying to kill me."

Then we read something interesting: God said, "Go back the way you came through the desert to Damascus. . . .”

Yes, there are occasions in life when you may have to “go back the way you came,” but if you are a Christian, every part of your journey is made with a constant companion—your Heavenly Father. You never walk through any portion of this life alone. He is always with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Oh, my. We truly have so much to be thankful for.

Prayer: Father, thank You that I can live with the knowledge that You are always with me. Whether I have gone to the right or to the left, whether I am going back over some of the same ground upon which I have already walked, You are with me—my constant Companion and my Friend. Thank You, Father. 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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Prayer is one of the most valuable things you can do for the spiritual welfare or your soul.

Pastor Bill

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It’s not how deep in sin you go; but whether or not you return to the Father.

Pastor Bill

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Say, now! This kind of walking was almost relaxing after what I had been experiencing for most of the past several hours. This was a comfortable stroll in the woods. Well, comfortable compared to huffing and puffing up one hill and slipping and sliding down another. And I didn’t have to duck tree branches or push brush out of the way every little bit. Of course there was still snow to walk through but some vehicles had driven this way in the last day or so and I was able to walk in the tracks they had left. Even though there was several inches of fresh snow it wasn’t difficult to walk through like some of the stuff I had been facing earlier. I was almost enjoying this.

The further I walked the more I began to wonder just how far it was going to be till I reached the highway. I realized after a time that I had not heard the sound of a car or truck. That must mean that I was still some distance from the roadway. But I had to keep going because I was certain this was the direction I needed to be going. Well, I was “pretty” certain this was the way. It had to be, right?

I don’t remember how long I had been walking along this road as it curved around one side of a mountain and then another. It did not go up and down much so that was nice. But I have to admit that I was becoming a little impatient. Where was that highway? Something caught my eye ahead of me and I realized that it was some kind of a Forest Service sign. Hey! Maybe I was closer to that highway than I had thought. My pace increased somewhat as I stared at the sign, trying to see what it said. I finally got close enough to read it and—you are not going to believe this—it pointed towards the highway. But it was the other way! I had been going the wrong direction all the time. I should have turned left, not right! I suppose you could call me “Wrong Way” Corrigan. Some of you may be familiar with him. If not, why not “Google” that name and you can learn where it came from.

In 2 Corinthians 4:3, as it is written in paraphrase of the Bible, The Message, we find these words: If our Message is obscure to anyone, it’s not because we’re holding back in any way. No, it’s because these other people are looking or going the wrong way and refuse to give it serious attention. All they have eyes for is the fashionable god of darkness. They think he can give them what they want, and that they won’t have to bother believing a Truth they can’t see. They’re stone-blind to the dayspring brightness of the Message that shines with Christ, who gives us the best picture of God we’ll ever get.

Those words are from the Apostle Paul, and they are full of wisdom. We must be careful, as we travel through this life, that we are looking and going in the right direction—and that direction is always hand-in-hand with Jesus Christ. Keep a tight grip on His hand as you travel!

Prayer: Father, thank You for leading, guiding and directing us throughout this journey of life that we are on. Help me to keep my eyes always focused upon you, my ears tuned to your voice, and my hand tightly gripping yours. 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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