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Archive for April, 2012

It was a warm, early summer night, probably around 3 a.m. I was working the graveyard shift on our local police department, and was on what we called “routine patrol.” In other words, I was simply driving about my assigned area of the city, keeping my eyes open for anything that might be amiss or out of the ordinary. The activity that had accompanied the early part of my shift had slowed and now the city had become quiet, with most of its residents sleeping. It was kind of nice, actually.

I drove slowly along one of the streets in a business area of the city and then pulled into a parking lot at a restaurant that was closed for the night. I parked facing the street, shut off my car, and just watched and listened. Through the open window of my door I heard the sound of a train switching railroad cars in the rail yard on the east end of town. I could hear the occasional sound of large trucks as their drivers guided them along the main streets of town. I watched as one of the city street sweepers went past, its driver probably enjoying the lack of traffic to block his path at this time of the night. Somewhere off in the distance I could hear the noise of a garbage truck no doubt emptying dumpsters from the back of businesses in the downtown area.

It seemed to become very still for just a moment and then I heard a dog bark in a residential area nearby. A split second later, another dog barked in reply. Sound seems to carry a long distance during a night such as this.

I continued to sit, listen and watch; enjoying the pleasant night with its sounds. I thought about my family and some of the things we were dealing with now. I thought about our church and the manner in which the Lord was working in so many lives. Yes, I was enjoying the night. Psalm 17:3 seems appropriate for such a night: “You have tested my thoughts and examined my heart in the night. You have scrutinized me and found nothing wrong. I am determined not to sin in what I say.”

I can’t comprehend what may have been taking place in the writer’s life for him to use the words he did, but I believe he must have appreciated the relative quiet of the night and the opportunity to talk with the Lord at that hour of the day. The next time you are awake in the middle of the night, for whatever reason, why not take time to speak with your Heavenly Father. Tell him your inmost thoughts and concerns. He will hear you and he is ready to listen! You will find such time good for your soul!

Prayer: Thank you for the quiet of the night hours when we find we can often have an uninterrupted conversation with you. Thank you that we don’t have to wait for you to finish visiting with someone else. You are always ready and waiting to listen to us, and to speak to us. 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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Every day of our lives is important in the eyes of God.

Pastor Bill

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I dropped my eight quarters into the slot in the washing machine and watched the water begin to flow into it. I added an extra-large measure of laundry detergent and within minutes my single load of everything from white t-shirts, colorful wash-and-wear shirts, and filthy stinking blue jeans were coming face to face with hot water and soap. I glanced around and realized there were no chairs to sit in. apparently this was a “standup” Laundromat.

I moved over towards a bulletin board that was attached to one wall and began looking at the various items tacked onto it. There were some business cards people from the “outside” had placed there, obviously while on a short visit to the island, a news item about some government meeting taking place locally, and a list of the hours for the tiny one-room library that was located down at the water’s edge a short distance away. Then I noticed a sheet of paper that had the emergency phone number for the local volunteer fire department at the top. It was only a 4-digit number, apparently all that was needed to dial if you were reporting a fire. Below the phone number was a list of the names of everyone who was apparently a member of the volunteer fire department. There were just twelve names. Just twelve people for this volunteer fire department!

What really grabbed my attention was the fact that only first names were listed for the fire department volunteers. And once more I was reminded of that book, “If You Lived Here I’d Know Your Name.”

Hmm. A first-name only fire department. In Psalm 147:4-5, we find words that remind us of a God more powerful than we could ever imagine”: “He counts the stars and calls them all by name. How great is our Lord! His power is absolute! His understanding is beyond comprehension!”

I’m guessing God could relate to this first-name only fire department. If the Lord knows each star by name, He knows you! But He not only knows you—He cares about you. You really do matter to God! You can count on it!

Prayer: Thank you again, Lord, that you are a Heavenly Father who knows us intimately. You know us by name. And you have told us that you will never leave us nor forsake us. You really do care about us. You know the struggles and discouragements we may be dealing with and you give us the strength to make it through. 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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It is not the purpose of the church to exclude, but include.

Pastor Bill

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Be careful about hanging onto things simply for want of something better.

Pastor Bill

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It was an overcast, damp day with a light drizzle falling as I sat in the pickup outside the tiny backwoods laundromat, waiting for a chance to get some mighty filthy clothes cleaned up. The stench of dried fish blood, scales and other unspeakable “stuff” clinging to the pants and shirts in my laundry bag needed a thorough cleaning. Oh, yes! I had checked inside the building and found the single washer and dryer in use. Hopefully, both machines were near the end of their cycle and the person who was presently using them would return and pick up their clothing so I could get started.

A short time after my arrival, I observed a lady walking towards me from an older mobile home that was located a short distance away. She eyed me suspiciously as she walked towards me and entered the laundromat. In a matter of a few minutes she exited the little building with a large clothes basket and walked purposefully away, looking over her shoulder at me several times. It seemed obvious that I was an outsider and probably, in her mind, was not to be trusted. I didn’t live here and she didn’t know me.

That reminds me of a book title I saw a few years ago, “If You Lived Here I’d Know Your Name.” It is a story about another small town in Alaska; Haines. Haines, though small, is much larger than the little community I was in called Whale Pass. But Haines and Whale Pass had many similarities. I’m not sure you could even consider Whale Pass a “town.” It had no traffic signals, no real Post Office, no stores and there were no paved streets. In fact, the nearest paved road was a good hour away.

But if you are a full-time resident of this area, people know your name. That makes me think of the story in the Bible about the “lost sheep.” In John 10:14 of the New Testament we find these words: “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me.”

If you can take a few minutes to read the first 18 verses of John 10, the account of Jesus being our “shepherd” really unfolds in a meaningful way. You come away knowing that, if you are a Christian, the Lord knows your name! And you don’t have to be living in some tiny community in Southeast Alaska!

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the reminder that you know my name. You know who I am, what I do, what I am like, all my faults, weaknesses and failures, and you still love me! You know my name! 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 a relationship with Christ is worth anything, it is worth everything!

Pastor Bill

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