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Archive for May, 2012

The jumpmaster hung up the phone, scribbled something else on the notepad in front of him, and looked over his shoulder at us. “Suit up!” he yelled. As those of us who had come inside when the phone rang turned and raced for the door, he reached for a button on the wall above the little table he had been sitting at and pushed it. A loud horn blared outside, letting all of the smokejumpers and pilots know we had just received a fire call. The jumpmaster pushed the switch so there was one long blast, followed by four short ones. That meant there was a fire and four smokejumpers were going to be sent out to take care of it.

Three other fellows and me, who were the top four on the jump list, had run to our suits and were getting into them as quickly as possible. After the bulky suits that were designed to protect us as we fell through trees and into brush were on, we climbed into our parachute harness that was adjusted perfectly for each of us. Then we took turns lifting each other’s main parachute onto our backs, and hooking them securely to the large fasteners located on our shoulders. After the main parachute was hooked up, our partner picked up the emergency chute which was attached to our harness on the front. Then the checking and rechecking began to make sure everything was attached and hooked up correctly. This was no time to take shortcuts. Lives were literally at stake.

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The Old Testament book of Proverbs is filled from beginning to end with words of wisdom. In chapter 21, verse 5, are these words of advice: “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.”

You could say this advice would be true for a smokejumper, but for young people in this line of work, it could lead to much more than poverty. It could literally mean death! There is no place for “hasty shortcuts” in such work. But the same is true for most of life. Being in too big of a hurry can often result in major problems. Many times as I was growing up I would pose a question to my Dad, or listen as one of my siblings raised a question to him, and his response would often be, “I think I’ll sleep on it.” And he did just that, making sure he had time to think a decision through carefully. I have learned that to be a good plan.

Prayer: Lord, I have asked you for patience—and there are many occasions when I need that. But also help me to be wary of what might appear to be handy shortcuts in life. Don’t allow me to make hasty decisions that can result in problems or difficulties down the road. Help me to be careful to seek guidance and direction from you—and not be in such a hurry all the time. 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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I wonder if, too often, we ascribe many of the things that happen to us as mere chance when in fact, they are the result of God at work in our lives.

Pastor Bill

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PATIENCE

The group of smokejumpers I was part of, who were on standby on this particular early summer day, had become resigned to the fact that nothing was going to happen. There apparently were no fires burning anywhere back in the rugged mountains surrounding our community.

As the afternoon sun dropped towards the horizon to the west, and the temperatures began to cool, we heard the phone ring again. Several of us jumped up from where we were laying or seated on the grass and ran to the shack. The jumpmaster, the fellow who was in charge of each flight that responded to a fire call, had the phone to his ear and was rapidly scribbling notes on a pad in front of him. I looked over his shoulder and saw that he had written map coordinates along with the word “Boise.” Yippee! We were getting a call to the Boise National Forest! Our disappointment had vanished in an instant!

Patience! It finally paid off! …… Well, I’m not sure we were all that patient that day, as we waited for a “fire call” to come in.

Patience is spoken of on occasion throughout the Bible. In one spot, in Romans 15:4-6, the Apostle Paul wrote: “…… And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled. May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

I take it for granted, from these words Paul wrote, that he was dealing with some folks who needed a little patience as far as the makeup of their character. It’s something that is probably good for all of us.

Prayer: Lord, I have asked you for this before, but I think it is well that I mention it again……would you give me patience during the times that I really need it. Help me to be the kind of person known for having much patience. Yes, 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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In the account from scripture of the blind beggar approaching Jesus, we see Jesus ask him what he wants. Do you suppose the Lord wants us to be specific when we go to him with our requests?

Pastor Bill

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There are occasions in life when you must quit pleading and begin believing. 

Pastor Bill

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IMPATIENCE

I continued to remember that warm, late spring day in McCall, ID, as I lounged in the shade of the tall pine trees with the 15 other members of the smokejumper Alert Crew. On occasion, I would get up off the green grass, stretch, and walk around a bit. Sometimes I would wander out onto the paved apron and walk around the three airplanes that were used to drop smokejumpers.

The type and size of the plane was determined by how many jumpers were to be sent on each reported fire. A Douglas DC-3 stood by and ready to go for large fires. It could carry 16 smokejumpers and all their gear. A smaller aircraft was a Fairchild-Hiller Turboporter. It carried 4 jumpers and their supplies. The smallest of the planes parked near our small alert shack was a Cessna 206. It carried only 2 jumpers and their gear and was used when the fire was a small one that could be handled by only two men.

On this particular day, I was number one on the jump list. In other words, if we received a call that a fire was burning and smokejumpers were needed, I would be the first one out the door of the plane, whether it was a two-man fire or a larger one where all 16 of the smokejumpers were sent. For safety purposes we always sent at least 2 smokejumpers on each fire. Throughout the day, the fellow who would be my jump partner if we actually got a fire call, and I would rush to the little shack each time we heard the phone ring, hoping that it would be the call to send us skyward. Again and again, throughout the day, we rushed to the shack in hopes that this would be “the call,” only to be disappointed. Well, maybe the next call would be “the call” we were waiting for. Maybe!

In the Old Testament book of Job, we see this fellow going through a terrible time in his life. And he isn’t going it alone, though it seems he would rather have done so. Instead, he has some friends show up who are more than willing to give him advice and tell him where he has been going wrong. At one point Job speaks up and says, “My complaint is with God, not with people. I have good reason to be so impatient.” (Job 21:4)

It seems like Job had more than enough reason to express his impatience—even with God. Have you ever found yourself impatient with the Lord, wondering why he doesn’t hurry up and answer your prayers? I suspect most of us have been at such a point in our lives at one time or another.

Later on in the Book of Job, near its end, the Lord speaks to Job: Then the Lord said to Job: “Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?”

Then Job replied to the Lord, “I am nothing—how could I ever find the answers? I will cover my mouth with my hand. I have said too much already. I have nothing more to say.” (Job 40:1-5)

Impatience seems to come more infrequently the older I get. Yet, there are those times when…….

Prayer: Lord, forgive me for the occasions when I become impatient with people, and even with you. Help me to continue learning that I can trust you; you are never late, never early and always right on time! Yes, 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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Success belongs to those with determination. That includes the Christian.

Pastor Bill

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BE READY!

As I looked at the single sheet of yellowed paper, the subject of the text quickly caught my attention. Dad was recounting a story I had told him many years ago. As I read, the memories came flooding back…..

I was a Forest Service smokejumper in McCall, Idaho. An early summer storm had moved through a mountainous area south of town the previous night, accompanied by plenty of thunder and lightning. The other smokejumpers and I had high hopes that the lightning might have ignited some fires in that rugged country, even though it was still early in the season and some of the higher mountains still had a good layer of snow blanketing the slopes. Our hopes dwindled as the day wore on and no calls were received for our services. We decided that conditions were still not quite right for us to expect any forest fires, just yet. It would take a few more weeks for the land to get dried out and trees and grass would burn more easily.

I was part of the Alert Crew and was spending the day at the airport. Most of my time was spent lounging around in the shade of several tall yellow pine trees, along with 15 other smokejumpers. Our jump suits and parachutes were spread out on a grass-covered area next to the little shack that contained a desk and telephone. The grass bordered a paved area where three different aircraft were parked that would be used in case of a fire call. Everything was ready. The planes were fueled up and their crews standing by. Our jump suits and parachutes were spread out and ready for us to put on. All the smokejumpers were primed and ready to go. All we needed was a call that a fire was burning somewhere out in the mountains. Yes, we were ready—we were prepared!

Throughout the Bible we find places where people were ready and prepared, for various reasons. Quite often we see them being warned to prepare for their future and to be ready for whatever might lay ahead of them. In the New Testament, in 1 Peter 3, verses 14-16, another type of preparation or readiness is spoken of. Here is what it says: But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ.

I like that part about being ready to explain “your Christian hope.” And Peter didn’t say to beat people over the head with it (you know what I mean?). He said to be ready to explain it and do it in a gentle and respectful manner. I like the way Peter put that. Yes!

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the instructions that Peter gave. Help me, as people have occasion to ask me about the hope I have, to do it in a manner pleasing to you—with gentleness and respect. 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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We should not live our lives as if Christ may return soon. We need to live as if He may come at any moment!

(Dr. Harold Beggs, 6/2/1985)

Pastor Bill

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We live in a world full of wickedness, but we don’t need to be wicked to live in this world.

(Quote by Dr. Harold Beggs, 6/2/1985)

Pastor Bill

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