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Archive for October, 2012

PACKING OUT

We finally had the last of our gear stuffed into the large pack bags that our gear was carried in. Each of the bags contained our jump suit and helmet, our large main parachute, our reserve/emergency parachute, a shovel and a Pulaski, the remainder of our grub, and any added personal gear we might have brought with us such as a change of clothes, camera, etc. We flipped a coin to see who had to carry out the cargo parachute to which our gear bags had been attached. My partner lost the coin toss, so he ended up with an extra 8-10 pounds. Now, the really hard work was about to begin.

My partner came over and took hold of my bag, to hold it upright as I sat down on the ground in front of it and backed into the straps. He then helped me as I rolled over onto my hands and knees and pulled myself to a standing position with the help of some low branches on a small pine tree that was close by. I wheezed and puffed, grunted and groaned for an appropriate length of time and then asked him if he was ready. I walked over to his bag and balanced it as he went through the same procedure to get it onto his back and struggle to his feet.

“Well, there’s no sense in putting it off. We just as well get goin’,” my partner said.

I agreed with him and turned to head off through the tall grass of the meadow, walking northward as we had been directed. In a short time we left the relatively easy walking through the meadow and started working our way through the trees. It was actually pretty decent walking, as the trees were tall and there was only a small amount of brush beneath them. The trek was also made easier because we were going up a very gradual incline. We were thankful for that! The packs were heavy enough, without the added stress of having to climb a hill or a mountain beneath their wait.

It was probably only 30 – 40 minutes before I stepped around a large pine tree and saw the faint outline of a trail crossing our direction of travel. I stopped and looked each direction. It was definitely a manmade trail but it was obvious it had not been used much recently. We took a moment to catch our breath before heading out towards the creek we had been told about. The walking should be a lot easier now.

I learned there were several places in the Bible that spoke of trails. One of those places can be found in Psalm 119, beginning at verse 57, as it is recorded in the paraphrase of the Bible, The Message. Here we find these words: “Because you have satisfied me, GOD, I promise to do everything you say. I beg you from the bottom of my heart: smile, be gracious to me just as you promised. When I took a long, careful look at your ways, I got my feet back on the trail you blazed. I was up at once, didn’t drag my feet, was quick to follow your orders.”

It sounds as if the writer, once he considered carefully the ways of God, determined it was time to “get back on the trail” and follow the Lord. Good plan—for any of us!

Prayer: Lord, thank you helping me to “stay on the trail” that you have prepared for me throughout this life. I want to always journey with you, and on the path you have chosen for me. 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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The cost is incredibly high for those who choose to turn away from God and go their own way through life.

Pastor Bill

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If we love Jesus we will follow His commandments, and we will do it quite naturally.

Pastor Bill

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Loving God makes it possible to follow the Ten Commandments without difficulty.

Pastor Bill

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God said, “Behold, I make all things new”  (Rev. 21:5, KJV). There are still people around who will say, “No way! We’ve done it this way for years and we aren’t about to change!”

Don’t make a habit of hanging around such people.

Pastor Bill

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PLANS

My jump partner and I were kicked back in the shade of a large fir tree, enjoying the mild warmth of the afternoon. I had actually dozed off as I lay on the folds of the cargo parachute beneath which our gear had descended to earth the day before. As I came fully awake I lay still for a few moments, watching the white, puffy clouds drift slowly by, far above me in a dark blue sky. Out of the corner of my eye I saw movement, and watched as a hawk drifted slowly across the meadow, no doubt searching for an afternoon snack.

A squirrel started its raucous chatter somewhere nearby and I rose up on an elbow to look at my partner, who had been resting several feet away. He was gone! I sat up and looked around, and quickly realized that he was missing, along with his shovel. I looked at my watch and realized it was well past mid-afternoon and he was probably up the hill checking the site of the fire for one last time. I jumped up, grabbed my Pulaski, and headed up the hill through the trees towards the fire.

Sure enough, that’s where my partner had been. Just before I got to the site of the fire, I saw him coming through the trees towards me.

“Finally got your beauty nap over with, huh” he asked. “Doesn’t look to me like it helped, though!” and he let out a chuckle.

“You just well turn around,” he said. “I’ve checked it over again and we are good to go. Let’s get packed up and head out of here.”

As he reached me, I turned and the two of us headed back to get the rest of our gear together. Now the real work was going to start. Ugh!

Before we had jumped the previous day we had been told that, when the fire was out, we must wait the appropriate period of time to insure that it was really out and cold. Then we were to take our gear and hike out of the basin we were in, and go north a mile or so where we would reach a Forest Service trail. We were to follow the trail until we came to a small stream that flowed from west to east. We needed to cross the stream and continue following the trail, which would finally come out to a road. We were to wait at the road for transportation that would be coming to take us back to the local ranger station. At least that was the plan.

Plans. I like to make plans whenever I am going to be doing something—whenever I am thinking about future events. The word “plan,” is used often in the Bible. But one particular verse has become meaningful to me over the years, that has to do with the issue of plans, and that is Jeremiah 29:11, which reads, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Say, I so appreciate the truth of those words! On occasions when I am uncertain about my future, that verse reminds me that the Lord is the Master Planner, and he has the roadmap for my life all prepared. I simply need to be obedient and walk this journey close to Him.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the promises we find in the Bible. And today, I want to thank you for this verse in Jeremiah. Thank you for allowing nothing to be by chance in the direction of my life! Thank you, that I can live with the knowledge that my future is in your hands! 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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Some people will never change. They don’t like it. They are like the 93-year-old man who, on his birthday, was asked about all the changes he must have seen during his life. “Yes,” he replied, “and I’ve been against them all!”

Don’t be like that man!

Pastor Bill

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