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Archive for February, 2013

God often gives us instructions that are completely unexpected. We need to be reminded on occasion, that God’s ways are not always our ways.

Pastor Bill

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Life-Line Update……

Less than 24 hours after I had written today’s post regarding my brother-in-law who was dying, he stepped into the arms of God. His life-line held!

Pastor Bill

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LIFE-LINE

Over the years there have been a number of occasions when I have spent time with families who are standing by a family member who is dying. These occasions are times which typically include a great deal of subdued discussion among those present, there are times of tears and there are often brief moments of laughter as incidents from earlier in life are remembered.

Several days ago my wife and I were in such a situation once again. We were with the family of my wife’s oldest brother. His health had been deteriorating for a period of months and now it seemed as if he had only hours, or at the most, a few days to live. His wife, several of their children and spouses, along with a granddaughter, were gathered in the man’s home.

The discussion followed the pattern I mentioned. It was often serious and subdued. At times there were tears. There were also occasions where we looked back over the years and stories were recounted of events that had taken place in this man’s life, and that of his family. On occasion there was laughter. And there were occasions of silence. Not uncomfortable silence—but the silence that comes when everyone seems lost in their own thoughts and remembering the past.

Most of the family sat in the living room of the home, with one or more of the women seeming to always be busy in the kitchen preparing food for those present. Others, one or two at a time, would be in the bedroom where they sat by the bedside of this man whose time on earth seemed so short. Often, those coming out of the bedroom would be wiping tears from their eyes. I am reminded again that, no matter what the circumstances may be, saying our final “Goodbye” is always hard.

It is often during times like this that we begin to consider what life after death might bring. My wife’s brother has been wearing a device that is attached to a chain around his neck. If he needs assistance and no one is in the room with him, he can depress the button and it sends an alarm so that someone can come quickly to give him aid. His wife told how she had reminded him, several days ago, that this “life-line” was around his neck. He gave her a slight smile and pointed to a framed painting on the wall, indicating that was his “life-line.” It was a painting of Jesus Christ. That’s a good state of mind for anyone to be in, especially when death is drawing near!

In the paraphrase of the Bible, The Message, Hebrews 6:18-20 reads this way: We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us, in the order of Melchizedek.

These words from the Bible remind us that, when we have taken hold of the promises of God and claimed them for our own, we are attached to Him with a real life-line! I am thankful for that.

Prayer: Father, thank you for being our life-line, not only when our time on this earth is approaching its end, but through this very life itself! Thank you for providing us the promise of your love and peace and the knowledge that we can go through this life knowing You will never leave us nor forsake us. Yes, 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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Sadly, there are people, even in our churches, who can find no good thing in anything or anyone. Don’t become one of them!

Pastor Bill

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To simply live a consistent, joyful and Christlike life will do far more to influence people than to stand on a street corner and pass out tracts with a scowl on your face while threatening them with their coming judgment.

Pastor Bill

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One of the characteristics of a “real” Christian is that their relationship with the Lord “colors” all else in their lives.

Pastor Bill

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Whenever there is a “Jericho,” in the life of the Christian, there is an undefeated, Supreme Commander who is leading the way! (Joshua 5:1-15)

Pastor Bill

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THE WINDS OF TIME

Recently I was seated at my desk looking over some notes I had made a few summers back, just after arriving home from a fishing trip. As I looked down through the notes I saw that I had listed various points of interest during the trip that had caught my attention. It was interesting to look through the comments I had written and be reminded of some of those experiences. Then I turned the small scrap of note paper over to see if there was anything on the back. There was.

It was a shorter list, on the reverse side of the paper, and I immediately realized it was one of my “To Do” lists that I still use to this day. It was obvious, as I looked through the list, that I had made notes to help me remember various things to do prior to the coming Sunday’s church service. There was also a reminder of some items that needed prepared prior to a church board meeting. And then I saw an item that startled me. It had to do with preparations for a trip my wife and I were going to be taking. Here is what I had written down: “Take typewriter and whiteout.”

Oh, me! The thought hit me that I no longer owned a typewriter. Whiteout? That is for correcting mistakes you make on the typewriter. I suddenly realized I hadn’t used a typewriter in years. Yet, it seemed like only yesterday that I had taken the trips noted on this little piece of paper. The thought then hit me that the winds of time slow for no one. In fact, the older I get the more rapidly those winds seem to move. Where had life gone? I mean—this early journey we are on seems far too short!

But then my thoughts were taken back to a verse from the Old Testament that I read early this morning. It is from the Book of Exodus. Moses is having a visit with the Lord and he is really concerned about the future and what may be ahead. His past has gone by so quickly, and a lot of “stuff” has been going on. Finally, in Exodus 33:14 and 17, we read: The Lord replied, “I will personally go with you, Moses, and I will give you rest—everything will be fine for you. . . . . . . I will indeed do what you have asked, for I look favorably on you, and I know you by name.”

There is a lot of comfort in those few words. The Lord tells Moses that He will “personally” go with him, He will give him rest, everything will be fine, He will do what Moses asked, He looked “favorably” on Moses, and finally he said, “I know you by name.”

Wow! There is a lot of good stuff in what God is telling Moses. I have learned over the years that verses like this can apply to me. I just think how the verse would read if my name were placed in it, instead of Moses’ name.

“I will personally go with you, Bill, and I will give you rest—everything will be fine for you. . . . . . . I will indeed do what you have asked, Bill, for I look favorably on you, and I know you by name.”

How does that small piece from the Bible sound with your name inserted?

Prayer: Father, thank you for being a God who is “up close” and “personal” when we humans ask your forgiveness of our sins, and invite you to come into our hearts. 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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The will of God will never take you where the grace of God cannot keep you.

Pastor Bill

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So easily we are excited; so easily we seem to forget. I must never forget what God has done for me!

Pastor Bill

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