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Archive for June, 2013

Whatever comes out of your mouth will mark whether or not you’re a Christian. A “slip” now and then, followed by a request for forgiveness, is one thing. A regular pattern of speech is something else.

Pastor Bill

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Twelve words that will save a marriage:

“I was wrong.”

“I am sorry.”

“Please forgive me.”

“I love you.”

Pastor Bill

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NO PAIN, NO GAIN

I don’t recall that we spent more than a few minutes at the sawmill before we headed back to town. It was a beautiful day and I was really enjoying the ride that my brother was giving me on the Whizzer. But I was beginning to have a problem. You may recall that Stan had me sitting atop the gas tank on the Whizzer, which seemed like a fine idea to me. I mean, there was only one seat on this machine and it held only the driver. It was not built to haul passengers. None. But a small guy like me could perch atop the gas tanks and Stan’s big, long arms were on each side of me as he held onto the handle grips. I hung tightly to the same handlebars, but in the middle where they crossed in front of the gas tank.

But, like I mentioned, I was beginning to realize I had a problem. You see, the filler cap for the gas tank was like on most motorcycles. It was at the top of the tank, near the front. My perch was just behind that gas cap. I had begun to realize, even before we had arrived at the sawmill, that something was amiss. The gas cap was leaking. Not a lot, but it was leaking. The gasoline that steadily seeped out from beneath the cap was draining backwards—towards me! And my pants were soon soaked with gas.

Now I suspect that having gasoline soak into my britches was bad enough, but you must remember that there was a good deal of bounce to this ride. We were on dirt and gravel roads with ruts, potholes and the like. It was nothing close to a paved and smooth roadway. So I was bouncing around and up and down—a lot! That caused my gasoline soaked pants to begin rubbing away at my hide, in a most uncomfortable location on my body!

I don’t remember that it took all that long to get back to town, but by the time we arrived I was ready to get off that infernal machine, let me tell you! Raw hide, being worn away at by gasoline soaked pants, brings with it a good measure of pain I soon learned. When Stan pulled up in front of our place and lifted me off the tank and set me on the ground, I was one hurting young man. The details of the minutes that followed are pretty hazy, but I remember my mother had to clean me up and do some serious medicating on me! I was more than just a little uncomfortable from it all! And as I recall, my mother placed all the blame for my misfortune on Stan, would you believe!

Now, there are times when a young boy might enjoy watching one of their siblings getting in hot water with their mother, but Stan wasn’t really at fault in all of this. He was just trying to be my buddy and give me a dandy ride! He did, and I am not sure my mother really appreciated that, and she was not quick to let him forget it. Oh, well. Mother’s don’t always understand such things, I guess. I had enjoyed a real adventure, even though it brought some pain with it that lasted for several days. But, like my wife says, "No pain, no gain!"

This past weekend I was sharing a story with a group who are residents in a local home for military veterans. I shared with them a verse from Proverbs 18:23, that says: There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.

As a young boy, I may have experienced some “pain” as a result of the ride on the Whizzer, but what has remained burned into my memory for all these years was that my big brother had given me a ride that was a real adventure. I loved it! And my brother held a new place of respect in my eyes from then on. If a real friend sticks closer than a brother, then a brother must be a pretty good thing for a young boy to have around. I’m glad I have such memories.

I am also struck with the reality, as I look at the verse from Proverbs, that everyone of us can know the joy and the pleasure of having a “real friend,” Jesus, who will walk this journey of life with us and will simply be the best friend—ever!

Prayer: Father, thank You for blessing many of us with a big brother, or big sister, and sometimes both. Thank you for our families and the privilege that so many of us have enjoyed of growing up with siblings around us. Thank you for their positive influence in so many of our lives. But, most of all, thank You for being our constant friend and companion! 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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Obedience is a “must,” as we journey through this life with God. It is not a “maybe,” or “if it seems best.” It is absolutely necessary.

Pastor Bill

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God always keeps His promises, but He never puts time-lines on them.

Pastor Bill

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Too often, in churches today, you will hear the phrase "It’s better to be safe than sorry!" Those are the churches that are failing to have an impact on the world for Jesus Christ. Those are the churches that are on a downward spiral to death.

Pastor Bill

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Say, now! My brother, Stan, really knew how to operate that Whizzer! I had always accepted every chance I was given to take a ride in or on something. This day was no different. When Stan offered to give me a ride on the Whizzer, I was ready!

He had lifted me off the ground and set me atop the fuel tank, since there was only a seat for a single rider, and showed me how to lean across the tank and hang onto the handle bars. Stan told me to hang on tight, he gave a shove forward and began to work the pedals, and in a matter of moments the engine was racing and so were we. Or at least if felt like it to me. In no time at all I am sure I must have been grinning from ear-to-ear and no doubt my eyes were blurred from the tears streaming back on each side of my face from the wind. Yes, this was living! I always thought that big brothers were good for something, let me tell you!

Stan really knew how to ride that Whizzer. We headed south out of town, as I remember, on one of the dirt and gravel roads that people used to travel to and from our little community. Stan was busy dodging potholes and ridges of gravel, doing his best to give us as smooth a ride as possible. As I recall, this road did not make for the most comfortable ride on a Whizzer, nor did the machine itself help out. It was rough riding! But, I was young, did not weigh much, and I seemed to bounce easily. It was fun, no matter how rough a ride it was!

Stan asked me how I was doing. I assured him it was “fun,” and I just could not remember when I had ever had such a grand time. He slowed as we came to a fork in the road and headed off to the west, following the road as it winded into some trees. As we traveled it little more slowly the ride even smoothed out a bit. I didn’t bounce quite so much. I was actually kind of glad about that. In a matter of minutes we rounded a corner and ahead of us saw a tiny sawmill. This was at a time when communities like the one we lived in often had several of these small mills scattered around. And if you were to drive around the countryside you would often seem other mills located at any number of places, often in areas surrounded by tall pine and fir trees. These small mills needed only a few men to work in them, cutting the logs into boards that were then usually hauled to larger mills which would purchase them. The little mill that came into view was a special one—this was where Stan worked during the week!

If you were to drive around this same area today, you would be fortunate to even find any sign that a sawmill had been located in some of these spots. They are probably all gone. You might find the remnants of a sawdust pile or even an old log pond, but that would probably be about all you could find. The years of time have erased most of the signs of those tiny mills where men sweat much and worked hard to try and earn a living for their families.

Men, and women, have been working hard since nearly the beginning of history. Apparently things had been going pretty well after God created the earth and the heavens and had placed Adam and Eve to enjoy the place. But then, you will remember, they got into real trouble with God by disobeying Him. He had told them not to even touch this one, particular tree. They just could not stand the temptation and ended up trying some of the fruit that was growing on it. God quickly realized what they had done and in the first book of the Bible, Genesis, he let them know that things were no longer going to be easy for them. In Genesis 3:17-19, God said to that first man, Adam, “Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it. It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains. By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return.”

I can’t help but wonder if life would not have been more than just a “little” different if those two people in the Garden of Eden had behaved and followed the few rules God had given them. Even in the world we live in today, if people read the Bible and are obedient to God, things seem to go a lot better for them. As I get older and the end of life draws closer, I know that I want to be sure that I am living the way God directs. Doing so provides us with a peace that comes in no other way.

Prayer: Father, thank You for giving us the Bible with its many words of encouragement, direction and help. Thank You for its words of guidance and instruction. And thank You for the peace that You give us when we choose to follow You through this life. 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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You have probably heard it before, but this is a good reminder as we begin a new month and a new week: The will of God will never lead you where the grace of God cannot keep you.

Pastor Bill

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