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Archive for July, 2014

The church which fails to recognize the dangers in ignoring scriptural teaching is headed for trouble.

Pastor Bill

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Learn to live up to the expectations God has for you.

Pastor Bill

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Ouch! I must have chosen the hardest piece of “real estate” in the Cascades to sleep on during the night! It seemed as if every muscle in my body was complaining as I pulled the folds of the parachute away from my face and gazed at my surroundings in the pre-dawn light. I shivered as my breath fogged out in front of my face. Say, now, it was just a bit cool this morning!

I rose up on one elbow to get a better look. Though it would not be long before the sun crawled up over the horizon to the east, the moon was still high in the sky to the west, large and bright, appearing to be in no great hurry to let go of its place of prominence as this day was beginning. From my vantage point on the high, narrow ridge, I was able to look down into a deep canyon to the west where patches of mist lay silently among the high tree tops. A nearby squirrel began to chatter nosily and was quickly answered by one of his friends or relatives a short distance away. I wondered if they were discussing the two intruders who had spent the night in their mountaintop domain.

My partner, lying on the other side of a fallen tree from me, began to stir as I sat up. I wondered if he was as uncomfortable as I was. A loud grown followed by several uncomplimentary comments about the ground answered my question. I threw the parachute away from me and stood up, stretching my arms and legs to loosen them up. Yesterday had been a hard one! Hopefully, this day would prove to be much easier and a good deal more pleasant.

As the sun crept over the horizon the gray of the approaching dawn began to be pushed aside and was soon replaced by the sharp, bright colors found in this small corner of God’s creation. The sunlight bathed everything in its light and warmth. In a few minutes we began to pack our parachutes away in preparation for leaving this mountain. Say, could I ever have enjoyed a warm, cleansing shower and a hot breakfast of bacon and eggs, right about then! The thought came to me that maybe—just maybe—if we could find a quick and easy route off this rocky precipice, I could have what I was craving.

We walked a few feet away from where we had been sleeping and looked down over a high rocky cliff. It was obvious that it had been in our best interests to stop the night before, without attempting to go further. We would have been flirting with serious injury, or possibly even death, if we had continued in our attempt to walk out of the mountains after dark. Now, in the light of day, we were able to find a game trail and begin to wind our way down from the ridge top into the canyon below us. Our travel was reasonably easy and was a “piece of cake,” compared to what we had gone through the night before!

As we descended deeper into the canyon, we left the sun behind us for a time—it would catch up! We stopped for a break and as our heavy and rapid breathing slowed and became quieter we realized we could hear water running. Great! A drink of fresh, clean and cold mountain stream water was just what we needed! It seemed like a long time since we had enjoyed fresh water—and all that we might want! We shifted our heavy packs around on our shoulders, trying to find a somewhat more comfortable position for the burden we carried, and continued our slow descent into the canyon.

In a short time we found we were approaching some low brush, but it slowed our progress only a little. The sound of water was much louder now, and soon we were able to see it sparkling through the trees ahead of us as the rushing stream flowed and tumbled over rocks and fallen trees. Moments later we were standing at its side. It was a little wider and deeper than we might have expected but we soon found a large fallen tree that stretched from one side to the other. We found some sticks to help us keep our balance and, one after the other, walked slowly across the fallen tree to the other side of the rushing water. Once on the other side we set our heavy packs down on what was clearly a man-made trail. Hooray! We had finally found signs of civilization!

We stepped to the edge of the stream and drank to our hearts content, the water so cold it made out throats ache. When we had our fill, we stepped back onto the trail and slumped down, leaning back against our packs. As we rested, the sun finally reached a point high enough in the sky where this low spot in the canyon could begin to enjoy its touch. It was still a bit cool in this location. The warmth of the sun felt grand!

Psalm 65:8-9 remind us that “Those living far away fear your wonders; where morning dawns and evening fades you call forth songs of joy. You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly….”

As I considered these words I was reminded, again, of how very good God is to those who love Him—to those who call Him, Lord. When we cease our stumbling around in the darkness of sin, and invite Jesus to forgive us of all the rotten things in our past, and come into our hearts, then the morning dawns upon our lives where the Son provides the light for every step we take. Sure, we may experience some days filled with hardship and nights when sleep does not come easily, yet, we can rest assured that the light and warmth of our Heavenly Father’s love and presence reaches into the lowest places in life we may be walking through. As we are told in Psalm 30:5, “Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning” (New Living Translation)

Prayer: Lord, we are so thankful for the reality that you do lead us through life; you will never leave us nor forsake us. Thank you! In your Son’s Name we pray. Amen

Pastor Bill

 

 

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™  Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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May God help us to be so sensitive to his leading, guiding, direction and the continual whispering of his Spirit, that we do not find ourselves ever slipping into a spiritual famine.

Pastor Bill

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You can’t have any resentment or bitterness towards others and still be at peace with God and with yourself. It can’t happen! Ask God’s forgiveness, and His help to forgive others. He will do it!

Pastor Bill

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If God is calling you to do something you think you could never do, remember that God never calls people to fail! He will help you do it!

Pastor Bill

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If you continue to be reminded of your sins, be aware that God does not remember them. Therefore, it is Satan who keeps throwing them in your face.

Pastor Bill

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THE HANDIWORK OF GOD

Quietness was settling over the woods as the deepening twilight descended upon the rugged and mountainous country all about us. My partner and I looked at each other with a sense of resignation. There was no reason in putting it off. We must be moving quickly if we expected to locate the trail and meet up with the men who were coming to take us out of this rugged, wild and unfamiliar country. If we didn’t meet up with them soon, total darkness would make traveling too difficult. If only we had a map so we might know exactly where we were!

We tried what by now had become an almost fruitless attempt to readjust our heavy packs to a more comfortable position on our backs and then began to walk away from the ridge top. In only moments we found the route we had chosen becoming so steep that we were walking more on the heels of our heavy boots than using the entire sole of the shoe. Say, now. This was really steep! But we were, in fact, able to move rather quickly and we should not be long in locating the trail. It had to be on this mountainside, somewhere! Then the walking would be easy!

It was only minutes before we realized that we must have walked into one of the thickest brush patches in the Cascades Mountains! Travel became more difficult with every step we took. It was not long before we found ourselves in an area where the thick and heavy brush had reduced our progress to inches at a time. The branches slapped us on the arms and in the face. We continually had the metal "hard hats," we were wearing knocked off and would have to take time to find them and replace them on our heads. The brush was catching on portions of our heavy packs making it nearly impossible to continue moving forward. At times we would have to back up and attempt to untangle ourselves from the mass of green which entrapped us. This was not fun!

Finally, we gave up! We were going to have to go back up onto that ridge top, where the walking was easier, and find a different route off this mountain. We knew we had our work cut out for us as we turned and faced back up that steep mountain side. We decided that it would be best to rid ourselves of every piece of equipment we were loaded down with that we did not absolutely have to take out of the woods with us. "Excess baggage,” would be left right here! We climbed out of our packs, opened them, and began to remove various items that we simply no longer needed—items we could do without.

The dark night had completely engulfed us when we finally struggled onto the ridge top and fell to the ground exhausted, gasping for breath. We were soaked in sweat after the hard exertion of the climb. As the chill of the night air began to cool our damp clothing we loosened the straps to our packs and crawled out from under them. We began to walk around and stretch our aching muscles.

Now, what to do? Should we attempt to walk in a northerly direction along the ridge in hopes of finding another trail or route off this mountain? Or should we simply wait for daylight?

"Ah, let’s give it one more try!" was the decision.

Once more we went through the all too familiar routine of struggling to our feet with the heavy packs on our backs and began to walk slowly through the thick timber. The light from the stars, and what little moon was showing, did little to provide the illumination necessary to travel in this timber covered country.

"Whoa!" shouted my partner, who was walking a short distance ahead of me. I stopped and raised my head, straining to see why he had stopped. I could see that he had just stepped over a fallen tree and was standing among some low brush and rocks. As I looked past him in the dim light from the night sky I could see neither trees nor brush, only an empty blackness! It quickly became apparent that we were on a high, rocky bluff. A few steps further and my partner would have gone over the edge! We quickly decided that anyone with any common sense, whatsoever, would go no further at this time of night—and in rugged country like this! We gave up!

We turned and retraced our path a few steps and began to look for a spot on the ground that would be comfortable enough to sleep for the night. We each found a "somewhat level" spot to our liking and kicked the sticks and small rocks aside, hoping to make the hard ground as hospitable as possible. We each unpacked our main parachute, a 32 foot diameter piece of nylon, spreading the folds over the pine needles, and made them into a bed.

After all the impatient, backbreaking struggle of the day, I lay on the ground, the folds of the parachute wrapped around me, looking up through the trees at the splendor of billions of stars overhead. What an awesome and spectacular sight the sky was in the mountains during the night! Though tired and feeling near the point of complete exhaustion, its beauty did not escape me! This scene provided by God was one of beauty and of peace!

In Psalm 8:3-4, we read the words, "When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?"

Hmmm . . . . . . . "What is man . . . . that you are mindful of him, . . . . that you care for him”!

How long has it been since you paused, and unhurriedly considered the handiwork all about us from a Heavenly Father who loves us so much that 2000 years ago He allowed the cross to be raised against the backdrop of the heavens, for you and me!

Prayer: Father, no matter how difficult the path before us may appear, keep us steady and faithful in remaining on that course through life you have provided for us. Don’t allow us to be influenced to take what might seem to be an easier way. In your Son’s Name we pray. Amen

Pastor Bill

 

 

Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™  Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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If God has forgiven you, then you need to forgive you!

Pastor Bill

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There are some things, and people, you are never going to be able to change. Count on it! When you can’t change something or someone, give it/them to God. Let Him handle it!

Pastor Bill

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