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Archive for January, 2015

The “back door” of many churches is too wide. When we see someone who appears to be faltering in their walk with God, we need to draw near with support, encouragement and prayer.

 

Pastor Bill

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I am guessing there may not be many “half-hearted” Christians in Heaven. Think about it.

 

Pastor Bill

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We must never forget that God’s power is far greater than that of Satan. We serve a mighty, powerful and miracle-working God! He is not dead. He is alive! Nothing is impossible with Him!

 

Pastor Bill

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NIGHT VISITORS

“All right! We were really gonna’ get to do it! Just wait till the kids at school heard about this, come September! They would just be green with envy. We were going on vacation—a real vacation!”

My Dad had sprung the surprise on us a few days earlier. He was going to take us, meaning my “little” brother and my “big” sister, to Yellowstone Park! My folks had apparently decided that it was time for us to begin to see some of the world outside the small community in which we lived. For two young boys, Yellowstone Park seemed to be on the other side of the world, though it was actually only a couple of days drive away.

The big moment finally arrived and my Dad heaved the last of our gear onto the neat, hand-made luggage rack he had built and attached to the roof of our old green 37’ Chevrolet 4 door. He tied it all down under a piece of canvas and we were ready to go.

Dad hollered at my younger brother and me and told us to get into the car. He did not have to coax us—we were ready, let me tell you! Our excitement at the prospect of actually getting to see all the magnificent sights of Yellowstone we had viewed in pictures in National Geographic magazines was tempered only slightly by the fact that our Mother was not going. She had to stay home and work while we were gone. We did have to take our big sister, though. Oh, well, we “men” would make out, somehow!

Moments after my brother and I had jumped onto the running board and piled into the back seat of the Chevy, we were on our way, rolling along the gravel “highway” leading out of town at an impressive 35 miles per hour! We would make it there in no time. This was an adventure of a lifetime we were embarking upon!

Several evenings later we were in the huge, majestic park and had made camp for the night. We did not have a tent. Only “sissies” or “city slickers” used such things anyway, my brother and I had decided! My Dad would simply lay a piece of canvas on a level piece of ground near our campfire, put our sleeping bags down, and we would crawl in. It took only a few minutes of lying on our backs, looking up at the millions of stars, and we were fast asleep.

Well into our first night in the park I was awakened by “someone” who seemed to be stumbling over my legs. I quickly assumed a person from another camping spot must be looking for the restrooms in the dark and had become lost. Then I felt someone else on me. Rising up I looked towards my feet and saw one of three small, black forms crawling over my legs. Bears!—Bears?

That’s right. Three small bear cubs were taking a shortcut right through our camping spot and over the top of us. We were all wide awake by now, and my Dad was telling us, in a hushed voice, to just lay still and don’t move. Don’t move? I wanted to move right into Dad’s sleeping bag with him! This was getting a little too close to nature! In fact, this was scary!

As our wide eyes remained focused on the three cubs scampering away from us through the darkness, we realized that they were following their mother, who had walked around us. We were sure happy about that! She looked big—big enough to make me wonder if maybe we should not go sleep in the old Chevy for the rest of the night!

It was only a short while later that I was just about to fall asleep when there was a loud crash of metal nearby. Again, I was wide awake! What now? There was another loud clatter and my Dad whispered to us, “A bear is getting in a garbage can. Just lie still and keep quiet. They won’t bother us.”

Once more we heard a loud crash and clatter, this time coming from the opposite direction. What was the thing with these bears? Did they sleep all day, like owls, and come out at night to make noise and disturb people, keeping them awake? Now I was even more inclined to try and convince my Dad that we would surely be safer sleeping in the car—much safer!

Finally, with more comforting words from our Dad, we boys finally drifted off to sleep, reassured by the close presence of our father and the knowledge he was watching out for us and would protect us.

Not everyone is fortunate to have had a father such as the kids in our family were blessed with. Yet, every man, woman, and child, regardless of who they are or where they may have come from, no matter what their status in life by man’s standards—all may claim a loving and protecting Father as their own—the Heavenly Father! His invitation is always there. He wants you to accept his request to become a part of His family!

Psalm 68:5 reminds us that God is “A father to the fatherless . . .” and in Psalms 37:28 we are told that “the Lord loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. They will be protected forever.”

Aren’t you thankful that each one of us can claim these promises? I pray that you know your Heavenly Father well.

Prayer: Ah, Lord, thank you for inviting each of us to become a part of your family. Thank you for your willingness to accept us as your children. Thank you for caring for, and protecting us. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen.

Pastor Bill

 

(This post was originally published January 25, 2010.)

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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God is the same yesterday, today and forever. That means being a God of miracles!

 

Pastor Bill

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We will never be “successful” in our spiritual journey until we reach a point where God is always first in our lives.

 

Pastor Bill

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No matter where we’re at, or what we may be going through, God has a way! He does!

 

Pastor Bill

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Too often, when things begin to go wrong in life, people become embittered about something, or with someone. It is at such a point that they begin to drift away from God and the church. Yet, it is God and the church towards which a person needs to draw close at such times!

 

Pastor Bill

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JUST ENOUGH

Several minutes earlier, at more than two miles above the ground, the small, single-engine airplane had been emptied of its cargo of two parachutists. The two men who had stepped out of the perfectly good airplane had plummeted through the sky to 3000 feet above the surface of the earth. There they had each pulled the ripcord to open their parachute and, beneath the brilliantly colored, billowing nylon canopy of material, had safely reached the ground.

I looked from where the two men were each unhooking from the harness which had held them to their parachutes and turned my gaze towards the cloud-filled sky overhead. The plane the parachutists had left several minutes earlier was in a steep spiral towards the ground, a trip which would be much faster than the long, laboring climb of nearly a half hour that had been necessary to reach the altitude from which the parachutists had jumped out.

I could only hear the engine of the plane intermittently as I continued to watch it, since the pilot had pulled the throttle back so the engine simply idled as he glided steeply downward. The plane soon reached what is referred to as "pattern altitude," or that elevation above the ground at which airplanes approach most small airports in preparation for landing. I began to watch more intently, waiting to see what kind of a landing the pilot would make. This pilot was either extremely skillful or everything, including the wind, was in his favor. The plane was "greased," smoothly onto the runway with no hint of a bounce. I barely heard the squeak from the complaining rubber of the tires as they made contact with the black asphalt runway. Then something unusual happened. As the plane slowed in preparation for turning off the runway, the propeller, which had been spinning as the plane dropped out of the sky, suddenly slowed and came to a stop. There the plane was, gliding along the runway, with the propeller stationary and the engine silent.

"My, this pilot must really want to save on gas!" I thought. My attention was now firmly fixed on the plane as the pilot reached a place where he could turn off the runway and, the propeller still stopped, turned onto the taxi strip, continuing to slow all the while. The plane had almost rolled to a stop when I saw the propeller begin to turn again and heard the pilot engage the starter. In a moment the engine roared to life again and now, under power, began to roll steadily along the taxiway. But, instead of turning into the area where the parachutists normally boarded the aircraft, the pilot travelled past and disappeared out of sight towards another part of the airport.

Sometime later I heard the plane again and it soon came into view. The pilot turned towards where I was standing, visiting with the fellows who had parachuted from the plane earlier, and in a short time he swung the aircraft around, braked to a stop, and shut the engine off.

The pilot, an acquaintance of mine, climbed out of the airplane and stretched. As I walked up to him he stated, “That’s cutting it a little close!”

When I asked what he was referring to he asked if I had noted the engine quitting just as he touched the ground. When I answered in the affirmative he said, “I ran out of gas! I had just enough to start it again and get to the fuel pumps after I landed!”

“I usually carry just enough to get up and back," he said, “That way I don’t have to carry all the extra weight while I am climbing with the jumpers. But I think I cut it just a little close that time. I think I will begin carrying a little more than just enough to get by!”

Do you know people who try to get by in life with just the bare minimum of those things related to Christianity? You know what I mean; just enough attendance at church so that they feel they can get “in” if anything unexpected or untimely happened to them. And they will pray just often enough so that they kind of keep their hand in things and can pray if they get caught up in a crisis that was not part of their plans. These are folks who are always operating or living on "fumes!" Their "tank," is nearly always empty. In fact, they may never have known what it is to experience the fullness of a life lived committed completely to Jesus Christ.

Listen to the Apostle Paul’s words as he wrote to the Colossians in chapter 1, beginning with verse 9:

“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.” (Col 1:9-12)

We are truly missing out when we live without the fullness Christ wants to impart into each of our lives. We open the door to that fullness when we consecrate/commit our lives completely to Him!

Prayer: Father, help me to be careful, in the months ahead, to walk through life with my “tanks” full. Give me an insatiable thirst for your Word and cause me to carefully set aside time each day to talk to you in prayer and to think about the things of God. Thank you for your willingness to walk through this life with me. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen.

Pastor Bill

(This post was originally posted on The Shelter Tree in January of 2010.)

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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The church needs to be a place where never is heard a discouraging word!

 

Pastor Bill

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