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Archive for January, 2020

For most people who called the small, rural community nestled near the mountains at the edge of the Palouse country their home, life usually was pretty slow paced. News of events in the outside world only arrived sporadically. Occasionally, someone would travel the thirteen to fourteen miles to the city of Palouse on business and return with a copy of The Palouse News, a weekly publication. The paper usually ended up on a counter at the small general store where it would be looked at by customers for a period of weeks. It was well read.

Though life might have seemed slow to some, there was always plenty to talk about when folks came into the store to purchase something, visit the tiny post office located at the back of the building, or simply came to lounge around the stove and its warmth in the winter. In the summer people congregated on the porch of the store to visit and catch up on things.

It was at one of the early spring gatherings on the porch of the general store that the Old Codger came up in the discussion. The talk about him soon came around to the fact that no one present had seen him for quite a period of time. In fact, as the discussion progressed the group of folks gathered that morning realized no one had seen the Old Codger for many months—maybe even close to a year!

One of the men present walked over to the blacksmith shop a short distance away and spoke with the smithy about the Old Codger. His habit was always to stop there the first thing when he came to town. It was soon learned the smithy hadn’t seen the man for at least 10-11 months. When the news was reported to the group on the porch at the post office, one of the men stated that the Old Codger had “lived too long alone on Bear Creek.” Something must have happened to him!

Ecclesiastes chapter four contains these thoughts about being alone: 9 Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. 11 Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? 12 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

I agree that times of solitude and being alone can be worthwhile—for a time! We need to have friends and acquaintances we can rub shoulders with on a regular basis. The warmth of the stove in winter at the general store, and the coolness of the porch during the spring and summer, were places where folks could rub shoulders with each other and develop friendships that often lasted a lifetime. I hope you have places where you meet with people regularly. Well balanced lives need that!

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for our friends and those people you have blessed our lives with over the years. Thank you for the church, which provides a wonderful place to develop close friendships that can truly last for a lifetime! Help me to be a good friend to others, Lord. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

Pastor Bill

 

 

 

New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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Folks in the little community where the Old Codger would visit several times each year had become accustomed to seeing him over time. Yet, no one seemed to know much about him. No one knew where he had come from or if he had family. He would come into town on his horse and rarely stay more than a day. His age was a wild guess for anyone. The clothing he wore seemed little more than rags patched together. The boots he wore on his feet bore evidence of many repairs and patching. If a person got close to him it became obvious that he rarely bathed. He had long stringy hair, bushy eyebrows and a beard. He was quite a sight!

The Old Codger was quiet and would only speak unless he needed to. He seemed to be uncomfortable when it came to looking a person in the eye. No one could ever remember seeing him smile. In fact, he seemed to have a permanent scowl on his face. He didn’t hang around with other people at all, unless he just had to. When he did show himself in town, usually every two to three months, it was simply to buy some needed supplies of food at the general store, items for his horse and occasionally tools he needed for his work that he would pick up at the local blacksmith shop. In fact, the local “smithy” was the only person that seemed able to have any conversation with the Old Codger. That usually occurred while the fellow was waiting for some tool to be repaired by the smithy. It seemed obvious to the people in that little community that the Old Codger simply had little use for people, in general. He was just waiting for the day when he would strike it rich! That was the focus of his life! He was certain it was coming—and soon! He didn’t need anyone’s help and, in fact, he didn’t need people! He had let the smithy know that on several occasions over the years.

The first verse of Proverbs 18 states, “Unfriendly people care only about themselves; they lash out at common sense.”

It seems these words could well have applied to the Old Codger. But what a terribly lonely life he must have lived! To most of us it would seem that a life without friends would have little value. We like to be around our friends and have them around us! Proverbs 11:30 tells us, “The seeds of good deeds become a tree of life; a wise person wins friends.”

As we move into the new year I pray you will find yourself with many friends—those who care for you and care about you. Friends who will laugh with you and cry with you. Friends who will pray with you and pray for you. Friends who will walk through the good times in life as well as difficult and discouraging times. Yes, may you have many friends as you go through the year of 2020, and may your closest friend be Jesus!

Prayer: Father, thank you for being our friend. In the days ahead may our friendship become ever stronger. Also, show us who you might wish us to befriend in the coming year. Use us in the lives of those who need a friend. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Pastor Bill

New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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Some folks said the old codger had lived too long alone up in the Hoodoo Mountains of North Idaho. It seemed pretty obvious to anyone who might know him that he had only one thing on his mind—gold! He had become convinced that his “day” was coming and he was going to strike it rich. Some day, he just knew, he was going to stumble upon a vein of gold that would make all the years of searching worthwhile. He would then be able to live the remaining years of his life in luxurious comfort. He just knew it was going to happen! It was just a matter of time!

The old codger had no time for anything other than his search for gold. He had no time for anything, or anyone, who might detract from his focus in life. He felt that the more time he spent in searching for the “mother lode,” the sooner he would get to relax with his future completely taken care of. Yes! He was certain. It was just a matter of time! His future would soon be secure!

In First Timothy 6:17 we find the following words, “Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.”

It seemed obvious to those who had occasion to be around the old codger, for even brief periods of time, that he was certain his future, and his happiness in life, depended on gaining wealth. Time and again throughout the Bible we see the admonition to trust in God—and nothing or no one else!

As we look towards this new year of 2020, I pray that you will walk into the future hand in hand with God. You can trust Him with your future!

Prayer: Father, thank You for the plans that You have prepared for each one who has chosen to follow your way and invited You to take charge of their lives. Thank You, Lord, that we can live our lives with a very real sense of anticipation and excitement for all that You have planned and awaiting us. Yes! Thank You, Lord. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.

 

Pastor Bill

 

New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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