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Archive for the ‘Direction in life’ Category

Make it a habit to live your life in such a manner that those who see you will want what you have.

Pastor Bill

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Remember, no matter how great the task may seem, that God has asked you to complete, He has already prepared the way for you.

Pastor Bill

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GIDAP!

Psalm 119:105

“Gidap! Hey, you! Gidap!”

That is what you are supposed to say to get a horse moving, isn’t it? But this old brown mare did not seem to understand the same kind of language I had heard cowboys in old black and white western movies use as I was growing up. This horse must not have been trained right!

“C’mon! Gidap!” I tried again. This time I slapped the sides of my boots against the animal. Its response was to turn its head and give me what appeared to be an obviously “insolent” look as I heard the “swish, swish” of its tail behind me. It blinked its eyes slowly, stomped a front foot against the ground several times, and turned away from me.

“Say, now. This could get embarrassing! What was the matter with this old horse?”

I looked up the steep trail ahead of me, observing the backs of the two men who were with me as they reached a point in the path where they would soon disappear from sight. As I watched, the man nearest me, who was wearing a black western hat, stopped and turned to look at me. He put his hand next to his mouth and called out, “Are you coming? What’s the matter?”

Trying to sound as confident as I could, I yelled back, “No problem. I’ll catch up in a minute,” adding under my breath, “If this goofy horse will start minding its master! It apparently does not understand who is in charge, here.”

As I looked back up the trail I saw the two men disappear from sight around the first turn.

“C’mon, you horse! Gidap! Gidap! What’s the matter with you? Man, oh man, what are they teachin’ horses these days, anyway?”

This time I not only slapped my boots against the horse’s flanks but I began lurching up and down in the saddle and slapping the reins back and forth over her neck in hopes that the animal would get the message. No such luck! I had never seen a horse like this!

Of course, I had to admit that I did not have a great deal of experience with horses. I did have one stand painfully on my foot when I was about 10 years old. Horses can weigh quite a bit, you know. It hurt! I could not get that horse to move on that occasion, either!

Well, something was going to have to happen, and in a hurry! The two men who were on foot ahead of me were bound to stop for a breather and when I failed to come along one of them was sure to come back down the trail to see what was holding me up. That could be more than a little embarrassing! I would probably be hearing about it all week long. Yes, at least for a week!

The three of us had been chosen to go into a rugged mountainous area to clear fallen trees and brush from a network of forest trails. We had a mule—and yes, it was a stubborn one—to carry all the food and camping gear we would need for the week. We also had been given this old brown mare to ride. But there were three of us! That meant taking turns. I had been selected for the first stint at riding this old horse and now, here I sat, unable to get her to move. The mule, tied by a short length of rope to the saddle of the mare, stood looking at me, its ears twitching, almost seeming to have a smile on its face!

“Hey, you comin’ with us or not?”

“Oh, boy. I’m done for now,” I thought as I looked up to see the orange shirt of one of the men coming down the trail towards me.

“What’s the matter? Did you tell her to G-O?” he asked, spelling the word out.

“What?” I asked.

Bob smiled as he said, “You have to tell her what you want her to do. It’s either G-O or S-T-O-P.”

“You mean all I have to do is say, ‘Go’?

I had no sooner gotten that little two-letter word out of my mouth than the horse lurched forward, nearly throwing me out of the saddle, and started moving up the trail.

We certainly find life to be difficult at times, and that includes what might seem to be some of the simpler things related to walking through life as a Christian. Yet, if we are careful to spend time in God’s Word we will begin to understand that it contains within its covers an abundance of instruction and teaching for life. In Psalm 119:105 we are told “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”


You know something? That is absolutely true! You may be familiar with the acronym for the word “Bible—Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.” I like that.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the in-depth instructions for life you offer each of us in your Word. Cause me to have an insatiable desire for all you offer me within its pages. In your Son’s Name I 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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SOUNDING SAD

Psalm 105:43

“But they sound so sad! Don’t they sound that way to you, Dad?”


My daughter and her husband had recently moved to a new city and the noise of Air Force jet fighter aircraft taking off on a regular basis, only a few hundred yards from the doorway of the military housing unit in which they lived, had been replaced by the much quieter sounds of small city life. But there was a new sound present which they had not experienced before—the sound of train whistles. To my daughter, it was a “sad” sound.

 

During one of our discussions over the telephone she began to notice the sound of the train whistles late at night.  The community in which they lived had a large railroad yard and was busy around the clock with trains coming and going. It was early summer and the days and nights were already becoming warm to the point that my daughter and her husband would have a window open in their bedroom to allow cool air to circulate through the small apartment in which they lived. Though the railroad yards may have been clear across town, the sound of those whistles seemed to carry across the distance with an amazing clarity and, to my daughter, a mournful sadness.

 

A short time ago I found myself spending several days in that same city in which my daughter had lived. I had been in bed only a short time that first night when I heard, from far across town, the sound of a train whistle. I turned my head to listen more closely as the whistle sounded again. Did it sound sad?

 

Several times before I drifted off to sleep I heard the whistle on the train locomotives. Awakened during the night I heard, once more, the same sound being carried across the miles to where I lay. Maybe it did sound just a little bit on the “sad” side of things!

 

The word “sad” brings up numerous images in our minds. When I was a young boy we had a dog that could walk around with such a sad look on his face that it would tug at your heart! In fact, he usually did this as you sat down at the dinner table in the evening and, if you did not become skilled at ignoring him, you were bound to give him something to chew on just to get him to have a more cheerful look on his face.

 

Have you ever been around a person you considered to be “sad”? There are some individuals who wear a sad and mournful expression on their faces that seems to go along with a slow, shuffling walk, stooped shoulders and eyes that are most frequently staring towards the ground.

 

For the individual who has accepted the promises of God, sorrow and sadness are replaced with a refreshing joy! A joy which is accompanied by a zest for living which can be found only by that one who knows what it means to walk through life with the presence of Jesus Christ living within their hearts.

 

In Psalm 105:43 are the words, “He brought out his people with rejoicing, his chosen ones with shouts of joy.” The death of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, on the cross, followed by His resurrection, provided us with the promise and the hope of everlasting joy! Do you have that joy in your heart and life? If not, why not locate a good, Bible-believing church and go there this Sunday. It can turn out to be the very best choice you have ever made!

 

Prayer: Father, help me to be ever mindful that I do have reason for joy—everlasting joy! Thank you for such a wonderful gift. Thank you, Jesus. In your 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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Judges 20:11

I was acquainted with a nice couple who lived in an older home which had a modern gas furnace used to heat the house during the cold months of the year. In those months of summer when the heat in the deep valley in which they lived became almost unbearable, they would retreat to their large living room which was cooled by a very large window air conditioner. The couple had found this adequate for keeping them comfortable on the hottest of days, even though there were some rooms in the house which never seemed to cool down as a person might desire, simply because they were too far from that single, window air conditioning unit.

 

The couple awakened on one late summer morning and found the house uncomfortably cool. This was that time of year when the days are becoming shorter, the nights longer, and the hottest part of the day is usually in the late afternoon. It is not unusual to find the air just a bit nippy in the mornings. Anyway, as the husband left the bedroom to go into the kitchen and turn the coffee pot on he paused next to the thermostat, moved the “heat” switch to the “on” position, knowing how much his wife was going to appreciate having a little bit of warmth to begin the morning with. After he adjusted the dial to the desired temperature setting, he went into the kitchen to get the coffee started. Within a few short minutes warm air was coming out of the heat registers and chasing the chill out of the air.

 

Later that day the couple left the house to take care of several errands. By that time the warmth of the sun was beginning to make itself felt and so, before leaving home, the man walked over to the window air conditioner and turned it on. This way they could insure they would return to a cool home and be able to escape the coming afternoon heat. They also closed doors to a portion of the house off the living room area, which included the kitchen and a dining area, so that the air conditioner would only have to work to cool the smaller living room area.

 

Later, their errands completed, the couple returned to their home, looking forward to escaping the rising temperatures that accompanied the late afternoon hour. They were more than ready to enter the pleasant coolness of their living room.

 

“Aha! That feels nice,” they thought as the two of them walked through the front door and escaped the oppressive heat of the late afternoon though, oddly, it did not actually seem as cool as they might have expected. And it almost seemed as if the air conditioner was “laboring” to keep it cool in that living room. They had been in the room only a brief time when they became aware of a sound other than the air conditioner coming from somewhere. What was it?

 

The man walked towards the kitchen and opened the door. He was met with a blast of heat that would have made the sands of the Mohave Desert envious! After several startled glances at each other the couple suddenly realized that their efficient gas furnace downstairs was running! That was the strange noise they had heard. A quick look at the thermostat, inside the room with the air conditioner, confirmed their suspicions. Upon leaving several hours earlier they had forgotten to turn the “heat” switch on the thermostat off! As a result the window air conditioner and the furnace were both working hard—against each other!

 

Have you ever witnessed that happening between two individuals or two groups of people? They may both have the same general goals for which they are striving but each is going about it in a different way, separate from the other, splitting valuable resources which, if put together, could be more efficient, effective, and have a far greater and more positive impact as far as the end result.

 

In the Old Testament book of Judges, we find these words, “So all the men of Israel got together and united as one man against the city” (Judges 20:11). As a result of uniting together the ultimate victory over the enemy became theirs. Separately they surely would have failed.

 

Hmm. Together or apart . . . success versus failure. Which will we choose?

 

Prayer: O Lord, help me to be very careful to work together with those around me who may be working towards the same goal that I am. May your Kingdom be enlarged and lifted up through our unity. In Jesus Name  I 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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Proverbs 3:5-6

“Where are you headed?” the husky, bearded man asked as we stood gazing out over the magnificent vista all about us. We were on a small promontory which allowed us to view the rugged mountainous country surrounding us. This time of year, late summer, there were only a few spots where snow still remained, but as we looked we could see that for some of these high peaks to be completely rid of snow was probably rare.

After my son-in-law and I told the man about the small mountain lake we were planning on hiking to he asked, “How are you going to get to it?”


“On the trail, I imagine,” I replied.

At this the man asked if we had ever been to this particular high-mountain lake. When I replied that it had probably been 25 years or more since I had visited this jewel nestled in the rugged mountains we were in, he began to shake his head. “I don’t think you want to take the trail that is shown on the maps,” he said. “If you do, I expect you will regret it! Let me offer you a suggestion.”


For the next several minutes the man told us how the trail into the lake, which was difficult even when it had been maintained properly, was not almost impassable. There were no longer any signs leading to where it began. If you found it you could expect a miserable time as you slipped and skidded, many times on parts of your anatomy other than just your feet, as brush slapped you in the face and water from a small creek, which ran down the trail for most of the distance to the lake, insured that you were completely drenched by the time you arrived at your goal. Following the trail back out was next to impossible.

Our new-found friend then assured us that there was, in fact, another way. It was a far better way. It might not seem so at first, but it was the only route a sensible person would follow once they became aware of it.

Several hours later my son-in-law and I stood at the edge of this beautiful lake, truly a work of art by the hand of God . . . . . . but we did not appear to be! A work of art by the hand of God, I mean.

We were wet and sweaty, mud covered a good portion of our clothing, and red welts from the slap of branches against our arms and faces showed clearly. And we had come to a conclusion. That man was right! That so-called “trail” was not the way to travel! It was not the best route to follow!

Some hours later, with the afternoon sun beginning to drop towards the horizon to the west, we determined we had rested enough that we would attempt to find our way out of this secluded and beautiful spot. The man had told us that if we would simply to into the tall timber on the east side of the lake and begin watching carefully, we should be able to spot a tiny piece of yellow tape tied to a tree branch. When we found that first one we could look ahead of us and we could see another one. By following eh pieces of tape, we would be led out of this rugged country and back to the road where our vehicle was parked.

And he was correct! The hike out, though it was a little further in distance, took far less time and we were in much better physical shape that we had been after that downhill “slide” into the lake which had appeared so easy!

In the Bible, in Proverbs 3:5-6, we find the words, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”


The “trail” has been marked out well for us! Which path will you choose?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me remember that you have marked out a “trail” for me to follow which is the only safe way for me to travel. Remind me it has been marked out well—the signposts are in your Word. Thank you for this map for my life’s journey. In your Son’s Name I pray. Amen.

Have a blessed day in Christ.

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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Early this morning I was seated in my living room staring out through the sliding doors at the beginnings of a day still blanketed in darkness. As my gaze wandered across the black landscape, looking at the multitude of sparkling lights which seemed to give promise of some life in the cities which hugged the valley floor, I began to contemplate the reality of the retired life. That’s right–retired. The “R” word.How can that be? I am surely not old enough to be retired! Retired? You must be kidding me!

Retired people are old people, arent’ they? If they weren’t old they no doubt had a rich uncle for a benefactor who died early and left them a tidy sum of cash to dispose of. And I am just not that old, or at least I don’t feel old…..till I try to crawl out of bed early in the morning…..or work to drag myself out of the car after a long drive seated in the same position. Now, I must admit, there are a few times like that when I wonder if old age may be approaching. And of course I have to agree that I feel shortchanged if I miss out on my regular afternoon nap. Yes, I do take a nap. You don’t have to be old to do that, do you?

But, don’t retired people just sit around, like on a porch swing or in a rocking chair, and watch the world go by? People who are retired usually go to a warm climate in the winter so the cold weather does not hinder their lifestyle, right? And if you are really retired, don’t you feel that way? Just what does a retired person look like? How should they act? Do they talk different than anyone else?

Hmmm. I just happened to think of one retired person who I always had deep respect for–my Dad. He seemed too young to retire when he stepped into that uncharted territory of his life. He didn’t look any older after he left 32 years of employment as a postmaster in a small, rural community of North Idaho. He didn’t act any older to me, either. As I watched he and my Mother they seemed to be just as active as ever though they did seem to take a few more trips to the mountains and the Oregon Coast since they had a bit more time to spare. I think my Dad also took longer naps, and he certainly spent more time with the grandkids, which they all seemed to enjoy. He also began to spend more time in the kitchen, grinding flour in a small flour mill and baking bread once each week that would make your mouth begin to water before you opened the door to their home. He also spent more time caring for his lawn and the flowers around their home.

One of the really neat things about my Dad’s retirement was that he seemed to have more time to talk with me when I stopped by. He rarely seemed to be in a hurry. I liked that. I miss that, for you see, my Dad’s gone now. Though it is a bit frightening, it seems I have stepped into that vacancy he left behind. I wonder how I will do? I hope I will take occasion to remember my Dad and his seeming approach to retirement. And what was that? Though he did slow his pace, somewhat, I don’t think he ever quit. Life still held its challenges which he enjoyed facing. Life still had its occasional troubles which he faced squarely and worked through. And life continued to hold its joys and the good things that made up each day. He never saw growing old as an impairment–it was simply part of life. He continued to be useful throughout his entire life.

My Dad reminds me of many of the well-known people in the Bible. In Exodus 7:7, we read these words, “Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh.”

Wow! These guys were still being used to lead a nation in what some would have seen as the “declining” years of their lives. And they still had a lot of years to go. They were of value and did not see their age as a hindrance when it came to serving God and His people. I wonder how I stand in light of their example–and the example of my Dad? Maybe retirement won’t be so bad–if I maintain a Godly attitude.


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