Lumberjacks Are Human

 

There was a lumberjack.  He got a job in a forest fire tower for five or six months. He was alone and low on provisions.  At the end of the first month he was talking to himself.  At the end of the second month He was ‘done with this job’.  During the third month he was talking to trees and they were talking back.

He started to feel guilty and didn’t know why.  He was on edge and insecure.  If the guys were here he could touch and swear.  He would know their strength and stability.  He thought about his friends and he wished they were here.  Some guys are not cut out for this job he thought but it just made him more fearful because he had so much time left.  No cell phone service either.

He started thinking about God to get rid of the guilt.  This is just like solitary, must be.  Six months in solitary is common.  Something has got to tame an angry man & silence can do it.  A healthy man has people around him, interaction and relationship; but silence is cheap and available.

Then approached an electric storm, striking the tower and grounding out.  It scared the daylights out of him.  I’m not myself, scared, lonely, troubled, but about what?  Silence works on a man, no present or future here just the past.  I’ve been dwelling on the past for six weeks.  Old pains coming back, old humiliation, like it was yesterday.  But nobody to strike at or beat up or bully!  Can’t make them go away.  Why it won’t heal, being childish, angry still at the wife at dad and at my bosses.  It’s all bottled up; still no way to drain the pus- the hate and the revenge and fear.  This place is reducing me to a pile of feces.  It’s all part of it, small comfort, when does it end.

Then headaches, and ran out of aspirin.  Day looks hazy, night is so dark, lightning storms, silence, seeing things.  Tried to take a walk back, got lost, and looked up, the tower glooming over me.  Radio dead. How am I going to make contact in case of a fire?  Sweats, nightmares, listen!  Mom’s talking, “Remember son your father loved you; it was self-defense.  He shouldn’t have done that to you.  Guilt and anguish came and tears.  But still mom was there laughing and crying and hating on her husband.  Foul words began emanating about him too, and ‘You should have killed me too.  Now I’m going to make you suffer.  With a rill of laughter and a strange tone she raised the top of his head and shouted ‘the devil get ya son’ and like a witch she laughed until he cried.

Laughter is painful abuse when you can’t get a grip, when you are looking for belonging.  You find only wretched hatred banging on your hands and you begin to fall.  Can’t catch, don’t catch- into the abyss of terror.  More laughter, strange figures, evil presence, ‘lost your mind’?  ‘An ounce of good from Sunday school, will it save you?’  It said in a very scary twisted voice.  He began to pray: ‘God help me, God save me, like before.’  Are you sure you have had enough’ came the sordid reply.  Mom.  More of the same for days- two weeks.  Not a cloud in the sky, hot.

Guilt can hit for any reason at anytime to anybody.  Some of us have irrational guilt for things not our fault.  But I can assure you that Jesus is the God of guilt.  That he is greater than it and is in control, and He can make it go away, but will He?  God uses a certain amount of guilt to show us when we have sinned.  It is good to know so we can keep anything from coming between us and God in our relationship with Him.  Almost all guilt is not of the Lord.  Some is healthy as an indicator we are outside the law of love as I said.  But doing God’s will is not only obeying laws but finding our way back to Him after sinning or living a life of sin.  He has made a way by repentance and reaffirming our faith in Jesus.  By repentance I mean having remorse for our sin and turning our backs to it and turning our fronts to face God and keep our eyes on Him.   So Jesus forgives us, and His death on the cross can cover all sin.  But we don’t continue in sin that this grace of forgiveness may be constantly flowing to us.  Heaven forbid we keep on sinning.  We want to be holy as God is holy and God may take sin away from us.  But mostly He wants us to be humbled by it.

We often have autonomic guilt triggered by things we think we have done wrong.  But I think it’s useless to fight it.  It will just come back another day.  It is one of the many ways we let ourselves know, and God lets us know we need God.  He gives us a kind of foreboding in our depraved minds.  Guilt over sin, fear of punishment.

We can be free of it definitely.  When it becomes unmanageable, God can free you from it.  But listen to it, we feel bad for things we’ve done, and how we acted.  Guilt is human.  We need to be very sorry for these things if we are to be saved, if God is going to act to save us from our guilt.  That’s the first step- to know you are a sinner.  God is the forgiver of sins.  If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  But be sorry, don’t just seek an escape from guilt.  It’s all about getting saved and the chance to live a normal life and be free of the confusing trouble of guilt.

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Promise? Promised!

read 2cor1:20             Gods promises to His people are in the Bible, He says yes to and we can say amen to that. God wants to give us good gifts and HE does give us good gifts. There is just something likely to attract attention in the way things are said in the Bible. God says yes to all HIS promises in the Bible – over 800, some are a little harder to get. Amen means ‘so be it’. We say look, God says yes, we say please do this LORD, we do our part and it gets done. God is a good Father, He wants to say yes to everything in the Bible if He wills it for us.

‘ To the glory of God through us’ our amen is to the glory of God through us. So be it God, be glorified in us through this great thing we want you to do in us and He will. To get free of sin, to find wisdom and guidance and strength, we need salvation, a job, we want to give Him some love or our lives. God will work with us. The key is not to give up. You learn as you go. In entrepreneurship classes they teach you that it may take more than one try to be successful. They know business and human nature. They know the success rate and the odds. We all fall short sometimes but if we keep trying we get better.

Hoping Yet?

Rom 5:3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;
Rom 5:4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;
Rom 5:5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

read 3-5             If you work at it and try to feel good about these tribulations we are talking about. You will get stronger until you have perseverance- the ability to continue despite the difficulties you might be having. Despite opposition or discouragement- you may start out a little weak at first but as you continue you get stronger, it gets easier and your resistance to quitting gets better. When you persevere for a while it brings about a behavior pattern that becomes consistent and starts being your natural way of acting. You make fewer mistakes and don’t have to try so hard, your body can bear more with ease, gets less tired and feels better. Character is the ability to always make the right decision and behave in a way that helps you stay out of trouble.

Proven character- when you are doing the right thing a lot and not getting beat up or beating yourself up and things are going pretty well. You can start thinking this is a pretty good life and you want it to continue- this brings hope. Hope according to the Merriam Webster Thesaurus is belief in the future occurence of something, but more than that- belief something good is going to happen. You can believe in heaven- that you will get rewarded for doing this, or hope in being free from the burden of drugs and alcohol. Or getting that job, or finding that pearl of wisdom, or that guitar or that marriage you’ve been wanting. Getting healthy really does bring better things. Getting saved brings hope and love.

They Are

Rom 4:17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.
Rom 5:3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;
Rom 5:4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;
Rom 5:5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
2Co 1:20 For as many as may be the promises of God, in Him they are yes; wherefore also by Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.

Abraham was made the Father of many nations after the promise that God made to him. He would have a son, Isaac, in whom his seed would be called, Jesus the Messiah would be of the seed of Abraham. But also through his 2 sons, Ishmael and Isaac he would be the father of many more. Some of the Arab nations and the Jewish nation were his offspring. Some people even tested DNA to see if Native Americans were Jewish in descent.
In the sight of God who had promised him and gave him two sons. It was not possible in the natural, they were old, but they believed God when he said this would happen. They were ready and it happened. God quickened their old bodies or made them useful to have a son. God is able to do this, He raised others from the dead. Gods power is great and He does supernatural feats as witnessed by many Jews in Jesus time, as witnessed by many descendants of Jacob in Egypt, when they came to the promised land. The ten plagues were performed by God and the manna and water were given and many great military victories took place in Canaan.
The interesting thing I want to point out is the last part of this verse. ‘God calls those things that are not yet, as though they are already’. Funny thing about God He knows what will be and He can make predictions about what will be, because He knows what is going to happen already. God knew Abraham would have a son and He told him to give him hope. This is what he wanted from God because he had no son to carry his name after he died. Abraham had hope and faith in God. God did this for him. This could be very hopeful for someone – God empowers where GOD promises. So if it is Gods will that you be free of stealing, or fear or alcohol, you can grasp it in faith, and hang in there long enough. We have to do our part too. You know God says ‘thou shall not steal’. He will empower you to get free if you do your part. Like shooting you have to do your part.

So you can go to meetings and stay out of stores or bars and hang around recovering thieves or drinkers. You can go to church and prayer meetings, eat healthy, drink coffee, take a lot of showers, do some meditative work, sing or generally keep busy and put together a life to aleviate the temptation and suffering. If you stay sober for a couple weeks it will get easier. But you have a changed life and a support group and you keep going. Your thinking its better to be sober or whatever and you work at it, get plenty of sleep and kick the habit. Even smoking at a different time can be replaced with something good.
In a rehab they try to change your thinking and inspire you with a better life and hope in better things. You can read inspiring books and you can be sure your are doing something good. You can dream of using your time better and of having Gods protection and his word alive to guide you, which gives ideas and clues as to how to live and not make more mistakes.

No Fantasies Here

Sometimes life gets huge for people. These days its like everything is getting harder and troubling. The cost of living has gone up and things can break and we can spend all our extra time doing the things that need to be done. My neighbors have 2 people working and they don’t even get time to change their oil on time. They are pretty well off but struggling sometimes to get everything done and play enough and get enough sleep and just keep going when they’d rather be playing around. Doing everything you can and everything you think you must, and still there is more needed and staying up late after dark to change your oil it can be exasperating for all of us I think. There are still giants in life to contend with.
So once in a while you can get a little bit of fear going- ‘ what is going to happen next’, how are we going to pay for that’ and you might make a mistake some where. The bills pile up and with all the unemployment many people are faltering in the quest to be in the black. Are all the creditors going to foreclose on all the faltering to pay their bills. Will everything be taken back and more? stuff like that. Stuck in a struggle to where we don’t believe in God, don’t want to hear about Jesus and can’t slow down. Sometimes we even take drugs to keep up with it all.
When I have fear I have been reciting scriptures. Fear for persecution and for the stuff I have already stated. Plus about public speaking. I have been trying to please God but we can get off the track so easy. Thankfully God can correct us and get us back on track.
I say,’ Fear not for I am with you, be not afraid for I am your God. I will strengthen you yea and I will help you yea, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness.’ Its comforting and after a while it goes. I say,’There is no fear in love, perfect loves casts out fear, for fear has torment. Those who fear are not made perfect in love’. I let perfect love have its way with the help of the Holy Spirit. And fear goes away, believe it or not.
There are giants in our lives that make us fear sometimes. Just doing life for a long time can be a chore. When David was going to fight Goliath I saw in a movie just the other day- all the soldiers tried to discourage him over and over, every chance they got because they had no faith that he could kill the giant they were so afraid of him. David persevered and knew he could do it and he did. I’m just saying that we need faith sometimes in God to do something larger than ourselves. We spend all our energy everyday and we get used to the routine but when things sneak up from behind and threaten to overwhelm us where do we get the energy and strength? Some of us turn to GOD.
God is our sufficiency for just such a time as this. He becomes our strength and gets us over the top with a surge of extra help and we conquer the problem and outlast it and find peace again. I think its God- does anything else work ? Does shrinking back or letting something else go and experiencing loss work? I have gotten immense help by believing in the gospel of God. It has always worked for me. Knowing that God is on my side and strengthening and helping is an immense comfort and it does work and is very refreshing.
God is good He comes through for me through prayer and the scriptures and I believe them because they work. Because God does not let us down. There are trials and it is tough sometimes- we are saved through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Our own effort will fail us and things we do may make us less sharp and take the edge off our efforts so that we don’t get by and we can lose what we have or never get what we want. We can just slip through the cracks and be lost.
But whether you are working or not your faith will save you at least you will go to heaven when you die if you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. You can count on HIS goodness and gentleness to help you in time of trouble. God will not destroy you unless you do not believe. Ultimately… in the end.
His mercies are new every morning.

Prince of Virtues- Scorned

1Co 4:9  For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.

1Co 4:10  We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor.

1Co 4:11  To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless;

1Co 4:12  and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure;

1Co 4:13  when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now.

1Co 4:14  I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children.

Paul before this chapter was telling the Corinthians about unity.  He stated their differing views about the leadership: some followed Paul, some followed Apollos, some Peter and some Christ.  He wanted them to follow Christ because they hadn’t been baptized in Paul’s name nor did Apollos die for their sins.  They were being judgmental to the others and so a lesson in humility was in order.  Most of the rest of the chapter is about this lesson.

To the Greeks and Gentiles humility was a despicable trait that only belonged to slaves.  But humility is the only acceptable position for someone who wants to have a relationship with God.  God is so great that we have to humble ourselves before HIM to acknowledge Him and find obedience in our hearts for that greatness, and get saved.  He gives these and other good gifts but they were bragging as if they were their own and hadn’t been given to them.  That they were responsible for them and what they did with them and using them for themselves.  Like some musicians or speakers want to do for profit.  So Paul gives a taste of the life of someone gifted and tells them to imitate him.

God does give good gifts and He makes our lives a heckuva lot better.  He is always sanctifying us and trying to make us better and the point being ultimately to make us perfect.  Many of the people liked the blessings but didn’t want to change in other ways.  Bless yes but hard not so much.  Paul had suffered many hard experiences.  Did he want to?  They were required of him to obey GOD and to keep going.

Some people don’t like change.  When God saved me He gave the hardest challenges I’ve ever faced.  When He said to love my wife or my neighbor or put away anger or immorality I thought I should keep at it.  It’s hard to pull everything up to a higher standard all the time but I keep trying.  We should keep being what God wants as out Pastor Jim says.  It’s a very fulfilling never ending job that is very hard to do.  It is necessary to please God and be effective in our ministries whether we are happy already or not.  But be it all at our own pace. Haha.  It is not necessary to take this into consideration unless you are a Christian already.

Humility is a good thing to get and God does give it.  It is necessary to go through suffering sometimes and God uses this to make us humble.  Don’t we all have to suffer a little once in a while saved or not?  Submitting to it is the best way to cope with suffering.  We can learn how to cope, how to suffer rightly and how to have patience, to wait, to love and we can stand at the end of the day.  At the end of the day hope fully you can stand and say that you have done all you could to walk with God and have been successful or not but you tried.  If we love God, and with the help of the Holy Spirit we can stand.

Paul wanted to go against the grain of his flesh all the time.  He was beaten he forgave.  He was reviled and then he blessed- the last thing in the world you would ever want to do at that time, but the most effective for his witness and example.  His flesh was humbled so he exalted it with godly things.  He made progress to be like Jesus and he won souls to Christ.

Humility is not easy.  There are hard lessons to be learned.  It is the way to get more of God and less of us.  It is just something we should want to do.  Your cells of your body all submit to what the body wants and they work together to make the body alive.  They have decided that the larger purpose is best.  If each cell did whatever it wanted then we wouldn’t survive.  We have humility in us that way, to submit to unity and to God.  If we had one purpose and leader, like Jesus, and followed Him with all our heart we would live forever.

Scented Therapy Of God

1Co 3:16  Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

1Co 3:17  If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.

Please Read.     These two scriptures are the topic of my message that I chose for today.  There are some destructive past times in this life.  But God has made us a home for Him in us who believe.  We will be talking about the Holy Spirit and His place where we are safe and can have joy.

These are very comforting words to us Christians.  We have been told what not to do and what will happen if we do.  We can now go about the obeying and receiving blessing.  The Holy Spirit lives in Christians, filling them and being their sufficiency.  He is God for your daily life.  I know some of you do not understand the very importance and pertinence of Him.  Wait, until you meet Him!

Joh 14:17  that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.

Rom 8:11  But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

He is the eternal life that is in us and His many godly qualities are happening in our consciences.  He fills us completely- that God shaped emptiness that we find in life.  I have felt emptiness and never felt complete until getting saved and nothing had really changed, just the presence of GOD.  Your body is all ready to be the temple of the Holy Spirit you just need the Holy Spirit and to repent so that your sin is gone making a proper place, for He is Holy.

1Jn 4:12  No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.

1Co 6:18  Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.

I can tell you that this scripture is true.  Immorality will separate you from God.  I had too many sexual relationships even as a Christian and by the end of the last one I was really torn apart.  I entered a nine year depression, was all by myself, didn’t go to church and was confused so that my mind was very distracted all the time.  Then one day God brought me back.

Eze 5:11  Wherefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD; Surely, because thou hast defiled my sanctuary with all thy detestable things, and with all thine abominations, therefore will I also diminish thee; neither shall mine eye spare, neither will I have any pity.

God left them or at least He stopped talking to them.  They had 400 years of silence- no prophets, no guidance, and no love.  They knew to hang in there but their hearts got so hard.  That is the state you find yourselves in now.  No GOD.  We still have all the cravings of the flesh to fight, and it will end in disaster, if we don’t find Jesus or if HE doesn’t find us.

So don’t tear your bodies apart with immorality or drugs and alcohol.  Don’t be angry with yourselves if you do.  Jesus can fix it.  Drugs and alcohol sure will tear you up but, Christians have hope and are improving all the time.  Jesus is not your worst nightmare.  He is the best thing that ever happened to you.  And HE loves you:

Joh 14:21  He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

Joh 15:9  As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

Joh 15:10  If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

Joh 15:13  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Rom 8:35  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

No, nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.  Not from the results of His death or from His active concern.  But you have to be in Him to know it’s there.  So if you are having any of these things, know that God is greater and that His fullness is greater.  You may still have to suffer a little, but You can overcome the world as Jesus did with the help of the Holy Spirit.