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Clickety-Clack Life

Clickety-clack, clickety-clack goes the train down the track. Places to be, stations to see, switches to choose, choices to make.

Ok, so I’m not a poet, but you get the idea. We are on a journey just like a train, just like the Israelites were during the 40 years in the wilderness. Traveling here, staying there. Making stops and then continuing on clickety-clack down the track, making many choices like a train when it encounters a switch enabling it to change tracks.

We all start life the same—we are born. Then there are enumerable stops or stations along the way such as learning to walk, school, rites of passage, careers, marriage, spirituality… and on and on. Our train may stop briefly at some stations and then move quickly on. It may pass some by, not stopping at all as the platform whizzes by. Or, it may stop and stay awhile, like a train on a siding.

In reality, the train analogy breaks down a little because, while a train can follow only one track at a time, our lives can follow several concurrent tracks. We have the track of marriage and family, the track of career, the track of interests/hobbies, etc. We also have the track of our spiritual life, which can be likened to the center rail on some model trains. Our spiritual life, or lack thereof, is the center track of every other track we follow.

But where is our train (my train, your train) headed? Throughout the years, it follows many different tracks, taking many switches, making many choices. Just as switches are the mechanism by which a train changes tracks, our choices determine which track of life we follow and where we end up. Sometimes, we get to choose which track we follow, sometimes the choice is made for us. We all hope that our train is never switched to the wrong track by choice or circumstance. But unfortunately, or fortunately, some do end up on the wrong track. I say unfortunately because we all make wrong choices that we have to live with. I say fortunately because, though the track may seem to be the wrong one at the time, it often proves to be the best one when we reach the next station.

Sometimes, the switch takes us down a sidetrack. These sidings can be good or bad. Some are for rest and rejuvenation, some are for growth, and some are mostly of our choosing and represent fleeting temptations and desires that can damage us spiritually and physically. Some of these sidetracks have a dead end, just like some train sidings. In that case, we have to back up to the switch to resume our travel. But they all work together to make us who we are and to prepare us for the rest of the journey (Rom. 8:28).

When we all reach the end-of-the-line, our train will have one more switch to traverse. That switch is pre-set by one important, life-changing, choice you make during your life – whether to employ Yeshua, the Son of God, as your train engineer (director, manager, Lord). If you chose Him, your switch will be pre-set to take you on the final correct track.  If it is not…

With Him as your train engineer, your train may still go down some tracks that you’d prefer not to travel, but He is always taking you through life to a higher calling (Heb. 11:1-16; 13:14-21; 1 Pet. 2:11; 1 Jn. 21:15-17) and He will always ensure that you still end up at the correct destination station.

If you have never accepted Him as your Lord, or need to recommit to following Him, do so now, today, this very moment. Just talk to Him, tell Him that you are sorry for the wrong actions and attitudes in your life (called repentance) and that you want to make Him your train engineer for the rest of your life. Then, get a Bible, start reading, and learn how He wants to direct your train.

Until the next time…May the LORD bless and protect you…May He give you Shalom. (Numbers 6:24-26)


Ticket to Heaven?

It’s not just a ticket to Heaven: “It is not a question of being saved from hell, but of being saved in order to manifest the life of the Son of God in our mortal flesh, and it is the disagreeable things which make us exhibit whether or not we are manifesting His life.” (Oswald Chambers)

By “disagreeable things”, Chambers means our self-will and the way we react to circumstances.  We must constantly ask ourselves whether our attitudes and lifestyles reflect the Messiah or if they reflect what we are without Him.

Chambers goes on to say, “Keep your soul fit to manifest the life of the Son of God. Never live on memories; let the word of God be always living and active in you.”

We are saved to be God’s active representatives in this world, not just to receive a ticket into the next.

Until next time…May the LORD bless and protect you…May He give you Shalom.” (Numbers 6:24-26)



Second Chance of Life

“Live today as one sentenced to judgment, but who has instead been set free and given a second chance of life, because of the love and sacrifice of Him [Yeshua the Messiah].” (Jonathan Cahn)

This is an excellent goal for every day, but it is especially worth considering as we approach Passover and Resurrection Day.  Think about it;  you were (maybe are) in the position of Barabas at Yeshua’s crucifixion.  Through Yeshua’s death and resurrection, you have been given a second chance at life.  If you have repented of your wrongs and accepted Yeshua, God’s Son and the Savior of all mankind, as your Savior and the Lord of your life, you have been given a second chance.  You have been adopted into Adonai’s family, with all the rights and privileges that go with it and ultimately given life throughout eternity in a place Yeshua has prepared just for you.   If you have not repented of your wrongs and accepted Yeshua as your Savior and the Lord of your life, do not lose another moment, do so right now.

Until next time…May the LORD bless and protect you…May He give you Shalom.” (Numbers 6:24-26)


Fill in the Blanks

I invite you to place your name in the blanks in the following paraphrase of John 3:16.  This is exactly what God did for you through His only Son, Yeshua.    For this is how much God loved your name: He gave His only and unique Son to die and to rise again so that if your name believes in Messiah Yeshua, your name will have Yeshua living with your name daily and so that your name will not perish but have eternal life.  (Bill’s paraphrase of John 3:16)

If you already know Yeshua as your Savior and Lord, this is His assurance for you.  If you have never repented of your sin and accepted Him as your Savior and Lord, this is your opportunity to do so.

Until next time…May the LORD bless and protect you…May He give you Shalom.” (Numbers 6:24-26)


For those who may be wondering, “Yeshua” is Jesus’ Hebrew name, the name He would have been called by His contemporaries while He was on earth.  “Yeshua” means “salvation.”  “Messiah” means “the anointed one”.  It is the original Hebrew for the Greek “Christ.” Father God promised a Messiah, the anointed one of the line of David who would redeem mankind, Jew and Gentile alike. Yeshua is that promised one, the promised Jewish Messiah.

I prefer to use Yeshua, Messiah Yeshua, or Yeshua HaMashiach (Yeshua the Messiah) for a couple of reasons:  First, I prefer “Yeshua” because “Yeshua” is His name–how He was called by His contemporaries.    For example, my name in Spanish is Guillermo, but when I travel to Ecuador, they call me “William” or “Bill”, not “Guillermo.”  Conversely, I do not call someone named Guillermo, William or Bill. Second, I prefer “Messiah” because it has so much more meaning than “Christ”.  The final reason is because “Jesus” and “Jesus Christ” are common swear words.

The First Step of Faith

“Faith has the power to make you what God wants you to be; only you must be ready to step into the plan and believe His Word.”  Smith Wigglesworth

“How do I take that first step?”  Glad you asked.

You can begin to walk in faith by taking one small step, just like a young child learning to walk.  You begin by taking the smallest of actions in a new direction.  That first small step is the first step toward the life of victory in which God has created you to live.

Consider the smallest Hebrew letter, the “yud.”  It looks like an apostrophe (‘).  From that small letter, we get our Roman letters “I” and “J” and the Greek letter “iota,” as in “not one jot” and “not one iota.”  However, this smallest of letters is the first letter of some of the most powerful, meaningful names in our world.  It is the first letter of God’s Name “YHVH.”  It is also the first letter of Jesus/Yeshua.  It is the first letter in the name of the most important city on the face of the earth, Jerusalem/Yerushalayim.  Yes, in both English and Hebrew.

Just as the greatest words begin with the smallest stroke or letter, the greatest works of God begin with the smallest strokes of action.  Whether it is creation itself, a new life in the womb, your new life in Him, or your walk of faith with Him,  all great things and people start with one small “yud” step at a time – one small step of faith that becomes another and another as you step into God’s plan for your life.

What is your first small step?

  • If you have never acknowledged the call of the Gospel of God by accepting Jesus as your Savior and Lord, then that is your first small step. Pray to Him today!  Repent of your sin.  Acknowledge that He died just for you so that you could live with Him now as part of His family as well as for eternity.  Then join the rest of God’s family in the next step…
  • If you are a believer, step into the plan God has for you by stepping into and living the faith He has given to you. As you take that first step, He will guide your feet in the correct direction for the next, and the next, and …

In both instances, be assured that through your sincere confession and faith in Him, God has made you part of His family and changed you.

Until next time…May the LORD bless and protect you…May He give you Shalom.” (Numbers 6:24-26)


Acharit Hayamim

Acharit Hayamim is Hebrew for “the end of days” (Gen 49:1).   In the context of Gen 47:28-50:26, this phrase seems to incorporate both the first and second coming of Yeshua.  Jacob (Israel) pronounces blessings on Joseph’s two children and on his own sons as he is about to die. These blessings prophecy what is to come in the end of days.  Jacob promises one who is to come, a descendant of Judah, the Messiah, whom he calls Shiloh.  Shiloh will bring peace, wholeness, and restoration to the children of Israel and through them to all people. Yeshua of Nazareth was and is that promised one, the Messiah. He came once to proclaim repentance and salvation from sin.  He will soon come again to bring true peace to Israel and the entire world!

Until next time…May the LORD bless and protect you…May He give you Shalom.” (Numbers 6:24-26)

Shabbat Shalom


Thought for Jan. 11, 2017

Thought for today:

Our children have been entrusted to us by God, children made in His image and for whom Christ died. Our primary responsibility is not to make sure they have the best clothes and live in the best houses. It is to make sure they grow up in homes where God is present and the love of Christ reigns so that they will come to know God through His Son.  Billy Graham

Until next time…May the LORD bless and protect you…May He give you Shalom.” (Numbers 6:24-26) Bill

Up to Here Adonai Has Helped Us

“Up to here Adonai has helped us”  (1 Sam 7:12)

“Up to here”…  Up to this place, this point-in-time,  Jan 1, 2017, He has helped us, He has guided our lives, walked with us during what we saw as good times and bad times, in the hills and valleys of life.  And He promises to walk with us going forward into 2017.

Only He knows what 2017 will bring. Regardless of the hills and valleys, the planned and unexpected experiences we walk through this year, we can count on one thing–that He will be there in every instance!  If we are a follower, a disciple, of Yeshua (Jesus), whether we sense Him or not, Father God in the form of His Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) will be there because He resides, tabernacles, in us.

For some, there will be valleys of despair, but you can be confident that He is your protector and refuge, a stronghold where you are safe. (Ps 31:2).

Some will experience times of storm on the mountain top where storms are at their worst. During these times, He will be your shelter, a strong tower that protects you from your enemy.  You will find shelter in the protection of His wings. (Ps 61:3-4)

You can rest assured that during the trials you encounter climbing the hills, mountains, and the traversing valleys of 2017, you will encounter His grace and be showered with blessings.  Trust in Him because, although you don’t see what loss, sorrow, and trials are accomplishing, He will come near, and if you allow Him His way you will be a better person–more like Jesus.

During 2017, you will also experience valleys of peace, like sitting beside a stream of cool running water. You will also experience fantastic times on the mountaintop, experiences of joy and happiness akin to viewing a beautiful panorama from a high mountain peak.  However, during those times of exhilaration, remember that your Father, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, gave them to you.  They were not obtained by your efforts, even if you have expended much effort and/or expense to experience them.

As you start 2017, I challenge you to join me in declaring along with the Psalmist:

“I trust in you, O LORD!

I declare, ‘You are my God!’

You determine my destiny!” (Ps 31:14-15a)


In case you are reading this, but are not positive you are a follower of Jesus, I want to offer you the opportunity to become one right now.  A true follower or disciple of Jesus the Messiah (Christ) is someone who has answered the call of Jesus by repenting of his wrongs (sin) and acknowledging that Jesus came to earth to give His life for him (that’s you!).  Allowing Jesus into your life is as simple as saying “Jesus, I acknowledge that you are the Son of God.  I repent of my sins and accept you as my personal Savior and the Lord of my life.”  Give your life to Him today and start walking with Him by your side! There is no better way to start 2017. (If you do, please send me a note telling me of your decision so I can pray for you–wjbsturn@gmail.com)


Until next time…May you have a Blessed 2017; May the LORD bless and protect you…May He give you Shalom.” (Numbers 6:24-26)


How Do You Survive the Annual Christmas/Chanukah Holiday Budget Drain?

My suggestion, in short, is to set a total budget amount that you can afford, then save, save, and save some more.  When you start shopping, stick to the budgeted amount and pay cash.  Most of us can scrape up $10, 25, or maybe even $100 for a gift for one person during the year, but for even the small family, the annual December gift-giving-peak can be a strain if not planned for.  If you haven’t saved in advance, I strongly recommend setting a total budget you can afford out of current income/savings, but not out of your emergency fund.  This is not an emergency!  And then, as soon as the holidays are over, start saving for next year.  But, how do you accomplish this?

Let me tell you our story.  Well…, actually…, to read our story and obtain some tips for Establishing a Christmas Budget, Keeping on Track, Getting Started, and Keeping Things Under Control, you must read my post on the Coastal Federal Credit Union Blog.  It is my hope that our story will be a model you can adopt as your own, regardless of the size of your family.

(Holiday Gift Budget Tracking Spreadsheet is a sample spreadsheet similar to the one that we use to track our gift giving budget.)

Enjoy your upcoming holiday and keep it debt free!  Until next time…May the LORD bless and protect you…May He give you Shalom.” (Numbers 6:24-26)

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