----BIBLE

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VIRTUES & VICES

"The Rollercoaster"

FEAR

"Ladies and Gentlemen, young and old, sit back, buckle up, and prepare yourself for the ride of your life.

"You will have thrills, you will have spills, you will have chills, you will on occasion feel like giving up.

"And there will be times you will wish to get off this roller coaster, but please don't, it's a long drop.


"Don't let the name Roller Coaster fool you; Coast is something you will rarely do on this ride. And when you find yourself coasting, reconcile yourself, you are merely being prepared for yet another topsy-turvy adventure. And adventure, along with the experience, discoveries and knowledge gained on each, is what this ride is all about.


"Take note that the vehicle in which you are to experience this ride is not attached to any other vehicle on the track. Others may be very near, and may occasionally touch, or even ram your vehicle, but none can control it but you yourself, and the Management of this ride.

"But be not dismayed, you will not be alone on your journey. You will be carefully observed and supported throughout the ride, even through the times you feel abandoned and on your own.


"Please look on the seat beside you. There you will find a Book of instructions. Refer to this Book whenever you are in doubt, when you are afraid, and when you need comforting. In fact, regular study and familiarization with these instructions is highly recommended.


"In front of you are your controls. At your right foot is the brake peddle that you may use to slow or stop your vehicle. There will be many times that you will desire to use the brake, especially when approaching what appears to be a very dangerous curve or twist of the track. Resist the temptation to use the brake. Use of the brake is addictive. The more often you apply it, the more likely you will be to use the brake for less and less perilous situations. And the less you use the brake, the stronger will be your confidence in the vehicle, the track, the Management, and in yourself. Use of the brake produces fear, depression, a feeling of powerlessness, and a lack of self esteem.

"Conversely, ignoring the brake produces confidence, joy, a sense of empowerment, and ever-expanding faith.

"The Management and Creator of this rollercoaster highly recommends that you do not touch the brake which is at your disposal.


"Directly in front of you is a steering wheel. This steering wheel is not an ornament, it is fully functional.

"You will find many occasions on this ride in which you will be tempted to use this steering wheel, especially in the beginning of your journey. Like the brake at your feet, the more times you utilize the steering controls, the more often you will be tempted to use it in the future.

"On the track before you are numerous junctions where the track creates a choice for you to make. And at these junctions you will be tempted to steer your vehicle onto what appears to be the most interesting, or the easiest of the choices. It is strongly advised that you consult your Book of instructions at these junctures.

"Should you choose the wrong track, you will have difficulty finding your way back to the main track. But it is important that you use diligence in doing so, as the farther you venture from the main track, the less will be your resolve to return, until your desire disappears altogether.

"But don't be discouraged. Side tracks are adventures unto themselves, and the lessons learned at each are for your benefit. Side tracks are a part of the Mastercreation of this rollercoaster. They are not built for your detriment, but for your achievement. The dangers are only present if you allow yourself to get trapped or comfortable in the side tracks.


"Next to you in your vehicle, in the passenger seat, is your Helper that the Manager and Creator of this park has provided for your comfort and assistance. You will not see him, and you will rarely be aware of him since your full attention will be on the track ahead, and the experience of the moment. But he is there nonetheless.

"On those occasions when a decision has to be made, it is highly recommended that you ask his guidance. And like the Book of instructions, it is also highly recommended that you get to know him well, and follow his guidance.

"You will also find that the more control you take of your vehicle, the less you consult your Book of instructions, and the less you consult your Helper - the farther your Helper will withdraw from your side. Should you become aware of this withdrawal, and that you are not consulting him as often as you had been, and that you have not been referring to your Book of instructions - then immediately stop what you are doing, study your Book of instructions, and have a long discourse with your Helper.

"The above is especially important if you find yourself feeling comfortable in that abandoned state.


"And finally, throughout your journey, keep in mind that this ride is for your benefit. The more you put into it, the less you hold back, the more you learn to trust the ride, your Helper, your Book of instructions, and the Manager-Creator of this ride - that much more you will get out of your journey."


TEST OR TRIBULATION


This adventure, this rollercoaster called Life, is what you make of it. It is a treat, it is treacherous, it is whatever portion of the experience you concentrate on.

It is like Sweet and Sour Pork. Both are there, both come together; but whether it is sweet, or whether it is sour, depends on that which you choose to taste from it.

A child who sits on his father's shoulders is "high." A mountain climber who ascends Mount Everest is "High." An astronaut circling the earth is "high."

A man or woman who never allows themself to ascend higher than their father's shoulders will believe that they have reached "high enough," and will be afraid of going any higher. Meanwhile, the mountain climber sees fear as a challenge, and seeks higher mountains to climb.


Those who use the brake of their vehicle, that is this body and all it encompasses, will very likely feel safe and comfortable when life is at a slow pace, or is stopped altogether. But the Rollercoaster of life never stops; it is either going forward slowly in preparation for yet another "out of control" experience; or it is going backward into the familiar and mundane, seeking stability.

The familiar feels safe, like "family" where all fairly well know what to expect from one another. The convict in prison feels "safe." The employee on the assembly line feels "safe." The child or wife in an abusive home feels "safe."

The feeling of safety comes with familiarity. Change produces fear, and the fear of change compounds that fear. A person may hate the situation they are in, and even fear it greatly - but the fear of change into the unfamiliar is even more frightening.

And fear is the opposite of faith. Faith demands change. Faith is achieved, and is cultivated by moving into the unknown, the untried, and the fearful.

Faith is a muscle. If it is exercised, it grows in strength. If it is pushed to its limits, it grows even stronger and faster.

A muscle not exercised will atrophy, that is, it will weaken and wither, like a flower without rain.


We pray: "God, give me faith." What we mean is, "God, make me into a world class contender while I lay here in bed and sleep."

God will provide what we ask for, if we truly want it. He provides the stairs for us to reach it, but we have to climb.

And the more we climb, the easier it becomes to climb, and the more and faster we desire to climb.


Man was created as an obsessive-compulsive creature. He (and of course I mean "she" as well) has more than just a drive to survive and reproduce as do others of God's creation. He is driven to do, to accomplish, even to excel.

And whatever he directs that drive toward, he wants more of it. And the more he gets, the more he wants. That direction may be money, fame, love....

Or it may be Faith.

Or it may be God.

Like the dieter, who when he is dieting, loses weight rapidly, and when he is no longer dieting, puts it on rapidly..

But how about lazy people, how can they be called obsessive-compulsive? Lazy is the direction in which they have directed their efforts. And the longer they are on this earth, the lazier they become.

Have you ever heard the expression, "if you want something done, go to a busy person"?


Or have you ever heard, "be careful what you wish for (and that especially applies to pray for) because you are just liable to get it."?

If you want strong muscles, expect to receive a very heavy box of weights, a job lifting bales of hay, or a shovel stuck in a very large pile of manure that must be moved.

If you desire Faith, watch for a very rickety old stairs which leads to dilapidated bridges over treacherous ravines. And when you are able to run the course blindfolded, and joyously do so, you will know that you have been "given" that which you have prayed for.


Life is a tribulation for those who wish to hide from it.

Life is a test for those who challenge it and strive to meet its challenge.

[For the conclusion, see Hidden Truth]

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