Friday, July 13, 2018

A Still Place

"Be still and know that I am God"
 (Psalm 46:10)

            The world is a busy place and today’s message is not for June and I any more, but it applied for all the years we were raising our children, running three businesses, active in our church etc. I believe it is one of the reasons we made it through it all and the reason we are not overbooked seniors.
            Many Americans are overbooked; families are tied up every day with career and children’s activities; empty nesters seem to have filled the time with commitments; often retirees do not know how they ever had time to work! That leads to a lot of stress, tension and often family failures. That’s correct; the family that plays too much together just may not have enough quality time to survive. They do not have time to call for help.
            In his book Bread for the Table, Henry Nouwen says it this way, “These are words to take with us in our busy lives. We may think about stillness in contrast to our noisy world. But perhaps we can go further and keep an inner stillness even while we carry on … It is important to keep a still place in the "marketplace". This still place is where God can dwell and speak to us. …with that stillness God can be our gentle guide in everything we think and do.”

Thought for Today: We are experiencing a different world than we grew up with. Terror attacks, financial issues and even the weather seem to add complexity to our already overbooked lives. This week let us recognize the need for peace in our personal lives. Let’s make room for that stillness and peace that we can find through our faith.

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, the world around us is confusing, sometimes cruel and always difficult to understand. Please allow us time to step aside from our busyness and dwell upon "your will" rather than "our wants and needs". Let us find the peace or stillness to allow "thy will to be done on earth as it is in heaven."

Friday, July 6, 2018



Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer,
believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
(Mark 11 vs. 24)

            When we pray we generate a certain amount of doubt in our minds. Often we are testing God to do something we cannot believe in. As we get older some of us pray to be younger or to be able to do the things we did 20 years ago. Those prayers largely go unanswered. Our pastor talks about praying for the terminally ill. He prays that they will find peace with the Lord. He also prays for the family and their future.
            Recently on our prayer chain we prayed that a person would receive a liver transplant. That is a catch 22 because someone has to die for that to happen. What a conundrum. We were not praying for a death, we were praying that if someone died that they could make the ultimate gift, the gift of life. That is still something to consider!
            It seems that Mark is correct though when he says “believe that you have received it …” A strong belief seems to improve the success rate through prayer.

Thought for Today: For today let us keep it simple and enjoy the day!

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father today we pray a simple prayer. Today is the day that you made for us and today we thank you for that and the opportunity to enjoy it.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Independence Day

Independence Day

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.
Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves
be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
(Galatians 5:1)

            Independence is what makes America great and our many freedoms make this a great place to live. Our constitution is based on our ability to self govern. Below is a quote credited to James Madison, our fourth President.

"We have staked the whole of all our political Institutions upon the capacity of mankind for Self-Government, the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God."

Pray about where we were then and where we are now.

Thought for Today: Today let’s celebrate our independence by obeying the Lord’s commandments.

Prayer for Today: Dear Lord and Father, our country celebrates its independence. Our freedoms are based on your laws and our abilities to obey them. Today we pray for spiritual growth, honesty, integrity and ethics.

Saturday, June 30, 2018



The Lord is my strength and my shield. My heart trusts in him and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song."
(Psalm 28:7)

            Is there joy in our lives? Let us face it, most of us have a lot more positives than
Negatives; JOY.  Our family, friends and associates are sources of great joy. It is July, the
grass is green; the trees are full and flowers are showing their colors. It is easy to see this kind of joy.

               Here is my story of joy. June 30th 1967 was one of the darkest and longest days of my life! I had a three drink lunch and took off early to get to a happy hour. Met my roommate, Barry, and handed him the car keys. Picked up some friends and Barry drove 175 miles to a fourth of July weekend party. Oh, and I was in the back seat with a few beers! Yes, I was a depressed alcoholic on a binge.

            At some time around two in the morning at a ski lodge in North Conway, New Hampshire, there was a Devine intervention that I was too drunk to remember. Somehow outside of a ladies room I introduced myself to a British Lady named June Holloway. I hardly remember that meeting.

            The following evening I was sober…too hung over to drink… and Barry pointed June out to me and filled me in a bit on my totally inappropriate behavior the previous evening! I approached her with the only pick up line that I had in me at that time; “Excuse me, I believe that I owe you an apology for last night’s behavior.”

            We will be married 50 years this July 28th. You see, my higher power, God, intervened and placed great joy in my life! He will do the same for you if you let him in!

As Paul said to the Romans (15:13); "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the
power of the Holy Spirit."

   Thought for Today: Let us keep joy at the forefront of our thoughts. When challenged with life, let's use our shield - the Lord.

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, many of our friends are fighting battles. Our world and country seem to be in turmoil. We enter this week when we will celebrate Independence Day. For this week let us celebrate the Joy of being an American and stand proud!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Life Goals

Life Goals

Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed;
life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
(Luke 12 vs. 15)

            In our democratic society we are encouraged to compete in the workplace and elsewhere. In the 50’s there was the term “Keeping up with the Jones’s.” In the 90’s that seemed to become “Leave the Jones’s behind.”  The two car family of the 60’s became the two home, four cars and a boat family of the new millennium. It is easy to understand why attendance and giving in church declined; no one has any time or money left!
            This is not meant to be a stewardship message asking for more. It is meant as a caution and designed to provoke thought. One of my blessings was being raised in a household with two cars and two homes. When we moved to Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes and 10 million lake homes, we said no way. You see, I grew up maintaining two homes with my dad and did not want to ever do that again!
            In confession June and I did have too much stuff and too many things. We downsized in 2006 and have not finished yet!
            Jesus is clear in his message as reported by Luke. Life is about spiritual growth, love within the community, helping others, being comfortable in your own skin etc. Happiness has nothing to do with stuff or things.

Thought for Today: Today let us think about what we need to get through the day and contemplate what we want. Let’s try to understand the differences.

Prayer for the Day: Heavenly Father, today we are blessed and live in a great society. We ask forgiveness for our participation in the blatant consumption encouraged in our world. We pray that as we move forward we experience the blessing of learning what our real needs are and experience the true abundance of your love.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Valley

Today is father’s day and this week I was blessed all week being involved with family. Today was special because after church my granddaughter Ashley came for a swim with her son (my great grandson) Dash! Below is the story of my recovery from cancer in 1998.

The Valley

“Even though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for you are with me.
(Psalm 23:4)

            Recovery from surgery is a tough mental and physical battle that frequently ends in the deepening of spirituality. Healing physically is something we all are used to; our bumps and bruises over the years, minor cuts, all go away in time. It is easy not to recognize the miracle of God with the minor problems.
             However, when a big one comes, it is equally easy to ask "Where are you God?" or "Why are you doing this to me?" It is easy to lose sight of what matters when facing a life threatening event. Often, we are caught up in the analysis of the doctor’s skills and the various treatment options and where is the best place to go for help.  Yes, let's get technical and analytical to make darn sure that the doctor can take care of us. Let's make sure we go to a hospital with the latest equipment. But somehow, let's not forget God in the process.
             In 1998 when I had cancer, my impatience and out rite fear chased me into the hospital in only three weeks, no analysis or wait and see. Just my typical impulsive, "Just do it" (thanks Nike). As many of you know, somehow, I threw it over to HIM with reckless abandon. That brings to mind the last line of the Psalm 23,"Surely goodness and love will follow, all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
            The Lord and physicians came through for me and my family. We all need to remember Him during times of fear and illness.
Thought for Today: Let us focus on the unfortunates around us that are ill and keep the 23rd Psalm in mind. Let us see if we can contribute to helping in some way.
Prayer for Today: Dear Lord, many of our friends have health issues. Some are minor, some serious and some fatal. We pray that we may find a way to assist, help and calm their fears as they walk through their valley. May we help by following your guidance through prayer.

Saturday, June 9, 2018



"Accept him whose faith is weak without passing judgment."
(Romans 14:1)
"...let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up our minds not
to put an obstacle in our brother’s way."
 (Romans 14:13).
"Let us make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification."
(Romans 14:19).

            One of my favorite topics is that love leads to peace. However, to love requires acceptance of others. The above are slightly chopped out of context, but their message is clear. I spoke at a funeral last weekend and the above describes the way the deceased had lived his life and some of the reasons he was loved by his friends.
            We all have some associates who are not easy to get along with. Some are opportunistic, angry, selfish etc. Is the best way to deal with them confrontation? Or by explaining to them the errors of their ways? That usually fails or makes the problem worse.
            I suggest the golden rule: do unto others as you would have others do unto you. Treat others well and when the relationship is difficult; pray for them and the relationship.  When all else fails, read Paul’s message to the Romans.

Thought for Today: Let us focus on our trouble relationships and how we may recognize our role in them and how to improve them.

Prayer for Today:  Dear Lord, please help me understand and accept others. Help me understand those who do not practice the principles taught by Jesus in their daily lives. Help me accept them and help me live my life in a loving and caring way.