Sunday, February 18, 2018

Don't Give Up

Then Jesus told his disciples…that they should always pray and not give up”.
    (Luke 18:1)
            With my son in the music business, we have seen a lot of young people try to live their dreams of fame. To some it comes fast and they go from teenager to a star. One we worked with twenty years ago was a young man named Johnny Lang who made it big singing the blues at age sixteen. Several others that we worked with in the mid ninety’s are still enjoying the pursuit of their dream. They are known regionally as local club acts and make a good living. Their day may or may not make the big time.

Barry Manilow used to play piano for an up and coming singer, Bette Midler, in the bars of New York and write jingles for advertising agencies. We have all heard them; State Farm is there, I am stuck on Band Aid because Band Aid is stuck on me, All across the nation it’s the Pepsi generation, You deserve a break today at…. He applied himself, developed his skills and then his God given talents prevailed.
While writing this a Good News friend emailed me to tell me how he and his family are doing. We fought the battles of live together for ten years or so in New England back in the 60’s. He found his way to California, June and I are in Minnesota. Here is a quote from his text, “Jesus had it all planned, all I had to do was show up when he summoned me.  It's sweet.”

June and I were talking tonight at dinner after having had our first great grandson in the pool this afternoon and I commented on what a blessed life we have. She reminded me that we have had fifty years of blessings!

All of our lives need to start someplace. We often do not control our destiny and just need to keep on plugging. Joel Osteen uses the term “…keep on keeping on.” I like “Today is the first day of the rest of my life.” Jesus said “…always pray and not give up”.

Thought for Today: Today let us focus on what we want to be when we grow up. Not because we are young but because we have a future. Our lives are always changing; we always need to have our faith in hand. Through our faith we can always find ways to grow, to solve issues and be better.

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father we are learning that life is an endurance event, not a sprint. Today I pray for stamina, guidance and the patience to keep at it until you deliver me to your place.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Trust and Faith

 Trust and Faith

When I am afraid,
I will trust in you.
In God whose word I praise,
in God I trust."
(Psalm 56:3)

         We all experience times in our lives, certain situations when our trust level is down. These are usually times when we must let a situation be under someone else's control.
            A teenager spending a weekend away with friends, away at camp or going off to school. We fear what they may find to do.
            A family member not home at an expected time. We fear an accident or other harm.
            Consider a simple four way stop sign with all drivers arriving at the same time. Often no one trusts enough to go first.
Reading this, it would be easy to think that the subject was fear, but it is trust.

"The Lord is my light and salvation- Whom shall I fear?"
(Psalm 27:1)
There is a direct link between a weak faith and trust in the Lord, and high levels of anxiety and stress. Yes, there are days when we are strong and have no fear, then there are days when we are weak.

On the weak days, we need to meditate. Leave the news turned off, put down the newspaper and get closer to God.
"Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me"
(Psalm 50:15)

     Thought for Today: When we have doubts this week, let us stop, take a deep breath and try to place our faith in God. If we can do that, our reactions to doubtful situations will be less stressful.

     Prayer for Today:  Heavenly Father, as we go through our busy schedules, it is easy to forget you. We try to control, manipulate and alter our lives to fit "our will" and lose sight of "your will". We seem not to trust     you. We pray that we can slow down, consider your will for us and increase our trust in you.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Ground Hog;s Day!

Punxsutawney Phil

We know that “An idol is nothing at all in the world”
and that “There is no God but one.”
For even if there are so-called gods,
whether in heaven or on earth…
…for us there is but one God,
(1 Corinthians 8 vs. 4 & 5)

            On Groundhog day every year in Pennsylvania they forecast the end of winter. Today Phil’s shadow was seen and it was declared that winter will end in six weeks. Well, you see Phil is never wrong because somewhere in the world in six weeks it will be warm; probably not here at my home here in Minnesota.
            Phil is a character, not even a legend. He is no Paul Bunyan, Johnny Appleseed or Ichabod Crane. He is just a ground hog being disturbed for a group of people in Pennsylvania to have fun. Frankly he is not a good idol!
            I would love to see them open Phil’s den next year and have Jesus step out in a white robe, the sun beating down on him in a heavenly glow, and have the crowd speechless. Imagine Jesus saying something like, “Sorry folks but even I refuse to do a long range weather forecast. There will be more bad weather here in the north country but do not fear for the Lord will be with you.” He would then give is his blessing and arise toward the heavens.

            Bless you all and may we have an early Spring!

Thought for Today: The Lord blesses us and keeps us 365 days a year.

Prayer for Today: Dear Lord and father, we pray for those in the north that deal with fire and ice. May they take the time to appreciate the seasons and the beauty of it all.


Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Let the Glory Be God's

 Let the Glory Be God’s

“Praise be to the Lord,
for He has heard my cry for Mercy.
The LORD is my strength and shield;
My heart trusts in Him and I am helped.”
(Psalm 28 vs 6 & 7)

In America the “Super Bowl” takes place on Sunday the fourth and there are big numbers associated with it. Numbers like 150 million people watching on TV, 3 million dollars for a 30 second add, 250 million added to the area economy- OH yes, a number I do not have but tried to find; there are a number of competitors and coaches from both teams who will attend a prayer meeting and bible study Sunday before the game. They are members of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
            My sports history goes back to age six as a YMCA swimmer and in my 60 plus years of associating with athletes has convinced me that they are overall not a group to be proud to know. For the most part, their years of competition and “winning is everything” attitude has influenced them in a negative manner. Frankly I don’t like them and avoid them.
            On Super Sunday there will be members of the “Fellowship” who have kept a balance in their life. In sports I find them a pleasing and great minority. They represent what I feel every Christian and person needs to be: The best they can be with an appreciation of the Lord and Jesus Christ. Below is the last paragraph of their competitor’s creed.
“I give my all- all of the time.
I do not give up. I do not give in. I do not give out.
I am the Lord’s warrior- a competitor by conviction and a disciple of determination.
I am confident beyond reason because my confidence lies in Christ.
The results of my efforts must result in His glory.

Let the competition begin.
Let the glory be God’s.”

Thought for Today: Let us enjoy today by being the best we can be while keeping the Lord in the forefront.

Prayer for Today: Father, today we pray that we will keep you in our lives; that we will be fair in our dealings and competitions. We pray that through our faith we will be good examples of your commandments.


Sunday, January 21, 2018

Perfect Peace

Perfect Peace

You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you
(Isaiah 26 vs. 30) 

            Perfect Peace. Is that something we dream about? It is not in my case. Most of my dreams seem to be about troubles, potential troubles and past experiences. I often wonder what negative and scary dreams mean. Am I being punished? Is my faith weak? Are there unwholesome thoughts imbedded in my subconscious? Or simply was it too darn much sugar in that hot fudge Sunday I ate after dinner! It could be all of the above.

            It seems that I have come close to mastering peace in my awake hours. On the golf course the water ball and the fourth putt don’t seem important any more. The red lights and traffic jams do not even seem to bother me when I am driving. When I am awake, my focus on positive feelings and having a great day are at the forefront. Life is good, darn good.

            Recently in the comics there was a cartoon regarding the patience that we develop as we grow older. It mentioned how things that bothered us in our youth don’t seem as important as they once were. I like to think we seniors have matured and have put things in perspective. The punch line in the cartoon was “maybe we just don’t give a darn anymore.” I assure you that is not the case.

            One of Webster’s definitions of “steadfast” is ‘extremely steady and loyal.” The prophet Isaiah is telling us that a strong faith rewards us with peace in our hearts. If you are reading this I suspect that you are blessed with and have a strong faith and are at peace. 

Thought for Today: Today let’s be steadfast and positive in our search for peace. 

Prayer for Today: Dear Lord, today we pray for a positive attitude as we deal with our activities. We pray that we may contribute to the peace of those around us in your name.


Saturday, January 13, 2018



"God is not unjust; he will not forget your work
and the love you have shown him
            as you have helped his people and continue to help them.
         We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end,
                      in order to make your hope sure.
                    We do not want you to become lazy,
              but to imitate those who through faith and patience
                      inherit what has been promised."
               ( Hebrews 6; 10-12)

       In twelve step programs, there is a reading called "How It works". It recognizes that the program is to develop "spiritual growth not perfection". We all tend to get into that perfect mode; perfect mom, perfect dad, perfect employee and the list goes on. Obviously, each of us falls short of perfection.
        In our daily lives, we make mistakes. We could count them weekly and judge ourselves as failures. The only one of us that does not make mistakes probably does nothing. Many people work their way into depression by counting their failures.
        In our spiritual lives it is not any different. We all have made mistakes and will continue to be less than perfect. We may feel bad or judge ourselves rather severely. However, "God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown...” We must remember that as we walk the walk.
Thought for Today: Today we will fail again at being perfect. Let us try to focus on the good that we do, the encouragement that we give others and the love we have in our hearts. That will help us have a great week.
Prayer for Today: Dear Lord and Father, there is scary and awful news every day. Often we forget your love because of worry and concern. Today we pray that we may focus on your understanding and caring love. We pray for the opportunity to demonstrate and share your love with others.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Tools for a Happy New Year 2018

Tools for a Happy New Year 2018  

    As we go into the New Year, peace and tranquility always seem to be part of our New
Year’s goals. Last year we did too much. One more committee at church, the kids need a
coach, how can we get everyone to every game, lesson class etc.? Oh, the boss wants us
50 hours a week too!! Below are some thoughts and verses to support us this year.

    It takes faith and courage to let go and let God play a role in our lives.
"I... will have sufficient courage so that now
 as always, Christ will be exalted in my body..."
Philippians (1:20).

At work and in our daily lives, we often fail to take the risk of allowing God to take control. How often we do not accept the spiritual help available. We will handle it all. Where is our humility when we try to do it all?
"... humbly accept the word planted in you,
which can save you."
 James (2:1).

    We tend to forget the basic rules taught to us by our faith. When we are taking control, adding stress to ourselves, do we ask for the help available?
“If any of you lacks wisdom, ask God
...and it will be given to you."
 (James 1:5)

    We are told to keep God at the forefront in our search for this inner peace.
"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
(Philippians 4:7)

    Thought for Today: Let us focus on peace and tranquility in our lives; with our
families, neighbors and coworkers.

Prayer for Today:  Let's use the serenity prayer, this week and for the year,
especially when over stressed.
"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage
to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference."