Saturday, September 15, 2018

Our Shepherd


School Days
"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters..."
(Psalms 23:1-2).
    In the 40's and 50's, public school in Massachusetts always started with the 23rd Psalm, the Lord's Prayer and the salute to the Flag. Wow, by today's standards, that is powerful stuff. Let us take a look at this and see if we can apply it to our lives today.
        The first two lines above, lead us to tranquility. Faith will take care of our wants and lead us to that inner peace we desire and lead us to the restful place beside still waters.

"He refreshes and restores my life;
He leads in the paths of righteousness
for His namesake"
(Psalm23:3).

There are always periods when things in our lives need rebuilding. There
are temptations to take the easy way. These verses point out that the way to get out of the "dumps" is to follow Him.
"Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil; for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff to comfort me."
(Psalm 23:4).
The Psalm points out that the Lord is with us and will guide and support us through out our lives.
    Yes, today our lives get filled with stress. As Christians we are given wonderful tools to work with in our daily lives. The more we let God lead us, the more we will be at peace.
Thought for Today: Let us reflect on this winter like spring season. Read the 23rd Psalm and accept the help that God has available to us as we move forward. It will be a big help in locating those still waters we all seek.
Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, many times stress builds up in our lives. It is a combination of hurts, anger and resentments kept hidden inside of ourselves. I pray that when this occurs, I find a way to let you help and can accept the guidance, protection and support promised through our Christian faith. 

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Start The Day



Start the Day!

The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn,
shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness;
they do not know what makes them stumble.”
(Proverbs 4:18& 19)
           
            Those of you that have known me a long time are aware that I have always been a morning person. In my mind, there is no better time of day than early morning, even sunrise. There is no prettier sight that the sun coming up out of the sea off of Boston, the early light on the first tee waiting for enough daylight to see the flight of the ball or the sun coming up over a mountain when viewed from a canoe while fishing. I am blessed because to me first light is a spiritual event.
Each sunrise starts a new beginning, a new opportunity to do better and a new opportunity to do God’s work. Yesterday is gone and cannot be changed and our future is today and beyond.
These Good News epistles that I write started as something to do during the early hours. The news casts on TV were (and still are) depressing. The newspapers are full of bad news. It seems that bad news sells.
In Minneapolis, once a week our paper has a half page section called “Faith and Values”. It covers all faiths, special events etc. and does little to offset the many square inches of negativity and promotion of activities disguised as news.
Tomorrow you will see a “first light”. It may be at mid-morning if you are a late sleeper. It could be a sunrise. Either way, it is a new beginning, a new opportunity. It will be the first day of the rest of your life! Spend it with hope and joy.

Thought for Today: There will be seven days this week, each is a fresh start. Let us feel the spirit in the first light, the hope of a new day. Let us live the first day of the rest of our lives with faith and the joy of the Lord.

Prayer for Today: Dear Lord, today we thank you for the sunrise; the new beginning; the new opportunity. We pray that we may use this wonderful opportunity to do your will here on earth.
Amen


Saturday, September 1, 2018

Trust


Trust
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding."
(Proverbs 3:5).

            We often try to make things happen in our lives while driving toward human goals and dreams while conforming to modern society’s standards. It is easy to get diverted from a solid spiritual track when we track ours or society’s way rather than the Lord’s way; when we pursue possessions rather than peace of mind.
            The question "how do I know God's will?" has been asked many times. But before this question can be answered, another question should be asked. "Am I ready and willing to do God's will?" If the answer is yes, then the other question can be asked. Remember that in order to do his will, what he has in mind for you may take you by surprise. Perhaps it is best expressed by Isaiah 55:8-9: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways', declares the Lord. 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts."
            To know God's will there cannot be any power struggle; he wants our will to be submissive to him. The more we value control and power, the greater a struggle we will have. To be at peace, He needs to be in charge.

Thought for Today: Today let’s try to do God’s will through our daily activities.

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, today we search for clues to help do your will here on earth. We pray thet we can contribute to making your world a better place.
Amen

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Do It



Do It

“Never tire of doing what is right.”
(2 Thessalonians 3:13)

            One of my Pickeringisms is that there are two types of people in the world; givers and takers. That is certainly a gross oversimplification I use to describe humanity. It came from my sales and business training and has overflowed into my teachings on living.
            In business I was taught to watch for those who would want to win at any cost; those who would think they were climbing a corporate ladder rather than building a pyramid of support. On a ladder you step on the rungs as you climb and often the ladder breaks. In the pyramid you build a base wide and tall as you move forward and up. I like that.
            It Christian life there are also givers and takers. We are all people in need and the level of that need is relative. Often our needs vary from year to year, decade to decade. When June and I were raising four children we were active in our Christian family. However, we often needed love and support from our peers. I feel there were times when we took a bit more than we gave; emotionally and financially.
            Today we are in what I think of as the elder mode; we have more time and the children’s educations have been paid. Today we give more than we take. That gives us a much warmer and more rewarding feeling.
Both being a taker and a giver in the Christian sense is OK. You see, if there were not people in need, there would not be anyone to give to and that would be a conundrum.
            Paul’s message says never tire of doing what is right; my experience is that when you are doing what is right you will not get tired! OOPS- is that a Pickeringism?

Bless you all for being my friends.

 Thought for Today: Today let us live as good Christians. If we need support let us accept it without guilt and recognize that we have made the giver feel good. If we are givers, let us give freely where there is need.

Prayer for Today: Dear Lord, today we pray for those in need. Whether the need is great or small, physical or emotional, we pray that we recognize it and give them support in your name.

Amen

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

A blessed birthday!


Birthday Special

Always be joyful. Keep on praying. No matter what happens,
always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Jesus Christ.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:15-15)

Each year on my birthday, I give thanks to something that I learned in my youth as a YMCA brat. The symbol for the Y is a triangle, each side has a meaning, “spirit, mind and body”. Each year I give thanks for my role as a father, son and my place in society. But let’s talk a bit about what it takes to be in a good place with ourselves. It is selfishness. Yes, being selfish in pursuit of a healthy self: mentally, physically and spiritually.
In each of our lives, we must fit into some basic places in society; a family, a workplace and a social setting. We fit best when the three sides of our personal triangle are in a healthy balance. That is to say we focus on each a little every day so that we minimize life’s problems.

In all areas of our lives, it is important to demonstrate the forgiveness and love that comes from a strong spirituality. We need to be physically fit enough to deal with the long days without being fatigued and run down. Also, we need to be mentally sharp enough to make the decisions that are expected of us. That is a lot to ask of mortals and not an easy task. So be a bit selfish, take care of yourself so that you may be all that
 God wants you to be and be capable of doing God’s work when the opportunity presents itself to you. Take care of yourself so that you can be all that your family needs you to be. Remember the logo of the YMCA, spirit, mind and body. Keep totally fit and enjoy life!

Birthday Thought: Today is the day the Lord has made, a day for me to enjoy. Friends will recognize
it, family will celebrate it and I will enjoy it. It is a blessing that we all have and a great day to give
thanks to the Lord for all of our many blessings.

Birthday Prayer: Heavenly Father, today is a very special day, the day that you brought me into your service. Throughout this day, I give thanks for all the opportunities that you have given to me; the opportunity to have a healthy relationship with family and friends. Today I will often hear the words “happy birthday.”
To those words I say, “Thanks be to God.”
Amen



Saturday, August 18, 2018

He Comes Through



He Comes Through

“Praise the Lord, I tell myself,
With my whole heart,
I will praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, I tell myself,
And never forget the good things
He does for me
(Psalm 103 v 1 & 2)

            Every day the Lord gives us blessings. In our “busyness” it is easy to forget the role He plays in our lives. Early in the week when with a very good friend, we were talking about the things that we prayed for. They were guidance, support, internal peace and several others. It was obvious that neither of us prayed for favors or help. We realized that through prayer, good things would happen. 

Below is a story that reinforces my thoughts.
           
            On Friday, in our men’s breakfast and bible study, we opened with a discussion about what to do with our mission money. We tend to distribute it when we get to a certain amount and it was time. There were several proposals, one being a charity that builds and services housing for the poor in Minneapolis. It was a winner this week.
            So what is the big deal? A dear friend and breakfast partner is a supporter of this organization. Earlier in the week he realized that our group had not contributed lately. So, he asked their new secretary to draft a letter reminding us of their need. The secretary did not get it done so there was no reminder or request!  

Do you believe in coincidence? …or faith?

Yes, there is a presence in our daily lives.

Thought for Today: Today will be just like many others. Our calendars are full, we will have unreasonable demands on our time and we will need to focus to make it all happen. With that in mind, let us take a few minutes and think about the Lord’s role and in our lives. Let’s let Him in to our day also!

Prayer for Today: Dear Lord and Father, today we pray to see the results of your participation in our lives and the ability to accept what we do not understand. We trust that good things will happen.
Amen

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Expressing Yourself



Expressing Yourself

The only thing that counts
is faith expressing itself through love.”
(Galatians 5 vs. 6)

            As Christians we need to demonstrate our goodness every day in every event. That does not mean walking around handing out roses hugging everyone we see. That would scare a lot of people off if we did it!!
Therefore there must be another way.
            Greeting people in biblical times included a hug, a cheek kiss and sometimes water to wash off dusty feet and cool their head. I am pretty sure that if we did that people would be uncomfortable also. Times have changed over 2000 years. However, expressing our faith through love still works.
            There are simple things that we may do that will help and see the effect immediately. When you open a door for someone, make eye contact and smile; they will almost always smile back and seem more relaxed. When in public we often see a crying child with a frustrated mom. Don’t look away or walk away! Try to make eye contact and wave to the child; say something nice. Inevitably if you do, both the mom and child will relax. You would have expressed love in a simple way.
            In photos and movies Jesus is generally portrayed with piercing loving eyes; often a stare. No one really knows if that is a truism but it works. We are supposed to be the light of the world we can be through simple acts of consideration and love!

Thought for Today: Today let’s smile at people and see the difference is makes; they will be more comfortable with us!

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, today I pray that I may demonstrate your love and my faith through my behavior toward others. I pray that I shine your light brightly.
Amen