Thursday, May 31, 2012

Peace Through Faith

This week’s message comes from Pyrford, UK where June and I are doing our annual family visit. 

...The Lord's servant must not quarrel;
instead, he must be kind ,able to teach and
not resentful." (2Timothy23 & 24)

    Forgiveness is the way of Christian life. It is not always an easy path. We Christians are challenged throughout our lives with anger and resentment. Sometimes we grow vindictive and just want to get even. Wow, what a curse. Is it possible to find peace through revenge? Absolutely not!

  Several years ago our business life was saturated with lawyers, claims and counter claims, arbitration and mediation. It demonstrates a serious challenge that we Christians need to deal with. How do we find peace when someone has done us wrong? How do we keep God at the forefront of our lives when our livelihood is being attacked?

The answer is in good Christian friends, mentors, readings and prayer.

Thought for Today: Pentecost week at our church we are asked to wear red the bright color will help us focus. Throughout our lives "focusing on the positive" always seems to be a challenge. This week, let us all focus on the great things that we have and deal promptly with the negatives so that we may enjoy life to its fullest.

Prayer for Today: Heavenly father, our lives are full of the challenges that are placed before us. Sometimes these challenges create fear and hurts that are difficult to deal with and easy to hang on to.  Friendships and relationships become challenged. Please help us keep the many great and positive gifts you have given us at the forefront of our thoughts and give us the power and wisdom to deal swiftly and honestly with the challenges.  Amen

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorial Day

Honor Them 

“Here is a trustworthy saying:
If we died with him,
we will also live with him;
…Keep reminding God’s people of these things.”
(2 Corinthians Verses 11 & 14)

Celebrate Memorial Day, pray for all who served; who went before us and all those that we love. 

            For several years my son-in-law Rick played in the 451st Fort Smelling Army band. We went to a lot of parades and concerts and had a lot of fun. At each concert they traditionally played the military anthems of the Coast guard, Army, Marines and Navy while the veterans in the crowd stood and saluted. Each time my eyes teared up with emotion when I thought what these people had done for us.

            There are places in the world where my writing these messages would be prohibited and criminal. That is not the case. What makes America great is our freedom of speech, the ability to express ourselves and to hear from the other side. Abraham Lincoln said it like this:

“I am nothing but truth is everything.
I know I am right because I know that liberty is right,
for Christ teaches it, and Christ is God.”

Thought for Today: Today let us remember all who have gone before us and be thankful.

Prayer for Today: Dear Lord and Father, today we give thanks to all of those who have gone before us; those who have contributed to our lives today. First all of those who fought in our military that contributed to our freedom; second to our family ancestors who built or traditions and lifestyle; and last to Jesus who gave us grace. Amen

Thursday, May 24, 2012

New Beginnings

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ,
he is a new creation;
the old has gone,
the new has come!”
(2 Corinthians 5:17) 

            Today is the first day of the rest of your life; believe in it. We have a great chance every day to start over. Yesterday is past, tomorrow the future and today is a gift from God. It is up to us how we are going to use it; carry around our old baggage or go out and harvest new joys. It is our choice.
            To use a golf analogy, life is like match play, hole by hole versus day by day. A bad golf hole in match play does not cost you the match, it counts as one of eighteen! In life, a bad day is painful and certainly not wanted and may contribute to a bad week. However, it can be a bottom and life can be all uphill from there, or not. We can turn bad into good.
            One of the benefits I get out of writing these is the phone calls and emails from readers. A year ago my mobile rang and it was a non recorded number. I was way too busy to answer a call from someone I did not know and was going to let it ring through. The old softie in me answered after four rings and it was from an old friend and Good News buddy. She was having a really bad day and gone to the Spirit of HopeUMC web site looking for relief. She found my messages and the first one she opened applied to her issue. She made my day by calling to say thanks for being there.
            If you are reading this today you are on the right track and giving yourself the opportunity for a better day. Meditation and prayer will jump start your day and open the window to the light of our faith.

Thought for Today: Today let us start a new beginning and reach out and help another do the same. 

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father we give you thanks for our many blessings and especially for a new day. Today we pray that we capture the joys of life that you lead us to and that we may help someone else also find them.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Navigator

"The LORD will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail."
(Isaiah 58:11) 

            Often when we wake up in the morning we do not have a plan. Sometimes we are energized and happy other times we are stressed and depressed. Many times we need to adjust our thoughts to the spiritual side of the balance scale. We need to open the windows to our mind and allow God's fresh breeze to liberate us when we are down. This morning I am waiting for the breeze.

        When waiting for the breeze, there seems to be a need. In my case that need is often met with strong coffee, sugar and perhaps some Ibuprofen. That is not the best solution. It has a physical and temporary lift, but the need is better met spiritually.

        This morning the need was met through prayer. The breeze that arrived came through Isaiah 58:11. Sometimes we forget what we need. We forget that God is with us; we leave Him in the back seat rather than use Him as navigator for the day.
As navigator He will take us to places that we would not have gone on our own.

Thought for Today: Today there will be stress, problematic decisions and times of anguish. We need to focus and remember that "God is with us" and we need to let Him lead. We need to pray over the tough decisions and focus on following His will.

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, we pray for your guidance. We need to understand our immediate world and area of control and also understand the happenings around the global World. Neither seems very well organized today. We pray that we can find a way to contribute through You to help your will prevail in tough situations.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Following the Way

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy,
to offer your bodies as living sacrifices,
holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is...
Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought,
but rather think of yourself with sober judgment,
in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you."
(Romans 12; 1-4)

    Society does not fit the biblical model that we are taught and often desire. Truth, honesty, integrity, love and many other virtues seem rare at times. Often in our human desire to "fit", we join in and need correction. It is normal to err and join in. It is also forgivable.

    In a discussion last week in a business environment, we were discussing several long term successful business men. We were comparing the successful men with some that were sinking fast or already out of business. It seems that the ones that have long term success may have read Paul’s message to the Romans. Fairness was their trademark and perpetual growth seemed to be a trait. They were not always right, but always seemed to be growing and striving for excellence.

    They earned the respect and trust of those around them. They were not "sharks" but win-win business men. Somehow, they incorporated their Christian beliefs into the tough world of doing business. That is truly doing God's will.

Thought for Today: Today we will all have a chance to stand up and be counted. We will have opportunities to demonstrate our faith in circumstances where we would not normally do so. Let us demonstrate that we are considerate and Godly in our daily activities.

Prayer for Today: Dear Lord, the world we live in is distracting and volatile. We all have too much to do, too many commitments and too many fears. Throughout all of this we pray for peace. Peace in our own lives, peace around the world and an end to hate and prejudice. We pray that we end anger and hate in ourselves and can demonstrate the value of peace to others through our example.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Fool Hardy Behavior

Hi all. It has been a while since I posted here because of my annual involvement with Get In Gear, a Minnesota group of races that occur the last Saturday in April. I chose spiritual health rather than physical health today. Thank you for being a reader.

Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud,
but humility comes before honor.
(Proverbs 18:12)

            My mom used to use some interesting terms and expressions when describing humanity. One of her favorites was “fool hardy” when someone did something out of line. Another was that “It is better to be silent and be thought a fool that to speak out and remove all doubt.” Somehow, when we are proud in the context of today’s text, we are not paying attention. When we kid ourselves with false pride, it helps us grow to have an appreciation for the realities of life.
            We are often overconfident. It seems that the younger we are the more likely we are to suffer from “cockiness”. Somehow that is God’s way of teaching us. We constantly have to monitor our pride and confidence. The elders of society have knowledge and experience but are not always correct. Technology and society are changing faster than fifty years ago. Therefore many of the rules of life have changed.
In our spiritual lives, the rules have not and will not change. We need to take inventory on our pride and be real. The ethics, love and traditions taught to us by Christ will endure regardless of technology changes and cash flows. We need to hold up our values to serve the Lord in an ever changing world.

Thought for Today: Every day is the first day of the rest of our lives. The mistakes and experiences of our past are nothing more than learning experiences and enable us to move forward with confidence. Today let us focus on being humble and dealing with the realities of our individual worlds. 

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, today we give thanks for the lessons we have learned and the great loves that we have. Through all that Jesus taught us and what we learned from the past, thank you for putting it before us.