Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run,
but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.”
(1 Corinthians 9: 23-25)           

            Last year I asked that we look back and give thanks for a blessed year rather than look forward. So, that is also a great idea today. Certainly we were challenged and 2012 had ups and downs. However, we made it to New Year’s eve and need to focus on the blessings of the last twelve months. We need not forget the down spots because they are learning events and make the blessings seem greater. We are here and ready for what happens next; we are blessed.

            This year I ask that we also look forward to 2013. I love Paul’s running analogy above because life is not a sprint and we need to keep on going. The world did not end so we have yet another year to run for the ultimate prize promised to us by Jesus. In our race, all can win because our prize is Grace!

“The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
Psalm 46v7
            Whatever the case, the Lord was with us in 2012 and will always be with us.  

Thought for Today: Today let us be thankful for last year and prayerful about our future. As we move forward let’s remember two of my favorite themes. Keep healthy in spirit, mind and body and when we are faced with tough choices, remember my favorite philosopher, NIKE, and “Just do it!”
Prayer for Today: Heavenly father, we are blessed and have made it through another year. We look forward to your support and guidance as we do your work in 2013. Amen



Thursday, December 27, 2012

Let Go in 2013!

“But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
(1 Corinthians 6 vs. 17) 

            I have watched hundreds of people take a step to believe a power greater than themselves would restore them to sanity; people that were so down and out that the concept of God was beyond them. That is how someone who is chemically dependent starts their journey to sanity. It is a process of spiritual growth.
            Several people that I worked with were not capable of grasping the concept, even when God was referred to as a higher power. Those were too afraid to let go of the control. Most of us try to control too much and do not like letting go.
            In a few nights we will experience New Year’s Eve and many of us are making resolutions and setting goals. Today I want you to think about something other than exercise and weight. Think about adopting the slogan “Let go and let God.” Make that your New Year’s resolution and you will have a great year! 

Thought for Today: Today let us think about what we can turn over to God so that we may have a less stressful New Year! 

Prayer for Today: Dear Lord, today we pray that we may trust in you and allow your control and spirit into our daily lives.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Joy to the World

Joy to the World, the Lord has come" 

        There are a lot of one liners that can be taken from Christmas carols. The opening of "Joy to the World" says it all to me. It summarizes our Christian lives. Lives of joy through the forgiveness of our faith and our Christian peers. Let us all feel the joy of the season, the love for each other and keep our faith strong throughout the season.  

With blessings, have a great Christmas eve.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Blue Christmas

Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me,
for in you I take refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
until the disaster has passed.
(Psalm 57, verse 1) 

            Each Christmas season at our church, Spirit of Hope, we have a service for those who are dealing with sad and negative issues; people who may not be merry. Today we call it the Service of Light and Hope. When we started it thirty years ago we called it a Blue Christmas service because our pastor was an Elvis fan!

            This year the service will have a special meaning because of the violence here in Minnesota and in America. We will be emphasizing the sadness, anger and senselessness of Newtown and the many incidents here in Minnesota.  It will be an emotional and moving service.

            I have a fear that some individuals with personal problems will feel left out so I need to talk about them today. There will be a gay man who is not welcome at his family Christmas because of his preference, several people will be celebrating their first season after losing their spouse and dealing with the empty chair at the table, several have lost their jobs and homes due to financial issues, people with ill spouses who are fearful and the list goes on.

            Today I will make a request of all of my Good News buddies. It is to remember those around you who are sad and who need a lift from a friend. I ask that you pray for them, greet them or call them and express your love for them; let them know that God and you are with them this holiday season. 

Thought for Today: If you are having a merry Christmas, share your love with someone. If you are dealing with sadness instead of joy, please reach out so that we may share our love and be with you. To all of us let us remember that the Lord is with us.

Prayer for Today: Dear Lord and Father, today we pray for the victims of senseless violence. We pray that somehow they can realize that through the darkness there will be light; that YOU are with them. We pray for peace through the Holy Spirit.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Faith and Forgiveness

Good News 052002 Faith and Forgiveness

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
  because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete,
not lacking anything.
 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God,
who gives generously to all without finding fault,
 and it will be given to him
(James1; 2-4)

             Faith seems to be a constant challenge to us. Yes, sometimes we need to understand where God is in our lives. We can doubt that He is with us; we challenge his input and even knowingly violate His rules and submit to temptation. Does this make us bad people?

            The answer is a resounding NO. As we look back at our lives we often see a trail of mistakes, moments or events that we would like to edit or replay. Surely we know that reliving life is not an option. But, feeling guilty or bad about these things can cause a faith crises or low self image and have a negative effect on our future. This is true at any age.

            At a bible study this week we talked about letting go of past discretions. Others forgave us long ago and somehow as adults we seem to hold on to past errors.

            When we learn to forgive others, we find it easier to accept the forgiveness we receive from God.

Thought for Today: When we are very busy, it is difficult to feel God’s presence in our lives. Today, let us all try to take time to understand and appreciate His contributions. 

Prayer for Today:     Dear Lord and Father, today we give thanks for the knowledge that we are forgiven through the grace given us through Jesus. We pray that somehow we can find a way to forgive ourselves for our own sins.




Friday, December 7, 2012

A Day of Infamy!

I have a need to think about World Peace today. A Good News buddy, Bill, told me a story at dinner Wednesday. It was about the many survivors of the battleship Arizona who ask to be interred with the sunken ship; to spend eternity with their fallen comrades. We all need to pray for peace on earth.


Surely, as I have planned, so it will be,
   and as I have purposed, so it will happen
(Isaiah 14:24) 

            Today is a famous day described as a day of Infamy. It is one of the most famous days in the history of war. There are a lot of famous battles described in our history books, David and Goliath, Troy, Gettysburg…and the list goes on. I need to wonder and ask why. Most wars since WWII  have been un-Godly nobody wins situations that do not seem to resolve anything. In fact, after the treaties are signed there has been as much tension as before and does not make a lot of sense to me.

            So where is God in all of this? What would Jesus do? How come both sides can think God is with them? These are great questions and I am not even going to try to answer them. I will refer them to Abraham Lincoln as he analyzed God’s presence in war.

            In Abraham Lincoln: A History by Nicolay and Hay, Lincoln is quoted: “The will of God prevails. In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be, wrong. God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time. In the present civil war it is quite possible that God’s purpose is something different from the purposes of either party—and yet the human instrumentalities working just as they do, are of the best adaption to effect His purpose…God wills this contest, and wills that it shall not end yet. …He could give final victory to either side any day. Yet the contest proceeds.”           

            Today we need to remember Pearl Harbor, a day in infamy. We also need to pray for an end to all conflicts, we need to contemplate world peace. 

Thought for Today: Contemplate world peace.

Prayer for the Day: Dear Lord and savior today we are wondering where it will al end. Throughout history the world’s people have found ways to battle. Today we pray for some understanding as to your role in all of this. We pray for understanding so that we can represent your will in search for peace.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Young at Heart

Folks, yearend business and holiday activities can make for a stressful season. I am posting this today to encourage you to place your spirituality first for part of each day. Take a break and let the Lord bless you.

"Be happy, young person, while you are young,
and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth.
Follow the ways of your heart..."
(Ecclesiastes 11:9)  

            Throughout our lifetime, June and I have met people that seem at peace, people that have never quite joined the "rat race" of life, people that had something that we were looking for. The interesting fact was that they crossed all socioeconomic boundaries. The common thread always seemed to be their faith. They always believed that things would work out.
            The strong message here is that the things that bring peace, serenity and happiness to our lives are found in our spiritual growth and it will be found in yours.  

Thought for Today: Today let us avoid the rat race by praying for serenity and doing what we need to obtain peace. 

Prayer for Today: Dear Lord we give you thanks for the opportunities you have placed before us. Today we pray for serenity and peace in our lives and the opportunity to help the cause of peace in our community.



Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas Time

Folks, for the first time in my life my part time job at Office Depot has me mixing with the retail holiday spirit. The below was posted by facebook friend Danny Rossetti of Saugus Mass. I wanted to share it with you also.
A fan shared this. Thank you.