Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Mile Markers

Teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom
(Psalm 40 vs. 12) 

            Numbering our days is a great thought, we often catalog them in our minds and many are hidden in our sub-conscious. Each day of our life is a present and special in some way. Each has a memory, some fade but the great ones stay forever.
            The major ones do not take rocket science to remember. I am an elder and remember where I was for each of the following; Pearl Harbor (27 months old!); when JFK was shot; the twin tower assault; Ted Williams last at bat (a home run at age 41!).
            The un-conscious ones are often more fun when they can be jarred to the front. Recently an old friend from 1955 and I reconnected and reviewed our memories together; high school football experiences, school days, former teachers and of course cheerleaders. He brought back so many memories that one evening while on-line he called me. We talked for a long time!
            This week my mom celebrates her 96th birthday. She has lots of memories but a severe snow storm three weeks ago led to a jarring of her memory. Three ladies from a fourth grade class she taught in 1947 noticed a post on a social network that she was weathering the storm well. They contacted me and some information was relayed to mom! She remembered all of them and talks about that class and 1947 every time we talk.  She will also get surprised when she opens her 1947 themed birthday present Thursday.
            The Lord is good to us, we may not be wealthy, but we are rich; rich in memories, full of love and happiness and wisdom. The numbering of our days has paid off in a worthy life.  

Thought for Today: Today we will create a memory. Weather it is a major or minor event remains to be seen. Either way let us recognize its contribution to who we will be.

Prayer for Today: Dear Lord and Father, we thank you for all the great memories and blessing you have bestowed upon us. Today we pray that we serve your will here on earth as we go through our day.


Friday, February 15, 2013

Lincoln on Presidents Day

The quote included below is from Walking with Lincoln.

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure;
then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness."
(James 3 vs. 17, 18) 

                President Lincoln presided over a war that was the bloodiest in the history of our country. He could not have done what he did without his extremely strong faith. His bible was often at his side in meetings and had dog eared pages from continual use. It reinforced his belief that he and the union were doing the right thing.
            It brings to my mind the old joke about disagreements in church congregations. It says that the arguments are often fierce because both sides feel that they have God on their team! Well, in church politics we are not making decisions that cause battles where 10,000 plus soldiers die, people get assassinated, brothers fight brothers and the freedom of a race are at stake. Still somehow we do the Lord’s will.
            When Lincoln felt badly, which happened after a traumatic field report, he would lean on the Biblical hope offered to him (and to all of us). Today’s verse was one he used often when he was in need of reassurance.
He would say to his cabinet and all who would listen, “Let us renew our trust in God and go forward without fear and with manly hearts.”

Happy Birthday Abe. 

Thought for Today: Today is the birthday of America’s most loved president. His faith is a strong example to us. We are commanded to be happy Christians, to be the light of the world, to share and contribute through our faith. Today let us shine our light brightly.

Prayer for Today: Dear Lord and Father we give thanks today for those great men who have gone before us and contributed to our world. We pray that we are contributing in some small way to accomplishing your will and spreading a world of peace and love.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Finding Joy

With all the negative news and talk about guns, I thought it was important to think about the Joy in our lives!

 "For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth,
the sea and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day.
Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy"
(Exodus 20:11).

            In our present society obligations are building and if you are paying attention you can feel the stress that comes along with it; at work, home and in the kids schools. Often I talk about being the best you can be and refer to the YMCA logo, Spirit, Mind and Body. That is tough when we are busy.

            We need rest physically and mentally. There is rhythm to the seventh day of rest that is a good balance of work and rest. Many people put themselves out trying their own plan. God is saying that once a week we need to take a break. He is saying there is more to life than work. He is also urging us to follow his pattern. Spiritually we need this time to refocus our lives. God wants us to spend one day looking to him and thanking him for being liberated. Listen to what the Lord said to Isaiah:  

    "If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
and from doing as you please on my holy day,
... then you will find your joy in the Lord."

            My retirement part time career is in retail and on Sunday mornings the store opens when the church bells are ringing. Oh that’s the day the sales start too! There are always 20 to 50 people lined up at the door not listening to the church bells! Many of them are Sunday regulars. Yes, I am there every other Sunday after our chapel communion at Spirit of Hope, my church.  A retail store on Sunday morning is truly an un-godly place.
            We need to keep our whole selves in order to be good people; the parents our children need, the employee our companies want and to be the best friend or spouse we can be. That means in SPIRIT, MIND and BODY. When we do that we will find joy in our lives. That is really our life long goal.
Thought for Today:  Take some time to meditate and pray for rest and peace in our lives. Take some time to recharge your spiritual batteries. Take some time to find the Joy.
Prayer for Today: Dear Lord, today we pray for people who just can't take time to rest and meditate. May they somehow grow to find joy in the Lord.



Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Meek or Humble?

"Now Moses was a very humble man,
more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth"
 (Numbers 12:3). 

            Is there a meek person in your life? What do you think or the person who is meek or humble, at work, in the family or at church? Would you like to avoid him? We tend to equate humble or meek with being a wimp! In the case of Moses, he was not passive. He took on an Egyptian overseer, stood up to Pharaoh and hiked the desert for forty years. It is hard to see him as a wimp.
        Humble doesn't mean what we think. It is being humble before God. It is a choice. Deliberately harnessing your strength and tempering it to use in a controlled way. Humble is not weak. It is believing and obeying God when you don't particularly want to; when it is not the path of least resistance.
        Moses was not always enthusiastic about what God wanted. He did not feel capable when God called him to lead the people out of bondage. He didn't exactly say, "right on". It was more like, "Me, you have got to be kidding. Try someone else." (see Exodus 4:10-13).

             God's response... "I will be with you."

            When you are feeling hesitant and inferior, God says, "I will be with you." 
            When you are wondering if you can make it another day with the job stress, he
says, "I will be with you."
            When you're faced with a tough decision and wondering what to do, he says, "I will
be with you."

        Like Moses, you may be a bit reluctant. But he obeyed God. Moses believed
him, did what he said and said what he was told. We can too when we humble ourselves. 

Thought for Today: Let’s be humble before the Lord today! 

Prayer for Today: Dear Lord, today we pray that we can do your will in our everyday actions. We pray for the guidance and humility to accomplish that.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Punxsutawney Phil

Six more weeks of Winter here in Minnesota would be a blessing! We could have twelve!

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. This year 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 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 very 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 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.