Friday, May 31, 2013

Positive Christian II

Good News 073010 Positive Christian II 

Even youths grow tired and weary,
       and young men stumble and fall
(Isaiah 40 vs. 30)
            For the last several years I have exercised with an older retired physician, Phil. We walk/jog/waddle 15-20 miles a week and we have a lot of time to talk. He has completed over 25 marathons, 20 ultra-marathons and most of you know my triathlon history and we talk about those youthful days. We have determined that we just do not recover as fast as we used to, in fact we think that it takes three times as long to get our strength back from a good day. During that time, we feel a bit sluggish and it is hard to stay positive. June can tell you what I mean!

            Phil and I have several friends who have lost their spouse. I believe that they are faced with the ultimate challenge and half of us will face it. They are facing different challenges in different ways. Each has shown great growth and seems to be recovering through the grieving process. Each shows a faith and spirituality that they rely on. They seem to be staying positive under the most difficult conditions.

            All of the above sounds a bit negative and that is not intentional-it is just data. The reality is that it is great to be a Christian. We have a great perspective on life and a lot to share with future generations. In our later years we have the support of our Lord and have time to help others, time to share, time for ourselves, and time to recover from our ills. We need to be positive Christians, set an example on how to live and be happy. As we struggle through our many challenges, we need to remember the following: 

but those who hope in the LORD
       will renew their strength.
       They will soar on wings like eagles;
       they will run and not grow weary,
       they will walk and not be faint
(Isaiah 40 vs. 31-32) 

Thought for Today: Be happy, be positive and share our enthusiasm with others. 

Prayer for Today: Dear Lord, today we thank you for our blessings and the ability to focus on positive feelings through your love. Today we pray that we may be positive and radiate joy to those around us.


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Positive Christian 1

This is the first of a two day message about being positive!

Good News 073010 Positive Christian

He gives strength to the weary
       and increases the power of the weak.
(Isaiah 40 vs. 29) 

            It is another early morning I am thinking back to a summer where June and I moved into our seventies and deeper into over 40 years of marriage. It is great to celebrate; it is great to reminisce about the victories and challenges we have worked through over the years. June and I are truly blessed.
            The story is not all that positive however, we are getting older and as my mom who is in her 90’s says, “Growing old is not for the faint of heart”. It comes with its own set of challenges. We get tired easier, recover slower, can eat less. Several years ago June and I set a goal of not becoming grumpy senior citizens. We decided to pray and always try to be a positive Christians. It is not always easy. 

Thought for Today: Today will be a milestone; things will happen we do not expect. Today let’s recognize the blessings we will have, even if they seem like challenges. 

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, today we thank you for our many fond memories. As we face today’s challenges we pray that we accomplish your will, deal with issues Jesus way and generate more fond memories for tomorrow.


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Memorial (Week) Day in the US!

Thought for the Week: This week let us remember all who have gone before us and be thankful. Celebrate Memorial Day, pray for all who served; who went before us and all those that we love.

From God is my Spinach, May 30th 

“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) 
            For several years my son-in-law Rick played in the 451st Fort Snelling 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 all of us.
            There are places in the world where my writing these messages would be prohibited and criminal. That is not the case here. 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.”

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 23, 2013

Be Happy!

Thought for the Week: The things that bring peace, serenity and happiness to our lives are found in our spiritual growth. This week let us avoid the rat race by praying for serenity and doing what we need to obtain peace and be happy. 

Eleanor Roosevelt said it like this:

“I hope your dreams take you... to the corners of your smiles, to the highest of your hopes, to the windows of your opportunities, and to the most special places your heart has ever known.”



(Ecclesiastes 11:9 NIV)
"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..."

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Daily Diligence


Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart,
as working for the Lord, not for human masters,
since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.
It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
(Colossians 3 vs. 23, 24) 

            My first real job was a drafting trainee at Bell Labs in Andover Massachusetts. I look back and think that it may have been the lowest of the lows and the least important position in the company. It was however a great experience working with experienced caring professionals who wanted everyone to grow and succeed.

            My mentor, Bob Drew, talked with me a lot about team work and told me something that I never forgot. He came over with an AT&T annual report, opened it to the pie chart that showed their revenue breakdown. He had placed a dot of ink with a quill pen (this was pre ball point!) and explained that in the big company picture I was smaller than that dot! There were over 50,000 employees during that era. His message was that my dot could only grow when the whole pie grew and that I should always “…work at it with all my heart.” He encouraged me to be a company man and a team player.

            In our Lord’s world we are one of billions; smaller even than my dot on that pie chart; but in no way are we insignificant. Each of us every day and in every activity has the opportunity to affect those around us in a positive way. We need to be diligent in our pursuit of happiness, love and peace in God’s world.

Lincoln said it this way, “The leading rule is diligence. Leave nothing for tomorrow which can be done today.”

Thought for Today: For today let us remember who our real boss is, our Lord. Let us make every effort to represent him well as we move through the day by having a positive influence on those around us. 

Prayer for Today: Dear lord we give thanks for the opportunities that we will have to help others. We pray that with your guidance we will have a positive impact on those around us and the world.



Saturday, May 18, 2013

Doing it Right!

Thought for the Week: Last week we focused on ourselves and our talents. Understanding them is important but can create overconfidence or even arrogance. This week let us focus on humility as we apply out talents to help others. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson said this about religion. “Religion is to do right. It is to love, it is to serve, it is to think, it is to be humble.” 

1 Peter 3, verse 8, NIV 
"Finally, all of you, be like-minded,
be sympathetic,
love one another,
be compassionate and humble."
Bob's Note: Please note than being judgemental or evaluating others is not mentioned.

Monday, May 13, 2013


"It is better for you to finish now what you began last year.
You were the first, not only to act,
but also to be willing to act.
On with it then and finish the job."
2 Corinthians (8:10-11)

         This time of year my thoughts gravitate toward the good old days when my friends and I trained 10 -14 hours a week for endurance events. The camaraderie or the group, the support offered by the group when one of us was having a bad day and the feeling of spirituality in the early mornings as we traveled on our way was priceless. Within our workout groups strong bonds were developed.

        As an unranked bottom of the pack runner but former elite masters swimmer and Triathlete, finishing a running event near the bottom of the pack was more rewarding to me than a swimming or triathlon trophy. A trophy is a nice memento, but over time becomes unimportant dust collector. As an elite you are supposed to be near the top, but that really is not what it is about.

        In the early 80's my friend Billy and I ran a half marathon. He finished a good half hour ahead of me and felt great. I was not ready and thought I was going to die out there. The following year, Billy was again a half hour ahead of me but I met my personal goals and expectations. I fondly remember that day and have that finishing picture on my office wall. It reminds me that being at the bottom of the pack is not a bad thing when you are at the top of your game. The goal is personal, to be the best YOU can be.  Neither of us won that event or our age group. Both of us were proud winners because we finished. Life is like that- when we finish what we start, we win.

Thought for Today: It is spring, a time of renewal. God brings us flowers, green grass and warm temperatures. It is easy to be busy enjoying it all and put a few serious issues on that famous "back burner". Today let us identify what we need to finish; who we need to help; who needs our prayers; who could use a visit. Let us complete the tasks that the Lord has put before us.

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, we need your guidance on how to use your love to succeed. In our cities, our neighborhoods and the world we pray that we can find a way to contribute so that your love will somehow "finish" the race for peace and security.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Wonders of Spring

Please note that I am a bit hung up on the 2013 Weather- This Spring thought is designed for early April but appropriate today!
Thought for the week.           

            Spring is approaching, the ice is melting in the north land, annual flowers are blooming in the south and migratory birds are starting their trek to the north. Spring is a time of renewal and a time to see the wonders of nature. We need to be thankful for the beauty and wonders of spring and focus on our own personal renewal and spiritual growth.
Anonymous Quote: We can all count the seeds in an apple; but only God knows how many apples are in a seed!

The spring poetry of Natalie Sleeth
From her Hymn of Promise
Verses 1 and 2 

"In the bulb there is a flower,
in the seed an apple tree;
in co-coons a hidden promise:
butterflies will soon be free!

In the cold and snow of Winter
there's a Spring that waits to be,
unrevealed until it's season,
something God alone can see."

"There is a song in every silence,
seeking word and melody;
there's a dawn in every darkness,
bringing hope to you and me;
From the past will come the future;
what it holds a mystery,
unrevealed until its season.
something God alone can see."

Monday, May 6, 2013

Life Goals

Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed;
life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
(Luke 12 vs. 15) 
            In our democratic society we are encouraged to compete in the workplace and elsewhere. In the 50’s there was the term “Keeping up with the Jones’s.” In the 90’s that seemed to become “Leave the Jones’s behind.”  The two car family of the 60’s became the two home, four cars and a boat family of the new millennium. It is easy to understand why attendance and giving in church declined; no one has any time or money left!
            This is not meant to be a stewardship message asking for more. It is meant as a caution and designed to provoke thought. One of my blessings was being raised in a household with two cars and two homes. When we moved to Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes and 10 million lake homes, we said no way. You see, I grew up maintaining two homes with my dad and did not want to ever do that again!
            In confession June and I did have too much stuff and too many things. We downsized in 2006 and have not finished yet!
            Jesus is clear in his message as reported by Luke. Life is about spiritual growth, love within the community, helping others, being comfortable in your own skin etc. Happiness has nothing to do with stuff or things. 
Thought for Today: Today let us think about what we need to get through the day and contemplate what we want. Let’s try to understand the differences. 
Prayer for the Day: Heavenly Father, today we are blessed and live in a great society. We ask forgiveness for our participation in the blatant consumption encouraged in our world. We pray that as we move forward we experience the blessing of learning what our real needs are and experience the true abundance of your love.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Love one Another

Thought for Today: With my tongue in my cheek, let me say “Love thy weather.” It does not seem that it should be snowing here in Minnesota on May 3rd but it certainly is. The real thought needs to be loving and positive throughout this week because better days are coming!

This week’s quote is a poem from Edwin Markham:
“He drew a circle that shut me out-
Heretic , rebel, a thing to flout.
But love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle and took him In !
From the poem " Outwitted”
― Edwin Markham

                                                                             John 13 verse 34     
“A new command I give you: Love one another.
 As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”