Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Thankful New Year's Eve!

Good News 061412 New Year’s Eve

“The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
Psalm 46v7

            Today rather than focusing on a new beginning, let’s give thanks for the blessed year that has passed. Certainly as we think back there are both positive and negative memories. We may ask why we did some dumb things? …or why something great happened? Whatever the case, the Lord was with us and we need to be thankful.

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. Also when doubt about something remember my favorite philosopher, NIKE and “Just do it!”

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Perfection is a Goal!


Thought for Today: Today we will fail again at being perfect. Let us try to focus on the good that we do, the encouragement that we give others and the love we have in our hearts. That will help us have a great week.
"God is not unjust; he will not forget your work
and the love you have shown him
            as you have helped his people and continue to help them.
         We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end,
                      in order to make your hope sure.
                    We do not want you to become lazy,
              but to imitate those who through faith and patience
                      inherit what has been promised."
               ( Hebrews 6; 10-12)

       In twelve step programs, there is a reading called "How It works". It recognizes that the program is to develop "spiritual growth not perfection". We all tend to get into that perfect mode; perfect mom, perfect dad, perfect employee and the list goes on. Obviously, each of us falls short of perfection.
        In our daily lives, we make mistakes. We could count them weekly and judge ourselves as failures. The only one of us that does not make mistakes probably does nothing. Many people work their way into depression by counting their failures.
        In our spiritual lives it is not any different. We all have made mistakes and will continue to be less than perfect. We may feel bad or judge ourselves rather severely. However, "God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown...". We must remember that as we walk the walk.

Prayer for Today: Dear Lord and Father, there is scary and awful news every day. Often we forget your love because of worry and concern. Today we pray that we may focus on your understanding and caring love. We pray for the opportunity to demonstrate and share your love with others.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

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.

Send Bob a Christmas message at bobpickering@comcast.net  

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Love

 Christmas Love 

"If I have the gift of prophesy, and can fathom all mysteries
and all knowledge
and if I have a faith that can move mountains
but have not love, I am nothing.
If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,
but have not Love, I gain nothing.”
(1 Corinthians 3-2) 

            The holiday season is a time of great joy. It is full of symbolism. There are bright lights in almost every neighborhood. Stores are full of shoppers buying gifts for their loved ones. Christmas trees light up our homes. Special carols that we sing only once each year sound pleasing to our ears. Yes, the celebration of Christ's birthday is a wonderful experience.  
             As Christians, we proceed through this season each fall. In general, love abounds within our society. When we donate to the food shelf; to Toys for Tots; serve at a shelter; or just say Merry Christmas- we feel good because we are demonstrating our love for each other- through Christ. Love is wonderful gift we have been given through our faith. 

Thought for Today: As we go through the week before Christmas, stress tends to build. Year end activities pile up on top of holiday parties, annual budgets and all the "to do" about Christmas. As we go through the day, let us focus on why we are doing all of this. Not because we have to, but out of love for each other, those around us and the love of Christ.  

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, we are all wrapped up in the season's activities. We are concerned about all of the "hate" in the world. The mid-east, Afghanistan, northern Ireland all seem to be embedded in it. In America and throughout the free world, there is confusion and fear of terrorism. We pray that somehow love can shine through all of this and that we as people may see through the negative forces and learn that love is possible.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Special Days!

Special Days
He who regards one day as special,
 does so to the Lord
(Romans 14 vs. 6) 

                There are 365 days every year. Our goal and challenge is to enjoy them all. We cannot allow our finances; boss or other outside influences to steal the pleasure from any day. God put us here to be happy and we need to do that for Him.

OK, let’s get real, some days are just a drag, things go terribly wrong, God rains on our parade, our back goes out again etc. When negative things get in the way we can choose to have a bad day or chose to trust our faith and give thanks for what went right. Some days it seems that the only thing to give thanks for is that it is over. Well, that’s enough to make it a good day.

Yes, every day will not be a great day. We all have problems and challenges that will take longer than one day to resolve. We need to remember when we live one day at a time, we simplify our solutions. If we do not get it today, we can work on it tomorrow. When an issue is unsolvable, the Lord is with us and He can change the rules. We need to pray and turn unsolvable issues over to the Lord.
Thought for Today: This will be a great day for all of us. We will walk through the challenges and bless the Lord for the experiences and lessons that we learn one day at a time. 

Prayer for Today: Dear Lord, today we give thanks for the many things that go well and the blessings that we have. We give thanks and pray that we may contribute to your plan in a cheerful and blessed way.


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Spiritual Season!

Thought for the Week: December is the busiest month of the year. Our busy schedules often get in the way of our spiritual lives and we can be too busy to take the time recharge our spiritual batteries. Somehow we need to be sure that our calendar does not overwhelm our spirituality. This week let’s show our spiritual side and focus on positive interactions with our friends and family. 

Maya Angelou said it this way!

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Romans 14, verse 19
“Let us make every effort to
do what leads to peace
and mutual edification.”

Monday, December 9, 2013

Perfect Peace

Good News 061412 Perfect Peace 

“You will keep in perfect Peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they have trust in you.”
(Isaiah 26 verse 3) 

            Peace is a direct result of faith and trust. When situations are not what we would like we often focus on the bad results that may occur. When we do that we may bring the negative result upon ourselves. We were not steadfast!
            In life we need to keep our eye on the sky, look upward and outward for the positive results. We need to be steadfast and positive. With a positive outlook and a strong faith we will get the most positive results. This outlook can lead us to perfect peace. 

Thought for Today: Today let us all be positive in the face of all challenges. Let’s snatch peace from the grasp of negativity. 

Prayer for Today: Dear Lord, today we give thanks for the opportunity to have peace in our lives. We pray that we may focus on doing your will and that through our steadfast love we will have peace and contribute to the peace of others.

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Happiest Season!

Good News 120710- Happiest Season  

Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi.
On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist;
others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.”
(Mark 8 vs 27-29)
            It is a great time of the year when we look forward to celebrating Christ’s birth. We are blessed because we believe and are warmed by His presence in our everyday lives. Amongst the daily stresses that our society places on us we have a God given relief.

            I find it interesting that 30 plus years after his birth he was asking who they believed he was. My thoughts are that the Christmas story would be enough. But then, nothing in this world is ever easy; not then and certainly not now.

            So what is Christmas really about? Gifts, material giving and a recharging of our spiritual batteries. It is a great time of the year, the happiest time of the year. We need to enjoy the season while we recharge our batteries, reinforce our beliefs and prepare for the New Year ahead. 

             Katharine McPhee said in her song:
“Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
From now on our troubles
Will be out of sight”

Blessings to you all for a great season of Joy! 

Thought for Today: The Christmas season is not all joys. We will encounter stress, financial hardships, bad weather and all the events of winter life. They are all blessings that are part of our lives. We need to keep Christ as our focus and our stresses will be overcome. 

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father we give thanks for Christmas and all the festivities. We give thanks that “our troubles will be out of sight” through prayer.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Tough Times

Good News 012411 Tough Times

Contend, LORD, with those who contend with me;
   fight against those who fight against me.
Take up shield and armor;
   arise and come to my aid
(Psalm 35 vs. 1&2)

            All days are not created equal. Often there are negative forces in our competitive society that seem overwhelming. There are career issues; most people don’t awaken every day with enthusiasm to go to work.
Financial issues always need to be dealt with and seem to recreate themselves monthly, weekly or quarterly. The calendar always seems too crowded. All together it is easy to wonder where God is in all of this. Is someone working against us?

            Early Christians had it a lot tougher than we do. In David’s case above the majority of the crowds wanted him dead. That was also the case for Paul and Silas almost everywhere they went; “But other Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city.” (Acts 17 vs. 5)  Being an early Christian required a strong faith dedication and I personally think they had to be able to run fast and far!

            The early Christians turned things around through their belief system. We can also do that. We do it with prayer and meditation; God is always with us and available to help.

Thought for Today:  Today let us start out without fear, stress and conflict. If somehow it finds us, interrupts us let’s deal with it in a Godly way. 

Prayer for Today: Dear Lord and Father today we give thanks for your presence in our lives; for the opportunity you give us when we speak to you. We give thanks for the peace you bring us.


Turn Around

Good News 012411 Turn Around

May those who delight in my vindication
   shout for joy and gladness;
may they always say, “The LORD be exalted,
   who delights in the well-being of his servant.”
My tongue will proclaim your righteousness,
   your praises all day long
(Psalm 35 vs. 27 & 28) 

                In basic physics we are taught that perpetual motion does not and cannot exist. Something in motion will eventually stop due to outside forces unless we apply energy to it to keep it moving. If you don’t believe it, take your foot of the gas! For non technical people reading this a good summary statement is that there is no free lunch.

            Yesterday we read about the resistance felt by early Christians. The majority did not believe or support them and they had some long days. Of course, many were martyred like Paul and Peter. We will have stressful days, negative days. Yesterday’s message was entitled “Trouble” because at some level we encounter it daily.

            We need to understand that somehow negativity is an opportunity for growth. When we resolve it, we will feel better. Through dedication and prayer and a bit of effort, we can always turn things around.

            We can apply physics to our lives, our congregations, our careers. We need to apply our skills and efforts to keep the ball rolling in a positive way. There is no free lunch and no penalty for success. As stated above “The LORD be exalted, who delights in the well-being of his servant.”

            We are asked to turn negativity around through our strength and faith. 

Thought for the Day: Today we will have an opportunity to turn over a negative force; to improve our lives. Today let’s make it happen through our strength, efforts and prayers. 

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, today is the first day of the rest of my life, it will start carefree with a beautiful sunrise. We may run into negative forces, difficult situations and items we would rather not deal with. We pray that you guide us and give us the faith and strength to  make it through.