Monday, April 28, 2014

We are what God made us!


"You made all the delicate,
inner parts of my body and knit them together in my mother's womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex. ...
Your workmanship is marvelous."
(Psalm 139:13-14).
Was Popeye a philosopher? Cartoonists often are. When Popeye was confronted with difficult situations he would state "I yam what I yam?” gulp down his spinach and defend right!
        We are not all Popeyes and we are expected to conform, often to standards below those of our Christian faith and may face difficulties if we do not. In any case it is necessary to understand who we are, what we are and keep the Lord in our daily lives. We need our "spinach".
         In many ways we are continually fighting an image syndrome. Conformity is the word, and clones are the result. Quite often we get flack because we don't fit.
    If there was a right way to be, how would some of the prophets or John the Baptist fit in with the rest of their society? Probably not too well at times.
    The truth is you are you. You are who God created you to be. He wants you to know who you are and understand your unique characteristics. You were created by God and then the mold was broken. No one else is exactly like you.
        You are unique. You are special and it is all right to be you. Don't let others shape you. That is God's task He started with you, he will finish with you and he will be with you. He is our spinach.
He really does want you to be you.
Thought for the Day: Let us search for the person that God wants us to be so that we may serve him better.

Prayer: Heavenly father, as we travel through our weekly chores, we need to see a way to help You. We often lose track of your plan. Sometimes we are too busy and do not understand it. This week we pray that each of us may find a better way to serve You and make life better for everyone.

Friday, April 25, 2014


" I come to the garden alone,
while the dew is still on the roses,
and the voice I hear falling on my ear,
the son of God discloses.
and he walks with me ,
and he talks with me,
and he tells me I am his own,
and the joy we share as we tarry there,
none other has ever known.
(From the Hymn In the Garden, C. Austin Miles)
(Methodist Hymnal No. 314)
        The overwhelming support that we have as people of faith is certainly wonderful and one of the greatest advantages of Christianity. Often, as an A type personality, I awake before June and go jogging ( now walking!) at sunrise, "..when the dew is still on the roses..". The sound of mourning doves and early robins is the dominant sound rather than traffic or other social activity related noise. Often I find myself humming "In the Garden".
        Another time when it comes to mind is before a tough meeting or event. Whether a business meeting, neighbor hood meeting or a hospital visit, it is great to know that you are never alone if you let Him join you.
        Many of you often see me with a lapel pin that is a pair of feet. They are from "Foot prints in the sand".  They are to invite conversation regarding the concept of walking with Christ every day. It is always an interesting conversation.
        We are blessed.
Thought for Today: Let us simply remember that we are never alone. Let us enjoy His presence as we walk through our lives.

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, we are certainly glad that you are here for support. Often the world around us is confusing and it is difficult to understand your wishes. However, we give thanks for the roll that you play in our everyday lives and the help you give you give our friends and families.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Boston Marathon

I want to comment on the Spirit of America. Boston is in focus today because of the tragic events at last year’s marathon. However, the spirit of America goes back further than 1776! It probably started in the Netherlands in the early 1600s when a group or puritans who had fled England decided to take an old leaky boat to the new world. They got as far as Plymouth England and stopped for repairs and to pick up some more family members. The spirit is what makes America strong and today I ask for prayers that we never lose it!
Good News 041911 Patriots Day
(from the book God is my Spinach)

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.
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.
They do it to get a crown that will not last,
but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”
(1 Corinthians 9 vs. 24& 25)

            Growing up in Boston we celebrated Patriots day. That gave me two choices to write about today; Paul Revere’s ride or the Boston Marathon. There is a similarity and it is not direction!
            The marathon involves over 20,000 participants, one lady and one male will make a six figure pay check and be declared winners. As many as twenty others will receive appearance money and have a good pay day. The majority will receive personal gratification, be the recipient of a great engine for their body from their training and recognition for a great effort. That is all they want. They do it out of the passion that endurance runners have and the feeling of accomplishment.
            In 1775 Paul Revere and William Dawes raced out of Boston with a message that the British were moving out. Their message to the people of greater Boston was the call to arms. Unfortunately, Paul did not get very far because he was picked up in west Cambridge by a British patrol. However he did get the poem named for him, I guess William Dawes did not rhyme as well! They were both on a mission to benefit humanity, both were unselfish and both are American heroes.
            Life is not a sprint. It is a marathon. We need to race it and live it with our eye on the ultimate prize that is promised through our faith.

Thought for Today: For today let us focus on our race for the prize. Let’s take a step closer to perfection.

Prayer for Today: Dear Lord today we pray for the safety and success of the many runners in Boston. May they be blessed with fitness and great memories.


Friday, April 18, 2014

Spiritual Growth

"I gave you milk, not solid food,
for you were not yet ready for it
Indeed, you are still not ready."
(1 Corinthians 3 vs. 2) 

            Several years ago June and I made a decision that our families would not remember us as angry old people. We decided that based on our time spent interacting with elderly people as Stephen ministers. Recently I have been involved with two such people and have concluded that somehow being happy has everything to do with spiritual growth. Let me share a story with you from a recent Saturday.
            My friend and I were volunteering at a race in a very cold April rain and many volunteers were complaining. My friend stated that as bad as it was he was dreading his next appointment even worse. Trust me, we had been out in the rain for four hours serving over 8000 participants and worse seemed impossible!
            He was going to his parents place to do a few odd jobs that his dad could or should not risk doing any more. He said that somehow dad would get angry, be disagreeable and be dissatisfied. He could not understand why. In my usual big mouth way I asked him about his dad’s spirituality. The answer was that mom and dad go to church every Sunday!
            This lead to my favorite discussion: religious versus spirituality! You see, there are a lot of people who attend church every week that do not experience spiritual growth. In a recent discussion it was said that too many religious people just never get to know the Holy Spirit! I believe that the people who are edgy, angry or uncomfortable fit that description.
            In summary, the Lord wants us to be happy, cheerful and appreciative. He has given us the tools and we need to use them every day. The tool we have is faith and the Holy Spirit. We need to keep them in mind and in our hearts to be happy! 
Thought for Today: Today let us use Paul’s message about the milk and drink our milk but demonstrate with our happiness and spirit that we are ready for the Lord’s solid food. That food results in our happiness and peace.
Prayer for Today: Dear Lord, today we pray for all who are experiencing anxiety and anger. We pray that they may find peace and tranquility through the Holy Spirit.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Holy Week!

“Who is wise and understanding among you?
Let him show it by his good life,
by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.
But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts,
do not boast about it or deny the truth.
Such wisdom does not come down from heaven
but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil.
For where you have envy and selfish ambition,
there you find disorder and every evil practice."
(James 3:13-16)
        One of my recurring themes is that we are all ministers of the Gospel. Within our individual congregations we hire ordained ministers to lead and teach us as we move forward on our spiritual journeys. Sometimes we catch ourselves in the Sunday only mode.
        A very dear friend of June's and mine is in spiritual crises. For whatever reason faith has left and bouts of depression have occurred. It is probably not coincidental. For Christians, there is a strong tie between our faith and our inner peace. When our faith is doubtful we take control of things. We forget to "Let go and let God".
        As Christians, we need to demonstrate our inner peace to others. Show our caring spirits and our love. Not on Sunday but every day in every activity. Our ministry needs to be subtle, persistent and very public. When we function in a very Christian and public way, people in doubt will come to us.
Thought for Today: Today let us demonstrate our inner peace to all we meet. Let us look for opportunity to talk about our tranquility and our faith. Let us offer to share with others.
Prayer for Today: Dear Lord, there are many great events that are masked by tragedy. Today we pray that somehow we as Christians may fine a way to contribute. That we may have our prayers answered with a lasting miracle. We all need an end to hate and hateful decisions; we pray for world peace.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Also Ran!

Then the LORD said to Joshua,
“Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
(Joshua 8 vs.1) 

            Being an also ran is a way of life. We rarely finish first. As many of you know I detest the famous Vince Lombardi quote, “Winning isn’t everything it is the only thing.” Here are some examples: My friend Pat McNamara qualified in four different Olympics and did not win a medal; my brother Wayne swam for years and was a national top ten in four events but never had a national championship; Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski played years for the Red Sox and never received a world series ring; and the list goes on! None of the above is a loser and all were or are proud of their accomplishments.

                       Clint Purvis, the team chaplain for Florida State University’s football team under Bobby Bowden put it like this after a tough loss to Miami, “There is a huge difference between getting beat in a game and being a loser.” Clint reminded the team of the characteristics of being a winner: 

1.      A winner still remembers that God never forsakes his own.
2.      A winner must remember that it is always painful and costly to claim victory again.

3.      A winner will always remember the source of all his blessings.

(from Bobby Bowden’s Called to Coach, Howard Books, 2010 

            We rarely are number one but since God is always with us, we are always winners. 

Thought for Today: Today we will have battles we do not expect. With God’s help, let us be winners no matter which way the battle turns out! 

Prayer for Today: Dear Lord and Father, today we thank you for being with us at all times in every place. We thank you because when you are along we will be winners.

Monday, April 7, 2014


For it was you who formed my inward parts;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
(Psalm 139 vs. 13 & 14)

            The lord works in strange ways. As I write these epistles I never know what will come next. Sometimes it is from an outside source placed before me during the week. This is one of those occasions and it is close to plagiarism!
            A pastor and Good News buddy retired after 39 years serving the local community. In September of 2009 he wrote, “Everybody is Somebody-including you and me.” We know that we are all winners because the Lord is with us. Pastor Mike said it a in a similar way that reinforces the thought. Below is a key paragraph from Mike:

            “…My theology and values are centered on the conviction that because we are created in the image of God, each of us is valued and has deep within us the potential to reflect the goodness and beauty of our Creator. Therefore, being of Norwegian or German descent, African or Korean, tall or short, gay or straight, rich or poor is not a determining factor in our worth as a human being. We are valued because we are created in the image of God.”

            My thanks to Pastor Mike.

Thought for Today: Today we will have battles we do not expect. With God’s help, let us be winners no matter which way the battle turns out! Plus: We have the parts and the image to be of value. Enjoy.

Prayer for Today: Dear Lord, today we give thanks for who and what we are; your image here on earth.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Due 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.