Friday, May 30, 2014

Be Positive!

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ,
set your hearts on things above,
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
Set your minds on things above,
not on earthly things.”
(Colossians3, 1&2 )

            We have talked a bit about how the head and heart lead our bodies. How often our thoughts may be negative and they can lead us into depression. Let’s face it, when we read or listen to the news, they talk mostly about negative events. However, most of what goes on in the world is positive. We need to focus on that!
            Remember the words to the old song. “When you’re down and out, lift up your head and shout, It’s going to be a great day.” We are often confronted with the local curmudgeon, the person who finds fault with everything. Let’s face it, they are right, it is always too hot or too cold! Too rainy or their lawn needs watering! Things are too expensive! Coffee is too weak or strong! Pray for them, they need us.
            We will have negative influences in our lives. As we move through our daily lives, we are blessed with the tools to deal with the negative side.  I read this on a sign in front of a local church recently, “The Lord does not guarantee us smooth passage, just a safe landing.” It is up to use our Christian tools to stay positive and be happy. 

Thought for Today: Today we will have to deal with negative issues. Let us turn them into a positive experience by dealing with them promptly. When we encounter some that seem to linger and not go away, let us remember to turn those over to God through prayer.

Prayer for Today: Today is the day you have made for us. Unfortunately the roads have bumps and there are unknown troubles out there awaiting us. Today we pray that your presence will guide us through the tough moments and that we may accomplish our goals in Your name.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Live the Life!

 Live the Life
“…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,
and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.”
(Mark 10 vs. 43&44)

Spiritual growth is an important part of living a peaceful and rewarding life. Defining it is sometimes difficult. It is more than reading a passage, it is living the life. It is climbing the Christian ladder of success. Not running around preaching a passage, it is demonstrating the lifestyle.  In the above passage Mark mentions greatness and to be great, one must be at peace. This peace can be found by walking the walk; Serving others as a lifestyle.
            TV Evangelist Mac Hammond defined serving others as "...meeting another person's needs when they do not believe you are serving them".

Thought for Today: Today let’s reach out and help someone in need. Let’s serve their every need.

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, today we feel the need to help. We pray that we recognize those in need that you have placed before us. We thank you for the opportunity to serve.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Memorial Day

Note to International visitors: The following was written for Memorial Day in the United States. I urge you to apply the message to your own countries soldiers and your personal family!

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

Monday, May 19, 2014

Positive Focus

Good News 060101 Positive Focus
"Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,
keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking lies.
Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it."
(Psalm 34: 12-14)

            Many of us today are challenged with issues. Some have lost jobs, some have divorced, others have significant others who are terminally ill; anger, fear and resentments are fostered in this way. How do we deal with the issues without destroying the peace in our life?
            Obviously challenges that threaten our livelihood and families are difficult. Some are hard decisions but get dealt with quickly; others seem unsolvable and could drag on forever. The quickies are best dealt with on the spot and we can move on. The long term issues need other techniques and the best are through our faith.
            Several years ago there was a serious issue that involved discrimination within our church. Unfortunately I was in the middle of it and there was no obvious solution and prayer did not work for me. So I went with plan B, when prayer does not work, pray again- but the second time was at lunch my spiritual mentor.(Thanks Mike!)  It eventually worked out the way the Lord wanted it.

            I like to say that when the going gets tough the tough start praying! Sometimes that is the only solution.

Thought for Today: Today let’s recognize the tough spots or bumps and pray for a win-win solution.

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father we give thanks today for the ability to insert you into our life’s problems through prayer.


Friday, May 16, 2014

Straight to the Heart

 Straight to our Heart

In the wilderness prepare
the way for the LORD[a];
make straight in the desert
a highway for our God.”
(Isaiah 40 vs. 3)

            When driving in the UK where the roads are windy and twisty, occasionally we come to a long straight road that goes on for miles. My wife, a Brit, explained to me that those are ancient Roman roads laid out 2000 years ago. I found that impressive.
            In ancient times leaders built roads in the desert for their armies to move. They are long and straight and efficient so they could move quickly. The valleys are filled by pushing the tops of the hills. They facilitated the need. In New England where I grew up there are very few straight roads. They paved the cow paths and horse trails which tended to follow the river beds. It is tough for strangers to find their way.
            The message today is that we need to be sure of our road to the lord; that it needs to straight. There needs to be a straight connection between God and our heart. We need to allow the simplest two way travel possible in our complex world; straight to our heart. 

Thought for Today: Today let’s think about where our road takes us; where are we going. Perhaps we can take a few bends out and travel straight. 

Prayer for the Day: Heavenly Father, we live in a complex world and are surrounded by too much activity and we are over committed. Today we thank you for being with us and pray that we may keep our hearts open to you and stay on a straight and holy path.

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Valley

Even though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for you are with me.
(Psalm 23:4)

            Recovery from surgery is a tough mental and physical battle that frequently ends in the deepening of spirituality. Healing physically is something we all are used to; our bumps and bruises over the years, minor cuts, all go away in time. It is easy not to recognize the miracle of God with the minor problems.
             However, when a big one comes, it is equally easy to ask "Where are you God?" or "Why are you doing this to me?" It is easy to lose sight of what matters when facing a life threatening event. Often, we are caught up in the analysis of the doctor’s skills and the various treatment options and where is the best place to go for help.  Yes, let's get technical and analytical to make darn sure that the doctor can take care of us. Let's make sure we go to a hospital with the latest equipment. But somehow, let's not forget God in the process.
             In 1998 when I had cancer, my impatience and out rite fear chased me into the hospital in only three weeks, no analysis or wait and see. Just my typical impulsive, "Just do it" (thanks Nike). As many of you know, somehow, I threw it over to HIM with reckless abandon. That brings to mind the last line of the Psalm 23,"Surely goodness and love will follow, all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
            Last year, the physician that I work out with and I realized in June that I had something going on with my heart; it would not perform up to my standards. He recommended an immediate stress test. OK, but June and I had six weeks of vacation booked and I decided to take it easy, not push my limits and do the tests later. In October the tests showed two very blocked arteries and I now have stints and made it with no heart muscle damage. That brings to mind that God is always with us, even when we are being stupid!
            The Lord and physicians came through for me and my family. We all need to remember Him during times of fear and illness.
Thought for Today: Let us focus on the unfortunates around us that are ill and keep the 23rd Psalm in mind. Let us see if we can contribute to helping in some way.
Prayer for Today: Dear Lord, many of our friends have health issues. Some are minor, some serious and some fatal. We pray that we may find a way to assist, help and calm their fears as they walk through their valley. May we help by following your guidance through prayer.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Using our Talent!

Thought for the Week: Let us focus on ourselves and our talents. Let us recognize that we have special gifts given to us by the Lord to use for Him.

John Wesley said it this way: Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as ever you can.

Paul said it to the Romans like this: 

Romans 12  vs. 10-13
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.
Honor one another above yourselves.
Never be lacking in zeal,
but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and
faithful in prayer.
Share with God’s people who are in need.
Practice hospitality

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

We have Choices!

"Blessed is the man that endures temptation,
for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life,
which the Lord has promised to those that love Him."
(James 1:12)
            In the words of Dr. Norman Vincent Peale," Temptation is the urge to do or say something wrong, something contrary to the will of God and the law of Christ. Temptation often comes in pleasant and seductive form and the mind always attempts to rationalize it to make it seem right." That certainly hits home for us. We face it every day.
            Throughout our lives we are given the opportunity to chose, the correct path or the wrong path. The opportunistic path from the Godly path. None of us has always chosen the right path, the path that follows the law of Christ. We have all crossed that line and felt the remorse, the guilt or the doubt that follows. Yes, admit it, you just are not quite perfect.
           It is common for us to hold on to the memories that we have of the times when we slipped and took temptation. Often this sorrowful thinking leads to a bad self image or a sub conscious guilt that affects our lives. Working with others for the last 25 years, June and I have seen people turn their lives around by accepting the concept of "spiritual growth" and making amends to those that they have harmed.
We are not perfect, but when we are growing spiritually, we feel good about ourselves and turn down the temptations that confront us in our daily lives. The secret of success is spiritual growth through prayer and daily meditation.
Thought for Today: In our personal lives there are many temptations; ways to cheat, subtle dishonesty, procrastination, lust etc. We all have the opportunity break the law of Christ. This week, let us be conscious of these opportunities. Let us note our wise decisions and give thanks for the spirituality and maturity that gets us through the week.

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, our world is a very confusing place. Religious wars and terrorism abound in the east. Neighbors use their version of God to discriminate against others. Within our society, there are many opportunities for us to help. This week we pray that we will recognize that part of our lives and that we may find opportunity to help bring peace and love. We pray for the time to counter act the fear and hate in our world.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Our Shepherd

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters..."
(Psalms 23:1-2).

    In the 40's and 50's, public school in Massachusetts always started with the 23rd Psalm, the Lord's Prayer and the salute to the Flag. Wow, by today's standards, that is powerful stuff. Let us take a look at this and see if we can apply it to our lives today.

        The first two lines above, lead us to tranquility. Faith will take care of our wants and lead us to that inner peace we desire and lead us to the restful place beside still waters.  

"He refreshes and restores my life;
He leads in the paths of righteousness
for His namesake"

There are always periods when things in our lives need rebuilding. There are temptations to take the easy way. These verses point out that the way to get out of the "dumps" is to follow Him.

"Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil; for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff to comfort me."
(Psalm 23:4).

The Psalm points out that the Lord is with us and will guide and support us through out our lives.

    Yes, today our lives get filled with stress. As Christians we are given wonderful tools to work with in our daily lives. The more we let God lead us, the more we will be at peace.

Thought for Today: Let us reflect on this winter like spring season. Read the 23rd Psalm and accept the help that God has available to us as we move forward. It will be a big help in locating those still waters we all seek.

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, many times stress builds up in our lives. It is a combination of hurts, anger and resentments kept hidden inside of ourselves. I pray that when this occurs, I find a way to let you help and can accept the guidance, protection and support promised through our Christian faith.