Monday, December 29, 2014



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) 

            We are in the Holiday recovery mode and are weary. From time to time it is necessary to take a break. It is important to prevent burnout and refresh ourselves. If we are to be the best we can be, do our jobs as parents, employees and citizens, we need to have rest.          

            Along with rest we need meditation. Ok, if you are reading this I am preaching to the choir again. However, there are some of my friends that rest and renew their minds and bodies without thinking of renewing their spirit. They forget to pray or recognize the Lord’s role in their lives.

            Others neglect their bodies. It is easy to overeat during the holidays and also easy to skip a workout! That’s a double edged sword that I personally am guilty of more years than not! That’s what New Year’s resolutions are all about. The message from Isaiah above is to keep hope in the Lord, keep him in your life and he will help you soar like an eagle. We will do fine next year!           

Thought for Today: Let us think about keeping God in the forefront of our minds. 

Prayer for Today: Father, today we ask that you fill us with your spirit; we ask for strength and guidance.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Joy to the World!

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.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Week

Christmas Week

“There is a time for everything,
   and a season for every activity under the heavens”

(Ecclesiastes 3 v1)
Today we awaken with and it is the  Christmas week. We are tired, weary and excited. Our hearts are full of the joy and spirit that this wonderful season creates. It would be great if we could bottle it all up so we could drink it year round.    
Down in a lowly manger
The humble Crist was born
And God sent us salvation
That blessed Christmas morn
(verse 3, Go Tell It on the Mountain)
(John W. Work Jr. 1907)
Thought for Today:  The celebration of the birth of Christ is fast approaching. Today let’s focus on the excitement, blessings and spiritual meaning of it all. Also let us remember that this spirit can be with us all year long- we do not need a bottle, it is in our hearts!

Prayer for Today: Today we pray for peace and give thanks for our friends. Amen

Monday, December 15, 2014

Blue Christmas

Good News111705 Blue Christmas

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me,
for in you my soul takes refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
until the disaster has passed.
(Psalm 57:1)

            At Spirit of Hope, we have special service for people having a sad time over the Holidays. At one time our pastor must have been an Elvis fan because he called it a Blue Christmas Service. It was one worth attending whether you were sad or not. We can always find reasons to be blue over the holidays and it is good to take a look at those feelings, put them in perspective and pray to God for the support that is available to us.
            This year our friend Craig and Steve miss their wives who passed, there are too many to list with serious ailments and others in severe career and financial crises. I ask you all for prayers. Several years ago we met a young gentleman there, John, who had visited during the summer. He was in tears during the service. He was despondent because his parents were having a problem with his sexual preference and he was not being welcomed at the family celebration.  
            Our service Of Light and Hope (sorry Elvis!) is this Wednesday.  We will be praying for all those who are in need. It is important to take refuge in the shadow of God’s wings.

Thought for Today: Let us take note of our sad feelings over the holidays. Let us recognize that they exist. Rather than mask them with joy, let us pray about them, and turn them over to God so we can enjoy the celebration of Christ’s birth.

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father today we have special prayers for the holidays. We pray that the reminder of your presence brings trust and love to the world. We pray for people who have lost loved ones and are spending their first Christmas with an empty place at the table. We give thanks for the role that you play in our lives and the help you give us. Thank you for being available for us each and every day.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

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.

Monday, December 8, 2014


Good News121105 Joy

Be joyful always;
 pray continually;
 give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5 vs. 16-18

            The Christmas is a joyful time. The joy of the celebration generally pushes the stress and negativity into the background. A friend recently commented that he wanted to bottle up the holiday spirit for later use.  He needs to learn that the bottle he needs is the bible on his bookcase. The bible is more than a bottle; it is a large jug of joy. A drink a day will keep miseries away and you can take as many drinks as you want!  
            Ok, so that’s enough analogy for today! If you are reading this devotional you know where to go when in you are in need. You know to seek out a spiritual mentor, a sponsor or even to grab your favorite prayer guide and pray. That is truly what spirituality is all about; having the faith to snatch joy from the heat of the moment rather than getting bogged down in negativity.

Thought or Today: Today and throughout the holiday season, let us shed the stress, pray for the moment and find the joy.

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, today we ask that we may find the joy and spirit of the holiday season. We ask so that we may share it with others.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Yule Fire

121105 Yule Fire

Do not put out the Spirit’s fire;
  do not treat prophecies with contempt.
 Test everything.
Hold on to the good.
(1 Thessalonians 5 vs. 19-21)

            In Minnesota where I live, the holiday season is cold. In fact there is a cable TV station that stops programming and runs a Yule log burning as a symbol and backs it up with Christmas music. It is very peaceful and meaningful.
            The symbol of the spirit’s fire warms our hearts during this season and up here in the northland it is very welcome. This is a blessed season and we all need to focus on the spiritual blessings as we work our way toward the year end.

 Thought for Today: Let us think about our spiritual goals. Let us carry the joy of Christ’s birth with us and the materialistic pieces of the season will fall into place.

Prayer for Today: Dear Lord and Father, we give thanks to you for the love that we feel when you are in our hearts. Today we pray for a chance to help serve you after the season. We pray that we find  opportunities to do your will here on earth; a chance to contribute to a loving peaceful world.


Monday, December 1, 2014

The Happiest Season!

The 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.