Thursday, January 29, 2015

Faith Foundation

 Faith Foundation 

“The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress."
Psalm 46:7 

Quite often when a crime occurs in "our neighborhood", we ask "How could this happen
here?"  The truth is that tragedy and violence can happen anywhere. None of us is immune to them. Real security cannot come from walls and fences; real security comes from having a relationship with God. 
The author of the 23rd Psalm realized this centuries ago when he wrote these familiar words, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me." The psalmist does not say that we will not have to walk through the darkest valley or that evil does not exist. Rather, the psalmist reminds us that we need not fear or be overwhelmed because God is present with us at all times and in all places. God will see us through. The ground and content of our hope is the promise that nothing in all creation can separate us from God's love.  

Thought for Today:    Those who walk with God are never alone. 

Prayer for Today: Almighty God, when the foundations of our lives are shaken, hold us close to you and remind us that you will never leave or forsake us. You alone are our hope and security.


Friday, January 23, 2015

Love and Hospitality

Love and Hospitality

 "Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
and grace my fears re-lieved;
how precious did that grace appear
the hour that I first believed.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
and mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
a life of joy and peace."
(Amazing Grace, Vs 4 & 5)
(Words by John Newton, 1779)

           There are almost as many ways to find joy and peace as there are people. It can be found anywhere at any time. It is something that we all measure in our own way. As Christians we have the tools to and knowledge to reach out and find it.
            However, often we let our everyday tasks and challenges disturb our peace. This winter it seems that the traffic situation has been a threat to many people's tranquility. The temperature and constant snowfalls have created danger, fear and frustration across the country. Even in the deep south there were days when rustration replaced grace on the highways.
            One of our Good News buddies wrote a book called Finding Grace. In regards to traffic his comments were "...leave early, take the pretty route and listen to good music." He is right on.
            As Christian's when we find our tranquility threatened, we need to use our tool kit; prayer, meditation and even a chat with a friend. They all will work. God did not put us here to be frustrated; experience grace as He wants you to.
Thought for Today: This week let us all keep grace at the forefront of our daily prayers. Let us expect the daily challenges and be ready with our tool kit. This week let's experience grace and joy every day.
Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, we recognize that your joy and tranquility are always available and you are always with us. This week we need you to help us daily. This week we pray that we may keep you on our minds and in our thoughts as we work through the challenges of our Christian lives.

Monday, January 19, 2015

MLK Day!

Good News MLK Day
“It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me,
But it can keep him from lynching me,
And I think that’s pretty important."
Martin Luther King 

            There are many quotes from the great Martin Luther King and when I researched them I picked the one above because I had not heard it before. It does not make a great philosophical statement, there is not a spiritual or social justice meaning; it is a simple truth. Living and having the right to pursue freedom always needs to be protected.

            Other quotes by MLK have deeper meaning, spiritually and are more often used. Below are the ones that seem to be popular in the media: 

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.
"Strength To Love," Martin Luther King, Jr. 

One that I personally like is:
Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase. 

And as Christians we need to demonstrate that we have the faith, we need to always take the first step.                                                                                                                                           

Prayer for Today: Dear Lord, today we do not pray for forgiveness of the past discrimination and separatist social acts of our forefathers. We need to accept them and move forward. Today we pray for the guidance and will to contribute to peace and acceptance through Jesus love.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Happy Landing

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because,
having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life
that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”
(James 1 vs. 12)

            Perseverance is life, we need to persevere in many ways and the easiest way is through meditation, prayer and having the faith that the Lord will bring us through our lives. We all hope for an easy life without illness or discomfort; always having a job; a life partner to share things with; and the list goes on. In other words, we want to be born to live happily ever after!

            If we were we would not build character or learn. As I write this in beautiful Minnesota, we are in the in the middle of winter. Some winters we cancel outdoor events because there is no snow, the ice is not safe on the lakes and because it is too warm! This we are having a character building winter!

            We will all get through it and when spring comes it will be later than usual and appreciated more, We will experience growth and appreciation of good times. In 1974 when we moved here our real estate agent talked about our beautiful Minnesota summers and said they were worth the wait. Praise be to God, we need help this year!

            There is a church that I drive by that posts a weekly slogan that describes it very well. I do not know the author but it said something like “Life is not about having a bumpy flight. It is about having a happy landing!” We need to keep our faith to persevere on our bumpy ride. The best part will be the landing!

Thought for Today: Today will be the first day of the rest of our lives. Let us be spiritual and use it well.

Prayer for Today: Dear Father, we are experiencing a very bumpy ride. We have concerns about money, pollution, terror and more. Today we give thanks for having the spirit and will to get through it all so that we may experience the landing. Amen


Monday, January 12, 2015

Soar like an Eagle!

Today I feel a need to ask for prayers for the people of the world and for the elimination of hatred and aggression. We need to recognize that we are involved in world war three and that it is different than any other conflict. I do not have any solutions or suggestions but I do have an interesting question.

As Christians we know that love is the answer; My question is who is going to love first? 

Soar Like Eagles 

“...  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: 31) 

            Growing up in the 50’s a bald eagle was a rare sight, in fact I do not think I ever saw one. Now 60 years later they are soaring over shopping centers, eating fish out of the local lakes and generally hanging out with us. Now that we see them more often, it is easy why our founders selected it as a national symbol. They are big, majestic and beautiful birds. Their revival as a species shows us how humans can contribute to God’s creations and the world we live in. We changed a few rules, respected the Lord’s way and the Bald eagle is now a common sight.

            We are always searching for ways to make a better world, a way to soar. In my early years in engineering working for a very large company, many of the rules seemed restrictive and bureaucratic. The younger engineers in the department, including myself, thought we were going to change the world, right NOW! That was not the way big company systems worked. When frustration with the system came to the surface our trainer and mentor often advised us to “Rise above it and move on.” Eagles do that.

            There is a story about Eagles rising above storms. They sense the storm coming and use the wind to rise above the dangerous winds and ride out the storm.  In many instances in life we need to keep our faith while staring at negativity, the storms of life. We count to ten, punch a pillow, and when we are smart we ask the Lord for support.  When we involve our faith while handling our personal storms we minimize our stress and greatly improve our quality of life. 

Thought for Today: Let us use our faith in the Lord to rise above the problems of everyday life. 

Prayer for Today: Let us pray that as a country we can find a way to serve "God's will" rather than "our will".



Monday, January 5, 2015

23rd Psalm 

“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 name sake"

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) 

            In the biblical context, the rod is an instrument used for guiding, rescuing and protecting (sheep) and the staff is an instrument of support. The Psalm points out that the Lord is with us and will guide and support us throughout our lives.  

    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 New Year and all of our goals and resolutions. Read the 23rd Psalm and accept the help that God has available to us. 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.




Thursday, January 1, 2015

Paul's New Year Message?

Happy New Year

"Not that I have already obtained all this,
or have already been made perfect,
but I press on to take hold of that
for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.
But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize
for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
(Phillipiens3:12-14; NIV)
        Happy New Year. For the next few weeks the athletic clubs will be filled with "New Years resolutionists". Diet programs will come and go, self improvement books will be purchased or at least the dust will be blown from last year’s cover! Does that sound familiar? Yes, we all have had a few resolutions fall by the wayside.         I do not know if Paul wrote the above on New Year’s Eve but it is appropriate. Many of us have new goals today: weight, fitness, financial goals etc. Paul is asking us to look at our spiritual goals. "...Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize.” Hold that thought as you proceed through the New Year.
Thought for Today: Let us look ahead rather than behind. Let us look ahead at the opportunities in our lives. This year let us practice Christian ethics and life style in all phases of our lives and by all means share our faith with others.
Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father as this New Year begins please hear our prayer for serenity:
"God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference."
Hear this for all the worlds people so that your love and peace may dominate this New Year.