Thursday, April 30, 2015

Realm of the Spirit

You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh
but are in the realm of the Spirit,
if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you.
(Romans 8 verse 9) 

            We certainly do not feel filled with the spirit every day. (or at least I don’t!) Quite often when I sit down to write these messages there seems to be a writer’s block. To me that says that my spirit may need more coffee or better perhaps, a prayer. Often it is both.
            With our busy schedules today it is easy to jump out of bed and get into our daily activities without thinking about our spirit. I guess that is normal but it may not lead to a peaceful lifestyle. It is the way we achieve our material objectives.
            We are however given grace through our faith and we cannot escape it. The message is clear that when we feel empty or down and out, the solution is through the Spirit that lives in us. All we need to do is slow down and let it take over. 

Thought for Today: Today when we feel stressed and overloaded let’s remember Paul’s words above. Let’s take a break! 

Prayer for Today: Dear Lord and father, we often cannot feel the spirit that we know is within us. Today we pray that when we are too busy and too stressed out that we will remember You are the answer.


Strongholds in Our Lives

For though we live in the world,
we do not wage war as the world does.
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.
On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds
(2 Corinthians 10 vs. 3 & 4)

            Throughout our lives we have issues that dominate our thoughts and distract us from our spiritual selves. They may be either negative issues or even very exciting and positive issues. On the surface they may be very good for us. Distractions that have a strong hold on us, “strongholds,” block us from being Godly or spiritual.
            In our case, the Pickering family had some very successful years in our in the 1980s. We led the good life. We actually owned and ran two businesses, traveled and raised four children. Those were also my triathlon years and both June and I kept very fit. (I just looked at some old photos and wondered how we ever looked like that!) There were several people, including my pastor, who talked with me about possibly being OCD! That could never have been true, making money, having fun, great family trips, etc. and we did go to church. That is the American way! We were victims of a positive stronghold.
            Also in those times there were some negatives. In the early 80’s there was a recession that caused a lot of business stress that dominated our thoughts for several years. There were two kids in college our first business had issues that caused us to hedge our bets and start a second business.
            We had both positive and negative events that had a strong hold on our lives and thoughts. Somehow, June and I developed a spiritual focus. We prayed a lot and meditated about the Lord’s role in our lives. We made it through spiritual growth and so can you.

Thought for Today: Today let’s recognize our strongholds and pray for release. With a Godly focus we can take a break from them.

Prayer for Today: Dear Lord and father, today is the day you made for us to enjoy. We are often distracted by life and ask your support so that our concentration on the spirit stays at the forefront. Today we pray that we will contribute to doing your will here on earth.


Friday, April 24, 2015

Be an Example!

“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 find 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.


Monday, April 20, 2015



"Crown Him the Lord of peace,
whose power a scepter sways
From pole to pole, that wars may cease,
and all be prayer and praise"

Lyrics from Crown Him with Many Crowns” by Mathew Bridges 1851

        Spring is a wonderful time of the year. Short winter days are replaced with warmer and longer evenings. Spring bulbs emerge from the ground with green sprouts, color returns to the woods, parks and our own yards. It is a time when the wonders of God brings peaceful thoughts to us all.
        We also live in a world surrounded by fear. Terrorism, anger, financial problems and many other crises fill our world along with the wonders of spring. I do not know about you, but I ponder the why of it all. Where is our "peace on earth"? Spring shows us how close it is and that God is trying to bring it to us. What is our best way to participate in having a peaceful world?
    The message in another hymn,"...let there be peace on earth and let it begin with Me." gives us a hint. If each of us does our part, we can influence the world.

Thought for the Week: Each week we encounter negativity. There are angry drivers, frustrations in the workplace and certainly opportunities to be frustrated in our family lives. We can chose to be anxious or at peace. This week when given the chance, let us demonstrate our Christian and peaceful side. Let peace begin with each of us.

Prayer for the Week: Heavenly Father, each week we see negativity around the world. We as people seem to have very little control over it all. This week we pray that we may lead by the example of Christ, we pray that our living example may contribute to a better world. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Infants in Christ!


Brothers and sisters,
I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit
but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ.
(1 Corinthians 3 vs. 1)

            This is my confession to you all, I cannot quote a lot of scripture; do not know a lot of biblical history; have never visited the holy land; sometimes skip my Friday bible study to play golf or work out. At best I am an infant in Christ.
            In fact, I like that because it gives me plenty of room to grow, a reason to keep trying and even a reason to keep writing. There is always hope in knowing that there is growth ahead when we do the right things. Our lives are spiritual journeys without limits or even an end. That’s a great thought.
            As a young engineer my mentor used to quote “The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.” It apparently is an old Confucius quote that I have not confirmed. It is certainly true with our faith. The more we learn the more the mystery and the higher our thirst becomes. That may be the best part of it all!

Thought for Today: Today let us recognize the opportunity to grow in the spirit. Let us recognize we are in our infancy and have room for exciting growth!

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, today we give thanks for your presence in our lives and the peace brought to us through our faith. WE will face challenges today and we go forth with the knowledge that you will be with us.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Pride and Humility

Pride and Humility 

Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud,
but humility comes before honor.
(Proverbs 18:12) 

            My mom uses some interesting terms and expressions when describing humanity. One of her favorites was “fool hardy” when someone did something out of line. Another was that “It is better to be silent and be thought a fool that to speak out and remove all doubt.” Somehow, when we are proud in the context of today’s text, we are not paying attention. When we kid ourselves with false pride, it helps us grow to have an appreciation for the realities of life.
            We are often overconfident. It seems that the younger we are the more likely we are to suffer from “cockiness”. Somehow that is God’s way of teaching us. We constantly have to monitor our pride and confidence. The elders of society have knowledge and experience but are not always correct. Technology and society are changing faster than fifty years ago. Therefore many of the rules of life have changed.
In our spiritual lives, the rules have not and will not change. We need to take inventory on our pride and be real. The ethics, love and traditions taught to us by Christ will endure regardless of technology changes and cash flows. We need to hold up our values to serve the Lord in an ever changing world. 

Thought for Today: Every day is the first day of the rest of our lives. The mistakes and experiences of our past are nothing more than learning experiences and enable us to move forward with confidence. Today let us focus on being humble and dealing with the realities of our individual worlds. 

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, today we give thanks for the lessons we have learned and the great loves that we have. Through all that Jesus taught us and what we learned from the past, thank you for putting it before us.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Practice hospitality

Thought for Today: Today 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
Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, today we are aware of the many gifts that you gave for us to use. We pray that we recognize people in need and that we have the judgment to use them to do your will here on earth. Amen

Tuesday, April 7, 2015



But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” 
(Matthew 24 vs. 13)

            “Endure to the end.” I am not sure what that means because to me there is no end! June and I have spent time in twelve step programs and as Stephen ministers working with people with life issues. Some fight chemical demons, some mental issues and others with social issues. Often we dealt with anger, depression and the “why me” syndrome. Asking the question “What did I do to deserve this?” is of no use to the recovery process. Dealing with the steps of growth to become happy and satisfied citizens is what matters.
            We are all here in a very interesting lifetime and do not know where it leads us. That is the wondrous mystery. What we do know is that while we are here on earth we will leave a mark; a legacy.
                        We Christians are told on Sunday and celebrate on Easter that there is no end; a mystery to others. What is not a mystery is that we will leave our mark in the memories of others; we will leave a positive legacy through our faith spirit and love of Christ. 

Thought for Today: For today let us go out and live our Christian lives full of enthusiasm and joy. Let us live like there is no end! 

 Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, today we give thanks for our wondrous lives and the many gifts that you have given us. We especially thank you for the opportunity through Christ to help accomplish your will here on earth through our faith by sharing with others.