Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Eve

New Year’s Eve

“The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
Psalm 46v7

            Today rather than focusing on a new beginning, let’s give thanks for the blessed year that has passed. Certainly as we think back there are both positive and negative memories. We may ask why we did some dumb things? …or why something great happened? Whatever the case, the Lord was with us and we need to be thankful.

Thought for Today: Today let us be thankful for last year and prayerful about our future. As we move forward let’s remember two of my favorite themes. Keep healthy in spirit, mind and body. Also when doubt about something remember my favorite philosopher, NIKE and “Just do it!”

Bob’s Note: Thank you for reading my devotionals. My prayers are that it helped you in some small way. You are a blessing to me.

Monday, December 28, 2015



  "For by the grace given me I say to every one of you:
Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought,
but rather think of yourself with sober judgment,
in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.
Just as each of us has one body with many members,
And these members do not all have the same function,
so in Christ we who are many form one body,
and each member belongs to all the others.
We have different gifts,
according to the grace given us."
(Romans 12:3-6)
            Christmas has past and we all were caught up in the materialism of it all at some level. The advertising, the gift giving, the holiday cards all tend to lead us away from the real meaning of it all. God’s gifts to us.
            I often write about the about the gifts that Paul listed later in this passage. Paul’s letter has a very special meaning and when reading further through verse 9, God's many gifts to us are listed. It is important to understand God's gifts to us and recognize which of gifts we were given. We need to understand where we fit in God's world and how to apply His gifts in our lives. These are the gifts that really matter- They are not advertised on TV or in the newspaper. They are given to us by Him to use. Each of us need to think about our gifts and how we will use them in the New Year.
Thought for Today: As we approach the New Year, let us think about who we are and what gifts God has given us. Let us learn to use these gifts to make our lives and the lives of others better.
Prayer for Today: Dear Lord, at this time of the year, self-improvement always seems to be an objective. Each year I focus on "my improvement" and sometimes do not recognize the tasks you may have set forth for me. I pray that this will be the year that "my improvement" is accomplished by recognizing your gifts to me and finding a way to do your work with them.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

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.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Universal Hope

Universal Hope

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
 There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.”
(Psalm 19v1-4)

The holiday season is a time of hope. The Psalmist notes that there is one clear message from the heavens, one God with one message in all tongues to all peoples. Clearly, this encourages us to believe that there is hope for universal understanding and someday world peace.
We live in an often troubled world. This year there have been natural disasters, terrorism, attacks in schools, layoffs and all sorts of ungodly events. They capture the headlines. Certainly there many who question God’s role in all of this.
We need to remember that “The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”  The press and news media report on other issues. It is up to each of us to focus on the message. With our example, we can infect the world with faith, peace and hope.
             John F. Kennedy said it this way, "One person can make a difference and every person must try."

Thought for Today: OK, there will be bad news this week. We will hear it, see it and sometimes feel it. This week we need to overcome it with the faith and hope of the Lord. This week let us show others our hope for future generations.

Prayer for the Season: Dear Lord, this is the time of year when all faiths celebrate you. We celebrate your presence in different ways with the common thread of love and peace. We pray for the guidance to share our faith so that we may sow a seed in your name.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Midnight Clear

Midnight Clear

“It came upon a midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold:
“Peace on the earth, good will to all, from heaven’s gracious King”
The world in solemn stillness lay,
To hear the angels sing.”
(Methodist Hymnal 218)
Words by Edmund H. Sears, 1849

            Living in Minnesota the idea of clear air at midnight on a sub-zero evening is a great set up to think peaceful thoughts. I was just outside in that setting (actually plus 9F) and the amazing feeling of quiet, beauty, freshness and the wonders of the evening seem endless.
            The stars are so bright that I wonder why we need the Hubble telescope. The freshness of the air was tremendous. It makes me feel like cold air has more oxygen; it was almost intoxication. The feeling of the air on my face must have increase the blood flow to my cheeks and felt great. It brought back memories of days spent sledding with my friends many years ago. Yes, God has created a great place for us.
            This is a beautiful time of year and the beauty, stillness, invigorating atmosphere is a gift for us all. It is easy to sense how the three Wiseman must have felt while following that star many years ago. Luke put it this way:
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel,
Praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
   and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
(Luke 2 vs. 13, 14)

Thought for Today: We live in a wondrous world, let us enjoy it, appreciate it and protect it.

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, today we give thanks for our worldly blessings and the bountiful lives have through you.


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Blue Christmas 2015

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 my family will miss my mom who recently passed on and several friends are dealing with injuries after falls.  There are too many to list with serious ailments and others in severe career and financial crises. I ask you for prayers for all that are sad this Christmas.
            Our service Of Light and Hope (sorry Elvis!) is this week.  June and I will be there praying for our issues of ageing and for those we know that will need our prayer. 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.

Monday, December 7, 2015

A Day of Infamy!


The LORD Almighty has sworn,
“Surely, as I have planned, so it will be,
   and as I have purposed, so it will happen.
(Isaiah 14:24)

            Today is a famous day described as a day of Infamy. It is one of the most famous days in the history of war. There are a lot of famous battles described in our history books, David and Goliath, Troy, Gettysburg…and more. I need to wonder and ask why. Most wars since WWII have been un-Godly nobody wins situations that do not seem to resolve anything. In fact, after the treaties are signed there has been as much tension as before and does not make a lot of sense to me.
            So where is God in all of this? What would Jesus do? How come both sides can think God is with them? These are great questions and I am not even going to try to answer them. I will refer them to Abraham Lincoln as he analyzed God’s presence in war.
            In Abraham Lincoln: A History by Nicolay and Hay, Lincoln is quoted: “The will of God prevails. In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be, wrong. God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time. In the present civil war it is quite possible that God’s purpose is something different from the purposes of either party—and yet the human instrumentalities working just as they do, are of the best adaption to effect His purpose…God wills this contest, and wills that it shall not end yet. …He could give final victory to either side any day. Yet the contest proceeds.”
            Today we need to remember Pearl Harbor, a day in infamy. We also need to pray for an end to all conflicts and terrorist acts, we need to contemplate world peace.

Thought for Today: Contemplate world peace.

Prayer for the Day: Dear Lord and savior today we are wondering where it will all end. Throughout history the world’s people have found ways to battle. Today we pray for some understanding as to your role in all of this. We pray for understanding so that we can represent your will in search for peace.