Saturday, May 28, 2016

Honor Them

Memorial Day in the US is when we honor all those that have gone before us. It is a special and somber time.

Honor Them

“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)
Celebrate Memorial Day, pray for all who served; who went before us and all those that we love.

            For several years my son-in-law Rick played in the 451st Fort Smelling 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 in a common language. 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.”

Thought for Today: Today let us remember all who have gone before us and be thankful.

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 23, 2016



Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
 (Proverbs 4:vs.23)
            Oh yeah, here we go again on being good, not succumbing to temptation. We sure get tired of that don’t we?  In twelve step programs there is a lot of talk about the goal of spiritual growth rather than spiritual perfection.  I guess that means we will never be perfect. I am OK with that.
            This proverb goes on and on about being good by mentioning “…guard your heart, your lips, look straight ahead etc.” I did not print it all because WE ALL KNOW THAT!
            I ask but do not want to know your specific temptations and I have no intent on sharing mine. The bad news is we all have them. The good news is that the Lord is with us. . Purity, ethics, commitments and standards begin in our hearts.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Mathew 6:21)

Thought for Today: Each day we need to be the best that we can be. Today we will make choices. Let us make them from our heart- in purity with ethics, commitments and high standards.

Prayer for Today: Today we give thanks for your presence in our lives and the way that you guide us. Today we pray that we will rise above our temptations and represent your will here on earth.

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Navigator

Note: June and I are on the final day of our annual trip to visit our family and friends in the UK and New England. We have been travelling since April 24th, flown back across the pond, drove 1127 miles in a left handed six speed, helped our grandson at Boston college move from his dorm, planted flowers on mom’s family resting place and attended church with friends in Sterling Mass. With all of that we have missed seeing many of our friends along the way who we would like to see. Tonight we arrive home to Minneapolis and get the best treat of all: The best part of any vacation is the first night home sleeping in your own bed!
Bless you all for being our friends!

The Navigator

"The LORD will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail."
(Isaiah 58:11)

            Often when we wake up in the morning we do not have a plan. Sometimes we are energized and happy other times we are stressed and depressed. Many times we need to adjust our thoughts to the spiritual side of the balance scale. We need to open the windows to our mind and allow God's fresh breeze to liberate us when we are down. This morning June and I are in Massachusetts on the twenty second day of a long trip that included the UK and I am waiting for the breeze.
        When waiting for the breeze, there seems to be a need. In my case that need is often met with strong coffee, sugar and perhaps some Ibuprofen. That is not the best solution. It has a physical and temporary lift, but the need is better met spiritually.
        This morning the need was met through prayer. The breeze that arrived came through Isaiah 58:11. Sometimes we forget what we need. We forget that God is with us; we leave Him in the back seat rather than use Him as navigator for the day.
As navigator He will take us to places that we would not have gone on our own.
Thought for Today: Today there will be stress, problematic decisions and times of anguish. We need to focus and remember that "God is with us" and we need to let Him lead. We need to pray over the tough decisions and focus on following His will.

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, we pray for your guidance. We need to understand our immediate world and area of control and also understand the happenings around the global World. Neither seems very well organized today. We pray that we can find a way to contribute through you to help your will prevail in tough situations.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Finishing Again

Finishing Again

"It is better for you to finish now what you began last year.
You were the first, not only to act,
but also to be willing to act.
On with it then and finish the job."
2 Corinthians 8:10-11

         In the spring my thoughts gravitate toward the good old days when my friends and I trained 10 -14 hours a week for endurance events. The camaraderie or the group, the support offered by the group when one of us was having a bad day and the feeling of spirituality in the early mornings as we traveled on our way was priceless. In 2008 on June’s and my 40th anniversary celebration many of my former training buddies came and the warm feelings were instantly present. There was an interesting bond.
        As an unranked runner but former elite masters swimmer and Triathlete, there were many times that finishing a running event near the bottom of the pack was more rewarding to me than a swimming or triathlon trophy. A trophy is a nice memento, but over time becomes unimportant dust collector. As an elite you are supposed to be near the top, but that really is not what it is about.
        In the early 80's my friend Billy and I ran a half marathon. He finished a good half hour ahead of me and felt great. I was not ready and thought I was going to die out there. The following year, Billy was again a half hour ahead of me but I met my personal goals and expectations. I fondly remember that day and have that finishing picture on my office wall. It reminds me that being at the bottom of the pack is not a bad thing when you are at the top of your game. The goal is personal, to be the best YOU can be.  Neither of us won that event or our age group. Both of us were proud winners because we finished. Life is like that- when we finish what we start, we win.
Thought for Today: It is spring, a time of renewal. God brings us flowers, green grass and warm temperatures. It is easy to be busy enjoying it all and put a few serious issues on that famous "back burner". Today let us identify what we need to finish; who we need to help; who needs our prayers; who could use a visit. Let us complete the tasks that the Lord has put before us.

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, we need your guidance on how to use your love to succeed. In our cities, our neighborhoods and the world we pray that we can find a way to contribute so that your love will somehow "finish" the race for peace and security.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

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 used to use 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 than 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.