Monday, June 27, 2016

The Lighter Side!

 A Lighter Life

For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?”
(Luke 12 vs. 23 & 25)

I am trying to be a little on the lighter side this week.  I do not believe that the Lord is wasteful and wants us to be ecologically sound; not waste our resources. So with my tongue in cheek let us consider the benefit of having many things.
            June and her many friends all do crafts and have rooms dedicated to their hobby; craft rooms. These rooms have years of unfinished projects; cross stitch kits, quilt squares waiting to be finished, skeins of yarn and spools of thread awaiting the needle; even an unfinished braided rug or two! Quite often when they are together one will comment that they know the Lord will not take them until they have finished their last project!
            As men we are not much different. The fisherman has a tackle box full of jigs and lures; he cannot be taken until the last lure is lost or the last fish caught! The gardener and landscaper can never be done until every crop has been harvested and tree/shrub matured! The hunter has his many guns and the game is never ending- certainly his job will never end. We are all safe folks!
            We know the above is levity and I am not serious. Our reality is that when doing a craft, fishing, hunting or gardening we are quiet and at peace. We are blessed by the Lord through our many activities. Using our stuff/ toys contributes to our peace and compliments our spirituality. We must always be careful and remember that it is love and the Holy Spirit that will bring the everlasting peace.

Thought for Today: Today let us remember our faith and commitments with joy. It is ok to have fun and laugh.

Prayer for Today: Lord hear our prayer for the good life; one of joy, love and abundance. We pray for these for all throughout the world.


Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Valley!

The Valley

Even though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for you are with me.
(Psalm 23:4)

            Recovery from surgery is a tough mental and physical battle that frequently ends in the deepening of spirituality. Healing physically is something we all are used to; our bumps and bruises over the years, minor cuts, all go away in time. It is easy not to recognize the miracle of God with the minor problems.
             However, when a big one comes, it is equally easy to ask "Where are you God?" or "Why are you doing this to me?" It is easy to lose sight of what matters when facing a life threatening event. Often, we are caught up in the analysis of the doctor’s skills and the various treatment options and where is the best place to go for help.  Yes, let's get technical and analytical to make darn sure that the doctor can take care of us. Let's make sure we go to a hospital with the latest equipment. But somehow, let's not forget God in the process.
             In 1998 when I had cancer, my impatience and out rite fear chased me into the hospital in only three weeks, no analysis or wait and see. Just my typical impulsive, "Just do it" (thanks Nike). As many of you know, somehow, I threw it over to HIM with reckless abandon. That brings to mind the last line of the Psalm 23,"Surely goodness and love will follow, all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
            The June of 2013, the physician that I work out with and I realized that I had something going on with my heart; it would not perform up to my standards. He recommended an immediate stress test. OK, but June and I had six weeks of vacation booked and I decided to take it easy, not push my limits and do the tests later. In October the tests showed two very blocked arteries and I now have stents and made it with no heart muscle damage. That brings to mind that God is always with us, even when we are being stupid!
            The Lord and physicians came through for me and my family. We all need to remember Him during times of fear and illness.
Thought for Today: Let us focus on the unfortunates around us that are ill and keep the 23rd Psalm in mind. Let us see if we can contribute to helping in some way. 
Prayer for Today: Dear Lord, many of our friends have health issues. Some are minor, some serious and some fatal. We pray that we may find a way to assist, help and calm their fears as they walk through their valley. May we help by following your guidance through prayer. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Walk with the Lord

 Walk with the Lord

"But everything exposed by the light becomes visible,
for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said:
“Wake up, O sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
Be very careful, then, how you live; not as unwise but as wise,
making the most of every opportunity...
(Ephesians 5:13-17)
        Wow, we are sure all busy. Often when saying "Hi, how are you?" the reply is "busy" and a review of their calendar follows. It seems that when Paul wrote this passage, he was advising an active life style.
       Even many retirees comment that they do not know when they ever had time to work. One of my stated retirement goals is to maintain flexibility and not say that. After ten years we find the weeks seem to pass by faster and we have to be careful not to get caught up in the whirlwind of life.
       However, there are many blessings in being involved. June and I often reminisce about our frantic past lifestyle. Many of the times that seemed the craziest and most out of control have generated the fondest memories: The Blessings. Reading this qualifies you as one!
        Paul goes on to say in verses 17 and 18, "Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Thought for Today: Yes we are busy. It seems that being busy is a good thing. As we move through our schedules this week, let us take the time to thank God for the opportunity to be involved or busy. Let us stop and appreciate and feel good about our contributions.
Prayer for Today: Heavenly father, we live in a world of hate and fear. We pray that somehow it will all end, but it seems that it is just beginning. We pray this week for some sort of love attack to break out. Somehow for the world to recognize the advantages of Godly love.

Monday, June 6, 2016

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 past week it seemed that our summer traffic and road construction threatened too many people's tranquility. The construction season combined with heavy rains slowed things down to a crawl. Frustration seemed to replace grace on the highways. There were several incidents of road rage incited violence!
            A Good News friend wrote a book called Pursued by Grace. It is a great story of his sixty plus years of ignoring positive signs. 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.