Sunday, October 30, 2016

Halloween 1991

Halloween 1991

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God
. …which transcends all understanding…?”
(Philippians 4 verse 6)

            Halloween, October 31st in 1991 was a significant event in the northern part of the United States. In our neighborhood we had two significant events to prepare for; children trick or treating and June’s departure to the UK for a family visit on November 1st. Mother nature also had a plan that she had not consulted with us on; the great Halloween three day blizzard in Minnesota which was a piece of what is now known as “The Perfect Storm.”
            Paul told the Philippians “Do not be anxious about anything…” but millions of Americans were anxious that weekend! People died on lost ships on the Grand Banks and Minneapolis had 30 inches of snow. But it was not all bad on our end. Let me explain.
            In the early afternoon we had a temperature drop and a snow squall started. That is not unusual in Minnesota in the fall and we did not expect it to be anything but a fun Halloween! You see, I had already decorated the outside of the house with Christmas lights so we turned them on. The lights drew a large group of Halloween revelers. We met them with a special greeting, “Ho Ho Ho, Happy Halloween.” There was six inches of snow on the ground and we did pray for the safety of the children.
            In the morning there was 15 inches of snow and the visibility was near zero. A trip to the airport seemed impossible. Prayers were needed. We decided to depart after lunch for a 6:30 flight and the 20 minute trip took over two hours and was very dangerous. June’s flight departed 3 hours late and I had a three hour ride home. Happy Halloween.
            I assume you all know about the perfect storm and sinking of the Andrea Gail from Gloucester. Our trials were minor when compared with the loss of a ship and lives. When we heard the story, it put our events into perspective. We were stressed and blessed at the same time.
            Monday is Halloween, enjoy it with your neighborhood goblins!

Thought for Today: Monday, Halloween, is a special day and we should enjoy it with the revelers. We should also think back to 1991 and be prayerful.

Prayer for the Day: Heavenly Father, this week we pray for children on a day they look forward to each year. We pray that they be safe and have a great evening. We give thanks for their presence in our lives.


Monday, October 24, 2016



Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly,
and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give,
not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times,
 having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
(2 Corinthians 9 vs 6-8)

This is the tenth season that June and I have not had the benefit of the large gardens that we had at our home before we down sized. We worked very hard evenings and weekends to  create a bountiful harvest to have and share. We do not miss that very much but we do have ten pots on our deck and we have other harvests.

Since we “downsized” and became non-landowners, we have had 40 -45 days each summer to fill that use to be spent gardening. Many of those days are spent together, often at our favorite arboretum, sowing seeds in our relationship. Other days are taken up by spending time with friends that we did not have time for in the past. As a result, we reap a closer relationship with each other and the friends..

You see the analogy of reaping crops used by Paul in his message in Corinth is still valid today. We need to sow seeds every day in relationships, our minds and with each other so that we may reap the harvest of love and friendship.

Thought for the Day: For today let us take a quick look at our calendar and see where we can sow seeds for our future. Look for the opportunity to sow seeds selfishly for our worldly future as well seeds for the Lord. He is our real future

Prayer for Today: Today is the day you have made for us. Unfortunately the roads have bumps and there are unknown troubles out there awaiting us. Today we pray that your presence will guide us through the tough moments and that we may accomplish our goals in Your name. Amen

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Be Selfish

Eisenhower (or Be Selfish!)

He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant
—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
(2 Corinthians 3 vs. 6)

            We are in some way the light, ministers of the gospel or promoters of the Holy Spirit. That is a part of the covenant we make when we join the Christian church. That is an awesome responsibility and I for one certainly don’t feel like a spirit promoter every day.
            Those of you that know me are aware of my propensity for relaxing through exercise. It is a daily piece of my live and pursuing it often shows my selfish streak. In my late twenties I made a covenant with myself to be as good as I could be. I wanted to be a good dad and husband and believed that fitness was a piece of the equation.
            Later in life, June and I decided together that fitness was more than physical; i.e. it was spirit, mind and body! OOPS- that decision meant three times as much work. We agreed that we would work on the spirit and mind together but she had no interest in joining with me on my swims, bike rides and runs. (She was always a bit smarter.)
            Our 34th president Dwight David Eisenhower was a strong believer in this. He did his morning exercises and whenever possible he kept his calendar open for an after lunch nap. When at the Whitehouse he would spend time chipping and putting before his afternoon meetings. His colleagues considered him eccentric and selfish. He felt he needed a scheduled break to be the best he could be for himself and his country.
            We all need to be the best we can be, for ourselves, our families and to serve the Lord. Be a bit selfish so that you can help.

Thought for Today: Today let’s do something for ourselves that will help our spirit, mind and body.

Prayer for Today: Dear Lord and father today we pray that we can keep our covenant to made to you, we pray that we are shining your light as bright as we can. We pray that we are the light of the world so others may see find you through us.


Monday, October 10, 2016

Grand Advice!

This post is in honor of my mom who passed one year ago at age 98! Along with the advice in the devotion she also said, "growing old is not for sissies!" At age 77 I can attest that she was correct!

Grand Advice

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 of 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.


Sunday, October 2, 2016

Don't Fake IT !

Don't Fake IT

Woe to you …you hypocrites!
 … on the outside you appear to people as righteous
 but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
(Matthew 23v27)

            One of my favorite themes is been being true to our faith by being open and honest. It is something that we all desire, but it also comes with some social consequences. There are way too many people in the world that have a different reality than Christians.
            In America and throughout most of the world, life is competitive. It is as if the resources are limited. As Christians, we are taught that the world has an abundance supplied by God and I believe that is true. But there is a major distribution problem in the world.
            Dealing with the wealth of Western civilization and how it relates to Christianity is scary. Recently when talking about a stewardship campaign at our church it was mentioned that if all Christians would tithe we would not need the government to run social programs. That would be “way cool”.
            Each of us needs to be as good as we can be to contribute to the positive factor in society.  We need to take the social risks to reach our real rewards.
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to an idol
or swear by what is false.
 He will receive blessing from the LORD
and vindication from God his Savior.
(Psalm 24v4,5)

Thought for Today: We will have to make a choice this week; to be straight and true or hold back a bit. We need to make the tough choices that improve the world around us. We need to keep a pure heart.

Prayer for Today: Dear heavenly Father, we give thanks for the many blessings and opportunities you bring to us. This week we pray for the chance to demonstrate our faith to others; to help. We pray to be able to do your will here on earth.