Sunday, June 25, 2017

Raising Expectations

Raising Expectations

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ,
set your hearts on things above,
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
Set your minds on things above,
not on earthly things.”
(Colossians3, 1&2; NIV)

            We have talked a bit about how the head and heart lead our bodies. How often our thoughts may be negative and they can lead us into depression. Let’s face it, when we read or listen to the news, they talk mostly about negative events. However, most of what goes on in the world is positive. We need to focus on that!
            Remember the words to the old song. “When you’re down and out, lift up your head and shout, It’s going to be a great day.” We are often confronted with the local curmudgeon, the person who finds fault with everything. Let’s face it, they are right, it is always too hot or too cold! Too rainy or their lawn needs watering! Things are too expensive! Coffee is too weak or strong! Pray for them, they need us.
            We will have negative influences in our lives. As we move through our daily lives, we are blessed with the tools to deal with the negative side.  I read this on a sign in front of a local church recently, “The Lord does not guarantee us smooth passage, just a safe landing.” It is up to use our Christian tools to stay positive and be happy.

Thought for Today: Today we will have to deal with negative issues. Let us turn them into a positive experience by dealing with them promptly. When we encounter some that seem to linger and not go away, let us remember to turn those over to God through prayer.

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

Saturday, June 17, 2017

God is With Us!

God is with us

"Now Moses was a very humble man,
more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth"
(Numbers 12:3)

         Like Moses, we are not always enthusiastic about what God wants. We are a humble lot, conservative and considerate of others views and feelings. Almost to a fault. We are humble before God.
        However, in our lives we are often asked to perform tasks that require an assertive posture. Many of us are leaders in the community, at work and at church. We are often leaders that require strength while still being humble. That is a great leader.
   God's response to Moses was "...I will be with you." and he will be with us always.
        When you are feeling hesitant and inferior, God says, "I will be with you."
        When you are wondering if you can make it another day with the job stress, He says, "I will be with you."
        When you're faced with a tough decision and wondering what to do, He says, "I will be with you."
        When you are experiencing great joy, God is with you.
        You may be a bit reluctant, as was Moses, but we need to remember that as we go through life, God is with us always.
Thought for Today: Today we need to remember that we are not alone. Through our faith we have help meeting our obligations. Let us take control of situations in a humble manner and allow ourselves to be led through the tasks ahead.
Prayer for Today: Dear Lord and Father we thank you for being with us. We are often confused in a world of activity. Often when things go well, we feel that we controlled the situation. We pray that we can recognize your involvement in our everyday lives and have the forethought to give you thanks through our actions and prayers.
Amen


Saturday, June 10, 2017

Examples!

Examples
“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.
(James 3:13)

        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.

Amen

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Smile!

Smile!

Note:In light of the happenings in London and around the world I wanted to post something positive! Somehow we need to pray for world peace and end religious and political hate!
This was written in 2006 shortly after the death of my brother. It shows the effect that we have on those around us and is described well in Paul’s letter to the Romans.

 Smile!

Never be lacking in zeal,
but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Share with God’s people who are in need.
Practice hospitality.”
(Romans 12v11)

Thought for Today: Today let us give thanks to those around us that support our lives: even those who do not realize the effect that they have on us. Let’s follow Paul’s advice: “Share with God’s people who are in need” and “Practice hospitality.”

                This is being written in the, food court at Midway Airport in Chicago at 8 am after a 6am flight from Minneapolis. There are smiling faces all around; even the TSA security people seem upbeat today. The smiles are almost infectious. It is not the normal scene that I observe in airports.
                 It seems that most of the people here today read Paul’s advice to the Romans and are being zealous and hospitable. It is infectious. I was not looking forward to this trip because there is a lot of work lying ahead at mom’s in Massachusetts helping reorganize the house after my brother’s passing.
                I awoke in a pensive mood and have dealt with smiling happy people for two hours. First the TSA security people were in good spirits, then a flight attendant greeted me with an exceptional smile, a guy helped me with my carry on when I almost dropped it, the flight out is on time and I had a first class upgrade. It also helps that I am writing Good News and having an omelet between flights!
                Today I had forgotten my own rules about the start of a new day. Up at four, fly at six stop in Chicago and then on to a stressful week! My funky start has been turned around by others. Somehow, the spirit and joy of those around me has affected my mood. It is like I can feel the spirituality around me.

Prayer for Today: Dear Lord today I simply give thanks for those around me that have lifted my spirits.

Amen

Friday, May 26, 2017

Memorial Day!

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

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Desire

Please read part two of this post!

Desire

"Flee the evil desires of youth,
and pursue righteousness, faith love and peace...
(2timothy 2 verse 22)

            Paul sounds a lot like my mom sounded during high school. During the teen years listening was not my strong suit. How could a ranked athlete and honor student be a bad guy? In my mind my record justified my behaviors and the price paid was ten years that today I refer to as my dark period. Those years were the times I spent learning how life really was a two way street as opposed to a one way street that I owned.
            Faith somehow stayed with me and praying was often present when the darkness was dominant. God was with me in spite of my behaviors. He was always there and I would reach out to him just as Popeye would grab for his spinach. And, just like Popeye’s spinach, He always came through for me. He will also come through for you.

Thought for Today: Today will not be perfect so keep your prayer close by and ask for support!

Prayer for Today: Dear Lord, today we thank you for the goodness in our lives and the hope and love that tomorrow will surely bring.

Amen

Part two, from a friend from my dark period!
Pick,
God WAS there, we were just too caught up with ourselves and too stubborn to acknowledge His presence. We knew each other way back then (for part of that time) and neither you nor I were walking in the light. However, once the Holy Spirit got hold of us we were changed radically. "Reborn" you might say.
I'm thankful that you are in my life now and that you were in my life then. I have seen a marvelous change in you and I'm sure you have seen changes in me.
God bless you Bob. You are a good friend and God has allowed me to measure myself over these 40-50 years by seeing the changes in you. I pray I am measuring up to His plan for me and that you too are pleasing to Him
George

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Your Road?

Straight to our Heart

In the wilderness prepare
the way for the LORD[a];
make straight in the desert
a highway for our God.”
(Isaiah 40 vs. 3)

            When driving in the UK where the roads are windy and twisty, occasionally we come to a long straight road that goes on for miles. My wife, a Brit, explained to me that those are ancient Roman roads laid out 2000 years ago. I found that impressive.
            In ancient times leaders built roads in the desert for their armies to move. They are long and straight and efficient so they could move quickly. The valleys are filled by pushing the tops of the hills. They facilitated the need. In New England where I grew up there are very few straight roads. They paved the cow paths and horse trails which tended to follow the river beds. It is tough for strangers to find their way.
            The message today is that we need to be sure of our road to the lord; that it needs to straight. There needs to be a straight connection between God and our heart. We need to allow the simplest two way travel possible in our complex world; straight to our heart. 

Thought for Today: Today let’s think about where our road takes us; where are we going. Perhaps we can take a few bends out and travel straight. 

Prayer for the Day: Heavenly Father, we live in a complex world and are surrounded by too much activity and we are over committed. Today we thank you for being with us and pray that we may keep our hearts open to you and stay on a straight and holy path.
Amen

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Footprints!

Footprints
“I come to the garden alone,
while the dew is still on the roses,
and the voce I hear falling on my ear,
the son of God discloses.
and he walks with me,
and he talks with me,
and he tells me I am his own,
and the joy we share as we tarry there,
none other has ever known."
(In the Garden, C. Austin Miles)
(Methodist Hymnal No. 314)
        The overwhelming support that we have as people of faith is certainly wonderful and one of the greatest advantages of Christianity. Often, as an A type personality, I awake before June and go jogging (now walking!) at sunrise, "...when the dew is still on the roses...”. The sound of mourning doves and early robins is the dominant sound rather than traffic or other social activity related noise. Often I find myself humming "In the Garden".
        Another time when it comes to mind is before a tough meeting or event. Whether a business meeting, neighborhood meeting or a hospital visit, it is great to know that you are never alone if you let Him join you.
        Many of you often see me with a lapel pin that is a pair of feet. They are from "Foot prints in the sand".  They are to invite conversation regarding the concept of walking with Christ every day. It is always an interesting conversation.
        We are blessed.
Thought for Today: This week let us simply remember that we are never alone. Let us enjoy His presence as we walk through our lives.
Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, we are certainly glad that you are here for support. Often the world around us is confusing and it is difficult to understand your wishes. However, we give thanks for the roll that you play in our everyday lives and the help you give you give our friends and families.
Amen 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Spring!

Spring

"In the bulb there is a flower,
in the seed an apple tree;
in co-coons a hidden promise:
butterflies will soon be free!
In the cold and snow of winter
there's a spring that waits to be,
unrevealed until its season,
something God alone can see."
(Hymn of Promise, Verse 1, Natalie Sleeth, 1986)

        This is s glorious time of the year. The northern hemisphere goes into the transition to summer. It is a time when the resolutions from New Year’s Day are long since successful or forgotten. A time of vacation planning, garden planting and the anticipation of the beauty of the warm season. A time of hope led by the visible evidence of God's presence around us.
        This is a time for reflection and review of our dark side. A review of the negative forces in our lives. This is spring and we need to recover the "...hidden promise..." in our personal lives "... that God alone can see." Through our faith and belief, our Lord will share with us the pleasures of life.
Thought for Today: It is spring. Let us take special notice of its wonders. Smell the flowers and enjoy the showers. Let us share these positive feelings with others and encourage positive feelings around us.

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father we pray for an end to senseless killing and the guidance to understand this violent world that surrounds us. There seems to be a dominant hate factor that is not created by Godly forces. There needs to be more prayer and less negative logic.  We pray that the world’s religions may see you as one God. We pray that somehow through your divine guidance, killing, hate and violence may come to an end.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Joy

Joy

The Lord is my strength and my shield. My heart trusts in him and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song."
(Psalm 28:7)

    Is there joy in our lives? Let us face it, most of us have a lot more joy (positives) than negatives. Our family, friends and associates are sources of great joy. It is spring, the grass is green; the trees are budding with leaves and spring flowers are showing their colors. It is easy to see this kind of joy.

    Many people today have a problem seeing the joys in their lives. Several of my good friends have recently lost their jobs and another has a fatal illness. There are always two sides to our lives. When we are down, it is important to remember the Lord and his place in our lives. As Paul said to the Romans (15:13); "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

    Yes, in our lives there are physical and emotional joys. Our surroundings and life styles generate them. The real joy, however, comes through our Christian beliefs. It is this belief that gives us the "strength" and "shield" mentioned in Psalm 28:7.

Thought for Today: Let us keep joy at the forefront of our thoughts. When challenged with life, let's use our shield - the Lord.

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, many of our friends are fighting battles. Illness, unemployment, unwanted career changes and many others. We pray for them to understand your strength and love. We pray that they may find the joy that is only available through trust in you.

Amen

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Personal Prayer

Personal Prayer

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.”
(Romans 14:19)

         As we watch the news, read our newspapers and study life around us and throughout the world, we see a lot of stress and confusion. The media presents us with more negatives than positives. We might wonder how to overcome these challenges and bring peace to the world.
         We need to consider what our contribution to peace will be. Certainly we cannot go out tomorrow and solve the world’s problems and create “World Peace”. However, each of us can start every day with the goal to be at peace and stay that way. Stay within ourselves through prayer to maintain our own internal peace.
         Our contribution to the world can and will start within us. We know that the Lord is with us, we need to let Him in and others see the results. As Paul stated to the Romans,
“We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.
Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.”
(Romans 15:1 & 2).

Thought for Today: There is an old expression that suggests aggressive reactions: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”. That is always an option. Today for us let’s think about this: “When our going gets tough, let’s start to pray and be at peace”. Let’s all demonstrate a better way!

Prayer for the Day: Heavenly Father today we pray for gentile solutions to our problems. We pay that when things get tough we may peacefully resolve the issues the way Jesus did.

Amen

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Also Ran!

Also Ran!

Then the LORD said to Joshua,
“Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
(Joshua 8 vs.1) 

            Being an also ran is a way of life. We rarely finish first. As many of you know I detest the sports attitude that “Winning isn’t everything it is the only thing.” Here are some examples: My friend Pat McNamara qualified in four different Olympics and did not win a medal; my brother Wayne swam for years and was a national top ten in four events but never had a national championship; Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski played years for the Red Sox and never received a world series ring; and the list goes on! None of the above is a loser and all were or are proud of their accomplishments.

                       Clint Purvis, the team chaplain for Florida State University’s football team under Bobby Bowden put it like this after a tough loss to Miami, “There is a huge difference between getting beat in a game and being a loser.” Clint reminded the team of the characteristics of being a winner: 

1.      A winner still remembers that God never forsakes his own.
2.      A winner must remember that it is always painful and costly to claim victory again.

3.      A winner will always remember the source of all his blessings.

(from Bobby Bowden’s Called to Coach, Howard Books, 2010 

            We rarely are number one but since God is always with us, we are always winners. 

Thought for Today: Today we will have battles we do not expect. With God’s help, let us be winners no matter which way the battle turns out! 

Prayer for Today: Dear Lord and Father, today we thank you for being with us at all times in every place. We thank you because when you are along we will be winners.
Amen

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Examples!

Examples
“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.

Amen

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Tradition!

Tradition 

Now, brothers and sisters,
I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you,
which you received and on which you have taken your stand.
By this gospel you are saved,
if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you.”
(1 Corinthians 15 vs. 1&2)

            As a sales and marketing person over thirty years I saw markets change in many ways. In the old days we drove a lot of miles selling trinkets and gadgets that met customer needs. We often brought new technology and served as an educational force and consultant. We called it “show and sell”.
            Through technology the products evolved as did the communication. The advent of email and the internet minimized personal visits. In today’s world, the customer has reviewed the products and others on line and the sales challenge is to assist in his selection process. In my former industry salesmen now sit on line with the customer reviewing products and applying them to the customer’s situation. The style is totally different but our message is the same. We can meet your needs.
            We have a project in our church trying to adjust to 2000 years of a changing market. We need to TWEET, POST, E-mail and use the latest technology to give out a 2000 year old message to an ever changing population. Our services are overhauled so we refer to them as traditional, combined and contemporary. We are challenged and adapting to the world of high tech communications!
            However, even though our communication has changed, the message has not and cannot. Over these new mediums and through the different styles we must hold firmly to the word. The new market will find the help they need in a very old message.

Thought for Today: For today let’s marvel at the message; never changing, always true. The lord is with us.


Prayer for Today: Heavenly father today we are in a hurry. Our calendars are full and technology gives us very little time to meditate. Today we pray for your guidance through it all. We pray for grace and solitude through Jesus. Amen

Monday, March 13, 2017

Positive Reinforcement

Positive Reinforcement

"... let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate,
and the hope of salvation as a helmet.
…Therefore encourage one another and build each other up,
 just as in fact you are doing."
(1 Thessalonians 8-11)
In my high school years of football, our coach was a negative motivator. It seemed that everything we did was wrong. The best complement we ever received was a "good job, but...”. The criticism after 'the but" was all that most of us ever remembered. None of us believed that we were very good and we were not having any fun. In 1956, three of us quit the team to go to private schools for a variety of reasons. There was a large article in the local paper about how significant a loss it was to the local high school team because they lost some great players. All three of us were really surprised at the compliments given to us by the coach.
        At my new school, I found my way to a swim coach named Al Houston. Al was caring man, a positive motivator and would have two or three swimmers at each Olympic games. Receiving positive motivation was a wonderful experience. The team all felt good, worked hard, we liked Al and each other. We were also the best team in the northeast. We learned to care about excellence, not letting each other down and generally care about each other.
        This is a strong message. We are in challenging political and economic times right now and there is a lot of negativity our country and the world. Each day we read and see bad news. To stay positive we need to follow the lead of Christ and demonstrate our love and caring.   We need to show our fellowship toward others.
Thought for Today: Today we will have the opportunity to be negative. School teachers will have a mischievous child, salesmen will lose an order, the weather may not be good... and we will want to whine. When that happens, stop and meditate, "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up". Let us all have a positively great day.

Prayer for Today: Heavenly father, today we pray for those with negative ideas, those with aggression toward humanity and their victims. We pray for them and the opportunity to influence with them in a positive way.
Amen 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Commitment

Commitment

“Whatever your lips utter you must be sure to do…”
(Deuteronomy 23 vs. 23)

            One of the ways to be successful in life is to keep all of your commitments. If you say it, make sure you do it; even after having second thoughts. Become known as one hundred percent reliable.  It is probably impossible to be 100% but the closer you are the more you will benefit.
            I have a friend who coached youth soccer and had never played. He told the league that he was unqualified but would be available if they could not find someone else. They called and he managed a team and with the help of two assistants that could teach skills they worked things out. He managed the team rather than coached and the kids had fun. This same guy also managed a youth hockey team and could not skate. You see, the people with the skills did not (or could not) make the time commitment.
            In the business world one of my jobs was training people new to sales. Trainees working with me heard the word commitment a lot. Fortunately in sales, most of the competition lacked the passion or desire to be fully committed. If you were the one that got back to the customer first, if the customer trusted you would be prompt, if your information was reliable, you would get the first call and the most orders. It was a simple task and the most important.
            At some time in your life you made a commitment to God. These messages are an opportunity to review that commitment and recharge your batteries; a way to keep committed and stay on track in a world of distractions.
Thought for Today: Today let us be committed. First to God and then to ourselves by being the best we can be!


Prayer for Today: Dear Lord and Father, today we give thanks for our many blessings. Our families, friends and people that we do not know yet. We give thanks for being Godly people that will be accepted and liked by others.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Let God lead

Let God Lead

"Precious Lord, take my hand
lead me on, let me stand,
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn;
through the storm, through the night,
lead me on to the light,
take my hand precious Lord,
lead me home."
(Thomas A. Dorsey, 1932 UMC Hymnal 474)

        God works in many ways when we allow Him to help us. Yes, he is always there, but not always present in our minds. We have a way of being self-centered, focusing on business issues, personal problems etc. We want to be in control. We can deal with it ourselves.
        Many years ago, June came home with a big orange refrigerator magnet that had the message "Let go and let God" written across it. She did it because we were, and still are, control freaks. Often we get into the "control mode" when we cannot help or do anything about the problem. Trying to control things beyond our sphere of influence made us "tired…weak...and worn".
        It is easy to become frustrated when things are beyond our control. It is normal to try to control. It is better to recognize our place and let God take our hand, lead us home.
Thought for the Week: This week is a new week. Today is the first day of the rest of our lives. We do not have to function the same way as we did last week. This week let us take a look at God's influence in our decisions. Let's let some of it go and allow Him to help us.

Prayer for the Week: Heavenly Father, we thank you for our many blessings and the many wonderful things that we enjoy. We are concerned about others in our society that have less; some without food, housing or a job. This week we pray for our society in general. We pray that somehow everyone can be at peace, that everyone may find enough, that all children have food and that our riches are shared as you would have us share them.
 Amen

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Young at Heart!

Society seems to be way to negative right now. I thought this post would help!
Young at Heart
"Be happy, young person, while you are young,
and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth.
Follow the ways of your heart..."
(Ecclesiastes 11:9)
Throughout our lifetime, June and I have met people that seem at peace, people that have never quite joined the "rat race" of life, people that had something that we were looking for. The interesting fact was that they crossed all socioeconomic boundaries. The common thread always seemed to be their faith. They always believed that things would work out.
The strong message here is that the things that bring peace, serenity and happiness to our lives are found in our spiritual growth and it will be found in yours.
Thought for Today: Today let us avoid the rat race by praying for serenity and doing what we need to obtain peace.
Prayer for Today: Dear Lord we give you thanks for the opportunities you have placed before us. Today we pray for serenity and peace in our lives and the opportunity to help the cause of peace in our community.
Amen

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Lincoln!

 Lincoln

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure;
then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”
(James 3 vs. 17, 18)

                President Lincoln presided over a war that was one of the bloodiest in the history of our country. He could not have done what he did without his extremely strong faith. His bible was often at his side in meetings and had dog eared pages from continual use. It reinforced his belief that he and the union were doing the right thing.
            It brings to my mind the old joke about disagreements in church congregations. It says that the arguments are often fierce because both sides feel that they have God on their team! Well, in church politics we are not making decisions that cause battles where 10,000 plus soldiers die, people get assassinated, brothers fight brothers and the freedom of a race are at stake. Still somehow we do the Lord’s will.
            When Lincoln felt badly, which happened after a traumatic field report, he would lean on the Biblical hope offered to him (and to all of us). Today’s verse was one he used often when he was in need of reassurance.
He would say to his cabinet and all who would listen, “Let us renew our trust in God and go forward without fear and with manly hearts.”

Happy Birthday Abe.

Thought for Today: Today is the birthday of America’s most loved president. His faith is a strong example to us. We are commanded to be happy Christians, to be the light of the world, to share and contribute through our faith. Today let us shine our light brightly.

Prayer for Today: Dear Lord and Father we give thanks today for those great men who have gone before us and contributed to our world. We pray that we are contributing in some small way to accomplishing your will and spreading a world of peace and love.
Amen

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Ministers

Ministers
You are the light of the world.
A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.
Instead they put it on its stand,
and it gives light to everyone in the house.
In the same way, let your light shine before men,
that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."
(Matthew 5:14-16, NIV)
        My pastor says that we are all ministers in some way. Is that true? I believe that it is a fact that most of us want to keep under our hats. Perhaps the term closet minister applies to many of us. We help, we lead by example we attend services to learn more and we silently minister to those around us. Often, we do not know when we are leading.
        In any Sunday congregation there are takers and givers. Silent ministries occur in many ways. Twenty-odd years ago, a young single couple was acting in a very special way; holding hands, whispering in each other's ears and an occasional peck on the cheek. My personal thoughts were that they were inappropriate. The pastor announced their pending wedding during that service.
        After the service, a good friend of mine mentioned how neat he thought they were and that he wished he and his wife still had that level of enthusiasm for each other. My mind crossed over and today I think that couple, without intent, set an example for older couples. They were ministers.
"In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds...”.
Thought for Today: This week let us be thankful for those around us. Be at peace and demonstrate our passion and love to others.
Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, you have blessed us with many friends. We are surrounded and cannot avoid them. At work, on the streets and at home we are blessed. Today we want to pray for them all and especially pray that they recognize the beauty of Christian friendship.

Amen

Sunday, January 29, 2017

God’s Love and Grace

God’s Love and Grace

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God;
He is the faithful God,”
 (Deuteronomy 7 v 9)
           
June and I have been blessed by being close to people of varied faiths. Through our association with each, we have come to a strong belief that we all worship the same God in different ways and we all experience God’s grace.
In the 90s we became good friends with the family of an executive from Pakistan. It was our first real close relationship with a Muslim family. We were close to them in 2001 and observed the frustration that a true Muslim felt in regard to September 11.
Recently a Jewish friend that I have known and liked for years shared with me that he does bible studies so he can learn about the Christian perspective. His strong family values, general positive personality and strong ethical standards make him someone I am glad to know.
We have spent many Sundays with my family in Unitarian Meeting Houses when we return to Massachusetts. We are learning more about my mom’s grandparents who were Unitarian ministers.
To avoid making this a 10,000 word essay, let me summarize some of our other relationships: A son in law who is a southern Baptist, a brother in law who is a Catholic priest in the UK, a Buddhist sister in law, a Mormon best friend who lost touch with his faith, a Native American friend who has involved us in some spiritual activities, and the list goes on.
In each instance mentioned, June and I have experienced good friendships and observed strong Godly values in our friends. In most instances, we have observed God working in our friends’ lives and seen God’s grace at work in many ways. Most, importantly, we have experienced God’s grace through our friends
Thought for the Day: This week let us recognize those around us that are different and try to befriend someone new. Let us seek out someone that looks at God in a different way. The Lord blesses them also.
Prayer for the Day: Dear faithful Lord and Father, the world is a great and wonderful creation. There are many peoples of all colors and beliefs. There are generation gaps, social differences, and economic separations. Often the differences get in the way of social graces. Today we pray the ability to bring unity to the world.

Amen

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Good Feelings

Good Feelings
"There are different kinds of gifts,
But the same spirit.
There are different kinds of service,
but the same Lord".
(1Corinthans 12 vs. 5)

            Good feelings are great. Throughout our lives there are those special moments that burn into our memories, the warm fuzzies. They vary in many ways. Often at a funeral, family and friends recall those feelings about a loved one who has passed. They make a great celebration of life.
            As an athlete, I have experienced a lot of self-induced memories. A hole in one, championship swimming races, Triathlons with my daughter Karen, granddaughter Ashley are my favorites. This type of memory is good, but the ones that set me on fire and bring tears to my eyes are the ones I have from helping other people. The smile on the face of a nursing home patient when you visit them or seeing progress or success in another person after assisting or mentoring generates feelings that exceed personal memories.
            Service to others not only brings them joy, but a great feeling of satisfaction within the server. We all have been given gifts by the Lord. Real satisfaction in life can be accomplished through the sharing of these gifts with others.
 Thought for Today:  Today let's take some time and do some serious thought about our past service. Let us enjoy the memories, the reward given to us by God for our service. Yes, we deserve the "warm fuzzies" given to us for sharing our gifts. Enjoy the moment and today with His blessings.
Prayer for the Day: Heavenly Father, we thank you for the many gifts that you have given us, the feelings that we have when we use these gifts in our daily lives and the opportunity to use them to serve humanity. We pray for the wisdom to discern what you want us to do and the will to do it faithfully and well.

Amen.