May 29

                Graduations abound! I have started receiving announcements and invitations from family and friends to celebrate these milestone events.  The High School students and their families are both excited and a little fearful of the changes that are bound to come. The students graduating from college are breathing a sigh of relief at their accomplishments and looking forward to the new independent  life they have anticipated.  All of these events are cause for rejoicing and reflection.
Trust in God that He will always be around and in you to help pave the way. Even in times of trouble, He wants what is best for you.
Romans 8:28:
                “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

Precious Lord,
                You have brought us this far and we have learned so much from following you. Thank you for patiently pushing us forward.  

Our prayer is that you watch over all “graduates”.  Whether in school, business or personal challenges, we want to always feel you are with us in large and small ways. Help us remember to reach out to you daily so that we never forget from where our strength comes. Amen.


May 27

                                                   He touched me....

Recently I encountered a serious medical scare that appeared suddenly and required immediate attention. The situation caught me off guard and I needed to go to God in prayer.  I prayed this simple prayer; "God, please touch me in ways that I will let me know you are with me in this crisis."

Over the next several days, my general doctor referred me to a specialist who was able to see me within 24 hours. An MRI was needed and scheduled for the next day. A long-time friend called and offered to drive me to the test. The doctor called within an hour of the test and reported the condition, only detected through MRI imaging, was not serious and could be treated with medicine. A prescription was called in and within a few hours, the pain lessened. My prayer was heard; God was definitely there and "he touched me".

Dear God, when we are in a situation and need to feel your support and presence, remind us we can ask you to touch our life in many ways. Remind us to reach out to you and ask for the many ways you can touch our lives through actions, people, words, and prayer. Thank you for holding our hand in yours.


May 25

I was reading the good Samaritan parable the other day and I took away a couple different things. It made me realize that all the people who saw the man lying on the road felt that they were too good to be the one to take care of  the man. They felt that he was not worthy of their effort because they may have been powerful or busy.

Jesus teaches us to humble and to judge others not by their power or wealth, but by their character. The good Samaritan, which we should all strive to become, took compassion on the man. He gave up his time and money for a complete stranger.

I challenge you to be a Samaritan in your daily lives by taking care of the problem that you know is present and looming over you or others in your lives. If you see a piece of trash, pick it up. If you know someone in stress, help them out. Help make the world a better place for other people as a follower of Christ. 


May 23

It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for.  Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.  Ephesians 1:11-12, The Message.

It was unexpected.  But, then, many blessings come that way.
My daughter and I spent Mother’s Day shopping at the mall – a rare and fun treat for us.  We were paying for our purchases at one of the stores when my daughter thanked the man who was our clerk for working on Mother’s Day.  He chuckled and offered that having him out of the house for the day was the real gift for his wife. He went on to say that his wife was home celebrating with their four children.  The man and his wife were so blessed, he said, because they had not been able to have children of their own.  His wife had suffered four miscarriages so they had decided to adopt four special needs children, the oldest now in college and the youngest being 14.
 Maybe it was the way he said it. Maybe you had to be there.  But the obvious love of this man for his family touched our hearts.  As my daughter and I rummaged in our purses for tissues, we apologized to the man for our tears and thanked him for blessing us with his story.  Then the three of us dissolved into laughter at what the people behind us must think of the two women crying in the checkout line over a purchase of baby clothes.

Dear Father,

Thank you for the joy of unexpected blessings. Help me to know that you are ordering the steps of my life and have a plan for me.  I need to trust you - especially when things don’t go my way.  Open my heart to you so that I may know the glorious life that you have planned for me.  Amen.


May 21

Half Full or Half Empty?

They say that a pessimist sees a glass half empty, but an optimist see the same glass half full. One sees opportunities missed, the other sees opportunities still at hand.

A pessimist stands at the rear of a moving train, looking back and bemoaning all the sights he has missed. An optimist stands at the front of the moving train looking ahead, in awe of the panorama coming to him.

There are young pessimists, and old pessimists. A young child cannot wait until she gets older and has permission to do all the things that adults can do. An adult yearns for those days past, when she had no aches and pains, could see with clarity and without glasses, and awaited the mailman with anticipation of a letter from Grandma, rather than a dunning notice from the electric company.

May our spirits dwell on cool water remaining in the glass, rather than the humid void above the water, that does nothing to quench our thirst.

God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

--Serenity Prayer, Attributed to American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr


May 19

I want a nap.  I have been going full tilt for several days and I would love to curl up in a comfy spot and sleep until I wake up - no alarm clock, no hungry dog, no school bus.  I won't be getting that "want" any time soon, but I will be able to get a good night's sleep tonight.  God will provide what I need, just maybe not what I want!

Gracious God, you give me everything that I require.  Thank you; thank you.  Please help me to get a restful night's sleep tonight and help me to be alert and kind today.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.


May 17

I love lilacs.  In my childhood home, there were tons of lilac bushes.  When my mother sold the house, I removed a few small lilacs to plant in my yard.  I anticipated the fragrance of the blooms and the light purple and white clusters amid the green leaves.  After planting them in a sunny spot, I waited patiently a couple years for the plants to settle in and grow a bit.  Well, it has been several years.  The plants yield a handful of blooms, but nowhere near the abundance of the plants at my old home.  Apparently, these lilacs prefer their home environment and aren't able to bloom as well in this "foreign" soil.

We are much the same, aren't we?  We do best in the place to which God has called us.  If we try to force ourselves to be or do what others, or even we ourselves think is right, we don't thrive.  We may bloom, but not in the richness that could be.  We not even bloom.  We may have stunted growth, or simply struggle to survive.

Lord God, you are the perfect gardener.  You have created us and know the person you call us to be.  Grant us wisdom, strength, and courage to grow as you call us to grow.  Help us to lovingly put aside all other ideas of who we should be, so that we may bloom in the fragrant abundance of your grace.  Amen.


May 15

“Then God said, let the land produce vegetation…and God saw that it was good!” (Gen. 1:11-13)
After a slow start my wife and I (along with some fine help from my youngest son) finally had a chance to work in our garden this past weekend.  While I like a flowering garden with something on display throughout the year my wife, practical as always, tends towards vegetables but together we almost always have something blooming in our small suburban patch of ground. Whenever we dig in the dirt to plant, tend and, with God’s blessing, grow our garden I think of what a gift our garden is; what a blessing it is that God has given us a small chance to experience the magnitude of his creation.
There are so many different types of gardens and gardeners around the world – producing foodstuffs, flowers and medicines that it makes me wonder if God’s curse to Adam that he would have to grow his food and to “eats the plants of the field” (Gen. 3:18-19) was really intended just to punish. Could it also be understood as a means by God to remind Adam of his connection to creation despite his separation from the finest garden ever? Certainly a good garden or a fertile field requires hard work and effort and doubtlessly Adam’s life as a farmer after the “fall” was hard but each spring he would be reminded, as we are, that life begins with God’s touch – His hand is always present in our plantings, our weeding and in the production of our lives.

Dear God, Thank you for our garden, for our farms and for the chance to see in the beauty of our flowers and the bounty of our harvest your hand in creation. Truly you have blessed us with a bountiful planet. Amen


May 13

The next few days are filled with activities that have been on my calendar for months.  I also have a few things that have come up that were definitely not on my calendar, yet are very important.  It can be hard to juggle life sometimes!

Gracious God,
Help me know what YOU want me to do.  Give me strength.  Please help me to interact with others lovingly, even as I struggle to balance life's challenges.
In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.


May 9

    My attitude colors my day.  If I begin my day with a complaining attitude, it certainly
influences the rest of my day in a negative way.  Beginning my day with an attitude of
thankfulness sets a positive tone for the rest of my day.  When I focus on what I am thankful
for, I am less apt to complain.  God has given us many blessings and giving thanks each morning will help you meet the challenges of the day with a different perspective.  We can learn to be thankful for our challenges.  If my heart is thankful, there is less room for negative thoughts.


May 7

"Being A Christian Today"   

  It is not easy to be a Christian today.  I don’t know that it has ever been.  We need to be attentive and deliberate if we expect to stay in Christ and not be drawn away. It can really be a struggle; one in which we are already engaged and may not even aware of it.  There is plenty of resistance within us and outside of us to living the life and running the race that God has set out for us.  And I want us to be prepared to stand firm in the struggle in the name of Jesus Christ.  

    As a teenager, I went on a short hike through a rain forest.  When I came out, there were leaches already attached to my legs. I couldn’t even feel them and didn’t know they were there until I looked down.  I had never seen leaches before!  And though they were not yet deeply imbedded, a few had already started to draw blood.  That day I learned - if you are going to take walks in rain forests where there are leaches all around, you should not be surprised when you come out with them attached to you.   

     When you choose to place yourself in an unhealthy environment, you should not be surprised that some of it attaches to you.  It is one thing when we are not aware of the potential dangers, it is another when we choose to walk in them.  We should not be surprised to find ourselves in a struggle for our minds, our hearts and our bodies when the messages all around us tell us to go ahead.   As our culture becomes more self centered and the phrase “you deserve it” is used as an excuse for almost everything, we are going to find ourselves on leach invested trails.   

    It is also true that you do not need to seek that which is unhealthy for you.  You can fall into it unawares if you are not careful.  We need to be aware of the messages around us and how easy it is to get blown off course.   If you are in over your head, seek help.  If you are aware that there are areas of your life which you keep walled off and are not of God, know that you are not meant to live a divided life.  

     In this beautiful season of the Resurrection, know that you are not alone.  Jesus died on the cross to cancel the powers of sin and death which would hold us down.  Jesus is with us every day of the week, every hour of every day, every second of every hour.  Wherever you may be right now, he is there to help you in your struggle.  We are meant to live in the light.  Let its beams fill you and lead you in every area of your life. 


May 5

Dear Lord,
Help me, help us, to really grasp this idea and to have faith that we are not in control.   Teach me, teach us, to “let go” and allow you do what you do best.


May 3

Thank you, God, for the sunshine. It is in our darkness that we appreciate the light. Help us to change this outlook; we need to seek you and thank you in the sunshine and the rain. Thank you also for a new month and a chance to proclaim your word. Amen.


May 1

Holy Creator God,

As we look around us, we notice all of the budding flowers and trees.  We think back to the bitterly cold winter and the thoughts that it might never end.  But we know that you promise to bring us out of hard times.  You promise to guide us through struggles that arise in our lives.  Thank you for the Spring time reminder of these promises.   Every Spring, the earth comes back to life just as you did on that Easter morning.  Continue to remind us of the great things in our lives, O Lord.  Help us to remember that you are always with us through it all.