September 26

            A popular children’s television host once said, “Play is seen as a respite from serious learning, but for children, play is serious learning.” Indeed, children learn many vital skills when they are playing, such as how to interact with others. As we grow older, though, play often gets pushed behind work, and we forget how to have fun, let alone have fun in the first place. Yet I believe that as adults, we can still learn things through play – how to form strategies, how to think logically, how to win (and lose) graciously. Games not only provide a way to have fun; they also allow us to exercise our mental muscles.
            Play is a characteristic of not just humans, but mammals in general. Play is essential for our mental health. So why do we feel that it is necessary either to suppress it or to turn play into something that’s not much fun at all? The psychology of such questions is beyond me, but I do know this: There is truth in the saying, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

            I can imagine the creation as a perfect balance between work and play. Yes, God rested after the six days of creation, so it had to have been work on some level, but all you have to do is look around the natural world to see what fun God must have had during the creation. As the saying goes, if you think God doesn’t have a sense of humor, look at the platypus. And after the creation, the Bible reminds us that God saw that it was very good. May we ever be mindful to strive for a good balance between work and play, so that at the end of the day, we can say that the day was very good, too.


September 19

At the end of last year, my friend had to put her older dog down and she commented to me that she learned a lot from her dog Winnie - patience, forgiveness, and unconditional love to name a few. I agree, we have lessons to learn from our dogs and other animals. My dog Rudy likes to stop on the path in the woods when we walk and every few feet he will be still, listen, smell and look. I think we can learn lessons from the many creatures that God created, to stop, be still and use all of our senses to take in all of God's creation.

Psalm 46:10 Be still and know that I am God

Gracious Father,

Help us to be still and just listen. We can hear Your voice in the gentle breeze blowing the leaves in the trees, the cicadas buzzing during the heat of the day, the crickets' song at night, and the birds singing their songs all day long. They all remind us that You are always with us if we just take the time to look and listen! Amen.

September 12

There are times in most people’s lives when they become discouraged. In today’s world, for many of us, our lives are very busy. When one of “life’s interruptions”, such as an illness, a difficult situation in our family, or possibly a work related problem occurs, we may become overwhelmed and discouraged. The stress builds up, and we wonder how we are going to be able to handle this new problem that we had not anticipated. I know that God wants us to turn to him during these difficult times. Sometimes we tend to wait to ask for God’s help, instead of going to him in prayer first. When we turn to God in prayer, he will always give us the guidance and strength to persevere.

When I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me the strength I need.

                                                                                                         Psalm 138:3