Thursday, November 29, 2012


I know I have been absent for a few days.  My apologies.  We have been in Iowa visiting my parents.  It's one of those times when visiting and time with family takes top priority.  I'll be back with you and have some thoughts to share in just a few days.  Do be patient with me as we take some family time.  Oh, this is a photo of my wonderful mom.  She is a most amazing lady!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Saturday's cartoon

Best quote of the day

Don't be ashamed to admit you were wrong. It means you have more sense than you had before. -Ray Pritchard


"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." -Philippians 4

Anxiety is at epidemic levels in our world.  We are anxious about everything!  We fear what's happening around us. We are fretful about our jobs, our marriages, our kids, our environment.  Our culture has created an environment of anxiety.  In the midst of so much lack around us the one thing that is abundant is anxiety!  We worry about everything!  

I should know.  I have gotten a PHD in worry. Like many of you I have mastered the art of worry and anxiety and taken it to new levels.  I find I often worry about not having anything to worry about.  Pretty pathetic isn't it?

In contrast to the way we live the bible tells us not to worry about anything!  Imagine such a crazy admonition from the pages of the Bible.  Doesn't God know what's going on in my life?  Doesn't he understand I have good reason to worry, to be anxious?  Of all people God should know what I'm going through.

He does.  And what he knows is this- anxiety is the result of lack.  Lack of resource.  Lack of power to resolve a problem. Lack of control over events. Lack creates anxiety. When I have no way to meet the need, no way to control the situation, no way to stop the war or prevent global warming anxiety sets in.

God's solution is simple....when anxiety rises realize you are depending on your own supply, control or power and not God's.  Stop, take a breath and go to God with your problems, your needs, your lack, your fears and talk to him.

One thing you need to know about God...he lacks NOTHING!  He has everything you need.  When anxiety rises it's your cue to pray, to talk to God and give your worries and anxieties to him.  His supply can resolve your lack. His peace can calm your anxiety. His power to take care of your problems will dissolve your fears.  

In a world of anxious people there are a handful who walk in peace.  They know what to do about anxiety.  They talk to God and trust him to resolve it for their good and His glory.  And he always does.

So, today, as anxiety sets in, just as it does for all of us, take a breath, step aside and visit with God about it all.  Give it to him and he will trade your anxiety for his peace.  He will resolve your worries with his peace and presence.  Pretty good trade, don't you think?  

Friday, November 23, 2012

Pride, humility, Jesus and me

I just picked up a new book today and am reading it with a frequent wince.  The author deals with pride and the example of Jesus we are called to emulate.  I'm greatly challenged and not a little convicted by the challenge of this book.  

Would I recommend it?  Yes, if you want to deal with difficult issues in your life.  

Once in a great while I read a book that challenges me and convicts me.  This is one of those books.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day in America.  It's an annual day that had it's beginnings with a group of pilgrims celebrating their survival in a new land with food and thanksgiving.  Today is the day we gather for a traditional meal of turkey and a dozen other things that are not only delicious, but required for a real Thanksgiving meal.  The reason for the first celebration was thanks to God.  It's not the reason many celebrate it now, but giving thanks to God is a key element to the Judeo-Christian faith.  Throughout the bible giving thanks is an acknowledgment that what we have comes from God.  In fact the bible says that all things come from God's gracious hand.  Take a few minutes tomorrow and thank God for something in your life.  He gave it all to you, it only seems right that you take a moment and thank him.  

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What are you looking at?

A lot of life is all about what you are looking you see things.
Do you see the problems or the opportunity?
Do you see the wall or the window?
Are you overwhelmed by worries and missing the joys?
What are you looking at? What are you focused on? I must often follow David's example in Psalms and intentionally change my focus. If I focus on the "wall" (my problem) I get depressed, discouraged, and can't see what God is doing, but if I look out the "window" I see beyond my own knowledge and abilities and am able to see God at work.....then everything changes. For me the word of God is like that window, it's gives me a new, expanded, different and amazing view on my situation. God's word and his work in it gives me a vision of what's possible beyond my wall. Here's an example of David's own change of heart because of his change of vision as he finds himself looking at a wall....
Psa 42:1-8- For the choir director. A Maskil of the sons of Korah. As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, While they say to me all day long, "Where is your God?" These things I remember and I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go along with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God, With the voice of joy and thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival. Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence. O my God, my soul is in despair within me; Therefore I remember You from the land of the Jordan And the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls; All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me. The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime; And His song will be with me in the night, A prayer to the God of my life.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Living upside down

Whenever I read Jesus' words in Luke 6 I have to stop and calibrate. 

It's difficult. 

We live in a world that's been turned upside down from what God intended. If anyone lives as God meant us to live we look different. We look upside down. Here's the passage that always makes me stop to look at how I'm living in this upside down world...

Luke 6:27 "But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

These words are so contrary to the way our world works and yet these are the life choices for a Christ follower. 

Every sentence of Jesus' words challenges our rights to ourselves. 

He calls us to love others in such a way that we give up all our rights to our own way, our own things, our own best and yet, at the end, we see the intent...Jesus is calling us to treat others in the way we want to be treated whether that ever happens or not. This is the way Jesus lived out his life. He lived these verses much to the confusion of those around him. Jesus turned the other cheek, he blessed when cursed, he showed us the final tally of this kind of life. 

It's a life that seems upside down, but if we live it out it will turn our world right side up.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The devil's best weapon

The devil's best weapon to undermine and destroy the church and the love of God in the body of Christ is the fear of man.  

Fear pits one man against another.  

Fear divides.  

Fear separates.  

Fear breeds mistrust.  

Love is the antidote to fear. Fear undermines and destroys the love of God in any church family.  Love calms fear and draws the family of God together in unity.  

If the enemy can sow seeds of fear and lack of trust then love is lost, the body is compromised and confusion sets in.  Soon fear isolates and the church family has lost its focus on their #1 command- love one another.

It's sad watching people who love God living in fear and mistrust of other people who also love God.  What's wrong with this picture?  How have we let the enemy defeat the body of Christ with the fear of man?  Why don't we protest, draw in closer, turn towards one another instead of away from each other?  

Instead we let fear win the day and it makes us each vulnerable.  It weakens the body of Christ.  Imagine that...allowing the enemy of our souls the opportunity to defeat the body of Christ with such a divisive thing like fear.  

How should we respond?  What can we do?  How do we once more become the body of Christ, loving one another and saying "no" to the enemy's attempt to make us afraid of each other? 

How should we respond?  John 13:34-35- “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  

"As I have loved you".....what a wonderful example to follow.  It would quickly defeat the devil's best weapon.  The love of's the perfect antidote to the fear of man and the one thing that identifies us as the family of God.  It's our greatest need in the church today.

"Thankful" by the Skit Guys


I am an early morning person.  Often, in these winter months, I'm leaving the house while it's still dark.  As I get to the car I often look up at the early morning stars with awe.  In the silence of the early morning, even while no one watches, God is faithful.  Every morning he is faithful.  The witnesses to his faithful love are the morning stars when I wake.

Some would say you don't need God for that.  It's just the way the universe is, but why is it so predictable?  Why is everything so stable, so constant?  This is the not the way a chaotic, random universe would work....but it does.  Someone, something has built into this amazing universe a consistency, a stability that is amazing to even the scientists.  It is the witness to a faithful God who holds all things together and witnesses to me each morning that he is unchanging as I look up at the stars...still in their places...just where they are supposed to be, just where they were the day before.

Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.  -Psalm 36:4-6 

Faithful.  What a great thing to know about God.  Ever the same, showing his power and faithfulness to us by the early morning sky that is always there and whispers in the quiet of the cool morning air that a faithful God is caring for the universe he has made.  

Thank you, Lord.  I often take your faithfulness for granted, but I'm so grateful for it. Thank you.

Monday, November 12, 2012


Yesterday I turned 62.

Life passes quickly!

I never expected to get this old.  I never thought it would come so quickly!

It seems I just begin and now I'm nearly finished.  

So, may I share a few reflections from 62 years of life?

- The thing you fear rarely ever happen. 
- God has always been kind.
- Good friends are rare and hard to find.
- A Godly mate is more important than all the money in the world.
- Money doesn't make you happy.
- Pursuing happiness doesn't make you happy.
- Happy isn't as important as everyone thinks.
- Pain is a good thing.
- Discouragement is normal.
- Hope is vital.
- There is a God, only one, and I know him personally.  He wants us all to know him.
- Life is not about what you have. It's about who you are.
- The only eternal things you will ever encounter are people.
- Most of us live in fear most of the time.
- Listening is more important than talking.
- Life is short, enjoy every moment.

Just a few thoughts after only 62 years.....

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Saturday cartoon

Thankful, Day 9

Today I am thankful for God's love.  

It's a simple thing, this idea of love, but there is so much to it. It's a feeling, a decision, but at the core it's a need!  We need love to thrive.  Give a baby good food, water, clothing and every other need, but deprive them of love and they will be emotionally devastated, socially handicapped and ever needy.  Love is as essential to the human as food or water.  Without it we simply don't really live.  

As I write this I think of someone who grew up in an orphanage.  They got food, clothing, and the other "essentials", but they never received love.  It's has affected every area of their life.

The love of God is essential for a healthy life.  

Today I'm thankful for the love of God.  Today I'm thankful that God loves me.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Thankful, Day 8

Today I'm thankful for dogs.

There really isn't much more I need to say.  Dogs speak for themselves.  They are a rich blessing to those they own.  They don't talk back, they are always glad to see you and they like you even when you're unlikable.

Today I'm thankful for dogs.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

A great article

A friend posted this article on Facebook this morning.  It's a great story of how one church made choices that made a difference.  I encourage you to read it.  You can link to it here.

Thankful, Day 7

Today I'm thankful for grace.

It's a simple word.  In culture it has kindness attached to it, care for others, deference for another person's need.  But in the bible grace is rich with meaning.  It speaks of God's dealings with us.  In grace he has forgiven what we have done and given what we don't deserve or could ever earn.  Terms that are used to describe it are unmerited, free, abundant, undeserved.  It's God's great gifts given to us when we least deserved them.  

Today I'm most thankful for grace and the way God have extended it to even a sinner like me.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Thankful, Day 6

Today I'm thankful for peace.

When all around us it seems the world, our world, is falling apart we can have peace.  It's a peace that comes in the midst of difficult days and especially because of difficult days.  

Jesus described it in this way,

"I am leaving you with a gift- peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.  So, don't be troubled by what happens or afraid of what might happen."  -Jesus

Peace.  It's a strange thing.  It feels like the eye of a storm.  All around is chaos and destruction, but in the eye of the storm is calm and peace.  

In a world today with the winds of storm all around I am thankful for the peace that comes from faith in God's care and provision.

Today I'm thankful for peace.

The unshakable Kingdom

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.” -Heb 12

This morning, as I read these words from the author of Hebrews, I am once more reminded that the only unshakable kingdom is not a kingdom of this world.  We all long for stability, peace, calm, common purpose, leadership we can trust, and a kingdom that will last, but honestly it's not here, not part of life on this planet.  

The kingdom that will never be shaken is the kingdom of God established by King Jesus.  This unshakable kingdom will shake out all other kingdoms of the world and one day all will see the only kingdom left will be God's unshakable kingdom. The only king, Jesus.  

So, be thankful today, if you have trusted Christ, that although the kingdom you live in may be shaking, the unshakable kingdom is the country of your citizenship.  Be thankful and worship God who has prepared for us a kingdom that will not be shaken by the whims of men or angels.  A kingdom that will not be rocked by scandal or fraud.  A kingdom where peace and righteousness reigns.  A kingdom that will never be shaken.  

As a citizen of that kingdom and the one I reside in now I long for the eternal kingdom and the king who is soon to come and shake all the kingdoms of man.  In that day the unshakable kingdom will be the only one.  Jesus will be the only king.  Come, King Jesus, establish here your unshakable kingdom.  

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Thankful, Day 5

Today I'm thankful I can be thankful.  

Sounds redundant doesn't it?  It is in a way, but I'm thankful that I can give thanks to God and know that he hears.  My thanks verbalize my trust in him and express my thanks for all he has done and is doing in my life.  

I'm thankful I have a reason to say thanks, to tell God how grateful I am for what he has done.  What a joy to be able to say "thank you" to the one who made me and loves me.

Today I'm thankful.

Monday, November 05, 2012

The election

I'm predicting that at the end of the day tomorrow God will still be seated on His throne and fully in charge of the Universe.  All is well, enjoy your day tomorrow and don't fret about who wins a little thing like the presidential election.  Here is a brief commentary on all of this from one of the greatest kings in history,

"At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever.

His dominion is an eternal dominion;
    his kingdom endures from generation to generation.
All the peoples of the earth
    are regarded as nothing.
He does as he pleases
    with the powers of heaven
    and the peoples of the earth.
No one can hold back his hand
    or say to him: “What have you done?”  -Daniel 4

Thankful, Day 4

Today I'm thankful for rest.  

And, to celebrate my thankfulness for God's great gift....I'm going to rest.

Isn't God amazing that even in rest we can experience his provision?  

"Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty." -Psalm 91

Today I'm thankful for rest.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Thankful, Day 3

Today I'm thankful for laughter.  What a blessing God has given us to be able laugh, to be able to smile.  Humor, laughter and the noises that come with it lift our spirits and often quiet our fears.  Laughter is one of God's wonderful gifts we don't celebrate enough.

I first discovered humor when I spent time with my grandfather, Harold Mead.  He loved a good laugh, a prank, a practical joke.  He was a farmer in Iowa as I grew up.  I remember him with cigar in hand, big brim straw hat on his bald head and a twinkle in his eye.  He loved laughter.  My brother and I learned to appreciate humor from our times with him.  My brother has inherited his spirit of mirth and carries it on in his life.

There is nothing better in life than a laugh, a smile, the joy of celebration as we share a funny story or a practical joke.  In it all I see the heart of God and his joy in us.  He made us to laugh.  He made our faces so it's easier to smile than to frown.  God made us with the need and desire to laugh.  There is nothing more therapeutic to the soul than laughter.

Today I'm thankful for laughter.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Thankful, Day 2

Today I'm thankful for pain.

More than four years ago I fell (my own fault) and crushed my heel.  What followed  was surgery, months of recovery and ongoing pain with each step I take.  Now, without realizing it, I walk with  a slight limp.  Pain does that.  

I'm thankful for pain.  Because of it I know how wonderful it is when it's absent.  Because of it I know when something isn't right.  Because of pain I'm more aware of my mortality.  Pain is God's warning system that always gets my attention.  Pain is a "thorn in the flesh" but it's also a gift that moves me to prayer, to trust, to growth in faith.

James wrote these words to describe the work of pain in our lives, 

"Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing." -James 1

Pain has become a close friend and constant companion.  It draws me to prayer, to trust in God, to growth I never imagined I could experience.  If you can avoid it I do recommend it, but if pain becomes your companion use it as an opportunity to grow in faith.

Today I'm thankful for pain.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Thankful, Day 1

It's two weeks to Thanksgiving.  A great time to focus on God's blessings and provision.  Many immediately think of things, but I would like to focus these two weeks on the more permanent, but often intangible stuff of life.  I won't talk about material things in these two weeks because that would mean there are some who might read these words and think they are not blessed because they don't have _______ or ______.  So, let's talk about what we can all celebrate and give thanks for.  Let's talk about what's really important!

Today I'm thankful for life!  I'm thankful that God has allowed me to be part of his amazing creation and witness his work around me.  I'm thankful for the life he has given me to enjoy.  Daily there are pains and problems, headaches and backaches, heartaches and forgotten memories, but each day I get to be part of God's amazing creation and live to see his handiwork.  

Today I'm thankful for life.

Thursday, November 01, 2012


There are decisions to be made.

We each have them.

What to wear, what to eat, where to go, what to do.

Decisions are part of our lives so much that we often don't realize that each decision is based on another and another until we come to some core decisions that are foundational to all we do and think.  These core decisions filter every other decision we make.  

What is a core decision?  What is a foundational decision that would frame and filter all other decisions?  Here are a few questions that each of us ask that help us establish our core decisions, our foundations,

1. Why am I here?  Your belief and decisions about that question will determine a lot about how you decide things today.  For example, imagine your answer is "I'm here to enjoy life."  Then, from that core belief and decision about purpose and destiny, all other decisions are constructed.  Work or play?  If enjoying life is your core decision then play is the only answer.  

Here's another one,

2. Is there a God?  Your answer to that question is a core decision and belief that will determine how you live out your foundational decisions.  If you believe in God then there is someone you must deal with.  If not, then whatever works for you is just's a decision that builds a foundation for your life and every decision that follows.

Here is a core decision from one of the authors of scripture,

You are my God, and I give thanks to You;
You are my God, I extol You. 
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Psalm 118

The author of these words made a core decision, a foundational one, "You are my God" and from that decision, that belief, others followed.  It's clear that his decision to give thanks is a response to an earlier decision of faith. One builds on another.

Often we fail to realize that the decisions of today do not stand alone, they are built on a foundation we may have constructed years ago.  Now we think differently, look at things differently, make decisions differently because of decisions made years in the past.  

Your decisions today never stand alone.  They are built on the past.  That is the very reason we have so many different opinions.  Somehow we have the idea that the issue we are discussing is completely clear to everyone, but each one is working from a series of past decisions that frame the way they look at everything, including the topic you're arguing about right now.  

If you were able to revisit and discover the decisions that brought you to this day what would you find?  Are they the foundations you want to build your life upon?  Maybe it's time to revisit foundational decisions and see if these are truly the decisions you want to define your life.  It might be time for some remodeling.