Saturday, December 26, 2009

Uno champs!

The ground is level at Calvary and at the Uno table with my two granddaughters' age 6 and 4. They no longer need any assistance, and what an absolute joy, to see their minds fully engaged in strategic planning as they took delight in delivering draw two's, draw four's, reverse and skip, etc to their grand dad. I already knew the oldest needed no more help. To experience the youngest fully engaged and 'into it', with a joyful delight when she would lay down a draw two for me after planning on the exact moment really was the capstone to a blessed Christmas. I don't deserve, nor merit these favors from God, and this understanding makes it even easier to give thanks unto God. Redemption included for the mother of my grand children, no stain of all the negative choices I made while searching for truth. I continually marvel at the undeserved grace of God that washed away all the affects of my mistakes and removed generational dysfunctions. It was an undeserved gift from God to isolate the burnt brain cells from drug use, and dead ones from alcohol use from the gene pool. It was an unmerited gift for my children to be freed from generational dysfunctions.

Lord, on this day after Christmas, we all have so many things to be thankful for. Help us not focus in on the few things that are still not right. Lord, help young adults turn away from habits that without your unmerited grace will be passed onto their children and children's children for multiple generations.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Eve of the Second Advent?

Just typing it, gives me shivers. I am ready, but am I ready/ready. I finally got ready for the eve of the celebration of the First Advent, but I won't be ready-ready until after putting the finishing touch on the Christmas Eve service. There are multiple pages in my book, "Constant Forward Motion-The Running of the Lymphoma Ultra Series" dedicated to the mental/ processes I went through following a diagnosis of an incurable (by man) cancer. I thought I was doing exactly what I wanted to be doing, and I thought I was living in a pleasing way to God and family, but the process of readiness was more complete in the days following the diagnosis. All kinds of thoughts came in and out of my head during that time, and not all were positive leading. As I purchased the final gift yesterday, I received a call from a friend asking if I am ready for Christmas.

"Now I am".

Lord, help all of us, take a moment to quietly ponder the question. Am I ready for the day of the Second Advent? Lead us and guide us through the process, by showing us small and large issues that need adjusting. Lord, help us all fully and completely understand Your coming the first time. Help us make room for you, and receive you.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Books are available at Amazon.com

Books are also available at http://store.believerspress.com/shop/constant-forward-motion/.

Also available at the Vienna Tyson's Regional Chamber of Commerce business office, Vienna Presbyterian Book store, and at Vienna Assembly of God.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Book Signing Tuesday from 7-9p.m.

Tuesday night, at Vienna Assembly of God, 100 Ayrhill Ave. N.E., I will be signing books and offering a 50% discount for Northern Virginia residents. I love my community, and the context of the book, Constant Forward Motion-The Running of the Lymphoma Ultra Series is set in Vienna, Virginia. If you come tonight, I will make it worth your while. Use the covered entrance to the right of the church building as there is less ice at that entrance. We will be gathering outside the kitchen and enjoying some festive refreshments, as well. All attendees of Vienna Assembly of God will receive a complimentary book.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Gifts

What would our lives be like if we no longer felt like anyone, especially our spouse owed us anything? What if we didn't keep an emotional bank account? What if anything and everything was a free will offering, freely given without any sense of obligation, but with joy of a gift given freely. What if on the giving end every gift was freely given and on the receiving end was a complete and total understanding that it was undeserved and unmerited? What if every person no longer felt like God, government, loved ones, or anyone owed us.

My wife and I had a discussion about this during our 'snow bound' home worship service this morning. It was a very meaningful discussion and it helped us move forward with some issues of life. The full message is found at ViennaAG.com complete with everything one would need for a home service.

Lord, help us overcome any feeling of entitlement or emotional obligation. Help us overcome thinking we are entitled to anything, so that whatever we receive is a special surprise gift that will be seasoned with thanksgiving.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

16 But the earth helped the woman by… (Rev. 12 NIV)

The Revelation of Jesus Christ also reveals things about the earth. If the earth can help in a spiritual cause, then let us the return the favor as stewards of the earth, by doing all we can do to make the earth better, not worse. Since summer, Brenda and I have been composting everything we can and even after months of this activity, our compost barrel is not halfway full. I understand that organic waste is a major problem in landfills, and it is just one small way to assist the earth. Today is our town's recycling day, and every week, our recycling can is at minimum four times fuller than the one we use for other trash. It takes just a little effort to assist the earth, and conversely, it also takes effort to hurt the earth. What if every human being chose as one of their life goals, to 'leave everything and everyone better than when they found it or them'. Being a grandfather, I think about the earth my grandkids are inheriting. Little effort, combined with every human being will result in great results. I think, that the more revelation one receives about the Lord, the more helpful revelation about 'down to earth' stuff comes as well.

Lord, help us be helpful to earth, not hurtful.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Spiritual Super Heroes.

Rev. 11 speaks of two witnesses that have incredible super powers. I distinctly remember the first time I ever read about them. At age 19, I said to myself, "I want to be like that". They had power, coupled with a humility not often associated with God's people endued with this type of power. They will have the power to consume anyone that opposes them, with fire that will come out of their mouth. They will be a future version of a fire breathing prophet. It is imagination expansion to consider the possibilities of a person endued with this level of God's power. I am glad I don't have that kind of power. I would have torched a few people, that now I know were trying to help me see a better way of doing things. These guys will be able to do miracles of incredible description, not just blow torch their enemies. Being a redeemed redneck I have taken a mouth filled with lighter fluid and become a human blow torch in my BC (Before Christ) days but this, will be completely different.

Lord, thank you for the gift of imaginative faith. Help all of us see more victories and fewer defeats as we look for you in the season of Advent. Help us have more meekness than power. Thank you for forgiving us for all kinds and types of things.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Just another angel

So mighty is an angel that one foot is on the sea and another on the land (Rev. 10). Yet, this mighty angel, worships, honors and obeys God. As we keep moving forward in life, we pass into and out of seasons of more or less obedience to God. In a long trail run, such as the Hellgate 100K held this week end in the mountains of Virginia, less obedience to the path the race director chose could mean death or dismemberment. Making your own path in an ultra marathon leads to destruction and frustration at many levels. Why not superimpose this into our lives, and just keep following the path laid out before us by our creator and stop wandering through the cold, dark mountains of our negative choices.

Lord, help us keep our eyes on the path you have chosen for us to follow. Help us get back on the path, if we have strayed, and help us keep following and trusting you.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Abyss.

There is an Abyss (Rev. 9). I don't know too much about it, except to love God, others and life so I won't spend any time there. If standing in line during the holidays seem awful, then you really don't want to spend much time there either.

Lord, help all of us have a loving relationship with You, others and the life you gave us, so we can spend our time in more meaningful places.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Keep moving forward.

Getting to the bottom of administrative stacks is a blessing. Doing administrative things when I am not feeling overly visionary keeps me moving forward.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Original, authentic, spiritual, awe inspiring and a bit raw.

This summarizes VAOG's Christmas program. We have toddlers as singing angels, a first grader reading a lengthy text of scripture, children operating puppets and performing drama, youth singing both reverent and almost irreverent original songs, young adults reading bible texts in Spanish and English, adults reading poems, scripture, singing high end, high church songs, and the inspiring story of the incarnation of Jesus Christ is presented. It isn't close to the rawness of a baby born to a virgin, miles from her mother in a stable grotto and sleeping in an animal food trough wrapped in discarded rags, but it will have to do.

For a dose or authenticity, albeit raw, come to Vienna Assembly of God, 100 Ayrhill Ave. N.E. Vienna, VA. @ the 10:30 service. We will give you a free calendar and some nice bread.

Lord, help us see and experience the rawness of your birth. Help us throw off the chains of expected perfectness during this very special season. Especially comfort those, who will face their Christmas without a loved one, away from loved ones, or with a fatal diagnosis, or with very difficult unmentionable issues'.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

… thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ (2 Cor. 2:14 KJV)

Focused, unshakeable, firm, non-ending gratefulness to God always causes us to triumph. There is nothing wrong on God's side of the equation, and God never misses the mark (sin), so adjusted improvement is always on the human side of the equation. God can cause any human being to always triumph if that human being will keep their focused, meditative, grateful gaze upon Him. The result is worth transitioning.

Anyone using binoculars knows that there is a focus wheel that is always being adjusted as ones gaze moves across a landscape. As the landscape of our lives moves through seasons of life, we must continually adjust our focused gaze upon the Lord.

Lord, help me and others continually adjust our focus to always be gratefully thankful to You who always causes us to triumph. Forgive us for focusing on the issue at hand.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Good enough.

After numerous 'final' proofs, I still find a few issues, but I find issues in encyclopedia's and academic articles. So, Constant Forward Motion-the Running of the Lymphoma Ultra Series goes to print so it can be out for Christmas. Rereading, I relearned lessons and I pray it will be a blessing to all who read it.

Change of plans

Tonight, I was to attend a grand parenting class, but the final proof for "Constant Forward Motion- the Running of the Lymphoma Ultra series" has come from my publisher. Every time I re-read it, I am reminded of the grace, power, wisdom, direction, words, strength, of God that carried me and family from diagnosis of an incurable cancer through multiple faith promise runs for missions and lots of good laughter. I hope it is ready by December 21 and can be ordered on Amazon, Bethany Press, or Barnes and Noble. It can also be picked up at my house in Vienna, VA., or at my brother's houses in Brooksville, Florida and Poquoson, VA.

Preparing for the Mountain Masochist 50 Mile Trail run in 2010

I have made a slow and humble start to a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) for 2010. Tomorrow I get my chemo port flushed, next week I get a complete MRI of my spine, and more and more checkups by doctors, but life goes on with or without my active participation. Time is slipping by as another December is experienced. November just disappeared, and will never come back again. Choosing to move forward towards improbable goals can be undergirded by a renewed sense of thankfulness to God who "always causes us to triumph" (2 Corinthians 2:14 KJV). Running 50 miles next November is even more improbable than other things the future holds, yet improbable can become 'done', as thanks to God is offered who always, not sometimes, causes us to triumph.

Lord, forgive me and others for lots of stuff. Help us all be thankful to You and less complaining, or doubting, or self pitying, for you always cause us to triumph over some impossible goals.

Amazing females of VAOG

My wife had planned and prepared a Ladies Tea for Saturday. At about 9:30 a.m. the rain turned to a very pretty snow. All morning, as she continued her intensive preparation, we kept discussing the option of cancelling due to the weather. The final choice was made to continue. The parking lot was scraped in preparation, and one by one, 99% of those who had RSVP'd showed up and had a fabulous time in the Lord. We had about 3-4 inches of snow on the ground when the ladies ventured out, and once again proved that all the men of VAOG married way up. If it had been another event, a men's event, I am sure we would have cancelled.

Lord, bless the present and future ladies of VAOG. Thank you for each and every one of them.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I apologize:

Apologies (Repentance) by a human being prepare the way for the Lord. Human nature tends to focus on what we are struggling with, or is hurting over, or a pain we are experiencing, or what we lack. Human nature tends to justify our actions. We tend to focus on our perceived injustice, our perceived lack, our perceived or actual poverty, our perceived or actual diseases, and we tend to so focus on these, that it hinders the way of the Lord into our life. Just one act, of repentance, and turning into a life of thankfulness, prepares the way of the Lord to intervene. Here is an example of what repentance looks like.

1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (NIV)

There is never a time to blame God for a lack of any type. Let us ask for help in being thankful to God and move our attention away from our lack. This Sunday in every church that uses the Revised Common Lectionary will read in the gospel account of John the Baptist's message that repentance prepares the way for the Lord to intervene into a situation.

Just maybe, the act of apologies could pave a path for the Lord to come and intervene. Just maybe, John the Baptist's message is still timely and very revelant to all of us.

Lord, help me and others, apologize to you, others and to ourselves for things we have missed the mark in. We really do want and need you to come into our life. Help us as we turn our focus away from self to a life of giving thanks to you.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Some amazing creatures spend their eternal lives giving honor and glory to the Lord

The more I read the Revelation of Jesus Christ, I realize how little I know about Jesus. The ones who see the Lord and are in the presence of the Lord, including some pretty amazing and difficult to describe creatures, spend their eternal lives singing various versions of 'worthy is the Lord, holy is the Lord, great is the Lord, etc, etc, is the Lord". In our finite minds, this may seem trite and trivial, but in an eternal mind, in the very presence of the Lord, this is the ultimate in creative expression.

Lord, help me and others be more aware of who You really are, and erase any memory of who others say you are, but aren't. Help us to creatively express to you, our continual positive amazement at who You are.

Monday, November 30, 2009

So I will protect you from the time of testing that everyone in all the world must go through. (Rev. 3:10 CEV)

What is required to receive this protection? "You obeyed my message and endured" (Rev. 3:10 CEV). Let's remember the KISS rule, Keep it short saint. Just a few things we must do to receive the gift of protection.

Last night and this morning I began my journey back to endurance. It was a very humble start of the journey back. We can both build up our obedience and endurance physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. Growing, by going in the right direction can be incremental especially in a journey back to someone or something you once had. I find it is a very difficult process to begin again to recapture what was once had. Establishing a goal, and remembering the rewards are but one of many mental toys of encouragement. Protection is a reward of obedience and endurance.

Lord, help me and others focus on what we can do and thank you for what you can do. Help us obey your message and build up our endurance. We pray for the reward of protection and humbly ask for this gift and the ability to recognize areas we can improve upon.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Met the neighbors...

and the members of two volunteer fire departments, and the inspector for the Forestry Service. The Lord is good….
Lord, thank you for exchanging miracles for mistakes, and the opportunity to meet some very nice people.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Lots of Police Activity

Saturday evening on Virginia roads is full of Police Activity. Glad I attended a class many years ago, after getting three speeding tickets in my first month in OKC. Driving the speed limit saves a lot of stress and tickets. Constant forward motion doesn't require speeding. Good to be home after a very, near perfect Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Casseroles

Brenda, Catherine and Robyn were all day in the kitchen, preparing our feast. Casseroles of sweet potatoes, green beans, and corn filled the table. A huge, (made us laugh) spinach salad, gravy, cranberry filled stuffing, rolls, and crowned with a fabulous fresh turkey was set upon the well decorated table. Dessert was an apple pie (hand picked apples from our fall trip) and grasshopper pie topped with whipped cream. There were multiple returns and all this followed everyone giving thanks to God. All my children are now married to wonderful spouses, and there is peace among us. For some reason I have a memory of great stress surrounding many of my childhood Thanksgivings (maybe that is why we started going to hunting camp at Thanksgiving), and I really pray we can continue having peaceful Thanksgivings. We burned off calories, with yard work and cleaning the basement. We strolled down to the water after watching "It's a Wonderful Life", and discovered I had caught a medium carp on my catfish rig, which was immediately attacked by my cairn terrier upon its landing. The fire that took me forever to start now needed dousing as the wind began to gust, so my son and I stretched out the hose and ended its life. We played Bible Mad Gab and sat around and talked until it became obvious it was time for sleep.

Lord, you have made us all better by bringing spouses to my children. You have formed us into a wonderful casserole that is much improved with my children's spouses. Thank you for every ingredient that keeps making our family better. Thank you for forming us into an ever growing and ever better community.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Near Perfect Day

Wednesday was another near perfect day. Waking up with all the children and grandchildren safe and snug in their beds, in our house at Smith Mountain Lake is beyond beautiful. Sat on the deck sipping coffee watching and listening as nature comes alive with the dawn while reading devotionally. Fish swirling, turkey’s cackling in the trees, squirrels imitating deer, no deer, and wood peckers near and far. A huge pancake breakfast, by Catherine, Brenda, Robyn and Rachel. My neighbor Ralph and Wes, giving up their morning to direct the removal of a dead hickory tree and beech tree. Daniel, Jakob, David, and Tom giving up their days off to help guide the falling trees and cart them off to be burned. Daniel cleaning the gutters. Everyone moving the tons of leaves. Lunch of venison chili and electronically uploading and downloading sermons and power points, connecting with Susan in the church office. Naptimes. Lydia catching her first unassisted fish. Catching a catfish while conversing with Brenda. Grilling fresh meat while conversing with Daniel on big picture things. Feasting on venison tenderloin and catfish, with salad, rice, etc. lovingly prepared by everyone while free flowing conversation around the huge table generously donated by John Brook. Watching grand children videos, playing Scrabble Slam, eating fabulous pumpkin dessert bread by Robyn and watching Muppet Christmas Carol, and an end to a near perfect day. This morning holds the promise of another one.
Lord, I and others are so thankful for what has been, and is, and by faith, we are thankful for what will be. For everyone less fortunate and unable to be with family, may your grace strengthen, sustain and protect, especially those who serve our countries military forces. Help those who are in the middle of chemotherapy and may there very soon be an end to all cancers. Thank You.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

First Sunday of Advent

This Sunday begins the Advent Season, with readings from scripture regarding the Second Advent. The theme for this Sunday will be preparation for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The passage of scripture I will be sharing from is from Luke 21:25-36. It is funny and it isn't funny the various translations of the passage. Most all of them say something similar to the NIV, "there will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea" (NIV). Then I checked the Message and I cracked up laughing, "it will seem like all hell has broken loose" (the Message). It isn't funny, but I couldn't help laughing. It sounds much more like the way my dad would have described something, than a theologian. What I get, is that there is some kind of advance warning system given to help people prepare for the Second Advent. Preparation isn't a last minute discipline, but a lifelong quest.

Last night I joined my wife on a romantic jaunt into the grocery store to pick up Thanksgiving groceries. We were nearly alone, in a huge store, and found among other things in the almost $200.00 worth of food was a turkey at .39 a lb. We already had a turkey, but that was inexpensive meat to keep on hand just in case we need it. Preparation can be and should be a positive experience, not one motivated by fear. My wife and I are positively excited as we prepare for the coming of our children. There will certainly be some last minute things to do, but the big items have been secured.

When I have heard the Luke passage preached by others, it always seemed to imply a fearful preparation for Christ's Second Coming, and so I never felt drawn to view positively the coming of the Lord. However and whatever will precede the coming of the Lord, there are hints in the passage that the community of God's people will be taken care of, and are instructed, to "stand tall with your heads high" (the Message). That is a positive description of how the community of God's people (the Church) is to be at the Second Coming. It is also the description of how most households will be on Christmas morning as they have all properly prepared for that glorious morning when we celebrate the first coming of Jesus. I am beginning to see, that the same positive anticipation that we all have early Christmas morning, is what the Luke passage is attempting for us to discipline ourselves into for the Second Coming of Jesus.

If you are interested in a positive message on the First Sunday of Advent, be more than welcomed at Vienna Assembly of God (viennaag.com for directions).

Lord, help me and others, be so prepared for your coming, that though "all hell has broken loose" that we can stand boldly and joyfully as you visibly appear the Second Time. Help me and others see it more like Christmas morning.

Monday, November 23, 2009

I feel like drinkin'.

Drinking free, lifegiving water is a promised gift to every human being.(Rev. 22:17). This specialized water flows from the throne of God. If a person dethroned selfishness and sin, and enthroned God, this same lifegiving water is promised to flow like a river out of one's innermost being. 

My imperfectness subjects me to enthroning selfishness and sin, and has left me less than life giving at times. Restoration and renewal with this flow of lifegiving water comes rushing back after apologies to God, others and self.  I find myself in great need of this specialized life giving water flowing from the throne of God.  I think I am going to make some adjustments so the water can flow freely again.

Lord, I apologize to you, you know who, and to me for not fully enthroning you over every thing.  I freely drink of your lifegiving water and invite others to "come" and drink also.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My children married well!

I am blessed with very smart and spiritual sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law. Thanksgiving is easy, as I have so much to give thanks for.

Lord, thank you for Tom, Jakob and Robyn.

Not every day is a sprint. Some days are just a shuffle.

Waking up with not much energy, vision for the future, fresh revelation of God's word, or life changing inspirational words, makes me glad it is Saturday morning. But still there are little insignificant things to do, that keeps a family moving forward. Watching hunting shows with grand kids instead of hunting was okay. Experimenting with a venison sausage recipe and then an awesome breakfast with Mickey Mouse shaped pancakes was pretty nice. Bagging up some organic ground meat for the kids was also positive. Sweeping up the daily death count of ants is always interesting. It is cloudy, cool, and nice to just hang out with my favorite people.

Lord, thank you for low key days, and the grace to keep moving forward, even if it is a slow shuffle.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Death will also die, twice.

Death and its kingdom were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death. (Rev. 20:14 CEV) Experiencing firsthand the effects of an incurable cancer and seeing the effects of cancer on way too many people, it is nice to know that cancer and all other death producing disease will not just die once, but twice. I don't need to understand how this will happen or why this will happen. I have lost some really good friends, and close family members to cancer, so I will not shed a tear when cancer dies, twice.

Lord, we look forward to your preferred future that does not include death and all disease that produce death. Help us, by faith receive all your promised protection until that day dawns.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A fun youth service!

Last night, our small youth group, continued our production of Christmas songs. We are our own version of the Vienna boy's choir and are blessed with extremely talented guys. Lyrics are meaningful, but funny and the music is original. We have blues, jazz and rap genre Christmas songs preparing for the "Blessing of the Carols" on December 13, 10:30 a.m. at Vienna Assembly of God. If you are looking for an authentic, original, raw and flawed Christmas program, make your plans now.

Lord, thank you for creative youth. I appreciate the privilege to minister with them. And, forgive us if we got a little carried away.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Anyone ever left a grocery cart full of food outside the store forgetting to load it and drive home?

Two weeks into some type of upper respiratory thing, I am feeling like maybe I need to brush up on health and healing scriptural affirmations. Waking up every day, moaning, groaning, and uttering less than positive affirmations, reminded me a little review was in order. First it was thought to be the flu, and now it is thought to be bronchitis. The last two days have focused devotions on this topic, and I feel a bit better. Antibiotics, cough syrup, vitamins, rest, etc, etc. also converged on the sickness. Yesterday was my three month checkup with my oncologist and port flush. I also got an H1N1 vaccination.

Funny story afterwards. I went to the grocery store to pick up food for a church small group last night, and after checking out parked the cart outside the store and walked to the car to bring it closer. (Back issues are still present.) As I am walking out to the car, I reminded myself. "Do not forget the cart full of food". I was also fighting through a migraine headache and had lots and lots going through my head after the oncology appointment. I make it home, and unload other things, and then when I go to unload the groceries, remember that I had left them outside the store, and drove home without thinking about it. After a good laugh at myself, I headed back, and they were still there, patiently waiting for me.

Sickness leaves us not at our best, and prone to mistakes. I land on the side of the belief that God wants us well, and desires to help us be our best. So, this two day review may last a while longer, and I hope to be motivated to groan and moan less and affirm God's Word more.

Lord, thank you for being full of mercy with every mistake and for providing everyone and everything we need for good health.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Outdoors Person Fellowship

We have a unique small group at Vienna Assembly of God. Those who enjoy the outdoors, assembled together over a pot of Brenda cooked venison chili. Tonight we were treated to devotion by Laura Norcutt on Soaring, and we learned it requires hope, obedience and revering the Name of the Lord. We were then treated to a demonstration of remote control model airplanes complete with simulator. It was fabulous as our hearts were opened by the Word, and connected together by our shared enjoyment of the outdoors. We all were blessed and had the opportunity to tell stories of our experiences.

Lord, thank you that like minded people can assemble around your Word.

Belly laughter

Last night, Brenda and I had dinner with David and Lori Callahan. I was Dave's youth pastor in OKC, many years ago, and we belly laughed our way through a wonderful dinner. It is amazing, how things that were so painful, at the moment, can now be laughed at, and rejoiced over how God turns all things for our good and His glory! I knew that at sixteen years old, Dave had great potential and he made me look really good in every ministry we teamed up together on. Together with others we produced many TV programs, drama productions, radio programs, innumerable ministries and even handed out tracs at Rock concerts in OKC, including a KISS concert. Today, Dave is co-owner of Critical Mass Productions (www.CMPedge.com), and I am very pleased to be 'blamed' for his career in media production. If you want a quality product give them a try.

Lord, thank you for all things, including the painful things, for you really do turn them around for opportunities to belly laugh.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Thank you!

Many thanks to the community of Vienna Assembly of God. Serving this congregation for 22 years is one of the highlights of my life. Thank you for the great day you gave Brenda and me yesterday.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Faith for the Future!

Jesus said many things about the future that we cannot do anything about except to deepen our love relationship with Him and pray. Let's not put energies into things that we have no power over. Let's put our energies into our relationship with God, for out of that, we will be better off. We cannot change others, weather, earthquakes, wars, choices of other people, and countless other things but we can change for the better our relationship with God, others and ourselves.

Lord, whatever the future holds, help us all know that you can hold us and carry us through it, all the while loving you, others and life.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Haiku

Undetected doe,
slipped in below me feeding
Leaf brown, perfect match.

Haiku

Hawks silent hunting.
Wing flurry! Narrow escape.
Squirrels chattering.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Redeem this day!

Friday the 13th is another day the Lord has made, so let us rejoice in it, and thereby redeem it. It could be someone's birthday, or it could be an anniversary of a significant event, or it could be the day of new beginnings, or…. Whether the day is Halloween, or Friday the 13th, or Christmas Eve, every day is the Lord's Day.

Lord, forgive those who set aside certain days as evil days, or unlucky days, or superstitious days, or even holy days. Help us do away with elevating one day above another, or lowering esteem towards one day over another. Your bodily resurrection and ascension to the Father's place of authority has made every day a day of blessing.

You (God) had the right to judge in this way. Rev. 16:6 CEV

But we don't, because we do not know or see the big picture. Situations and people are not to be judged (Mt. 7:1). Some of the most difficult situations and people, have become a blessing (Ro. 8:28). Only those in position or office of judge, who have been well trained in the ways of the Lord and the Law, can come close to able to judge a person or a situation.

Lord, help us, not usurp your authority, by doing that which you have the right to do. Bless those who by reason of office and/or position are called upon to make a judgment call.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

God’s people must learn to endure. Rev. 14:12 CEV

Long distance running was the mechanism the Lord used to spiritually develop what I was already naturally gifted with. The soon to be printed book, "Constant Forward Motion-the running of the Lymphoma Ultra series", is a compilation of long distance runs completed as a promise of faith to the Lord. The endurance learned during that season of life, carried me through the season of chemotherapy. (By God's grace a sequel is coming, entitled, "Constant Forward Motion- the season of Chemotherapy". The endurance learned helped me press through things, and I didn't miss a full day of work, and was always able and willing to do all the Sunday morning things a lead pastor is called upon to do, during that season. The endurance learned also helped me enjoy life all through the chemotherapy season. I was able to enjoy fully my son's wedding, my daughter's graduation from college and her wedding. Endurance learned also helped me continue all aspects of ministry, including staying connected to my community through involvement in the Vienna Tyson's Regional Chamber of Commerce (VTRCC). By endurance learned, I was also able to do the insignificant things around the house that can really stress a family if left undone. My wife also, through endurance learned, was able to prosper and thrive during the chemotherapy season, and was able to produce and create multiple publications and help with events that have blessed countless people, as well as lead our congregation in worship every Sunday.

I don't know what mechanism the Lord desires to use, for everyone to 'learn endurance', I only know He wants to be our Teacher of endurance.

Today, our nation honors our Veterans, and I am positive, that the Lord has used service in our armed forces to teach endurance to the Veteran and their families. I pray every person and their family receive affirmation of their service by a personal compliment and by the voice of God spoken to their inner spirit.

Lord, strong training and discipline are not enjoyable experiences, but the results are. I ask for myself and others, to continue learning endurance in whatever form you desire to coach us into.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Blessed!

Thankful to be a monogamous married man, active in Pastoral ministry, grand father, father, who has passed through his mid life crisis and is on my way to another really blessed 55 more years with the wife of my youth.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Teamwork

By God's graces I am blessed to have smart and spiritual people who serve on our congregation's leadership team. One of which is a huge Denver fan and has put the work of the ministry ahead of MNF.

How are you?

Is a loaded question.  She was in a wheelchair with her head wrpped in the chemo patient look and I had a facemask and was coughing.  She said " I am fine, how about you?", then we both cracked up laughing.  Oh yeah we are great that  is why we are here.  I notice that many people retain their sense of humor whle overcoming major illnesses.  Try talking to fellow patients.  Great people can be discovered that way.

Power over the calendar

Throughout our 31 years of marriage we have had to exercise power over the calendar. Today, we take power, and move it forward 5 days and are about to enjoy a birthday lunch. A busy life necessitates such power.

Lord, thank you for power to move the calendar forward or backward as necessity demands.

308,888

Character counts are more important information to a publisher, than are word counts. My upcoming book, "Constant Forward Motion- the Running of the Lymphoma Ultra Series has 48k words, and 308,888 characters. Trivial, but vital information.

Lord, help us in our character, for out of the abundance of our 'character' do we make words.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I love community of God's people (the church)

Today is an "equipping conference". We will 'be equipped' to do the 'work of the ministry' which is diverse, multifaceted , ever adapting, opportunity abounding requiring life long learning. I am outside watching the community of God's people assemble, who are diverse and multifaceted. I feel humble thanks for being purchased out of the community of the 'world' and placed into God's community (the church).

Lord, Thank you for your church.

Secrets

Another revelation in Revelations is that God shared secrets with those whose assignment was 'prophet'.

Lord, help us to be faithful to your assignment and respectful toward those whose assignment is vastly different from our own.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Revelation of The Lord

Very powerful, indescribable events and creatures in the book of Revelation are all submitted to and are under the authority of the Lord. It reminds me of how vast and powerful, yet gentle our Lord and Savior is.

Lord, 'reveal' to me and others the gentle , patient power of your Person. May no earthly event shake or move us away from You.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

22 years in one place.

I really love the people of the town I live in. Vienna, Virginia has become our families' home and by God's graces remains the place the Lord continues to send us to. After offering the invocation at Monday's Town Council, an old friend stopped me and said some positive words of encouragement to me. He had once sat on the Board of Zoning Appeals and we came to know each other from a zoning issue 21 years ago. I am thankful to the Lord for allowing me to stay in one place this long and develop long lasting friendships with the people in the community. Last week, while in a local hardware store, I was asked to minister to an employee's aunt. At the counter, he called his aunt, handed me the phone, and allowed me the opportunity to share the love of God to someone who is struggling with cancer, while standing at the counter of the store. It was as normal and natural as can be, and done in the presence of friends with no pressure or stress.

Just as in running long distances, it is only after the 20 mile marker that deep conditioning begins to take place in one's body. It is also the distance many people hit a wall. Through trial and error, and research I found that the 20 mile wall can be avoided with taking nutrition every hour of a long run. It is an excellent feeling to be refreshed in the place of ministry after 22 years, and still feel the excitement each day holds of the possibilities of ministry. I am thankful, for the very distinct privileges God has allowed me to enjoy; just one is the blessing of a long term ministry in a town I love.

Lord, my heart is full of thanks for sending me to this town, and for your continued sending to this wonderful community. May your hand of refreshing be upon any who are struggling with the place they have been sent. May they find your grace to fall in love with the place of your sending.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

First Glance at Formatted Chapters

Great news this morning! Three chapters of "Constant Forward Motion: The Running of the Lymphoma Ultra Series", is formatted and it looks and reads great. (Thank you Emily). The chapters reminded me of God's grace extended, which is a good thing. Having recently visited the sites of the Promise Land 50 K and the Mountain Masochist 50 miler it was very encouraging to remember the multiple acts of God's grace that had been given. I can't wait to be able to distribute the compiled series of short stories that will most definitely bring encouragement to anyone facing any level of struggle or difficulty.

Lord, thank you that we can look back and remember the grace You have extended and superimpose that over our future, knowing that "all is well". Thank you, that your grace never depletes, rather increases with use.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Invocations

So blessed to live in the Town of Vienna.  Tonight I have the privilege of invoking God's blessings' upon the Town Council meeting.  What is significant is that on purpose they put the Invocation prior to everything, even the flag salute.   Thank you, officials of the Town of Vienna for putting God first in every meeting.

Rendered Speechless

Only a few times in my life, have I been rendered speechless. One occurred four summers ago as my daughter Catherine and I, after setting up our tents at the Grand Canyon campsite, walked to the rim and saw our first view of the Grand Canyon. It was late in the afternoon and I had the video camera rolling. We both said some one word exclamations of wow, OMG, mmmmm, amazing. We then just sat down, after looking at each other with this 'look' and just sat in stunned silence. There was a thunderstorm to the west of us, and the rain and lightning echoing through the canyon was a display of power I hope I never forget. We sat with others soon having lightning striking all around us, with the thunder rolls echoing up and down the canyon. We had a front row seat witnessing nature's power and it rendered us speechless except for short one word exclamations.

This morning as I read Revelation 7 I read of an entire group of people who were rendered speechless as they had a front row seat before the throne of God. This entire group was before the throne of God and all that came out of their mouth was their version of wow! amazing!, OMG. The actual words were "Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen." Rev. 7:12 ESV

Lord, render us speechless, so all that comes forth from our lips are one word exclamations!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Transformation

To cooperate with God on transformation, we must develop some daily routines, not around whom we are but who we want to become.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Exercise.

Reacting to law breaking mean people in an opposite spirit is spirital fruit exercise.
Lord, help me and others appreciate your coaching style.  Produce and grow the fruit of the Spirit through this practice session.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Halloween

This is one holiday that elicits a wide variety of responses from followers of Jesus. On one end of the polarity is the belief that the whole earth is the Lord's and that the bodily resurrection of Jesus makes every day the day the Lord has made including Halloween. On the other end is that there is a belief that it is a satanic day, and that any recognition or participation in the day, means that you are worshiping Satan. I have both gained and lost church members over this issue. I land on the belief that the bodily resurrection of Jesus makes any and every day, the Day the Lord has made. I land on the belief that the whole earth belongs to the Lord and that no day is set apart from His rule and reign, including Halloween.

For 22 years now, Vienna Assembly of God reaches out to our community in various ways for the annual Halloween Parade. The years we spent weeks making a float and entering it as a witness, also received multiple complaints from the Christian community. with such responses as, "what scriptural right do you have to enter a float in the day of the devil's parade", "don't you know this is the devils day?" On that particular day, I was suffering from a migraine headache, was tired from the labor, driving the truck pulling the float was a hassle in itself, and I didn't have the grace to extend to the man's ignorance. So, I responded with a "get out of my face, in Jesus name". I am not proud of my response, and I admit to having little patience with aggressive followers of Jesus who are in the attack mode. We are currently doing an outreach plus having some fun for our own children by making a cardboard maze, offering ATV/trailer rides, grilled hotdogs, hot chocolate, etc,etc. We will have people on standby to answer any spiritual seekers and spread kindness and some free food and fun to the community. We will host multiple people who will use our parking lot, and they will be greeted by smiling Brenda, and giving them a brief welcome to our ministries.

This year, I hope to not lose another attender, because of an outreach to the community, but I do hope to gain a member of our communities favor with the hope of them becoming an active participant in our ministries. My main hope is that someone will grow closer to making a decision to follow Jesus. My Gigantic, Big Hairy, Humongous Goal would be that someone would cross the line of faith, and say yes to Jesus. That would make my day.

Lord forgive me and others who have little patience with your followers who are in the attack mode. Lord, for the Christians who are on the attack, looking for people to correct, I ask you to show them a more excellent way. I ask for your grace and love to be extended to those spiritual seekers tonight who will use our parking lot. May they be drawn closer to you, as a direct result of our ministry.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Keep moving!

A static life can quickly become stagnant. Those of us who are overcoming health issue after health issue live with constant pain, which makes it so easy to stop moving. I find it difficult to move because I have the memory of how easy movement used to be. With a sunny afternoon on Monday, I laced up some boots and took a fast walk into the woods near my house. No euphoria, no high, and afterwards I was very stiff, but I know if movement continues, one day, a breakthrough will occur. Moving by faith will one day be rewarded with feeling good. Small insignificant steps forward seem like a waste of time, compared to what once was accomplished. Transformation occurs as our daily routines transform. Movement forward even if it is taking a different form still carries one towards the goal. Changing, or even going back to an old routine that worked helps transform us into moving human beings. It may be a totally new routine guided by a physical or spiritual therapist, or an old one guided by pleasant memories of a 'first love' or 'first breakthrough', or a pleasant season of life. Mine is a combination of both, as I follow a physical therapist's new exercises, in a familiar place(my basement) and time (early morning), while listening to spiritual teachers. Re-reading my first book, "Constant Forward Motion, the running of the Lymphoma Ultra Series", is helping me get moving again and I think it will help you as well. Let me know if you want a copy and/or a case as I determine how many to print.

Lord, help us move forward into your promised land. Help us not look back except to remember spiritual and physical routines that once moved us forward.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Grace Extended

First book soon to be published. I unashamedly ask for prayer and help. During the cancer diagnosis phase in 2004 -2006 and into the Faith Promise runs of 2007 and beyond I journaled the journey and have accumulated the series of short stories into a book entitled "Constant Forward Motion, the Running of the Lymphoma Ultra Series".  I have forewords from Mark Batterson, David Grant, David Horton, Rebekah Trittipoe and Bradley Mongold, and the book is full of acts of grace that would be inspirational to cancer survivors, runners, family/friends of cancer survivors, missions-minded people, anyone going through a tough spot in life, and anyone interested in the sub-culture of ultra marathoners.  It will be an excellent book for mission's services as gifts for those making faith promises for missions.  Every time I re-read in the editing process I still am amazed, even though it was me that did the faith promise runs of 40 and 50 miles in a body that was being weakened by Lymphoma.  This past weekend, Brenda and I visited sites along the Blue Ridge parkway where two of the runs had crossed, and our heart was stirred to realize the grace of God extended during the runs through the Virginia and West Virginia Mountains. Everyone who has read it says, "It's a miracle, really", "amazing", "inspirational", and others.

Self publishing and promotion is new territory for me. Unless a miracle occurs it won't be available in book stores, so I will offer much discounted rates to those who want a case (24) for distribution. The most important steps were taken early on as the Lord spoke to Brenda. This and numerous insights will be well worth the cost. I am in process of determining the quantity to publish. Let me know at yeaisay@aol.com if willing to help distribute a book filled with hope and numerous acts of grace. By God's grace it will be available in time for Christmas.

Simplify

Sensing the Lord was transitioning me into another season of life included a transition of the devotional study of the bible. The I Phone bible was too slow one morning so I opened an old school, paper version, and it was bookmarked to the Revelation of Jesus Christ. My heart both leaped and sank at the same time. As I read the Word I was reminded of the Revelation of Jesus Christ's love, his death that freed from sins and his resurrection that has made me a member of a community of spiritually minded people. This past weekend's fall foliage tour with Brenda reminded me that as beautiful as a leaf is as it is transitioning, it eventually will fall off the tree. The new has come, and the old has gone, and with it comes seasons of transitional transformations.

I wonder what the Lord is speaking to you about. To transform will require new adjustments to daily routines, and I and others would benefit from hearing what daily routines are helping you move to the next season of life.

Lord, with joy, reverential fear and trembling we look to you for seasonal transformation. Help us move out of stagnancy into a new season of life.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Marine Corps Marathon

Congratulations to everyone who trained for and completed the Marine Corps Marathon. May you have a speedy recovery, and may your friends and family not give you much grief tomorrow when it is a bit difficult to use steps. My physical therapist hasn't released me to run yet, but I was able to enjoy the joy of the race vicariously through those who were able and willing to run.

Lord, bless everyone who ran, and especially those who ran for causes greater than themselves. Give them grace to continue running.

Hair Spray

Today marks the moment I needed hair spray. Chemotherapy took my hair, and today, I have enough hair to need some help keeping it in place.

Thank you Jesus, for helping me pass another mile marker in my journey.

Investment Strategies

Last night I was again reminded by Rev. Mike Godzwa, with DC Chi Alpha, to invest into the Kingdom of God. Supporting campus missionaries is a joy and privilege. It is Faith Promise time at Vienna Assembly of God, and Brenda and I had a good discussion on giving to missions for 2010. Investing in 31 plus missionaries and missions projects, plus tithing is and has been our wisest investment strategy.

If you are looking for a wise investment strategy, contact your pastor about the missions opportunities in your congregation, and/or go to viennaag.com and click the donate now button to put your money into an excellent family of missionaries.

Lord, help us always to put you and your Kingdom first in everything, including our financial investments.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Rain

Rain! Don't go away.
Fill our lakes and resovoirs.
Water! A blessing.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Rain

A rain induced low key indoors day could make a good day of rest possible.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Gentleness

The Lord builds us up and our sphere of influence grows. That success requires development of an important fruit of the Spirit. A brief moment of harshness with an outburst of anger can tear down much that the Lord has built up. One fruit of a life filled with the Holy Spirit is gentleness. Spiritual leaders are to deal gently, not harshly or angrily, especially following seasons of success. Powerful words spoken softly with gentleness have profound positive effects.

This understanding has come after a season of repentance for not being gentle. Repentance precedes transformation.

Lord, forgive me and others for not bearing the spiritual fruit of gentleness all the time, in every situation, in every essence of every word. Forgive us for tearing down, what you have built up.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Drip,drip, drip ...

The Rituxan is slowly entering my blood stream sent on a targeted mission to disrupt the growth of b cells. I have a new nurse today and by divine timing is looking for a church to attend and a pastor to know. This chemotherapy ward has been and is a place of ministry. The valleys of life are filled with life and opportunities. It was like a homecoming to reconnect with the team of nurses.

Lord, thank you for helping me and others facing apprehension about today. Grant us grace to see and receive Your wonderful plan.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Keeping life

Tomorrow, I begin the maintenance regimen of chemotherapy, using the drug called Rituxan. It was discovered a few years ago, and targets the affected b cells of those of us who are overcoming lymphoma. Every three months for a long time, I will receive this targeted therapy. It is a discovery that is an answer to many people's prayer for the cure for cancer. Miracle drugs and doctors can only do what they can do, and the words that come from one's mouth affect one's health as much if not more so than this amazing drug. Just by guarding what comes out of one's mouth keeps one's health, whereas opening wide one's mouth and saying whatever one wants to say, will bring it to ruin, according to Proverbs 13:3.

Lord, forgive me and others who say and who have said things in the heat of a moment that ruins the abundant life you have for us. Grant us spiritual discipline to use our mouth to say things that are birthed of love, agree with your word, and contribute to making everyone and everything around us better.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

All things beautiful!

Waking up to the song, "You make all things beautiful", sung in the first person, by the Holy Spirit into my spirit, is a beautiful thing. God's Word confirms the song was sung by the Holy Spirit for it agrees with many scriptures, of which Romans 8:28 is my favorite. Many less than positive things happen, because "at present we do not see everything subject to him" (Heb. 1:8). The beauty of God is that in our relational covenant, by faith in His Word, all things can be made beautiful, and are being made beautiful.

Hair grows back, bodily functions recover, broken bones heal, mental clarity returns, financial setbacks are reversed, stolen things are recovered, thieves are brought to justice, children get and will soon get even more fabulous jobs, new families come to the Lord and become active in church, old signs are replaced, decaying doors are soon to become new, marriage is thriving, cars are working, computers are functioning, the day is dawning, first win in fantasy football, etc, etc, etc.

Lord, thank you that in you, all things are possible, including making all things beautiful. We receive all you promise, and love you with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Excellent Saturday

Two hour workout including a 1 mile jog, breakfast, devotions, blogging, cleaning aquariums, arranging fantasy football team, see picture of my future granddaughter, etc. Hope to do some clean up of the yard, load for a trip, help clean the house, church admin., and enjoy this Columbus Day week end.

Composting

My youngest daughter inspired me to start composting. Now, we have very little garbage that goes to landfills. Composting requires the process of rotting which is a good thing if utilized effectively. I am still figuring the process out and it is interesting to watch and manage the process. I put stuff in the bin and turn it to mix it all up. It is a pretty nasty place to be, full of gnats and rotting plants.

Proverbs 9 says "the name of the wicked shall rot". Humans were not made for the eternal compost bin. The devil was and will one day be composted throughout eternity. A loving relationship with God , through Jesus Christ ensures entrance into God's heaven and rescued from being put in the compost bin.

Lord, remind us that a good name is a great, renewable resource and treasure. Help us always choose the most righteous option. Deliver us from the wicked one.

Friday, October 9, 2009

“I am sorry, but your insurance is terminated!”

Not the best words to hear after arriving at a doctor appointment. A call to the insurance company confirmed that I had been terminated. I graciously thanked the appointment nurse and peacefully walked out to make another call. I had full assurance and faith, that after this call, that all would be well. The call was to a long time friend, book keeper, administrator, office manager, etc, etc., who is a master at efficiency who oversees this issue. I really, wasn't shaken, because I had such faith in her. Just one call to her and all was made well.

Overcoming some major issues in life have prompted some well meaning friends to advise me with their wisdom, and it has necessitated settling some foundational concepts about God. The main one is that "God loves me, and has a wonderful plan for my life." Nothing or no one can shake that one, though many have tried. Differentiating between an attack that is to kill, or a test to reveal, has depended on knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that God loves me and has a wonderful plan for my life. Absolute faith in a loving God, and an administrator that also loves me, eliminates and eliminated 100% of worry, anxiety, anger, frustration, etc. etc.

Lord, remind us all, that you love us, and your plan is wonderful for all of us. We resist attacks designed to kill, and welcome tests that reveal your love. Thank you for placing loving, skilled people into places of authority in our lives.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

So thankful!

Some of my best friends are members of the Vienna Tyson's' Regional Chamber of Commerce. They graciously allowed me to continue offering the invocation all during the hairless days of chemotherapy. Today, my heart was filled with thankfulness as many of my friends made positive comments about my growing hair and increasing health. It is the third day without any pain medication, and it's good to feel good again after chemo and two back surgeries. I am thankful for friends who encouraged me during the hairless, pain filled days.

Lord, thank you for increasing health and friends.

You dog!

"like a dog enticed by food" is the metaphor used to describe a human being that is drawn away from a marriage bond into a secret relationship (Pro. 7:22). It is fairly easy to entice a dog and according to some statistics on marriage and family life, it appears that it is just as easy for humans to be drawn away from the marriage bond.

Hmmmmm. Maybe a Christ follower is to exercise self control, temperance, and moderation, with every God given appetite. This morning by God's graces I was able to complete another .5 mile run, after some extensive stretching and completion of specific back exercises. Returning to exercise is very, very difficult, but doable. Slow, incremental, but steady exercise in every part of life will eventually, over time bring results.

Lord, thank you for the twin towers of health and healing, and by your graces help us exercise self control so we do not make 'dog like' mistakes.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bone Density Scan comes back normal!

Most times I don't really count it a blessing to be normal, but in the case of bone density, I will. Plus, I ran .5 miles along the Atlantic Ocean this afternoon, after a two mile walk along the boardwalk. It is 1/100 of my longest distance, but it is a fabulous moment of victory. The surgeon has released me to do whatever I feel able to do. The oncologist has released me to begin weight bearing exercises, and I am in the capable hands of some physical therapists. Slowly, steadily, I am returning to running with patience the race set before me.

Lord, thank you for the advancements in modern medicine, and the joy of being tested. Help me and others keep moving forward and running the race set before us.

Great MNF game!

Overestimating oneself and underestimating others is one of the six things the Lord hates (Pro. 6:17). Last night's MNF was the only time, my wife and I stayed up till the end of a MNF game, and it was worth every moment. (Suffering now, though). The line between the proud look the Lord hates and the determination necessary to keep pressing on in the face of impossibilities can often be blurred. The big story for me was not Brett Favre, but Aaron Rodgers who just kept battling back, though he was sacked a record times. The Packers never gave up, and to both teams credit, was one of the best games ever. I appreciated the spirit of both teams, who, after the game, showed excellent sportsmanship and congratulated each other.

Humility isn't giving up, and evil pride isn't fighting back against insurmountable odds.

Lord, give us the character to be humble without the baggage of a quitter, free us from evil pride and fill us with the spiritual determination to keep moving forward.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Life is good.

Worship, lunch with family, nap, drive to beach, sun shine, roof open, music, conversation, cream of crab soup, warm bread w cooked garlic & olive oil, spinach salad, walk to Ocean, check fantasy scores, football, sleep, sunrise @ Ocean City.

Lord , the life you have given is very, very, very much appreciated.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Healing and health.

For the fourth consecutive year I was privileged to lead the Remembrance Ceremony for the Light the Night event for the Leukemia/ Lymphoma society. It is a reflective ceremony to remember those who have passed away.

Holding onto the dual promise of healing and health (Pro. 4.22) while ministering to the friends and family who lost loved ones is a benefit of following the Lord.

It was a beautiful day and afterwards shared a nice dinner with the birthday girl.

This morning at VAOG we will also have a remembrance ceremony for the One who died in our place.

Lord, thank you for providing both healing and health, by your life, death and resurrection.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Enjoy life.

Waking up early to surprise the birthday girl for the 31st time is a privilege!

This world and the world to come is enriched by the life of Brenda Burns.

Lord, thank you for the gift of the life of Brenda. Continue to bless her with more and more of your abundant life.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Two church laptops stolen

A sign of difficult economic times is when a burglar steals two laptops dedicated to the Lord's work (from my office!!!!). One act puts into motion multiple avenues of response from the spiritual, legal, law enforcement, budgets, insurance, etc. etc. etc. Good things, must be about to pour out upon our congregation and family. It is a good day, and better days are ahead. It is the thief who steals kills and destroys. It is Jesus who brings life and life more abundantly, and it is up to us who will influence our day. It is Jesus who influences us to 'save' our data. Some days, are more difficult than others, and it is one of those days. It is also the day the Lord made, so let us (me) rejoice in it.

Lord, grant us (me) grace to rejoice in every day, for you have made every day, and every one. Thank you that most everything was backed up, and like you have done for us, 'saved'.

Wisdom

Heading to see the surgeon as a follow up to surgery.

Learning what I can and cannot do from a highly educated person is better than personal experimentation.

Lord, we seek your wisdom and understanding on all matters.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Upholding power.

I am restricted to a maximum of 10 lbs, to uphold or lift. Even the strongest human being, could not hold a pound of weight, above their heads for days, yet, our Lord carries, bears and upholds the physical, emotional, spiritual, material, unseen worlds by His Word, for days and all eternity.

Lord, thank you for your sustaining, upholding power(Heb. 1:3). It is amazing to experience.

The cold has gone!

My immune system was exercised this week. The symptoms of a common cold have come and gone, and my immune system is stronger.

Thank you Lord, for planned and unplanned exercise of every system of the body.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Physical Therapy

My therapist gave me specific exercises, specific ways to lie down, sit, stand, etc. Now, I have to do them three times a day to change from where I am, to where I want to be.

Lord, help me and others do what we need to do, to get to where we want to go.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Expansion

Expanding the prayer circle is not an easy choice, but a rewarding one. This past Saturday immediately after my brother had called with the news, that the third time, our cabin had been burglarized, and now arson was attempted, I posted it, for prayer. Within 48 hours, the Sheriff's department had confessions and recovered much of everything that had been stolen. Expansion of the reach of prayer includes letting go of some privacy. Some hindrances to expansion are: "I don't want to bother God or others with my problems. He and they have enough to worry about.". "I don't want anyone to know …". "This is so embarrassing…".

Once you break through those issues, it's like breaking through the 20 mile mental wall in a marathon, or the 36 mile wall in a 50 mile run. Expansion doesn't cause more worry, but more of God's presence. We perish when we lose the redemptive revelation of God (Pro. 29:18). God loves every human being and has a wonderful plan for their life. Without that vision of God's nature, a person perishes. With that vision of God's nature, a person prospers.

From me and my brother, we are thankful: to you for praying, to the Sheriff's department for responding, and ultimately to God.

Lord, you call us out of ourselves into community. Help us yield to expansion of our circles of prayer. Give us a fresh revelation of your redemptive nature.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Life can be prolonged

A short scan of all my face book friends and family show the wide range of experiences from the weekend. Some had fabulous football outcomes, and others had abysmal. Some are in relationships and others are ending. Some graduated from college, others are struggling with their future. Some are riding the wave of health, others, myself included are waking up to yet another set of symptoms. In this environment of communication it is easy to covet what someone else is experiencing and be bummed out at your own.

I find myself coveting a winning football season for the Washington Redskins. It is no fun, to watch a premier franchise, play poorly and then see others playing so well. It was not pleasant being the team that gave the Lions newsworthy attention as they ended their losing streak.

Comparing what I have to what others have is what opens this door to covetousness, and covetousness robs life, robs joy, robs peace, and shortens life. Without covetousness, one's life is prolonged (Proverbs 28:16). In fact it states that we must hate covetousness. On Saturday, I watched a football game, and the most dominate saying on t-shirts on the opposing teams fans, was "Gator Hater". It's all tongue in cheek humor and fun to hassle ones opponents, and is part of the American consciousness to pull very strongly for your team and "hate" your opponent.

In living rooms across America, I doubt very seriously if what happens on the 50 yard line after every pro football game happens. It doesn't in mine. No matter the outcome, the followers of Jesus Christ, from both teams go the center of the field, kneel down, hold hands, and offer themselves to God. I, as a fan, was in no mood, to kneel down, on my floor, after the game, and offer myself to God, yet the ones who actually played the game did. That's the way to overcome covetousness. That's the way to prolong one's life.

Lord, forgive me and others for wanting what others have. Help us kneel down in the center of our field of play, and offer ourselves to you, and give you thanks for what we do have.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Never without hope

A follower of Jesus Christ, active in a community of God's people is never without hope. The church (community of God's people) is the both the body of Christ and habitation of God through His Spirit.

This morning, some have already experienced the filling with hope, as the church gathers around the world. Today could very well be the day we all receive the manifestation of the substance of everything we hope for.

I may wear a medical mask this morning, as I have the symptoms of a cold. I will also wear a back brace as my back continues to recover. Every Sunday, there is always something or someone that may be a very good excuse to miss the assembling together. If we wait for ourselves to be perfect, or our lives to be perfect, or our schedule to be perfect, or our lives completely caught up, we will never assemble together.

Lord, all over the world, may every person who presses forward through some very good excuses, and assembles together in church, both be givers and receivers of your countless blessings.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sabbath

After a fitful, non restful night, the morning brought a warm breakfast while watching hunting shows, yard work, house work, movie, football, install cable line, talk with brother, nap, organize play room, camo taped and cleaned guns, ate fabulous fresh grilled tuna caught last Saturday in Mexico, sitting in recliner watching Gator football, and soon to eat fresh apple crisp with ice cream with my spouse of 31 plus years.

Only stress of day, was hearing my brothers and I, cabin was broken into the third time, this time, with attempted arson. Praying the perpetrators is imprisoned soon.

Since Jesus fulfilled the Sabbath, anyone at anytime can find rest in Him. Doing something different while praying in the spirit is rest for me.

Lord, thank you, for down times, in prayer, that brings us your peace and rest. For those who continue to break into our cabin, we pray that the law enforcement official will make a quick arrest. Until that time, we trust you for protection.

Friday, September 25, 2009

5000 to 2

Feeling pretty empowered right now. Just figured out how to file emails in Outlook. Went from 5000 in my inbox to just two. Kind of the opposite of feeding the multitude miracle, but a miracle none the less.

No Rules

Self-control, self-discipline, temperance, moderation, all point to ruling over one's own spirit. The life with no rules is glamorized and exalted as the rite or right for the week-end. TGIF is often code word for "PARTY". Alcohol and tobacco use ended my parent's life way too early, and contributed to their divorce. My own alcohol and drug use as a teen ager contributed to every wrong decision and led me away from the good life God had planned for me. How stupid could a person be to smoke pot and try to win a track scholarship at the same time? Drug, alcohol, and tobacco use contributed to some awful decisions and destructive outcomes.

I am pondering these things as I weaned myself off of the prescription drug Percocet (Oxycodone) the last few weeks. It's true, I needed the drug, and it helped me overcome the unbearable pain of multiple bone fractures these three months. Now, that the bones are surgically repaired, it's time to move on without Oxycodone. Some really powerful people have become addicted to this drug, and I have already made the choice 35 years ago to not go down that path. Last night I had all the symptoms of withdrawal that are listed in Wikipedia, and it stirred the desire to "rule over my own spirit".

Proverbs 25:28 "He who has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down and without walls".

God loves humanity and offers a wonderful self controlled, temperate, moderation filled plan for our lives, without abusive use of alcohol, drugs, or tobacco. Temporary prescription drug use is a great thing, and was so much appreciated. Broken and crushed bones rubbing against nerve endings are indescribably painful, and Percocet was a God sent help in a time of trouble. But… now it's time to move forward without it.

Lord, some good things of life, given to us for temporary relief of pain, can become depended upon. For this we repent, and ask forgiveness and grace to move on so we may rule over our own spirit. For all who are in the middle of unbearable physical, emotional and mental pain, we ask for special grace and help from a multitude of God sent professional counselors. Help us all keep moving toward completeness and wholeness without drugs, alcohol or tobacco. Thank you for bearing our pains, sorrows and sicknesses and we accept your provisions and give you our unbearable mental, physical and emotional pains. We accept you, Lord Jesus and your gift of life.

If you live in Northern Virginia, the sermon topic this Sunday at Vienna Assembly of God is, "You are never without hope". Check our website at viennaag.com for directions and details.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Testing

Testing to see if this will work, and won't send anyone to Ebay.

Better

After pain meds and anesthesia have worn off, it's good to feel better. Still have a little discomfort from the surgery, and slept most of the night in a recliner, but my back is better, straighter, and stronger. Had devotions while soaking up my fifteen minutes of doctor recommended sunlight every day.

Lord, thank you for the caring experts in the interventional radiology department that successfully "poured concrete" into and around my T-12 and L-1 Vertebrae. Thank you, that today, I am better than yesterday. Bless the current group of health care students as they ponder their future and grant them grace to pay for the high cost of a great education in the medical field. Bless those who are currently in the health care industry, as their futures are being debated in congress. Give your wisdom to the debates, we pray

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Surgery

There is a calm assurance in my and Brenda's heart about today's surgery. Good friends and family praying are an invaluable source of comfort and strength. Thank you.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Lips

The Virginia Department of Motorized Vehicles is not a professional photography studio. I have a good friend, T.R. Cook, who is a professional photographer, and when I go to him for a professional photograph, more times than not, he encourages me to smile. It is an issue for me to smile on cue. At driver's license renewal time, after waiting for a good while, with others who had been waiting, I stood for my picture, and amazingly, I was smiling. The very pleasant person behind the counter said, "Mr. Burns, we need another picture. This time do not smile". Then, I couldn't stop smiling. I think she took three more, and said, now, "Mr. Burns, I need to you to squat down, you are a little taller than most". Then, it became a little hilarious and we both got tickled and I couldn't not smile. Eventually, after the moment passed another picture was taken as my quads began to burn, she said, okay, Mr. Burns, that will work, you can stand up now." I think, the reasoning behind a non smiling drivers license photograph is that when or if a law enforcement official is enforcing a law, and telling you to submit and consent, the normal facial expression is not a smile.

Proverbs 22:17 says, to Listen (consent and submit)… Those two words are not smile producing, although they are life producing. The next verse goes on to say… "your lips will be accustomed to confessing them". Submit and consent to God's word, and eventually, with practice, with diligence, over time, "your lips will be accustomed to confessing them". Submitting and consenting to a health report, financial report, news of any type, eventually will be found on ones lips. Five plus years of overcoming an incurable form of cancer, and now with secondary issues that have my team of physicians ordering tests and more tests, I find it slowly, and surely that my lips are becoming accustomed to confessing the promises of God instead of the potential new problems my body is facing. Submit and consent are not a smile producing combination initially. However, the response to the question "how are you?", that I am becoming more and more accustomed to confessing is "by His wounds I have been healed" (Isaiah 53:5 and 1 Peter 2:24)

Lord, help our lips to become accustomed to submitting and consenting to your word. Forgive me and others for not smiling in the submission and consenting process.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Hunting # 2

After hunting down and installing a dishwasher it was onto another hunt. This time it was to install tree stands for deer hunting. With four compression fractures, Brenda had expressed concern for me going into the woods alone, so upon invitation she joined me Saturday morning. We loaded up the trailer, ATV, stands, stuff, and more stuff, and the day was spent in God's creation. Brenda grew up in the city, and though hunting is not her thing, she is adventurous, and we high fived each other a few times that day as we were enjoying a new adventure for her. It really does become more difficult after 31 years of marriage to have new adventures together and it strengthened our bond to still be able to do so. Brenda wasn't accustomed to the power of an ATV, and as I weaved through the woods to the place to hang a stand, there were times, the only path was blocked by small trees, so I just drove over them. When I arrived at the stand location, my wife of 31 years was speechless. Again, after 31 years it is increasingly difficult to have that kind of moment. Together we hung both stands and she discovered lots of deer sign near both stands. I really couldn't have done this without her. I showed her places I had camped, where my son had harvested his buck, my daughter had shot her squirrel and numerous locations of memorable hunts. We both were exhausted as we drove into the driveway of our home, we both knew, we had strengthened our bond. She had willingly entered my world, died to herself, took on the form of a hunter and humbled herself. The result was elevation and exaltation from me, and deep appreciation and praise. It was easy to say "I love and appreciate you."

Lord, thank you for 31 plus years of dying to selfishness and living unto you and one another. Help us continue for 31 plus more. Forgive us and others who have missed your plan through selfishness, insecurity, fear, and all forms of sin. Help us all to enter one another's world and through the act of compassionate humility, become more bonded, appreciated, understood and in our heart and in our words express our spouse's name above all other human names.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Hunting

My wife and I went appliance hunting and found (on clearance) a dishwasher that exceeded our expectations. Slowly, we began the process of installation that included removing the old one. We found extensive water damage, and ants. We had to take our time, dry out the floor, demolish the old tile, fog the ants, sand the floor, and recoat with a water proof varnish. It took us all week, as one project would have to be done, and we would have to wait for either the floor to dray, the varnish to dry, or to consult the installation manual. It was nice to wake up to a counter free of ants, and a dishwasher full of clean dishes, and no water on the floor.

Proverbs 19:2 "… to be overhasty is to sin and miss the mark".

Taking our time to repair the old, and install the new, is a blessing. This morning, we are about to go enjoy the outdoors where we will share the fine art of hanging tree stands, riding ATV's, picnicking, viewing wildlife, etc. In a music context, there is no music in the rest, but the making of it. Floors dry if given a rest, damage is repaired if time is taken, and advance preparation in hunting should improve the success ratio.

Lord, help us enjoy the time it takes to wait while repairs are done, and preventative and proactive measures are taken. Forgive us for being overhasty.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Tests are good!

Flu shot, EKG, multiple criteria to check on my blood, stethoscope to chest, blood pressure, pulse, temp, etc.

Spiritual and physical tests are no fun, but good for us! Both are necessary to diagnose our spiritual and physical health.

First Haircut since Chemo

Proverbs 18: 9 "… he who does not use his endeavors to heal himself is brother to him who commts suicide." First haircut, troubleshot and replaced defective switch for garbage disposal, removed old dishwasher, repaired floor, repaired cabinet, completed sermon, multiple letters, lowered in-box, conditional approval from the Board of Architectural Review for signs and exterior doors, etc. and I am tired this morning. It is at least a two cup of coffee morning. Soon to install new dishwasher, complete the Sunday flow, EKG, blood work, rework plans, contact vendors, and misc. other things.

Lord, in you, the impossible became possible and is now completed. You are incredible, and incredibly encouraging. Grant wisdom to my team of physicians on why I have four compression fractures and bring your health to all our flesh and strength to all our bones. Help my niece recover from her surgery to remove her tonsils and for a completely successful surgery for Mrs. Draper. Help all of us follow you, to use our endeavors to heal ourselves, and to repent of destructive actions.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ramadan Kareem

After a serious health discussion with my Islamic oncologist, I awkwardly said, "not sure how to say this, but… blessed Ramadan? To you?"    

She helped me, and said," thank you, but we say, Ramadan Kareem, which means, May Ramadan be generous to you".

As a follower of Jesus Christ, and surrounded by an ever increasing number of followers of Islam, I choose the nice approach. There is a moving of the Holy Spirit in dreams, visions, and miracles that is drawing followers of Islam towards following Jesus. Let us position ourselves to be the mentors/disciplers/pastors to them. The most generous spiritual experience would be choosing to follow Jesus Christ, so we can say it in faith, without compromising our faith, "Ramadan Kareem to you".

Lord, grant us love, generosity, and graciousness to the spiritual seekers within Islam. Grant us favor, so we may lead them closer and closer to you.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cruisin’

8.5 mile bike ride while praying in understanding and Spirit (I Cor. 14). Gathered with others who enjoy experiencing God in the outdoors. Sent some ants to insect heaven. Rejoicing that yesterday's potential disaster is almost completely dried up without damage. Found replacement appliances on a clearance sale and many more things are cruisin' into place. Even the events that seem accidental are really ordered by him (Pro. 16:33 Amp)

Lord, thank you for offering life in the Spirit. Help us enter and enjoy the cruise.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Reminder

8 mile bike ride followed by exercises from my physical therapist. In devotions I was reminded again of something I need reminding often.

When I came to the office, I heard something unusual. I traced it down and found one of our water fountains was showering water, and had created a flood. At the same moment, the carpet cleaning crew arrived, that had been scheduled, by divine coincidence and they helped clean up the mess. With help, fans and sunshine a disaster was averted. The reminder verse was:

All the days of the desponding and afflicted are made evil (by anxious thoughts and forebodings), but he who has a glad heart has a continual feast (regardless of circumstances). Pro. 15: 15 amp.

By grace, the flood didn't prompt me to mutter grumblings, but they were forming in my head. The scripture reminds that our days can be made evil by our anxious thoughts and forebodings, not the circumstances.

Lord, I appreciate this kind of reminders, and just in time. Forgive me for the muttering grumblings that were beginning to form, and help me and others keep a glad heart regardless of circumstances.

Monday, September 14, 2009

In Christ, all things are possible

Seven mile bike ride is easier on the back than walking or running. MRI revealed, I have four vertebrae compressed 40%. Following some guidelines on building up and strengthening my bones.

Life and health

A calm and undisturbed mind and heart is life and health to the body (Pro. 14: 31). So many things and people can disturb one's mind and affect the calmness and serenity of life. So many things are beyond our control, but how we are affected by them, are within our control. We can both 'foam up quickly and fly into a passion' (Pro. 14: 17), or choose to be joyful regardless of circumstances. These are tests of life. Losing our calm, and becoming disturbed about uncontrollable situations, and saying, "you made me mad', or "life sucks" just robs a person of God's life and health for one's body.


If like me, you find this incredibly difficult to maintain consistently for any length of time, it has and will affect the life and health of one's body.


Lord, help us to desire and maintain a calm and undisturbed mind and heart, no matter the external circumstance. Forgive us for foaming up quickly with passion when life, people, situations, betray, offend, or persecute us. Give us your peace, and help us keep it.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tame your tongue

Taming our tongues should be our number one priority after accepting Jesus as Lord and savior, for in doing so, a person becomes perfect, or complete, or mature, or fulfilled. James 3: 2We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.

Lord, help me, to understand, that within the ability to tame my tongue, lays my fulfillment.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Chiseled by trial (Pro. 11:2)

A friend of mine told me recently, "my wife has been doing Pilates, and her abs are like a six-pack!" I replied, "I haven't done a thing, and mine looks like a keg".

Whether physical or spiritual, to have a 'chiseled' body or spirit, it has to be exercised. Exercise can either be willfully planned or executed, or ….! Spiritual trials are those exercises we choose to plan and execute out of a relationship with God, and/or situations of life, we find ourselves in, and respond to out of spiritual fruit, character, and grace. Unplanned spiritual trials come not of our choosing, but by a myriad of possible reasons. Often we find ourselves in situations that require a power greater than ourselves. Daily deepening devotions are just one example of willful choice to place one's self in a trial of faith, and grow, and develop 'chiseled abs'. Responding in a Christ like manner to any number of negative or disappointing interactions is an example of those trials we don't plan or choose. Both are part of the follower of Christ's life of trials, and both bring the follower a chiseled spiritual life.

Today is an anniversary, of a terrorist planned attack upon the United States. There are differences between an outright attack and a trial, and maybe tomorrow, we can think about the difference.

Lord, your plans for us are always good, wonderful and abundant. Help us respond to the various trials of life with your goodness, your wonderful attitude and abundant grace. We humbly ask for peace on earth and good will towards all mankind.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

MRI

Good news is cancer hasn't spread to my spine. Still some evidence of lymphoma in my marrow, and multiple vertebrae are compressed. Will soon discover what is next, but until that time, there is a lot of life to enjoy.

Lord, thank you for carrying grace and unconditional love.


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

    

Strength

The way of the Lord is strength. (Pro. 10:29). After 4 back to back MRI's, without moving my back, I had passed over and beyond my mental limits. An hour and a half in a tube, head to toe, head first, with only inches of space, with loud cacophonous bass notes, pushed my mental strength beyond its known limit. This is what a test does. Test's push us to places we didn't think we could go.

It is the morning after a test, and it is a time to renew, rebuild, refresh, and reflect. I am now mentally stronger than yesterday, but I haven't fully recovered, so I don't feel it quite yet.

Lord, thank you for being our strength coach that knows we are able to press through limits, when we don't think we can. Thank you for your strength that is found in following your ways. Give us grace to wait patiently in your ways for the results of every type of test.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Physical Therapy

Lying flat on my back is more difficult in this season of life, than running hills used to be. My first session with a Physical Therapist, was all about teaching me how to do specific exercises. I left after thirty minutes with a sheet full of 'easy' exercises and am now officially, seriously, exercising my body back to health. They only take a little over thirty minutes and I have to trust my Therapist that I am going in the right direction. During the exercises I listen to Spiritual Therapists in a Christian context who also recommends specific spiritual exercises. Today, the Spiritual Therapy was exercising ones faith, by using the words of our mouth to minister to others. Specific exercises were given, and each of the preachers recommended we go out and exercise our faith. Listening and doing the various therapies, whether physical or spiritual under the watchful eye of a therapist is only the beginning. It is the doing of them this morning that will engraft them into my life.

Lord, in the physical and spiritual lead us all to a place of health, and grant us grace to do what we must do to get there. Forgive us of bad habits that hinder us from reaching health, and help us establish good habits until they are engrafted into our being.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Prayer

A 100 degree to a 94.7 degree temperature swing in a week isn't normal. This morning, I compiled a log of medications, symptoms, temperatures, etc. of the last week, to assist my oncologist and primary care physician. Communication to earthly doctors is not easy, and is time consuming. I am still optimistic that it is effective.

A high temperature as well as a low temperature is a signal, that something is not right. Conveying that signal to doctors in a way that is understandable, within the time frame of office hours is much more burdensome than the 24/7 communication with the Almighty we all have available to us.

Prayer to the Great Physician is easy and effective.

An hour of prayer seems long, until one compares it to the time it takes to write out a daily log, summarize a weekly log, email in six parts because of text limitations, communicate to an appointment staff, drive to the appointments, wait in the office, have the appointment, pick up medicine, drive home, etc, etc. etc. If there are tests involved it becomes even lengthier and more burdensome. If pain medication is involved, it also has to include a driver who takes off work to keep the patient from driving.

Just wanting us to think, that the time we spend with the Heavenly Father, is short, easy, effective and rewarding, in comparison with communication with physicians and counselors, and makes a difference in the moment, the day ahead and in eternity.


 

Lord, compared to earthly physicians, and earthly counsel, time with you, is so much easier and rewarding. Forgive us, for whatever keeps us from a devotional time with you and help us to always communicate relationally with you. Lord, say a happy birthday to my mom and let her know I have no short or long range plans on seeing her any time soon.


 

Monday, September 7, 2009

Florida Native

Florida has a lot to enjoy, and was a great state to grow up in. Best of friends and family still reside there, and I would still be there, except the Lord had other plans. My wife (also a Florida native), and I just arrived home after a miraculously delightful time with our three grown children and their families. We love our kid's spouses, and our relationship. We don't second guess the decisions made thirty years ago to follow where the Lord was calling. We played games, fished, boated, worked, passed through a time portal and celebrated October birthdays a month early, ate, prayed, and enjoyed life. Often, tears of overwhelming joy would come, as I reflected on the joys of life that have come from obeying the Lord, and there is more to come.

Tonight, two great teams from the ends of Florida are playing before a national audience. Great people comprise this unique state, and it should be an interesting, entertaining game. Growing up in central Florida, I was raised in a University of Florida home, so this game is just fun to watch. I slightly lean towards Florida State, because one of my two son-in-laws grew up in a Florida State family.

Lord, thank you for the places of our beginnings, and the places of the journey. It was, is and will be amazing.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Help is from the Lord

Son and son - law worked on projects I couldn't do. More and more things I couldn't do are now done.

Lord, thank you for the instruction to "do what you could not do".  Help me listen and pay heed to your instruction. Thank you for mercifully sending help.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Search

I found an ancient tool amidst rubble that was dug up to make more room for my garden. Now, every time, I pass the site, I linger and scan for other treasure. Places of discovery become places to linger for more. Ancient wisdom says to seek Godly Wisdom as one seeks for hidden treasure (Proverbs 2:4). The more one seeks and finds Godly Wisdom, it begins a cycle of seek/discovery/seek/discovery.

Lord, help all of us keep seeking, so we can find, so we can keep seeking so we can find, so we can…

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I love my job

After reading test results I can't help but think of the person's whose job it is to do the test. My urine culture result is:" NO GROWTH AFTER OVERNIGHT INCUBATION". God bless the persons whose job it is to incubate and monitor urine cultures.

The prescription to live quietly without fear or dread of evil is to pay attention to God's wisdom (Proverbs 1:33). There is no co-pay, no side effect, no negative interactions with other prescriptions, and God's wisdom is easy to swallow. This morning, just my antibiotic prescriptions, had a papa bear, mama bear and baby bear size. The pain medication has multiple negative side effects. The prescribed medicine to help all them flow through my digestive system is so nasty to taste it causes an instant gag. Yet, the daily deepening affect of paying attention to God's wisdom as revealed in the bible, adds the promise of an eventual blessing, and sometimes an instant one if we will just pause our life to read and pay attention.

The best gift a parent can give their children is the gift of reading, and specifically the gift of reading God's wisdom. God's wisdom is better than a field of treasure, costly gems, pure gold, and 25 years of season tickets to your favorite sports team. And, God's wisdom is an easy pill to swallow.

Thank you Mom and Dad for encouraging and sometimes forcing me to read.

Lord, will you pass on my thanks to Dorothy and Cal. Help us to regularly read and pay attention to God's wisdom. Grant all of us your wisdom to navigate the complexities of life. Make it easy to swallow. Amen

Monday, August 31, 2009

Say what you couldn't/wouldn't say, and eventually, and maybe instantaneously, you will do what you couldn't/wouldn't do before. Making a statement of faith precedes an act of greatness.

A few years ago, I coached girl's softball and I drafted a girl that was new in our league. She was full of life, and she loved to emulate Babe Ruth, and before each pitch, would point her bat to the centerfield fence, and make a non verbal faith statement. Before every pitch she said what she could/would do, even following a swing and a miss. She was a joy to coach, and still brings joy to her family, friends and all who meet her. Opposing coaches and pitchers didn't like her, but her coach and team mates did. She was a spark plug, a catalyst that took the team up a notch. She rose to every challenge, and so I played on that in order to bring her to church and a relationship with God. Back then, I could outrun most of the girls. It was a 16U league. For fun, I would even turn around and run forwards sometimes. It really moved them to try harder when their 'old man' coach outran them running backwards. She was much faster than other girls I had coached, so I challenged the team to a foot race from home plate to the grass behind short stop. I challenged the team, that I would do whatever they wanted me to do if they could outrun me, and they would have to come to church three times if I outran them. She was the only one who took up the challenge. There were all kinds of good natured taunting, and after clearance from her mom and my wife on the agreement, with the rest of the team as the judges, we came to the agreement of three sprints, and whoever was best, would yield to the agreement. We toed the line, and she pointed to the finish line and made her faith statement. I toed the line, and made mine. "You will be coming to church three times".

It very much surprised her when I crossed the finish line first, which created a new round of good natured taunts and ribbing from her. She really did not believe what had just happened was possible. She again made her statement of faith, and I made mine as we toed the line again. This time, she finished first. Now, the team was into it. The parents were solidly pulling for me, and the girls were rallying around her. We took a few extra minutes to catch our breath, and as we toed the line, there was only focus. The statements had been made, the deal was sealed, and we both entered the zone. By grace through faith, I finished ahead of her, and all the girls were groaning, and all the parents were cheering. And, she was good to her word, and came to our youth group for three services and enjoyed every moment. We are still friends, and every time I see an emulation of Babe Ruth's faith statement before a pitch, I think of the Babe Ruth, I coached one fall season of 16 and under girl's softball.

An observation of some older people is that the older one becomes, the less of these sayings of faith occurs, and hence less doing of great deeds. Somewhere along life's journey we lose the fun of the faith life, and settle into the life that is, or the life that was, and have long since stopped making sometimes outrageous statements of faith, that are followed by great deeds.

I am blessed to be surrounded by children and youth, who serve as reverse mentors to me. They remind me to keep saying words of faith.

Let's point our bats at the centerfield fence this morning.

Mat 18:2 -4 Jesus called a child over and had the child stand near him.

Then he said: I promise you this. If you don't change and become like a child, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven.

But if you are as humble as this child, you are the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.


 

Lord, by faith in you, we overcome our spiritual opponents and encourage ourselves as well as our spiritual friends and family, by saying what we couldn't/wouldn't say before.