Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween! - October 31, 2008

Good Friday morning! For you working folks, that means the weekend is near. Last night, I met with one of the neighbors and he asked a very interesting question in a rhetorical way. He said something like "it would be hard not to be bitter." Exactly right, it is very hard not to be bitter. The Accuser whispers that in my ear nearly every day. All the more reason to avoid an idle mind! A root of bitterness can start with something much smaller than a layoff, oops, position elimination. That root can grow to become a bitter tree and the shade of that tree is very dark. I do not want to follow that path, and I hope to make everyone aware of that as they come by the house or meet me in the street. In following Jesus there is no room for the bitterness that can overcome a person in the world. Bitterness is part of that easy road that beckons to us all. In Jesus we follow a different way, one of light and joy. Grab the Christmas tunes and crank up the stereo! We are ready to celebrate!

Today, the big garage sale begins. I am trying to earn enough to get a laptop, but at the same time be generous on the pricing so that the stuff goes away. Should be an interesting couple of days. The Lord has granted me some nice weather for this event; I pray that everyone gets a chance to enjoy the nice weekend. Autumn is supposed to return starting on Monday. Okay, enough blabbing, much work to do this morning! Happy Halloween!


Thursday, October 30, 2008

No Mistake! - October 30, 2008

Good morning! The light of day brings us to the starting point once more. Today, I recalled the moment in the movie City Slickers where the Daniel Stern character thought he was at the end and pours out his heart-felt fears to his friend. Most of us can probably recall the phrase, "do-over", used to comfort the character in the movie. 3 weeks ago, I was at a similar point and that is very much where I am today - in a do-over. Any of us may reach a point in our lives where a major event changes our entire life in but a moment. In the healing of Jesus we come to realize that we have a magnificent opportunity as a result of that change. New vistas open before us from behind doors that were locked not that long before. These vistas might seem frightening at first; fear of the unknown is our most common fear after all. However, our God and our great Redeemer have brought us to this jumping off point for a reason. I believe that reason is to grant us new opportunities and abundant life in building God's kingdom. Each day is a new day in Christ. We must put off the mistakes and sins of the past in order to look at the wonderful possibilities of the future. You and I are forgiven in Christ Jesus! Enjoy the new life each morning and live for this day.

I see that the previously undefeated Nebraska volleyball team fell to Colorado last night. The article noted a host of errors made by the young ladies; it would seem that it was a team effort. Sometimes a team, or even one of us, will come to a point where it seems that nothing can go right. In this life that will happen. The only thing to do is to get up and trust in God. Let your mistakes remind you of the one who makes no mistake, and He certainly didn't when He created you and I!

God loves you every day!


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Canning? - October 29, 2008

Good Wednesday morning. Have we reached the end of the baseball World Series yet? No, apparently there was a rain problem and the some dispute over where and when to play the remaining 3.5 innings. Hopefully this is not a precursor to the presidential election. I think the muck-up in 2000 was enough election controversy for one lifetime. Whichever candidate wins the election, I hope there is a clear margin in both the popular and electoral college results. On to more enjoyable topics!

In reading Pastor Rogers' devotional this morning, I couldn't help but feel sympathy for the person who depended upon the law to save him; managed to avoid any sin for 90 years, and then just at his dying day, looked at something or someone with lust in his heart and then died. What would you do? All your life, meticulously observing every law in the Bible, and then just like that it's all over and you blew it at the end. How tragic! I don't have that problem, my perfect record as far as the Law is concerned was broken many years ago and the war has continued since that time. Paul, one of the giants of our faith, had the same problem as you and I. We lust after persons and things, we covet, we fall into anger and hate, the root of bitterness might get the best of us, and in many other ways we break the law. Praise God that Jesus came to take that burden away! It's too much for anyone to bear on their own.

...which reminds me of the economic news lately. That is too much for any of us to bear on our own too! Trust in God, believe in Jesus, and take comfort in the Holy Spirit; we are not alone! I looked at canning equipment yesterday at a store; kind of a hmmm, might need to learn how to do that. :-)

God bless you on this fine day!


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Good Time - October 28, 2008

Good Tuesday morning! Now there is a thought to begin a day on, our home in heaven. What a wonderful thing to think on during these tough times. I have a dream home, and I'm sure that you do also. You may even be living in it right now. However, none of these earthly homes, no matter how grand or how new, can compare with our home in heaven that is being prepared by Jesus himself. I had an interesting thought on scale this morning. Someone once calculated how much area might be allotted to each person in heaven based on John's measurements in Revelation. The only problem with that is that none of us knows how much space each of us will occupy in heaven. Will you be 5' 9" or 200' 10"? We might be but the size of a molecule in relation to our current size or the size of a skyscraper when we get to heaven. We do not know!

A nice dinner with friends last night caused me a great deal of enjoyment. Caused? Well, yes! We often speak of people or events causing us problems in this life; let's tell everyone about how people and events cause us a good time! When we obey Jesus and love one another, it is inevitable that we will also have a good time together. You or I may never be comfortable in large groups, but if God has called us to join or minister to the small groups and individuals, then praise God for that gift!

Whoops, someone wants my slipper, since there is nothing that I would rather do right now than write to you, I'll just let him have it. As a kitten, he could sit in one of my slippers, but he is much too large now. He still likes to take a slipper and roll around with it though.

May God's great blessing go with you on your journey this day,


Monday, October 27, 2008

Groupies! - October 27, 2008

Good Monday morning! My walk started somewhat late today, and so I was able to see some of the early folks going to work. The rush-rush to get to work and get started is something that I cannot really claim to miss very much... especially on a Monday morning. I cannot spend the remainder of my life on some perpetual weekend, but the more relaxed pace is something to be grateful for. Yesterday, I got out to see some folks; small groups with big hearts! Supporting each other is one of our most important and most enjoyable duties. Some of you enjoy doing it in large groups; I happen to prefer the small groups or one-to-one meetings. Jesus reminded us that where 2 or 3 are gathered in His name, His spirit would be among them. I do not believe that He meant to limit that to 2 or 3; 200 to 300 or even 2000 to 3000 is fine too. Enjoy the groups to which you belong and worship with and praise God for their support. Yesterday, the latest rumor states the possibility of more layoffs at the big C around February. I cannot confirm this and I am sure that they will not, but I will be there for anyone who should happen to fall victim to this. In a recession, almost all of us will know someone who loses a job, or has his or her position eliminated as the current euphemism goes, I sincerely hope that the quota is filled by the layoffs that have already happened. Let us turn this old economy around by trusting in the Lord!

God is with you on this fine Monday!


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Starting Slowly - October 26, 2008

Good Sunday morning! This morning, a slow walk to celebrate Sunday. Often I tend to think that I must walk fast, even run, to achieve a goal; physical, mental, or spiritual. However, we are told to wait on the Lord, in other words to achieve patience. I enjoyed the slow walking this morning; using the time to think and mull over things. In response to the new situation that I find myself in, I want to run to achieve new goals. The problem with that lies in running in the wrong direction. A lot of effort and energy could be wasted in running down the path that does not lead to the goals that I have brought before God. Wait on the Lord, follow the Lord, walk with the Lord, these are all phrases that we need to remember before charging off on our own. We are an achieving species in the natural, and there is nothing wrong with achievement. However, God would have us achieve the tasks and goals that He knows are best for us and for His kingdom. Charging off on our own may very well achieve much, but will the goals achieved help us or hurt us? Let us all resolve this day to follow the Lord and wait on His calling. This will not be easy; the world calls us to do, achieve, go, run, and other action words. We may work our way up to running for the Lord, but let us wait for Him to bring us to that point.

In writing this each morning, I note well that in giving to others, I am also "coaching" myself through the words given to me by the Holy Spirit. Great is the Lord! One of the most difficult things to counsel your own self in is... patience. Compare that to how easy it is for us to counsel others in that very quality. You may counsel me in every quality the Holy Spirit leads you. Try not to be mean about it; I might cry and call you mean. Thinking back to my slow walk this morning, I cannot recall a single regretful or angry thought about my former situation. Starting the day in that manner is a victory in Christ!

God loves you and so do I!


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Bold in Faith - October 25, 2008

Good Saturday morning! I went splat on my walk today; it would seem that the city has hopes of growing the walking path during the freezing weather of late October. Let that be a warning to me to find a different route until the watering is stopped for the winter. The contusions can serve as a reminder in the morning. Did the little lobster fellow make it yesterday? I saw that the emoticons did not copy to the blog posting, and they may not make the transition to other e-mail systems.

I see quite a few folks up and moving around already this morning, must be the start of pheasant season out here. I will probably start during the week. Why fight the weekend crowd when you have all week? Deer season will be much the same for me, let everyone else compete for the weekend and I'll go out during the week! Sometimes we win by not being like everyone else. I thought about this today while out walking.

In my old job, not even 3 weeks and it's already the "old" job, I had developed certain habits, some of them bad. Today, I thought that this would be a good time to start over. A new career, how about some new habits for this life? One of my excuses for not eating right was the dreaded on-call week that arrived every 6 weeks or so. Well, no worries about that now! I have also put off exercising at times due to getting up too late or needing to be back to work for some task or other... again, no worries about that now! Time for a fresh start.

At times in our lives, we may be given a chance to make big changes. In my case, I have been freed from a major impediment to these big changes. Others have experienced the same thing through retirement or an involuntary termination, such as mine was. In either case, the dregs of the old life must be left behind and the new cup full of possibility and blessing come to our lips. My transition is made more graceful through a generous severance package and the fact that I had 328 hours of vacation built up, blessings 1 and 2 on the list! Why the numbers? When we suffer a life changing event, we may get down and depressed. One way to fight that is to start listing the blessings. In the world we like to say that every cloud has a silver lining. Lining? There's a whole blue sky behind that cloud in my life; I just need to have some endurance and the strength of Jesus to fight through that little cloud. Not seeking a new job is a bold step, but we have been told many times that we should be bold in Christ. I am being bold in faith, because from this side I cannot see the working of God's great plan for me. However, in faith we move forward in hope and look back only to learn from the past, never to yearn for it. Lesson 1, no job or institution on this earth is our source of food and clothing, only God is the ultimate provider of all that we need. He can work through an employer, or customers, or through other means, we need only be patient, and grateful when the blessings come.

Ah, Saturday morning! I wonder if any of the cartoons I once watched are still on? Probably not, or worse, they are part of some "classic" cartoon show.

Enjoy the blessings of our Lord today!


Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Thoughts - October 24, 2008

Good morning! Another Friday has come to us in all of God's glory. Woof! Tough challenge in the action point from Pastor Rogers today. The question is not where to start in telling of the ways God's Word has changed my life, but where to finish! Once more I must take a moment to thank God for the modern miracles of e-mail and data storage. Pastor Rogers has been gone from this earth for some 3 or more years now, but we still read, discuss, and enjoy his devotionals.

The economic news is all about doom and gloom again today; whatever would we do without our dear media sources to depress us? Is it any wonder we need to go to God's Word daily? Perhaps 2 or 3 times a day to help counteract the bad news the media would have us read and watch these days? I see that Gmail has added emoticons this morning, I shall have to make some good use of them in the devotionals.

What to say on a Friday? We pray for those who must go to work today, especially at stressful and tense places where people are fearing for the longevity of their positions. Shouldn't work be fun, rewarding, and challenging? Perhaps not all three at once, but surely some fun and rewards could come now and again? Thinking back over my last few years at my former workplace, it is difficult to remember anything but the challenges. Like this little lobster fellow, nothing but challenges! This would seem to go against the assertion Jesus made that His yoke is easy and his burden light. Well, yeah! Jesus, I believe, never intended for us to be beaten down by our workplace life. However, we see that more and more these days as companies use every excuse they can find to squeeze ever more work out of the employees. Some of this is unintentional. From a distance it may seem that another's job is easy, that they never do enough. However, we are told to empathize with others, to love them and walk a mile in their shoes before trying to judge their actions or position. Have you or I been critical of another person and their job? Probably. At some time we have criticized directly, or more likely indirectly, another person's job. We may not have stopped to consider that due to experience, training, and/or talent, that person makes their job look easy. We might want to pray for someone before leaping to any conclusions about their work or performance of that work.

Writing! I promised to keep you updated on my progress, and here is your Friday report so to speak. Yesterday, I wondered how it seemed that I would start off with a great idea, writing for 20 - 30 minutes, perhaps more, and then it would seem as though the tap had been shut off. Considering how harshly self-critical I am, I brought this to God and was struck by the thought that God is giving me as much as I can stand right now. We often think of this in terms of the bad things in life, but it seems to me that too much of a good thing might be harmful too. Therefore, God is parceling out the writing inspiration in amounts that I can take right now. I think of a novel as a large project in much the same way that I thought boot camp would be tough before arriving there and experiencing the reality. I have only just begun my writing career; a bit more than two weeks is a bit soon to expect very much in the way of good writing. I am following a lot of good advice, and one is to get the projects that I have put off for the past 3 or 4 years out of the way and off my mind.

One project is the big garage sale to clean out some accumulated stuff in my house. I thought that I would be ready this weekend, but there is a lot more stuff than I anticipated. I shall need to price the stuff with an eye toward what a buyer would like to see in order to get the stuff out of here and in appreciative hands. I may be able to give some stuff to the trick 'r treaters on next Friday evening. "No candy, sonny, how about an old sheet?" Then again, maybe not.

God bless you on this fine Friday morning!


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Trust and Pray - October 23, 2008

Good Thursday morning! Oh that election keeps getting closer and the hollerin' in the media is almost deafening now. I am glad that U.S. presidential elections only occur every fourth year. Another great Bible study last night! How can we think that God will not take care of us in light of the lessons in Daniel? I wouldn't have to tread far out on a limb to say that none of us have been tossed into a fiery furnace or lowered into a den of lions recently. If our Lord can stop a bunch of hungry lions from devouring a free meal and save 3 young men from certain death in flames, He certainly can save us from the common perils of this time.

The media is once again full of bad news about the economy, some of it coming from computers. Once a computer is programmed to send out a foreclosure letter when certain conditions are fulfilled, then it becomes difficult to get it stopped. One thing we all wonder is, who will they sell all these foreclosed homes to? I don't know, but it sure seems silly to simply continue throwing everyone out of their homes and letting houses stand empty. Perhaps some compromise can be reached between the lending institutions, some of which are soon to receive government money (our money!), and the buyers having trouble with payments due to high fuel prices (and gas is still not "cheap"), losing jobs, and high grocery prices. A lot of prayer seems to be the only, and best, answer to our problems. Trust in Jesus!

At last night's Bible study, I met another of the victims of Cabela's recent cutbacks. This young man is trying to get back on at Cabela's, but he heard many of the same things that I did. Why you? More evidence that the decision was made far away from the actual operations of the company. I will pray that he does find another position. Each of us must listen to the Lord and follow the way that He would have us to go. Some will try to go back to work in another job, others will move on in a different direction. Each choice is right for someone, as long as we follow the Holy Spirit and allow Jesus to direct our steps.

I have noticed already that writing a novel is not a solitary enterprise. Yes, much of writing can be done at home on the computer. However, when it comes to research, there are many sources all around me that can offer knowledge. I asked for help last night and checked out two books from the church library in response to my request. I will try the Sidney Public Library later this week. Another book sale tomorrow, I will pray for the Lord's help to find some more resources. A writer must learn much to write a book. When I decided upon a circuit preacher character for my novel, I quickly found that I knew little about the circuit riding preachers of the Old West. Time to hit the books again!

Take a moment to enjoy God's grace today,


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Right Time - October 22, 2008

Good morning at mid week! No, we do not have any snow yet, only a cold wind blowing hard. Thank you Lord that gas prices are coming down, and at a time when so many of us need it too. A Christmas song this morning goes, "Heaven's not beyond the clouds, it's just beyond the fear." Not a bad thing to remember to start a new day. The other thing I heard today..."Listen!" All around us are people and machines plunging ahead into the ordered chaos of modern life. The noise and rush seems overwhelming; we were created for slower and simpler times. Many have spoken to me about a "blessing in disguise" recently, perhaps this economic downturn, or recession, is of that same kind. We may find a desire to slow down among many in this time. We may be able to get them to listen to the good news of Jesus at last. In more prosperous times, many see no need for Christ or the Good News. They see too much good news in their own lives and fail to see the need for Jesus in their hearts. Thinking back over your past, how often and how earnestly did you reach toward Jesus during the good times? Compare that to how earnestly you knelt in prayer during the tough times, those times when it seemed that nothing short of the almighty Lord of lords and King of kings would suffice.

We, as believers in Christ, have much to offer during the times when others face despair. Times like these are made for revival! Do you have nothing better to do than hang out in the coffee shop? With job losses on the rise recently, you may soon have some company in need of a compassionate ear and words from the Bible. We may think "nothing better to do", but God may be thinking that having you there is just the right person at the right time.

Have a blessed and wonderful day in Christ Jesus!


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Avoid the Negative - October 21, 2008

Good Tuesday morning! The sunlight comes once more to remind us of the coming of our Lord Jesus in great glory. I want my kitchen table back! The stacks of stuff for the garage sale have taken over my Bible study place. Today, I will get something done about that. Each morning, I try to think about what I can do to further my writing career, even in small or seemingly small ways. One way is to control the thinking. Not just any thinking, but that negative, destructive thinking that says, "you can't do this" or "you need to go get a job". I can see how a person could stew on regrets until he or she produces a boiling pot of rage; it is all too easy to give in to that negative thinking during times of difficulty. Trust in the Lord, and do what He told us so very often - fear not!

Speaking of regrets, I see that Britney Spears is speaking out on some of her regrets. We all go through times in our lives where we look back and say, firmly tongue in cheek, "You know, I could have handled that better." Note that this statement usually follows a period of massively self-destructive behavior. Praise the Lord for forgiveness, healing, and His blessed grace!

Hallelujah for the day! New possibilities await us in Christ Jesus. Let us go forth unto the farthest corners of the world, the 'net, and even our workplaces. My workplace is now at home, but work is one of the possibilities of this day. I need to work on building up my writing muscles. My endurance is not good yet, but practice and patience should take care of that. I am fairly sure the Lord wants my first novel published before 2015. :-) Not that our Lord is impatient, but that I need to keep practicing and learning.

God is with you wherever you may go this day,


Monday, October 20, 2008

Renewed Hope - October 20, 2008

Good Monday morning! This could very well be the first Monday in quite some time that I am glad to see the week begin and am ready to get down to work. My work is different than it has been for the past (almost) 20 years, but so much the better! At my new "job", I get to listen to Christmas tunes in October. I took a vote among my coworkers and got 2 "meows" and one yes, which would seem to be a quorum. Today, I am listening to the Women of Faith Christmas album. The songs are good, some of the performances are okay, but overall this will probably not be among my favorites. Rebecca St James is up next, we'll see how that CD sounds.

This morning I thought that more than a little praise and glory is due God the Father for the wonderful messages yesterday from the many ministers that He has sent among us. I am going to go out on a limb and guess that all of you heard something yesterday that you can take with you. A little encouragement, some hope, a great faith, and a powerful assurance all grow from the messages we receive every day from God's Holy Spirit. We start each week with a full bag of renewed hope, faith, and joy!

What problems will turn into possibilities this week? What seemingly terrible events of the past will become the source of great joy for me this day? In Christ we get up each day expecting more... more joy, more faith, more hope, more blessings and the promise of a new dawn in our life. Like the storm clouds giving way to bright sunshine, we look upon a new day in Christ Jesus!

Praise the almighty God of our hope!


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Gettin' fired up! - October 19, 2008

Good Sunday morning! A beautiful new day awaits us. In light of some advice that I need to be ready to write anywhere, I began looking at laptop or notebook computers yesterday. The prices have really come down since I last looked around, good news for those starting a new career! Gas prices have come down some, but I would not go so far as to call it cheap gas yet. I am grateful though for the break from the high of $4.30 we experienced not all that long ago. Time to start the Hour of Power, I had better get going on this. During these past 2 weeks, I have woken up anywhere from 0330 to 0630, part of this new life will be figuring out my new schedule. I suspect that I will soon settle back into the 0530 wake up time and get on a better, more productive schedule. The turmoil of life can seem to get a hand over us at some times. However, Jesus left us his peace; he gave it to the disciples and he gives it to us. While the chaos of the world may seem to have the upper hand for a time, any of us can seize upon the peace of Jesus to return the calm to the center of the storm.

You might be asking where or how I will come to Jesus in the stories that I am writing. While the details, and there are many, still need to be worked out, I thought that I would begin sharing some of this with you. In the Toledo Ted western stories, the protagonist will meet up from time to time with a circuit preacher. At the moment I am thinking that this character, both mentor and father figure, will also be more like a guardian angel. In other words, Ted will learn much from him, but never actually see him, Sam, preaching anywhere. The trick will lie in figuring out how the preacher will leave Ted every time they get near a town or gathering of any type. Should be interesting. In the John Savage stories, that will be easier to say, but more difficult to plot. Since the character begins each story without memories of his life, he will be saved in each novel - no mystery there! However, I want to work it differently each time. All of the arguments and resistance that each of us have encountered in witnessing will happen as John moves through the stories. As you can see, there will be huge opportunities for readers, hopefully that will include all of you, to give me suggestions and stories of their own to work on.

Another pointed message from Pastor Rogers today, and I do believe this one is meant for me, if not for others as well. Jesus once told the disciples that we must all be quickly about the work the Father has given us. Today, I do feel that the time has come. I had a bit of a break, a time of mourning for the old life if you will, but it is time to get started. There are some things to take care of this week, but no one ever said I had to write 16 hours a day anyway! The Lord wants me to get started, but His expectations have never been unreasonable or undo-able. I will keep you informed of my progress this week!

God bless and keep you, my friends in Christ Jesus,


Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Light at the End of the Valley - October 18, 2008

Good Saturday morning! I didn't mention it until now, but earlier this week the 700th devotional was posted on the blog. I began writing this 2-3 years before that, probably should have written the date somewhere for future posterity, but I didn't. Ah well, the anniversary date of this devotional is not so important, writing for the Lord is!

This morning I am struck by the image of a little child fighting against the much stronger hand of his father. The father knows that the best road for the child is ahead, with great rewards and joy. However, the child fights to go back to the familiar and his comfort zone. At the moment, the child feels the pain of being torn out of his comfort zone, and at times it seems this will never end. However, the father with his longer point of view and wisdom does not relent. Yes, the child is me in this case and the father is Jesus. Anyone have a use for a pillar of salt? :) Praise the Lord for his forgiveness and grace in putting up with my looking back at this time.

As I hear about and from some of the others, I stop to pray for them often. Strange as it may seem to this world, I pray for the company too. It would be sad, I think, if putting us through all of this did the company no good at all.

I know that at some point, you will be tired of hearing about this event, and I will be tired of writing about it. However, less than two weeks has passed and the event is certainly traumatic for both the persons directly involved, and those affected indirectly. I see that one of the local home builders has thrown the "for sale" sign up on his home. This is sad too as he must compete with not only the homes of others leaving the area, but those that his firm has built and remain available on the market. Let us not forget that our brother in Christ, Jeff Einspahr, would also like to sell the homes that he has remodeled. The community is and will be deeply affected by this. However, our Lord is more powerful than any corporation or economy! Remember this daily and raise your head to heaven.

I am resolved today to make this the best Christmas ever for me. Yes, I am listening to Christmas carols on the stereo right now, no since stopping what I love to do! The question is: how do I set about making this the best ever? I have in the past made large purchases, Christmas presents to myself and others, but this has not made any one Christmas stand out over another. Anyone can run out and throw around a bunch of loot these days, mostly on their credit cards. It would seem that this is not the way to make this Christmas a "best ever." Feel free to throw out some suggestions on this effort of mine. Perhaps some simple gifts to those I care about who are still stuck in Cabela's? Yes, I did say "stuck". I am in agreement with those of you who have told me that in a year I will think this the best thing the company ever did for me. However, it doesn't yet feel that way! :-) Praise God for His healing grace and comforting hand upon me in this dark valley. Hmmm, writing this devotional sure is fun; is that a light I see at the end of this valley?

God is with you always!


Friday, October 17, 2008

A Sign! Ouch! - October 17, 2008

Good Friday morning! Some of the best healing that I have received in all of this is found in the Bible study groups. That is no surprise to us for Jesus told us: "For where two or three gather together because they are mine, I am there among them." (Matt 18:20) Praying together in the Spirit of Christ produces powerful results, not necessarily immediate results, but powerful just the same. You or I may not be comfortable in large groups, and nowhere does it say that we have to go to large church services. I hear that Lakewood Church in Houston gathers some 42,000 together each Sunday; that would be a bit too many for me! Some of us may not even be able to attend a gathering of 6 or 10 people, but Jesus said "2 or 3". We enjoy a great variety in the sizes of groups that we can join with in prayer and worship to our heavenly Father. I get the most out of the small groups and am glad to be a part of them.

Last night we continued the study involving walking in the Spirit. At some time in our Christian walk, our walk in the Spirit, we may entertain a doubt or two. These doubts may cause us to ask for a sign. You may remember a few months ago that I put my writing career, or the start thereof, in God's hands and asked Him to send a definite sign. Well, we now know that I did receive that sign, and I have also shared with you how much that sign hurt me emotionally. Today while out walking, I thought of other signs that will hurt. Recall that one of the signs of the end times will be widespread persecution of many. For those of us who are persecuted, that sign will be painful either physically or emotionally. Another sign will be food prices going through the roof, a famine in other words. This sign too will hurt those who are here to receive it. We may want to be cautious in our asking for definite signs; I will tell you from personal experience that a sign from God can be at once unmistakable... and painful. In this we still praise the name of our Lord. A sign may carry pain with it, but God is there with us all the way. While a corporation, government or other human institution may forsake us, God never will. One of the first verses that came to my mind even during the heights of anxiety after the termination meeting was: "I will never leave you nor forsake you, even unto the end of the age." I believe that Jesus said that not only to the disciples gathered there, but to all of us. In His vision, He could see all of this happening, even to little ol' me in 2008. Jesus had Matthew write it down to give comfort to you and me in times of our greatest pain. Jesus never forsakes any of us! What a great thought to begin the day.

God loves you and so do I!


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Growing Toward the Light - October 16, 2008

Good Thursday morning! One of these days I am going to forget what day it is and get caught. Such is the life of the self-employed! Over the past couple of days I have learned more names of those let go from Cabela's. As I try each day not to look back, last night I had a dream that was a replay of the people and things as we used to do. Oy! I do my best all day to avoid looking back, and then my dreams betray me in the night. Well, the good news in that is that to dream one must sleep, and I haven't been sleeping well over the past week. So, praise the Lord that I was sleeping!

Yesterday, I was struck by the similarity in my situation to the believers in the New Babylon. Later in Revelation, as the judgements have rained down upon the Earth, we see God sending an angel to tell the believers in New Babylon to "Come out of there!" I couldn't help but see a similarity in that I have been told to come out of my old job and life. I never before took the time to think that when those believers in the future hear that message they might be in a similar situation. A good job, family, house, car, etc. and suddenly the Lord tells them to drop all of it and leave immediately. I have only been told to leave my job, their situation could be much more traumatic. However, who would refuse a call from God? One thing is true; if this is God's will for my life, and I believe it is, how then can I possibly stand in the way? In God's will, there will be no knock on the door, "we messed up, please come back", there will be no new job offer that I cannot refuse, and most important of all, there will be success in my new life and career! Faith is most difficult when the time seems dark. The most difficult growth of the new plant is in bursting through the soil to the light above. Now is the time to dry the tears and move on toward the light. Each morning that gets easier. I take the dream as a sign that my mind is coming to terms with the separation. Dream, wake up, and laugh about it. Yes, that is what we used to do, but no more!

How are you doing today? In this I have often wallowed in self-pity, perhaps understandable under the circumstances, but it is time to call a halt to that. Many others were released that day and I would like to pray for them and make contact if possible. One question those folks might be asking is "how do I get through this?" We have an answer for them... the love and strength of Jesus, and the love of friends and family. Someone out there may need that answer today. Cabela's is not the only place sending workers out the door.

God's grace and peace are with us at all times!


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Writing in the Light - October 15, 2008

Good Wednesday morning! Another group meeting last night, this time a dinner at a friend's house. The difficulty of this transition to another life and career is made easier by the support I have received through Christ. Does that mean that there is no place for friends and relatives? Goodness no! "Transition" comes from a card my sister sent, e-mails have come from many friends, hardly a day has passed that someone has not been to my house to lend their support in this difficult time, and I know that your prayers are heard by God each day. Truly we do love each other.

Today, I was thinking (a dangerous action to be sure!) that sometimes we need a push. Whether our car won't start or we are stuck in a comfort zone, a push at the right time might be just the thing to get us going. As the healing continues in my life, I see that a push is just what I have been given. It seems that I was stuck in a rut or a comfort zone, to use the newer term, as in: "it sure is comfortable in this rut." Take a look at the lyrics to "Voice of Truth" by Casting Crowns. or better still, listen to the song. The first morning of this life changing event, I was driving out to the pasture, partly to go shooting, but mostly to just get away for a while; I asked the Lord for help and this was the first song that came on the radio. You just can't script these things.

This morning began with a long walk, longer than I have been able to do for some time. The wound is deep and the pain still sharp at times, but the healing is well underway. Another group meeting tonight, this time with my brothers in Christ for a time of Bible study. I am getting out and probably putting too much pressure on myself to begin writing this soon. I need the joy to come forth first, who wants to read a tale of woe and despair? Cormac McCarthy readers? Well, yes, but that isn't the way that I want to glorify God. Writing in the light for you and for me, and to the glory of God the Father!

Praise the name of Jesus!


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Funny Stories? - October 14, 2008

Good Tuesday morning to you! We are gathered here once more in cyberspace to celebrate the love of Jesus. A funny story? At times like these it seems difficult, if not impossible, to come up with a funny story. However, in the power of Christ, all things are possible! Did you know I once entertained the thought of having mice for pets. Building the tunnels and common areas for the little buggers and watching them run around would be quite the entertainment. But... I have two cats. These two types of pets are not necessarily a good match in the same household. Sooner or later, a cat would get in or a mouse would get out, and carnage would ensue. Even if I somehow managed to maintain the physical barriers of the little mouse world, imagine the poor little thing's psychological problems from having big, furry, cat paws swinging at them and slamming the walls of their tunnels every time they so much as moved. Some things that we might want in this world are not always good for the other person or creature. We all know that what a stalker wants is probably not for the better of his or her target. Wants, needs, and desires, in all things we need the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Having a batch of the world's most traumatized mice would not be a very joyful thing in this household and would lead visitors to question my state of mind! :-)

Who is playing chicken little today? Well, none other than Bill Gates, one of the world's wealthiest human beings. Calling down from the pile of his loot, he tells us today just how things are going bad in the economy. I am not going to do that! For one thing my pile of loot would not even get me noticed. For another, I don't feel like shouting out doom and gloom, there is enough of that going around without another voice added to the clamour. This is one time that ol' Bill should just shut up. How about that stock market? It seems there is hope left after all. Even the frightened masses of investors can be rallied to buy a few stocks. I cannot claim credit for turning the fear around with my little blog and e-mail, but every voice speaking words of encouragement to replace the fear of the last few weeks will certainly help. Look for the good news in the news today.

Praise the name of Jesus!


Monday, October 13, 2008

A New Columbus Day - October 13, 2008

Good Monday morning, and a Happy Columbus Day to you! This morning felt very much like I am retired from the normal working world. I do believe that this is the first Columbus Day that I have celebrated off of work since my days in the Marines some 22 years ago. Back in 1986, with no active conflict going on for the US, we were off on every holiday except Halloween. October 31 was hardly missed given that we took off Labor Day, Columbus Day, Marine Corps Birthday & Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day, all in four months. Few businesses recognize all of those holidays, and some don't take any of them off. Last week felt more like an absence due to illness; I had worked until Tuesday morning, felt terrible, and was paid through the end of the week. This week the change is beginning to sink in and my outlook is full of the possibilities of this new life. The sky is with me as it looks like the clouds are breaking up and that we will see some sunshine today.

Do we see the brighter side of the economy yet? That I do not know. I still believe that we need a lot less fear and a lot more trust in God across this whole country. I hear too much good news from my industry contacts to believe that things are as bad as the media is saying. Many stocks are suffering losses where there should be none, and I am still suspicious of this short-selling thing. Oh well, I can't rush out to sell all my stocks anyway; I kept all those links on my pc at work, and I am still trying to remember or figure out my financial links. I guess that is one good way to keep yourself from panic selling! :-) The one link I figured out, I cannot remember my login and password. I am laughing about this though you may not be able to tell from the e-mail!

Yesterday I was blessed with some truly wonderful and encouraging messages. Ministers everywhere will be addressing this atmosphere of fear across the world, and no group of ministers is better than those who serve Jesus. The world governments have their prime ministers and their financial ministers, but the real answer to an atmosphere of seemingly overwhelming fear is found in Jesus. In this time and crisis, I agree with our financial advisers, be patient and renew your hope. Those financial advisers may be secular, but we know that the strength for patience and the source of hope is found in our Lord, Christ Jesus!

Now comes the real problem... I need to come up with a really good, excuse me, bad antagonist for my novel ideas. How to do that when Jesus is pouring hope and joy into my heart! I suppose that I will just have to ask for guidance in that too. ;-) Bucky

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Fear?! - October 12, 2008

Good Sunday morning! God has sent messages of encouragement and peace to me today, and I am glad to be here with you. What? No one e-mails on the weekends? :-) Looks like many of you only look at your personal e-mail at work, shame, shame! Actually, we deal (dealt in my case) with so much e-mail at work, that I am glad that some of you take the time away from e-mail on the weekends. For me, writing is now my job, and a few minutes to write a devotional on the weekend is a pleasure and not what I would call "work". If you don't read this until Monday, that is fine with me. I will continue to write these devotionals as I feel led at the time, no stockpile of prewritten messages to go out on a schedule, no plan or strategy. I think that the best messages come from simply sitting down each morning and letting the Holy Spirit speak through my writing at that time. My new "work", and I believe it to be work in only the loosest sense of the word, will be so much better than what I did until last Tuesday that I cannot imagine the extent of the difference God will make in my life and writing. This week, my plan or goal is to gradually increase my writing until I am writing for 4 hours each morning. Pastor Osteen is at this very moment speaking about God perhaps wanting us to try something new in our lives; I do believe that I fit that to a "T", and that God is very much in control of this new situation that I find myself in.

What about that situation? This morning I went to the grocery store, just like most weekends for the past few years when I began the habit of grocery shopping at 0700 on Saturday or Sunday. The sky looked cloudy and it was a bit rainy. However, I was most stunned by the newspaper reports of fear. What? I have more reason to fear than most folks, and I have felt that fear in the past week. However, it is time for us to look to God, and not at the shadows of fear and defeat in the news media. If this current economic situation makes us look at our habits and stop some of them, it may very well be for the better. As a people, Americans eat too much, gamble too much, and carry too much debt; if the fear causes us to get rid of these habits then we will be better for it in the future. If the fear causes us to stop spending anything, then we may do more harm than good. Maybe we don't need to eat out every night or go to every movie that comes along. We don't need a new car every two years, perhaps a new vehicle every 4 or 5 years is good enough. However, I would hate to see us all get so scared that we only buy the barest necessities. I have heard of many businesses that are doing well and making a profit right now. Their stock is down because the entire market is down due to fear. We can stop this! I am not saying that you should empty your savings to run out and buy stock, but don't get in a panic and sell all of your stock. Panic selling simply plays into the hands of those who are even now buying up stock at bargain prices. They will sit on the stock until the market recovery begins, and it will, and then they will be selling at a tremendous profit to those who not that long ago were selling in a panic. Stopping the panic is not a matter of who get elected president next month, stopping the panic begins with you and I. Look to the Lord of all Creation, and look in hope and peace. We need not fear the events of the world.

God bless you on this new and glorious day in Christ Jesus!


Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Pain-filled Time - October 9, 2008

Good evening! It is after 1900, or 7:00pm for some of you. After many struggles today, I am once more on the Internet! However, my main pc simply refuses to get a dhcp address, something about missing the Cabela's address perhaps. Praise the Lord for spare pc's. Oh, and my new Charter Internet connection took until 6pm to install also. Wow, what a day of ups and downs! I took calls from Cabela's several times. No, there were no "come back" offers, I do believe that everyone is correct in that the door is closed forever. Another will open soon, of that I have faith in God. I also took calls from a couple of vendors and had lunch with one. The telecom cabling industry is not large, people wise, and the news of my forced departure from Cabela's will soon reach everyone that I know. I need to call one or two more tomorrow, I don't want them to only hear it on the grapevine. The verse Pastor Rogers begins with today, Romans 11:33, is so appropriate to my situation. Right now it is difficult to see past the tears; the psychological wound of this will take a bit of healing. Many of you have mentioned new doors opening, and I cling to those words and do await the day that happens. Of course, I am not just waiting. I began more writing today, not the humor writing that I so love, but writing just the same. My sense of humor in writing will return, for a time it may be just a bit darker than is usual, but return it will. Sometimes it looks like the sun will never shine again, it does to me right now, but the Son tells us that is not true. I may not be able to see the other side of this dark valley, but from the time of David we have the very word of God. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil... thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. How can the Lord's rod and staff comfort us if He is not there? Obviously from that famous psalm, He is indeed there with us during the journey through that dark valley. I cannot and must not give up on the Lord; He certainly never has given up on me, and I have shown far more cause to be given up on than our Lord ever has or will! Praise the Lord for his steadfast and guiding hand on me through this difficult time! Every night and day for the past three days I have thanked God for all of your support and encouragement. More encouragement is needed in other areas, I am not the only one to lose his or her position! I hear of much fear and worry among those who did not lose their jobs too. I can see how this would happen, and not only that these folks will be expected to make up for those now departed. The atmosphere of fear now in place will be slow to depart and is not a healthy atmosphere to work in. I will ask that we pray for those who have lost their jobs and for those left behind. I hear a lot about anger on both sides of this situation also, although this too should fade in time. The old pc is clamoring for updates, I had better come back to this in the morning. God bless you all!

Just a Little Mean? - October 10, 2008

Good Friday morning! Today, I will try to move on. Yes, it is very soon and I will probably not be entirely successful. However, the healing must continue and I do not want to slow it down. If I wanted another job, I am sure there are many that I could have with my skills and experience. However, I am taking the advice of many and my own belief in God. I will move forward with my new career in writing. Somehow, all of my experiences will come together in books that will help people to see the one answer that stands above all others, Christ Jesus. Will the journey be smooth and ever upward? Perhaps not, but the Captain of my soul and life is in charge, and only He can see the end of the journey. Many questions need answers, but I will seek and knock, and believe that the door will be opened. From my past experience, many of the answers will prove obvious or already known to me, although perhaps I will miss them for a time. One of my resolutions for today is to stop trying to guess or figure out the reason I was chosen among so many. We all like to be honored or singled out in some cases, but this would not be one that I would normally choose! :-) I will say nothing bad about my former employer and will instead try to remember all the good times I had with my coworkers and friends during those 19 years+ with Cabela's. At some point the tears must stop falling, the head rise, and the sun faced. A new life begins full of hope, promise, and excitement. Self-employment? A frightening precipice to gaze over, I cannot see the bottom, but the slope is probably not nearly as steep as my imagination makes it right now. This is the time to turn heartache into hope, build upon the past, face the future, and trust in God Almighty. And doesn't it feel good to write "God Almighty"! Oh the joy of knowing that the world cannot keep me down when Christ is in my heart! The powers of this world may be able to terminate our employment, repossess our house (not our home!), or put us in prison, but they only have that power when our Creator and Champion allows it. Every trial is for our own benefit; Christ does not become more powerful or more perfect through our trials, but in the end more glory accrues to His holy name. I have faith that the end, or more accurately, the next step in this journey of mine will be for His glory and that I will benefit much more than I can see or imagine at this point. My first wish in all of this is just a bit on the mean side, but it occurred to me yesterday in conversation. I would like to see a nice blizzard this winter, just to watch all of the folks going to work up the hill. They will not be smart enough to stay home, just as I was not on those days. We all felt compelled to make it into work if it was at all possible, and it will be worse for them now with the fear of more layoffs upon them. Only in Christ could I feel compassion and empathy for my former coworkers and company, but that is the way of it in Jesus. Still, just a small smile might come to my face while watching all those poor folks trying to get to work on a day like that. If that doesn't happen, or if I too need to be somewhere on that day, then praise God just the same! :-) ... and I do mean the smileys today, that is not simply an exercise in typing! Praise God for His healing power in my life and yours! Bucky

Better Today! - October 11, 2008

Good morning! The weekend is the weekend and today we will leave it at that. How great is the Lord our God? In all of the most heart-wrenching situations, he is there for us. In all of the challenges of life, He lives in us and through us. Our Lord is not some distant being who checks in once in a while. We feel pain, emotional or physical, and He feels that pain with us. When we receive and feel that joy and peace that only Jesus can give, He feels that with us too. Are you heartsick, worried, near despair today? God knows and He loves you with a love that cannot be broken. Paul may have felt something like this when he was writing Romans 8

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can't, and life can't. The angels can't, and the demons can't. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can't keep God's love away.

Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38 - 39
We may feel separated from another person, a situation, or from just everyone in general, but God is never separate from us and as Paul notes, nothing can separate us from His love. I cannot imagine the pain of a divorce, although this week I was given a powerful example. Separation is painful in this lifetime, and while we do hurt emotionally for a time, we would rather not experience it at all! Alright now, I mean to say that we do heal. Be that as it may, we are going to endure separations from others in this world. However - good news point - we cannot be separated from God or His great love for us! Any person has the choice to accept or reject God's love. With all of the separation and pain in this world, why wouldn't a person accept God's love? We know that some do, and prayer is a good place to start for those folks.

How is it with me? You might be asking that and here's the answer. Yesterday I went back to the Corporate HQ and picked up my personal things, parking in a visitor's spot. There wasn't as much pain as I had experienced on Tuesday and Wednesday, the healing is well underway. I want to move on now, even though there will be some administrative details here and there to work out, it is time to look ahead. I also sought out web resources yesterday on self-employment. There are many, and they are free. What better for someone starting a new career with little knowledge of some of these things. This year's taxes will be fairly close to normal, but what happens after that? Much learning to do! I know that some of you will have some suggestions for this too. Bring 'em on!

God bless!


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Recovery Day 1 - October 8, 2008

Good morning! Today is the first day of a new life for me! What happened yesterday still hurts, that will heal with time and a good dose of listening to the Holy Spirit. I have sat up and laid awake trying to think of the reason why I was selected to be among those let go, but that is a useless exercise; I may never find out the true reason or reasons. I have read and reread the company announcements and compared what was said with those I know lost their jobs and just cannot reconcile any one set of criteria, other than the number. Those of us let go are "honored" to be one-third of ten percent, usually I don't do that well in raffles and prize drawings. If a raffle awards 3.3 percent prizes, I usually don't get anything!

Today, I start anew. I slept in, though that will not continue, I read the Omaha World-Herald, and I studied the Bible for longer than I usually do in the mornings. At 0724, when I am usually on the way to work, I am just sitting down with a cup of coffee to start writing. Today, I plan to list my writing projects for at least the next 3 months, some will take longer than that, but starting them is the main thing; I am going to work on some cabling down in the basement to get ready for my new Internet service, and work on some cleanup. I also need to make a trip to the bank, which unlike most days, I can do at any time. As I move forward, and past this perceived humiliation (heavy emphasis on perceived), I will no doubt find many advantages to self-employment. While I don't enjoy the golden parachute of the CEO's and other executives, you may note in the article that a severance package has been offered. I have a parachute, even if not a golden one! However, one of my first thoughts about that is ... God is my strength and shield! I will not of course refuse the severance, but I will trust in God first.

How God works in seemingly quiet ways! During my cold about a week ago, I rebuilt my office in another room. A lot of work for a sick person, though a cold is by no means incapacitating. The good thing is that now I am set up with a lot of desk space, two pc's, and a couple of printers. I did mess up on one printer though. I thought only of the advantage of having the power switch on a strip near at hand... and then plugged the power strip into my little UPS. Needless to say, the first time I fired up the laser printer last night, the UPS gave an angry "squeep!" and started to shut down. That will be another little project for today.

Did I mope about last night? You bet... while making chocolate chip cookies. There is something very comforting about baking or cooking something after a traumatic event, and that activity really helped me last night. Oh, boy! Talk about the outpouring of support! We all hate to see this happen to anyone, and I only hope that I can respond as well when someone else needs this kind of support. I pray that no one else loses their job at Cabela's or any other employer. Sidney will no doubt see some very serious conversations around the water coolers, bakeries, and coffee shops today. Today, my recovery begins, the town and others may take a bit more time, and I will do my best to write supportive and encouraging words for all. I want to thank all of you for the notes of support, and all of those who stopped by yesterday to lend a helping ear.

A note on the "perceived" humiliation. We are taught from early in our lives that a job is the thing to have. A grown man, and now grown women too, support their families and themselves through having a job. A job loss was then, and is now, a traumatic event for a family and for a man (this one in particular) or woman. However, I did nothing wrong and this was not a firing for some cause. While it seems humiliating to be singled out in this way, I need to get past that and see this for the wonderful opportunity and message from God that it is. Not that long ago, I did ask God to show me beyond any doubt when He wanted me to start writing. The sign may be painful and unexpected at the time of my receiving it, but there is no doubt in my mind that it has arrived and cannot be missed. Ouch! Yes, Lord, I hear you loud and clear!

May God strengthen those who need Him on this day,


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

There for Each Other - October 7, 2008

Booyah! 32° F baby! The autumn is here at last, and the day has not yet dawned. We will soon be mourning the passing of autumn as it usually lasts about 2 - 3 weeks around these parts. It surely feels cool out there too; I am not yet accustomed to the cold wind on my face when out walking. The cat was all puffed out too, looking like a furry volleyball this morning. What a wonderful devotional from Pastor Rogers this morning. We need to be reminded of that fact often. God does know us intimately, much more than we even know ourselves. We might be able to deceive our self about something, but we will not deceive the one who is truth. Praise the Lord for the dawning of the new day! It isn't a Monday and I have no dental appointment today; does it show? In the Christian walk, there are some days that are just worse than others. Our joy may be given by Jesus, but our happiness rises and falls with circumstance.

Our Congress had a new poster child for failure before them yesterday. The CEO of the failed Lehman Brothers investment bank enjoyed a 2-hour session in front of a congressional panel. Didn't we just go through this with the Enron gang? A different time, a different situation, but the executive pay and compensation stink smells very much the same. We once thought that the higher a CEO's compensation goes, the better the company was doing and, hopefully, the better the compensation would be at the other end. You know, the end of the pay chain that most of us are much closer too? However, in practice we have seen the executive compensation packages get better and better, while Congress must mandate pay raises at the minimum end of the scale. Seldom do we hear about a CEO suffering with the fortunes of his or her company either. When we took over Gander Mountain's mail order business in the mid 1990's, I heard about how the officers of the corporation helped themselves to huge "retention" bonuses prior to the bankruptcy. Little did I know that was my first personal example of the big scandals to come. A company does not have to be huge for those in charge of the till to behave badly. A friend at work is going through a lengthy court battle to recover assets his former partner embezzled. Had they been a public corporation they might have qualified for the Fortune Million, not a large company by any stretch of the imagination.

How do we get by financially in such challenging times? Well not by depending upon our own strength, physically or financially. We must, as always, trust in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Look at my 401k balance? Not hardly, that would just make me sad. I am trusting in Jesus, and going to work each day to do my best for my employer. Pray for each other. Should a financial disaster strike one of us, we will be there in prayer and support for each other and all of our brothers and sisters in Christ!

Hallelujah for the day!


Monday, October 06, 2008

Encouragement on the Way! - October 6, 2008

Good Monday morning! This morning while reading in 1 John, I wondered about encouragement. It seems that in this Christian life we are best when encouraging each other. I wonder if John needed encouragement when he wrote 1 John, or Revelation, or 2 John? By the time John wrote these letters in the Bible, it is often stated that he was quite old. Had John passed the point where encouragement from other believers was needed? I suspect that would be a "no". We need each other throughout our lives, although we need Christ much more. We need the encouragement that we pass back and forth between us. Whether we pass a simple, "hello, God loves you!" or we converse at length, the encouragement we get from fellow believers is very much needed in this world. Notice how much easier a subject like encouragement comes to my mind on a Monday morning! Yes, back to work after the weekend tends to show me the need for encouragement, support, and the strength of the Holy Spirit in my heart. I know that somewhere out in Tennessee, a person went through Pastor Rogers' devotionals and felt led to send one on encouragement today. We may not feel that we can go forth on some mornings, but if we look around, words and signs of encouragement will come to us. Have a wonderful Monday in Christ Jesus!


Sunday, October 05, 2008

Saving Grace... and the Huskers take a sound thumpin' - October 5, 2008

Good Sunday morning! Aaiiee! Nebraska got thumped last night. The offense looked pretty good at first, but there didn't seem to be a defense on the field at all. That is what happens usually when a rebuilding program meets one of the top 5 in the nation. Every once in a while, Jack does knock down the Giant, and that is why we like college football. However, the more likely outcome, Jack getting stomped, happened last night. Nebraska fans have hope for the future though; what about those Cub fans? Yikes, they have entire web sites devoted to how bad the Cubs are in the playoffs, and it was proved again this year! Tough to play well with all of that hanging over your head.

Speaking of a curse, what kind of record do we have as compared to the Law? I read about the giving of the Law last night in Exodus 19, and I began thinking about how well any of us have done with those 10 commandments. Jesus brought a new dimension to this when He addressed our thoughts in relation to keeping the Law. Ever lusted after a married woman or man? You broke a commandment. Lied about anything in your mind? There's another one gone. Looked at something your neighbor has and wondered how they deserve such a thing when you don't have one? Oops, number 10 gone. Bowed down to a graven image, worshipped something other than God, taken the Lord's name in vain, cursed your parents? At one time or another, we have all probably broken every commandment, perhaps both before and after having been saved. Sinful folks are we... until Jesus saved us at the cross. While we might have a tendency to wallow in guilt, Jesus also forgave all or our sins; He saved us. We cannot deny having sinned and it would be a lie to do so. However, we should not go about with heads hung down in guilt, Jesus saved us and we are pardoned, ransomed, and declared righteous in Christ! So, before you go out once more with guilt-ridden mind and downcast face, remember the saving and forgiving grace of Christ! Go forth in joy and relief, you are forgiven!

Praise God for the grace and peace of Jesus!


Saturday, October 04, 2008

Umm, what set him off today? - October 4, 2008

Good Saturday morning to you! Wow, the prices at the retail stores are really biting hard these days. It doesn't seem to matter which store; they are all biting the wallet hard. The question that must come to mind is: if the prices of many things continues to rise, will my paycheck see a similar rise? Probably not. We will get some letter from one of the company officers about how we must control costs in order to stay competitive in this tough economy. The number one cost they are referring to will of course be employee pay raises. However, we cannot give out pay raises and price increases all willy-nilly or you could get a boom town kind of thing going where everyone earns a lot, but everything costs a lot too. As you can tell, I don't have the answers to the economic troubles. My understanding of economics and how it all works is not going to win any prize. Like you, I read the news and magazine articles and trust those with titles and/or letters behind their names to explain things to me. Is there a possibility that some or all of them are misleading me, deliberately or otherwise? Yes, that is one of the reasons why my faith is in God. When a person is among what some would call the "little" people, or others might call the middle or working class, we simply don't have a lot of personal knowledge of the large institutions that we hope are managing the even larger things well, like the economy, for example. Now hold up a sec, isn't God even larger, or more powerful, or more unknowable than any human institution or activity? Yes and no. Certainly God is all-powerful, but unknowable? Imagine if the federal government had a direct message pipeline to your heart or mind, a pipeline that you knew was trustworthy, wouldn't it be easier to know the workings of that institution? We come to trust God with everything that we have, and He accepts us just as we are when we first believe in His Son. The institutions of this world do not know our thoughts, and would probably want to change some of them if they did know. While the powers of this world seek to control us as a population, the real power in the universe wants to have a personal relationship with each of us... on an individual basis. How incredible and wonderful is that?

I am going off the deep end today. I read about the passage of the rescue or bailout package through our government, and like many am left wondering what it all means for me. The fact that a new car loan might be easier in a month or so doesn't mean that I should run out and buy one. While I ponder the potential effects of the latest move by our government, I wonder if there is a book that I can read to better understand the institutions and bureaucracies of the government. God gave us a wonderful handbook into His desires for us, His love for us, and His Son, who came to save us. The Bible is a fairly imposing book for length and complexity, and yet is also short and simple. Compare that with the Code of Federal Regulations, the rules our government and its citizens are supposed to abide by. Don't run out to buy one, Title 47 covering telecommunications is more than twice the size of the Bible and comprises only a small part of the CFR. God's handbook looks much simpler when compared to the rules handed down by our government, and for content the Bible is hands down much more valuable.

Actually, if everyone obeyed the Bible, we wouldn't need the CFR at all! A person who loved everyone else would not try to drive a truckload of hazardous material through a town. A person who loves doesn't try to embezzle from an institution. A government wouldn't need extensive rules to govern if all of us faithfully obeyed the two important commandments as stated by Jesus: love God with all of your heart, your mind, and your strength. And equally important, love your neighbor as yourself. That is not an exact quote, but you will recognize the words from your reading in the Gospels.

What other news do we have today, since I am going on at such length this morning. My cold is finally letting me live again, though a sniffle and hack or two remains today. Our favorite football team, the Huskers, stands a good chance of breaking another long streak as the 5th-ranked Missouri Tigers come to Lincoln. Missouri's team has not won at Lincoln for like, 30 years, but the decline of our college team may be evident today. Even with a new coach, it will take some time for Nebraska to regain a place among the top teams in the nation. So which is more important, the news about the economy or the football team. In most households in Nebraska, the football game will take precedence until sometime on Monday, after the game is well discussed of course. Perhaps in this case, a sports diversion is good for us, the news about the economy will take a lot of explanation and pondering. I haven't had the courage to check my 401K balance in the past two weeks; call me a coward if you will, but I figure there isn't much that I can do about it anyway. The time to move money out of stocks would have been about a month ago, long before I had any knowledge of the "panic". The worries of today are more than enough for me; trying to gaze into the economic crystal ball only leaves me with a headache.

Alright then! I think I have rambled on enough for one day. Let us think on the glory of God today!


Friday, October 03, 2008

Dark n' Fear - October 3, 2008

Good Friday morning! Sometimes I sit down to write a message of hope and joy in these dark times, and then have to stop. Why do the times not seem so dark and scary to me? It can, at times, be difficult to remember how frightening the world can be for those who do not believe in Jesus. Pastor Rogers used to say that "it's getting gloriously dark!" We do live in dark and frightening times, but we also live with Jesus in our hearts. At some point in our lives we come to learn, probably through the guidance of God, that we cannot trust the institutions of this world. In Jesus, instead of that lack of trust in the world causing us more fear, we know that our faith must be placed in Christ alone. Many have lived in this world and left it knowing that they were getting out just in time as things were going downhill fast. However, one day they will wake up to a judgement day that they did not escape after all. We do not want to leave this world just to escape or "get out", we want to leave this world to be with Christ in Heaven! While we look forward in joy and hope to Christ's return, we also love one another and give each other encouragement to run the race to the finish.

May God bless you this weekend in a special way!


Thursday, October 02, 2008

The X Age? - October 2, 2008

Good Thursday morning! Once more the week is floating by quickly on the rushing stream of time. Today's message from Pastor Rogers is good for all of us as we do live in that age. In the history classes at school, I often pitied those people in the past who lived in an age of fear. We do not have to worry about polio, plagues, leprosy, and many of the other diseases that so ravaged populations and persons in history, ...or so I thought as a child. However, the curse on this world is what it is, and as we as a species manage to take away the threat of one disease, another rises to take its place as a threat to our health. While we grew up in the Space Age, or the Computer Age, or the x Age, we also grew up in the age of cancer or heart disease. These have been among the dominant fears of our time. Something is always stalking us, but mostly it is just plain ol' fear. Often we fear what doesn't happen too much, and what has a much greater chance of happening, we don't fear enough. While the people in this world walk around with one eye over their shoulder on the lookout for cancer, heart disease, auto accidents, AIDS, and any other threat, real or imagined, the doom of eternity in hell is rushing to grab them from the shadows of the curse. The Good News of eternal life in Christ Jesus can put a stop to this all too real threat!

On the other hand, some of us have the promise of eternal life in Christ, and yet we still suffer the illnesses of this world. Among even this small group we know about or have experienced in us or our loved ones all of the threats this world has to offer. I don't need to list what we have suffered, no doubt several events and names came to each of our minds right away. The good news about this is that Christ loves to heal! We can read it in the Gospel accounts of His glorious life on this earth. Jesus often stayed up late into the night healing the sick. However, the trial of some condition or illness may last our entire earthly life or the remainder thereof; we simply do not know what God's plans are in every situation. Good news there too! When we see Jesus, He will heal our entire being - mind, body, and spirit!

A prayer for today: Jesus live through us all, each and every one!


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Praise God, and Spread the Good News! - October 1, 2008

Good morning. Wow, it seems like I was just sitting here working on the computer! Actually, the call ended last night about midnight, and at 6 hours ago, it does seem not so long ago. I hope that is the last late night task before our IT freeze begins this year, but we'll have to wait and see. The weather is slowing changing toward a fall norm, Friday may be the last warm day for a while.

Pastor Rogers' reminder that all things work together for good is very timely for me this morning. Does it seem strange at all that God can work through the words from dead guys to give us a lift now? Both Paul, the writer of the book of Romans, and Pastor Rogers, the writer of the LWF devotional, are gone from the earth. However, God probably doesn't see either of them as dead in the way that we do. God would probably correct me in this; "Paul dead? No he is right here with me. Pastor Rogers is too; in fact he is discussing this morning's message with Paul right this moment." God does not see life and death in the same way that we worry about on a near daily basis. An author once wrote that the mere mention of death these days causes people to break out in a frenzy of healthful activities. I believe that is true, the world at large can tell the end is near on both an individual and a collective basis. They are frightened of the death we can see coming, and of losing this life. We, who live in Christ, look forward to ending this life and going to see Jesus in person. This does not mean that we are suicidal, that is a favorite perversion of the anti-Christs and false prophets in this world. No, we simply look forward to the fulfillment of our salvation through Christ Jesus. You or I might be here for another 20, 30, or even 100 years, praising God and spreading the joy of His Good News!

Glory to God in the highest!