A Time to Grow

I was recently asked how my early years as a Christian set the tone for how I would live out my Christian faith. I came to know Christ as Savior when I was 12 at a youth event. My family was not involved much in church and as a result, I did not attend very regularly or read the bible as a new believer. For that reason, I did not grow much spiritually. My early years as a Christian did set a tone all right, but it was a tone of “how not to live out one’s faith.” More than ten years later, I was still a baby Christian. My ways, my habits, and many of my attitudes were not much different than they were before I came to know Christ.

Because I was not growing spiritually, by default, I had grown more worldly. Eventually, I came to a point where I realized I needed to be a good steward of God’s blessings and to be a good steward, I needed to grow in the faith and knowledge of Jesus Christ. I also realized I could grow and that I would grow if I would consistently engage in the spiritual disciplines of my faith – namely, prayer, studying God’s word, and making time to assemble with God’s people. When I think about spiritual growth versus worldly growth, I am reminded of an old poem that goes like this:

Two natures are at war within my breast,
One is cursed, the other is blessed.
One I love, and one I hate.
The one I feed will dominate.

The things we do every day determine how we will grow.  May we ever choose wisely.  Blessings to you and yours, wishing all of you…and me! much spiritual growth in 2023.

Posted in Being Blessed, Christianity, doing the right thing, Draw close to God, faith, spiritual growth | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What a Great Love God Has For Us

It has been a busy week but a blessed week as I had the opportunity to lead 4 different chapel services in which we discussed and spoke of God’s great Christmas gift to us – the gift of His Son and Our Savior, Jesus Christ. We had some great times of worship and discipleship as we talked about the importance of our faith and explored ways that we can walk in a way that honors the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. If we know Christ as Lord, then we know how much God loves us and it should impact the way we live and love others.

If You Only Knew

How would you live if you only knew,
The depth of the love God has for you?
Would you start each day off with a smile?
Would you push through each challenge and go the next mile?
Would you reflect His love in all that you do?
How would you live if you only knew?

How would you live if you only knew,
The depths of the love God has for you?
Would you treat everyone you meet with God’s love and grace?
Would you do your part to bring a smile to each face?
Would you share the love that’s been shared with you?
How would you live if you only knew?

How would you live if you only knew,
The depths of the love God has for you?
Would you face each day grateful for the gift of God’s Son?
Would you go into each battle knowing the victory is won?
Would you do things differently than the way that you do?
How would you live if you only knew?

I hope that you have a great Christmas. I hope that you get to spend some time with people who care for you and who care about you. And most of all, I hope that you know how much God loves you.

Posted in Being Blessed, Being Thankful, Christmas, faith, God loves you | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kind and Encouraging Words

I recently had an opportunity to spend some time with our grandson Theo who just turned three. We sat on the floor and played with trucks, drums, and a few other toys. I had a great time. My favorite part of the time we shared together was listening to Theo chat away while we were playing. Whatever activity we were engaged in, whatever game we were playing, Theo kept telling me things like, “Good job Papaw” and “I knew you could do it” and “See, you’re good at this.” It was a wonderful afternoon. I love that boy.

As I look back on our visit, I am reminded of Proverbs 16:24 which says, “Kind words are like honey – sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” Kind words, encouraging words, and words of support are indeed sweet to the soul. They are healthy for all of us, no matter what stage of life we may be in. I am so proud of my grandson for so effortlessly and genuinely sharing such kind and encouraging words with me and with others. It lets me know that he is hearing such words from his parents, his grandparents, and all the other special people in his life. And that is indeed sweet to the soul, both his…and mine.

Posted in Being Thankful, Christianity, Encouragement, encouraging others, faith, God has blessed me, grandchildren | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Message of Love

This week, we had a special event for the people we serve at the hospital where I work as a chaplain. We listened to Christmas music, ate Christmas cookies, and provided everyone with an opportunity to take a “selfie” in front of a Christmas tree and send it to their families along with a personalized message in a Christmas card. Many of our patients have been separated from their families and not seen them for quite some time so the event was well received by all. It was a time of smiles and laughter. Many shared with me how grateful they were to be able to reach out to their families and send a picture of themselves and share an important message with the people they love.

As I reflect on this event, it reminds me of the very reason Christians celebrate Christmas. All of us like sheep have gone astray and we have all been separated from God. But God, in His love, has reached out to us, sending us the most important message we could ever receive. He has sent us a message of redemption and restoration through His Son Jesus Christ. At Christmas we acknowledge and celebrate that God has declared and demonstrated His love for us by sending Christ to be our Savior. As Paul said in 2 Corinthians 9:15, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.”

Posted in 2 Corinthians 9:15, Christianity, Christmas, forgiveness, God's Love, Lord bring us peace | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mama’s Rocking Chair

I have a good friend who lost their grandmother yesterday. I woke up early praying for her and others who I know are grieving the loss of loved ones today. On such occasions, I generally try to express some of my thoughts in writing. For my friend, and others who are hurting today, I pray that you will experience God’s comfort and His peace.


Mama’s Rocking Chair

Every day I have reminders
That she had to say goodbye,
Every keepsake, every picture
Makes me want to cry.
But the best reminder I have,
Sits in the corner over there
And every day I take some time to sit,
In mama’s rocking chair.

And when I’m feeling lonely,
That chair’s my favorite place,
It’s where mama would hold me,
And wipe the tears from my face.
She couldn’t answer every question
But she knew just what to say
She taught me life’s best lessons
Before she went away.

Now she’s in the presence of our Savior,
‘Cause she believed the words He said,
She’s giving thanks with Jesus,
They’ve already broken bread.
And I know someday we’ll hold each other
When we meet again up there,
But until that day comes, I’ll rest
In mama’s rocking chair.

Every day I have reminders
That she had to say goodbye,
Every keepsake, every picture
Makes me want to cry.
But the best reminder I have
Sits in the corner over there
And every day I take some time to sit,
In mama’s rocking chair.

Posted in Being Thankful, Christianity, Dealing with grief, Draw close to God, final memories, God's comfort, Grief | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This is the Day

On the news tonight, I heard one newscaster touting a new segment on their program called “Working for the weekend.” The segment provides information about local activities available in our area during the weekend. One of the other anchors said something about “Yeah, everybody is working for the weekend.”

The exchange reminded me of a conversation I had with someone years ago. It was a very frantic and busy Tuesday morning at the office. I was tired and frustrated and I commented that I couldn’t wait for the work week to end, “I wish it was Friday already.” A friend suggested I take a different perspective. They told me when they are frustrated and feel that way, they meditate on Psalm 118:24, “This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.”

My friend offered me some good advice. Instead of wishing our lives away and just slogging through a tough work week, we should ask for the Lord to help us have the right perspective. Yes, some days are harder than others but every day is a gift. Every day the Lord’s mercies are brand new. Every day our Lord promises to be with us, even on the most frantic and toughest of days. And for that, we can always rejoice.

Posted in Being Thankful, Choose to be happy, Christianity, Encouragement, faith, Faith during hard times | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Lord is Good

In our chapel class this week we have been looking at some passages from Psalm 86 and talking about the goodness and mercy of the Lord. As our group has spoken about which verses in this psalm resonate with them, our attention was frequently focused on the promises in verses 5 and 7. David writes:

Psalm 86:5 For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in loving-kindness to all who call upon You… 7 In the day of my trouble I shall call upon You, for You will answer me.

I love the truth of these scriptures. The Lord is indeed good. The Lord is always ready to forgive. The Lord will provide an abundance of loving-kindness to all who call upon Him. Do you feel downcast and discouraged? Are you experiencing troubles and trials today? Call upon the Lord, for He is good. Trust in Him for He offers forgiveness and abundant loving-kindness to all who call upon Him. He will answer you and strengthen you.

Posted in Christianity, Draw close to God, Faith during hard times, God will help you, God's comfort, Psalm 86:5, Psalm 86:7 | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Time for Everything

Today, we get to celebrate the birthday of our 3-year-old grandson Theo. Theo is a wonderful grandson, I love to hear him laugh, see him smile, and zoom around the house with his favorite toys. Usually, he is doing all three at the same time. I love that boy! In just three short years, he has already taught me some good things. Of all the things I have learned from Theo, my favorite lesson has to do with lunch and naps. Theo introduced me to the concept of first lunch and second lunch, and the fact that nothing should interfere with a nap. This reminds me of the importance of doing what’s healthy for us and taking things at our own pace. It also reminds me of what the Bible says in Ecclesiastes chapter 3:

Ecclesiastes 3:1 There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven … 11 God has made everything beautiful in its time.

There is a right time, an appropriate time, for all of the things we need to do. Your time frame might not look like mine or Theo’s…and that’s okay. God has indeed made everything beautiful in its time. This afternoon I get to spend some beautiful time with family and friends as we celebrate Theo’s third birthday. But first, I’m going to take a nap.

Posted in Being Blessed, Being Thankful, Christianity, faith, God loves you | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stay Connected

I had some computer issues this morning. Actually, I had some monitor issues. It all started a few weeks ago with my screen going blank for a second or two. It would pop back on so I figured it was just some “cyberspace glitch” or some program trying to download in the background or some other technical hiccup. No worries. But this morning when I started to put the finishing touches on my sermon for the week, the monitor screen went blank, it went totally black and it never popped back on. And then the monitor went into “sleep” mode. One of the last things that happened right before it did was provide a message which advised me to “check your connection.”

“Checking the connection” proved to be a lot harder than it sounds. Under my desk there are all kinds of wires – wires for the modem, the router, the computer, the keyboard, the monitor, the desk light, and the desk fan (yes, a desk fan…a man can work up a sweat trying to finish a sermon). Anyway, it seems like most of these wires are about the same size and they are all the same color, so I couldn’t tell what was what. As I looked under the desk, all I saw was clutter. So, I powered everything down and slowly began checking each cord. I ended up getting rid of some cords that I no longer need. As near as I can tell, some of that clutter was weighing down the delicate cord which connects my monitor to the computer. The clutter finally weighed it down enough that the connection was totally lost.

I got everything going again but I learned a valuable lesson. Sometimes, we allow the clutter and the “busy-ness” of life to weigh down and compromise our connection to the Lord and our connections to others. It can start slowly at first, but it builds and builds until the connection is compromised to the point that we can no longer see the things we need to see or do the things we need to do. It is a good practice to de-clutter from time to time, to prioritize, organize, and get rid of things that only serve to weigh down and compromise the most important things in life – our connection to the Lord and our connection to others. May you have a blessed week and may you stay connected to the most important things of life.

Posted in Christianity, Church, Draw close to God, faith, Loving Others, Mark 12:30-31 | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Moving Forward

I took a walk across an iron bridge at our chaplains’ conference this week which sits high above the Texas hill country. As you walk across the bridge, you can look out and behold some beautiful scenery of God’s creation. Of course you can also stop and look down and grow uneasy, uncomfortable, and even scared as you see through the bridge and focus on the ground so far below. I have heard stories of some who have become so uncomfortable and scared that they turned around, refusing to cross the bridge. This results in them missing out on a great hike, some beautiful scenery, and enjoying a time of sitting in the shade by the river.

As I contemplated these things, I was reminded of the time when Simon Peter stepped out of the boat to walk on the water toward Christ. As long as Simon Peter kept his eyes on Christ, he was fine. But when he looked down and noticed where he was and what he was doing, he became uncomfortable, he stopped moving forward and he began to sink. Naturally, the Lord reached out and took Peter’s hand and rescued him.

My walk across the bridge reminded me of these scriptures and the importance of having the right perspective and the right focus in life. We are blessed in an abundant way when by faith, we refuse to let our discomfort dictate our steps but choose to continue moving forward, keeping our eyes on God’s goodness, His Grace, and the beauty of the relationship we have with His Son.

Posted in chaplaincy, chaplaincy training program, Christianity, Don't give up, Draw close to God, faith, God has a plan for you, God will help you, Matthew 14:22-23 | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment