I Need to Practice

I have been practicing finger picking on the acoustic guitar for the last several months and I have really enjoyed it.  I grabbed a pick the other day to play a couple of songs and I could tell it has been a while since I used a pick.  It took me a while to get the feel for it again and to be able to pluck only the strings I meant to.  The situation served to remind me of the need for me to practice these things that don’t come so naturally to me.  It’s true, I am not a natural when it comes to music or playing the guitar.  I find that if I don’t practice consistently, I quickly lose the muscle memory and it takes me a while to knock the rust off and do the things I want to do.  Practice is important.

In Philippians 4:9, Paul speaks of the need to practice the spiritual things of God that he taught the Philippians.  He says that practicing these things will bring us closer to the God of peace.  Prior to that verse, Paul has shared with the Philippians the things they ought to practice: rejoicing in the Lord, demonstrating a gentle spirit, praying regularly, and focusing on things that are true, honorable, lovely,  right, pure, excellent and praise worthy, things of a good reputation.  That’s a pretty long play list.  And I don’t know about you, but for most of us, some of those things don’t come naturally.  And for me, that is a good reason to practice.

Posted in Christianity, Church, doing the right thing, Don't give up, Draw close to God, faith, God will help you, Philippians 4:9 | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Need Directions!

I have been doing some chaplaincy work at a local medical facility that has a large campus with several buildings. During my first couple of weeks I got lost on more than one occasion. Luckily an understanding staff member provided me with a map of the campus. That has helped immensely! Last week as I was walking across the campus a visitor stopped me and asked where the auditorium was located. I didn’t even know we had an auditorium! I remembered my map and took it out of my billfold. After some study and a little head scratching I was able to answer their question. I was so glad I had been given my map! And I was so glad I had it with me.

The situation served to remind me of the directions and instruction available to us in God’s word. I like how David describes the scriptures in Psalm 119 as “a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” God has given us His word so that He can provide us direction in all situations. I pray that in 2019 we will always keep His word with us and turn to it regularly so that the Lord can lead us and guide us.

Posted in Christianity, Church, Draw close to God, following Christ, God will lead you | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

All the Right Moves

We went to see the granddaughter’s Christmas dance recital last week and it was a lot of fun.  The girls looked beautiful and did a great job.  We are so proud of them!  I just wish my pictures would have turned out a little clearer.  The recital included a lot of performances by kids of various ages, from preschool all the way up to high school.  The little ones were especially fun to watch.  They are so cute!  I love how some of them wave at the crowd during the midst of their performance and even give a shout out to Mom or Nana during the song.  One thing that was also consistent with the little ones was the way they kept looking to the side of the stage so they could watch their teacher.  By keeping their eyes on their teacher they were better able to remember the next moves and the steps they were to take during the song.  The older kids didn’t really have to look to the side of the stage as much.  They were more experienced and had already spent enough time with the teacher, practicing the right steps and learning the right moves so that it came pretty naturally during the song.

As I reflect on these things, I see a good correlation to our spiritual lives.  All of us get lost in the music sometimes and aren’t sure what steps should come next.  We can easily find ourselves making the wrong moves or not being where we need to be.  Those are great times for us to remember to look to the Lord for guidance.  We are told in Hebrews 12:1 – 2, “…Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…”  Our Lord knows the steps we should take and the moves we should make during each and every song.  He is the author and composer of all things.  He will teach us and He will guide us if we look to Him.  May we always look to Him.  And may we spend enough time in His presence so that the right moves and the right steps will come more naturally to us.

Posted in All the right moves, Christianity, Church, following Christ, grandchildren, Hebrews 12:1, Hebrews 12:2, ministry work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Preparing for the Day

We have had some cold weather the last couple of weeks and I really don’t care for it.  I am ready for the weather to change.  I was totally caught by surprise the other day and left for the office in just a shirt and a pair of slacks.  The wind started whipping around a couple of hours later, the air was cold and damp and I felt like I was freezing!  Generally, when it’s cold I like to put on a coat and a hat and maybe even one of my “Mr. Rogers’ sweaters” before I head out the door.

As I was shivering on the way to my car after work, I was reminded by the temperature that I need to be better prepared and put on the right things when I head out in the morning to face the world.  Otherwise, it will be a long day.  God’s word reminds us that we should also prepare ourselves spiritually every day to face the world.  Paul tells Christians in Colossians 3:12

Col 3:12  “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.”

I love Paul’s reminder to the Church.  We should never leave our house without a heart of compassion, kindness, gentleness and patience.  We are to head out the door prepared to help one another, love one another, and forgive one another just as Christ has done for us.  Every morning we should make sure we are appropriately dressed.  It makes for a better day.

Posted in Be Prepared, Best Dressed, Christianity, Colossians 3:12 - 14, God's Love, good advice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Get Up Close

I was in a meeting the other day that was taking place in a large conference room.  Someone stepped forward to speak and they had a power point presentation that went along with their subject.  Each slide had a lot of things going on, so in order to be able to see all that was going on and to hear all that was being said, I moved closer to the front of the room.  I knew that if I was not closer physically, I would miss out.

I find that the same principle applies in a spiritual sense.  I know that there are a lot of things that the Lord is doing in this world, there are a lot of things He has to say.  So that I don’t miss out on all that He is doing and saying, I know I need to place myself close to Him.  For me, staying close to God happens best when I stay in His Word, in His Worship and in His Work.  The Bible tells us in the Gospel of John chapter one, “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God and the Word was God…and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”  If I want to stay close to God, I need to stay in His Word.  I also need to be involved in Worship.  We are told in Psalm 22:3 that God inhabits the praises of His people.  Our praise of the Lord elevates us and brings us into His Presence.  And last, but not least, we stay close to the Lord through His Work.  In Matthew 25 Jesus spoke of acts of service in His Name such as providing food to the hungry, drinks to the thirsty, clothes for the less fortunate and visiting those in prison.  And our Lord said in verse 40, “In as much as you have done these things to the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto Me.”

I pray that you will have a blessed week.  I pray that you will draw close to God and that you will not miss out on all that He is doing and wanting to say to you.  I trust that will happen as you make time this week to stay in His Word, in His Worship and in His Work.

Posted in busy schedule, Christianity, Church, Draw close to God, faith, following Christ, inspirational, John 1:1, John 1:14, Matthew 25:40, Psalm 22:3 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lord, I’m Thankful

I was driving to work the other morning reflecting on all the reasons I have to be thankful.  The Lord has truly been good to me.  As I was counting my blessings and telling God thank you, I wrote this song.

Lord, I’m thankful
For the ways You’ve blessed me,
Lord, I’m thankful
For my friends and family,
So before I get too busy
Before I start my day,
I want to take the time
So that You can hear me say,
Lord, I’m thankful,
Yes, I’m thankful.

Lord, I’m thankful,
For all that You do,
Lord, I’m thankful
You’re faithful and You’re true
Though times aren’t always easy
The sun don’t shine every day
I know You’ll never leave me
You’re beside me all the way,
And, I’m thankful,
Yes, I’m thankful.

Lord, I’m thankful,
You gave Your life for me,
Lord, I’m thankful
You died to set me free,
You came and You found me,
When I had gone astray
Now Your grace and love surround me
So I just have to say
Lord, I’m thankful,
Yes, I’m thankful.

Posted in Being Blessed, Being Thankful, Christianity, God, God has blessed me, inspirational | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Make a Choice

I saw a poster the other day that said, “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything.”  I like the sentiment expressed by that poster.  It reminded me of what the psalmist said it in Psalm 118:24, “This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.”

The kind of day we are going to have depends a lot on our mindset.  We have the power to choose how we will react and respond in the midst of every circumstance.  Each morning we have the power to choose between giving up or getting up and getting going.  Each morning we have the opportunity to set our mind on the Lord and seek His help and His direction.  The Lord doesn’t want us to give up.  He wants us to get up, get going and walk alongside of Him.  This is the day that He has made, He will equip us and empower us to do all that we need to do.  And that is a reason to rejoice.

Posted in can't go on, Choose to be happy, Don't give up, Don't stop, faith, Faith during hard times, God, God has a plan for you | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment