Tuesday, January 26, 2010

America Rising

video

Patrick touched my heart; he will touch yours, too.

After viewing this video on YouTube, I am humbled.  It is true that Patrick Hughes has overcome great adversity.  However, I was struck by his father's love for him.  It is sacrificial and asks for nothing in return.  Watch Patrick's father's eyes as he talks about Patrick.  I believe that it is a small glimpse into what my Heavenly Father feels for me.  What a beautiful story.  What a blessing it is to see how God works in the lives of all of His children.  No one is "least" in the eyes of the Father.  Every day is a gift and every day brings purpose.  God isn't finished with me yet.  How can I serve Him best today?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Maybe the tide is turning...

The election this week in Massachusetts was, I believe,  a referendum.  Let the pundits say what they wish, but I believe that Americans are fed up with the arrogance demonstrated in Washington DC.  It's about serving the country, Congress; not being self serving!!! I think Ray Stevens' video pretty much says it all.  Take it heart, America!  Let's take our country back in November, 2010!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Winter blahs? Read a good book!



Indiana winters are typically overcast, gray, and not much fun to experience. How can one make the best of a nasty winter evening? Most television shows are marginal, at best, and the "entertainment value scale" rates close to zero on many choices available. Board games are fun (I particularly like Dominoes) and are a great way to fellowship and develop friendly competition. However, I find the best way to engage your mind is to read a good book.

I just finished "Perelandra", the second book in a science fiction trilogy by C.S. Lewis. Just before Christmas, I finished "The Old Curiosity Shop" by Charles Dickens (I always try to precede the Christmas holidays by reading a Dicken's novel--there's just something warm and engaging about the rhythmic and classic English usage in a Dicken's novel!). Currently I'm working on "That Hideous Strength" by C.S. Lewis, his third in the above mentioned trilogy.

The best results (for me) lie in creating a book list (Ahhhh---a "Book-it List"!!!) posting titles on it that are suggested by others, or being reminded of classics suggested years ago by teachers and professors that I just never found the time (or interest) to pursue. It's amazing what a few years of experience will do to one's reading perspective...

The public library is one of the community's best kept secrets. I love browsing, re-familiarizing myself with card catalogues (most are online now), and, occasionally, just leafing through the pages of those books that look interesting. Checking out those books that I have chosen through my search efforts are like taking home new friends.

Settling down with a cup of coffee in my reading chair at home, and opening the first few pages of my new read dissolves away the nasties that may be lurking outside on a blustery winter day. Reading engages the mind (isn't God wonderful to give us the ability to think??), and dispels the blahs that January and its siblings dispenses. Reading the words and forming mind pictures are food for the soul. There is a huge difference between having an image thrust at one (through television or other media) and building images through what one reads on the written page. The written word can be paused and reflected over--electronic images are a blip on the screen. What a wonderful gift.

So, are you bored? Grab a book today and take a journey anywhere you'd like to go. It is one of the finest ways to rush toward Spring.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Iron sharpens iron...


I am blessed to be a part of a Friday morning men's group that has been actively meeting since 1988. What a joy it is to meet once a week and study God's word (we're currently in Matthew), pray for each other, and hold each other accountable in our walk with Christ.


The attendance numbers have varied over the years, but it has been a real joy to meet and fellowship with the men who have participated. My life is richer as a result of knowing these brothers in Christ.


So Dan, Phil, Barry, Ed L., Ed G., Mark, Gene, Larry, Greg, Dick, and Bob thanks so much for your witness and your willingness to "stand in the gap" for Jesus. Love you guys.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Monday, Monday...




As a retiree, it was suggested by some of my already-retired friends that every day would be Saturday and every night, Friday night. Well, I suppose it would be that way if I didn't have such a heavy class load. However, before you think I'm feeling sorry for myself, I signed on for this.

I have a Monday night class in Kokomo (an hour and forty-five minute drive one way under normal conditions...however, in Indiana's January, is there ever a "normal" day??). The class begins at 6:00 and is over at 10:00 p.m. I should be home by midnight tonight. On Tuesday night, I teach an undergraduate class on campus for IWU in Marion. It begins at 6:15, ends at 9:15. I have Wednesday off (hallelujah!), but travel to Fort Wayne on Thursday evening to the Fort Wayne Education Center (IWU) where I have a 6:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. class. I am finishing an online class for Indiana Tech; I'll submit the grades next Monday (the 25th) for that class, which reduces my class load by one fourth.

The Thursday night class ends on February 4th; the Monday night class ends March 1st, and the Tuesday night class continues until late April.

The good news is, I still feel like I'm contributing. I love (most of the time) the preparation and the classroom time spent with the students. I always come away feeling that I've learned something too.

So: Monday, Monday? Let it come. Like it says on my blog header, "This is the day that the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it"!!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Friendship



Last evening we had dinner with friends at Vera Mae's Bistro in Muncie, Indiana. Besides the wonderful food, excellent service, and the quiet ambience of Vera Mae's, the best part was sharing the evening catching up and basking in the warmth of well-developed friendship.

In a culture where so much is hurried and gratification is expected immediately, it is a rich experience to settle into a booth in an out-of-the-way restaurant with old and dear friends to share family updates, recall old times, and share a fine meal, a decadent dessert, and coffee at the end of the collation. It doesn't get any better than that.

This morning after church we learned that another dear friend of ours has been diagnosed with a malignancy. Stunned by the news, my mind hearkened back to a missions' trip to Jamaica we shared together a few years ago. Our laughter, prayers, tears, and camraderie shared during the trip shaped a friendship that has remained warm and familiar these many years. My friend is strong in his relationship with Jesus Christ. His witness and his testimony has been an inspiration to me since I have known him. Questions always arise as to why dear friends have to suffer chilling events in their lives that cause pain and anxiety. Paraphrasing Pastor Steve Brown of KeyLife Network, " I believe that God allows Christians to suffer so that Pagans can see how they (the Christians) handle it and, perhaps, come to Jesus as a result".

I know my friend's testimony will remain steadfast and God will be glorified throughout this tough time for him, his family, and his friends.

Friends are woven into the very fabric of our lives. I treasure each one that I have.




Monday, January 4, 2010

Welcome 2010

I wish you blessings for the New Year. 2010 is just 4 days old; 361 remaining to
  1. make a difference in your life
  2. make a difference in someone else's life
Of course, making a difference in our lives sometimes results in making a difference in someone else's life.

I have avoided making New Year's resolutions this year. I know the things that I should be working on and I really am going to make an effort to improve the areas I have control over. What sort of things would you like to see changed in your life?

Some of the areas I want to improve include
  • my personal study time in God's Word
  • caring more for the people with whom I come in contact
  • developing a prayer life that is more than a personal "want" list
  • journalizing my thoughts on at least a weekly basis
  • becoming an active listener

I realize that there is a certain amount of risk in commiting those to print. However, perhaps that will assist me in keeping more focused in carrying out my goals.

I truly hope that 2010 becomes the best year ever for you and yours.