Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A memorable Memorial Day Ride

“I prayed, “O my God, I am utterly ashamed; I blush to lift up my face to you. For our sins are piled higher than our heads, and our guilt has reached to the heavens.”
Ezra 9:6 NLT. http://bible.com/116/ezr.9.6.nlt

Yesterday, Memorial Day, my CMA family planned an impromptu motorcycle ride. It was a beautiful day for a ride. As we always do, we found a little ice cream shop outside of Bryan, Ohio called Eric's. They claim to have the worlds best root beer floats. They were pretty good. While there, we met a Vietnam Vet who also was riding a motorcycle. As we usually do, we struck up a conversation about motorcycles and got on the topic of Rolling Thunder. Rolling Thunder is a motorcycle demonstration honoring the Vietnam POWs. Bob, shared with us his own journey with his Vietnam vets. He spoke about how they raised money to build a monument to those he served with and died in Vietnam. He talked about how they were hated when they returned to the airport in Toledo. He and his platoon didn't see each other again until 2008. They have met every year since. He talked about his wife who had died 16 years earlier. He talked about coming to the VA hospital in Fort Wayne. I felt an overwhelming sadness at how Bob had been treated for his service. In those few short moments I drew close to this aging veteran. He sat there proudly wearing his Vietnam Veterans cap, alone, having ice cream on Memorial Day. 

I thought we should do something for Bob. What do you do? How can we even come close to honoring these me who served and were so mistreated when they returned? The damage of our nations treatment of Vietnam Vets is done, it's over, we can't take it back. I asked Bob if we could pray with him. I was honored to lead a prayer thanking Jesus for Bob's service and the lives of those lost defending our country. I prayed that God who give a special blessing to this man for his service. I prayed that God would forgive us for our treatment of them those many years ago. After that prayer, I hugged this wonderful stranger. With a tear in his eye, he thanked us. The real thanks goes to Bob and others like him. I apologized multiple times for the way our country treated him upon his return. I'm embarrassed for our country even these 40+ years later. We should never forget this sad chapter in our country and we should always take time to ask forgiveness from those we hurt by our actions. There is nothing more Christ like than serving to protect others and offering your life is that ultimate price. We can never forget that.

I praise God for those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our nation and those that lived through that horrific chapter as our nations people forgot the value of military service. I pray we never make that same mistake. 

Monday, May 30, 2016

Your own stubborn desires!

““But no, my people wouldn’t listen. Israel did not want me around. So I let them follow their own stubborn desires, living according to their own ideas. Oh, that my people would listen to me! Oh, that Israel would follow me, walking in my paths! How quickly I would then subdue their enemies! How soon my hands would be upon their foes! Those who hate the LORD would cringe before him; they would be doomed forever. But I would feed you with the finest wheat. I would satisfy you with wild honey from the rock.””Psalms 81:11-16 NLT. http://bible.com/116/psa.81.11-16.nlt

We, too, are at this point in our history. Although the U.S. is not the chosen kingdom like Israel, we have been abundantly blessed by the Lord. Yet, we have told the Lord, we don't want him. We have, as a collective country, decided to follow our stubborn desires. We have turned a deaf ear to the Lord and completely shunned what is right.

We have enemies on all sides. The pagans, the ungodly, are the enemy, and they are winning. They are taking over, they are forcing the moral decay. This small minority, is destroying the moral compass of our nation. We have been hijacked and swindled out of our blessings. We could defeat all the foes by supporting the God of the universe. We could end our decay if we would call on the name of the Lord! Our enemies would be defeated. The evil in our world would not survive. IF we would just call on the Lord, God would defeat the enemy right here and right now.

We know the ultimate victory is in Jesus. We know the eternal victory we have is in Jesus. But, that same victory can be seen right now if we would just bow to the creator of the universe. We don't have to wait! Victory is at hand with the Lord!

Dear Lord, Please forgive us for our sins. Forgive us for the times we ignored you and tried to live life without you. I know, Lord, there are no real blessings without you. I love you and desire you more every day. On this memorial day, where we honor our fallen soldiers, please do not forget this country. Although many have turned from you, many still honor you, and seek you. Please help us to bring others to know you. Help us to keep working to draw others to serve you. We love you! We need you! Amen!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Bringing the Lord to work!

“Unless the LORD builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the LORD protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good. It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.”  Psalms 127:1-2 NLT. http://bible.com/116/psa.127.1-2.nlt

It should be time for me to relax. As Alice Cooper once said, "Schools out for summer!"

Not for me!

I have been working diligently finishing up this years paperwork and getting ready to do some intense planning with my wonderfully dedicated team members. Then in a little over a week, we start three weeks of summer school teaching. But, after that, Stephanie and I will be on the road to the east coast. That's when the real rest begins. 

I really do love my job. It can be wearying. Despite the loss of sleep, I feel I am working for the Lord. I get confirmation of that for every senior I see graduate, and every at risk student who finally "gets it". I do not labor in vain because the Lord is building the house right with me. 

Is your job just a job or it is it a labor of love for the Lord? I am so blessed to have teaching as a second career. I have a perspective a little different from most career educators. Even though I have been teaching for over 20 years, I had another nearly 20 year career and chose late to join this "ministry". Yes, I do believe my work at GHS is my ministry and that is why my work will never be in vain. I love what I do. I love every minute of planning,adapting to student needs, and the wildness of a typical school day. 

We should all love our careers. If we can't think of our career as some type of ministry, we labor in vain. Unless our Lord is in the midst of our career our labor is useless. The Lord Jesus needs to be in the middle of everything we do, not just at church, not just at play, and not just at home. Until we devote our wntire lives to the Lord, we will never get peace or rest.

Listening to a 2 year old!

1I love the lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. 2Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath! Psalms 116:1,2

I love being a grandparent. I love being called "gramps". My middle daughter and her family are living with us right now. We have been blessed that my son-in-law, Brian, is working as the Head Golf Pro at a golf course in Warsaw. They are living with us while they are waiting for their house to sell in Missouri. It is a blessed time. Our house isn't that large, but it is comfortable enough even with the dogs and the clutter that comes with kids. Now with our summer break  upon us, we will spend quite a bit of time together. My youngest granddaughter has a language all her own. I have to concentrate, with every ounce of energy, to understand her. She is a talker and has some wonderfully long conversations with anyone who will listen. I don't hear all that well and it always helps to bend down to listen for any clues about what she is talking about. But, I love to listen to her. I treasure every moment with my daughters, their families, and especially the grandkids. I am blessed beyond measure to be called husband, dad, and gramps! I have done nothing to deserve those blessings and I am humbled by them.
I love the Lord because he hears my voice. He hears and acts on my prayers. When I am babbling like a two year old, he bends down to listen. He focuses directly on me, the feelings in my heart, and the words that aren't always that clear. He knows me and can read between every word and sentence coming from my mouth. My prayer time is the best time of the day. My devotion time, the time the Lord speaks to my heart the strongest, is as precious as gold. I praise my Heavenly Father for his wonderful patience with me and the joyous life I lead. Praise God!

Dear Lord, I praise you for my exciting and adventurous past, the life I will lead today, and the glorious future you have in store for me. I praise you that you listen to me and my constant babblings. I praise you for the opportunities I have to pray to you, directly, to the God of the Universe. You amaze me and I am awed by your grace and mercy. I am yours forever. Amen!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Graduates - "When am I ever going to use this?"

“Let the whole world bless our God and loudly sing his praises. Our lives are in his hands, and he keeps our feet from stumbling. You have tested us, O God; you have purified us like silver.”Psalms 66:8-10 NLT.  http://bible.com/116/psa.66.8-10.nlt

It's graduation day at Garrett High School. When I read these verses I could see our seniors. Tonight is a great evening of celebration. The Lord has brought the class of 2016 through the first phase of their lives. He has tested them, literally and figuratively. Now they go out into the world and put their mark on history. They will stumble, but the Lord will be there if and when they call upon him. Tonight and in the next few days as they celebrate with family and friends, they will get loads of advice. I also have some advice for them.

It will not be a surprise that my advice deals with leaning on the Lord for all things. I can not imagine living a life without the Lord. I have spent over 40 years with him. You should not waste another moment of your life without the Lord in the middle. Get on your knees and praise him. Ask forgiveness for your sins, and confess that Jesus is Lord. Your parents, teachers, and friends have impacted your life in a significant way, but the Lord will change you like never before. The change does not  need to happen before you devote to Jesus, it happens after.

 You have constantly pressed me as we spent the last four years together asking, "When am I ever going to use this?" I agreed, you may never see  the algebra and geometry taught at GHS ever again. That is not true for the Lord. He will help in every part of your life. He will be there as you grow your family. He will be there through the trials of illness, financial crisis, and death. He will be there in celebrations and times of mourning. Your education will never be complete especially when it comes to knowing the God of the Universe. The world says seeking him is frivolous. Don't listen to the world, find out for yourself. I can guarantee the Lord will make himself known in powerful ways. 

Pursue him with all your heart and live a life of amazement.

Dear Lord, I praise you for the privilege of being apart of the lives of the class of 2016. I truly am blessed. I ask you Lord to watch over them. Walk beside them as they head out to make their impact on the world. Speak to them, make your presence known, and draw them closer to you. Be patient with them s they search life for truth. Give them a heart for justice and a heart to serve. I love you lord and look forward to every day of my life with you. I praise you now and forever. Amen!