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!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


“Don’t be fooled by what they say. For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed—the one who brings destruction.”
2 Thessalonians 2:3 NLT.  http://bible.com/116/2th.2.3.nlt

We are living in the end times. I truly believe it. This is not some doomsday prediction, it's biblical. You can't tell me there is not great rebellion against God. You also can clearly see the lawlessness that lives all around us. Now is the time to prepare. Now is the time for action in the name of the Lord. We need to step up all our ministry. We do not have time to waste. 

Im not a doom and gloom person. I have a positive outlook on my life and my future. So when I say we're in the end times, I'm not spreading the news of hopelessness. It does pain me to think some will not join me in eternity, but I am looking forward to the end of this age and the return of Jesus. I will be thrilled when the rebellion against God is over. I look forward to Heaven and the new earth. I look forward to the peace and tranquility of a life filled with Jesus. I praise God we have a future beyond this life. I praise God for his wonderful plan for each of us. The creator of the universe loves me so much that he wants to spend eternity with me. That's amazing!

Dear Lord, I love you more than life itself. I praise you for everything you have done for me. I praise you for a life worth living and the joy of knowing I will always have a tomorrow. Help me to share that message and the love you have freely given. Help me to serve you today and everyday.Amen!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

What did you say?!

“So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do.”
2 Thessalonians 1:11 NLT.  http://bible.com/116/2th.1.11.nlt

As I gain years, I find myself having a more difficult time with my hearing. I notice it mostly when I am in a room with a lot going on. It takes all my efforts to concentrate and listen to a single person in a crowded room. As a Christian I have the same difficulties listening and discerning the voice of God. I have to spend great amounts of time listening to the SPIRIT OF THE LORD. I have said over and over again in order to HEAR the voice of the Lord, I need to be in the word of God, to spend time in worship, and time in prayer. My time in prayer is NOT just talking, it is listening and trying to discern the voice of God. That effort takes time and it takes dedication. But, it is terribly important.

Keep on praying. Never cease. Pray for each other, constantly.  Pray for your own discernment. Pray for the ability to live a life worthy of your call. As Christians we should know the difficulties living a life worthy of Gods call. We should know, first hand, the internal fight we face listening and acting on the will of God. We need the power of God to defeat the sin in our lives. That power also prompts us to accomplish good things and that power keeps us focused on our main goal: bring others to follow Jesus. Prayer can break down those barriers.

My biggest concern as a Christian is knowing and following the will of God. I want to live a life worthy of my call. It pains me when I do not live up to that call. I DO STUMBLE. I miss opportunities to do the good things my faith prompts me to do. I need God's amazing power to serve, I need his power to keep on the path he has set before me. I need the Lord.

Dear Lord, I pray for your will in my life. I pray I can serve you to my fullest potential. I need your power to do that. I need your power to accomplish all the good things my faith prompts me to do. I am not strong enough to do it on my own. I love you Lord. I praise you and the grace you provide every day. Amen!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Great Prescription!

It “Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.”
1 Thessalonians 5:14 NLT. http://bible.com/116/1th.5.14.nlt

We are in our last couple of days of school. It has been another wonderful year. I ran across this verse last night and thought it fitting for us educators. I think it's important for what it says, but also what it DOESNT say. It is fitting for just about any walk of life. We are to worn the lazy of the natural consequences and yet it doesn't say we arent to support them. We can warn and love at the same time. We are to encourage the timid. It doesn't say we need to change them. Lastly, these verses direct us to be patient with everyone. It doesn't make exceptions. It doesn't say we are to only be patient with the ones we love. It doesn't say to be patient in some circumstances. We need to be patient with everyone. 

What a great prescription for life. Encourage , support, honesty, and patience, I think we could all follow these directions for dealing with our family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors. I have tried to follow these precepts with my students throughout this year. I love teaching and I love my students. I can't wait until next year!

Dear Lord, I thank you for this wonderful school year. I have loved every moment. I ask you to protect the graduates as they enter the next phase of their lives. I ask you to make you presence known to them. Give them direction and wisdom as they make decisions about life.  Protect the students as they take time away from school and bring them safely back in August. I love you and praise you for this wonderful life! Amen!

Our Greatest "Sales Job"!

“Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.”1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 NLT.  http://bible.com/116/1th.4.11-12.nlt

I am not fond of loud mouthed know-it-alls. I value, respect, and honor those who lead quietly and without fanfare. There are exceptions, but generally I respect the quiet, strong leader more than the brash, arrogant type.

I also love the humility that comes from someone who does not make himself better than others. I know people who are intellectually superior than 90% of those in this world, yet do not boast or raise their nose. 

We are to live an active life full of relationships with others, but not place ourselves in the most high position. We are to be confident in our savior and our future in eternity, but we are ALL sinners and we are ONLY saved by the Grace of Jesus. We do not need to be domineering, or preach from the SOAP BOX to get others to see the power of Jesus and we do not need to "sell" Jesus like some used car salesman. Our greatest "SALES JOB" comes by living a life of love and humility in service to the lost. Minding our own business doesn't mean huddling in our homes, cowering from the world. Minding our own business means loving without judging, serving unconditionally, and staying close to God with our devotion to prayer, worship and study. We gain immense respect and we can live our entire life focused on those things. We need nothing more.

Dear Lord, I praise you and the life you have designed for us. Keep me on the path you have laid before me. Keep me focused on you and not myself. I am your servant and love you more than life itself. Amen!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

It's never too late!

“Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. He did what was evil in the LORD’s sight, following the detestable practices of the pagan nations that the LORD had driven from the land ahead of the Israelites............

So the LORD sent the commanders of the Assyrian armies, and they took Manasseh prisoner. They put a ring through his nose, bound him in bronze chains, and led him away to Babylon. But while in deep distress, Manasseh sought the LORD his God and sincerely humbled himself before the God of his ancestors.”
2 Chronicles 33:1-2, 11-12 NLT http://bible.com/116/2ch.33.1-2,11-12.nlt

Everybody makes mistakes. We all stumble. Look at Manasseh. At 12 years old he began his reign.. It did not start out well. We don't know the details. I'm guessing he was a little immature and full of himself. God humbled him. The Assyrians armies humiliated him, tortured him, and destroyed his spirit. The rest is history. In his deep distress, he repented and turned to the Lord. Praise God!

God does no expect perfection. I praise him that I can live a life free of someone looking over my shoulders to pounce on me when we make a mistake. I praise him that he gives me freedom to serve and blesses me when I do. I praise him when I make poor choIces, suffer the consequences, and he still delivers me. Even if I waste most of my life separate from God, if I turn to him, he will accept me. It's never too late to turn to the Lord. It's not difficult. Pray that you believe in him, that Jesus died on the cross for your sins. You need to pray for forgiveness of your sins and you need to pray for the Holy Spirit to guide your life. That's it! Just like Manasseh, we need to seek and humble ourselves before the Lord. Our lives will greatly improve and we will live in peace throughout eternity.

Dear Lord, I am humbled and blessed that you are my Lord. You have delivered me from my enemies and rescued me from my own mistakes. Lord, I love you. I pray my family, friends, coworkers, and my enemies draw closer to you. I pray they open their hearts to you and your love. Fill me with your spirit that I may share it everywhere I go.Amen!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Fighting the battle

““Be strong and courageous! Don’t be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria or his mighty army, for there is a power far greater on our side! He may have a great army, but they are merely men. We have the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles for us!” Hezekiah’s words greatly encouraged the people.” 2 Chronicles 32:7-8 NLT http://bible.com/116/2ch.32.7-8.nlt

Hezekiah gave this speech to Israel. This pep talk was in sharp contrast to the verbal abuse from the Assyrian leadership. They ruthlessly taunted God's people. This powerful enemy had no idea what they were up against. Just after this speech and a powerful prayer to God, the Assyrian army was completely destroyed.  Their leaders were sent home with their tails between their legs. It was so bad that when the Assyrian military leader got home, his own sons killed him.

"Be strong and courageous." 

These are not just hollow words. They come with the backing of the most high God. Serving the Lord is so much more than empty rhetoric. When you are a part of the family of God you have the full weight and power of The creator of the universe backing you up. We can always be encouraged by his power and strength. We can be encouraged he does not let us suffer alone. We have his grand army to fight our battles. Life is full of stress and turmoil. We have enemies. We may not have an army sitting outside our town ready to kill us, but our life's challenges are no less powerful. We need the power of the Lord. We CAN be strong and courageous because of our loving savior. We have the Lord our God to fight our battles for us. Praise God!

Dear Lord, I love you so much and am confident in life with you at my side. I praise you for the power and might that you have used on my behalf. I'm humbled that you love me so much that you spare no resources in defending me from my enemies. I pray this day will be a day of glory for your purposes and may my service be worthy of your love. Amen!


“In addition, he required the people in Jerusalem to bring a portion of their goods to the priests and Levites, so they could devote themselves fully to the Law of the LORD. When the people of Israel heard these requirements, they responded generously by bringing the first share of their grain, new wine, olive oil, honey, and all the produce of their fields. They brought a large quantity—a tithe of all they produced.” 2 Chronicles 31:4-5 NLT. http://bible.com/116/2ch.31.4-5.nlt

How strange would it be for the American public to pay their taxes with joy? That's exactly what was going on here in Israel. Hezekiah gave generously himself and the people of his kingdom responded in kind. We do everything we can to get out of paying our taxes. We find every loophole and even resort to some dishonesty to keep our money. I/We blame this on our inept government. I am in that camp. Our government is full of waste and abuse. This mega-beauracracy of the US government is not good at running anything. That's why I'm for smaller government. But, Christians withhold their tithe the same way they withhold their taxes.

As Christians, nothing we own belongs to us. Everything belongs to the Lord. Do we live that way? Or do we try to find every loophole and hide everything we have from our Lord? Generosity, the joy of giving is just not the norm in our society. Giving back when we have so much is rare even in the center of our faith communities. We need to re-examine our money, our resources, and commit everything we have to the Lord. Our time, our energy, our money, and our lives need to be 100% devoted to Christ. Are we "all in" or do we withhold some of our precious life from the lord? 

Dear Lord, I love you and beg your forgiveness for my selfish attitude. I am fully devoted to you. I am ashamed that I do not give more and give with more joy. I owe everything to you and all of the stuff I have is meaningless without you. Forgive me. Guide me and my giving. Guide my heart to you. Amen!

Monday, May 16, 2016


“God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed. From the very break of day, God will protect it. The nations are in chaos, and their kingdoms crumble! God’s voice thunders, and the earth melts!”  Psalms 46:5-6 NLT. http://bible.com/116/psa.46.5-6.nlt

Our nation is definitely in chaos. We have drifted so far from our roots based strongly in our faith in God. Politically, socially, morally, and ethically our country has lost its way. Today more than ever we need Jesus.

How is that going to happen?

How can we get the people of our country and then the world to turn to Jesus? It seems like such a daunting task. The thought of changing the hearts and minds of billions of people seems impossible. 

All things are possible through the power of Jesus Christ.

In all reality the only person I can control is myself. I can try to influence others, but eventually they must make the leap of faith. My best witness is my own life. My life needs to continue to grow closer to Jesus. I must double my efforts to learn more about my savior. I need to spend more time in service to others. I need to share the love of Jesus everywhere.  I need to be bold for the kingdom, not worry about the consequences of retribution, and step out of my own comfort zones, to seek the lost. The time is growing short. There is no time to waste. We must have a sense of urgency!

Dear Lord, I love you dearly. I am honored to be yours. Give me the power and the strength to be the example for others. Draw closer to me and give me you wisdom in how to serve the lost and chaotic world. I can not do it on my own. Help us Lord! Amen!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Dead or Alive? Does anyone care?

“Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. No one was sorry when he died. They buried him in the City of David, but not in the royal cemetery.”2 Chronicles 21:20 NLT.  http://bible.com/116/2ch.21.20.nlt

This might be one of the saddest verses I've read. In eight years, this king, the leader of Israel, never impacted anyone in a positive way? No one was sorry when he died? No one missed his voice? No one missed his love, his care, his joyful heart? Again, that might be one of the saddest statements of all time. Will someone be sorry when I die? Will someone be sorry when you die?  To be honest, that is not a guarantee. It's kind of like the golden rule, "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." How you treat others determines your legacy for all times.

If you want to be missed when you pass from this earth, treat people with love and  respect. Serve others and they will miss you. If you spend your life selfishly serving only yourself, why would anyone be sorry you were gone? Our entire society is so self centered. We have a country full of Jehoram's. Sure, rarely do you see a funeral attended by no one. Do they attend out of obligation or from a reverent respect? Will you be forgotten the day after you are put to rest?

What are you going to do to make sure others value your life? Is it even important to live a life valued by others? I can say, as a Christian you have a command to serve others. You have a command to go out into all the world and bring others to Jesus. We are to share the love of Jesus with others. If we do that, we can. It help but be remembered. The motive makes the difference. We do not serve to be remembered. We serve because Jesus calls us to serve. We are remembered because we shared Jesus love.

Dear Lord, I want nothing more to share your love with others. I want to impact the world for you, not for me! I want to be your servant in all things. Always keep me focused on you. When I die I want to be remembered as your servant nothing more. Amen!

Mountain tops and Valleys

“‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.’”  2 Chronicles 20:9 NIV.   http://bible.com/111/2ch.20.9.niv

Life is a real roller coaster ride. We are told we will know trouble in this life. We will face stress and turmoil. We can always stand in the presence of the Lord and cry out to him. He will not only hear us, he will save us. I am in a valley right now. It's funny how just days ago, maybe hours ago, I was on the top. A couple of weeks ago, I was down and feeling defeated. My life is living proof of the vicious cycle of joy and stress. I used to get upset about the ups and downs and blamed God. Why can't we always "live on the mountain top"? The valleys are important to help us focus on the Lord. The valleys help develop my strength, my character, my resilience, my dependence on the Lord. I am not sure any of those things develop without the trials I face in this life. I don't choose to go through them, but I cherish the mountain tops a whole lot more when I have been in the valleys. 

Dear Lord, even through my pain I know you deeply love me. It is times like these I know how you feel when you look down at us as our Heavenly Father. You look down and see our foolishness, our sins, and our life of lies and are saddened. Yet, you do not abandon us. You love us unconditionally and with a sincere heart. I praise your name Jesus! I sing you praises now and forever more! Amen!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The bottom 10%

“Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
Psalm 82:3-4 NIV.      http://bible.com/111/psa.82.3-4.niv

I love my kids at school. This is a crazy time of the year in education. Awards ceremonies, prom, graduation and a multitude of other activities fill the calendar in May. It's a whirlwind month before the peace and bliss of the summer vacation. We have a little over a week of school left for the year. I'm already missing my kids. My kids are not always the best and brightest. They are not all headed to college and most struggle with the difficult tasks they master at the end of the year. I get to teach many, nearly 30, at risk students, students that fall between the cracks in school and I am so proud of their accomplishments this year. Many don't have great families, struggle with financial resources, or are disadvantaged in so many other ways. That is exactly why I love them. My mission in life is to save them and provide opportunities they otherwise would not get. Anyone can teach the top 10%. I think the real challenge and the real reward is teaching the bottom 10%. When you get the opportunity to build relationships and love-on kids, all kids, God blesses you and I am blessed abundantly. 

Dear Lord, I am so thankful for the kids I have in my care at GHS. I am blessed to get to spend time with them, know them, and love on them. You alone, Lord, are the reason for those many blessings. Continue to use me to reach the young people of our community and help them to prepare for the crazy world. I love you! I praise you! Amen!

I thought I was stubborn

“In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was afflicted with a disease in his feet. Though his disease was severe, even in his illness he did not seek help from the Lord, but only from the physicians.”  2 Chronicles 16:12 NIV.  http://bible.com/111/2ch.16.12.niv

People that know me know I am a stubborn person. In some ways King Asa and I are cut from the same cloth. The history of his kingdom was surrounded by the power of God. Yet, even in his own pain, he refused to seek help from the Lord. My wife would say he was a typical man. I bet he refused to stop and ask directions when he got lost! For me,I am usually pretty stubborn about going to the doctor. I know he can help me and I know he can usually speed up the recovery of just about any of my ails. Being stubborn and thinking I can do it all can be directly tied to my biggest character flaw. I am a control freak! I could use therapy!

Being a control freak is so counter to being a Christian. When I committed my life to Christ, I turned over control to him. I decided the creator of the universe should would do a better job running my life. That is not easy for a control freak. I have to submit to God on a daily basis. If I don't, I will take back control. If I don't stay in his word, pray for guidance, come to him with all my life, I will drift back to the same stubbornness of King Asa. I can not afford to do that. Lord Help me!

Dear Lord, I recommit my life to you. You are I charge. I need you and I am blessed when I follow your ways. Forgive me for my stubbornness. Forgive me for trying to take control and following my own path. I have seen your power, your strength, and your mercy, in my own life. You are awesome and amazing. I praise you and love you! Amen!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

What did I miss?

At that time Hanani the seer came to King Asa and told him, “Because you have put your trust in the king of Aram instead of in the lord your God, you missed your chance to destroy the army of the king of Aram. 2 Chronicles 16:7
I like to be in the middle of things. I really pay attention to the people around me and hate when I am the last to hear about an important event. I constantly watch the news, read the paper, and listen to the "word on the street." I hate to miss things. I often wonder how many blessings have I missed because I trusted in someone or something other than the Lord. As I look back on my life, I can see the powerful hand of God saving me from financial ruin, repairing family relationships, guiding my path from one career to another, healing the sick, and delivering me from fear, depression, and anxiety. God has truly made his presence known to me and my family. I also know that I have a tendency to control everything. I trust in the Lord, but I always think I know best and sometimes that human, sinful side of me, takes over. l need to listen to the guiding of the Holy Spirit.The circumstances behind my failures in life are always tied to times where I have distanced myself from God. Those times in life where I have let the stresses get the best of me are directly linked to times where I have not been in prayer. In order to keep myself focused on the will of God, I need to be in prayer, read his word, and worship him. When I do not do those things, my life unravels and I miss great opportunities for blessings.
Dear Lord, I love you and am embarrassed that I often ignore your guidance and direction in my life. Please Lord, keep me focused on you and your perfect plan for me and my family. As I walk through my day, guide my words and my actions that they would honor and glorify you. I praise you Lord that you love me through all my weaknesses. You are like no other. Amen!

Monday, May 9, 2016


“Then Micaiah answered, “I saw all Israel scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd, and the Lord said, ‘These people have no master. Let each one go home in peace.’ ””. 2 Chronicles 18:16 NIV.     http://bible.com/111/2ch.18.16.niv

Our world is in such disarray. Even Christians are scattered like sheep without a shepherd. The world and its political correctness is getting to us. It pains me to see our moral values, our sense of right and wrong, blurred so heavily. We need Jesus now more than ever.

As we near the end of the school year, my mind drifts toward the graduates. I'm sure I will have several messages for them as we release them to make their mark in the world. One thing I can say as a word of advice, do not just accept the word of the masses as you walk through life. Search God. Read the bible, pray to him. See if he responds. The world shouts he does not exist.  The world persecutes the followers of Jesus with false information. Read, pray, make up your own mind. I have never known someone who has given God a chance, go back. As you go through life you need the power and grace of Jesus. I know. I have walked with him for over 40 years. You need him. He is my rock. He is my moral guide, he is my counselor, he is my savior. Do you have a moral guide? Do you have a trusted counselor? Do you have a savior? Do you have someone you lean on in the most difficult of times? I do........ his name is Jesus.

Dear Lord, I dearly love you and want others to know you the way I do. I can not imagine a life without you. When I see the world trying to make its way without God, I cry. Life can. It be done, well, without you. Please open the hearts of our graduates. Reveal your grace to them in powerful ways. Save our world. Save our communities. Save our families. Save us! Amen!

I rely on you!

“Then Asa called to the Lord his God and said, “ Lord, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. Lord, you are our God; do not let mere mortals prevail against you.””
2 Chronicles 14:11 NIV.  http://bible.com/111/2ch.14.11.niv

It sure seems like the "mere mortals" are winning. That is what King Asa was thinking. His kingdom was busy fighting, not just military foes, but foes of the Lord. As was often the case in the Old Testament, they were severely outnumbered. Time and time again, the forces of Israel prevailed in battles with their enemies. They relied heavily on the Lord, So do I.

With all the craziness of this world, I rely on God. I have walked with him for over 40 years and I know of his power and his strength. I also know my weaknesses. I know I do not have the strength without the Lord at my side. When I go up against the forces of evil or when I challenge a Godless society that is anti-Christianity, I need the power of the Lord. I need him to help guide me through my day serving others. I need him in all interactions with family and friends. I might not face an army, but my challenges are no less daunting. I praise God he has always been there and protected me through all things. I praise him as I feel his presence every moment of every day.

Dear Lord, I need you. I rely on your power and strength. My greatest fear is a life without you. I am honored you have been with me for over 40 years. I praise you for life and the precious time I have here on earth to bring others to know you. Amen!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Run for the Son

Today is the Annual Run for the Son. For those not in the motorcycling world, this is my Christian Motorcyclist Association yearly motorcycle event. Today we will host about 150 motorcyclists  sharing our love of Jesus and our passion for motorcycles. A lot of work goes into this day to make it a real service to our guests.  As a Christian I really feel pressure to put in that little bit of EXTRA effort when I serve. Today is a perfect example.

This is our only event we host every year. Most other motorcycle groups host multiple events throughout the year. Our goal is to host this single event and then support the other events hosted by our motorcycling brothers and sisters. We don't want to compete with them, we want to support them. Today we will serve a great meal, have a great planned out route that is well marked, cleaned, and safe. We are giving away wonderful prizes, well beyond the typical t-shirts and oil. We want to over do it!

Christian service is about going above and beyond. Christian service is about doing something extraordinary to get people to notice. I want the bikers we serve today to wonder why we we worked so hard to host a great event. I want them to talk about how great this day was and want to emulate what we did. In all reality, the reason we do it is for the Son of God. We do it because we love him and want to bring others to know him. I praise God for the opportunity to serve!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Not just "now I lay me down to sleep"

“if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV. http://bible.com/111/2ch.7.14.niv

I think it is obvious, we should be in constant prayer for our nation. We are a nation divided. We are divided in so many ways, politically, ethically, and religiously. We will never see true unity as long as we, as a nation, continue to ignore God. For a dwindling Christian community it is easy to give up hope. We just can't give up. The more difficult the fight, the stronger our faith should be. Our efforts to share Christ should redouble when life gets tough, when things go against us. Satan uses our division as his greatest weapon. Prayer is our greatest weapon to fight the evil in this world. Healing occurs through prayer. Forgiveness occurs through prayer. Peace occurs through prayer. 

In our fast paced society, prayer is the first casualty. We are so rushed we just don't sit down to spend time with the Lord. We might be dedicated to going to church. We might be dedicated to living a life "the right way". That is just not enough. Parents might teach their kids, the cute prayers at dinner, they might even pray with their kids before bedtime (although this is more rare). Prayer is not just the recitation of the Lord's prayer. We can't save our world, the people heading to permanent death, without the power of prayer. We must devote ourselves to real prayer, not just "Now I lay me down to sleep..." prayer. We need real prayer, real conversation with God. We need to plead, pour out our hearts, laugh, cry, and just chat with the Lord. Why would we not take advantage of an open line of communication with the creator of the universe? We are missing out on the blessings, our communities are missing out, and our nation is missing out. Hope is through prayer!

Dear Lord, I ask your forgiveness for the missed opportunities to speak with you. I know you are there to listen and it is exclusively up to me to take advantage of your grace through prayer. Lord I love you and want to honor you with my life. Please Lord, come and save me, so I can save the world for your kingdom. Amen!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Life's Journey

“Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?””2 Chronicles 1:10 NIV. http://bible.com/111/2ch.1.10.niv

This is one of my favorite prayers. Thirty  years ago, my prayers would have been for "stuff". I would have prayed for jobs, money, and getting my own way. I am maturing in the faith. Being a christian means you are accepting a life that is a journey. Our journey is different than the world's journey but just as exciting. We are not on a path to success as the world views it. We are on a path to gaining wisdom and knowledge. We are on a path to gain more wisdom and knowledge to help others. Solomon was one of our first leaders who understood that goal.

A group of teachers and our principal have been going through a book study called "Smart Strengths". It's a good book talking about identifying and using your strengths. Three of my identified strengths are "Love of Learning", "Curiosity" , and "Spirituality". I think these three strengths fit together perfectly. I have always been curious and love to learn about God. To me true wisdom is not knowing more math, or science, or how to run a successful business. Wisdom comes from the Lord. and knowing him is true wisdom. My life, which is wonderful, comes directly from knowing my savior and seeking him in all things. I highly recommend this adventure to everyone. Love the Lord, seek his will in your life, and share the wisdom gained through knowing him. That is our life goal.

Dear Lord, I treasure my relationship with you. I am joyful over the path you have led me. I am blessed beyond measure. I know I am not perfect and know you accept me anyway. Help me to continue to gain wisdom and knowledge that I can help others. I want to lead others to know you. That is my life journey and that is my adventure. Praise God for the adventure! Amen!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


““And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.”  1 Chronicles 28:9 http://bible.com/111/1ch.28.9.niv

          I am devoted to my school. I am a Railroader! I have been a Garrett Railroader for nearly a quarter century. I love this community and I love my school. It is so old fashioned to be dedicated to your employer. Our mobile society is on the go and that includes switching jobs. The services of the average American are open to the highest bidder. Loyalty is a thing of the past. It is not just loyalty to an employer, loyalty to a place of worship is the same way. Loyalty to a spouse or family is also very rare. I am saddened that we don't have the wholehearted devotion to God, either. 

           I have been married for 38 years, I have worked for GKB for nearly 25 years, I am deeply devoted to my family, and friends. WE all need to devote ourselves to service to each other. Loyalty and devotion isn't fleeting. Loyalty and devotion stands through tough times. Loyalty and devotion understand that there are no perfect families, friends, churches, businesses, schools, or communities. We accept the good with the bad. We work to make things better and work to love each other through all things. God is our example. He alone is the perfect example of LOYALTY. He has and never will leave us. He is completely devoted to us. If we seek him he will be found. Praise God he loves me through all things!

Dear Lord, I love you. I am humbled by your greatness and that even with that greatness, you are there for me. I have followed you for 44 years. When I haven't been loyal you have always remained devoted and by my side. God you are great. May we all follow your lead and devote ourselves to each other. Amen!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016


“So Gad went to David and said to him, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Take your choice: three years of famine, three months of being swept away before your enemies, with their swords overtaking you, or three days of the sword of the Lord —days of plague in the land, with the angel of the Lord ravaging every part of Israel.’ Now then, decide how I should answer the one who sent me.””1 Chronicles 21:11-12 NIV  http://bible.com/111/1ch.21.11-12.niv

Consequences. None of these choices were good choices. (It's looks just like our presidential election.) David was loved dearly by God. He was the start of the lineage leading to Christ. God led him into battles over ominous foes. He promised high blessings to his family for generations. But, when David, the beloved king of Israel, sinned against God, he had to pay the consequences. His sin wasn't killing someone. It wasn't stealing, rape, or murder. It was a minor infraction, but it definitely went against the will of God. After, this event and the punishment, God continued to dearly love David. We all make mistakes and forgiveness does not mean getting rid of the consequences. God loves us. God still holds us accountable. 

Or society is so fickle. We accept and encourage judgment on OTHERS. We will help build the gallows when someone else stumbles. Yet, when we sin, a dear friend sins, or simple mistakes are made, we want mercy and no consequences. Life just doesn't work that way. When we fail, God loves us. When we sin, when we make mistakes, God still loves us but he holds us accountable. He let's us suffer the consequences of our own doing, but he is there to share in our pain. We need to do the same. We can forgive. We SHOULD forgive, but instead of protesting the consequences, we need to share all the love we can while going through those same consequences.  There is pain and suffering in this world, in our country, in our communities, and in our own homes. Many times that pain and suffering is of our own doing. God loves us through all things, including the pain. That is real love!

Dear Lord, Thank you for the forgiveness of my sins. Thank you for your constant love through all circumstances. I praise you that your grace and mercy are perfect. I know this world must suffer the consequences of our own sins and mistakes. The punishments are necessary. I love you and praise you for walking beside me when I cause my own problems. I love you lord! Amen!

Monday, May 2, 2016

I have come a long way!

16Then King David went in and sat before the lord and prayed,
“Who am I, O  lord God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? 1 Chronicles 17:16
We are winding down another school year. May is here. I am thankful for the year. I have been blessed with great students and great colleagues. The year is not ending as I had hoped, but I can not ignore how far God has brought me as a teacher and a person. 
I love what I do. I love teaching Math and life lessons to my students. I like them to know I am not perfect at Math or at life. I think it is so important that I am REAL to my students. I want them to know I care while pushing them to be grow uncomfortably. I really DO care. It's not an act. It's not something I am forced to do. I truly love my students and my colleagues. 
I think it is important to build relationships, to love unconditionally, and to serve in any way I can. When I learn how to do that like Jesus did, the world will be a better place. I certainly have not perfected my teaching. I'm certainly not a perfect person. Every day I progress down the path to where I want to be. I can not get there on my own. It is only through the grace, love, and power of Jesus that I am who I am. Praise God he has brought me along that path to where I am today! 

Dear Lord, I love you. I need your help as we finish this school year. I need your help as I continue to become the person you want me to be. Help me to love the way you would  love. Help me to serve as you would serve. You are amazing, Lord, and I am blessed to be called yours. I love you more today than yesterday. I will love you forever. Amen!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Praise, even when I can't!

“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.”   1 Chronicles 16:8-10 NIV.   http://bible.com/111/1ch.16.8-10.niv

It's Sunday morning and I am ready for church. I love Sunday's and going to worship. But, sometimes, including today, it takes more effort to get to worship. This past week has been a  little rough and I am trying to feel the hope of tomorrow and the motivation to serve. I'm not quite there. My God still loves me.

It is easy to give God praise when times are great, things are perfect. It's when things are not perfect, when life appears to be against you, we/I need to Praise God! God is worthy of our praise. God is worthy of our praise at all times, good and bad. He has led me thus far and he has promised to never leave me. He is always with us. His grace is perfect, his love is forever.

Dear Lord, I praise you. I praise your holy name. On days like today, and weeks like this week, I praise you because I know you are in charge. I know your love is real and you are here beside me. Thank you Lord! Thank you for my life, the friends I have, the people you have put in my life, even if for only a short time. I praise you for the wonderful things you have done! Amen!