Saturday, February 25, 2017

Intentional Learning

Recently a friend shared two questions to ask at the beginning of each new day:
     1 What do you need me to learn today?
     2 Whom can I help today?

It seems that when I am intentional about wanting to learn, my chances to make progress are better.  Making the commitment, being accountable, and applying what I am learning can make a difference.

Last week, I had to make preparations for one of those tests that I do every five years.  I caught myself already dreading the process before it even occurred.  When I realized what I was doing, I asked God to help me to intentionally learn something in the midst of the preparation and procedure.

Things I learned:
* I get to choose my attitude.
* It’s better to concentrate on what I can do rather than on what I can’t do for 24 hours.
* What I dwell on consumes my time and thoughts.
* It’s good to keep things in perspective.
* Complaining doesn’t benefit me or those around me.
* Help and encouraging words are appreciated.
* Having things to do, notes to write, and a book to read help pass the time.
* When you look for lessons to learn, you tend to find them.
* Lessons are taught, but I must decide if I embrace and/or apply them.

No matter what the circumstance, every day I have the opportunity to seek God’s wisdom, intentionally learn what I need to know, and choose to help others.  It’s a new day and time for action.

Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, Lord.
Psalm 89:15

I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws.
Psalm 119:7

It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.
Psalm 119:71

Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands.
Psalm 119:73

let the wise listen and add to their learning,
    and let the discerning get guidance—
Proverbs 1:5

Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.
Proverbs 9:9

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15

Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives.
Titus 3:14

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Expressions of Love

Tuesday was Valentine’s Day.  There was an abundance of flowers, cards, food, sweets, and gifts to acknowledge the day.  Our grandkids had parties at school.  People seemed to go out of their way to be nice and kind.  It was a day to stop, remember, and express love and appreciation to the people who are near and dear to us. 

Larry prepares my breakfast every morning.  On Valentine’s Day he somehow managed to cook the turkey bacon and curl it into the shape of a heart.  It was a thoughtful and sweet expression of love.

Today family and friends will gather at First Methodist Church to witness the marriage ceremony of my nephew and his beautiful bride.  Erich and Kelley will express their love and commitment to each other as they begin their journey of a lifetime as husband and wife.

During these days of war, uncertainty, and unrest the chorus of the song, “What the World Needs Now is Love” by Hal David reminds us:

What the world needs now is love sweet love,
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.
What the world needs now is love sweet love,
No not just for some but for everyone.

Every day could be Valentine’s Day if people knew and had a relationship with the Source of Love.  I John 4:8b states that “God is love.”  May we be willing to express and act on that message of love all year long.

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.  This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
I John 4:9, 10

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
John 15:13

We love because he first loved us.
I John 4:19

Do everything in love.
I Corinthians 16:14

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Super Bowl LI

Super Bowl LI (51) is now in the books.  The committee and people of Houston were wonderful hosts and the weather was amazing. 

Some Super Bowl observations:
* Once a year we are given the opportunity to brush up on Roman numerals.
* Football is just part of the Super Bowl experience.
* Even if your team was not in the playoffs, there was much excitement about the extra activities as well as the game being played in Houston.
* Much planning, effort, attention to detail, time, and people were needed in order to have a successful event.
* There was much pride in our city for a job well done.
* Thankfulness that President and Mrs. Bush were both able to recover from their recent illness and hospital stay so they could attend the game and participate in the coin toss.  Even though he has tossed the coin at several games, President Bush still practiced beforehand so he could perform his task well.
* It was moving to see the respect, applause, and standing ovation given to President and Mrs. Bush as they entered the field for the coin toss to start the game.
* Vice-President Pence invited two Wounded Warriors and their dates to be his and Mrs. Pence’s guests at the game.  They were flown to the game, along with the Pences, on Air Force II.
* With all she had on her agenda on Super Bowl Sunday, Lady Gaga chose to begin her big day by attending St. Martin’s Episcopal Church and receiving communion.
* The half time show avoided political controversy and focused on patriotism and entertainment.
* Drones added an unexpected addition to the halftime performance, thanks to Intel and Disney.
* Predictions do not determine the outcome of a game.
* It takes teamwork to play football.  No one player can make all the plays.
* Never ever give up.
* The game is not over until the final whistle blows.
* Matthew Slater, of the New England Patriots, used his interview time to explain how to become a Christian.
* From football greats to Lady Gaga, people mentioned, recognized, and expressed appreciation for their family.

 We are all part of a game called life.  It is important to play by the rules, be intentional in our goals, work as a team, play to win the prize, and make certain the right leader is being followed. 

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
I Corinthians 9:24

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:14

 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
I Corinthians 25:57

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Glimmers of Hope

With all the turmoil, violence, harsh words, disrespect, and rudeness that seems to be on display these days, a few stories have surfaced that offer glimmers of hope for the days ahead.

Ashley C. Ford is a writer in New York.  Recognizing that there are thousands of students who are served substitute meals each day because they owe money on their lunch account, Ford wanted to make an impact.  She recently tweeted, “A cool thing you can do today is try to find out which of your local schools have kids with overdue lunch accounts and pay them off.”  All across the United States, hundreds of people have heeded the call, gone to their local schools, and helped pay off lunch debts.  This is a cause near and dear to Ashley Ford’s heart because years ago she was one of those students served the alternative lunch.  Ford replied, “The point was to do something that helps your community.”

Kirby is one of the young men employed to work for the Super Bowl.  Last week, as he was riding the last metro rail of the evening, his wallet slipped out of his pocket.  Not only did he run the risk of losing credit cards, cash, and other items, Kirby would also be without his driver’s license if the wallet was not found.  Even though he had completed the training and worked all week, a valid driver’s license was needed in order to be cleared to complete the tasks on Super Bowl Sunday.  A temporary license would not be acceptable.  One of the rules for the driver’s of the metro rail is to check for any left belongings after they have completed the last run for the night.  Fortunately, the driver was responsible about performing that requirement.  He found Kirby’s wallet and turned it in with everything still in it.  Because of the driver’s honesty and work ethic, the wallet has been returned to the owner and Kirby is set to continue his work for the Super Bowl game.

In January, the Mayde Creek High School men’s JV soccer team played in a tournament in College Station.  Before the game, Coach Ryan Allred was informed by the opposing coach that he was going to be playing a young man with Down Syndrome during the second half.  The player would be wearing the #17 jersey.  Coach Allred talked with his players and asked them if they would be willing to let the player score.  They immediately responded with a yes.  With one minute left in the game, player #17 made his appearance in the game.  The coach reminded his players that the young man was on the field and playing.  One player dove to the ground as if he had missed the ball.  Others followed suit as the player dribbled around them.  The goalie missed defending the goal and the ball went in for the score.  The young man threw his hands up in the air and excitedly ran to the sideline and jumped into his coach’s arms.  All the players were cheering for #17.  After the game, the team was walking to the bus which happened to be parked close to the player’s car.  The Mayde Creek players started chanting # 17’s name and telling him he played a great game.  Wonderful leadership and examples were set by the coaches and players that day once again proving that winning at life is even more important than winning a game.

Even though I don’t have a Twitter account, I can ask you to join me in for looking for ways and opportunities to serve, bless, and minister to others this week and make a difference for God’s Kingdom work so that others can know the eternal living hope through Jesus.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
I Peter 1:3-5

 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
Philippians 2:3-4 

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
    when it is in your power to act.
Proverbs 3:27

A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
Luke 6:45

I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.
Ecclesiastes 3:12

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
I Corinthians 10:31