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Categories => BlogsMonroe.com => Topic started by: MonroeNews.com on July 15, 2009, 02:26:38 PM

Title: Faith Reflections
Post by: MonroeNews.com on July 15, 2009, 02:26:38 PM
The Mystery of Great Tragedy (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1059)
25 June 2009, 9:41 pm

(http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/ed-197x300.jpg)What follows is the column that will be published in my hometown paper in Parkersburg, Iowa, next week.  Parkersburg suffered the murder of its football coach, community leader and great Christian man, Ed Thomas. ...

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: A Mansion Here or There
Post by: MonroeNews.com on July 15, 2009, 02:26:39 PM
A Mansion Here or There (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1065)
29 June 2009, 12:04 pm

(http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/ed-mc-mahon-house-300x168.jpg)Ed McMahon's mansion up until his death.

Ed McMahon, iconic entertainer who was best known as Johnny Carson’s sidekick, died recently.  He had been in the news in the last few months because h...

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Singing Before Dawn
Post by: MonroeNews.com on July 15, 2009, 02:26:39 PM
Singing Before Dawn (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1080)
2 July 2009, 7:08 am

(http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/DSC_0446-300x199.jpg)The birds were singing before the dawn! The new day is still almost dark and yet the birds are already singing! They don’t wait to sing until it gets light but sing before the light.

It reminds me to ha...

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Free to Be Our Best!
Post by: MonroeNews.com on July 15, 2009, 03:00:33 PM
Free to Be Our Best! (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1086)
4 July 2009, 6:22 am

(http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/flaglight1-199x300.jpg)Happy 4th! It’s good to celebrate the freedom we have in the U.S.

But I also celebrate the freedom I can have in the powerful and loving presence of Christ to be the person God intends for me to be!

...

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Racing the Sun
Post by: MonroeNews.com on July 15, 2009, 03:00:33 PM
Racing the Sun (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1105)
6 July 2009, 8:37 am

(http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/wehatsun1-199x300.jpg)Last evening Diann and I were finishing a bike ride when I noted that the sun was in a perfect low position in the sky to get some great shots of a wheat field we had seen on our ride.  Once home with our bik...

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Praying into Thin Air? No!
Post by: MonroeNews.com on July 15, 2009, 04:00:07 PM
Praying into Thin Air? No! (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1112)
8 July 2009, 6:17 am

(http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/radiointerview.jpg)In just a few minutes I’ll be leaving for YES-FM radio.  I’ll be sharing a brief inspirational thought, as I did yesterday,  on what they call their “Morning Munch” segment (between 7:2...

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Pilgrimage in One Place
Post by: MonroeNews.com on July 15, 2009, 04:00:07 PM
Pilgrimage in One Place (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1117)
9 July 2009, 5:59 pm



(http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/Butterfly-250x300.jpg)Author Kathleen Norris makes reference to “two vows that are unique to the Benedictines… the vows of stability and conversion.  Even as one promises to remain in a particular community for the rest ...

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: A Holy Stream that Sustains
Post by: MonroeNews.com on July 15, 2009, 04:00:07 PM
A Holy Stream that Sustains (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1121)
13 July 2009, 8:06 am

(http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/rootssmall-199x300.jpg)I’ve noticed while flying that most rivers have trees bordering both banks as they snake their way through otherwise treeless topography.  Trees like streams because there’s a constant supply of...

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Prayer that Leads to Peace
Post by: MonroeNews.com on October 16, 2009, 09:00:50 AM
Prayer that Leads to Peace (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1342)
24 September 2009, 5:47 am

(http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/CrossMedium-199x300.jpg)Someone standing in the shadow of the cross on the land for the future site of our church facility.

I took a walk around our church’s prayer path on our new property late yesterday afternoon.  The m...

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: The Fight Within
Post by: MonroeNews.com on October 16, 2009, 09:00:50 AM
The Fight Within (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1334)
25 September 2009, 5:16 pm



(http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/dogs-fighting-300x237.jpg)There’s an old and much-told story, with variations, of which I want to tell you my version. A grandfather explains to his grandson, “There’s a battle going on inside of you, a terrible fi...

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Right Perspective
Post by: MonroeNews.com on October 16, 2009, 09:00:50 AM
Right Perspective (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1338)
27 September 2009, 7:57 pm



(http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/securitycamera-300x243.jpg)Have you ever looked at yourself on the security monitor at a store or bank?  The camera provides an angle, usually from up high, that we rarely see of ourselves.  Even seeing ourselves in a home video...

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: How We Walk
Post by: MonroeNews.com on October 16, 2009, 09:02:52 AM
How We Walk (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1269)
29 September 2009, 6:44 pm



(http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/steps-174x300.jpg)“I recognized you by your walk.” It’s happened a couple of times in the last several months that someone, who hasn’t seen me for awhile, saw me coming from a distance and first recognize...

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Meeting My New Grandson!
Post by: MonroeNews.com on October 16, 2009, 09:02:52 AM
Meeting My New Grandson! (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1349)
3 October 2009, 9:41 am

(http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/daniel1-225x300.jpg)Here’s Daniel, a recent addition to our family.  He’s not my youngest grandchild, but this is the first time I’ve met him since he joined the Zaragoza family (our daughter Julie’s fam...

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Misplaced Fears
Post by: MonroeNews.com on October 16, 2009, 09:02:52 AM
Misplaced Fears (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1353)
9 October 2009, 9:32 am



(http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/ruth-199x300.jpg)Our granddaughter Ruth stood at the top of the water slide trying to get up the courage to slide down.  It was a low and broad slide and the water was nowhere to be found -  that’s because a large bucket ...

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: A True Parable of Transformation
Post by: MonroeNews.com on October 16, 2009, 09:05:04 AM
A True Parable of Transformation (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1358)
12 October 2009, 7:19 pm

(http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/marthaEarlyPic-300x225.jpg)

The little girl of about six years of age walked down the mountain with some other village people, though she wasn’t with any of them in particular.  They were all seeking medical attention from...

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Rooted in God
Post by: MonroeNews.com on October 16, 2009, 09:05:04 AM
Rooted in God (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1374)
14 October 2009, 6:51 am

(http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/treeroot-680x1024.jpg)The accompanying picture is of a tree along a stream in Mexico.  I took it, and a bunch like it, because the scene reminded me of Psalm 1:3.  The psalmist describes the person “who is like a tree plan...

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Closed Doors
Post by: MonroeNews.com on October 16, 2009, 09:05:04 AM
Closed Doors (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1385)
15 October 2009, 7:10 pm



(http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/doorlockMedium-680x1024.jpg)Earlier in his life writer Parker Palmer was floundering as to what he wanted to do with his life. He received from some Quaker friends the advice to “Have faith and way will open.” He felt he did...

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: “He Ain’t Heavy…”
Post by: MonroeNews.com on October 16, 2009, 09:07:00 AM
“He Ain’t Heavy…” (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1393)
16 October 2009, 6:56 am

(http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/FidelBernabe-199x300.jpg)Our grandson Fidel, pictured here carrying a friend, Bernabe, is a different boy than a couple of years ago.  Back then he was homeless in a Mexican village, defending himself against other kids with a sl...

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: In the News!
Post by: MonroeNews.com on October 19, 2009, 03:14:55 PM
In the News! (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1400)
17 October 2009, 11:36 am

(http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/Victorteam-300x225.jpg)Watch a heart-warming story of a man in my church, Dave Lawrence, and how he collects discarded metal, etc. to help out a mission in Mexico.  The mission is Fishers of Men which was founded by our son-in-la...

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Resisting Erosion
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on October 27, 2009, 04:26:41 PM
Resisting Erosion (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1406)
21 October 2009, 5:42 am

(http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/errosion-300x199.jpg)The accompanying picture is a scene I photographed in Mexico while visiting Julie and the family.  Previously I posted a picture of a tree rooted by this same stream.  Here’s a pic of a tree that has e...

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Beyond Comparing Apples and Oranges
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on October 27, 2009, 04:26:41 PM
Beyond Comparing Apples and Oranges (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1409)
22 October 2009, 6:38 am



(http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/applesorangesMed-300x199.jpg)“Don’t compare apples and oranges” is how the classic bit of wisdom goes.  The advice is valid for it’s impossible to compare two things that are not at all similar.

So when it c...

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: A Church Far from Home
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on October 27, 2009, 04:26:41 PM
A Church Far from Home (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1413)
24 October 2009, 11:10 am

(http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/BastionChapelMed-225x300.jpg)Joe, a friend of mine and a member of the church I serve as pastor, is working at Camp Bastion, a British base in the middle of the desert in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan.  This is a pictu...

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: A Two-way Relationship
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on October 27, 2009, 04:28:52 PM
A Two-way Relationship (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1417)
27 October 2009, 5:33 am

(http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/hand-of-god-image1-300x197.jpg)It amazes me that the God of the universe created we humans in order to be in relationship with us.  What I need to remember, then, is that a relationship is a two-way street.

Though He’s all...

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: I’m a Link Between the Holy & Human?
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on October 28, 2009, 08:56:05 AM
I’m a Link Between the Holy & Human? (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1424)
28 October 2009, 6:48 am

(http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/ChainsMed-86x300.jpg)“Do what I say, not what I do” is how we try to get out of taking responsibility for our actions.  We may be smart enough not to use the phrase, for it incriminates us, but I’m thinking we s...

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Fall Seeds Spring to Life
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on October 29, 2009, 03:04:31 PM
Fall Seeds Spring to Life (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1429)
29 October 2009, 9:54 am



(http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/MilkWeedMed-199x300.jpg)I was walking through the woods behind our place Monday afternoon, looking for pictures to take.  I glanced down and so all of these little seeds sticking to my bluejeans.  I was only a couple of hundred ...

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: On Big Shoulders
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on October 30, 2009, 07:09:02 AM
On Big Shoulders (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1436)
30 October 2009, 6:55 am

(http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/shoulders1-150x150.jpg)A boy on his dad’s shoulders, what a secure looking image.  ”The eternal God is your refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms.” (Deuteronomy 33:27)  Here’s hoping you join me ...

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The Detours of Life
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on October 31, 2009, 07:20:51 AM
The Detours of Life (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1420)
31 October 2009, 7:20 am



(http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/roadmed-276x300.jpg)Here’s a quote that I believe is true, though I have a difficult time living up to it: “A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery while on a detour.”  How can anyone be happy taking a de...

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Soul Shape
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on November 01, 2009, 08:41:03 PM
Soul Shape (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1441)
1 November 2009, 8:16 pm

(http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/Excercising-150x150.jpg)I love exercising!  I could sit and watch people exercise all day!  Seriously, as important as staying in physical shape is, I’m more concerned about keeping in spiritual shape.  How can I stay in ...

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Persevering Beyond Raking Leaves
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on November 03, 2009, 07:00:44 AM
Persevering Beyond Raking Leaves (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1450)
3 November 2009, 6:59 am

(http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/rakingleaves-239x300.jpg)Diann and I spent about 9 hours total yesterday raking leaves from off the lawn, under bushes & trees, off the roof, and from along the fence.  It seemed overwhelming when we started, but we stuck it out ...

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: When God Plays “Mom”
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on November 04, 2009, 07:06:27 AM
When God Plays “Mom” (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1453)
4 November 2009, 6:48 am

(http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/babymom1-199x300.jpg)Our granddaughter and her mom

I’m a dad and a grandpa and I’ve tried to be good at both.  But when that little one gets hurt there’s no one like mom to take away the pain.  Few images proj...

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Waiting On God
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on November 05, 2009, 06:44:28 AM
Waiting On God (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1463)
5 November 2009, 6:14 am

(http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/PraiseMan-250x300.jpg)I don’t like to wait and I can’t think of anyone else who does either.  The “waiting room” at the doctor’s office definitely has a negative connotation.  What I’m reminde...

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The “Scarcity Assumption”
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on November 06, 2009, 07:44:43 AM
The “Scarcity Assumption” (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1459)
6 November 2009, 6:21 am



(http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/scarcity-199x300.jpg)The man shuffled into Starbucks, his hand grasping the left hip pocket-area of his trousers, pulling up the left leg of his worn slacks, making it a full three inches shorter than the other.  His coat collar...

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Healthy Fear Born of Respect
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on November 10, 2009, 07:10:50 AM
Healthy Fear Born of Respect (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1470)
10 November 2009, 6:46 am

(http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/johnclaassen-241x300.jpg)My father when he was a young man in the Army

My father was a six foot four inches tall Iowa farmer.  He was of thin build but he was strong!  I don’t think I feared him, but I had a healthy respe...

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Good from the Broken
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on November 13, 2009, 08:20:46 AM
Good from the Broken (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1473)
11 November 2009, 5:57 am



The shattered bowl you see pictured here is one of 380 images I have for sale on iStockphoto.  I was drying dishes and dropped the bowl, breaking it into the two pieces.  I decided to photograph it.  The image was accepted by iStockphoto (http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-1295973-shattered-bowl.php) and has sold 20 times earning me $12, more than the bowl was worth whole!

It’s a reminder to me that if I can redeem a broken bowl, using it for some good, then certainly God can redeem, use for good, what is “broken” in my life.  I just have to put myself into His hands, accepting His call to carry out His purposes.  I’m so glad God’s into recycling!  You too?

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purposes.” Romans 8:28

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Good News!
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on November 13, 2009, 08:20:46 AM
Good News! (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1489)
12 November 2009, 6:05 am

“Do you want the good news or the bad news first?” What a question!  Just give me the good news, of course I’ll be miserably curious (and worried) if I don’t let you give me the bad news too!

It’s interesting that the four books about Jesus in the Bible are called gospels, which literally means “good news.” Just wanted to remind all of us that God’s intentions for us today are all good, even through the bad stuff His intentions are all good!

“Good news makes you feel better.  Your happiness will show in your eyes.”(Provervbs 15:30)  Have a great day following close behind His sandaled feet.

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Hearing vs. Listening
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on November 13, 2009, 08:20:46 AM
Hearing vs. Listening (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1485)
13 November 2009, 6:37 am



Humor me on this.  Try taking just ten seconds for this experiment.

What do you hear?  Give it your full attention.  What are you hearing right now?  Remember, ten seconds.  Shhhh!  Just listen.  1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10.  OK, experiment’s over.

There’s undoubtedly more than one sound you heard, probably even more than two.   I suspect you heard a sound you didn’t know you had been hearing.  Why didn’t you hear it before?  It wasn’t because you had a hearing problem but because you had a listening problem.  You weren’t really listening.

I’ve sometimes prayed, “Lord, speak to me.”  I now think that’s the wrong prayer.  I can’t believe God is hesitant to speak, it has to be that I’m not listening.  If God chose to speak in a big, deep, booming voice, or even if He whispered, I could depend on my hearing.  It seems, however, that God has chosen to speak in a way other that what we can pick up by our hearing.  He wants us to be listening.  A better prayer to pray is, “Lord, help me to listen for you.”

He may be speaking through what someone else is saying, and the person may not even realize they’re a spokesperson for God.  Sometimes God’s intention is to communicate to me the opposite of what the person is saying!  He also communicates through my experiences, events around me, and even my feelings.  Am I listening?

To decipher accurately such communication from God requires I have a working knowledge of His character and His ways. This is where an understanding of His Word and a connection to His people comes in.  Yes, it’s an inexact science, listening to God.  I’d prefer a big, booming voice or even a soft whisper from Him but that would only require hearing and not necessarily listening.  Obviously He will have none of that!  The Biblical proverbial writer reminds us that “The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out.” (Proverbs 18:15)

As I’m sitting here at a Starbucks typing this up I’m hearing a great many sounds but I’m trying to listen to what God’s telling me.  My prayer is that in the midst of the noise you’re hearing, or even if you’re hearing the sounds of silence at this moment, that you’ll have been reminded, as I have by writing this, that we are to listen for God.  We can be confident He will speak!

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Poster Message I Created
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on November 13, 2009, 08:15:03 PM
Poster Message I Created (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1495)
13 November 2009, 6:55 pm

(http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/faithshaken-680x1024.jpg)

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Security
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on November 17, 2009, 07:28:45 AM
Security (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1502)
17 November 2009, 6:58 am

Within a short drive of Refuge Ranch in Mexico, where our daughter Julie and her family live, there’s the ruins of an old hacienda.  It was probably at its full glory in the 1700s or there about.  It must have been magnificent!  It’s still easy to see how it offered protection from enemies.  There’s the thick, high walls with holes undoubtedly designed to shoot through from the inside while offering the marksman almost complete protection.  The picture shows a portion of the wall.

“I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, in him I will trust.” (Psalm 91:2)  We all have a yearning to feel secure.  One of the fruits of a strong faith in God is that we begin to feel, more and more, the security that we so deeply desire.  People, jobs, money, health, and whatever else we can think of that we might find ourselves trusting in can fall short.  God lacks nothing, and that means I can put my complete trust in Him.  It’s amazing how better the day can go when I am not driven or haunted by fears but see God as my refuge and fortress.  You too?

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The Enlightening Word
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on November 19, 2009, 08:03:13 AM
The Enlightening Word (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1522)
19 November 2009, 6:13 am

Sleep evaded me last night, probably didn’t find it until abut midnight.  Then I awoke at 4:15 and sleep had already left me for the night.  At 11:00 last night I got up and searched for a psalm to read.  I found one that really reflected my concerns and worries, and offered great insight.  Then this morning (5 am) I picked up my devotional reading in 2 Corinthians where I had left off yesterday morning.  The apostle Paul’s words seemed to be written just for me.  What timing!

I was reminded by both incidents that I need to keep reading what God has written, that it was written for me as well as countless other millions.  I need to remember, as a preacher, that His Word is not simply the tool of my trade, but light for my own soul that I desperately need!

When the lights go out I never want to be without a flashlight close at hand.  The same goes for God’s Word!

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” (Psalm 119:105)

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Out and about Doing Good
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on November 19, 2009, 07:05:09 PM
Out and about Doing Good (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1518)
19 November 2009, 5:26 pm



In the Family Circus cartoon Billy was often featured in a map-type drawing of his little world in which a dotted line plotted his meandering course from point A to point B.  What if someone were to plot out our path for the day?  Billy would have nothing on us!  In a given day most of us cover a fair amount of ground, and do it in a meandering way.

I like a phrase the gospel writer Matthew uses two times in reference to Jesus.  And Jesus went about…” (4:23 & 9:35)  Jesus did a lot of walking about.  He seems to have had a destination in mind on many occasions but, then again, He allowed Himself to be interrupted by a person in need nearby or diverted by a request to meet a need that was at a distance.  In fact, almost all of His miracles were not planned by Him or His disciples the very morning of the day they happened.  They just, well, they just happened!

Over the years I have had a growing awareness that God is scheduling me to be at a certain place at a certain time with a certain person without first consulting me!  I’ve decided my best approach to each day is to be open to His agenda and to allow it to preempt my agenda whenever the two conflict.

Actually, it’s rather exciting to live each day with the expectation that God is going to put us with people and in situations where He wants us to bring His influence.  Each of us lives in a specific set of circumstances that no one else on earth shares.  No one else has exactly the same network of friends and acquaintances or the same set of circumstances.  Each of us is strategic to God!

It prompts me to want to pray something to the effect, “Lord, where would you have me go today?  Who would you have me see?  What would you have me do or say?”

And Jesus went about…” Matthew tells us.  The upshot is that Jesus went about doing good, doing what God the Father wanted Him to do.  We all have places to go, people to see, things to do.  We can be a help or a hindrance, a delight or a drag, encouraging or exasperating, and, generally speaking, a blessing or a burden.  I for one want to be like Jesus and go about doing good.  You too?

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Patient Love
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on November 21, 2009, 07:22:46 AM
Patient Love (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1526)
21 November 2009, 7:13 am

Charcoal drawing by Bob O'Neill.  He's now a volunteer at Toledo Hosptial. A great guy!Love and patience, that’s what Diann needs to exhibit toward me many a time.  The other day I didn’t handle a return at the store like she wanted, and so the receipt I brought back didn’t record things the way she wanted it to.  I leave stuff lay around in the garage, creating clutter she has to work around when she washes clothes.  Love and patience, that’s what I get from her.

So often we think of God as some stern deity with standards a mile high.  Well, He does have high standards, no doubt about that. He is, after all, holy, holy, holy!  Still, He has other characteristics that play into a relationship with me (and you too!).

The more I come to discover about God the more I realize He is a very, very, very gracious God to me!  I like how the apostle Paul put it to his Thessalonian friends.  You’re one of my “friends” on facebook so let me be so presumptuous as to make it my prayer for you!  “May the Lord bring you into an ever deeper understanding of the love of God and of the patience that comes from Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 3:5 TLB)

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Grocery Cart Theology
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on November 22, 2009, 04:09:08 PM
Grocery Cart Theology (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1514)
22 November 2009, 3:49 pm

When I’m in a grocery store, I like to watch a child in one of those child-friendly shopping carts.  You know the kind; it’s where part of the cart is designed to look like a miniature car.  The child sits in the “car” and steers back and forth with the plastic steering wheel.  The child’s happy, living under the illusion that he or she is actually driving the car.

Of course, if you get into the candy aisle or the toy aisle, the child quickly figures out that the steering wheel doesn’t really bring you closer to the desired item.  The child turns around, finds a way to get his parent’s attention, and tries to have the parent move the cart closer to the item he wants.

It seems to me that this is how we humans often live.  God is at hand, but we insist on living under the illusion that we’re in charge and are steering our own lives.  When we really get desperate we might communicate with God and tell Him what we want.  We call that prayer.  However, much of the time we go through our lives whipping our plastic steering wheels back and forth, happily thinking that we can steer our own lives wherever we want.

God is sovereign, which means that He’s ultimately in charge.  This is really  simple logic: He made everything and keeps everything going.  He rules supreme.  He’s in ultimate control.

The next time we see a child in one of those shopping cart/cars, perhaps it can remind us that we should stop acting as if we’re in control and yield to the One who’s really meant to be in control of our lives!

“For the Lord Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him?  His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?” (Isaiah 14:27)

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: It’s ALL Sacred
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on November 23, 2009, 07:30:45 AM
It’s ALL Sacred (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1535)
23 November 2009, 7:23 am

Today’s my day off from usual ministry responsibilities, sort of my Sabbath, my “Saturday” you could say.  Well, I DO need to do about two hours of work on the Thanksgiving eve message, that’s coming WAY to soon — Wednesday evening.  But I’m also planning on tidying up my aquarium (big koi & big goldfish make a mess!), picking up a few leaves, straightening up my workbench in the garage, editing some pics for iStokcphoto.com (http://www.istockphoto.com/user_view.php?id=574973), etc.

I got to thinking….  I can please God as much as I go about these “chores” of the ordinary and mundane activities as when I was yesterday when standing before a hundred people a couple of times preaching His Word.  Yes, to God anything and everything can be and should be sacred in that it should be done with an awareness of His presence and with wanting to please Him.  For the follower of Christ there is no sacred/secular dichotomy.  It’s ALL sacred!  “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” 1 Corinthians 10:31

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The Creator/Sustainer Loves!
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on November 24, 2009, 06:38:52 AM
The Creator/Sustainer Loves! (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1559)
24 November 2009, 6:37 am

The Creator/Sustainer loves!  Wow!  Think about it!  The source of all that exists is far more than a force, and energy that created and sustains everything.  He has revealed Himself to be personal!  Relationship is important to Him.  In fact, it’s been revealed that He created humans, somehow and in some way, in His own image!

Christmas is coming, and it reminds us that at a certain point in human history He came to us as one of us!  Amazing!  God in focus, that’s what Jesus is!  How we view Jesus is how we view God.  I like how Jesus puts it.  “The Father himself loves you.  He loves you because you loved me and beli8eved that I came from God.”  (John 16:27)

This is ultimately a friendly universe because the One who created it is friendly! And what really amazes me is that I can give God something He can’t create — a voluntary response from me to love Him and live for Him!  Life is good!

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: “Leftovers” from the Thanksgiving Message
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on November 26, 2009, 08:34:19 AM
“Leftovers” from the Thanksgiving Message (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1565)
26 November 2009, 8:01 am

In movie editing they’ll often talk about the scenes that ended up on the editing room floor.  What I want to share with you is a couple of thoughts that didn’t make it into my recent Thanksgiving eve message, that ended up on the sermon editing floor.  Don’t worry!  They’re worthy thoughts, it’s just that they ended up not fitting my theme.  Being one not to waste a good thought…..

“You can’t feel stressed and appreciative at the same time,” writes best selling author Wayne Dyer.  I hadn’t thought of that before!  It’s amazing the positive side-benefits there are to being a thankful, appreciative person.  You simply feel better after a period of time in which you’ve sought to be consistently appreciative and thankful to others and to God.

“And be thankful” the apostle Paul writes in Colossians 3:15.  Eugene Peterson’s The Message version of this verse says, “Cultivate thankfulness.”  We’re to be intentional about being thankful.  It doesn’t always come easily or naturally (that’s why we’re always and forever reminding children to say “thank you” when they’re given something).  Yes, we sometimes have to remind ourselves to be grateful.  It may be a little easier to be appreciative at Thanksgiving time, but we probably are going to have to work at it some the rest of the time.

I didn’t know that Shakespeare was much into prayer, but I ran across this prayer of his.  I didn’t include it in the Thanksgiving message, didn’t know if I wanted to be heard quoting Shakespeare (writing a quote of his, for some reason, doesn’t seem quite as peculiar).  At any rate, it’s a good prayer!  “O Lord that lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.”  Yes, Lord, my prayer too!

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The Fiddler
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on November 28, 2009, 11:30:24 AM
The Fiddler (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1539)
28 November 2009, 10:25 am



The fiddler played his fiddle at the top of the escalators, standing by a wall of the indoor arcade, his open violin case at his feet for any donations.  Wearing jeans and a baseball cap he fiddled away forty-five minutes.  In that time 1,104 people walked by him on their way to somewhere.  Seven stopped, at least for a minute, to listen.  Twenty-seven dropped a total of $32 into his violin case.  1,071 others rushed past on their way to where they were going.

The informal forty-five minute concert was staged by the Washington Post.  The fiddler was 39 year-old Joshua Bell, an internationally famous virtuoso.  He was playing the violin he always plays at concerts where many of the seats cost $100, a 1713 handcrafted instrument by Antonio Stradivari that Bell reportedly purchased for $3.5 million.

What was amazing about the experiment was how few stopped to appreciate the free concert by a world famous violinist on a Stradivarius as he played some of the most beautiful and difficult music you can play on a violin.  Bell said, “At a music hall, I’ll get upset if someone coughs or if someone’s cellphone goes off.  But here, my expectations quickly diminished.  I started to appreciate any acknowledgment, even a slight glance up.  I was oddly grateful when someone threw in a dollar instead of change.”

I don’t think you can fault everyone for rushing buy.  After all, most were heading to work and many were probably running late.  Still, it’s amazing how few appreciated what they were hearing. Gene Weingarten, who wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning article  (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/04/AR2007040401721_pf.html)on the experiment (and from which I have drawn heavily for this piece) wrote, “If we can’t take the time out of our lives to stay a moment and listen to one of the best musicians on Earth play some of the best music every written; if the surge of modern life so overpowers us that we are deaf and blind to something like that – then what else are we missing?”

In Thorton Wilder’s play Our Town Emily’s spirit comes back to her home town after dying will giving birth.  She observes life as it was lived on her twelfth birthday and laments, “Do human beings ever realize life while they live it? — every, every minute?”  The narrator replies, “No.  The saints and poets, maybe they do some.”

Wayne Dyer writes, “Go on a rampage of appreciation for all that you have, all that you are, and all that you observe.” (The Power of Intention, p. 200)  It sounds like a piece of sound advice to me!  Shakespeare prayed, “O Lord that lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.”  Dido for me, Lord!

The world walked by as the fiddler played.  They missed something beautiful that was hiding in plain sight.  It doesn’t have to be this way.  We can heighten our awareness of all that’s around us which is good.  The world God’s made and sustains is brimming over and busting forth with so much for which we should be appreciative!

Let the people give thanks to the Lord for His limitless love and His wonderful way of working!” (Psalm 107: 8,15,21,31 my translation)

(A link to the performance on youtube) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnOPu0_YWhw)

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: 1st Week in Advent — The Candle of HOPE
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on November 29, 2009, 05:45:02 PM
1st Week in Advent — The Candle of HOPE (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1574)
29 November 2009, 4:32 pm

This is the first week in Advent, the four weeks of spiritual preparation for Christmas.  Our church has never really put a focus on Advent in the past.  This year, however, we’re having a different family light an Advent candle on our church’s Advent wreath before each of the worship services.

I just had a series of four images accepted by iStockphoto that represent the four weeks.  The first photo has one of the four candles lit, the second photo has two candles lit, the third has three and the fourth all four.  Layout artists and web designers will find them useful in representing the weeks of Advent.  I’ll be using the four images in this blog, with the first one pictured to the left.

Each of the four candles representing the four weeks before Christmas have their own theme.  The first candle, for the first week, is usally calledl the candle of hope.  There was much prophecy about the coming of the Messiah, the Christ, giving the people hope.  Christ’s coming has now happened, and His hope keeps coming!  Because God has come to us as one of us, died for us, and is ALWAYS for us, we have hope!  Life is never hopeless when we have a firm faith in God.  The apostle Paul writes that we have faith, hope and love in Christ.  Here’s how I look at it — we have HOPE in Him because of our FAITH in His LOVE.  So, we can always hold on to hope because God’s intentions for us are alwas good!

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Great Expectations
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on November 30, 2009, 07:50:59 AM
Great Expectations (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1581)
30 November 2009, 6:22 am

I’m thinking you can define the word “faith” in a variety of ways. I usually think of the word “trust” early on, when thinking what faith means. I think another way to understand faith in God is to see it as expectation. What do I expect of God, from God?

I like how the psalmist put it. “The Lord will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace.” (29:11) He will give me strength and will bless me with peace — Hmmm, pretty good expectations to possess! Life is, in a large measure, a self-fulfilling prophecy. Expect the best and your day seems to go better, expect the worst and often it seems we aren’t disappointed. When it comes to God I’m expecting the best! You too?

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Kathryn’s Fountain — a Great Gift Idea!
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on November 30, 2009, 07:59:06 PM
Kathryn’s Fountain — a Great Gift Idea! (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1584)
30 November 2009, 6:04 pm

OK, so I’m being shamelessly self-promoting, but why not consider giving my novel, Kathryn’s Fountain, as a gift this Christmas?  Just click on this Kathryn’s Fountain page (http://www.daveclaassen.com/FountainPage.html) link and order it on line from your favorite source for books.  Better yet, for those of you in the Toledo area, they have several copies for sale at the LIFEWAY Bookstore on Talmadge Road.

Kathryn believes life’s opportunities are gone forever and is resigned to living out her last days uneventfully as a resident of Victorian Manor.  The fountain in the manor’s garden changes all of that.  Kathryn finds herself involved in a plan to rescue a street child named Jasmine who is often left alone by a neglectful mother.

Through what appears to be a series of miraculous events that begin at the fountain, Kathryn finds her life spanning three generations as she enters the world of Jasmine and a young bachelor detective named Ben.  A murder and a newly developing romantic relationship forces Kathryn to make the most difficult choice of her long life.  Love and sacrifice take on new meaning as she struggles to understand what she is called to do.  In bringing hope for a better life to those of other generations, Kathryn discovers new meaning and purpose for her own life.

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: God’s Control/My Control
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 01, 2009, 07:48:33 AM
God’s Control/My Control (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1590)
1 December 2009, 7:06 am

Who’s in charge of our lives, God or us?  It’s the age-old question between the sovereignty of God and the free will of people.  If God is ultimately in charge then do we have any say at all?  If we’re in charge then where does God fit in?

I like how one author put it.  It’s sort of (no analogy is perfect) like taking a cruise on a cruise ship.  You have a lot of choice of what you do on the cruise (shop, swim, nap, eat, etc.) but you have no control over where the vessel is going, that’s in the captain’s hands.

Yes, God’s given me free will in my life. I have choices to make, and must take responsibility for those choices.  But, God’s in ultimate control and His plans will not be thwarted!  “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)   My goal is to have my plans for me fit in with His plans for me!

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: On the Radio Tomorrow
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 02, 2009, 07:03:13 AM
On the Radio Tomorrow (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1602)
2 December 2009, 6:58 am

I’ll be on WPOS radio tomorrow (Thursday) morning from 8-10 am.  The station is doing their sharathon where they raise money to operate the station.  Our church has supported them for years and years so they asked me to help out.

I did radio in college, including being student manager of the station in my senior year.  In fact I was the “boss” of Harry Smith of CBS Morning Show fame!  He was a student at Central College and was interested in radio, so he had a jazz show for a couple of hours a week.  He stayed in broadcasting and I didn’t.  But, I still enjoy being on the air.  A broadcast studio still gives me a thrill every time I walk in.

WPOS is on the dial at 102.3 FM.  To listen over the Internet click HERE (http://66.228.115.186/listen/player.asp?station=wpos-fm&).

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Dispensers of Hope
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 03, 2009, 02:38:40 PM
Dispensers of Hope (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1612)
3 December 2009, 2:18 pm



This past weekend we lit the first of four candles at each of our weekend services.  The four candles represent the four weeks in Advent, the time of expectation and preparation for Christmas.  Traditionally each week’s candle has been assigned a meaning.  The first candle, the one representing this first week in Advent, is often called the candle of HOPE.

We all need hope.  When we feel hopeless in a situation we’re pretty much helpless in that situation.  Without hope whatever we’re facing will undoubtedly get the best of us.

One of the most wonderful of gifts we can give people we meet each day is the gift of hope.  When people leave our presence feeling they’ve been listened to, affirmed, and encouraged then they’ve received the gift of hope from us.  All around us and around every corner we’re going to encounter people who need to feel hopeful.  One of the best ways to live each day is to be dispensers of hope.

“But,” you may want to argue, “I need hope myself.”  True enough. I do too!  How can we have hope so we can be a dispenser of hope?  I like to keep three key points in mind.

First, my ultimate hope comes from God.  The psalmist declared, “But now, Lord, what do I look for?  My hope is in you.” (Psalm 39:7)  I remind myself that God’s intentions for me are good.  It is often my inattentiveness to God’s presence in my life and His purpose for my life that leaves me feeling hopeless.

Second, I have to be open to receiving hope from others.  I can allow myself to be in such a foul mood that I’m insensitive and resistant to the word or gesture of encouragement that God sends to me through others.

Third, I have to give hope to others if I want to feel hopeful myself.  Tossing hope in the direction of others boomerangs!

It’s the first week in Advent, the week of HOPE!  Why not start handing out Christmas gifts early?  Be a dispenser of hope!

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The Posture of God
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 04, 2009, 07:09:13 AM
The Posture of God (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1618)
4 December 2009, 6:52 am

God stoops while we walk with Him!  I gather this from something the great military leader and great king David wrote in one of his psalms after a successful battle.  He said to God, “You stoop down to make me great.” (Psalm 18:35)  I’ve always liked this verse.  I picture a parent leaning over, a parent stretching an arm downward, to lend a helping hand to a child.  This is the posture of God!

So often I interpret my sense of inadequacy, ineptness, and weakness as a liability.  It is, when I’m inattentive to God.  But when God has enough of my attention that I, in a sense, am reaching out my hand to Him, then my sense of personal vulnerability becomes an asset, not a liability!  Yes, He stoops down to make me great!  It makes walking through my day and entirely different experience.

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: 2nd Week in Advent — The Candle of PEACE
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 07, 2009, 07:32:18 AM
2nd Week in Advent — The Candle of PEACE (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1623)
7 December 2009, 7:20 am

This is the second week in Advent, the four weeks of spiritual preparation for Christmas.  The second candle in the Advent wreath traditionally has symbolized peace.

In speaking on this theme at our three weekend services I emphasized how God has already provided us with the way to have peace, and that’s peace with God.  We celebrated Communion, as many churches do sometime during Advent.  The practice of remembering Christ’s death when we’re celebrating His birth makes perfect sense.  The truth is, we wouldn’t be celebrating His birth in a stable if He had never died on a cross.  He came to live among us so that some day He could die for us.  We had the plates containing the bread and cups for Communion on the Lord’s table, with the two Christmas trees positioned on each side of the table.  Communion ware and Christmas trees together — I like the symbolism.

I also talked about how the Prince of Peace keeps bringing us peace each and every day.  “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid,” Jesus says. (John 14:27)   If I practice the presence of Christ, a continual attentiveness to Him, then peace is going to be a significant part of my daily experience.

Finally, I reminded us that if we follow the Prince of Peace we are to be peacemakers ourselves.  We can’t claim to follow the Prince of Peace if we are not willing to work at establishing peace in the human relationships we have.  Christmas is a time to make peace in an alienated relationship.  “Be at peace with each other,” Jesus said (Mark 9:50)

That’s some of what I shared with my congregation.  May you experience His peace in a fresh way this Christmas season!

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Conversing with God about Our Concerns
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 08, 2009, 07:48:39 AM
Conversing with God about Our Concerns (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1630)
8 December 2009, 6:28 am

I’ve always found the following verse from the apostle Paul to be helpful when life’s filled with stress — “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs and don’t forget to thank him for his answers.” (Philippians 4:6)  It reminds me that I’m to talk over with God that which concerns me.

Why wouldn’t I want to do that?  Yet, there’s times I’ll focus on worrying myself into a tizzy instead of focusing on talking to God about it.  Sometimes we can be so inattentive to God!

The other suggestion of this verse has also proved helpful and that is to get in the practice of finding reasons to thank God.  Our confidence in God addressing our current concerns is bolstered when we recall and give thanks for the times He’s addressed our past concerns.

There’s an old hymn with the line “take it to the Lord in prayer.”  Sounds like good advice for today!

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: God’s Good Intentions
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 10, 2009, 06:36:50 AM
God’s Good Intentions (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1638)
10 December 2009, 6:28 am

I’ve been using a new word (new for me) over the last few months when describing God’s love for us.  “Intention” is the word.  Talking about God’s love for me can fail to impact me the way I know it should, but when I think of the fact that God’s intentions for me are good, then I can better grasp what His love for me means.(http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/hillsmist-268x300.jpg)The hills overlooking Refuge Ranch in Mexico where our daughter Julie and her family live.A verse that I, along with many others, have clung to is Jeremiah 29:11.  “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

The prophet Jeremiah is delivering to us a message from God that essentially has God saying, “My intentions for you are nothing but good.”  Could it be any other way?  Not if God is a God of love and of goodness!

Reflecting on this verse of hope and love I’ve come to understand that it doesn’t guarantee a moment-by-moment bed of roses.  God takes the long view of things.  In the short run I may face all kinds of problems, set-backs, and disappointments.  In the long run it’s a different story!  By the time I get to heaven’s gate, and many times before that happens, I can know His intentions for me are nothing but good!

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Destination Addiction
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 11, 2009, 07:52:22 AM
Destination Addiction (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1636)
11 December 2009, 7:00 am



“I‘m dreaming of a white Christmas…”  OK, you may or may not want snow during the Christmas season.  I’m guessing, though, that most of us are dreaming of something concerning Christmas, that we’re looking forward to some aspect of the Christmas season.  This is as it should be, but there’s the temptation to look forward to Christmas so much that it’s a let down when it’s over.  We do the same at other times of the year too.  We keep thinking tomorrow will be better.  My daughter-in-law Teri calls this “destination addiction” in a recent blog she posted.  I’m reprinting her blog post below.  Teri is a licensed therapist. You can check out her blog at http://www.imaginehopecounseling.com/tcblog/ .  Here’s her thoughts…

_______________________________________

We ask the question often, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” We dream about the future. We plan for retirement. We play the “if only” game and wish the grass was greener. When my son asks to do something that is beyond his age, and I say no. He replies with a sighing, “Someday.” In high school I was in the musical “Annie” and sang the lyrics, “Tomorrow. Tomorrow. I love you tomorrow. You’re only a day away.” All of these are examples of destination addiction. This is when people focus so strongly on the future that they miss out on TODAY. When we get lost in our vision and dreams, we tend to forget about the reality right before our eyes. I am not saying we shouldn’t dream. We just need to be careful to not loose sight of the life we have right now. Enjoy today…Live today. Don’t get addicted to your destination. You might miss out on some amazing experiences on your way there!

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling.  Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.

_______________________________________________

Thanks, Teri, for the insight!  Yes, God is not just in our tomorrows but He is in our TODAY. “Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord.  They rejoice in your name all day long…” (Psalm 89:15-16a)  Let’s not be so fixated on tomorrow that we stumble over today!

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Nothing Gets Past Him
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 12, 2009, 07:21:16 AM
Nothing Gets Past Him (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1647)
12 December 2009, 7:05 am

A crowd I photographed at Erie Orchard, Erie, MI“People to see, places to go, things to do,” is how I often describe my day.  Going here, there, and back again is how we live out most of our days.  God is watching all of this?  God is in ultimate control of all of this?  Yep!  According to reference after reference in His Word.  Case in point, Psalm 121:8.  “The Lord will guard you as you come and go, both now and forever.”

It doesn’t always seem like God’s guarding what happens to me, because I often can’t see the good in what happens.  Sometimes some pretty bad stuff happens, and He’s guarding me all the while?  According to His Word, He insists He is!

Because God is all wise and knows what’s going on (and its ramifications), all loving and has good intentions for me, and all powerful (which means He can do whatever He wants with me), then His purposes must be unfolding no matter what’s going on with me!  I want to live today with the confidence that nothing is going to happen to me that has not first passed His approval. Nothing gets past Him!  Many times it’s beyond my understanding why He approves some of the stuff that happens, but that’s where my faith and trust in Him has to come into play.

Lord, I have faith in You, but help me to have more faith! Yes, Amen!

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections:
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 13, 2009, 04:20:27 PM
 (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1654)
13 December 2009, 4:19 pm

This is the third week in Advent, the four weeks of spiritual preparation for Christmas.  The third candle in the Advent wreath traditionally has symbolized joy.

This past weekend I in all three of our services I emhasized how our greatest joy needs to be found in God.  There are many things we can enjoy (”in joy” – finding  joy in…).  We can enjoy good food, our work, a hobby, and certainly the people God’s put in our lives.  The problem arises when we try to make anything other than God our greatest joy.  These become “joy substitutes” as I called them in my message.  They can never completely deliver the goods.  In fact, the happenings of life rarely ever provide sustained happiness.

Our greatest joy is to be found in God and God alone.  The old saying says, “Happiness depends on happenings, joy depends on Jesus.”  I find great truth in that.  We can’t always be happy with what happens to us but we an always find joy in Jesus!

At Christmas time we are reminded that one of Jesus’ names is Immanuel, which means “God with us.”  No wonder the angel declared to the shepherd, “I have good news of great joy…”  I want to find my greatest joy in God who came to Earth in Jesus.  It’s the way to put the “merry” into Christmas!

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Tiger Woods Endorses the Book of Ecclesiates
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 15, 2009, 07:10:40 AM
Tiger Woods Endorses the Book of Ecclesiates (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1657)
15 December 2009, 6:08 am

This past couple of weeks we have watched the larger-than-life world of Tiger Woods implode.  It’s been a shock to everyone.  Tiger Woods seems to have had it all; a beautiful wife, two adorable children, wealth of over a billion dollars, a large home, a private jet, and a yacht.  He’s the greatest golfer of all time, one of the greatest athletes of all time.  He is world famous and much admired.

Then it became public knowledge that he’s been unfaithful to his wife.  He  states on his web site, “I am deeply aware of the disappointment and hurt that my infidelity has caused to so many people, most of all my wife and children.”

It’s a mystery to many why he felt he needed something more than what he already had.  If Tiger Woods couldn’t be satisfied with what he had then is there any hope for the rest of us?

In his great fall Tiger unknowingly endorses a conclusion reached by the ancient writer of Ecclesiastes, perhaps King Solomon,centuries ago.  “I denied myself nothing my eyes desired. I refused my hart no pleasure.  My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for my labor.  Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 2:10-11)   For his unwitting endorsement of this observation by the writer of Ecclesiastes Tiger has experienced a cataclysmic reversal of bein paid handsomely for his endorsements.  This is one endorsement which has cost him dearly!

In Tiger’s fall from the pinnacle of success to the pit of failure we are reminded that to have it all is not enough!  We are never satisfied with what the world can offer.  What Tiger needs, and what we all need, is to find our deepest satisfaction outside and beyond what this world can offer.  The writer of Ecclesiastes summarizes his experiment at trying to find satisfaction in the horizontal plane of the world’s pleasures.  “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” (12:13-14)

No one is certain who made the statement, “When a man goes knocking at a brothel door he is looking for God” but I believe it’s true.  We possess a God-shaped vacuum and nothing can fill that space but God.  There’s no ultimate satisfaction on earth’s horizon.  The horizontal search ends in frustration.  We need to go vertical!  My prayer is that Tiger Woods will come to this conclusion, the same one to which the writer of Ecclesiastes arrived, and the place in life to which we should all come.

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Tiger Woods Endorses the Book of Ecclesiastes
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 15, 2009, 10:03:03 AM
Tiger Woods Endorses the Book of Ecclesiastes (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1657)
15 December 2009, 6:08 am

This past couple of weeks we have watched the larger-than-life world of Tiger Woods implode.  It’s been a shock to everyone.  Tiger Woods seems to have had it all; a beautiful wife, two adorable children, wealth of over a billion dollars, a large home, a private jet, and a yacht.  He’s the greatest golfer of all time, one of the greatest athletes of all time.  He is world famous and much admired.

Then it became public knowledge that he’s been unfaithful to his wife.  He  states on his web site, “I am deeply aware of the disappointment and hurt that my infidelity has caused to so many people, most of all my wife and children.”

It’s a mystery to many why he felt he needed something more than what he already had.  If Tiger Woods couldn’t be satisfied with what he had then is there any hope for the rest of us?

In his great fall Tiger unknowingly endorses a conclusion reached by the ancient writer of Ecclesiastes, perhaps King Solomon,centuries ago.  “I denied myself nothing my eyes desired. I refused my heart no pleasure.  My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for my labor.  Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 2:10-11)   For his unwitting endorsement of this observation by the writer of Ecclesiastes Tiger has experienced a cataclysmic reversal of being paid handsomely for his endorsements.  This is one endorsement which has cost him dearly!

In Tiger’s fall from the pinnacle of success to the pit of failure we are reminded that to have it all is not enough!  We are never satisfied with what the world can offer.  What Tiger needs, and what we all need, is to find our deepest satisfaction outside and beyond what this world can offer.  The writer of Ecclesiastes summarizes his experiment at trying to find satisfaction in the horizontal plane of the world’s pleasures.  “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” (12:13-14)

No one is certain who made the statement, “When a man goes knocking at a brothel door he is looking for God,” but I believe it’s true.  We each possess a God-shaped vacuum and nothing can fill that space but God.  There’s no ultimate satisfaction on earth’s horizon.  The horizontal search ends in frustration.  We need to go vertical!  My prayer is that Tiger Woods will come to this conclusion, the same one to which the writer of Ecclesiastes arrived, and the place in life to which we should all come.

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: No Almighty Amnesia, No Forgetful Heavenly Father
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 17, 2009, 06:37:12 AM
No Almighty Amnesia, No Forgetful Heavenly Father (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1676)
17 December 2009, 6:15 am



We humans are so forgetful that we often need reminding.  Post-It notes, an annotation in the PDA, the note on the refrigerator, even writing a note on the palm of our hand — we have our ways of trying to remember.  Ok, there are a few people who have no trouble remembering a task they’re to do.  One such group is nursing moms.  A mom’s really close to her baby, and especially close when nursing.  Even if by some stretch of the imagination if she were to forget her baby for a while (again, an impossible thought) her body would tell her it’s time to nurse again.

We sometimes can forget about God, at lest for a while.  It happens when we’re distracted by the delights of life or debilitated by the difficulties of life.  I have a friend who has a scriptural tattoo on his hand to remind him about God.

The good news is that we may be forgetful but God isn’t.  God made an amazing statement through the prophet Isaiah to the afflicted people of Israel, who undoubtedly felt forgotten by God.  “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!  See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…” (Isaiah 49:15-16)

(Picture is of our granddaughter Sienna being held by her mother, who nurses her)

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Christmas: for Mature Audiences
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 18, 2009, 06:09:15 AM
Christmas: for Mature Audiences (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1672)
18 December 2009, 5:53 am



“Christmas all around,” exclaimed our two-year old grandson Casey as he surveyed the church’s Christmas decorations at the front of the sanctuary.  It’s his second Christmas, but the first one where he is enjoying the trappings of the season.  I’m choosing my words carefully here — “the trappings of Christmas” — for Casey’s enjoying the glitter and many gifts of Christmas but he’s not mature enough to enjoy the glory and One Gift of Christmas.

So often we envy how children experience the season.  I certainly delight in Casey’s delight with Christmas.  I have my own collection of fond childhood memories of Christmases with toys, family gatherings, and church programs.  But there’s so much of Christmas a small child cannot comprehend.

It seems to me that we shouldn’t desire to regress to Christmases past, to see it as we did as a child.  There’s so much more to experience than what a Christmas ornament can reflect or a wrapped gift can contain.  The theme of Christmas is profoundly deep, mysterious, and in large measure confounding.  Think of it — God come to earth, God in a womb, then God in a manger, God with a diaper on, God as one of us, God in the flesh!

Really, the Christmas story is for mature audiences, or those willing to mature spiritually!  We can do no better than to model Mary’s response to the intrusion of the shepherds into her Bethlehem birthing suite, aka, a stable.  It’s said of her, “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)

In the midst of the Christmas shopping, parties, programs, and family get-togethers we’d do well to “treasure up” and “ponder” the events of that first Christmas.  This is not kid stuff!  There’s no better place to come to in our understanding of Christmas then to realize we’ll never finish unwrapping all that it means.

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Give the Gift of YOU Today!
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 19, 2009, 08:17:17 AM
Give the Gift of YOU Today! (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1685)
19 December 2009, 6:32 am

I’m writing this a little after 6 am on the last Saturday before Christmas.  Yes, this is the last Saturday you have to get those Christmas preparations done!  I thought I’d remind you that as you busy yourself with last minute gift buying that you will have the chance to give a gift to others several times throughout this day.  It’s the gift of yourself!

This is fresh in my mind because I just finished reviewing what I’m going to speak on at tonight’s worship service and tomorrow’s two services.  Let me pull together two statements the apostle John makes in an E-mail he wrote (oops! that’s right, they didn’t have E-mail back then.  Guess it was a snail mail letter)  “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.” (1 John 4:9)  In other words, the best Christmas gift we can receive is the gift of God Himself and His love for us.

Then John also writes, ” Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (4:11)  We’re supposed to give the gift to others that we’ve been given by God!  It’s the gift of love!  To put it simply: God expresses His best intentions (that’s what love does) to us.  Our response is to have the best of intentions (that’s what love does) for others.

So as you go here and there, and back again, busying yourself with people to see and things to do make it a day of gift giving, the giving of a smile, a listening ear, a helpful hand, an encouraging word!  Give the gift of YOU!

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: 4th Week in Advent — the Candle of LOVE
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 20, 2009, 08:44:52 PM
4th Week in Advent — the Candle of LOVE (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1689)
20 December 2009, 8:42 pm



This is the fourth week in Advent. In our services this weekend we identified this fourth candle as representing love. I’m always looking for a way to define this important but life-worn word, love. So this weekend I focused on how God always has good intentions for us. A key event in the history of humanity when God showed His good intentions was at the birth of Christ. “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.” (1 John 4:9)

Yes, even in the far from ideal situations we need to affirm that God has good intentions, and build our lives on that fact, that He has a deep love and care for us. In our text for this message John affirms, “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.” (1 John 4:16)  That’s an intriguing phrase, to know and rely on the love God has for us.  Are you and I relying on that love?  Are we able to affirm even in far from ideal situations that God is good and that He is good all the time and that we can rely on that?



Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: 3rd Week in Advent — The Candle of JOY
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 22, 2009, 06:27:11 AM
3rd Week in Advent — The Candle of JOY (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1654)
13 December 2009, 4:19 pm

This is the third week in Advent, the four weeks of spiritual preparation for Christmas.  The third candle in the Advent wreath traditionally has symbolized joy.

This past weekend in all three of our services I emphasized how our greatest joy needs to be found in God.  There are many things we can enjoy (”in joy” – finding  joy in…).  We can enjoy good food, our work, a hobby, and certainly the people God’s put in our lives.  The problem arises when we try to make anything other than God our greatest joy.  These become “joy substitutes” as I called them in my message.  They can never completely deliver the goods.  In fact, the happenings of life rarely ever provide sustained happiness.

Our greatest joy is to be found in God and God alone.  The old saying goes, “Happiness depends on happenings, joy depends on Jesus.”  I find great truth in that.  We can’t always be happy with what happens to us, but we can always find joy in Jesus!

At Christmas time we are reminded that one of Jesus’ names is Immanuel, which means “God with us.”  No wonder the angel declared to the shepherd, “I have good news of great joy…”  I want to find my greatest joy in God who came to Earth in Jesus.  It’s the way to put the “merry” into Christmas!

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Powerful Stillness
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 22, 2009, 06:27:11 AM
Powerful Stillness (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1710)
22 December 2009, 6:08 am

“Hold still!” we tell the child as we extract the sliver, or even as we trim their nails!  Sometimes kids have to learn that it’s to their best advantage if they’re still, even in the face of pain.  We “kids” of the Heavenly Father would do well to re-learn the lesson ourselves!

It’s an intriguing statement from coming from the mouth of Moses — ” The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:14)  He was talking to the Israelites right after he had led them out of slavery in Egypt, and the Egyptians were hot on their tails.  They were complaining, that’s what prompted God’s words about being still.  Actually, God didn’t mean they should do nothing, for in the very next verse God says to Moses, “Tell the Israelites to move on.”  In other words, God meant for them to high tail it to the Red Sea!  The waters parted, the Israelites made it across and the Egyptians didn’t.

What did God mean, then, when He told them, “You need only to be still”?  It seems they needed to still their hearts.  Complaining and fear send the heart into spiritual arrhythmia.  It’s spiritual fibrillation caused by faithlessness.

“Be still my heart” we try to tell ourselves.  That self-talk can only work when we have an absolute confidence and trust in God working in our lives.  “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Christmas Light
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 24, 2009, 11:18:49 AM
Christmas Light (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1715)
24 December 2009, 10:40 am



We seem to have more candles around at Christmas time.  The other day I lit one in an otherwise dark room.  I was amazed at the amount of light one solitary candle can produce!

A prophecy of Christmas states, “The people living in darkness have seen a great light.” (Matthew 4:16)  Jesus Himself said, “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” (John 12:46)

Darkness is dangerous.  We bump into things in the dark.  People jump out and attack others in the dark.  Read the papers and you’ll see that people hurt people during the hours of darkness than during the hours of light.  Most of the time we like light!  No wonder Christmas is a time for lights, not just candles, but lights that decorate trees and houses.

God coming into the world in Jesus certainly brightened things up!  Because of His words of truth He proclaimed, the forgiveness He gave us at His cross, and His presence and power that is available to us since His resurrection we can experience hope, peace, joy, and love as never before!

When you and I become followers of Jesus we find that even when we go through times of gloom and darkness that we still have the light of His presence.  He is our light within! “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

Then, to top it off, Jesus says we can be a little like Him. You are the light of the world,” he says to us. (Matthew 5:15) We can bring some of His light into our little corner of the world.  How can we do this?  I bet we can come up with some ways!

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Faith in the Sparse Spaces of Life
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 31, 2009, 11:23:18 AM
Faith in the Sparse Spaces of Life (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1718)
31 December 2009, 10:56 am

Diann and I are spending this week in Iowa visiting family. I’ve slipped away from family a couple of times to drive around the Iowa countryside to take pictures (Don’t believe it when people tell you IOWA stands for Idiots Out Wandering Around, besides, I was driving around, not wandering around.) The one day it was near dusk. I was racing the sun to get several pictures before it disappeared beneath the flat Iowa horizon, leaving me too little light for photos.

The air was cold and still, the ground covered with several inches of snow that collected in drifts, a reminder of windier recent days. It was a stark and still landscape. I realized that when I’m surrounded by an over-the-top scene crowded with natural beauty I can actually be distracted from thinking much about God. It was in the stark and sparse winter Iowa countryside that I felt God in a special way. This basic winter scene offered little to distract me from God. It was good!

Sometimes we interpret a lack of excitement and activity as a negative. Perhaps the days and weeks after Christmas can fall into that category. The rush of the Christmas season became the new normal and it can be difficult to adjust to a slightly slower pace, though we complained about the rush of it all at the time.

We can also face other situations that seem as stark as an Iowa winter countryside landscape at dusk. Perhaps we aren’t seeing the results we want. Maybe plans aren’t unfolding as quickly as we’d like. Maybe our days and nights seem so boringly normal. My time on the back roads of Iowa reminded me that this may not be all bad. Sometimes we can experience more of God when there’s less glitz, glitter, and going here and there to contend with. Perhaps this is why some ancient divines moved to the desert to find God. God’s often easier to find in the sparse spaces of life!

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The Burden Bearer
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on January 06, 2010, 06:54:32 AM
The Burden Bearer (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1740)
6 January 2010, 6:52 am

Life’s burdensome so I’m glad for the reminder of what Psalm 55:22 says.  “Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.”

I can choose to believer this, or choose to not believe this!  The weight of responsibilities and challenges is to prompt me to affirm the presence of a personal God in my life who keeps the universe operating.  Certainly He can help me with my little corner of the world!

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: A New Year’s Resuloution/Discipline
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on January 07, 2010, 06:25:09 AM
A New Year’s Resuloution/Discipline (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1743)
7 January 2010, 5:57 am



The Christmas cookies and candy have taken their toll!  There was an extra five pounds of Dave Claassen when I got on the scale after the Christmas celebrating.  Ok, so I might not appear to be carrying extra pounds but the fact is that if I did this every Christmas for twenty years, and didn’t do anything about it, I’d weigh 100 pounds more than I do!  So, it’s time to discipline myself when it comes to sweets, which I love dearly.  I’m trying to get back to eating a little more healthy at meals as well.  I must not be the only one.  As I write this at Starbucks I can’t help but overhearing a couple of gals talking about their post-Christmas eating habits.

This matter of being more disciplined when it comes to eating hints at the larger issue of being a disciplined person in general.  I just came from a visit with someone in rehab who faces the daily discipline of exercising resistant muscles.  Right now you probably face the challenge of disciplining yourself to accomplish something before the end of the day.  Discipline is key making life happen in a good way.  Discipline means we determine to go against the flow and make things happen the way they should instead of going with the flow and doing what’s easiest or what provides the most immediate gratification.

We who are followers of Jesus often refer to ourselves as His disciples.  The word disciple has close connections to the word discipline.  If we’re going to be His disciple we’re going to have to exhibit discipline.  Let me encourage us with the fact that this is a good thing to do!

In my men’s breakfast Bible study a few weeks ago I quoted Eugen Peterson who states, “There is a general assumption prevalent in the world that it is extremely difficult to be a Christian…This is far from the truth as the east is from the west.  The easiest thing in the world is to be a Christian.  What is hard is to be a sinner…In the course of Christian discipleship we discover that without Christ we were doing it the hard way and that with Christ we are doing it the easy way.  It is not the Christians who have it hard, but non-Christians.” (A Long Obedience in the Same Direction)

In the end, the disciplined life is not a drudgery but a delight.  Let’s make 2010 a year where we are more committed than years past at being a disciple of Jesus!

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Cold Praise
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on January 09, 2010, 07:39:26 AM
Cold Praise (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1746)
9 January 2010, 6:54 am

It seems to me that winter provides some of the most spectacular displays of God’s creation but they we often miss it.  Why?  Because it’s so doggone cold outside, that’s why!

The accompanying picture was taken in Iowa on a late afternoon.  I was driving around the rural roads and came upon this scene of the snow fence, trees, snow, and sunset.  Human creation (the old rickety snow fence) and God’s (everything else in the picture) combine to make, I think, a captivating scene.  This journey on the Iowa roads on that late afternoon helped me feel close to God.

As I write this it’s 6:45 in the morning, still dark, though I suspect the eastern sky is beginning to glow.  It’s 10 degrees outside so I have my long johns on.  I’ll bundle up with two layers of coats and socks with my high Wellington boots to walk in.  I’m looking forward to enjoying God’s creation while I talk with Him.

Later on I’ll rush from my car to various indoor places of warmth, not noticing the beauty around me because I’ll be cold.  This is how most of us experience winter most of the time, and we miss the opportunity for praising God in the cold!

I have two suggestions.  First, make it an effort to bundle up and be able to spend at least a few leisurely moments enjoying God’s great outdoors in His winter season.  Second, be intentional about viewing it and enjoying it from the warmth of your home or car.  Look out the window!!!!  God wants our warm praise but He also wants our cold praise!

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Dressed for Success
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on January 12, 2010, 06:24:54 AM
Dressed for Success (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1753)
12 January 2010, 6:12 am

First major decision of the day — what to wear.  As I type this at 5:50 am I’m in my plaid shirt and old bluejeans, a temporary wardrobe suitable for my morning walk later.  I’ll have to put on something more presentable before I head to the church office.  I’ll be visiting some hospitals/nursing homes, assisted living/rehab facilities later today and I don’t want to embarrass the church that calls me their pastor.

This strange line of thinking was prompted by a verse in the Bible I read this morning.  “I will rejoice greatly in the Lord, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness.” (Isaiah 61:10)  Later the prophet Isaiah refers to “all our righteousnesses are filthy rags.” (64:6)  Isaiah’s point is that we’d better let God dress us with clothes out of His own closet!  Maybe we should add to this line of thinking the idea that we’re a child that God’s dressing, not a toddler who has his or her own ideas of a mismatched conglomeration of clothes that’s yesterday’s dirty wardrobe and mismatched on top of that.  Maybe we should see ourselves as a helpless babe that needs the Heavenly Father to dress us.

All of this is, of course, a metaphor, word pictures.  It’s God who has the ability to cover us with a transformation that makes us look presentable to Him, Him who is Himself clothed in the bright white light of holiness.  That’s why my life with God today is going to be a comfortable fit — I’m clothed in His love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness.  I’m dressed for success, thanks to Him!

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: A New Year’s Resolution/Discipline
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on January 13, 2010, 09:15:16 PM
A New Year’s Resolution/Discipline (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1743)
7 January 2010, 5:57 am



The Christmas cookies and candy have taken their toll!  There was an extra five pounds of Dave Claassen when I got on the scale after the Christmas celebrating.  Ok, so I might not appear to be carrying extra pounds but the fact is that if I did this every Christmas for twenty years, and didn’t do anything about it, I’d weigh 100 pounds more than I do!  So, it’s time to discipline myself when it comes to sweets, which I love dearly.  I’m trying to get back to eating a little more healthy at meals as well.  I must not be the only one.  As I write this at Starbucks I can’t help but overhear a couple of gals talking about their post-Christmas eating habits.

This matter of being more disciplined when it comes to eating hints at the larger issue of being a disciplined person in general.  I just came from a visit with someone in rehab who faces the daily discipline of exercising resistant muscles.  Right now you probably face the challenge of disciplining yourself to accomplish something before the end of the day.  Discipline is key to making life happen in a good way.  Discipline means we determine to go against the flow and make things happen the way they should instead of going with the flow and doing what’s easiest or what provides the most immediate gratification.

We who are followers of Jesus often refer to ourselves as His disciples.  The word disciple has close connections to the word discipline.  If we’re going to be His disciple we’re going to have to exhibit discipline.  Let me encourage us with the fact that this is a good thing to do!

In my men’s breakfast Bible study a few weeks ago I quoted Eugene Peterson who states, “There is a general assumption prevalent in the world that it is extremely difficult to be a Christian…This is far from the truth as the east is from the west.  The easiest thing in the world is to be a Christian.  What is hard is to be a sinner…In the course of Christian discipleship we discover that without Christ we were doing it the hard way and that with Christ we are doing it the easy way.  It is not the Christians who have it hard, but non-Christians.” (A Long Obedience in the Same Direction)

In the end, the disciplined life is not a drudgery but a delight.  Let’s make 2010 a year where we are more committed than years past at being a disciple of Jesus!

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The Little Foxes of Each Day
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on January 20, 2010, 08:38:31 AM
The Little Foxes of Each Day (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1756)
14 January 2010, 3:47 pm



I recently overheard someone in a coffee shop ranting and raving over something a stranger had said or done.  He had not been personally hurt by the encounter in any way, shape or form and yet it obviously was ruining his day.

At first I found myself being judgmental of the person’s response until I had to admit to myself that I too often let little things ruin my day.  Sometimes when bigger problems arise I brace myself, focus, and tell myself, “Ok, so I’m going to try and deal with this in a good way.”  But it’s the little events, the little annoyances, that trip me up.

Have you ever noticed how people rarely stumble over a regular-sized step that takes them into a building but countless is the number who trip over a raised crack in the sidewalk in front of the building?  I guess that’s why we don’t spray orange paint on steps but we do on raised cracks!

Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.” (Song of Solomon 2:15)  A big bull thrashing about the grapevines would draw immediate attention and action by a vineyard keeper but he might easily miss the foxes’ den that ruins the roots and the play of the young foxes that damage the branches and grapes.  We should be watching for the little foxes in our days, the sly foxes of small negative events which, when we let them run wild, ruin our days.

God has bigger plans for us than having us be tripped up by the small aggravations of life.  Let’s take the little bumps on the road of life in stride!

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Joy in His Creation
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on January 20, 2010, 08:38:31 AM
Joy in His Creation (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1767)
15 January 2010, 3:32 pm



The dew drops sparkle on the grass, the morning light reflects an orange glow on the landscape, the birds must think they’re awakening the dawn, the way they sing.  I love the morning in God’s creation.  In fact, I find joy in His creation anytime of the day or night.

You don’t have to be an outdoors woodsman-type person to experience the joy of what God’s created.  Looking out a window or glancing around as you go between house and car can give enough of a glimpse of creation to bring joy into the day.

I’ve been thinking about why God’s creation can bring joy to a person, especially to a person who takes God seriously.  Imagine you’re admiring a piece of art (a painting, piece of woodworking, a quilt, whatever).  You say to your friend standing by you, “That’s wonderfully made.”  First of all, you appreciate it because you know someone had to make it.  It didn’t just fall together by some amazing accident.  Then your friend says, “I made it.”  You appreciate it even more because you know the person who made it, you have a close relationship with that person.  Then your friend says, “It’s yours.  I made it for you.  Enjoy!”  Now your joy reaches an even higher level.  You enjoy it at a new level because your friend made it for you!

I feel sad for a scientist who doesn’t believe in an intelligent designer of what he studies.  Though he can wax eloquent about the deep sea creature or the exploding super nova he has no one to thank for it!

We humans are the grandest part of God’s creation, having been created in His own image.  All of creation is for our pleasure and intended to point us to Him.  God, in essence, says to us concerning His creation, “Enjoy!”

The psalmist declared, “I sing for joy at the works of your hands.” (Psalm 92:4)

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The Right Tool
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on January 20, 2010, 08:38:31 AM
The Right Tool (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1770)
19 January 2010, 6:17 am

Yesterday I did a couple of minor home improvement projects.  I put a piece of trim back on our computer desk and replaced one of those little roller wheels that run in a track to make the garage door work.  In both cases I needed the right tool.  Amazingly, I had it.

I often tell Diann I can’t do a project, or do it well, because I don’t have the right tool.  Sometimes she believes me, sometimes not.  It’s really true, though.  The right tool makes all the difference.

Sometimes people don’t have just  the right tool to do a job so they make their own tool.  The pioneers of this country were good at this.  I’m impressed — making your own tool to do a job you need to do!

I came across a familiar verse from the pen of the apostle Paul this morning.  He wrote, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)

It reminds me once again that this is an incomplete world.  God wants to use us as His tool to get some of His work done.  He’s made each of us to be a unique tool of His to do the specialized job He’s had in mind for us to do before day one.  I want to remember this today, that I’m to be a tool in God’s hand.

I can picture in a cartoon (the kind I used to watch as a kid) a hammer running away from the carpenter, saying, “I don’t want to hammer nails today,” or a spatula hiding in the kitchen utensil drawer whispering, “I hope I won’t be found, I don’t feel like getting covered with yukky stuff today.”  Bottom line — I don’t want to do that to God.

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Picket Fence Perspective
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on January 22, 2010, 07:04:41 AM
Picket Fence Perspective (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1777)
22 January 2010, 5:51 am



It must have made the angels laugh, and it was at my expense.  It was years ago when I was an Iowa farm boy doing my chores.   Carrying out my daily task to water the livestock on the other side of the approximately five foot tall wooden picket fence, I decided to heft the five gallon pail of water up by the handle and attempt to put it over the fence.  The base of the pail caught on the top of the fence.  Realizing I wasn’t going to get it over, I pulled the pail back toward me.  The bottom lip of the pail caught on the fence, tipped toward me, pouring its contents down the front of me.

No one had seen the incident, but my imagination allowed me to view it from other than my own perspective.  I found it funny, and laughed.  I suspect any angelic being assigned to me, or any in the vicinity of the farmyard, must have had a good laugh as well.  We can take ourselves too seriously, and in the process miss the nearest opportunity for comedic relief!

By taking ourselves too seriously we also set ourselves up for taking on more of the burdens of the world than God assigns us.  We are responsible for some things but not all things.  It doesn’t all depend on us.

By taking ourselves too seriously we also open ourselves up to unnecessary hurt from others or anger toward them.  We may be the victim of their nastiness but we shouldn’t be taking it completely personal.  There are undoubtedly other factors at play in their lives.  Our worlds may have collided with negative results, but their world includes more than us and it’s very likely the rest of their world has not gone well either.

Karl Barth was a great, world-renowned theologian of Switzerland.  One day, in his home city of Basil, he met a stranger.  He said to the man, “You are a visitor, yes?  And what do you want to see in our city?”

The man replied, “Karl Barth.  Do you know him?”

“Oh, yes,” said Barth, “I shave him every morning.”

Eugene Peterson, who tells this story, states, “The man went away satisfied, telling his friends that he had met Barth’s barber.”  Peterson writes of Barth that “he never took himself seriously and always took God seriously and therefore was full of cheerfulness, exuberant with blessing.” (A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, p. 190)

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3)  Good advice!  We can take too seriously the person we see in the mirror.  Life goes better when we don’t!

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Cold Reception
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on January 23, 2010, 08:09:22 AM
Cold Reception (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1784)
23 January 2010, 6:34 am

I staged the accompanying picture to communicate a point.  It wasn’t all fun doing so, either.  It was really cold on this particular winter day in Iowa.  I hurried outside, wiped the snow off the bench, sat down, and posed.  I told my photographer, my wife Diann, to hurry up and take the picture!  I think we got this acceptable shot on the third try!

I’m trying to explain to the guy on the bench the truth that can be found in the Bible.  I’m not trying to give him a snow job, mind you!  I just want him to understand what’s the message of this book.  He’s smiling but, in reality, is giving me a cold reception.  I wish the message I’m communicating would melt his heart!  Ok, enough with the puns.  I just couldn’t help myself!

I happen to think there’s nothing more important in all of existence than God.  Logic compels me to believe that, because He’s all encompassing, pervasive throughout all of existence, that my whole life should be arranged around Him, and that this is the best way for anyone and everyone to live.

Of course, I can’t force this perspective, what I firmly believe to be ultimate truth, on anyone (and I wouldn’t want to force it on them even if I could).  Still, this does not prevent me but actually compels me to what to lovingly try and convince others that life should be lived for God.  If I really care about them, and really believe God to be God, then I’m going to want this best of all worlds for them, an intimate, obedient relationship to Him.

This is the main reason I write a blog.  You really don’t need to know how I slept last night or what I ate for breakfast.  I do believe, however, it’s important for me to communicate that there’s nothing more important than being in relationship with THE ONE.  Thanks for listening, for not giving me a cold reception

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Grounded in the Ordinary
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on January 26, 2010, 06:50:29 AM
Grounded in the Ordinary (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1790)
26 January 2010, 6:36 am

I saw part of an interview last evening that Diane Sawyer did with President Obama.  He talked of spending about an hour shooting hoops with his daughter Sasha, showing her how to improve her basketball game.  He said it was “therapeutic” and that it helped keep him grounded.

Gandhi, the spiritual leader and social crusader of India, was often working at a spinning wheel.  Among other reasons I’ve heard that he said it helped keep him grounded.

I’m always amazed at how many famous and wealthy movie stars will buy a vineyard, buy a restaurant, or invent their own salad dressing.  Apparently the rarefied atmosphere of fame and fortune isn’t enough, or maybe too much, that those who’ve made it to the “top” find the need to come down from the mountain and enjoy the valley of the ordinary along with the rest of us.

Monday, after an active weekend of speaking at our three services, I used my day off to haul wood I had previously cut from the woods to the woodpile, cleaned off my workbench in the garage and repaired my chainsaw.  Though I have to admit I had not looked forward to those tasks, I found them to be therapeutic.

As we face the ordinariness of life perhaps we should take a second look. Ordinary can be good, very good! I remind myself that Jesus Himself spent only 10% of His life on earth in active ministry as an itinerant preacher (about 3 years out of about 30). The rest he spent growing up and working as a carpenter. We can, if we choose, determine to find the ordinariness of our day to be outstanding, to see the holy in the ho hum.

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Waiting for Spring
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on January 28, 2010, 06:12:50 AM
Waiting for Spring (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1803)
28 January 2010, 6:07 am

The accompanying photo is one I took while on Christmas vacation in my home state of Iowa.  I was driving the back roads of Iowa when I came upon this birdhouse on a field fence.  I waded through the snow in the ditch and photographed it because it reminded me how we wait for spring.  I’ve added it to my collection on www.iStockphoto.com (http://www.istockphoto.com/user_view.php?id=574973) (click on this link to go to where I sell my pictures).

The parents who used this birdhouse last year and will likely come back this year are probably “snowbirds” and have migrated to a warmer climate.  Or perhaps they’re in the area, but just trying to get through winter until it’s time to start a new nest for a new family.

The snow covered birdhouse is empty and waiting to be used again.  I’m waiting for spring too!  Waiting seems to be part of life, and not just waiting for nicer weather.  I guess the subject’s fresh on my mind because I’m working on my weekend message for the worship services, and it’s all about accepting God’s pacing for our lives.  As one great Christian pastor and hymn writer put it, “The problem is that I’m in a hurry and God’s not.”

I really want to live at God’s pacing for my life, even though I often find it frustrating.  After all, it wouldn’t be smart to try to ignore His pacing!

But I also don’t want to waste the time God has me waiting. That bird couple who will inhabit the birdhouse this spring are somewhere doing something while they wait, probably singing! I too want to wait well!

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The Gift of a Question
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on January 29, 2010, 05:41:17 AM
The Gift of a Question (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1798)
29 January 2010, 5:33 am



One of the ways to get the most out of today is to go about handing out the gift of a good question to the people we meet.  Questions can make wonderful gifts for at least a couple of reasons.

First, our questions show the person we’re interested in them or concerned about them.  “How did the doctor’s appointment go?  “Is today going better for you than yesterday?”  “How did your weekend go?”  “You look a little down today.  Anything bothering you?”  Everyone wants to feel important, that they are of value, and questions do that.

Second, our questions can help them better understand what their grappling with or even help them have a better understanding of themselves.  “So, what do you think you might do next?”  “If you had to prioritize the options you just listed, which would be number one?”  It’s called the Socratic Method, the process of asking probing questions  by which we help a person uncover some truth or insight that has been there all the time but that they haven’t been able to see until we started asking questions.

Jesus often asked questions.  For instance, He asked His disciples, “Who do you say I am?” (Matthew 16:15)

Not all questions are created equal.  Just as people can give a dumb gift, an inappropriate gift, or too personal a gift; we can ask dumb, inappropriate or too personal a question.  Questions, like other gifts, must be chosen carefully.

The human tendency is to want to talk more than listen.  The Lord gave us one mouth and two ears — perhaps He’s suggesting we do twice as much listening as talking!  Asking questions is one of the best ways to better keep that balance.

There’s numerous benefits for us when we give the gift of a question.  We tend to learn more when we listen than when we talk.  People will also want to be around us because being asked questions is an invitation to talk, and most everyone likes to talk.

Questions make great gifts, and they cost us so little to give, just a little time and attention to whom we give the gift.  The opportunities to give the gift of a question abound.  Let’s watch for a potential recipient!

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: “Just Trust Me”
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on January 30, 2010, 06:38:55 AM
“Just Trust Me” (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1809)
30 January 2010, 6:34 am

Just yesterday I visited elderly person adjusting to life in a nursing home ask me, “Why?”  She wants to know why she ended up there.  Of course, I didn’t have an answer, at least not one she would want to here (that she’s getting old and can’t live on her own, for instance).

It’s human nature to want to know why things happen the way they do.  If a person doesn’t believe in God then the question’s not asked because there’s no ultimate meaning as to why things happen, they just happen.  But if you believe in God — a God who is all powerful, all wise, and all loving — then there’s times we’d like to know why He allows things to happen the way they do.

I like what the proverb writer said.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Sometimes we have to tell a small child “Just trust me” when it’s too hard to explain why you’ve got to wake them up at 5 am to go to Grandma’s house or why the mean man in the white coat is poking with a sharp, painful needle.  God has the big picture in mind that we are incapable of grasping.  This is where trust comes in.  The way through life tends to go better (“straight paths” is how the proverbial writer puts it) when we don’t spend so much time and effort questioning God but trusting Him.

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Walking in the Clouds
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on February 06, 2010, 11:42:48 PM
Walking in the Clouds (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1813)
6 February 2010, 9:54 pm

Diann and I are enjoying time with our daughter Julie and her family, who live in Mexico.   Their home is Refuge Ranch, located on a mountain at about 7,000 feet altitude.  It’s supposed to be the dry season, but we’ve had several days of nearly non-stop rain.  What is really strange is that it has been with very thick fog and wind.  That’s right, fog with wind!  My experience has always been that with fog the air is generally still, but not here!  We are sometimes at cloud level and so we were these past several days, with the clouds blowing past us, right where we were!

When it wasn’t acutally raining I took a walk on the horse trails behind Refuge Ranch, in the thick, blowing fog.  I was walking in the clouds!

Not only was there the rain, fog, and wind but 40 hours of this time was spent without electricity!  It was cold, dark, and wet.  It was an effort to keep our spirits up!

But then, starting yesterday, the sun came up just to the right of Popo the volcano and it was clear and warm the last two days.  We got through our time in the clouds! 

Most of life is a mixed bag.  I sense many envy the fact that we can spend time with family that lives on a mountain side in Mexico.  Yes, it’s great, some of the time.  You have to get used to the altitude, the air’s a lot thinner.  Then there’s the effort of flying to a foreign country, going through customs and immigration.  It’s not exactly like going on a cruise or a pre-packaged trip.  No, it’s not for the faint of heart!

But that’s how life is in general, isn’t it?  It’s a mixed bag.  Things don’t always go the way we want.  You have to take the bad with the good.  But in the long run, especially when you have a faith in God, you’re glad you didn’t let yourself become faint of heart!  The fog eventually gives way to sun!

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Breaking the Habit of Hurry
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on February 11, 2010, 03:28:28 PM
Breaking the Habit of Hurry (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1794)
11 February 2010, 3:18 pm



Warning!  This blog post is going to expose a bad habit that most of us struggle with but which we often fail to recognize as being detrimental.  In fact, we frequently tout this habit as being beneficial, or at least necessary for survival.  It’s the habit of hurry.

I suspect we yield to the habit of always hurrying for a variety of reasons, most of which are not good reasons.  We hurry because we start late.  We hurry because of poor planning.  We hurry because we try to do too much.  We hurry because it makes us feel important.

I’ve studied the life of Jesus for many years and I can’t recall a single account of Jesus being in a hurry, or telling His disciples to hurry up.  If anyone was operating under a time constraint it would seem to me it would have been Jesus, with only about three years to accomplish all He was sent by the Father to do.

When you think about it, there’s all kinds of negative ramifications when we hurry.  We exhaust ourselves, we make more mistakes (“haste makes waste”), we rarely smell roses (or enjoy other blessings because they’re but a blur as we rush along), and we overlook what we should be seeing and responding to in others.  We see interruptions as sabotaging our day when they may be God’s additional appointments for the day.  In short, our busyness keeps us from doing God’s business!

So, how about joining me in taking a few simple steps to overcoming the habit of hurry?  (1) Resist piling up too much to do in one day – leave some unplanned space between planned events. (2 ) Accept the fact that not everything may get done as planned by the end of the day.  (3)  Pretend not to be in a hurry, walk slower, resist the temptation to talk about being so busy. (4) Repeat the phrase of a prayer of King David’s, “My times are in Your hands.” (Psalm 31:15)

The habit of hurry can be broken!  We just have to decide it’s a habit that needs breaking!

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Living Beyond Limitations
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on February 12, 2010, 07:06:28 AM
Living Beyond Limitations (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1837)
12 February 2010, 6:45 am

What’s limiting you today?  In my position as a pastor I come alongside many people who are living with one limitation or another.  Limitations such as health issues, bad relationships, lack of money, lack of job or a bad job is just a sampling.

I know that I experience personal limitations, and I also experience them for the church I serve.  This morning I came across and amazing statement that’s helped me a great deal.  It was made by a fellow preacher like myself, though he’s in an entirely different category.  I’m talking about the apostle Paul.  Here’s the statement he made in a letter he wrote to the Christians in Colosse — “And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.”

Paul wants the door opened for him to continue spreading the Word.  What caught my eye in his statement is that he gives his present set of circumstances… “for which I am in chains.”  He’s in prison, under arrest, incarcerated!  Talk about living with limitations!  Yet, he has the audacity to ask for an “open door” to do his job as a preacher.  He wasn’t about to let his limitations limit him!

I pray this for myself.  I pray it for you too.  We have too big a God to let our limitations limit us!

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: 3D Living
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on February 14, 2010, 03:34:27 PM
3D Living (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1825)
14 February 2010, 2:55 pm



Diann and I recently returned from visiting our daughter Julie and family in Mexico. They live on a mountainside at what they call Refuge Ranch.  It’s offers quite the view.  Popocatepetl (Popo for short), the volcano, looms high in the east, being only about 25 miles away.  Most mornings while at Refuge Ranch I take a walk up the path/horse trail behind their home.  One day I kept walking.  At the point I decided to turn around and go back I paused to look at Popo.  I was surprised to see that I had a slightly different view of the volcano from that which I had when back at the ranch.  I was amazed that as big as it was I had hiked far enough to give me a slightly different perspective of the imposing form.

A slightly different perspective is good.  For instance, it’s what makes 3D vision possible, the reason God gave us two eyes, along with most of His animal creation.  The two eyes each have a slightly different perspective of what they view and that’s what gives depth to what we see.  Stereo viewers were developed back in the 19th century so people could view an image with depth to it.  More recently there’s the View-master, with its circular discs, that many of us had as kids, and which is still available.  The blockbuster movie Avatar was filmed in 3D and, WOW!, what vivid “you are there” images!

Yes, we enjoy a slightly different perspective that gives depth to what we see.  We will also find our relationships to be more enjoyable if we determine to look at others from a slightly different perspective.  It’s easy to fall into the habit of always seeing a person in a certain way.  We interpret everything they do and say from this single perspective.  If we take the time and effort to try and look at the person in a fresh way, from a slightly different perspective, we just might discover a side of the person, a depth to the person, that we didn’t see before.  This usually requires getting outside our self, determining we won’t settle for our usual knee-jerk reaction to the individual.  It’s good to remember that how we naturally react to a person does not represent the sum total of who that person is.

We can easily make other people into little more than two-dimensional paper dolls or comic strip characters, caricatures of what we expect them to be.  We can change that.  Let’s go 3D!

Try to see the person at work as more than a co-worker but the mate, the parent, the adult child, that he or she is.  View that friend of yours as being more than just your friend, but also the friend of someone else (and that’s OK!).  View a mate or a friend as more than someone who’s there to meet your needs.  Why might the person be moody, down, short-tempered?  It may not be because of you or me at all, or at least not completely.  There’s other parts to that person’s world other than how they relate to you or me.  It’s not all about us!

Seeking to look at a person in a slightly different way, being purposeful about seeing the person from a different perspective, can add depth to a relationship we didn’t have before.  The apostle Paul wrote, “Each of you should look not only to your own interests,but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4)  Good advice on how to live in 3D!

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: An Early Call to Work
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on February 16, 2010, 06:24:50 AM
An Early Call to Work (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1842)
16 February 2010, 6:13 am

I set the alarm for 5 am this morning.  The sound of the radio, set soft so as not to wake Diann, slowly faded me into wakefulness by 5:07.  I dragged myself out of bed.  I know, a lot of you have to get up early for work.  The thing is, I don’t have to!  I could get up at six and still be in the church office by 8.

So, for me, the operative phrase is “I don’t have to!”  Then why do I get up so early?  Because I feel God’s called me to be a writer and I don’t want to do that on the church’s time.  Over the years I’ve found I can get an amazing amount written if I get up an hour earlier than I have to.  At the current time I’m re-writing my novel MOON’S MERCY, a science fiction piece of about 350 pages.  In fact, I need to wrap up this little piece and get it posted so I can get to the novel!

I share this because I know I need the reminder, and maybe you do too, that following God’s call, His will, for our lives, is not always easy.  It takes initiative, work, and persistence.  At our church I just concluded a message series on Jesus’ amazing imagery of joining Him in His yoke.  I had a yoke, an old and worn yoke that had seen a lot of work, placed at the front of the church for all to see.  A similar yoke I photographed in Indiana accompanies these thoughts.  It can remind us that Jesus invites us to join Him in His work for us.

What God wants us to do — keep building a certain relationship, reaching out to those who aren’t reaching out to us, being a “little Jesus” where we work, searching for a job, maintaining a thought life we wouldn’t mind having put up on a big screen for all to see, maintaining a positive and faith-filled attitude in spite of what’s happening, being continually conscious of God, and so much more — is not easy.  It’s work, but good work!  It makes life what God’s planned for it to be for us.  So, I’m going to get to work on that novel now.  What does God have in store for you to work at today as you seek to follow Him through your day?”

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: In the Middle of Melancholoy February
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on February 18, 2010, 06:34:51 PM
In the Middle of Melancholoy February (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1846)
18 February 2010, 5:10 pm



It’s the middle of February and the middle of winter.  The pristine white fallen snow has been shoveled and shoved into dirty piles.  The gray sky and snow merge seamlessly where there should be a horizon.  We just had Valentines Day but that probably depressed as many people as it made happy.  There’s no imminent big holiday to look forward to.  In fact, we started Lent this Wednesday, so even Fat Tuesday is history.  We are smack dab in the middle of the winter doldrums!

I recently read a book by Kathleen Norris called Acedia & Me.  Acedia is a Greek word that means the absence or lack of care,  and leaves us with feelings of listlessness, apathy, and melancholia.  Norris reminds us that acedia has also been called the noonday demon.  Yes, the middle of the day can drag, so can the middle of the week. So, here we are, in the middle of the month of February, and in the middle of winter.

There are other ways in which we are in the middle of winter other than what the calendar shows us, other ways we find ourselves in the middle of not much going on that excites us.    What meaning can we find when we find ourselves in the middle of nothing spectacular?

I’ve been thinking about this as I’ve gone here and there and back again the past twenty-four or so hours, that’s when I first got to thinking about living in the middle of the melancholy.  It occurred to me that God does His best work with us when we feel not much is happening.

Most people don’t have their greatest experiences with God while visiting Disney World, when at an exciting ball game, or during most other thrilling experiences.  God seems to show up most obviously when there’s not a lot else going on to distract us.  No wonder most rooms in a spiritual retreat center are absent an entertainment system and are sparsely decorated.

God seems to prefer a still small voice for communicating rather than a thunderous shout.  He is most easily met when we’re resting rather than when we’re rushing.  Now, while in the middle of nothing special, is a perfect time and place to be open to God doing something special with us.  I need this reminder, that God’s good can be happening when I think nothing of much good is happening!

(Photo is of a windblown icicle from a drain under a bride in Iowa)



Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Working Out God’s Will
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on February 21, 2010, 07:25:17 AM
Working Out God’s Will (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1834)
21 February 2010, 6:46 am

In the entryway to our church hangs a yoke.  Just a reminder – a yoke is a wooden device that sits across the shoulders of two beasts of burden, usually oxen, to which is attached an implement of work such as a plow or wagon.  This particular yoke is old and well worn.  It has seen a lot of work!

Jesus used the imagery of the yoke to help us understand His invitation to partner with Him in the living of our lives.  It’s interesting that the object Jesus chose is an object identified with work.  A close relationship with God is to be seen as a working relationship as well as a love relationship.  We’re misguided if we think turning to God will make life easier.  It will make life better, but not necessarily easier.  Work is involved!

And just what kind of work is involved with accepting Christ’s invitation to join Him in His yoke?  My experience has been, and my understanding of scripture indicates, that partnering with Christ in His work means we accept two major tasks.

First, there’s the task of becoming who we were meant to be.  We humans were originally created in God’s image.  We’ve all fallen short of that ideal so our life-long task is to move back toward it.  Fortunately, He’s in the yoke with us so He helps us with the work of becoming more like Him.

Second, there’s the task of doing what we’re supposed to do.  And what work is that?  Probably the work that is right at hand, the set of circumstances we find ourselves dealing with at the moment.  He has His plan for how we are to deal with it all.  Again, it’s good to remember He’s in the yoke with us and will help us.

Work is often seen as something negative, even something to be avoided.  Meaningless work certainly would fit this category.  Meaningful work, on the other hand, can and should be fulfilling.  Thankfully, God is purposeful and only calls us to meaningful work.  His invitation to join Him in carrying out His work is an invitation to a life of meaning and significance.

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Photo-inspired Reflection — Cup Warning
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on February 21, 2010, 04:28:50 PM
Photo-inspired Reflection — Cup Warning (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1858)
21 February 2010, 4:25 pm

Sometimes my photos carry an intended message.  The accompanying photo displays the familiar but what should be entirely unnecessary warning that the beverage is hot.  When I buy a cup of coffee I expect it to be hot, I want it to be hot.  They shouldn’t have to warn me that it’s hot!  I suspect such silly warning labels are most often as response to the equally silly lawsuits that have been brought against companies.

I shake my head in bewilderment as to why such warnings are necessary but then I have to remind myself that I’ve disregarded dangers that I should have been smart enough to see.  When it comes to the spiritual life it’s safe to say that most, if not all, of sin in God’s eyes is stupid behavior.  To sin is to act stupidly.  No wonder the Bible reminds us to act wisely!  I may be smart enough to now that the cup of coffee the Starbucks employee hands me is hot but I’ll confess I don’t always see the danger in the temptations that come my way.  Lord, may I be open to your wisdom so that I don’t get burned by my choices and sin against Y0u!

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: A Faith Version of GPS
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on February 23, 2010, 07:32:59 AM
A Faith Version of GPS (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1865)
23 February 2010, 6:30 am

I don’t have a GPS but the other day I could have used one. I was in Monroe to visit one of our folks and couldn’t find the extended care facility where she is currently living.  Eventually I found that place, but not without some time and effort that I would rather have spent in a different way.

I was trying to think of a good acronym for a spiritual application of GPS — like God’s Plan Seen ???  Can you do better than that?  At any rate, I should want God’s leading even more than I want to follow a GPS.

“For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.” Psalm 48:14

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: In the Middle of Melancholy February
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on February 24, 2010, 02:17:04 PM
In the Middle of Melancholy February (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1846)
18 February 2010, 5:10 pm



It’s the middle of February and the middle of winter.  The pristine white fallen snow has been shoveled and shoved into dirty piles.  The gray sky and snow merge seamlessly where there should be a horizon.  We just had Valentine’s Day, but that probably depressed as many people as it made happy.  There’s no imminent big holiday to look forward to.  In fact, we started Lent this Wednesday, so even Fat Tuesday is history.  We are smack dab in the middle of the winter doldrums!

I recently read a book by Kathleen Norris called Acedia & Me.  Acedia is a Greek word that means the absence or lack of care,  and leaves us with feelings of listlessness, apathy, and melancholia.  Norris reminds us that acedia has also been called the noonday demon.  Yes, the middle of the day can drag, so can the middle of the week. So, here we are, in the middle of the month of February, and in the middle of winter.

There are other ways in which we are in the middle of winter other than what the calendar shows us, other ways we find ourselves in the middle of not much going on that excites us.    What meaning can we find when we find ourselves in the middle of nothing spectacular?

I’ve been thinking about this as I’ve gone here and there and back again the past twenty-four or so hours.  That’s when I first got to thinking about living in the middle of the melancholy.  It occurred to me that God does His best work with us when we feel not much is happening.

Most people don’t have their greatest experiences with God while visiting Disney World, when at an exciting ball game, or during most other thrilling experiences.  God seems to show up most obviously when there’s not a lot else going on to distract us.  No wonder most rooms in a spiritual retreat center are absent an entertainment system and are sparsely decorated.

God seems to prefer a still small voice for communicating rather than a thunderous shout.  He is most easily met when we’re resting rather than when we’re rushing.  Now, while in the middle of nothing special, is a perfect time and place to be open to God doing something special with us.  I need this reminder, that God’s good can be happening when I think nothing of much good is happening!

(Photo is of a windblown icicle from a drain under a bridge in Iowa.)



Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Fly Sighting
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on February 25, 2010, 08:36:59 PM
Fly Sighting (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1868)
25 February 2010, 8:13 pm



I saw a fly this week!  I’m not sure a fly sighting in February ranks up there with spotting the first robin of spring, but in a strange way it was still nice!  Normally, when I find a fly in the house I “dispatch” him, but not in this case.  Two mornings in a row I saw the fly in the bathroom.  I just let him fly!  I let him fly because he reminded me of warmer weather.  He was a sign of better days, weather wise, to come.  Where had he been these last several months while the temperature plummeted and the snow piled up?  Hiding in some crack in the window or woodwork, I assume.  All the time he was there, through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years, and I didn’t know it, all the time within swatting reach, waiting in a crack for warmer weather.  I did not see the fly’s shadow, so I’m not sure what that says about how many days of winter…

Winter, it seems to me, is a time for hidden things, and not just for flies.  The blanket of snow covers a lot this time of year.  The trees seem to lack life but on any given February day when the daytime temperature climes above freezing gallons of sap are being pumped dozens of feet up the trunks and branches, making plump the buds for spring.

It appears from His creation that God enjoys doing a lot of what He does out of sight.  He does not always call attention to Himself or to what He is doing.  Why?  I’m under the impression that He wants us to live more attentively!  He wants us to look more closely, listen more carefully, think more thoughtfully.

What is God trying to say to us today, to remind us of, to call us to do, to help us to see?  He could hit us over the head with it but most often He doesn’t.  He calls us to the obedience of attentiveness!  What might God be hiding in plain sight for us today?

It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings to search out a matter.” Proverbs 25:2

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The “Religion” of Evolution
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on February 27, 2010, 06:38:46 AM
The “Religion” of Evolution (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1881)
27 February 2010, 6:34 am

I’ve been focusing all week on my study for the weekend message, which is all about the conflict between science and faith, particularly when it comes to the theory of evolution.  I’ve come to see in a fresh way that there is huge gaps in the theory that life has evolved from simpler to more complex and that this “gradualism” bridges the species, creating new species.  The fact is, there’s no valid proof that one species can evolve into another!  Believers in evolution propose this because they don’t have a better hypothesis.  I have one — “And God said, ‘Let the land produce living creatures accordiaang to their kinds [each species]…” (Genesis 1:24)

Yes, there IS a better hypothesis!  What if this cause and effect world is not limited to causes we can observe with our five senses or measure?  If you hypothesize a cause, THE Cause, outside this cause and effect world then that changes everything!  In fact, this “theory” or “hypothesis” or this “belief” in such a supreme Cause is the only hypothesis that makes sense.  Without this Cause (God) you have no choice but to use a vast stretch of the imagination to believe all kinds of outlandish things about life evolving from one species to another.

It’s as much a religious view to NOT believe in God as to believe in Him.  The religion of the origin of life by a naturalistic evolutionary process is, for me, unbelievable!  God makes the most sense of all as a cause for the existence of this world being crammed full of life! That’s what I’m planning to talk about this weekend.

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Perseverance
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on March 02, 2010, 07:53:21 AM
Perseverance (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1887)
2 March 2010, 5:58 am

Had a good day off yesterday. Took a walk with God in the morning and with Diann in the afternoon. That was good. Now, before my day starts with church ministry, I need to tackle writing, hopefully about 600+ words on my novel. Perseverance is the name of the game when writing — and at living life in general!

I always think of a tree with all of its growth rings and how much time it took to make them.  Yes, perseverance is how God gets done most of what He wants done in our lives.  May God help you persevere today as well!

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Expecting Troubles
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on March 04, 2010, 06:09:17 AM
Expecting Troubles (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1909)
4 March 2010, 6:09 am

Why the expectation for a nearly trouble-free day, or life, for that matter? I want to be a pampered guest on a luxury cruise while life puts me on a lobster boat as a crew member looking for the deadliest catch!

I like how Jesus addresses our situation with both honesty and hope.  “In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)  What a great statement Jesus makes, honesty about the reality of a life with troubles and hope that we can have His help.

Keep in mind, Jesus isn’t talking to the general public but to those who follow Him.  Being a Christian is no guarantee life will be easier, probably harder in some ways!  In my troubles I am called to trust Him!  Now, if I can just remember that today, and every day

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The BIG Questions — #1 Is God for Real?
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on March 05, 2010, 06:07:17 AM
The BIG Questions — #1 Is God for Real? (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1914)
5 March 2010, 6:00 am

If I walk into what I think is an empty house and observe a rocking chair still rocking, I look for a cause.  Is someone in the house?  Is there a cat or dog around that just jumped down from the rocker?  Is there a window open that allows a breeze to rock the chair?  Something has to have rocked the chair!  No one could come to the conclusion that nothing caused the chair to rock, that it did it all by itself.

Where did the universe come from?  Evidence now seems to indicate that the universe had a beginning in what has been called The Big Bang.  According to the prevailing view, everything in the universe exploded out of an infinitesimally small spot in a “singularity” nearly 14 billion years ago.  Scientists are not clear on how or why this happened.

Nothing makes more sense than to postulate, hypothesize, and believe that something outside of space and time made space and time.  In this universe where everything operates by cause and effect it seems very probable that the great cause of the amazing effect we call the universe exists outside, and beyond, the universe.

We can’t know for a fact that God exists!  It takes faith.  If you know something for a fact, there’s really no room for faith.  Faith is built on what you don’t know for sure, something that’s not a fact, but probable.  It may not be a provable fact that God created everything, but it is a plausible view, many believe the most plausible view.  In fact, it could be argued that it takes less faith to believe that God made it all than to believe that it came into existence on its own!

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.  Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.” (Psalm 19:1-2)

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The BIG Questions — # 2 What about Evolution & Creation?
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on March 07, 2010, 05:16:40 PM
The BIG Questions — # 2 What about Evolution & Creation? (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1920)
7 March 2010, 4:55 pm

There’s dog lovers and cat lovers.  I wonder if they ever get in a fight and the dog lover chases the cat lover up a tree?

Special breeding over the centuries has provided both dog and cat lovers with a vast array of breeds from which to choose.  You can have a chihuahua or a great Dane and it’s still a dog, or a short hair or Persian and it’s still a cat.  But no one has yet bred a cross between a dog and a cat.  What would you call it, a cog or a dat?

In all of our expertise with breeding better plants and animals we’ve never created a new species.  (Even if we did, it would only prove that it takes intelligence and intention to do so.)  There seems to be a giant barrier between the species.  Yet, it’s interesting that the theory of evolution largely depends on the belief that life has evolved countless times from one species into another.

Author Philip Johnson writes, “That Darwinian evolution can gradually transform one kind of creature into another is merely a biological hypothesis, not a fact.” (Darwin on Trial, p. 10) Why is this theory accepted when it takes such a giant leap of faith to do so?  Probably because those who hold to it so tenaciously don’t believe there’s another alternative.

But many have come to the conclusion that there is a valid alternative, that God created the great diversity of species, that this is more believable then the theory of evolutionary change.  In this cause and effect cosmos where we believe every cause has an effect why not hypothesize, propose, conjecture, yes, believe that there is an outside cause?

The ancient Biblical record describes the creation of the various species. “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.  And it was so.” (Genesis 1:24)

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Of Fretting and Faith
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on March 09, 2010, 05:53:07 AM
Of Fretting and Faith (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1899)
9 March 2010, 5:50 am



Do not fret…” is what King David states three times in his Psalm that we’ve numbered 37 in our Bibles.  Three times, mind you!

This command to refrain from fretting was called to my attention in an essay by Carolyn Arends in Christianity Today (p. 56, Feb. 2010)  Frankly, I hadn’t thought much about fretting being something a person of faith should address as being a negative factor, as being sinful.

I’ll confess I’ve done my share of fretting.  Even this day has been far from fret-free.  I’ve asked myself what’s the difference between acceptable frustration and when does it move into fretting?  Jesus, after all, was frustrated at times, with His disciples and others.  But I don’t see Him fretting.

It seems to me that fretting is prolonged frustration, frustration to which we fail to apply faith.  When we feel things are out of our control – that we are at the mercy of someone else or the victim of a set of circumstances – we fret.  What King David states in his psalm is to replace fretting with faith.  “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret…” (v.7)

I know, fretting actually feels good in a perverse sort of way.  That’s the problem, it’s a perverse pleasure and does us no good, but harm.  Fretting causes us all kinds of problems, including making us envious and jealous of others who don’t have our high standards and yet seem to get ahead. “Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong…” Fretting also leads to anger.  One of King David’s statements references this.  “Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret – it leads only to evil.” (v. (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/wp-includes/images/smilies/icon_cool.gif)

I looked up the word “fret” and found that it’s from the Old English word “fretan” which means to devour!   Fretting eats away at us!  It’s a cancer of the heart, an acid of the soul!

Sometimes we feel powerless to influence or change people or circumstances.  It’s easy to fret about it.  Instead, we should be focusing on putting our trust in God, that He’s still in ultimate control.  I’m convinced a faith-filled day can lead to a fret-free day!  You too?

(The above photo of my tennis shoes and a bowl I dropped and broke while washing dishes has sold 16 times on iStockphoto and has earned me $9.00.  See!  Good things come of bad.  Diann’s no longer made at me for breaking the bowl, because it was worth less than $9.00)



Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Quote to Reflect On
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on March 10, 2010, 05:56:23 AM
Quote to Reflect On (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1929)
10 March 2010, 5:38 am

“Let Yourself Be Found By God”

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Walking toward God
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on March 10, 2010, 03:13:15 PM
Walking toward God (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1932)
10 March 2010, 3:01 pm



The morning fog hung low over the woods and field out back of our house where I was taking my morning walk this past Tuesday.  Unlike most fogs that cover everything evenly, making it look as if you’re viewing the landscape through a frosted lens, this fog had edges to it.  Distinct streaks and pockets of fog alternated with clear spaces and splotches that offered random clarity of the landscape.

I picked out an area of heavy fog in the middle of last year’s corn field and started walking toward it.  I’ve done this in the past, walked into a spot of heavier fog.  The fog is a metaphor of the Holy Spirit of God for me.  The act of God creating in Genesis is introduced with the observation that “The Spirit of God was hovering…” (Genesis 1:2)  Soon my walking led me into the thicker fog.  It surrounded me, I was breathing it (presumably), and, from an imaginary observer at the end of the field, I had disappeared into the fog or at least had become ghost-like myself.  My prayer focused on telling God I wanted to be near Him.

Of course I really wasn’t walking toward God for He’s not limited to dwelling in fog.  However, the mist was a meaningful metaphor for me, a sacramental use of the fog.  It also reminded me that every day I can walk toward God or away from Him, I do so many times throughout the day.

Every headline in the news that shouts the great fall of a person from grace because of everything from embezzlement to adultery to murder started as the prolonged entertainment of a bad thought, the adoption of a nasty attitude, and the acceptance of often inconspicuous but wrong actions.  On the other hand, people acclaimed for being great and godly have made many private decisions of how to think, spoken countless inconspicuous words, and done many little-observed acts of kindness that, because of their cumulative affect, have inspired the praise of others.

Every seemingly small decision as to what we think, say or do is another incremental step toward or away from God’s purpose and plan for us, a step toward or away from God Himself.  A good question to ask ourselves is which way are we heading right now, this hour, this day?

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: A Lesson from the Life of Saint Patrick
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on March 18, 2010, 02:08:41 PM
A Lesson from the Life of Saint Patrick (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1951)
18 March 2010, 1:41 pm



This past Wednesday was Saint Patrick’s day so I thought I’d share a few thoughts on the man who this day honors. First, to expose a few misconceptions about Saint Patrick.  He’s not really a “Saint” in that he was never canonized by the Catholic Church, though he’s a saint in the same way as anyone who’s responded to Jesus Christ’s saving effort.  He was not Irish (we’ll get to that in a moment).  Most likely he did not come up with the analogy of the three leaflets of the shamrock representing the Trinity.  OK, enough of the debunking of myths.

Patrick was about 16 years of age (in approximately 405 AD) when he was kidnapped from his father’s British farm and sold as a slave in a very pagan Ireland.  He worked as a herdsman for six years.  During his time of servitude he clung to the faith he had ignored as a teenager, praying daily.  Prompted by a voice in a dream, he escaped and made his way home.  When in his mid-40s he heard another voice in a dream, a voice of the Irish calling: “We beseech you to come and walk among us once more.”  Patrick returned to Ireland as a bishop.  Familiar with the Irish clan system, his strategy to reach the island for Christ was to convert the chiefs first.  His efforts proved quite successful.

Patrick’s life can inspire us to see the good that come from problems and pain.  We can be quite certain Patrick was not happy with being abducted and sold into servitude for six years.  The reality is, however, that we would likely never have heard of Saint Patrick if his life hadn’t taken the nasty turn it did for him at age 16.  If he had not been sold into slavery in Ireland it’s doubtful he would ever have gone there as a missionary.

We’re always having to deal with experiences and to face events that are not to our liking.  We wish they could be different, but they aren’t.  It was when Patrick was not where he wanted to be and doing what he didn’t want to do those six years in Ireland that His faith grew and the stage was set for his life’s call (to serve there, years later, as a missionary).

Our first reaction when life takes a turn we don’t like is to express frustration, it’s certainly true for me.  Far better is it for us, with God’s gracious help, to express faith, faith that God can use everything to further His purposes for us.  He did so with Saint Patrick, He can do so with you and me as well!

Here’s a piece reported to be penned by Saint Patrick….

Christ be with me, Christ within me,

Christ behind me, Christ before me,

Christ beside me, Christ to win me,

Christ to comfort and restore me,

Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,

Christ in hearts of all that love me,

Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.”

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Thought to Refelct On
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on March 22, 2010, 07:50:37 AM
Thought to Refelct On (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1966)
22 March 2010, 7:33 am

“God cannot love us more and will not love us less.”

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Quote to Refelct On
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on March 23, 2010, 06:07:19 AM
Quote to Refelct On (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1966)
22 March 2010, 7:33 am

“God cannot love us more and will not love us less.”

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Thought to Reflect On
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on March 23, 2010, 06:07:19 AM
Thought to Reflect On (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1970)
22 March 2010, 7:34 am

“When we love those who love us, our brethren, our nation, our friends, yes, and even our own congregation, we are no better than the heathen and the publicans.  Such love is ordinary and natural, and not distinctively Christian.  We can love our kith and kin, our fellow countrymen and our friends, whether we are Christians or not, and there is no need for Jesus to teach us that.  But he takes that kind of love for granted, and in contrast asserts that we must love our enemies.  Thus he shows us what he means by love, and the attitude we must display toward it.”  Dietrich Bonhoeffer (A Year with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, March 22, quoted from A Testament to Freedom, p.320

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Something We Learned in Kindergarten
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on March 25, 2010, 02:58:36 PM
Something We Learned in Kindergarten (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1981)
25 March 2010, 2:43 pm



Peter Graves, star of the Mission Impossible TV show of the late 60s and early 70s died recently.  One of his co-stars, Martin Landau, said of Graves, “What impressed me most about him was that I never heard him say a bad word about anyone he encountered.”  Wow!  What a eulogy in one sentence!  I’m wondering…  Will they be able to say that of you and me when we pass?  Could it be our epitaph?

“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all,” is one of the lessons we were taught in kindergarten, if not before.  I suspect most of us could use a refresher course!  It’s likely that the conversations we’ve had recently with family, friends, people at work, and with those in our church would be enough to make the late Peter Graves blush!  After all, a lot of mud gets slung around the water cooler and the grape vine is often heavily blighted with things repeated that would better be left unsaid.

But aren’t their times when we can and should share our frustrations about others?  Yes.  Sometime we have to share our our struggles concerning a certain person but we should do so with a trusted confidant who can help us process our frustration in a positive way so we can better cope with the “offending” person.  Most of the time, however, our criticism of someone to someone else serves no good purpose.  We do so only because it feels good, in a perverse sort of way.

The word for this inappropriate personal critiquing is called slander and is not portrayed in a positive light in the Biblical texts!  I for one want to take more seriously what the apostle Peter wrote some 2,000 years ago because it’s as relevant today as the day he wrote it.  “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.” (1 Peter 2:1)

I’ve known some people like Peter Graves, people who I can’t recall ever saying anything bad about others.  I also know that they’re the kind of people I like to be around because they’re more happy and positive, and because when I’m not around them I know they aren’t saying bad things about me!  I want to be more like them.  You too?  It might seem like a mission that’s impossible, but not with the good Lord’s help and our own good intentions!

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: A Dog’s World?
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on March 26, 2010, 04:54:32 PM
A Dog’s World? (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1995)
26 March 2010, 4:17 pm

Dogs strain at their leash.  Dogs resist walking into the veterinarian’s office, they’ve been there before and didn’t like it.  And then there’s that bath!  They must think their master is cruel at times!

Why doesn’t God run the world, especially my little corner of the world, more the way I’d run it?  That’s what most of us think, even though we aren’t always willing to admit it.  Our prayers can often slip into trying to tell God how He should run our lives.  I like what author Randy Alcorn has to say on this subject.

“We define goodness from our finite and fallen perspective, then criticize God for failing to be be good in our eyes….Imagine your dog saying, ‘If I were my master, I would never discipline me or give me a shot or a big pill; I would let myself run free in the neighborhood and take steaks from any barbecue I find.  Since he does not do this, my master must not be good.’  The master who claims to be  a good dog owner, never bases his claim on the dog’s standards, but on his own….

Applying human standards to God is like dogs applying canine standards to us.  Our conclusions will invariably come up short.”  (If God Is Good, Randy Alcorn, p. 165)

“’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’” (Isaiah 55:8)



Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Questions in Heaven
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on March 31, 2010, 06:28:49 AM
Questions in Heaven (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2007)
31 March 2010, 6:08 am

“When I get to heaven I’m going to ask God…”  Most of us have made a statement something like this, finishing it with whatever frustration, tragedy, or mystery we’re facing at the time.  We look forward to heaven so we can finally get some answers.  If we know our Bibles we may quote the apostle Paul.  “Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)

When we fantasize here on earth what we will ask God about in heaven I wonder if we aren’t fantasizing about expecting God to explain Himself.  Are we going to stomp our sacred foot, put our hands on our heavenly hips and demand, “Now, God, just what on earth were you doing?  What were you thinking?”

I like what Vance Havner writes.  “There are many puzzling questions we might as well put down in our little notebook to ask about when we get to heaven.  And yet I have an idea that we shall not be there five minutes until we throw the notebook away and forget to bother God with the questions!” (Truth for Each Day, March 31 devotional)

I picture the Lord saying to us when we get to heaven, “Now, I understand you have some questions.”  We’ll be standing before our Lord, able to see Him much more clearly than we could through the eyes of faith on earth.  It will no longer take faith to experience Him, but just the enjoyment of reality, the reality of His incomprehensible love for us and and awareness of His infinite wisdom.  I imagine we would say to the Lord in reference to our question about our questions, “Never mind, Lord, never mind.”

I’m thinking my time here on earth might go a little more peacefully if I would stop the hobby of collecting questions to ask God in heaven some day.  The biggest question I should be concerned about is, “Am I living for Him today, while He still has me here on earth?”  It will undoubtedly turn out that my biggest question in heaven will be, “Lord, why didn’t I trust you more?”

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: A Bad Friday Becomes Good Friday
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on April 02, 2010, 06:31:07 AM
A Bad Friday Becomes Good Friday (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2020)
2 April 2010, 6:06 am

I’ve always been amazed we call today Good Friday.  It’s the day the greatest travesty of injustice happened in the history of humanity.  A perfect man, the only perfect man ever, was executed.  To make matters worse, He was more than a man, He was God in the flesh.  God on a cross, God dying, God dead!

For what?  Why? 20/20 hindsight gives us our answer.  He conquered the greatest enemy of all on that cross, dying for sinful people.  He went up on the cross to be Savior.  When we do what the one repentant crook did who was crucified alongside Him, when we turn to Jesus, He becomes our Savior.  A very bad

Friday becomes a very good Friday!

The calling of this day Good Friday is a reminder that God is capable of turning bad into good.  Whatever bad is in our life He has the love, power, and wisdom to turn good out of it.  We just have to believe that, and act like we believe that.

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Faith Flavoring
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on April 02, 2010, 08:33:16 PM
Faith Flavoring (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2013)
2 April 2010, 8:26 pm

I remember eating a meal at my grandparents’ home.  Grandma had baked fresh bread.  Even today I love fresh-baked homemade bread.  But my grandmother’s homemade bread tasted horrible!  It’s not that she was a bad baker, it was that my grandfather had a bad heart.  The connection?  My grandfather [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Easter’s Coming!
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on April 03, 2010, 07:26:44 AM
Easter’s Coming! (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2027)
3 April 2010, 6:58 am

I just finished going over my sermon manuscript for the Easter message.   We have our first Easter service tonight, at 6pm and two tomorrow.  I’m  looking forward to delivering it three times over!My main point is that the resurrection of Jesus is one of the most  provable events in history! [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Theoretical Faith and Practical Atheism
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on April 09, 2010, 11:18:34 PM
Theoretical Faith and Practical Atheism (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2035)
9 April 2010, 9:32 pm

I want to repeat something I said in my Easter message last weekend.  “We can be theoretical believers but practicing atheists.”  I’d like to revisit that idea for a moment.I sometimes find it a challenge to translate my belief that God is fully capable of doing great things in my life into [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: God Doesn’t Like Ventriloquism
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on April 14, 2010, 08:06:22 AM
God Doesn’t Like Ventriloquism (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=1987)
14 April 2010, 6:09 am

I have a little ventriloquist buddy named Ricky.  We look like we have an interesting relationship: I’m patient and he has an attitude.  Actually, we have no relationship at all.  He says only what I have him say.  If I have him say, “I really think your a great guy, Dave,” [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The BIG Event of History
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on April 15, 2010, 10:22:23 AM
The BIG Event of History (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2059)
15 April 2010, 8:41 am

“In all human history, who has paid the highest price for evil and suffering?  Poll a hundred people on this question and only a few would come up with the right answer: God… Whenever you feel tempted to ask God, ‘Why did you do this to me?’ look at the Cross and ask, ‘Why did [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Steps of Faith
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on April 16, 2010, 10:40:51 PM
Steps of Faith (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2054)
16 April 2010, 8:56 pm

We’re never staying in God’s will unless we’re taking steps of faith, risky steps that take us beyond our comfort zone and outside our perimeter of security.  It’s been that way since the beginning with God’s people.ABRAHAM moving to the Promised Land: “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Writing the Book of Our Lives
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on April 20, 2010, 06:37:01 AM
Writing the Book of Our Lives (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2050)
20 April 2010, 6:29 am

Among other things I write, I write stories, including my recent novel, Kathryn’s Fountain.  It occurred to me that each of us is a writer, a writer of our own story.  Jesus’ life was the greatest story ever told, but each of us, just by living each day, is writing our own story [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: How Hurts Can Help
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on April 24, 2010, 06:24:18 AM
How Hurts Can Help (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2071)
24 April 2010, 6:21 am

Everything that happens to us can move us toward spiritual maturity.  This does not mean I like everything that happens to me, far from it.  I’d rather take Easy Street to God than The Trail of Trials, but this is not always my call.One of the most godly women I have known, Jane, [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The BIG Questions — #4 Can We Trust The Bible?
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on April 27, 2010, 03:12:45 PM
The BIG Questions — #4 Can We Trust The Bible? (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2101)
27 April 2010, 2:58 pm

“I believe the Bible is true because the Bible says it is.”  People sometimes make a statement like this.  They mean well, but it’s an illogical statement, a piece of circular reasoning.  It’s like saying “I believe Bubba is an honest guy because he says he is.”  I don’t know about [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Bear Grylls — Man vs. Wild
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on April 28, 2010, 07:24:46 AM
Bear Grylls — Man vs. Wild (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2108)
28 April 2010, 6:44 am

Bear Grylls, star of Man vs. Wild, is a committed Christian.  He states, “I always keep a few key verses on me for strength and comfort.  One of them is, ‘I’m holding you by your right hand.’  The other is, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’  For [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: “The Mission-Replacing-Vision Sickness”
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on April 30, 2010, 06:19:13 AM
“The Mission-Replacing-Vision Sickness” (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2076)
30 April 2010, 5:57 am

This post is going to connect most with those who are in some kind of a leadership role in a church.  If that doesn’t describe you then you may want to pass on this one.  On the other hand, if you don’t have a church home or have one but aren’t involved… I’d ask you [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Mr. Magoo Ends Up on the Sermon Editing Floor
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on May 02, 2010, 04:00:49 PM
Mr. Magoo Ends Up on the Sermon Editing Floor (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2126)
2 May 2010, 3:37 pm

It’s a shame that Mr. Magoo didn’t make it into this weekend’s sermon, but that’s what happened.  Often I find I get an idea for a part of the sermon, make some notes, research it, and even go in search of an appropriate image for our video guy to pop up on the screen [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The Aroma of Our Attitude
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on May 06, 2010, 06:30:25 AM
The Aroma of Our Attitude (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2118)
6 May 2010, 5:54 am

He who has a skunk for a pet that’s not been de-scented will find that wherever he takes his pet for a walk it will smell like skunk.  He brings the smell with him. Whenever we walk into a room or step up to a person or a group of people we bring a scent [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The BIG Questions — #5 “Who Can Say What’s Right or Wrong?”
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on May 12, 2010, 08:34:29 AM
The BIG Questions — #5 “Who Can Say What’s Right or Wrong?” (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2148)
7 May 2010, 5:48 am

I heard of a cartoon that shows Satan greeting people at the entry to hell.  He says to them, “You’ll find that there’s no right or wrong here – just what works for you.”  It’s common to hear people say, “To each his own.”  This has been called the age of relativism, meaning [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Changing Our Mind
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on May 12, 2010, 08:34:29 AM
Changing Our Mind (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2141)
8 May 2010, 6:26 am

The following story was in a column by Mark Buchanan in the recent issue of Leadership Journal (Spring 2010, p. 989)  I quote… “Muriel’s childhood crippled her emotionally.  She began to visit the hospital’s psychiatric ward when she was in her teens.  By her late forties, she’d seen dozens of counselors, therapists, and [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: More Input!
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on May 12, 2010, 08:42:46 PM
More Input! (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2173)
12 May 2010, 8:41 pm

“More input!  I need more input!”  The words are from the main character in a 1986 movie called Short Circuit.  The main character was an endearing robot that had become conscious and self-aware.  He delighted in being alive and couldn’t learn enough.  He’d pick up a book and fan through [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: A Theology of Trouble
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on May 14, 2010, 05:04:26 PM
A Theology of Trouble (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2163)
14 May 2010, 3:32 pm

Ben and Annie were on their honeymoon in Germany when tragedy struck, literally.  In an intense storm Annie was struck by lightning and was permanently paralyzed.  What a horrendous way to start a marriage!  But Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Warfield were married for thirty-nine years before she died in 1915.  He [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The BIG Questions — #6 “Can’t All Religions Be True?”
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on May 15, 2010, 06:26:56 AM
The BIG Questions — #6 “Can’t All Religions Be True?” (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2182)
15 May 2010, 6:00 am

1 + 1 = 2.  Always has, always will.  It doesn’t matter that I feel like 1 + 1 = 3.  Never has, never will.  Feelings don’t change facts.  It’s the politically correct view to believe that all religions are equally true.  Whatever you feel is true is true for [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The BIG Questions — # 7 “Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?” (Last in the series)
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on May 17, 2010, 09:47:01 AM
The BIG Questions — # 7 “Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?” (Last in the series) (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2188)
17 May 2010, 9:46 am

Dr. Timothy Johnson is a physician and medical reporter for ABC News.  A no-nonsense type of guy, he states, “I do believe that if you choose to follow Jesus, you will eventually believe in the resurrection.” (Finding God in the Questions, p. 130)  The resurrection of Jesus is the event that compels a person [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The BIG Questions — # 7 “Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?”(Last in the series)
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on May 17, 2010, 11:06:25 AM
The BIG Questions — # 7 “Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?”(Last in the series) (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2188)
17 May 2010, 9:46 am

Dr. Timothy Johnson is a physician and medical reporter for ABC News.  A no-nonsense type of guy, he states, “I do believe that if you choose to follow Jesus, you will eventually believe in the resurrection.” (Finding God in the Questions, p. 130)  The resurrection of Jesus is the event that compels a person [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Listening to the Piper — John Piper
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on May 18, 2010, 08:02:24 AM
Listening to the Piper — John Piper (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2177)
18 May 2010, 6:44 am

John Piper is one of my favorite authors.  His book Desiring God really impacted me.  I also admire John for his role as a pastor of the Bethlehem Baptist Church of Minneapolis.  He reaches so many people with his ministry that focus on having a passion for God. I was surprised to learn [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Beware of Spiritual Terrorism
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on May 20, 2010, 09:04:34 PM
Beware of Spiritual Terrorism (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2198)
20 May 2010, 8:53 pm

Beware of spiritual terrorism against the heart and soul!  The day can be filled with ordinary people and the usual activities but don’t be fooled!  Like a nondescript vehicle parked by terrorists in a busy street that explodes, causing death and destruction, a seemingly innocent word can be spoken or a seemingly innocent [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Welcome to the World of Blogging, Rupert!
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on May 20, 2010, 09:04:34 PM
Welcome to the World of Blogging, Rupert! (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2201)
20 May 2010, 8:58 pm

My friend and fellow pastor at M-P, Rupert Loyd, has a blog!  He recently completed his PhD.  He is really smart!  Really, he is, I kid you not!  You should check out his blog!  God’s blessing on your new adventure in cyberspace, Rupert!

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Fishing with God, or Something Close to It
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on May 21, 2010, 03:10:55 PM
Fishing with God, or Something Close to It (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2207)
21 May 2010, 2:58 pm

“Let’s go fishing,” our son Dan said to Casey, his son.  The family lives by a small lake, and Dan often goes fishing down at the end of their property.  I watched as Casey stood by his kneeling Dad, the two lines from their poles in the water.  Casey was 2½ [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Minding Our Own Business
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on May 25, 2010, 07:59:08 AM
Minding Our Own Business (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2210)
25 May 2010, 6:43 am

Why is it that when two children are playing together that they each want the toy the other has?  You’d think they could just switch but it usually doesn’t work that way and toddler war breaks out.  Envy begins at an early age, and haunts us all our lives!  It seems to me [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: I Met This Tortoise
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on May 27, 2010, 02:30:10 PM
I Met This Tortoise (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2221)
27 May 2010, 1:55 pm

I saw a tortoise earlier this week on my prayer walk.  There he sat, having just come out of the woods, motionless on the edge of the field of last year’s corn stalks.  He was large in my estimation, about the size of a cereal bowl turned upside down.  I say tortoise [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Considering the Cost
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on May 28, 2010, 06:40:30 AM
Considering the Cost (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2226)
28 May 2010, 6:21 am

“The sanctuary was too cold!”  “Someone was sitting in ‘my’ pew!”  “A little kid was making noise.”  Such are the complaints a pastor can hear after a worship service.  Do church goers in other countries have such problems?  Some of them don’t.  There was a church in China where police officials [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Celebratiang Our Anniversary!
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on June 04, 2010, 06:30:36 AM
Celebratiang Our Anniversary! (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2242)
4 June 2010, 6:26 am

Diann and I celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary this week.  The weather that day, June 2, 1972, in Leota, Minnesota (population 202, approximately) was hot and muggy.  The sanctuary wasn’t air conditioned and I was sweating profusely beneath my eyes, so much so that Diann thought I was crying tears of joy.  [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Jim Joyce and His Great Call
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on June 04, 2010, 08:12:47 AM
Jim Joyce and His Great Call (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2252)
4 June 2010, 7:40 am

Umpire Jim Joyce will go down in baseball history as having made one of the worst calls in the game, ever.  He called Cleveland Indian’s Jason Donald safe on first when video replays clearly showed that he was out.  The bad call ruined Detroit Tigers’ pitcher Armando Galarraga, called up from our own Toledo Mud [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Celebrating Our Anniversary!
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on June 04, 2010, 08:42:36 AM
Celebrating Our Anniversary! (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2242)
4 June 2010, 6:26 am

Diann and I celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary this week.  The weather that day, June 2, 1972, in Leota, Minnesota (population 202, approximately) was hot and muggy.  The sanctuary wasn’t air conditioned and I was sweating profusely beneath my eyes, so much so that Diann thought I was crying tears of joy.  [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Thoughts On God being Enough — by John Eldredge
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on June 16, 2010, 08:12:23 AM
Thoughts On God being Enough — by John Eldredge (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2266)
16 June 2010, 7:04 am

I’ve been reading a book by John Eldredge titled Walking with God.  I found the thoughts in one of his chapters especially captivating and thought I’d share them with you. “I‘d come to an agreement of sorts – I need this.  Not that I want it, and very much.  But that I [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The Cost of Relationships
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on June 17, 2010, 02:28:49 PM
The Cost of Relationships (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2280)
17 June 2010, 2:08 pm

We just returned from vacation where we visited family in Iowa and Minnesota.  First, to my mother in Parkersburg, Iowa, my sister and her family in Des Moines, and then on to Leota Minnesota where Diann’s folks live.  Diann’s siblings, mates, and a couple of our nieces and nephews all converged on the [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: God’s Timing
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on June 19, 2010, 06:55:07 AM
God’s Timing (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2286)
19 June 2010, 6:46 am

A friend of mine, Rich, was driving down a suburban street to do some landscaping for someone.  The next thing he remembers is waking up in the intensive care unit of a Toledo hospital with a breathing mechanism down his throat!  Apparently he had some kind of seizure, which had never happened before.  [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Beyond Carrot Motivation
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on June 22, 2010, 03:42:38 PM
Beyond Carrot Motivation (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2297)
22 June 2010, 2:25 pm

If there’s one image that symbolizes motivation, it’s a carrot and a stick.  Probably the original image was of a carrot dangling from a stick that was hung in front of a donkey that was pulling a cart.  The man on the cart keeps the dangled carrot just out of reach of the [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Sustainable Faith
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on June 24, 2010, 04:07:16 PM
Sustainable Faith (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2302)
24 June 2010, 3:18 pm

Diann and I were asking ourselves how long it had been since we had seen a certain family in church.  We determined it had been awhile, again.  This family, like some other families, couples and individuals we’ve known over the years, attends in spurts.  They come for awhile, even promise (without prompting, [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The Best Reward of All
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on June 29, 2010, 06:17:05 AM
The Best Reward of All (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2310)
29 June 2010, 5:39 am

It’s interesting to contrast the two great composers, Mozart and Bach.  Mozart enjoyed his fame and seemed to thrive on it.  In fact, in a letter to his father written in 1778, he wrote, “I am never in a good humor when I am in a town where I am quite unknown.”  Bach [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Finding Peace — Making Peace
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on July 02, 2010, 05:54:36 AM
Finding Peace — Making Peace (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2317)
2 July 2010, 5:46 am

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” One of Jesus’ beatitudes. Of this Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes, “The followers of Jesus have been called to peace.  When Jesus called them, they found their peace.  But now they are told that they must not only have peace but make it.” In following [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: “I Didn’t Know That!”
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on July 02, 2010, 04:04:46 PM
“I Didn’t Know That!” (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2321)
2 July 2010, 4:01 pm

My mother was watering her potted plants by the front door of the “apartment” she rents, the bottom floor of a big old house in Parkersburg, Iowa. A car drove by, slowed, then stopped. A man and woman, about my mother’s age, got out. “I used to live here as a boy,” the man said. [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Joy for Every Day
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on July 04, 2010, 06:34:51 PM
Joy for Every Day (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2325)
4 July 2010, 6:16 pm

I was visiting one of our people who’s in an extended care facility. She was sitting in a dining area in the facility, so I pulled up a chair and sat down beside her. When I got up to point something out to her across the room, my bottom felt wet! I turned and looked [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Advice in a Few Words
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on July 07, 2010, 06:09:18 AM
Advice in a Few Words (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2342)
7 July 2010, 6:01 am

Dietrich Bonhoeffer paid the price of imprisonment and eventually martyrdom for his opposition to Hitler.  In Letters and Papers from Prison he wrote, “Those who had been bombed out came to me the next morning for a bit of comfort.  But I am afraid I am bad at comforting; I can listen all right, but [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: God Blessing Us/Us Blessing God
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on July 08, 2010, 07:36:39 PM
God Blessing Us/Us Blessing God (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2351)
8 July 2010, 5:57 pm

I just finished reading a book by John Eldredge called Walking with God. Many things struck me while reading this book but I’ll pass on just one of the ways God struck me while reading the book. Eldredge writes, “We really believe that God’s primary reason for being is to provide us with happiness, give [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: On a Mission in Mexico
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on July 13, 2010, 04:50:16 PM
On a Mission in Mexico (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2357)
13 July 2010, 4:37 pm

We have a team that’s spending a week in Mexico working at Refuge Ranch.  This is home to the ministry of Victor and Julie Zaragoza (Julie’s our daughter).  Check out this LINK to their blog and see pics of the action.

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Living Outside the Box
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on July 14, 2010, 01:21:47 PM
Living Outside the Box (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2360)
14 July 2010, 1:16 pm

I’m writing this from Refuge Ranch in Mexico.  A group of 18 of us from Mayfair-Plymouth, along with six others, are a team of 24 doing all kinds of work here at the ranch. It’s interesting that we all have different “day jobs” back in the states.  What’s even more interesting is that most of [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Passionate Living
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on July 20, 2010, 07:02:49 AM
Passionate Living (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2364)
20 July 2010, 6:35 am

I just started reading a book by Leonard Sweet titled The Gospel According to Starbucks.  In fact, I was reading the book yesterday in a Starbucks!  What follows are a few quotes from the opening couple of chapters that caught my eye, engaged my mind, and touched my heart. “Like the four Greek words for [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Expectation & Anticipation!
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on July 22, 2010, 05:34:46 PM
Expectation & Anticipation! (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2375)
22 July 2010, 4:41 pm

Yesterday I was reminded of two important words in some reading I was doing (and I believe it was God who did the reminding). I want these words to define my life. The words? Expectation and anticipation. When facing problems or challenges it’s easy to adopt an attitude of fear and dread. This is incompatible [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The Vase
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on July 23, 2010, 08:16:35 AM
The Vase (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2380)
23 July 2010, 6:35 am

In his book The Gospel According to Starbucks author Leonard Sweet tells of a man who bought a “Galle 1900” vase. It was very expensive, equal to two months of the man’s salary. He saved enough so he could put the rest on his credit card. With great satisfaction he took it home and put [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Preparing for Tomorrow
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on July 24, 2010, 08:03:06 AM
Preparing for Tomorrow (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2388)
24 July 2010, 7:10 am

A couple of years ago Diann and I bought some cheap grass seed to fill in some bare spots on our lawn. We planted it and watered it, and it seemed to fill in the bare spots pretty well that year, but the next year the bare spots were back. We checked the bag of [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Consumer or Producrer?
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on July 27, 2010, 07:19:17 AM
Consumer or Producrer? (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2385)
27 July 2010, 6:24 am

I found a dishtowel of ours that matched the trim on a large bowl we had setting on the dresser in the extra bedroom. I set up the towel and bowl on a table by our living room window and had Diann hold a black poster board behind it. I photographed it using natural light. [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Life Beyond Self
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on July 28, 2010, 06:32:49 AM
Life Beyond Self (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2394)
28 July 2010, 6:27 am

I recently received an e-mail from someone in the church who was responding to the Midweek E-mail Update that I send to about 340 people. “The Cost of Relationships” had been the theme. She wrote, “I know from years of firsthand experience that to avoid the cost of relationships, you have to avoid forming any. [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: “Go Green” with God!
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on July 29, 2010, 08:08:48 PM
“Go Green” with God! (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2398)
29 July 2010, 7:39 pm

Found on many a fast-food bag or cup is the message that a certain percentage of the packaging is made from recycled materials. They’re also recycling plastic milk jugs into “plastic wood” wood boards. All of this is good. Recycling trash is a great way to go green! Of course the whole world was designed [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Anne Rice Quits Christianity
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on August 04, 2010, 07:03:17 AM
Anne Rice Quits Christianity (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2416)
4 August 2010, 6:47 am

Writer of best-selling vampire novels, Anne Rice, made news when she converted to Christianity.  Her new life of faith has led her to start a series of books on the life of Christ.  Now she’s making news again with her announcement that she’s quitting Christianity, giving up on organized religion.  She remains a follower of [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Consumer or Producer?
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on August 04, 2010, 09:30:53 AM
Consumer or Producer? (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2385)
27 July 2010, 6:24 am

I found a dish towel of ours that matched the trim on a large bowl we had setting on the dresser in the extra bedroom. I set up the towel and bowl on a table by our living room window and had Diann hold a black poster board behind it. I photographed it using natural [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Deer Message
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on August 04, 2010, 05:34:59 PM
Deer Message (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2429)
4 August 2010, 5:25 pm

I spotted these two deer munching in the soybean field behind our home this morning.  The morning mist and distance helps create the dreamy look.  Seeing deer like this, as I often do on my morning walk reminds me of the verse from the Psalms. “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: “Have a Nice Day”
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on August 05, 2010, 06:29:38 AM
“Have a Nice Day” (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2439)
5 August 2010, 5:41 am

“How’s your day going?” If we’re the one asking the question we’re usually not oozing with concern, it’s just a conversation starter. If we’re the recipient of the question we might take it a bit more seriously, quickly analyzing if the good has outweighed the bad or basing our answer on whether the most recent [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Lesson from the Deer
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on October 25, 2010, 01:49:28 PM
Lesson from the Deer (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2710)
21 October 2010, 5:42 am

I had recently returned from a three-day retreat where I had camped alone, read, and hiked in Hocking Hills. Wild deer have always reminded me of God’s presence. Their appearance on one of my walks or hikes always reminds me of the psalmist who declared, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Acting Wisely
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on October 25, 2010, 01:49:28 PM
Acting Wisely (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2676)
23 October 2010, 5:48 am

There’s an old story (I’ll give you my version of it) where a factory assembly line grinds to a halt. They can’t figure out what’s wrong, so they call in an expert. He shows up, looks around, studies everything, makes one adjustment, and the line’s up and running. He hands the factory owner a bill [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: A Thought from This Weekend’s Message
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on October 25, 2010, 01:49:28 PM
A Thought from This Weekend’s Message (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2756)
23 October 2010, 8:52 am

Earlier this morning I was studying the sermon for this weekend. Thought I’d share one of the thoughts in the message — “We’re called to be obedient, not necessarily successful. Results are often out of our hands; obedience is always within reach!”

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Faith, Love, and Hope
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on October 26, 2010, 05:56:59 AM
Faith, Love, and Hope (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2706)
26 October 2010, 5:47 am

I’m a photographer and one of my handiest tools is my tripod. It has three legs to keep my camera steady. What can keep us steady in life is three power-packed words; faith, love, and hope. FAITH: A plane descends to land at the airport but there’s a thick cloud cover between the plane and [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Living the Attentive Life
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on November 26, 2010, 09:37:21 AM
Living the Attentive Life (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2877)
18 November 2010, 3:03 pm

Diann and I like to hike on park trails. Sometimes at the trail head there’s a brochure for a self-guided hike that identifies various points of interest and explains something about them. Picture a person or a couple taking the hike, brochure in hand, stopping to read, look, touch, and even smell specific points of [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Joy for all Seasons
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on November 26, 2010, 09:37:21 AM
Joy for all Seasons (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2869)
19 November 2010, 5:57 pm

There’s the old saying, “Happiness depends on happenings and joy depends on Jesus.” Most of us are not happy with some of what’s happening in our day, our week, hey, maybe in our entire life! That’s OK. We wouldn’t be in touch with reality if something bad didn’t bother us. Joy, on other hand, is [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Toy Story, My Story, Your Story?
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on November 26, 2010, 09:37:21 AM
Toy Story, My Story, Your Story? (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2880)
21 November 2010, 6:41 am

Diann and I recently rented the movie Toy Story 3. The main characters are toys that belonged to a boy named Andy. Much time has passed since the first Toy Story movie and Andy is now going off to college. (Can you believe it? The original Toy Story movie came out in 1995!) The main [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Jesus in Disguise
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on November 26, 2010, 09:38:58 AM
Jesus in Disguise (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2902)
23 November 2010, 6:03 am

I was just reading a selection from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life Together.” I want to share a thought from that reading. “The exclusion of the weak and insignificant, the seemingly useless people, from everyday Christian life in community may actually mean the exclusion of Christ; for in the poor sister or brother, Christ is knocking at [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: On Being Thankful
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on November 26, 2010, 09:38:58 AM
On Being Thankful (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2924)
25 November 2010, 8:10 am

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the other virtues.” So said Cicero. No wonder it feels so good to give thanks! It’s surprising, then, that we don’t come by gratitude more easily. In fact, we have to keep reminding children, “Now what do you say?” when they’re given [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: An Alzheimer’s Communion
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on November 26, 2010, 05:43:12 PM
An Alzheimer’s Communion (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2940)
26 November 2010, 4:15 pm

“We can have communion together,” I said to Bill over the phone. We were discussing meeting at the Alzheimer’s group home where his wife of over sixty years, Velma, was a resident. “I don’t think she will understand what she’s doing,” Bill warned. “She’s had communion many times before, right?” I asked, knowing they had [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: “Heaven, We Have a Problem”
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on November 30, 2010, 10:46:32 PM
“Heaven, We Have a Problem” (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2914)
30 November 2010, 8:52 pm

The moon mission of Apollo 13 in 1970 (which never landed on the moon) is famous for the terrible problem faced by the crew of three and how they dealt with it. For the astronauts, it began when they felt the horrible jolt of an explosion somewhere in their spacecraft. For mission control, it began [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Christmas Church Sign Sayings
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on November 30, 2010, 10:46:32 PM
Christmas Church Sign Sayings (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2952)
30 November 2010, 8:59 pm

Here’s a Christmas church sign saying from my book, Silent Words Loudly Spoken (published by CSS Publishing) JESUS CAME TO EARTH SO WE COULD GO TO HEAVEN

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The First Week in Advent
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 02, 2010, 07:01:23 AM
The First Week in Advent (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2968)
2 December 2010, 6:18 am

The first of four candles is lit for this the first week in Advent.  This past weekend in my message in the worship services I started a four-part series on the characters we see in our traditional nativity scene.  My first message was on Mary.  Click HERE to read, listen to, or download the mp3 [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: A Lesson from Mary in the Christmas Story
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 03, 2010, 07:14:55 AM
A Lesson from Mary in the Christmas Story (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2987)
3 December 2010, 6:11 am

(What follows is an excerpt of an idea from last weekend’s message I delivered in my church) You have to wonder what the young woman Mary was doing on what — until that moment — was probably an ordinary day. She undoubtedly was still living with her parents. Was she fixing a meal, praying, washing [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Exciting Saturday Morning at Our Church
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 04, 2010, 09:40:36 PM
Exciting Saturday Morning at Our Church (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2999)
4 December 2010, 8:41 pm

What an exciting Saturday morning! We gave away 60 Christmas trees and hundreds of pounds of food! The line went around two sides of the parking lot. I’m proud of our folks at M-P Church. I counted about 70 of them serving in one way or another, and I had absolutely nothing to do with [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The Fly in the Soup of Life
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 06, 2010, 06:02:45 AM
The Fly in the Soup of Life (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2908)
6 December 2010, 5:55 am

There’s the story about a missionary who slowly adjusted to life in the mission field. When he was first in the mission field, he found a fly in his soup and said, “There’s a fly in my soup. Give me a new bowl of soup!” After he had been there a year, he found a [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Reason Enough for Joy!
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 07, 2010, 06:18:44 AM
Reason Enough for Joy! (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3013)
7 December 2010, 6:05 am

I was reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer this morning, came across this thought, and thought I’d share it. It’s from A Year with Dietrich Bonhoeffer. “Since ancient times, acidia – sorrowfulness of the heart, ‘resignation’ – has been one of the deadly sins. ‘Serve the Lord with gladness’ (Psalm 100:2) summons us to the Scriptures. This is [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: I’m On the Radio Today!
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 07, 2010, 06:18:44 AM
I’m On the Radio Today! (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3019)
7 December 2010, 6:17 am

I’ll be co-hosting the WPOS Radio sharathon today (Tuesday, Dec. 7) from noon – 2 pm. If you’re in the Toledo area it’s at 102.3 FM, if you’re not in the area you can listen on the internet HERE. I did some radio in college (about 40 years ago) and still have the broadcasting “bug” [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The Second Week in Advent
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 07, 2010, 04:24:28 PM
The Second Week in Advent (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3022)
7 December 2010, 2:57 pm

The second of four candles is lit for this the second week in Advent. This past weekend I continued my four-part series on the character we see in our traditional nativity scene. This second message is on Joseph. Click HERE to read, listen, or download the mp3 of the message.

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: A Lesson from Joseph in the Christmas Story
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 08, 2010, 06:32:59 AM
A Lesson from Joseph in the Christmas Story (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3025)
8 December 2010, 5:33 am

(What follows is an excerpt of an idea from last weekend’s message I delivered in my church) Joseph’s fiance, Mary, was pregnant! He knew he was not the father. Had she been with another man? It was unthinkable, yet she was pregnant. Joseph had determined to end the relationship. Then Joseph had a dream in [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Seeing God at Work
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 09, 2010, 06:47:35 AM
Seeing God at Work (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2882)
9 December 2010, 5:10 am

The famous hymn writer Fanny Crosby was blinded by a blundering doctor at six weeks of age. Blind the rest of her life, she wrote over eight thousand hymns, 15 of which are in our hymn book we have in our church’s hymnbook. Fanny Crosby could have been bitter about the tragedy caused by the [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: On Weekdays and Weekends
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 10, 2010, 07:02:58 AM
On Weekdays and Weekends (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3036)
10 December 2010, 5:45 am

Almost everyone considers the weekend as a good break from work. For those of us who seek to follow Christ the weekends also include another key element of restoration and that’s attendance at church. The natural tendency is to think of the week as draining and a weekend, especially a weekend that includes time at [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Thankful Strength
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 11, 2010, 07:18:50 AM
Thankful Strength (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2990)
11 December 2010, 6:26 am

Rich is one of the men in my pastors’ accountability group. Last summer Rich was diagnosed with an aggressive, usually fatal brain tumor. He has had brain surgery and chemo and radiation treatments. He pastors a very tiny church on Douglas Road and also works doing landscaping as a full-time job for a golf course. [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Church Sign Saying
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 12, 2010, 07:36:35 AM
Church Sign Saying (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3072)
12 December 2010, 6:21 am

“Impatience is a form of unbelief.”

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The Potter and His Pottery
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 12, 2010, 07:36:35 AM
The Potter and His Pottery (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=2960)
12 December 2010, 6:22 am

Wearing aprons and with clay-covered hands they were mixing and molding clay into unique objects. Because I like coffee I like what holds coffee, coffee mugs. Every few years we have to clean out the kitchen cupboard and donate a dozen or so mugs to the church’s rummage sale. I knew I didn’t need another [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Dome Collapse
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 12, 2010, 03:42:48 PM
Dome Collapse (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3075)
12 December 2010, 3:42 pm

The video showing the collapse of the Metrodome in Minneapolis certainly looks surreal. How a huge roof like that can collapse, but it did. I’m sure they had all kinds of engineers who did the math on the project and that everyone was assured it wouldn’t happen. Only problem, it did! Jesus used an illustration [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Avatar
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 12, 2010, 05:43:08 PM
Avatar (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3082)
12 December 2010, 4:58 pm

The movie Avatar was a lush visual feast as well as possessing an intriguing storyline. As a science fiction fan I really enjoyed the movie. Most of the story unfolds on Pandora, an Eden-like moon of the giant star Alpha Centauri. I suspect that’s what was attractive about the film to many of us, the [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Christmas Church Sign Saying
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 14, 2010, 08:03:17 AM
Christmas Church Sign Saying (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3095)
14 December 2010, 6:34 am

“Christmas is God’s gift wrapped in human flesh.” from my book Silent Words Loudly Spoken (you may order through Amazon.)

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Decorated Christmas Wagon
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 14, 2010, 08:03:17 AM
Decorated Christmas Wagon (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3097)
14 December 2010, 6:38 am

Here’s a picture I took yesterday of a nicely decorated wagon.  All it’s missing is the horses!

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Church Sign Sayings
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 15, 2010, 06:15:10 AM
Church Sign Sayings (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3128)
15 December 2010, 5:45 am

“Get outside yourself so God can get into you.” from my book Silent Words Loudly Spoken (you may order through Amazon.)

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The Third Week in Advent
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 15, 2010, 04:21:16 PM
The Third Week in Advent (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3135)
15 December 2010, 2:55 pm

The third of four candles is lit for this the third week in Advent. This past weekend I continued my four-part series on the characters we see in our traditional nativity scene. This third message is on the shepherds. Click HERE to read, listen, or download the mp3 of the message.

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The Joy to Beat All Joy!
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 16, 2010, 06:28:47 AM
The Joy to Beat All Joy! (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3131)
16 December 2010, 5:47 am

One of the words associated with Christmas is JOY. It gets a lot of play in many of the Christmas carols. Graphic artists create a myriad of variations in those three letters and they find their way onto Christmas cards, web pages, stickers for gift wrapping and appliques for store-front windows. Listen to the voices [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: A Lesson from the Shepherds in the Christmas Story
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 17, 2010, 06:45:07 AM
A Lesson from the Shepherds in the Christmas Story (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3154)
17 December 2010, 5:36 am

(What follows is an excerpt from last weekend’s message I delivered in my church.) It happened on a hillside outside the little town of Bethlehem some 2,000 years ago. Some shepherds were watching their flock of sheep. It was night (when there are no fences the sheep need 24/7 care). Suddenly the dark and silent [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Dog Theology
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 19, 2010, 05:16:38 PM
Dog Theology (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3054)
19 December 2010, 4:51 pm

I’d like to suggest that there are three kinds of dogs. There are wild dogs that have no master. They’re thin, flea-bitten, and usually have their tails between their legs in fear. Then there are pet dogs, particularly lap dogs. These are wonderful, happy dogs. They’re loved and cared for, but they’re not always obedient. [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: A Lesson from the Wise Men in the Christmas Story
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 21, 2010, 03:44:43 PM
A Lesson from the Wise Men in the Christmas Story (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3196)
21 December 2010, 3:31 pm

There’s something about us that wants to be in awe, we want to be wowed, to be astonished, blown away, amazed. We pay good money to have it happen. We buy tickets for off-the charts concerts, movies with cutting-edge special effects, and monster truck shows. There’s a group of guys who were amazed. They’re part [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The Fourth Week in Advent
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 21, 2010, 07:48:26 PM
The Fourth Week in Advent (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3208)
21 December 2010, 6:37 pm

The fourth of four candles is lit for this the fourth week in Advent. This past weekend I concluded my four-part series on the characters we see in our traditional nativity scene. This third message is on the Wise Men. Click HERE to read, listen, or download the mp3 of the message.

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Join Us Christmas Eve!
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 22, 2010, 07:54:23 AM
Join Us Christmas Eve! (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3214)
22 December 2010, 6:51 am

If you’re a regular reader of my blog but don’t have a church you regularly attend, and live in the Toledo area, I’d like to invite you to attend one of our Christmas Eve services. Our Christmas Eve services are at 2:00, 4:00, and 6:00 on Christmas Eve day. If you accept this invitation please [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: God, The Unpredictable Gift Giver
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 23, 2010, 08:04:37 AM
God, The Unpredictable Gift Giver (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3219)
23 December 2010, 6:33 am

It’s Christmas this Saturday and, unlike most men I already have my gifts for Diann purchased (though not wrapped, oops, I mean not yet bagged – why wrap it when I can far more easily bag it?) She knows what one of the gifts is — walked me over to the shelf in the store, [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Jesus’ Glory
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 24, 2010, 08:20:25 AM
Jesus’ Glory (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3230)
24 December 2010, 7:06 am

Here’s a photo I took of the baby Jesus from our church’s in-doors nativity scene. I wanted to capture the glory of the incarnation. I used the reflection of the sun through a window that was on the surface of a desk at church. The second photo shows what it looked like from a distance. [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Christmas Eve Service Video
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 25, 2010, 06:32:28 AM
Christmas Eve Service Video (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3236)
25 December 2010, 6:19 am

Here’s the link to a video of my Christmas Eve message at my church, the Mayfair-Plymouth Congregational Church. http://vimeo.com/18161611 Merry Christmas!

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: All Together Now!
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 26, 2010, 10:50:54 AM
All Together Now! (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3158)
26 December 2010, 9:48 am

This past summer a group of us went door-to-door inviting people to attend our church. When my wife Diann knocked at one door a man wearing a Pittsburgh Steelers shirt came to the door. When Diann extended the invitation to join us some time at church he responded by stating that he could worship God [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Nature Video
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 30, 2010, 11:58:16 PM
Nature Video (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3241)
30 December 2010, 10:37 pm

Check out this short nature video I just shot.  Click HERE.

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Measuring Time in the New Year
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on December 31, 2010, 08:03:12 AM
Measuring Time in the New Year (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3177)
31 December 2010, 7:32 am

The transition from one year to the next makes most of us a little more time conscious. It seems we just got used to writing 2010 on everything and now we have to switch again, to writing 2011. The rising and setting of the sun is a relentless cycle that keeps time moving forward. A [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Spiritual Wi-Fi
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on January 06, 2011, 06:48:30 AM
Spiritual Wi-Fi (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3247)
6 January 2011, 6:05 am

Ah, the benefits of having Wi-Fi again! I’m sitting here at Starbucks with an internet connection by which I can send this e-mail to you. I’m not taking this free WiFi for granted because earlier this week I didn’t have it. We were visiting my mother in Parkersburg, Iowa. She doesn’t have a computer, let [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Ted Willams and His Redemption
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on January 06, 2011, 06:56:21 PM
Ted Willams and His Redemption (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3255)
6 January 2011, 5:15 pm

Almost everyone has seen the story of Ted Williams, the homeless man with the golden voice, and how his life has been turned around.  He’s appeared on the national morning shows and has numerous offers to do voice-overs.  His story has captivated the hearts of millions of us.  Why?  Because it’s a story of redemption.  [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Variety Is the Spice of Life
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on January 12, 2011, 06:06:30 AM
Variety Is the Spice of Life (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3278)
12 January 2011, 6:04 am

A photo I recently took of four kinds of apples. I’m not sure how many varieties of apples God originally created but apple breeders have delighted in multiplying that number. Apple varieties not only have distinctive colors but, more importantly, distinctive taste. “Spies for pies” is how Steve, an orchard-owner friend of mine puts it [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: We’re So Different
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on January 13, 2011, 06:18:56 AM
We’re So Different (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3284)
13 January 2011, 5:46 am

While on vacation in Iowa my brother Mark and I went hunting. He was hunting for deer with his rifle and I was hunting for a good picture to take of a deer. We both were hoping to shoot something – him a deer and me a picture of a deer. He showed me his [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Church Sign Saying — “Kneel before God and you can stand before anything.”
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on January 13, 2011, 06:18:56 AM
Church Sign Saying — “Kneel before God and you can stand before anything.” (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3275)
13 January 2011, 5:54 am

from my book Silent Words Loudly Spoken (you may order through Amazon.)

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Church Sign Saying “Give management of life to Jesus and life is manageable.”
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on January 14, 2011, 06:35:09 AM
Church Sign Saying “Give management of life to Jesus and life is manageable.” (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3293)
14 January 2011, 6:24 am

from my book Silent Words Loudly Spoken (you may order through Amazon.)

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: A Thought…
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on January 14, 2011, 12:38:36 PM
A Thought… (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3307)
14 January 2011, 10:46 am

A thought that came to me while typing up the weekend message — Don’t wait to share what you do not yet know about God, just share what you do know.

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Church Sign Saying — “Always live with heaven in view”
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on January 15, 2011, 06:49:02 AM
Church Sign Saying — “Always live with heaven in view” (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3309)
15 January 2011, 6:42 am

from my book Silent Words Loudly Spoken (you may order through Amazon.)

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Church Sign Sayings — “To be full of God we can’t be full of self.”
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on January 16, 2011, 07:01:00 AM
Church Sign Sayings —  “To be full of God we can’t be full of self.” (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3305)
16 January 2011, 6:39 am

from my book Silent Words Loudly Spoken (you may order through Amazon.)

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Church Sign Sayings — “Happy are those who give themselves to God.”
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on January 18, 2011, 05:30:28 AM
Church Sign Sayings — “Happy are those who give themselves to God.” (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3315)
18 January 2011, 5:29 am

from my book Silent Words Loudly Spoken (you may order through Amazon.)

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Church Sign Sayings — “Give up hope of having a better past.”
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on January 19, 2011, 05:44:40 AM
Church Sign Sayings — “Give up hope of having a better past.” (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3317)
19 January 2011, 5:41 am

from my book Silent Words Loudly Spoken (you may order through Amazon.)

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Why Humility Is So Powerful among Others
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on January 19, 2011, 07:45:01 AM
Why Humility Is So Powerful among Others (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3319)
19 January 2011, 6:04 am

Working and worshiping among the same people for 35 years has helped me to realize just how much of our spiritual formation results from our relating to one another in a church setting. I came across the following insight in my reading of Dietrich Bonhoeffer the other morning. Thought I’d share it with you. He [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Church Sign Sayings — “If you’re through growing, you’re through!”
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on January 20, 2011, 05:58:33 AM
Church Sign Sayings — “If you’re through growing, you’re through!” (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3326)
20 January 2011, 5:41 am

from my book Silent Words Loudly Spoken (you may order through Amazon.)

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The Power of Empathy
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on January 20, 2011, 06:04:38 PM
The Power of Empathy (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3323)
20 January 2011, 5:03 pm

There is an ability that, if one possesses, endears one to other people as few things do. It’s the ability to experience empathy. In fact, one could argue that people who can’t show empathy are pathetic! We want people to feel our pain. Life’s tough and we like it when someone else has at least [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Living Beyond Self
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on January 21, 2011, 02:18:51 PM
Living Beyond Self (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3349)
21 January 2011, 2:03 pm

Our son is a police officer who was called in on a missing person case. It was a young man in his early twenties who had serious mental issues. The fire department was called out on the search, too, looking for the young man near where his car had been found in a wooded area. [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Even Jack LaLanne Couldn’t Live Forever
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on January 26, 2011, 07:21:09 AM
Even Jack LaLanne Couldn’t Live Forever (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3367)
26 January 2011, 6:49 am

Jack LaLanne, the physical fitness guru and icon of the last 60 years, died Sunday at age 96. I remember watching him do his workouts on TV, millions of us baby boomers and those older than us do. Jack exercised well, ate well, and had a positive attitude. These are the characteristics that make for [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Perspectives on an Elephant (and Other Things)
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on January 27, 2011, 05:44:20 PM
Perspectives on an Elephant (and Other Things) (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3391)
27 January 2011, 4:19 pm

There’s the ancient eastern story of a group of six blind men who came upon an elephant and were asked to describe it. The blind man who touched a leg said the elephant was like a pillar; the one who felt the tail said the elephant was like a rope; the one who caressed the [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Praying for Each Other Over the Internet
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on January 28, 2011, 07:50:58 AM
Praying for Each Other Over the Internet (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3401)
28 January 2011, 6:50 am

Our church has an e-mail prayer group where prayer requests are sent to those in the group. We used to have a prayer chain where we called each other on the phone. Only problem, sometimes the prayer requests evolved into something really weird, reminiscent of the game of telephone. Modern technology, newer technology (the phone [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: A Video Thought
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on January 28, 2011, 07:50:58 AM
A Video Thought (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3404)
28 January 2011, 6:58 am

Click HERE for a 10 second Video Devotion

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Living and Leaving a Legacy
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on January 30, 2011, 08:18:54 AM
Living and Leaving a Legacy (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3296)
30 January 2011, 6:40 am

It was 100 years ago that the Rev. Richard T. Boyd, pictured here, became the pastor of the church I serve (the Plymouth part, when it was on Cheery Street). What he wrote to this church nearly 100 years ago I want to “dido” to the same church, the church I now serve. “Shall we [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Church Sign Sayings — “Our hurt reaches God’s heart.”
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on February 02, 2011, 06:56:49 AM
Church Sign Sayings — “Our hurt reaches God’s heart.” (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3429)
2 February 2011, 5:36 am

I wrote the book (or at least one of them) on church sign sayings.  You can order Silent Words Loudly Spoken from Amazon, just click HERE.

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Standing on Shoulders
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on February 03, 2011, 08:10:14 AM
Standing on Shoulders (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3431)
3 February 2011, 6:32 am

One of my favorite authors is John Piper, pastor of the Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis and author of Desiring God. While reading Piper recently he referenced a classic author who greatly influenced him, Henry Scougal (1650-1678), who lived a short life of 28 years before succumbing to tuberculosis. I have ordered, received, and have [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The “Big Story”
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on February 10, 2011, 05:46:53 PM
The “Big Story” (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3450)
10 February 2011, 5:07 pm

The way I have it figured MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology) graduates are pretty smart people.  One graduate is James Choung, a Christian, who has come up with a simple way to describe a worldview that’s the Biblical worldview  “The Big Story” is what he calls this way of describing reality.  In the secular environment [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Meanwhile, Back at The Ranch!
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on February 13, 2011, 10:36:47 PM
Meanwhile, Back at The Ranch! (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3457)
13 February 2011, 9:30 pm

Diann and I in front of the house at Refuge Ranch in Mexico, home to our daughter and her family. We’re spending some great time here, though I head back home the first part of this week, Diann stays a week longer. It’s been great re-connecting with the family here, and being here when five [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The New Additions to Our Family!
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on February 13, 2011, 10:36:47 PM
The New Additions to Our Family! (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3463)
13 February 2011, 9:42 pm

It was God’s timing that Diann and I were here in Mexico visiting with Julie, Victor, and the family, when five siblings came to stay! It happened Friday. They had been raised by an older woman who is called “Grandma” even though she is no relation. It simply became too much for her to continue [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Back at It
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on February 16, 2011, 07:10:27 AM
Back at It (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3456)
16 February 2011, 6:57 am

I’m back from a week visiting our daughter Julie and family in Mexico. Diann stayed for another week. It seems it’s difficult to get a grandma’s fix in one week! Hopefully, you’ll see more entries from me, now that I’m back.

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: How to Have a Glorious Day
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on February 17, 2011, 07:24:40 AM
How to Have a Glorious Day (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3484)
17 February 2011, 7:23 am

It would be good to remind ourselves regularly that God has designed us to enjoy His glory. We can see glimpses of God’s glory all around us in His glorious creation. “The heavens declare His glory.” (Psalm 19:1) This is why, when I fly, like I did this past week back from Mexico, I like [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: When Thanksgiving Trumps Amazement
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on February 18, 2011, 07:38:47 AM
When Thanksgiving Trumps Amazement (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3477)
18 February 2011, 6:57 am

“It was a dark and stormy night…” So goes the infamous opening line of the 1830 novel by Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton. Cartoonist Charles Schulz often had his character Snoopy attempting to write the great novel by using this as an opening line. But it was a dark and stormy night when the disciples of [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Greater Than the Greatest Mountain!
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on February 20, 2011, 10:14:49 PM
Greater Than the Greatest Mountain! (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3494)
20 February 2011, 9:34 pm

The accompanying image is of Popocatepetl, an active volcano that is within sight of Refuge Ranch, where our daughter and her family live in Mexico. It’s the second highest peak in Mexico, topping out at 17,800 feet. I love gazing upon this powerful presence when I’m in Mexico, and enjoy photographing it as well! This [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Holding Up Under an Icy Grip
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on February 22, 2011, 08:32:53 AM
Holding Up Under an Icy Grip (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3502)
22 February 2011, 7:21 am

The recent ice storm brought down countless branches, big and small. It was the big ones that are a concern when they fall. One landed on our roof. Thankfully, no damage. The small, itsy bitsy branches and twigs will be an annoyance in spring, when we have to pick them all up! You never know [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Church Sign Sayings — “When it’s out of your hands, fold them in prayer”
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on February 24, 2011, 08:27:05 AM
Church Sign Sayings — “When it’s out of your hands, fold them in prayer” (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3506)
24 February 2011, 6:42 am

(I might add, we’re to “fold them in prayer” even when we think it’s within our grasp to do something about it, but it’s those helpless times we most recognize our dependence on God)

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The Gift of Being Valued
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on February 24, 2011, 04:33:06 PM
The Gift of Being Valued (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3507)
24 February 2011, 3:00 pm

Rupert (my associate) e-mailed me an article by the CEO of The Energy Project, Tony Schwartz. This CEO points out how we often devalue each other. He quotes Daniel Goleman who, in his book Social Intelligence, states, “Threats to our standing in the eyes of others are almost as powerful as those to our very [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Church Sign Sayings — “We don’t need everything we want.”
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on February 25, 2011, 06:40:53 AM
Church Sign Sayings —  “We don’t need everything we want.” (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3523)
25 February 2011, 6:04 am

Just a reminder, I wrote the book on church sign sayings, Silent Words Loudly Spoken. It can be ordered from Amazon HERE.

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The Holy Habit of Sensing His Presence
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on February 26, 2011, 08:54:43 AM
The Holy Habit of Sensing His Presence (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3534)
26 February 2011, 8:07 am

I’ve seen the words on a school sign as I drove by: “Donuts with Dads” or “Muffins with Moms.” The words conjure up cozy images of children who are excited about having Mom or Dad at school munching on a muffin or downing a doughnut with their children. I want to add another phrase to [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The Positive Side of Feeling Inadequate
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on February 28, 2011, 11:20:51 AM
The Positive Side of Feeling Inadequate (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3525)
28 February 2011, 9:25 am

For years I assumed that my parents had named me after King David in the Bible. David was an amazing young super-hero, which he proved by killing lions and bears to protect his father’s sheep and by slaying the giant Goliath. David was also a great military strategist. Then he became the greatest king Israel [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: A Full-Body Prayer Scan
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on March 03, 2011, 08:00:18 AM
A Full-Body Prayer Scan (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3566)
3 March 2011, 6:04 am

Oswald J. Smith (1889-1986) became a Christian at the age of sixteen under the preaching of the famous evangelist R. A. Torrey. Smith applied to be a missionary with the foreign missions board of the Presbyterian Church of Canada but he had very poor health and was turned down. Sometimes we wonder why life doesn’t [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The Best GPS
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on March 04, 2011, 08:12:59 AM
The Best GPS (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3580)
4 March 2011, 6:38 am

She has instructed many of us where to drive. Her name is Karen Jacobsen, and her voice is heard by millions of people every day. She’s the voice coming from countless GPS devices: “Turn right at the next corner.” Karen said that she spent 50 hours in the recording studio voicing all the words and [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The Incredible Value of an Ordinary Day!
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on March 06, 2011, 08:44:57 AM
The Incredible Value of an Ordinary Day! (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3597)
6 March 2011, 6:46 am

A recent ice storm left our yard a mess. We had a huge tree limb on our roof that was too big to drag off in one piece. An entire tree was lying across our back yard. I saw branches galore that I knew would have to be hauled away and a gazillion twigs that [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Life Beyond The Comfort Zone
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on March 08, 2011, 07:10:47 AM
Life Beyond The Comfort Zone (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3584)
8 March 2011, 5:51 am

I’ve always been a fan of Star Trek. The opening words of the original TV series have become part of our culture. While you watch the starship Enterprise whisk through space at warp speed, a voice says about the Enterprise, “Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: A Godly View of Sexuality
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on March 08, 2011, 07:16:39 PM
A Godly View of Sexuality (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3621)
8 March 2011, 7:04 pm

I like how the Wheaton College Community Covenant defines Godly sexuality. I think it’s brief and straightforward. It states that “followers of Jesus Christ will… uphold chastity among the unmarried (1 Cor. 6:18) and the sanctity of marriage between a man and woman (Heb. 13:4)” and “by contrast, Scripture condemns the following: sexual immorality, such [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The God of all Hills and of Me
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on March 09, 2011, 07:22:28 AM
The God of all Hills and of Me (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3629)
9 March 2011, 5:59 am

This photo is one of many I’ve taken of Popo the volcano in Mexico. This view is actually from Refuge Ranch early in the morning. I always think of Psalm 121:1-2 when I gaze at Popo. “I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: We’re Influencers
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on March 10, 2011, 07:30:44 AM
We’re Influencers (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3593)
10 March 2011, 5:39 am

I’ve read two books by Mitch Albom, a sports writer for the Detroit Free Press, and best selling author. Both books have been about men who have influenced his life in profound ways. Tuesdays with Morrie focuses on an old and dying college professor of his that he reconnected with years later, the last month’s [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Out of the Saltshaker
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on March 11, 2011, 03:22:54 PM
Out of the Saltshaker (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3641)
11 March 2011, 2:50 pm

The desktop image on my office computer is a photo I designed and took for sale on iStockphoto.com (pictured here).  It’s of a saltshaker tipped on its side with numerous grains of salt scattered about (it’s sold 54 times to date). I suspect the image has been used for two major applications. Some undoubtedly purchased [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Perseverance Wins the Day!
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on March 14, 2011, 07:00:35 AM
Perseverance Wins the Day! (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3652)
14 March 2011, 6:39 am

One of my favorite Aesop’s fables is the race between the tortoise and the rabbit. The rabbit was making fun of the tortoise for being so slow. The tortoise said, “I’ll race you!” The rabbit, of course, agreed. The fox set out a course for the race and they were off. Quickly the rabbit disappeared [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Faith Woods
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on March 16, 2011, 09:31:26 AM
Faith Woods (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3682)
16 March 2011, 6:57 am

Have you ever noticed how the trees in a woods mingle their branches against the sky? So too the roots, though this fellowship of the roots is largely hidden. We walk through the woods and the trees seem to be spaced apart from each other but look up or dig down and they are intertwined, [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The Last Snow
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on March 17, 2011, 07:09:18 AM
The Last Snow (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3706)
17 March 2011, 5:49 am

OK, I don’t have any kind of spiritual application for the accompanying picture. Maybe you do! If so, please post your comment. I just had to show you the very last bit of snow we had on our one-acre place last evening! That’s it, what I’m pointing to! In fact, by bed time it was [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Month of March, Month of Waiting
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on March 17, 2011, 05:14:38 PM
Month of March, Month of Waiting (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3692)
17 March 2011, 4:06 pm

March is a strange month. Winter tries to hold on while spring makes a weak attempt to make its appearance. The result is often a dreary and drab month that produces more than its share of brrrr and blah days. Any snow that remains is in piles and has a coating of dirt. The landscape [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Real Satisfaction
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on March 19, 2011, 09:11:13 AM
Real Satisfaction (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3709)
19 March 2011, 7:15 am

It’s always amazing to hear about how many TV and movie stars end up in rehab for alcohol or drug abuse. They’ve achieved fame and fortune, but it obviously isn’t satisfying enough to keep them from searching for even more satisfaction. Business tycoons work hard to earn more money, and they often admit that they [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: My Motives Meet God’s Compassion
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on March 20, 2011, 07:03:15 PM
My Motives Meet God’s Compassion (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3728)
20 March 2011, 5:46 pm

I’m reading a book by Henry Scougal (1650-1678) titled The Life of God in the Soul of Man. The language is dated but the message has influenced countless Christians. One of my favorite contemporary authors, John Piper, credits Scougal as a major influence on his life. Scougal addresses the issue of whether we can do [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Grace Greater than Our Sins
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on March 22, 2011, 09:10:52 AM
Grace Greater than Our Sins (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3736)
22 March 2011, 8:55 am

John Newton was the author of the popular hymn Amazing Grace. He writes of our frequent sense of being so inadequate and sinful before God that He couldn’t possibly want us. “You say you feel overwhelmed with guilt and a sense of unworthiness? Well, indeed you cannot be too aware of the evils inside of [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Light to Thrive
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on March 23, 2011, 07:07:07 AM
Light to Thrive (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3741)
23 March 2011, 5:43 am

I have a bonsai tree that I’m growing: a Chinese elm. It was doing great last summer on our patio table but I had to bring it into the house this past winter and put it by a window. It survived the winter in the window, but barely, it’s branches ended up nearly bare! (Pictured [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Giving the Reason for the Good We Do
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on March 24, 2011, 07:10:42 AM
Giving the Reason for the Good We Do (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3751)
24 March 2011, 5:37 am

Someone gets a new blacktop driveway and up goes the contractor’s sign telling everyone who’s doing the work. Someone gets new replacement windows for their home and up goes the contractor’s sign telling everyone who’s doing the work. Someone gets new shingles on their house and up goes the contractor’s sign telling everyone who’s doing [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: “I Can Find My Way Home from Here”
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on March 26, 2011, 07:09:19 AM
“I Can Find My Way Home from Here” (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3694)
26 March 2011, 5:49 am

Author Anne Lamott writes of a little girl of seven who got lost. She ran up and down the streets but could find nothing familiar. Then a policeman found her. He put her in the back seat of his police car and drove around until she spotted her church. She told him, “You can let [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: What Can Compare to God?
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on March 29, 2011, 09:05:13 PM
What Can Compare to God? (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3774)
29 March 2011, 8:20 pm

From the writings of Henry Scrougal (1650-1678) in his book The Life of God in the Soul of Man. “The love of the world and the love of God are like the scales of a balance: as the one falleth, the other doth rise… At what do I am? Can the gross and muddy pleasures [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Living the Questions
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on March 31, 2011, 05:16:35 PM
Living the Questions (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3779)
31 March 2011, 5:10 pm

We all live with unanswered questions. I’m typing this on my laptop. I know a few things about how computers work, but I can’t answer a lot of my own questions about them. However, this doesn’t stop me from using my laptop! We can all come up with many questions for God. As I see [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: A Response to Google Man
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on April 01, 2011, 03:16:20 PM
A Response to Google Man (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3791)
1 April 2011, 3:05 pm

Tim Keller, a well-known pastor and writer, spoke at Google headquarters a couple of years ago. It was largely a secular audience, which was obvious because of what some people in the audience said and the questions they asked during a question and answer time following Keller’s presentation. One young man came up to the [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Charlie Sheen’s Redemption
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on April 03, 2011, 05:14:11 PM
Charlie Sheen’s Redemption (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3799)
3 April 2011, 4:01 pm

Charlie Sheen was in our neighborhood (Detroit) last night to do a show at the Fox theater. You probably have heard by now that he was booed throughout his short appearance. Audience members were bitterly disappointed but also had a difficult time articulating what they expected him to do. It seems to me he met [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Jesus Returning May 21?
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on April 06, 2011, 05:41:04 PM
Jesus Returning May 21? (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3819)
6 April 2011, 4:55 pm

Billboards are popping up all over (at least here in the Toledo, Ohio area, that proclaim Christ’s coming judgment day as May 21 of this year. The billboards are sponsored by Family Radio. Jesus said “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The Best Weapon against Enemies
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on April 07, 2011, 11:06:46 PM
The Best Weapon against Enemies (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3813)
7 April 2011, 9:41 pm

People pain is a significant, often the most significant, pain we experience in our day-to-day lives. When people say they’ve had a tough day at work, more often than not it was people problems that tops the list of reasons. Sure, it could have been a computer glitch, but you can reboot a computer. We’d [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: His Knowledge and Wisdom
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on April 12, 2011, 11:12:51 AM
His Knowledge and Wisdom (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3839)
12 April 2011, 10:59 am

Consider the knowledge and wisdom of Jesus Christ. I recently did, while reading John Piper’s book, Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ. I’m quoting from his book (pp. 51-56) “Lord, you know everything.” (John 21:17) “Jesus not only knows all of us as we are today, he also knows what we will think and do tomorrow. [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The Rescuer
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on April 14, 2011, 03:15:13 PM
The Rescuer (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3852)
14 April 2011, 2:22 pm

The person is swimming out in the ocean, far from shore. He starts to drown and cries out, “Help me! I’m drowning!” Imagine the lifeguard seeing the drowning person, standing up in his high-mounted lifeguard chair and shouting over a megaphone while raising a book in his hand, “I’m going to read you some tips [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Palm Sunday
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on April 17, 2011, 07:12:57 AM
Palm Sunday (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3863)
16 April 2011, 8:59 pm

Palm Sunday celebrates King Jesus! He is to rule in our lives. What does it mean to live for Him and not for self? It means holding our tongues when we’d rather speak our mind — It means speaking our mind when we’d rather hold our tongues. It means doing what we don’t want to [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Jesus’ Obituary
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on April 19, 2011, 07:10:23 AM
Jesus’ Obituary (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3874)
19 April 2011, 6:03 am

Someone e-mailed me the following obituary. I thought it very appropriate for Holy Week. Of course, it will have to be retracted on Sunday!

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Compassion and Mercy
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on April 21, 2011, 07:10:25 AM
Compassion and Mercy (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3884)
21 April 2011, 5:42 am

It’s Holy Week, the week in the year we celebrate God taking decisive action to make things right in this world and this cosmos of ours. Having entered our world as one of us (the theme of Christmas) God goes to a cross for us to take away our sin, then rises from the dead [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Switching Shoes
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on April 22, 2011, 07:06:43 AM
Switching Shoes (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3844)
22 April 2011, 5:35 am

I recall an old story of a husband who informed his wife that he thought her task of keeping things running at their humble cottage was easy work compared to what he headed off to do at work each day. His wife challenged him to switch places. What ensues is a humorous account of one [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Good Friday and Why It’s So Good!
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on April 22, 2011, 07:06:43 AM
Good Friday and Why It’s So Good! (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3891)
22 April 2011, 5:46 am

The worst thing that ever happened, happened on this Friday.  An innocent, holy, man was sent to the cross, God in the flesh crucified!  Jesus dying on a cross. Yet, we call it GOOD Friday. Amazing! God’s in the business of turning bad into good!

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The Good Shepherd
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on April 27, 2011, 09:04:42 PM
The Good Shepherd (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3911)
27 April 2011, 8:46 pm

I heard about a little boy who had to memorize the 23rd Psalm for Sunday school. He tried his best, but when he got up in front of the Sunday school class he couldn’t remember the whole thing — so he said, “The Lord is my Shepherd, and that’s all I need to know.” He [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: A Tale of Two Weddings
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on April 28, 2011, 07:03:40 PM
A Tale of Two Weddings (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3908)
28 April 2011, 6:08 pm

This a tale of two weddings. Both are happening this week. I suppose there’s thousands of weddings this week, but I’m aware of these two. The first wedding of which I’m aware is the one at which I officiated at this week. It was a small, intimate affair of about ten people who witnessed the [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: A Church of Gray Cowboy Hats
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on April 30, 2011, 07:08:46 AM
A Church of Gray Cowboy Hats (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3924)
30 April 2011, 6:51 am

I grew up watching westerns on TV where it was easy to identify the good guys and the bad guys. Usually the bad guys wore black hats and the good guys wore white hats.  When my brother and I played “cowboys” neither of us wanted to be the bad guy so we would pretend that [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: A Prayer
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on May 05, 2011, 07:11:08 AM
A Prayer (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3933)
5 May 2011, 6:20 am

Here’s a prayer I found. Lord, I am willing To receive what You give; To lack what You withhold; To relinquish what You take; To suffer what You inflict; To be what You require. Amen.

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The Joy of Work?
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on May 06, 2011, 03:13:05 PM
The Joy of Work? (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3942)
6 May 2011, 2:37 pm

“I love work so much that I could sit all day and watch someone work.” I’ve said that half in jest on occasion. I say it only “half in jest” because, if truth be told, I do sometimes prefer being a spectator to work rather than a participant. Work is often not easy nor is [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Of Traffic Controlers and THE Life Controller
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on May 10, 2011, 03:16:57 PM
Of Traffic Controlers and THE Life Controller (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3950)
10 May 2011, 2:53 pm

Traffic controllers made the news because some of their number weren’t able to stay awake through the night shift. I have a verse of Scripture for night-working traffic controllers: “Allow no sleep to your eyes, no slumber to your eyelids.” (Proverbs 6:4) Seriously, a sleeping air traffic controller poses a serious danger to the flying [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The Kingdom of Self
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on May 10, 2011, 03:16:57 PM
The Kingdom of Self (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3955)
10 May 2011, 3:03 pm

What does it mean to let Jesus be the king of our own little kingdom of SELF? What does it mean to live for Him and not for ourselves? It means holding our tongues when we’d rather speak our minds. — It means speaking our minds when we’d rather hold our tongues. It means doing [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Of Traffic Controllers and THE Life Controller
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on May 11, 2011, 09:12:55 AM
Of Traffic Controllers and THE Life Controller (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3950)
10 May 2011, 2:53 pm

Traffic controllers made the news because some of their number weren’t able to stay awake through the night shift. I have a verse of Scripture for night-working traffic controllers: “Allow no sleep to your eyes, no slumber to your eyelids.” (Proverbs 6:4) Seriously, a sleeping air traffic controller poses a serious danger to the flying [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Tulip Time, a Brief Time
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on May 13, 2011, 09:05:01 PM
Tulip Time, a Brief Time (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3972)
13 May 2011, 8:16 pm

The tulips are blooming bright and beautiful, for the moment. I was thinking about this the other day as I sat on my patio and watched the tulips around my decorative pond bob in the breeze. I had been so busy I realized I hadn’t taken much time to look at them and enjoy them. [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Down Through The Generations
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on May 17, 2011, 07:11:12 AM
Down Through The Generations (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3979)
17 May 2011, 5:50 am

My grandfather, John Claassen, was a farmer. He apparently also owned and operated a threshing machine with his brothers. The accompanying photo was taken one year short of a hundred years ago, in 1912! The thresher was powered by a steam engine tractor. What a machine – ug, ug, ug! The other photo is of [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: In The Face of Poverty
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on May 18, 2011, 03:13:06 PM
In The Face of Poverty (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=4002)
18 May 2011, 3:03 pm

“Been reading DANGEROUS CHURCH by John Bishop. He writes that in the face of great poverty and pain he heard God saying, “You can’t do everything, but you have to do something!” (picture is of a child I took at “Cardboard City” in Mexico — one of the poorest places on earth)

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: In the Face of Poverty
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on May 19, 2011, 05:17:46 PM
In the Face of Poverty (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=4002)
18 May 2011, 3:03 pm

“Been reading DANGEROUS CHURCH by John Bishop. He writes that in the face of great poverty and pain he heard God saying, “You can’t do everything, but you have to do something!” (photo I took of a child at “Cardboard City” in Mexico — one of the poorest places on earth)

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: On Complaining and Grumbling
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on May 20, 2011, 07:10:54 AM
On Complaining and Grumbling (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=3997)
20 May 2011, 6:09 am

“Quit your complaining,” the parent says to the child. There’s also the variation on this theme – “Quit your grumbling!” It’s one of the things children are to learn early on, to curtail complaining and grumbling. I guess we never really grow up because it’s a tendency we continue to fight all of our lives! [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The End of The World
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on May 21, 2011, 07:12:31 AM
The End of The World (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=4019)
21 May 2011, 6:49 am

Today is the day a radio broadcaster claims Christ will return. The media has had a fun time with the man’s claim, and the amazing amount of publicity it has generated. Sadly, it has produced a caricature of a key teaching of Jesus, one image being that of the proverbial man wearing a sandwich board [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: Judgment Day
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on May 21, 2011, 09:12:57 AM
Judgment Day (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=4019)
21 May 2011, 6:49 am

Today is the day a radio broadcaster claims Christ will return. The media has had a fun time with the man’s claim and the amazing amount of publicity it has generated. Sadly, it has produced a caricature of a key teaching of Jesus, one image being that of the proverbial man wearing a sandwich board [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The Return of Christ — The Great Expectation
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on May 25, 2011, 07:11:25 AM
The Return of Christ — The Great Expectation (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=4029)
25 May 2011, 6:48 am

The fact that Christ did not return on May 21, as religious broadcaster Harold Camping had predicted, gave the media a subject that provided comic relief. The idea that the world could come to an end seemed laughable. Most of us Christians cringed at the idea that a fellow Christian would be so misguided as [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: God’s Amazing!
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on June 07, 2011, 02:32:44 PM
God’s Amazing! (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=4048)
31 May 2011, 6:39 am

We were standing by the first phase of the basement of the new, main house at Refuge Ranch in Mexico where our daughter and her husband have established a ministry. The basement needed to be expanded, but there was a huge rocky hill in the way. A local man had tried dynamiting it, but to [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: A God Who Yearns
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on June 07, 2011, 02:32:45 PM
A God Who Yearns (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=4085)
3 June 2011, 6:39 am

I oversee two flocks. One flock is the Mayfair-Pymouth Church. The other flock is a flock of chickens. (I am not attempting to make any comparisons.) Yes, I’m back in the chicken business and so you can expect the occasional poultry parable, as is the case today. I recently transferred my 20 baby chicks from [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: The Game of LIFE
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on June 07, 2011, 02:32:45 PM
The Game of LIFE (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=4090)
4 June 2011, 7:06 am

Kids love playing games, as long as they’re winning. They clap their hands enthusiastically and exclaim, “This is fun!” However, if they start to lose it’s common to hear them say dejectedly, “I don’t want to play anymore.” Wise adults playing a game with children will encourage them to keep playing even if they’re losing. [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)

Title: Faith Reflections: A Faith Outside the Box
Post by: BlogsMonroe.com on June 07, 2011, 04:32:48 PM
A Faith Outside the Box (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith/?p=4110)
7 June 2011, 3:30 pm

“Honey do” lists, either written or implied, are a part of any marriage. It’s true of Diann and myself. We have expectations of what each of us will do. Carrying out the garbage, clearing the table, mowing the lawn, doing the laundry, fixing the light fixture, and thousands of other things that we do for [...]

Source: Faith Reflections (http://www.blogsmonroe.com/faith)