Saturday, December 9, 2017

Tribute To Robert Carter

In July, I attended my 45th High School Reunion.  It is hard to believe that it has been that long ago.  I enjoyed the two days of visiting with classmates that I hadn't seen in 5+ years, as well as with classmates that I had not seen since high school graduation.

After the dinner on that Saturday evening, a video was shown of classmates that were deceased.  There was silence in the room and tears running down one's cheeks as each person was projected on the screen.  There were a few that had passed away in the 70s, a few more in the 80s, 90s, and 2000s.
It really hit home when one observed how many had died in just the last few years.

As I sat there and thought about each person, I kept seeing them as that young, energetic individual who was going to conquer the world.

About a week ago another one of my classmates, Robert Carter was killed in an auto accident.  His wife of three years survived with injuries.

Robert was a unique individual.  In high school, he excelled in sports and building friendships.  He served in active duty in the military from 1972 to 1975 and he continued to serve from 1975 to 1995 in the Army Reserves.  He was called for active duty in Desert Shield and Desert Storm.  While he was there, he suffered from Gulf War Syndrome.

Even during the years that he suffered from his own illness,  he took care of his first wife, who had a long term illness.  He was always willing to assist others, especially veterans.  He was determined that each veteran would be taken care of.

Due to his own sickness and not able to get around as easily, he used that time to locate as many classmates from our graduating class.  He coordinated many reunions and events for the "1972" Graduation Class of Richfield High.

In 2008, he was given six months to live.  His faith and commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ kept him focused and determined to live a life that Christ would live.  God continue to use Robert in ministering to others.

He was a chaplain who performed marriages, funerals and guidance for others who were seeking the meaning of life.

As I heard of his death, I was shocked and wondered why the Lord had chosen this time and this incident to take Robert.  Since I lived in another state, I wasn't able to attend the funeral.  The emotions and tributes that were spoken through Facebook made me realize the impact that he had made on his family, friends, veterans and others that just needed someone to listen to them. 

As I am approaching another birthday, my prayer is that like Robert, I will make a difference to other's lives and that I will step up to the plate and bless others as people have blessed me.

God has a plan for each of our lives and we just need to allow Him to use us!  Robert did!

Friday, December 8, 2017

At The End of the Day

As I looked toward the west toward the Rocky Mountains, I was speechless as I looked at the clouds.  The various shapes, the pink, orange, almost salmon color took my breath away.

I thought of the quote, "Sunsets are proof that no matter what happens, every day can end beautifully".  It had been a good day, but even if it hadn't been, the barren trees, the stillness of the air and the display of colors would have given me a calmness and a realization that "tomorrow is another day".

God's name is to be praised as scriptures states in Psalm 113:3, "From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised".

May you enjoy the beauty that God has created!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Reflect on the Moment

This morning as I rocked in my rocker and looked outside at the frost on the ground and the roofs, I was thankful for having a warm home.  The temperature read at 15 degrees.  It was definitely a morning that I wanted to be inside.

To start my morning, I sipped on my hot coffee and observed the birds out in the wetland.  Some were soaring across the blue sky and some were sitting in the trees with their feathers puffed-up trying to stay warm.

It is December 7th, the day that Japanese planes attacked the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii in 1941. The U.S.S. Arizona was completely destroyed and more than 2,300 Americans were killed.

A day that Americans began to fear the unknown.

As Americans, with so much that has happened within the year, hurricanes, fires, shootings, etc., we are still feeling fearful of the unknown.

What can help me to not be fearful?

As I reflected on the emotions that people are feeling, I read from one of my devotional books and these were the words that were written:

"When my focus is broad enough to include Him in my thoughts, I feel safe and complete.  When my perception narrows so that problems or details fill my consciousness, I feel empty and incomplete.

Though the world is unstable and flux, I can experience continuity through His uninterrupted awareness of His Presence.  I need to fix my gaze on what is unseen, even as the visible world parades before my eyes."

As I step out in life, I need to keep my faith and have the hope knowing that God does work through all situations and circumstances.

Today is a new day!  As I reflect about life and all the fates that we have endeavored, I know that My God will be there to assist me with each step.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Super Moon

As I opened the door into the darkness, I could feel the cool temperature and see the beautiful, bright, beaming moon.  It was as if, I could reach up and touch it from my front porch.

I was out for my nightly walk.  I wanted to see the Christmas decorations at the houses in my neighborhood, as well as enjoy the Super Moon.  This huge, glowing full moon is rare.  Since the moon is close to the earth, it appears brighter and larger than usual.

The sparkling lights from each of the houses and the shining moon put a smile on my face.  There is something about being in nature.  It gives me a calmness and peace that I sometimes cannot find.

It seems as if we are always looking for happiness and joy and we are trying to find ways to create it.  The truth is, that it is right there in front of us.

Some verses regarding the moon:

"When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?  You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor."  Psalm 8:3-5  This verse tells me that when I am not feeling worthy as a person, I have to remember that God considers me highly valuable.  I have great worth because I bear the stamp of the great Creator.  Because God has already stated how valuable I am, I can be set free of feeling worthlessness.

"Praise Him, sun and moon, praise Him, all you shining stars."  Psalm 148:3
Creation is a great symphony and all the parts play together.  I am a part of that symphony.  As I listened to the coyotes in the background and look at the full white moon, I realize that I am a part of God's creation and that I need to "Praise Him for myself and the glorious surroundings."

If you weren't able to enjoy the Super Moon this past week, the Super Moon will also appear on January 1st and January 31st.  Mark it on your calendar, so that you can immerse yourself in the brightness of the moon and "Praise God" for all that He has created.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Who Am I?

As I listened to the service on Sunday, these words hit home with me.  The pastor stated that "there is no true understanding of who you are without first understanding who God is."

Christmas is the most wonderful season to discover God.  If there was no God, there would be no Christmas.  Christmas is a time to explore God's great story.  The story of who He is and what He has promised me.  The hope that He gives me to understand "who I am".

The beginning of God begins in the book of Genesis.  In the beginning, God created....light and darkness; sky and water; land and sea; sun, moon & stars; fish and birds and animals and man.  God felt good about His creation.

We are formed in God's image.  The reflections of His glory.  How am I using my creativity, my speech and self-determination?  Am I glorifying God?  How is my character?  Am I reflecting love, patience, forgiveness, kindness and faithfulness?

God saw what He had created and He was happy.  God was pleased in how He made me.  I need to continue to remember that He made me for a good reason and that I am valuable to Him.

God had the perfect life for me, but in "the beginning, man decided to question God and make his own decisions".  Because of man's disobedience, God was sad.  God could not allow man to get away with sinning.  Due to Adam and Eve's sinful nature, man has inherited the sinful nature.  Adam and Eve broke their relationship with God.  Because of this broken relationship with God, they became self-conscious, they tried to excuse and defend themselves, and they began to doubt themselves and had many more obstacles in their lives.

Wow!  At times, that sounds like me.

But God, who is a loving God, found mercy and promised to send His son to save me from the sins of the world.  With the birth of Jesus, came the hope that we are all looking for.  With the birth of Jesus, came Christmas.

I need to remember these five thoughts of God:

1.  God wants me to know Him and to believe in Him.  Isaiah 43:10, "I chose you to be my servant, so that you would know me and believe in me and understand that I am the only God."
2.  God wants me to glorify Him.  Isaiah 43:7, "They are my own people, and I created them to bring me glory."
3.  God wants me to find satisfaction in Him.  Isaiah 55:2, "Why spend money on what does not satisfy?  Why spend your wages and still be hungry?  Listen to me and do what I say and you will enjoy the best food of all."
4.  God wants me to experience His peace.  Isaiah 48:12, ""Listen to me, Israel, the people I have called!  I am God, the first, the last, and the only God!"
5.  God wants me to enjoy His presence.  Isaiah 43:1-3, "Do not be afraid--I will save you.  I have called you by name--you are mine.  When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you; your troubles will not overwhelm you.  When you pass through fire, you will not be burned; the hard trials that come will not hurt you.  For I am the Lord your God, the holy God of Israel, who saves you."

I just need to remember that all my questions about myself, about life, who am I?, are all found in the Word, the Bible.

As I dive into the Word and hear the truth, may I discover "Who I Am".

I sometimes make life difficult by not realizing that the answers that I am looking for are right before me.

This Holiday Season, may you take the time, to be quiet, watch the flickering of the lights on your tree and listen as He whispers and speaks the truth of who you are!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Countdown for Christmas Day

Today is Day 2 for my advent calendar.  Day two is an angel.  When I saw the angel, the verse that came to mind was Luke 2:8-14.

"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you:  You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

These verses are so powerful.  The angel didn't appeared to the wealthy, but to shepherds.  These could have been the shepherds that supplied the lambs for the temple sacrifices that were performed for the forgiveness of sin.  The angels invited these shepherds to go see the "Lamb of God".  This God would take away the sins of the whole world forever.

The shepherds didn't just walk to see the new baby, but they ran.  They knew that their own lives would never be the same.

The coming of Christmas is a time to reflect on what is really important in your own life. 

Each day I will open up the specific window on the calendar.  Behind each window is a special gift that will draw me closer to Christmas Day.  I will take time to ponder each specific gift.

There is more to Christmas than receiving gifts.  This is a time that we can assist each other and help others to understand the true meaning of Christmas.

There are so many different sizes and types of Advent Calendars.  Find yourself a calendar that will prepare you for the true meaning of Christmas Day.

Once you find the true meaning of Christmas, your life will suddenly be changed!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 1, 2017

An Evening of Lights

The sun had set and the temperature had dropped.  Knowing that I needed another 3,000 steps to get my 10,000 steps for the day, I bundled up.  I put on two layers of pants, a long-sleeved t-shirt, a sweatshirt and a jacket.  I pulled out my black gloves and hat.  Looking like the Pillsbury Dough Boy, I was ready for my evening walk.

As I opened the door, I could feel the cool air on my face.  I looked up into the sky and I could see that the moon was almost full.  With the brightness of the moon and the Christmas lights on the houses, I knew that it would be a pleasant evening of walking.

Not every house had lights, but the ones that did were spectacular.  The warmth of the blue, red, green and white lights helped me to relax and to reflect on the "Reason of the Season".  The Christmas Season is so magical.

There was such a variety of lights. I am partial to the icicle lights.  The white dropping of the lights does make one feel as if there is snow on the ground.  The lights that reflect the snowflakes on the home is also spectacular.

Each house had its own personality.  Some homes had a certain theme, such as Snoopy, the Christmas Story or the Snowman.

A great way to relax at the end of the day during the Holiday Season, is to take a walk and observe the decorations that are just right around your home.  After your walk, you will enter your house with a calmness and peace that you haven't enjoyed in a while.