Friday, May 12, 2017

New and Improved

New and Improved

For those viewers who have been waiting for several years for my next blog addition, I apologize for the long delay.   In the interim I have had to suffer through several years in an A-fib condition, lost a great deal of my energy, and in 2014 retired from a high school teaching position which I had held for over 30 years.  

During the last few years I instructed at Venice High School, I had several electrical cardio-versions and an ablation for atrial flutter.   In December of 2015, I traveled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, there I underwent a 7 hour procedure to correct the electrical problems with my heart.   With God’s help and the skillful hands of my friends at the University of Pen, my heart condition now seems to be completely straightened out.

They say when one door closes, God will open another, that is what I feel has happened in my life.   Retirement has opened up doors which I had not previously considered.   I have now been able to spend many more hours with my grandchildren that I otherwise would have missed.  

More importantly, I have been able to dedicate much more of the time God has given me to sharing the good news of our risen Savior.   In the past three years I have had the opportunities to serve the Lord more deeply through the church and other associations.   In The Gideons International I have been able to serve as a camp president, a regional program leader, and currently as an area director.   Over the years God has given me literally thousands of chances to share His Word.  

In some of the coming blogs, I hope to be able to share with you just some of the blessings which have been given to me as opportunities.   As an active member of my church, I have been able to show the love of God throughout my local community and in the world in which I live.

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Time For Prayer

Over the past few weeks we have been making our annual summer cross-country trip. This year our travels took us to Lorton, Virginia, Rochester, New York, Wildwood Crest, New Jersey, then back to Lorton before returning home to Venice, Florida. We had a wonderful relaxing time, truly enjoyed our family and friends. While staying at the home of my sister (Vicki) and her husband Larry DeWolf (a hospice chaplain), I was introduced to a pastor/author Craig Groeschel.

One of Craig’s books, “The Christian Atheist”, has been my summer reflective reading. I am not sure how accurate its title is, but this book has caused me to deeply look at my own faith. Though my faith has not changed, I believe a little introspection once in a while is a good thing. I encourage anyone who believes in God, but feels separated from Him because of events in this world to read Groeschel’s word of encouragement, then go back to the scriptures and read just how much God loves you.

When reading, I was particularly drawn to chapter 4 “When You Believe in God but Not in Prayer”. Prayer is more than just a form of communication, between you and the God of the universe; it is a way of humbly sharing yourself with one who loved you first. In chapter 4 Groeschel sites reasons why some people who believe in God don’t pray; “they aren’t good enough, don’t know how to pray, or that God won’t answer their prayers”. Let me assure you God will always answer prayers of His children, not always the way we think He should. As for being good enough; none of us is good enough, but for His mercy. God loves us in our imperfection, so even if you have never prayed before open up and share. As Groeschel would say “Talk to God about whatever is on your heart. Cry to Him if you need to. If you’re hurting, unload on Him. He can handle it. If you feel alone, ask Him to comfort you with His presence. If you’ve been away for a while, tell Him you’re ready to come home. If you’re angry, let it rip.”

I want to thank Larry for sharing this book with me and his home during the time I was in Rochester. He is a wonderful brother-in law, and an outstanding Sunday school teacher. I enjoyed sitting in on his class prior to Sunday services at Spencerport Bible Church. I also want to thank my son-in-law Phil for allowing us to stay at his home during our time in Virginia. We enjoyed attending church services at Fort Belvoir.

This was enjoying family around the outdoor fire.

These are two very important reasons for our Virginia stops;

Keegan and Garrett, my grandsons.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

June 2010

This picture is one of my family taken at Christmas time 2007.

Slow To Anger

An important lesson my dad taught, me early in my life, was to think before speaking. There have been far too many of my students (during the 30 or so years that I was in the classroom), who truly needed to learn that lesson, but for one reason or another they had failed to learn it; usually they lacked a support system (living in a one parent household), or the family they had wasn’t Christ centered (other effects from these society woes, are better left to other blog enteries). Life’s lessons (how to live a Godly life) can not be taught in the classroom. They need to be instructed in the home. Each individual needs to have three strong pillars (mental, physical, and spiritual), this also holds true for small units in a society (family units), as well as communities in general. To cause someone to be angry because of unintended words, or to compound your own anger by eliciting a response from another by your own word or deeds, is often avoidable by carefully thought out responses to perceived negative behavior.

Proverbs 16:32 “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.”- King James

It is the person who carefully considers their response, as they determine what would be most constructive and pleasing in God’s eyes (I use to love those bracelets; WWJD), who is often considered most wise.

James 1:19-20 “My dear brothers, take note of this: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for a man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”- NIV

In closing, I encourage you to think every time before speaking.

Proverbs 12:18 “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

Sunday, May 9, 2010

May (Mother's Day) 2010 #2

I almost left the blog without posting at least one picture of my wonderful late mother.   She will always be remembered for her great love for her family, for others, and for the Lord Jesus Christ.   Here is my mom with my children.

May (Mother's Day) 2010

Can’t tell ya if it was my mother’s patience with me, her strong and continuous love of the Lord, or her ability to love others even when deeply oppressed which was my mom’s greatest gift. The obvious thing is that I was greatly blessed to have my mom for over 50 years. My parents helped me to understand that there are three pillars in everyone’s life- the physical, the mental, and the spiritual. I may have mentioned this before, but my mom would make sure that I attended church with her every Sunday (attached is a picture of me in my normal Sunday garb). Mom was the one who realized just how important my college graduation was and was there at that time to support me. It was my mother who was my greatest fan, it didn’t matter which sport I was participating in she seemed to always be there to support me; my number one fan.

Anyone who is even thinking about becoming a parent needs to realize that once you are a parent it is vital that you no longer place yourself anywhere near the top of your priority list. So many times today, I see young men and women leaving their spouse and unfortunately their children for greener pastures. Friends the grass always looks greener on the other side; even if you think it smells better, don’t be fooled. Satin is the great deceiver. First, remember the vow you took on your wedding day; before God and man. Second, if you have your priorities right, your children should come way before your own desires; think about, what is going to be in their best interests. Third, if you are being plagued with doubts, talk to your pastor or another Christian friend, before approaching your spouse again. Here is where Christian counseling is often useful in opening the chain of communication within a relationship.

Talking to me between classes one of my students asked me (last week), how long I had been married. My response seemed to shock many of the students standing around; “I have been married to the same women for 35 years, and we dated for 5 years before that”. The student’s responses were remarkable. One student commented “see it is possible”. Another chimed in with, “you must have been high school sweethearts”. The first comment made me feel good as a role model, and the second has me feelin good for my age. This also reminds me of just how blessed I have been to have had Debbie to help me raise three wonderful daughters (attached is a picture of my family).

Now at the end of spring, we celebrate Mother’s Day. Let me encourage each of you to show the mother’s in you life just how special they are to you. For without the mom’s in my life neither I nor any of my family would have the strength of mind , body, or spirit that we have been gifted with today. Happy Mother’s Day 2010.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

December 2009 BPFJ

Funny, how the things of the world can stress you out. It is hard to live in America today and not have times when you really feel completely stressed out. All kinds of things can get to you; the economy (jobs, the lack there of, investments, or the lack there of, where and how to spend what resources you have), relationships, politics, skewed morays and values of a growing number of people in our society who think very differently from you, or corruption and degradation spewing from the many types of media each of us is exposed to every day. It is no wonder Christmas time has been, in recent years, one of the most tragic times of the year, with increases in domestic violence and suicide.

Recently I was asked to host a major event, to raise money for scriptures for the world. When I started planning for the event I set a goal of $3000, with the expectation of around 50 people in attendance; the pressure was on. Caterer, speakers, music, and more all had to be planned and arranged. While others scoffed at my plan, with comments like- “you can only expect maybe 20 people to attend”, and “$3000, you’ll be lucky if you don’t owe that much when you’re finished”, I continued to move forward. I was constantly reminded that in the book of Hebrews God’s words are- “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you”, and that “The Lord is my helper: I will not be afraid.” Knowing that the Lord was with me, I pressed on. After many E-mail messages, mailed letters, phone calls, personal contacts, and rehearsals, the day of the event was quickly arriving. The day before, I had 37 prepaid reservations and 20 verbal commitments. A Christian brother had told me that I should “plan enough meals for all who plan to attend and a few extra”. When I contacted the caterer to give him the final numbers, I said we’ll have 62 meals; you talk about stress. Many things were running through my mind; how am I going to pay for all those meals if only 37 people show up; even if enough people show up, is it even possible to reach the lofty monetary goal that was set out; not to mention one of my musicians was down on his back with a bad case of the flu the previous day. Yet, this thought echoed in my head and drew me back into prayer- God will never leave you, nor forsake you. I must admit I spent many hours in prayer, during the preparation for this event.

The day of the event finally arrived. All of the participants arrived, including all of the musicians. The 62 meal arrived. Gradually, so did all of the invited guests, as well as many unexpected ones. In fact, when the final count was taken 62 people had come to Birthday Party For Jesus event. When a final count was taken for the money raised for scriptures, it totaled over $4800; to God be the glory.

Jesus quote- “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” – Luke 11:25-26

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Let’s start over! Yesterday I had a former student write that she wished it was still her birthday. I couldn’t help myself but write back that “I wished it was mine too, 35 years ago”. The interesting thing here is that I think at one point or another (in each of our lives) we have wished we were able to start over. Undo what was done and start a new.

We’ve all had a longing for a new start, New Life, Fresh Beginnings. We worry about the things we have done, the things we didn’t do, jobs, friends, money, all kinds of things, driving us to grasp for new life. Jesus once told his disciples, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”[book of Luke 12:25] Jesus goes on to say “For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and all these things will be given to you as well.” [Luke 12:30-31]

Speaking of new life, I was in the delivery room when all of my children were born; I had never before experienced such joy, as watching my daughters take their first breath as they entered this world. I have recently been reminded of these moments in my life, when my eldest daughter (Allison) gave birth to my first grandbaby (Keegan)(see the attached picture). There is nothing more precious than new birth.

I have always found new life to be the greatest gift God has ever given me. Not physical, but spiritual life; Life through Christ Jesus. “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves His child as well. This is love for God: to obey His commands. And His commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” [book of 1 John 5:1 & 4] It’s interesting that a faith in Jesus can allow us to start over with God and overcome the world.