Sunday, April 26, 2009

Journal Thoughts

Thoughts from my journal April 13-26, 2009:

1. When we take our eyes off Jesus, life starts looking hopeless. But if we will focus on Jesus we will find that our fears turn to courage, our pain turns to joy, and our despair turns to hope. In times like these we need a Saviour, and His name is Jesus. He is our hope!

2. Filthiness and holiness cannot reside in the same heart. The Holy Spirit will only reside in a clean heart. We need to say with the Psalmist, "Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit with me." (Psalm 51:10)

3. The church becomes like dry bones when it compromises with the world. It loses its purifying influence. We need to rededicate our lives and the church to Him and become a light in the darkness. The world is counting on us!

4. There are four requirements to enter into God's presence:

  • clean hands - our actions must be moral
  • pure heart - we must be forgiven and cleansed by the Holy Spirit
  • absence of idolatry - loyal to God alone
  • sincerity and truth - God sees our hearts, we must be honest with Him for He cannot be fooled
5. How to handle anger:

  • keep anger honest...don't stifle it, ignore it, over-exaggerate, or blame; speak in love as you resolve anger
  • keep anger non-lethal...make it your goal to solve the problem, not sound-off about it
  • keep anger with it quickly as storing it up leads to bitterness and will affect your health; don't drag up the past, deal with today's problems today
  • keep anger solution-focused
  • keep anger in the laundry room...don't spread dirty laundry out for everyone to see/hear
  • be part of the clean-up crew...forgive before being asked for forgiveness; forgive even if the other party chooses to be a life time enemy
6. More points on how to deal with anger:
  • try to understand the needs of the other person
  • don't drag up the past
  • don't drag in other people
  • don't raise the volume
  • anger handled correctly brings about the change that is needed
  • seek a solution, not a victory
  • admit your own faults and ask for forgiveness
  • offer positive reinforcements while dealing with negative aspects
  • thank the person for being willing to talk and work out the differences
7. Holiness requires that the things which are against God's nature be removed from our lives. That is the only way we can be in harmony with God. He wants our nature to become holy like His, and He provides the Holy Spirit to do the cleansing of anything that is not holy, removing it from our lives until only the holy remains.

8. Wouldn't it be neat to have a public ceremony to confirm the commitment a person makes when he or she surrenders his/her life to God. I mean, that is the most exciting thing that ever happens in one's life...more so than graduation or marriage. Entering into a personal relationship with God Almighty...our Creator...that is an awesome privilege for us. So, perhaps in a public ceremony the words of Moses could be read:

You are standing here today to enter into a covenant with the Lord your God. The Lord is making this covenant with you today, and he has sealed it with an oath. He wants to confirm you today as his people, and to confirm that he is your God, just as he promised you. (Deuteronomy 29:12-13)

I am just thinking that perhaps taking a public commitment like that would help reinforce the new relationship, and help confirm to the person his new life. He has been released from captivity! It's a time to celebrate! Don't you know the angels in heaven are rejoicing!! We should too!!

9. To be filled with God's Spirit is to be elevated to the highest level possible in humanity in our intimacy with God. Once you have tasted His Presence within you, there is nothing else that will satisfy!


1. We had 25 people at our recent work day, and so much was accomplished in sprucing up the grounds.

2.The campfires have started up again...a good place to relax with friends at the end of the day and speak of the goodness of God.

3. We have purchased linoleum remnants to update our Conference Center bathrooms. In the last two years the Conference Center has received a major face-lift. It's a cozy place to gather with family and friends...12 private rooms w/baths surround a two story lounge/gathering place.

4. Our 40 foot climbing tower has arrived and is up!! And tomorrow the pole and 400 foot zip line will arrive. This is terrific!! Just in time for our 2009 camping season. Everyone is going to be so excited when they see the tower and zip line. I get giddy just thinking about how tickled the kids will be. This was made possible by a very large donation from a private family, and a donation from the owner of the company who built the tower. We as a camp are deeply grateful for him, and ask that God bless his life in a special way. And we are very grateful to the private family who wanted to invest in the future of youth camping. May they also be blessed beyond what man can do!

5. We like to to celebrate around the campgrounds. Whether it's a birthday, and we gather at the campfire for cake and ice cream, or it's a tower going up and we gather to assist and share brownies and soft drinks. We are community, and we love to care and share. May we become more and more like Jesus and reach out to those around us with His love!!


  1. 1. We had a three day get-away in Middlebury, Indiana, last week...the annual Pastors and Mates Spring Retreat at the Essenhaus Inn. That is such a lovely place to go, and it's fun to meet with our friends from across the Michigan District.

  2. Paul and I both played in the Michigan District Rook Tournament, and in the first ever Michigan District Euchre Tournament. In fact, yours truly came out with the highest score and was named the first ever Eucharist! We laughed...had a great time playing games together, as well as fellowshipping and sharing meals and worship.

  3. I was able to unload two full boxes of books that I had read this past year and put in the give-away pile. I suggested we have an annual book exchange at our retreat, as pastors love to read, and this is a good way for them to pick up books without putting out any money. Meanwhile, I like watching my bookshelves lightening up a bit.

  4. We heard the testimony of a young man from ONU who shared his life story with us. He was raised in the ghetto of Chicago, never knowing who his father was, and his mother was shot and killed before he was a year old. His only way to get the things he needed was to sell drugs when he was a teenager. Miraculously his cousin led him to Christ, and doors opened for him to attend Olivet Nazarene University, where he graduated and now works for ONU. He has an amazing story, and I believe we will be hearing more from him. He is an anointed speaker.

  5. On the way home from the retreat we were able to stop in White Pigeon and tour our newest church plant and rejoice with the pastor over the work that is being accomplished in that area. We then had lunch with Pastor Bob and Marilyn in Three Rivers.

  6. I received a very heart-touching birthday card from my son. It moved me to tears because of its' beautiful message, which was perfect from him to me. I knew he had taken time to find a card that truly expressed his feelings, and until I received the card, I wasn't real sure what his feelings were. It was a love touch from him and God.
  7. My whole week was a love touch from God. He kept blessing me in various ways and through a variety of means. My allegiance is to Him, forever!!

  8. Yesterday I picked up my first ever Angel Food Ministries food boxes. It's a very well organized ministry, and it was fun to open the boxes and sort the food between my pantry and what I was giving away. This is a monthly ministry, and I wanted to test the quality of the food before getting too involved. I think I am going to be quite supportive of this ministry. Our local United Methodist Church and South County Community Center co-sponsor this ministry. It's great for senior citizens, which is what I want to promote on the campground.

Closing Scripture Verse - I Corinthians 15:58:

"So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and steady, always enthusiastic about the Lord's work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless."

Friday, April 24, 2009

Oh, Yes!

An ILNC Email Inspirational:
It's me again...the infamous dog walker. I was out earlier this morning walking and the sun was shining so brightly. I knew the promise of today is weather reaching up into the 70's, and I couldn't help but feel this euphoria..."Oh, YES, God, this is what I have been waiting for!!! I love springtime! I love to see the trees and bushes and flowers budding out and breaking forth into all of their glory. Winter has been long and hard, but once again SPRING IS HERE!!! YES!!! Thank you, Father!!"

I spoke with a lake-front neighbor while walking, and he was stating what a hard year it has been as far as the health issues in his family. his daughter has cancer, and she has nine children...ages 4-14. He agreed with me that spring is what we have been waiting for, and it's here. He believes God will touch his daughter and give her new life. this spring. (Would you help me pray for that miracle in their lives?) However, he is saying YES! to whatever God wants to do.

This morning my devotional reading was in Isaiah chapter 6, where God cleansed Isaiah and gave him his calling. For the first time it struck me what a difficult task God gave to be a prophet of doom and gloom, to tell the people their cities would become wasteland. This had to happen so that "Israel's stump will be a holy seed" once again...but what a tough assignment was given to Isaiah after he so willingly said, "Here I am. Send me."

"Yes, Lord! I'm willing...use me!" Is that our heart's cry? I received many responses to my email about "Moving", and was touched by the number of you who are hungry to see the Holy Spirit move once again in dynamic ways in our personal lives, in our churches, in our district, in our denomination, and in our world. But...what will that require of us? We must start with saying "Yes!" even to the small things that God asks of us.

You have just received an email from Chris Freed, our Events Coordinator, about upcoming opportunities on the campground, events in which you can become involved for the sake of God's Kingdom. We hope to see many of you over the next month helping us spruce up the grounds for a new camping season. You can also start praying for our youth camps, and the children and teens that will be coming to spend a week in an atmosphere where they will hear about God's love and sense it in this environment. Perhaps some will receive their personal call from God this summer on these grounds that are dedicated to His holy purposes.

However, you don't have to receive a tough challenge like Isaiah accepted, and you don't have to participate in ILNC's upcoming work days. Perhaps God is nudging you about a neighbor who needs your help, or someone sitting in the pews at your church, or even someone sharing a shopping aisle with you. Just be open to even the smallest of ways that you can reach out and help someone else and show them that you care because of the love of Jesus in you.

As I walk, I listen to music. Today I heard a song by Joel Reed that I would like to close with. It's a catchy tune about a story from our childhood where the ugly toad had to be kissed by a beautiful princess to be changed back into the handsome prince he used to be. Someone had to reach out and help him, and it changed his life completely. The song is "Have you kissed any frogs today?"

"There’s a story from our childhood worth remembering.
It’s the tale of a prince turned into frog.
Now he sits all alone and rejected
As he waits for someone to come along.

For, you see, the only thing that will save him
Is a kiss from a princess fair and true.
But chances are that this will never happen,
For he’s ugly and lonely and blue.

Have you kissed any frogs today?
Have you helped someone along life’s troubled way?
Have you told them of God’s amazing grace?
Have you kissed any frogs today?

But then one day a miracle did happen.
A lovely princess finally came along.
She met him, and her heart filled with compassion,
And she kissed him, and this is what she saw:

That ugly frog was changed into a person,
And all his sorrows from his past had come to end.
Now he’s a handsome prince just full of God’s potential,
And all it took was a help of a friend.

Have you kissed any frogs today?
Have you helped someone along life’s troubled way?
Have you told them of God’s amazing grace?
Have you kissed any frogs today?

So Christian friend, won’t you heed the story,
For it’s moral is as true as it can be.
All it takes to change the ugly into glory
Is a helping hand to everyone we see.

Even though this may involve some sacrifices
The blessings will far outweigh the loss,
For the lonely we help in times of crisis
May trust the One who came to die upon the cross!

Have you kissed any frogs today?
Have you helped someone along life’s troubled way?
Have you told them of God’s amazing grace?
Have you kissed any frogs today?


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Passion Week in my life....

It is Easter Sunday afternoon, and we have just finished our more than abundant dinner. We did not have any family this year, so it was just the two of us. I feel a nap coming on, but thought I would take a few minutes to blog about this past week, including the nuggets of truth God is showing me in my daily meditational time.

Last Monday was the final day of Greek class here at ILNC. I have been teaching the class for three years, and had three students stay with me all the way to the end. From this point forward we are each going to continue in Greek on our own, using an on-line class with Bill Mounce, the First Man in Greek studies. He has a tremendous web site ( which not only has free tools to use in Greek studies, but also free classes. I want to stay up with my Greek, so this seems to be the next logical step for learn from the guru of Greek.

Last Monday also brought with it four inches of heavy snow, which brought down several tree branches. It didn't last long, mostly all gone by Wednesday, but we have still had cool mornings...temps being down in the 20's and 30's. The afternoons have warmed up to the 50's, but have been windy and damp, thus cool. Today seems to be the is sunny and feels warm, even though it's still in the 50's.

Freeds had us over for supper on Monday night, to celebrate my 59th birthday....which actually occurred on Thursday. I received many nice cards and a few gifts. I ordered a cake for our Thursday night ILNC Town Meeting, which had a good turnout...maybe 35 residents there. This was a good birthday year, but next year...the year of the big 6 O, I would like to have a little get away down to my favorite area of the country...North Carolina Smokies. It's something to dream about anyway!

God's Word for Monday is that we must consecrate ourselves to God in order for Him to sanctify us. We move from unholy to holy as we are cleansed by Him, but He cannot cleanse us until we are totally submitted to His will. (Leviticus 11:40 and 20:8)

Tuesday I was preparing for our small group meeting in which we would discuss I Thessalonians 4:1-12, the very passage on which I did my senior exegetical paper before graduating from Lee University back in 1991. About an hour before the group was to meet, during the middle of our supper meal, I received a call from my spiritual mentor, Lorna. She and I both had birthdays on the same day (April 9), and she turned 91 this week. Her mind is still very sharp, but her body is failing. She has congestive heart failure and diabetes, and other issues, and that night she was having trouble breathing. We called emergency and I followed the ambulance 20 miles to the hospital. I stayed with her in emergency care until her son could get here from Lansing...about two hours away. Her daughter flew in from Montana the next night. Even though I thought Lorna would be gone to her eternal home by the time we got to the hospital, she has come through once again. They've been treating her for various infections, but she should be back home today or tomorrow.

While I was with her, I really didn't know exactly what to do, but I wanted to assure her I was there and would stay with her until her son arrived. I read her some scriptures, and sang to her, and talked with her. She could not respond as she had an oxygen mask on and other paraphernalia hooked up to her. However, she kept squeezing my hand, so I knew she could hear me. I felt at peace, and I know she did also, knowing no matter the outcome, Jesus was in control. She probably would have preferred to go on to heaven, and I would have only rejoiced for her. She's lived a long, difficult life, and has done much to increase the kingdom of God. She was an evangelist at the age of 19, taking her guitar with her...singing and preaching. She planted the Pickford, MI Church of the Nazarene in her early years. She preached along side of the renown Uncle Buddy Robinson in camp meeting. She was a true caregiver for her parents and her husband as they all succumbed to death after long illnesses. And now she is at the stage where she probably won't be able to live independently. I am sure that makes going on home to heaven all the more desirable. I want her to have her peace and rest, and not have to struggle with physical limitations. But, as with all of us, her time is in God's hands. That's a safe place for it to be.

In Tuesday's words from God I read a commentary that said the only thing God could not create was love from a free being. He created us with the capacity to love, but the freedom to choose the object of our love. That is the ultimate love gift...the gift of freedom to choose. I wouldn't want someone to love me because I forced them to, or out of obligation, but because they chose to love me. I choose to love God with my whole heart, soul, mind, and strength (Deuteronomy 6:5)....I am totally committed and completely consecrated to Him.

On Wednesday Paul and I dropped my SUV off for a $15.95 oil change. By the time we picked it up on Thursday, the bill came to $411.23. Turned out to have a bad tie rod and a leaking oil pan/gasket. Isn't that how it usually goes? Maintenance on vehicles is like always costs more than you want to pay. And can you really trust the mechanic any more than you can trust the devil? The good thing is that I asked God to not let it cost more than I could pay in cash, and even though it depleted my savings almost, at least I could pay the bill and not have to charge it. I am trying very hard to not use charge cards and to get debt free. I believe we need to be good stewards with what God has given us, pay our bills, and trust Him in the needy times. I am sure I will have plenty of opportunities to put Him to the test.

Going along with an earlier theme in this week's meditations, today's Word is that our consecration, without limitations or restrictions, is the absolute prerequisite for victorious Christian living. It precedes the "amazing things" that God will do in our lives if we are surrendered to Him.

I already mentioned that Thursday was my 59th birthday, and with all the cards, phone calls, and cake at the Town Meeting it was a special day...more so than normal. I felt badly that Lorna was spending her birthday in the hospital, but at least she had her two precious children at her side, and I know nothing on this earth would bring her any more joy than having them near to her. It has been three years since she saw her daughter.

I was reminded in Thursday's passages that God will not tolerate sin. Nothing is hidden from him, and we will not be victorious or have His blessings as long as we keep sinning. We can be sure that our sins will find us out, and the sad thing is that sin has a rippling a stone being tossed in the water. It affects innocent ones around us, and they are hurt because of our disobedience. I can think of so many instances and examples to explain this, but I'll just say "How true, how true!". Sin is just not worth any momentary pleasure it may give us. The pleasure evaporates, but the effects of sin can damn our souls and destroy the ones we love. NOT WORTH IT!!!!

I had a busy week at work. We had a lot of mailings to get out this week for the waterfront/boats, the RVers, and the leaseholders. It's that come out of storage and get put into the lake; RVs are opened up and the water is turned on in our bath houses and cabins; and leaseholders are coming back north after being gone south all winter. Golf carts are out and about, kids on bikes, a ball game going on at the ball field yesterday, lots of people walking or working in their yards. I love spring. I told God the other day I am so glad that I was born in the spring time. I love the spurt of new life in the spring time. The perennials and trees and bushes start budding out, and birds are chirping and busy building their nests. Swans and geese are flocking to the lake. It's just the greatest of all seasons to me. Oh...and it's strawberry shortcake season!! We have it at least once a week for our main meal.

My devotional reading on Friday morning reminded me that the two greatest forces in the world are love and sin...but love is greater, more powerful than sin. Jesus went through hell to conquer sin, and that is the power of conquers the other most powerful force. And to think...that powerful force resides within me through the agency of the Holy Spirit!!! May the love of Jesus flow out through me to reach those who need His love the most.

Saturday...sunny, but a little cool. We had outside projects planned, so we appreciated the nice weather. We took a back hoe, a truck, a flat bed trailer, a rake, a pitch fork, and a shovel and headed down to a camp lot that had a cottage demolished on it last fall. We finished cleaning off the lot, and it felt good to get the exercise and to see it all cleaned up before the neighbors came back from the south. I did a lot of walking yesterday, with the dogs, and by myself. Just wanted to be outside!

The Word for Saturday is from Matthew 24:12-13: "Jesus said,
"Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved."

We are to be reminded that it's not how we start our journey, but how we end our journey that determines our destiny. God wants our complete loyalty. Anything that takes our attention away from God must not be tolerated in our lives, for divided loyalty will not be acceptable by Him. I know...I sense it all around me...that Christians are getting weary and more tolerant with the world. I listen to what they are watching on TV and how they spend their time and money, and I see other things competing for their devotion and passion. I guess that's what bothers me the most...I don't sense the passion for things of God as strongly in the church as I did when I was younger. The message is there, but the response is weak, the drawing is weak, there are too many other things competing.

Lord Jesus, I pray that I grow more and more fervent in my devotion to you as the time grows shorter. I am so thankful for what I read in your Word this morning from Ezekiel 11:18-20:
I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their hearts of stone and give them tender hearts instead so they will obey my laws and regulations. Then they will truly be my people, and I will be their God.
Lord, thank you for my tender heart...thank you for keeping my focus on you. May it ever be so, and all the more so as I march toward my eternal destiny. And may I care about those who are lost and lonely and need you in their lives. May I be privileged enough to represent you to them. May I never fail to see that opportunity before me, and I pray you empower me to be totally effective for you! Amen.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Today's News

Matthew 24:6-8 (New Living Translation)
6 And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. 7 Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. 8 But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.

So...have you noticed how much today's news and God's Word has in common? People get ready!! This is the time to search His Word, not ignore it!!

The best news is...we don't have to worry about it!!

Philippians 4:5-7 (New Living Translation)
5 Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Oh, Lord Jesus, I thank you for that peace you can place in our hearts and minds so we do not have to fret over what is or what is to come. You are in control, Sovereign God, and I place my trust in you. May I keep my eyes on Jesus, and daily grow in His likeness so that others will be drawn to desire that peace that you alone can give....“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid." (John 14:27)