Tuesday, May 29, 2012

May 21-29, 2012 Devotional Tidbits

The Word for You Today

1.  Keep your conscience clear.  I Tim 1:19
  • I have to live with myself, so I want to be able to look myself in the eye
  • I want to deserve the respect of others

2.  Cross-examine me, O Lord.  Ps 26:2
  • Look closely at your motives – why you do things
  • Look closely at your affections – what you are drawn to

3.  Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.  Pr 16:13
  • Stop trying to please everyone
  • Goals can change over time…be willing to change directions
  • With God on your side, you will win
  • Believe God is directing your steps
  • God can turn bad situations into something good

4.  Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.  Rom 10:17
  • Wisdom comes by studying God’s Word
  • Faith comes by believing God’s Word
  • Success comes by practicing God’s Word

5.  Therefore, pray…Our Father in heaven…  Mt 6:9
  • I am part of God’s family…He is my Father
  • “in heaven” – that’s the highest place you can go for help
  • “holy is your name” – whatever I do or say today needs to honor God
  • “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” – say no to myself and yes to God’s will, for I am a witness to a watching world…I have the God-given authority to restrict satan’s defeat in my life

6.  Give us this day our daily bread.  Mt 6:11
  • Partake of what God has for you today to meet the challenges of today
  • Know that God will meet your needs…He is all sufficient

7.  Forgive us...as we forgive…  Mt 6:12
  • I must choose to forgive the ones who has hurt me
  • I must extend mercy to them
  • I must ask God to bless them
  • Then I must turn it over to God for His Holy Spirit to work in me and heal my heart

8.  Deliver us from the evil one.  Mt 6:13
  • Weakness prevents pride – it keeps you humble and reliant on God
  • Weakness creates fellowship – you find you need others
  • Weakness enables you to help others – brokenness helps you to minister to others more effectively

Sparkling Gems from the Greek

James 1:19

New Living Translation (NLT)
19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.
·         Learn when to be quiet and listen, and when to speak up
·         We must slow down our minds to hear what others are saying to us
·         I must deliberately focus on what is being said
·         To pretend to listen is rude
·         Listening helps you understand other opinions and positions
·         Break the habit of thinking about others things when someone is talking to you

Galatians 6:2

New Living Translation (NLT)
Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.
·         Be sensitive to those around you who are burdened and heavy hearted, hurt or struggling
·         Ask for God’s wisdom in what to say and how to care for them

Galatians 6:5

New Living Translation (NLT)
For we are each responsible for our own conduct
·         “burden” – an individual’s responsibility in life:  our work, our bills, our children, our household chores
·         Do not enable people to be freeloaders, and help them to accept responsibility for their own lives

1 Timothy 3:1

New Living Translation (NLT)
This is a trustworthy saying: “If someone aspires to be an elder,[a] he desires an honorable position.”
·         Desire is an important quality if one wants to fulfill God’s plan for his life
·         Desire is a longing, a yearning ambition, to achieve or attain something – a determination
·         Obstacles and hindrances could cause you to give up if you do not have an inner desire/drive to overcome and achieve

1 Thessalonians 2:8

New Living Translation (NLT)
We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too.
·         We teach the Word of God through our example as well as our message
·         Our soul:  our lifestyle, our viewpoint, our emotions…we live openly so others can know Christ is our motivator
·         People need a good example to follow – let it be me

Psalm 92:10

New Living Translation (NLT)
10 But you have made me as strong as a wild ox.
    You have anointed me with the finest oil.
·         An anointed person has the hands of God resting on him
·         The oil of the Holy Spirit must penetrate deeply in us so that His power and His aroma might be sensed by those around us

Ephesians 6:16

New Living Translation (NLT)
16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.[a]
·         My faith, like a shield, needs constant anointing of the Holy Spirit to stand up under attack

1 Timothy 3:4

New Living Translation (NLT)
He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him.
·         Children copy their parents’ behavior and speech
·         If there is love and respect in the home, it shows up in the children’s behavior
·         If parents are servants, usually children also become servants

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Route 66 Road Trip – Day 8b Albuquerque, NM to Oklahoma City, OK

Well, we had to leave Groom and the Cross…we still had Oklahoma City ahead of us, with another touching memorial park.  On our way, we stopped at a rest stop in Alanreed, Texas.  It was done in Art Deco style and as a tribute to Route 66, had neon signs and exhibits, including sidewalks made like mini highways leading along the Route 66 History Walk.  This rest area is also a Tornado Shelter, like the one on the west bound side of the road that we stopped at on our way to ABQ.




Our destination for the night was Quail City, OK, just on the north side of Oklahoma City, but it was my goal to stop at the National Memorial in OKC before dark.  We were not able to stop on our way west due to a St. Patrick’s Day Parade blocking the Memorial.  Dusk was settling in as we approached the city.

The Oklahoma City National Memorial commemorates the lives of 168 victims who died in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.  The city has built a beautiful memorial, well worth stopping to see if you pass through OKC.  I had been there several years ago and toured the complex and park, and I wanted my family to see the memorial and have an understanding of what happened there.

A disturbed young man parked a van on the street in front of the federal building one summer morning in 1995, and after he walked away the van/bomb exploded.  Before it was over, 168 lives were ended, many of them children…as there was a day care located in the building.  It was the worst ever act of terrorism in our country prior to 911.  One of the statues built is one of Christ weeping over this tragedy.

As we walked around the Memorial, we talked about what had happened there.  The park is open 24/7, with guards on the grounds.  It was hard to capture in pictures at that time of the night.  The picture below is one of the chairs sitting on the bank next to the reflection pond.  When the city asked what should be built as a memorial, a little boy suggested they put chairs out to represent each one that died.  That way when he missed his mommy, one of those killed in the bombing, he could go and sit on a chair and pretend it was her lap.

We ended this visit with a prayer for all the families who were touched by this tragedy.

This ended Day 8 of our Route 66 Road trip.  We had supper at Taco Bell and headed to our motel for the night in Quail Springs, OK.  The next day we would be meeting up with the other set of Grandparents to our granddaughters.  It was going to be a full day in itself, so we needed a good night’s sleep.  See you next time for Day 9 of a road trip quickly winding down.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Spring Break 2012 Route 66 Road Trip – Day 8
Albuquerque, NM to Oklahoma City, OK

Thursday morning, Day 8 of our Route 66 road trip, we left ABQ around 8 in the morning, after stopping by Wal-Mart, McDonalds, and Krispie Kreme to gather all of our breakfast goodies.  We are headed back home…only so many days left to eat vacation junk food.  (I want to let you know right here and now, I did not gain a pound on this vacation….my weight was the same when we got back home as it was when we left…whew!  Vacations can be rough on healthy eating!!)  As we left New Mexico, we stopped at the Flying C Ranch at exit 234.  I think it’s about the only thing at that exit.  It was a food, fuel, lodging, and entertainment spot…plus lots of souvenirs.  Here are some pictures as we leave New Mexico:

 The white T on the mountain stands for Tucumcari…the town we stayed in on our way west.  We are just passing by this time.

Goodbye New Mexico, hello Texas.  Our first stop in Texas was in Adrian, home of the famed MidPoint Café.  As the sign says, this is the spot that is supposedly half way between Chicago and Santa Monica, the beginning and ending of Route 66. 

We did not eat at this café, but we went in to look at the vintage place, since it is one of the best known restaurants on all of Route 66.  They are known for their ugly crust pies, but we didn’t have any…too full from our junk food breakfast.  The owners are new, and still getting ready for the big tourist season.  As you can see on the sign, Adrian is only a town of 166 people, so I am sure they welcome travelers.  They had a very nice gift shop…we bought a Route 66 puzzle and a Route 66 deck of cards. 

We also had the privilege of meeting Tina, the waitress.  It was her bubbly personality that caught the attention of the crew putting together a new Disney Pixar movie “Cars”.  She and her sister, also a waitress, but not there that day, became the personalities used to create Tia and Mia in the movie…two twin cars who were cheerleaders…fans of the “star” of the movie…Lightning McQueen.  Tina is holding a box of those car replicas in the picture below.

There were so many things we wanted to see on our way back, that we missed on our way west, but we had to prioritize as my goal was to get to the Oklahoma City National Memorial before dark.  Therefore our stops we quick ones, and we were back on the road again.  Our lunch stop was at an Arby’s  (did you know that stands for America’s Roast Beef, Yessir!  I saw that on a sign in Florida when Arby’s was first opened). 

We stopped briefly at the Cadillac Ranch, but the field was way too muddy for us to maneuver, so we didn’t get a close up look at the cars buried nose first in the dirt.  This was just one of those “gimmicks” along the way that became a road icon, even though the Cadillac Ranch was never located on Route 66.  It was built in 1974 along I-40, the road that replaced Route 66 in that section.  There are cans of spray paint for people to leave their own graffiti.  Every now and then the cars are painted white and the visitors start the decorating all over again.  This “ranch” has given Amarillo the reputation of being “quirky”, along with other projects in that area by the artist Stanley Marsh 3.

Amarillo has much to offer for Route 66 travelers, but we did not go into town and do any touring.  We just passed through…on our way to Ok City.  Next trip, I would want to spend more time in the big cities along Route 66 and do some exploring. 

Wind turbines are becoming more and more common, and they were all along the trip, but I was always intrigued by them.  To me, THAT’S quirky!!

Groom, Texas, we had passed by on our way west, knowing we would be stopping here on our return trip to spend some time.  The giant cross is 190 feet tall (19 stories high), and is supposedly the largest cross in the western hemisphere.  It can be seen from up to 20 miles away.  There are stations of the cross and a large gift shop at the complex.  At night it is lit…that would be a sight to behold!  I wish we would have had more time to spend here, to absorb all the stations of the cross and give more thought to what Jesus went through for each of us.  Perhaps this should have been the highlight of our trip…so close to Easter.  This would be the one regret I have…not taking more time at the cross.  What a teachable setting.

The picture above better depicts the various Stations of the Cross.  There is a plaque at every station telling the story, and a bench to sit on and contemplate the final hours of the life of Jesus.  It is so sad to me that Jesus sacrificed his life, and so many deny who He is.  I am so sorry, Jesus.  I love you.  Thank you for following through with your Father’s will.  Thank you for making it possible to have eternal life free from evil and pain and sorrow.  Thank you for showing us how to live…may I become more and more like you.  Amen.

I believe I will end this blog at this point, and complete Day 8b in my next post.  This was a busy day…lots of things to see.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Devotional Tidbits from May 15-20, 2012

 The Word For You Today

1.  “Doing the Right Thing”
  • Be it known…that we will not…”  (Dan 3:18)
  • Doing the right thing sets you free from those who want to control your life
  • It frees you to say no to manipulators
  • God will either deliver you from the fiery furnace, or develop you, or both
  • God is the source of our significance and security
  • Others are watching and will be influenced by the stand we take

2.  “Made Perfect through Suffering”
  • God…made Jesus perfect by suffering.  (Heb 2:10)
  • If it is possible, let this cup...be taken away from me.  (Matt 26:39)
  • In the life of Jesus, He did not escape suffering
  • God took the ugliest, most cruel thing that happened to Jesus…His execution on the cross…and made it the final victory over death
  • By the crucifixion of Jesus, His wounds, we are healed…God gave us a way to escape eternal death

Sparkling Gems

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.  (Eph 6:18)
  • Prayer is a close, intimate contact with God, bringing us face to face with Him
  • Prayer is a means of surrendering ourselves to God so He can change us
  • Prayer should always involve a heart of gratitude for what God is doing in our lives, how He is answering our prayers, even before they are answered…a position of faith

Think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ. Remember how you remained faithful even though it meant terrible suffering.  (Heb 10:32)
  • Reflect on the past when God answered your prayers, or when you felt Him working in your life…recall the joy…for He is still there, still working

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. (Eph 6:10)
  • Power refers to a demonstrated manifestation that can be seen…the kind of power God used to raise Jesus from the dead
  • This same power is available to us…the Holy Spirit can make us strong when we are weak.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Weekly Devotional Tidbits May 7-14, 2012

The Word for You Today

1.  “Don’t Get Bitter”
  • Watch that no…bitterness grows up.” (Heb 12:15)
  • We must look at people with their potential, not their problems.
  • God’s grace can change people.
  • Don’t rehearse your past…God is doing a new thing.

2.  “Are You a ‘Phillip’?”
  • And they chose…Phillip.  (Acts 6:5)
  • You must have the ability to be Spirit led.
  • In order to lead others, you must first be led of God.
  • You must know how to build a strong family.

3.  “Raising Secure Kids in an Insecure World”
  • I prayed for this child.  (I Sam 1:27)
  • Surrender them to the Lord.
  • Live with hope, not wishful thinking.
  • Encourage responsibility.
  • Pray often, and with purpose.
  • Demonstrate faith in God.

4.  “Know Your Enemy”
  • Endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.  (2 Tim 2:13)
  • Will you hold up or fold up?
  • Satan attacks from without…do no let a negative culture suck you in…seek to change it.
  • There is another power within me that is at war with my mind.  Rom 7:23)
  • satan attacks from within…use prayer and God’s Word to strengthen you against his attacks.

Spiritual Gems from the Greek

1.   Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.  (Heb 10:23)
  • We must get into God’s Word deeply so that our own hearts come into alignment with it.
  • True confession comes from the heart before it is spoken.
  • Our goal should be to see things, hear things, and feel things the same as God sees, hears, and feels.

2.  A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people.  (2 Tim 2:24)
  • We must correct people with compassion and love.

3.  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.  (Phil 4:7)
  • The mind is the control center which determines the condition of one’s life.
  • The peace of God is so much higher and deeper and more profound than we can imagine.
  • God’s peace guards our minds against anxiety and negative emotions if we allow Him to be in control, and not the enemy.
  • With God’s peace we can remain calm, even in difficult situations.

4.  Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.  (I Peter 5:7)
  • We are to throw (cast) all of our cares on the shoulders of Jesus, for he alone can handle the weight of them.
  • Our worries and cares are whatever causes us stress…the human body is not designed to handle stress, but Jesus can.
  • Jesus walks beside us, and wants to free us from the burdens we carry.

5.  One day Jesus said to his disciples, “There will always be temptations to sin, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting!”  (Luke 17:1)
  • We need to communicate in such a way as to not offend others.
  • When there is misunderstanding or offense, we need to do whatever we can to restore the relationship.
  • Be mature, and ask for forgiveness.
  • We must walk in the Spirit and speak the love of Jesus, and not let satan get a foothold in any relationship.

6  Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,[a] baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  (Matt 28:19)
  • Baptism symbolizes being dipped in the blood of Jesus and buried, then being raised with Him in new life…transformed to be like Jesus.

7.   He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him.  (I Tim 3:4)
  • Children must be trained to respect authority (parents) at home to prepare them to respect future authority (teachers, employers).
  • Start with daily disciplines…something they are expected to do each day, such as make their bed, personal grooming, dress themselves neatly, keep their room clean, pick up their dishes after they eat.
  • Give rewards for good performance, and penalize bad performance.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Route 66 Road Trip - Day 7 - Albuquerque, NM

Day 7 of our Spring Break 2012 Road Trip, Wednesday, started out once again with a leisurely morning.  A few of us walked over to IHOP for breakfast, and the girls worked on their scrapbooks again.  We had lunch at the house before taking off on our afternoon excursion.

Albuquerque has a lot to offer for family outings.  We knew we couldn’t see everything, so we chose the ABQ Biopark Zoo.  It was a sunny day, weather close to 70…warmer than it had been since we had been there.  The zoo is not a pleasant place to be on a hot day…gets a little smelly and stifling to me.  This was a very nice zoo, and we took lots of pictures.  I’ll have to be selective about what to put in this blog so as not to make the blog too long.

My all time favorite zoo animal is the polar bear.  This day there were two enjoying the sunshine…one was resting, and one was doing a cat-walk dance, back and forth across the stone bridge.

      We spent a couple of hours at the zoo before heading to Old Town Albuquerque. 

Old Town has a lot of the same flavor as Santa Fe, except I think it’s larger…at least it seemed that way to me.  It is a great place to browse, some indoor shops, some open air shops, and the handmade wares on the sidewalks, all around a central park.

A large cathedral was there on the square.  Another picturesque site…it is very common in New Mexico to drape red chili peppers over doorways, in windows, on fences…just about anywhere.

We had supper at a Mexican restaurant in Old Town before heading home for the evening…but we did stop in at a fudge shop before leaving the square!!

One of the Route 66 sites we drove by caught my eye, so I insisted we go back so I could take some pictures.  It’s a historic motor court from the 1930’s…the El Vada Motel.  It’s no longer in business, but I read that the city has taken possession of this motel to avoid losing one of the more distinctive motels along Route 66.  Here are a few snapshots:

In the picture on the right above, you can see the garages that went with each room…thus a “motor court”, so distinctive to that era.  Also, there used to be an outdoor swimming pool, as you can see in the picture.  Not many motels had swimming pools in those days.

I can’t explain it, but something about the old nostalgic sites really captured my attention on this Route 66 Road Trip.  Maybe it’s an age thing…maybe I longed to go back to that earlier era when things seemed simpler…before we moved into this high technology age, where I can’t seem to stay up with the pace. 

Well, thus ended Day 7 of our spring break vacation.  Back at the house, the girls and I started packing for the trip ahead, leaving in the morning to head back home on Route 66.  The guys relaxed in front of the television, thus ending another good day.

See you again in a few days, with Day 8 – heading back home, with a destination of Tulsa, Oklahoma, for the night.