Thursday, October 26, 2006



Then Moses said to the Israelites, “See, the Lord has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts -- to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic craftsmanship. And he has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others. He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as craftsmen, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers -- all of them master craftsmen and designers.

Exodus 35:30 - 35


We casually thank family and friends or someone at work. But have you ever made a thank you list for the "others,” the ones we just let slip by? Those who are filled with the Spirit and have skills, abilities and knowledge to do special tasks that make our lives better, these people need our thanks as well.

Thank you -- to the mail carrier and paper carrier. They deliver on days when they would rather stay home where it is dry, warm, or cool. Out they come to bring us greetings, papers and bills. Well, maybe they could leave the bills somewhere else.

Thank you -- to the dentist. Now that is a hard one because most people hate to go to the dentist. Can you imagine spending your whole day looking into mouths? But, we sure are glad the dentist went to school to learn how to fill teeth and stop pain? Besides, wouldn't our smiles look different without teeth?

Thank you -- to the people who pick up our trash. Now there are people who know how to make the world a better place. Think about it. Picture your little corner of the world with no trash pickup.

Thank you -- to the person who had the imagination and knowledge to create cameras and film. What would our visual world be like without pictures of those we hold dear? Or pictures of the Rocky Mountains? Or of a sunset? Or of a bird taking flight? The mind’s eye can only remember so long and now we can see family we never met.

Thank you -- for ministers. We pray for our families. Our friends. Our church congregation. Even strangers. Do we remember our ministers? They guide us. They pray with us. They welcome us into the world and they help those left behind understand death. Add your minister to your prayer list.


Look around. For whom are you thankful?


Thank you Lord, Thank you that we do not all have the same skills and abilities. Thank you for the people who help me every day because of their job. Those that make my world neater by helping keep the environment clean. Those who have studied to help take care of my body. Those that come to my door every day with mail. And those that guide my spirit. And thank you for those that ………………………………… Amen

Friday, October 20, 2006



This past week, in Sunday School, we talked about Intercessory Prayer. Yes, we can pray directly to God. He hears us, but sometimes we need people to pray for us. We discussed how the Israelites had Samuel pray for them. They gave up their idols and turned back to God. They needed someone to pray on their behalf. The idols came between the Israelites and God and even today, we have “things” that can come between God and us.

I have added two messages. They need to be together. They are not easy to read. The subject is child abuse.

These articles lead back to Intercessory Prayer -- After you read these and after you have thought about this, say a prayer. Pray for our children. Pray that they be kept safe. Pray for parents and the other adults. Pray that they put children above their anger. Above their job. Pray that each adult realizes that a child is a gift. A very special gift. A gift to be nurtured and loved and kept safe. Pray that we can turn to God when we question why this would happen. Pray that we turn TO God and that we do not allow the actions of others to turn us away from God.


Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me -- put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:6-9


I used to read the newspaper from front page to back. I could tell you what was going on around the world and around our town. I read the advice columns and I read the funnies. I read the obituaries and the births. I looked to see who won the ball game. I even watched the evening news - local and national.

Then one day it all changed. I do not believe in being an ostrich, burying my head in the sand, but I can only take so much. How can we hurt our children?

Adults fight over boundaries. They fight over politics. They fight over religion. They settle their disagreements with laws, with words and with guns. BUT how can we hurt our children?

I read in the paper of two fathers who went mushroom hunting and left their children in the car. It was a very hot day and those children died.

I read in the paper of the mother who watched as her child was beaten. She was more afraid, of being without a man in her life, than of protecting her baby.

I read in the paper of a surgeon who was to drop her baby off at daycare. But she got to thinking about the operations she had that day. She thought about her patients. She forgot about her baby in the back seat. She forgot until it was too late.

I heard on the news of a child being dropped out of a window. Of a child locked in a closet. Of children not fed. Of children being molested. Of children being beaten. Of children watching as their mother is beaten. Of children being shot in schools. Of a four-week-old baby being used as a club in a fight between a mother and father.

I heard of children who were an inconvenience to their parents. It was too much trouble to play with them, to read to them or to listen to them. So they put them in front of a television. They set no limits to the child's access to video games and the internet. They allowed them to listen to songs with cruel lyrics. They did all of this just because it was easier than giving them one thing -- their time. Would they say they loved their children? Yes. They just did not want to give up going to the gym, going to the parties, watching the ball game and all of the other things more important than their children.

I am sure some of the people who hurt children are sorry afterwards, but afterwards is too late.

I quit reading the paper from front to back. I quit listening to all of the news. I can only cope with so much.

There are so many agencies to help our youth, but that is only a start. We must make our children a priority. We must stop allowing them to be beaten. We must stop allowing them to go hungry. We must stop allowing them to be locked in dark closets. We must love our children enough to protect them.

I can pray that the heart of the people who abuse our children will be touched and changed. I can pray for the children. I can pray they have an angel beside them.


Yes, I know this was not an easy piece to read today. How do we stop the cycle of abuse? How do we get all parents to give their children love and time? How can this problem be solved? I know we can vote for people who make children a priority. What else can we do? What can you do in your church? In your community? Could you be a foster parent? Could you help counsel? Could you be a child advocate in the court system?

Do you feel overwhelmed with the care of your children? Where can you get help? The national number for Child Abuse Hotline is 1-800-422-4453.

How do you find peace? (Read today’s scripture again AND read the next message.)


Dear God, It is hard when I hear of children being abused. Beaten. Not loved. Ignored. It is hard because I feel helpless. Today, Lord, send special angels to protect your little children. Show me where I can help. Show me how I can make a difference. I ask that you send special help to ………………………………… Amen
Please continue reading



The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.

Isaiah 11:6

At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.
Luke 10:21


I wrote, “It’s Not All Good” many months before the following Mary’s Moment. This moment needs to be added here. This happened the summer before our grandson, Matthew, was in the first grade. The children shall teach us!

The other day Bill and I took Matthew to see the old tractors and engines at the Winamac Power Show. It was fun and although Matthew soon tired of the old tractors, he did enjoy the thrashing exhibit and seeing the steam engines. Matthew listened as we told him how corn was shelled before we had combines and how boards were cut with the blades powered by the steam engines. He listened and he learned. Yes, we had a good time, but then anytime with grandchildren is valuable time.

We then had lunch and, as we sat there, Matthew asked if we had heard about the man who killed his children. We told him we had and did not understand how any father could kill his own children. That is what we said, but we were thinking about what should happen to that man. I admit they were not good thoughts.

Matthew sat there and then he taught us a lesson. He looked up and very quietly said, “He needs to ask for God’s forgiveness.”

Jesus said the children would lead us. Jesus was right again.


How do we understand when this happens? How do we forgive?


Dear Heavenly Father, I again ask that you protect your little children. I also ask that you give me understanding. And a forgiving heart. I ask that you give comfort to families where children are victims of violence and abuse. Help them cope and face tomorrow. Help me, Lord, as I try to understand. Help me………………………………… Amen

Friday, October 13, 2006



As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:38-42


I have always wondered why my parents named me Mary. There is no Mary on my genealogy chart or any old family friend named Mary. When I was young, I mistakenly told someone I did not like my name and, with eyebrows raised and a superior attitude, they said, “How could anyone not like the name of Jesus’ mother?” Being properly chastised, I never told anyone that again.

One Sunday, I finally figured it out. The pastor talked about Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet instead of being in the kitchen where she belonged. Others wondered at Mary not knowing her place. Now I know why I was named Mary. I have never known my place either.

I can do the dishes and I can go to the barn to help with the birth of a calf. (Women of my mother’s era were not allowed in the barn during birthing. Figure that one out.) I can work on the computer and I can express my opinion at the local coffee shop. I can read stories to the grandchildren and I can stand up to attitudes that want women back in the kitchen. BUT these are all physical places. We should all be more like Mary, because she was not concerned about her physical place. Mary found her place at the feet of Jesus.

Guess Mary is not such a bad name after all.


Do you know where you belong? If not, what can you do to get headed in the right direction? Are you afraid to do something new because you have to move out of your comfort zone?


Dear Lord, Let me always sit at your feet. I know I have work to do, but do not let me ever be so busy that I forget to take time to listen and learn. Let me find my place. Sometimes I wander and go from here to there. Sometimes I let other people tell me where I belong. Give me strength to ………………………………… Amen

Friday, October 06, 2006



A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham.
Matthew 1:1

Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Christ.
Matthew 1:17

Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph,
Luke 3:23

. . . . . . the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.
Luke 3:38


This year seems to be moving along at a tremendous pace. I do not know what the remainder of 2006 will hold. I remember that 2004 also went fast and was filled with some wonderful blessings. We added a grandson and marveled as we traveled to new places on God’s earth. We worked hard and had a little time for rest. We celebrated birthdays and anniversaries. We said goodbye to family and friends. Saying goodbye is sometimes hard and sometimes a blessing.

Aunt Grace and I had a great visit in June, that year. She had just turned 90 and told me stories I had never heard. People think I talk a lot. For two hours, I could not get a word in edgewise. (I am not exaggerating.) What a time we had. We laughed. And, after I left, I cried because I knew we would never have a time like that again. Laughter and tears. What a day.

In December 2004, I said goodbye to Grace, the last aunt on my mother’s side. The best thing I learned at Aunt Grace’s funeral was that she had accepted God. That made me smile. Then reality set in. My cousin, sister and I looked at each other. The “cousins” were now the top branch on my mother’s family tree. That is daunting. No one to look up to. No one to turn to. No one – Oh yes, just as when I was a lower branch I still have someone. God!

To the laughter and tears of life, add faith and it does not matter which branch of the tree you are. You are always an important branch on God’s tree and, with God as the root, your branch will always be strong.


Who looks to you for help and guidance? Who do you turn to? God? Your church? Your friends?


Dear Creator, You created the family tree. Each branch is filled with your children. Some have turned to you and, regretfully, some have turned away. Let me not fail as I fit into the lineage of a God fearing people. I know I can always turn to you and your word for guidance. I will listen with an open mind and a loving spirit to you and your words. If others turn to me, give me the wisdom I need to help them. Do not let me judge others when they seek guidance, but let me help. When I need help, I know I can turn to .………………………………… Amen