Monthly Archives: December 2021

Reflections – Fri – 21-12-31

Some of the highlights of my year were times spent with family. How about you? It was so hard to gather with family in 2020 with the Covid pandemic. I think our largest gathering with family that year numbered four! Things improved this year after the vaccines became widely available. Elaine and I gathered with all our children in June. We attended a family reunion on her side in July. Then we visited Elaine’s sisters in September. Thanksgiving was also a big affair at our house with my daughter, mom and the families of my  brother, niece and a nephew. It is so good to be with family!

Proverbs 17:6 says, “Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.” (NIV) It reminds us that the bonds of family flow up and down the family tree. Look at the delight in a grandparent’s eyes as they show you pictures of their grandchildren! See also the delight of adult children in gathering with their parents!

The most important social structure is not the national, state or local government. Nor is it non-profits or social agencies. No, it is the family. God created the family when he created Adam and Eve. I hope you can get together with your family.

As someone once said, “Having somewhere to go is home. Having someone to love is family. And having both is a blessing.”*

*Shutterfly Community, “55 Family Quotes And Family Sayings,” Shutterfly, last updated October 4, 2021,

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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.

Reflections – Thu – 21-12-30

As I look back on the year, one of the blessings God gave me was the opportunity to preach each Sunday. In May, I was asked to fill the pulpit for a small church a little over an hour away. Their minister retired and they needed someone to preach while they looked for a new minister. It has been my joy to drive down most Sundays to worship with some wonderful, friendly people! Hopefully, I have encouraged them as much as they’ve encouraged me!

For many people, gathering with other Christians has been difficult in the last two years. Sometime health concerns made it difficult. At other times, government has restricted churches. In some locations, government even banned worship services. Thankfully, many used video meeting services to create virtual church services.

Gathering with other Christians is a blessing Hebrews 10:24-25 talks about. It says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

I encourage you to return to church services and small group meetings as soon as you are able. Gathering in person is so much better than watching an electronic screen! Don’t miss out on the encouragement! Gather to spur each other on toward love and good deeds!

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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.

Reflections – Wed – 21-12-29

I suppose that an important event this year for most people was the availability of the Covid vaccines. The largest public vaccination effort in U.S. history was launched. Most were eager to get vaccinated. We know people who drove long distances to get the shot. Although the vaccines were created and rolled out in record time, it seemed like a long wait! People wanted life to get back to normal. The vaccines were the promise. As the number of vaccinated rose, the restrictions imposed by governments began to lift. Then, of course, the breakthrough infections and new variants appeared. Cases climbed again. More people died of Covid this year than in 2020. Thinking about all of this can be discouraging!

We need to remember Psalm 13. David felt like his troubles would never end. Hear what he said in the first two verses, “How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?” (NIV) But when David’s thoughts turned to God, he said this in verses five and six, “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me.” (NIV)

Remember our trust must be in God’s unfailing love. Keep your focus on him! Maybe even sing a little to him today, because he has been good to us!

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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.

Reflections – Tue – 21-12-28

Are you spending time this week reviewing your year? Looking at all the important events? I am. Looking back can be an encouraging thing. One of the important events in my life happened in early March. My older brother died after a long illness. Because of the pandemic, we didn’t do a funeral. Rather, on a cold blustery day, members of the extended family huddled under a tent in the cemetery. There, a minister friend conducted the burial service and Air Force airmen presented the military honors.

Funerals often wet our faces with tears and raise lumps in our throats. Though Vic would no longer suffer from his illness, we missed him. Yes, we grieved. But we also have hope because Vic was a believer. Yes, he was an imperfect and sometimes grumpy man. But his faith was in Jesus.

This is the same type of hope Paul expressed in Philippians 1:20-21, “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (NIV)

Let’s remember, no matter how bad, or how good, this life is, something better awaits. For those of us in Christ, we have eternal life. Let this hope encourage you each and every day!

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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.

Reflections – Mon – 21-12-27

In February of this year, I wrote and recorded the first episode of the podcast. My goal was to provide two minutes of Christian encouragement each day. It has been a lot of fun! Thousands of downloads have occurred. People from thirteen different countries have tried it. In the United States, it has been tried by listeners in 41 states, which includes over 90 metro market areas.  Though many have tried it, a small audience listens regularly. Thank you so much for listening! Though I may not know who you are, you are an encouragement to me! Some of you, who I know, also asked for business cards about the podcast to hand to your friends. Your support promoting the program has also encouraged me!

Encouragement is needed, don’t you think? Look at the challenges of life today! Covid outbreaks, mandates for masks, lockdowns, vaccines mandates, supply chain issues, rising inflation and political turmoil. Add to those the regular challenges of illness and the loss of loved ones. In the midst of this, we all need to encourage each other. That’s exactly what Hebrews 3:13 says, “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (NIV)

Take a moment to thank those who’ve encouraged you this year. Then, find someone and encourage them in their Christian walk! To paraphrase Hebrews, it’s still today, so keep encouraging others!

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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.

Reflections – Sun – 21-12-26

The week after Christmas is traditionally when newspapers and televisions stations publish articles and programs that review the year. These “year in review” features recap the important news stories, sporting events and cultural happenings. I really suspect that they are written and produced in the weeks prior to Christmas, so the staff can take the week off! However, it is good to review. You know what the old saying is, “Hindsight is 20/20.”

This week, the podcast is going to do a year in review. However, we will not review podcast episodes. Instead, we’ll look at different events in my life. I hope to use them to encourages all of us.

So where to begin? Well, in January 2021 I made the decision to retire. It was a few years early, but I sensed the   Lord closing doors in the job market. In fact, that decision enabled me to create this podcast, among other things. It brings to mind James 4:15, “You ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’” (NIV)

We have to realize our plans are subject to God’s will. That means God may change our plans. He did mine. What plans did you have at the beginning of the year that the Lord changed? What blessings did he provide? Take a moment to review your year and see where God led you.

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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.

Christmas – Sat – 21-12-25

When you think of Christmas, what do you think of? Stockings, Christmas trees, fruit cake? I bet you, and everyone else, associate Christmas with gifts, right? Whether we are buying gifts, wrapping gifts or opening gifts, at some point today, you’ll likely gather with family and open Christmas gifts.

This week, we have been looking at the people who received announcements about Jesus at the time of his birth. We’ve been looking at them in order. Today, we remember the Magi, or wise men. We don’t know the exact time they first saw the star that led them to Jesus. So, they may have known about Jesus’ birth long before they saw him. But it seems appropriate to talk about them on Christmas day.

How did the Magi respond to Jesus when they saw him? Matthew 2:11 says, “On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.” (NIV)

Notice the two things they did? They worshipped Jesus and presented him with gifts. In your family tradition, take a moment to sing a Christmas carol or read of Jesus’ birth from the Bible. Worship him. Also, as you give gifts to each other, think of what you can give to Jesus. You don’t need to buy him anything. He wants you to love him and follow him.

Merry Christmas!

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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.

Christmas – Fri – 21-12-24

This week, we have been looking at people who received an announcement or revelation about Jesus near the time of his birth. Yesterday, we looked at the time Mary and Joseph took the infant Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem. A man named Simeon held Jesus and praised God.

An old woman was also there. She walked up while Simeon was holding Jesus. Listen to the events recorded in Luke 2:36-38, “There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.” (NIV)

Did you notice her response? First, she thanked God. I’m sure she knew Jesus was the Savior. Second, she spoke about Jesus to other people. Can’t you just see this smiling old widow speaking joyously to others?

In all the hustle and bustle of Christmas, do we respond like Anna? We must give thanks for Jesus! Hopefully, you have family traditions like Advent candles or attending Christmas Eve services that help you focus on this. And, like Anna, we must joyously tell others about Jesus. There’s no better way to celebrate Christmas!

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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.

Christmas – Thu – 21-12-23

While Jesus was still an infant, Mary and Joseph took him to the temple in Jerusalem to fulfill requirements of Jewish law. While there, a man named Simeon came up to them. God had revealed to Simeon that Jesus was the Messiah. Luke 2:28-32 says, “Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: ‘Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.’” (NIV)

Simeon also had a message for Mary. He told her, “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” (Luke 2:34-35 NIV).

Simeon knew that Jesus would be a polarizing figure. People would oppose him. Mary would suffer heartache because of opposition to her son. Isn’t that a strange message to tell a mother celebrating the birth of her first child? Yes, but she evidently needed to hear.

We also remember that Jesus is still opposed by many today. But we choose to follow the example of Simeon. Today, praise God that we can know Jesus and the salvation he gives!

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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.

Christmas – Wed – 21-12-22

Don’t you just love A Charlie Brown Christmas? I know people whose tradition is to watch the cartoon each year. One of the iconic scenes from this classic is Linus reciting the announcement of Jesus birth from Luke 2. Here’s part of the passage from the New International Version: “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.’” (Luke 2:8-11)

Then, verses 16-18 tell us how the shepherds reacted to the announcement, “So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.” (NIV)

Hurrying seems to be a part of Christmas, doesn’t it? We have events to attend and shopping to do. But see what the shepherds did after finding Jesus. They spread the word. We should too! Celebrate Christmas by telling someone else about the birth of Jesus!

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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.

Christmas – Tue – 21-12-21

The third person to hear the announcement of Jesus’ birth was Joseph. He actually got the news in two different ways. First, he got the earthly new. Matthew 1:18-19 says, “This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.” (NIV)

Evidently, Mary, or her family, told Joseph she was pregnant. He may have heard the complete story of the angel’s announcement to Mary. We don’t know for sure, but it seems reasonable. At any rate, Joseph was thinking of starting the legal process to end their engagement.

That’s when Joseph got the news in the heavenly way! An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and confirmed that Mary was a virgin and the conception was a miracle. The angel told Joseph to proceed with the wedding. Verses 24 and 25 give us Joseph’s reaction, “When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.”(NIV)

Joseph did what God commanded. May we also obey God this Christmas, and always!

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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.