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Control your temper, for anger labels you a fool. Ecclesiastes 7:9

When I was in high school many years ago, I remember a game our school played against one of our rivals. We knew each other well. Perhaps too well as a matter of fact. The opposing team had a player who was one of the best, if not the best, player in our area. He had one flaw though and that flaw evened the playing field considerably.

Even though he had the skills to beat any of us, he also had a temper. The coaches never told us to take advantage of that of course, but we all knew that an occasional push under the basket or a derogatory comment made under our breath would rile him up. If we could get him angry he would likely foul out or his anger would force him to make mistakes.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

Those words reflect nicely the wisdom of Proverbs 7:9. Once we allow others to influence our attitudes it can affect how we function in our workplace, families or any other relationships.  Once that happens, it’s often ‘Game Over’.

The Bible is full of constant reminders and examples of people and situations that can attack our attitude. Once that happens we have a decision to make. Are we going to respond to the situation or react to the situation. Responding has the idea of taking the time to plan and wise and timely action. Reacting is more about quick (and often inappropriate) action.

Responding may require you to take time to think about next steps. The silence when you are pondering next steps may cause others to think you are a fool for not acting quickly. But it’s better to take your time and think things through than to prove to others that you are a fool by acting too quickly!

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I have to confess to you that there are times I’ve hurt others, my reputation and most importantly, you, but rash actions. Forgive me for not taking the time to think wisely. Help me, by your Spirit, to show patience, mercy and grace in situations where wisdom is needed. Amen.


Unfortunately, there have been several mass shootings of late. In 1999 the Columbine shootings awakened us to the horrific possibility that schools weren’t as safe as we once thought. Since then we’ve realized no place, not even houses of worship, are safe anymore.

But this one hit hard. Maybe it’s because of the age of the victims. Perhaps it’s because to have this happen so close to Christmas dashes our hopes, and taints the holiday most looked forward to by our babies. Maybe it’s because it is one more reminder of the frailty and uncertainty of life.

Hopefully it drives each of us to appreciate the ones we love and tell them and show them so…often. Every time we part company with them, we need to be reminded in some small way that this could be the last time we see them. No drama there, no attempt to preach doomsday logic. Just a quiet reminder to show those we love that we love them.

My prayers, of course go out to the parents and families of the victims. The brothers and sisters that won’t see their brother or sister this side of heaven. The grandparents that won’t get to see that Christmas Concert this year (and it’s the first one they’d have). The Aunts and Uncles who just lost their pride and joy. Simply can’t imagine the pain.

My prayer is for the teachers and staff of Sandy Brook. Those of in education know that it doesn’t matter if you are the class instructor, the janitor or the cook, you play a vital role in the life of the Kids. At any given moment you are a parent, a coach, and encourager, a disciplinarian, a doctor, a counselor, a pastor,  a playmate, and perhaps most importantly, a friend…a best friend at times.

People choose to go into education to make a difference in lives of children. We don’t go into it for the pay (which isn’t that great) or so we can ‘have summers off (which rarely happens) or for status. We work long hours, struggle with increasing government regulations and paper work; with increasing scrutiny by parents, politicians and the community at large; when the kids fail it’s our fault, when they succeed it’s their determination that does it.

We don’t just deal with sick kids, scared kids, abused kids, violent kids, smart kids, and kids with special needs. We become a part of their family system. Maybe that’s why this one hit so hard for me.

I still believe in God’s love although sometimes I question why He allows these things to happen. My prayers are for comfort and strength for the victims’ families. But most of all right now, I pray for the teachers, and for all the 1000’s of teachers across this country that are hurting over this. God Bless you. You do a service everyday that many can’t do. Thank you for your dedication. Thank you for your love.


Luke 17:11, 14-Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

He didn’t have to go that way. Pure and simple. While the path Jesus took towards Jerusalem was the quickest, it was also the way less traveled by self-respecting Jews. First of all, staying as far away from Samaria was always preferred. They were ‘half-breeds’, arrogant and, well, they not only had a sin problem, they worshiped God in the wrong way. Along with that, the path leading along the border of Samaria and Galilee was a robbery waiting to happen. Thieves and other scoundrels lurked along the way in wait of prey.

Still, he went and scripture implies that he went slowly, visiting each town and village along the way and healing people as usual. Most Jews hurried through the small country of Samaria, not Jesus. As he approached on small village a group of lepers called out to Him. Again, he could have ignored their calls. Lepers were by nature smelly, grotesque looking people and to come near one would make you at best ceremonially unclean. At worst you could ‘catch the disease and be worse off.

He didn’t have to respond. Lepers were outcasts of society. Tradition taught, at that time, that leprosy came upon a person as a punishment for sin. There was nothing physically, emotionally or spiritually appealing the group of ten men that approached Jesus that day. Nothing that would have moved the average person to intervene. But Jesus was no average person!

What was it that moved Him to act? Maybe it was the realization of the emotional trauma these men were in. Maybe it was the prayers their families had offered up on their behalf. Maybe he was looking for some way to show his power over leprosy. Or maybe it was love. It was the compassionate cry of broken people that drove him that day to heal those men.

That’s why I’m expressing gratitude today. I’ve never had leprosy, but I know what it’s like to be rejected. I’ve never been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, but I was born with a birth defect that will eventually kill me, I’m human.

I’m fortunate this Thanksgiving Season to have family and friends that love me and encourage me on the way, some of whom have stood by me through some pretty dark years, as a matter of fact. While I am thankful for those people, the person I’m most thankful for is Jesus Christ. Jesus saw me at my worst, but still believed in me enough to search me out and forgive me.  Like the lepers, Jesus sought me out when I was beaten, bruised and rejected.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus Christ, may I never weary of praising you for the many blessings you have bestowed on me. Thank you for reaching out to me when I was at my worst and giving me your best. Your love has freed me from the restraints that kept me in bondage and I praise you. Amen.


Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me. Isaiah 46:9 (NLT)

I recently read a book on leadership and values in business. The author tells the story of how he took an ‘educated risk’ early in his career. His company was considering buying another company. He was on the team that would make a recommendation to buy or not buy the company. While the rest of the team gave the go ahead, he had a hunch that it was a bad situation. He went over the heads of his team and supervisor to tell the CEO his opinion.

As a result of his risk, the issue was reopened and it was decided not to buy the company. History would show that the decision he suggested was the right one. His decision was made on the basis of the things he learned about the other company’s track record among other things. His investigation told him that the company simply wasn’t worth the cost.

What’s true in the business world is true in the spiritual realm as well. Yet, ironically, we seldom treat our spiritual lives the same way as we treat our finances and physical life. Jehovah God tells us to count the cost. Look at his track record; consider what you’ve seen about him in the past when you make a decision about the future.

There are many god’s in our world, and they all have one thing in common, they have a cost involved. The god of relationship demands that the relationship remain exciting, fulfilling and new. If it doesn’t measure up our nature tells us to look elsewhere, to find a new, exciting relationship to fulfill our desires.

The god of want tells us that true happiness comes from the newness and amount of our toys. Gaining possessions at all costs is the demand of this god of want. The true cost isn’t realized until our kids are grown and we realize we’ve never taken time to get to know them. We aren’t aware of the true cost of want until we’ve built a wall of debt so thick we will never see the light of financial freedom.

The god of self-indulgence demands that we pursue a lifestyle that keeps us happy. Monetary cost is no issue. The bodies strewn in our path are of no consequence. The important thing is to realize that ‘life is too short to take it seriously’.

The god of religion demands that you act a certain way; that you worship in a certain style; that you hold to a certain set of dogmas and doctrines. The god of religion is a sly one because he knows just enough to lure you into a trap of feeling you are a good person, until you realize you’ve paid with your soul.

There is only one God in this world that is different from all the other god’s. Jehovah God asks nothing from you. He’s not about rules, he’s about relationship. He’s not about changing the plan in the middle of the game. The cost was paid at the cross. He simply calls us to be everything he hoped we could be.

Count the cost. When you choose who to follow realize that the best deal out there is the God who’s already paid the cost and offers you the deal of a lifetime…and eternity.

PRAYER: Father God, my prayer today is for those who’ve been following after god’s who require a cost they will never be able to pay. Draw them to yourself. Thank you that you are about relationship, not rules. Amen.


You have done many good things for me, Lord, just as you promised. Psalm 119:65 (NLT)

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,

When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

As I write this post our nation is watching as fires of epic proportions and disastrous flooding inundates our beautiful countryside. From a distance we watch the devastation unfold. To most of us, it’s a news story with little or no personal connection. To those connected in anyway it will be remembered as one of the darkest periods in their lives as memories and perhaps even lives are wiped away in an instant.

As I read Psalm 119:26 the words of the old hymn “Count your blessings” came to mind. Counting your blessings is easy when you are removed from hardship. When life is good, the bills are paid, the kids are behaving and your spouse is understanding and helpful, counting your blessings is fun. Oddly enough, counting your blessings is more important when life is hard than when it is good.

When the hard times of life come and you see no hope remember what the Lord has done for you. When sleep evades you and you lie awake at night, use that time to think back over the positive things that God has brought into your life. Sometimes it will be difficult. Other times it may be impossible. The last thing the enemy wants you to do is to count your blessings because counting your blessings destroys despair.

The Psalmist knew the secret power of praise. He knew that looking back was the best way to move forward because looking back showed us the reality of God’s presence in our lives.

I can’t imagine the devastation of standing hopelessly by and watching my home and all the things I’ve worked for go up in smoke. I’ve been blessed thus far in the fact that a flood has never washed away my dreams. But I’ve seen the devastation of divorce. I’ve struggled with job loss, with financial devastation and poor choices. In the midst of those times when the memories of the past threaten to paralyze my future, I can look back and see that even in those darkest times my Heavenly Father has never left my side.

“You have done many good things for me Lord, just as you promised.”

The promises of God are unchangeable. The promises of God are not influenced by natural disaster or political grandstanding. The promises of God are unlimited. He will never leave us or forsake us because of his great love.

PRAYER: Father, today my prayer is simply the prayer of the psalmist. You have done many good things for me, just as you promised, and for that I praise you. Amen.

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