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butterfly exhibit Houston Dec 2012 052When I passed the end display in our local office supplies store, I paused. It was the clearance section. Yeah, I’m a sucker to see what bargains I can pick up.

This bin was full of day planners. Most were based on a weekly format or at least included that as an option. Long ago I switched to an electronic planner on my PDA and computer but these pocket planners still fascinated me.

The first thing that caught my attention was the weekly format. Every one of the planners from multiple companies all began their week on a Monday. The end of the week was clearly reserved and identified as the weekend gathered Saturday and Sunday together.

I don’t live my life like that. That kind of calendar would disrupt the flow of my thinking. The first day of the week will always be Sunday for me.

Often in my prayers I thank God for Sunday. The activities that fill that day focus my attention on the Lord, His people, His grace, His goodness, the hope to live today and prepare for tomorrow.  It is the historic day that celebrates the Resurrection of Jesus from His death three days earlier on the cross.

When Christians gather for worship on the first day of the week, they can be challenged in their pursuit of holiness, grow deeper in their faith and strengthen their fellowship with fellow grace recipients.  Inspired and fortified they can then enter the week with determination and initiative to make a difference for eternity.  When they drive out of the church parking lot, they can set their hearts on representing Christ well in whatever walk of life that occupies their days.

The New Year is not so much about making resolutions as an expression of putting off good things to do, rather it is about gratitude for a good year and anticipating another year to see His grace unfold again.  His goodness is unending.  If you know Him personally, then you are familiar with this endless generosity of mercy.

Should you not know Him and happen to be reading this entry, please consider His offer.  His name is Jesus Christ.  He died on the cross for your sins. 

You feel badly about your sins.  But, He can clean your life and give you a gift of forgiveness that will be your guarantee of life in heaven with Him forever.  Believe in His Resurrection and you will know real love.

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography

sunsetThis is New Year’s Eve. The last hours of 2008 is a mere few hours away. It’s been meaningful to reflect over an amazing year.

Family rates up at the top of my favorite memories. Long talks, serious discussions, and fervent prayers pepper those relationships. Decisions that alter the lives of my children have not been uncommon this year. Each time the Lord has blessed, guided, and given affirmation when we have sought His wisdom together.

One of my hardest decisions was saying Good-bye to our Lhasa Apso, Dusty, after fifteen loyal years. He was such a character. But, in the end cancer won and a mercy decision was the right thing to do.

Friends shape and mold my soul more than any other situation in life. Laughter, provision, help, encouragement, advice, consolation, warning, smiles, tears, hugs, surprises, gestures, unspoken gazes, cheers and prayers are all a part of deepening what already exists between hearts knitted together with eternal threads. What would any of us do without our friends?

2008 was the year for privileged travel. My frequent flyer miles took me to Israel, South Korea, Quebec and South Africa. In those very special places I walked the land and met great people and experienced the blessing of God that before I only thought would be in my dreams.

I was also back in one of my favorite places in the world, Oregon. The beauty of the NW was refreshed in my soul. Visions of hikes below towering Douglas fir, gazing at majestic Mt. Hood, skipping along the shores of the vast Pacific Ocean, combing for sea shells on the endless beaches and smiling at jet skis spouting up giant rooster tails on the mighty Columbia River all contribute to the serenity that fills up my senses.

Back at home I love thinking about the lives of special people. Joint Heirs are members of the Adult Bible Fellowship that I teach. It is a treat to be their teacher.

Michigan Theological Seminary was a highlight. It’s an amazing collection of great people who are all deeply devoted to the Lord and determined to make a difference with their lives. God’s transformation of lives is a regular occurence in this place.

When it comes right down to what made 2008 special, it was all about people. I am grateful for those people that I love. Of course it is a blessing to also be loved by them. Happy New Year!

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