Wednesday, December 30, 2009

MEDITATION?


Wanda and I are enjoying our visit to Puerto Rico to see Jennifer and family. We have had a ball playing with the kiddies and seeing the sights and sounds of this beautiful island playground. We have gone to Old San Juan at night to see the lights as well as visited the rain forrest, El Yunque.

We packed a picnic and enjoyed the water falls and hiked .7 of a mile up and down the narrow trails to a beautiful water fall.

Along the way we passed three ladies who were sitting on rocks in a flowing stream as still as still could be. Claudia wanted to know if they were statues or not. We told her that they weren't, but the ladies never moved.


I guess they were praying or meditating. Mediation is good as long as we are meditating on the Lord or good thoughts. I'm not sure what they were meditating on or if they were praying or what. The sounds of the flowing stream were soothing so I am sure they felt relaxed and at ease when they left.

El Yunque gets 10 ft. of rain each year.
Imagine.
10 ft of rain!
Wow!

No wonder it is called a rain forrest and everything is lush and green. I slipped and fell while going down a steep trail and landed on my behind shall I say? Nothing hurt, but a little pride. As we returned back and I was approaching the spot where I fell, I watched a guy coming down and he fell right there too. It was much more funny to watch him than experience the personal pain of my fall. Well, my pride is ok and so is my behind.





Claudia and Lorenzo and such loving children. They have taken to their new NanaWanda, as they call her. Their loving hugs and kisses are going to make it very hard to return home.

Monday, December 28, 2009

IS TIME RUNNING OUT?

In just a few days 2009 will be over and a new year will ring in. Another whole year of 365 days will have passed and new pages of days will appear. When I get to the end of the year, sometimes it makes me feel like time is running out. It makes me feel like the time of my life is quickly pouring through the hour glass and coming to those last moments.

We do know that life is like a vapor. It passes quickly. Another year is quickly passing and all of its opportunities are passing too.

What did you plan on doing in 2009 that you haven't accomplished?

What are the goals of this year that have long been completed?

Here is the really good news I have for you today. Even when 2009 is over, and then 2010 passes, and the next year and the next year, and on and on, you are going to live on. Life doesn't end here in this world. Even if you should leave this world before 2009 ends, you will live on and on and on and on.

This life is just the staging place for another life that will be lived forever and forever. I have reached and even passed mid-point in my life, but in actuality I am just getting started. It is vital that we make this part of our lives in this world count for it is the preparation time for the rest of our lives.

So, is time running out?

No, just time in this world. Hey, another world is awaiting. I will spend my time here getting ready for a better world and a better life.

Eternity is going to be amazing.

Friday, December 25, 2009

FROM OUR HOME TO YOURS




May the Joy and Peace of Christmas
fill your hearts and homes.

From our hearts and home to yours,

MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR.



Wednesday, December 23, 2009

ANONYMOUS GIFTS

What did you buy for Christmas?

Have you done all your shopping for Christmas?

It is fun to give and it is fun to receive. I'll admit it. I love to give, but I still have enough kid in my to yet like to receive. Wanda has had a ball shopping and figuring out what to give to each family member. Christmas gifts brighten the Christmas tree and lighten small eyes.

Monday afternoon I checked our mail and there was a nice anonymous gift in our mail. It was in a beautiful and thoughtful card and was a thoughtful gesture to Wanda and me.

I don't know who it came from, but I pray that God will bless them for their kindness. Others have given nice gifts to us and we are grateful for all the many kindnesses.

It just touched me that someone wanted to bless us in a special and unusual way and they wanted to be anonymous.

God is good.

Monday, December 21, 2009

CHRISTMAS IS COMING SOON!



Saturday, Wanda's son and family arrived to celebrate an early Christmas with us. Wanda cooked a delicious dinner fit for kings and we all enjoyed a great time together.

All four of our children had trouble coming here at the same time so we're actually having four different Christmas's this year. That is a lot of fun, food, and presents.

Actually we are going down to San Juan to see Jennifer after Christmas but all the other children and grands are coming here at different times.


After dinner, we headed down the street to jump a hayride provided free by our neighborhood association. They had two wagons and huge horses and lots of hay with cookies and hot chocolate.


We waited a few minutes for our turn at riding and then sang Christmas carols and looked at the beautiful lights as the horse drawn wagon filled with hay took us through our neighborhood decorated with Christmas lights.


While riding one of the other riders asked my which house was my house just as we were passing right in front of our house. It was perfect timing as I pointed and said, "Right there."
It was kinda funny and neat the way that happened.

Christmas is just days away, but we have been enjoying the season all through December. It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas everywhere we go.

Mark and Tara and their beautiful kids, Cole and Paige, had a super time with it all. The kiddies really liked opening presents early at Nana and Papa's house.

Oh my! What fun!

Friday, December 18, 2009

ENJOY THE LIGHTS



I love lights. How many lights brighten our house and yard this Christmas?

Maybe 4,000 or so and I wish we could have more. The circuit breakers wouldn't hold much more with all the other appliances and stuff so I guess we're about at our limit.

Wanda had a ball decorating inside and I worked on the outside. She decorated our table beautifully for our recent church staff/deacon/minister dinner.





Here are a few pictures. People ride through our neighborhood all during Christmas enjoying the bright lights. Some families really go all out with lights, decorations, and music. It is truly a wonderful time of the year.





















Wednesday, December 16, 2009

GOD'S GIFT TO ME

Boy, I am tired.

But it is a good tired from sharing fellowship with some of the most wonderful people in the world. Wanda and I had our staff, deacons, and ordained ministers who attend our church in our home for a Christmas dinner and fun evening Tuesday evening.

We had 28 or 30 or so in our home and Wanda was the most wonderful hostess. The house looked like Christmas, and everything was just perfect. I was so proud of how she served everyone and made the evening special.

I think I got a couple of extra dings!!!!....from Wanda for helping a little to put it together. She did most of the work, but I helped peal some potatoes, put decorations where she wanted them, washed lots of pots, dishes, glasses, and other things, and then helped put the house back together. The dinner was super delicious as my secretary, Lorraine, cooked the meat and everyone brought a dish. Wow! It was incredible. What a feast!

This was our first major entertainment event in our home since we married, and I could not have been any more pleased with how Wanda made it happen.

Wanda is God's gift to me.

Monday, December 14, 2009

THERE IS A LIGHT!




Darkness cannot glow or shine or sparkle.

Darkness is more than blinding. It limits.

But light is glorious!

Jesus said, "I am the light of the world." He shines the glory and goodness of God so that no one can question God's amazing love. "God so loved the world that He gave His only son...."

I guess that is why I love the lights of Christmas. Light lets the glory and goodness of God shine. The lights of Christmas remind us of the joy and peace that He brings into our lives.


Late Friday afternoon, Wanda and I rode to St. Augustine with our friends Don and Sandra to enjoy a delicious meal at the Columbia Restaurant and ride the tram to see the Christmas lights. The meal was scrumptious and the moonlight ride was inspiring.






They provide 3D glasses on the tram ride which causes all the lights to expand and make an even more spectacular glow. The lights are all enlarged to look light giant stars.

Just beautiful!

And you get a free cup of cider and a cookie at the end of the ride.

We have lights in the house and outside the house. I'll show pictures of the outside decorations on a later blog. Oh my, wonder what the electric bill will be? Don said he thought we had an airport outside with the runway lights on.

Take in the Season.

Enjoy!

Celebrate Jesus.

He is the One True Light of the World!

Click on the video below and watch 34 seconds of fun.


video

Friday, December 11, 2009

WHAT'S THE PLAN?

Have you made all your plans for Christmas family gatherings?

Well, time is running out. It takes a lot to get it all together especially if you have a large family and children and siblings are all scattered in different cities and states. My heart goes out to those who do not have family or their family or children do not make effort to get together. Christmas is a season to celebrate and give gifts and hug and eat and watch football. Yea!!

Some people in churches that I have served have mentioned hurts to me because their grown children made no time for them. Or maybe their children would only see the other spouses' family. They felt alone, left out, and not loved. How sad.

I have always tried to make sure that we would share family time and not leave anyone out. My parents have been so gracious to tell their children to come when we can. In fact, this year my mother told me to let Wanda decide what to do about family. That was very kind and thoughtful of Mom to offer that.

Wanda and I have been working on our plans and think we've made a schedule that will work. There are still a couple of bugs to work out but we're almost there. What about your family, parents, or grown children? Have you made a plan? Time is running out so you better get the calender and write the dates down.

Isn't Christmas fun.

I can't wait to see the grands, and children and loved ones.

It is the most wonderful time of the year.

Oh, maybe you might like to add a stranger in the mix to include in the Christmas planning or at least someone who might not otherwise be able to be with loved ones. Christmas is also a tough time for many who don't have loved ones to share Christmas.

Joy to the world.

The Lord is come!

It's beginning to look and feel like Christmas.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

JUST NO

Does God answer every prayer of the righteous?

Here is one more thought on Tim Tebow.

Before the beginning of the second half of the SEC Football Championship Game between Florida and Alabama last Saturday, the TV camera showed Tim apparently in deep prayer. I can only imagine what he was praying. Certainly he wanted to win the game as was obvious by the tears he shed as the seconds ticked down on the clock with Florida losing. They lost and I wonder if Tim's prayers were unanswered.

So what was Tim praying and did God fail him or not answer his prayers? Again, I can only suspect what his prayers were, but I would imagine he prayed that he would play his best and ask for help. Maybe he did pray to win. I wouldn't blame him whatever he prayed.

But sometimes God just says no. Some prayers are best answered with a no even if we have other ideas and want what we want. Obviously we do not know what is best.

Has God said no to a recent prayer of yours? Maybe His answer was to wait. Maybe the answer was totally different from you request and expectations. However God chooses to answer is best. We just must simply trust Him.

Sometimes the answer is JUST NO.

Monday, December 7, 2009

TEBOW'S TEARS

He knelt at the end of the game with tears streaming down his face. You could see passion, agony, hurt, and loss.

Were his tears for an opportunity forever lost?

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Tim Tebow, the great Florida Gator quarterback, was losing a tough fought game with my beloved Alabama Crimson Tide for the SEC Football Championship. His loss ended a dream and a chance for unusual greatness. It was tough, simply put. There would never be another opportunity to win a SEC or National Championship. For Tebow, those doors to greatness are gone. That is part of why tears slid down his cheeks.

But what opportunities are forever lost in our lives? Are we losing great moments of significant opportunity yet today? Could there be something far greater in our lives than a football championship game that we are missing?

What about moments missed with small children that will never be recovered? What about moments when God nudges us to help someone in need and we fail to respond? What about refusing to offer our best talents or encouragment or gift or monetary help and we miss the moment? What about a prayer not prayed. What about a small act of kindness to a mate or loved one that has slipped away?

Tebow wept over a forever lost opportunity yet I feel there are far more important moments that we miss. Maybe we should look again lest we weep too.

Or do we care as much as Tebow cares about football?

Friday, December 4, 2009

READY TO RUMBLE

Saturday the long awaited football game deciding the SEC Football Championship between Florida and Alabama will be played. Last year Florida won it over Alabama and a rematch is scheduled after both teams have now completed perfect regular seasons. The stakes are high for both as the winner will get a chance to play for the National Championship.


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I have been a Alabama football fan ever since I was a small boy watching The Bear Bryant TV Show each Sunday afternoon during football season before heading to church. Mom would always bake a pound cake on Sunday afternoon and it would come out of the oven just in time to eat a piece while the "Bear" talked about the previous Saturday's game and how they had won. They always won and he always played down his part unless they lost which was rare. Then he always took the blame.

Even though I have lived in Florida for almost thirty years, I still root for Alabama. I do like Tim Tebow and I wish him the best, but not this Saturday. The game should be a thriller and either team could win.

If there was some way Tim Tebow could have a great game and still lose, I would be happy. I would like to see him win the Heisman Trophy, but he would probably have to have a great game and win too for that to happen.

If Alabama should lose again, I will have to face all those proud Gators in my church on Sunday. Guess I better get more prayed up so the sermon won't be affected. Just kidding. My victory in Christ and my thrill at the privilege of preaching the Gospel far exceed any football game.

Roll Tide!!!

Go Bama!!!

Now go get them Gators!!!

Want to listen to some good music? Click here:

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

TITHING WORKS

I believe in tithing or giving 10 % of my income to God and have practiced it from childhood. There are many reasons I know it works which begin with my personal knowledge of God's promise to tithers and how it has impacted my life.

Here is another reason:

Florida State Football Coach Bobby Bowden

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Yes, you read it correctly. I another reason I believe in tithing is Coach Bobby Bowden.

I also believe in tithing because of Coach Bobby Bowden's testimony. A friend of mine, Pastor Larry Millender from Tallahassee, FL, shared with me that he had Coach Bowden speak at his church a few years back. Larry said that Coach Bowden publicly attributed his success in coaching and life to the fact that he and his wife had practiced tithing from the very beginning of their marriage. Bowden said tithing is the secret to what he had been able to do. Bowden believes that tithing is an open door to the blessings of God.

Coach Bowden announced on Tuesday that he is retiring from coaching the FSU football team after their upcoming bowl game. He has had one of the most stellar coaching careers ever in the history of college football ranking as the second all time winningest coach. That is a remarkable feat.

And he attributes his success to tithing.

Tithing works!

Try it.