Tuesday, October 28, 2008


While conducting a church service, the pastor ask an old deacon to give the final prayer. He prayed a fine humble prayer ending with, "Lord, prop us up on our leanin' side."  After hearing him the pastor asked him why he prayed those particular words.

He answered, "Well sir, you see, it's like this... I got an old barn out back of my house. It's been there a long time, and it's withstood a lot of weather. It's gone through a lot of storms and stood for many years, but it's still standing. One day I noticed it was leaning to one side a bit, so I got some pine poles and propped it up on its leaning side so it wouldn't fall.

"Then I got to thinking about that old leaning barn and how much I was like it. I've been around a long time. I've withstood a lot of life's storms and a lot of bad weather in life. I've stood against a lot of hard times, and I'm still standing too. But I find myself leaning to one side from time to time, so I like to ask the Lord to prop us up on our leaning side, 'cause I figure a lot of us get to leaning at times.

"Sometimes we get to leaning toward anger, leaning toward bitterness, leaning toward hatred, leaning toward cussing, or leaning toward some things that we shouldn't. So I think we need to pray, 'Lord, prop us up on our leaning side.' Then maybe we'll stand straight and tall again so's we can glorify the Lord'. ''

Are you leaning too far one way or other?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


As we approach Election Day, Nov. 4, I offer this prayer for our nation. "Prayers of the Presidents" is an anthology of actual prayers each president noted here prayed on his Inauguration Day.

(Pres. George Washington, 1789)   Almighty GOD; we make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy protection, that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United States of America at large. And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility and a gentle temper of mind which were the characteristics of The Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation.

(Pres. Thomas Jefferson, 1801) We humbly beseech Thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of Thy favor and glad to do Thy will. Bless our land with honorable ministry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion, from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people, the multitude brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. 

(Pres. Franklin Roosevelt, 1945)  Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace--a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.

(Pres. George H. W. Bush, 1989)  Accept our thanks for the peace that yields this day and the shared faith that makes its continuance likely. Make us strong to do Thy work, and willing to heed and hear Thy will. For we are given power not to advance our own purposes, nor to make a great show in the world, nor a name for ourselves. There is but one just use of power, and it is to serve people. Help us to remember this, O Lord. May the Lord our God be with us, as He was with our fathers; may He not leave us or forsake us; and may He incline our hearts to Him, that we may walk in all His ways, and that all peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other. 

Grant our supplications, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ Our Lord, Amen.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


We returned last Saturday from our trip to the Mediterranean with souveniers, memories and a nasty cold. This trip came mostly from retirement gifts and involved 12 days on the Emerald Princess with stops at Barcelona, Marsaille, Florence/Pisa, Rome, Naples/Pompeii, Mykonos Island, Istanbul, Ephesus, Athens/Corinth and Venice. We had lots of walking, too much food, and a nice room on an amazing ship (112,000 tons, 3,200 passengers, 1,500 crew, a floating hotel larger than most aircraft carriers)

The most memorable part for me was visiting the ruins of Rome, Pompeii, Ephesus and Corinth. The artwork of Florence, Vatican and Venice is truly amazing, but there's something special about the ruins. Perhaps it's that they represent what is past and gone. In my travels I've seen some really old stuff, especially in Israel, and often wonder why cities of old lie abandoned today.

Ancient ruins also make me wonder if other peoples, centuries from now, will dig up our ruins. What will they find? That, of course, leads one to the larger question of how long this world will last. World economic problems can make us pause and wonder about things like that.

"Only one life, 'twill soon be past; Only what's done for Christ will last." Those words from a plaque on a wall of my childhood room have remained with me. Through parents, pastors, professors and other amazing people, I've learned that with Jesus Christ, life need not be just a pile of rubble. We may ruin some things in life, but Jesus will rebuild, make them worthwhile. Our ruins may seem deserted, but our Good Lord never deserts us. "Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you, says the Lord." (Hebrews 13:5)

God doesn't live in cathedrals or temples - He lives in peoples' hearts. He doesn't need marble or bronze, paintings or frescos, tapestries or mosaics to represent Him - His Holy Word shows us who He really is and what He wants us to know. He is our Lord who is above all human art forms; He is our Savior who rescues us from the world's woes; He is greater than the sum total of all human effort to represent or glorify Him.

He is who we need at this time!