Tuesday, May 31, 2011


The previous week has been fun and busy with family visiting us for the Air Force Academy graduation of our niece, now a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force. For five days Carol and I hosted up to nine family members each night and enjoyed their visits immensely, something rare for us being this far from most of our midwestern family. The events included a big Saturday meal, Sunday Baccalaureate service (and another big meal), Monday Cadet Parade and picnic, Tuesday's host family lunch, Cadet Commissioning and dinner at the Macaroni Grill. It was all capped off with Wednesday morning graduation of 1020 US Air Force cadets, and (of course) a late afternoon lunch. Graduating from the AFA is hard on the waistline!

Sunday morning in the magnificent AFA chapel, we worshipped with a full house, and in his message the Chaplain said. "No matter who we are or what we have achieved, we are entitled to nothing. We are, however, privileged to receive God's grace and mercy in Jesus Christ." My niece stated it somewhat the same once when I asked her how her accomplishments at the Academy would affect her future in the Air Force. She said, "Uncle Bob, after graduation I'm at the bottom just like everyone else. What I did here will not affect how I am treated in the future. I'm on a level field with all my classmates."

This attitude is certainly not universal today. Far too many people believe they are entitled to all manner of special things in life just by being alive, whether or not they have done anything to merit them. While we Christians know we can never earn God's salvation, neither are we entitled to His mercy. Mercy and grace are God's gift to us in Jesus, gifts He chooses to give us. God's grace means there is no high or low ranking - we're all on the same level field.

Because of our sin we should all receive nothing whatsoever, and we are surely not entitled to anything special merely by being alive. God in His mercy chooses to give us the marvelous gifts of earthly life here and eternal life there because that's the only way we can have them. To presume we are entitled to anything special in life is a mistake.

In 1 Corinthians 13:10, Paul wrote, "By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect." All people of the world, especially Christians, need to recognize we are what we are because of God's grace. As the Chaplain said, "No matter who we are or what we have achieved, we are entitled to nothing. We are, however, privileged to receive God's grace and mercy in Jesus Christ."

Great words to live by!

"DAILY WALK WITH JESUS", my Amazon Kindle book is available at:
If you do not have a Kindle Reader, you can download a free one for your PC or Mac at:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Families get together. The past few days Carol and I have enjoyed having family members stay with us for the graduation of our niece at the US Air Force Academy. Kaylyn, our lovely, bright, committed, talented Christian Minnesota farm girl, graduated 6th overall in her class of 1030 cadets, and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant, her first assignment being Vance AFB, OK, for pilot training. "Do not forsake your friend or a friend of your family." (Proverbs 27:10)

Families pray together. The family of like-minded Christians in a congregation often become more than mere friends. Together in the love of Christ, they become like family to us. Their joys and hurts become our joys and hurts, and we pray for their needs as fervently as for those God has given us in our families. "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers." (Galatians 6:10)

Families bond together. Sometimes we find extended family at college, in church, neighborhood or even at work. These associations can be as important as our blood relatives. While we usually find the greatest bond with relatives, we can be blessed with a dear friend who can become closer to us than a sibling.  "A friend loves at all times, and a brother (sister) is born for a time of adversity." (Proverbs 17:7)

Families rejoice together. Most often we gather for weddings, anniversaries, graduations and reunions. Too often it only is for funerals; too rarely we gather just for fun. Families are a fantastic gift from God. True, not all family members are loving or contented. Families can be torn apart by strife or misunderstanding, but still God has placed us into families, and we must not forsake this great gift. "God sets the lonely into families." (Psalm 68:8)

Families gather together. Is it time to connect with your family? Is it time for you to pray together with your Church family? Is it time to forgive someone in your family, or to stop worrying about a family member and commit them to Jesus? Is it it time to bring someone special with you into your family? Is it time to find a way to show more love in your family? Is it time to thank God for your family?

"For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, 'Peace be within you'.” (Psalm 122:8)

Monday, May 16, 2011

DAILY WALK WITH JESUS - a devotional E-Book

Do you own a Kindle or other kind of Electronic Book reader? Microchip technology has made it possible to have a whole library at your fingertips in a unit weighing only a pound or two. True, it's not the same as the "feel" of turning the pages of a book, but have a couple of hundred (thousand?) books in one small, light unit is a fascinating and fortunate thing. Like much technology, it can be for you a blessing if used often and rightly.

This past weekend I published my first and perhaps only E-Book on Amazon Kindle. It is called "DAILY WALK WITH JESUS" and can be purchased on Amazon Kindle at: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0050VRJX0 Or http://tinyurl.com/3nvpywj, for $5.99. You should be able to "click" either of these websites and be taken directly to Amazon - no need to copy and paste the URL address.

"DAILY WALK WITH JESUS" contains over 365 daily devotions, one for each day of the year, and is comprised of edited versions of my past fifteen years of WEEKLY MESSAGES. Many of you have asked me to re-send you certain devotions. DWWJ probably has that one, and you can look it up with the finder tool. If you choose to purchase DWWJ, I pray it will be a blessing for you and yours.

A few years back I sent out a similar E-Book free to my WEEKLY MESSAGE reader list, and received back some encouraging responses. This version is more complete, has fewer mistakes, and has a Bible verse or two for each day's devotion and your spiritual edification. Why am I charging for it? Amazon Kindle requires some kind of charge for its downloading services, and considerable time and effort has gone into publishing this newer edition. I greatly appreciate assistance from my friend David Menges, a fellow Amazon Kindle author, who spent hours formatting DWWJ.

Another reason for a modest cost is that people tend to value and use more often that which costs them something. While writing can have many purposes, an author writes in order to be read. I sincerely hope DWWJ will benefit many individuals and families.

Isaiah 30:8 tells us, "Go now, write it on a tablet for them, inscribe it on a scroll, that for the days to come it may be an everlasting witness." May "DAILY WALK WITH JESUS" be an everlasting witness to the grace and mercy of God in Jesus Christ.

I hope you find "DAILY WALK WITH JESUS" to be a blessing each day you read it.

Monday, May 9, 2011


As modern Americans, we take so many amazing things for granted. We flip a switch, always believing the lights will come on. We turn on the faucet to get clean, safe water, heated via natural gas or cooled in a refrigerator containing good food easily purchased in well-stocked stores. We take medicine knowing it is safe and consistent with the label content. We slip into comfortable, inexpensive clothing others have made, and sit in an easy chair with a favorite book or TV program. All these things are there for us, and we don't think a thing about them until something doesn't work as planned.

Computers, cell phones, airplanes and comfortable automobiles take us places unimaginable a few decades ago. The things we complain about are minor compared to other nations or times. True, some of us must deal with poor health or floods or bad weather or unemployment or shortages, but these things will pass. We have so much, yet become so easily upset when things go awry. Sewers can clog, people or products can disappoint, and plans may not work out, but all in all, we count on abundant blessings regularly present in our lives.

God has given us a life far better than we deserve. Carol, Brian and I attended worship Sunday and afterwards enjoyed a tasty Mother's Day Brunch at a busy cafe. Far from our minds were those making it all possible: night workers, police, fire and medical personnel, delivery people and truckers, as well as the soldiers, sailors and airmen who protect our nation. It's all part of a life we assume all should wake up to every day.

All these are ours in a nation basically free from tyranny or inconvenience. That's why so many people want to come here to live. There will always be days of sadness, sickness, unfairness and disappointment. But we have so much less evil to contend with than those living in other countries. We have so much more good than bad in our lives. 

The next time you complain about a product, a service or a politician, think where you might be living, rather than in the United States of America. And think what life would be like if you did not have the hope of eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord, heavenly hope that makes earthly life worthwhile. All this and God's love, freely given.

Try to remember these words of St. Paul: "Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it." (1 Timothy 6:6-7)

God really is very good to you!

Monday, May 2, 2011


It is now less than two days since one of America's most elusive enemies was killed in a military fire fight. I will add nothing to what has already been said about that event, but I would like to tell you about another person's death, a child of God who died one week before, on Easter day. Her name is Margaret Walther Holz.

On Easter Sunday, Margaret went to eternal glory at the age of 97. She worshipped and received Holy Communion Easter morning with her son and his wife, Rev. Richard and Eunice Holz, had lunch with them at her assisted living home, lay down for a nap and went to be with her Lord. Margaret was a direct descendent of Dr. C. F. W. Walther, a founder of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, and spent her entire life serving the Lord as she was so very capable.

Her grandson Greg Holz is a missionary to Cambodia, and has set up the Margaret Holz Open Bible Project in her memory. Its dual purposes are to remember Margaret Holz, and to make Bibles available to Cambodians who need one. Information and photos of the Margaret Holz Open Bible Project are available at: http://www.transformasia.us/open-bible-project. Direct donations are easy to make at that site, and I urge you to join Carol and me in doing so, that many Cambodians may have the Word of God and come to know Jesus.

Margaret was a member of one of my former congregations. Her going to heaven on Easter Sunday was a gift only God could have arranged. In her fine family, having a son become a pastor and grandson a missionary made her especially grateful, yet humble and willing to serve the Lord as long as she was alive. It's an honor to be able to give Bibles to the people of Cambodia in Margaret Holz's memory. I hope you will go to the Open Bible website above and give as you are able.

There is a lot in the world to give us cause to be concerned. In the Battambang area where Greg shares the Gospel, political tensions and even gunfire have been increasing. But God is there also, with His holy Word of forgiveness, and so is our Lord Jesus, the Prince of Peace. God's people are there, also, seeking His mercy, helping His people, sharing hope where it is so badly needed.

Our Lord Jesus said, "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over." (Luke 6:38) Giving Bibles is a good way to give thanks to God this Easter season!

Thank You, Lord, for all Your faithful servants!