Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Today is our 25th wedding anniversary. On November 29, 1986, Carol and I were married on the Saturday morning after Thanksgiving in a happy and memorable ceremony and reception. Last Saturday afternoon we hosted a party for about 80 or more friends and family here at Palm Creek, and I can safely say, "a good time was had by all."

There are so many fine things that can bless a person in life, and a good marriage is right up there with the best of them. Loving family, faithful children, close friends and faith in Jesus Christ are all important blessings to one's earthly life.

This Wednesday (tomorrow) we swing into the season of Advent, the weeks before our annual celebration of Christmas. Advent comes from Latin words meaning "coming" and it centers on the First Advent of Jesus, God's Son, coming into the world some 2000 years ago. Christians also believe in the Second Coming, that Jesus will come again to judge all creation at the end of the world. So today we actually live between the two Advents.

These days Advent is mostly overlooked by a secular society which has become overcome with worries about its economy and politics. Some even think things are really bad in our world, that we are somehow on the brink of destruction. Indeed, 2012 is considered by a few to usher in the end of all things as we know it.

So what if it does? Are we ready for it? Readiness here does not mean having enough stuff or just being in the right place. It does, however, mean believing the right things, that Jesus is our Savior, that He died for our sins and rose again to forgive us and bridge the chasm sin has created between us and God. Being ready for the Second Coming of Jesus is a matter of the heart. "All who believe in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

It is not easy to keep faith in Christ. Satan and his evil minions try to tear the faith from our hearts. It is easier to ignore God than to ignore the clamor and glitter of secularism around us. We must be vigilant at this time of year. Observing Advent can help us with that vigilance.

Trinity Lutheran of Casa Grande, AZ, observes Advent with midweek services, and I will be leading those again this year Wednesdays at 4:00 & 7:00. I urge you to find a church that observes Advent and worship the Good Lord in those midweek services. If that's not possible, take time to read the Bible and pray to the One who first came to earth as the Christ child, the One who promises He will come again to receive all the faithful to Himself in heaven.

God bless you all this Advent!

Monday, November 21, 2011


Our earth is an active place. Not only do we have seven billion people living on its surface, underneath the earth's surface there is a whole lot more activity going on than we ever realize.

Earlier this year I discovered a website that gives a day-to-day report on the earth's most recent earthquakes with data from the NEIC, the National Earthquake Information Center, located in Boulder, Colorado. You can find it at: http://quakes.globalincidentmap.com/. It shows just how active our earth is beneath its seemingly hard, yet thin crust. The most dangerous quakes are not necessarily those highest on the Richter Scale, but usually those most close to the earth's surface.

What's surprising is not just the high amount of daily earthquakes that take place on the "Pacific Rim of Fire" (which includes America's west coast), it is also the frequency of earthquakes in the rest of the USA - along the Mississippi, on the eastern seaboard and in New England states. Of course, some parts of South Pacific are rattled nearly every day by deep and powerful quakes, and the people there have learned to live with the ground moving beneath their feet.

There are plenty of reasons for people to fear earthquakes, but there are more reasons not to fear them. This earth that God has given us is our home. It is the best planet in the universe to support complex human life. It is the planet Almighty God has richly blessed. God is watching over us all, and giving us all we need for life, whether we acknowledge Him or not. We people are all blessed by His almighty hand. That is a very good reason to give Him special thanks on Thanksgiving Day coming in a few days.

Last year we felt a slight tremor here in Arizona as a 3.0 quake hit near Yuma, 150 miles west of us. The mini-blinds swayed and our whole home moved just a little. Tremors hit people in many places - a bad health report, losing a job, losing a loved one, experiencing a great disappointment, or perhaps feeling like you're losing your faith in God. Whenever the earth trembles beneath your feet, just remember, "The earth is the Lord's and all that is within it." (Psalm 24:1)

This Wednesday I will lead Thanksgiving Eve services at Trinity Lutheran, Casa Grande (at 4 & 7 PM), with the theme, "God Is So Good." Do you remember the Sunday School song with the simple yet profound words, "God is so good, God is so good, God is so good, He's so good to me"? Trinity congregation will sing that song Wednesday because it reminds us that God is good to us, even during the earthquakes of life.

Everyone experiences earthquakes in life, and God knows when they happen. He will be there to hold us up and bring us through. Whenever any earthquake strikes close to you, remember, "God is so good, He's so good to me." Then praise Him for His goodness!

"Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever." (Psalms 107:1)

Monday, November 14, 2011


It is a fundamental necessity of civilization that the strong must protect the weak. Whenever the strong neglect protecting the weak, or take harmful advantage of them, then the stronger must be judged harshly. This is true of families and also of governing entities. If the strong harm the weak under their care, this especially worthy of judgment. We saw this graphically in recent events at Penn State.

America is a great nation. It is great because it guarantees basic freedoms and puts in place certain principles that protect its citizens. Whenever its leaders choose to promote self-interest above the good of its citizens, or choose to obey laws only selectively, they no longer deserve to be its leaders. There are, at this time, elected leaders who are ignoring laws with which they disagree.

Most of us wisely have locks on our doors. Without them, we leave ourselves open to lawlessness and injury. The doors and locks of our nation are its laws and the boundaries that protects its citizens, defining who they are and the freedoms they have. We are a nation of immigrants, but we want those who come here to live within the boundaries of law.

Living in Arizona makes one realize the importance of laws and locks, for they are not working here. Every day, a thousand or more people cross into Arizona illegally from Mexico. The locks on our nation's doors are broken, and our elected national leaders are blocking those who are attempting to fix them.

Imagine being told locks are not needed on your doors, or that you should not even close your doors to intruders who would enter your house, and possibly harm you or take your goods. Imagine strangers coming into your home expecting to be fed and clothed, some even telling you they had a right to take your possessions. Imagine being told by your government you it would be better if you gave them your possessions.

Then imagine being considered a terrorist by that government because you owned weapons to protect yourself, or assessed you fines because you tried to keep what was yours. Imagine being threatened with arrest or taken to court because you hired qualified people to uphold laws that your government failed to enforce.

These, my friends, are the realities that produced Arizona's law SB 1070. It was enacted by two thirds of Arizona's citizens to enforce national laws already in place, but which the federal government has neglected to enforce. Arizona is now being sued by that same government elected to protect us.

Our just and loving God says through the prophet in Isaiah 5:18-20, "Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit, who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness." Somehow, we Americans must see that we must be protected not only from our enemies, but also from some of our elected leaders.

Because we all are held to the same standard, we all need forgiveness in Jesus. But no one, no matter how high, is above the Law. "Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers." (Psalm 1:1)

May God move us to protect the helpless and be protected from those who would harm us.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Carol and I returned to Arizona over the weekend and found lots of things to do - cleaning, unpacking, shopping, and setting up housekeeping. There were people in the office to see about mail and billing, and park friends to notify we were back. Sunday we worshipped at Trinity Lutheran and greeted our church friends there. It's always fun to get back to our Arizona winter home.

And there are always a few surprises. One was that my golf cart wouldn't run because its batteries were completely discharged. (Did I leave the lights on?) I hooked up my 36 volt charger to get some "juice" back in its six battery system, but found that when all the batteries are dead, the big charger won't work. There needs to be some small amount of electrical charge in the system to make the big charger "kick in."

I asked around and someone suggested I try my regular car battery charger to charge each battery. So I set that charger to "6 volt charge" and tried charging individual batteries, but that didn't work either. Then I found a website that said I should use the 12 volt setting and charge sets of two batteries (six times two still equals twelve).

That worked! After about an hour of 12 volt charging on pairs of two six volt batteries, they all had enough amperage that the 36 volt charger kicked in and got them all up to full charge. By yesterday afternoon, "Old Blue," my 1980 convertible Club Car, was charging down the streets at top speed - 15 mph! And all because its batteries need to get some charge in pairs, but not alone.

It's kind of like our relationship with God. Jesus once said, "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (Matthew 18:20) In Luke 10, He also sent out his disciples in pairs to do His work. Jesus knew that alone we can falter and fade, but in pairs we have more strength.

People seem to work better in pairs. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, "Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!"

When it comes to those big batteries, two charge up better than one. And while one person alone can accomplish some good things, but sometimes two people are better together.

Do you suppose that is why God gave us marriage? And good friends?