April 16, 2020
The Need For Hope
Across the world basic needs are the same...
During the current COVID-19 pandemic many people are fearful of losing these three items. Sadly, many will lose them. Some will lose shelter due to lack of ability to pay rent or mortgage payments. Food for some will be hard to find and even if they do they will struggle paying for it. Finances are a disaster for some. Savings are being exhausted, loan payments are piling up, retirement investments have plummeted.
I believe all people have these same basic needs...plus one more...HOPE! The question becomes where do we get our hope from during the current crisis? Many answers can possibly be given...
Mortgage payment deferral
I’ll admit that hope can be found in all of the above. I’ll admit that for many of us who are older we have been through times when we looked to all of the above for hope. But, trust me, most of this hope is temporary at best. So, where can lasting hope be found?
A personal relationship with Jesus Christ
“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” Romans 15:13 KJV
“Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.” Psalms 31:24 KJV
“Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.” Psalms 33:22 KJV
“For in thee, O Lord, do I hope: thou wilt hear, O Lord my God.” Psalms 38:15 KJV
The ultimate Hope is being celebrated this Sunday...the resurrection of Jesus Christ! Because He lives I can have hope!
August 31, 2015
They say confession is good for the soul. I have a confession…I am a procrastinator. I am one of those who will say, “Why do today what I can wait and do tomorrow.” This is nothing new for me. I have dealt with this my whole life. I cannot count the number of times I worked on school assignments (high school and college) the night before they were due…even though I had known for weeks that they were due. I have a list of items at home that are waiting for me to finish, but I don’t seem to get to them… there is always tomorrow. Procrastination has followed me throughout ministry as well. Even though I know a deadline is approaching for an event or even for a sermon, it seems that I have to wait until the deadline in order to get it done. Being a procrastinator drives me nuts, but I still do it.
Now, here is the big question for each of you, “How many of you deal with procrastination?” I am positive that many of you just raised your hand and said “ME!” What are the areas that you find yourself procrastinating in…housework, work deadlines, family needs, school work, church duties, or a thousand other possibilities? Do you get irritated with yourself over this? I imagine so. Being a procrastinator is tough.
I wish I had an answer for curing procrastination, but I do not. It seems that all I have tried has not worked. Maybe you have found the secret to fixing it. If so, please share it with the rest of us procrastinators. Just don’t wait until tomorrow to tell us!
Procrastination is kind of funny in a twisted sort of way, unless we are talking about spiritual issues. People procrastinate about salvation and about service. They think they can just wait until a later time to make a decision or to do what is required. Procrastination is not funny in these situations. It has an eternal consequence associated with it. If God is dealing with you about salvation or about service, don’t delay! Make that decision now…while you are able to do so. Today is the day to do what is required of you.
For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
January 09, 2014
Bad news surrounds us like a dark, low hanging cloud. Daily, sometimes even hourly, we hear of another disaster, of another plauge, of another senseless act of violence, of another unimaginable act. There are days that we want to find a hiding place that will allow us to blot out all of the stories of wickedness. Often we will immerse ourselves in our work or our family as a means of escape. At times we turn to our hobbies and pleasures for a moment of relief. But, try as we might, we are unable to find such a place that is long lasting.
Good news has arrived! The good news is that we as Christians do indeed have a hiding place. It is a place that we can retreat to for comfort and encouragement. It is a place that is available at all hours and in all places. It is a place that is never so crowded that we are unable to get in. It is a place that has survived wars and rumors of wars. It is a place that has survived ruthless dictators and self seeking leaders. It is a place that makes living in a dark and dangerous world not only possible, but also profitable. Listen to what the Psalmist had to say...
Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.
Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.
May today you find the comfort that comes with "hiding within the Lord". I don't know what you may be facing, but I do know that whatever it is, the Lord invites you into His presence!
December 21, 2013
Boy, it has happened again! You know about it don’t you? It is in all of the papers, on TV and radio, and talked about by all of our neighbors. You can’t miss it…CHRISTMAS! It is hard to believe that we are almost there again. But, as you well know, December 25 is just around the corner.
Let me ask you a personal question. What does Christmas mean to YOU? Are you one of those who has watered it down to Happy Holidays? I can imagine that about now you are saying “NO, not me!” I am sure that you use the traditional “Merry Christmas” greeting. But, even when we use “Merry Christmas” we can still be saying “Happy Holidays” by our actions.
How much time do you/we spend in actually celebrating the true meaning of Christmas and how much time do we spend in having a “Happy Holiday”? Most of us spend more time worrying about gift buying, cooking, eating, visiting, and partying than we do about actually celebrating the birth of Christ. Don’t get me wrong, I like all of the above! Likewise, I am guilty of falling into this trap. I also fail to spend time celebrating the birth of Christ. Will you join with me this year in putting forth a greater effort in truly celebrating the REASON FOR THE SEASON!?
December 18, 2013
I have heard that confession is good for the soul. So…here it is…my confession…I am quickly becoming a Christmas Scrooge! There, I feel better now knowing that my secret is out in the open. I had kept this in for way too long. It was bound to come out sooner or later! You are probably asking yourself about now, “What has happened to poor ol’ Ken?” You may even be thinking to yourself, “But, I thought that Ken was a Christian!” Before you get too excited allow me to explain. I am NOT a Christmas Scrooge in the Christian sense. I have become a Scrooge in the cultural sense.
I know that I may not be a favorite of yours or anyone else’s when I make this next statement, but so be it. After all, I am confessing so that I will feel better! As for myself I have seen enough Santa’s, reindeer, elves, and sleighs to last me a lifetime! There…I told you that you would not like what I was going to say. But, the truth still remains. All I ask you to do is to ride around your neighborhood at night and look at the Christmas decorations. If your neighborhood is like all of the rest that I have been in, you will see one or two manger scenes and a bunch of Santa’s, reindeer, etc…
What is really troubling is the fact that not all of these decorations belong to lost people. A lot of these belong to Christians. Oh how I wish that we Christians would decorate in accordance with the true message of a Biblical Christmas instead of the cultural message of Christmas.
While I am confessing…if my children were once again small children, I would teach them differently about presents and Santa. I know that about now you are thinking that ol’ Ken has really flipped out! But, I would! We are now living in a society run amuck concerning Christmas. Times are different than when my children were small. Santa was not the big boy on the block that he is now. If my children were small again, I would teach them about Saint Nicholas and how that Santa is supposed to represent him. But, that would be it. They would not be looking for some magical, mystical figure who can fly, stop time, give unlimited presents to all children around the world, and live as an immortal.
Boy, do I feel better! How about you? Are you ready to sever your relationship with me? Or, just maybe you also feel the same way, but was afraid to say so because you did not want to be perceived as a “loon”?
From one cultural Christmas Scrooge to another…Merry CHRISTmas!
December 11, 2013
Easter of 2003 was the beginning of my journey. The week following Easter found me in my Doctor’s office scared to death. By the end of the following week I was meeting with a Christian counselor as well as taking medicine for depression. Over these two weeks I was diagnosed with depression, OCD, and anxiety disorder. I won’t go into all of the gory details of what I thought and felt. Just know it was enough to make a grown man turn into mush. I thought I had known fear before, but I quickly learned what fear was. I am forever thankful for a good family Doctor who prescribed my medicine and encouraged me, for a good Christian counselor who met with me for a month and continually told me that I was going to be OK, for a loving wife who understood and supported me, and for the prayers of pastors and churches from within the North Spartan Association.
What I have learned
- Depression is real and is no respecter of persons
- Christians often want to simplify the problem to a need for more prayer, bible study, and church attendance. These items are good, but do not always fix the problem…no more than they would fix a bad heart, a broken bone, or wreck injuries.
- Depression can leach all of your spiritual appetite from you. It can become a chore to pray, read the bible and attend church.
- The root cause of depression can be as simple as fatigue or as complicated as a dysfunctional childhood or marriage, medical issues, unconfessed sin, disobedience to God, reaction to medicines or foods, or a combination of issues.
- Be open and honest about the issue (but don’t dwell on it and continually talk about it)
- Take time for yourself
- Spend time with loved ones
- Get a pet (they love you regardless!)
- Don’t feel obligated to please everyone else
- Take your medicine (But, medicine is not magic! You will still have some lousy days)
- Talk with a Christian counselor if needed
- Understand depression is not a sign of a weakness
- Depression is not necessarily a spiritual issue
Suggestions From Others
- Listening to Praise and Worship music
- Giving yourself permission to rest in God’s grace
- Vitamin D3 supplement
- Walk, hike, bide ride, take a gym class
- Talk to a trusted friend
- Get out of the house
- Spend time in the sunshine
- Believe scripture that tells us God knows where we are and what we need.
- Focus on our loved ones
- Get confirmation from others
- Spend time with grandkidsTake prescription medicines
- Keep Christmas simple
- Sing hymns to self
- Have something to focus on (craft, hobby, etc)
- Coloring or other forms of art
- Make your bed first thing in the morning
- Watch only positive TV shows
- Hot bath, dim lights, and soft music
- Take a trip to a sunny and warm place (for winter months)
- Use a SAD lamp
- Ask for prayer from other believers
- Watch birds at the feeder
- Snacks such as Mountain Dew and Oreos
- Deer hunting
- At Christmas remember the reason for the season
- Stay away from negative people
- No action shows at night on TV
- No computer/smart phone/etc for 2 hours before bed time.
- Volunteer (nursing home, hospital, mission projects, etc)
- Stay busy
- Music, movies, walking, spending time with family and friends
- Focus on our family during holidays
- Go camping
- Making up songs to familiar tunes
- Good Youtube videos
- Give yourself grace…don’t beat yourself up
- Don’t pressure yourself to attend every event you are invited to
- Coffee, writing, and reading
- Read bible and devotional books
- Don’t procrastinate. Deal with tough issues quickly.
- LAUGH…often and loud! Laugh at yourself and your problem! Laugh with others.
- For some a change of food diet helps…less sugar, caffein, carbs…more fruit, nuts, veggies
- Health supplements such as chamomile
Do know that I am NOT a doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist, nor counselor (I have stayed at MANY Holiday Inn Expresses!) Therefore, what you have read is simply my take on depression and what others like me have suggested. I make NO claim to how effective any of this may be for you.
I’m sure there are MANY other tips that could be shared that I have not heard yet. Please feel free to EMAIL any additional tips to add to this list.
May God bless you as you journey through this world while dealing with this problem. Do know that you are NOT alone. Many suffer in silence either too afraid or too ashamed to tell any anyone. Maybe your being open and honest will help them to come to grips with where they are.
November 19, 2013
Sometime back I wrote a devotion about blessings. I wrote about the fact that many blessings come in small sizes. Well, today, I want to share with you about another blessing that we often overlook. It is the blessing of family. You well know that family affairs and family relationships can be a messy business. From time to time we may not even like our family. They may do something that is totally against all that we stand for and believe in. We may be Republican while they are Democrat. They may be Methodist, Presbyterian, Catholic, or some other denomination while we are Baptist. Sometimes at the death of parents there is a battle that takes place over property and possessions. Our children may make what we consider to be "stupid" decisions. Families can be messy! But, for all of the "messiness" associated with families, they are still a blessing!
In the beginning God created man and woman and joined them together into a family. This first family endured many tragedies and problems. Yet, they stuck together as a unit. It is from this messy beginning that we have come. I have to believe that when God created the first family that He knew that it would sometimes be messy. But, yet He knew that family would be important for the survival of the human race. It is still so today. The family is the basic building block of society. If the family disintegrates so will society.
Allow me to ask you a penetrating question, "Are things OK between you and your family? Do you see your family as a blessing?" Boy, I sure hope that you do. Just a couple of weeks ago our daughter and son-in-law, and our son were in for several days visit. What a blessing it was to have them with us! As I told them in an email, "We had a blast!" I hope that you and your family will do likewise. If you can't, how about examining why not. Families are messy business, but WHAT A BLESSING!