Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


Leave a comment

A Prayer for Advent


Note: Advent is what we call the season leading up to Christmas. It begins four Sundays before December 25, sometimes in the last weekend of November, sometimes on the first Sunday in December. This year it will be December 1.

Our Father in Heaven,
As we begin this Advent season, a time of celebrating the first coming of your Son – the incarnation, when Jesus came to earth, to be born of a virgin in a manger – and waiting and preparing with hope for His second coming, we take a moment to consider just what that means for us, and the world. Continue reading


Leave a comment

A Prayer for Thanksgiving

Father in Heaven,

Again, we have come to that one day a year in our country which is set aside – in name at least – for being thankful. But as children of the King, we are always to be thankful. The Apostle Paul tells us to give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18). 1 Chronicles 16:34 tells us to give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!

I love the holiday season, and Thanksgiving is really the kick-off for that season. Today, many will be gathering with family and friends, enjoying a turkey dinner and perhaps watching some football. Soon we might be joining many others searching for bargains as we begin our Christmas shopping and the decorating of our homes for Christmas. But before we get into the busyness of the season, let us take time to thank the Lord for all he has done for us this year. Paul tells us in Colossians 3:17 that whatever we do, in word or deed, we are do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Father, we pause to thank you for the many blessings that you have bestowed on us this year. Just a few of those for me are:

  • Salvation in Christ – the greatest gift – and the sustaining grace to persevere each day. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
  • A Christ-centered marriage which will reach 40 years next year.
  • The family you have blessed me with, both immediate and extended. Thank you for the good health you have provided so many of them, and the good medical care you have provided for those who have faced challenges this year.
  • A wonderful church, led by faithful pastors, and the incredible people that make up our small group.
  • Good friends to enjoy life with, and also to share their burdens (Galatians 6:2).
  • For your peace and comfort during times of loss.

Father, we know that life is a gift, and we are not guaranteed the next second. James reminds us that we do not know what tomorrow will bring (James 4:14). Therefore, we thank you for the blessings that you have already provided, and we trust you for the future.

In Jesus name,  Amen

NOTE:  As you gather with friends and family today, why not take a few minutes to share what you are thankful for this year.


2 Comments

The Passing of the Seasons


Each Wednesday morning, my friend Neil and I walk for about two hours. During the winter, we walk inside at the fieldhouse of the university I attended and where Neil taught economics for 30 years. Weather permitting, we walk outside on what is called Constitution Trail, which was built on an abandoned railway, near his home. Over the course of two hours, we will walk a little over six miles. This is something I look forward to each week in this season of life, generally a much more relaxed season for me. Continue reading


Leave a comment

The Family That Vacations Together

In 1966, Jim and Jane Reynolds, my in-laws, first took their three young daughters – Misty, Teri and Tammy – to a rustic “resort” along Bull Shoals Lake in Theodosia, Missouri, called Turkey Creek Ranch (TCR). It would become their regular vacation home over the next several years and become a part of their legacy.
TCR began business primarily as a fishing resort in 1959. Today there are more than 20 cabins as a part of the resort. TCR was, and still is, run by the Edwards family, with son Robert and his wife Loretta taking over managing the day to day operations of TCR in 1995 from his parents, the resort founders, Dick and Elda. Continue reading


1 Comment

Praying for Those on the Trail

In our town, we are blessed to have the Constitution Trail, a more than 45-mile hard surfaced trail running through the community, that was developed for walking, hiking, jogging and biking. The trail opened in 1989, using the old Illinois Central Gulf Railroad line that had been abandoned around this same time, which provided an appropriate pathway for a trail.
Each Wednesday morning, weather permitting, my good friend Neil and I enjoy spending time together walking the trail for two hours, covering five or more miles. We enjoy God’s creation (trees, birds, etc.) as we pass many people biking, walking, jogging, walking their dogs, pushing baby strollers, or sometimes running behind a baby stroller. I try to catch the eyes of those we pass by, with a smile, wave or “Good morning”.
One of the places we pass by on the trail is a small piece of land, adjacent to our church property, that our church purchased several years ago. We purchased the land with the intention of putting a few parking spaces on it, but that was never approved by the town, so it sits unused, except for being mowed by our faithful deacons. More than a year ago, my wife Tammy had an idea for the property, to put up what she calls a “Lucy Booth”.
Remember Lucy from the Peanuts series? A way for her to make money was to give advice, thus she set up a psychiatric help booth and charged five cents for advice. Tammy took that idea and developed her own sign in which Lucy advertised opinions for a nickel, thoughts for the day for a dime, and sound advice for a quarter. But next to Lucy’s booth, Snoopy offers prayer for free! (see sign above)
So, occasionally in the summer we go out to the church property along the trail and set up the sign. We bring some folding chairs and bottled water, and sit back.  What a joy it is to see the neighborhood children running with their basketball to go play at the church’s hoop.  We see many people walk or run by the sign, some of them looking at it. Most don’t make eye contact (as an introvert, I can understand that), but some do and we smile and wave to them. We pray for them as they go by. You never know what kind of problems someone is dealing with. It could be illness, loss of job, relationship issues, etc. Our only purpose is to be there for that person who is going through difficulties and just needs someone to talk to, or to pray for them.
I think it’s a wonderful way to be salt and light in our community (Matthew 5: 13-16), and use a piece of property that is not otherwise being used.
Have you done something similar in your community? Please share if you have. Blessings.


2 Comments

How is Your Christian Walk?


My wife Tammy and I have just returned to our home, which is being remodeled, after being away for three weeks. We’ve never been away from our home for nearly that amount of time. During that time, we spent time in five cities in three different states. We both enjoy comfort and control, and this period (as well as the half-finished remodeled home we returned to), has definitely moved us out of our comfort zone.
One of the things I enjoy is taking long walks. For example, I walk about seven miles with my friend Neil each Wednesday morning on our local trail. In each of the locations we visited recently, I had a chance to enjoy long walks. Those walks took me past a beautiful lake, down an isolated unpaved country road, through a friendly neighborhood where everyone waved as you walked or drove by, and the entertainment district of a large city. Thinking about my walks, and the diverse places where my legs have taken me over such a short period of time, led me to think about my own Christian walk. Continue reading


Leave a comment

Why I Love Our Small Group


For about twenty years, our church has had what we call K-Groups. The “K” is for koinonia, which is a Greek word that occurs 20 times in the Bible. The primary meaning of koinonia is “fellowship, sharing in common, communion.” The first occurrence of koinonia is in Acts 2:42:
 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
Our K-Groups are wonderful opportunities to enter into fellowship with a small group of friends from church. We have been in several different K-Groups over the years, all of them wonderful, resulting in some deep and lasting friendships. The K-Group we have been a part of for the past few years was a thriving group long before we joined. Small groups come in every shape and size.  Continue reading