Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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A PRAYER FOR SUMMER


Father in Heaven,
Thank you for the season of summer, my favorite. Here in the Midwest, we get to experience all four seasons, which my wife loves. We had a hard, and sometimes brutal winter. Spring was very slow in coming. We’ve had a lot of rain and the farmers are struggling to get their crops planted – and it’s June already!  The corn won’t be knee-high by the fourth of July.  But You are faithful, and morning by morning I see new mercies coming from You. And finally, summer is here.
Summer brings to mind so many memories – of school ending (what a great feeling that was!), playing kick the can/ghost in the graveyard outside until the street lights came on, staying up late, warm temperatures, daylight until 9:00 pm, baseball, golf, family vacations, time at lakes, reading outside, gardening, canoeing, long walks, and so much more.
As we move into summer, Father, what will you teach me this season? I don’t want to waste my summer. I know I’m not guaranteed the next minute. I want to live each day with purpose. With retirement, you have given me time to focus on those things that are most important. When asked, Jesus said that the great and first commandment is “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” He said that the second is like it, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” I want to take that to heart – to love You with all of my heart, soul and mind and love my neighbor as myself.
Are there relationships you want me to focus on this summer? Relationships that need to be mended, or relationships that have lapsed that need to be rekindled. How can I be a better husband, brother, son and friend? What is it from your Word that you want to teach me this summer? What books should I read to grow in areas that I need to grow in?  Help me to use the skills, talents and experiences you have provided me to serve you and others in any teaching or mentoring opportunities that will be pleasing to you.
Father, I look forward to a few vacations with family this summer. Some of these family members we now only see a few times each year. Thank you for the blessing of these vacations. May our time together be precious. May relationships be strengthened. May we grow closer and closer and may our travels be safe.
Help me be a blessing to others this summer. Help me to serve others in Your name. Help me to encourage others to know You better.  Father, I look forward to this summer and your continual guidance of my life.

In Jesus precious name I pray,
Amen

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A Prayer for Spring


Our Father in Heaven, here in the Midwest it has been a long, and oftentimes bleak and brutal winter. Since early January we seem to have continually been on a loop of snow to freezing rain and ice, to some incredibly cold temperatures, aided by the winds. I’ve seen some of the coldest temperatures and strongest winds of my life this winter. The weather has made travel to some scheduled events difficult and stressful, and at other times has resulted in the cancellation of some travel plans. Even though I have lived in Illinois my entire life, it does seem that the older I get, the less tolerant of the cold I become. Even now, as I write this, the temperature is a near record -2 in March. But recently, I have noticed buds on the trees in our yard, and bulbs poking up out of the soil in our garden. That again reminds me of your faithfulness as you sovereignly control the changing of the seasons. You have made the moon to mark the seasons and the sun knows exactly it’s time for setting. (Psalm 104:19).
Your word tells us that for everything there is a season…. a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted. (Ecclesiastes 3: 1-2). It won’t be long now before we begin to see the farmers in their fields planting their crops, and soon after we will see the corn and bean plants breaking through the soil forming perfect rows in the fields. We’ll enjoy watching bulbs come up in our garden and anxiously wait to see which perennials made it through the winter and which did not. Then, we’ll be visiting our favorite garden shops to replenish our gardens, and watch the plants bloom as they display your glory.
Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. (Luke 12:27)
Great is your faithfulness, Father. We are so thankful that morning by morning your new mercies we see. All that we have needed, your hand has provided.
So even though Spring is not quite here yet, you are showing us signs of its coming, giving us hope. Thank you for your faithfulness.
In Jesus’ precious name we pray,
Amen


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Mom’s Tree and Our Faithful God

I’ve been enjoying the opportunity to do a lot of writing since I retired from the organization I had worked at for nearly 38 years at the end of March. My favorite place to write is at a table under an umbrella on our patio in the backyard. It is quickly becoming my “outdoor office”. We recently completed some landscaping work in the backyard which turned out nicely. The growing trees and bushes give us some privacy and a very comfortable space.
As I write, I hear the birds as they come to feast at the bird feeders just off the patio, and then dart back into the red sunset maple tree nearby. Oh, yes, that red sunset maple. We go back a ways, about twenty-two years back.
Back in the mid-1990’s, a lot of my peers on our staff were around 40 years old, and unfortunately a lot of us were also losing parents. Oftentimes what we did was to give the one who lost a parent a gift certificate for a tree to be planted in their memory.  I can remember like it was yesterday my supervisor, Steve, kindly coming to my parent’s home as we were preparing for my Mom’s visitation to give me my gift certificate.     Continue reading