April 26, 2013

The Prince of Darkness Lives


 Last Sunday in our church, the congregation participated in a baptism service in which we repeated the Apostles Creed which begins:

“I believe in God the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe  in Jesus Christ, his only Son our Lord...”

The recent bombings at the Boston Marathon remind those of us who believe the words of the Creed that the Prince of Darkness and his legion of Demons continue to be a significant force in this world.

Someone once said, “The truth is what God says about a thing,” and the truth is revealed when that voice tells us if our intentions are good or evil. 

Unfortunately, some people have no God that speaks to them of right or wrong, or they misunderstand or misinterpret what their God is saying. The result can lead to an event like the Boston Marathon bombing.

Satan is an active and sadistic source of evil, but in Boston on April 15, a good and loving God was also revealed when thousands of first responders and ordinary citizens raced to the aid of those who were injured. Then police and others sworn to protect citizens from criminals and terrorists successfully pursued those who committed the unforgivable acts of that infamous day.

Now we wait to learn if justice will be served.

April 17, 2013

When Quitting is a Good Thing


Despite my efforts to discourage him, a robin continues to attack the sliding glass doors to our breezeway where we have many large houseplants. Either he wants to nest in one of our plants or he thinks his reflected image is a potential mate. Poor robin doesn't know when to quit. 

During World War II, Prime Minister Winston Churchill admonished the people of England to "Never give in - never, never, never, never ..." From an early age, we are taught that “Quitters never win,” and we are encouraged to persist even in the face of overwhelming odds.  

But there are times in our lives when quitting is the right thing to do. For example, when you quit harboring resentment because someone’s words or actions hurt you, that’s the right thing to do. While you fret and fume with bitterness because you were wounded, the other person is enjoying a round of golf. For your own mental health and happiness, it’s time to forgive.

In the prayer that Jesus taught us, we ask God to “forgive our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." Jesus, the Master Physician, knew that embracing compassion and forgiveness is healing, so if you are holding a grudge, quit. It’s the right thing to do.

My robin friend is still knocking at the glass door. Maybe it’s time for me to quit trying to stop him!

April 11, 2013

Landscapes from the Creator's Hand


Years ago, my wife and I traveled to Bangor, Maine to visit Wayne Glick, the former President of Keuka College with whom I worked for many years.

During our visit,  Wayne and his wife, Barbara, drove us to Acadia National Park, one of the most visited parks in the United States .  .  .  and for good reason.

All the beauty that is Maine comes together in this popular park where the mountains meet the rolling surf of the Atlantic. 

As we stood together overlooking this pristine landscape, Wayne said, “This is where God goes to take a vacation.” And I answered, “And the Finger Lakes is where he spends the rest of the year.”

Anyone who lives in Upstate New York surely would agree that when it comes to natural beauty, the Creator has certainly blessed us abundantly. 

Yet some skeptics, some I know well, suggest that the wonders of this earth are merely happenings . . . bundles of molecules that in some mysterious way, just happen to come together.

For me the natural beauty of my home in the Finger Lakes is an ever constant reminder  and proof that This Is My Father’s World.

Strength and Peace from Gpa Westerdahl

April 2, 2013

His Will Be Done


On December 14, 2012 at 9:30 in the morning, evil visited Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, and when the shooting stopped, a severely deranged Adam Lanza had murdered twenty innocent children and six adults.

A nation watched in horror as the scope of the tragedy was revealed, and within minutes, people began to ask “Why? Why does God allow such tragedies? Is this the will of God?”

No answer to such questions is adequate. Certainly, God has a will, but he chose from the beginning not to interfere with ours. Without free will, there is no real love. 

I remember a doll we gave our daughter when she was little. When she said, “I love you,”  the doll repeated the words back to her. Did the doll really love our daughter? Of course not. It was an automated response.Without free will, we would be just like the doll.

In order for us to experience perfect love, God has given us the ability to make a choice. Unfortunately, some people choose evil.

The good news is that if you believe in the promises of Scripture, love ultimately triumphs over evil, and “things beyond our seeing, things beyond our hearing, things beyond our imagining” have all been prepared for those who love God. (1Corinthians: 9).