The temperature got into the low 70's and my mother-in-law wanted to go to a beach for a swim. She loves swimming and brought her suit even though we told her it is too cold to swim in Minnesota and that the water is colder in Alaska. Goose Lake is in near the university district of Anchorage. It was the happening place today with lots of people at the beach.
Today, the sun rose at 4:33am and will set tonight at 11:33pm, in Anchorage, Alaska. My wife, mother-in-law and I are visiting our daughter and husband in Anchorage. We are going to bed later than when we are home. Yesterday, at my mother-in-law's suggestion, we went for a walk at 10:35pm. Because it was July 4th, there were occasional fireworks going off. They were not very visible because it was still broad daylight.
The following is written by Steve Fredlund, who has been to Rwanda and leads Our Response, a partnership with World Vision bringing transformation to Kivaruga, Rwanda, by united East Central Minnesota to respond to global poverty, disease and suffering:
This morning, I took my daughter's bike and rode to the Campbell Creek Trail. It is a scenic trail that winds along a gurgling creek. I was a little concerned about remembering how to get back without getting lost and turned around after a few miles.
This is the range of mountains I see from my daughter's home in Anchorage, Alaska. My wife, mother-in-law and I are here to visit our daughter and son-in-law for a week. Allison married Philip over a year ago and moved over two thousand miles to begin a new adventure.
Today, the final day of this year, is the day to set spiritual goals for 2017.
The real goal is to grow more in love with Jesus throughout the year.
Finish 2016 strong with a desire to grow more in love with Jesus throughout 2017!
Two weeks after Thanksgiving, I noticed an ornament on one of our pine trees a few hundred yards down the driveway. It was a single, red ornament higher than a tall person could place it on a branch. I thought our daughter had put it there while standing on the running boards of her car. It was not her, but she had noticed it also and was curious who put it there.
My daughter’s friend was grilled at church. I was certain it was her. She has denied it, but finds it funny I have charged her with this action as though a crime. I asked our other children and their spouses. Not them.
Our next door neighbor was the next suspect. He takes his horse for a ride down our driveway. The height of the ornament would be that of a person atop a horse. Not our neighbor either. Every time I leave and every trip home, I intentionally look at the ornament. Even the windiest days did not blow it off the tree. It is about four inches in diameter and larger than any of the tree ornaments we own. For now, I am filled with a joy over this simple, mysterious gift given.
I am reminded of the simple birth of Jesus Christ. God sent His one and only son, Jesus into our world. You may have questions how God put Jesus here. A virgin Mary, a stable, a manger, angels, shepherds and a world that is not deserving.
Be filled with joy over the simple gift of Jesus given that whoever believes in Him will never perish, but have eternal life. A profound mystery.
Today seems like a Monday, because yesterday was a day off of work, but felt like a Saturday and Sunday was Christmas Day. Many people are asking themselves and others, “What day is it today?” Next week will not be any better because New Year’s Eve is Saturday, which means New Year’s Day is Sunday. Most people will have Monday, January 2 as their holiday and will once again be wondering what day it is during most of next week. Not until we reach the second Monday of the month will we get back to a regular rhythm!
The writer of Psalms 90 tells us to number our days; not to keep track of the day of the week. You are to commit your day to the Lord. Jesus has purpose and destiny in your day that could be lost if you are n ot looking for it.
Teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Your thoughts as well as mine have been jarred by the confession of Danny Heinrich as he described the abduction of Jacob Wetterling. Danny Heinrich has kept this grisly secret for years. He was able to keep it inside of himself while questioned repeatedly over the years.
Danny Heinrich has something very broken in his psychological, spiritual and physical life.
We do not know how long will he be in prison. We do not know if Danny Heinrich will change before his life on earth is over. We do know what Jesus desires of Danny. Jesus offers love, forgiveness and healing to him.
If Danny accepts Jesus offer and you are a Christian, then you and I will be a spiritual brother and spiritual sister to him. How do you feel about that? I am not so excited about the prospect.
There are things about me that are not like Jesus. My head knows about complete forgiveness, but my heart does not completely forgive. If you are like me, then you and I are exactly like the Pharisees who were angry at Jesus for hanging out with “sinners” and offering them love, forgiveness and healing. I am bothered by that.
You and I are not faced with a life together with Danny Heinrich. It may or may not ever happen. You and I are faced with becoming like Jesus and closing the gap of our old tendencies.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Husband of one, father of five, pastor and friend of many.