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September 18, 2017

In the Midst—The Foundation

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”

John 11:25 (NIV)

It’s a simple enough reminder.

This morning began with swirling emotions of personal struggles, along with an awareness of concerns around the nation and world. The noticeably cooler breeze, although slight, provided a moment of encouragement for the hopes and dreams still held for our family, country and world.

Those thoughts and breeze put a spring in my step as I set out to post the American flag and retrieve the morning paper. And then as I walked back up the driveway to the house, with the breeze causing the flag to flap, for just a moment my thoughts and eyes were lifted to a better place.

We need that reminder. A reminder of that better place.

Maybe we do because of the sobering moments of this last week recounting the tragedy of September 11, 2001, when all the insanity and the reality of the existence of evil in the world was frozen forever in one horrific morning. Maybe—even as we remembered that sixteenth year since that day—it’s because Americans and other peace-loving people around the world have forgotten that moment. (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

September 11, 2017

The Bigger Picture

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

God is a safe place to hide, ready to help when we need Him. We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom, courageous in the seastorm and earthquake, before the rush and roar of oceans, the tremors that shift mountains…”

Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at Me, your High God, above politics, above everything.” Psalm 46: 1-3, 10 (The Message)

The temporal side of my spirit—the side which feels better when I think I have control over the world around me—suspects that the psalmist may not have been sitting in the midst of the hurricane force winds and rain like that of Hurricane Irma.

I wonder. Maybe.

I wonder what he was experiencing when he was inspired to write those words. I wonder if he had just heard the oft-used phrase of today, from friends and the local news pundits and prophets of his day, as they looked out at the picture before them—

Conditions are beginning to deteriorate…” (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

September 4, 2017

God’s Got You

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear,

though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,

though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging…

Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress…

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth.”

The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Psalm 46: 1-2, 6-7, 10-11 (NIV)

As this fall morning begins to unfold, I find myself not surprisingly reflecting on yet another year removed from Tuesday, September 11, 2001, which we will remember this upcoming upcoming weekend and next Monday.

For all of us alive and aware of our circumstances that day, that Tuesday has become a benchmark in history for our lives. It is at once unfortunate, because of the tragedy and grief we will forever hold in our hearts, but also despite all the numbness, sense of loss, anger, heartache and pain, we realized anew in all of that that “God is our refuge and strength.” (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

August 28, 2017

A Very Special Life

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29: 11 (NIV)

Gran,” she began to say knowingly, “can I watch the last part of the movie with you, sitting together in your chair?”

It was as if sung by a chorus of Angels. And even though my youngest granddaughter Ellie Kate knew the answer before she asked it, it was what my heart needed to hear at the moment.

It was a few years ago, and we were keeping the girls and watching the movie “Secondhand Lions” while eating granddaddy’s famous popcorn and drinking Fresca. Our elder granddaughter, Hannah, was snuggled with her Mimi on the couch, watching the movie for the first time. I was doing kitchen runs for my three girls, having seen the movie before.

Until Ellie’s question slowed me down and reminded me of the most important of those things and people which God places in our lives.

It was very much like the moment thirteen years ago today when the sun began to rise in Tampa, Florida to announce the birth of our newest granddaughter, Elise Katherine Whitaker (Ellie Kate or Ellie, as she likes to be called today). As the sun’s rays broke through the windows of the closed hospital cafeteria—which had been our dormitory through the early morning hours of waiting—our son, Nathan, advised us that the doctors had to do a C-section to bring Ellie into the world, and in the process Ellie had aspirated some liquids into her lungs. (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

August 21, 2017

Need Help? Ask

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.

One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.”

John 5: 1-9 (NIV)

So here we are moving through summer and heading none too soon toward the cooler temperatures of the fall of 2017. As we reflect on that for a moment, I wonder if we’re on track to accomplish all the things we had in mind to do for the year.

If so, good; but it gives me pause to wonder if maybe we set our goals too low. How high did we set our dreams? Maybe we set our dreams just high enough for us to accomplish them—in our power. But did we crank God and God’s power into the equation—perhaps needing to set them much higher?

Maybe we believe it’s about what we alone can accomplish. Do we have enough faith to take leap after leap believing, or being willing to believe, that with God we can dream bigger? What’s neat about setting our dreams beyond our own limits is that even if we fall short, we fall short well beyond where our lesser dreams would have taken us. (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts
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