Sunday, August 24, 2008

"Praise You In This Storm"

Wednesday evening on my drive home from work, something odd happened. I was driving on Lorton Road when the song "Praise You In This Storm" by Casting Crowns came on my radio. If you are not familiar with the song, look up the lyrics on the internet, or listen on I-Tunes, or something. It is a powerful song about praising God in the midst of bad times. I really like the song and was singing along until mid-way through the first verse - as far as I got was:

I was sure by now, God, that You would have reached down,
and wiped our tears away,
stepped in and saved the day.
But once again, I say amen,
and its still raining.
As the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain,
"I'm with you."

Then I just started to cry. Driving along by myself, I just couldn't stop crying. I tried to keep singing and I would get it back together every now and then, only to lose it again. I was (and am) confused. I have no idea why this was so powerful right then - what storm? What does this relate to?

Anyway, I had the strongest desire to stop my car right there and call a friend. I had the entire conversation in my head:

Jimmy, this is Tony. I need you to do something for me.

Sure, buddy, what is it?

I need you to help me sing Praise You In This Storm at church on Sunday. I don't think I can make it through the whole song without breaking down.

I didn't know you were supposed to be singing. That's great.

I'm not, yet.

Umm, Tony, it doesn't work that way. If it is not planned out, you can't just call on Wednesday about singing on Sunday. There are rehearsals, the band has to learn the music, someone else is probably already scheduled to sing.

I know, but for some reason I need to do this. I will get that other stuff taken care of, if you'll sing it with me . . . .

Of course, I didn't actually stop the car. I never called Jimmy. None of it made sense. Why did it seem so important? I haven't sung for people in decades. There is a schedule, and rehearsals, and auditions. The songs are picked in advance to more or less go with the sermon. It was crazy.

I thought about it again on Thursday. And again on Friday. But I never did talk to Jimmy. I never did figure out what was going on and decided I'd just tell Jimmy about it the next time I saw him.

In church this morning, I sat next to some friends on the side of the church that I usually sit on. When I looked directly across the church, I could see Jimmy and his family. At the end of the sermon, as we went to prayer, I saw the band coming back in and saw Jimmy stand up and walk to the front of the church.

Jimmy sang this morning.

He sang "Praise You In This Storm."

Friday, August 22, 2008

Who Am I? Part 2: Live It

"If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load." Galatians 6:3-5

In yesterday's post I talked about taking time to figure out who you really are. I said that I think it is important to know. This is why.

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed and pulled in too many directions - family, work, church, friends, etc. I know that I cannot do it all and I struggle with how to juggle everything. I wonder about how to get the balance right, how to prioritize, how to get it all done, how to avoid letting anyone down. I make sacrifices that I wish I didn't have to make. All too often I recognize that the balance is wrong and I try to figure out a way to get it back - to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

When I am in one of those situations, I find it helpful to think about who I am. To try to use that to guide me and to help me figure out the right priorities. I also find it helpful to look back on my recent actions and behaviors from time to time and to see whether they reflect who I am, or whether they are me being caught up in something else, or trying to be someone or something that I am not (as Galatians says - to test my own actions without comparing them to somebody else).

Also, when I look at myself and ask who I am, there are parts of the answer that I do not like. I can see the shortcomings and things that I would like to change. Going through the process makes it easier for me to take those to God and to ask His help in working on them. As I said yesterday, I think God works on us throughout our lives and that we can be different people tomorrow than we were yesterday.

Some people that know me well are probably reading this and thinking about my actions and trying to do some reverse engineering. Trying to figure out what they say about who I am, or who I think I am, or who I want to be. All I can say is something that I have said before and, unfortunately, will say again, I fail in many ways every single day. Thinking about who I am doesn't mean that I always make the right decision, it doesn't prevent me from failing. I do think that it helps me to make fewer mistakes than I otherwise would, but often it just means that it is easier for me to recognize where I have fallen short. I am hopeful that I learn from those times and that I do better the next time.

Why do I think we need to ask ourselves who we are? Because I think the answer to that question can be a guide to our lives. I often think of the words of William Shakespeare from Hamlet. Polonius is giving advice to his son, Laertes, and at the end of a number of points he says:

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day.
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

I think this is fantastic advice. Be true to who we really are. Test our own actions. Take pride in ourselves not because of how we compare to someone else, but because of what we do - we each carry our own load.

Have a great weekend!

P.S. For anyone reading this, I would appreciate quick prayers for Terry, who I met this week in front of Emory Crawford Long Hospital in Atlanta, and Robin, who I met last night on M Street. I know that neither of them will ever read this, and I probably will never see either of them again on this earth, but I believe that our prayers can help both of them to get back on their feet. Thanks.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Who Am I? Part 1: Figure It Out

This is the time of year when law firms interview second-year law students for summer associate positions. Firms go to various law schools and someone will "interview" up to 25 people in a day and make decisions about who should get invited back for further interviews. Those initial interviews are usually only 20 minutes long and often run back-to-back with only occasional breaks. It is a pretty artificial situation, but you try to do the best you can to get a sense of whether the person would be good in your firm based on those twenty minutes and whatever it says on a resume.

As we go through this process, those of us who work on the process here (and in countless other law firms around the country) have seen hundreds of resumes. For the most part, they follow a similar pattern - reflecting education, experience and interests. Although I have not prepared one in a long time, my own resume would probably look the same.

While a typical resume serves a purpose - helping to get interviews and a job - you shouldn't confuse your resume with who you are. A resume has to do with what you do, or what you want to do - and that is not necessarily who you are as a person. I often say that one of the things that I really appreciate about my firm is that the lawyers here are not caught up in being lawyers. I think most of us enjoy it (at least most of the time!), but that is not our self-identity.

A friend has suggested that I prepare a "life resume" showing special skills, experiences and background that may have little to nothing to do with what I do as a lawyer. Although I haven't done it, I think it is a healthy exercise to take the time every now and then to look at myself and ask the question. Who am I? In various places, the Bible suggests that we look at ourselves in this way. "Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord." Lamentations 3:40 "A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup." 1 Corinthians 11:30 "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. . . ." 2 Corinthians 13:5

So, who are you? And, who am I? Take the time to think about it and figure it out. I find that my own answer to that question has certainly changed over time. Quite simply, I am a different person now than I was when I was in college, or when I was in law school, or before we had children, or before I went on my first mission trip, or before I went on my most recent mission trip. I believe God works on all of us and shapes and molds us with experiences and events over the course of time. Sometimes I ask God why it took so long to learn something, or took so long to understand - why didn't He show me earlier? I don't have the answer to those questions and may never really know the answer since it is all part of His plan that has been in place since before we were born. But it doesn't stop me from asking.

Anyway, who are you? How would you honestly respond to the comment - Tell me about yourself. Not in the interview context, or even the party context, but in a conversation with the Lord. Try to take the time to figure it out, or at least start to figure it out. I know that I find it important to know the answer for myself, and I think it can help all of us.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Time Out

I've been watching the Olympics lately and seeing all sorts of sports that I usually do not see. Some of them I am familiar with, such as volleyball and badminton, though I am not used to seeing them played on this level. Others are new - team handball, for example. In seeing so many different sports, I have noticed that most of the team sports allow someone (a coach or a captain) to call a certain number of time outs to stop the action.

The time out can be a great tool and it gets used for a lot of purposes. The other team is on a run - call a time out to try to break the momentum. Your team is looking tired - call a time out to try to get a little bit of rest. It is a key time in the game and you need a big play - call a time out to strategize. Your team is confused by what the other team is doing, or doesn't know how to react - call a time out to focus.

We can use prayer for all of those purposes in our lives: when it just seems like everything is overwhelming us and we are being beaten down; when we are tired and run-down; when we really need to be at our peak; or when we just don't know what to do. There are lots of examples of Jesus calling for a time out: Matthew 14:13 ("When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place."); Matthew 14:23 ("After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray."); Mark 6:31-32 ("Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, 'Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.' So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place."); Mark 7:24 ("Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it . . . ."); etc.

Unlike sports, we can never run out of time outs to call - we just have to remember to use them. So, when you find yourself in one of those situations, take the time to call a time out. Slip away for a few minutes, close your door, sit by the water, take a walk, put the kids in front of the television to distract them, run by the church - do whatever it is that works for you. Time spent in prayer is the time out in life to break the momentum, refresh, receive guidance, and refocus.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Attitude Check

When I was in New Orleans last year, one day we spent some time with and worked with a group of men that were attempting to recover from addictions (for some reason, I just can't quite come up with the name of the organization - it is right on the tip of my tongue). They lived together in a few low, small buildings next to an abandoned office building and an abandoned hotel. They bunked in pretty tight quarters and lived as a true community - they each had specific job duties each day. It may be cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, being out in the city on a work detail like picking up trash or mowing grass, etc. They generally ate together and they all gathered together in the morning to worship. It had to be a pretty tough place to be. There were upsides - a roof over their head, a place to sleep, support, and chances to get food - but a lot of the city, particularly around them, was pretty depressing, they were trying to beat their addictions, in most cases their loved ones had moved away and the living conditions were far from ideal (no privacy, etc.).

One thing that they did was pretty unique in my experience. At any point in the day, someone could just bark out "ATTITUDE CHECK!" like a Marine drill sergeant, and everyone would respond "PRAISE THE LORD!" If people were getting bogged down, frustrated, bickering about something, or just distracted, someone would yell it out.

Recently I have recognized that I could use an ATTITUDE CHECK from time to time. Sometimes I get caught up in lots of other things and approach something with a bad attitude. Rather than even giving something a chance to turn out well, I decide in advance that it is going to be bad and essentially make it that way. I have a friend who has the most amazing attitude almost all of the time. Sometimes, like everyone, she can be down, but for the most part she is smiling and bubbling and approaches life in such a positive way. I want to try to draw on that and have a better attitude in my approach to a lot of things. So, I am giving myself an ATTITUDE CHECK!

"I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. . . . The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving towards all he has made. The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down." Psalm 145:1-2; 13-14

As a friend said to me last night - think positive! Or, if you prefer, from Monty Python - "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life." If that reference doesn't start you whistling, nothing will.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

"Have a Magical Day"

About a month ago I was in Disney World on vacation with my family. One day I had to return to the room to participate in a few conference calls, so the plan was that I would go to the Animal Kingdom park with everyone, run back to the room in the middle of the day, and catch back up when I was done. It was a solid plan, and it actually worked pretty well. What we didn't expect, though, was that about an hour and a half before I had to be back in the room, the skies opened up. It poured! Everyone was completely soaked. But, I still left everyone there at the appointed time and started back to the room.

Of course, I continued to get drenched on the walk to the bus stop. Then all of the buses were running late because it was raining so hard. When I got back to the room - about ten minutes before my first call - I opened the door and it was freezing. The air conditioning, of course, had been set as though it was going to be the typical 100 degree day. In any event, I was not particularly happy.

I had to call the front desk for something - I don't even remember what. What I do remember is that at the very end of the call, the clerk said "Have a Magical Day." I hung up and kind of laughed. Magical? If I didn't get pneumonia or melt in the humidity that would almost certainly exist if it ever stopped raining and the sun came out again, I would consider myself lucky. I couldn't imagine "magical." But later on, I thought about it again. In fact, it was a Magical Day. I caught back up with my family, all of whom were happy despite being soaked, we had a great dinner together and everyone was happy just being together and playing together.

I've thought about it a lot since then, too. What a great idea - trying to help someone have a Magical Day. What if a bunch of us tried to make someone's day Magical? It doesn't take a lot, it could just be sending a note to a friend, calling someone you haven't talked to in a while, complimenting a stranger on the elevator or just telling them that you hope they have a great day. It may just brighten their day that little bit, it may be what they needed right then, it may even encourage them to do the same for someone else.

As Paul said, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. . . . Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." Galatians 5:22-23, 25

Let's try to "keep in step with the Spirit." I hope that you have a Magical Day and that you try to bring a little bit of Magic into someone else's day, too.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


There are so many decisions that we make every day that we, thankfully, do not spend much time over. Then there are those that we spend a lot of time and energy on - trying to look at every angle, trying to find the perfect outcome.

I've tried to come up with the right analogy. I don't think it is perfect, but so far what I have come up with is that sometimes we come to places in our lives where the road that we are on leads to a room with multiple doors, and you have to decide which one to go through. What is on the other side of those doors is not always exactly clear, some may have windows that let you get a glimpse and some may "seem" more safe or risky. But the point is that you can't really tell for sure, and that you have to choose one of them because staying right there is not an option.

I know a lot of people that are in one of those rooms right now (including me). In my situation, it looks like most people that I know are all going the same direction, and to some extent that seems "safest." But, some people that I care about very much are going different ways - some by choice and some because they have to. Some people have lovingly suggested to me that I consider a completely different door. Should I follow the majority, try to follow others, go through a door that nobody else seems to be choosing? The situation can be paralyzing.

I wonder, though, whether these are to a large extent created concerns that make the decision so difficult and seem so significant. I recognize that there are things that I do not see and I do not understand and that, if I allow myself to be open to it and not be paralyzed into simply watching, I will follow the path that has existed for me since before I was born. That God will make use of my circumstances.

"If clouds are full of water, they pour rain upon the earth. Whether a tree falls to the south or to the north, in the place where it falls, there it will lie. Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.

As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother's womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.
Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not your hands be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well."
Ecclesiastes 11:3 - 6.
So, once again, I pray for direction for myself and for all that are in similar circumstances.

Monday, August 11, 2008


When I was growing up, probably like most people, I always wanted to be rich. I wanted a big house with fancy entrance gates, a marble foyer with matching curved staircases on the sides and the most exotic automobiles imaginable. Although I do not remember saying it, my wife once reminded me that when we first started dating (more than 20 years ago!) I told her that I was going to be rich and that I wouldn't let her get in my way.

Well, although I have a nice house and a nice car, there is no entrance gate, no marble foyer, no curved staircase and nothing exotic. I have a great job, working with people that I genuinely like, and in the overall scheme of things it pays very well - though it is not exactly the seven figure income of my dreams.

But, I have come to realize that rich doesn't mean money. As long as I focus on possessions, there is always something newer, something fancier, something better. "Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless." Ecclesiastes 5:10

While I admit that I still like my "stuff," I recognize that it has nothing to do with being rich. Instead, my wealth is in my incredible family, the love that I share with my friends, the opportunities that I have been given to be in service to the Lord. It is not the picture that I had in my head when I was younger, it is immeasurably better. What I said to my wife those twenty years ago makes no sense, she has never been in my way to getting rich, she has been a huge part of it. This morning I am focused on the fact that I am incredibly rich and I thank God for the blessings that He has poured out on my life.

Friday, August 8, 2008


I have said before, and I am sure that I will say again, I fail in my faith many ways every single day. Yesterday evening, though, I Failed and I have been struggling with that.

The exact details are not important. It is not that I affirmatively did something wrong, it is that I turned away from the opportunity to affirmatively do something right. It is not like I didn't notice, or just missed the opportunity, I saw it and even commented to someone else - "we should really . . . ." But, I didn't. I just walked back to my office and went on with my day, and I don't know why. Doing the right thing would have been a little inconvenient and would have been a change from the normal procedures at the office, but that is all. The worst part is that while I recognized that it was a good idea, it was not until hours later that I realized what I had done - heard God, actually had the message penetrate my thoughts, and ignored it.

It did not hit me until I was driving home. I may have to be in Atlanta in a couple of weeks and I was day dreaming on the drive about trying to fit in trips to the Blood and Fire shelter and trying to find some of the homeless that I met in the parks. I was thinking about how awesome that would be, when what I had done suddenly hit me.

When I got home, I turned to the Bible to try to find some explanation for my Failure, or what to do. My wife has a Life Application Bible, and I looked in that under Failure. I read all of the entries. I liked the basic message of one of the notes, something along the lines of: when you fail you have to give that failure to God, ask forgiveness and grow from the failure. But, the note was in reference to Chapters 7 and 8 of Joshua. I have read and re-read those Chapters trying to find that in there myself, but I keep getting hung up on the part where Achan is the one who sins, and he gets stoned for his sin, then God says to Joshua "Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged." I'm the Achan in this passage, not the Joshua.

Anyway, I still haven't figured it out. I try to take some solace in the fact that I recognized my Failure. That I was only a little late in recognizing that God was speaking to me, rather than missing it entirely. Maybe it will help me to be a better listener in the future. I don't know, it still seems pretty sad - I'm shamed, humbled and embarrassed. If anyone reads this and has any thoughts, or suggestions, I would be glad to hear them.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Make a Joyful Noise

Today on the drive into work I found myself behind a car with the license plate - Hymn 248. When I got to the office, I jumped on the internet only to find that there are a lot of different hymnals and a lot of Hymn 248s. But, the process made me think some of musical ministries. Despite the fact that I have a long-time friend who is very involved in the musical ministries of her church in Texas, and a number of good friends who are involved in my church, I never really thought about it as a "ministry."

I have always loved gospel music, particularly big choir gospel. The worship in the music is obvious. You can feel it, hear it, become part of it. I've also experienced that same sensation at church services in other countries. The church that I attend is all contemporary worship, meaning, in part, that we have drums, electric guitars, keyboards, etc. involved in the music. Most of the music is what you would hear on a Christian Rock radio station. My old church, on the other hand, had a contemporary service on Saturday nights and traditional services on Sunday.

When we switched churches, one of the most difficult things for me to get used to was the change in music. I miss some of the traditional hymns that became part of my worship. One of my favorites was "Whom Shall I Send?" If you are not familiar with it, here is the first verse and chorus:

I, the Lord of sea and sky,
I have heard My people cry.
All who dwell in dark and sin, My hand will save.
I who made the stars of night,
I will make their darkness bright.
Who will bear My light to them?
Whom shall I send?

Here I am Lord,
Is it I Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night.
I will go Lord,
if You lead me.
I will hold Your people in my heart.

It just really speaks to me. The questioning hesitance of the chorus is really me . . . .

In any event, this past weekend while people were taking communion the band played the traditional hymn "It Is Well With My Soul." It was jazzed up a bit and I think it was the first time I had heard it with basically a rock band in the background. Still, though, it really moved me. All these things together have really brought into focus the ministry aspect of the music and how important it has become to my worship. It is not a performance during church, it is not entertainment, it is a complete form of worship unto itself. "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness; come before his presence with singing." Psalm 100 "Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music . . . ." Psalm 98 It is, of course, also a way of teaching (think "Yes, Jesus Loves Me"; "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands"; etc.)

So, among my prayers this morning is a special prayer for all those involved in musical ministry around the world. I thank you for what you are doing and I thank God for the talents that he has given you and for your sharing them with us.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Praying for Direction

For the last few days, I have been thinking a lot about prayer. It probably started with what I thought was an excellent sermon in church this last week entitled Unanswered Prayers. I don't want to attempt to repeat that sermon here. If anyone is interested, they can download it from the church's website at

The Bible, of course, has a lot to say about prayer. But, what really caught my attention this morning is "The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results." James 5:16 There is a lot wrapped up in those few words - both conditions "earnest prayer," "righteous person" and promises "great power and wonderful results."

For the last year or so, I have been attempting to change my own prayer life. I still pray specifically for the healing of friends and family, and for food, shelter and safety for the friends that need that. More and more though, both for myself and for my friends and family, I pray for God's direction, calming influence and intervention in our lives. The distinction to me is that I am not praying for a specific outcome in those instances, I have come to accept (at least a little bit) that I do not understand the master plan and that what may seem right to me, or what I may want, may not be the right outcome for the person inolved or for God's plan. But, if we are provided with the peace, clarity, direction and love that He can provide, then I think it is more likely that we will follow where He is leading and make the truly right decisions about roads to travel. I also recognize that God can provide us with comfort and strength beyond what may seem possible under the circumstances.

So, part of my prayer this morning, as every morning, is that God can act in my life and your life today to help us in the ways that we may need it. I pray that He will lead us and provide us with the direction that we need. I believe that there is great power in this prayer for all of us and I believe that it will be answered for all of us if we let ourselves be open to listening for that answer. While I can't point to a time that it started for me, I truly believe that God wants to have that kind of relationship with all of us.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Prepare to Stop and Change Direction

In the mornings I attempt to spend some time on the eliptical machine in the gym in my office building. I usually set the machine in reverse mode so that every five minutes it prompts me to reverse direction for two minutes. When the five minutes is just about up, the machine beeps and then displays a message that says "Prepare to Stop and Change Direction." It is a nice clear warning that is pretty hard to miss so that you are not surprised when the machine forces you to stop a few seconds later.

I was thinking about that this morning and how nice it would be if there were similar nice, clear, direct warnings in life. Instead, it seems like things often change direction on a dime and I'm caught unprepared. Often, though certainly not always (I think that sometimes life really does change directions without warning - but that is for another time), when I look back, I see that there were warnings - plenty of times that God tried to get the message to me and I wasn't looking, or I wasn't listening, or I didn't like what I was seeing or hearing and ignored it. As I said to a friend this weekend, I miss a lot, but when God wants to make sure that I get a message, He has a way of hitting me over the head so that I can't miss it.

Each morning I pray that as I go through the day God will give me the ears to hear Him and the eyes to see Him and the strength, hope, wisdom and faith to listen and follow. Still, though, I continue to miss Him on a regular basis. I know He is there, but I'm too caught up in whatever it is that seems important at the moment as opposed to what really is important. Thankfully, I know that God is patient with me. As He said to Moses "'The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.'" Exodus 34:6-7. I just pray that with practice I will get better at seeing the warning to prepare to stop and change direction before He has to hit me over the head to get the message across.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Tree

In front of my office building in downtown DC stood a 30 foot tree. It was a nice full tree that provided some shade and looked good. The base must have been 2 to 3 feet wide. Yesterday afternoon, it apparently was clipped by a delivery truck and then it fell across K Street - blocking traffic for hours, hitting two vehicles (thankfully nobody was hurt) and generally causing a mess.

Once it fell you could see that the tree was largely hollow inside - you can still see that from the stump that remains. Although it looked good on the outside, it was rotting on the inside. All it took was being clipped by a delivery truck - it is not like the truck really slammed into it - for the whole tree to fall.

The analogy is pretty obvious. People may seem to be fine on the outside, yet rotting away in the middle. Lots of things can cause that rotting - guilt, worry, fear, shame, doubt, jealousy, greed, the list could go on and on. I suspect that we all have at least some of it, the key is finding a constructive way (as opposed to a destructive way) to get rid of it. One of the things that I have been working on is trying to learn to give those things to God. He is more than capable of taking my problems and strengthening my core. As Paul wrote from prison to the church at Philippi - "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

We also can help each other. If someone had looked closely enough at that tree, they would have seen that it was unhealthy. If we pay enough attention to our friends, family, colleagues and people we meet, we may be able to see or hear that there is something going on beneath the surface. Maybe they just need a person to talk to, or a hug - and we can help them just by being there. Maybe they need more serious help that we cannot provide, but we can help them to find it.

So, the thoughts for the day are 1) do what needs to be done to keep ourselves strong inside - seek out the help that we may need; and 2) pay attention to the people around us and be there for them/help them get the help they may need.

Have a great weekend.