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November 22

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2023

Throughout the month of November, I have been encouraging the people of the church I pastor to take time to be truly thankful. Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day and I will not be posting until Monday (unless I get a wild hair to do so), I thought I would do what I have encouraged them to do and write down some things I am grateful for. This list is by no means exhaustive. It is a starting point, maybe a guide for you as well.

*For the God who loved me and continues to love me; sent His Son to die for me; gave His Spirit to live in me; promised the return of His Son; and for all He has given me, I give the highest praise of all. Words fail to adequately express my gratitude.

*For my wife of 50+ years who has stuck with me through all kinds of stuff. I don’t deserve her.Thank you for doing life with me.

*For my two adult daughters who call me “Dad,” the loftiest word in the English language. They continually bless my life with their love and presence.

*For Braden, my one and only grandson, who is forging his way in life, in sports, and in the world. May he always know how proud Grandpa is of him (even though as a 17 year old he now finds other things more important than sitting on Grandpa’s lap and watching Transformers movies). 🙂

*For the church family called Owen Valley Christian Fellowship (OVCF) I am honored to pastor. I started my 19th year this past Sunday. To say how truly blessed and grateful I am to be their pastor cannot be expressed. I pray the Gospel is preached; Jesus is Honored; Grace is offered; Lives are Changed; and Obedience is Encouraged. I truly hope that those who find their way to OVCF can say, “I’m home.”

*For you who read “Shadow.” Thanks. Blogging is not what it used to be in popularity or influence. Life changes. But each day I journal during my Encounter Time at my kitchen table before anyone stirs (maybe even the mice if there are any). 🙂 As I journal, I write my thoughts and musings which become my daily posts here at “Shadow.” Each day you get to read my heart and mind. How scary is that? 🙂 I do hope these devotions spark a desire in you to know Jesus deeper, and to face life in His strength. Selfishly, I wish more would read, but I’m thankful to you for reading. And, of course, it is all up to Him as to what happens with “Shadow.”

Have a grateful Thanksgiving my friends. May you truly find much to be grateful for.

October 31

Tuesday, October 31st, 2023

I’m a little late posting this morning. I took Dave, my friend from Arizona who spent the weekend with us, to the airport. I had him there at 6:15.  Turns out that was plenty of time. He received word he was upgraded to First Class which was great. Then he got word that the plane would not start.  In my book…not so great. I might even lobby for another plane. It was cold here this morning. 25 degrees and frost. Let’s hope it just needed thawed out. Still…

Okay now to today’s devotion: We live in an instant society. Instant potatoes (are they really?). Microwave pizza (I prefer the real kind thank you very much). Instant oatmeal (sure beats waiting and stirring). Instant coffee (people tell me that its nasty. I wouldn’t know since I don’t drink coffee of any kind of any taste at any time). Instant milk (seriously mom? You thought I wouldn’t notice?) We even have 10 minute oil changes (when I used to do my own it took me that long to assemble all the necessities). Anyway, you get my point.

Because we live in an instant society, it has tragically carried over into the church. Instant church growth (people miraculously appear if you follow this formula). Instant disciple (You mean I have to study?). And we, of course, want an instant trouble-free life. The late David Powlison wrote the following:

I’ll often say to someone ‘The Vinedresser uses pruning sheers, not a chainsaw. He’s not going to work on everything all at once. He’s not going to teach you everything about Himself. but something about who He is and what He says to you can make a decisive difference in some challenge you are facing right now.’  (Oct.14-p.288-“Take Heart”)

Do you see that first sentence? “He uses pruning sheers, not a chainsaw.” Little by little God is going to work on His follower. The chainsaw just pictures to me a “hack job,” a quick devastation. But He uses pruning sheers-a slow, precise process-to shape us the way He wants.

Don’t rush your growth. Allow God to do things nice and easy, at His pace. Allow His careful pruning to happen.

October 30

Monday, October 30th, 2023

I suspect none of us would complain about a windfall. I remember a TV show from years ago that was made up of different stories and scenarios of people winning the lottery. The stories were, of course, made up to deliver entertainment for TV. After it was over for the evening I can remember thinking, “What would I do if I won the lottery? How would I distribute the money?” It was a moot point: I never played the lottery so it was a silly game. But even now I wonder occasionally what I would do if I came into a big sum of money.

Let me give you a scenario. Your bank calls and says, “I have some good news for you. Some wealthy person admires all you do and who you are so he is going to deposit 86,400 cents into your account.” You are most certainly shocked. Seriously? your calculator says that is $864 per day. WOW!

The banker interrupts your fantasy with reality. “However, there is a stipulation. Each penny must be spent every day. What isn’t spent you lose. Every day. $864. That is $6048/week and $314,496 per year. That is a lot of money!! More than you will ever seen normally. It is also a fantasy.

You probably know where I’m going with this. While the money scenario is a fantasy, there is something that is not. Each day God deposits 86,400 seconds into your account per day. Use them or lose them. It is called time. And no matter our efforts we will never make up for lost time. “I’m going to catch up on my sleep.” No, you never do. You may sleep a little longer than normal, but you never catch up.

The Bible speaks about “redeeming the time for the days are evil.”  In other words, don’t let time slip away. Make the most of every opportunity that comes before you. Most important of all, don’t say, “I’ll wait until tomorrow.” First, tomorrow never comes. Second, no one is guaranteed tomorrow.

October 23

Monday, October 23rd, 2023

I am writing this Sunday night from Sandusky, Ohio. On our way to Columbus for the weekend to visit our daughter and grandson, Jo received a call from the care center where her sister lives. After her dialysis last week, she had 2 seizures. She came back to the center on Sunday afternoon and this past week had an eye test that revealed she possibly had a detached retina. They wanted to do surgery Tuesday (tomorrow) and Jo needed to be there. (She is her POA). Since we were already on our way to Ohio I asked if it could be changed to Monday. They graciously did that, so her surgery is scheduled for 2:30 this afternoon. We came here Sunday night and will return home Tuesday, Lord willing. Please pray for a safe surgery if that is God’s plan. Pray for Jo as this is emotionally hard on her, even though they are not as close to each other as they used to be. Dementia and Alzheimer’s can do that.

As a result I will not be posting until Wednesday. But over the weekend I did try to keep up my devotional reading. I read this from Proverbs 21: 31: “The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.”  We can do all kinds of preparation and making plans to do battle; we can have strategy out the yazoo, but only God can bring the victory. Go with Him this week. Trust Him with all your plans, and yes, schemes 😂 but just know He has his will and His way.

One more thing: my youngest brother, Curt, lost his wife to death this past weekend. But more: she got a new home. I’d appreciate your prayers for him.

And last (I promise): pray for our safe travels over the next few days. The eye surgery is an hour drive away and our trip home 6-7 on Tuesday.

October 19

Thursday, October 19th, 2023

It seems incredible to me, and maybe to you as well, that on a planet of millions of people, in this world of school, work, sports, church, organizations, family, friends and a whole host of other options, there are people where one emotion would describe their world.


Singer, Roy Orbison (probably before your time) captured that emotion in a song he called “Only the Lonely.” A couple of the lines were “Only the lonely know the way I feel tonight…Only the lonely know the heartaches I’ve been through.” That song resonated with a lot of people.

The soft rock group, America (again, probably before your time), sang, “This is for all the lonely people/Thinking that life has passed them by/Don’t give up ’til you drink from the silver cup/And ride that highway to the sky.” Yeah…like many of America’s lyrics I’m not totally sure what that is saying except, “Don’t quit. Don’t give up. There is someone who cares.”

Dan Peek, the writer of that song, once said that even though he had achieved success, he had cut ties with his family and friends, and was in fact, lonely.

Tragic isn’t it? One has the world by its proverbial tail and still has nothing. One can have it all; one can have nothing; and still be lonely.

Jesus spent 3 1/2 years with many lonely people. But He didn’t leave them lonely. The woman scorned by so many, bankrupt because of a blood issue, took one last grasp to the hem of Jesus’ garment and was made whole. The man at the pool of Bethesda in John 5 who was abandoned and had no one to help get him into the water found his health and purpose when Jesus reached out to Him and said he was healed. The outcast leper (multiple times) whom Jesus touched and healed and gave life and hope back to him.

Maybe you. I want you to know you are not alone. I don’t know your situation, and you possibly don’t know me. I want you to know that if you reach out to me, I’ll listen. I’ll listen because I have Jesus in me and He doesn’t want you lonely.

Oh…and by the way: Dan Peek changed his tune. Before He passed away in 2011, he came to know Jesus and left America because he tired of the emptiness of the sex and drugs lifestyle. He found the solution to being lonely. You can too. It is not in stuff or pursuits. It is a Person. His name is Jesus.

October 9

Monday, October 9th, 2023

Today is a milestone day. Today is year #71. I have no desire to talk about my history, my life. In reality, all lives are the same with a few exceptions. We are born. We live. We die.  We spend eternity in heaven or hell based on one decision: What did you do with Jesus?

Instead, I want to reminisce another way. Here goes:


Abandon me.

Give up on.

Quit on me.

Fail me.

Say good-bye to me.









A Refuge.



In Control.

That’s a quick list. I’m absolutely positive I could and would add more given time. I’m open to you adding to my list. What would you add?

And, oh yeah…Happy Birthday to me! 🙂 🙂

October 5

Thursday, October 5th, 2023

I suppose all of us, at one time or another, have jumped to conclusions. We decided what someone was like or what took place without having adequate information. I’m pretty sure all of us have figured out what a person was like before we really knew. We hear snippets; we observe random actions; we surmise without knowing all the facts.

That’s like the old legend of the blind men who were brought to an elephant and asked to describe it based on their experience. One touched his trunk and said it was like a big snake. Another touched his leg and said it was like a tree. One touched his tail and said it was like a rope. And the other touched its side and said it was like a wall. Each was right and each was wrong. It all depended on their perception. They were incapable of seeing the big picture.

When someone jumps to a conclusion-without knowing all the facts-there isn’t much difference from that and the blind men’s perceptions of the elephant. In their limited vision, they may have been correct, but in reality they were wrong. When we form preconceived ideas without knowing all the facts, we do ourselves and those we are forming opinions about a great injustice.

Limited in knowledge and limited by experience like the blind men, we fail to grasp the complete truth, to get it right. We cheat the other person. And we cheat ourselves. I decided to look up preconceived notions to see what some have to say. There are a lot of quotes to consider but here is one I thought was pretty spot on: “Preconceived notions are the locks on the door to wisdom.”

Let’s not jump to conclusions. Let’s not be hasty in our preconceived ideas. Let’s gather facts. Let’s give people the benefit of the doubt. Let’s make informed and wise decisions about people. We all deserve that, at least.

September 26

Tuesday, September 26th, 2023

You have probably heard the joke about 2 friends who were hunting in the woods when they saw a large, mean grizzly bear begin to approach them. One of the men turned to take off running and the other said, “You don’t think you are going to outrun that grizzly do you?” He said, “I don’t have to. I just have to outrun you.”

What a great friend! (I will now remove my firmly implanted tongue in my cheek).

I suspect we have all had friends like that. We call them “fair weather” friends, for that is truly what they are. They are with you until it gets sticky or too hot in the kitchen. Tragically, I have read and know of friendships that fell apart with an accusation, a word behind the back, a betrayal, or simply a lack of trust.

Here are a few questions to consider: When someone says something about a friend, what is your reaction? Do you defend your friend? Do you allow yourself to be swayed, to have some doubt? Do you betray your friend by piling on the accusations or simply by saying nothing at all? I remember many years ago defending a friend (Person A) against accusations made by a coworker (Person B).  For the record, we did not work in the same place. It strained the friendship with Person B. Then years later I found out what he said was true. The other man’s (Person A) wife left him; he lost his family; he lost his ministry; and a lot of people were hurt by his duplicity. I apologized for my defense and the breach in our friendship to Person B when I heard the truth.

I honestly did what a friend should do. I heard the accusations from others. I went to the accused and was told they were all lies. I then defended the friend. But sometimes friendship is sticky, especially when you feel like you are in the middle. This time was like that. I don’t regret defending a friend. What I did regret is straining another friendship, only to find out what was being said was true.

Friendship takes work. Friendships are hard. Jesus once said, “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down His life for a friend.”

Be a friend, even when it gets sticky. I’d rather be loyal to a friend and maybe find out later that trust was misplaced, than walk out on a friend and find out my trust was really needed and the accusations were false.

September 25

Monday, September 25th, 2023

Bryan Johnson is sad.

Not sad as in “Boo-hoo” sad. Not the “cry-me-a-river” type of sad.

But sad as in the “clueless” department.

So you might be wondering, “Who in the world is Bryan Johnson?”  (No, I am not talking about the lead singer of AC/DC. Besides, he spells his name with an “i.”)  You can Google his name or you can take my word for it in my short synopsis. Bryan was a tech millionaire who sold his BioHacking company to PayPal for $800million.  Yeah, you read that right. That’s not a bad thing. I don’t begrudge that at all. More power to him.

Here’s what is sad. Bryan Johnson is on a quest for immortality. You read that right: I.M.M.O.R.T.A.L.I.T.Y.  To accomplish that he has some strange habits.  He takes 111 pills a day.  He goes to bed every night at 8:30 and is up by 6:00.  There is nothing in his bedroom besides his bed, except a laser face shield that shoots collagen into his face, and one unmentionable item I’ll let you research. He avoids the sun. He doesn’t go out at night.  He drives 16 mph (He would be one who would put me in an early grave if I was following him). He has multiple other habits.

I’ve seen stickers on trucks that say, “Silly boy.Trucks are for girls!” I want to say to Bryan, “Silly Bryan. Immortality is for One.” He believes at age 46 (which he is as I write this) that he has a heart of a 37 year old and the bones of a 30 year old. His goal is to be 18…and to live forever.

Sadly, he is moving in the area of F.U.T.I.L.I.T.Y. There is only ONE who has conquered death and it isn’t and won’t be Bryan.

I hope Bryan learns soon enough, i.e. sooner than later, that he is wasting his time and $2million/year for nothing. Envious? Not a bit. One half of what he is spending is more than I’ll make my entire lifetime.  Personally, I hope he learns the lesson of the rich man that Jesus taught about in Luke 12. It says the land of the rich man produced plentifully so he thought to himself, “What shall I do? I know. I’ll build bigger barns. You know…eat, drink and be merry.” But that night God said to him, “You fool! This night your soul is required of you.”  What good was his money then?

I sincerely hope Bryan learns sooner than later that one thing is certain: we all die.  He won’t cheat that. His money will not get him out of the one date we all will keep. No concoction will save him. There will come a day when Bryan will go the way of all of us. I just hope he finds out before it is too late.

To die in his lost condition? Now that would be sad.

September 20

Wednesday, September 20th, 2023

It was not a pretty sight. In fact, they were a downright mess. Years of fitful care came home to roost. Some of it was DNA. Some of it was a failure to have checkups regularly and proper maintenance. So at the age of 55 I found myself having radical dental work done culminating (I thought) with wearing braces for almost 3 years.

My DNA was not good. Dentures all around, except for my mom whose teeth were not the best (but she still smiled a lot). The shape of my jaw caused me to chew in such a way that I wore off the bottom teeth. Nerves became exposed. Flossing and brushing were not enough to make up for the years of early neglect. The lack of maintenance at the dentist (like none) as I raised two daughters certainly didn’t help. X-rays were needed and revealed a lot. So the process began. Two surgeries to remove one the largest torus mandibularis, aka tori (bone growth) the doctor had ever seen. This tori was between the bottom teeth and had I not been a side sleeper he said I would have probably died in my sleep because my tongue had nowhere to go. Then began the process of pulling teeth, wearing braces for almost 3 years, crowns, implants…well, you get the picture.

It didn’t happen overnight. It took time. And even after the braces came off (I followed the rules religiously), I’ve had other procedures. They are too numerous for me to mention (or to remember!). 🙂

I wear retainers every night to keep the alignment correct. I’m not going to throw over $15k down the tubes because I wish I could go to bed without them. They make me lisp when I talk and dry-mouthed when I wake up.

The life and growth of a Christ-follower is like that. After years of living in sin, of making a royal mess of our life, we find ourselves having radical treatment. It’s called salvation, where sin is dealt with and treatment is done. It takes awhile to learn, understand and respond to the truth of the Gospel, and then there is the ongoing care which lasts a lifetime. There are glitches along the way, but maintenance is still necessary. Prayer. Bible reading. Fellowship. They are all needed for ongoing spiritual health.

Salvation happens immediately when our sins are forgiven. The ongoing growth and maintenance requires the rest of our lifetime.

Where are you in the process?