In the devo today by @BearGrylls he has a good word about God-Confidence. Cf https://www.mandyandmichele.com/true-confidence-comes-from-god/#

Graphics : https://x.com/drolsen314/status/1762851578350911848?s=61&t=1To83REIhj1lNshdBovbuA

Establishing daily motivation

In retirement there are some days in which I have a hard time getting motivated. Looking within myself, is sporadic at best, and generally of little value.
Here’s a simple process : ‘

  1. Begin with pondering and considering God, and his greatness. Pray.
  2. Ponder and consider all that God has given me and is giving me. Pray.
  3. Ponder, and consider God’s will, and intentions for this world. Pray.
  4. Ask the question, “What can I do to do my part?” Pray.
  5. Get my shoulder to the wheel in my eye on the grindstone. Pray for guidance and strength.

In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:6

Alistair Begg

Determining right & wrong based on the Bible it’s tough, because we are mortals. As people of faith, we should try to do it anyway.
@AlistairBegg logically & Biblically moved the needle.
Good, article here by Russel Moore.


Notes for January 2024

My sermon this month is titled, Eyes, Nose, and Shoulder for the Sake of Christ.

The primary point is to keep our eyes on Jesus (from Hebrews 12:1). I’ve always like the metaphors of keep your nose to the grindstone and put your shoulder to the wheel. To do the will of God we do need to apply our focus and our effort.

Bible Passages

Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.

Matt 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

1 John 4:9-11 9 God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent His One and Only Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another.

James 1:22-24 22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.

Books I’m Reading This Year

📖 Daily devotional book: Soul Fuel: A Daily Devotional, by: Bear Grylls.

📖 Book: Recalibrate Your Life: Navigating Transitions with Purpose and Hope, by: Kenneth Boa and Jenny Abel. This book has a strong Christian/biblical basis and is for all ages (we’ll say from age 20 through old age). It covers both regular recalibration of life and recalibration of life at major junctures of life (such as marriage, having children, major illness, retirement).

Abide in Christ

Abide in Christ is a timeless book written by Andrew Murray. Information, online book, and audio book found here.

Things Unseen Podcast

Sinclair Furguson does a podcast, titled Things Unseen,  each weekday, Monday through Friday (usually about 10 minutes). He has excellent discussion points on the Bible and Christian concepts. I have found the podcast very thought provoking and valuable to me as a Christian.

Annual Spiritual Checkup from CS Lewis Institute

The annual spiritual checkup begins with

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40

There are 10 questions to consider. Five each for Loving God with all your heart, soul and mind and Loving neighbor.

Three Good Christmas Stories

Here are three short stories that I like–and you might also enjoy. Good to read at Christmas time.

The Philanthropist’s Christmas – James Weber Linn. This is a story a bit like A Christmas Carol, with a rich man who is gruff (without the Christmas spirit). However, Mr. Carter is not a total cruel as Ebenezer Scrooge.  The story is also lighter, with a fun little dog and no ghosts. Published in 1908. About 20 minutes.


A Christmas Mystery: The Story of Three Wise Men – William John Locke.  This is a story about 3 men, who are each individually ‘successful,’ but, sadly, lack family or relationships. They end up on a train, together, going to a Christmas party a long way away. On the trip, there is a failure in the transportation which causes to plot to change drastically. This is a deeper story than the first. I believe this takes place in the early 1900’s in England. Written in 1910. About 40 minutes.


How Dot Heard The Messiah – Hezekiah Butterworth. This is about a lowly boy, Dot, who is the bellows-boy for an organ in a large church. (The bellows of the organ had to be operated manually back in those days.) He makes an acquaintance with one of the distinguished tenors in the choir, and it changes his life. Written in 1882. About 21 minutes.



My all-time favorite Christmas story is The Other Wise Man.

If you know of other Christmas stories which have a Christian theme, please share with me.

Post by Jim Olsen.

Nicholas Winton Rescued 669 children from Czechoslovakia

Nicholas Winton Rescued 669 children from Czechoslovakia

Sir Nicholas Winton was born in Hampstead, London in 1909. For nine months in 1939 he rescued 669 children from Czechoslovakia, bringing them to the UK, thereby sparing them from the horrors of the Holocaust. Sir Nicholas died in July 2015, aged 106.

This is an an excellent story of service to mankind.

He was featured in 2023 by the Mormon Tabernacle Christmas Concert. Video is here. The story about Nicki Winton begins about the 49 minute mark.

Nice write-up here. (Wikipedia.)


The Ballad of the White Horse

The Ballad of the White Horse is an epic poem by G. K. Chesterton.

The poem narrates how King Alfred (in England) was able to defeat the invading Danes at the Battle of Ethandun with the aid of the Virgin Mary. The Danes are (hopeless) pagans, and king Alfred is (a faithful) Christian.

I consider this a hard poem to read (I’m not an English literature major), but it was highly recommended on Twitter. I found a fun way to listen to an audio reading, and read it simultaneously, while I was folding Christmas boxes.

My strategy: For each chapter (‘book’) I read a short synopsis/summary from, for example, Wikipedia. (This wonderful story does not have a tricky, plot.) Then I would have two browsers open, one with the audio reading, and one with the text. See the screenshot.

“The poem in its fullness is a masterpiece about the perfect, objective, and eternal light that must be preserved by civilization from the slow creeping weeds of [pagan] darkness ever looming and threatening to overtake the light.”

The total amount of time needed to listen to it is about 114 minutes. Under two hours. Make a pot of coffee or tea.

I like a good story with a Christian message. (Having it read by a professional was a lot better than trying to render the poetry myself.)

LibraVox. Gutenberg.

Breathing, Mindfulness, and God

I put the following into ChapGPT: How can Christians use Transformational Breathing to grow closer to God? Please tell me the steps. I don’t need to have the benefits reviewed. I just want to know how to do it.

The response:

Transformational Breath can be incorporated into a Christian’s spiritual practice as a way to enhance their connection with God through mindfulness and deep breathing. Here are steps on how Christians can use Transformational Breathing to grow closer to God:

  1. Set the Intention: Begin by setting a clear intention for your Transformational Breath session. Your intention can be focused on deepening your connection with God, seeking guidance, finding peace, or simply being present in God’s presence.
  2. Prayer and Meditation: Start with a short prayer or meditation to center yourself and acknowledge God’s presence. You can use a Bible verse, a Christian mantra, or a personal prayer that resonates with you.
  3. Find a Quiet Space: Choose a quiet and comfortable place where you can sit or lie down. Ensure that you won’t be disturbed during your practice.
  4. Deep Diaphragmatic Breathing: Begin with deep diaphragmatic breathing. Inhale deeply through your nose, allowing your abdomen to rise, and exhale slowly through your mouth. This initial phase helps you relax and prepare for the Transformational Breath.
  5. Circular Breathing: Transition into circular breathing, where there’s no pause between inhalation and exhalation. Breathe in deeply through your nose, followed by a full, relaxed exhale through your mouth. Maintain this continuous, flowing breath.
  6. Conscious Connected Breathing: As you continue with circular breathing, make each breath conscious and connected. Focus on the sensation of the breath and your intention to connect with God. You may visualize God’s presence or imagine inhaling God’s love and exhaling any distractions or worries.
  7. Mindful Awareness: Throughout your Transformational Breath session, maintain mindful awareness of God’s presence. Invite God into your breath and heart. If distracting thoughts arise, gently acknowledge them and return your focus to your breath and your intention to connect with God.
  8. Gratitude and Surrender: As you breathe, express gratitude for God’s presence and surrender any worries, fears, or doubts. Trust that God is with you and guiding you in this practice.
  9. Silent Listening: After several minutes of conscious connected breathing, transition into a silent, receptive state. Listen for any insights, messages, or guidance that God may provide during this time of stillness.
  10. Closing Prayer: Conclude your Transformational Breath session with a closing prayer, expressing thanks for the opportunity to connect with God through breath and seeking God’s continued presence and guidance in your life.
  11. Reflect and Journal: Take a few moments to reflect on your experience. You may want to journal any insights, feelings, or messages you received during your practice.
  12. Practice Regularly: Consistency is key. Incorporate Transformational Breath into your regular spiritual practice to continue deepening your connection with God.

Remember that Transformational Breath is a tool to enhance your spiritual journey, and it can be adapted to align with your Christian beliefs and practices. Always approach it with an open heart and a desire to grow closer to God in a way that resonates with your faith.

Biblical inspiration from Zig Ziglar

Dripping with Christian positivity.

“I would like to be remembered as a man who loved the Lord, loved his wife, loved his family, and who did everything he could for his fellow man.

Zig Ziglar

https://www2.cbn.com/article/not-selected/zig-ziglar-better-good includes lots of biblical inspiration.

What’s the biggest piece of advice Ziglar has for someone?

“I would say continue to learn. One of the great psychiatrists in our nation’s history, and he worked with Norman Vincent Peale for many years, he discovered that any individual, regardless of age, he never met one who suffered from any kind of mental dementia who did three things: they stayed active physically, they were continually learning new things, and they developed a genuine interest in other people. That is the secret right there.”

Zig Ziglar

A tweet by @coachajking had this:

“Success isn’t owned, it’s leased. And rent is due everyday.”

JJ Watt

In the forward of his book, Zig, Ziglar states this on his faith and his confidence.

From his book titled See You at the Top