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Read:  Philippians 4:8 –  “Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

I stumbled across an interesting verse recently while doing Bible study on the Biblical principle of “blessings”, it’s Proverbs 10:7:

“The memory of the righteous is a blessing, but the name of the wicked will rot.”

It took me back to October of 1989.  I was a rookie pastor at my first appointment, in my fourth month.  October 14th was quickly approaching – the day I would marry my college sweetheart, Ronda Charles, whom I had courted for three years.  We were young and foolish, and had little common sense.  Our plan for a honeymoon was to hop in my old 1976 Bonneville (200,000 miles on it) and head off to Canada.  That’s when Willis Riksen, a longtime pillar of the Hopkins UMC, approached me.  Willis and Florence had learned of our plan and they became concerned; they knew better.  Willis offered us (insisted really) that we use his new Chevy Blazer on our honeymoon.  It was a strikingly generous gesture, and a blessing to be sure.

I will never forget the kindness of the Riksens (even now writing this I have tears in my eyes – that’s just how I am).  I can think of others too, that when I remember them, I am blessed again.  I am certain that it would be true for you as well.

I have taken up an odd little habit:  when I see a car that reminds me of someone I know or once knew, or a street name that reminds me of someone, I say a short prayer of thanksgiving and blessing for that person.  It literally only takes seconds to do, to give God thanks for that person and to say, “God bless Willis and Florence”.  On our DALMAC bike tour we passed many streets that prompted my prayers:  Clayton St., Miller Rd., Hoffman Dr., Gayle St., Brenner Rd., Green St., etc..

The second half of Proverbs 10:7 is also true.  If we dwell on the memory of the wicked it will not be a blessing for us.  That brings us back to Philippians 4:8, read it again (above).  If we keep the right focus, Paul promises, “the God of peace (shalom) will be with you” (Philippians 4:9).

Shalom, Pastor Rob Nystrom