As He Loves Us

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” – John 13:34-35 (NLT)

In this commandment to His disciples, Jesus directs us to employ a more intense kind of love in our relationships with one another; one based on a standard higher than love of ourselves…

Love one another as He loves us.

For when the world sees us reaching out to one another in truly pure, selfless, and practical examples of the love Jesus fills us with, there can be no doubt as to it’s source.

~Phather Phil

What Following Christ Isn’t

Dear Lord; Happy Saturday Father!

I think to a great extent, we’re missing it… Aren’t we Lord?

As I sat and enjoyed my morning coffee while perusing the newest status posts on my Facebook News Feed today, I found myself thinking back over the past few weeks’ events and contemplating…

Are we as Christians Lord, as followers of Christ, truly striving to live by the example and teachings You gave us?

And as I read through Your Word over and over Lord, it becomes more and more apparent to me what being a follower of Yours isn’t defined by…

It isn’t about what denomination church we attend.

It isn’t about which translation of the Bible we read.

It isn’t about our political views.

It isn’t about our sexual orientation.

It isn’t how many “Likes” we get, or how many people follow our status updates.

It isn’t about how many church functions we attend.

It isn’t about what music we listen to.

It isn’t about what we eat, or whether or not we choose to have a drink with our dinner.

And it certainly isn’t about casting judgment on the perceived failings and sins of others.

“We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.” – Romans 3:22-24 (NLT)

We all sin… We all fall far short of Your perfect example Lord.

And yet, when I look around I see so much judgment…

So much anger…

And so much hate.

And unfortunately Lord,

I see some of that when I look inside myself as well.

So this morning Father, my prayer is simple;

Open our eyes Lord, and open our hearts.

Help us to recognize that we are in fact, beings crafted of Your infinite Love;

That Your desire for us is to show and share that Love,

And in so doing glorify You.

For it’s in Your precious name I pray Jesus,


~Phather Phil

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Sunrise With The Son

Dear Lord; Happy Wednesday Father!

“Sometimes I arrive just when God’s ready to have someone click the shutter.” – Ansel Adams

As You know Father, over the past several months I’ve been spending a good bit of my leisure time working on improving my photography skills.  As part of that effort, the last couple Saturdays I’ve awoken in the pre-dawn hours and headed out to a local shoreline on the Delaware Bay in an attempt to capture the inherent beauty that those moments of sunrise bring.

And while the initial intent of those outings was simply to further my artistic pursuits Father, it quickly became apparent that I wasn’t there alone in that serene stillness…

“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” – Psalms 46:10 (NLT)

Surrounded by the beauty and peace of Your creation Lord, I shared those precious moments with You and was blessed to capture some of that wonder through my lens…


The Morning After

Mahon in the Morning

Pre-Dawn in Leipsic

Silhouettes at Sunrise

Sunrise at Port Mahon


Thank You Father.

Thank You for allowing me to share in those wonderful moments with You, and for the breathtaking beauty of the world You’ve given us.

For it’s in Your precious name I pray,


~Phather Phil

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Thankful Thursday: My Tallest Mountain

Dear Lord; Happy Thankful Thursday Father!

I was fried Lord…



And consumed with worry.

As I followed the familiar route into my office earlier this week, my chest tightened while my mind raced; methodically detailing each project and deadline that loomed ahead of me, and allowing those shadowy voices of foreboding to gain audience in my heart.

“It’s not the mountains that you face that are the obstacles Phil, it’s your doubts.” You interrupted…

The world paused for a second; my thoughts held hostage by Your statement…

And then I realized You were right… I’ve been my own tallest mountain.

You know my needs Lord, far better than I do…

And yet, I often view the trials and challenges in my life as if I’m the only one who understands,

As if I’m facing them on my own;

Allowing those whispers of self-doubt to draw me into myself,

And obscuring me from knowing Your loving hand in every facet of my life.

Help me climb that lonely mountain Father;

To scale its craggy face and stand high upon the summit,

Boldly facing all life’s moments in Your steadfast company.

Such is my prayer Lord… In Your precious name,


As I continue to list some of Your many Blessings in my life Father, my heart swells with the recognition of finding Your loving hand in more and more places every day.  And while I know that my existence is awash in Your grace Lord, this week I want to give special thanks for:

691. Both my boys having the opportunity to attend Camp Pecometh this summer.

692. An inexpensive repair to our air conditioner.

693. Shannon having a safe flight home from Florida.

694. An inexpensive update to Lightroom 5 that was released last week.

695. A wonderful Father’s Day spent with people I love.

696. Wonderful photo opportunities while walking in Blackbird State Forest last week.

697. Watching the sunrise over Port Mahon this past Saturday morning.

698. Your protecting and healing presence while a friend of ours recovers from surgery that was performed last week.

699. The Histiocytosis groups on Facebook that allow us to share information, encouragement and prayers for other families dealing with LCH.

700. The encouraging comments I’ve been receiving regarding my photography work on

701. Your protecting and comforting hand as I drove through some very severe weather last Thursday.

702. Your patience with me.

703. The opportunity I had to watch and photograph an osprey flying in to feed it’s young at Port Mahon.

704. New glasses for Jonathan.

705. The wonderful message and discussion about living in a state of gratefulness at our “Where Two or Three Are Gathered” Tuesday night small group.

… And for so very much more.

I Thank You Lord.

~Phather Phil

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Thankful Thursday: Missing the Point

Dear Lord; Happy Thankful Thursday Father!

I fear Lord, that we miss the point far too often…

Jesus taught us to reach out to all those in need… Yet, we find ways to justify being selective with our service to others.

You make it very clear through Scripture that Your primary desire for our lives is to love… But more often than not we cling to judgment in its stead.

As the body of Christ, the church’s mission is to act as the hands and feet of Jesus and aid one another on our walk to You … However far too regularly that directive is tainted by individual ambitions and agendas.

We sit in condemnation of the sins of those around us, feeling superior for our elevated moral perspective… All the while completely missing the plank sticking out of our own eye.

We dwell on legalism and focus on how many Bible verses we can recite on command… Instead of praying for Your truths contained therein to guide our hearts…

And yet, even with all that corruption peppering our mortal lives Father…

You love us,

And comfort us.

You shower us in your mercy,

And fill our world with signs of that gracious love.

Thank You Father.

From Christ’s perfect example, the presence of the Holy Spirit within us and the blessings you pile upon us each and every day, I pray we draw ever closer to Your true intent…

And get the point.

As I continue to list some of Your many blessings in my life Father, this week I’d like to give thanks for:

676. Your nourishing and cleansing rain which is helping our new garden grow.

677. A wonderful “ministry moment” while chatting with a friend the other night.

678. Your perfect timing, even when I don’t recognize it.

679. A safe and uneventful flight for Shannon yesterday on her way to visit her family.

680. A fun evening of fellowship and good food with some dear friends.

681. A good checkup for Jonathan at the eye doctor this week, and finding an optician who takes his insurance for glasses.

682. The opportunity to visit Aidan’s class for “Culture Day” and see him be a living statue of the Greek deity Poseidon.

683. Your gentle hand holding my heart and guiding my words when upsetting situations arise.

684. Eggs cooked in bacon grease.  🙂

685. Finding a wonderful deal on some photography equipment I needed.

686. Your protection and comfort for Shannon and her family as they were hit with a tropical storm this week while she was visiting.

687. That both my boys are finished another school year as of tomorrow.

688. Simple solutions.

689. Pastor Kris receiving her well-earned official Ordination by the United Methodist Church this week.

690. That even when we “miss the point”, Your gracious love for us remains.

And so very, very much more Lord…

For it’s in Your precious name I pray,


~Phather Phil

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Thankful Thursday: Why Do You Love Me?

Dear Lord; Happy Thankful Thursday Father!

I find myself asking sometimes Lord… Why do You love me?

I read Your Word and pray for insight… But I know I often miss Your intent.

I strive to love and serve those around me… But my selfish flesh still dictates my actions far too much.

I teach people about Your message of forgiveness and mercy… And yet my heart doesn’t always let go of pain and hurt against those who’ve wronged me.

I know and believe Your promise to always meet my needs… But I often allow fear and worry to overwhelm me.

Your Word reminds us over and over that You love us wholly and eternally… And yet, I ask why.

As broken and flawed as I am and as often as I fail, how could the Creator of all possibly love me…

“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” – 1 John 4:7-10 (NLT)

You love me Lord, Because You are Love, and You made me in Your image;

Formed with care,

Swaddled by grace,

Nurtured by Your mercy,

Redeemed by the blood of Christ,

And guided by Your presence within me.

Thank You Father… I pray that Your amazing love for me is reflected more and more each day in how I love others, and in how I live my life.

As I continue my Thankful Thursday list and note some of Your overwhelming Blessings in my life Lord, this week I want to recognize and thank You for:

661. Bacon Hot Dogs.

662. The encouragement of my ministry efforts by someone I respect.

663. The reminder that even though I’m undeserving of Your love for me, You give it to me unconditionally.

664. The devotional encouragements I receive each day in the “Joyce Meyer : Promises for Your Everyday Life” reading plan I’m following on

665. Server virtualization software.

666. My wife Shannon getting the opportunity to go visit her mother in Florida next week.

667. Jonathan being old enough to take over the lawn mowing and trimming, and doing a wonderful job at it.

668. The peace I feel sitting out on our deck at night and enjoying the softly lit gardens.

669. Being able to enjoy a bottle of clean, refreshing Humankind Spring Water while at the same time helping to provide clean water for those who don’t have it.

670. Our Neato XV-21 Carpet Cleaning Robot which lets me come home to vacuumed rugs each night.

671. The kind assistance of our next-door neighbors when we needed to move some heavy furniture this week.

672. A fun and relaxing walk with people I love out at Port Mahon this past Monday.

673. Shannon’s doctor remaining optimistic and dedicated to her recovery.

674. Old Dominion Morning Glory Espresso Stout.

675. Those individuals in our military that paid the ultimate price to protect our freedoms.

And so very, very much more Father…

For it’s in Your Precious name I pray Lord,


~Phather Phil

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