Choosing the Good Portion

Dear Lord; Happy Wednesday Father!

Tomorrow Lord, as You’re well aware, here in the United States we’ll be gathering together with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving.  And while I absolutely love having that time to focus on togetherness and gratitude Father, for many this Holiday takes on an entirely different focus…


Instead of dwelling in Your many Blessings and focusing on spending time with those we love Lord, for some the Holidays become a flurry of “to-do lists”, household chores and shopping trips.  And while some preparations are certainly necessary to host our festive gatherings, it’s very easy to allow the myriad of details to overwhelm us, and to take our eyes off the One who made it possible.

And while getting ready for work this morning Father, You decided I needed a reminder.

Standing in the shower, my mind wandered; so many things to do before tomorrow… I started a mental list, carefully going over all the details of the day ahead, and trying to work out exactly how we’d complete everything in the time we had remaining…

“Like Martha and Mary…” You whispered.


“Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”” – Luke 10:38-42 (ESV)

Okay, okay… Point taken Father.  🙂

It’s not about the house being spotless…

It’s not about mountains of carefully prepared food…

It’s not about a meticulously laid-out table…

It’s not about being the perfect host or hostess…

It’s not about the details

It’s about You Lord… All about You.

Heavenly Father,

We thank You Lord, for the multitude of Blessings You grace our lives with each day.  As we prepare for the upcoming Holidays Father, please help focus our hearts to see past the tasks at hand, and prepare a spot at Jesus’ feet where we might rest, and listen…

In Jesus’ name we pray,


~Phather Phil

Lessons from a Nine-Year-Old

Dear Lord; Happy Friday Father!

Today Lord, we’re celebrating at the Malmstrom home.  Nine years ago today at 12:23pm, You Blessed us by bringing Aidan Patrick Malmstrom into our lives.  🙂

I love both my children dearly Father, and over the years each of them has brought me unique perspective, as well as taught me some valuable lessons.  In February 2005, I wrote a blog post for another site about my experiences taking care of Aidan while Shannon and Jonathan were at A.I. Dupont Hospital for a few days.  It described the unique little boy he was at age 2, and some of the things he’d taught me at that point in time:

Lessons from a Two-Year-Old

Over the last several days, I have been privileged to be instructed in the ways of the world by a mind so uncluttered that my perspectives have likely been forever changed. I’m speaking of course, of my two-year-old son Aidan.

It all started when Jonathan (my older son, or as some know him Mini-Me) was kept at the AI DuPont Hospital for Children for a three-day stay. Jonathan was born with a rare and serious blood disease called Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (LCH) which nearly took him from us shortly after he was born. Thanks to the responsive and meticulous care of the Hematology and Oncology staff at AI, he recently celebrated his 5th birthday with us in December. However, as this disease is not clinically curable, whenever Jonathan develops any inexplicable or significant medical symptoms he’s carefully checked for any potential re-involvement of the ailment. Therefore, when he started showing flu symptoms and his blood counts were suspiciously low last week, back to AI he went. With Shannon staying close to Jonathan’s side, my attentions were now redirected to care for our younger son (and future NFL linebacker), Aidan.

To any of you that don’t know us, my wife and I very definitely have his-and-hers children. Jonathan, in a nutshell, is me. I understand nearly everything he does and why he does it. Aidan however, is a male version of Shannon with a slightly destructive twist. Don’t get me wrong, I love both my children to no end. However, sometimes I have problems relating to the thought processes that dictate Aidan’s actions. He’s a wonderful child with an incredibly warm heart and a seemingly endless reserve of energy. It’s just that his methods for getting from point A to point B sometimes serve to confuse me completely. Therefore, while I was in sole custody of this little enigma I took the opportunity to carefully follow and analyze some of his daily routines. From this, I learned some important things.

Let’s call this list “Everything I need to know, I learned from my two year old” (Ok, so it’s not terribly original, but you get the reference.)

1. An object is not necessarily made from the sum of it’s component parts. In fact, it’s very likely that if you smash it repeatedly into something else, it will have a whole new set of parts you knew nothing about.

2. Poop is funny stuff. In fact, it’s even funnier if you squish it around until it’s coming out of every seam of the diaper trying to contain it.

3. A child’s hearing ability is inversely proportional to how badly they really want to do something they aren’t supposed to.

4. An item’s original intention is never as interesting as the myriad of things you can make it do outside those boundaries.

5. The word “No” can be an entire language onto itself if said with varied volumes, tones and facial expressions.

6. Perpetual Motion can be achieved through the right balance of chocolate milk and mac-and-cheese.

7. Computer wires look exactly like the ropes that “Dora the Explorer” uses to swing across rivers and such.

8. Drawing and coloring should never be restricted to something as unimaginative as paper.

9. Do everything with a sickeningly cute smile and 9 out of 10 times you’ll get away with it. On the 10th time, run faster than daddy.

And I’m learning more every day…

God I love my kids.

~Phil Malmstrom

Therefore Father, to mark Aidan’s Birthday today I thought I’d share some additional “chunks of wisdom” that he’s enlightened me with since that time.

Lessons from a Nine-Year-Old

1. Laundry baskets are far too structured an idea for truly free thinkers.

2. With the right combination of Lego parts and some cheese quesadillas, you can in fact create sentient life.

3. The time required to shower is directly proportional to how much hot water is available and how many good songs are playing on the radio.

4. The response “One more minute” is actually a phrase apparently derived from some other language meaning “When I feel like it…”.

5. When you have HUGE dimples, you can get out of amazingly difficult situations.

6. If you want to stay up a little bit later than regular bedtime, the phrase to use on dad is “Can I just go read my Bible for a while please?”.

7. With the proper amount of barbecue sauce, almost anything is edible.

8. The word “no” is simply the beginning of the negotiation process.

9. If negotiations don’t go well and finally break down, it’s still good to be able to outrun daddy.

And I’m still learning more every day.  🙂

Heavenly Father,

I thank You Lord, for Blessing our family those nine years ago by placing Your child Aidan into our care.  He’s a kind, smart, fun little boy Father, and I feel privileged to be his earthly father.  Please continue to watch over him Lord, and guide him to grow into the godly man that I know he can be.

In Jesus’ Name we pray,


~Phather Phil

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Sharing a Conversation

Dear Lord; Happy Tuesday Father!

Today Father, I’m honored to be hosting a guest “Email to God” from a good friend of mine and fellow blogger, Lisa Phelps from “A Moment with God”.  Lisa’s site is wonderful Blessing to me Lord; she brings Your message of faith and hope to her readers each day, and at the same time teaches and enlightens with a whimsical spirit.  It’s such a gift for me to have her sharing a conversation with You here on, and I hope it Blesses all those who get to read it.

Good morning Father,

First of all, I want to say thank you to Phil for allowing me to share my conversation with You on   I’m so thankful that I have come to know Phil.  Through his words and actions, I am learning more about what it looks like to live as Your servant.

Father, thank you for the awesome service we had at church on Sunday.  You taught me so many lessons through those few hours we spent worshiping together as Your body.  As you know, Father, I sometimes struggle with leading worship.  I want to make sure that we all sound good and flow together in unity.  As I was thinking about these things before the service started, you clearly spoke to my heart.  You were asking, “Why are you here?” or more specifically, “Why are the people here?”  You wanted me to understand that if they had come to hear perfect vocals or rousing music, we might be able to provide on some level, but they would leave disappointed.  As Your church, we are to love and encourage one another, but if the people came just for the fellowship, they would leave disappointed.  But if they came to encounter a Holy, Living God, then you would meet them and they would leave filled and satisfied.  Thank you for reminding me that the world doesn’t need to see me, they need to see You!  

You also reminded me that you have called us by a new name.  You don’t see us the way we see ourselves.  In the secret places of our hearts, we may call ourselves unworthy, unloved, unforgiven, or a disappointment.  But You reminded us that, through the blood of Jesus, we are now called Dearly loved, Forgiven, Righteous, and Children of the Most High God.  Father, thank you for reminding us of Whose we are and help us to listen only to Your Voice of Truth.

And finally, Father, you spoke to us about the sunrise.  We know that as Your children, our future is secure; we will spend eternity with You in Heaven.  But You have called us to see the sunrise.  The sun rises each morning, signifying the start of a new day; the old is gone and the new has begun.  So it is in our walk with You.   The old is gone and You have given us new life.  

“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” – Isaiah 43:19

Father, you are truly amazing.  I love that You bend down and speak to Your people.  Help us to keep our hearts and minds fixed on You that we might always hear Your still small voice.  Thank you for giving us a new name and a new identity through Jesus Christ.  I pray that each one reading these words today would forget about the past and focus on the new thing You are doing in their lives.  Father, help them to see themselves the way You see them.  Remind them that You have come to give them Hope and a new beginning.  I ask all these things in the precious name of Your Son, Jesus.


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Meditations Monday: The Glue That Binds Our Hearts

Dear Lord; Happy Meditations Monday Father!

To start off our week together Lord, I want to thank You for the many Blessings You graced my family and I with this past weekend.  As I still wasn’t feeling very well, we spent much of Saturday at home, save for a much-needed grocery shopping trip, and finished the evening off by curling up on the couch together and watching the final chapter in the Harry Potter movie series.  Sunday we started our day with an inspiring worship service at Ewell’s St. Paul, and then joined some close friends for a brunch to celebrate the birthday of one of their children.  The afternoon was filled with a marathon of housework, homework, bill-paying and laundry, but at the end of the day we were all able to relax a bit before bed, and enjoy some quiet time together.  You know Father, as my Walk with You progresses, I find myself appreciating those times of unity with my family more and more.  I’ve always enjoyed “family time”, but the more connected I become with You, the more connected I feel to them as well.  🙂

In her message this weekend, Pastor Kris made a statement that’s been churning around in my head ever since.  She told us that one of her seminary professors had once said that if you look at the Bible as a whole; the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Gospels, the one underlying concept that’s consistent throughout and that ties it all together, is love.  Now Father, while initially this may seem like an awfully simplistic and obvious statement, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it was a fundamental point that quite often we miss.

Throughout the Scriptures as well as in our lives today, we see many examples of the wide range of ways You show Your love for us.  Some are obvious, and come in the form of Blessings that clearly enrich our mortal lives and bring us immediate joy.  Others however, may be perceived as negative events that seem to complicate our lives and cause us difficulty.  The point that we need to remember however is this; just because things don’t always go as we expect or desire them to, it doesn’t mean that it wasn’t an act of love on Your part nonetheless.  I liken it to when I have to discipline my children.  I certainly don’t enjoy reprimanding or punishing them, but in my desire to be a loving, caring and responsible parent, sometimes it’s necessary for me to correct and guide them by providing a response that makes the point apparent and relevant to them.

In one of the most beautiful, and I believe powerful passages of the Bible, the Apostle Paul describes this love that You’ve given us, and the importance of it in our lives:

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (ESV)

I view love as the “glue” You use to bind our hearts to Yours Father.  You bestow it on us freely, and through Christ’s example, You lead us to share it with others in a similar fashion.  Such an overwhelming gift Lord, and one that grows more and more prominent as our walk to You progresses.

Heavenly Father,

We thank You Lord, for the love and Blessings You give to us freely and abundantly each day.  Please open our hearts and our minds, that we may more fully come to recognize Your acts of love in our lives; both those that fill our hearts with overwhelming joy, and those guiding actions which while sometimes painful, are done as the caring, loving, responsible Father that You are.

In Jesus’ Name we pray,


~Phather Phil

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Thankful Thursday: Daily Inspirations

Dear Lord; Happy Thankful Thursday Father!

Today Father, I want to take a moment to say thank You and to celebrate some changes here at

When You led me to begin this site a little over a year ago, I really had no distinct idea as to what direction it would take, what I’d write about each day, or who in the world would possibly have interest in reading it.  I certainly didn’t see myself as a writer, but You were diligent in Your pursuit of me taking on this endeavor so I followed those urgings, and 327 posts later, here I am.  🙂

Over the last few months Lord, I’ve felt You urging me once again to take another step with this outreach.  One of the things I hear most when talking to people is that they’re unsure how the Scriptures pertain to their lives and situations today.  To help with answering those questions, I’ve begun something new here at

The site has now been divided into two blog threads; the “Emails to God” I’ve been posting for the last year, and a new section called “Daily Inspirations”.  Each post in “Daily Inspirations” will contain a Bible Passage, accompanied by a short message connecting those wisdoms and truths to our world today.  The posts from both sections will all be visible together on the home page, or can be viewed independently on their respective pages as well.  Along with this new blog thread, I’ve also added a “Contact Me” page to allow a more private connection with the readers if they so desire.

I’m truly thankful for this ministry You’ve led me on Father.  Through it I’ve connected with some wonderful people, had the opportunity to minister to the needs of others, and in the process nourished my relationship with You as well.  It’s been an amazing Blessing in my life this past year, and I’m excited to see where You’ll lead me each day.

To add to that note of thanks Lord, I’d like to continue my Thankful Thursday list from last week.  This past week, I’ve been especially grateful for :

376. The opportunity You’ve given me to minister to others through

377. Shannon helping with nighttime “dog duty” so I could get some rest.

378. That our Tuesday night Bible Study group wants to continue meeting after the conclusion of the “Treasures of the Transformed Life” series next week.

379. The beautiful colors the trees take on in Autumn.

380. Spending some “Down Time” with Jonathan and Aidan.

381. The urgings You place on my heart to reach out and share Your Truth with others.

382. Hot Apple Cider K-Cups for our Keurig.

383. Breathing treatments that help me combat the effects of my current respiratory illness.

384. An evening of good food and fellowship at the “Heart and Hand” dinner last Saturday.

385. Making good progress on the redesign of Ewell’s St. Paul UMC’s web site.

386. The helpful staff at our local Christian Bookstore : “The Branch”.

387. Lessons in a foggy morning.

388. Half-price “post-Halloween” candy sales.

389. The brightest star in my sky.

390. The selfless sacrifices that our Veterans and Active Duty Military make each and every day.

Heavenly Father,

We thank You Lord, for the multitude of Blessings you bestow on us each day; both those that light up the sky with Your brilliance, and those that grace us quietly from the shadows.  I thank You from the bottom of my heart for guiding me along this journey Father, and for drawing me ever closer to You in the process.  More of You Lord, less of me.

In Jesus’ Name we pray,


~Phather Phil

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