Column: Preparation warms the coldest days

It's been a bit chilly, windy and wet in the Desert Southwest lately. In fact, I reached for my rain coat the other day.

With the rain coming down hard, it surely was good timing to have my rain jacket handy.

Yesterday, as I got ready to go to the church office, I realized it was only about 50 degrees and a bit windy. As I scampered out the door in my short sleeves about 7:30 a.m., I made "an about face" and put on my fleece vest.

It's interesting that when we need to make a "comfort" adjustment in clothing, most of us can do it quickly. Having on the right outerwear sets the stage, so to speak, and gets us ready for whatever weather the day might bring our way.

Certainly for me, having on the right jacket prompts an important question: How do we prepare ourselves for what the day might bring? Is there something we can do to prepare ourselves spiritually and emotionally for the coming day?

Many folks prepare themselves for the day by spending some time with a morning devotional book. About a year ago, I got a new one from my wife called "Bread for the Journey," written by Henri J.M. Nouwen.

Morning devotionals are essentially words of wisdom and truth about God's guiding presence in our lives. These devotionals are like leaving the house with a warm jacket on. Even though "the winds and storms" of life are wreaking havoc with us, we hold on to the path knowing that God will hold us firmly in the right direction.

Although some of my readers may not be in favor of a morning devotional, I do recommend doing something along the lines of establishing who you are and "whose" you are before you leave the house each day.

Finally, as the weather gets colder, windier, damp and eventually a bit warmer, I invite you each morning to "set the stage" for the day before you leave the house. Maybe for you, the best thing can be a warm cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate combined with a conversation with a loved one. Someone said to me recently, "Today is all we have." I forget that truth quite often.

I'll see you in church, the grocery store, working out at the gym or around town.

You can e-mail Pastor Michael by visiting