Faith & Reason ... a mystery

Monday, March 30, 2009

Being left out!

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. (Hebrews 13:16 NRSV)
Have you ever been left out or has some one you respect not returned that respect? This week promises to be a spectacular week...Easter is coming, Easter Musical is going great, and God is a great God. Yet, tonight someone I respected made a decision that left me out of the game. It is not that big of a deal, but I got to thinking how we as Christians do that more than we should. I also thought of Hebrews 13..."we need to sacrifice for each other."

As a kid, we learned about sharing our toys. Maybe you were playing with your sister, or with your next-door neighbor, and your parents told you to share all your toys with the person you're playing with. Why did they want you to share? There are all kinds of reasons why our parents taught us to share. You share so that the other person can have fun. You share so that the other person won't feel left out and sad. Sharing with others is a way of showing them that we love them, and we want them to be happy.

Back in Jesus' day, Christians shared everything they had with one another. They shared all their food with one another, so that nobody would ever be hungry. They shared their money with one another, so that nobody would be poor. And I bet they shared their toys with one another, so that nobody would ever be left out. They shared with one another because they loved one another. In fact, sometimes the Christians would sell what they had so that they could raise money to help those who were poor around them. That's how much they loved one another. This is what being together in Christ is all about. We can show that kind of love to one another, too. Today, let's think of ways that we can share what we have with others, to show them that we love them, even when they may not reciprocate the feelings or actions.

"Dear God, may I be as generous as you have been generous to me. Amen."
You know I love ya - Don

Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday Funny - A Professional!

The Lord's answer to our prayers are all in your perspective!

A woman was at work when she received a phone call that her daughter was very sick with a fever. She left her work and stopped by the pharmacy to get some medication. She got back to her car and found that she had locked her keys in the car.

She didn't know what to do, so she called home and told the baby sitter what had happened. The baby sitter told her that her the fever was getting worse. The baby sitter suggested, "You might find a coat hanger and use that to open the door."

The woman looked around and found an old rusty coat hanger that had been thrown down on the ground, possibly by someone else who at some time or other had locked their keys in their car. Then she looked at the hanger and said, "I don't know how to use this."

So she bowed her head and asked God to send her some help. Within five minutes an old rusty car pulled up, with a dirty, greasy, bearded man who was wearing an old biker skull rag on his head. The woman thought, "This is what you sent to help me?" But, she was desperate, so she was also very thankful.

The man got out of his car and asked her if he could help. She said, "Yes, my daughter is very sick. I stopped to get her some medication and I locked my keys in my car. I must get home to her. Please, can you use this hanger to unlock my car?"

He said, "Sure". He walked over to the car, and in less than a minute the car was opened. She hugged the man and through her tears she said, "Thank You So Much! You are a very nice man."

The man replied, "Lady, I am not a nice man. I just got out of prison today. I was in prison for car theft and have only been out for about an hour."

The woman hugged the man again and with sobbing tears cried out loud, "Oh, Thank you God! You even sent me a Professional!"

This is especially funny to me because I can hear Karen's voice....You know I love ya - Don

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

His Face on Me!

"The Lord make His face shine upon you." Numbers 6:25

Imagine yourself alone in a huge crowd...a crowd moving from one place to another through a canyon of office buildings that scrape the sky. Imagine the faces of 20,000 strangers looking back at you as you look around at the crowd.

Now imagine that you spot a face in the crowd. It is a face you know. In fact, that face is the face of the person you love most of all on the entire earth. From across the street, you and your loved one exchange smiles. These are smiles of warmth, affection, love, and approval. You begin to move through the crowd toward one another.

This is the picture painted by the phrase, "the Lord make his face shine upon you." It is a picture of God's deep love for each of us as his individual children. It's a picture of affection and acceptance. It is a picture of the intense commitment in our Lord's heart that draws us ever closer to him and evokes our love for him in return.

You see, our Lord, Our Savior, Our True Vine...loves his people far more than a kind "group policy" that covers all of us at once. Rather, HE loves each of us...One by ONE!

Despite the billions of people in the world, Jesus knows us, recognizes us individually. He knows the shape of our body, the contour of our shoulders. He shaped the silhouette of our nose...recognizes our laugh...He notices every tear and wipes it away. He not only knows, He cares!

Lord, Jesus, help me feel the smile of your unconditional love as I serve you today. Amen.

You know I love ya - Don

Monday, March 23, 2009

Testing By Fire!

James 1:2-5 - The Vine develops our Perseverance
2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

This verse reminds me of the Daniel story of Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego from Daniel 3. The king's governors and advisers did not like that the Hebrews would not worship their gods. So, they tricked the king into setting up a new law that forced the people to bow down to false gods. These three Hebrews were workers in the king's court and were liked by the king...but the law is the law and they were forced to comply. They were facing a trial and a testing of their faith. They refused again and the king declared he would throw them into the fire...literally an oven and cook them. They responded with perseverance, maturity, and wisdom...Daniel 3:17-18 is the record of their response, "If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."

Bearing more fruit requires courage to face the trials and it requires our willingness to submit to God's authority. God is generous in giving wisdom and it will usually comes with a fiery furnace...the great part of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego's response is their willingness to persevere even if God does not save them. That is true fruit...therefore, we persevere through our trials and testing with simple faith that God is faithful and will provide...He always does! He also tags along for the ride...if you read on in the Daniel story ...the King looks in the fire and sees four people in the fire and the fourth person looks like the Son of God.

Dear Lord, please give me the faith to be strong when the trials of life and the testing of this world head my direction. I want to bare more fruit for you. May I always be found faithful and steadfast so that you might receive the glory. Amen.

check out....http://www.parkchapel.org/thevine

You know I love ya - Don (P.S. - thanks for all the birthday wishes...)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Guardian of My Soul

My Grandmother used to send me poetry books. I love this poem by Doris A. Orth:
Dearest Jesus, Gentle Lamb,
Guardian of my heart and soul,
Please take me just the way I am,
And make my life complete and whole.

Give me strength enough to face,
The trials of tomorrow,
And faith enough to see me through,
The times of pain and sorrow.

Help me find a way to show,
Friends and loved ones that I care,
And a special part of every day,
For humble, earnest prayer.

And never let me be so blind,
Dear Jesus, that I cannot see,
"The very essence of my being
Is to live my life for Thee!"
You know I love ya - Don

Monday, March 16, 2009

Not Only Chosen - loved.

“Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”- Colossians 3:12
I have always liked this verse because God chose me. There is an old song titled, "He Loved Me" that I used for my entrance recital at Pacific Christian College. The song takes the verse above and combines it with Romans 8. Not only did God love me but He made a way that I might be a chosen child of the creator of the universe and nothing will separate me from that love.

God is also faithful and steadfast in the truth of His power. There is nothing that can separate me from God's love...nothing! Therefore, it is my response to completely cover myself with compassion, humility, gentleness, and patience...Why? Because He loved me first and totally transformed my life.

You may ask, "how do I know these are true?" My answer in totally conviction and sincerity, "He lives, works, and dwells within my heart. I have seen, lived, and experienced Jesus to long to deny Him."

I trust He can transform life for you as well....you know I love ya - Don

Friday, March 13, 2009

Firday Funny!

A Little Friday Funny....I am try to learn the "NO" to food word again. - You know I love ya - Don

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Faithfulness

“Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.”- Deuteronomy 7:9
Faithful...if you watch much T.V. or Movies loyalty and faithfulness is often compromised. Most everything that comes out of Washington D.C. is promises that are compromised. I was driving last night and found myself going 75 in a 70 zone, thus I was not being faithful to the law. So, what does it mean to be faithful?

Faithful is:
1 :
full of faith
2
: steadfast in affection or allegiance : loyal
3: firm in adherence to promises or in observance of duty : conscientious
4: given with strong assurance : binding faithful promise>
5
: true to the facts, to a standard, or to an original
faithful copy>

(These are from Merriam-webster site.)

God is Faithful...He is steadfast, He is firm in His promises, He is given with strong assurance, He is true to the facts/standards, and He is full of faith. I wonder what means for God to be full of faith? Then I read the passage above...He has faith in me. He has faith to keep His relationship with me pure and holy. He will love me beyond my abilities to be faithful to Him. He also has complete assurance in my future and complete hope in what is yet to come in me.

This truth is medicine to a sick world...a sick Christian Community....a weary Christ-follower...a simple believer like Don Crane. The awesome REALITY is this applies to EVERY Christ-follower.

You know I love ya - Don

Monday, March 9, 2009

In Christ Jesus, I am Alive

“who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,”- 2 Timothy 1:9
We sang a new song in worship yesterday titled, "I am Alive" by Jeremy Johnson and Paul Marino. The words are fairly simple, yet, are profoundly powerful for a Christ-follower. We are truly alive in Christ not because of anything we have done, but because of his purpose and grace. These are the words:
When I worship You.
When I give you Praise.

When I lift Your name.

I am alive.


I am alive, I am alive.

Because of you my Savior,

I am alive.

To realize that Christ was born to allow for us, You and Me, to be alive is amazing. It is also humbling to know that this TRUTH was established before time began. What does it mean to be alive? To be alive is to be in Christ Jesus.

Thank You for going down this journey over the last few weeks and asking the question, "What does it mean to be alive?" You know I love ya - Don

Friday, March 6, 2009

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

To Die is to truly begin to Live.

Jesus also said, "This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come." John 4:26-29

Imagine with me for moment this following scene:

The farmer from the above scripture is ready to plant the seed. The seeds cries out,"please don't put me in that hole? It is cold, dark, and wet in there. I will die in that hole!"

The farmer responds with, "Yes, you will die in there, but you will also sprout and grow into a mighty tree. You will come alive again and produce much fruit. You will grow very tall and be able to experience the height and depth of my love. You will also know what it feels like to have the wind blow and the sun shine on your leaves."

"But I don't want to die." states the little seed. "I don't want to loose what I have."

"Oh, what you will gain will far outweigh what you will loose in your new life." explains the farmer.

"I am afraid," pleads the little seed.

"Do not be afraid. I will take care of you. You must die to the fear in order to truly live." says the farmer. The farmer then plants the seed and the little seed becomes a mighty tree. The seeds learns in the dark, cold, wet parts of life is where we truly surrender and then we will truly begin to live.

What does it mean to be alive....to surrender oneself to God by declaring God's worth in our lives while recognizing His presence in our lives, by giving to God's purposes, and by lifting His praises in all we do. For when we die to ourselves is when we truly begin to live.
What do you think it means to be alive? You know I love ya - Don

Monday, March 2, 2009

Alive...they lived!

“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside.”- Job 23:10-11
I have been asking the question, "What does it mean to be alive?" This scripture from Job came to mind. To be alive is more than feeling. I have asthma and until you cannot breath, you never truly understand the simple blessing of taking a deep breath and releasing stress. Forgetting how many blessings God has given to us is a natural part of living...yet until it is tested, taken away, or even challenged is when we truly begin to appreciate and live the blessing.

One of Karen and my favorite movies...our dating movie...is "Everafter" with Drew Barrymore. I still think of her in E.T.,...at the end of the movie the older women that tells the story of her great, great grandmother, Cinderella, states, "And they lived happily ever after, but the point is that they lived." This line has stuck with me and over the last week in asking this question has had a resounding call, "What does it mean to be alive?"

If a person does not feel, are they truly living?
If a person does not strive, are they truly feeling?
If a person does not love, are they truly striving?

Keep the comments coming..."What does it mean to be ALIVE?"