Faith & Reason ... a mystery

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Stand on the Earth!


“I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.”- Job 19:25

My wife, Karen, had knee surgery 6 weeks ago. She is still in a great deal of pain when she stands for a long period of time. Please pray for her....she was supposed to notice a major improvement, but it has only gotten worse.

This has gotten me to think about standing. I recall losing my footing and falling down our stairs in Virginia. There was reflexes and panic that tried to stop the fall but I still ended at the bottom. It was also my "bottom" that felt the pain for a few weeks after that. It is a good thing I have a lot of padding.


I remember Matthew and Alice's first steps. What a joy it was to see their little feet grab the ground and stand upright for the first time. I remember the complete joy in their faces when they realized the amount of freedom walking on two feet gave them in contrast to crawling on four.


Years before Jesus was born, Job declares that His Redeemer lives! He also declares that His Redeemer will stand on the Earth. We know that Jesus went through a great deal of pain on the Cross. He was physically tortured and He was emotionally rejected. We also know that our Redeemer lives and the complete joy in His Resurrection helps all of us to stand firm in our faith.


Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus,

Ye soldiers of the cross.

Lift high the royal banner it must not suffer loss.

You know I love ya - Don

Monday, April 27, 2009

Life Patterns - helping others

I just returned from the National Church Music Conference. Many conferees are mentors of mine and great professors that have added to my life in ways the words could never do justice to. I had the privilege of receiving degrees from Hope International University (Pacific Christian College) and Johnson Bible College. I also grew up in church and the most important and influential educational gift was growing up in a Godly home. Mom and Dad were very dedicated to the Lord and demonstrated that for us with love.

Its amazing how many people feel all alone and don't have someone to pattern their life after. They may not have had a good mother or father figure as a strong example. These people never took a moment to realize there is something to learn from everyone. It is even possible that even in church settings people get over looked and fade into the shadows.

You may be one of these people. Your life may not be what you had dreamed and probably some mistakes along the way made you feel isolated and alone. You may be thinking, "How can I help someone else when I'm so messed up and no one ever helped me."

First and foremost, I suggest that you start filling yourself up with Jesus. Take time to read His Word, listen to teachings, play worship songs, and pray. Don't wait until Sunday to have encounter with God. To many people may get in the way at church...especially if you are looking to build a mentor relationship with your Heavenly Father. Church is a great place to start, but a true relationship is everyday. With God, we never are alone and HE NEVER ALLOWS US TO FADE INTO THE SHADOWS!

Jesus knew loneliness and Jesus knows what it means to be rejected. When you allow Him to be your best friend, then He will also burst forth out of you. You will have opportunity and unique situations that will allow you to share in friendships and relationships that are God driven. He will be all that comes out of you. What a great God we serve....I am a Friend of God!

I am grateful for our friendship through this blog and you know I love ya - Don

Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Funny -

It is Spring in Indiana and everyone seems to have Spring fever...I think every property that touches ours mowed the yard at the same time last Friday...including me. So, I thought a couple of Friday Funny Spring Fever jokes were in order....enjoy and don't forget to see the funny in everyday life.

Four high school boys afflicted with spring fever skipped morning classes. After lunch they reported to the teacher that they had a flat tire.

Much to their relief she smiled and said, "Well, you missed a test today so take seats apart from one another and take out a piece of paper."

Still smiling, she waited for them to sit down. Then she said: "First Question: Which tire was flat?"

AND
God is talking to one of his angels. He says, "WOW, I just created a 24-hour period of alternating light and darkness on Earth." The angel says, "What are you going to do now?" God says, "Call it a day."
You know I love ya - have a fantastic Friday! - Don

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Evidence of God in Earth


I would be wonderful if we all felt like we had enough courage to say what Paul said throughout 1 Corinthians.
"Follow me as I follow Christ. Let me be a pattern and an example of how you should live" - Don's Paraphrased :)
Not only do we need to influence unbelievers, but there are many believers who need to be influenced by another believer (Christ-follower) who's actually living a dedicated life.

Have you ever heard a child play the copycat game (the copycat game)? Alice is loving this game these days, so we play it a great deal. She will tirelessly repeat whatever is being said..."copying" everything after her dad or her mom or her brother. Children have a tendency to say what they hear, do what they see and follow in the footsteps of those around them. The same is true with baby Christians. Many need someone to show them how to live a Christ centered life. We all need people to set a good example, not just tell them a good example. Many need a Christ-follower to show them how to walk the Christian life.

Whether we know it or not, we are being watched. People are not influenced by our bumper sticker, God t-shirt, or even our church attendance. People are influenced by the way we live our lives. A Christ-follower understands that the people around them needs to experience truth and consistency more than anything else. People need to see God's love, compassion and drive in everyday life.

We are going to fall short once in awhile and even how we handle that is being watched. We can thank God for His forgiveness while at the same time realize we may be the only evidence of God some people see.

Go be Jesus to someone today - Don

Monday, April 20, 2009

Touching Lives

I believe that one of the greatest opportunities we have as Christians is to make a profound difference in the lives of others. Over the years of ministry, I have had great opportunities to enter the lives of many people who need Jesus. There have been many people that touched me in return. In fact, every time someone read this blog, I am touched.

I don' believe this is a special opportunity reserved just for me. Every one of us has the ability to influence someone. When you take the time to reach out to others and invest in someone's spiritual life, you are impacting the world...yours and theirs.
Galatians 6:10 states, "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."
I believe one of the reasons we NOT are transported to heaven at our baptism is to be a blessing and God influence in this world. We are called to bring encouragement and build up others in the faith. We are not called to be afraid to say the tough stuff and speak the truth in love.

I don't believe God wants us to just be spectators in life. He wants us to be people who really love others and care enough to be willing to pour into their lives. We need to be building up others in Jesus' name so they can grow and reach even more people.

You know I love ya and I am grateful for your touch on my life - Don

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday Funny - Husbands and Wives?!

Hello and Happy Friday! I pray this joke doesn't hit too close to home for anyone...it is funny!

This is a true story. Several years ago a preacher was conducting a revival in a town where he had a small mission church. One night, a husband and wife came into the church just a few minutes after the service began. They were dressed in tattered clothing, and the smell of liquor was strong on them.


During the song service they would raise their hands and say out loud, "Sing it honey child!" They would cry and then the man took a dirty handkerchief and wiped his tears. The wife decided she wanted his handkerchief and they began to fight over it, back and forth like little children.

When it came time to receive the offering for the evening, the man reached into his pocket and dropped a few coins into the plate. The wife hollered out loud, "You told me you didn't have any money!"

You know I love ya - Don

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Marked for Life

In Nathaniel Hawthorne's classic novel The Scarlet Letter, Heaster Prynne wears a scarlet "A" a punishment for having committed adultery. She is marked for life, and it is a mark of shame.

After Cain kills his brother Abel (Genesis 4:1-16), God puts a mark on Cain to prevent him from being murdered in vengeance for his crime against his brother. He is marked for life, and it's a mark of mercy. The Lord gives Cain a mark and with it, time to realize the seriousness of his sin and to repent.

We are marked for life, too. The name of our God has been stamped on us and is refreshed each time we hear anew the words of blessing from God. This mark, though not visible to human eyes, is very real even so. The Eternal God, Yahweh himself, the Lord, has claimed us as His very own. We belong to Him, and He has sworn never to leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

The Christ-followers' mark is to honor and bear fruit for God. Our Lord says:
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine...You are precious and honored in my sight, and ... I love you."- Isaiah 43:1, 4

Because all this is absolutely true of each of God's children, we can shine as beacons of hope in our dark world. Our lives can light the way for those who are lost, helping them to find their way home to the Father.

Wherever we go, we can "be Jesus" to those around us. No doubt we will fail from time to time in showing Christ's love...we will miss the mark...drop the ball...but God will not disown us or remove us from the game. He will never stop honoring us, redeeming us, or loving us.

The unconditional acceptance, won for us by Jesus on the cross, creates courage in our hearts. It stirs our zeal for service and growth. We are marked for life in order to love as we have been loved.

You know I love you - Don

Monday, April 13, 2009

"Mom Likes You Best"

"The Lord turn his face toward you." - Numbers 6:26

In the late 1960's, the Smothers Brothers built a comedy empire on a routine that began with Tommy whining to Dickey, "mom always liked you best." My sister and I have done that a few times. What made the Smothers Brother routine work? Probably the fact that all siblings remember the sting of having a sibling or classmate or CO-WORKER take first place, dethroning us from the status we felt we deserved.

Number 6:26 describes a unique and wonderful favoritism. In the New Living Translation, the first phrase of this verse reads: "May the Lord show you His favor."

When we have favor with someone here on earth, our needs take precedence with that person. Our requests have top priority. We enjoy "no-knock access" to the home or office of the person who holds us in that kind of esteem. Bob Kelly is my mentor and I have that type of relationship with Him. When we worked together, he had a blue couch in his office. I still remember the comfort it was to know that I was always welcome to chat and come sit on the blue couch.

Now think. What must it mean to have God's favor rest upon you and I...to be God's favorite son or daughter? But how can we all be God's favorite? Just as mom tells her four sons, "You're all my favorite" and genuinely means it, so too, our Lord says to us through Jesus' resurrection, "You are all my favorite." He genuinely means it, too!

As if to reinforce this very point, Jesus told his disciples, "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you" (John 15:9). In light of what Jesus said, consider what Paul said, "If God is for us, who can be against us?"

You can go around today and tell people....I am one of God's favorites....You know I love ya - Don

Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday Funny - Dead Bunny

Happy Easter! Enjoy the following and have a boiled egg or two for me.

A man was blissfully driving along the highway, when he saw the Easter Bunny hopping across the middle of the road. He swerved to avoid hitting the Bunny, but unfortunately the rabbit jumped in front of his car and was hit. The basket of eggs went flying all over the place.

The driver, being a sensitive man as well as an animal lover, pulled over to the side of the road, and got out to see what had become of the Bunny carrying the basket. Much to his dismay, the colorful Bunny was dead. The driver felt guilty and began to cry.

A woman driving down the same highway saw the man crying on the side of the road and pulled over. She stepped out of her car and asked the man what was wrong.

"I feel terrible," he explained, "I accidentally hit the Easter Bunny and killed it. There may not be an Easter because of me. What should I do?"

The woman told the man not to worry. She knew exactly what to do. She went to her car trunk, and pulled out a spray can. She walked over to the limp, dead Bunny, and sprayed the entire contents of the can onto the little furry animal.

Miraculously the Easter Bunny came to back life, jumped up, picked up the spilled eggs and candy, waved its paw at the two humans and hopped on down the road. 50 yards away the Easter Bunny stopped, turned around, waved and hopped on down the road another 50 yards, turned, waved, hopped another 50 yards and waved again!

The man was astonished. He said to the woman, "What in heaven's name is in your spray can? What was it that you sprayed on the Easter Bunny?" The woman turned the can around so that the man could read the label. It said: "Hair spray. Restores life to dead hair. Adds permanent wave."

Remember Jesus is risen and He did NOT need any hair spray! - You know I love ya - Don

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Loud Voice in the Sky!

Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and will glorify it again." 29The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. 30Jesus said, "This voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself." 33He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die".- John 12:28-33


I wonder what I would do if I heard a voice from the sky? Would I explain it off such as some did in this passage or would I listen to its direction and wisdom?

It is like I have never read this passage before. A voice came down...God has glorified His name and will glorify it again...The voice was for those listening! The glorified name of Jehovah is the declaration of His worship in our Lives!

I wonder what I would do if I heard a voice from the sky? I have the Word of God, the scriptures and there is no doubt that it comes directly from Him. Yet, many times I am explaining it off. I guess there is no reason to wonder.

Lord, help me to never explain off your righteousness and your teaching. Open the eyes of my heart, I want to see you high and lifted up. Thank you for being so glorious. In Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Disposition of Jesus - Easter

The Lord make His face shine upon you. Numbers 6:25
Have you ever known someone with a "sunny disposition?" Such a person makes a great friend, choir member, neighbor and usually a good boss. Contrast this with someone who always seems to look at things though gloomy glasses. While we may befriend such a person, given a choice, we'd rather sing, work, shop, or relax alone.

As you picture Jesus and the last week of His life, which disposition comes to mind? One of gloom and doom? Or one of sunshine, of cheer?

If we had lived lives of selfless love, obeying God's Law perfectly...if we had avoided not just sins of the flesh like lust, laziness, and greed, but also sins of the heart like pride , worry, and stubbornness...if we had done all the kind, helpful things for others we have had the opportunity to do...what would our disposition be?

We are not perfect in every way like Jesus was. We have done those things we ought not to have done. We have failed to do the good we could done. We do not deserve God's smile. We deserve God's frown and punishment....yet God shines His face on us.

I think Jesus was stern and direct the last week of His life but He was well aware that the face of God was shining on Him that week. We often put Jesus in a suffering martyr box...but we also learn in Isaiah 53, Jesus went willing.

His sunny disposition may have had the world clouds over it, but there is something wonderful about the Sun...it still is shining above the clouds. Three days later we learn the clouds were removed...burned off...and the SON was shining again.

Looking forward to Easter - Don

Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday Funny - The best place to fish!

I am excited about the Easter Musical this evening. A common choir member question is, "Where do I stand?" I found this joke and it gave me a chuckle....


Two dumb fishermen decided to rent a boat on a lake. After fishing for hours at various spots and catching nothing, they decided to try one more time before calling it quits. Suddenly, fish started biting and they caught their limit inside of 20 minutes.

"Hey, we should mark this spot so next time we'll know where to fish," the first man told his buddy."Good idea," the second man replied, taking out a can of spray paint and making a large X on the floor of the boat."Why'd you do that?" his friend asked.

The fisherman said, "Now anyone who rents this boat will know where to fish."

You Know I love ya - Don

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Redeemer - A Sail Boat

Isaiah 47:4 - "Our Redeemer-the Lord Almighty is His name-is the Holy One of Israel."
Job 19:25 - "I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth."
There is a story that some of us heard as children. A young boy made for himself a beautiful little sailboat, sanding, painting, and gluing each of its parts with great care. It became his favorite possession, and almost daily he went to sail it on the river near his home. One day a storm came up suddenly, the string on the boat broke, and the boat got away from him. He spent many days searching for the boat along the banks of the river, and he began to fear that he would never see it again.

Months later, his grandfather took him to town, and as they were poking around in a second-hand shop, the boy spotted a familiar-looking boat, high on one of the shelves, with a price tag attached to it. "Let me see that boat, " the little boy cried. "This is it, see, these are my initials! I carved them in the bottom! This is my boat!"

"I am sorry, son. I bought that boat from the man who brought it into the shop. If you want the boat, you will have to pay for it," said the shop keeper.

Sadly the boy left the shop. For the next few weeks he worked hard doing every odd job anyone would give him, carefully saving every penny. At last he had the money. He went back to the shop and redeemed for himself the boat he had made.

The seeming injustice of having to pay for something that was one's own in the first place is not pleasant. This is a perfect illustration of what it means to be redeemed. Christ our Creator made us and stamped us with his own image. Then we became separated from him. Christ our Redeemer bought back the right to own us by paying a price so awful we cannot comprehend it.

Over the next few days, The Christian community will be celebrating Easter. May we never forget that it is a celebration of redemption.

You know I love ya - Don