Faith & Reason ... a mystery

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Heaven!


1Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. 4They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. 6The angel said to me, "These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place." Revelation 22:1-6


What is Heaven like? This is probably one of the most asked questions in all of history. "Heaven is a wonderful place, filled with glory and grace" is what we used to singing in Children's church. There is also all that pearl and gold, fellow Christ-followers will be there, Jesus will be there and we will be filled with abundance for the rest of eternity.

I just finished a book by Anne Graham Lotz titled, "The cry of my heart". I highly recommend it. In the final chapters she talked about how "we" as a culture seek the eternal fountain of life. Yet, Jesus offers us eternal youth as a follower of Him. All we have to do is ask. The bigger question is do we truly desire more of Jesus? Heaven is going to be all about Jesus and what we do in this life will define how we spend the next.

I also recall Joni Eareckson Tada comment on heaven. Joni was asked what she most looked forward to when she arrived in Heaven. Of course, as listeners we all expect to hear that she will receive new legs and arms and then leap up to run and play...but that is not what she is most looking forward to. She said she looks forward to "receiving a new heart. A heart that is not prone to wander or leave the God she loves." Oh yes, that is what I am looking forward to as well. In heaven there is no more sin to separate me from Jesus.

I wonder what Heaven will be like...I know it will be better than anything this feeble mind of mine can conjure up. So, I look forward to it with my heart and my mind focused on Him. I want to be with Jesus and I am ready rid my life of sin.........."Come quickly, Lord Jesus, come!"

You know I love ya, Don

Monday, August 23, 2010

Loving through the Roof

Yesterday Dave spoke about serving others and loving through the roof...much like the friends of the crippled man loved the friend by lowering him down through the roof to Jesus as recorded in Mark 2. Laura Bryan wrote:

AFTER his father died, my father as a teenager willingly became "the man of the house" to his six brothers and sisters, briefly dropping out of high school to work so their family could stay together. My mother as a teen dropped out of school after her mother died, caring for her four younger siblings, one still in diapers. Both of my parents took on weighty roles at a young age.

No one in my immediate family pursued a college degree, but I decided that I wanted one. My parents supported me in that dream. My mother returned to work, and, with my father, sacrificed to make my heart's desire a reality. Neither was reluctant; never once did either say it was a hardship, but it was. Devoted Christians, they showed me what it means to love deeply and sacrificially.

God gives each of us that opportunity; we exist in relationships to love and be loved. In Jesus, God risked taking on human flesh to reveal the way righteous relationships are lived out. Love sacrifices for others and promotes their well-being. Love builds up, provides for, and initiates goodness. Love gives freely so others benefit. Made in God's image, each of us chooses if we will express its essence - costly love lavished on others.


I choose to love! - Don

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Friday Funny - "back to school..."

Well Matthew and Alice are in school so I thought a Friday Funny that is school related is most appropriate:

A principal is making his rounds of the school when he hears a terrible commotion coming from one of the classrooms. He rushes in and spots one boy, taller than the others, who seems to be making the most noise.

He seizes the lad, drags him to the hall, and tells him to wait there until he is excused. Returning to the classroom, the principal restores order and lectures the class for half an hour about the importance of good behavior.

'Now,' he says, 'are there any questions?'

One girl stands up timidly. 'Please sir,' she asks, 'may we have our teacher back?'

They get younger and younger every year! You know I love ya, Don

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

"Love Acts...."

I wonder how many of us need love and yet mask it in a happy face and plugging away in a daily routine. I had the great joy of meeting with some good people yesterday. They were dedicated to their cause yet had been in a struggle with "how" to make it through. I found they truly needed some direction, enthusiasm, and encouragement...a little love. It reminded me of this Jeral Williams story:

OUR mentally disabled friend Harry sits beside us in church. One Sunday, my wife and I stood to sing one of the great old hymns of the church. Harry did not stand because he did not know the words. When he knows the words, he stands and sings loudly - and usually off-key.

In the pew behind us, a woman began to cry as we sang the hymn. Not wanting to embarrass her, we worshipers around her pretended that we did not notice her tears. That is, all of the worshipers except one. Harry got up, went back to the woman, and gave her a warm hug. It was one of the most touching acts of compassion I have ever witnessed.

Harry may be limited in some ways, but he taught me something about the power of love. Love acts when someone is in pain.

May we never forget or get to distracted by our own agenda that love is not our main focus. 1 John 4:7 (NRSV) states, "let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God."

You know I love ya, Don

Monday, August 16, 2010

The DAD Panic Emotion!

Jesus said, "Not one [sparrow] will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father." -Matthew 10:29 (NIV)

Matthew started school last week and Alice starts today. I think of all the good memories of school and then I think of all the bad ones. The teasing and the hurt. It is then my Dad PANIC emotion sets in. What have we done? God help us?
Janice Ross of Orkney Island, Scotland wrote,

AS a keen birdwatcher, I often long for some spectacular species to come to my feeder while often dismissing the common birds. That was true until I happened on a little sparrow, that most familiar of birds, which had been stunned by a passing vehicle and was lying on the road. I quickly rescued the bird and gently carried it home. Looking at it closely, I was amazed at its beauty. Its back was a beautiful, rich chestnut color with black stripes, and its wings were brown with a lovely white bar. Its head was gray, and its chest and abdomen were fluffy and white. I marveled at the delicate feet that can hold this frail-looking little bird to a twig in the fiercest of gales. As I cupped its tiny body in my hand, the faint heartbeat against my palm I began cry.

The Bible says that God knows when a sparrow falls to the ground. God had watched this particular sparrow fall to the ground, had watched me pick it up, and was with us now in this moment. I realized that like the sparrow lovingly sheltered in my hand, I am held in the palm of God's hand. God speaks tender words to me and tells me I am loved, approved, and valued beyond measure.

My children are also cupped in the palm of God's hand. I still panic, yet I know that something much bigger is holding them tightly. I am also reminded that God looks at me with those same loving eyes...I am glad He did not panic, but responded even to the point of death on the cross from me. You know I love ya and have a great day! Don

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday Funny - "The Wanderer"

I can relate to this all to well.....

My two-year-old cousin scared us one summer by disappearing during our lakeside vacation. More than a dozen relatives searched the forest and shoreline, and everyone was relieved when we found Matthew playing calmly in the woods.

"Listen to me, Matthew," his mother said sharply. "From now on when you want to go someplace, you tell Mommy first, okay?"

Matthew thought about that for a moment and said, "Okay. Disney World."
-- Leah Hallenbeck
Happy Friday, Don

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Influence!

Psalm 1
1 Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.

2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.

4 Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away.

5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

6 For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

My Mother had a great deal of one liners as we grew up. Such as, "If your friend jumped off a cliff, would you jump too?" or "If I were not a Christian and saw how you are acting, why would I want to become one?" Basically, she was guiding us away from the influence of the world.

If you want to be successful, you've got to stay away from the bad company present in the world. First of all, you cannot listen to their counsel. You've got to turn a deaf ear to the counsel of this world. The world is the devil's psychiatrist and you don't need to be lying on her couch.

I had a man come to me one time who was having severe marital difficulties, who was trying to get his marriage back together and as we talked I asked him how I could pray for him and his wife. Do you know what he said? He said, "Would you please pray that she would reject ungodly counsel?" He then told me how she was getting counseled from a woman who had been divorced several times and she was advising her to also get a divorce. You would be better off getting advice on brain surgery from an automobile mechanic than you would to listen to the world's advice.

Think about it. Why would you listen to a world full of sin and let the world advise you on how to deal with sin? It is like a man who had a sick mule and he went to his next door neighbor and said, "Sam, my mule is sick. When your mule got sick what did you do for it?" He said, "I gave him a quart of kerosene."

The man went home and gave his mule a quart of kerosene and the mule died. He came back and said, "Sam, didn't you tell me to give my mule a quart of kerosene?" He said, "Yes I did." He said, "I did that and my mule died." The man said, "Don't feel bad, mine did too!"

There are people who are dead today, in prison today, people who are on the junk heap of life today, people who are eaten up with sexual disease today, because they listened to the wrong crowd.

Psalm 1 tells us to take the wisdom and counsel of God. He is our perfect healer and adviser on life. There are too many times we just don't listen. I am thankful for a great Mom who guided us with a biblical influence. I am also grateful she gave us passion and desire to seek the counsel of God.

You know I love ya, Don

Monday, August 9, 2010

"I'll Be There" Thank You Hello, Dolly Cast for the reminder!

Thus says the LORD, . . . "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you." -Isaiah 43:1, 2 (NRSV)

Hello, Dolly! had a great run...five great shows, two sold out crowds, a terrific cast, crew, and orchestra. Karen brought me roses on the last night. My Mother and my Children were able to come to two shows. There were good friends in the audience every night. I am a blessed man.

At the stage break down and clean-up this afternoon there were a couple dozen people present! It was amazing. I could not help but think of some of the most powerful words as we were working and I pondered the work that had been accomplished over the last 10 weeks.

Most people feel that the most beautiful words ever spoken are "I love you."

But a close second are these: "I'll be there." The commitment to a goal, such as Hello, Dolly says so much to the people working toward the goal, but also the dedication and the ideals of those watching the goal come to fruition. In everyday situations, we surely want to hear them from the plumber when the sink is leaking or from the automobile club when our car has broken down. But even more, we want to hear them from God. We want to hear them when illness strikes, when a friend turns on us, when someone betrays our trust, when a relationship sours. The list could go on almost endlessly. Every day, we face situations where we cannot bear to be alone.

And we won't be. "No matter what," God says, "I'll be there." (See Hebrews 13:8.) The waters may be deep, the fires may be hot, the shadows may loom large. But God comes to us and walks with us. And sometimes God carries us and gives us rest.

We do not have to go it alone. God will be there.

Thank you to a terrific cast, crew, and orchestra....you have allowed me the opportunity to have a marvelous memory that will last eternity. I pray it will be for you as well. You also reminded me of some of the most beautiful words, "I will be there." You know I love ya, Don

Friday, August 6, 2010

Friday Funny - Life After Death

It is FRIDAY!!!! So, in honor of everyone that stays at work and doesn't skip out...this ones for you!
LIFE AFTER DEATH

"DO YOU BELIEVE IN LIFE AFTER DEATH?" THE BOSS ASKED ONE OF HIS EMPLOYEES.

"YES, SIR," THE NEW EMPLOYEE REPLIED.


"WELL, THEN, THAT MAKES EVERYTHING JUST FINE," THE BOSS WENT ON. "AFTER YOU LEFT EARLY YESTERDAY TO GO TO YOUR GRANDMOTHER'S FUNERAL, SHE STOPPED IN TO SEE YOU!"
Have a great weekend and you know I love ya, Don

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Thanks to a Great Hello Dolly Cast!

Only a few more days until we see the final weekend of Hello, Dolly! in Greenfield. It has been an outstanding pleasure and honor to be the its director. "Dolly" has an outstanding cast and crew. If you saw the show, you know what I am talking about. If you have not seen the show, you need to come Friday (8/6) or Saturday (8/7) at 7:30 PM to truly experience some of the finest volunteers anyone could ask to work with.

I have been searching for the right way to say thanks. In September of last year the work began on this project and show. Dolly has been on my mind and on my desk week after week and now we have come to the final week and I want to express my appreciation to everyone that has given their time and effort.

So,
The key to our success rests in people like you,
Who embody the spirit of greatness by saying, "Yes I can, and so can you!"
Thanks for your inspiring dedication and tremendous example to our community.

Now that our work is finished, we say good bye with sad yet grateful hearts.
I want to thank you for your dedication, and being there from the very start.
Words cannot convey my gratitude for your tremendous contribution.

With gratitude in my heart for your contributions to our cause,
I wanted to thank you with this rhyme as my personal round of applause.
The credit for our great show firmly rests with the dedicated volunteers.

Thank you so much for all of your hard work
And to bear witness to your passion was an unexpected perk.
For with out this pleasure and privilege Hello, Dolly would have never worked!

To every cast member and crew....Thank you for being who you are. Thank you for making this memory a reality. And, thank you for this marvelous show! - Don

Monday, August 2, 2010

Respecting more than Mother Earth!

So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27
In Genesis we learn that God created the world and called everything good. God made the earth, green and fertile; the birds in the sky; and the fish in the ocean. Animals populate the land. Seasons change, the moon moves through the sky, rain waters the land, crops grow, plants flower and give new seeds. All of creation works together, and the earth contains everything we need.

God created human beings and instructed them to care for the earth and all living beings. Humans do not play the role of God who created and sustains the earth. But we are responsible for managing our planet so people can live on it.

We are accountable to God for how we treat our land and goods. When corn sprouts and grasses grow, this expresses God's goodness and caring. Every time we use the earth's resources, we have a responsibility to keep the balance God created in the earth's ecosystems.

We are also accountable to God for how we treat each other. There is a strong call to live "green" and I am all for that. We are to be good stewards of this beautiful planet we live on. It is unfortunate that we forget we are created in God's image and we are to treat each other as God has treated us. Almighty Jehovah God treated us with love, support, and discipline. Yet, we seem to find it the best to step on, steal from, and shout at each other.

I want to be a person that appreciates people and the contribution individuals bring to enhance life. Thus, we are truly created in His image and appreciate the blessing of being created in His image.

You know I love ya - Don