Walking Through Life God's Way

Thursday, June 30, 2011

a Unique July 2011

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This year, July has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays. This happens
once every 823 years.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Freedom!


White marks on the sidewalk were the only signs that remained of the massacre. It had occurred when a death squad killed street kids as they slept in front of a cathedral in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Concerned Christians had marked the sidewalk with chalk as a simple monument to these anonymous children.

If freedom means no rules, no parents to tell us what to do, no school, and no accountability for our whereabouts, then these kids were free. Maybe as children some of us even dreamed of having such freedom. But this tragedy helps us realize that freedom is more than living without structure or rules.

Freedom needs a foundation and a purpose to make it valuable. Paul, in his letter to the Galatians, affirms freedom as an important part of the Christian life. But he also says to use this freedom for service and love.

Christians are called to freedom that creates safe places for abused and rejected children, that opens a space for young people to find direction for their lives, that helps people of all ages to find meaning and purpose. Freedom to make a positive difference in the world -- that is freedom indeed! "For freedom Christ has set us free. -Galatians 5:1 (NRSV)"

It is awesome to live in a Country that is ruled by the people and free from oppression. It is also a joy to celebrate our Country's freedom this week, but as we celebrate, let us never forget the price our fellow Americans have paid make to give us political freedom AND may we never forget the price Jesus paid to give us eternal freedom!

Have a great USA Independence Day and You know I love ya, Don

Monday, June 27, 2011

Blow out the Dust!

If anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins. -1 John 2:1-2 (NRSV)

A friend in Singapore wrote:

The air conditioning unit in our home needs maintenance every three months to clear the accumulation of dust from the air filter. Otherwise the air duct gets blocked and water from condensation starts to drip inside our house.

Similarly, wrongs that accumulate in a Christian's life can be a hindrance. However, God has provided a way to clear this accumulation of sin from our lives. First John 1:9 reminds us, "If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

When we try to live the Christian life only by our own strength, we will struggle and feel defeated. But we can experience victorious life in Christ when we confess our sins and depend on the power of the Holy Spirit.


I couldn't agree more..."Lord, help me to clean out my life on a regular basis?"

You Know I Love Ya, Don

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What a request!

Prior to Acts 4: 23-31, Peter and John were severely warned not to preach the Good News of Jesus. What happened after that is recorded in Acts 4, starting with verse 23…

23 After they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 When they heard it, they raised their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth, the sea, and everything in them, 25 it is you who said by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant:

‘Why did the Gentiles rage,

and the peoples imagine vain things?

26 The kings of the earth took their stand,

and the rulers have gathered together

against the Lord and against his Messiah.’


Look familiar? The Early Christians were quoting from our text today in Psalm 2.


27 For in this city, in fact, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.


They stated the obvious and well known by everyone, yet they did not request retribution. They did not request fire to come down and remove the problem. They did not call in angels to fight their battles. This is what they asked…verse 29.


29 And now, Lord, look at their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness, 30 while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”


Now look it how God answers their prayer.


31 When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness.

God grants them boldness. God honestly, totally, and with power hears their request. Spending time with Jesus in the Psalms is to hear God calling His people to honestly be open with God. For we serve a open God.

So, let me ask you, “Do you share you life openly with God?” Does Jesus know you openly and do you share yourself as a transparent believer?”


You know I know love ya, Don

Monday, June 20, 2011

Our God is the Same God!

In Psalm 2, the writer refers to the Kings of this world and the rulers of this world. It tells us that God only laughs at their plots and plans…He rebukes them…He is supreme over all worldly authorities. When we look back at the cross we discover a celebration of a Messiah who is yet to come, yet with confidence there is celebration because…

  • Our God is the same God that created the world in six days.
  • Our God is the same God that brought the plagues upon Egypt.
  • Our God is the same God that brought the millions of Jews out of bondage.
  • Our God is the same God that split the waters of the Red Sea and lead the people with a pillar of fire.
  • Our God is the same God that sent fire down from the sky to burn an alter that was drenched in water.
  • Our God is the same God that punished the Israel nation for worshiping idols and sent them to captivity to Babylon.
  • Our God is the same God that redeemed the people after 70 years of captivity.
  • Our God is the same God that kept Jonah alive for three days in the belly of a great fish.
  • Our God is the same God that touched the hurting, comforted the down hearted, healed the sick, and brought the dead back to life.
  • Our God is the same God that empowered the disciples to preach the word and establish a church.
  • Our God is the same God that met Saul on the road side blinded by the light of the truth and the word and then restored Saul to preach that Word with a new name, “Paul.”
  • Our God is the same God that was crucified on a gruesome cross, rested a day in a tomb, and then destroyed death by defeating death by rising from the dead.
  • Our God is the same God that is willing to do these same miraculous signs in your life.
  • Our God is the One enthroned on high and laughs are anything this world might throw our direction.

Listen to these words, Psalm 118:8-9: “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in humans. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.”

So, let me ask, “Do you trust Him?” “Do you Trust God to be the supreme power in your life?”


You know I love ya, Don

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday Funny - Father and Sons

In Honor of our Dads Everywhere...find a smile:

“Dad”, announced little Joey, “There’s something I can’t figure out?”

“What’s that Son?” Asked his father.

“Well according to the Bible, the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea, right?”

“Yes,” said the father.

“And the Children of Israel beat the Phillistines, right?”

“Yep.”

“And the Children of Israel fought the Egyptians, and the Children of Israel fought the Romans, and the Children of Israel wuz always doing something important right, dad?”

“Yes, they were son.” The father replied.

“What I want to know is this,” demanded Joey, “What wuz all the grown-ups doing?”

You can also check out our Dads Appreciating Down Syndrome Website at DADS.

You know I love ya and Dad, you know I love you, too. Don Jr.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Getting Away from Myself!

Jesus said, "I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth." -John 14:16-17 (NRSV)

As I spend the summer with Jesus. I am discovering a renewed awareness of things my bias and self-inflated worth tends to cover up. Such as: on some days my thoughts and actions are so un-Christian that I wish I could somehow get away from myself. I'm impatient with others, discontent with my lot, complaining, and in short, just not much fun to be with. I recently had one of those days when I think, "How does the Holy Spirit put up with me?"

God knows me perfectly -- my every flaw, every sin, every thought, and worst of all, every motive. No one else knows me that completely.

The psalmist recognized our flawed nature and God's response in writing kind Psalm 103:13-14 which says, "As a father has compassion for his children, so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him. For he knows how we were made; he remembers that we are dust" (NIV).

I'm thankful that within me lives One who knows the depth of my rebellion and still never lets me go. I can be sure of that because Jesus asked the Father to give me -- and you -- the Holy Spirit forever. And whatever our Lord requests, God is certain to give. My response is to be quiet and to listen. There in lies key to Christian discernment...listening and doing "something" to bring awareness of His power and revelation in our lives.

You know I love ya, Don

Monday, June 13, 2011

"Inside the LIE of inward shame!"

Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?" He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep." -John 21:16 (NIV)

We are in a study that is titled, "Spending the Summer with Jesus." In Sunday's sermon, David preached on how the passover was a preview of what God can do for us. He also mentioned how our sin is a reminder of the past life we lived outside of Christ. In many ways that memory can be a disappointment. The memory is also a tool to give us strength in know that is not who we are any longer.

After Judas betrayed Jesus, he was filled with remorse and went out and hanged himself (Matt. 27:3-5). Judas' greater betrayal, however, may have been that he apparently could not believe that Jesus would forgive him and that the Holy Spirit would help him forgive himself.

But Judas was not the only one who failed Jesus. After having promised he'd never desert Jesus, Peter denied him three times. When Peter heard the rooster crow, he remembered what Jesus had foretold and went out and wept.

Later, the risen Jesus came to Peter and asked him three times, "Peter, do you love me?" After Peter answered yes each time, Jesus responded with an assignment. He gave Peter his own ministry: "Feed my lambs. Take care of my sheep." (See John 21:15-17.)

The memory of what we've done can be redeemed for good. The new covenant sealed with Jesus' blood is the promise of God's forgiveness. In that covenant, the Holy Spirit is able to bring us to rebirth, re-creation, renewal, and redemption. We can be used for God's purposes, no matter what we've done.

As the words to the song from Matt Maher, "Christ is Risen (Come Awake)...

Let no one caught in sin remain
Inside the lie of inward shame
We fix our eyes upon the cross
And run to Him who showed great love

To God be the Glory for all things, Don

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Us Weeds


The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. -Isaiah 11:6 (NRSV)

Alice and I go for nature walks. Her greatest joy is discovering the first dandelions. On one of our walks, she smiled when she noticed the bright yellow flowers at our feet. "Look, Daddy! Aren't they beautiful?" She was quiet for a moment. Then she frowned and said, "I wish people didn't call them weeds! They're God's flowers too!"

Her words caused me to stop and think about people as God's flowers. We often turn away from people who look different or speak a different language. Even in church, we allow our bias to cloud our thinking. We hinder the Spirit of God by not realizing our lives are owned by the One Redeemer. We may look at entire nations in a negative way. Sometimes we think of those we consider "outsiders" as weeds.

But differences are not a reason to label, reject, or ignore. All of us want to be heard, to be respected, to be understood, to be loved. We are all "God's flowers." Alice causes me to want to overcome prejudices and work toward unity with others. She also reminds me that flowers are not the only beautiful things in the world. In fact, she is one of the most beautiful things I have ever known. She also comforts her dad in allowing me to know that great things are in store for all of us...even us weeds.

You know I Love Ya, Don

Monday, June 6, 2011

Tears & Weeping turned to shouts of His Faithfulness!


May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy. Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves. -Psalm 126:5-6 (NRSV)


Alice, Matthew and Karen have planted flowers around the house this year. On a sunny day in April they filled the pot with soil, planted the seeds according to the instructions, and set it on our deck and around the yard. Over the coming weeks they faithfully watered the plants, anticipating a colorful display of flowers. Slowly, we saw the transition from seed to seedling to bud to flower (or veggie plant). It's hard to fathom how such a rich tapestry of color could come from such an unspectacular beginning. Seeds that were no more than gray flecks were the genesis of a rainbow of color -- green, blue, red, orange, and yellow.

The flowers remind me of the words of Psalm 126 -- that our sorrows can be the seeds of joy, an un-wonderful beginning that brings a wonderful crop. The psalmist sings of God's redemption in bringing back captives and restoring their fortunes, taking them out of their captivity and deprivation. In sadness can be seeds that God will cultivate to grow a rainbow of joy.

I think this verse brings comfort in transition, loss, and in change. We will always miss Nicholas and as I have written in the past, Nicholas will always be our son...we will thirst for Him until we see him again in Glory and there is great comfort in knowing that we have a treasure in heaven with the name, Nicholas. We have also started considering and praying about adoption again. We are not sure where God is taking us on this journey, but we know that the desire to continue to add to our family is still there. So, we sow in tears and strive to please the God we love. He is faithful and we stand convinced that He will bring joy and a renewed strength in life through our relationship with Jesus. Until then, we enjoy the sights and smells of the flowers as a reminder.

You know I love ya, Don

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Making People Thirst - Salt pt. 3


An old farmer was in a west Texas church when the guest preacher was preaching and carrying on. The preacher yelled out, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” After the service was over the preacher was in the back of the church when the old farmer came up to him and said, “You were wrong!” The preacher was a bit startled and taken back and then said to the farmer, “How so?” The farmer looked the preacher in the eye and said, “You can make a horse drink…feed the horse salt!”


We like to eat Chinese food. About two hours after I eat and get home, I find that I get thirsty and need some…a great deal of water…Soy Sauce is filled with salt. Look at verse 50 of Mark 9…“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other.” Being at peace with each other is something this world thirsts for beyond measure.


When Jesus was on the Cross, he had been beaten, he had a crown of thorns pressed into his skull, and they had driven nails in his hands and feet. The blood and sweat were dripping off him.


God turns his eye away from Jesus, His Son, in order to pay the price for my sin. Jesus calls out, “I thirst.” I am sure he was dry mouth, but I also see a new view of what Jesus thirty for…Jesus thirst for his Father in heaven.


When our two month old, Nicholas Mark, died in January, I learned a new aspect of thirst. I will always thirst for Nicholas as my son until the day I see him again in Heaven. Jesus was thirsty for His heavenly Father.


When we are the salt of the earth, people should see our lives preserve others, bring heighten taste to daily living and cause people to THIRST for Jesus.


Let me ask you, “Do people thirst for Jesus when you are around?” Does your family, friends, and relationships say, I want what they have.” The Apostle Paul put it this way:


1 Corinthians 9:19-23, “Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”


Do people thirst for God because of you, so that the lost can be won to Jesus?


It is my prayer to be so salty for Jesus, that others that I have the honor of knowing and meeting, thirst for Jesus. Would you join me in Preserving, Enhancing Flavor, and Causing Thirst because we are the salt of the earth? You know I love ya, Don