Faith & Reason ... a mystery

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Grand Canyon


Be still, and know that I am God. -Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

Standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon silenced me. Mom, Jim, and I were in the process of moving me to Tennessee to take the job at Smoky Mountain Christian Church. The Grand Canyon was not far off our planned route, so we thought we should stop and see the world's largest ditch. What an understatement. When we arrived, all three of us wished we had planned to stay there a little longer.

As I gazed out over the vastness and realized that water had done all this, I had no words. The Canyon stretched before me as far as the naked eye could see. There seemed to be no end to it. In the quiet, I watched light reflecting off the walls, creating splashes of red, blue, purple, yellow. A jagged rock towered nearby, reflecting light to the east side. Light and color glistened on the canyon rim where the trees staggered on the edge. Below I could see the river storming through what looked like cracks and crevices.

That was 16 years ago and even today I do not have words to describe my emotions and thoughts in that moment. I was mesmerized knowing that God created this beauty. But my thoughts turn today as I reflect back on that moment and in my heart the words, "Be still." Anxiety rushes up: worries over relationships, finances, schedules, and wondering if God will see fit to give us another opportunity to adopt a perfect little boy. But as I recall gazing at the scene unfolding, I heard the words echoing across the canyon, "Be still, and know that I am God."

The God who designed this canyon has designed you and me with the same infinite care. He is also the fountain of every blessing. If physical water can create such a vast canyon in the earth, how much more can the God of blessing carve into our anxiety the perfect heart that waits and trusts in the God we love. When we ponder the greatness of God who watches over all creation, both the Grand Canyon and us, silent awe seems an appropriate response.

"Fountain of every blessing and Awesome God, silence my heart. Help me to be still and allow you to take care of my anxieties. Thank you for caring about each of us in the midst of your great universe. I wait and trust in you. In the silence, I search, watch, and praise you for the blessings that carve out my anxieties. In Jesus' Name, Amen."

You know I love ya, Don

Monday, July 25, 2011

Yosemite National Forest Falls!


Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. -Isaiah 40:28 (NRSV)

When I was in High School there was a morning during my prayer time, I gave thanks for being able to talk to God anywhere, any time, just as millions of people around the world do. I am not sure the date and I do not understand how God hears every prayer and cares for every person, how God knows us all individually as no one else does. Yet I know that with God, nothing is impossible.

A few days later I remembered a trip we took to Yosemite National Park. We camped a few nights and walked to the base of the falls. I recalled how the water was cascading down the side of the flat mountain where the glacier had tore away half the mountain side away. I then imagined how God's blessings cascade from heaven to earth. The water was God's goodness, pouring out love, truth, peace, and joy on everyone. It was a God moment that taught me God is everywhere and that God's power, through the Holy Spirit, never ends. As God pours down blessings on us, we try, through acts of kindness and love, to be channels of that blessing to others. As the Christ Follower waits and channels the blessing, we see entire valleys carved into the darkness of this world.

"God our fountain of every blessing, thank you for your never-ending love for us and for all the blessings you give each day. Help us to be channels of your love as we pray, 'Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen'."

You know I love Ya, Don

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Love and Light as License Agreements

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. -1 John 1:5 (NIV)

I love light. We have up graded our lighting system in the Worship Center at Park Chapel. The license agreement also changed with Martin Lights so we had to buy a new computer and a new USB port that allows for the system to work under the agreement. As I program these new codes and some old codes into the new system, I can't help but think and remember that "love" is our license agreement in the Christian faith.

Both light and love give warmth and produce healing and growth. Light shines all around, without discriminating or requiring that certain conditions be met. Likewise, if I love, I love at all times, even when I don't agree with those I love or when they do not meet my expectations. In our culture today, that seems to be a regular part of life. In reality, God loves me when I don't live in His example or meet up to His expectation.

God is love. If we know God and walk in God's light, we love one another. To have a clearer picture of love is helpful, but I still cannot love on my own. I need God's light and God's love to shine through me. Learning to love has taken time and will continue to take work and dedication to the goal, but it has been a great joy to realize that I can be an agent of healing, growth, and light in my relationships with other people. So can we all, if we allow God to teach us.

You know I love ya and striving to love even more, Don

Monday, July 18, 2011

"Lights of Glory" Another Something to look forward too.

We sang, "Because He Lives" by Bill and Gloria Gather in church yesterday. In the third verse the last phrase is, "I'll see the lights of glory and I'll know He reigns." I could not help by think of these two verses....
2 Corinthians 4:17, "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all."
and

Revelation 21:23, "The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the
glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp."
Theologians define the Light of glory to be, "A supernatural intellectual power infused into the soul, by which believer is enabled to demonstrate God, which never could do on their own with unassisted natural powers." It is called supernatural, because it is not a natural talent or power of our nature, as the talent for poetry, music, painting, skills, athletics, and others, all of which may be developed and highly improved by study, rehearsal, or practice. But the Light of glory is an elevation, expansion, or development of the mind, which comes directly from God, and is, in no sense, the result of human endeavors, except in so far as it has been deserved by a holy life and revealed in heaven.

Thus, God's light can also be seen on this side of heaven in glimpses. When a Christ-follower demonstrates the actions of Christ. Such actions as having a service attitude, a compassion filled heart, and a commitment to integrity while possessing a passion for life are all the things Jesus gave us before He turned to the ultimate sacrifice on the Cross. He loved us and knew that equality with God was something we could not grasp, thus he demonstrated light to us in life. We can also demonstrate this light in our daily lives in service, compassion, integrity and passion.

I also thought about a light that I am missing. As a Child, my mother would refer to my sister and I as lights in her life. I think she was referring to us as a source that brought joy and illumination to her world. As a parent, I understand what she was saying. Matthew, Alice, and Nicholas are a great source of illumination in my life. Nicholas died in January and that light is dim today, yet as we were sing and declaring that as Jesus lives, so I can face tomorrow because there is a light in Heaven, I could not help but think of Nicholas. So, as I see the Lights of Glory in that final day of life, I will see a new and complete restoration of father and son, a source of Joy and light, for a time is currently dim.

Thus, how do I live this truth practically today? The answer is in another verse came to mind in 2 Corinthians 4:6, "
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ." Yes, I grieve this very special little boy and his light is shadowed today, I know that I can face tomorrow, because Jesus lives and in His living, I also can shine a light of glory in the waiting.

You know I love ya and I am also thanking God for your being another light to me, Don

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"Waiting" is hard! pt. 2


Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment, and wait on thy God continually. Hosea 12:6

Again from Andrew Murray some comforting and reassuring thoughts during times we are forced to wait. God is moving at his perfect timing. The struggle is in my impatience to wait. Andrew Murray:

Continuity is one of the essential elements of life. Interrupt it for a single hour in a man, and it is lost; he is dead. Continuity, unbroken and ceaseless, is essential to a healthy Christian life. God wants me to be, and God waits to make me; I want to be, and I wait on Him to make me, every moment, what He expects of me – what is well pleasing in His sight. If waiting on God is the essence of true faith, the maintenance of the spirit of entire dependence must be continuous. The call of God, ”wait on thy God continually,” must be accepted and obeyed. Although there may be times of special waiting, the disposition and habit of soul must be there unchangeably and uninterrupted.

This continual waiting is indeed a necessity. To those who are content with a feeble Christian life, it appears to be a luxury beyond what is essential to be a good Christian. But, all who are praying the prayer, ”Lord, make me as holy as a pardoned sinner can be made! Keep me as near to You as it is possible for me to be! Fill me as full of Your love as You are willing to do!” feel at once that it is something that must be had. They feel that there can be no unbroken fellowship with God, no full abiding in Christ, no maintaining of victory over sin and readiness for service, without waiting continually on the Lord.

The continual waiting is a possibility. Many think that with the duties of life it is out of the question. They cannot always be thinking of it. Even when they wish to, they forget. They do not understand that it is a matter of the heart and that what the heart is full of, occupies it, even when the thoughts are otherwise engaged. A father’s heart may be continuously filled with intense love and longing for a sick wife or child at a distance, even though pressing business requires all his thoughts. When the heart has learned how entirely powerless it is for one moment to keep itself or bring forth any good, when it has learned how surely and truly God will keep it, when it has, in despair of itself, accepted God’s promise to do for it the impossible, it learns to rest in God. In the midst of occupations and temptations, it can wait continually.

This waiting is a promise. God’s commands are enablings. Gospel precepts are all promises, a revelation of what our God will do for us. When you first begin waiting on God, it is with frequent intermission and failure. But, do believe God is watching over you in love and secretly strengthening you in it. There are times when waiting appears like just losing time, but it is not so. Waiting, even in darkness, is unconscious advance, because it is God you have to do with, and He is working in you. God, who calls you to wait on Him, sees your feeble efforts and works it in you. Your spiritual life is in no respect your own work; as little as you begin it, can you continue it. It is God’s Spirit who has begun the work in you of waiting upon God. He will enable you to wait continually.

God must, God will work continually. He ever does work continually, but the experience of it is hindered by unbelief. But, He, who by His Spirit teaches you to wait continually, will bring you also to experience how, as the Everlasting One, His work is never ceasing. In the love and the life and the work of God, there can be no break, no interruption.

Do not limit God in this by your thoughts of what may be expected. Do fix your eyes upon this one truth: in His very nature, God, as the only Giver of life, cannot do anything other than work in His child every moment. Do not look only at the one side: ”If I wait continually, God will work continually.” No, look at the other side. Place God first and say, ”God works continually; every moment I may wait on Him continually.” Take time until the vision of your God working continually, without one moment’s intermission, fills your being. Your waiting continually will then come of itself. Full of trust and joy, the holy habit of the soul will be: ”on thee do I wait all the day” (Ps. 25:5). The Holy Spirit will keep you ever waiting.

My soul, wait thou only upon God!
"Lord, help my unbelief and give me strength to be bold and strong during times when I must wait. You are a great God that knows all things and is all things. Please help me to realize it and be patient. You know I love you God and you are so good to us. Thank You! Amen."

You know I love ya, Don

Monday, July 11, 2011

"Waiting" is hard!

“Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him, Those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the land.” Psalms 37:7, 9

Andrew Murray writes:

“In patience possess your souls.” “Ye have need of patience.” “Let patience have its perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire.” Such words of the Holy Spirit show us what an important element in the Christian life and character patience is. And nowhere is there a better place for cultivating or displaying it than in waiting on God. There we discover how impatient we are, and what our impatience means. We confess at times that we are impatient with men, and circumstances that hinder us, or with ourselves and our slow progress in the Christian life.

If we truly set ourselves to wait upon God, we shall find that it is with Him we are impatient, because He does not at once, or as soon as we could wish, do our bidding. It is in waiting upon God that our eyes are opened to believe in His wise and sovereign will, and to see that the sooner and the more completely we yield absolutely to it, the more surely His blessing can come to us.

“It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” Rom 9:16. We have as little power to increase or strengthen our spiritual life, as we had to originate it. We “were born not of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of the will of God.”

Even so, our willing and running, our desire and effort, avail nought; all is “of God that sheweth mercy”. All the exercises of the spiritual life, our reading and praying, our willing and doing, have their very great value. But they can go no farther than this, that they point the way and prepare us in humility to look to and to depend alone upon God Himself, and in patience to wait His good time and mercy.

The waiting is to teach us our absolute dependence upon God’s mighty working, and to make us in perfect patience place ourselves at His disposal. They that wait on the Lord shall inherit the land; the promised land and its blessing. The heirs must wait; they can afford to wait.

“Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.” The margin gives for “Rest in the Lord”, “Be silent to the Lord”, or R. V., “Be still before the Lord”. It is resting in the Lord, in His will, His promise, His faithfulness, and His love, that makes patience easy. And the resting in Him is nothing but being silent unto Him, still before Him. Having our thoughts and wishes, our fears and hopes, hushed into calm and quiet in that great peace of God which passeth all understanding.

That peace keeps the heart and mind when we are anxious for anything, because we have made our request known to Him. The rest, the silence, the stillness, and the patient waiting, all find their strength and joy in God Himself.

The needs be, and the reasonableness, and the blessedness of patience will be opened up to the waiting soul. Our patience will be seen to be the counterpart of God’s patience. He longs far more to bless us fully than we can desire it. But, as the husbandman has long patience till the fruit be ripe, so God bows Himself to our slowness and bears long with us.

Let us remember this, and wait patiently: of each promise and every answer to prayer the word is true: “I the Lord will hasten it in its time.” Isa 60:22.

“Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.”

Yes, for HIM. Seek not only the help, the gift, thou needest seek: HIMSELF; wait for HIM. Give God His glory by resting in Him, by trusting him fully, by waiting patiently for Him. This patience honours Him greatly; it leaves Him, as God on the throne, to do His work; it yields self wholly into His hands. It lets God be God.

If thy waiting be for some special request, wait patiently. If thy waiting be more the exercise of the spiritual life seeking to know and have more of God, wait patiently.

Whether it be in the shorter specific periods of waiting, or as the continuous habit of the souls. Rest in the Lord, be still before the Lord, and wait patiently. “They that wait on the Lord shall inherit the land.”

“My soul, wait thou only upon God!”

I am waiting this week on God's power and for His comfort. Your prayers are always a blessing. Thank You and you know I love ya, Don

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Interruptions!

Jesus said to [Bartimaeus], "What do you want me to do for you?" -Mark 10:51 (NRSV)

Bill Adams tells the following story:

A young social worker complained to her supervisor that she had difficulty completing her work. "The trouble," she said, "is that people keep interrupting me."

Her supervisor replied, "But those interruptions are your work."

All of us experience interruptions. However, we can also see possibilities that come to us with them. Looking back, most of us can see how some of the most important relationships we have made, some of the most rewarding services we have performed, have come from what we first saw as interruptions.

Jesus gives us a model for dealing with interruptions. During Jesus' final journey to Jerusalem, blind Bartimaeus boldly called out, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" (Mark 10:47). This journey to Jerusalem was an important moment in Jesus' ministry; the salvation of the world was at stake! But Jesus heard Bartimaeus, stopped, and healed him.

The mission God gives us is always about people. We can never justify disregarding God's children. The interruptions in our lives may be God calling us to serve.


I am making it a personal goal to be a "noticer" of life. In order to notice the miracles of God, I have to be willing to be interrupted. Often times this means I am late or a certain job does not get accomplished, but the opportunities for God moments out way any hardship.

You know I love ya, Don

Monday, July 4, 2011

A 4th of July Tribute: "Quiet Hero" by Rita Crosby


This last month I took the time to read, "Quiet Hero: Secrets From My Father's Past" by Rita Crosby. We had the joy of hearing her and her story at the Gaither Family Fest in Gatlinburg, TN over the Memorial Day Weekend. After purchasing the book and getting a chance to meet Rita personally, I started reading it.

The book retells the story of her Polish father and the secrets he has carried for many years about WWII. Those secrets destroyed Rita's family. In fact, there were years of bitterness that she carried against her father. Following her mother's death and the discovery of a very special suit case, she allows God to start a new work in her and through God's grace and a great deal of grace, she forgives her father and seeks to restore a father/daughter relationship that was in ruins.

While seeking to restore a relationship, she discovers the horrors that her father endured growing up in Poland prior to and during the German occupation. Scenes of dying neighbors, fighting in the resistance, and escaping through sewers are just a few nightmares that he "quietly" carried with him through the years. As the book unfolds, you see forgiveness, a restored relationship between a father and daughter, but every reader discovers a new appreciation for the freedoms we take for granted everyday.

The books ends on a very positive note. In fact, the last third of the book should be history reading in every classroom, much like the movie, "Shindler's List" should be watched by every history student. Today, we fear terrorism and personal wars, we have no concept of what atrocities can happen when war and hatred take a global scope. Rita and her dad get to restore many relationships and meet many new people when experiencing a new democracy in Poland. I highly recommend "Quiet Hero: Secrets From My Father's Past" by Rita Crosby.

The book also speaks to everyone that has a secret past of all levels. Rita took a big risk in seeking out her father and a restored relationship. We all have regrets and sorrows...and many of us have grief and horrors we carry. In the true servant attitude of Jesus and through His example, when we reach beyond ourselves and serve while seeking truth, relationships are restored...we take control of our griefs and horrors. The secrets we carry no longer have control over us.

James 5:16
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Celebrate your freedoms today no matter what country you live in. Jesus died so that all who believe might have eternal life and no longer be slaves to sin. Happy Independence day and you know I love ya, Don