Faith & Reason ... a mystery

Monday, December 30, 2013

Transforming me in 2014: Exposure to and assimilation of Truth!!!


Truth is a life-transforming agent.  The more truth we know (personally, intimately and exponentially) the more we will become like Jesus.  Jesus said it this way:

“If you continue in my word…you will know the truth and the truth will make you free.”  John 8:31-32

Assimilating truth is like downloading new software into your mind. You are what you think. If you want to be a scientist, you go study science. If you want to be a musician you think on music. If you want to be a historian, you study and think on history. If you want to be a follower of Jesus, you need to think on Jesus. If you want to renew your mind and bring about a transformation with in your heart…then you need to think on the truth.

Being a racist is not something you were born with …you thought on these things and it is a lie that changed your thought process. Sin in your life of watching bad things or using crude language or clinging to property or coveting and lusting over things are all sins of the mind…want to change and have a new day... a new year…find exposure to and assimilate in your life truth.

Seeking Transformation in 2014...You know I love ya, Don

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas From the Crane's

Wishing you a Merry Christmas from Don, Karen, Matthew, Alice, Kendyll, and Nathan!
You Know We Love Ya, Don

Monday, December 23, 2013

All in Who You Know...part 3

The Angels invitation is to the truth that Jesus is the LORD.

By virtue of Christ creating all things (John 1:3; Col. 1:16-17), He has the right to rule. It is the Hebrew word. 'adon', means one possessed of absolute control.


C.S. Lewis writes of the Lordship of Jesus as; I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Jesus: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.'



That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg - or else he would be the Devil of Hell.



You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."



Jesus is the Lord. 1 Corinthians 8:6 states: “yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.”



The text does not say that the Shepherds were not exclusively the recipients of the message. They just happened to be the ones listening. Doing their jobs of watching over the sheep. Doing that which no one else would do. Remaining faithful to the job at hand. It also doesn't say they went to worship. The text demonstrates the shepherds as going to check it out. Luke 2:15, “the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” Shepherds were poor and outcasts. If a multitude of Angels had just shown up at your work place to make an announcement and an invitation, we would probably want to check it out. Hey, there might be some money in it.



Upon their arrival, they met God. Luke 2:17-18 states: “When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.”



Once the shepherds had met Jesus, they couldn't contain themselves any longer. Luke 2:20 records, “The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.” Once you have heard and receive the invitation of Jesus arrival, you cannot help but share it with others. The question then becomes:



Do you know Savior?

             Do you know the Christ?

                          Do you know the Lord?

Your invitation is now...it is all in WHO you know!

Merry Christmas and You Know I love YA!!! Don

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

All In Who You Know...Part 2

The Angel's invitation is to the truth that Jesus is the Messiah. 

Sometimes this is translated the Anointed One or the Christ. The term Christ is a title, it is the New Testament equivalent of the Old Testament term messiah and means anointed one. It is applied to Jesus as the anointed one who delivers the elect from their sin. Jesus alone is the Christ.  

The arrival of Jesus marks the truth that Jesus is the anointed Messiah and Christ. He is the one the will make away. He has three offices: Prophet, Priest, and King. As Prophet He is the mouthpiece of God (Matt. 5:27-28) and represents God to man. As Priest He represents man to God and restores fellowship between them by offering Himself as the sacrifice that removed the sin of those saved. As King He rules over His kingdom. 
  
Christ has come to do the will of the Father (John 6:38), to save sinners (Luke 19:10), to fulfill the Old Testament (Matt. 5:17), to destroy the works of Satan (Heb. 2:14; 1 John 3:8), and to give life (John 10:10,28). Christ is holy (Luke 1:35), righteous (Isaiah 53:11), sinless (2 Cor. 5:21), humble (Phil. 2:5-8), and forgiving (Luke 5:20; 7:48; 23:34). All these things make it possible to receive the blessing of eternal life. 
 
During a Christmas pageant, one child had been forced to be in the program by his parents. The young teen continued to voice his concerns as they practiced. He would mutter things like "How can people believe that Jesus is the Son of God?" and "just what makes everyone believe that this is the way to heaven?" 
 
He finally said "how do we know He was the Messiah and that He was the way to Heaven?". When one small girl spoke up, "She said, "We believe it because the song said it".
"What song?", the teen huffed back. She politely said, "You know what song I’m talking about, that one that God made A WAY IN A MANGER".

Galatians 4:4-5 states; “But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.”

Do you know the God that made a way through his arrival? The person that has met the Messiah doesn't need to tell it...we will just know it by the fruit of his/her sacrifice.

For unto you is born this day a Savior, who is Christ...

Merry Christmas....Don

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

All in who you know....Part 1

 The Angels invitation is to the truth that Jesus is the Savior.


"Savior" means one who saves, delivers, rescues others from peril, danger, or calamity. Last week we saw in Matthew 1:21 The Angel tell Joseph: “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” and 1 Timothy 1:15 states; “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.” Jesus's arrival is about being saved.

When I was in college, I would reward the end of a semester by going to a movie in the largest theater at the Cine'polis in Orange County. One theater had over 1000 seats and the sound was outstanding. I would go to the early matinee and there would be a dozen of us in this huge room. It was usually 12 retired seniors and me. I never took much interest in what was playing, but that it was playing in this large room with great sound.

This one particular morning. I arrived and there were the 12 or so others. Then they opened the side door and had bused in 1000 high school students. I thought...oh bummer, here goes the movie. I had no idea what “Schindler’s List” was. When they started the film, it became so quiet and it wasn't until the end of the three hours that you could hear some quiet sobs.

The film Schindler's List chronicled the heroic efforts of a German industrialist named Oskar Schindler. Through his unselfish activities, over a thousand Jews on the trains to Auschwitz were saved. After Schindler found out what was happening at Auschwitz, he began a systematic effort to save as many Jews as he could. For money, he could buy Jews to work in his factory which was supposed to be a part of the military machine of Germany. On one hand he was buying as many Jews as he could, and on the other hand he was deliberately sabotaging the ammunition produced in his factory. He entered the war as a financially wealthy industrialist; by the end of the war, he was basically financially bankrupt.

When the Germans surrendered, Schindler met with his workers and declared that at midnight they were all free to go. The most emotional scene of the film was when Schindler said good-bye to the financial manager of the plant, a Jew and his good and trusted friend. As he embraced his friend, Schindler sobbed and said, "I could have done more." He looked at his automobile and asked, "Why did I save this? I could have bought 10 Jews with this." Taking another small possession he cried, "This would have saved another one. Why didn't I do more?" Schindler was a savior to these people.

One day Jesus is going to split the eastern sky and come for His own. It will not matter then how much money we have in a mutual fund or how many bedrooms we have in our homes. The temporary satisfaction we have in vacations and nice cars will be gone. The only thing the will matter is if we accepted the invitation to accept Jesus as our personal savior. The Only thing that will matter is if you are on Baby Jesus'

Ephesians 2:4-5 states: “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”

Do you know the truth of grace....For unto you is born this day a Savior...

Merry Christmas, Don

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

To Dream a new DREAM!


God's Invitations Bring New Dreams.
 
Matthew 1:20, “But after he had considered this” Don’t you know that was all he could think about: wake up / eat / try to make small-talk / work / sit through a sermon at the synagogue / try to sleep...when we are faced with a dilemma or crisis is takes over and our entire being if forced to think and consider what the next plan of action will be....

It could have been several days and finally he got to sleep... then the angel came to him in a dream, sent from God, and whispered into his ear 2 secrets:

Fear Not!

There is no reason to fear God's invitation. In verse 20 Matthew records: ““Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” When God extends an invitation there is no need to be afraid.

Dale Carnegie says: “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” God's angel says the same thing to Joseph. Stop sitting there and get busy because!

Salvation has come!

The Angel tells Joseph in verse 21: “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Jesus: a common name in the 1st century. The OT translation was the name Joshua. [Yeshua] But our Lord has a way of taking the common and making it uncommon / ordinary…extraordinary!

Acts 4:10-12: “It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead...
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

Jesus lived the sinless, perfect life we could not live, died the sacrificial death in our place, rose and conquered death for us, to make it possible for us to be with him…God was with us, that He might be IN us!

God's invitations bring Dilemmas... God's invitations bring be Dreams... God's Invitations offer us Decisions.
 Matthew 1:24 states: “When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.” The key word: “did”—Joseph’s decision was to be faithful to the will of God / do what God told him to do / to bear the responsibility and shame as if he and Mary had sinned! They lived under a cloud of public shame, as though they were guilty of immorality, and Joseph accepted the responsibility of caring for a woman thought to have been a fornicator, and rearing a child thought to be illegitimate!

Joseph’s decision was to do what was right no matter the cost, to do God’s will even in the face of criticism, even if we’re misunderstood or falsely judged!

New dreams are the hope of Christmas...what dreams are in your future?

You know I love ya, Don

Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas Crisis!

 God's Invitations bring Dilemmas.
 
Matthew 1:18, “This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph,”

Jewish marriages took place in 3 stages: The contractual stage / espousal stage / actual consummation.
 Young people had little to do w/ the process as most marriages were pre-arranged. This marriage was likely arranged. A legal contract would be signed w/ details of the dowry put in writing! [ “2 Chickens for your daughter!” ] They grew up knowing who they would marry and didn’t question it. 

After the contractual stage was the espousal stage, what we would call an engagement period, which normally lasted about a year. Now they were allowed to spend time together and start getting to know each other (told to learn to love each other! [not fall in love] Love is a choice, a decision, a commitment! [Eph. 5--God commands men to love their wives…a decision, not just a feeling] Today we make much more allowance for attraction, and none of us would want our marriage completely arranged for us as it used to be, but you have to admit we often err on the superficial side of things as a result. God does not tell us to wait until we ‘fall’ in love…rather, we are commanded to love…because we can ‘fall’ for anything!

In Matt. 1 they are in that espousal stage…they are supposed to spend lots of time together, but must keep themselves pure during this time.
So, it was important for Joseph and Mary to spend a quantity of time together, but to avoid allowing things to get out of hand.

That was the espousal stage…next was the actual marriage (huge 7 day wedding feast, w/ consummation to follow.

In Matt. 1 they are espoused, but not married…so how stunned was Joseph when he found out she was pregnant?

If Joseph said the baby was his, it would be a lie…and if he accused Mary of unfaithfulness, she would be stoned. He did not want that. What would they do?

We can read v. 18 and see that the child was conceived of the Holy Spirit…we know that, and Mary already knew that, but Joseph did not know that yet! All he could think, naturally, was that Mary had been unfaithful / immoral. It must have torn him up inside. His heart had already come to trust in her, she seemed incapable of doing such a thing, and it must have felt like his heart just fell out of his chest!

The invitation of God had put Jospeh in a great dilemma!
Great dilemmas are a large part of God's invitations...The crisis force us to TRUST!

What is the great dilemma in your life? Are you trusting God?
 You know I love ya, Don

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Mary's Interruption .... a change of plans!?!

About nine months before the first Christmas God intervened in human affairs and radically altered Mary’s plans with an unwanted gift. She was planning on marrying Joseph, a descendant of King David, who made his living working in Nazareth as a carpenter. Matthew tells us that he “was a good man” (Matthew 1:19). He wasn’t rich, but would have made a comfortable living. She planned on getting married, having children and raising a family. It was a good plan. It was a comfortable plan. 

But then God came along and messed the whole thing up. God comes along and says through his angel, “Mary, I know that you have your plans in place and everything is on schedule, but I have a different idea. Before you and Joseph get married you are going to become pregnant and guess what? Joseph is not going to be the Father.” That invitation did not work into her plans.

She had dreams and desires and had sacrificed for years to get a good husband and a future.God messed everybody’s plans up, but especially Mary’s. And not surprisingly she was in what I think could be described as a state of shock initially. Luke says:

Luke 1:29 -  "Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be."

I think that could fairly accurately be described as a state of shock. I recall seeing the images of the people who had their lives turned upside down by the tsunamis, Hurricane and typhoons. The video images showed these people walking around looking confused and disturbed as they tried to figure out what had just happened to them.

You would be confused and disturbed too if your whole world had just been turned upside down and Mary was no different.

God's invitation interrupted Mary's life...Are you willing to allow God to mess up your plans this holiday season? Are you willing to ask God Questions? Will you trust that God has your best interest when he invites you to his purposes? Will you accept His invitation?

You know I love ya, Don


Monday, December 2, 2013

The Arriving!

Christmas is known as the advent of Jesus. Advent is a a season observed in many Western Christian Churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. The term is an anglicized version of the Latin word adventus, meaning arriving.

Latin adventus is the translation of the Greek word parousia, commonly used to refer to the 2nd coming of Jesus. For Christians, the season of Advent (Christmas) anticipates the coming of Christ from two different perspectives. The season offers the opportunity to share in the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah, and to be alert for his Second Coming.

Whenever you offer a party or you are going to have an event you extend an invitation. It is the same with Jesus' first arrival. Through the next three weeks we are going to examine how God invites Mary, Joseph, the Shepherds and YOU and ME in to this wonder giving “arriving” of God's Son, Jesus.

One of the realities that we need to be aware of this advent / arriving season is that God’s plans often come through unwanted interruptions – through unwanted gifts. Will you allow yourself to be bothered by God’s interruptions this Christmas? Will you accept his unwanted gift? If so this might just be the most interesting, the most difficult and the most rewarding Christmas ever? Just think what loss our world would have suffered if Mary wouldn’t have accepted God’s invitation.

In preparation for the very first Christmas... Mary allowed the Lord Jesus to enter her womb. In preparation for this Christmas won’t you allow him to enter your heart?

You know I love ya, Don


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving is a fresh aroma

In verse 15; “For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” Our actions of thanksgiving are a fragrance to those who know Jesus and to those who do not know Jesus. My grandmother always had a rose garden outside her front door. She loved aroma of roses. The people around us should love the aroma we bring to the place. You actions of thanksgiving are to be evident in everyday, in every hour, in every action that takes place within your world.

You say, well Don, you don't know my world...my world is hard. I struggle with coworkers that are evil and mean. I go to school with people that are vicious. Let me tell you, my neighbor is horrible...and his dog has his own source of aromas...if you know what I mean...my circumstances just don't allow for me to be living in thanksgiving.

This is an illustration that just might apply to your circumstance:
A little girl walking in a garden noticed a particularly beautiful flower. She admired its beauty and enjoyed its fragrance. “It’s so pretty!” she exclaimed. As she gazed on it, her eyes followed the stem down to the soil in which it grew. “This flower is too pretty to be planted in such dirt!” she cried. So she pulled it up by its roots and ran to the water faucet to wash away the soil. It wasn’t long until the flower wilted and died.

When the gardener saw what the little girl had done, he exclaimed, “You have destroyed my finest plant!”

“I’m sorry, but I didn’t like it in that dirt,” she said. The gardener replied, “I chose that spot and mixed the soil because I knew that only there could it grow to be a beautiful flower.”

Often we murmur because of the circumstances into which God has sovereignly placed us. We fail to realize that He is using our pressures, trials, and difficulties to bring us to a new degree of spiritual beauty. Contentment comes when we accept what God is doing and thank Him for it.

OUR ACTIONS of Thanksgiving are a FRAGRANCE. What do you smell like?

Happy Thanksgiving! You know I love ya, Don

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Parade of Thanksgiving that lasts all year long!

What do you do for thanksgiving? Maybe you celebrate with family and friends. You might watch a Macy's day parade. You probably will watch some sort of football. Then there is the food...loads and loads of food...turkey or ham, dressing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, pumpkin or sweet potato pie. Your family might sit together and play games or retell the stories of past Thanksgivings. Maybe you will go to the movies or rent a movie to watch at home. You might put up your Christmas decorations. You might buy a newspaper and look through all the ads for black Friday. You might take the time and tell others how you have been blessed.

It might be a sad time for you. Maybe there is no house to visit, or meal to cook, or family to share the day with. It might be a time that reminds you that things are not what they used to be and there are people missing from your life.

It is a time to move beyond the Holiday to a place of daily living. We have talked about Giving Thanks through being an Encourager, by living in gratitude, by Praising the Lord...and today we wrapping things up by talking about Giving Thanks through living a life of Thanksgiving.

Giving thanks and thanksgiving are not the same thing. Giving thanks is exactly what is says...to “give away thanks.” Thanksgiving is the act of expressing thanks. It is more than saying “thank you.” Thanksgiving is the expression, the essence, and the life of encouragement, gratitude, and praise. The response of life atoned through the power of Jesus is reflected in the actions of thanksgiving.
What happens when God gives a parade? 2 Corinthians 2:14, “who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.”
The Military marches in formation in honor of the King. Yet, look at the text closer...You and I are not the military in formation. We are the spoils of the war. We are the captives of the war. Christ has paid the price for our captivity and we are lifted up because of His willingness to go to war. He is the authentic King. Our thanksgiving is on parade so that all of Jesus' enemies might see He is Lord above all.

Our actions of peace within a hostile world brings about transformation within us and within the world around us. OUR ACTIONS of Thanksgiving are on PARADE.

The following story is an prime example of our Thanksgiving Parade!
An Armenian nurse had been held captive along with her brother by the Turks. Her brother was slain by a Turkish soldier before her eyes. Somehow she escaped and later became a nurse in a military hospital. One day she was stunned to find that the same man who had killed her brother had been captured and brought wounded to the hospital where she worked. Something within her cried out "Vengeance." But a stronger voice called for her to love. She nursed the man back to health. Finally, the recuperating soldier asked her, "Why didn’t you let me die?" Her answer was, "I am a follower of Him who said, ’Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you’" (Luke_6:27). Impressed with her answer, the young soldier replied, "I never heard such words before. Tell me more. I want this kind of religion."

OUR ACTIONS of Thanksgiving are on PARADE. What are your actions like?

You know I love ya, Don

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Six Praise Worthy Attributes of God!

Who is God? It is a good question that everyone in this room will have to struggle with at some point in their life. In our text we see in verse 15, “You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect” We don't have time to talk about everyone aspect of God, but these six are attributes that encourage us to give thanks. 

GOD IS KNOWABLE!
God, who created the universe in all of its magnitude and creative details, is able to be known, by us. He tells us about himself, but even goes beyond that. He welcomes us into a relationship, so that we personally can get to know him. Not only can we know about him, we can know him, intimately.
"Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom
or the strong man boast of his strength
or the rich man boast of his riches,
but let him who boasts boast about this:
that he understands and knows me,
that I am the Lord,
who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight," declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 9:23,24)
GOD IS APPROACHABLE!
God invites us to talk to him and engage him in what concerns us. We don't have to get our act together first. Neither do we need to be polite, theologically correct or holy. It is his nature to be loving and accepting when we go to him.
"The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth." (Psalms 145:18)

GOD IS CREATIVE!
Everything we make is put together with existing materials or built on previous thoughts. God has the capacity of speaking things into existence, not just galaxies and life forms, but solutions to today's problems. God is creative, for us. His power is something he wants us to be aware of and to rely on.
"Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
his understanding has no limit." (Psalms 147:5)

"...where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth." (Psalms 121:1,2)

GOD IS FORGIVING!
We sin. We tend to do things our way instead of God's way. And he sees it and knows it. God does not merely overlook such sin, but is prepared to judge and condemn people for their sin. However, God is forgiving and will forgive us from the moment we begin a relationship with him. Jesus, the Son of God, paid for our sin with his death on a cross. He rose from the dead and offers us this forgiveness.
"We are made right in God's sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done... We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed his blood, sacrificing his life for us." (Romans 3:22,25)

GOD IS HONEST!
Just like a person who lets you know their thoughts and feelings, God clearly tells us about himself, the possible difference being, he is always honest. Everything he says about himself, or about us, is reliable information. Truer than our feelings, thoughts, and perception, God is totally accurate and honest in what he says. Every promise he makes to us can be fully counted on, he means it. We can take him at his word.
"The unfolding of your words gives light;
it gives understanding to the simple.
Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path." (Psalms 119:130,105)

GOD IS CAPABLE!
How would you like to be always 100% right, about everything? God is. His wisdom is unlimited. He understands all the elements of a situation, including the history and future events related to it. We do not have to update him, counsel him or persuade him to do the right thing. He will, because he is capable and his motives are pure. If we trust him, he will never make a mistake, never undercut us or deceive us. He can be fully trusted to do what is right, in all circumstances, at all times.
"No one whose hope is in you
will ever be put to shame..." (Psalms 25:3)
Life is about having a relationship with God...in any good relationship the goal is to get to know each other better. The question is...are you getting to know God? You cannot give thanks without knowing God...you cannot know your destiny of praise without knowing God. Are you working on getting to know God.

You know I love ya, Don

Monday, November 18, 2013

Give Thanks Through Praise!

 There are many reasons to praise the Lord. Scripture repeatedly calls us to do it, so we praise God out of obedience (for example, Psalm 96). Praising the Lord often impacts our own souls. We might begin to praise God with heavy hearts, for example, but as we praise, we experience a lightening of our burdens and the joy of the Lord. We can choose to praise the Lord, therefore, because of the benefit it brings to us. We might also praise God because it builds Christian community. When the people of God gather, focusing their minds and hearts on the Lord, using their bodies to honor him, they are bound together in a Spirit-created unity. So, a good reason for praising God is that it fosters the community of God’s people.

Psalm 96:4 gives another reason for praising the Lord, a bedrock reason based on his own nature: “Great is the LORD! He is most worthy of praise!” This translation captures the essence of this thought, though missing the poetic balance of the classic King James Version: “For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised.” The Hebrew of this verse could be translated literally, “For great [is] the Lord and very much to be praised.”

Psalm 96:4 explains why we should “publish [the LORD’s] glorious deeds among the nations” and “tell everyone about the amazing things he does” (96:3). We should praise him, proclaiming his wonders to all people, because the Lord is great. Praise is a response to his superlative character, which is expressed in wondrous works. Even as a brilliant sunset calls forth praise, so it is with God, many times over.

The more we reflect on God’s greatness, the more we will be impelled to praise him. Moreover, we will find that our praise, however inadequate it might be, will increasingly reflect God’s nature. Because he is great, so our praise will be great. It makes no sense to be stingy in honoring one who is utterly worthy of all honor and praise.

 Praising God is a destiny of all people....Give Thanks. You Know I love ya, Don

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The lamp that screams... get out of the way!

 How many of you have ever tried to walk through your own house in the dark. It seems like it would be ok doesn’t it…after all you KNOW where things are, you know whether or not you cleaned up or not… you just know the lay of the land!

But what happens when we try to walk in the dark? Inevitably you stub your toe or bump your knee or step on something with your bare feet that you did not know was there…

I know I have hurt myself on SO many occasions walking by something that may have been just a bit out of place… thinking I had all the room in the world to make it and WHAM… it happened! I would bash my knee or stub my little toe or step on something that either hurt the bottom of my feet or worse, twisted my ankle!

We put ourselves through all this when all we had to do was turn on a light… because what happens when we turn on a light? I know this is going to sound overly simple, but when we turn on a light… WE CAN SEE. And when we can see… then our pathway is evident to us, we can know our direction and we can see any obstacles… but in the dark, it is all a guessing game!

Now put yourself in the spiritual realm with the same scenario… You know you need to move, you know something needs to be done, but you can’t see your way clear. You don’t know what direction to take and you don’t really know the lay of the land. You can begin to try on your own to ‘feel’ your way through with tentative and groping actions… but just what do you think is inevitable for those who take this route?

Do you think it is too harsh if I say that you will be stubbing your ‘spiritual’ toe? Or banging your ‘spiritual’ knee? Or twisting your ‘spiritual’ ankle? Or worse yet… falling into a spiritual pit where your vision is totally blocked and your spiritual direction comes to a halt and your walk in Christ is hurt!

Well this is the EXACT situation that the psalmist is addressing in this verse … Paul wrote in
Romans 13:12; “The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.

You and I get so bogged down in our desires, our wants, our way of accomplishing things that we forget to turn on the light. We have the Word of God in written form, in the revealed form of Jesus and in the Holy Spirit working with in our hearts, minds and souls. What is holding your beliefs back? YOU ARE...you are in the way.

I need to get out of the way....you know I love ya, Don

Monday, October 28, 2013

A great place to get resource for energy!

 John describes Jesus as the Word...He writes: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.”

Jesus is called the Word or in the Greek, Logos. The written Word is also called the Logos.
God the Father wrote the Bible through the Holy Spirit for you and me. The Words of the Bible are full of life! These precious Words are a gift from God the Father to ALL who take hold of them.
The Words of God promise salvation, eternal life, righteousness, redemption, deliverance, protection, prosperity, healing and wholeness of spirit, soul and body.
In Hosea 4:6 God says that “My people perish for lack of knowledge.”
In order for you and I to take hold of the blessings of God and know His will for us, we need to read His instruction manual, called the Bible. In the Bible you will find Words that give you answers and will encourage your to be full of abundant life.
The Bible is God revealed...Jesus is God in the flesh...Thus, the Word (God revealed & the recorded life of Jesus) is a light and a lamp.

Jesus is the Word of God. The Gospel of John definitively declares that Jesus is God, what Jesus did from the foundations of the world, and that Jesus is the Word of God grants direction and wisdom on the path. It is the source and energy to say...”Get out of the way.” So, as you look at the path of your life you can look to the Word of God...Jesus...with direction.

1 Corinthians 3: 11 - For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.

So, you're walking along the path and there is a pitfall ahead...what do you do? If you are in the the Word of God it will illuminate what's ahead and give light to how to proceed. The question is...do you know God's word? It is the source and energy to say...”Get out of the way!” to that which distracts us from the destination!

You know I love ya, Don

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

"Fall" or "Autumn" either way it is a blessing!

The autumn of life is a great time to focus on God’s wonderful blessings—family, friends, strength, shelter, provision, guidance, care, fruitful ministry, opportunities to serve, more time to pray and study His Word, and eternal life still to come. It is a time of transition and a time of change. Autumn also is a time that produces the harvest....Apples, Pumpkins, Persimmons, Sun Flowers, Walnuts, Acorns...

“Autumn” only occurs once in the Bible. In Jude 1:12, false teachers are compared to “autumn trees without fruit,” implying that autumn should be a fruitful season, the most abundant of the year. How can we take advantage of the “autumns of life”?

I suggest these two:

1. The autumn of life is a great time to focus on God’s wonderful blessings—family, friends, strength, shelter, provision, guidance, care, fruitful ministry, opportunities to serve, more time to pray and study His Word, and eternal life still to come.

2. Autumn is a good time to focus on your commitment to God. During life’s autumn, we have a richer perspective and can count more blessings than ever before.

Blessings and commitments drive us to a gracious God that is filled with love for each of us. Our intentional focus on blessings and commitments remind us to be strong in the coldest of winters and the hottest of summers.

You know I love ya, Don

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Master's Masterpiece of seasons....Autumn!

"...for the joy of the Lord is your strength." Nehemiah 8:10

I love this time of year. There is a certain energy when the seasons change, but the results of Autumn always warms my heart. Cathy Irvin wrote the following and it resonates with me:

Winter, spring, summer, and fall are God’s seasons. I have always been a big fan of summer and spring and not too fond of fall and winter. But lately I have changed. I think it is something about those leaves of red, orange, yellow, and burgundy that fall from the trees. I feel as if I have noticed them for the very first time.

I like taking a ride and watching people setting out pumpkins in the yard with hay bales and planting mums in the yard. I am looking forward to getting some lavender and yellow mums myself for my yard and a few pumpkins.

The other day, one of my friends and I went to visit a friend who has been ill, and in her neighborhood, we noticed many yards decorated for fall. I don’t remember seeing this too much in the past. Have I missed this season all these years, or is it just that as I get older I appreciate God’s world just a little more?

The latter is what I concluded. The Bible says, “This is day that the Lord hath made, and I will rejoice in it.” Each day He has given me beauty to enjoy, so I think I should sit back and take in this glorious creation.

God is the best artist in the world, for only He can create such different themes. We see many artists that try to capture the seasons on their canvases by painting what they see around them, and they do a wonderful job. However, neither picture nor paint could ever replace the real thing splashed across the sky and spilled over the earth like the Master’s display of His finest artwork. God’s creativity is unmatched, for every day is different, just like every snowflake in winter.

When people say there is no God, I know they do not see with eyes like mine. They must see a plain, white canvas or a black drop cloth and not the blue skies that fade into light pink in the evening. Nor do they see the flowers that no paint on any artist’s palate could attempt to match or the trees that were each given a certain color leaf to change into when autumn arrives. ‘No God,’ they say. It is just that they do not know the Master of the seasons, the One who has created such magnificent displays of perfect art.

Instead of always looking forward to the summer and springtime, I have decided to enjoy the Master’s autumn masterpiece for the rest of my life.

It is good to give thanks and especially for God's Masterpiece we call Autumn!. You know I love ya, Don

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A season of plenty comes from a season of hardwork!

Julie Ackerman Link writes:
Outside my office window, the squirrels are in a race against winter to bury their acorns in a safe, accessible place. Their commotion amuses me. An entire herd of deer can go through our back yard and not make a sound, but one squirrel sounds like an invasion.

The two creatures are different in another way as well. Deer do not prepare for winter. When the snow comes they eat whatever they can find along the way (including ornamental shrubs in our yard). But squirrels would starve if they followed that example. They would be unable to find suitable food.
The deer and the squirrel represent ways that God cares for us. He enables us to work and save for the future, and He meets our need when resources are scarce. As the wisdom literature teaches, God gives us seasons of plenty so that we can prepare for seasons of need (Prov. 12:11). And as Psalm 23 says, the Lord leads us through perilous places to pleasant pastures.

Another way that God provides is by instructing those with plenty to share with those in need (Deut. 24:19). So when it comes to provision, the message of the Bible is this: Work while we can, save what we can, share what we can, and trust God to meet our needs.

Thank You, Lord, for the promise that You will
meet our needs. Help us not to fear or doubt.
We’re grateful that You’re watching over us
and that our cries for help reach Your ear.
 
Our needs will never exhaust God’s supply. You know I love ya...Don

Monday, October 14, 2013

Transformed by the Great Transformer!

David C. Casland wrote:
Chuck Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship, spent 40 years helping people hear and understand the gospel of Jesus Christ. When he died in April 2012, one newspaper article carried the headline, “Charles Colson, Nixon’s ‘dirty tricks’ man, dies at 80.” It seemed surprising that a man so transformed by faith should be identified with things he did as a politically ruthless presidential aide decades earlier before he knew the Savior.

The apostle Paul’s conversion and his early Christian witness were greeted with skepticism and fear. When he began preaching that Jesus is the Son of God, people said, “Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose?” (Acts 9:21). Later when Paul went to Jerusalem and tried to join the disciples, they were afraid of him (v.26). In years to come, Paul never ignored his past, but spoke of it as evidence of the mercy of God (1 Tim. 1:13-14).
Like Paul, we don’t need to parade our failures or to pretend they didn’t happen. Instead, we can thank the Lord that through His grace and power, our past is forgiven, our present is changed, and our future is bright with hope for all He has prepared for us.

Transformed by grace divine,
The glory shall be Thine;
To Thy most holy will, O Lord,
We now our all resign. —Burroughs
 
Only Jesus can transform our life. You Know I love ya...Don