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