Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas with the best gift of all!


Christmas. It is one of the most joyous Christian holidays, a time to remember the birth of Christ our Savior. Christmas is a time to share our blessings with one another, and to be surrounded by the people we love. It is a time for giving, and a time for forgiving. Most importantly, it is a reminder of how much God loves us.

It has been asked, "Why did God send Jesus if He knew He was going to die?" In fact, Jesus wasn't just going to die, Jesus was going to be mocked, beaten, tortured, and then sentenced to die a slow, painful death by crucifixion. All at the hands of those He came to save.

Christians like to remember the good times in Jesus' life. We love to tell the Nativity story, but we forget that shortly after His birth Christ needed to flee from Herod's army. We tell about His wisdom, His love, and His healing, but we forget about His suffering. We forget the price He paid, for our sins. We forget the lengths that God went to show us His love (Romans 5:8).

To be honest, thinking about this leaves me without thought, because God knew what would happen to His Son. God had told Isaiah along with many other prophets of the suffering the Savior would endure. God knew that the very creatures He had created, would crucify Him for trying to save us from ourselves. And yet, God lowered Himself in Christ, feeling physical pain and suffering. God lowered Himself, and let mere humans beat Him and mock Him (Philippians 2:7). The God who has all the power of the universe, humbled Himself to be lower than the angels, and to die at our sinful, hateful hands (Hebrews 2:9).

God knew this would happen ahead of time, and yet He loved us so immensely that He sent His Son, to suffer a painful death, so that we could spend eternity with our Heavenly Father (John 3:16). That's the story of love. That is the story of Christmas.

The Christmas gift is that God paid for you, because of how much He loves you. Remember what true love is, and share that love, God's love, with all. You are blessed and it is his joy to bless you with the Christmas gift. Take it today and allow His gift to transform you.

This is my last blog post for 2014. I am looking forward to a great year ahead. It truly has been a blessing to write and an even more blessing to know that you all read it. Merry Christmas from our family to yours. You know I love ya, Don

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas is the pivotal moment in History of "WHAT" God is speaking!


Simeon warned Mary and Joseph in Luke 2 -  "This child will be rejected by man in Israel and it will be their undoing." He declares the salvation light in verse 31, “which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” People reject Christ to their own hurt. When people refuse to trust Christ as their Savior they do so to their own self-destruction. Rejecting Christ is the worse sin a person can commit. Ignoring Christ is just plain foolish … it means an eternity of enslavement to sin, evil and judgment. Rejecting and Ignoring Christ is living a life where one remains at enmity with God and separated from His grace. Simeon’s warning is something that we need to give to others lest they too have to suffer needlessly and live in the darkness.

When I was growing up, my dad drove a 18-wheeler truck. He was good at it and loved the road. He drove for a company called, Ted Peter’s Trucking. The company would pick-up cargo vans that were destined for a Ship and shipped over seas. In this large containers, sometimes the seal or weld would come loose and it would no longer be water-tight. The way to check is to get in and close the door and see if any light came in…


On some days, I would be allowed to ride along for the day. I recall the first time he asked me to get in and check to see if there were any cracks…I said sure, got in and He shut the door. It was the first time I truly experienced the lack of any time…it was pure blackness. Instantly, I was afraid and wanted out as soon as possible. The darkness in the container represented the fact there was not way the water would enter in…

Darkness is the absence of light, any hope, any warmth, and any possible future.

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 the glory of God in the face of Christ.” The baby in the manger is God speaking that brings light in the darkness. Here is what we can be assured of this Christmas Season! He came. He lived, He died, and Rose again. He saves, He heals, He hears, … He speaks … still today.

God speaks through a friend, through a stranger, through a song, and especially through His Word. Christmas is not the start of God Speaking. Christmas is not the end of God Speaking… Christmas is the pivotal place in History of “What” God is speaking…He said, “I want to know you, I want you to know me, and I want to be apart of your life.”

So listen. And this Christmas Season you may just find yourself hearing the sound of Children, the sound of packages, the sounds of meal preparation, the sound of football games, and cheering, the sound of quiet rest, and the wind blow…you will ALSO hear God speaking, calling your name, and granting you “Glory in the Highest! And on earth peace to men of good will.”

God speaking a promise…God speaking salvation…God speaking light into the darkness.

Merry Christmas and You know I love ya, Don

Monday, December 15, 2014

God gave us His word and He kept it...


Simeon says in Luke 2:29-31, “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace.” Simeon was nearly eighty years old and had waited a long time to see the Savior. I pray we will hear God speaking concerning His promise and be relentless in our resolve to wait upon God to fulfill His promises to us. Let us not get weary thinking that we need to run ahead of God and do things in our own strength, wisdom or manipulative abilities. Love is patient - long-suffering and kind. Let us wait on the Lord and be of good courage and He will strengthen our hearts.
 
What is God’s Promise? Another translation of Simeon’s statement is: “you have done according to your word.” In other words, Simeon declares because of Jesus, I know God keeps His word.  God promised to come…Isaiah 9: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” God kept His Word and gave us His Word in flesh. He came…

God spoke a promise, that He would crush Satan, evil, and sin – He spoke Himself into history…He Spoke Jesus – He told the serpent in Genesis 3:15, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will crush your head and you will strike his heel.” From the very beginning God had promised that he would come and strike down all sin. Simeon knew this and was waiting for God to reveal the truth. It is our calling to wait on His promise in our lives and let His promise – Jesus – guide our every move.

If we are truly honest with ourselves, with all the noise of the season, we are neglecting the promise of God’s voice. Just because it is Christmas doesn’t mean that our fears have gone away. That our anxieties have diminished. Or that our loneliness has vanished. In fact, it may very well be the one time of year we need to hear from God the most: the one time of year that we secretly wish everything else would get quiet … and He would speak.

Let me encourage you to hear Him speaking His promise! God will keep His Word in your life… are you willing to hear Him speak. A baby came so that you might have life and
have it with more abundance. God spoke a promise. God gave us his word and He kept it…

You know I love ya, Don

Friday, December 12, 2014

God live among us to bring the highest form of Glory in our lives!


This is my prayer for you in this 2014 Christmas Season:


May the God of Peace give His peace to you. May He speak to YOU!

For God lives among us to watch over the flock, God lives among us to declare good news, and God lives among us to bring the highest glory possible. 

Do you hear him speaking? 
 
This past week a preaching friend of mine, Nick Vipperman made this statement; “Maybe you are holding on to so much in your clutched hands that God cannot give you something new.” I agree and I also ask, “Could it be we are so cluttered with the noise of the world, the busy, Christmas bustle, and noises of the Season that God is not able to be heard?” 

It is not God that has stopped speaking…it is that you and me...we have stopped listening. Do you hear it…he wants to watch over the flock of the humble, he seeks to present a message of good news; he wants to declare his highest glory in your life.

You know I love ya, Don

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

God Lives Among Us To Bring Us Good News!


Luke 2: 10 proclaims, it is a heavenly message of astonishing good news and joy.
“And the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid: for behold I bring you good news of great joy which shall be for all the people;”

The angel, using the dialect which the people of that time and place, spoke, "Do not be afraid," My presence and this revelation contains nothing that should cause you to fear but it is a message of love, hope and faith. The fear of the eternal unseen universe, which lies coiled like a sleeping snake in all hearts, is now being taken away by the incarnation. We can now know what the sovereign God is like, and, far more than that, we can even know Him.

Many people today hear these words about "GREAT JOY" but don't understand them. They relish the season as they decorate their homes, shop in cheerful malls, attend festive parties, and exchange gifts with the ones they love. But after all the excitement subsides, they feel empty and joyless.

Others don't like the season at all. Many have no money for gifts or decorations. Some have no friends with whom to celebrate. Others are so depleted by all the running they have no energy to enjoy the season. The atmosphere of cheer around them actually deepens their feelings of sadness. Maybe this is your year of great grief and sadness. There is someone missing this year. It could be a job, or death, or simply the end of a dream.

The problem is that we wrongly identify the "great joy" of which the angel spoke. It is found not in the superficial fun but in the deeper meaning of the season. No listen, it is not that celebrations, carols, candles, lights, and cookies are bad…they are just not to be the focus. I love them as much as anyone. YET, When Jesus was born, God became a man so that He could save us from our sins and give us the joyful prospect of eternity in heaven. That's the true reason for joy. The shepherds went back to the cold nights and loneliness of their vocation, but they were "glorifying and praising God" (Luke 2:20).

The real meaning of Christmas is “good tidings of great joy which is for all people." Yes the Good News is for all people, not merely for those who heard this proclamation but for all people everywhere. God lives among you and me! We are not alone. We are surrounded by the presence of God and He is speaking if we are willing to listen.

Are you listening? 

You know I love ya, Don

Monday, December 8, 2014

God lives among us to watch over the flock!


In Luke 2, verse 8 the scene changes from the manger to the fields, from the humble Savior to lowly shepherds. “And in the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields, and keeping watch over their flock by night.”

“In the same region,” in the area near Bethlehem of Judea, where the Christ Child was born. "There were some shepherds." Shepherds were among the lowest groups on the social-economic scale. Their occupation made it difficult for them to obey the Rabbical law. So the first public proclamation of the good news was to social outcasts. [It demonstrates that no matter how insignificant you may think you are, God knows you, & you are important to Him. All throughout Scripture God honors and uses people & things that the world often overlooks or ignores (1 Cor. 1:26-28a).]

These shepherds were on the night shift. They were keeping watch over their flock by night. The dark backdrop of night made the brilliance of the angelic appearance all the more vivid.
Since this flock was so near Jerusalem it may have been destine for sacrifice in the Temple. There is beautiful significance in the thought that the Lamb of God born in Bethlehem's stable was the Lamb of God destined to be sacrificed for the sins of the world was announced to shepherds watching flocks destined for sacrifice.

The tranquil night is suddenly changed in verse 9 by a heavenly messenger. “And suddenly an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them and they were terribly frightened.” It all happened with dramatic swiftness, one moment the quiet sounds of a still night, the next a strong, holy angel of the Lord stood before them in brilliance making the night brighter than day to their unadjusted eyes. They had not noticed his coming for the angel made no visible approach.

Thus “the glory of the Lord shone around them.” Glory is used many ways in Scripture and it almost defies definition. Here it was a supernatural light, a heavenly brilliance regarded as the manifestation of God's presence and power flashing all around them.

"They were filled with terrible fright" for they could not bear the holy glory. Although they were devout men, they were still sinners and this experience of the holiness of God had burst upon them unexpected. The word indicates great fear or reverential awe. They were awe-struck. The people of Israel were awaiting and expecting the Davidic King yet these shepherds, as does everyone else, expect it to be revealed to someone else, to some other person or some other generation. God lives among us to Watch Over the Flock… God lives among us to reveal his concern over us…
God loves us! 
 

What is God revealing to you that you think should be revealed to someone else? 

You know I love ya, Don

Friday, December 5, 2014

The thread follows the needle!


Matt. 1:24 ~ "And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus."

The Bible defines faith with obedience and obedience with faith. In other words, they are two sides of the same coin. You cannot have one without the other. Obedience is doing what God has said. Obedience is not doing what others say, or doing what other say God has said, or doing what you wish God has said. It is simply doing what God says.

The Bible uses some interesting figures to represent Christians and their relationship to God: Vine an branches, Sculptor and clay, Shepherd and sheep.

An African convert used another metaphor. He prayed: "O Lord, You are the needle and I am the thread." Having just visited a school where girls were learning to sow, he noticed a simple principle: wherever the needle went, the thread followed. That, he decided, represented his relationship to God. If he would stay close to the Lord, praying, reading His Word, depending entirely upon Him and following Him, he would make it to heaven. He was simply the thread following the needle.

Each year as Christmas rolls around, different thoughts come to mind. "Vision of sugar plums dance in our heads." You may drive through your neighborhood and see an elaborate nativity display. Perhaps you’ll even attend a play, with children or adults reenacting the precious events that brought our Lord and Savior into this world.

Throughout this season, however, and throughout the rest of your life, I hope that you will take with you, the lessons that we are the thread attached to the needle that is piercing the barriers of darkness found in this life. You know I love ya, Don

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Do you hear the callenge?


Matt. 1:20 ~ But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins."


In Joseph’s dream, God gave Joseph a glimpse of the divine plan. Because Joseph was a descendant of David and a righteous man, God gave him the unique job of raising the Messiah. God told Joseph, that Mary’s Son would, "save His people from their sins!" In fact, the name "Jesus" is a transliteration of the Hebrew word "yeshua," meaning "The Lord is Salvation," or "The Savior."

From His name, we learn Jesus’ mission on earth: to "save His people from their sins!" Jesus came to earth to redeem mankind; to save us from the penalty of our sins. But, in order to redeem something, a price must be paid.

Lou Johnson was a 1965 World Series hero for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He tried for 30 years to recover the championship ring he lost to drug dealers in 1971. Drug and alcohol abuse cost him everything from that magical season, including his uniform, glove, and the bat he used to hit the winning home run in the deciding game. When the Dodgers president, Bob Graziano, learned that Johnson’s World Series ring was about to be auctioned on the Internet, he immediately wrote a check for $3,457.00 and bought the ring before any bids were posted. He did for Johnson what the former Dodger outfielder had been unable to do for himself.

In the same way, God has done for us what we were unable to do for ourselves. He paid the price for our sins with the blood of His Son. He bought us back. He redeemed us. What an awesome gift!

Can you imagine Joseph’s anticipation, knowing that he would be responsible for the upbringing of the most important child ever born? God is asking Joseph to raise the Savior as his own son. Most people would never accept that kind of challenge.

Are you hearing God's challenge - You know I love ya, Don 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Choosing the Right Path before the Divine Message!


Matt. 1:18-19 ~ "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly."


We are introduced to Joseph in the middle of a personal crisis. Having become engaged to a beautiful young girl, he has worked hard to establish an income to support his new bride and begin a family. He is in love. He is committed to Mary. He believed she loved him, until the news that his precious bride is pregnant.

Heart-broken and betrayed, how should he respond? Should he publicly shame her? Should he turn her over to the authorities to be stoned? Her explanation of the pregnancy was unbelievable, even blasphemous.

If Mary would not have been stoned on the charge of adultery, she could have been put to death on the charge of serious blasphemy. However, Joseph chooses the path of mercy. He was "a righteous man and unwilling to put her to shame," so he "resolved to divorce her quietly." Before any divine explanation, Joseph chooses mercy. No malice. No explosion. Certainly he could have asked a lot of questions here: "How could you do this to me? Who’s the father?" But, no words are recorded, only tenderness. He might be the talk of Nazareth. Friends might make snide comments. But he would not hurt Mary, no matter what he thought she had done to him. When he could have demanded a bitter sentence, he chose a righteous mercy.

Today, there is much we can learn from Joseph’s example of righteousness. Maybe you’ve never been in a position quite like Joseph’s, but we have all been wronged by another person. We all know what it is like to be hurt or offended. How do you react when you are wronged?


Let choose to the do the right thing first. You know I love ya, Don 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Pilgrims and a Journey toward Thanksgiving!

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On Sept 16, 1620 2 ships set sail from Plymouth England, The Speedwell and the Mayflower. The Speedwell encountered much difficulty as they began their journey springing many leaks in the ship. So when the 2 ships went to Port in Plymouth England, the Speedwell decided to go no further and 42 passengers from the Speedwell joined the 60 passengers and 30 crew members aboard the Mayflower..

Of the 102 passengers on board the Mayflower the majority were devout Christians. They were coming to America to shake lose from the bonds of the church of England so they could worship God as they believed scriptures taught.

And with great excitement and expectations that set sail for a new land... It wasn’t long before the trip became difficult for several reasons, as noted by William Bradford an historian on the Mayflower, who would later became Governor of the colony for 33 years.. Many of the passengers became sea sick as huge waves would crash over the deck of the ship... The nights were cold, damp and dark... Remember there was no indoor plumbing or electricity. They encountered many fierce storms which shook the ship with tremendous force. So fierce that many times they could not even keep the sail out and the force of the wind -- eventually cracked and bowed the main beams when they had just went over the half way point across the Atlantic. And although the passengers and crew wanted to turn back, Christopher Jones, the ships Master, assured all the vessel was "strong and firm under water." He ordered the beam to be secured. It was hoisted into place by a great iron screw that, fortunately, the Pilgrims brought out of Holland. AND Upon raising the beam, they "committed themselves to the will of God and resolved to proceed." These 100 people; cold, wet -- on wooden ship in the middle of the ocean -- put their hope, trust and lives into the hands of God. The battered ship finally came within sight of Cape Cod on November 19, 1620. Two had died at sea and two had given birth. The Pilgrims scanned the shoreline just to the west of them and described it as, "a goodly land wooded to the brink of the sea," William Bradford writes, "AFTER LONG BEATINGS AT SEA THEY FELL WITH THAT LAND WHICH IS CALLED CAPE COD; AND THEY WERE NOT A LITTLE JOYFUL..." They were filled with AWE that they had survived…in that moment they praised God for their past, the present and what they saw in their future!

The day the Pilgrims signed the May Flower Compact, according to William Bradford, "they came to anchor in the Bay, which was a good harbor...and they blessed the God of Heaven, who brought them over the fast and furious ocean... and a sea of trouble. And they read the following from the Geneva Bible (the Bible the Pilgrims used) "LET THEM, THEREFORE PRAISE THE LORD, BECAUSE HE IS GOOD AND HIS MERCIES ENDURE FOREVER."

This coming Thursday we will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day... Many will be busy cooking turkeys, making stuffing, baking pumpkin pies.... and watching football games. And that is fun stuff -- it is important to get together with loved ones...Yet, it is more than that…it is about giving thanks in AWE of the Lord God Almighty.

We usually picture the first thanksgiving in America, as the time when the Pilgrims and the Indians got together for a great feast. But I tend to look at that time when on the sea battered Mayflower anchored in the bay at Cape Cod, a group of weary and worn men and women were on their knees praising their God in heaven for bringing them safely through the treacherous sea to this new land, as the real first thanksgiving. They were living in awe of God. Giving is all in AWE because of their past, because of their present, and because of their future.

Happy Thanksgiving! You know I love ya, Don

Monday, November 24, 2014

Giving in AWE redeems the past!


“Awe” is an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, fear, etc., produced by that which is grand, sublime, extremely powerful. In our Text Paul commends the Corinthian believers by praising their achievments in faith, speech, knowledge, passion, love… it is looking at your past and giving God the glory for where you have been and what He has brought you through. In looking at the past, Paul reminds the followers of Jesus not to give up being as faithful in giving.

Giving in Awe recognizing that the past is the past and we can give in awe in order to redeem the past. It is God that has carried us and it is God that has forgiven us and it is God that deserves the Glory for our very survival.

My favorite part of Christmas is to read Charles Dickens, "A Christmas Carol" and watch the Musical “Scrooge.” Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past, who against his will, takes him back to a time when he was still a young man. Scrooge sees himself proposing to the woman he loved, a woman who later breaks their engagement because she realizes that he has come to love money more than her. As Scrooge watches the scene unfold, we can see the emotions playing out over his face. We can imagine what is going through his mind: What a fool he had been! How his life would have been different if he had married, if his heart hadn’t been hardened by the love of money. Perhaps that young man wouldn’t have become this wretched, bitter old miser.

Consider this: How would you like to be visited by the ghost of your past? How would you like to go back and relive your sins, your mistakes, the foolish choices that changed your life? How would you like to be forced to watch helplessly, knowing what the outcome is going to be, unable to do anything to change the result, feeling the sharp pain of regret at not having taken the other path, or at least wondering what would have happened had your choices been different. Well, for most people, there’s really no need for a nighttime visit from one of Charles Dickens’ three spirits. Because we do it to ourselves…we replay the past, again and again. We see it projected on the screen of our minds. Don’t you sometimes wish you could go back and talk to yourself at those key moments, talk to that person in the movie of your life, warn them, tell them where the road they’re taking will lead?

We’ve all experienced regret over the past. It takes many forms:

·      Regret over marriage. Imagining how much happier your life would have been if you had married someone other that person sitting next to you. Or if you’d never married that person you’re divorced from.
Regret over divorce. Regret over broken relationships of all kinds.
·      Regret over mistakes you made raising your kids.
·      Regret over bad career moves, missed business opportunities, poor vocational choices.
·      Regret at not following God’s call to the ministry, or His call to become a missionary.
·      In general, regret over all kinds of sins and their consequences. [You fill in the blank].


Now, sorrow over sin can by healthy, up to a point. It can help us learn from our mistakes so that we don’t repeat them. This is the "sadder but wiser" phenomenon. It can lead to repentance and forgiveness. But regret is anything but helpful; it’s destructive and debilitating. It allows the sins and mistakes of the past to reach out and poison our present. And if it’s not handled appropriately, it will just lead to more wrong choices and more regret, in a vicious cycle. As Paul writes,

"Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death." -- 2 Corinthians 7:10 (NIV)

Giving in awe over a forgiven past…redeems the past. God loves you and has and is forgiving you in everything you have done. When you respond by living in thanksgiving and awe to HIM…you sacrifice and give. What your giving to the church is the first thing on your mind … it forces you to forget your past and live in the present. 

God is Good... You know I love ya, Don

Friday, November 21, 2014

Falling Between the Chairs!


Luciano Pavariotti tells this story:

"When I was a boy, my father, a baker, introduced me to the wonders of song," tenor Luciano Pavarotti relates. "He urged me to work very hard to develop my voice. Arrigo Pola, a professional tenor in my hometown of Modena, Italy, took me as a pupil. I also enrolled in a teachers college. On graduating, I asked my father, 'Shall I be a teacher or a singer?' 

"'Luciano,' my father replied, 'if you try to sit on two chairs, you will fall between them. For life, you must choose one chair.' 

"I chose one. It took seven years of study and frustration before I made my first professional appearance. It took another seven to reach the Metropolitan Opera. And now I think whether it's laying bricks, writing a book--whatever we choose--we should give ourselves to it. Commitment, that's the key. Choose one chair." 

If you want to have income, influence, and impact then you have to get serious about your commitment to God and His priorities in your finances. Do your choices reflect a generous and giving heart? If not you might be falling between the chairs.

You know I love ya, Don

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Making a living or making a life?


Making a living and making a life are two different goals. God’s priority is to be in sync in life. He tells us to lay up treasures in heaven:  1 Timothy 6:18-19 states… “do good, be rich in good deeds, and…be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”

This can be a struggle. God’s priorities and ours are often in a struggle.
 
An Indian chief was telling his young braves about this inner struggle. The chief told them, “It is like two dogs fighting inside of us. There is a good dog who wants to do what’s right but the other dog always wants to do what’s wrong. Sometimes the good dog seems stronger and is winning the fight. But sometimes the bad dog is stronger and is winning.”
A young brave asks, “Who will win in the end?”
The chief answered, “The one you feed.”

As we look over the priorities in our lives, we may be feeding the wrong dog. If your priorities are out of sync with God then you will feed the wrong dog.

You see… it is all about priorities.

2 Corinthians 4:17-19 states it this way… “fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

Are you making a living or are you making a life? You know I love ya, Don

Monday, November 17, 2014

It's all about priorities!



It’s All About Priorities!

I heard about a farmer who called the office of the church asking to see “The Head Hog at the trough.”

The receptionist said, “Sir, if you’re talking about our Minster, you may call him Evangelist or Minister, but I don’t think it would be proper to refer to him as the “head Hog at the trough.’”

“Well, all right,” the farmer said. “I just sold a few sows and was going to donate ten thousand dollars to the building fund, so I was hopping to catch him.”

“Oh, just a minute, sir.” The receptionist said, “I think the big pig just walked in!”

It’s All About Priorities!
A woman was sitting next to an empty seat at the Super Bowl stadium. A man asked the woman about it. The woman explained, “It was my husband’s…but he died and I offered it to the family.” The man said to her, “I’m surprised that another relative or friend didn’t jump at the chance to take his seat.” She answered, “I don’t understand it either. But, they all decided on going to his funeral instead.”

It’s All About Priorities!

A farmer in New Mexico ran this classified ad in the Quay County Sun: “Farmer with 160 irrigated acres wants marriage-minded woman with a tractor. When replying, please send picture of the tractor.” [AP release, June 1978, Tucumcari, New Mexico]

It’s All About Priorities!

A group of friends went deer hunting and paired off in two’s for the day. That night one of the hunters returned alone, staggering under the weight of a 200 pound deer. The other hunters asked, “Where’s Bob?” The lone man said, “Oh, he had a stroke of some kind, he’s a couple of miles back up the trail.” The other hunters were shocked and asked why he left Bob laying there to carry the deer instead. “It was a tough call,” the hunter said, “but I figured no one was going to steal Bob.”

It’s All About Priorities!

God desire for His followers to strategically and intentionally schedule our priorities or our priorities will schedule us. God’s priority is that we are in sync with Him and His Priorities.

What are your priorities this Thanksgiving season? You know I love ya, Don

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Great giving is giving prayerfully!


Colossians 4:2 “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” In Malachi God encourages His people to trust him and test him on this…it is God that desires for us to have a relationship.

A man took his small son with him to town one day to run some errands. When lunch time arrived, the two of them went to a familiar diner for a sandwich. The father sat down on one of the stools at the counter and lifted the boy up to the seat beside him. They ordered lunch, and when the waiter brought the food, the father said, "Son, we'll just have a silent prayer." Dad got through praying first and waited for the boy to finish his prayer, but he just sat with his head bowed for an unusually long time. When he finally looked up, his father asked him, "What in the world were you praying about all that time?" With the innocence and honesty of a child, he replied, "How do I know? It was a silent prayer."
 
This is exactly how many of us pray about our finances…we pray silently. God is very interested in you and your gifts and your offerings. A word of caution…He might tell you something that you do not want to hear. My advice, It is better to hear it in this life than wait and regret your unwillingness in the next life.

So - Pray that your gift will be used in a great way, ask God how much you should give to your church and charities, then thank God for what He has used your gifts for, and finally thank God that you are able to give. 

You know I love ya, Don

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Great giving is giving out of your poverty...

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Money is just a piece of paper until I do something with it. God is owner of everything. He reclaimed all of life in his death, burial, and resurrection. The tremendous responsibility is then laid on us to act responsibly with the gifts, treasures, and wealth that God has allowed us to be caretaker. God’s people are made great in their giving.

So how do God’s people live in greatness… Zig Ziglar says; “You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”  The same applies to our tithes and offerings… “We don’t have to be great to start giving, but we have to start giving to be great.

Great giving is giving out of your Poverty

Another way of saying it, is “Give until it hurts” or to say, “Give Sacrificially.” In our text God reveals he is the same yesterday, today, and will be the same tomorrow! He has not changed. He is creator of it all and we think we can manipulate it but holding on to our small little piece… if you want to be great, you give out of your poverty.

Jimmy Stewart in the movie Shenandoah plays a farmer who has a bunch of sons. The Boys are of fighting age and the father will not let them go off to fight. The family gets the reputation of sitting out the war. There is a scene where they are all around the dinner table and they bow their heads for prayer. Jimmy Stewart says “Lord we planted this seed, we watered the plants, we picked the food and we cooked it, we did it all ourselves, we worked dog bone hard for this but we thank you just the same amen” 

The prayer is foreshadowing of the Stewart's character that is not willing to give everything up. He is still thinking about Himself. He would have to willing to give up his sons to protect prize Shenandoah.
 
People who give sacrificially know that they worked hard for what they take home, but they also know that God blessed them and provided for them. When you give sacrificially you are saying “Lord I want you to be God of my whole life, and my giving needs to reflect that.”

People who give sacrificially trust in God to provide. They are not only socially secure in Jesus they are spiritually secure in Jesus as well.

Do you give out of your poverty?

You know I love ya, Don 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

What are you willing to give? - "The Neckless"


The cheerful little girl with bouncy golden curls was almost five. Waiting with her mother at the checkout stand, she saw them, a circle of glistening white pearls in a pink foil box. “Oh Mommy please, Mommy. Can I have them? Please, Mommy, please?” Quickly the mother checked the back of the little foil box and then looked back into the pleading blue eyes of her little girl’s upturned face. “A dollar ninety-five – that’s almost $2.00. If you really want them, I’ll think of some extra chores for you, and in no time, you can save enough money to buy them for yourself. Your birthday is only a week away, and you might get another crisp dollar bill from Grandma.”

As soon as Jenny got home, she emptied her penny bank and counted out seventeen pennies. After dinner, she did more than her share of chores and she went to the neighbor and asked Mrs. McJames if she could pick dandelions for ten cents. On her birthday, Grandma did give her another new dollar bill, and at last she had enough money to buy the necklace. Jenny loved her pearls. They made her feel dressed up and grown up. She wore them everywhere — Sunday school, kindergarten, even to bed. The only time she took them off was when she went swimming or had a bubble bath. Mother said if they got wet, they might turn her neck green.

Jenny had a very loving daddy, and every night when she was ready for bed, he would stop whatever he was doing and come upstairs to read her a story. One night as he finished the story, he asked Jenny, “Do you love me?” “Oh yes, Daddy. You know that I love you.”

“Then give me your pearls.”
“Oh, daddy, not my pearls. But you can have Princess, the white horse from my collection, the one with the pink tail. Remember, Daddy? The one you gave me. She’s my very favorite.” “That’s okay, Honey, Daddy loves you. Good night.” And he brushed her cheek with a kiss. About a week later, after the story time, Jenny’s daddy asked again, “Do you love me?” “Daddy, you know I love you.”

“Then give me your pearls.”

“Oh Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have my baby doll. The brand new one I got for my birthday. She is beautiful and you can have the yellow blanket that matches her sleeper.” “That’s okay. Sleep well. God bless you, little one. Daddy loves you.” And as always, he brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss.

A few nights later when her daddy came in, Jenny was sitting on her bed with her legs crossed Indian style. As he came close, he noticed her chin was trembling and one silent tear rolled down her cheek. “What is it, Jenny? What’s the matter?” Jenny didn’t say anything but lifted her little hand up to her daddy. And when she opened it there was her little pearl necklace. With a little quiver, she finally said, “Here, Daddy, this is for you.”

With tears gathering in his own eyes, Jenny’s daddy reached out with one hand to take the dime store necklace, and with the other hand, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet case with a strand of genuine pearls and gave them to Jenny. He had them all the time. He was just waiting for her to give up the dime-store stuff so he could give her the genuine treasure. So it is, with our Heavenly Father. He is waiting for us to give up the cheap things in our lives so that he can give us beautiful treasures.

“The Necklace” — Author Unknown

What are you holding onto that is keeping you from totally loving your heavenly creator? You know I love ya, Don