Easter - 2018

Monday, December 28, 2009

Happy New Year - What Really Matters?

This is a quote from Christopher J. Klicka (1961-2009) in one of his final interviews before he passed into the arms of Jesus after fighting M.S. for years.

He (God) enables you to fulfill what He's called you to do. He's called me to be a father of seven and a husband, and work for the homeschoolers and to share His gospel. Charles Spurgeon once said that there will be no crownbearers in heaven who weren't crossbearers on earth. I got the cross of MS. Some people are going to have the cross of cancer, some are going to have the cross of losing a loved one, or some marriages will break up, or struggles that bring hurt and growth...for there are little crosses we all must bear; damage to cars, finances aren't doing well, or we loose a job...It's not a question of whether you are going to suffer or not. It's just a matter of how you deal with it...God is sovereign and we still must glorify Him...heaven's going to be sweeter than anything this world offers. I know it's going to be sweeter. I can't wait.

These are good words to ponder on a new year. May each of us face life with such power and grace. It is God's gift to each of us. I declare the gift of power and grace in 2010.

You know I love ya - Don

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Remember these....???

Matthew and Challenger Baseball last spring...Trophy Day!

Cousins Domanic and Dillon with Matthew watching something impressive on T.V.

Alice and Baby "B"...they are twin dolls and the male is "Billy Bob" - Dad was teasing and she liked the names.

Preschool graduation and Miss Trisch...

Buddy Walk and the Indianapolis Super Bowl Trophy!

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Nativity!

Victor Knowles wrote this in the Christian Standard this week. I want share it with you.

When I was a little boy my parents bought a Christmas manger set. On the box were these words: “The Christmas story in beautiful cutout scenes and lifelike figures . . . It tells the Christmas story . . . Fascinates young and old.” I remember how special it was to assemble the cardboard set on Christmas Eve. I would lie on the living room floor, face in hands, and gaze at those familiar figures for hours.

In the background was the little town of Bethlehem. To the left were the shepherds, with one little “adoring child” kneeling in reverence before the Christ child in the manger. To the right were the richly dressed and multicultural wise men, bearing their gifts. Behind Joseph and Mary stood a cow and a donkey, suspending their grazing in favor of gazing. Above the little wooden shelter was the star of Bethlehem. You could insert a Christmas tree bulb in the opening of the stable roof to add a lighting effect.

My favorite figures were not the camels, impressive though they were. Nor were they the gazing donkey and cow. There were also two grown sheep and one little lamb. And that lamb was my favorite of all. I loved that little lamb.

As I grew older I learned just how appropriate it was for that lamb to be included in the Christmas manger set. In Scripture, Jesus is described as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29)! In fact, the Bible declares Jesus is “the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world” (Revelation 13:8). God’s divine plan of salvation, from the very beginning of time, included our sins being covered by the blood of the Lamb—Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God.

I never realized, as a little boy, how significant it was when I got to help assemble the Christmas manger set. The printed instructions on the flat portion of the landscape read, “Insert sheep and lamb here.” That is precisely what God did at Bethlehem when the little lamb, the Son of God, was born; and that is what God did at Calvary when the grown-up Lamb of God died on the cross for our sins.

I still have Christmas manger set (No. 743), box included, and I still set it up every Christmas. The cardboard little lamb, now more than 50 years old, is still my favorite—because of its messianic meaning.

Pray for Christmas miracles and Christmas dreams to touch all our lives. You know I love ya and Merry Christmas! Don

Monday, December 21, 2009

Mary, the Mother of Jesus

"I am the Lord's servant," Mary Answered, "May it be to me as you have said." - Luke 1:38
The messages of Gabriel's announcement was this: "Mary, even though you have never been with a man, you are going to have a baby." WHAT!!!!!

How does a young Jewish bride-to-be explain that fact to her mother and father and her Fiancee'...not to mention in-laws, friends, and neighbors? No matter what Mary said, she had to know that people would talk. Her pregnancy was scandalous. The religious community would condemn her. The story would spread like wildfire. Gossips would have a field day.

How unfair! Both Joseph and Mary were devoted followers of God. They knew and God knew that they had been morally pure. But the world that loves to whisper didn't know and probably didn't care. How ironic! To God, Mary was chosen; to the world, Mary was cheap. She might have protested. Instead, she humbly submitted to the plan and purpose of God.

Mary's response to the surprising will of God is a great example for us. When we are confronted by situations that seem crazy or unfair, do we balk and complain? Or do we say, "God, I trust that you are in control, that you are good, and that you know what is best. If this is your plan for my life, then I accept it willingly"? I am asking God today to help me develop confidence in his faithfulness in every situation in the year 2010.

How we respond to unexpected events is a good measure of our faith. You know I love ya and looking forward to Christmas. - Don

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday Funny - A Lousy Tree

Signs You Bought a Lousy Tree

8. Two feet tall, forty feet wide

7. Salesman's opening line: "You're not a cop, are you?"

6. It looks suspiciously like a broom handle with a lot of coat hangers
Christmas Tree
5. While you sleep, it gets liquored up and takes the family caravan for a joy ride.

4. Each branch has "Duraflame" printed on it.

3. It's very small and says "air freshener" on it.

2. Rabbis have better Christmas trees than yours.

1. You are constantly bragging about its "trunk size"

Drink a cup of Hot Cocoa and admire your tree this year. You are loved...happy Friday! -Don

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Growing Up

My Mom made Christmas special for us. I was wrapping presents this evening and was thinking of her. She always had one present ready for under the tree the day tree was put up. Karen and I do it together. The children help us with "some" of the presents. I am very thankful for my mom and for giving me such wonderful memories. Many years it was slim "pick'ins" but mom always made it seem like we had a million.

I found this poem and it reminded me of her:
Visions Past
~ written by Roger J. Robicheau

The Christmas tree was real
That heavy tinsel, special feel

So many lights, in sparkling view
Glass ornaments, hung neatly too

An angel perched, atop it all
Seen shining down, it did not fall

The tree was watered in its stand
It's special smell, came on so grand

Nativity, was always perched
In middle window, all would search

Side windows dressed with candlelight
I'd check the view, from sidewalk sight

All was right, this child felt sure
That special time, lived in his door

I thank you God, for visions past
Which come alive, to hold and grasp

Thanks Mom, and may each of us cherish every day as if it were Christmas Day. You know I love ya, Don

Monday, December 14, 2009

God With Us - STILL?

"What, then, is the God I worship? ... You are the most hidden from us and yet the most present among us, the most beautiful and yet the most strong, ever enduring; and yet we cannot comprehend you." -St. Augustine

Isaiah 7:14
"All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means 'God is with us')." (NLT)

When the virgin gave birth to this Son, Immanuel was finally present among us, yet in so many ways he was still hidden from us. Romans 11:33 says, "Oh, how great are God's riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!"

Have you ever wondered why God would want to live among us and even within us, when we cannot fully comprehend him? Only love create this desire within the great God we love and serve. For only love could write this story.

If you've ever gone to live in a foreign country, you've known the temporary loneliness and frustration of living among people who can't fully understand you. I've only been to Mexico. That was bad enough. Leaving the culture where we fit is hard yet, in spite of the hardship, it was often eased with the knowledge that one day would come and eventually all would be fully understood. You and they would be able to share in the cultural experience.

1 Corinthians 13:12 promises a day when we will no longer see through imperfect eyes: "Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely."

Immanuel stepped out of eternity and into history. Jesus was God incarnate. In other words, Jesus is God in the flesh. Jesus' birth was to bring clarity to us and for us. Could it be that Immanuel—God With Us—is looking forward to that day just as much as we are, that day when we see him with perfect clarity and know him completely? Thus, we strive for excellent worship because He is an excellent God. We serve to please Him, because He came to serve us. We study His Word for a better knowledge of "who" God is so that we might have a clearer vision of the God we love.

God with us and yes, He is still with us. "Lord, open my eyes so I may see glimpses of truth you have for me. Help me recognized that you are with us and I surrender myself to your touch of clarity. Amen."

You know I love ya - Don

Friday, December 11, 2009

Economizing the 12 Days of Christmas!

It is Friday and less then two weeks to Christmas...With the downsizing in this economy, I thought you might get a chuckle out of this Friday Funny. I did.

Today's global challenges require the North Pole to continue to look for better, more competitive steps. Effective immediately, the following economy measures are to take place in the "Twelve Days of Christmas" subsidiary:

The partridge will be retained because of his public appeal, but the pear tree never turned out to be the cash crop forecasted. It will be replaced by a plastic hanging plant, providing considerable savings in maintenance.

The two turtle doves represent a redundancy that is simply not cost effective. In addition, their romance during working hours could not be condoned. The positions are therefore eliminated.

The three French hens will remain intact. After all, everyone loves the French. Not to mention their eggs will be good for everyone.

The four calling birds were replaced by an automated voice mail system, with a call waiting option. An analysis is underway to determine who the birds have been calling, how often and how long they talked.

The five golden rings have been put on hold by the Board of Directors. Maintaining a portfolio based on one commodity could have negative implications for institutional investors. Diversification into other precious metals as well as a mix of T-Bills and high technology stocks appear to be in order.

The six geese-a-laying constitutes a luxury which can no longer be afforded. It has long been felt that the production rate of one egg per goose per day is an example of the decline in productivity. Three geese will be let go, and an upgrading in the selection procedure by personnel will assure management that from now on every goose it gets will be a good one.

The seven swans-a-swimming is obviously a number chosen in better times. Their function is primarily decorative. Mechanical swans are on order. The current swans will be retrained to learn some new strokes and therefore enhance their outplacement.

As you know, the eight maids-a-milking concept has been under heavy scrutiny by the EEOC. A male/female balance in the workforce is being sought. The more militant maids consider this a dead-end job with no upward mobility. Automation of the process may permit the maids to try a-mending, a-mentoring or a-mulching.

Nine ladies dancing has always been an odd number. This function will be phased out as these individuals grow older and can no longer do the steps.

Ten Lords-a-leaping is overkill. The high cost of Lords plus the expense of international air travel prompted the Compensation Committee to suggest replacing this group with ten out-of-work congressmen. While leaping ability may be somewhat sacrificed, the savings are significant because we expect an oversupply of unemployed congressmen in late 2010.

Eleven pipers piping and twelve drummers drumming is a simple case of the band getting too big. A substitution with a string quartet and keyboard reductions will suffice, a cut back on new music and no uniforms will produce savings which will drop right down to the bottom line.

We can expect a substantial reduction in assorted people, fowl, animals and other expenses. Though incomplete, studies indicate that stretching deliveries over twelve days is inefficient. If we can drop ship in one day, service levels will be improved. We are also study the benefits of using the free shipping available through Walmart Site-to-store policy.

Regarding the lawsuit filed by the attorney's association seeking expansion to include the legal profession ("thirteen lawyers-a-suing"), action is pending.

Lastly, it is not beyond consideration that deeper cuts may be necessary in the future to stay competitive. Should that happen, the Board will request management to scrutinize the Snow White Division to see if seven dwarfs is the right number.

Keep laughing and enjoy the season. You know I love ya - Don

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My Eternal Christmas Gifts

These are my eternal Christmas Gifts.

I am a Child of God (John 1:12)
I am Christ's Friend (John 15:15)
I am united with the Lord (1 Cor. 6:17)
I am bought with a price (1 Cor. 6:19-20)
I am a saint and set apart for God (Eph. 1:1)
I am a personal witness of Christ (Acts 1:8)
I am the salt & light of the World (Matt. 5:13-14)
I am a member of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:27)
I am fee forever from Condemnation (Rom 8:1-2)
I am a Citizen of Heaven (Phil. 3:20)
I cannot be separated from God's Love (Rom. 8:35-39)
I am established, anointed, & sealed by God (2 Cor. 1:21-22)
I may approach God with confidence and freedom (Eph. 3:12)
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil 4:13)
I am the branch of the true vine (John 15:1-5)
I am God's temple (1 Cor. 3:16)
I have been justified (Romans 5:1)
I am confident that the good works God has begun in me will be perfected (Phil. 1:5)
I have been redeemed and forgiven (Col. 1:14)
I am a Child of God (Eph. 1:5)

"Lord, thank you for giving me such wonderful gifts this Christmas. Happy Birthday!"

God is not limited in His supply nor does He offer a rain check. You can open these gifts too. You know I love ya - Don

Sunday, December 6, 2009

As the Magi were overjoyed, so am I!

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. - Matthew 2:9-11

I feel much like the wise men this morning. They traveled many miles looking for Jesus. They worked hard and dedicated themselves to a long obedience in the same direction...following the star. The Magi (Individuals that were able to interpret the stars) had a long journey and a purpose in mind. I believe the Magi's forefathers learned of the coming Messiah when the Jews were captive in Babylon. Thus, they were waiting and looking for the New King, God's Messiah. It had been a long wait.

At the time they saw the star, they were overjoyed. All the hard work, education, and dedication to their goals opened up the reality of seeing Jesus...

Today is the day after our "Only Love" Musical weekend. I feel much like the Magi because I am also overjoyed. The reality of seeing Jesus in the hearts and minds of so many dedicated people brings me great joy. We also started a long journey of obedience in August. After much waiting, dedication, and education, we were able to lift our artistry in praise and worship.

Lord, thank you for dedicated Christ-followers that are willing to serve you completely. Thank you for strength and skill development that we might offer ourselves to you in a creative spirit. Thank you for truth that "Only love could write the Christmas story and only grace could make it true." In praise of Jesus' name, Amen.

You know I love ya - Don

Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday Funny - Santa Requests

We are going to meet Santa Tomorrow night at the Down Syndrome Indiana Christmas Party. I found this joke...
The Santa Claus at the mall was very surprised when a young lady about 20 years old walked up and sat on his lap. Santa doesn't usually take requests from adults, but she smiled very nicely at him, so he asked her, "What do you want for Christmas?"

"Something for my mother, please," said the young lady.

"Something for your mother? Well, that's very thoughtful of you," smiled Santa. "What do you want me to bring her?"

Without blinking she replied, "A son-in-law!"
It is a amazing what you might see in the Mall...Happy Friday! You know you are loved - Don

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Hearing from God and Going to See His Work!

8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, 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." - Luke 2:8-15

I want to follow the example of the shepherds. They heard from God's messengers and then they went. Granted what they heard was fantastically presented. The angels in the sky could not be missed. I am impressed in how they did not let the fear cripple their response. Instead, they went to see. They took action.

So many times, God reveals Himself to me and I will take it as mine. The truth is that God reveals Himself to us so that we might share it with others. Ignorance, fear, and lack of faith hinder my abilities to move...to act...to live as a Christ-follower.

Lord, help my unbelief. Open my courage to say and do the right thing. Lord, let me see your messages just as the Shepherd in the fields. Then, grant me the desire and the will to take action. I love you, Lord and thank you for my job, my family, and my home. Amen.

You know I love ya - Don