Easter - 2018

Monday, May 30, 2011

Thank You, As We remember - Memorial Day!

I want to take this day and remember all those that have given their life for the freedom we share in America. Thank you!

For more information on what Memorial Day is click the following...Memorial Day!

Have a great Monday. You know I love ya -Don

Starting a new book...Quiet Hero by Rita Crosby. You might want to check it out for Memorial Day.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Enhancing the Flavor of Life - Salt pt. 2

Mark 9:50…“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”

A baked potato with butter, sour cream, pepper, and “SALT.” The salt is the essence of the taste and heightens the tastes of the other flavors. This is why we have salt and pepper shakers on our tables…we want to enhance the taste.

Sodium is an extremely active element found naturally only in combined form; it always links itself to another element. Chlorine, on the other hand, is the poisonous gas that gives bleach its offensive odor. When sodium and chlorine are combined, the result is sodium chloride--common table salt--the substance we use to preserve meat and bring out its flavor. Love and truth can be like sodium and chlorine. Love without truth is flighty, sometimes blind, willing to combine with various doctrines. On the other hand, truth by itself can be offensive, sometimes even poisonous. Spoken without love, it can turn people away from the gospel. Truth without love divides marriages, destroys parenting skills, and diminishes life.

Yet, when truth and love are combined, much like salt and chlorine, in an individual or a church, we have what Jesus called "the salt of the earth," and we're able to bring taste to our culture and bring out the beauty of our faith. Look Mark 10:2-9:

“Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” “What did Moses command you?” he replied. They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.” “It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,”

Jesus replied. “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”

What is Jesus teaching us about marriage and divorce? … Jesus is tough and teaches us that marriage is not about lust. Lust of control, lust of power, lust of fleshly desires and sex, but marriage is about keeping your word and living as a united couple for the purpose of mutual edification.” Thus, married Christians should make a difference in the “flavor of the world we live in, just as salt changes meat’s flavor.”

A Christ-follower’s marriage should be above and beyond the world’s view of marriage. It is our calling to unite together and grow together as a couple, as possible parents, and ultimately in serving God and His people. God allowed divorce as a concession to the people’s sinfulness.

It is important to always be reminded…Sinfulness reduces a person ability to live a God like life...much like water will delude salt.

Let me ask you, “Do you bring taste in the life you live?” Do the people around you say, “I know the essence of Jesus because of you.”? Other than your mother, your spouse knows you better than anyone else…does your spouse see you and know that you bring a flavor filled taste to the world and to your home?

Hebrews 13:1-5, “Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. 2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. 3 Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. 4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. 5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Do you bring taste into your world?

Striving to do my best to bring taste into the lives I am blessed to meet! You know I love ya, Don

Monday, May 23, 2011

Preserving Life - Salt pt. 1

Mark 9:43-48. “If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where ‘the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched’.”

Jesus is passionate about being a source of preservation to right living that He teaches that it would be better for mutilation, then to allow for the sin to continue and loose it all just so that wrong living might NOT continue. Jesus also gives us that “how to” in his teaching.

Look at how Jesus addresses the “causes”: If your hand causes, if your foot causes, if eye causes…Jesus is a tough man on sin and is not willing to compromise on sin. One might ask, “How can I be tough on sin?” The answer is look at the “causes” of sin and remove them. You may have to remove them to the extreme of complete separation. Thus, in order to preserve…one must be tough on sin and be willing to take the steps to remove the causes.

Let me ask you…are you preserving the lives around you? Are you tough on your own sin? If you are series about preserving the lives around you, … then your are not living in sin, you are not allowing your friends to twist the time you are together into a time of sin or compromised living. A Jesus perspective in a Christ-Follower is to be tough on sin and preserve the innocence, the right living, the holy essence of being a believer.

Here is the question? Are you preserving the people around you? If you are, then your family, your friends, and your relationships say, “I am a better person because you are in it.

The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 12:9-13, “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”

This is what is means to be salt that preserves. Doing my best to be a source of preservation! You know I love ya, Don

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Kingdom Perspective!

Mark 3:20-21 & 31-35

20 Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. 21 When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”

31 Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. 32 A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”

33 “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.

34 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

This passage is all about having a worldly perspective verses a kingdom perspective. Mary and Jesus' brother had a problem...they saw the world with a worldly perspective. Jesus seizes the opportunity to use it as a teaching moment and teaches a truth that is just as valid today. When we have a Kingdom Perspective and do the will of God, we are not alone but become siblings with Jesus...that makes God our Perfect Father.

Thus, life actions change. These five are big changes that happen when your perspective on life is Kingdom Driven:

  1. You come to church with a destination in mind…I am here to meet Jesus.

A Kingdom Perspective understands that this world is not my home and I am just passing through. A Kingdom Outlook understands this world is hostile to Christ-followers. So, when a person with the outlook that sees the Kingdom, Church is not about me…in fact its not about you either, rather church is about me taking my hurts…my struggles…my praises…my joys…MY LIFE to Jesus! I may like your hat, I may like that we can chat about how the crops are coming or how work is developing, I may even like the coffee at the coffee bar…but those are not why I am here. I am here to take care of business and be with JESUS! I need to worship and I need to demonstrate to Jesus how MUCH HE IS WORTH TO ME…

It is all in your perspective:

  1. Relationships are filled with love and genuine listening.

A Kingdom Point of view is intentional in relationships. Relationships with our Spouses are filled with love and listening. Not just men for woman, but also women for men. Intentional listening also looks for body language and makes the effort to read, study, and learn from the other partner.

A Kingdom Point of view is intentional in relationships with our Children and their children. It is purposefully loving and listening to the needs of these young lives. Biology does not make a parent. It makes it easier to get the job, but the task is hard and it takes work. It has been said and the bible teaches, “The best thing you can do for your children is to have a Kingdom perspective and love your spouse.” A worldly perspective is quick to judge and swift in punishment…yet a Kingdom Perspective realizes that eternal and responds with discernment and wisdom. A Kingdom Perspective at times will guide a child by the answer, “I don’t know, but together we will figure it out.”

A Kingdom Point of view is intentional in relationships with our co-workers, our friends, our neighbors and even in OUR irritating enemies. The question is always, “How would this bring glory to Jesus and build lives…I will not compromise my beliefs, I will not compromise my integrity, and I will not violate you because the culture in which we live allows for it!

It is all in your perspective:

  1. Work is filled with passion.

A Kingdom assessment works with full diligence and dedication. It is showing up 15 minutes early and staying 15 minutes late. It is praying for your boss, your co-workers and your clients…even if the clients bring more finances to another co-worker or maybe your competition. Have a Kingdom assessment is to know that your job is a gift from God and does not belong to you. It is living and understanding that life and your job is but a vapor and that as an employee or owner, God is the owner of all things. We give our first fruits in tithing and in service…all the rest is a loan from Him and he gives us the joy of being stewards of it for abundant living.

It is all in your perspective:

  1. Down time is filled with right living verses sin living.

A Kingdom standpoint is to study the word of God daily and learn to apply its teachings. It is look sin in the face and know that it is wrong. My gut it telling me this is wrong, my mind knows this is wrong and I will not go against the teaching of righteousness and right living just because it feels good.

A Kingdom standpoint looks at wrong living and says, “Get behind me Satan.” I will not allow for sin to dominate my life and compromise my purpose of being a Christ-follower. I am a follower of the Most High King and

I will not covet my friend just because he is retired and worked hard for his/her things and is enjoying them.

I will not lie to a customer to make a sale.

I will not use my words to murder the integrity of another person just because I can or they deserve it.

I will not steal from my employer, even if they will never miss it.

I will not look at the pornography or that person with lust in my eyes.

I will not…I will not…I will not…because I have a Kingdom Perspective and I am just passing through this life to get to the Kingdom that is filled with Milk and Honey…It is filled with Jesus.

  1. You want more…you know this is not it and there is more to come.

Once you have released yourself to a Kingdom perspective…you want more. It is like a rich dessert and a good cup of Tea or Coffee…your soul has tasted heaven it cries out with in you, “Give me another piece of that.”

Your soul knows this is not it…it is what sustains you when your child dies at two months old or any crisis hits your life. I have often said and will continue to say. The thing I most look forward to when I get to heaven is a new heart. I look for a heart that no longer is prone to wonder or sin. Then I plan to find Jesus and just thank Him for letting me in the door. My Kingdom Perspective empowers me with the hope and assurance that as I am thanking Jesus for letting me in the door, He will turn around to an angel or heavenly being to reach for our little baby. He will take Nicholas and put him back into our arms and make all things complete just as he promised.

A Kingdom Perspective lets me come to church with a destination in mind,

it fills my relationships with love and genuine listening,

my work is filled with passion,

my down time is filled with right living,

and it drives me to want more of the Kingdom each and every day.

I am striving for a Kingdom Perspective. You Know I love ya, Don

Monday, May 16, 2011

Childlike Faith!

I am reading "Heaven is for Real" by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent. I highly recommend it. This is an exerpt from page 74 concerning Childlike faith. It touched me and I think it will you as well:

"What is childlike humility? It's not the lack of intelligence, but the lack of guile. The lack of an agenda. It's the precious, fleeting time before we have accumulated enough pride or position to care what other people might think. The same un-self-conscience honesty that enables a three-year-old to splash joyfully in a rain puddle, or tumble laughing in the grass with a puppy, or point out loudly that you have a booger hanging out of your nose, is all that is required to enter heaven. It is the opposite of ignorance. It is intellectual honesty; to be willing to accept reality and to call things what they are even when it is hard."

"Lord, grant me childlike faith and forgive me for my unbelief. We miss you, Nicholas, and we know Lord Jesus that he will always be our son. We also know that you can make another perfect fit for our family as he was. So, forgive us for our unbelief and help us in living an abundant life by having child-like faith. Amen"

You know I love ya, Don

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Have Mercy on Us!

When [the blind beggar] heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" -Mark 10:47 (NRSV)

God is speaking...studying Mark 10:46-52, I was deeply moved by Bartimaeus's experience of regaining his sight. I thought how helpless the sightless man must have felt. All around him, the crowd sought to silence him when he cried out, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"

Amid all the noise and distraction of the crowd that followed the Master, the blind man's cry for mercy should have been almost impossible for Jesus to hear. Yet, that voice, that cry of desperation, reached the heart and ears of Christ. And he healed Bartimaeus.

How merciful, indeed, is the Lord! No matter what our problems, no matter what interference we may encounter, we can cry out to God, secure in the knowledge that God will hear and respond. God is speaking, may I be quiet enough to listen.

You know I love ya, Don

Monday, May 9, 2011

Little By Little

God spoke, "Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and possess the land." -Exodus 23:30 (NRSV)

I have written in the past few months that I feel my family and I are in a holding pattern, waiting room, and during the Easter season that we are living in our Saturday - between the death and the resurrection. Our culture has such a hard time waiting. In this process, I am definitely part of my culture. I find myself praying, "God please speak to us...." It was Mother's day yesterday and we are missing Nicholas terribly. Matthew and Alice are great joys, yet our nest is missing one.

God gave Moses the laws for Israel and guided the chosen people through the wilderness toward the land promised as theirs. However, God did not promise immediate victory over the people who were occupying the land. Getting rid of the inhabitants all at once would have left the land useless and unattended, because Israel did not have sufficient people to give it proper care. Instead, Israel took over little by little, securing that which could be cared for until they were ready for more.

"Little by little" is not an acceptable pace to many of us who want immediate results. Nevertheless, my experience has been that spiritual growth little by little is far more possible than is instant perfection. The Promised Land is still ahead. Not everything that needs to be driven out has yet been accomplished in us. But we are maturing in God "little by little." Even in our grief, we are maturing in God's love, compassion and comfort. He never said it would not hurt, but that He would never leave us alone in the pain.

You know I love ya, Don

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Perspectives - Mark 3:31-35

Mark 3:31-35 - "Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.” And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”

If a relationship with God the Father is the most important relationship someone can have, it makes sense that those who are also sons of God the Father are those that you will align yourself with, share your life with, be accountable to, and love with concrete loyalty and sacrifice.

For whom would this redrawing of the boundary of family be comforting news? For whom would it be unwelcome?

This would be comforting for those who have known a broken family, in which instead of love and security, there was strife and anger and hurt; who know that even family, who are supposed to be the ones to love and protect you, can let you down. For those even with a good family background, who know their sinfulness, their tendencies to want to indulge in the coziness and comfort of just a nuclear family, who know that even these good things and relationships can become a curse and idol when not submitted under the lordship of Christ, and who know that they need the church, people to be accountable to with their struggles, so that they could even build up their family to honor and glorify God in the way that it was meant to by being truly a place of love and peace and forgiveness, through which an open home and family could also draw others to experience the love of God – they would also welcome this.

The Mark passage would be unwelcome news for those who want to make their own circle of their nuclear family the center of their lives, even at the expense of doing God’s will and opening up their lives to be in open community with those outside just their own nuclear family.

Truly Jesus is talking about a worldly perspective verses a Christ-centered perspective. Jesus is not against his family because we see Jesus take care of his mother at the cross. Yet, in this passage his family is trying to help him by giving him advice to be more politically correct. The reality is that in the passage as a whole, Jesus is the new "Heavenly" correct. Having that perspective changes actions, loyalties, responses, and eternal destinations...

More on this to come. You know I love ya, Don

The Holy Bible : New Revised Standard Version. 1989 (Mk 3:31–4:1). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Singing Makes all the Difference!

Isaiah 12:1-6 - "In that day you will say:

“I will praise you, LORD. Although you were angry with me,
your anger has turned away and you have comforted me. Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid.

The LORD, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.” With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

In that day you will say: “Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted.
Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.
Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”

I listened with delight as Matthew and Alice sing to me. His happy face mirrored what their words expressed. Often, singing enables us to express longings, hopes, and dreams that cannot be shared by mere spoken or written language.

Isaiah 12:1-6 contains the prophesy that God's people will suffer judgment for their sins and unfaithfulness. But Isaiah also states, "A day is coming when people will sing" (12:1, TEV) in the midst of their suffering. Throughout chapter 12, Isaiah chooses the word sing to describe the exiles' response to God's promise that they would return to their land.

We all deal with losses and disappointments; but we can remain faithful and hopeful because we know that our labor in the Lord is not in vain (See 1 Cor. 15:58) and that God gives us the power and the strength to face life's obstacles. And in the midst of our sadness, suffering, and emptiness, we have Isaiah's promise that a day is coming when we will be able to sing again.

I choose to praise Him regardless of the circumstance. I have found the choice makes the journey's difficulties possible and brings hope in another day that will dawn. You know I love ya, Don