Easter - 2018

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Name that Brings Me Comfort

Philippians 2:10-11, "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

The mention of Jesus' name is so comforting to me. I have experienced great joy and tremendous sorrow over the years. Jesus promised we would have abundant life. He did not say, "abundant happy life...but abundant life." It is in that abundant life that the name of Jesus is discovered in full power and strength. Why? Because Jesus is the unifying force the holds the universe together. His name is also the source for strength in the abundance. I recall a reading written by Gloria Gaither...
The mere mention of His name can calm the storm, heal the broken, raise the dead.
At the name of Jesus, I've seen sin hardened men melted, derelicts transformed.
The lights of hope put in the eyes of a hopeless child.
At the name of Jesus, hatred and bitterness turn to love and forgiveness, arguments cease.
I've heard a mother softly breathe His name at the bedside of a child delirious from fever,
and watched... as that little body grew quiet, and fevered brow cooled.
I've sat the side of a dying saint. Her body wracked with pain, who in those final fleeting seconds summoned her last ounce of ebbing strength, just to whisper Earth's sweetest name.
Emperors have tried to destroy it.
Philosophies have tried to stamp it out.
Tyrannts have tried to wash it from the face of the Earth with the very blood of those who claimed it. Yet it still stands.
And there shall be that final day when every voice that has ever uttered a sound, every voice of Adam's race, shall raise in one mighty chorus to proclaim the name of Jesus.
For in that day, every knee shall bow, every tongue shall confess, that Jesus Christ is truly Lord.
You see, it was not by mere chance that caused the angel one night, long ago to say to a virgin maiden: His name, His name shall be called Jesus....Jesus....Jesus.....
Ya know, there is something, something about that name........ (~Gloria Gaither)

It is so true. Just the mention of Jesus brings comfort to those who know Him. It is so true because He is so wonderful to me and He is a servant always willing to serve the needs of others.

"Almighty God, you are truly an awesome God. You bring joy and strength in the hard days. Help me to speak your name with reverence and with comfort to others. Thank you for bringing the name to me. It is in His name that I ask you make these things possible, Amen."

Jesus loves you and so do I, Don

Monday, August 29, 2011

High Places!

Philippians 2:9 "Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name."

Have you ever stood on the top of a very high place. I have several memories of high places. One was over looking the Grand Canyon. Other is looking through a clearing at a cascade in the Smoky Mountains. I also recall hiking to the top of the Chimney's in the Smoky Mountain Park with Josh Petlitzer. I have memories of standing on a bridge and over looking a great river flowing underneath and looking out of an observation deck in a high rise in in San Diego, CA and New York City.

There was something special about the high places. It was a little frightening. Heights don't usually both me, but being up high is not a normal place for me to be. My legs get a little shaky and I try to find a balance to hold to. I need an additional balance because my senses were telling me that I was up high and not in a typical location for me to be.

Another attribute that each of these place had was that I could see out. The memory I have is that it was clear and that I could see forever. Even on the bridge and it was a little foggy, I could see. I could also be seen. I remember people looking up at us on the Chimney's in the Smokies starting their trek up the tall mountain. There is was small clearing an they were looking up at us and we were looking down at them. They waved their arms at us and we waved our arms back at them. They could see us....

Jesus had the attitude to be a servant and was willing to work for the others best interest. He was even willing to go to the Cross in our place because He was thinking of our best interest. God responded to this attitude. God responded to this action and willingness to serve. God lifted Jesus to the highest place and gave him a high place. In the high place, everyone can see Him. The key is to take our eyes off of ourselves and our low places and look in His direction. It is a direction of service and thinking of others first. It is then we look up and see Jesus lifted up and God praised. It is a little frightening and doesn't feel as natural as it should, but the place is an awesome view and we are testimonial views for God.

"Dear God, help me to see beyond myself and look up on the high place the great servant lifted up. My I follow His example and please you with faith and action that seeks the well being of others. Please make me a Christ-follower that seeks to bring you and you alone glory! Amen"

You know I love ya, Don

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

An Appearing Presence!!!

"In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus...And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!"- Philippians 2:5 & 8

Jesus was found in the appearance of a man. He was God, yet God chose to be revealed in the appearance as a man. What does it mean to appear? Remember the old saying, "appeared out of no where."

I recall an Elder at the Gethsemane Church of Christ is Mechanicsville, VA. His name was Carlyle Williams and He gave some of the best communion meditations I have experienced. He was also very light on his feet. He would always volunteer to lock up the church at the close of services. So, in this older building and with the lights off I would be leaving the church. Then, appearing out of no where, Carlyle would step up behind you, your heart starts to beat a little faster because of the awareness that there was a presence very close. Carlyle startled the blood right out of my heart many times. He would apologize every time, but he was and I am sure still very quiet on his feet.

When Paul tells us that Jesus appeared as a man, I believe we are to learn that Jesus was the very presence of God. God appeared out of heaven as a man and just like becoming aware of Carlyle presence, so we are also to be aware of God's presence in Jesus. The presence of God in Jesus is one of humility and obedience. It is a presence that draws people closer together, unifies the heart in worship and then scatters people to talk more about the presence in their life. Jesus' presence is the awesome appearance of God.

Paul starts the passage with the declaration, "we are to have the same attitude." Our presence should be one that is known to others as humble and obedient. A presence that thinks of others needs and approaches the need with solutions even if the need is met by a sacrifice on our part. The Christ-follower's presence should be known as a radiant reflection of Jesus.

"Dear Lord, help me be a presence in the world I live. I plead for you to help my unbelief and reveal yourself to me and my family in a way that draws us closer to your presence. Allow us the joy of being obedient in serving others needs while living a life of abundance. I ask for these in Jesus Name, Amen."

It is a joy to study the word with you. You know I love ya, Don

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Next Best Thing!

"In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness." Philippians 2:5-7

Jesus was God and He know that in the flesh, equality with God was something we could not achieve. In response, He chose the next best thing...He become a servant. In order to be a servant, He had to make Himself nothing. Other translations of the original Greek, state that Jesus "emptied Himself."

If He emptied Himself, what did He let go of? The answer is obvious and profound. He emptied Himself of the power and majesty of God. Literally, He made himself nothing. He openly chose to be a nobody so that He could serve. He freely gave up all that would attract prestige, influence, wealth, and security so that He could serve. He chose to serve because in the flesh He did not consider equality with God something to be grasped.

Jesus took the nature of a servant and was found in human likeness. This is God incarnate. I like chili con-carne. That is chili made with meat and no beans. The crudeness of the illustration doesn't hinder the reality of the teaching. The root of the words are the same..."carne" and "incarnate." Both words are talking about meat or the flesh. Jesus was God in the flesh. He also realized the inability to defeat sin and the flesh without the servant attitude required. So, He was found, discovered, realized, and experienced in human likeness.

The writer of Philippians was the Apostle Paul, He writes, "Our attitudes should be the same as that of Christ Jesus." We are also found and experienced in the flesh...we live in the "con carne" state. In addition, we should never consider equality with God. So, the next best choice is to take on the very nature of a servant and follow in Christ's example. In other words, a Christ-follower's attitude should be to fulfill the needs of others. I wonder how many of us are doing that?

"Dear Lord, help me to follow your example and have a servant attitude. Forgive me for my unbelief and my lack of faith. Please give me eyes that see, ears that hear, and hands that serve the needs of others. I need your help in emptying myself of pride, bias, and selfish desire so that I may be filled with you. You know I love you and desire to serve you in all I do. In Jesus Name, Amen."

Thanks for reading and you know I love ya, Don

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dying in order to live

This is a repost from March of 2009...I needed to read it again...

Jesus also said, "This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come." John 4:26-29

Imagine with me for moment this following scene:

The farmer from the above scripture is ready to plant the seed. The seeds cries out,"please don't put me in that hole? It is cold, dark, and wet in there. I will die in that hole!"

The farmer responds with, "Yes, you will die in there, but you will also sprout and grow into a mighty tree. You will come alive again and produce much fruit. You will grow very tall and be able to experience the height and depth of my love. You will also know what it feels like to have the wind blow and the sun shine on your leaves."

"But I don't want to die." states the little seed. "I don't want to loose what I have."

"Oh, what you will gain will far outweigh what you will loose in your new life." explains the farmer.

"I am afraid," pleads the little seed.

"Do not be afraid. I will take care of you. You must die to the fear in order to truly live." says the farmer. The farmer then plants the seed and the little seed becomes a mighty tree. The seeds learns in the dark, cold, wet parts of life is where we truly surrender and then we will truly begin to live.

What does it mean to be alive....to surrender oneself to God by declaring God's worth in our lives while recognizing His presence in our lives, by giving to God's purposes, and by lifting His praises in all we do. For when we die to ourselves is when we truly begin to live.
What do you think it means to be alive? You know I love ya - Don

Monday, August 15, 2011

Back to School - some guidelines

"Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility ... He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service.

"Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.

"But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way" Daniel 1:3-8 (NIV)

Alice and Matthew go back to school tomorrow. They are so excited. I recall being miserable the day before I would go back to school at their ages. I started thinking about some of the guidelines that made life in school more productive and probably would have made my experience something to look forward to in contrast to my misery. I starting searching out some websites and thoughts finding Carol's list in "5 Minutes for Faith":

1. Do more listening than you do talking. If you are talking at the same time as the teacher, you may miss some very important instructions.

2. Follow directions. Don’t question what you have been told, just get down to business and follow directions the first time. It will save you much heartache in the long run.

3. Stay on task. Your teacher is smarter than you. Guaranteed. Each task serves a purpose in your overall education. Stay focused on what you need to do and don’t be distracted by others.

4. Come prepared. Don’t show up to school without your homework. Be sure you’ve put thought into what you might need each day.

5. Be flexible. Things will not always go the way you think they should. Smile anyway. Some pizza days could easily turn into fish sandwich days. Make up your mind to be happy no matter what.

I think all of us would do well to take these five guidelines and apply them to everyday life. We must commitment to Daniel's example and not defile ourselves. It is our job as Christ-followers to be the leaders in compassion, integrity, and in growth. So, we make it our goal to please Him, the perfect example for us all.

You know I love ya...and happy back-to-school. Don

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth." 1 John 3:16-18

I was asked what love is and I thought about it and tried to explain love as an expression of heartfelt passion toward another person...yet it does not truly describe love. There are theological words that describe love and there many ways love can be interpreted. Yet, that just does not do the job.

I think we have trouble describing love because love is an action word. Action words need to be told by the action that is demonstrated. Thus the text above describes what true love is. Marvin Williams writes about love:

A South African man surprised nine men robbing his home. Seven of the robbers ran away, but the homeowner managed to shove two into his backyard pool. After realizing that one of the robbers couldn’t swim, the homeowner jumped in to save him.The Cape Times reports that once out of the pool, the wet thief called to his friends to come back. Then he pulled a knife and threatened the man who had just rescued him. The homeowner said, “We were still standing near the pool, and when I saw the knife I just threw him back in. But he was gasping for air and was drowning. So I rescued him again.”

In his letter to the Colossians, the apostle Paul wrote of another rescue: God the Father had saved them from the domain of darkness. This rescue occurred at the death of Christ, but also at the Colossians’ conversion. The imagery Paul used (1:12-13) suggests that believers have been rescued from the dark reign of Satan by being transferred as free people into the peaceable rule of Christ. By Jesus’ death, believers become free citizens in the kingdom of light.

The appropriate response to such amazing grace is to show joyous gratitude by offering God acceptable service with reverence and awe (Heb. 12:28).

Our only response to being rescued and loved can be nothing less than to go and love those around us as Christ loved us first. I am going to "go" and "love." I will be looking for you on the journey. You know I love ya, Don

Monday, August 8, 2011

"Go" ...

“The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” Psalm 119:130 NIV

Matthew rides horses every week. It is part of his Hippotherapy to strengthen his core and balance. He rides the horses and receives physical and occupational therapy at TherAplay. They teach him that as he is ready to call out to the horse and say, "Go!" Then the horse will move forward and they get moving.

I couldn't help but think of Jesus while I was watching Matthew on Friday. Jesus also gave us a command. He said, "Go." He was telling us to go physically out to people around us and demonstrate worship in compassion and sacrifice. Notice he says to all people and to go with a purpose. David Branon wrote in June of 2010:

Picher, Oklahoma, is no more. In mid-2009, this once-bustling town of 20,000 went out of business. In the first quarter of the 1900s, Picher was a boomtown because of its abundant lead and zinc. Workers extracted the ore, which was used to help arm the US during both World Wars.

The town faded as the ore began to run out—but the biggest problem was that while the lead and zinc brought wealth, they also brought pollution. Because nothing was done to deal with the pollution, Picher became a toxic wasteland, and the government condemned the land.

What happened to Picher can happen to people. Prosperity can look so good that it’s hard to think about possible downsides. Actions that are detrimental to long-term spiritual health are accepted, and unless the problem is corrected, destruction follows. It happened to King Saul. He began as a good king, but in seeking success he failed to see the damage he was doing. Turning his back on God’s commands, he acted “foolishly” (1 Sam. 13:13) and lost his kingdom (v.14).

In our attempts to find success, we need to watch out for spiritual pollution that comes when we fail to follow God’s clear scriptural guidelines. Godly living always beats toxic living.

To many times Christ-followers go yet they do not go with a purpose in mind. They go and move forward but with out a purpose it is like a town full of pollution. They start to feel scorned and toxins set in along with discouragement. So, what is the purpose Jesus set out for us? The purpose is to go and LOVE! Jesus' words are full of love and are are to follow in His example.

I am going to "go" and I pray I will see you on the journey. You know I love ya, Don

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Special Prayer for Today!

Open My Eyes by Clara H Scott

Open my eyes, that I may see
Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me;
Place in my hands the wonderful key
That shall unclasp and set me free.

Silently now I wait for Thee,
Ready my God, Thy will to see,
Open my eyes, illumine me,
Spirit divine!

Open my ears, that I may hear
Voices of truth Thou sendest clear;
And while the wave notes fall on my ear,
Everything false will disappear.

Silently now I wait for Thee,
Ready my God, Thy will to see,
Open my eyes, illumine me,
Spirit divine!

Open my mouth, and let me bear,
Gladly the warm truth everywhere;
Open my heart and let me prepare
Love with Thy children thus to share.

Silently now I wait for Thee,
Ready my God, Thy will to see,
Open my eyes, illumine me,
Spirit divine!

A Prayer for this day. You know I love ya, Don

Monday, August 1, 2011

Glimpses of Truth...high above the earth!

LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens. Psalm 8:1

Welcome August 2011. My desire and prayer for this month is, "Open My eyes that I may see, glimpses of truth God has for me." I don't travel by plane very often. When I do, I never grow tired of looking out the window of the airplane. Since most of my flights are to and from the same cities, the landscape I see is not unfamiliar, yet I have trouble recognizing the landscape from such a different view. Now matter from what view, sunrises and sunsets are never the same, particularly when viewed from the air, above the clouds.

As I think about clouds and how different they look from the air, it occurs to me that I am not physically designed to see clouds from above. I am able to because, through the achievements of modern aviation, I can go where I was not intended to go and see the earth from a different perspective, more like God's perspective.

Through His marvelous grace, I realize that when I fight my daily battles on earth and cannot see past them or deal with them effectively, I can step back and try to look at my life from God's perspective. He is like a strong jet seen from above, and ALSO very intricately involved in my life. The best of both perspectives. Then I perceive my situation differently -- sometimes as different as clouds look from above. God knows the overall scheme of things. From God's perspective, the particular battle I am fighting may not be so big after all...in fact I may be winning a new level of blessing and growth greater than I could even ask for.

"Dear Lord, open my eyes and may I see you and may other see you in me. Amen"

You know I love ya, Don