Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Lights of Egypt


A wondrous shot of the Nile River Delta population in Egypt...from above...

Blessings, Don

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Becoming Like Our King


Nathaniel Hawthorne tells the famous story that provides a great example concerning what it is to be Christ-like. A certain people had been so well-governed that when their king died, they determined never to have another until they could find a man that looked and acted just like the dead monarch. To keep his picture before the people, they had a great profile of the king carved on a cliff. For years, a commission of men hunted through the realm for a man that would qualify…but without success. Yet, one day they stopped at a humble cottage at the base of the great stone face to rest and secure food. To their great joy, they found a young man whose face was just the same as that of the monarch on the cliff. Day in and day out, as this simple boy had plowed his little fields and cut his wood, he had gazed up at the wonderful profile that spoke of courage, purity and determination. And day by day, shaped by the thoughts he allowed to dwell in his mind, he became just like the deceased king. We become more like our King Jesus…in our thoughts and actions…by looking to Him day by day.

Blessings, Don

Monday, June 13, 2011

Mavs Are Marvelous


I was oh so tempted to want to write about the Dallas Mavericks' run through the NBA playoffs, but just did not want to deliver any kind of kiss of death. So, now is the time to say -- congratulations to Mark Cuban and his team for dispatching the overhyped Miami Heatles. I have to say, there is a certain sweetness and justification to beating the Heat.

For any criticism that Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki has received for shrinking back over the past several years in the playoffs, he answered all of that criticism...and then the 2011 playoffs. Nowitzki absolutely dominated in the playoffs through the first three rounds and finally in the NBA Championship. Of course, Nowitzki had some help...veteran Jason Kidd, dynamic Jason Terry, energetic J.J. Barea and enforcer Shawn Marion, among others, made significant contributions to bring home the hardware to Dallas.

I have to confess that I have had a hard time rooting for the Mavericks since they had not been able to put together a championship run, while in the meantime their nemesis, the Spurs, down the road in San Antonio, have won four championships over the past dozen years or so. Yet, they have earned maximum respect for their efforts in 2011. The monkey is off of their back, and they have gained a new legion of fans...myself included.

Blessings, Don

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ulterior Motives


E.J. Englin shares this -- In society we don the faces we think are most appropriate for the life we want lead. We tread lightly where people's sensibilities are concerned. We speak the language others speak. We immolate, we imitate, we contrive…subterfuge is our drink of choice and we imbibe liberally. Everyday situations arise where we want to make our thoughts, feelings, and voices be heard…situations with our family, friends, co-workers, bosses. We want to be up front, we want to be honest, but we realize that honesty isn't always the best policy. How do you tell the people around you that you want them to do something that may be against their better judgment, or against their nature? How do you promote your ideas, without stepping on the toes of someone important to you? It may sound cynical, but beneath the exterior of the person you call friend lies their own goals, their own dreams, their own wishes; wishes that may be at odds with your own.

Ulterior motive as defined by the MSN Encarta dictionary means: a second and underlying motive…often a selfish or dishonorable one. But, it's not always selfish. Your underlying motive may be to get your daughter to stop dating a man who is leading her down the wrong path. Or it may be to help your spouse make a good decision about a car you're not even sure will make it down the block. It could on the surface seem that you are doing things for your own selfish reasons. And, too often, we think we have a better answer than the person we love. It can be very dishonorable, however, when we don't speak our minds and tell the truth, but it can also be disastrous when we do.

Ulterior motives often hide behind the tragic faces we show to the world. They lurk beneath our benign masks…coloring our actions…informing our decisions. Your mom has one when she huffs and puffs about not being able to go to her church function, when you barely have enough money to buy food. After all, if you give her money, it was your idea. Your husband has one when he drops hints that the boys are having a football party the same day as your anniversary. His forlorn face makes you give in when what you really want to do is wring his neck. Your co-worker has one when they complain about staying up all night with the baby, so you offer to take care of their work, even though you're overloaded with your own.

We often believe that saying what we really want appears selfish or immoral, but to this writer it shows a marked disrespect for the person you're dealing with. Asking outright may not get you what you want, but at least you're honest. Telling the truth about what you want may not be rewarding, but it can stop a lot of heartache. Of course, that being said, civilization just could not stand if everyone was honest about their real motives. Having an ulterior motive could be a good thing or a bad thing. It all depends on what you're trying to accomplish and if what you want will benefit you and hurt someone else.

Blessings, Don

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Above All Else


Here are some thoughts from Edward Fudge's gracEmail...

THE GREATEST HERESY -- Whatever else might be said, I honestly don't believe we'll even begin to move in the right direction until we resolve that loving one another (and everyone else) is a higher priority than proving, protecting and enforcing the rightness of our doctrines. I'm almost certain someone just now had the thought--"Here we go again, compromising correct doctrine in the name of love. More fluffy, post-modern, sentimental garbage!" Was I right?

The thing is, there's absolutely nothing fluffy, post-modern or sentimental about placing love above doctrinal correctness, for this conviction permeates the New Testament! Truth be told, we shouldn't even contrast "love" and "doctrinal correctness" in the first place. We should rather regard the command to love as the most foundational doctrine of the church and thus the most important doctrine to be correct on!

Peter says, "Above all, love each other deeply, for love covers a multitude of sins" (and alleged "heresies"? I Pet. 4:8, cf. Col 3:14). If love is to be placed "above all," then there simply can't be any other command or doctrine or agenda that competes with it for the top position. It must stand on top alone. Paul makes the same point, but even more emphatically, when he tells us it doesn't matter how right we are, how spiritually gifted we are, how intelligent or wise we are, or even how much faith and service we display: if these aren't accompanied by love, they are a noisy gong or clanging cymbal (I Cor 13:1-3). -- Greg Boyd, Christus Victor (May 7, 2011).