Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year...New Blog


I do not necessarily feel like I need to make annual changes to my personal blogging world, but it is just the way it has it boredom or improvement (or both :-). I believe this is the best way for me to put out any messages concerning my selected themes. I am planning to stick primarily with spiritual themes, but will still do some sports and space messages on occasion...but not as much as on the old blog. I hope to be an encouragement and a blessing to you in the Lord. Happy reading...

Blessings, Don

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Given, Not Earned


An ad for the U.S. Marines pictures a sword, and beneath it the words: “Earned, not given.” If you want to become a Marine, be prepared to earn the right to be called a “Marine” through sacrifice, hardship, and training. If you get it, you deserve it. But if you want to become a Christian, you must have the exact opposite attitude, for the message of the gospel is: “Given, not earned.” You cannot save your own soul, and God will not save anyone who tries to earn salvation, but only those who will humbly receive it as a gift through faith in Jesus Christ. If you get it, you absolutely did not deserve it (Ephesians 2:8-9 NASB)…“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;’ not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Romans 5:8), “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Anonymous

Blessings, Don

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Willing to Die


Since we have been dealing with the Medo-Persian Empire in studying Daniel and Esther recently, here is an interesting story from the time...

On the southern border of Cyrus’ empire, there lived a great chieftain named Cagular who tore to shreds and completely defeated the various detachments of Cyrus’ army sent to subdue him. Finally the emperor, amassing his whole army, marched down, surrounded Cagular, captured him, and brought him to the capital for execution. On the day of the trial, he and his family were brought to the judgment chamber - Cagular, a fine looking man of more than 6 feet, with a noble manner about him - a magnificent specimen of a man. So impressed was Cyrus with his appearance that he said to Cagular: "What would you do should I spare your life?" "Your Majesty, if you spared my life, I would return to my home and remain your obedient servant as long as I lived."

"What would you do if I spared the life of your wife?" "Your Majesty, if you spared the life of my wife, I would die for you."

So moved was the emperor that he freed them both and returned Cagular to his province to act as governor thereof. Upon arriving at home, Cagular reminisced about the trip with his wife. "Did you notice," he said to his wife, "the marble at the entrance of the palace? Did you notice the tapestry on the wall as we went down the corridor into the throne room? And did you see the chair on which the emperor sat? It must have been carved from one lump of pure gold."

His wife could appreciate his excitement and how impressed he was with it all, but she only replied: "I really didn’t notice any of that."
"Well," said Cagular in amazement, "What did you see?"

His wife looked seriously into his eyes and said, "I beheld only the face of the man who said he would die on my behalf.”

Blessings, Don

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Lady I Can Relate To


Here is some food for thought. . .

Becky Garrison – Mystics, Satirists and the Church

We need more mystics and satirists in the church . . . as long as we understand the difference between satirizing the subject and slamming the sinner. Becky Garrison calls us to be reconcilers, here to heal the world, in her interview on ThinkFwd with host Spencer Burke. Becky is a religious satirist and author of the book, Jesus Died for This?: A Satirist’s Search for the Risen Christ.

Becky and Spencer cover the gamut of topics, starting off with a discussion about the recent push toward “anti-branding,” where people are shying away from associating with a particular movement, but gravitating to ideas they are interested in. Church movements like “emergent” or “missional.” Becky quotes Shane Claiborne saying, “When you brand a movement, you kill a movement” and Becky sees this happening in circles relating to the church.

We are coming out of the age of “experts.” The digital age has a horizontal nature. Take for example, the Internet. Everyone has access to information that used to only be available to and from experts. But now, we can all become experts without relying on a particular expert. And so what does this do? It opens new realms of questions. Church “experts” used to push their brand of Christianity, and could tell us they were the experts and we had to rely on them, conform to their expert branding. Today, Becky sees pushback on this, where change and learning are occurring through anti-branding.

People of all different faiths and those without faith seem to be on a quest for something outside of themselves. While all may not agree on faith in God, Becky sees people across all walks of life compelled by the reconciling, resurrection power of Jesus. Rather than focus on our differences, let’s find issues that we can agree on, and work together on healing the world. Becky asks, “What does it mean for us to be reconcilers? If we can redeem what Jesus redeems. . .even to the point of reaching the lowest of the low. . .then we can help make people whole, right the wrongs in our world.”

Two types of people Becky thinks the church is greatly lacking: mystics who give us hope, and satirists who keep us grounded and from going astray. Becky acknowledges she doesn’t always get things right. In her satire, she can sometimes go too far—from satirizing the subject to slamming the sinner. But her ultimate desire is to find common, to ground redeem, to reconcile, and in so doing . . . to heal our world.

Blessings, Don