Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

Silent

May 11, 2012

Did you ever wonder what you would have done, had you been an average German Citizen living in the early 1940′s when they started to round up your Jewish neighbors?  I’d like to believe I would have done something and not just sat quietly on the sidelines minding my own business.

Now I’m not so sure.

In a way I have been doing it for the last 30 years because

#1

I don’t like to rock the boat

# 2

while I knew something was up, I haven’t seen or heard anything directly…until last night.

I heard Amy Johnson tell her story. she was a director @ a planned parenthood facility.

For 8 years right out of college she worked for Planned Parenthood, becoming a facility director

..until she watched an ultra sound procedure of a 16 week old child in the womb.

She’d been looking women in the eye for 8 years telling them that blob of tissue  would not feel a thing if they had an abortion, the nerves did not develop until much later in the pregnancy….

it was a lie.

Until one day she was asked to be in the room while the doctor performed an ultrasound guided abortion.

She watched on the monitor screen as that little baby fought for it’s life being chased by the tip of the suction machine…

_______________________________________________

Here is a beautiful 2 minute clip from National Geographic that shows what life really looks like in the womb, as early as 6 weeks….

I will be silent no more

Contentment….by Michelle

November 19, 2011

 

Contentment

Ah contentment. It’s such a nice word, implying everything is right with the world.  The dictionary I have defines contentment as:

|kəˈntɛˈntməˈnt|

Noun

happiness with one’s situation in life

A simple definition indeed. A lot of other words seem so much harder to define. Not so with contentment.

Is contentment attainable? I think this is a difficult question to answer. I don’t know if overall contentment is attainable, but I think it’s something we should definitely long for. Being a person of middle age, having acquired a bit of wisdom, I know the grass is not greener on the other side of the fence.

I’ve been walking with the Lord as my sovereign Savior for 6 years now. Before I knew the Lord, I had no contentment. I was always searching for something. And it was always elusive. Galatians 5:22 says, the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness. I was always searching for these things, but they were always beyond my grasp. I was filled with opposite things. I had anger, bitterness, jealousy, restlessness, disappointment, resentment, and unfaithfulness.

Now I have the fruit of the spirit, but not in a perfect sense. Earth is not really my home. It’s not yours either if you belong to the Lord. We have a better home awaiting us in heaven. We live in a broken world. It’s decaying by the minute. We are decaying by the minute. We are born to die. There’s no escaping death. We will never be perfectly content until we arrive in our heavenly home.

I am happy to say I am becoming more like the Apostle Paul everyday, learning to be content in all situations. I’ve learned to be content in my job. There are good days, there are bad days, but it’s okay, I’m going to heaven.  I’ve learned to be content in my personal life. The family is peaceful, the family is turned upside down, but again it’s okay, I’m going to heaven. I don’t have everything I want, but I have everything I need. Contentment? I am closer to it now than ever before!

His… Michelle
Philippians 1:20

Post script. I (DM)  recently asked some of my friends to think  on the topic of Contentment.  Some of you reading this  were part of that project.  This is the fourth  of several  essays on contentment.  Let me know if you’d like to contribute. thanks!

You owe me money

June 17, 2011

Brother and myself pouring a basement wall

Two people warned me you were a tight @#% when they heard I had agreed to do some work for you.

I thought to myself…It won’t be a problem because while I didn’t know you all that well, I knew you professed to be a Christian, so, as long as I made sure I put everything  in writing, and did my normally good job of communicating, there won’t be a problem.

And here I sit, 6 weeks after the fact -  I sent you a second invoice this week and have yet to be paid.

I have pretty much decided unless something really drastic changes I am not going to do any additional work for you.  At this point, I’m out $300 in wages and $100 some dollars in material.

I do intend to contact your pastor if I have to.

I realized this morning this is really not about me.

Up until this point, I have been personalizing your disrespect and fighting the tendency to get angry.

This morning I realized what I really think is happening is God may want to put the spot light on this pattern in your life.

It wouldn’t have been so frustrating for me if I myself hadn’t been feeling a cash flow pinch.  Honestly, if I had several thousand dollars of “cushion” in the work checking account, I probably ….I say probably….wouldn’t have let this get under my skin like it has.

There is usually always two sides to every misunderstanding.

In this case, if it comes down to me having to sit down with you and your pastor (instead of taking you to small claims court)  I’m 95% sure this is a going to be a slam dunk win in my favor.

You’re not the first “christian” ( I use that term loosely) I’ve had dealings with  who have a nasty scrimping,  miserly worrisome attitude about money.

Jokingly (but seriously) I’ve said more than once, I would rather work for a bunch of pirates rather than work for  some  “christians.”

At least if I agreed to work for a pirate, I would know going into it what I was dealing with and proceed accordingly.

You are almost a contradiction in terms.

My friend Jim told me last week, he hoped you wouldn’t pay me :-)  He told me, this may be the very thing you need to have happen…me asking to sit down with you and your pastor, so as to  put the spot light on this issue in your life.

I’m getting to the point this morning where I’m OK with that.

_____________________________________________

Update as of 6/18/2011 

I met with the customer in person this morning.  Long story short, I got paid.  The end :-)

To my great, great grand daughter…live in peace

May 1, 2011

I come from hearty stock.

Both my grand parents on my dad’s side made it  into their late 90′s.

Grandpa started his day with  fried potatoes in bacon grease, eggs, and black coffee.

So much for needing to have a healthy diet to live a long life :-)

Grandpa was no angel, loved his chew and strong drink when he could get his hands on it.

I’ve been thinking about him  lately, thinking  I need to set some new long-term goals.

Assuming I live about as long as grandpa, that gives me another 40 plus years this side of eternity.

(I’m currently in my mid 50′s and on track with each so it’s time to  raise the bar)

Here’s a portion of what I wrote  in 1987:

Age 75 I would like to :

-have loved my wife, children, brothers and sisters with no regrets.

-Built a home in countryside- with animals and growing things (ha ha)

- have been faithful to God to the end …ran the race well.


_______________________________________________

Since I have been thinking long term, this Song by Sara Groves continues to  haunts me..

(The words are below the video link,  feel free to follow along)


I can taste the fruit of Eve
I’m aware of sickness, death and disease
The results of our choices are vast
Eve was the first but she wasn’t the last

And if I were honest with myself
Had I been standing at that tree
My mouth and my hands would be covered with fruit
Things I shouldn’t know and things I shouldn’t see

Remind me of this with every decision
Generations will reap what I sow
I can pass on a curse or a blessing
To those I will never know

She taught me to fear the serpent
I’m learning to fear myself
And all of the things I am capable of
In my search for wisdom, acceptance and wealth

And to say that the devil made me do it
Is a cop out and a lie
The devil can’t make me do anything
When I’m calling on Jesus Christ

Remind me of this with every decision
Generations will reap what I sow
I can pass on a curse or a blessing
To those I will never know

To my great, great, great grand daughter
Live in peace
To my great, great, great grand son
Live in peace
To my great, great, great grand daughter
Live in peace
To my great, great, great grand son
Live in peace, oh, live in peace

Remind me of this with every decision
Generations will reap what I sow
I can pass on a curse or a blessing
To those I will never know

Oh, remind me
Generations will reap what I sow
I can pass on a curse or a blessing
To those I will never know
Oh, I may never know

___________________________________________

My heart is  heavy  when I think about the  legacy of debt our government leaders seem more than willing to saddle all of us,  especially you,   the next generations.  I was raised to pay my bills as I go,  only borrow as a last resort.

Between me and you, it makes me angry

Makes me want to curse….I know, you’ve probably heard that Christians are not supposed to feel that way, but  that’s simply not true.

My heart is also heavy when I see how quickly the culture I live  in (it’s 2011 as I write this) continues its mad, downward spiral into  decadence.

Even I feel the  pressure.

Not a day goes by that I don’t think of you and the world you’ll wake up in.

Love, your great, great, grandfather, Douglas Jon

PS.  If you’re reading this and there are things in your life that you do regret,  the good news is, God loves to take the broken pieces of our lives and use them for good.  If you need some examples let me know, I didn’t want to preach :-)  DM

Winding Down

March 14, 2010

     “People have schedules.  Plants have cycles.  People will stay up late, get up early, skip meals, cut corners, drive too fast, and otherwise work themselves into a frenzy to get something done in less time. 

      Some people live their entire lives this way, rushing from one thing to the next…   Plants aren’t like that.   Plants know just what is meant by “the fullness of time….”  Joyce McGreevy

__________________________________

     Before I started blogging in 2007 I had an e-mail group  I corresponded back in forth with also called “heart to heart”- this went on for several years.      

     There came a point however where I felt the creative urge begin to dry up so I quit sending out those “heart to heart” e-mails.  As a result, I lost touch with 90% of the people on my e-mail list.    Several months later,  I discovered the world of blogging, and for the past 3 years  this blog has been my personal window  to the world- giving anyone who cared, a glimpse into my  heart.

When I started blogging I….

    -purposed to keep it real

     - tried my best to stay off  the soap box

      -tried to stay away from rants

    – and tried to stay away from spewing “trite platitudes”

      My thought was, if someone took the time to read my musings , then I owed it to them to keep it real.

    Well,  for several months now, I have felt  that familiar sense of  “winding down” of my creative juices on this blog  s0 I’m thinking it may be time for a change. 

       I know most of my regular readers @ this point-  Many of you are on facebook- some of you I’ve even had the privilege to meet in person…so assuming this blog is winding down,let’s  stay in touch  either on facebook-email, or come for a visit :-)

    If you do read my blog but have never left a comment, I would love to hear from you.  Anyone that blogs knows knows most of us wonder who in the world is out there reading our “stuff” 

    Well, time for my Sunday afternoon powernap. DM

Losing My Religion

March 2, 2010

 

     I got a call last week from a friend- her  son had taken  a World Religion class last year  and no longer believes in God.   Our conversation took me  back to a time when something similiar happened to me- for a spell.

      I grew up Protestant, fell in love with a pretty young Catholic,  decided I’d convert which ment I  had to attend a series of classes- which stirred up a bee’s nest of questions.  For the first time in my life I found myself genuinely  wrestling with questions of faith, religion, spirituality, absolute truth.  

Who is right?  Who can I go to with my questions?   The Catholic priest  thinks  he is right,  my former Protestant minister  thinks  he is right…everyone’s  biased.  Then try to  make any sense out of all the denominations just within the Christian faith.  -   there are over 400 different Baptist denominations alone-not to mention, Pentecostals, Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Fundamentalists, Nazarenes, and  non-denominational, plus  all of the world religions that claim to have a corner on the truth….then you have your sincere atheists, Agnostics, and New Agers…have I missed anyone ? ;-)

  yep, what an emotional  roller coaster ride that was.

I went through a time of intense questioning- It felt like I was in the midst of a spiritual  earthquake-  the very foundations of  my life were  shaken – hard.

   I  told my friend to get herself a copy of Lee Strobel’s book-

A case For Faith  

 As a former atheist, Strobel understands the rational resistance to faith. He even names the eight most convincing arguments against Christian faith.  Here is a partial list of issues he tackles:

1) If there’s a loving God, why does this pain-wracked world groan under so much suffering and evil?
2) If the miracles of God contradict science, then how can any rational person believe that they’re true?
3) If God is morally pure, how can he sanction the slaughter of innocent children as the Old Testament says he did?
4) If God cares about the people he created, how could he consign so many of them to an eternity of torture in hell just because they didn’t believe the right things about him?
5) If Jesus is the only way to heaven, then what about the millions of people who have never heard of him?
6) If God really created the universe, why does the evidence of science compel so many to conclude that the unguided process of evolution accounts for life?
7) If God is the ultimate overseer of the church, why has it been rife with hypocrisy and brutality throughout the ages?
8) If I’m still plagued by doubts, then is it still possible to be a Christian?

       My conversation with my friend didn’t get this far but the second thing I would suggest is look at the personal life  of  any person telling  others how to live and think-  They are a walking billboard for what they really believe.

I’m back!

July 30, 2009

“Doug, I was wondering if you would be willing to come with me on a short terms  missions trip with our high school youth group this Summer….”

                                    My sister Karen

     That’s how the whole thing started.

    Last year, Karen and our sister Kim went to Mexico on a short term medical missions trip.    They had a great time as siblings-  came home with lots of memories.  So that was in the back of my mind when Karen asked me about  tagging along this summer. 

     In 2008 Cedar Rapids Iowa was hit with a record breaking flood, left thousands of people homeless.  A year later  its old news, but  many are still living in FEMA trailers so Karen’s youth group decided to work closer to home so I said “Sign me up.”

      We reported for duty first thing Monday morning at the crisis management center, had a brief orientation and headed across town to meet our project manager Mike.  Our job for the week was to hang drywall.  

     I had several highlights.  Probably the biggest highlight was the good attitudes these  young people evidenced.   They had fun but knew  how to work- we kicked butt, once we got the hang of it.

      On one occassion we had to lift a 12 ft  by 4 ft piece of drywall over plumbing pipes,  another stack of drywall, then slip it into a tight corner.  Three young ladies, a young man, and myself grabbed it like it was a feather-  it slipped  in perfectly.  I told them  afterwards I felt like I was on an Amish barn raising crew- what a sweet feeling.

     Below are some pictures of our week:

Thursday w-new tshirts

Picture of our group on the last day- Karen and her hubby got it all new t-shirts to celebrate our week

new-tshirts1

Close up of some of the ladies

doug-Karen-Emily

Karen is to my right w/ a screw gun.  My niece Emilee is in front of us.

cailee

Couple of the kids using a sheet rock jack

being silly @ DQ

Having fun @ the DQ after day 3

hannah1    

Niece Hannah with a screw gun

mac-1

Here is Mac- one of my team members

me checking something

Picture of me inspecting something :-)

visitingw-neighbor

Visiting with the neighbor

     Things have been busy the past 3 weeks between a family reunion,  another concert,  guests from California, and this missions trip.  It doesn’t look like it’s going to let up any time soon.   I start my new part time teaching gig in just a couple of weeks- a construction  program  for Jrs and Sr high school students.  I wanted to post something on the blog in case I have any regular readers who stop by from time to time.

     Nothing too deep on this post- mostly wanted to stay in touch.

“I Hate Boundaries” said the chicken to the farmer

June 14, 2009

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

 George Orwell

closeup of a hungry cat

Ben the Cat looking for a meal

 

ben1

 Here is the meal Ben the cat would love to have

When I went outside this morning to do chores, I spotted Ben our cat hanging out next to the range fed chicken pen. (see top two photos)   I could almost read her mind (yea, you read that right- the cat’s name is Ben and he’s a she/ but that’s a whole nother story, which will have to keep for now)

     Ben loves fresh meat, twice this week she came trotting into our yard with a baby rabbit in her mouth- I was able to free one of them, the second one, not so lucky- Oscar our beagle ate it.  That’s just the way it is…

      The chickens we have are inside of that enclosure for a reason-I don’t want them eaten by Ben, Oscar,  the red tailed hawk family we have roosting in the pine trees by our house, or the raccoons that rob the cat food every night.  I guarantee you,within a week,  none of those chickens would be alive if I just let them run free.   If you’ve never lived in the country and didn’t know about all the predators that enjoy fresh chicken, you may be tempted to think I was a kill joy.  Who am I to  put boundaries in their young lives?  What kind of sadistic farmer am I?   If you were to think that, you  obviously don’t know me very well.

      I picked that quote by Orwell to give you the heads up on something I want to say about sex  if your still reading along- 

    Boundaries in life are not a bad thing-  If you’ve bought into the politically correct BS   that passes for truth in today’s culture, then you’ve been set up by Ben the Cat.

    My heart grieves for all of the young people today who have bought into the lie that sexual intimacy outside the context of marriage is good and safe.  Sooner or later, the cat will get you.  You may be able  to pull it off for a season, you may be quicker than your peers,  but @ some point you will get hurt.

     I’m going to close with something  another old farmer told  his grand daughter-

“I’m not telling you what to do…I”m just telling you what I know.”

Like A Tired Whore

February 8, 2009

Content warning:     This post is rated PG

Whore:   A person considered sexually promiscuous.

       Friday night I accompanied my wife to a workshop hosted by a local church.    We’re not regulars, but a friend  suggested to the Mrs. she might enjoy it.   Workshop was to start Friday evening  and continue into Saturday.   I’d had red flags from the get go, about both the workshop and the church itself- so we talked  and decided maybe it would be best if I also went.

     Counting the  denomination I was raised in  I   have been involved in   5 different faith traditions the past 51 years.   One end of the spectrum to the other-  I’ve known men and women  in each setting who were spiritually vibrant  and those just going through the motions.   What I’m saying is, it takes a lot to make me uncomfortable spiritually.  There is a lot of diversity in the household of faith and that’s just the way it is…..

     Which brings me back to Friday night….as I listened to the speaker(s)  I felt like I was watching  an addict  trying to  cop a spiritual high- or even more graphic , a sex addict trying one more time to get turned on.  It was disturbing,  it creep-ed me out.    We slipped out after the first break.     

        In 1980 I  went through a  time of intense spiritual shaking, not unlike what it feels when there is an earth quake, the very ground under your feet is moving. 

  What is truth?

  Who is right? 

 Is there even such a think as “absolute truth”?  If you listen to the politically correct  crowd, their answer is no, it all depends. 

 Who can I talk to that won’t be biased?  Obviously any spiritual leader I talk to  is going to think they are right-  everybody can’t be right.    Just because you are sincere does not mean you’re right. 

  If you’ve never had a crisis of faith or given a second thought to these things, then you have no idea how unsettling  it is.

       Anyway, here I sit 29 years removed from that season of sifting (there was a second  time of sifting in about 1987 or 88)   and I have a clarity and settledness  in my thinking that came as a direct result. 

     I’ll be the first to tell you I don’t have all the answers, but I do have some touch stones in my life.  I may not be able to articulate every concern I have with a given teacher, but I can smell a rat. 

    You may have heard this illustration before:   I’ve been  told bank personnel are trained to detect counterfeit money  by examining only authentic bills.  After countless hours of saturating themselves with the feel and sight of authentic bills, they can detect counterfeits easily.    

    So too  in the spiritual realm, there is a lot of nonsense being  promoted in the name of truth.  I don’t have to be a spiritual guru, able to dissect every whacked out cult and silly theory to sense when something is bogus.

      Have you ever wrestled with questions about truth?    I’m intentionally waiting to hear from some of you before I share my “touch stones.”

Energy Suckers, Boring Sermons and second guessing Myself

January 1, 2009

   

  We had an invite on the answering machine yesterday for a New Years Day party- last minute with the instructions to call either way.   I told the wife to suit herself, but I for one was not going to call.  

         A still small voice whispered  “There must be something wrong with  you ..that isn’t a very loving attitude”.

     Maybe it had something to do with the fact that any time we have been  with this couple, she  sucked me bone dry emotionally.   There was a  bottomless pit of need in that woman’s heart,  reminded me of a sink hole, she talked the whole time- had no interest in our lives. …

       Years ago we attended a church where I struggled during the sermon to  listen- I tried, I really tried….this went on for 5 years.

       Same small voice… ” Maybe you have  a hard heart,  You need to  see past the messenger to the message.    There must be something wrong with you  if  you  feel  bored.”

       I’m a very patient person with a  soft heart and a high tolerance for quirky people and situations.

        I’ve also lived long enough now to not automatically discount my own perspective on a situation. 

        Have you ever read the  children story the Emperors New Clothes by Hans Christian Anderson

         If you have  2 minutes, you can  read it here

         I’m related to the little boy.  

         At some point, if you are a chronic energy sucker with no intention of changing, then I’ll probably keep my distance.

         If you’re a pastor  who is burnt out and refuses to change- then don’t be surprised if at some point  I move on.

     How do you decide when you have a bad attitude(s) or valid concerns?


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