Archive for November, 2009

The “Thanks” from the “Giving”

Posted on November 26, 2009. Filed under: Faith, Family, Grace, Heaven, Sacrifice, Salvation | Tags: , , , , , , |

I get all charged up this time of year, you know, for the “Holidays” as we call them in our culture.  You have Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years, all within about 5 weeks of each other, all occasions when family and friends gather together to celebrate their beliefs and traditions.  As I pondered about Thanksgiving this week, I began to think about what the holiday symbolizes and how people choose to commemorate it.  Most of us take this time each year to give thanks for our family, friends, and what we have been blessed with, or possibly working in a shelter or food kitchen, wanting to share their time with those who are less fortunate.  And of course, many would say that Thanksgiving can’t go on without enjoying the football games.

As I thought about it, I began to ease into wonderment concerning why we spend so much of our time during this holiday giving thanks.  Naturally, I believe we should be grateful for all that we have been given, but maybe there is another perspective that we can view this holiday from.  Possibly, some of our thoughts about this entire holiday tradition should not be about ourselves and how grateful we are, but increasingly ab0ut living our lives so that others will exercise a bestowing of thanks for what they have received from us and the way we share and sacrifice for one another not just on a holiday, but every day.

Maybe we can make this holiday not just a once a year celebration for what we are grateful for, but rather a time when we participate in recognizing how we need to be engaged in serving one another each day and all year long.  In a society that shows itself to care mostly about personal gratification and the fulfillment of our own wants and desires, I believe that we should assemble to share in each others lives in a way that we become more involved giving to others before we visualize and take a grasp of our own considerations.

As we view history, do we look up to our heroes for greatness in what they have done for themselves, or for how the distinction of their heroism merits applause due to it’s effect on someone other than themselves or society as a whole?  I am guessing if I took a poll, the populous would convey they admire their heroes for what they have done for others, for society, or for the sacrifice they may have made to be recognized as a hero, not by what they have achieved for themselves.  As a culture, we need to change our outlook on life, we should not be continuously burdened with our own wants, desires, and needs, instead seeking to be a hero for those around us by giving and sacrificing of our own time, treasure, and talents.  If we do more of this in our everyday lives, 365 days a year, then maybe, just maybe, we will find people expressing “Thanks” from the “Giving”.

Those on the receiving end of the adjustment in lifestyle from self to one that presents an outward expression of caring will in turn render thanks from our giving. When we sacrifice and give of ourselves, this gives us an opportunity to be grateful and thankful, because we will have a greater sense of accomplishment and distinct appreciativeness from our giving.  Our thankfulness will come from giving not receiving.  Think about how a reciprocal action like this could benefit everyone and how we could have a greater cooperation among people.  I realize I am being idealistic, but I truly feel compassion for others and desire to see change in our society; a change that promotes community not individualism.

If we were to participate in a quest to give of ourselves, our time, our treasure and our talents in our daily walk on this marvelous God created earth that we live on, putting the needs of the many before our own, then quite possibly we may begin to see a change worldwide for the good of all.  But wait, we have already experienced this in action; this type of life was lived out in the person of Jesus Christ.  Yes, Jesus was the ideal example of living a life that emulates perfection and how we should love and care for others, unconditionally and sacrificially.

In Mark 12:28 (ESV), the Bible says, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus then answered in Mark 12:30-31, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”  Loving your neighbor as yourself, well that does not always come easy, but we need to recognize that if the God of the universe establishes the criteria for us to live by, then we should follow His instructions.  It sounds easy, but takes work and a sincere appetite of caring and a passion for people.  This has to come from the heart, from our inner being, since fulfilling this commandment takes us away from our own fleshly requirements and urgencies.  But, if we seek a personal interest in the well being of others, giving of ourselves first, then we will become the recipients of the thanks from the giving!

Jesus took on the most significant sacrifice for others, He came to earth as a man, suffered and died while being nailed to a cross, absorbing the responsibility for all the sins of those who ask and receive His path of forgiveness.  Through His unconditional sacrifice for all of us, He showed how we should live our lives, caring and loving one another, as He commanded us in John 15:12.  Then verse 13 further explains to what level we should care for others when He states, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”  There is not greater reward we can receive then the gratitude from someone we have benefitted through our generosity.  If God can come to this world, suffer as He did, in order that you and I can live eternally in heaven with that same creator, then we certainly can pay it forward to those in whom we come in contact with.  We can seek others needs before our own, as Jesus did for us.

Many people around the world give thanks to Jesus for giving of Himself for their sins and are grateful for the eternal opportunity they now have to be with the creator, in turn rendering thanks from His giving. I must believe that the joy Jesus receives each and every time someone knocks on His door, whereby receiving eternal salvation from His grace, certainly outweighs the sacrifice He made for our atonement.  He has joy in His sacrifice for us!  We all can receive similar joy from our sacrifices for those in our lives that we can love as ourselves.  I say take the plunge, put others before yourself, giving and sacrificing for those around you, then be prepared to receive the bounty of blessing you will receive from those same people when you are granted the “Thanks” for the “Giving”!

This is my Happy Thanksgiving proclamation to you all.  So, go out, spread your caring, concern and love to others in the world and receive the “Thanks for the “Giving”. Amen

May you all be eternally blessed,

Daryl Dho

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YES, YOU CAN HAVE Your Cake and EAT IT TOO!

Posted on November 20, 2009. Filed under: Assurance, Faith, Forgiveness, Glory, Grace, Salvation | Tags: , , , , , , |

I think Bonnie is trying to smash the cake into my face.

I take pleasure in allowing my taste buds to be massaged by a delicious piece of cake, especially chocolate with whipped butter frosting. As my wife and I prepare to celebrate our 24 wedding anniversary next month, I am excited and energized about the prospect of having a piece of scrumptious cake as we celebrate our union together.  I know that may seem a little silly, making a big deal out of having a piece of cake, but our society says that we can’t have our cake and eat it too.  I got to tell you that this is not true, because I am convinced that in life YOU CAN HAVE Your Cake and EAT IT TOO!

When we got married almost 24 years ago, it was during the Christmas season, and we had a beautifully decorated medium size wedding that was attended by family and friends.  We were blessed with catered food that I suppose was fantastic. although I would not know since I only gazed at and smelled the aroma of the wonderful display, not able to eat any due to all of the attendees wanting to congratulate us prior to being escorted away in a limousine for our honeymoon. Our wedding included this incredible cake too, complete with multiple levels and a top all of its own that nobody ate from; you know, the type with the plastic bride and groom on top.

We fed a small amount of the cake to each other, believe it or not without smashing it into our faces, then saved the top level for a future anniversary, at which time we would eat the rest of our cake. We had a predicament though, we never wanted to really eat the cake because we didn’t want to see our wedding day memory disappear. So, we kept it in the freezer thinking that maybe we could have our cake and eat it too. The problem with this plan is most people would say that you can’t have your cake and eat it too. But we saved the cake for almost 24 years now, that is until today.  You see, we noticed that our freezer shrunk and we now needed the room. No, we didn’t eat it, can you imagine eating a 24 year old cake?  What we did was, believe it or not, throw it in the trash!  Yes, all those memories, now gone!  Bummer.

At first, I really did not want to throw it in the trash, as it felt like I was throwing a part of my life away. As we took pictures of ourselves gazing at the cake, memories of those blissful 24 years of our life and the day we got married passed through my head. At this point I said to my wife that although the cake would fade away, my love for her would last forever. I know that may be a little mushy, non unlike the frosting on the cake, but its the truth, and we both realize how fortunate we are. Although we would not be able to look at our broken down box filled with stale, freezer burned cake anymore, the marriage that we have built over a lifetime extends itself due to a loving and caring relationship. We realize that as material things in our life disappear and dissipate with time, our love is eternal. You see I believe that YOU CAN HAVE Your Cake and EAT IT TOO!

A great many people believe that our time on earth is all there is to life, that when we die there is nothing else.  But who we are, humans made in the image of God, does not cease to exist at the end of this physical life.  God created us so that we could be with Him forever, but unfortunately, as sinners, we are unable to coexist with a Holy God.  We need to be redeemed in order to be with God, who is perfect in His being and love for us.  After all, while we were still sinners, God sent His only begotten son to save us from ourselves (Rom 5:8), from our sin, from our unrighteousness.

If you look at this life as a piece of cake, thinking that the cake is finite and will someday disappear, then you will have the view that you can’t have your cake and eat it too.  You will think this way because you believe that when the day comes for you to die, that so will all of your existence.  But, on the other hand, if you understand and believe that God created us in His image (Gen 1:26) for the purpose of giving all the glory to Him in everything we do (1 Cor 10:31), then you should take comfort in knowing that you can have your cake and eat it too.

God desires for us to be with Him eternally, so that we can glorify His name in paradise.  But we are sinners by nature, imperfect and unworthy of being in His presence, due to our polluting of the image that God made as in.  Being born into sin since the fall of Adam, we are like a piece of cake that has gotten freezer burned and disintegrates.  But you ask how can we have our cake and eat it too, how can we, as sinners, exist with a Holy God forever?  It’s not too difficult to obtain this eternal existence with God, since He does not want us to suffer the anguish and torment of being eternally separated from him, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt 13:41-42).  God wants us to have a relationship with Him whereby we can seek out forgiveness and salvation by His grace and through our faith (Eph 2:8).

The beauty of God’s plan is how we can be sinners by nature and at some point conforming to the world, yet through our acceptance of Jesus as Lord and savior be transformed by the renewing of our minds, discerning what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2).  This my friends, is how WE CAN HAVE Our Cake and EAT IT TOO! You see, although we are unworthy to be in the presence of God due to our sinful and unrighteous nature and behavior, we are loved by God in a way that He provides a way out, a way to His kingdom, a way to change who we are.  Romans 8:10 (ESV) tells us, “But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.”  Although we are dead in our sins, we are redeemed into righteousness because of Christ.  This is the parallel between the cake and our lives.  We still can live eternally with God, through our acceptance by faith of Christ as our savior, even though we are still sinners.  This is where YOU CAN HAVE Your Cake and EAT IT TOO! You can be unworthy, yet worthy of eternity with God, you can have it both ways.

All you need is the right recipe, and that recipe is Jesus Christ, who came into the world to show us how to love one another and for the redemption of sins. YES, YOU CAN HAVE Your Cake and EAT IT TOO! Just grab a piece of the cake of salvation from Jesus, and enjoy it for eternity.

May you all be blessed in life with the eternal cake of salvation.  Go ahead, grab a slice, you will LOVE IT.

Daryl Dho

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Never Give Up, and Quitting Is Not An Option!

Posted on November 5, 2009. Filed under: Adversity, Assurance, Faith, Heaven, Sacrifice, Salvation | Tags: , , , , , , , |

I was watching part of the Phoenix Suns game tonight, while taking a break from reading and doing homework, when the announcers talked about how Wayman Tisdale had died earlier this year. I remembered when Wayman played for the Suns just a few short years ago, so I decided to google him to find out how he died, as I had not heard the news. I discovered that he died from cancer, as I read some articles and watched some videos. There was a 9 minute video that particularly intrigued me about how he had first ascertained that he had the disease after a fall he took in his house, breaking his leg, followed by his ensuing recovery. While I watched the video, I was overtaken by how strong he seemed, and how his smile never eluded his persona. Remembering when he played, I recollected how he always engaged in the game with such a zest for life, including his abilities as an award winning jazz musician, which I remember he included in his bio. Near the end of the video, as Wayman described how he was persevering during adversity (he had to have his right leg amputated), he said something that I will take with me, “Never give up, and quitting is not an option”.

That phrase really struck me, because how many of us give up on so many things in life? Big-small, tangible-intangible, work-play, friends-foes, husband-wife, parents-children, healthy-unhealthy, all of these contrasts here are events, people or seasons in our lives that we must confront at one time or another. Because life is full of questions about the unknown, we have to make a determination about how we will deal with each and every event, whether to accept our circumstances as they are, make an effort to change them, or dwell on how the situation we are in is not the way it should be. Which way we choose to decide will usually determine our level of peace and happiness in the situation. Wayman chose option 2, and made his best effort to persevere when things got tough, all the while smiling, because you see, he believed that we should “Never give up, and quitting is not an option”.

Each and every one of us has predicaments that come up in our lives that we would rather not go through, up and including when we die, but the facts are that we will all have trouble in our lives. From what I read and viewed, Wayman was a faithful man of God, which I believe is one reason he was so positive during his adversity. He obviously struggled as a man, but knew that giving up would not help him or his families situation. He was dealing with it head on! As I contemplate about this occurrence in the life of Wayman Tisdale, I am reminded of another man named Jesus, who had to endure great suffering. I can only imagine what would have happened if Jesus would have decided not to go through with what God the Father willed Him to do. After all, Jesus is God, he could have done a great many things to prevent Himself from being brutally battered, whipped, and nailed to the cross that He carried up the hill, all bloodied and weakened from the torture that was brought upon Him during His mock trial. As Jesus was praying in the garden of Gethsemane, He knew what time it was, and that these terrible occurrences were inevitably going to happen. But, during His darkest hour, I believe that He had to be thinking something similar to what Wayman said in his video, Jesus must have realized that He could “Never give up, and quitting is not an option.”

Wayman loved his wife and 4 children, caring for them until the end. Jesus, God in the flesh, loved all of us on that fateful day 2000 years ago, caring for us until His final hour, enduring all of the pain and suffering, while preparing to encounter the weight of all the sins that He would bear upon His death. But, even in His darkest hour he cared for others, as He told one of the thieves hanging next to him in Luke 23:43 (ESV), “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” God doesn’t give up on us, He loves us for eternity, and took on the ultimate penalty of death on the cross for all of us. As we come to know Jesus through our acceptance of His forgiveness by grace, we should be reminded of what He said in John 14:26-27, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. The Holy Spirit, God in spirit, is here to help us through our troubled times, we just need to reach out to Him. We are not alone, and we need to remember that Jesus served as an example; for He “Never gave up, and quitting is not an option.”

Jesus never quit on us, He never gave up on the responsibility that God the Father gave Him. After all, before the beginning of time, He was our redeemer. Upon His death, while receiving the penalty for our sins, temporarily separating Himself from the Father, He felt the pain of the millions of sins upon Him, yet never waned in His loving, caring, sacrificial attitude. When the time came to conclude His life as a man on this earth, while fulfilling the scriptures, He said in John 19:30, ““It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. We are blessed that Jesus believed in this philosophy, “Never give up, and quitting is not an option.” For that we can all be eternally grateful.

If you want to view the video of Wayman’s story, here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZ4DaBVn4Uk

May you all have a blessed day,

Daryl Dho

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