Salvation

The Church Service In Malawi Is Spirit Filled and Long. AMEN!

Posted on August 19, 2010. Filed under: Faith, Glory, God, Grace, Salvation, VISION AFRICA-2010 JULY MISSION TRIP | Tags: , , , , , |

Some of my friends in Malawi; I love this picture.

The Church Service In Malawi Is Spirit Filled and Long.  AMEN!

7-18-2010 (Sunday)

As usual, today I wake up early long before the sunrise.  Every day since we arrived in Malawi I have been waking up long before my 6 AM alarm clock screams it’s nerve-wracking sound; today time is a 4:55 AM.  One of the best parts of my morning is having the opportunity to receive a hot, high-pressure shower.  Unfortunately, most days this is not a reality.  Today I am blessed with the warmest and highest-pressure shower since we arrived here at Children of the Nation (COTN).  I am pumped up that I have a hot shower, since it is cold in the morning and I truly did not want to take a cold shower.  But, as I said, today is going to be a good day, as I am starting off with a nice hot shower.  Yes indeed!

Now it is time to go and hang out at the gazebo for my morning devotional of prayer and reading God’s word.  Today I may be preaching at church, so I am praying for God to use me to speak His words and for His purpose.  As I seek Him this morning, I find myself studying in 2 Timothy.

After breakfast, we go to the office of Somebody Cares.  When we get to the office, we are told we will be going to End Time Pentecostal Church in Mtandire village to join them in their worship experience.  Keta calls me out of the van prior to our leaving and asks me if I could preach this morning, and of course I say yes.  I trust the Spirit of God will put the words in my mouth that He wants me to speak.  When we get to the church, Edward, who will be interpreting for me, takes my backpack and leads me into the church.   The church is packed full, with standing room only in the back and out beyond the walls of the spirit filled room.  I see about 200 people as Edward instructs me to sit in the middle seat of three directly behind a table with flowers and water on the stage.  To my left is Ramsey, the lead elder, and to my right is Edward.  Behind me sit 6 other leaders in the church, anxiously waiting for a morning filled with joyful singing, clapping, dancing and the teaching of God’s word.

The 2 hour and 45 minute service begins with one of the people from the worship team enthusiastically singing praises to the Lord.  At the conclusion of the first song, the rest of the worship team along with the keyboard player begin lifting up the Lord in song, as the rest of the congregation joins in.  In between many of the songs, Ramsey interludes with words of encouragement and introduces the next song.  We continue in musical worship with Ramsey sharing and blessing us with biblical stories.  The congregation is very joyful, holding nothing back in their celebration of the Lord.  As the service continues, I pray multiple times for the Lord’s Spirit to guide me in what I will say.  Since I did not have a significant amount of time to prepare for what I would teach on today, maybe only an hour, I realize I must rely on God to facilitate His will and purpose in what I will say.  I can feel the presence of God using me to speak words of encouragement and truth from His word, as Edward assists me in translation.

It is truly a blessing having the opportunity to preach in their church.   As I speak about how we need to be strong and faithful in the Lord, I am directed to share the need for all of us to persevere in this world for the cause of Christ.  God brings me to 2 Timothy 2:1-13 as the main body of text for my sermon, which we study verse by verse.  I feel God’s Spirit directing every word as I continue for over an hour preaching His good news.  Revealing Jesus as a model of strength, I notate how He persevered in fulfilling the will of the Father, and how we should live our lives in a way that emulates Jesus.  Edward was fantastic, as he translates my words into the Chechewa language.  At the end of the message, I share the gospel of salvation through the blood of Jesus with those who do not know Christ.  I invite those both in and outside the walls of the church to come to the saving grace of Christ, and to pray the sinners pray.  I do not know if anyone accepted Christ, but I do know that hearts were stirred.  I also trust God’s perfect plan of salvation and that His message will be received.

I must say, that the nearly 3-hour service was exciting and spirit filled.  The people of Malawi sure know how to sing praises to God in heaven.  If you haven’t been to a Christian church service in Africa, you haven’t experienced a church; the church service in Malawi is spirit filled and long.  Amen!

Now that church is over, we are going to Teresa’s house for a BBQ.  We have BBQ chicken, some type of sausage or bratwurst, rolls, nsima, spicy beans, and a fruit drink made with fruit cocktail.  In Malawi, it is important to eat everything you put on your plate, including cleaning off every part of the chicken from the bone.  Here is some good counsel; do not take more than you can eat.  If it is on your plate, you eat it, like it or not!  There is no wasting of food in Malawi.  This is a wonderful time of relaxation in the backyard and playing games, but mostly just hanging out and talking.

We come back to the Children of the Nation complex where we are staying around 5:30 and have down time for the evening, or so we think.  After the COTN students ate dinner, all 28 of them, we gather in the big gazebo and begin singing praises to God and dancing.  About 30 minutes into the dancing, the students line up in the middle and put on a performance of song and dance for us.  There is also a drama troupe, which perform a couple of very funny skits.  Next, we are blessed with a few testimonials about their early life and conversion as believers in Jesus.  It was a marvelous night.

I pray that your day is blessed by God and you are filled with the Holy Spirit.

Daryl Dho

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Dancing in the Street

Posted on August 6, 2010. Filed under: Children, Creation, God, Salvation, VISION AFRICA-2010 JULY MISSION TRIP | Tags: , , , , |

This is Dancing With the Stars in Malawi

I know it has been several days since I wrote, but I had some other responsibilities to attend to.  But don’t worry, here is the next segment of my journey from Malawi.
7-16-2010 (Friday)

Chatimba

We are having a little different experience this morning at the office of Somebody Cares for our devotional time.  Keta decided it was time for us to play some games as a team-building event.  We are playing 30 Seconds and Pictionary before leaving out on our trip to the village.  I am having a lot of fun, but it is obvious Keta plays all of the time, as she is the best and is crushing the rest of us.

Our journey to Chatimba is quite long today.  We get to village and receive an awesome welcome from the people of the village and even Chief Chatimba, as everyone is Dancing in the Street. Other than Somebody Cares vehicles, only cow powered carts and bikes will be coming through, so it’s cool to be Dancing in the Street.  Most of us are dancing with the women who were having a great time.  Unfortunately, the men do not normally dance with the women, which is a bit of a bummer.  But today, Chief Chatimba decided to dance with us, so I am dancing with him too; it is a blast.  He is very excited to participate with everyone in this celebration of life.  Dancing with the Malawian people is such a joy, as they truly get into it with all their heart.  None of the other men danced; oh well.

Afterwards, half of the group went to the village gardens.  One of the gardens they went to see was the widow’s garden, which apparently was in its beginning stages.  They told me it was beautiful, and that Chief Chatimba was excited to show our group all they had accomplished in the growing of their garden.  They are growing tomatoes, herbs, and mustard greens, which are a main part of their diet here.  Many people in our group love the mustard greens, but I do not.  I have been eating them, but let me say it this way; I do not want to have them after we go home.  Chief Chatimba also showed the group a tree that every part of it is used, wasting nothing.  They use parts of the tree for relish and others to enhance the flavor of nsima.   We see banana trees all around us throughout this region, which is nice to see.  Also, there have a pond with fish in it they eat.

I am going with several in our group to the school, where about 500 kids learn English and many other things.  As we arrive, several of the children show us what they have learned, including sharing how they can speak English.

Joe, a local volunteer intern with Somebody Cares, and I are taking about 200 of the older kids outside to play some games and to teach them about God.  I teach them the story of creation and the fall, and of how Jesus was in God’s plans for our salvation.  Joe translates for me, as I do not speak their language yet.  After the lesson, I invite those who do not know Jesus to come to a saving faith in the Lord. I pray for those who do not know him to come to Christ.  After we pray, Joe asks them to raise their hand if they accepted Jesus as their savior.  Praise God, about 100 raise their hands, sharing they have accepted Jesus as their savior.  Alleluia.

It’s time for lunch with Chief Chatimba and Theresa in the chief’s house.  What a treat, as he even provided soda for us.  Now I know why I brought my bottle top remover.  He has the nicest house I have seen in any village we have been in, as he even has some furniture.

After lunch, Trinity, Sidney, Tyler and I decide to play soccer with some of the teens until it is time to go. Just like many of the World Cup games the score ended up 0-0.  Wow, I feel like a pro.  LOL.

Before we leave Chatimba, we have time for one last dance.  Wow, the people of Malawi like to sing, dance, and clap their hands a lot.  The chief grabs my hand and into the circle we go with all the women.  I am having a great time with all of these beautiful people.

On the way back to the office of Somebody Cares, Tyler, Chelsea, and Lynn decide to stop and buy some Mouse on a Stick from one of the roadside vendors, and then they took the plunge and ate some; oh wow bud!

To conclude a great day we are having a rolling blackout.  This seems to be a daily occurrence, and provides us with the lack of electrical resources so that we can have a candlelight dinner.  How cool is that!

Have a blessed day,

Daryl Dho

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Overcome My Guilt; The Pain Of Seeking Sobriety

Posted on April 5, 2010. Filed under: Forgiveness, God, Love, Marriage, Salvation, Sobriety | Tags: , , , , , |

How many of us feel lost in our own guilt, shame, or self-doubt? I imagine there are many who feel this way, many who choose a path, which at times leads to a denial of their own feelings. Many people turn to destructive ways, including abusing prescriptions, alcohol, or illicit drugs. This numbing of our mind and body usually results in a lower feeling of self-worth, illness, broken relationships, and failure in life’s ambitions. We become separated from how God intended to live our lives, and in the end, we may suffer an emotion of guilt for how we are living our lives. As we continue on our destructive path, we find it tough to separate ourselves from a mood of guilt, and begin to feel as if we must bear this guilt on our backs forever. When we try to overcome our guilt, we may find there is pain in seeking sobriety.

As a consequence of our guilt and sin, our patterns of life habits may turn into greater abuses of our body, mind, and those around us. Because of this pattern of living, we begin to exclude those whom we care for and love, from our time and life experiences. We unfortunately have fallen into a trap of denial, concerning truth and reality, concerning the certainty that we are spiraling into a self-destructive way, all the way to the bottom. At some point in our relationships with others, we may even lash out in unnecessary anger, neglect them completely by shutting them out of our feelings, or quite possibly injure our relationships, due to mental or physical abuse.

I have been there and done that. I have fallen into the trap of self-abuse through substance abuse, of which the consequence was a strained relationship with my wife, children who were put in danger, and a feeling of guilt beyond measure. I was trapped in my sin of substance abuse, one that had taken me on a 20-year journey, one for which I did not believe there was a way out. I was not a happy man, continuously hiding away and seeking pleasure from substances, which at the end of the day, left me only feeling completely empty, and void of any hope.

When I sought help for my substance abuse, got sober, and began to adjust my life, I still was ridden with guilt, and the question became this; how would I overcome my guilt? My sins were still there, my pattern of life was adjusting, but I still had the guilt of sin. I had not discovered a remedy for how I felt about all of the sins I had committed and all of the sins and wrongs I still was doing in my life. I was still stuck in sin. Or was I?

Even though I had stopped the symptom of my behavior, as I was no longer involved in substance abuse, I still was dealing with the feeling of overwhelming guilt, the shame of how I had lived my life, the disgrace of how I had treated my wife and family. Then I discovered some good news. There is a way out of the feeling I was unnecessarily carrying around, the feeling that I would not be able to overcome my guilt. Romans 8:1-2(ESV) says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Once I became a part of life with Christ, I was set free from the bondage of sin, the guilt and shame I carried on my back was now shouldered by the Lord of the universe, Jesus Christ, who came to the world to redeem us from our sins. For that, I am eternally grateful. I am truly blessed, for now I am free, and no longer in need of a way to overcome my guilt from sin. Jesus is the way, and the truth, and the life (John 14:6).

May you be guilt free and blessed in your life,

Daryl Dho

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My Heavenly Father Is…?

Posted on March 23, 2010. Filed under: Creation, Father, Glory, God, Heaven, Salvation | Tags: , , , , , |

Who is our Heavenly Father? This question is one worth asking, one for which the answer appears simple, yet nearly unfathomable, due to the complexity of God and His attributes.  So, I have set out on a journey to explore the Psalms and discover what God’s word, The Bible, has to say about who He is.  Over the next several days, I will blog about what I observe from the Psalms, and how reading them has effected my perception of whom my Heavenly Father is.  Additionally, during this process, it was also my desire to become more acquainted with our God, for which I will share my results. So, here we go, my Heavenly Father is…

God inspired the writers of His word to eloquently describe Him in a way which enlightens us as to who exactly He is, what His characteristics and attributes are, and what His plans are for our salvation and for all existence in eternity.  Our discernment of how God chose to illustrate His characteristics in His word to us, should give us soothing thoughts, as we can better comprehend His grandeur and sovereignty.

Our natural instinct to appreciate and become acquainted with our creator is in our hearts, “for his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse (Rom 1:20 ESV).” Unfortunately, human beings have neglected the physical confirmation of God’s existence through His creation, instead failing to recognize the truth of God and participating in unrighteous living.  This Blog will serve as a declaration of what characteristics of God are evident to me through my study of the Psalms, giving a testimony of my thoughts, feelings, and assertions of how I would describe whom my Heavenly Father is to another person.  I will also identify which aspect of God’s character I discover personally means the most to me and which characteristics are experientially not a part of my relationship with Him.

My Heavenly Father encompasses so many characteristics in His being, it is at times, challenging for me to comprehend the vastness and complexity of who He truly is.  As I dive into to describe whom my Heavenly Father is, I must commence with the comprehension of the sovereignty of God, as (Psalm 103:19 NAS) states, “The Lord has established His throne in the heavens; and His sovereignty rules over all.” Within the perspective of a human being, I can understand boundaries given to me.  Considering God as the sovereign authority over all creation, of the heavens and ruler over all, gives me unquestioned satisfaction as I determine who is at the helm of this world.

If I compare God, as a ruler, to a governmental authority, parent, or employer, I should be able to grasp the importance of having a leader who can be trusted, understood, is consistent in power dictated, and one which shows compassion for those under it’s dominion.  Without God exercising His sovereignty over His created world, we would not have any hope of a future, there would not be any reason to consider our existence beyond what we can visualize in front of us. We would only regard as being parts of our life and worthy of concern, those things that we could consume, digest, and live for in our present state, therefore not giving any thought to what, if any, eternity might bring us. Our grasping, as truth, God’s attribute of sovereignty, should give us a positive perception of the complexity of His creation, as He is the only one who could rule what He has so masterfully shaped.  Until tomorrow, when we continue to evaluate who my Heavenly Father is…

Have a blessed day,

Daryl Dho

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Close Your Eyes, And Look At Creation

Posted on March 16, 2010. Filed under: Creation, God, Heaven, Love, Sacrifice, Salvation |

After you read this blog, I am going to ask you to take a moment, close your eyes, and look at creation. I know, you are thinking to yourself, how can I close my eyes, and look at creation? Well, this is where you will have to allow the images you have seen in your life to come alive in your mind and in your heart.  You will have to allow your vision to go beyond what you actually see in front of you, maybe exceeding what you have even experienced in your own life.  Trusting what you have previously seen in the world and in the heavens, trusting to see creation without seeing, believing in all things created from nothingness.  That is how you will see creation, as an understanding of all things created from nothing both in your mind and all around you.

Of course, you will not actually create yourself, but will understand the existence of creation, the very nature of starting with nothing and ending up with everything.  You will have to contemplate what creation means to you, maybe from a previous experience, a place you have seen, a place you have visited, or possibly even a book you read, picture you have observed, or even a description of some place or thing that someone else has described to you.  I want you to envision all of the possible aspects of creation in your mind and in your heart, because I want you to discover the vast availability of God’s creation which is in your midst, for in every aspect of your life is God’s creation.  Allow your mind to connect to all that is near you, all that is around you, and all that available for you to capture in your mind and heart.

For me, it is a beautiful Monday morning in Wickenburg Arizona, the sun is shining, and the desert floor is green, as the recent abnormally large amounts of rain have allowed vegetation to grow in a way we have not seen in quite a while.  There are birds singing in the trees and in the air, as they spread their musical songs of spring into the Arizona desert morning.  I see a 4 month old baby tortoise, whose parents are now hibernating, due to the still chilly nights in this climate.  Each animal, bird, plant and other creature stands alone in this barren and dangerous habitat.  Of course, all of these creations has its own specific survival methods, its own ability to endure the elements in which they reside, even when the odds seem to go against them.

God took the time to create, even before time existed.  In the first chapter of Genesis, we read the narrative of how God created the heavens and the earth, and all of its creatures, including man in his image.  What a magnificent depiction of creation for us to understand that God, who is sovereign over all, decided to create everything, to create in such a way which was so detailed, that man would desire to spend lifetimes attempting to establish how parts of creation such as the human body function.  In Hebrews 11:3 ESV, the Bible tells us, “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.”

God created everything in the universe by His word, from nothing.  As you consider how creation happened, you should be blown away by it, overwhelmed by the very thought of how God created, stunned when you attempt to understand creation, and come to the realization that creation is nearly past our ability to comprehend and clearly grasp.  This is where faith steps in.  So, now I ask, if you don’t mind, close your eyes, and look at creation. Stay there for awhile, and enjoy meeting with God.  During the visit into your look at creation, my hope is that you come to know God if you don’t already, for He is the creator of all, the one who loves us, sacrificing even His own Son for us, in order to create a path to salvation and to eternity with Him in heaven.  Enjoy the adventure of life, and all of God’s creation.

May you be blessed daily by God’s creation,

Daryl Dho

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A Good Reason To Smile

Posted on March 9, 2010. Filed under: Forgiveness, Glory, Salvation, Worship | Tags: , , , , |

Every day or night, when each individual on the planet makes that conscious decision to put their bodies and mind into a state of sleep, they do so with hopes and dreams of the possibility that when they wake up tomorrow, the day will bring them a good reason to smile. But, as we all know, some days we wake up not feeling much like smiling.  There can be many reasons for this, such as an illness, trouble at home, work, or school, or a multitude of other explanations for our not wanting to smile, but at the end of the day, I am hoping most of us would rather smile than not.  Maybe we all just need a different approach or outlook in our lives that will give us a good reason to smile.

It all boils down to where our focus is.  Most of us have problems and issues in life, for in this sinful world, there is trouble.  Our perspective concerning all of our daily situations and occurrences will determine whether or not we will choose to smile or not.  Based on the experiences in my life, I have found that when I concentrate my whole perspective upon the things of this world, I will be let down, and in the end, probably not smile.  Some times we just need a good reason to smile.

If we take the focus off ourselves, and change it to one another and their needs, this tends to give us a good reason to smile.  If we look upon our life in a way which gives glory to the creator of the universe, we probably will have a changing perspective concerning smiling.  If we begin each day with thoughts of God, and how we may please Him in our life today, then we most likely will come up with more reasons to smile.  We can always count on what God says in the Bible as being true, for as Numbers 23:19 tells us, “God is not man, that he should lie.”

We can take comfort that God genuinely knows what is on our heart.  Psalm 44:20-21 states, “If we had forgotten the name of our God, or extended our hands to a strange god, would not God find this out?  For He knows the secrets of the heart.”  God knows our aches, our pains, and our joys.  He wants us to remember Him each moment, hour, day, week, month, and year of our life.  If we take the time to personalize our relationship with the God of the universe, we should have a good reason to smile. Meditate upon Him, talk with Him, and ask Him to give you a reason to smile.  If you know him, His Holy Spirit will descend upon you in a way which gives you a good reason to smile. Just take the time to know God, the God of the Bible, the one who knows what is on your heart, the one who wants you to be at peace with whatever situation or circumstance you are in.  Take that time today, talk to Him, reach out to Him, receive the peace of the Holy Spirit and the salvation from Jesus Christ, for when you do, you will have a good reason to smile.

May the God of the universe bless you with a heart full of peace and a good reason to smile,

Daryl Dho

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My Most Holy God

Posted on February 18, 2010. Filed under: Faith, Forgiveness, Glory, Grace, Righteousness, Salvation | Tags: , , , , , , |

A Gift From Our Creator

My most Holy God,
My Creator,
My Savior,
To whom I bow before in faithfulness.

In the dawn of each day,
When I rise to your sunlit morning,
In faith, I give my life to you, O God,
To do the will of the one who created.

Unwavering faith in you I have,
For without it I am nothing.
It is futility to allege I know you, God
Without surrendered faith.

My most Holy God,
My Creator,
My Savior,
To whom I bow before in faithfulness.

You never leave me,
Nor forsake me.
You always guide me,
And direct me.

Your love is so wonderful,
As evidenced in your creation.
I long to be a beacon of your hope and love,
To a world so needing refreshment.

I am nothing without you God,
For you breathed life into me.
Although a failing sinner,
In you, I am a new life.

I am filled with your Holy Spirit,
But only through your grace.
I am nothing without my faith in you,
Through trust, and reverence I seek your face.

My most Holy God,
My Creator,
My Savior,
To whom I bow before in faithfulness.

I trust you in all things,
For you have made a promise.
I do not need to worry,
For you cannot lie, your word is truth.

I pursue only to fulfill your will, O Lord,
As my will only reveals selfishness.
Guide me to your ways, O Lord,
Bring me alongside your righteousness.

This world so desperately needs your love,
For your love is eternal and absolute.
Show me how share this love,
For without it I am nothing.

You only show concern for us,
Through your Son, you stayed the course.
Take away my own interests,
Humble me in my course.

My most Holy God,
My Creator,
My Savior,
To whom I bow before in faithfulness.

Your word is there to direct me,
The truth, you deliver for eternity.
My passion stills not for your unwavering love,
I long to carry it to a dying world.

Mold me, make me, and use me for you plan,
The Great Commission is at hand.
Give me the knowledge of your truth, O Lord,
Impute in me your faithfulness.

As you showed us, in your Son,
Your love never fails.
Your kingdom come, your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.

I give you my life, my faith, and my love,
Without you I am nothing.
Seeking now to share of you,
The truth I am so grateful.

My most Holy God,
My Creator,
My Savior,
To whom I bow before in faithfulness.

There are no others before you, God,
For you are everlasting.
I beg for your forgiveness, God,
I seek you each moment passing.

Through you faithfulness you give us your love,
There are no conditions.
Love one another, you command,
And through faith I am able.

I long to give all glory to you, most Holy God.
There are no others like you, most Holy God.
None can stand above you, most Holy God.
You are the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.

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What’s Faith Got To Do With It?

Posted on January 23, 2010. Filed under: Adversity, Assurance, Creation, Faith, Forgiveness, Glory, Heaven, Sacrifice, Salvation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Is there any person, material possession, circumstance, lifestyle quality, or concern in your life you would sacrifice or do anything for, even unto death?  And if there is such a thing, whereby you would sacrifice even unto death, is it a cause, occurrence, or person for which you have total belief and faith in?  Saying we would sacrifice even unto death is a substantial commitment, and is not a statement we should make lightly.  If we make an announcement such as this, it may be due to our having faith in whatever we would sacrifice for.  We may care so much about what we are sacrificing for, that we throw out the rule book, so to speak, when it comes to caring about our own needs.  Or, we may make such a sacrifice due to an occurrence which brings forth action without thought.  Most of us know and understand life is precious and short, hoping to have lives that are full of meaning, energy and vigor.  So, if we say we would sacrifice our lives for something, it makes sense to think we may have a considerable amount of faith in what we would be sacrificing for.

But, do we really need to believe in something prior to going to any lengths in order to sacrifice for it?  And do we need to truly believe in and have faith in what we will sacrifice for?  Certainly we need to understand what a sacrifice is, for many would have differences of opinions about what executing a sacrifice means.  One definition of sacrifice from dictionary.com is the following: “the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.”  I think our lives would qualify as a sacrifice, for as we are willing to give up our life for any cause or occurrence, then I would have to say it is truly a sacrifice.  I do not believe anyone would dispute giving up our lives is the ultimate sacrifice.  But, what’s faith got to do with it?

Unless one has faith in the cause, occurrence, or person, a sacrifice does not seem likely.  Putting someone else’s needs before our own can be a sacrifice.  We see it during times of crisis, when someone has been dealt a hand in life where they are at risk, such as in Haiti, due to the earthquakes.  People are giving money, aid, and even going to Haiti, in order to assist those in need, those who’s lives are in peril, who’s continued existence on this planet requires people to give of themselves sacrificing their own wants, desires, and possessions for others.  The video of Anderson Cooper was an example of heroism, and sacrifice.  As the boy, who had been hit by rubble thrown at him from angry looters, was down on the ground, bloodied and incoherent, Anderson Cooper rescued him, not giving any thought to his own safety, but only that of the young boy.  Caring and sacrificing for others seems to come natural for many, and can be a spur of the moment occurrence during times of tragedy for others.

But, what about when we discuss what a person believes in, their moral code, their ethics, and their character.  This area of life seems to be one that may shift like wind in a storm for many people.  Having a belief and faith in a way of life, one which directs our moral code, our ethics, and our character, is something many allow to be altered and shaken by what current circumstances dictate in their life.  In our, “what’s in it for me” society, we tend to let our moral code, ethics, and character process through a metamorphosis as our needs, or what we envision as our needs, go through this modification.

In general, is seems to me that many do not have a serious conviction about what they truly believe in, or quite possibly many do not know what they believe in when it comes to their moral code, ethics, and character.  Unfortunately, we are all failed humans, filled with sin, capable of hurting others with or without thought.  It takes a conscious effort, many times, to care more about others then ourselves.  It really boils down to whether or not we truly believe in what we say we believe in.  So, what’s faith got to do with it?

When it comes to christianity, many people are not willing to declare their faith, for fear of retribution.  Jesus said in Matthew 10:21-22, “Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”  What’s faith got to do with it? Faith has everything to do with my belief that we all are sinners who fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), and my belief that Jesus came to earth, lived as a man, and died on the cross at the hands of his accusers, resurrecting 3 days later in order to bring us new life.

I have to be completely faithful to that belief, for if not, then what I say is inconsequential.  I have to be willing to sacrifice my time, my talents, and my treasures in order to spread the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ to a world which needs this truth.  I can not worry about retribution, about persecution, or about how sacrificing for the truth of Jesus will effect my own life.  Of course, I will fail, at times, in being the type of person Jesus would desire for me to be, because I am human.  Regardless, I certainly need to put forth all of my best in order to spread the word of Christ.  I can not consider if people receive this message positively or negatively, for it only my job to share the message.  If I suffer for this message, so be it.  My desire is to be 100% faithful to my Lord Jesus Christ, who made the ultimate sacrifice on the cross for me and you.

I do not want to waste my life with a minimal faith, but one which is all ahead full, seeking only to fulfill the great commission Jesus gave us in Matthew 28:18-20, “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  In order to do this, I must have a faith that is unwavering, can not be questioned, and a faith in Jesus that only seeks to carry His message to the world.  In that process, I can not worry, or be concerned about what negative effects this belief and faith will have on my life here on earth, nor be concerned about what the world thinks about me, for I am first a servant of God, and a servant of His kingdom.  So, what’s faith got to do with it? It has everything to do with it, everything to do with my belief in Jesus as Lord and savior, and with how I live my life.  Without a faith which puts Jesus and His message first in my life, and how I make decisions, act, and exist here on earth, then I might as well not even believe in Jesus.  I should never waiver about how I share the news of Jesus, never cower when speaking His name, or professing who He is.

What’s faith got to do with it? Everything if you believe in Jesus, everything if you take seriously the gospel of Christ, everything if you trust the Bible as 100% truth, everything if your desire is to fulfill the great commission of (Matt 28:18-20) and the great commandment from (Mark 12:30-31), which says, “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.”

If you are a believer in Jesus, please make sure your faith is overwhelming, that your faith is so strong in the belief that Jesus is your Lord, that you trust Him with everything in your life, every aspect of your life, every occurrence in your life, with your total being, both physical and spiritual.  Make sure you are so tenacious in your faith, regardless of either physical or emotional indifference from the world, that you will forge ahead on your quest to spread His good news, for their is no greater prize then the one which awaits us who believe.  The prize of everlasting life with the creator of the universe, the prize of being able to spend eternity with Him who created us in His image (Genesis 1:26-27).  Are still wondering what’s faith got to do with it? Faith in Jesus is the whole enchilada, and should encompass our entire being, for we should have no other way of living then giving our all for Christ.  Your reward for this will be in heaven.

May you have a blessed day,

Daryl Dho

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True Friendships Are Rare

Posted on January 12, 2010. Filed under: Creation, Faith, Family, Forgiveness, Friendship, Heaven, Love, Salvation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

In the relationships of our lives we will most likely accumulate innumerable acquaintances, but at the same time will not acquire many relationships with people I would classify as true friends.  I believe as we navigate through each season of life, we meet and enjoy being around countless individuals, but true friendships are rare.

Sure, we would like to say we have true friendships in our lives, but what does true friendship really mean?  Dictionary.com indicates that a friend is a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard, or a person who gives assistance.  The longer we have been on the earth, the greater number of relationships we will develop with people along the way, giving us the opportunity of having true friends.  Unfortunately, many times life takes a sharp turn, altering our course.  At this junction, we may find the friendship we thought was developing is now a forgotten memory.  Job changes, school, finances, divorce, death, many of life’s unknowns approach us when we least expect them, putting an end to what may have become a true friendship.

In addition to those circumstances that may or may not be in our control, the attitude of so many people in our society is one of self centeredness and selfishness.  Many of us are unwilling to give beyond what is necessary to keep our relationships in a friendly mode, due to the “what’s in it for me” lifestyle we may be engaged in.  It is “status quo” to consider how are relationships are worth having assuming we receive some benefit from it.  This type of perspective towards relationships is a dangerous one, as we soon find we do not have the true friendships we thought we had.  When a time of need approaches in our lives, we find who may or may not be a true friend.  If our “need” will put someone else out in their life, including their time or treasure, then we may discover they can’t fulfill our expectations.

In my life, my family moved all over the country, especially as a child and during my teen years.  Of all the people I met as a child and teen, I can not account for any acquaintances or friendships that have endured from those relationships.  All of the hundreds of people I knew as I grew up are but a distant memory on the path of my life.  As an adult, I have been blessed with a large number of relationships and consider many of these individuals, true friends.

One of my closest friends in life, whom I met in 1988, recently passed away from a tragic automobile accident here in Gilbert, Arizona.  His name is Gary Kudela, and he was a man who cared about others, almost to a fault.  He would do anything he could for those in his sphere of influence.  My family and I loved him dearly, as he was like a brother to me.  We watched each others children be born and grow up to become adults.  We went on family vacations together, laughed together, cried together, got crazy together, and got into trouble together.  He was someone I would do anything for, as he was a man I loved and cared for deeply.

Gary was always there when you needed someone to talk to, hang out with, or lend a hand.  He was the type of man who would give you the shirt off of his back in order to satisfy a need of someone he knew.  He participated in life with many people, enjoying golf, watching sporting events, drinking coffee, eating and drinking a good beer.  He was a true friend in the rarest way, for in all my life he was one of only a few people, other than my family, whom I can say were always there for me, always offering me anything I may need when I was down.

A few years ago, Gary began to question who God was, what the Bible said, and about how he would get to heaven.  He asked me questions about Jesus, about who Jesus was, about what part Jesus played in Gary getting to heaven.  Gary said that he was a good guy, but realized that he was also guilty of many wrongs and faults, as we all are.  He knew that he was not perfect, and was in need of redemption in order to have a way to heaven.  Gary knew it was true what Romans 3:23 (ESV) says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. Gary also believed what Jesus said in John 14:1 (ESV), “I Am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life, Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.”  Soon afterwards, Gary made the decision to trust Jesus with his salvation, in turn guaranteeing his path to heaven.

In Gary’s relationship with Jesus, he found a true friendship.  He trusted he would be forgiven for all of his faults.  He knew God would take care of him, even though he was not perfect, for none of us are.  Towards the end of his life, Gary spent time developing the most important relationship, the friendship he had with the creator.  He knew that the importance of having a relationship with God and a true friendship with His son Jesus was a top priority.  I am grateful that I will see Gary when I pass from this life and onto the next with him and Jesus in Heaven.  Jesus has prepared a place for all of us, and it is His desire that we have a strong relationship with Him, while developing that relationship into becoming one considered a true friendshipTrue friendships are rare in life, but in the end, the relationship that matters most when considering whether or not it is a true friendship is the one we may or may not have with the creator of the universe.  We must have a true friendship with our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. If you do not, I suggest you stop what you are doing now, and bring close a relationship with Jesus, asking Him to forgive you for your sins, and ensuring a ticket to eternity with God in heaven. Amen. I will see you again in Heaven, Gary.

May God be your closest and truest friend,

Daryl Dho

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The Christmas Present; Our Journey to the Celebration is Complete

Posted on December 25, 2009. Filed under: Children, Christmas, Family, Forgiveness, Righteousness, Sacrifice, Salvation | Tags: , , , , , , , |

A little boy, 10 years of age and his younger sisters, ages 8 and 5, quietly tiptoed down the hallway of the two story suburban home, whispering to each other, with the oldest girl asking the boy, “are they up yet?”  The boy ignored the question as he lead the two girls down the stairs very slowly, but with purpose, because they wanted to see if Santa Claus had come the night before, bringing them presents.  They were sure there would be presents under the Christmas tree, for most certainly they had been nice this year and were never naughty.  They thought this as they were doing what their parents told them not to do before they went to bed on Christmas Eve night; they were instructed not to go down the stairs before their parents were awake.  But the those instructions did not keep them from the quest of seeing the presents.

As they approached the bottom of the stairs, the youngest girl stumbled, and squeaked out a little shriek.  This action instantly halted the other two children in their tracks.  The boy told the girl to be quiet, then asked her if she was okay.  Of course she was fine as they continued on their journey down the stairs, making a turn and entering the living room, where the Christmas Tree was standing tall and the lights were glowing as it was still dark since it was only about 6 A.M.  When they entered the room, all three children stood there, gazing at all of the presents sitting under the tree, which Santa had carefully set on the floor below the tree.  The lights glistened and reflected off the wrapping paper of the presents, as the three children were now examining to see which ones were theirs. A little chatter was heard amongst the children concerning what they thought might be in the presents, as the oldest girl said to the boy, “let’s go wake up Mom and Dad”.

So, they hurried back up the stairs, down the hallway, opened the door to their parents room, and proceeded to yell and scream, “Santa came, Santa came”, then jumping up and down on the bed.  The Mom and Dad were startled, yet not surprised, as they were expecting this to happen this chilly Christmas morning.  They had finally finished wrapping the presents about 12:15 A.M. the night before, and as it was now 6:05 A.M., they were a little tired, but in the same sense wide awake, as their children were bringing an air of excitement into the room due to their knowledge of what was downstairs underneath the tree. Before we go further, just to clarify, Santa is not real.  I hope I have not just bursted your bubble about the Santa situation, but the parents are Santa.  Yes, every year the parents have to buy, wrap and position the presents underneath the tree.  So that is that, now you know the truth about how the presents get under the tree.  The fun begins.

But what is the greatest, most spectacular and wonderful present you have ever received? Was it a bike, race car set, doll, or something else, like………..? As we conclude this Christmas series about the journey to the celebration, we have to establish what the most perfect present is, the one present that surpasses all other presents as the most memorable present of all time.  As we noted earlier, the presents do not come from Santa, there is not a mystery guy who flies around the earth in one night on a sleigh, bringing all of the children in the world toys.  Yes, the parents put the presents under the tree, and on one night in history, the Father of creation brought us the most perfect present. This present existed before the beginning, before time began as we know it. God sent to earth the baby Jesus, to be born of the virgin Mary in a manger in Bethlehem.  The Christmas present was the son of God, the savior of the world, and we would celebrate His birth forever. Our journey to the celebration is complete, for we have found the perfect present, that of our redeemer.

What a glorious night it was when Jesus was born. As humans in need of a savior, God chose to love and care for us, providing a way we could be with Him for eternity in heaven.  The Bible tells us in Romans 3:10-11 (ESV), “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.”  Then, of course we all have heard what Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”,  We all are in need of a savior, which God provided as the first Christmas present. Jesus, both God and now man, came to the earth to be with us, to walk with us, to die for us on the cross at Calvary. There is not a present, either past, present, or future that will come close to matching the grandeur and splendor of the present that God the Father sent us that one night 2000 years ago. Jesus is The Christmas Present!

I implore all of you who have read my Christmas series to spend time today reflecting about the real reason for Christmas, the real story, the real Christmas present, that of Jesus Christ, who takes away the sins of the world. When we take the time to reflect on Him who saves us from all unrighteousness, then and only then can we truly understand what a perfect gift we have received.  We are not worthy of being in the presence of God on our own accord.  We must have a mediator to pave the way for us, to intercede on our behalf, in order to be cleansed of our sins, becoming children of God, and working towards a righteousness in Christ.  The Christmas present, Jesus, was sent here for you and me to die for our sins, let us not ignore this fact on Christmas 2009.

If you know Jesus as Lord and savior, then reflect on Him now, giving thanks for the present He gave you.  If you do not know Jesus, then I pray and ask that you seek Him out now, that you confess your sins, and be cleansed by the savior of the world.  Jesus is waiting for all who do not know Him to come in repentance, seeking forgiveness and existence for eternity with God.  Jesus is the perfect Christmas present, He is the only present we need this Christmas day.  Seek Him now, He is patiently waiting for you.

May God bless you this day and every day forward.

Your friend and follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, Merry Christmas to you all,

Daryl Dho

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