Who’s The Boss?

Posted on March 25, 2010. Filed under: Creation, Faith, Glory, God, Heaven, Holiness, Love, Righteousness | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Who’s the boss? Are we the boss, or is our spouse, our employer, the government, or someone or something else the boss?  Or, is God, the creator of the universe as we know it, the boss?  If God is the boss, then who is He, who is God really?  This blog is the second installment of my search of how to describe God, based on what I read in the Psalms.

Is The Bible, or God’s Word, True?

A beautiful and integral part of getting to know my Heavenly Father better is to take comfort in the fact that God’s word, in the original manuscripts are inerrant.  We gain assurance of this in (Ps 119:160), which eternally blesses us with, “The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever,” as well as (Num 23:19), for which we are told, “God is not man, that He should lie, or a son of man, that He should change his mind.  Has He said, and will He not do it?  Or has He spoken, and will He not fulfill it?”  In (2 Tim 3:16-17), we read, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”  As I explore the Psalms, in order to gain access to who my Heavenly Father is, knowing I can trust God’s word without question is imperative.

Holiness

My Heavenly Father is Holy in His ways; He is perfect in goodness and righteousness, He is divine and sacred, inspiring us to be in awe of His very being and worthy of our revering Him in our most humble posture.  He is Holy, sitting enthroned on the praises of Israel, the Lord our God is holy.  We can trust in His holy and awesome name, giving thanks, for in His holy name is glory.  All of God’s ways are holy.  As we are in awe of how the Lord our God is great, we are motivated to exalt Him and to worship at His footstool; yes He is holy.  In His holiness, God speaks to His people with trustworthiness; His character is pure, unwavering and dependable.  God’s holiness is consecrated in His sacredness, which is deserving of our devoted and affectionate worship.  What a wonderful and holy God we have.

Lovingkindness/Steadfast love

One of the beautiful aspects of God is His lovingkindness or steadfast love. Psalm 25:10 tells us all the paths of the Lord are lovingkindness, which gives us so much insight into His character, as this reveals his kindness, mercy, faithfulness, and goodness.  His lovingkindness endures all the day, is precious to us, and we are reminded of how His steadfast love extends to the heavens.  When we walk in faithfulness with the Lord, we can take solace in God’s steadfast love, which is before our eyes, as life’s struggles attempts to knock us down.  Because we know God knows our endeavors, we can rejoice and be glad in His lovingkindness.  In His lovingkindness and truth, we can persevere through life, knowing He is righteous, and abundant in mercy.

If we were ever to doubt whether or not our Heavenly Father’s love will cease, we can review the approximately 30 verses in the Psalms, which tell us of how His steadfast love endures forever (Ps 118:1-4; 136:1-26).  In these verses, there is a magnificence in knowing God is the Lord of lords, does great wonders, made the heavens, spread out the earth, made the great lights, told the sun to rule over the day and the moon and stars to rule over the night, lead the Israelites out of Egypt, struck down kings, gave their land as a heritage, rescues, and provides food to all flesh, all because his steadfast love endures forever.  Reflecting on how His lovingkindness is everlasting, we should render thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness and His wondrous works.  How truly blessed we are due to His steadfast love for us.

Tune in next time for a continuation of my search to describe who my Heavenly Father is.

May God bless your day,

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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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 Card, Here is My Favorite; A Journey to the Celebration

Posted on December 24, 2009. Filed under: Christmas, Heaven, Salvation | Tags: , , , |

My wife and I will be celebrating our 24th Christmas together this year.  Every year we have sent out Christmas cards to our family and friends.  Of course, we also receive Christmas cards, usually from those same family members and friends.  I enjoy receiving them, and at times we have displayed them on counter tops, entertainment centers, and in a card holder box.  It seems like the more cards you send out, the more you receive.  This year, we have received quite a few, but have not sent any cards out.  I wanted to, but as time went on, day after day, the next thing we knew it was Christmas Eve, and there was not any time left in order to get Christmas cards to our family and friends before Christmas.

So, if you are were expecting a Christmas card from Bonnie and I, then I must apologize for not sending you one, because it is not happening.  Trust me, you were definitely in our thoughts, I have no excuse other than this year we just were too busy to send Christmas cards; sorry.  If you get a card from us, it will have to be for a different holiday.

While I was thinking about the Christmas card, and what it means to those who receive them, I began to contemplate about what my favorite Christmas card of all time would be.  After a while, I came up with this one as my all time favorite Christmas card; it is the Bible. The Bible you ask, why are you saying the Bible is your all time favorite Christmas card? You may be saying, “the Bible is not a Christmas card”.  Here is my answer, and it is simple really, since what the Bible talks about is similar to what we talk about and read in our Christmas cards.  The truth, which is spoken through the Bible, is about the reason we celebrate Christmas every year; the Bible is about Jesus Christ, who is God, being born as a child to become a man and the savior of the world.  Yes, on Christmas day we are celebrating His birthday, so let’s party.  When you examine the word of God in the Bible, written by men through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, then you begin to understand why I consider the Bible my favorite Christmas card.

The Bible has poetry, songs, history, and is full of the love from God about how we should live our lives in a meaningful and full way.  God sent His son to tell us about and to be an example of how to love one another, as God loves us.  This Christmas holiday, spend time to think about how the Bible can be considered the greatest Christmas card of all time, and how the love, which is sent to us through His Holy Spirit inspired words, should captivate us in such a way that we never want to discard it, never want to ignore it, never want to stop reading it over and over again.

This Christmas card, the Bible, should be a card that becomes part of our lives, for it is the words of God.  We should share the words from this Christmas card with all who will listen, just like I enjoy doing through my blogs.  We should share them in the work place, in school, around town, everywhere we go we should be excited to tell people about how God, through a period of over 1500 years, inspired men to put His words into written form for all to here and understand.  This Christmas card, the Bible, should be our favorite Christmas card of all time, because God, the creator of the universe, came to earth in the form of a man, in order that we would have a path to salvation from our sinful nature and a path to heaven.  This Christmas card is one we should cherrish, as it gives us the details of why we are celebrating tomorrow the birth of the savior Jesus Christ.  Remember, this holiday is about the birth of Jesus.  Let us not take that for granted, for it is not about Walmart having more sales!  Please be mindful of this over the next 48 hours; Jesus, who is God, was born in a manger about 2000 years ago, and on Christmas day we celebrate His birth.  God’s word, sent to us, is my favorite Christmas card, so go ahead and tell everyone you know about it, for it is eternal, and will never go away.

May the love of God be with you on your journey through life,

Daryl Dho

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It’s a Wonderful Life; A Journey to the Celebration

Posted on December 22, 2009. Filed under: Christmas, Faith, Family, Heaven, Personal Happiness, Salvation | Tags: , , , , , , |

In the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life”, George Bailey, who was played by Jimmy Stewart seemed to have the perfect life, but as we all remember, he most certainly did not.  There are some in this world who, when the reality that life is not always as easy as they would like, decide they want to check out.  Many times, I believe this comes from where they put their priorities.  If we prioritize money and things we might obtain in our life, equating our happiness to how much we have, then due to the nature of life, we will surely be let down at some point.  We can not predict what will happen next in our lives, and therefore the unexpected happens, resulting in our either being let down, devastated financially, emotionally distraught, or just plain unhappy, all because we put our importance on the temporal things of this world.

So, because of the many variables in life, regardless of how great, capable, and together we might think we are, or how fantastic our life may seem to be going, it is inevitable that we will, at some point, be disappointed.  I think most people, if they truly search their inner thoughts and emotions in an honest way, will discover they know life is not perfect, and someday disasterous things will happen to them.  The problem therefore lies in the fact that most people just do not want to prepare for the impending negative consequence in their lives.  When that awful circumstance appears, many do not know how to handle it, choosing an even worse alternative, such as suicide, or hurting themselves and others.  Most of us have heard the old expression, people don’t plan to fail, they just fail to plan.  This expression seems simple enough to understand, but difficult to execute.

Jesus, who’s birthday party and celebration is this Friday, December 25, 2009, had a lot to say about this subject.  He told us in Matthew 6:19-21 (ESV), “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Jesus is telling us that we need to have our priorities straight.  Of course, we have all heard we need to do this, but most of us do not understand this concept the way Jesus describes it.  He is telling us we will be challenged in life if we put our priorities on the treasures of this earthly world, since none of them will last forever.  I believe when are describing our lives to someone, we can truly say with all honesty, “It’s a Wonderful Life”.  But, in order to say that expression honestly, we need to have our priorities on the things of heaven, which are eternal.

I was having a conversation this morning with my dentist, who I have been going to for about 12-13 years now, and the subject of our happiness came up, including if we had any regrets in our lives.  If you have read my Bio, then you know I have not always led what one would call a very wholesome life, including probably doing emotional damage to other people in the process, yet I told him I have no regrets, and I would not change one circumstance in my life.  My life was, excuse the expression, “all jacked up”, for a long time, but I still would not change a thing, because what transpired during my life, was just a part of my journey, part of what made me the Daryl I am today, part of the molding of the character of the man you here in my words today.  I have become a man who is passionate about people and their feelings, about how they will spend not only this life, but the next life through eternity.

Yes, when asked about my life, I would be able to truthfully affirm, “It’s a Wonderful Life”.  Not because I have billions, millions, or even thousands of dollars, not because I drive a fancy car, not because I have a great job, not because I am the smartest guy in the world, not because I am the envy of anyone, for none of those are true, but because of these two things: 1) I have a close relationship with God, the creator of the universe, who’s word in Ephesians 2:8 states, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God”, thereby my sins are forgiven, and 2) I am continuously working on developing the relationships with those closest to me, such as my wife, children, and friends.

It is also my desire to do what Jesus commanded us when asked by the scribes which commandment is the most important 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.”  What a role model and teacher Jesus was.  He knew that in order for us to have a wonderful life, we needed to be close with our creator.  He also desires that we have wonderful, beautiful relationships with those He created in His image, as described in (Genesis 1:26), therefore continuing our relationship with Him.  Jesus told us in Matthew 25:40, referencing how we should take care of the poor and needy, “as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”

As we follow the example of Jesus, walking in His footsteps, we can be assured to have struggles in life, as He did.  But, most importantly, we can be assured of being able to state, in reference to the view of our own lives, “It’s a Wonderful Life”.  I can live with that, can you?  Hopefully the answer is yes, because when you can answer affirmatively, you begin to have the peace that only God can bestow in your heart, you begin to look at life with an entire new perspective, you begin to have that wonderful life which all of us truly desire.

May the journey you are on through life be blessed by God,

Daryl Dho

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Santa Claus, Who is That Guy? A Journey to the Celebration

Posted on December 20, 2009. Filed under: Children, Christmas, Faith, Family, Heaven, Salvation | Tags: , , , , , , |

Santa Claus, who is that guy? Most of us know him as the old, overweight, dude, with white hair and a long beard, wearing a red suit and a hat.  Originally, the inspiration for Santa Claus began with a man name St. Nicolas of Myra, a very religious man who lived in the 4th century, and spent much of his time giving to the poor.  In America, we know him more as the guy who’s legend began in the 19th century, and has the ability to go to every house in the entire world on a sleigh powered by reindeer.  Then he makes himself small enough to go into the house through the chimneys, bringing all the good children of the world toys.  He does this in one night, Santa Claus, who is that guy anyway?

The first time I began to have doubts of Santa’s existence was while I was in the 3rd grade.  A kid living across the street said Santa was not real.  I did not want to believe the kid, so as I recall, I was in the 5th grade before I stopped believing that anyone could go around the world in a few hours to distribute toys to all the kids of the world.  I remember the first Christmas when my Dad realized my brother and I knew that Santa was a fake.  As in every Christmas of our past, all of the presents under the tree said they were from Santa.  Each time my father gave a present to my brother and I, he would say, “To Daryl (or Marc), from Santa, who is that guy“.   My brother was 1 1/2 years younger than me, so the myth and legend did not last as long for him, thanks to me.

Then, I had children of my own, and for my two oldest, their coming to the realization Santa was not real seemed not to bother them, as it was just a time in their life where they matured.  For my youngest daughter, who has a very playful and vivid imagination, her finding out the truth about Santa was very traumatic.  When she was in the 5th grade, her older brother got a Star Wars trash can for Christmas (from Santa) of course.  About a month later, as I went into my sons bedroom, noticed a bunch of trash on the floor and remarked that he should use the Star Wars trash can that his Mother and I got him this past Christmas.  My youngest daughter was standing there, and after I mentioned about my wife and I giving the trash can to my son for Christmas, my daughter began to scream and cry because she now knew the truth about Santa, that he doe not exist except in our imagination.

The big issue with my daughter finding out about Santa was, as she so aptly put it, “you have lied to me for my entire life”.  She was so upset that it took about a day for her to calm down about Santa.  My Son was the one who was able to get through to her about Santa, that it was no big deal, because all we were doing by letting her believe in Santa was giving her a fictional character to have fun with every year at Christmas time.

I am a very faithful to God, and to the believe that Jesus was born on Christmas day to establish a way for me to go to heaven through my faith in Him and His death, burial, and resurrection.  Many Christians would say that believing in Santa, or telling our children about Santa is a bad thing, as if we were worshipping idols.  I know that God does not us to put other gods before him, for the Bible tells us in Deuteronomy 5:7, “‘You shall have no other gods before me.”  Moses gave this commandment he had received from God when he was with Him on Mount Sinai.  Now, if I was worshipping Santa, I would say I have a problem, for God told me not to worship other things, but only God.  So, the question is this; Santa Claus, who is that guy?

Personally, I can not agree with Christians who get all worked up over having some fun at Christmas time with Santa Claus, although I respect their belief.  I just look at Santa as the fictional character he is, a guy who we can have some fun with while the children are young.  We get to take pictures of the kids, while they sit on his lap, telling him what they would like to get for Christmas.  That is fun stuff!  Now, in the case of my daughter, I wish she could have found out about Santa in another way, so that she would not have been upset, but oh well, what are you going to do.

The point is this, Santa is just a fictional character we use in order to have a diversion in life, it is a way for us to break away from all of the reality we live in like the economy, going to work, paying the bills, etc.  Santa is not something we worship or truly believe in.  For children, it is a way for them to expand their imaginations while they are young, for he is harmless guy who brings joy and toys to them at Christmas time.  When they get old enough to realize he is not real, then some of the innocence is lost, and they start wanting to develop other people to look up to like Tiger Woods or Taylor Swift.  We need to remember, we should not worship anyone or anything other than God.

If you are a Christian, then from the very beginning, you should bring your child up with the true meaning of Christmas, that we are celebrating the birthday of Jesus, our Lord and savior.  It is your responsibility to teach your children the truth, but while on the journey of life, it is okay for all of us to have an imagination, to take ourselves out of our normal everyday lives and into a time of letting our imaginations run free.  We are not worshipping Santa, we are having fun with the thought that he brings toys to the children, that’s all, nothing more.  Like when we go to a movie, such as the new Avatar movie which I saw last night, it is not real, but a whole lot of fun to watch.  Each family can do what they want when it comes to their children, but in my view, Santa is the jolly old fellow we see in the cartoons, in the books, and in the movies.  I totally enjoy having fun with Santa.

Last point, have you been naughty or nice, because you know, Santa doesn’t bring toys to children who have been naughty, regardless if you are young or old.  By the way, my wife of almost 24 years says I am just a BIG CHILD, and I have been nice this year; OH YES, I HAVE BEEN NICE.  Bring on the presents Santa!

May God always bless your journey through life,

Daryl Dho

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Witnessing A Random Act of Kindness; A Journey to the Celebration Continues

Posted on December 13, 2009. Filed under: Children, Faith, Family, Forgiveness, Friendship, Heaven, Sacrifice, Salvation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Well, did you do it, did you go to the mall instead of saving some money?  Hopefully not, but if you did, and you were trying to control the urge to spend, then maybe you spent a little less than you could have.  Today is only 11 days before Christmas, and the  journey to the celebration continues; thanks for coming aboard. I was deliberating about an attempt to find someone doing a random act of kindness prior to my blogging today.  Yes, I spent the last 24 hours of my life observing what was going on around me, and as I wandered through my day, I had high hopes of seeing someone doing a random act of kindness.  I could have completed some random act myself, that would be easy, but I wanted to discover someone else doing it, without them knowing I was watching them.

Maybe you are wondering what someone completing a random act of kindness would consist of?  We might consider someone who is sacrificing something of their own, like their time, treasure, or a talent in order to assist someone, either on a whim or without any initial thoughts of being randomly kind.  We should also consider it a blessing to another person when we take a course of action whereby that other person receives the benefit from our unwarranted or what society might say is an unnecessary act.  It is all about caring more about others than ourselves, putting their needs first before our own.

I love this next part, and believe me, it is huge. I was totally amazed and astounded about what I witnessed and heard at church today, when I discovered 2 ways people had rendered what I consider random acts of kindness.  First, there is a chief of a somewhat prosperous village in Africa who has taught the villagers how to grow crops and take care of themselves in a far better way than they were used to.  Another village, about 20 miles away, is in desperate need of the same knowledge that this particular chief has acquired.  Every day, for quite some time now he has traveled by bicycle to teach the people of the other village how to perform the same tasks that his village is doing.  The 5th & 6th graders at our church heard about this story, how the chief traveled by bicycle 20 miles each day, and decided that they wanted to raise money in order to buy him a motorcycle to travel with, rather than his bicycle.  The 5th & 6th grade Director took the week to think about some ways that his students could raise money for the Chief’s motorcycle.  When he went back to church this past week, the 5th & 6th grade students gave the Director a pile of money they had raised through selfless acts such as selling some of their personal belongings and other practical ideas, all without the aid of any formal plans.  It was not necessary for him to be involved more than use the money to obtain the motorcycle and support the chief.  The children did not need to be told what to do, they saw a need, and used their hearts, minds, and resources to raise the money necessary to accomplish their goal.  What an awesome random act of kindness for someone they have never met.  The journey to the celebration continues.

The other random act of kindness that I found today at church came from twin sisters here in Mesa that were having their 16th birthday party.  I have known these 2 girls for about 5 years, and what they did for others does not surprise me, as I have always found them to be the types of individuals that care for people.  Normally, when 15-16 year old girls have a birthday party, their desire is to have clothes, music, makeup, and other similar personal items as birthday presents, but not these 2 girls.  They are already involved in raising money for water wells to be dug and built in Africa, and now they have taken it to the next level.  They asked all of the girls who were in attendance to bring money rather than gifts, but not so they could go and buy themselves presents.  These 2 twin 16 year olds chose to be selfless, as they decided to give whatever money their friends gave them as a gift to an organization which is digging and building water wells for poor people in Africa.  Their act was random, incredible, and awe-inspiring.  In case you are interested, here is the web address for the charity that provides for these wells: http://www.charitywater.org/. Yes, I am thrilled that I heard about these 2 random acts of kindness, now let us continue our journey to the celebration.

You know, although it was not random, considering that it was planned from the beginning, one of the most courageous and wonderful acts of kindness known to man was that of a man named Jesus.  Jesus left His seat in heaven so that He could come to earth as a man, allowing Himself to be beaten, tortured, and hung on a cross to die.  He was ridiculed, made fun of, spit on, and said to be a criminal and a blasphemer, although He was in fact God.  Most of us have read or heard what John 3:16 says, but here it is anyway, along with verse 17; “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.”  God’s desire is that all humans could be with Him in heaven for eternity, so He sent His son, Jesus, to do that act of kindness through His sacrifice on the cross.  As an atonement for our sins, Jesus took the punishment, without hesitation, for He loved us so much.  All we must do is ask for forgiveness, He did the rest, including being born as a human.

I am grateful when I think about the fact that Jesus, the second person of the trinity of God, temporarily gave up His throne in heaven to do the will of the Father God, so that you and I could be with Him in heaven for eternity.  His desire was to come to earth, as a man, and take the punishment for our sins.  He absorbed the punishment for all of our sins, past, present, and future, so that we could live in harmony with Him forever.  At the moment He died, taking on the weight of our sins, it is believed that he was separated from His fellowship with God.  This act of kindness towards all of us undeserving humans was selfless, yet necessary as an atonement for our sins.  Because Jesus, who was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, and followed the will of God the Father as He states in (Matt 26:39), “not as I will, but as you will”, we are sanctified through His death, and through His blood.  We are fortunate to have a loving God, willing to come to earth in human form, taking on the sins of the world.  This Christmas season is about celebrating the birth of Jesus, God who came as a man to earth for all of us.

Jesus gave us the most significant act of kindness known to man when He came to be born as a human, then sacrificing His life on the cross.  Tomorrow, the journey to the celebration continues. Please think of ways to provide acts of kindness to those you may come in contact with, so that our world can be a better place for all.  See you tomorrow.

May your journey in life be blessed,

Daryl Dho

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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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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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