It has been a few months since my last blog….sorry for taking over 5 months to post a new one. As I look today on where our country is, it is very disappointing. We have a congress who can’t agree on anything. They vote on what they think will get them elected vice what is truly good for our country and its great people. How do we fix this…I have no idea, but I do pray hoping one day, the men and women we elect to serve will begin looking out for the country and not trying to help everyone.
Don’t get me wrong, there are people out there who legitimately need help at some point in their lives, but we can’t look to the government to be the solution to fix everything. Our government should not be responsible for or be the avenue one chooses in their “pursuit of happiness.” As quoted from the Declaration of Independence, “…they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” These are rights, not requirements and not guaranteed. You have the right to Life. You have the right to Liberty. You have the right to the pursuit of Happiness. Note, it does not say you have the right to Happiness, only the right to pursue happiness. It is a choice. Sitting back wanting to be happy and waiting for the government to make you happy will probably never happen. You have to pursue it yourself. No one else can make you happy. Things can’t make you happy. Money can’t make you happy. It is a choice you have to make yourself.
The Declaration of Independence then goes on to say the government gets it power from the people, “…from the consent of the governed.” What immediately follows that sentence is, “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.” That is very powerful. It is our Right to change our government. I think this is where we may very well be today. Out government is taking over health care, taxing people who have worked hard and have higher incomes and stating the “Rich need to pay their fair share” in taxes. I guess I don’t understand that since the wealthy are taxed upwards of 35% and those of lower incomes somehow get back more in taxes than they paid in. How is that fair. What I think may be happening is the government is trying to provided Happiness as a God given Right while taking away the rights of the very people it taxes at a higher rate. The middle and upper class tax paying citizens are getting fed up with working harder and harder only to see some of the fruits of their labors taken from them by the government and transferred somewhere else. I think Proverbs 6:4-11 says it best:
“4 Allow no sleep to your eyes,
no slumber to your eyelids.
5 Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,
like a bird from the snare of the fowler.
6 Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
7 It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler,
8 yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.
9 How long will you lie there, you sluggard?
When will you get up from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest—
11 and poverty will come on you like a thief
and scarcity like an armed man.”
Do everything you can to improve your life and pursue your Happiness. Don’t rely on anyone else, it is up to you.
Sorry for the late post. One thing led to another and I just forgot to post on the 5th and final part of the series. Yes, I did enjoy it again. Are there differences between what I learned and what was portrayed in the series, yes, but I am fine with it since it doesn’t take away from the book itself.
This episode took us from the sentencing of Jesus through the crucifixion, the lives of the apostles Christ’s death and resurrection, and Revelations written by John after exile to Patmos.
Two hours was not enough for me and I wished for more about the lives of the apostles after Jesus. So I guess the writers/directors got what they wanted or intended from those who watched the series….I have to go back into the Bible and read/reread those sections/books I want to know more about.
I do plan to watch the series again but also read those sections of the Bible to fill in the gaps left by the series and also those books not really covered. It left me wanting more but that was the intent. Get people back into the Bible and back to God. We are all the “prodigal son” and the one sheep the shepherd looked for while leaving the other ninety-nine. Those critics of the series can pick it all apart for not following the version of their Bible or skipping over some books and focusing on others, but God is smiling; people are talking about Christ and re-discovering Him.
If one person comes to the Lord because of this series, it was a success.
This week captured the part of Jesus life we are all very familiar with, his life with the apostles through his arrest and sentence to death. They showed his healing of the man who couldn’t walk, curing a man of leprosy, walking on water and feeding a crowd of 5,000 people. Through all of this, you could watch the growing concern and almost hatred of Jesus by the religious establishment. Jesus was going against their beliefs and practices…so they thought. Even though he could be seen living up to the prophecies of earlier profits, arrives riding on a donkey, to them He wasn’t who He said he was. Caiphas bribes Judas into betraying Jesus.
Jealousy was building and Jesus was tested, the coin with Caesar’s image, the stoning of an adulterous woman, bringing back Lazarus from the dead. I have read some reviews on the series, and as expected, not all of them are flattering. One such review “History Channel’s The Bible is worse than reality TV” goes into everything they could possible think of to criticize the show, the producers and actors. The actors aren’t famous and one dimensional, they skipped a lot of parts and stories of the bible, the role of women is diminished, the same channel has shows like “Swamp People,” “UFO Hunters,” they skipped the bad stories of the bible, etc. Yes, Alan Yuhas can have his say about the series but it would be nice if he kept it to criticizing the accuracies of the story vice everything else. Saying it left out certain parts of the Bible or it doesn’t focus on the strong, important women of the time doesn’t help me much, it just makes me wonder what he wanted to see….a modern, updated, “politically correct” version of the Bible?
I guess my take is the series’ ratings are great because people want to know. A lot of today’s people, even those who attend Christian churches regularly, don’t read, know, or understand the stories of the Bible or even really understand where their beliefs come from. I know most of the stories of the Bible but can’t say I have read every work of every book. Something like “The Bible” is great for me. It allows me to better understand what I have read, where my beliefs come from, and wanting to dig deeper into the book and either read or re-read those sections again.
Well done Mark Burnett and Roma Downey. This is your greatest work. If you wanted to have the American people talking about Christ, his message, and get back into their beliefs and where they come from, I believe you have succeeded. Are there items in the series that aren’t depicted as I remember or have been taught, yes, but that is no different than some Christians believing Mary had more children after giving birth to Jesus and some don’t.
Week three of the mini-series and I have some serious criticism….not at the show, but at my DVR. I have the series being recorded and all was well. Sunday evening I was doing something with my daughter which delayed me around 40 minutes from watching the show. I verified it was being recorded and continued working with my daughter. Around 8:40 PM, I went over to the TV and started part three from the beginning, for some reason, right after Cyprus became king, the show paused. Nothing I could do could get me past that point of the show. I was around thirty minutes behind and if I couldn’t get the DVR to continue, I would miss part of the series. After trying everything I could think of, except unplugging the DVR, I switched to the “live” version on the History Channel. Timing was great; it was the birth of Jesus. Not a bad place to drop in.
Once again, minus the 30 minutes, I enjoyed this week’s part. I am continually amazed at how much they can fit in and keep the story of the Bible flowing is a two-hour time slot. I can’t even imagine how difficult it was to decide which parts/stories were going to use. Which stories ended up shortened or cut out of the final five parts? How to you take 4,000 plus years and find a way to shorten it down to five, one-hour and thirty minute (taking out commercials) episodes. All that time put into series about seven and a half hours in length.
So far, in my opinion, they are making it work, and rather well at that. As with the previous two shows, found a few things I didn’t remember from lessons, classes, church, or discussions with friends. All these discussions over a book written almost 2,000 years ago. WOW!!!
Once again, I was very happy to watch part II last Sunday evening. Learned a lot in two hours….quite a few items I didn’t understand before or completely forgot about. What is impressive though is all the talk about it. It is nice to come into work and have discussions about the series vice what the latest is about sequestration or gun control. For me, gun control is all about sight alignment and trigger control….once a Marine, always a Marine. That is an entirely different subject so let me get off that topic and back to the one you came here to read about.
There is an article in the news today about the series and how Hollywood is being beat on Sunday night but a 5-part mini series on the Bible. According to the artice, this one, two-hour episode but out any of NBC’s shows for the entire week. Rather impressive for any show to beat every show on the network that killed Thursday evenings, “NBC Thursday” with “Seinfeld” and “Friends” for almost a decade. If you want to read the article, here is the link. Sacred myster: Blockbuster ratings for ‘The Bible’ confound Hollywood
Bottom line, if you want to learn about our Lord and Savior, it’s not too late. The series not there yet, they are still in the Old Testament. Episode 3, “Hope” takes us from Nebuchadnezzar, the birth of Christ and John the Baptist. Watch it, I am sure you will learn something.
It all started on last Tuesday, February 26th at 7:25 PM. I was walking into the Wal-Mart located at the Central Park shopping plaza/area in Fredericksburg, Virginia. There is was, right as you walk through the second set of doors where those 4 foot tall security devices stand. You know the one that make that loud alarm sound when the checkout clerk forgets to “deactivate” the anti-theft device hidden somewhere in one of the items you bought! Normally these security devices are the location for advertisements for upcoming movie and video game releases. I always look at them to see what movies will be releasing soon. Needless to say, I was a bit surprised when I walked in and the advertisement had God in bold, capital letters three times and “The Bible” listed at the bottom. I immediately stopped, looked at the advertisement and took a picture. Of course, what better way to show my excitement than to send it out via social media. Here is a link to the History Channel website: The Bible
I set it out to a few friends and posted it to Facebook, which to my surprise, had quite a few likes in the first 2 minutes….I guess people really do use Facebook and actually look at some of my posts. Anyway, back to the reason for the post. The advertisement was for the series as well as the books Wal-Mart was carrying for you to purchase and follow along with the mini-series. The series is five parts and began last night. I watched it and enjoyed it. Granted there is a lot to cover in just two hours. The first part covered a few centuries.
It would be impossible to capture and completely represent the accuracy of the Bible in just 10 hours. I am sure many will find lots of inaccuracies and faults with the show, but the fact that the same channel that carries “Swamp People,” “Ax Men,” “Pawn Stars,” “Full Metal Jousting,” and “Sex in the Ancient World” is also broadcasting a series called “The Bible” and, to me, looks like they are being true to the book, I am impressed. To go from Creations to Moses freeing the Israelites to Joshua outside the city of Jericho in a two-hour show is not easy to do. Here is what the Wikipedia has listed on their page regarding the first episode: Wikipedia – The Bible (TV Series)
“Noah tells of the creation story while aboard the ark; Abrahamic covenant; the Battle of the Vale of Siddim; Hagar and Ismael; birth of Isaac; Abraham is tested; Sodom and Gomorrah; Moses learns of his roots, kills a soldier, and flees Egypt; God speaks to Moses through the burning bush; Moses returns to Egypt; ten Plagues of Egypt; Moses leads the Israelites in The Exodus; Moses parts the Red Sea; Moses receives the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai; Joshua becomes the leader of the Israelites; the Israelites camp outside of Jericho; Joshua sends spies into Jericho.”
When reading about how Roman Downey and her husband Mark Burnett researched and consulted theologians and religions leaders to help insure accuracy and hold true to the Bible’s message. I wasn’t disappointed.
Like I said, quite a lot to cover in two hours and I enjoyed it and I am looking forward to the next episode titled “Homeland” on March 10th, 2013.
February 11, 2013
Whew…done. I have finished the journey…for this year at least, and I have come to one conclusion….GOD DOESN’T CARE ABOUT WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT YOURSELF….HE ONLY CARES ABOUT WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT HIM!!! We live in a feel good society, where everybody does what his right in their own eyes, because it makes them happy. That is about the stupidest thing that rational people could believe. There is only one thing that matters…Jesus, and your relationship with Him!!
How do I come to that conclusion? The bible makes it clear. It is no surprise in my bible readings I couldn’t seem to get out of the Old Testament. The theme of the Old Testament? God is God….period. We are to repent and return to Him…and we will be blessed. That is far different from living the way that we “want” to live and telling ourselves that it is good as long as we are happy. That is a lie from the Pit of Hell…
It is also no coincidence that my readings today were Psalm 34 (the first Psalm that I memorized in 1987, when God first started to get a hold of me ), Proverbs 3 (which has governed my life in my walk with God for the past two years), and Acts 1 (which is the first Christian talk that I ever gave to a group of Christians)…..here are the verses that really stood at at me…
- Psalm 34:8 – Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! (NKJV)
- Proverbs 3:27 - Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so. (NKJV)
- Acts 1:11 - “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” (NIV)
I think that these are 3 really hard hitting verses (of the 2000 verses that I could have chosen from). And here they are in my paraphrase….
- Try God out and see if He doesn’t come through. What do you have to lose? Nothing… What do you have to gain? Everything…
- Always look to the left and the right and see if there is anything that you can do for anybody. ESPECIALLY when they are people who are always doing good for others.
- Oh for crying out loud…..get to work. Jesus is coming back…now you have work to do!
We live in a very dark world….if you doubt it; read the paper, listen to the news, listen to everyone complain about how bad it is. Just consider this sample of things that exist in our world….
- We murder over 4000 unborn children everyday, and call it our moral right to choose.
- We have a President and Secretary of Defense…and many of our legislators and judges that say one of our most important issues in this country is that we need to do everything in our power to encourage people to feel good about their homosexual lifestyles….and encourage them to continue as long as they are happy. And despite the many voices of African American Pastors that say NO….and decry the comparison….they call it a civil rights issue.
- We have churches that despite their silence on issues 1 and 2 feel that the number one goal of the church is to engage on “gun control.”
- We have thousands of people arrested for child pornography charges daily….by the way, whose kids do you think they are taking pictures of? Ours!
- We have our National “Leadership” that is telling us the best thing for our nation is for women to be on the front lines of combat. Despite the fact that women who work “in” the home and take care of our precious resources (our children) are almost vilified and our birth rate is so low that we can’t even sustain our population.
- The “greatest generation” who did so much for this country are silent…instead of warning us that we are on a collision course with total destruction.
- We have over 340,000 people returning from the war dealing with PTSD, and we don’t want to tell them that God has a plan for their lives…because we want separation of church and state.
But with ALL of this…here is what God says to us…
- Isaiah 1:18 – Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool. (NASB)
- Acts 3:17 – And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also. (NASB)
And what do we need to do in response? It is SO EASY!!! PLEASE…PLEASE…REPENT!!
- Joel 2:13 - And rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster. (ESV)
- Isaiah 44:22 - I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you. (ESV)
- Matthew 4:17 - From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (ESV)
- Luke 5:32 - I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
- Acts 2:38 - And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (ESV)
And why? Because He loves us…and He wants us to be with Him forever….and why?
John 3:16 - For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (NIV)
Be very…very encouraged. Jesus didn’t come to this world to save the righteous…but the sinners. Sinners like you and like me. Our world has done the best it can to choke God our of our lives and to make Him seem evil…but that is a lie! He is a good God who desires the best for us. And all He wants in return is for us to desire to be with Him. He will take care of the rest.
Put God to the test…and see if He won’t shower you with blessings…and make your life meaningful. The world promises nothing but despair and darkness. If you think I am wrong just look at the tragedies that we read about in the news of the rich and powerful and famous. All of those things are worthless…Jesus asks us this question…
Mark 8:36 – What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? (NIV)
So please…please….don’t let the world steal the joy that God desires you to have. If you haven’t accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior…then none of these promises apply to you. The world is all that you have…take a good look at it, and see if that is where you desire to place your hopes. OR…would you please….please…please…place your hopes in Jesus, who tells us this…
Revelation 3:20 - Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.
Do I really believe this. Let me put it this way….yes. If you still don’t understand, or have questions…email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please don’t read this and then do nothing….Jesus is knocking, and all you have to do is open the door. Your life will never be the same….and you will be so amazed at the transforming power of God in your life that you will want to tell everybody. And YOU will want to be an encourager to everyone you know. That is why I spent the last year doing this…
I know this is long…but that is what 365 days of writing will do to you…but I would be remiss if I didn’t say thank you to my wife, Anne Marie…who gave me the greatest blessing of all by telling me that she read this blog often (with no coercion), my friend Ron who manages this blog and called me if I didn’t write early just to make sure that I wasn’t dead. Chuck, Paul, and Chris, who I have shared many cups of coffee with, and prayers with this past year…and all of which inspired me to keep going…even when I wanted to quit.
Jude 1:24-25 - To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
Grace, and the Peace of our Lord be with you all. Dan
February 10, 2013
As I almost close this “Year of Encouragement”, I realize that I have been the one that has been encouraged….and that is because when you have to focus on encouraging someone else….you consistently have to come up with encouragement.
I have found…that can only come from the Bible. Period. You can listen to all of the self help people on TV, and anybody else that wants to give you things to smile about…but unless it is focused squarely on God and His plan for your life then it will fall short. Because there is only one thing that matters….Jesus.
The whole “What’s Your Dash” website started with me focusing on two questions:
1. What happens when you die?
2. Knowing the answer to question number one, how do you live your life?
BUT…you can narrow it down even further…
WHERE DO YOU STAND ON JESUS CHRIST?
Who is Jesus? He came to the earth for the following reason…
Luke 4:18-19 - “THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED, 19TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.”
In my paraphrase Jesus basically said, “I am God”…” I am the fulfillment of this prophecy”….”I am the one that you are waiting for.” ”I am the One who will free you all from your captivity of sin.”
Wow…so when you get down to brass tacks…He either is….or isn’t who He said He is.
So be encouraged….He IS who He says He is…He DID what He said He was going to do…and He WILL return to do what He said He will do. And if you believe it, and have trusted in Jesus…it will be a WONDERFUL day!!
Grace and Peace, Dan
February 9, 2013
I have some friends of mine who are alive….and some friends who are dead. And you know what, there are not many options in between. BUT…when you put God in the equation there is….think about this…
When Adam was created….he was dead. Just some clay that looked like a man. Until…
Genesis 2:7 -Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. (NASB)
You see that is the way it was from the beginning. Without God, we were dead. And without God we are dead. But you say Dan, I am reading this therefore I am alive. Really? Well what about this passage…
Genesis 2:17 - but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die. (NASB)
But Adam lived after he ate. Well physically yes…but he died Spiritually. That is why Jesus came to give us life. But you say, I have life. Really? Without God? You may be breathing…but you are dead spiritually. Okay…let Jesus explain it…
John 10:10 - The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. (NASB)
So be encouraged…you don’t have to stay dead. You can come back to life if you will accept Jesus’s sacrifice for your sins…see how easy it is? And notice that Jesus doesn’t just want you to come to life…he wants you to HAVE life, and have it abundantly.
Grace and Peace, Dan
February 8, 2013
As I near the end of this 365 day journey, I realize that I have learned a lot about me. Some days you want to write a lot, and some days you just want to hit your computer with a brick and wish that you never started this commitment. But that is what this has been. God really laid it on my heart that we need encouragement in life…
Now don’t confuse that with feeling good. Encouragement is totally different. It is what keeps you going….because let’s face it, there are a lot of days when you just want to curl up in a cocoon. But we don’t have that option. Life goes on…and it is either meaningless or meaningful. Like the writer of Ecclesiastes….life without God is chasing the wind…which if you think about it…is a waste. But if you are following God’s lead, life is meaningful. That doesn’t mean that you get up every day and sing the hallelujah chorus…but that means that you tell God that you have no idea what His agenda is…but that you are available.
BUT….God doesn’t let you be stagnant…because He wants you bearing fruit with your life. And to bear fruit, you have to be pruned. I HAVE BEEN PRUNED THIS YEAR….and there are a lot of days that I was asking God if it would ever end. I had some junk in my life, and in my past that He wanted me to deal with….and here is why. If you don’t understand what repentance is…you can’t understand grace. And if you can’t understand grace….you can’t really realize the gift of redemption that God has given us. And if you don’t understand the gift of redemption…you don’t realize how worthy it is to follow God’s will for you life. You don’t “have to”…but you will want to. Here is how Peter puts it….
2 Peter 1:1-4-To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (NKJV)
Grace and Peace be multiplied to you…in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. Get it? Grace and peace is multiplied as we understand more about God!! And Peter goes on…this is how God gets us ready….
2 Peter 1:5-7 -5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. (NKJV)
I think I want to write a book someday…not that anybody would read it. But I want to talk about these passages….the crescendo. You see, these are the building blocks in your life in Christ. He wants you to first have faith, and then to your faith to be virtuous, and then grow in your knowledge, and then learn how to control yourself, and then learn to persevere, and then learn to be godly…and then be kind….that then add to that love. WOW….that is a lot of learning…but it is at that time that God can use you!!! And each of those steps requires some pruning…so that you will bear more and more fruit. And why? So that more seeds will get sown for the kingdom….and that more people will come to Christ! Get it?
And why do we “want” to do this? Because if these attributes are coursing through our veins….they we will remember that we are clean, and new creations….and ready to work for the kingdom!! Okay…back to Peter…he is much better than me.
2 Peter 1:8-9 – 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. (NKJV)
So be encouraged….pruning just makes you more fruitful. You are designed to bear fruit!!! NOT chase the wind. So let God in, and let the Holy Spirit push the world out of you. It may hurt for a little bit, but some of those branches have been growing for a while. AND…the rewards are eternal….and your life will have meaning!
Grace and Peace, Dan