Thursday, February 26, 2009

Cold Feet?

Have you ever noticed that the Bible is a book of previews. God is constantly showing us and telling us what He is doing and planning to do in the future. The most obvious example is Jesus. The first preview came in the Garden of Eden when God sacrificed an animal to cover Adam and Eve. Then came the image of the serpent lifted up on the staff for the Israelites to look upon to be saved. Later Jonah spent three days in the belly of a great fish. David and Isaiah wrote of the sufferings of the messiah on the cross. Actually there are over 300 references in the Old Testament to Christ and his life. God gives us plenty of warning and plenty of time to learn. King David spent his youth protecting the flocks from wolves, lions and bears. It was all good training for his encounter with Goliath. The Children of Israel were being prepared for what God was GOING to do by what he was doing. One example was the crossing of the Red Sea when they fled Egypt. The Egyptian army was pushing in behind them and the sea blocked any chance of escape. Moses lifted up his staff and the waters parted and they walked across on dry land. It must have been really scary to do it, but the other choice was certain death at the hands of the Egyptian soldiers who held the Jews personally responsible for all the destruction and death of the plagues. They fled to the safety of the far shore and watched there enemies be destroyed in the surge of water. Forty years later the memory of this event must have encouraged them to step out into the swollen Jordan river:
Andrew Murray recounts that day: “You remember that the Jordan at the time of harvest overflowed its banks. The hundreds of thousands of Israel were on the side of the river from Canaan. They were told that tomorrow, God would do wonderful things for them. The trumpet would sound, and the priests would take up the ark—the symbol of God’s presence—and pass over before the people. But there lay the swollen river still. If there still unbelieving children among the people, they would say, “What fools, to attempt to cross now! This is not the time to attempt fording the river, for it is now twenty feet deep.” But the believing people gathered together behind the priests with the ark. They obeyed the command of Joshua to advance; but they knew not what God was going to do. The priests walked right into the water, and the hearts of some began to tremble. They would perhaps ask, “Where is the rod of Moses?” But, as the priests walked straight on and stepped into the water, the waters rose up on the upper side in to a high wall, and flowed away on the other side, and a clear passage was made for the whole camp. Now, it was God that did this for the people; and it was because Joshua and the people believed and obeyed God. The same God will do it today, if we believe and trust Him.”
Do you realize that God has already shown you what He is going to do in your situation today? Think back. Sometime in the past you asked something of God, shared what looked like an insurmountable need…and God brought you through. This time it may even seem more impossible but remember this: When you are learning to trust God, DON’T BE AFRAID TO GET YOUR FEET WET!

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Ring

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Love only grows with commitment

It is the wee hours of the morning after Dustin and Michelle’s wonderful wedding. We are so happy with and for them. I guess one of the early signs of Empty Nesters syndrome (which I have been suffering with for hours now) is reflection. Retracing God’s steps in their lives reveals His wisdom and love. I remember first meeting Michelle. They started dating while Dee and I were on our lifetime dream trip to see the fall colors on the east coast. We had heard of her appearance through the family grapevine and knew who she was as a child, but not as a woman. We wondered, would this be God’s choice for Dustin? We quickly fell in love with Michelle and early on I literally threatened Dustin with “you will never find her equal for you so don’t blow it!” It was fun watching their love progress to the full expression we all witnessed a few hours ago. They don’t realize it yet, they couldn’t…but this is just the beginning of learning to love. I know. I thought I knew what love was 40 years ago when Dee and I approached our wedding. It is so much more than I ever could have imagined. I have seen something in the eyes of my elders that are years ahead of me that tells me I have a great deal more to discover about love, it never stops growing. I am delighted that Dustin took the step to marry Michelle now because I know this: LOVE CANNOT EXIST OUTSIDE OF A PERSONAL COMMITMENT. That was the point of the ceremony. They made a public declaration and commitment to each other. That commitment will grow as they grow, this is just the first step. They will experience a depth of love that others without this commitment will never know. Maybe this is why Scriptures pictures our relationship with Christ as a bride / groom relationship. There is only one condition for experiencing the love of God and that is a personal commitment to the savior. Have you made that personal commitment yet? That is why I am up in the middle of the night. Jesus wanted to talk and it was wonderful and very real.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Dusty and Michelle's Wedding


My quiver is finally full: Aimee, Jodi, Michelle, Brooke & Doni

Our Love and prayers are with you always. God Bless!

The ceremony:

Deanna and I and Steve and Monica would like to thank you for sharing this moment with us. For Dee and I our youngest child, Dustin is taking a wife and leaving home. After 35+ years we are officially empty nesters. We don’t know if we should be filled with sorrow or song. Maybe a little of each would be right. Steve and Monica are not losing their only daughter Michelle, it only feels like it at first. They are gaining another son. You have already accepted into your heart and treated him as a son. This just makes it official and permanent. We all understand and rejoice in God’s plan for a man and woman from the beginning. God took the initiative in the formation of marriage because he realized our need as human beings for a deep and supportive relationship. It pleased God to create Eve for Adam knowing his life would be enriched. In a sense God had to share Adam with Eve, but He took Joy in doing it. God lost nothing of Adam’s love, He gained Eve’s love and eventually the love of their offspring which includes us. As parents, we have already begun to experience this love from them. All of us put our full support and blessings on this marriage, convinced that this is the hand of God at work in the lives of our children.

The reason for this ceremony today is to publically, officially and permanently consecrate (set apart) these two totally to and for each other. The purpose of this gathering is the celebration of LOVE, …… Dustin for Michelle, Michelle for Dustin and all of us who are blessed with loving relationships.
I believe and can demonstrate from my knowledge of Dustin and Michelle that God has designed each of you with a special gift to complete and compliment the other. You will either complete or compete. Compliment or complain. How it works out in the day to day events of life will depend on your individual consecration to God. Your gift of love to each other totally depends upon HIS continued supply of love to you. You cannot give what you do not receive. You each have what the other is lacking for wholeness…You need each other in a very healthy way. Not fleshly codependency, but a God endowed interdependency, each depending on the other, both depending on God. In your union of marriage you will see the world more clearly, you will be stronger, braver, more secure, better, more complete than you could be alone…You will face challenges with a combined strength, Joys will be doubled and sorrows halved in your sharing. What you bring to the other person in consecration under God will make them better but if you do the same thing in the flesh, it can make them bitter! Consecration to God and each other will be the cement that holds you together or the lack of it will be the brick wall that keeps you apart. In and of yourself, what you bring to the other will suffocate their soul , but in a spirit consecrated to the Lord what you bring to this marriage will replenish not only your own spirit, but their spirit with the refreshing waters of a life lived loved. If you do not know God loves you and live in HIS LOVE, you will have no real love to give.
This incredible gift of God’s love for you, individually and as a couple brings with it all of our blessings.

Who Presents Michelle to be Married to Dustin?

Dustin will you take Michelle to be your wife? Do you commit yourself to living loved in the Lord and sharing that love with her? Do you promise to love, honor, trust, and serve her in sickness and in health, in adversity and prosperity, and to be true and loyal to her so long as you both shall live?

Michelle , will you take Dustin to be your husband? Do you commit yourself to living loved in the Lord and sharing that love with him?. Do you promise to love, honor, trust, and serve him in sickness and in health, in adversity and prosperity, and to be true and loyal to him so long as you both shall live?

Dustin , repeat after me:
I, Dustin , take thee Michelle to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward; for better for worse, for richer and poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God's holy ordinance.

Michelle repeat after me:
I, Michelle take thee Dustin to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward; for better for worse, for richer and poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God's holy ordinance.


Dustin is presenting to Michelle a wedding ring that he created with his own hands. It was made with the finest materials he could obtain, all the love his heart could hold and all the skill his hands could master. The quality of this ring will allow it to last a life time and more. Generations from now it will be unchanged and of a far greater monetary and emotional value. It is a symbol of choosing to live life Loved.

Where does their love for each other come from? For that matter where does real love come from at all? Poets write of it, singers sing of it, scientists ignore it completely as unknowable but it is undeniably there. Nothing I have observed in their two and ½ year courtship has ever caused me to question their love for each other…on the contrary, I have seen it substantiated, and affirmed time and again. The Bible says that God is love and all love originates from and through Him and will return to Him. Love exists because of Him. As you love each other, you are loving God. Thank you God for such a gift!
Dusty, Michelle, Since you cannot give what you do not possess the quantity and quality of your love will depend upon your relationship with God first. By your individual testimonies we know you already have that loving relationship with God to serve as the foundation for your loving relationship with each other.
Any other way makes for a power struggle, life becomes a war for the throne, struggling for who is in control. One theologian wrote:
Love is always about giving up control, and people are trained to think of taking control-even of God. In my experience, most people would sooner be afraid and in control than in love and out of control.
Let’s put that in context. The Bible and common sense teach us that God is the absolute owner of all. He is the creator/sustainer of everything of any description. As such He does not need to give any of his creation any choice whatsoever. It is His absolute, undeniable, irrevocable and uncontested right. But because He exists in perfect love in and of himself, he, by his very nature wants a loving relationship with us and He desires for us to have loving relationships with each other. To have that relationship GOD WILLINGLY GAVE UP CONTROL OF OUR WILL. He could force us, but in perfect love he chose to offer a relationship with us. We are free to accept or reject it. Free to live loved or live any way we choose. Listen to the heart of Jesus penned by the apostle John
1JN 4:13 We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 17 In this way, love is made complete among us
1JN 4:19 We love because he first loved us.
Each of you has acknowledged that Jesus is the son of God so God does live in you. But each of you, in your own way and for different reasons has learned, like every other human being, to struggle for control. There is a healthy aspect to that. You each have had significant obstacles placed in your path…and have overcome.
For this to be a joyful and peaceful marriage you each must surrender any attitude of control and choose to love and live loved. Control for all of us is only an illusion that time will eventually unmask. Perhaps it is far better for us to find our peace in learning to live loved rather than in the frantic activities we employ to prop up our illusion of control.
Dusty, for you this means you must consider Michelle first in every activity of life. Peter said: 1PE 3:7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. God has designed her to respond to you as you follow Him. If you do not, she will naturally resist. God goes on to promise that if you live this way with her, she will literally be the perfect wife for you. Believe that with all your heart and you will live a joyful life.

Michelle God asks 1PE 3:1 Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Michelle you are to model that you deeply believe that God is in control of all things so much so that you do not have to manipulate or control Dustin. I know you have this quality, this ability in you. I remember when your relationship with Dusty was just beginning. I asked a favor of you. You said to me “I’m not sure I understand but I will do it just because you asked me to”. I watched as you encountered other difficulties in life and I have never been disappointed in your reactions or actions. Inside every man is both a LOVER/LEADER and a Protector/Conqueror. His role according to Genesis is to subdue the ground, to take control, by brute force when necessary. Your role is to be his support, at his side, one with him. You will never beat him physically and you will never control him with force. If you challenge him as a conqueror, you will have a battle on your hands. If you approach him as your lover, leader/protector he will die for you. It is in his genetic code to be the provider protector. Your role is to model confidence in what God is doing and can do. You never want to fight with him, you always want him to fight for you. IF you will choose to believe God in this, Dusty will naturally want to do anything for you as a loving service, not a sacrifice. You are his companion, on the same team, working together. NEVER allow yourself to become his competition. You will bring out the conqueror, not the provider/protector God designed him to be. You are his COMPLEATION. He is not whole without you.
Neither of you will be perfect at your roles. At some point you will fall short. God resolves the inevitable issue of failure with forgiveness. He did that BEFORE the creation of the earth. Christ paid for all our sins on the cross, they are to be remembered no more and not held against us. If you will practice Godly forgiveness for each other your love will know no limits. God Promises:
PS 130:3 If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? PS 130:4 But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are reverenced/respected.
Relationships are forged in forgiveness. Forgiving each other for imperfections is a bond that will strengthen, not weaken your marriage. Be slow to anger, quick to apologize, always accept your own part in the problem and your love will grow.

Dusty will you place this ring on Michelle’s finger and repeat after me:

I crafted this ring as the emblem of my love for you alone./ I place it on your finger /for the world to know you are my love my treasure. My gift from God.

Michelle will you place this ring on Dustin’s finger and repeat after me:
In accepting your emblem of love / I offer you mine. /I place this ring on your finger / for the world to know / you are my love, my treasure my gift from God.
It is now my Joy to declare you husband and wife since you have willingly committed yourselves to each other for the rest of your lives. I charge you to remember every day that you are loved by the Father and each other. Live Loved. Fulfill your promises to each other. Love and serve the Lord. Let nothing separate you from each other.


Mr and Mrs Dustin Zimmermann

Friday, February 20, 2009

Dusty and Michelle's rehersal

Moving Day. Dusty built the bed, Michelle outfitted the kitchen.
Paramedic/Captain/brother/stress reducer

Stress reduced!

Stress INCREASED....priceless.

Wedding Stuff

Tomorrow is Dusty and Michelle's wedding. The families are circling like...maybe I'd better not finish that one...We are so excited and happy for them. Michelle is what any father would hope for in a wife for his son. I guess my quiver is now officially "full". It took 36 years but the time has flown by. I plan to post the ceremony tomorrow night with some pictures for those who cannot attend.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Spirit filled Woodpeckers?

I am in a time warp. Seems like I just took this picture of Dusty last year. With the wedding and all this week, the blog is down a ways on the must do list. Pity too. I wrote 3 seed blogs to myself just this AM. I didn't really intend to. I was laying in bed debating /battling to get up earlier this am...and losing...when Dee said someone was at the door. I had to get up only to discover it was a woodpecker! I guess if the Holy Spirit can use a Dove, a woodpecker would not be that much of a stretch. Anyway, I went into my office and the Holy Spirit gave me an answer to a major obstruction in the flow of the new disciples guide I am working on....make that 2 things now. Thank the Lord for destructive, annoying and Holy Spirit directed WOOD PECKERS!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Need a Lift

If you have a couple of minutes and need a real lift, copy and paste this YouTube video address. While your there, Wintley Phipps, Elvis and a few other have some wonderful versions of this song too and it's history. I would have put it here for you but, a) I am not sure how and b) all the copyright stuff was to confusing on what could an could not be uploaded and sent. I would appreciate info if you know.

Il Divo ::: Amazing Grace

Sunday, February 15, 2009

When is it really yours?

“If you love something set it free; if it returns its yours forever, if not it was never meant to be.” -

That is a great sentiment, but I would have starved as a kid if I took the "something" part literally. When I was young I used to earn my spending money by capturing critters of all kinds and selling them. In grade school is was bull frog polliwogs and foot long gold fish for an uncle who owned a fish store and pigeons for another uncle. My family went to visit my grandfather in Los Angles once a month and in the warm months I would try to catch a snake, lizard or Horny toad.. Snakes would bring a buck a foot usually and the lizards were worth some small coins. . In college I attended summer sessions and was on campus 4 days a week an at home(100 miles away) on the desert 3 days. I was taking 16 units in the summer sessions so I didn't have time for a job because I was in class or studying 18 hours a day. My goal and drive then was to finish college in 3 years to marry Deanna. We got married in the middle of my senior year which for me was 2.5 years in. (Technically the school did not allow more than 8 units in summer classes, but I got around that by registering twice. That was in the days before computer checks). On weekends II trapped chipmunks and squirrels and took them to a pet shop across from the school on Monday morning. I made enough to eat on....if you count 1/2 box of 15 cent Mac and cheese cooked in a popcorn popper eating. I could have spent more but I was so in love with Deanna that spending money on food when she was not around seemed such a waste. If I was careful we could go whole hog on the weekends and get a Mac D burger, coke and fires for under a buck each! Translate that to one snake, 4 Chipmunks or two squirrels...or a combination of the three. For city folks this may seem a little unkind, but maybe they all forgave me because I did it all for love. I don't really think so either but it sounds nicer. I did set a lot of stuff free back then. I was constantly catching one type of critter and moving it to another area where that type did not exist. It was really effective too. The offspring of some of those critters are happily living where I put their parents 40 years ago, so I guess it all evens out somewhere. The heart of the proverb above is to set something free, if it returns, it is yours, if not, it never was anyway. That is the street version of what God is looking for. He wants my all for his glory and he makes possible His all for my good. Andrew Murray put it like this
"Whatever God receives back from us comes to Him in Heaven and gives Him infinite joy and happiness, as he sees His object has been attained." God set us free to do as we would. He is in the height of his glory when we return to him offering all we are and have for him to use. In return he fills us with all that He is. Why would we ever resist such an offer?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Card, by Jarrod

The Story behind the gift

As promised, here is the rest of the Valentines Day story. Deanna and I started dating the summer before my High School senior year. I tell you this now in hopes you will cut me a little slack. What would you expect a 16 year old to know about love anyway? By the end of my senior year I knew she was the one for me and I told her I loved her the night I graduated from high school. It was not a smooth, polished or even remotely romantic declaration, but it was sincere and evidently effective. Money was in short supply for a college student but somehow I managed to put together almost $100 (That is 1968 $). A great job paid $3 an hour back then. We lived in a small desert community that had NO activities of any kind for teens. The one big activity...getting drunk at Sycamore Rocks...held no interest to us so when we were not at her house, we typically cruised the golf course between my house and hers or the fields east of what town there was looking for rabbits to shoot. Little sister Beck was a usual occupant on those "dates" too. Most of my childhood was spent on that desert with my horse, gun and dog trying to capture something. It was who I was and what I did. When I fell in love with Dee, it seemed only natural to include her in my life...except she didn't have a horse or a dog or a gun. I did get the dog, but Becky claimed it. A horse was out of the question on my budget, but a gun, now that was doable. I presented the treasure to her for Valentines Day certain that this was the mother of all gifts. We took it out to try it but it did not work and had to be sent back to the manufacturer for repair. It took several agonizing weeks to get it back.
When Dick called me from the local sporting goods store to tell me it was in I was so anxious I rushed down to pick it up and forgot to pick up the ultra light shells for it...more likely I didn't have the $2 for a box of shells. Instead I asked Dick for a couple of whatever he had around and he gave me a couple of the HOTTEST LOADS the gun could shoot. Again I presented the mother of all gifts to my love. We drove a couple miles to the edge of the populated area....which doesn't take long in a town of 4k. I loaded the gun and set up a can for her to shoot. She had been shooting my single shot .22 rifle with sub sonic bullets that had the kick of a mosquito landing on your boot, but I forgot totally to give her any proper instructions on shooting this gun. With confidence she mounted the gun to her shoulder, aimed down the barrel and pulled the trigger. The sound was a bit louder than I expected but it was near silent compared to the sound of the glare coming from Dee's eyes. On her first shot she bit her tongue, bruised her shoulder and cheek. I immediately realized the wisdom of buying a beginner a single shot. In my hast to share my love, I neglected to tell her to hold the gun tight to her shoulder and expect a sharp kick. She swore never to fire that gun again, unless it was at me! Some weeks later we encountered a Sidewinder rattle snake and she insisted on shooting it with the same gun, this time with the light shot shells. She held it right and never even heard the gun go off or feel the kick. She just wanted that snake dead in the worst way. It died for a good cause. She has never been afraid of it again. It stands today in the corner of her closet, loads close at hand for ??? (I make her use the .22 for the snakes on the porch. They only have a range of 20 feet so it is safe around the house...but effective). Here is Jarroods explanation of that Day:

Do you remember the morning,
Our very first Valentine’s Day,
You opened up your gift from me,
Without a word to say?

I looked at you and smiled,
Like I just gave you the moon,
You smiled back uncertainly,
As I waited for you to swoon,

I gave you a brand new shotgun,
With a bow around the stock,
This gift would be the key,
To your heart, I would unlock,

While all your friends got chocolates,
Roses, and diamond rings,
I gave you a gun and a box of shells,
A few of my favorite things,

You may have looked, and seen a fool,
Who didn’t know you at all,
But the truth is that this gift was proof,
That for you, I did fall,

My life has had it’s troubles,
But these moments, precious few,
Allow my soul to catch it’s breath,
And my gift was to share them with you,

Trudging out at four a.m.,
To get a jump on the sun,
Hiking winding desert trails,
To find quail on the run,

The smell of smoke and creosote,
The sound of flapping wings,
The gentle fall, and the chucker call,
What joy these moments bring,

I gave those gifts to let you know,
I never want us to part,
Where I am, there you should be,
The one who holds my heart,

Happy Valentine’s Day

Friday, February 13, 2009

Giver / Givee

What is Valentine’s Day all about? The cynic in me sees the commercial point of view: it is about making money. It is to encourage people to buy a card or a flower for someone who they evidently would otherwise not have bought it for. Have you ever read the commercial cards they write for men? Most of them are so apologetic, I now I don’t say it, show it, do it enough….but I do love you…here’s a dying flower and a pretty picture. I GUARENTEE YOU that card and wheeze bush would have a much bigger impact on July 7 than February 14. OK that is the cynic speaking, and I admit a lot of men NEED to apologize, (weekly, instead of weakly) rather than yearly. The romantic in me sees the day differently. If Deanna totally ignored the day and bought me nothing, I would niether notice or care. She keeps my tank full year round anyway. What I like about the day is the opportunity to be a special giver. But what is a giver without a givee? This must be a sad day for those who have no one to pour their love into, or worse who choose not to do it. It doesn’t have to be anything big. Deanna bought cheap Dollar store cards to send to the 10 grandchildren. The stamp cost more than the card, but they will feel special today because they got something in the mail…plus cash! It is only $1, but that $1 will mean as much to them as $100, more actually because it is not about money, it is about Love. I’ve been planning this special day for a while. My nephew has a gift for writing and I asked him to write a special Valentines message for me. I gave him the topic: My first Valentines gift of Love to Dee, a H&R .20 gage shotgun. If that doesn’t say I love you, then what does! (You guessed correctly, it didn’t hence the card of explanation 40 years later) Jarrood wonderfully captured the intent of the heart that was lost in the disaster that surrounded the gift at the time. I will post it after Valentine’s day with the story behind it. I have learned to be a better giver, not perfect, but improving. I hope my desire to give is a reflection of my Heavenly Father. He loves to give EVERYTHING he has. In fact, it is why He made me; To pour into me everything He has and is, nothing reserved. He made it all to give to me. It is great to be his Givee too! What is He giving you today?


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Rescue me

Even to think of it today causes an icy shiver to run down my back although it happened 23 years ago. The family was with me while I as working on a holding pen for some birds I was raising. The pen was backed onto a vertical cut in a stone bank about 6 feet high and was protected on top by concertina wire. That is the wire they put around the top of prisons. It has a 1.5 x .5 inch double edged knife point barb every 6 inches. It will literally cut like a knife if you fall on it. I was working in the cage when Dustin fell off the ledge and onto the concertina wire. He was suspended in mid air by a barb that had punctured his thigh. As calmly as possible I told him “do not move”, I am coming. I had to exit the cage and run around the rock ledge about 50 yards to get to him. When I got to him several seconds later he was frozen, whimpering some but not really crying. Should he try to free himself he would slice his thigh open 1.5” deep and who knows how long. I had to look carefully to know how to lift him off the wire without pulling to either side for fear of the slicing effect of the barb. Dusty followed my instructions perfectly and after a few adjustments on the angle, I was able to pull him straight up off the barb without any further damage. To be free Dusty had to totally trust me and let me do all the work. He was totally helpless to do anything without making it worse. The wound never bothered him, even later that day. Sometimes I get myself is a similar situation. I am hung up by some act of my own doing, helpless to affect my own rescue. If I struggle, I will make matters infinitely worse but if I relax and call to Jesus to save me, he will do it immediately, without hesitation or reprimand. Andrew Murray counsles that when we come back to Jesus, from even the depth of sin, we come back "beautiful and glorified" becasue in the comming back we are surrendering again to him. Why do I hang on the trials of life suffering needlessly when all I have to do is whisper for help and He will rescue me. Do you do that too?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Grandpa Z, Dad, Daniel and Me
Late 70's

I am a fourth generation “Tea Totaler”, meaning that for over 150 years my side of the family line has never used alcohol of any kind. Originally it had nothing to do with a moral standard or being a Christian. The family did not find Christ until about 75 years ago. For unexplained reasons, great great grandpa Z pronounced (in Austria no less) that Zimmermann’s would no longer use alcohol in any fashion. He was a ranking officer in the Austrian army and was totally unaccustomed to explaining orders. The family gossip about this decision was lost two generations ago but still, we do not drink alcohol. When my grandfather came to this country and became a Christian in the 1930’s Prohibition was a big issue for Christian’s but not for us. We didn’t drink anyway, but it was added to the list of thou shalt nots. I still don’t drink. I suppose I could, I just don’t want to. I have a bottle of Blackberry Brandy in my cupboard that I take like medicine when my chest is congested, but when I can breath normally, I have zero interest in it. I have been doing this for almost 30 years. I just bought my third bottle last week which means a) I have been fairly healthy and b) I really don’t like the stuff. So that’s just me. As a follower of Jesus I do recognize His strong command to NOT be drunk with wine. Suits me fine, never even had a slight buzz…ever, that’s right, not even once. When your only bottle of booze last 10 years on average it is hard to get a buzz going that long between treatments! So am I special…not really, ok not at all. Especially when you read the command in it’s full context.
Eph 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.
So I guess I’m not doing to badly on the debauching part, but the second half, being filled with the Spirit is lacking. I’m afraid to many of us are really pretty good at avoiding debauchery but really bad about being filled with the Spirit. Then again, maybe it’s just me.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Why am I here?

In working on a new gospel presentation I have been trying to answer the question: Why is man here? I found this from Andrew Murray, written in 1895 in The Deeper Christian Life. You can google the entire thing but I jsut had to share this part:

1. It is the glory of God, and His very nature, to be always GIVING. God is the owner of all. There is no power, no riches, no goodness, no love, outside of God. It is the very nature of God that He does not live for Himself, but for His creatures. His is a love that always delights to give. Here we come to the first step in consecration. I must see that everything I have is given by Him; I must learn to believe in God as the great Owner and Giver of all. Let me hold that fast. I have nothing but what actually and definitely belongs to God. Just as much as people say, “this money in my purse belongs to me,” so God is the Proprietor of all. It is His and His only. And it is His life and delight to be always giving. Oh, take that precious thought—there is nothing that God has that He does not want to give. It is His nature, and therefore when God asks you anything, He must give it first Himself, and He will. Never be afraid whatever God asks; for God only asks what is His own; what He asks you to give He will first Himself give you. The Possessor, and Owner, and Giver of all! This is our God. You can apply this to yourself and your powers to all you are and have. Study it, believe it, live in it, every day, every hour, every moment.
2. Just as it is the nature and glory of God to be always giving, it is the nature and glory of man to be always receiving. What did God make us for? We have been made to be each of us a vessel into which God can pour out His life, His beauty, His happiness, His love. We are created to be each a receptacle and a reservoir of divine heavenly life and blessing, just as much as God can put into us. Have we understood this, that our great work—the object of our creation—is to be always receiving? If we fully enter into this, it will teach some precious things. One thing—the utter folly of being proud or conceited. What an idea! Suppose I were to borrow a very beautiful dress, and walk about boasting of it as if it were my own, you might say, “What a fool!” And here it is the Everlasting God owns everything we have; shall we dare to exalt ourselves on account of what is all His? Then what a blessed lesson it will teach us of what our position is! I have to do with a God whose nature is to be always giving, and mine to be always receiving. Just as the lock and key fit each other, God the Giver and I the receiver fit into each other. How often we trouble about things, and about praying for them, instead of going back to the root of things, and saying, “Lord, I only crave to be the receptacle of what the Will of God means for me; of the power and the gifts and the love and Spirit of God.” What can be more simple? Come as a receptacle—cleansed, emptied and humble. Come, and then God will delight to give. If I may with reverence say it, He cannot help Himself; it is His promise, His nature. The blessing is ever flowing out of Him. You know how water always flows into the lowest places. If we would but be emptied and low, nothing but receptacles, what a blessed life we could live! Day by day just praising Him—Thou givest and I accept. Thou bestowest and I rejoice to receive. How many tens of thousands of people have said this morning: “What a beautiful day! Let us throw open the windows and bring in the sunlight with its warmth and cheerfulness!” May our hearts learn every moment to drink in the light and sunshine of God’s love.
“Who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? For all things come of Thee, and we have given Thee of Thine own.”

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Farewell to a Friend

I just deleted a long story about the this guy. He was my best friends dad and the purest American I have ever had the priviledge to know. His trade mark was to speak his mind, wait for the vote and put his whole effort into the decision of the group, his choice or not. I loved him and respected him. I could say a ton about him and his brutally direct ways but just one story will do. A friend, Al and I were teenagers helping Glenwood and his wife Maxine with some heavy lifting. We were moving a washing machine in a narrow laundry room, Glenwood was behind barking orders, Maxine was in front taking them. Al and I were caught in the middle. Maxine was not comprehending what Glenwood was trying to get her to do and listened to the repeated instructions several times. Finally Maxine shouted back: "Glenwood are you trying to memorize that?" "No Maxine, I'm trying to teach it to you!" he roared back. We laughed so hard we nearly dropped the washing machine. I could write a book about them but it would never capture all that they were. They cannot be described, only experienced. I'm sorry you did not know them. The Moores were a rare gift to mankind and a special gift to me. I can hardly wait to see them again. When we all get there, I will introduce them to you, you'll love them too.

Dusty's Bacholr party

Last night was Dusty's bachelor party. He gets married to Michelle 2 weeks from today. I genrally want to avoid these silly affairs but this one was remarkable. The part I liked the most was watching the relationships with his brothers, family and friends. I was excited and proud to tell his mother all about it and did not have to edit out one look, comment or action from anyone from the entire night. Everything I observed would have and did make her proud. Every one of them acted like real men having a good time together and enjoying each other's company like real men should. I don't have to tell you how rare that is in this day and age. Most of the time these things look like a bunch of men looking for something they think they have lost or are about to lose. This party celebrated what these men have found and will never lose. How could a father ask for anything more?

Doni's first art project

I mentioned on Doni's blog the other day that she has always displayed a gift for blending color etc. I though you might like to see her early first pieces. The pictures of the pieces don't show the detail but they are beautiful.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Shack Annotated discussion guide, Ch 9

A well meaning friend suggested that I read some reviews of The Shack posted on some popular web sites. I have already read many and I don't agree with most of them. Typically they take a line from the Shack and create a theology on that line entirely out of context. Besides, I have already written the most extensive review of the Shack (and compared it to scripture) that can be found on-line. I am pretty sure I know what the Shack says. The following is my notes on Ch. 9 which is available to anyone who wants it. Compare it to the scripture yourself and see what Sarayu has to say to you.

128 What do you think of the description of Sarayu?
129 What is a fractal?
A an indefinitely complex pattern that looks simple at first glance.
How is your life a fractal?
A More complex than the sum of the things I do that consumes my time and energy. There is more to me than what even I see. I am a mess in many ways but beautiful to God.
131 God created all things good, are all things still good? Explain.
A Mankind’s attempts at self direction and independence has turned things that were created good into things that are very bad. Relationships have turned to abuse, sacrifice becomes slavery, Truth is relative, God is absent. Creation itself groans.
132 Detail how a good creation is being dragged down.
A Abuse of people, misuse of the environment, pollution of every sort that poisons the body, soul and spirit. No God, No Glory, no hope. Nothingness is all that can be hoped for in a godless world.
How and why is it happening?
A Mankind’s stubborn self seeking independence instead of cooperating with and enjoying a living relationship with the creator.
Why is creation full of mysteries? Which ones fascinate you the most?
A It is a gift of love from the creator and it also directs us back to him. My personal Favorite: Hubble telescope space shots.
How does Sarayu define freedom? Based on that freedom, are you personally free? Free from what to do what?
A freedom is trust and obedience inside a relationship of love. We are free from the tyranny of rules, regulations, lists, have to’s, shoulds, Should nots, performance, points, expectations, failure, success, shame, guilt. We are free to live in love, accepted, protected, guided, empowered, inspired, visionary, simplicity, humility, grace, joy, fearless, confident.
133 What might the roots symbolize that Sarayu and Mack are digging up? Is it just good gardening or something more?
A the roots are the unseen attitudes and intents of the heart that could spring up and choke out the new plants they were planting before they had time to take root.
Why was it a disaster for humans to have eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?
A It started the race down the path of independent living, each deciding for himself what was good or evil based on how he was impacted personally.
134 Besides the Garden of Eden what other “rumors of glory are hidden inside of what many consider myths and tales”?
A The flood, The exodus miracles, Jonah, the miracles of Jesus, The resurrection.
Why do people resist the biblical accounts of creation as fantasy and yet accept inconclusive or contradictory scientific theory as fact?
How is your process for determining good from evil different from Mack’s process?
135 What happens when there is no absolute reality to objectively define Good and Evil?
A There is no basis for judging anything. Do whatever you want until someone with more power stops you. There are no standards, no morality, no right, no wrong. Nothing matters. It should be the norm of life IF we were not created.
What did eating from the Tree do to man and creation?
A The spiritual was ripped away from the physical leaving man to wander on his own in an aimless, pointless, lost existence, coming from no where, living for nothing and going no where. The spirit of Man died that day.
How much time do you spend trying to acquire what you see as good and avoid what you see as evil? How’s that working for you?
136 What happens when humans determine good and evil for themselves? What is the chief result?
A It allows man to play god in his self determination and independence without any of the prerequisite abilities for doing it successfully. Man becomes fuzzy in his thinking about God and seeking to be free ends up in a bondage he cannot break out of.
What is Evil?
A The absence of Good. Read the third paragraph pg 136 for the complete description.
What are the implications of “Both evil and darkness can only be understood in relation to Light and Good; they do not have any actual existence”?
A The do not have the power we credit them with having. Simply add light and the darkness disappears.
How does light and good actually exist? What are the relationship implications of that?
A They exist only in God. The further we are from him the darker it is. With God living in me, light exists in me, not darkness.
Why does independent living always result in evil? Are there any exceptions?
A It always ends in death and darkness because it is not where god is.
137 What is the difference between personal rights and being loved. What are personal rights, where do we get them, how to we keep or enforce them?
A Rights are something I determine and must fight for to protect and keep, even if it means infringing on your rights. First rule of rights is mine come first. I get to make them up as I go, change them on a whim and never have to communicate the lines to another until they are threatened. I will use any power, strategy, system, institution, threat, or force at my disposal to keep my rights as I see them. To surrender is tantamount to the death of me.
What does Sarayu mean “rights are were survivors go, so they won’t have to work out relationships”?
A Rights are a life long struggle to find and defend. Battle scars abound of every sort. Rights are a walled fortress that must lock out every other human being and God lest they be challenged and overthrown. I can only live in relationship to the degree I surrender my idea of personal rights.
When a person is demanding their rights, what are they actually doing? Where will that lead?
A choosing to live independently of everyone. To maintain their rights they will have to destroy another’s rights. It will lead to darkness, separation, loneliness, despair, grief and to exactly the opposite of what they think enforcing their personal rights will lead.
Can you get your rights by demanding them?
A of course. You have the right to be alone, live in the dark, trapped by unrealized dreams and desires, defeated, deflated and on the way to being destroyed, void of what you thought you were getting by demanding your rights.
What is the net result when we surrender all rights to God.
A Freedom, light, liberty, the pursuit and possession of happiness, the fruit of the spirit, confidence, life, purpose, power, fulfillment, adventure, mystery, surprise, glory, praise and the like.
In relationship to God?
A A peek into the depth of the love of God. Participation in his actual activities on earth now and for eternity. A chance to bring him glory. Understanding, loss of fear, regret, guilt and shame.
In relationship to others?
A The opportunity to love and be loved, to share, fulfill and be filled, to understand, fellowship, worship together. To be more than you could be alone. Be free of expectations, performance, demands and fear of abuse. To live and serve with no fear of being taken advantage of. To know friendship, experience a oneness like the oneness that exists in the godhead. To have a little bit of heaven on earth. To live and love free. When I give up my rights I don’t have to protect myself from you. I have nothing to protect thus nothing to lose but much to gain.
Why did Jesus give up his rights as God to become Man?
A To make all the above possible.
How does God react to our anger? Elucidate
A With eternal love of purpose.
138 What does the garden of your soul look like? Is it a mess or a fractal?. Why do you say that?
A Fractals are only possible when Romans 8:28 is in effect with God’s children. Without his working, it is just a mess, and ugly at that.

Protect yourself

A relative sent this to me and it seemd like to good an idea to keep to myself so here it is: The photo copy idea and the telephone numbers are worth the read.

A corporate attorney sent the following out to the employees in his company.

1. Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead, put 'PHOTO ID=REQUIRED.'
2. When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the 'For' line. Instead, just put the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the number, and anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through all the check processing channels won't have access to it.
3. Put your work phone # on your checks instead of your home phone. If you have a PO Box use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a PO Box, use your work address. Never have your SS# printed on your checks. (DUH!) You can add it if it is necessary. But if you have It printed, anyone can get it.
4.. Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine. Do both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in a safe place. I also carry a photocopy of my passport when I travel either here or abroad. We've all heard horror stories about fraud that's committed on us in stealing a Name, address, Social Security number, credit cards. Unfortunately, I, an attorney, have firsthand knowledge because my wallet was stolen last month. Within a week, the thieve(S) ordered an expensive monthly cell phone package, applied fo r a VISA credit card , had a credit line approved to buy a Gateway computer, received a PIN number from DMV to change my driving record information online, and more. But here's some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know:
5. We have been told we should cancel our credit cards immediately. But the key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know whom to call. Keep those where you can find them.
6. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your credit cards, etc., were stolen. This proves to credit providers you were diligent, and this is a first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one). But here's what is perhaps most important of all: (I never even thought to do this..)
7. Call the 3 national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and also call the Social Security fraud line number. I had never heard of doing that until advised by a bank that called to tell me an application for credit was made over the internet in my name. The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen, and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit. By the time I was advised to do this, almost two weeks after the theft, all the damage had been done. There are records of all the credit checks initiated by the thieves' purchases, none of which I knew about before placing the alert. Since then, no additional damage has been done, and the thieves threw my wallet away this weekend (someone turned it in). It seems to have stopped them dead in their tracks. Now, here are the numbers you always need to contact about your let, if it has been stolen:
1.) Equifax : 1-800-525-6285
2.) Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742
3.) Trans Union : 1-800-680 7289
4.) Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Spiritual Asthmatics

Like many of you, I have been slowed this past month by a cold and lingering congestion in my chest. Currently my daughters, Doni and Brooke are both so congested it is hard to talk to them on the phone. I hope you avoided it. Ryker and Tori both had to see their doctor for treatment, Karsyn, Ty, Tanner, Graham, Noah, Braxton, Zane and Zandi all had a bout of it too. Dee and I prayed Zane would not get it to badly. His asthma already has him on breathing treatment at least daily at home. Zane lives every day with a condition that I get every couple of years. He just goes about life like it is normal, not realizing how dangerous it really is for him. Thank the Lord breathing treatments keep him functioning pretty well most days. Not being able to breath is literally so hard to live with we all do whatever it takes to get well or at least maintain. It is sad that we don’t understand our spiritual lives need at least as much care and probably even more. Andrew Murray observes:
“Be filled with the Spirit.”—Ephesians,
I may have some air, a little air, in my lungs, but not enough to keep up a healthy, vigorous life. But everyone seeks to have his lungs well filled with air, and the benefit of it will be felt in his blood and through his whole being. And just so the word of God comes to us, and says, “Christians, do not be content with thinking that you have the Spirit, or have a little of the Spirit; but, if you want to have a healthy life, be “filled with the Spirit.” Is that your life? Or are you ready to cry out, “Alas, I do not know what it is to be filled with the Spirit, but it is what I long for.” The Deeper Christian Life
How is your Spiritual breathing today? A little congested?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Why I try to fix things.

Before I call a repair man to work on something, I like to give a shot at repairing it myself first. Early on I observed that some of the repairmen the companies sent out knew less about it than I did. The decision was made many years ago when our washing machine went on the blink and we called in the repair man. Partly out of curiosity and partly out of self protection I watched the repairman go about trying to fix the machine. He disconnected it, wrestled it into a working area, took it apart, put it back together exactly as he had taken it apart and wrestled it back into position, re connected everything and turned it on. It was still broken. I figured he was doing some form of diagnostics and watched him repeat the entire process a second time with the exact same results. As he completed the the exact same process the third time I interrupted him asking how he thought repeating the exact same process was going to gain a different result. He had no answer and continued….getting the same results. I then asked him what he was going to differently the fourth time to try to achieve a different result. He had no idea. He worked very hard and was earnest and sincere, but he just did not know how to fix it and eventually gave up. A few days later another repair man came out, started to do the exact same process but this time diagnosed the problem, changed out a part and to no ones surprise, the machine worked normally again. I expected that if he made a change he would get a different result. I am thinking a lot of believers I know are like the first repairman. They make a decision for Christ, are “born again” but continue to lead their lives exactly the way they always had. They are totally sincere and put in a lot of effort but they end up discouraged because they are getting the same results even though they put in lots more effort. They failed to understand that a new part was installed, the Holy Spirit. They keep looking in the physical world of success and possessions for what never was there or ever will be there. Success and possessions will never bring about what they promise, if they did, the richest people would be the happiest people, and that does not appear to be the case. Actually the opposite may be true. My neighbor just returned from digging water wells in some of the poorest parts of Africa. They met believers there with next to no material possessions and a generous abundance of the joy and peace of the Holy Spirit. They had no possessions to speak of but were happier, more loving and kind than we who do. I doubt they would trade straight across. Jesus said if we seek FIRST the kingdom of God, everything else will be added. He will supply all the needs we will ever have and we can rest anxiety free in peace and joy. I’m thinking it is really stupid (yes I can say that because my Grand kids don’t read yet) to continue to live the same way and expect a different result. Isn't it time for a change?