Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and all of God's amazing blessings for the new year in 2011!!

We attended Bobby's church last night and it was so special.  Great Christmas hymns including our own handbell director and soloist, John von Wolzogen!      A wonderful, short yet powerful message by guest speaker/pastor Michael Bischof!   He reminded us that Jesus is the light of the world and the light always reigns over darkness!   Think about the lights of your tree, your house,  and especially what lights up your heart and soul this season.   May the light always remind you of our Lord Jesus.  
God is blessing you and yours!!   Donna and family

The high"light" of our season was celebrating Haven's 1st Birthday on December 14th!  She continues to light up our lives with love, joy, and hope for the future!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Doing Good

"Our thoughts are traitors, that make us lose the good, we oft might win, by fearing to attempt."  
William Shakespeare
I love this quote because like most people, I struggle with fears now and then.  Fear that I am not doing a good enough job, fear of loss, or fear of failure if I try something new. 


In the Old Testament, in one of the books of wisdom named Ecclesiastes,  you can read this:
"Cast your bread upon the waters,  for after many days you will find it again."  Ecclesiastes 11:1

  I believe this is a written charge for us to be adventurous and bold.  To accept the risks and the benefits of those who are brave enough to go out into the open seas to make a living...or maybe to find a new land.  It is a challenge to us which says that we should not always play it safe in life.   Take risks, try something new...Go for it!!  
What fears do you have that might be holding you back from accomplishing some great project or special invitation to do good?
God is blessing you always and in all things.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving in the USA

Dear Friends,
I hope you will thank God for all of your many blessings today.   I am so thankful for my family and the love we share.    "Talk" to you all soon.
A sign on the wall of the Manila Times (newspaper)
God is blessing you.    Donna

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Global Peace Convention 2010

Photos from Global Peace Convention 2009, Manila, Philippines
A marching band to welcome us!  It was all little kids!
In Mindanao with the locals


Hi All,
Robert and I are getting packed to leave for our yearly participation in The Global Peace Convention.  You may remember my blog from last year regarding Robert's leaving his suit bag due to our rushing to make the flight to Manila, Philippines (the sight of last years convention!)   All turned out well and we are looking forward to speaking at this peace-promoting event again this year.  We have also printed out our itineraries and are sure of the departure time!  We will remember ALL of our luggage this year too!
World peace is an interesting and a very popular subject but I always remember that peace begins at home.  This is what I will address to the many different people from many diverse cultures and religions as I lead a break-out session at the convention.    One thing we all have in common is the desire to have our loved-ones live in a peaceful environment.  I will address practical ways to create and teach peace within the four walls of the home.  Of course as a Christian I will share with them that I try to follow the ways of the Prince of Peace.  
  "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world."  John 16:33
I will make sure I get a video to share with you all!

God is blessing you.     Donna

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Body, Mind and Spirit Health for the Holidays

Hi Friends!
I apologize to those who have been waiting for another video. Although I love doing them, lately the majority of my time has been spent working on re-launching my nutrition practice.   As of January 1st I will be a full-time nutrition coach, helping people eat right as part of their total wellness routine!  Of course I still adhere to and espouse the importance of spiritual and mental fitness also so my plans are to gradually integrate all three major aspects of our humanity into this blog.   I truly believe that to separate any of one of the three mentioned above from any one of the others, is a terrible mistake.    I am pretty sure that most of us know people who are so off-balanced in one of the areas of body, mind or spirit (soul) that they suffer substantially in one or more of the others.  My goal is to help people become more balanced in their physical, emotional, and spiritual lives so they can be shinning lights in a sometimes dark world.
Please send me any ideas you would like to see addressed and/or ask me a question about body, mind, spirit fitness.   How are you doing at balancing all three areas of your life?

This is my grand baby, Haven!  She is so pure in body, mind, and spirit because she has not been polluted by the things of this world.

 Now that the major holidays are fast approaching it is more important than ever to take care of yourself.   Don't wait until New Year's resolution time...make a plan now, write it down, put it in a place where can look at it everyday.  Commit to it.    Stress,  bad eating habits, lack of exercise, and not carving out time alone to meditate and pray will take it's toll on your over-all health if you don't have an action plan!
Today my son, Bobby delivered another really good message on commitment and calling.  It will be posted on his church's blog by Tuesday afternoon and I highly recommend you listen to it because it was excellent!  His website is:  ocgathering.com
Take care of yourself, body, mind, and spirit.   Be a good example and help others do the same.
"Act as if you are someone's only role model"
God is blessing you.    Donna

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Holy Land and Petra trip scheduled for May 26-June 5, 2011!

I will be posting a video very soon!  I was getting ready to do one and the rain started and hasn't stopped here in Southern Cal!!  


I also want to announce our next Holy Land trip coming up in May 2011.  If you would like more information please email me at holylandtrip10@gmail.com

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

New Seasons

I am so excited to begin regular video posting again!  I hope you all liked Robert's sermon from The Gathering Community.   We have so much ministry going on and The St. Patrick Project is helping many people in amazing ways.   Stay tuned for an update on our missions projects coming soon!  Keep us in your prayers please.    Happy Fall!    God is blessing you.   Donna

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Wall

My husband recently spoke at The Gathering for our son, Bobby.    If you are live locally please consider joining us some Sunday at 11am.   143 S. Lemon St.  Old Towne Orange (The American Legion Bldg)
If you are not able to physically attend please keep us in your prayers.  We will be updating you regularly regarding our missions projects with The St. Patrick Project.  
God is blessing you!   Donna



The Wall by Robert Anthony Schuller from Robert Schuller on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"Keep A Good Thought" Kay Glavas

 "Never think gloom and never talk gloom.  If you look for good, you will find it"   Karl  Bach      

"...whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things"   Philipians 4:8

In less than a week we will usher in a new season.  Here in my hemisphere we will begin our fall.   As I reflect upon the quickly passing summer months, I  remember that there are also seasons in my life:  ones of sadness and joy;   success and failure.  All of them present opportunities for growth. 
As you approach your new season try to focus on what you have gained, not what you have lost...what you have accomplished and not what you have failed to do.  Nothing is wasted.  Everything has a purpose under heaven.   Read Ecclesiastes 3 in the Old Testament

New video blog series on Body, Mind and Spirit health and connection, with regular special guest, coming soon!

God is blessing you always.  Donna
The alter at The Gathering.   Join Bobby Schuller 11am on Sundays.  143 S.  Lemon St.  Orange, CA  (Robert A. speaking this Sunday)

Friday, September 10, 2010

I Am Coming Back Soon!!

Hello to all my blog church friends.  I have been on a "leave of absence" but I am going to start posting again very soon, I promise.   I have missed the communication between us all.   I have been thinking and praying about where to go from where we have all been and how much the internet has matured since I first started this blog in March of 2009.  It is amazing to see how much "stuff" there is out there now!  
Many of you have contacted me to ask "where have you been?"  I want you to know how much I appreciate your notes and it feels really good to be missed!   Talk to you soon and remember always and it all things...God is blessing you.     Donna
(this is a photo from a summer vacation with two of our adult children, Christina and Anthony.  It was so great spending time with them!!)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Thoughts from July 28

                                         Uncertainty
Anxious thoughts creep in because the future in unknown.  An empty vacuum sucks up anything yet a body, mind, and spirit full of hope wastes no time living in fear.  Choosing to entertain peaceful images and putting into practice the love which comes from above, we attempt to move heaven with our powerlessness.
 July 28, 2010-Donna Schuller-For my dear friends Mary and Tom Olds


I took this photo outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem when we were there a few weeks ago.
I loved the way the soft sandy colors of the wall sat in sharp contrast to the green of the trees and the vivid pink of the flowers in the foreground.   Jerusalem is the land of our Lord and I am certain that he lived there while he was on earth.  I also know for certain that he continues to live in the hearts of all of us who chose to hold on to our hope that we find through Him.    
I am looking forward to posting my videos again soon!   
God is blessing you.  Donna

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Link to Rober't blog

http:/robertaschuller.blogspot.com

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Robert Started A Blog!!

Hello friends,                         
I want you all to know that my husband Robert started a blog so go to robertaschuller.blogspot.com
and sign up!  I also posted several things here on my blog today.  Check out below.       
   God is blessing you

Everyday Life with Robert A. Schuller

Many of you have emailed me or written to me and asked "how can I see "Everyday Life"?   For those of you that do not get ALN  or Family Net I have posted the award winning pilot for this new dramatic television show for your viewing.    This pilot was shown for the first time last November.   
Everyday Life from Alin Bijan on Vimeo.

Pain on The Mount

 Hi All,
My husband Robert has decided to start blogging and I thought I would also post the sermons he has done in the USA over the past almost two years.  This first one is from August of last year.   This was delivered in our son, Bobby's church:  The Gathering Community in Orange, California.   Enjoy.  You can also go to robertaschuller.blogspot.com to see two more.
God is blessing you    Donna


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Fourth of July in the USA!!

 I received this in an email and thought it was worth sharing.   It also brought to mind the freedom I experience through the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus.
In Galatians 5 verse 1 St. Paul tells us "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."
As I reflect on what my freedom means to me I thank all of our service men and women who have protected me over the years (sometimes from only God knows what) and I also thank God for giving me freedom through Christ.


 (photo taken on the Sea of Galilee)
          

  Happy Independence Day!!              


Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died.

Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.

Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.

Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.

They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

What kind of men were they?

Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated, but they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured. Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.

Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.

Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.

At the battle of Yorktown , Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.

John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished.

So, take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and silently thank these patriots. It's not much to ask for the price they paid.

Remember: freedom is never free! 
God is blessing you!
 
 

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Western (Whailing) Wall, Jerusalem 2010

  This photo was taken at the Walling Wall, also referred to as "kotel", or place of weeping in the Old City Jerusalem on one of the last nights of our recent trip to The Holy Land.   This is a very sacred site as this is the remnant of the retaining wall which once supported and enclosed the Second Temple.   Every day people come to mourn and bemoan the destruction of the temple.   The original walls were constructed around 19 BCE (before the current age) by Herod The Great and were added to from the 7th Century onwards.  This photo was taken around ten o'clock at night and thus there were very few people present.  
Twenty-one other friends shared eight amazing days with Robert and I,  walking and praying in the holiest and most exotic sites in the world.   Although we just returned less than one month ago,  our family has made the commitment to lead another Holy Land tour next year.  It worked out so well leaving over Memorial Day weekend that we have selected the same time frame and will more than likely leave around May 27th and return around June 6th.   If you are interested please contact me via this blog, on Facebook (where you can see the rest of my photos), or at rdsm2008@gmail.com

"And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God,  to walk in all his ways,   to love him,  to serve the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul..."
Deuteronomy 10:12
God is blessing you,   Donna


Thursday, May 27, 2010

More Love

        There is a John Mayer song where he refrains, "If you want more love why don't you say so?"  Maybe you know the song.   It's been really popular for a while now and the other day when I heard it I began to think about asking for love and more specifically why is it sometimes so hard to ask for help!? Sometimes if we shut people out because we think we can do it alone, we are missing a blessing that only they can give...something we really need at the time, and maybe something they need.
Jesus tells us to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind."  And also to "love your neighbor as yourself."  If he wants us to show love to everyone around us imagine how much more he must want us to show it to our family members and loved-ones. 
        This week has been an especially busy one for us.   For one, we have been preparing for our departure to the Holy Land.  ( In fact I am leaving the house in three hours and I haven't packed yet!)   We have also hosted a very special visitor in our already pretty full house.   Our married daughter, Angie has been here since Monday.  She flew out from Dallas for her cousin's wedding which will take place in a couple of days and she arrived a few days early so she could spend some time with us.   It has been a wonderful week and we have enjoyed her company so much.  Unfortunately her husband, Chris couldn't come with her  but I am now realizing that this was meant to be.  Angie needed to spend time with and show love to her younger sister in a very special way.
         Our 24 year old, Christina has recently accepted a part-time position as a fitness instructor in a local gym.    As things worked out this past Monday she began her "practice teaching."  I am a fitness enthusiast and I wanted to support Christina,  so of course I was there for her debut.    Imagine my surprise when just five minutes into class in walked Angie!!  Robert has just picked Angie up from the airport and since she also wanted to show her support for her sister she hustled her way there just in time for the one hour "FitBar" class. 
         Later that night as Christina was going over her choreography with Angie she asked for her sister to give her some feedback and she also asked for some advice.   I am not sure if Christina was remembering that Angie used to both choreograph and teach dance routines or not but the point is she asked for help and Angie lovingly and graciously gave it!
The next day Christina's routine was near perfect!
          How wonderful it was for me to witness this giving,  caring spirit in Angie.   And,  how important it was for me to remember that I don't always have to do things on my own either.  It's okay to ask for advice or a helping hand when I need it.
         Who can you ask for help or advice today?  Who might you be able to show the gift of time and love?
"Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you."  Matthew 7:7    As John Mayer puts it,  "If you want more love why don't you say so?"  
God is blessing you.   Donna

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Rest For Your Soul

"Come to me all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light"   Matthew 11:28  (words of Jesus)        

This is my husband,  Robert and our new grand daughter, Haven. We love Haven so much and we have the privilege of taking care of her every Monday, which has now become my favorite day of the week.  It's the day that I put aside all the things that I could and should do and I rest in her presence for several hours while giving her mommy and daddy a much needed break.
I couldn't resist taking this photo.  Haven had been a little fussy this day and did not want to stay down in her bed during her scheduled nap time.  Robert,  as the loving grandpa that he is, picked her up and comforted her and before I knew it they were both sound asleep! 

As grandparent's our love for Haven is unconditional, constant, and ever-present, even when she is away from us.  It reminds me that our heavenly father's love for us is even greater.   Jesus tells us to "come to me."  This verse does not imply that we wait until next month or next year,  it emphasizes the present...now.  God promises to be our partner when we are weary (tired) and burdened by life's many challenging situations.  No burden is too heavy for Jesus and he exudes love and humility from his gentle spirit, and tender heart.  He also promises that he will "give you rest".  This means rest which is freely given and not something to be earned.  It is unconditional, constant, and ever-present, just like our love for our grand baby, yet even more so!  He goes on to say that his "yoke is easy and my burden is light."  In Greek easy means "well-fitting" which makes me think about how easy it is to have a relationship with Him.  He is there for me any and all the time.
A yoke, usually refers to the wooden beam which ties two oxen or other animals together so that they will work together as a team, evenly and smoothly, when plowing a field.  The correlation in this scripture implies the partnership or working together between us and God.   When we learn to rely on Him instead of on our own human frailties,  we are tied together and the good news is that He will always carry more than half the load.   When we are heavy in heart or if we are struggling with hopelessness, anger, bitterness, or illness we can rest in Him and find freedom,  peace,  love and rest.

I truly believe that babies are born with an innate ability to love God and others.   They are innocent and helpless and they are pure in their trust until it is broken.  God honors and loves little babies and children but He also loves you.  For some of us a lifetime of disappointments and hurts makes it more difficult to put ourselves out there and to trust or risk taking a chance again.  For others it is hard to love out of fear of rejection or abandonment.    Jesus wants you to be tied to him so that you can be a part of His family.  He will never reject you or hurt you.  He wants to carry more than His share when your load gets too heavy to carry alone or when you are too tired to go on.   You can rest with Him any time. 
I close with a few words from one of my favorite worship songs from Hillsong Church in Australia.

"Everyone needs compassion,  a love that's never failing,  let mercy fall on me.  Everyone needs forgiveness, the kindness of a savior,  the hope of nations.  
Savior, he can move the mountains, my God is mighty to save, He is mighty to save.
Forever, author of salvation, He rose and conquered the grave, Jesus conquered the grave.  
So take me as you find me,  all my fears and failures, fill my life again.    I give my life to follow, everything I believe in, now I surrender.....
Shine your light and let the whole world see,  for the glory of the risen king!!" 

God is blessing you.






Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pruning

"I am the vine, my father is the gardener.  He cuts every branch in me that doesn't bear fruit.  Every branch that does he prunes so it will be more fruitful."   John 15:1-2
I have been quiet lately, I have needed this time.   I have been praying, pondering, thinking, meditating, questioning, wondering, resting, leaning, and listening for answers.   I am now convinced more than ever that even though it is important to give, it is okay to receive too.   Just like breathing in and then exhaling out,  all of life is give and take.  I need oxygen so I receive it from earth's plants.  They need carbon dioxide and so I give it back to them.   If I don't receive I have nothing to give.  If I don't give,  they have nothing to receive.  
It's Spring and in Southern California we have had record rainfall this year.  My plants are basking in the rich nutrients showered on them as the clouds continue to fill and then empty so late in the season.  The infant greens and the blossoms are more vibrant than ever and the birds sing joyfully as they are busy building their nests.
I enjoy my plants and my backyard immensely.  I spend up to an hour of quiet time outside as I begin each day.  This year I have paid close attention to each plant's growth cycle and I have witnessed maturity through the natural pruning process.  Some of my plants have also died since last year.   I have learned that the natural life cycle of red banana trees is on average a couple of years.   In two spots where there once stood a beautiful, full-leafed ten to twelve foot tree, there is now only a hole in the ground.   I am contemplating what to plant there next.
All of life has a cycle and as much as we try to hold to what is beautiful or what we think helps us to feel happy or secure we all must experience a season of pruning.  Sometimes our "branches" need to be cut off all together.
I believe that I have been going through a season of personal pruning.   God is showing me what I should cut-off and what should be pruned so that I might produce more beautiful fruit.  In some cases it is hard to determine what exactly I need to get rid of so I have been sitting by quietly and letting my heart, my soul, and my mind rest in the perfect gardener....God.  I have been receiving peace of mind from His beautiful creation manifested in the living things found right outside my back door.   It feels good to receive this blessing so for now I rest in it.
I suspect that others of you are feeling this season of new life and new growth.  I know that many of you are in the midst of health crisis.  Others are surviving the end of a relationship by separation or  death.   There are also many other personal or family problems which may be plaguing your mind or interrupting your sense of security.  Maybe you are questioning or looking for answers?
Even though it is a painful process, remember that pruning or cutting-off is a part of life.   "I have come to give you life and give it abundantly" says Jesus in John 10:10     He doesn't say I have come to give you an easy or a predictable life.   An abundant life means a full life, a complete life, an entire life.  A life including many ups and downs...the pruning or the cutting-off.
Maybe God has been revealing something to you during this season of regrowth?  I hope and pray that you will embrace your changes and always look for what potential beauty is left from your pruning.   I also hope that your personal season of growth will include both giving and receiving. 
God is blessing you.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Amazing Love

Today is Good Friday and I awoke early to the words of this beautiful song by Chris Tomlin.   I wanted to share these lyrics with you so that you might also embrace them along with the significance of this day. 

"I'm forgiven because you were foresaken,
I'm accepted,  You were condemmed.
I am alive and well, Your spirit is within me,
Because you died and rose again.

Amazing love,
how can it be
That You, my King, should die for me?
Amazing love,
I know it's true.
It's my joy to honor You,
In all I do.  I honor you.

I'm forgiven because You were foresaken,
I'm accepted, You were condemmed.
I am alive and well, Your spirit is within me,
Because you died and rose again.

Amazing love.
How can it be
That You, my King, should die for me?
Amazing love,
I know it's true.
It's my joy to honor You,
In all I do, I honor You.

You are my King,
Jesus You are my King."

"Christ did not have to offer himself many times.  He wasn't like a high priest who goes into the most holy place each year to offer the blood of an animal.  If he had offered himself every year,  he would have suffered many times since the creation of the world.  But instead, near the end of time he offered himself once and for all,  so that he could be a sacrifice that does away with sin.
We die only once, and then we are judged.  So Christ died only once to take away the sins of many people."   Hebrews 9-25-27

I pray that anything that has a strong-hold over your life would die today,  Good Friday.   I further pray that these issues that are holding you back be completely dead and buried.  In three days from now, on Easter morning I pray that you recognize the significance of God's greatest gift to you;  Jesus.  Through Him you have the ability to re-invent yourself and become an even better, more healthily integrated person than you are today.  I recognize that God is powerful enough to take away all bitterness, hatred, unforgiveness, jealousy, hurt, anger, or unhealthy habits.   I am convinced that God can take all of our shortcomings and difficult or painful situations and use them for His good.   Remember that God is blessing you always and in all things.  Donna

Monday, March 15, 2010

What is Faith?

According to Websters's Dictionary faith is "firm belief in something for which there is no proof."   In the book of Hebrews, also known as "the book of better things", we read that "faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."  (Heb 11:1 NIV)  I like this translation because there is so much power evoked in the words "assurance" and "conviction".   Assurance means that we can have confidence of mind or freedom from self-doubt or uncertainty.  Further, assurance graces us when something inspires (breaths the breath of life into) us.   The word conviction is equally as strong as it stands for having a strong persuasion or belief in the state of being convinced or certain!  I don't know about you but for me, especially when I go through the rough times in life I need something to hold on to, to be convinced of, to be persuaded by.  My faith in God through Jesus is assuring, convicting, inspiring, and persuading!
In his book, "Mere Christianity" C.S. Lewis devotes two short yet powerful chapters to faith.  If you have not done so I recommend you read some of Lewis' works.  He has been referred to as the most original Christian writer of the twentieth century;  his writings are both thought-provoking and wisdom-filled.    A few things stood out to me regarding his writing about faith including his observance that even though a person once accepts a thing as true he or she doesn't automatically go on believing it as long as nothing can disprove that it is so.   Not at all.  He goes on to say that "the human mind is not only ruled by reason but also by emotion therefor the battle between faith and reason is on one side and emotion and imagination on the other."  Further he says, "I am not asking anyone to accept Christianity if his (or her) best reasoning tells them that the weight of the evidence is against it.  That is not the point at which Faith comes in.  But supposing a one's reason once decides that the weight of the evidence is for it.  I can tell that person what is going to happen to them in the next few weeks.  The emotions can rise up at anytime and carry out a sort of blitz on their belief...I am talking about moments when a mere mood can rise up against it.  Faith is holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods."
  This writing reminds me of the last video blog I did a few weeks back when I talked about a particular chapter in Robert A. Schuller's book, "Leaning Into God...." and how it is so easy to accept God's gift of life and blessings when things are going good.  In fact we often take God for granted in the 'good' times. At the same time when the painful things of life come up (and they will) it is so easy to blame him or turn away from him.   We can accept, reject, or measure our faith depending on our circumstances.  I think these are the some of the "moods" C.S. Lewis was referring to.  He also points out that "when he was an atheist he had moods where Christianity looked terribly probable."   How interesting!
A few years back Robert and I had lunch with an entire table of Noble Laureate scientists.  This group of all men consisted of astro-physicists and mathematicians, all who had been awarded the coveted prize at some time in their careers.  We were the only ones at the lunch table who had not received this esteemed prize and  naturally when we sat down we were asked, "what do you do?"  The conversation became very interesting from there and the one thing I will never forget is where the faith discussion took us.   Even though almost all of them were professed atheists not a single one of them would say he knew for sure that the heavens and earth was NOT created by God!   This brings me back to Lewis' writing and his thesis that he believes most people think of believing in God as passing an exam which proves he exists.   He goes on to say that once you are a Christian you need to take that thinking and "blow it to bits" and he says that after that some people will believe Christianity is a failure and give up.   "God has been waiting for the moment at which you discover that there is no question of earning a pass mark in this exam, or putting Him in your debt."  
I say it this way, you believe because you decide to believe and you go from there.  It doesn't have to be a radical conversion like Saint Paul's either.  Mine was not that way.   Once I recognized the power and comfort I could have by not only believing but practicing my faith,  the evidence for my belief continued to grow stronger.  One goes on to develop faith by reading the Bible, joining a small group of other Christians,  and going to worship in public places.
Your life will be more fulfilled once you make the decision to believe that God is real and can be your partner through the ups and downs of life.   I am not saying that your life will necessarily be less troubled or that you will never doubt.  Doubt is where faith really comes into play.  It is okay to question and wonder.  You can even get angry, yell,  or curse at God.   He can handle it much better than your best friend, your spouse,  your boss, your employer, or your kids.   If you do not yet have an active and committed faith I want to challenge you to make the decision to start trusting God with your life today.  What do you have to lose?   Remember that there is no passing or failing with God.  He only asks that you work on developing a close relationship with Him.  Start where you are today.   And always remember...
God IS blessing you always,  Donna

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fear Or Faith?

Most psychologists believe that there are only two fears we are born with.  One being the fear of loud noises, the other is the fear of falling.  I don't know about you but on occasion, throughout my life I have certainly dealt with more than just those two fears.   To this day I am afraid of roller coasters that go upside down!
In reality I am not talking about getting over lesser fears such as fear of amusement park rides.  I am referring to phobias and fears that might be based on hurtful or tragic childhood situations or anything that immobilizes us, that keeps us from trusting God and that freezes our feet to the floor when it comes to exercising our faith.   These might include fear of rejection, fear of being unloved, fear of our health collapsing,  fear of lack of finances,  fear of intimacy, or even fear of success.  The list is as long as there are hearts and souls who endure them.
As we delve into the next chapter in Robert A. Schuller's "Leaning Into God When Life Is Pushing You Away" we explore the relationship between our faith in God vs. our fear of anything else.   It doesn't matter what kind of fear it is.  Fear negates faith.  When our faith is negated our closeness to God is weakened.  When our closeness to God is weakened we are living a life which has less meaning and significance.  There is a story in the Bible found in the New Testament book of Matthew, chapter 8, verses 23-27 which finds Jesus out on the sea of Galilee in a huge storm.   He had fallen asleep and awoke to his disciples yelling at him to do something!  Jesus replied to the disciples, "you of little faith, why are you so afraid?" (vs 26) In the book of Mark when reading the same story he is quoted as asking, "why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith.?"  Jesus did not say, "why are you so unbelieving?"  For Jesus the opposite of faith is not unbelief but it is fear.  In fact the words "fear" and "afraid" occur more than 520 times in the Bible.  Fear has been plaguing humans forever.
  Robert goes on to write that our life can be defined by how one perceives the future.  Are you defining your life by your faith or by your fears?
We are now more almost two months into the new year of 2010.  By this time you should have a clear idea of what your goals for this year will be.  Mine are written out and framed where I can see them every day.  I have eleven clear-cut goals which cover several different categories in my life:  spiritual, physical, professional and personal goals.   If you have not clearly defined what you would like to accomplish this year I want to encourage you to take the time today and do this.   If you are failing to plan, you might be planning to fail and God wants you to be a success so you can be a light in a dark world.    A good source to help you define your goals is called "The One Page Miracle" taken from a chapter in a book by Dr. Daniel Amen.   You can Google "one page miracle" and find a very helpful template to follow.   As you begin the process of writing out your goals first start by praying and asking for God's guidance.  Next you might want to evaluate where you have come from in the last year of 2009 including making note of any goals that you did not accomplish so that you can roll them over into this year.  It is never too late to start over!! 
"For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord.  They are plans for good and not for evil.  Plans to prosper you and give you a future filled with hope.   Jeremiah 29:11
God is blessing you.   Donna

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Humiliation

                                                             

  What timing for our next chapter review in "Leaning Into God When Life Is Pushing You Away"!  Our discussion on my husband's book now takes us to "Finding Freedom When Isolated Through Humiliation."   According to the dictionary the definition of humiliation is "reducing or lowering one's position in their own eyes or in the eyes of others."  Further, the act of trying to humiliate someone can be extremely destructive to one's self-respect and dignity.
  Maybe you read one of the twenty or so recent press releases issued by the Crystal Cathedral just a few days ago?  Ironically this deluge of several derogitory interviews and stories started on my birthday,  January 29th,  and ran through the weekend!  If you caught any of these stories you might have picked up on some rather disparaging remarks being slung around regarding my husband, Robert.  One of our friends on the East Coast emailed us an article from the New York Times along with the comment, "They sure threw you under the bus!"
Figuratively speaking, of course,  there will always be those people who want to throw us under the bus, feed us to the sharks, or dump us into a deep well to get rid of us (as did Joseph's brothers in the Old Testament story).   The important thing to ask yourself is "when these injustices happen to me, how am I going to react?"  I would be dishonest if I didn't tell you that after I read the articles I wanted to "set the record straight" for the many misrepresentations that were quoted in some of the articles.  I wanted to scream, "leave my husband out of your mess... we have moved on!"  I wanted to dig through our records to provide proof that my husband had nothing to do with the downturn of what was once a very successful Christian ministry.   I wanted to share with the world some of the thousands of sad letters and comments that have arrived for us over the past year and a half via email and the U.S. post office.  I was so angry because I felt that once again Robert had been unjustly accused in an attempt to humiliate him.  Only a few days prior Robert's good news that his new program, "Everyday Life" had been nominated for a MovieGuide Award was announced.   For hours I contemplated revenge and my mind was filled with frustration and thoughts of getting back at the people who continue to try to hurt us.  The good news is this:   I did not do any of the above... nor will I.   Instead I went outside the next morning and I did what I always do.   I read my Bible and I prayed.   I read half of Psalm 119 one day and the other half the next.  I meditated on verses such as:  22-24  "Remove me from scorn and contempt, for I keep your statutes.  Though rulers sit together and slander me, your servant will meditate on your decrees.  Your statutes are my delight.  They are my counselors."  And verses 69, and 70,  "Though the arrogant have smeared me with lies,  I keep your precepts with all my heart.  Their hearts are callous and unfeeling,  but I delight in your law. "
The truth is the more I think about humiliation the more I conclude that no one can humiliate you without your permission.  The great psychologist and holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl experienced the worst kind of humiliation through his near death experience in the concentration camp.  Through all his suffering and pain he practiced as part of what he later taught in his "logotherapy"  "you can take everything away from me but you can never take away my freedom of how I will react".
  We read in the new testament, "It is for freedom the Christ has set us Free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery...You my brothers, were called to be free."  Galatians 5:1, 13   Yes, we are free to decide how we will react to people's attempt to humiliate us.   They cannot enslave us by forcing us to react the way they want us to.   My husband ends the chapter by saying that the last thing in the world you want to do when you have been humiliated is to disconnect from God and his truth.  Indeed you want to do what Jesus did in the day of his own humiliation--entrust yourself to God:  "when they hurled insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats.  Instead he entrusted himself to him who judges justly."  1 Peter 2:23
Maybe you have felt humiliated over the loss of a marriage, a job, your health, or your reputation.  Or perhaps you have been made a scapegoat as a result of another person's mistake.  Although these situations can be painful and you will need to go through a season of healthy grief, remember in the end that Christ has set you free.   With God's help and through prayer,  you decide how you will react to life's ups and downs.   Entrust your lives to Him and remember that God is blessing you always!  Donna

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Regrets

"God's gifts and his call are irrevocable."  Romans 11:29


    Continuing on with "Leaning Into God When Life Is Pushing You Away" by Robert A. Schuller we come to the chapter on regrets.  In his writings Robert suggests that "regrets and remorse are a part of the fabric of everyone's life".  He goes on to point out that there are two kinds of regret:  debilitating regret and incorporated regret.    The first kind of regret anchors you to your past;  it haunts you and holds you back from becoming all that you were made by God to be.  It causes you to hold on to the ideas and the images of "what could have been."    I recently experienced this kind of regret and I thank God that through his mercy,  the power of prayer,  a faithful and strong husband, great kids, and the support of many friends worldwide, I did not dwell in it for long.  For months after we left the Crystal Cathedral I actually had dreams (nightmares) where I would analyze and try to figure out the "what-ifs".   Those thoughts could have become obsessions and the obsessions could have paralyzed me and held me back from my life's purpose which is to "connect people one to another for common, worthwhile, God-centered goals."   Instead of being debilitated by my painful regrets I made a conscience decision to incorporate my regrets and to use them to grow closer to God and to the many people who still loved and supported me.   My twenty-four years of experience as a pastor's wife has allowed me to connect with people on a global scale and has further assisted in my appreciation of people's diversity yet similarities in their struggles and triumphs.  Some days I had to pray and dig deep to believe these things.  I reached out through this blog that I started in March 2009 and this too has been a major source of eliminating debilitating regret.   I cannot speak for my husband Robert but during the later part of 2008 and most of 2009 I witnessed months of emotionally and spiritually challenging times for him.  Throughout he kept true to his calling and he relied on the mercy of God to see him through.   Today you can read where his new show, "Everyday Life" has been nominated for the "Epiphany Award" by MovieGuide (movieguide.com)  I am certain that his faithfulness and his patience through prayer saw him through.
God doesn't hold on to regrets and he doesn't want you to hold on to them either.  Instead he covers them with his mercy which is never-ending.   If you have debilitating regret today you can translate your  past into incorporated regret.   One spiritual exercise that has worked well for me and for the groups which I have led is this:  Find an undisturbed place where you can find about fifteen to thirty minutes of solitude.   Sit with your eyes closed, your legs uncrossed, your arms relaxed at your side.   Concentrate on your breathing and as you inhale imagine inhaling the peace and mercy of God in Jesus.  As you exhale imagine all of the regret in your life disappearing.  Continue to inhale and exhale as you purge your mind, body and spirit of all the past regrets that might have a stronghold over you.  You should do this as often as you can and you will see how easy it is to accept the grace and mercy of a loving God.
  Remember God does not change his mind about you and His purpose will be fulfilled.  Leave your regrets at the foot of the cross.     God is blessing you always, Donna

Schuller's TV show nominated for $100,000 award | schuller, television, life - News - The Orange County Register

Schuller's TV show nominated for $100,000 award | schuller, television, life - News - The Orange County Register

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Our Newest Family Member!




Hi All!  I did a video yesterday which continues our discussion on "Leaning Into God When Life Is Pushing You Away."  Bobby will put it up soon, I'm sure.  In the meantime I thought you'd like to see a photo that was taken on Christmas Eve.   I am joyfully holding Haven Claire Schuller, born December 14 and my youngest, Anthony, is "holding" our dog Royce.  
Just yesterday we got to spend several hours with Haven while her mommy and daddy went out on a date.  It was a lot of fun!   God is blessing you, Donna

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Redemption and a New Start

Happy New Year! It's 2010...can you believe it? It seems like we just ushered in the new millineum and yet when I look back over the past ten years I see how many things have radically changed for me and my family and I know it took years to arrive where I am today. I bet you can say the same. Interesting thing about the New Year is it represents the traditional time when many people re-evaluate their lives and themselves and make resolutions to become better persons with more productive habits. I know for my husband and my kids we always put together our individual lists entitled "goals for the new year". Somehow setting goals makes more sense to me than getting rid of old habits or trading them for new ones. The good news is this: it doesn't matter how you approach it, goals or resolutions, we all have a chance to start over. And not just on January 1st! Christ came so that we could have a new start minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, or year by year. In Philippians 3:12-14 St.Paul shares with us how he regarded his past and faced his future: "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
Are you holding on to something from your past that is keeping you from a brilliant, productive future? Maybe it is time to clean out the cobwebs of your soul and start fresh.
Before the Christmas holidays we were discussing my husband's new book, "Leaning Into God When Life Is Pushing You Away." We talked about guilt and how it can keep you from a close relationship with God and others. Today I will address the issue of shame. The psychologist Norman Wright wrote that the difference between guilt and shame is that guilt says "I made a mistake" while shame says "I am a mistake." I have also heard it said "I did something bad" vs. "I am bad." Shame can cut us to the very core and it can draw a deep line which separates us from our loving God who wants to have a relationship with us. It can make us feel like we are unworthy of such a relationship and so we continue to hide or run away from God instead of leaning into Him.
The first people to ever deal with shame were Adam and Eve. I'm sure you know the story. They disobeyed God by eating from the tree of good and evil and then they felt deep shame. It was so bad that even they hid from God but of course no one can hide from God for long. He knows everything. God opened their eyes to the fact that they were without clothes but He also provided a way out for them by providing them with clothes. He always provides a way to escape from our shame. In the new testament Peter denied Christ and yet when Jesus first saw Peter again following the betrayal how did Jesus respond to him? He told him to " take care of my lambs, take care of my sheep, feed my sheep." John 21:15-17 He was telling Peter not to waste his time on the guilt or shame of his past mistakes but instead he told him what to do so that he could face his future with a purpose for living.
I believe a major way to get rid of the shame in your life is to make sure you are fulfilling your God-given purpose. (I also must say, depending on the your circumstances you may even need to seek psychological counseling) Once you know your purpose you will be so busy fulfilling it at work, with your family, with your friends, and in all aspects of your life that you won't have time to entertain the negative thoughts of your past failures and mistakes. If you aren't sure what your purpose is I want to encourage you to take the steps necessary so you can find out. From there you can write your own personal mission statement. My life's mission and purpose is this: "Connecting people one to another for common, Christ-centered, worthwhile goals." Since I know what my purpose is I can rest assured that no matter how my outside life circumstances might change as long as I follow my calling, I can find purpose. A book that helped me write my mission statement was "The Path" by Laurie Beth Jones. I did this a few years ago and I am sure by now there are plenty of other good resources. Although it might take you some time to get your mission statement down to something meaningful yet concise. Believe me , it will be worth the effort.
Discover the purpose for your life and you will grown even closer to God knowing that He is your partner through all things. Also, remember that God keeps no record of wrongs so each minute you can start fresh. Wishing you great things in 2010 or "Begin again in 2010."
God is blessing you always in all things, Donna