I BELIEVE ……REALLY?

Thomas, called the twin, who was one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. (After Jesus had risen.) When the disciples said, “We have seen the Lord.” He (Thomas) answered, “Unless I see the holes that the nails made in His hands and can put my finger into the holes they made and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe.”

Eight days later the disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. The doors were closed, but Jesus came in and stood among them, “Peace be with you,” He said. Then He spoke to Thomas, “Put your finger here, look, here are my hands. Give me your hand, and put it into my side. Doubt no longer but believe.”

Thomas replied, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him:
“You believe because you can see me.
Happy are those who have not seen and yet Believe.” (NJB)

Have you ever doubted?
I can pray for others for them to believe
But do I pray for me to believe?
I pray for miracles for others,
But do I believe in Miracles for me?

Do you you think that I believe in the stories about the healings of Jesus. Or do I fit in the mold of Thomas? But do I believe… really?  I have read, but I did not see.

(Feel Free to Join with me:)
“Forgive me GOD for there are times when I doubt. I can see you helping others, but I can doubt seeing you in similar circumstances for myself. The words “FAKE NEWS” resonate in my head in our new age. And I find a part of me that may doubt.
“Lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil” (The Lord’s Prayer)
I pray: let me reconnect
to you in my quiet and private space and review all the events, and the people, and the protections I have seen you provide for me and I KNOW you must be involved. Sometimes I may find myself feeling like ‘Doubting Thomas’ yet I am surrounded by your blessings for me to see.”

It is easy to pray for others. It is easy to point out the stories to others and discuss in a Bible discussion about belief. It takes a conscious effort and that communion with GOD (Love) to focus on what GOD has done for me. I may not have seen the nail holes or placed my hand in the hole in His side but I can see the work that GOD has done for me throughout my life. Too much to list in this space. Many of you may talk coincidence. My heart knows the truth.

Blessed are those who have not seen and yet Believe.”

From Psalm 23: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

I have seen the things that GOD has done for me. That is more than enough for me. Really.

Casting the First Stone

Been busy with work and all. Thinking of what messages to write and have been disappointed with the content. I do have some thoughts about life in ‘tweetdom’.

I am a firm believer in the message, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.

I see our politicians, especially the ones who fight for the ‘Christian’ vote, are having a tough day with that one. It is always easier to throw stones than put yourself on the line. When you are afraid to put yourself on the line you have perhaps missed that whole part about “The GOOD NEWS”.

Religion is not a feel good concept, it is a lifestyle not a sales pitch.

What was it Jesus said once? “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

LIFE IS

LIFE IS (for Jim)

Every day I am fortunate enough to wake up to life.
Seems simple until life wakes up also. Life is all.
 I wrote the other day:
The Purpose of Life is to Experience It
And so what is “IT” like?

For me it goes something like this:

I Believe in GOD, yet I do not know how GOD works.
I have seen the work of GOD and try to live within GOD’s power.
I am comforted by GOD yet GOD remains a secret I can not unlock.
I wake up to a new day with new possibilities and opportunities.
I need to say thank you to GOD every day.
I believe in Jesus,  the SON.
I also believe in Jesus the “SUN” of GOD as the light of the world.
I cannot hide from living.
Living is the purpose for creation.
Life is all of it’s own stories.
Life is always it’s own choices.
Appreciate every day and move forward within it for that is my purpose.
Be the example that Jesus wants me to be for the people who cross my path.

In the envelope of LOVE are people.
People come in a great variety. They are short, tall, in between. They have different colors. They come in cultures. Without the lines on a map of the nations, they are simply people who are unique, inhabiting different areas on the planet known as EARTH. Their differences make them unique. Knowledge comes from the sharing of life with these people and their experiences and the sharing of their ideas, discoveries, attitudes and beliefs. LIFE has been a unique story from each of them as well as for me.
To be enveloped by LOVE brings comfort and a certain amount of peace that many people may miss out on because they don’t see people, they see politics.
These who miss out on Love do not often see LOVE because they refuse it.

Though I see the truth of living everyday and I live the challenges of life everyday the joy of living can get lost in the reality of the experience every day.
The Good News, the BAD news, the FAKE news.
The nice people, the caring people.
The struggles of surviving in a body that has it’s own strengths and weakness.

Every day is on a road that has it’s own challenges.
The living is what life is.
Love is in my surroundings.
Love is in your surroundings also.
Love is in the constant examples of love in action.
Love is a well of HOPE to drink from.

Life begins each morning in the news. It may be happy, it may be a crime. It may be sorrow, it may be a difficult prognosis. It may be a war event, or a Success AT ANother’s expense event.

I can choose to be the GOOD NEWS of Peace and Love and of LOVE’s existence on EARTH for us to be a part of.
I was born and given an opportunity to experience life. All the things we see and do. All the choices that we make. All the choices that other’s make that impact our life at some point in time.
I think the choice that my spirit makes to experience life again and again and again becomes my purpose. Even GOD, in the example of Jesus, promises opportunity to share LOVE and HOPE and PEACE, even with the harsh realities of living that any day may represent.

The power of LOVE will always be a source of HOPE and ENERGY whether the day holds a cross, a storm of nature, an illness or a moment of temptation.
LIFE IS an experience. Every day. I am here to be a part of it.

GOD is in my toolbox.
Jesus is in my toolbox.
My family, my friends, neighbors and mentors are in my toolbox.
The strangers that GOD sends by are in my toolbox.
They are a part of my every day.
It is up to me to utilize this every day.
I can open my toolbox for myself or for others.
HOPE SURROUNDS ME.
HOPE SURROUNDS YOU.

Enjoy the opportunity that every morning represents.

Every day I say: I LOVE YOU GOD
And for all of you I say: GOD BLESS.

And for my daughter I say: “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”.

The Energy of Love

2020

For me, 2020 has begun as a year of change.

Whenever you encounter change you find yourself in a position of worry, concern and challenge. I replied to a text this morning from my closest friend and wished to share it with all of you for whom 2020 has become a year of change.

Thank you for your text. I appreciate your concern. I am not unemployed. I am working and am active in finding supplemental work, or at least a bit less physical. I’m still in real good shape and have learned how to compensate with my left shoulder to take the emphasis off of the arthritis in the right shoulder.

I have money in the bank and social security comes every month. Once the weather permits I will have my 2 dogs as companions. I will admit that the greatest strength a person can have is attitude. A positive attitude and a position of perseverance is the key. I planned on a lull if the retail world slowed down for a while. I have been bolstered by the  ideas from the people that GOD has put around me. Now the key is patience as all the pieces come together.

If history has shown me anything it is that my close relationship with my faith has been the keystone for my success. Wealth is not necessarily just the measurement of money, nor is it the measure of a successful living.

To be rich in caring people is the measure of true success.

The power and energy of prayer in a congregation of people can not be measured within limits. It is only measured by its LOVE.

Today is always a good day when you are in a position to smile at the good that surrounds you and the hope that it represents.

GOD surrounds you with things that you may not recognize as gifts. Take a better look and smile as you pick them out of the day. They have been placed all around you for your sake.

GOD BLESS.

The Greatest of Gifts

I have directed a few of my most recent posts at Change and the faith that it requires. I have been reminded that Change Happens. I have talked about my friend Jesus and discussed the power of love.

Tonight I was challenged to discover the greatest of GOD’s gifts to me.

Maybe it was my 23rd psalm:
The Lord is my savior and my guide
I shall have all that I require ………. (that encourages me to keep moving forward)

It must be Jesus and his gift of grace that forgives my human moments,

It must be GOD’s all encompassing love and mercy

and then I recognized GOD’s greatest gift to me.

The gift of recognizing the gifts GOD has given to me, the one’s I do recognize and the many more that have happened behind the scenes of my life that have brought me to this place of my life. For all I have done in my prodigal-ishness , the gift of recognizing that GOD has never given up on me and the help he has brought my way has made me the me that I have become over the last many years. The music, the teaching, the lessons, the tears, the gifts that I have benefited by and been challenged by. The people GOD has woven into my path, the many that have prayed for and helped me. To be able to recognize even such a very small part of all that GOD has done for me is a gift that I cherish and will forever hold dearest to my heart. Every day I awake I am closer to GOD because of what GOD gifted me with yesterday, let alone what lies ahead.

Thank you

“It is by what you do, that people will recognize you as a disciple of mine…” (Jesus)

“Who you know is not as important as how you treat the people whom you meet.” (dennis)

“Isn’t that wonderful.”  (my Aunt Vera)

 

It Was Written For Me

   The Bible is an interesting book. I pick it up and read a passage and set it down. I go about the day. Then I pick it up and glance quickly at what I read before to center myself on where I was reading to move forward and then notice something about what I had read before. It seemed I missed some of it before. Then I realize that what I missed was the fact that what I had read before was written specifically for me. I notice a picture generated in my mind’s eye that had me in it. It was a lesson about me. I read it over again and find myself face to face with my Lord. And I apologize. I become convicted by my humanity. I missed the part about me.

You see, I am the prodigal son.

I entered the world and became my surroundings. I learned many things and have had thousands of mentors. I have been taught and I have taught but I have also overlooked so much of just who I am. Improvement cannot be a theory, it has to be an action. Jesus calls us out for a new lifestyle. Jesus challenges us to better ourselves every day. Jesus even tells us how. By example, and by His teaching.

What is the most interesting, though, is that I am not discussing a one time event, or even an occasional event. It is every event. There are elements of me, from today or from the past, the stories are written just for me. Either about me, who I have been, or where I should be going.

Asked once about how to quit smoking one day I replied, “The easiest way to quit smoking is not to start”. The book is a constant reminder of what to be, and who not to be. The book shares faith and the book shares challenge. The book shares conviction, and the book shares the results of actions. I never feel fear, what I feel the most is concern. I may worry about my daughter, but what worries me the most is the concern that I have that life can be such a challenge. Peer pressure, life pressure, the state of the union, the stability of the world. It all subjects you to the temptations of the world. Concern does not reflect power. Prayer is often unseen by the one who is prayed for, but it is always appreciated by the spirit. Jesus mentored his disciples and left a huge legacy for life.

The prodigal son was not sentenced to hell and damnation, he was pointed in the right direction. He was where he was at by his own choices, and it was up to him to move forward positively or negatively. The choice he made took him home. The Bible is a book about going home.

It was written for me……

PRAY

It is a new year. It requires a new attitude.

Over the years I have posted a lot of things. I have taken many breaks and always come back. I have posted “On Politics”, to “Love One Another”. The responses I receive from readers follow a pattern.

The largest numbers of Likes to Unorthodox Christianity posts have dealt with posts that deal with Jesus and a loving GOD.

There are a great many of writers posting on all sorts of things. They have large groups of followers and impact thousands of people with help issues, ‘kick the cat’ commentaries, and simple stories.

    Today I want to address Unorthodox Christianity.

Today  I was just reading about the rapid deployment of thousands of troops from Fort Bragg to overseas. The story talked about the real world of instant change to a group of people for whom the future instantly became unknown. How to react overnight. How to change what were simple things to address the serious.

I think of an old song “What the world needs now is Love, sweet love. No not just for some but for everyone.” What can I do about that for them? For their families and friends? There will also be a great number of residents where they are off to who have just had their lives changed also. Who have no choice of where to live as a result of their own location. The innocents suffer to politics no matter where they are. 

Life is hectic. We have our routines and get lost in them. Jesus had his routines. People came to him for help. Help because what the world was offering them did not solve their problems.

I ask a simple question quite often during a given day, as do many of us. “Good morning, how are you doing today?”

Often they tell me. They tell me their dog had just passed away. They tell me they just got diagnosed with some form of cancer. They mention a friend’s concerns. They say they simply are not feeling very well today. They say their world is changing.

I am just a simple guy. I am not a doctor, a scientist, a politician, or a well known anyone. But I do have a response to all of them. “ I can and I will pray for you, that may be all that I can do.” (And I do. I do not sit down and take a hand, though for some I may have, but I do pray for them in the course of human events.)

They thank me, and seem to appreciate the simple degree of help from someone they really do not know. Jesus, unfortunately isn’t coming down the street today, walking through town for them to run up to him and say “Please help me.” I was told once at a retreat that I may be the only Jesus that they may ever meet. I have learned over my life to take that seriously.

Today GOD will ask you to fill in for Jesus. I rarely mention Jesus to them. I never mention a church or a religion. For those who know of Jesus they will think of that. If they believe along other lines they appreciate the prayer from the context that help entails. Unorthodox Christianity is not about conversion, it is about help, and a simple form of Love One Another.

The world needs more prayer. Unorthodox Christianity is not about creating a mega church, it is about filling in. Today the prayer you offer is a simple reflection of love. It is a reflection of help. Any day, any news, anybody.

“I give you a new commandment: Love One Another.
Just as I have loved you, you also must love one another.
BY THIS LOVE YOU HAVE FOR ONE ANOTHER
EVERYONE WILL KNOW THAT YOU ARE MY DISCIPLES.”    (JOHN 13.34 njb)

Pray