SELFISH GRACE

SELFISH GRACE

SELFISH GRACE?

The Lord is my Savior and my Guide” (adapted from the 23rd psalm of David)

Saving Grace is referred to often as a gift from GOD for belief in the teachings of Jesus and many of the prophets. And disciples.

What is it exactly that I am being saved from?

What is the purpose of this saving grace?

Jesus gave the ultimate example of GOD’s saving grace when He was crucified on a cross for preaching love one another to a hostile audience of those who were profiting by the taking advantage of an entire population. They convicted Him of sedition because too many of those who were being taken advantage of them agreed with Him. Love One Another had become the ultimate threat to the powers that be. Two thieves were crucified along with Jesus. One of them taunted Jesus for not saving himself along with Jesus if Jesus really had the power to save. The other condemned his partner thief and pointed out “We are only getting what we deserve, but Jesus has done nothing to deserve this.”

Jesus mentioned, “Today, you (the second thief) will be together with me in Paradise.”

Recognizing his own wrong doing, and Jesus’s lack of guilt, was rewarded by Jesus for making that determination was a proof that GOD recognized a spirit had learned the ultimate lesson of life by admitting his own behavior was wrong and carried consequences and not blaming someone else for it. Saving grace was his reward.

What exactly do I need to be saved from?
Others?
Myself?

Does it save me from stressing over right and wrong?

I told myself once that if I was afraid of getting a speeding ticket the easiest fix to that stress was to drive the speed limit. Wisdom is acknowledging the simpleness of it all.

Saving me from hurting others?
Or for not hurting others in the first place.

The word SIN moves about the territory of religion quite openly and quite broadly today.
Some say we are born sinful. Some say temptation causes sin. What becomes our sin?

How can you be born sinful? Everyone has the choice of being sinful or not. But what is sin? What is it to watch for? As I thought about it there is a simple judgment to decide.

For me, I found my life was more complicated when I asked for things that benefited me and could have easily hurt others, whether I would recognize it as such or not.

What I needed to be saved from was my own selfishness. SIN is a simple word for selfishness. My own ideas of right and wrong are challenged when the direction that I am moving in is to feed my own selfishness.

An Uncle once said “In our rush rush society, there is never time to do things right, but there is always time time to do it over.”

One of the WordPress Bloggers (Mr. Ropeka) says to always take time to talk to GOD at least 3 days about change before before you decide what direction to go in.

My father-in-law was a city engineer in a small town in western Minnesota. I stopped by his city shop one day while he was working on the city police car. He stopped and stared at the engine for what seemed the longest time and I asked “What are you looking for?”
He said: “What is the easiest way to do it right the first time before I do it wrong the first time and have to fix it.”

Selfish decisions get the project off on the wrong foot. Getting back on the right track can be tiring and much more difficult than not being selfish in the first place. I think most of the world’s pain is caused by selfishness. Often the word that best describes it is sin, another word is evil.

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (The Lord’s Prayer)

You lead me along the right paths (those of your own choosing) that I might serve you there” (adapted again from Psalm 23.)

GOD works overtime to help you find the right direction, the right decision and the right move. It is not rocket science, it is all around you in the people that GOD has cross your path. It has always been up to me to decide.

What do I need to be saved from? An enemy? A neighbor? A bully?

More than that, it is to save me from my own selfishness.

Sin is when your own selfish wants negatively impacts the quality of the lives of others.

Grace is when you recognize the risk and do not pursue it, or you admit the wrong, ask for forgiveness and pray for the strength not to pursue it ever again.

It is truly Amazing this Grace. (Thank you – John Newton)

Which GOD?

“The Lord your GOD is one GOD,
Thou Shalt have no other Gods before Me.”

How confusing can this get? Which GOD is writing? Which GOD should I Pray to, today?

GOD the FATHER?
GOD the MOTHER?
GOD the GOD of LOVE?
GOD the PUNISHER
GOD the JUDGE?
GOD the I AM?
GOD the AVENGER?
GOD the ANGRY?
GOD The GOD of I WILL GET YOU for that?
GOD the FEAR ME GOD?
GOD the FRIEND GOD?
GOD the CARE GIVER?

All of these descriptions have been attached to GOD from acquaintances, and bloggers, and Pastors, and Sunday School teachers. They come from movies and tv dialogs, music and more than I will ever have room to list. It will always be your choice as to which GOD will be yours that you pray to.

Many blame GOD that things happen that they don’t wish or pray for. Many blame GOD for the results of tests, for illness or so on and so on.
Many justify their own behavior by saying they are merely performing GOD’s will. Many think GOD is dead. Many believe there has never been a GOD in the first place.
Wars throughout the the world for centuries have put GOD on one side and not the other. The participants, though, each claim to be the warriors for their “GOD”. (I won’t even get into the names for “GOD”.)

I, personally, consider myself to have been fortunate. The only GOD I have known is GOD my friend. The GOD is LOVE GOD. My GOD is a GOD of “GOD watches out for the ignorant and uninformed.” (Like me.)
When I got the feeling to clean my parents old black and white TV that my parents gave me for my apartment when I was 20, I wiped off the picture tube with a white towel and ended up with a black one. 49 years later I can appreciate today giving up cigarettes that moment and be grateful I was no longer living and breathing the air of their life. In fact, I have outlived them by many years now.

Life handles the rest.

For me GOD is not someone to be blamed for the results of my mistakes.
When I make mistakes GOD reaches out to help. When I am moving in the wrong direction, GOD prepares the way for a new beginning through another mentor or friend, or neighbor, or someone who is passing through with a comment that may only have value to me. It may come to me through the TV show I stumble upon and it catches my attention because it was just what I needed to hear, RIGHT NOW. To build my relationship with GOD has required the use of the words, THANK YOU, GOD.
To build your relationship with GOD you may need to define just what is GOD to yourself. What role does GOD provide for you. What do you pray to GOD for? What do you expect from your GOD. 

It will always be your choice, for your reasons. For your circumstances.

Which GOD do you live by? 

Illness: A Catalyst For Change

Illness: A Catalyst For Change

Illness Is A Catalyst For Change

Whether it is a form of cancer (as in my case see below), or arthritis. Whether suffering through alcoholism or PTSD or whatever the physical crisis may be, a diagnosis of a life changing event can shock your system and generates any number of reactions. Whether it is us personally or a relative or a friend or acquaintance. The storms of life become a catalyst for change and those challenges of life can bring out the best of us, or the worst of us.

Our human bodies react to life and the reality of the life experience makes us choose what attitude we will bring to the challenge, the positive or the negative. All of this is not news. These challenges have existed since the beginning of time. When these challenges happen to the people we know it can remind us of the temporariness of life. One may react with “why me?” It may be “What did I do to deserve this?”

Over the years, many of the visits of mine to see others in my life who were in the midst of a life crisis taught me that the challenges of them all had one thing in common. Without exception they were the result of being human. One thing that I discovered is that they were not unique to an age group. They came upon people who expected the prognosis and those who did not.

Oftentimes these events draw out the religion, or lack of it, in many of us. Our discussion at church the other day pointed out that we often times find GOD as result of those difficult and challenging times rather than good times. Many important lessons to me over my life has been in the examples of those I have talked with, or seen on TV, whether young or old, and I have been exposed to their reactions to these challenges in their journeys. I have learned that GOD knows about these challenges and follows you as though He clicks the “Follow” button on a social website. And then GOD begins. GOD surrounds you, with friends and family and often strangers. Hope is the mainstay of GOD.

Jesus had a cross to bear to be an example of the way he saw the challenges of life and the attitude required to survive them. The Cross was a testimony of the catalyst of change and the power of GOD to bring a new beginning out of whatever is happening. God walked with Jesus and the disciples that followed Him to Calvary and then they followed in His footsteps after His resurrection (or simply by the example he set for believing that LOVE ONE ANOTHER was a challenge well worth the risks.) It is their reaction that caught my attention to the power that lied within the stories I read in the Bible given to me as a graduate from Sunday school so many years ago.

The sudden accident or diagnosis challenges all of us at some time in our lives. The calling may be as loud as a Fire Alarm in the middle of the night that jolts us awake. The heart pounds, then you recognize what is going on. Sometimes it is as quiet as a prayer. Whichever way the catalyst comes one knows their life is changing in some way shape or form.

The other day my doctor was giving me my yearly overall blood test and reviewed the results with me in his office. He mentioned to me that my PSA count ( a measurement they use to track the health of your prostate in men,) was a bit higher than the normal for men my age (68). He set up an appointment with a urologist for me to double check the count which is in the function of a urologist. Pictures were taken, examination was made. The next step was determined to be a biopsy to answer some questions.

The call a couple of days later that a measure of Prostate Cancer has been found took my breath away. My memory immediately took me back to that group of mentors that GOD had put into my life over the many years as to how did they react to such news? Where had their emotions led them and where did they find strength of attitude and persistence. It was at that moment that I recognized how prepared I had been made for this day. Make no mistake, my education from my visits to others had made me aware that challenge has taken on a new form for me. Statistics tells me that thousands of others in this country and a million plus over all the world receive much the same message as I every year.

Yesterday I discussed the results of the biopsy with my urologist. Moving forward with the discussion of treatment options I chose to pursue radiation therapy. I believe in the research that has been done over the years and have been blessed with an internet that can provide many answers to what I am facing in this new journey as I move forward. This internet is a gift that so many have not had before just a few years ago. To be in a position with my website to share information about this illness and how I move forward is a blessing to be able to share. The shock of any such diagnosis can be a call to action, however the action becomes.

I tell you this for in my research I found information from many sources to provide me with answers. One very positive and extensive “book” I discovered was available, for free, through the Prostate Cancer Foundation. I encourage you to contact them to help answer some of your questions. My challenge is just beginning. I truly wish that I had been given this book when I had friends who had received a similar call as mine many years ago before the internet.

If you want to do research, the Prostate Cancer Patient Guide can be found at www.pcf.org . They do not try and choose any course of action for you. They do not sell a magic potions for you to purchase. It is information for its own sake and is very thorough and up to date.

Periodically I will offer updates in this forum of my progress and journey as I am presented with them.

Allow GOD to work within your lives as a mentor of help and a provider of HOPE. Jesus said: “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life”. It is reflected in my logo. This has always been the foundation of Unorthodox Christianity since it’s inception.

Ask any questions of me that you wish. If you have been diagnosed or in reading this Patient Guide you recognize the warning signs that I did not recognize, my prayers are with you as many are praying for me.

Thank you for reading. Share this with anyone who may benefit from this information.

Dennis

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”.

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.

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)