“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?
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)
“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 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.
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”.
Lead By Example
Millions (Not thousands), HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of citizens, born, adopted, raised, immigrated, brought as slaves, and followed others to AMERICA over hundreds of years looking for the modern day Promised Land. Not one, but EVERY culture in the world is represented. Not one, but EVERY nation, current or passed is represented in those MILLIONS.
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” (Preamble to the United States Constitution)
Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:—”I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” (Presidential Oath of Office)
I just took a break of writing this note to let my adult dogs outside with the neighbor’s puppy that we are watching out for while they were out of town to learn how to ‘pee’ in the yard and not the house. I took my dogs out with me to “Lead by example” so that the puppy would learn what is acceptable vs what may get her turned into the local rescue mission for going in the house by mistake. This bad habit is the #1 cause of pets being turned in to the various animal rescue leagues around the country. I want to be sure the same doesn’t happen, per chance, to this puppy.
Where was I. Oh, The Presidential Oath of Office and the Constitution.
I’ve discussed the whole discussion about Making America Great Again many times. This is my last time.
One of our President’s ardent supporters came to visit us here in El Paso last Saturday. (Where I live). He came here specifically to help his hero achieve what was important to his hero and many in Congress and the country. He came to help those who wave the flag of Jesus as their Savior and call themselves Christians.
Jesus died penniless on a cross for preaching “Love One Another”, and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
This hero worshiper killed 22 predominately Mexican cultured residents and visitors and injured 20+ others. He stated they need to all go back to where they came from. Most were at where they came from.
“Lead by Example”.
Is this, honestly, what Christians believe the example that Jesus would use as the Leader of the most powerful nation on Earth if he had positioned himself as the President of the United States? Would he see himself as the President of just a part of the voters and wealthy donors?
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
The President of The United States.
It doesn’t say “President of the DIVIDED States”. We talk about Abraham Lincoln. Both Republicans and Democrats wish to claim his allegiance to them come voting time. What exactly did Lincoln do? He created the United States. The cost was very high. Now our President has become the hero to many who wish to help The President and his party divide it. Is this truly the key feature to Making America Great Again?
I do not wish for this “Great America” for our children to inherit. Most of the world has been blessed by our extremely creative group of citizens. The millions of us have come to win Noble Peace Prizes, develop great inventions, put men on the Moon, and medical discoveries that have saved lives all over the world. Our diversity built railroads and airplanes and saved the world through 2 world wars. What made us great was UNITED, and we will never be great again as long as our example is trying so hard to divide us for the sake of getting elected.
Mr. Trump, Be the LEADER of all of us. You are supposed to and you promised us you would. Need I say More.
I have said enough.
I remember when they handed me my daughter just getting off the plane at 5 months old. It was like being handed a sack of groceries with no manual or recipe to follow.
For 40 years now I have watched over, watched with, shared with, mentored, prayed for, and loved my little, now adult sackful of groceries. As the challenges have played out, the past has grown into her reflection that comes with the consequences of choices made that conflicts with the present and a measure of regret establishes a threshold in her spirit. It happens to all of us in varying degrees of measurement.
I think of the Frank Sinatra song “My Way”:
“Regrets, I have a few, but then again too few to mention.”
The regrets have had time to settle into the reality of what my life is. (The greatest book ever written: “LIFE IS” – the entire commentary on life in a single page of two words by my friend James Parsons (not the actor).
For my daughter the timing is too soon for the measurement. She called me to ask my opinion.
We grew up religious. This blog has always been called Unorthodox Christianity since the late 1990’s. Unorthodox for a reason. It is a different box. As I read the commentary of other bloggers about the judgement of GOD in all sorts of circumstances, I can see where a person would feel like there is no help for Heaven and not saving grace. This is where this writing is coming from.
Just like getting my daughter as a sack of groceries from a plane at 5 months I have been the caretaker for a child of GOD. A “GOD is LOVE”, God.
I have been the caretaker since she was 5 months old and I have done my best and will always strive to teach her what GOD has taught me. But I haven’t been the only caretaker. There have been many, but one really stands out in my mind. GOD.
You can develop any image of GOD that serves you, but GOD has been with you, as with my daughter, since the womb. There has always been a set of footprints next to my daughter since the beginning. Even when she doesn’t have a set of footprints next to them, as the story goes, because that is when GOD carried her through a difficult time. GOD does not wake up on a Tuesday 40 years later and start throwing darts at his children for what they have done in the last 40 years. GOD already knows. GOD has walked every step and more. GOD knows the most important fact “WHY?” Mine will never be a vengeful GOD. GOD will be an understanding entity that knows why decisions were made. GOD was next to me during the peer pressures. GOD was next to me with the difficult decisions, and when I made the wrong ones. GOD provided the mentors, the teachers, and even the strangers whose comments in a moment, that was their only time with me ever, made all the difference in the world. So I told my daughter this:
“There will be no test at the table with GOD.”
There is nothing about you that GOD does not already know. You have already lived the circumstances and payed whatever price may have resulted. There is no need for a test. The prodigal son squandered his inheritance in awful ways, and when all was said and done there was a feast at home to welcome him.
“There will be no test at the table with GOD.”
You have already lived the circumstances. Now is the time, at the table with GOD, to decide how you go forward in the future. Jesus commented to one of the thieves he was crucified with, who had recognized what his own personal activity had resulted in. Jesus recognized the thief’s understanding from the vision of a mentor who had only known Jesus for a morning in a horrific experience that a set of steps walked next to that man, Jesus. Jesus recognized his understanding and offered the judgement of GOD to him. “This day you will be with me in paradise.”
‘THERE WILL BE NO TEST AT THE TABLE WITH GOD.” People set more than enough judgement on themselves, they do not need the help of GOD for that. In fact, you can not tell GOD something about you that GOD doesn’t already know, or shared with you.