Where is the Good News

Once in awhile I sit down and read some of the other pundits here in the religious world. I try to get a grip and the religious news of the today. I watch some on TV and listen. There seems to be something that seems to be missing in a lot of these. The Good News.
Jesus did not garner crowds because he gave a message of condemnation and fear.

Jesus didn’t condemn the universe, He did not have to. Jesus didn’t threaten just too many people during his visit on Earth. And just how many are still waiting for the return of Jesus to hear the GOOD NEWS. In all of it I have come to recognize one thing. Today is today and tomorrow is going to be today in the morning. Whatever news is thrown out there on the news, no matter what channel on what nation, many in the world have given up on the BAD NEWS. DO I want my day to be condemned before I even get to it?

As I go through my day I have come to realize one thing. I have a very small circle that perhaps I have been charged to touch, to help, to pray for GOOD NEWS. A small mentorship that believes that GOD is love. I have tried to get a handle around the idea of what “LOVE” is. Is GOD all about “TOUGH LOVE”? Do I really need tough love to look at the man in the mirror and feel like I am a dart board for GOD? I don’t buy into it.

My circumstances are my own doing. The GOOD NEWS is that there is still time. Time to smile, smell the roses, be grateful for all I have been given, and all the mentors that have crossed my path. Tomorrow is all about hope and when tomorrow becomes today hope is in action once again. Why? Because GOD is constant. GOD is love and GOD’s hand is open to me. Only I choose whether to grab it for all it is worth or to walk away from it.

GOOD NEWS is to a large extent, MY responsibility to be thankful for each day. Each one who gets up to see the sunrise has been given an opportunity to grow and learn. When I watch the news I have to keep news in perspective. BAD NEWS sells, GOOD NEWS is to be enjoyed. Enjoy the GOOD NEWS. Jesus did not make this complicated. Love one another as yourself. Start with yourself each day, pray for all those on your list and all the one’s that maybe are not. Every morning is a GOD NEWS moment. 3 days after Jesus’ Crucifixion the stone was rolled away. Because He criticized everyone? What did Jesus have to say about it?

“Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.” That is the GOOD NEWS. Jesus understands what you go through, what the pressures are, what the dangers are. Jesus knows illness, Jesus knows Evil, racism, corruption, power brokers. And Jesus says, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.” I believe that is a good direction for my today and tomorrow.

Lead By Example

Lead By Example

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.

No Test At The Table with GOD

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.

Serving GOD

From The 23rd Psalm

 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

For many years I have made the 23rd psalm the stallwart of my daily devotional. Every day.

I have expanded it to relate to my life and my interpretation of just what these writings mean to me and how they reflect my faith and the path that my life has become. From the challenges of the Lord GOD of David, to the existence of Jesus “The Lord is my Savior and my guide” and the good news he brought forth.

For the above verses of the King James version, for me….. it says:

When my faith is sorely tested and I am ready to give up ‘HE RESTORES MY FAITH and MY SOUL to me. He leads me along the right paths, those of His own choosing, that I may serve Him there……”

One of the writers here on WordPress, Ropheka, josephsdailywalkwithjesus, is one I follow. He challenges me to follow the word, as he reads it, to a point of deep conviction. This verse is one of those great challenges.

He leads me along the right paths, THOSE OF HIS OWN CHOOSING, that I MAY SERVE HIM THERE.”

On any given day I question the choices I have made with ‘HIS’ prompting. And yet I am also convicted by my faith that God’s plan, whether I agree or not, I have been asked “TO SERVE HIM THERE”.

Whether it be HIM or HER or simply GOD, I have been asked to serve GOD (LOVE) there (which is now HERE). I can question everything, I can debate with GOD, but I have been asked to SERVE GOD HERE, no matter what that means.

My Faith is believing that there is a greater force that drives me forward. It super cedes my own desires. It is the truth versus my personal wishes. It knows the future where I only know the past. It is the conversation my spirit has with GOD where my humaness struggles with instinct.

When Charles Darwin studied the instinct, “Survival of the Fittest”, his missed “The MEEK shall inherit the Earth”.

So when confronted by the verse above in my every day devotional, I reflect on one other, “Those who believe on me, shall not perish but have eternal life.” Not an everlasting physical body, but an eternal spiritual one. It could be considered the “Survival of the Fittest SPIRIT.”

So here I am, on a unique path, “THOSE OF GOD’s OWN CHOOSING, THAT I MAY SERVE GOD HERE”. It is my task to accept what I question in faith that “GOD is always preparing the future before me.”

GOD has a future for all of us. I have always been blessed with great mentors.

Keep in mind one last turn of the phrase for my Lord, Jesus. “Please take this cup from me, but not MY WILL but YOUR’S Be done.” (paraphrased)

As I said, “He leads me along the right paths, THOSE OF HIS OWN CHOOSING, that I MAY SERVE HIM THERE.”

You can question, you can doubt. You can even debate, but You have been asked, “TO SERVE GOD THERE.”

 

Forgiven

There seem to be so many requirements of us Christians for us to be ‘Forgiven’. Often the requirements manifest themselves in the commentary of pastors and the prophets that it can overwhelm us. It creates such a monstrous anxiety to bear the burden of our humanity that doubt becomes the driving force versus a very special force that comes from within. 
One of the two thieves who hung from crosses in the company of Jesus prompted Jesus to use his “power” to save all three. The second thief, in all honesty, said that “they” were being punished for things that they had done that were knowingly wrong and could have been avoided by choices. Jesus, on the other hand, had done nothing to deserve what he was receiving. In addition ‘he’ asked Jesus to remember him in heaven. Jesus response was that this person’s request would not only be observed, but that “today you will be with me in “Paradise”. The Gospel is not “fake news” but GREAT News and GOOD NEWS.

To the crowd that followed Jesus’ journey to the cross and made fun of Him and chastised Him, Jesus had a simple prayer. “Father forgive them,  for they Know NOT what they do….”  and then “Into thy hands I commend my SPIRIT.”  
The mockers, the bullies, and the Judges have instincts that are driven by their instinctive humanity. They are products of the human culture. Win at all costs. “Success AT ANothers expense”. Jesus recognized this and had a unique foresight to put the conflicts of the spirit vs the human instinct into a perspective to be approached by LOVE vs culture. “Many will come in my name and will lead even the elect astray.” Jesus’ example should not be reflected of a position of power, but rather an example of the kingdom of the spirit. Many who fly the flag of Christianity do so from a political perspective, Jesus did it from a cross. Your spiritual journey may win no human conflicts, but your spiritual journey will stand the test of eternal life.

Jesus is your advocate. Jesus walked the walk, talked the talk, and took the hits. And yet Jesus has stood the test of time and the others are names that need to be looked up to be remembered. Do not underestimate the power of LOVE to reconcile differences. Do not underestimate the power of LOVE to discover inner peace and tranquility. And do not believe in coincidence. GOD is active, GOD provides, GOD teaches, and GOD pays attention. And GOD asks. GOD asks for your help. Life is different once we can say “What can I do?” All of the things that tempt you, tempted Jesus. “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil…”
“Father Forgive Them, they know NOT what they do..” 

Do not beat yourself up for being human, seek out the spirit within you and wake up to a new day. You HAVE BEEN forgiven, when you accept it for yourself…

NOT NOW

NOT NOW

There are times when one sits back and reviews their life so far. Things they have done and things they have not. Every day we are invited to change someone’s life, or enhance it, or ruin it. The opportunities are presented to all of us, every day in the simplest of things.

A driver in a car that needs access to your lane to make a turn that others refused to allow them to access.
A door to be opened out of politeness.
A welcome, or have a nice day in passing.

One of the most difficult things to hear is what follows a simple question,“ How’s your day going? or hear in El Paso, ¿cómo estás?

“Not well. I was at the doctor today, or My dog or cat passed away, my parent, son or daughter is in surgery… or as the other day “Pray for us…” from an acquaintance.

When this answer occurs there seems to be a pause in our momentum and a sign flashes in your head and says “NOT NOW…I have this, this, and that to do just now..I did not expect your request as the answer to a simple question.”

“Pray for us.” It happens often enough. And the “Pray for us” opened that door again. I thought about all the times I had been asked to Pray for me, or for us, or for someone or something”

I like to think that I said “Certainly, you will be in my prayers”. Sometimes the response may be “All I can offer is prayer, is it ok If I say a prayer for you?”

And I got to thinking of all those things I have searched for in my life. Love, honor, respect, recognition, reward…and then “Pray for us”.

Of all of them the most rewarding and meaningful has been “Pray for us.” And I had to think about why? I believe the greatest compliment I have ever been given is “Pray for Us”. I had a friend who often said during many a retreat, “You may be the only Jesus that many people will ever see..”

Outside of this forum, the Unorthodox Christianity site and blogs are known to me, but I carry no advertising about me for it. I’m just a guy, and yet there are those who believe by my demeanor that I may just be someone who had that unique connection to offer up a prayer of value. It has probably happened to many of you who read this. What a gift to be recognized for a way of living. Now don’t get me wrong. I am human, I can get upset and I can be angry. But within that humanity that I was born with GOD has cultivated a spirit via the example of others that is not afraid to offer help. Even as simple a thing as a prayer, can be recognized by those to whom you have been sent or whose path has crossed yours for but a moment. Often times to remind me that impact need not be grandiose, it can be as simple as a prayer.

NOW doesn’t require a lot of time, just a focus for a moment to help someone who has enough faith in you to ask you for a moment of your time. A greater compliment can not be offered to “just a guy.”

Free Will – NEVER FREE

I read this the other day from a posting person that I admire . “Christ says we are made to serve Him and allow Him to make the choices in our lives.”

The first thing that came to my mind is a story I tell about my relationship with “GOD”. I know what “GOD” looks like. There is a large bruise on “GOD’s” forehead where GOD’s palm has struck the forehead as “GOD” utters…..”Dennis, you’ve done it again. I had it all planned out and coordinated and now you change the direction of your life…”
The choices of GOD are not always so apparent that my choices coincide with “GOD’s” plan for me. My favorite poem talks about ‘The Road less traveled.” Why do I so often settle on the road less traveled?
Because “GOD” has never failed me in my choices. “GOD” mentions after saying how I have “Done it Again, Now I have to rewrite the plan I set up for you the last time.” Right, or wrong, the journey takes many twists and turns. This is not news to “GOD”. Perhaps “GOD” is pre-aware of the directions I will take and the design of my personal tapestry has already been prepared for the seemingly new direction I am moving in, which “GOD” has been aware of since the beginning. I have been allowed a second chance.


Each one of us is the architect of our own individual journeys. Often times the choices are less than wise, but always based on events within our own lives or compared to that of others. Where we do not always do well at predicting our own future, GOD can. The tapestry that surrounds us is too complex for us to sort. Consequently ‘free will’ often gets the best of us. How many times does GOD come across this over the history of the universe and the entities that reside there?
Have you made a mistake? Many? GOD understands what you even cannot see.

“Forgive them…..they know not what they do.” This is a quote from the GOOD NEWS.
Jesus brought a new perspective on GOD that we today call “GOOD NEWS”. It has never been FAKE NEWS. ‘FREE WILL’ comes with challenges, and is never “free”. Whether others judge you or not, you judge yourself. If you never judge yourself, your actions have their own judgements. Free is never free. A poor concept to extend.
This is where “Forgive them, Father…” comes from. The harsh Father who theoretically casts out the lost from the path to eternal life has given us an advocate. Jesus. A Jewish carpenter from a town called Nazareth.

“For they know not what they do….”

Those calling for Jesus’ Crucifixion did not know much more than they were told what to say in the middle of the night by armed advocates.
(At the risk of censure, our politicians perform about as well as the disciples did, and they theoretically know ‘the rest of the story’. )
Knowing “What A Friend I have in Jesus” and His stance on forgiveness does not make the mistakes free, it makes them forgiven because whom amongst us has not done things that “we know not what we do” or the repercussions as a result of our choices. For those mistakes will never be “free.” Not to me… And at some point in time our stewards will discover how not “FREE” their decisions have been. But they are understood and forgiven by one who lived the reality of life on Earth. One who has seen the powerful place self before others. Somewhere in a book I read years ago it is said the “The meek shall inherit the Earth.” Perhaps because only the “meek” shall survive the”Powerful.”

“FREE WILL” is a lie. Our actions cause reactions whether we like the results or not. It is to me, in those moments, reassuring to know that 2,000 years ago a mentor of mine pleaded for my forgiveness even in the place where I judge myself. And He will do that for me forever. “What a friend I have in Jesus….”