THE MANUAL IS MISSING

THE MANUAL IS MISSING

THE MANUAL IS MISSING

There was a day, many years ago, when my daughter first entered my sphere. She was 5 months old and came via delivery on an airplane from Korea. There were many who gathered with us at the gateway entrance at the airport. The traveling companion stewardess brought her out and gave her to me. They also gave us a bag full of essentials to take with for a 5 month old girl. She had diapers, an extra set of clothes, a small hairbrush and wipes. As she was passed around among the crowd, I went off to a corner and began looking at just what the bag contained. I looked through it again. I couldn’t find it. I looked again.


THE MANUAL WAS MISSING

When I bought my first car I looked in the glove compartment and there I found a manual on how to figure out how the mechanicals worked. How to turn the lights on, the windshield wipers, the interior lights and how to work the radio. As well as dimensions and what kind of fuel to use. And so much more. Certainly a child must come with a Manual. How to be a dad, how to raise a little girl, how to teach. I was a bit overwhelmed.

I didn’t come with a Manual either, at least not at the beginning.

How many of us find ourselves lost, not prepared for the things of life as things happen? Today more than ever. What is a pandemic? Why can’t I just go get a vaccine and call it a day. Why is there politic, why don’t churches all believe the same thing. In Sunday school as a fourth grader I asked my teacher, “Why didn’t GOD just make good people?” I learned that that question was not discussed. Yet I wanted to know why. I have always wanted to know why. Why are things the way they are with an all knowing, all loving GOD?

religion_10

When I was done with Sunday School I was given a concordance Bible. A Bible where what Jesus said was written in red. I sat down and read the Red Print. Then I read the Old and New Testament. I had found the Manual.

Certainly it was not that easy. When I was reading Proverbs, or Wisdom, or the Psalms,  a parable from Jesus, or an apostle’s comment I recognized similar events or challenges that I had seen in the neighborhood, or a story on TV, or behavior that I recognized in my peer group. I read a simple set of rules that were put down by GOD.

Ten Commandments

These are a good start. If you find life being challenging do not refuse the Bible because it is “religious”. Look at it as an owners manual. A touch of history where when certain people did this or that their actions caused reactions. There is a story in the books that are about your challenge, both causes and corrections. Too many have their Manual sitting on a shelf covered in dust when it can be the start of a knowledgeable life that can make more sense or make pre-planning a norm and not reaction.

Have a wonderful experience when you sit down with the Manual and the one who wrote it. dw

THE ADVOCATE

THE ADVOCATE

The Advocate

It was one of those stormyish Midwestern nights. The kind of weather storm that comes in from the way west and you can see and hear it moving closer. The sky gets very still and the birds stop chirping and take cover in their nests and in bushes.

The little girl heard the thunder coming closer.

Mommy”

Mommy says: “It will be all right, I’m right here, just stay in your bed, Jesus is with you.”

The thunder came closer, and then the lightning flashed outside the bedroom window.

Mommy”

I’m right here, your OK Jesus is with you. Just stay in your bed, everything is under control.”

And then the lightning struck as though right outside the bedroom window. The thunder crashed to where the house shook and the china in the china cabinet even clattered downstairs. At that same clash of thunder and lightning the little girl was in Mommy’s bed.

Honey”, Mommy said, “It will be all right, Jesus is with you.”

But Mommy, I need Jesus with skin on”.

John 14v16(njb): “I shall ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate (protector) to be with you forever, that spirit of truth whom the world can never receive….”

A good friend used to say to the the congregation on our retreats “You may be the only Jesus that someone ever sees…”

There will be many times in your life, whether you profess Jesus or disagree with all religion, when GOD will call upon you to become the advocate that is Jesus with Skin On. You will comfort them and be the messenger for “LOVE”. You will hold their hand, wipe a brow, comfort them in sorrow, pull them out of their river. You will be the friend, acquaintance, co-worker, or even stranger that reminds them that LOVE EXISTS ON THE PLANET EARTH. In that moment you will discover a special kind of love. Unconditional.

John 14 v 25-27: “I have said these things to you (Jesus to His disciples) while still with you: but The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my Name, will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you. Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you, a peace the world can not give, this is my gift to you”.

Many I have never met have prayed for me. Many whose names, cultures, beliefs, and ideas have prayed for others under whatever banner they believe because GOD is not DEAD, but because LOVE LIVES. And because of your moment, you touched someone with LOVE and created JESUS with SKIN ON. That is what JESUS is all about. LOVE ONE ANOTHER. It is the message of Unorthodox Christianity.

But Mommy, I need Jesus with skin on”.

**Ads reflect income for helping pay bills. Does not necessarily reflect any endorsements or product support by myself.

HARD TO SEE

HARD TO SEE

THE RITUALS

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
If I should die before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to take. (A childhood prayer)

Come Lord Jesus Be Our Guest
And let this food to us be blessed…..Amen

The rituals of life surround us every day. I was out to lunch with my sister the other day and she bowed for prayer as we always did at home and prayed the above daily dinner prayer. I remember the many dinners as a family growing up and now passed. I stopped to remember the prayer I always prayed when I went to bed as my mother had taught me as a child.

The daily ritual:
Wake up, walk the dogs, or take a shower, or eat breakfast more often than not the same thing.
I turn on the news and watch our traditional morning program.
I drink coffee and off I go to work.
Now, for awhile, it has been the Pandemic. Am I 6’ away? Do I have my mask?           Is it safe?

The rituals of our new virus-day are, by now, pretty much incorporated.
With more time on my hands than I have ever had in my life, it almost feels uncomfortable.

I was walking the dog in the morning the other day and I was watching to cross the street to be sure I was at least 6’ away from the people coming toward me. I crossed the street again later for the same reason. Not because I worry about them so much, because I am at risk now and I am concerned about my health as well as others that I come into contact with. I said my ritual daily prayer that I have prayed every day at sometime for the last 30 years. I cleaned up from the dogs. I thought about when will work open?

And then it happened. I smelled something. It was the blooms from the maple tree. And then from from the bushes. The flowers that had been planted at the Park I walk to every morning. The recently mowed green grass. I looked up and around and the picture had blossoms on every bush and tree. It was a kaleidoscope of colors that I had walked right past. Sometimes it is too hard to see the blessings that are so obvious we fail to recognize them as blessings.
When I got home, I added this to the word that I forward everyday for my daughter and a few close friends.
Another day just full of opportunities to smell the trees blossoming and the flowers growing. The planting of a new world for us to partake of.
Take time to smell the roses and then thank GOD for the blessings of the day.

You see, Sometimes we forget. Sometimes we get caught up in the rituals. The gifts are like that drawer of cards from well wishers that meant a lot one day and made my day but have moved to the hard drive in my brain.
I remember the first day at work at a new job not long ago just before the virus took over the thoughts. I mentioned a common welcome to a new co-worker: “How are you doing?” I asked.
Blessed.” was the singular reply.
I hope that I can recognize that sentiment for myself every day for the rest of my life.

Count your many blessings, NAME THEM ONE BY ONE”. There is always something special to name each blessing. To move outside of the ritual to focus on each gift for awhile and rediscover just how blessed I have been.

GOD is always at work for everyone everyday. Thank you GOD for the blessings. I appreciate them all. Even the ones I don’t always see.

Is GOD DEAD?

From a friend: JD Parsons (A poem from 1967)

Listen to the babbling of the atheist saying “GOD IS DEAD”.
If that were true there would be not GOD
If there would be no GOD there would be no man.
Is GOD Dead?
IS MAN?

From me: today:

Today’s news should be telling us something loud and clear.
GOD is not only alive but is ACTIVE and VISIBLE all over the globe. GOD has mobilized LOVE in the hearts of of a vast majority of Human Beings over the face of the Earth to put the well being of the Human Species above all others. They are doing this by aiding one another and showing that this LOVE ONE ANOTHER Giant has been awakened and is not aligned with politics but is aligned by LOVE.

GOD is surrounding us in LOVE and CARING people regardless of race, religion, belief, Politics, tribe, culture or Nation. The Coronavirus knows no favorites. The Coronavirus exempts no one. If our measurement is to be the GOD of the followers of Jesus, and HIS disciples and the things He taught, then the measurement of LOVE ONE ANOTHER is much more prevalent than any of us may imagine. Through the responses of PEOPLE throughout the world, GOD is proving to us that GOD is NOT DEAD, GOD is Overwhelmingly alive. The first responders all over the world, in every culture, with the banner of every religion or lack there of, with every doctor, nurse, housekeeper, family member, national origin, sport team, favorite TV or movie. No matter what state, province or line that is a border. All are volunteering to help more people that they have never met than at any other time in the history of the world. It is obvious that LOVE is not the exclusive venue of a few select cultures, races, classes or any other division you wish to choose. LOVE is a gift from GOD to the WORLD.

IS GOD DEAD?
Is MAN? 

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”.

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……

Joseph’s Song

Joseph’s Song     

nails

We were talking at church about Joseph of Joseph, Mary and Jesus sometime ago and it resurfaced again this last weekend. The last time I discussed it was 11 years ago and I had been moved to write a song about it at that time.

Not in a position to record it today, but can post it.

Joseph’s Song

(words and music 2006 : dennis wheeler)

It is quite a task you’ve given, to be the father of your son
For it is only wood and nails I know, for teaching life to the holy one
It is quite task you’ve given, to raise your Jesus as my Son
I’m not a learned man of scriptures, I am as simple as they come.

        Can I teach him how to love, when it is only wood I have
        Can I teach him how to judge, by putting nails into his hands?

It is I that you have chosen, to send your son into the world
Just a carpenter with hands so rough, to shape the spirit of the Lord
I am a carpenter and as such, my life is working with my hands
What can I teach your son named Jesus, that he may understand.

         Can I teach him how to love, when it is only wood I have
         Can I teach how to judge, buy putting nails in his hands?

So far the path has not been easy, the soldiers come to find your son,
I have to move my family through the sands, because the truth scares everyone.
What lies ahead for the life of Jesus, that you’d entrust to this carpenter
I kneel in prayer for your help each evening, that you protect this child of yours.

    Can I teach him how to love, when it is only wood I have
        Can I teach how to judge, buy putting nails in his hands?

It isn’t that I am not grateful, that I am the one you chose to ask
I only feel that as a carpenter, I’m not equipped to perform the task.
May you give to me the wisdom, to teach beyond what I’ve explored
Just a carpenter with hands to rough, to shape the spirit of the lord.

Can I teach him how to love, when it is only wood I have
        Can I teach how to judge, buy putting nails in his hands?       (2X)

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Being a Dad has its differences from being a Mom. Being a Dad to a son also has special references. What have you talked to Jesus and GOD about your job as a parent today?
They are always hearing and always listening. Start your conversation today.