The Greatest of Gifts

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

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

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

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

It must be GOD’s all encompassing love and mercy

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

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

Thank you

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

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

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

 

It Was Written For Me

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

You see, I am the prodigal son.

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

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

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

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

It was written for me……

PRAY

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

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

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

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

    Today I want to address Unorthodox Christianity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pray

Paths

It is one of those seasons again. One of those seasons we refer to as change.
It is often intimidating and filled with question. Will it be positive, will it be scary or may it be peaceful and exciting. Win/Win is rarely the face of change. There was a man who confronted times like these often. Few believed Him. It was in times like these that His advice was to share a moment with His mentor.

“My Father which art in Heaven,
Hallowed be thy name
Thy Kingdom Come,
Thy will be done on Earth,
As it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who have trespassed against us.
Lead us not into tempataion
(But when we have been tempted)
Deliver us from evil.
For yours is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.”

Not a bad place to start to seek a friend and a mentor for yourself.
The journeys come with no guarantees but you needn’t make them alone.
There is one who will always have time to listen, and who will always find
time to pray just for you.
“Seek and you shall find,
Knock and it shall be opened”

Such a co-pilot is GOD’s greatest gift to all of us if we but choose to open the box….

The Way I Am

I have been very fortunate to have met many people in my life over these many years now. There is a whole set of these people that come to my mind as a group. They have come across my path in many different settings but their banner reads similar to this:

“That is just the way I am and if you don’t like it that is just too bad. I can’t help but saying what I say.”

Jesus said “You must move away from your parents to follow me.”

I struggled with that concept for years. Why would Jesus say such a thing about parents? My dad believed that dogs were the best way to handle civil rights marches in the day when they started.

“Love one another.” Not the same trip as my dad. The prejudices of those I held as peers were somewhat opposed to the simplicity of  “Love One Another”. Many “believers” are so far away from “Love One Another” and “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” I am constantly reminded of “Be aware of those who come in my name…..”.

“Just the way that I am” may be a poor excuse for behavior. Respect is often never easy.
“Walk in another man’s moccasins for his miles before making your opinion”. The cultures and their tidbits such as this are the place to discover. “Love one another” is so simple and so hard at the same time. What way are you going to be? Really.

Live Today

I have a page called tidbits. Little sayings to live by. I add this one.

The past is for memories
The future is for dreams
The present is for living………

I get asked every day, “How are you today.” For the most part I respond, “I’ve made it this far. I guess I am doing all right.”
I appreciate the memories, good, bad and sad. They created the pathway to today. Today is the foundation for the future, the dreams. But more important than the dreams, is the reality of another opportunity. The present brings with it the touches, smells, frustrations, wishes, and realities that are life. The present is for living, and what wonderful gift that is.

Have a wonderful day today.

The Visitors

Do you have visitors?
Not the people that come to your home, or office, or events. I mean spiritual visitors.

I remember when my mother passed away I was speaking at her funeral. (To the effect of): “It is sad for all of us but Mom is now in a position that she had never been in before. She can keep track of all of us any time she wished. She could extend a hand in a dream, or in a passing remembrance.She had the ability through her spirit to follow our careers and our lives and contact us in ways we simply can not understand.”

That was 30 years ago. I am now older than she was when she passed away. Now I am that stage of life where I hear of old friends who also are passing away. They too are available in a different sphere. There are different triggers for each of them. Remembrances of events, numbers, favorite plants, things they liked and appreciated that made them unique. Then, once in a while you notice the plant, the number, the event, the hobby and a conversation develops. In a space beyond our grasping, you spend some time with the visitor. The conversation may calm a fear, encourage an activity, or put one at rest on a hectic day.

DO you have visitors? Someday I may be able to visit also.