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….”

By Example

“You lead me along the right paths, those of your own choosing, that I might serve you there. Even now, this very day, you are preparing the future before me, even in the presence of my enemies. Your word and your example strengthen me.”

In my world of Unorthodox Christianity,  Jesus becomes my Example, not by his divinity, but by his perseverance. I remember a sermon given on a retreat that was based on a very simple concept. “Isn’t the blood of Jesus enough?”  I don’t need divinity to sway my opinions, I need example. Mentorship has always been about example. Jesus’ example was to follow the teachings that he had been given over the years via the mentorship of those that GOD (LOVE) had placed before him for that very purpose.

“Even now you are preparing the future before me…”  He had a unique vision of his place in the journey of the world and that future was based on an all abiding faith in LOVE. If only all of us could learn from his example. Not fixated on the Cross but abiding in our own resurrection. His example of persevering on through the challenges of life in spite of setback (in his case quite extreme, as was the result for many others) becomes my example when the hardship that I perceive in mine pales by comparison.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled for thou are with me…….”

Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord (LOVE) forever.” 

Who has GOD led you to be a mentor for? There is no coincidence, just a curve or right turn along the way. Why else do you think your here? Your spirit has been given eternal life, use it wisely and, yes,  it will be challenging. Appreciate it and you will be blessed beyond your own belief. Not by “divinity” but by being led by example.

What a Friend

I am thinking of a favorite song. “What a friend I have in Jesus..”

I have read much about how stern and strict GOD is. I am always confused. I have been also told that GOD is Love. “My Father who are art in Heaven…….Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us..” The good news is not centered in condemnation or punishment. GOD does not need to do any more than let your own behavior run its course and let life take over.
Over the years my friends have been great listeners, advice givers, and counsolers. My hand has been held, and prayers have been given. The mentors are sent for my use. Not by a strict and all powerful something, but by a friend. Sitting down with a friend over coffee is a great gift that you miss when you have moved from them, or at this stage of my life they have passed. GOD never leaves. GOD is not dead. GOD is always listening, adapting your journey, finding new mentors and friends. GOD needn’t be approached in a mindset of change, but one of “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do.”  GOD wants successful living for all of us. Invite GOD for coffee and discuss what success is about.

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall live in the House of the Lord forever.”  dw 3-2-18

Relationships

HeartOn this Valentines a note that I carry over from my signatures.

“Who you know is not as important as how you treat the people that you meet.”

This carries over from “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.

Valentine’s Day is about “love”. It is about how we build and maintain relationships. Whether these relationships are deeply personal, workplace, casual or a simple hello, how we interact with people we have known for years or moments defines us as a human being. From the stand point of Jesus, “Love One Another”” was never followed by exceptions. If there are those who are not inclined to the golden rule, or simply do not grasp that humans are basically chameleons who reflect their environment, one must simply move along, do not force a reaction and do not look back. (“Wipe the dust from your feet”.)
Ours is a role of reflecting our Teacher’s message. When we accept the banner of “Christian” we accept a powerful message that people should recognize by how we interact with them.  If we do not reflect Jesus’ message in our own actions, the message we are teaching send the wrong message of what it is a “Christian” is. It is because of what I have seen in others who proudly raise the “Christian” banner that “Unorthodox Christianity” was born.
What makes “Unorthodox Christianity” unorthodox are its roots in the red print of a concordance Bible. No caveats, no exceptions, no exclusions, no racism, no sexism, nothing other than “Love One Another”.  It is much more difficult to be an “Unorthodox Christian”, than it ever will be to wear the banner “Christian”.

“Though I walk through the valley of the shadows of lost souls, I shall not fear them for thou art with me. Thy word and thy example comfort me. Even now, this very day, you are preparing the future before me. In the presence of my enemies, even in the midst of my own personal struggle. You anoint my head with oil and once again my cup overflows with your bountiful blessings. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever…” (the 23rd Psalm applied to me.)

“Who you know is not as important as how you treat the people that you meet.”
dw-2-14-2018

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.

LIFE IS

Oh the decisions of life can be so stressful. My daughter wrote me.
I wrote back:

I remember a paper about ‘life’ written many years ago by my friend James Parsons. The cover sheet said:
What Life is About.
You turned the page to page 1. It said.
LIFE IS..
And that was the whole paper. He got an “A”.
No decision made on any given day can not be changed, or made and then altered, or lived with. Every experience is a learning experience and each decision makes its own journey.
FAITH is about listening to GOD and making what you feel is the best decision based on the facts that you have been given being fully aware that GOD is perfectly capable of making changes to the course of the journey at a moments notice. You are not required to make life’s decisions on a moments notice for the most part without some prayerful thought and GOD’s input through the mentors that GOD forwards your way. You may even ask “What am I doing?” Until the end what may appear to be the dumbest decision may turn out to be the soundest.
Have a great day, take a deep breath, and enjoy a good nights rest in the home GOD found just for you with the company of a very unique individual who once prayed for someone to share his life with. And that perhaps you prayed for also. As was once said:
LIFE IS.

GOD IS LOVE

GOD is LOVE. When Jesus (believed to be the ‘Christ’) preached amongst us He was Jewish. When Jesus died on the cross He was “King of the JEWS”. Jesus was never “Christian”, outside of the attachment of a term that was corresponding to his teachings. You will know the followers of Jesus by their adherence to his teachings and His primary message was to simply “LOVE ONE ANOTHER”. The true measurement of a believer in the teachings of Jesus is not the attachment to a philosophy that has grown out of a feeling of preference, but of an attitude of “Love One Another” as it is exemplified in their everyday lives. Jesus was not a fan of the religious implementation of the leaders of His own chosen religion, Judaism as expressed in his own words.

Many brand themselves to be “Christian” to garner the preference of a group of theoretically like minded individuals whose attachment to each other promotes a single secular agenda that Jesus warned us about: “Be careful of those who come in my name”.

LOVE ONE ANOTHER is not judgmental based on adherence to a group that is “acceptable” or otherwise. LOVE ONE ANOTHER simply loves. People of all cultures and races and religions have adherents that LOVE and adherents that HATE. A follower of the teachings of Jesus among any of them, is simply required to “LOVE ONE ANOTHER”. You will recognize them by THAT attitude, and by no other measure exclusively.