The Energy of Love

2020

For me, 2020 has begun as a year of change.

Whenever you encounter change you find yourself in a position of worry, concern and challenge. I replied to a text this morning from my closest friend and wished to share it with all of you for whom 2020 has become a year of change.

Thank you for your text. I appreciate your concern. I am not unemployed. I am working and am active in finding supplemental work, or at least a bit less physical. I’m still in real good shape and have learned how to compensate with my left shoulder to take the emphasis off of the arthritis in the right shoulder.

I have money in the bank and social security comes every month. Once the weather permits I will have my 2 dogs as companions. I will admit that the greatest strength a person can have is attitude. A positive attitude and a position of perseverance is the key. I planned on a lull if the retail world slowed down for a while. I have been bolstered by the  ideas from the people that GOD has put around me. Now the key is patience as all the pieces come together.

If history has shown me anything it is that my close relationship with my faith has been the keystone for my success. Wealth is not necessarily just the measurement of money, nor is it the measure of a successful living.

To be rich in caring people is the measure of true success.

The power and energy of prayer in a congregation of people can not be measured within limits. It is only measured by its LOVE.

Today is always a good day when you are in a position to smile at the good that surrounds you and the hope that it represents.

GOD surrounds you with things that you may not recognize as gifts. Take a better look and smile as you pick them out of the day. They have been placed all around you for your sake.

GOD BLESS.

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.

Change Happens

Change Happens

Change Happens

The mysterious “they” say that moving is the most stressful thing you encounter in life outside of illness. Having just recently moved back to Iowa from El Paso, at a point in my life that may be considered a bit later in life, I would have to agree. I have relocated a number of times in my life and the moves do not get easier. The only thing that I recognize as common in all of these moves is the friend that always moves with me.

Jesus. Not Jesus the co-driver, but Jesus the driver. Any physical move, when analyzed, has so many elements to cover all the bases and somehow the bases get covered. Whether through relationships, housing, location, meals, help, people. Hotels and gas stations. Somehow, there comes through it all a time when you realize that it has taken much more than you yourself, to make it happen. The planning, the preparation, the opportunity and the support needed a helping hand.

I was not the hand. The preparation and the pre-planning took many years for the pieces to fit. Yet with all of that, everyday is still just day one. The future holds nothing but secrets. In all of that I am fortunate to have a driver that requires but one thing from me, faith. When change happens the opportunity to talk with my driver over a cup of coffee becomes the greatest of gifts. Persistence is the mirror of faith. Jesus promises to be in the thick of things for all who call on him for help. There is no need of bartering or making deals. Jesus comforts me when I am tired and sleeping. Jesus is always doing things to fill in what appears a gap, until you realize that the gap has always been the project in the in the background and you could not conceive of it.

When change happens do not be afraid to discover Jesus. 2,000 plus years ago a substantial amount of sudden change occurred to a somewhat well regarded carpenter in Jerusalem. Many people told of his miracles. Many told of his compassion and his caring. Many journeyed far to simply see this man and maybe even see if he could help them with change. They believed that he could help. They believed that the change he was bringing would change their lives forever. As he drew closer to the ultimate change he explained how he handled change.

He said, when you pray, pray this way,

“My Father, who 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 (I like to think humaness)
As we forgive those who have trespassed against us.
Lead us not into temptation (For God understands your humanity, its pressures and enticements
But (when we are tempted and human) deliver us from evil.
For thou art the kingdom, and the power and the glory forever.

AMEN

Jesus had discovered already in his life that he had to have had a mentor through it all. And he told his group of followers to take time and have that conversation with their spiritual connection. Because CHANGE HAPPENS. And when the time had run it’s course and he was offering a tremendous sacrifice to so many he did not meet, who were left yet to be born and live their lives and are challenged with Change often, his conversation with his people was about his relationship with his ultimate mentor:

“Father, I thank you for hearing my prayer. I knew indeed that you always hear me…” 

My greatest gift I have ever received was my friend and Mentor, and navigator and my guide, Jesus the carpenter from Nazareth. Change Happens. Too often the tendency is to go it alone.  Take every opportunity to share it with Jesus. He never tires of hearing from you…..

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.

Lyle Says..

GOD’s Mentors create actions. Such was a conversation I had the other day with a couple of workers in a testing center. We were discussing the rush rush of everyday life and how it seems that much is missed during it. I related a story of one of my mentors, Lyle.

Lyle was a neighbor and a great friend I had about (many) years ago. Lyle worked as a guidance counselor at a state hospital dealing with recovering alcoholics and had done so for 20+ years. In addition his faith was Methodism and I would refer to Lyle as a Christian. We had stopped for coffee one day and Lyle was somewhat distant, immersed in thoughts. I asked him what was going on.

“The great diet that I have been on and I have lost a lot of weight, has been liver cancer. It appears as I have just a few weeks before it wins. As a 12 steps counselor I find I have been going through all the steps. Today denial gives way to acceptance.”

I chose to spend my time with Lyle on  morning walks with Lyle during the ensuing days. I will never forget one of the last days. We met outside and were walking around the neighborhood. I asked how he was doing. “It is interesting, Dennis. The greens have never been greener, the roses never more fragrant….”

Not too much later Lyle passed away at 53. We had shared a number of great moments together. Leading a summer parks ministry program, and retreats. He got me to begin thinking and that ended up with my launching Unorthodox Christianity.com some years later when the internet took over the universe.

So I was sharing this story with the two workers during a lull in their testing and no one else about. THE RUSH RUSH OF EVERY DAY. I mentioned that it got me to thinking.

“What do you think is the worst possible thing that you could ever hear from GOD?”

I went on, “I hear and read lots about GOD’s judgement. I hear how judgmental GOD can be and how strict and difficult GOD can be to those who do not ‘toe the line.’ So I have developed this scene that better describes what Lyle says and I believe that developed from this incident. I image that I have passed away and am in whatever place one passes away to. I have lived most of my life as a human being. I am fortunate to be one of the few who knows what GOD looks like. GOD has a big dent in GOD’S forehead from the many times GOD has struck GOD’s forehead and has said, “Dennis, you have done it again. I had made all the plans necessary to answer your prayer and you have changed your direction and now I have to start all over again.” The truth is that GOD started over again, next to me the whole way. Providing new mentors, new friends, new jobs, and more education. On this day, I am now at GOD’s spiritual home. I have been invited to have coffee with GOD and I go in. I reiterate:

“What do you think is the worst possible thing that you could ever hear from GOD?” 

GOD sits back in the chair and asks me a question. “You know Dennis, I have not been to Earth for some time now. Tell me, what does a rose smell like on the first bloom of spring?”

I look back on my life and think. “I am sorry, I can’t say I know.”
God  shakes GOD’s head and says, “That is so unfortunate, for this was your only opportunity to find out.”
There was no hell or damnation. There was no screaming or hollering. There was a simple truth. I am ready for GOD, because Lyle says..’The greens have never been greener and the roses have never been more fragrant…… Stop and smell the roses…Lyle says.”

Today those ladies know what the roses smell like on the first bloom of spring. Feel free to share this story with your friends, Facebook and any other encounter. These are the messages all of us are given to share. We are the spokespeople for GOD. We are the mentors.rose-3756985_960_720

 

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.”