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.”

 

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….”

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.

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.