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.”
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….”
“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.
On 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.)