The Happening 2015-69

 The Happening   2015-69 

The history of “The Happening” is told below! It is something that happened and in the happening, changed me forever. I offer this to all now, on my 120th posting of my blog, which I started three months ago, on Dec 16th, 2014. It is the longest post I have made, but I hope you persevere and read it in its entirety. This is about the 5th year anniversary of the event. This week of the Bible story of the trial, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ is a good time to bring this story of what happened to me to the light. Why, because it changed me in a way that I will never forget and will continue to be affected by the change. This is when I brought Jesus Christ into my life on a personal level beyond belief. Read it, think about it and I hope realize that what I experienced was real and not something I made up as a story to present to you for whatever reason.

My story of “The Happening” begins actually from way back as a child.  I never went to church as a child. Christmas and Easter were days where presents and eggs occurred, but they had no religious significance to me.  I joined Beulah Evangelical United Brethren church in Dale, Pa, when I was close to being a teenager, when my Aunt Norma on my mother’s side made my mother more than encourage it. I was a foot taller than any other kids joining that day, after only a couple of weeks of lessons. After I joined, I never went back to that church or to Sunday school, but I was a member of the church and a real Christian in some people’s minds. Or so I wanted to think, perhaps.

Anyhow, I went into the Marines and never went to church and once out of the service, I only went 2-3 times with my Aunt Grace, my mother’s sister, who asked me to go when I moved to Cleveland area. I had no upbringing in a religious nature of reading the Bible, knowing stories of Jesus or anything like that.

I got married and my wife asked me to go to church with her once I was married and I did. I was never “into it” to a degree, but went.  We made our kids go and they did so and willingly as part of their lives.   I kept going, and even was on the church council at one time. All my married life I was a pew sitting church goer, without any conception of why or feelings for God or Jesus Christ.

Fast forward to not that long ago from today. 

During Lent in 2010, it was March 3rd, I went to our church where we live and go to now.  I had been going there for about 7-8 years.  We had the service on Wednesday night and it was going to be followed by a soup supper.  The Pastor asked us to meditate and think of the passage of the Bible he had been talking about, then told us to quietly go into the Narthex for the supper and then meet in the Sunday School room and discuss the meditation we had experienced.

I sat, closed my eyes, and meditated.  That means that I tried to close my mind of other things and concentrate on what the Pastor asked us to think about while doing so.  Then something happened. I had a vision that came to me that was as clear as the Sun in daylight.

I looked at the altar up front or envisioned it.  There, in front of the altar, was a table with men eating and talking to one another with food and drinks on the table. A figure rose and came toward me – walking THROUGH the pews.  I could NOT see his face, but he was dressed in a white covering.  As he came toward me the men at the table stopped talking, turned, and watched and listened to what was happening.

This is obviously a representation of the Last Supper and Jesus Christ coming toward me and I realize that fact now.  It, being Lent, I was influenced and admit it. BUT!!

The man, who I know now was Jesus Christ, stopped in front of me.  He bent down and kissed me on the forehead. I could feel his right cheek on my face as He moved further and whispered in my ear, “YOU WILL”.   With that, He stood up, turned and walked back towards the front of the church. As he did so, the vision of the table, the men there, and of Him, slowly disappeared.

I sat there in a trance. I finally opened my eyes totally and found that I was the ONLY one in the sanctuary, except for a lady at the rear of the church.  The whole congregation there at the time before, had left. I found out later that the lady (L. S.) with me had an experience that same time, but she told me about it only when I told her about my happening months later.  I could hear people talking in the Narthex where we eat, and I got up and staggered out and joined them. I got a bowl of soup and ate it myself as I thought of what had just happened.  The Pastor later asked us to move to the Sunday school room, which we did.

We sat down and the Pastor said, “OK, we are well fed, so let’s begin by telling each other what you experienced during the meditation.”  Nobody said anything, which is sort of normal for groups at times. I raised my hand and he asked, “Yes, what did you get out of it?”  I blurted out, “I saw a vision of Jesus Christ come to me through the pews; He stopped, bent over and kissed me on the forehead. Then He said, “You Will” to me and turned and went back to the table where men were eating.”

The Pastor’s mouth fell, and stayed open.  He blinked and said, “Ah, what do you think that meant?”    I said, in a flippant way, “Maybe it means I will die on the way home tonight” trying to be funny about it.  He got upset and told me “Don’t say that.”  Someone else said, “Awesome”. The conversation went on to other things, and I finally went home.  My wife was not feeling well and did not go to church with me that night and when I got home I told her what happened. She said, “Maybe, you saw Jesus Christ” and left it at that.

Not the end of the story!

I did not know what “YOU WILL” meant. I know I heard it, I felt His cheek on mine, but what did it mean?  For a couple of days I went around wondering what it meant, asking myself “Why ME!” etc. Then I was in my den, just sitting there and something else happened. Out of the blue, without any forewarning, words started to come to me.   One after another words were in my head. I was “hearing” words that I could only attribute to the “YOU WILL”.   The voice was not a booming one, sounding like thunder or deep, or like Charlton Heston with his full voice like Moses.  It was just a voice, telling me words.  I wrote them down and had a total of 26 words.  As I wrote, I had one come to me “Live” so I wrote a next one “Die” and my hand went up and scratched the “Die” out, it was MY word, not His word.   So, I have “YOU WILL” and I now had words. But, what were the meanings to the words?

I did not know if I was making all this up or if it was actually happening to me the way it appeared to be happening, but it was sort of scary to a degree, hearing these come to me.  I thought about the words, wondering what they meant. I tried to guess, but nothing came to me. Upon thinking about it, I would like to believe it was the Holy Spirit talking, but I can’t say for sure, of course, but it is logical to think this way.

Then later in the week, I put the words on my computer and arranged them in alphabetical order from A to Z.  I looked at them and NOTHING came to me at that time.   A day or so later, I was sitting at the same place and then the “meanings” did come to me as fast as I could write them down.

I WILL –  APPRECIATE–  then came the meaning, LIFE IN ITS FULLEST.

I WILLLIVE – came to me as meaning THE WAY GOD WANTS ME TO LIVE

All 26 words had their meanings revealed to me as I wrote the meanings to the words down. I copied the meanings onto the computer and printed them out.  I cut the paper into one inch strips with about 5 words to a strip, with their meanings.    NOW WHAT!!   I had NO IDEA what some, most or all of the words with their meanings meant.  Some were obvious such as the word APPRECIATE with its meaning, but not really.  How will I live my life in its fullest???       Anyhow, we went on vacation  to Alaska and Seattle, about then and I took my stapled pieces of paper with me in my wallet. Every now and then I took them out and wondered what they meant to me.  I remember looking at the frozen glaciers calving and wondering what the words meant. We got back and I still had them in my wallet, and was still wondering.

 The final part of the Happening. Or as Paul Harvey would say, “And now the end of the story.”

I was now thinking differently about God and life more than ever before. Up to then, I was a Christian in name only.  Before, I said the Lord’s Prayer by rote in the past, usually mumbling it as others said it around me. Now I started to really try to understand what I was actually saying. I still did not understand the words or their meanings and the vision still haunted me as something I did not comprehend at all.

In June of 2010, I was sitting outside on our swing. It was after 8:00 PM and the sky was dark from storm clouds coming from the west. The clouds were moving pretty good and it looked like rain soon.  I had been sitting and still thinking about the words and meanings given to me.  I was getting upset that I got them for some reason, since I did not fully understand them.

I looked up at the sky and challenged God!  I said to Him, “God, if what happened with the vision of Jesus Christ, then the words and the meanings to the words were REALLY true and from You, then I want you to strike that tree down in the back of my yard, and I will believe!!!!”  The tree was at the tree line of our yard and woods.

The clouds were rolling overhead, the wind was blowing and I sat there!  I thought about how I saw the vision of Jesus, the words and meanings and then I nodded my head and said, “God, spare the tree, I BELIEVE, I BELIEVE!”  I started to cry with my emotions at that moment.

Then, something happened that I will remember the rest of my life.  As I looked up at the sky that was broiling with black clouds, an opening in the clouds appeared in the shape of an oval. The opening stayed in one place as the clouds pushed around it, sort of like a ship prow having water go around the front of it as it passes through the water.

Beyond the dark clouds there was a vibrant blue sky above the dark cloud layer showing in the oval that was above me.  I looked up in awe as I saw that the blue sky was just a small part of the sky that I could see.  Then, something else happened.  A pure white cloud appeared at about 4 o’clock in the oval and stayed there.  It was in the shape of a fist, which slowly started to change shape into what I thought it was going to be a “cross”.  It kept shifting and it turned into what ONLY, ONLY could be called what looked like — an angel with wings outstretched looking down at me.

I got on my knees and yelled out, “God, God, I do believe, I do believe!!”  I stayed there bawling my eyes out as the oval then collapsed into itself and the dark clouds became one again. I got up from the deck and sat on the swing.  Then, to the west the sun started to set and rays of light came UNDER the dark cloud deck and hit the top of the trees in my back yard, like a halo of light around me. It was like a final goodbye to me from Him above………………. It really was awesome …..!

Since then, my life has been changed forever.  I have told this story as a “witnessing” thing to my congregation, told it to dozens of people that I have met and know, and more importantly I have become a Disciple of Christ.  I have studied mystical writings and authors, have started to read Scripture, somewhat regularly, and have started small groups of various things at church and outside church, and basically changed my life.

I still look at myself as the same old me and feel that God has a purpose for me that I do NOT really know. I have had coaching sessions with my Pastor to fully understand just what this all means. I have only had one person discount what happened to me, and that person has faith issues himself, which I acknowledge as a fact.

When I meditate now, which is daily, I also pray to God and listen for Him to respond, which He does, at times, and I hear Him.  Usually enough to know that He is there and listening to me. My life now is to serve the Lord in any way He desires me to do so. My wife knows this and supports me 100% of the way.  I am the President of Congregation and the Church Council (the lay leaders of the church), where we go. I am involved in outside groups and I am doing what I can do and going from there to somewhere.

You can read this and think I am nuts, which would be a normal reaction. What occurred to me was real and not a figment of my imagination; it happened and that is why I call it, “The Happening”. There IS a God and His Presence is with us always.  

May the Peace of the Lord be with you all !

Den Betts

Religion versus Man (Humans) 2015-68

Religion versus Man (Humans)  2015-68

I guess what intrigues me when I hear people blame religion for this and that on the news is how they assail religion for doing the thing they do not like at that moment, but forget or do not mention the actual people doing the thing itself.

Religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence. There is history relating to religion, stories, symbols, icons, and many other things that try to explain the meaning of the origin of life, usually about a deity.

How can I blame religion or something a person does that is perhaps a part of that religion? Did the religion do the dastardly thing or the person? It was the Priest that is found to be a pedophile and not the religion. It is the evangelist that is the breaker of the rules, not the religion itself (I think of Jim Baker of years ago, the televangelist, who was involved in a sex scandal that led to his resignation from the ministry. Subsequent revelations of accounting fraud brought about his imprisonment and divorce). Was it his religion that did the acts or actually him?

Religion or People Hypocrites?

I somewhat believe that the people making the accusations against religion have a problem with religion in general and do blame religilon for actions taken by people. I know someone, named Henry, that stated “Everyone of that religion are nothing but hypocrites!”  I then asked him, “Have you ever done something that involved hypocrisy on YOUR part?” He thought and replied, “Probably”.  I therefore proved and stated to him that it was not a religious thing, but a human thing involving the part of the human mind doing something against a belief. I could have said feelings, standards, qualities, opinions, behaviors, virtues, motivations or other characteristics that one does that do not actually hold true and to give an overall blame to religion is ludicrous.

Blame Religion?

Needless to say, the news is rife with people blaming religion for actions done by people. I think if I were an unbeliever, I would blame religion for something I thought was incorrect. I know an atheist who does NOT do that, and admits that many of his ilk do so.

It is easy for a member of one religion to blame another religion for things THEY do not believe in themselves.  It is common I think, and in the thinking I am against doing so myself, or I try very hard not to do that. For instance, it is so very easy, for some people, to blame the Islam religion for actions of those that, today, pervert that religion themselves by doing atrocities where they use the religion as a reason for their actions. I could add, Catholic’s, Protestants, Hindu’s, also do this, and the list goes on and on.

In this thinking, it was not the Catholic religion that was part of the Crusades so long ago; it was the people of that time that did the acts, not the religion itself. The fact that Catholics were the mainstream Christian religion of that time, gives credence to the thought, even though it is wrong to blame that religion for the actions then. There WERE Catholics that did not agree with those stomping through Europe at the time, killing many people for an ideal?

If I took the time, and really gave it some thought, I could see the real thoughts behind the actions that are given news time on TV today.  It is TOO easy to blame religion for the modern day horrors and other things that are reported on, and not the people involved that are doing the acts. Too easy!!!!  Are we guilty of doing this?

Den Betts

Centrist Beliefs 2015-67

Centrist Beliefs  2015-67

I begin this with a disclaimer. If you are a liberal, conservative, or moderate, the following may upset you. Well, at least, maybe, make you definitely not be in agreement with what I am saying. That being said, you have fair warning whether or not to continue reading. I am not writing to upset anyone, but my statements may do so in the process. This could also have been titled “Get off the Fence” or “Middle of the Roader”, but the central theme is, in a way, seeing two opinions or actions that have merit in everything.

I read many articles online, in the paper and hear many statements from those I know that expound on what the people writing and saying believe.  I do NOT have a problem with their thinking the way they do, just have come to the realization that many things said or written are not what I believe in all the way or all the time.

What is a Centrist?

I consider myself a centrist. A centrist can be many things and can also be part Republican, Democrat or Independent, somewhat.  At least, we vote for those in political office that are running for this and that positions. We do not have an actual Centrist party but we do deal with the center right and center left areas in the political spectrum.  I like to think we see the bigger picture and are voices of reason while we are centered in thinking.

I make no claim to be a member of any party, and will vote for the person who I believe is best for the position, not his or her party they belong to at the time.  I want debate, not to win, but rather to find best ideas and solutions, often formed through spirited conversations that inter-mingle issues and ideas from many sides, that when brought together, create better solutions.

Debating issues

I will debate an issue, but do not feel I do so to win, but rather to find best ideas for a problem. By doing so, through spirited discussions and considering the issues and ideas from many sides, when brought together, they may create those better solutions. I learn from having any, one on one, discussions. I am not afraid to claim I have changed my mind on an issue, and do not consider changing to be one of weakness or giving in to another’s viewpoint. Such a change could be due to different facts being brought to my attention that I did not know or was not aware of before the discussion.

As far as political candidates go, I support candidates based on their good character, and rational, collaborative approaches to solving society’s greatest issues. I feel that rational approaches must include effective listening and even compromise during debate. Inability to compromise stalls forward action, harming all concerned and is, in fact, the antithesis of good governing. Sometimes I am completely wrong and usually time tells and lets me know I screwed up in my decision making process.

One of the crusty politicians of our time in the past was a Democrat, Tip O’Neal.  He and Republican President Reagan were always at odds for this and that, but, Reagan said of O’Neal, “He was his friend, after 6 PM.” O’Neal loved politics and government because he saw that politics and government could make a difference in people’s lives. We, today, as a society are not seeing compromise in our leadership and it is telling in the way things progress in our capital. That is too bad, but is part of the way things are run by all parties that make up the political scene today.

Name calling and defaming cartoons

I refuse to call anyone a name, because that is degrading and goes beyond the norm of decency. I believe that showing facts about a person is better, and the person I show them to can reach an opinion their selves about the person in question. History will show the right and wrong of actions today and it is unclear how well history will speak of this time, the leaders and what we do. I think we MUST take a stand and speak up and be heard. Publishing defaming cartoons is not the way to debate either. To do so is showing your character to others in an undignified way for those to see.

The same goes for many other issues that are at the forefront of today‘s news.  It is too easy to stay on the political subject when stating to be a Centrist. I feel it is the big issue to discuss, but I go further and claim to be one (a Centrist) for many other issues beyond the political spectrum.  OK, I am stretching it a little, but it is making a point of my feelings about other issues; that being, much of a middle of the road type person.

We have had in the past twenty years, happenings that make people decide to go with one side or another in their thinking.  Liberal or conservative thoughts about a subject are there to think about today. Conflicts in the Middle East, religious uprisings, and the multitude of newsworthy items all make for opinions that encourage discussions of the viewpoints to be discussed.

I must admit that in certain areas I tend to sway one way or another and not take the middle ground stand. But, even when I state a certain side of an issue I try to do so with facts, not opinions based on past experiences or someone else’s ideas of the subject. Also, what I thought about a subject when I was 25 is not, in many cases, what I think today as a senior citizen.  I still think I can change my mind about a subject, when new or additional info is presented.

Conflicts yesterday and today   as an example of Centrist thinking………..

I can state that I feel our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan is different now than when we first began the “long war” in those areas. OK, I was somewhat in agreement in getting involved at the onset, but have most definitely changed my opinion today.  Why? I cannot agree in the cost of doing business in those places. The actual money cost and the loss of life and wounded is, in my mind, is not worth it. I feel now, we should never even have begun the conflicts in the way we did, which have affected our country in so many ways.  Of course, tell that to a parent or spouse of one of those that have died or become horribly maimed and I am sure that they want to think those loved ones did not die or become wounded in vain. The same goes for Vietnam.  It could also be the rules of engagement that the leaders put in place that bothers me more than anything; not sure right now. The problem in my mind is WHAT to do now that the problem has presented itself. I will wait till another time to state what I think should be done, but for now, just say that I am undecided in my mind.

That being said, the 2015 situation with ISIS is sad.  I truly, CANNOT understand the rationale of the ISIS thinking. It is stated that it is a religious undertaking on their part. I say BULLS—. The actions by ISIS are barbaric, primitive, and totally not a religious undertaking on their part. Religion is used as an excuse, but it is an archaic reasoning of the past and not true for today. Again, this is something for another post.

Den Betts

Communication of Thoughts 2015-66

Without talking to one another we are, of course, separated in mind beliefs. We are individuals without a sharing of ideas, joys, sorrows and overall feelings. To keep silent is to keep ones thoughts locked up, with no release to others. You CAN exist, but without a common way of joining, with your ideas of expression, to the world.

Communication of Thoughts      2015-66

The communication of

thoughts is not a

one way street.

Instead it is a parallel

expressway of interactive

thinking.

 

It is a means of expressing ideas,

goals, multitudes of messages

via sound, pictures and writings of man.

A sharing of ideals, letting others

know of intimate secrets

of the mind.

 

A transmitting of convictions, of joys

and sorrows to be jointly compared or

acknowledged in kind for one another.

It is a skill to be learned,

nourished, adapted,

and honed to exact perfection.

 

A treasure to be treated as a jewel

of priceless wealth,

and one to be used.

Without it we are blind, alone in the world,

separated in contact from each other

and in conflict with only ourselves.

 

With it, we have a means of joining

together as one, for a common goal of

knowledge and the advancement of life.

 

 

Den Betts

Destiny 2015-65

I thought about this subject and came to the thought that we are somewhat determined by destiny, but I do NOT believe that what is to be, will be, based on predestination. We have choices in life, which we make and in the making, our destiny is determined. I do not blame others for my bad choices in life, but only myself. I like to think that my good choices are because of something I did, but MAYBE, there was help, not by man/woman, but by an essence that is with me always with His presence. Hey, believe what you want to believe, I have my beliefs, so you can have yours!!!!

Destiny          2015-65

What  Destiny of man is realized,

When thinking of the future

At any particular time in life.

 

Are events so pre-ordained in nature,

That outcomes are meant to be

As only a foregone conclusion can itself be?

 

Do we have indeed choices –

Like a  “Y” in the road ,

Or  are we on a straight line path of travel.

 

Meant to arrive as decreed

At the beginning of our journey?

Does our life have a purpose,

as long ago manifested,

 

Or will we continue without really knowing.

Questions raised, answers not given,

But, asked as is, ones Destiny………

Den Betts

To Be, or NOT to Be, That is the Question 2015-64

To Be, or NOT to Be, That is the Question      2015-64

“To be or not to be” is a well know axiom

And to postulate this fact is totally true

To feed on this is really somewhat rubbish

And to expound further is a witch’s brew

 

Let me be careful in my choice of words

For those that abound can flay me with

Ridicule as a way to respond candidly,

Which is to be expected!

 

How do we want to be actually?

That really gives others insight

To how we are, what we are,

And are in reality!

 

Or would we rather be not what we are

And give others a false sense of actuality!

To hide behind a facade of what we desire

But know what we are not?

 

To be what we want to be and not question

What we are, but act honestly in our endeavors

So others can judge us (if that is allowed)

And comment with truthfulness to others

Den Betts

Dying for a Belief??? 2015-63

                                             Dying for a Belief???   2015-63

How many of us would be willing to die for our beliefs in Jesus Christ? Not many, I would think. That would be a drastic act — to commit oneself for a belief, such as saying, “I believe in God; enough that I will die for this belief”.

Many, of the Apostles did so. It is not important how they died, but the fact they WERE willing to die for their faith/belief.  I really do NOT believe they would die for something they did not firmly believe in and something they knew was not absolutely true or more so, just a blatant lie.

Did the Apostles witness, first hand, the resurrection of Jesus Christ? If not, would they have been willing to die the gruesome deaths they encountered at the time? Beheading, being crucified, stabbed with a sword, whipped to death, stoned, scourged, and even being boiled in oil (did not work, BTW) are all terrible ways to die, which are the ways they did. Again, all are terrible ways to die, if you thought you were being decimated because of what you believe and KNEW it was not true.

The Apostles WERE willing to die these horrible deaths, they did refuse to renounce their faith in Jesus Christ, and they stated to all that they witnessed the crucifixion and later the resurrection of the man named Jesus Christ, who was their Rabbi teacher.  That is faith!!!

Putting your life on the line for what you believe in. Wow, that is more than just using a word to say that one has faith in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. That is commitment!

I would hope that if I was about to be put to death for what I believe in, that I could have the courage to tell my executioner that I am a believer and why.  I cannot say I could, just saying I hope I could. I truly hope I am never but to the test, but if there was no way out, no hope for being pardoned, and a foregone conclusion, I do hope I have the guts to tell the one about to commit the act that I believe in God,  the one God of the Universe, before the end occurs.

Another thought!

On the other hand, how many of us are ready and willing to LIVE for Jesus Christ? I mean, REALLY live for Him! That is also a scary type thought, is it not?  To commit oneself to Christ and to carry His cross, and to proclaim the fact that – you not only believe in Him, but are ready to live the life of submission to Him!  Wow, that would be something!  I do NOT go to church ALL the time. I do NOT always stay at church when I attend; contribute to the community things that are available there ALL the time. I have NOT totally committed myself to Jesus Christ in my way of living, ALL the time.

To do so, is a commitment to living the life of being a follower of Jesus Christ as a disciple of Christ. That takes work. That takes again, commitment!  Not many of us are willing, able or inclined to do so. Once more, living for Christ is something that most of us are not ready to do; simple as that. We can say we do, or are trying, but are we?

We have our daily lives to live. Our soccer games to attend, our parties to go to, basketball or baseball games to go watch, etc.  We are not ready to spend our lives living for Jesus and that is the way it is today.  We are not prepared to spend the time that other members of groups take to be totally committed. We are not Monks, Friars, or other type reclusive members of religious societies that do have the time to do the things they do, in the name of Christ.  Somehow, I think God knows this.

We, (and I actually mean ME when I say that) could do more though. I could take the time to do many things that God would like me to do. I wrote about the Disciplines that can be done. Richard Foster wrote a book “Celebration of Discipline” that gives some guidelines to follow that would REALLY make God and Jesus Christ, happy if we applied ourselves and did them.  I have them in this blog site  and included them in a summery way that I posted in December.  I offer them to you, again to read, and in the reading, perhaps try some of them out.  These do not require you to stand on your head while you recite the Lord’s Prayer or other strange things, but instead are very simple things to start or continue to do. (See Posts 2014-15 through 2014-27)

God will love you regardless; He loves ALL his children of all races, creeds, religions, and beliefs.  He LOVES to hear from you (that is praying of course) and if you listen, you MAY hear from Him too. Try it out, and don’t give up, try again.

Thank you for your time!

Den Betts