Message Jul- 2014-41

 Message Jul- 2014-41

I am sitting here thinking about the past week or so with fireworks banging in the distance. The fourth has been over for a week but people are still shooting them off around where I live. That got me thinking about why we celebrate July 4th.  Freedom is not free and I remember the speeches on TV, the boomers going off, and the rows of tombstones that have been shown.

Eventually the 4th of July was over and life goes on and we somewhat forget the pageantry of the moment when we got misty eyed at the flag waving, the thought of what price was paid for our freedom, and we  put those thoughts out of our minds to a degree. It is the same for Christmas and Easter. Businesses started to promote Christmas so, so earlier each year and finally in December we hear the carols played on the radio and on TV to remind us that we only have so many days till Christmas and we should buy, buy and buy before that date. THEN, the day after Christmas, it is gone and life continues. Oh yes, we do celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ then too.

Easter is the same way. We have “Lent”  to remind us before Easter that the day is coming where we have the most Holy Day of all to remember our Lord Jesus Christ and what He did for us so many years ago. Then, Monday it is over and life goes on.

I remember my childhood where Christmas meant presents and putting a tree up for some reason and Easter meant chocolates and those marshmallow baby chicks to eat. Other than that, those two days had no special meaning for me at the time. It is somewhat sad to think about that now.

Over the years these two religious days have become “ones of meaning” to me though.  Much has happened to me that make my thoughts very different than before. I do not want to go into detail as to how, right now, but things like July 4th, Christmas and Easter create in me a better perspective in life, than what I had in the past. I have changed and do and think many different things now, I guess. Allow me to give you one example.

Bless the children!  I had one ask me a few weeks ago, “Mr. Betts, why do you wear that cross all the time?” I could have mumbled something, but I was not busy and took the time to answer him. I told him that I, for the ease of answering, HAD to wear it, but did not go into detail as to why.  Anyhow, the cross I wear is for me and means something to me, and not for show to others. It reminds me that Jesus died on the cross and that my sins are forgiven by God, because of what Jesus did so long ago. It is also a reminder that I believe in God, Jesus and, like I said, what Jesus did for all of us.  It also reminds me that I am a disciple of Christ and is a constant reminder of that fact. It also helps me (hopefully) to keep from doing things or saying things that would not be good in the eyes of God.  It is close to me and available to touch and, I do not look at it as an ornament or piece of jewelry, which can be called that of course.

May the peace of the Lord be with you all.

Den Betts

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Message Aug 2014-40

Message  Aug 2014-40

So much to do, so little time to do it!  That is what I am thinking right now as I go over all the things that need to be done before vacation next week.  This message is one of them and I sit here wondering what I will be putting down on paper for those to possibly contemplate on what I say.

I am looking forward to seeing God’s glory that will jump out at me while I travel around Portland, Oregon. I hear it is beautiful, but I think where I am at is also beautiful, so it will be tough to compare beauty.  I remember going through Arizona when we traveled the U. S. in 2004. I thought then, “Why would anyone want to live here” as I saw tumbleweeds blowing across the road that looked like railroad tracks going to somewhere from where I was at the time. Those that lived there, might have thought their place of living was also beautiful, don’t know.  It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or something like that, I guess. Maybe, they don’t or would not like Ohio with its weather.

It was not long ago that I either read or heard about looking for the glory of God in everyday life and to consider just what we see, hear, taste, touch or experience what God has given us in so many ways daily. I am guilty of passing by many things and taking them for granted as I live this life as a child of God. Why do I do this? I cannot say or tell the reason I do so, but know that many things are there to be enjoyed and experienced as we go through life.

It is all too easy to sit and complain about this and that during the course of a day or moment. How many times have I said something about something and became mad about it? Especially when I am trying to accomplish a chore and I am frustrated. How many times have I seen a wonderful sight, a touching look from a child, a great taste of a new culinary creation, or many other common, yet special happenings that I have during my life and not said anything? How many times have I given God credit for those flashes of life’s exquisite experiences?  Perhaps not enough!!  I am starting to take a moment to give thanks to God for them and encourage others to do so; God loves it when we do, I am sure…..

So, next week when I see the Pacific Ocean and walk in it in my bare feet, when I enjoy the sight of a place called Multnomah Falls and take in its 650 foot splendor, when I enjoy a glass of wine at an Oregon winery, or the other things I am ready to see, hear, taste, touch or experience, let me also look above and thank God for the time I spend, enjoying His creations!

Thanks be to God,

Peace,

Den Betts

Message Sept 2014-39

Message  Sept 2014-39

September already!  Seems like I said that regarding summer, about June or so, but the great news is the fact that time marches on (as someone stated).

I was reading something and words were thrown out at me and I started to think about what I read. That made me contemplate other things and I would like to share them with you. If the following gets to be too boring or complicated, let it go and move on with your life, OK?

There are three sets of words:  Power – Wisdom,   Perception  – Reality and  Truth-Lies

I forget what context these came from, but I remember wondering about them at the time.  By the way, this is NOT a test and you do not have to share your thoughts with anyone.

First, the Power and Wisdom!   I ask, “What would you rather have in life if given the opportunity to have them.  Would you like unlimited Power, or Wisdom, by knowing all?  The third option would be a word of your choosing in place of the two suggested groups. I would advise you be careful about what you wish for and the ramifications of having what you want. I think of the Old Testament and these words being used perhaps in various ways. I think of the TV commercial, with a guy who found a lamp, rubbed it and a genie popped out. The genie asked the man what he would want (because genie’s do that, I guess). So the man asked for a million bucks and the genie gave him his wish – a million male deer were in his house and outside; not exactly what the man wanted.

Perception and Reality!  Let me ask about these two words in relation to your belief in God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, as an example. What is YOUR Perception of God and how does this equate with Reality in YOUR mind? This is not a trick question, just a thought to think about and give the answer to yourself, as again, this is not a test for others to judge.

Truth and Lies!  I think of Pontius Pilate and his question, “What is truth?” when talking with Jesus Christ during the crucifixion trial.  What is truth; perhaps only the absence of a lie, or something more?  I remember someone I respect saying to me, “When praying to God, it is best to be accurate and truthful when asking Him something or talking with Him about a subject you are concerned about at the time.”  If figures, that God already knows the Truth about what you are asking, so be true to yourself in the process. It can be scary to be truthful, even to yourself.

OK, I am done. This was not hard was it!? A little different, but I hope it made you think a bit about the words that I brought forth to you.

I would be willing to discuss the above with you if you ask me to do so. I have my own answers and will be willing to share them with you and explain my feelings about them.  We each have our own journeys in life and we live them the way we do, because we are.

Peace, Den Betts

Message Oct 2014-38

Message Oct 2014-38

I am sitting here (at 10:30 AM on 10-8-14) at the PC and was told (when I called) that my Broadband service is “down” and will not be available until late in the afternoon. Poof; meaning something nasty in my mind.

It got me thinking about how much we depend on services and things like the Internet in our daily lives. Last time, at Beer and Bible ( a small group meeting two times a month at a local tavern) a young girl and her mother and I were discussing this in an abstract way. I said we all took things for granted and the girl told us that it was up to her generation to insure that today’s generation did not mess up the environment too much.  Well, something like that anyhow….

I recently got two smart phones and a tablet for free, for signing up with Verizon for two years’ service. Maybe, a total worth of around $700 retail for doing so. I thought it was a deal. Getting them, I look at all three as “magic boxes” that enable me to do so many things well, while on the go; even texting-NEAT!    I will not go into detail as to how or why I think this, but say, I am impressed by the gizmos that I got.

I read Richard Foster’s book, “The Celebration of Disciplines”, whereas it had a chapter on one of the disciplines, “Simplicity”.  I gave a Sunday School lesson on this subject in 2013 and have a copy of the lesson where I wrote, “In Ecclesiastes 7:30 it states, “God made man simple; man’s complex problems are of his own devising.” How true!  What is not true is that the book, not me, actually used 7:30 to make a point and there is NO  verse 7:30 in Ecclesiastes; it stops at 29, so go figure…..

I do NOT feel guilty of having smart phones and using them!! I look at them as being created by man, with God’s help and therefore not going outside the word “Simplicity.” I don’t know if I am stretching the truth or not, but feel that I am enjoying the bounties of God’s glory that He has helped man create, and therefore is A-OK.  To those that do not have a smart phone, like when I did not have a smart phone before, it is the way it goes, so be it…..

A little more:   Scripture is rife with declaring that the creations of God are good and to be enjoyed. Extreme asceticism is not to be condoned, whereas asceticism, or the severe self-discipline and abstention from all form of indulgence (usually for religious reasons) renounce possessions.  Simplicity puts those same things into prospective. There is NO place for the “good things in life” with the ascetic, but Simplicity rejoices in this gracious provision from the hand of God.

The book by Foster is an interesting one to read and goes into the 12 disciplines in detail that include the inward, the outward and corporate disciplines that he lists. I highly recommend getting and reading it. I stated before in the class I gave that “I believe we can look at the Spiritual Disciplines as the melding of the mind, the soul and the body toward a common goal of finding and being with God forever.”

Peace,

Den  Betts

Message Nov 2014-37

Message Nov  2014-37

I was meeting with our Spiritual Director at church recently and we talked about various subjects that would be normally discussed at such a meeting.  We tried to keep the talk on focus and did somewhat of a decent job of it.

I then stopped and asked him two questions which I would like to share with you.  Why I asked him these questions, I do not really know, but I did. It was a two-part type question.

I asked, “Let me ask you this, in this way. First,  “Who am I” and then “What am I”  and how would you respond to such a question.” ? Of course he knows who I am as being myself, but I was not asking for the easy answer, but who promised easy?  I wanted him to tie who with what at the same time.

The Director gave it much thought before answering, which I appreciated.  Now, I could tell you what he said, but that would be personal.  It DID make him think and led into a continued discussion at the time.  It was neat. I also found a lot out about myself at that time and it was a benefit to have the talk.  I then realized what a positive factor we have at church to have someone like him available.

I just shared an episode in life with you, but would like to go a step further, if I may. He later followed up with something I will share with you in another blog. I  have it in the form of a PDF file, so will format it and post it under Messages at a later time. It is titled “The Call of Jesus To You”, so look forward to it.

Being honest and truthful is not easy. I just read a blog from someone else who left the Christian faith and while that person may have tried to be honest, the blot sounded false to me. It rang of resentment from something that happened to her and she was writing to vent for the happening that occurred. I cannot say, so perhaps I am just being judgemental, and for that I apologize.

It is hard, no very difficult at times, to be honest and above board with ourselvess, but in doing so, many truths and realizations can come out. I told him that I had a saying, made up a while ago, that “I was what I was, am what I am and will be what I will be”. I have since found out that is not always the case because of events happening in my life that are an influence.  I can change myself now and what I turn into may be a result of that change.  Nuff for now!!!

Peace,

Den Betts

 

 

 

 

 

President’s Message 2014-5

Presidents Message Dec 2014                                                    2014-5

OK, I admit it!  I normally celebrate Thanksgiving; then I forget it. We actually celebrated last Friday, instead of Thursday like most people do. We have to accommodate two other in-law families of our two daughters and sometimes we win and sometimes we lose for that day of celebration.

Back to the forgetting bit!  It, Thanksgiving, is somewhat like Christmas.  We lead up to the celebration day with all kinds of thoughts of food, cleaning the house, getting other things ready, and waiting for everyone to arrive.

Once family get here, we sit around and talk, watch the grandchildren play, feed the fireplace and get comfortable in many ways. Of course, on Christmas we open gifts and ooh and ahh about what we exchange and perhaps play with some of the children’s toys. The day stretches out and starts to quiet down; the hoopla is over and then the next day.

BOOM! It is all over; until next year. So, Thanksgiving is somewhat the same. Once here it is celebrated and then we go on with our lives.

I don’t want to dwell on it, but do want to share with you thoughts I had this year.

Yes, we sat down at the table to eat the wonderful smelling turkey and all the trimmings.  My eldest daughter said she wanted to say grace. She started with the somewhat normal thanks for the food and at somewhat the end, thanked God for her Dad and his being alive. I was surprised at first and then realized that a year ago I was in Intensive Care at the hospital and my mind was in la-la land.

We tend to forget sometimes, but this simple act of grace made me look back and, to a degree, remember what happened (or told to me what happened).

The presence of the Holy Spirit was with me and those around me. I felt Him with me and in that feeling, my mind did not forget about Thanksgiving and what we are thankful for then. I thought of my loved ones and their concern. I thought of my church family and friends, and their prayers for me and I cried inside.

I freely admit I am on a Spiritual Journey and it means so much to me. My Pastor and Pastor Paul have helped me to experience a deep relationship with our God and I am so thankful for their guidance and help in this. I look at those I know and see God in their eyes and that makes me also so very gracious in the knowing.

We only have one chance to live here on Earth and then, the opportunity to live forever with God and those that have gone before us. It is with deep satisfaction in sharing my life now with you and enjoying God’s presence with me always.  I am eternally grateful and thankful.

Peace,

Dennis Betts

Messages Category 2014-4

Messages Category

The Messages listed as sub-categories are offered for review and comments. They are taken from monthly “Messages that I did for a church group where I am the President and have varied subjects, depending on the time they were written. I would sit down and write something based on what came up at the time, so many are time related for holidays (such as Christmas) and others, just what I was thinking of at the time. Since the group is a Church Council, they may be related to the Religious Category, but I decided to include them in the blog, as a separate category instead.  There is somewhat of a message in each one, so enjoy if you can do so and get something out of each, if possible.