“I AM” 2017-40

                                                               “I AM”    2017-40

Where do we state what we are today?  Do we make a declarative statement of who we are, and how we are? Are we brave enough to say what we believe in, and more importantly, live the life of what and how we believe?

What is “I AM” and how does this relate?  Way long time ago, a man-God, named Jesus, stated this. Jesus said, “I AM” and in fact, He WAS and STILL Is, what He said! As God revealed Himself as “I AM who I AM”, His Son let it be known that He was also, “I AM”, as a divine name equating Himself with the “I AM” title God gave Himself, to Moses, centuries before.

Moses was a reluctant man, not ready to do the will of God, and questioned just who God was at the time. God had to identify Himself as being the divine being to Moses and stated, “I AM” to Moses and still Moses kept questioning Him. This can be read in Exodus regarding Moses, and in the Book of John about Jesus and His “I AM” statements, especially in John 14:6 where Jesus said, I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life.

So, how or what does this mean to me?  I can state I am a husband, a father, a son, or many other things, but more than that and more important to me, is where I say this:

I declare a fact that “I am” a child of God! I do NOT hinge or deviate from this fact, but instead proudly state this, as I said, a fact, not a supposition of life.

I therefore say, “Do NOT try to force me to say otherwise, for I willingly say, “I am”. I do not even hint of my being anything other than a child of God, and nothing more. I feel others can make the same claim, and go further by reiterating their beliefs in a divine being that created all of us.

As such, do not try to tempt me, for “I am” and will not be tempted by you or anyone else, from my beliefs in God or what He means to me.

Do know, that “I am” and anything like greed, wealth, riches, and any material things cannot sway me in my beliefs, because I cannot be bought and cannot be changed on how I feel toward God, my Creator.

Also, do realize that, because “I am”, nothing you can say, do or show me, will change my mind; for what you think is what you think, and may not be what I think.

I say this, “to you Mr. Devil, the evil one — be aware that “I am” baptized and am immune to your wishes, your desires that are not what I want — ever, and I will reject you, I will fight you, I will not accept your evil presence around me —- ever!!!!!

For listen again, “I am, I am, – forever more, I am, and always will be a child of God, loving Him, being a student disciple of Jesus Christ and enjoying the presence of His love. God, the Almighty, is alive, He is aware, He is active and foremost, His presence is with me always.

Den Betts                            bettsden@gmail.com

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Was Jesus a Good Christian? 2017-39

                                                   Was Jesus a Good Christian?  2017-39

Of course not!  He was of the Jewish heritage and most likely WAS a good Jew for his time. That is to be expected, BUT the Jewish leaders did not think so.  They connived with each other, and baited him to expose his thoughts about the Hebrew religion.  They persevered and managed to trap him into a situation where they could take Him to the Roman authorities to be found guilty of a charge they wanted to make against Him.

Jesus was a Rabbi and, as such, was a teacher of the Hebrew Scripture. He KNEW the past writers of this religion and could bring up passages that made His sermons standout. 

I do not know what a “Good Christian” today would be. Who decides? Who dictates to those around them that someone is a good this or that?  If that happens, then those people are being judgmental and that says something about them and not the one they judge.

Being able to quote Scripture at moment’s notice, does not make you a good Christian. Knowing the stories of the Bible does not make you one either.  It shows that you have a great memory at least, but not necessarily a great pious person. 

I would think it takes effort on one’s part to LIVE the life of what Jesus would want you to do, and using his teachings, as a guide to life. It is HARD to live a life like that of someone (Jesus) who was practically perfect. OK, some would say absolutely perfect, but I am sure he had some faults not reported in Scripture.

To strive for perfection or at least betterment of self would be a great goal. To NOT be discouraged in the process is probably a good reality, but the important thing is to try.

Den Betts

Change Direction 2017-38

 CHANGE DIRECTION   2017-38

What does it take to do something, to “change direction” in our lives? What exactly is it to do so and what directional change could we make? Sometimes it takes something to make us do something!

Recently, a friend of mine had a life-threatening health diagnosis that gives this person the opportunity to change direction in their lives.  Or, it gives them the chance to decide on doing something different other than just continuing in their lives the same way as it has been before the health news.

Yes, we can do nothing different.  We can seek treatment in some way that might make us better. We can do more though, by making a change in our lives in many other ways.

To change direction involves many things.  It may involve having a lifestyle that uproots our normal way of existing to one of having better habits, more exercise, eating different things, a disciplined way of using our mind towards a complete change of our Self.

Our attitude of living can be challenged to the point where we will no longer be seen as the person before. Perhaps, we will get closer to the God we were ignoring and become more cognizant of His presence towards us.  Or, maybe we will have a feeling of empathy for those we shunned or did not see in front of us, or among us.

Many things can happen that will involve our direction in life, which will completely make us a better person in the process. The old us, will become the new beginning of the newer us and this change will be startling to some, because it is not the old us in front of them now.

I remember a movie that involved “The Bucket List”. This showed two men who decided to make a change in their lives and begin to whittle down a list of things they wanted to succeed doing before they died. Perhaps we can start a list of those things we have put off in our lives because we were too busy, too scared, or too poor to do them in the past.  Maybe, we ALL should make a bucket list and check off those items we have not done in our lives.

To change direction requires us to make decisions.  We MUST start somewhere, and I ask this: When is the time to start?  When must we begin to change direction in our lives?  Also, consider this: What if we never change and the life line of life ends before we even get a chance to make a change?

If so, so be it.  We just did not decide on something we could have done that might have made a difference to someone else besides ourselves, which would be sad to a degree. This time on Earth has an ending, and we are all subject to this point in time.  

The ending on Earth does not mean, in my mind, an ending of life, just the ending as an Earthling.  I went to a funeral and the Priest said, “Our lives are like a trilogy, a beginning by being born, a middle where we live on Earth, and the third part, our eternal living after we die.” What if he was correct?

Can we, should we, really take a chance and not live our lives on earth with gusto and finally make a change in direction, and realize the third option of having life hereafter can be a reality?

Den Betts

Light of the Son 2017-37

The Light of the Son 2017-37

 

The light is there for all to see

                But is unseen because of the blindness of man

The light of the Son is brighter than,

                The light of the Sun of the Universe

The Son’s life gives birth to life forevermore

                It promises eternal living to those that see

A promise of forever more to those seeking the way

                The way is the only way for all

Darkness cannot comprehend the light and

                Can only be illuminated by it

Life gives hope and hope of human existence

                Is the Light of life!

Light is shared and shows the way

                As it becomes the light of the world

Look for the light and grasp it,

                Enjoy it, relish its existence

Rejoice, for you have seen the light!!!!

Den Betts

Faces of Jesus Christ 2017-35

Faces of Jesus Christ  2017-35

There are many renditions of artist interpretations of what Jesus Christ looked like, and these have been portrayed through the ages.  One of the most common pictures is the “laughing Jesus” that is shown with Him laughing about something and it shows him with flowing hair on his head, facial hair, and features, very much like an everyday guy you would see in the streets of America , with long hair.

Lately, artists have given us examples of what a typical mid-eastern man would look like who lived in the then Israel of the 1st Century.  It is different than the laughing Jesus, and looks Arabic to a degree.  These pictures show a ruddier complexion, shorter and darker hair, larger nose, etc. that could be more accurate of the then Jesus. 

Since, Jesus is not described in Scripture of the Bible, any rendition could be accurate.  It does not matter, because that was then and he fit in as a native of the area, when he lived in that area.

I have this scenario for consideration.

When I made a statement about someone who I was trying to convince there was a God, and Jesus Christ as the son of God,  I stated that “If Jesus Christ were to knock on the door, he would probably go and answer it and tell the beggar to go elsewhere.”

I wonder if I was suggesting that Jesus would look like the typical picture that was common and would have come dressed as he would have when He was alive?   Or, would he look like a modern-day man with a suit on, with shoes and overall garb that made Him fit in today of the 21st Century?

That got me thinking.

What if Jesus were to make himself known to individuals or a gathering of people today; how WOULD He look to each of us? I don’t know, but it would be neat to experience that moment again.

I have presented my past experience years ago, of meeting Jesus in what I titled, “The Happening”, but I do NOT recall or remember what Jesus looked like then.  That was not the crux of the experience really, and how He looked was not the important part of the moment then. 

My point is this.  What if every person of any nationality, creed, ethnic background, could see Jesus in THEIR minds how He would look like, to them, and each of us could accept how he looks as our own. A white man would see a white man, a black a black and an Asian an Asian, etc. 

Why not?  There would be discourse because each would argue that Jesus looked like them, and not the other, but that is a minor thing. 

 I read in Scripture, about a meeting of various people in the Bible got together with the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:1-13, those in attendance all spoke their own language and could understand each other, that was an example of how looks could be the same thing in acceptance.

Den Betts

Is Religion Dying Out? 2017-33

Is Religion Dying Out? 2017-33

No, Not dining, dying.  I don’t know! Though, I do see signs of religion not being that important to people today. 

As we, in the more civilized world, have become more affluent and as we feel we are more secure in our environment, and even more educated perhaps, it is possible that people, in general, are becoming more rational and less in need of religion.  Many areas of the world, and in certain cultures, are divorced from the domination of religious affiliations, and influence. Religion, for many, is becoming less important in everyday life in the upper advanced cultures. I will not even mention anything like moral reasons at this time.

When I travel to my church on Sunday morning, I feel, that I am the only one up and the roads are NOT busy, not crowded, and not full of vehicles going to their church for services.  Since I live in an Amish community, I must say, there are horse and buggies on the road, so I must watch out for them.

I would think that, as improved living conditions occur, a decline in a religion also is the result. The feeling of need is lessened or unimportant.  I remember 911 and the uptick of religious feelings for a small period of time afterwards.  We were fearful of the unknown and church attendance had a surge of recurrence right afterwards.

The decline has occurred worldwide and I read that many modern secular democracies, more and more people are identifying themselves as non-affiliated with religion. I realize that it is “uncomfortable” to discuss this subject with people, because of many reasons. I do know some people that said it is convenient not to go to church for many reasons. Those that said this do not have a logical reason, but it could be said by some, their reasons are petty at best. Everyone is different, and I realize this as fact.

I do not believe that those that say they are non-affiliated, can be called atheists, but instead belong to the secularism group of people. When I looked at my notes from my teaching Sunday School at church, I could see that Christians made up about 31% in the world then, and declining, Muslims around 23% and growing, and the non-affiliated about 20%. So, religion is not dead, just not doing well today.

In addition, many people state they do NOT belong to an organized religion, but are spiritual, whatever that means to everyone stating this. Instead of dying out, religion may be, becoming dormant. I do not think atheism will take over, but those leaving religion will become members of a less defined religious belief or just simply unaffiliated overall.  I know, I consider myself, Spiritual and Religious, two different words meaning different things in my mind.

In a contradiction, I read that places like China, Christianity is growing the fastest, which is strange.  Some places, like Australia, where church attendance is about 10% is somewhat holding at that percentage, but they were always thought of as a predominantly secular country.

This discourse has many source references so I did not list any.  I do not know what Wikipedia has on this, which is weird, my not going there for data.

Anyhow, I believe that there is a God.  God is alive, God is active, God is aware, God is Present and around and in us always.  He, as the living God, loves us regardless.

Den Betts

Ashamed to be a Christian! 2017-32

                                                                                          Ashamed to be a Christian? 2017-32        

WHAT!?   How can anyone be ashamed to be a Christian?

I am not talking about those that abhor the Christian faith or how some people that claim to be Christian that do things, say things, and promote things that are NOT in keeping with the teachings of Jesus Christ. 

Those that do so, as Christians, are INDIVIDUALS doing the things they feel are right in their minds, good or bad. They use the word Christian as a rallying cry to perhaps “prove” their point in some way, perhaps based on Scripture, where the Bible is then used as a weapon to make a point.

What I would like to suggest is this. Using the story of Paul as an example, I feel that Paul was an ambassador or apostle of Jesus.  He would travel and proclaim that Jesus was the Messiah and he DID travel far and wide to do so. He did it without worrying about being ashamed to spread the word.

Paul, then, was also a preacher, who was bringing the good news of a man, who was God’s Son, that promised salvation due to His dying on the cross.  Paul was not ashamed to do so, even though he spent about 25% of his ministry time in jail, due to his words about Jesus.

He was by default a teacher evangelist by bringing individuals to the point of committing themselves to Christ. It was his duty to teach them how to live a life of a Christian, to discipline them, and have them grow in their faith.  He did so without being ashamed for his actions.

I therefore make a claim that we, I, you, should NOT be ashamed to state your faith in Jesus Christ as a Christian and most importantly, LIVE a life that the teacher Jesus taught us, living the life of and how a Christian would do. And NOT BE ashamed to do so. Do NOT be ashamed to be a witness for Christ in the process. If we suffer for Him, be willing to embrace suffering with Him.

The old saying, shit or get off the pot is saying, make a decision! Stand up for what you claim to be. If you are a Christian, say you are one, show that you are not one by name, but one by the actions you do. If someone states they are doing something as a Christian, question them on their intent and remind them that Jesus taught certain things, and ask, are their actions per His teachings?

Christianity is not just about going to church. It is, again, living the word of Jesus. The one word that stands out to me is L O V E.  That word is one that Jesus taught more than anything.  We need more love in the world. Maybe WE can start loving our fellow man more, and that will make a change. 

Peace,  Den Betts