“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

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

Cross Experience 2017-18

                                                Cross Experience  2017-18

This past weekend gave us insight again, on how our Savior lived, died and was resurrected to give us the promise of eternal life.  So be it.

One of the songs we sang at Celebration Lutheran Church, was “Where You There When They Crucified Our Lord”. That song always get to me.  It is somewhat of a sad song, with much meaning.

I was meditating today and the scene of the crucifixion was imprinted on my mind. I started to remember the Scripture writings of the experience that our Lord, Jesus Christ went through.

In this respect, I WAS THERE!!!! 

I could see the three crosses stuck in the holes on the hill of the Skull as it was called.  I could smell the odors of the area where death was lingering, the smell of feces and urine was present from unwanted voids from the many people that had been put to death there. 

I could hear the wailing of the people that were in attendance to observe the deaths of those on the crosses and of those to be yet hung.  The Roman guards had a long list of those that required them to put to death.  It was not a nice scene or one to be a part of at that time.

The three on the crosses were there as described.  They were attached to the wooden trees with iron stakes that impaled their wrists to the horizontal beam. This helped to prevent the victim to pull loose and fall to the ground. It was not a pretty sight to see and I was emotional about it.

I was a spectator, and as such, I somewhat also had freedom to move around the area, which was strange to know and do at the time.  I did so.

I went past one of the three and looked up at him. At that moment he was not moving, or making any comments.  He looked ghastly and drawn and near death.

I finally arrived at the cross of Jesus Christ.  I hesitated to look up at Him.  I looked at one of the guards and he eyed me to see what I was going to do, if anything.

Jesus looked down at me.  He focused his look right at me.  He cocked His head and whispered something to me and I strained to hear.   He repeated it, and I got closer to Him and heard.  He said, “I know who you are”.   He said the exact same thing to me when I was observing Him get baptized, by John the Baptist, which I have reported on before. 

This statement startled me! It made me think of the baptism and what I saw then.  I was an observer then, as I was at the cross, and it made me think of myself and my relationship with God and Jesus.

I stood with mouth open and eyes open, looking up at Jesus. Then, I saw that by looking down at me it caused the crown of thorns placed on his head to move and disturb the wound they made.  A drop of blood formed on one of the thorns and I watched as it rolled down the cluster of wooden spikes in His head. 

Then it dropped toward me.  I watched as it sped to meet me at the bottom of the cross. I did not move. It continued falling and SPLAT, it hit me on my forehead.  I backed up away from the cross. I continued backing until I came to a boulder, behind me. 

I looked up at Jesus and my eyes teared and I wept.  His look was one of compassion and love and His head nodded up and down.

I thought of today’s Eucharist communion practice where we hear, “This is the body, given for us, then this is the blood shed for us”.   I raised my hand and touched my forehead where the drop of blood from my Savior Jesus Christ had landed.

My finger found the spot and it came away red with the liquid life of Jesus.  I looked at it and then I did something that was foreign to me, I kissed my finger where the blood was smeared on the tip of my finger. 

I, at that time, felt the Presence of God be a part of me.  His blood that he shed, was shared with me.  I knew at that moment what it was all about.  He, Jesus Christ DID die for me, DID give me the opportunity to live forever in paradise with Him.

I was blessed with His presence in person before at what I called The Happening, I had experienced His presence before after I had the stupor, I in my prayerful meditation had once again had His presence be brought to me like, when He was baptized my John the Baptist in the Jordon River.

Oh, my God, my God, how can I thank you for your blessings!

Peace be with you all

Dennis Betts

Broken World!?!- Then and Now? 2017-17

Broken World!?!-  Then and Now? 2017-17

I have heard the words “Broken World” in relation to our existing Earthly existence several times lately. It has to do with world events, the way we look at things, sometimes regarding religion, but is not a Wikipedia source to examine.

I can handle the ways it is used to describe how things are now.  We have many instances to use as a reason to call our world broken today. 

I think of just the past one hundred years leading up to today that can be used as examples. The WWI, the WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War, the Iraq/Afghan War, the various mini skirmishes all over the world that have been highlighted, all are part of man’s actions that have put us at jeopardy in living a decent life.  This week we had an escalation in Syria with the air attack in Syria due to chemical bombs by the Assad regime against civilians.  

Those are wars/incidents involving man against man, nation against nation, and show us just how uncivilized we are to one another. Granted, many were started by an individual that created a reason to begin fighting one another.  They gave us justification to begin the art of war towards others.  Pearl Harbor is an example, of a nation starting something they could not finish, due to many reasons.

Little things like the drug war (?) being waged against the opiate epidemic, street crime, gang warfare in the cities, show just how we fight, fight, fight one another. I am not claiming we should NOT act toward “the others” that do things badly, just stating that we indeed, live in a broken world. 

This is NOT new. Go back through time and it is obvious that the world has been broken for a long time. I think of this current “Lenten season” where we take pause and recap what happened to a man/God named Jesus Christ.  He lived in a broken world of His time.  Rome had taken over the Jerusalem area and were in control. Thousands of Jews were killed on crosses and left there as a reminder of just who oversaw the area; the Romans.  Zealot Jews were fighting against the Romans. It was probably not a good time to live in this area of discord. 

I thought about this and realize that things are what they are and don’t change, even when a Messiah is claimed by those that followed Him.  We still have a broken world of people that have FREE WILL to do or not to do something.  The promise of Jesus was salvation. That means not about today, but about later when we can look forward with eternal life with God. 

If this is not appealing to some, so be it.  We still must suffer the consequences of life today, while living on Earth! If the hereafter is not something we care about, we will find out if we should have considered it now. 

I am not looking forward to dying, but when I do die, I hope and pray that I am selected to live with God forever, afterwards.  It will be neat to talk to those preceding me and to find out some genealogical facts of life, they experienced.

A broken world must be lived in. We do NOT have much of a choice right now.

Peace,

Den Betts

Christ Search 2017-13

                                                                        Christ Search 2017-13

 

There are many ways to find Jesus Christ, or getting close to Jesus in life.  It is a trip or an experience of a lifetime. It is an ongoing journey that does not stop, although it probably does have a beginning, but not an end.

It could be like an adventure of life that we set out on, where we do not know the outcome, or the destination, but hope for the best.  A walk in the woods, a tour of a multi-room house, a visit to a strange city, or numerous other examples of something unknown at the time.

Where are we in our adventure of life with Jesus?   Well, it can take many twists and turns, many rooms to explore and stones to touch and find out where we are in our quest to finding Jesus Christ. Some, if not all of us, are on different paths in our quest. This is normal!

The old saying, take two steps forward and sometimes one step behind comes to mind. I don’t think anyone gets to a point where we go towards a goal and stay there, because there is usually another challenge to overcome or a setback that occurs.

Let me say this about our journey, which I acknowledge that I have a source for my thoughts. I believe we are at various stages for finding Jesus. 

Some, do not believe or are unaware that Jesus was real and a factor in our lives. I will say those that have this unfortunate place in life have not yet experienced an awakening and can look forward to the first door to pass through in this journey.  I will call this as being Unaware of Jesus. They will be surprised on what they can look forward to when they do become aware.

The second group would be after awareness occurs, comes the Exploring Christ segment of life.  This is where they DO have a basic belief of Jesus Christ, but are unsure of Christ and His role He has in their lives. I can remember being a member of this group and it was a rudimentary and uncomplicated life that I led at the time.  There was NO challenge in life regarding Jesus, for me at the time, but I did exist with a somewhat belief that there was a Son of God, just had no definite ideas about it at the time.

I finally had a beginning of an understanding that I was Growing in Christ and that involved a larger feeling of belief that the guy Jesus was something to consider in my life. I had the beginnings of a personal relationship with Jesus and a commitment to trust Him as a Savior and an inkling of learning what it means to be in somewhat of a relationship with Him.  I started to be aware of my everyday actions and what it meant to me and those around me. I realized that when I sinned, there was a God and His son that knew what I did at the time. I also started to understand what the love of God meant and that Jesus Christ died for my sins.

I want to believe that many people are at this junction in life and again, this is normal.

Then life evolved to where I became Close to Christ. Wow!!  This is where I started to depend on Christ daily in my life and to see Him as the one that is assists me in everyday experiences.  I began to turn to Him for guidance for issues that I was facing, asking Him for help, letting Him know my concerns, my fears, my joys, my daily thoughts of who I was and why I exist. This was in a quiet way, private to myself.

Guess what!  This is where I started to realize that my two steps forward in life, sometimes has a step backward in life.  I do NOT stay in the same room of life all the time.  There is always a door going somewhere, and at times, the door leads to a place I do NOT want to be in.  That is the way it is, and I have begun to live with this, as a life experience, that needs to be lived. (make sense?).

Several years ago, I had an experience that I call “The Happening”. This is where I met Jesus Christ, heard the Holy Spirit and saw the Glory of God.  I have written and told some about this and will not dwell on it now.  But, it did change me.  The neat thing is, we can ALL have an experience like what I had then; really!!!!!!

I, in my lifetime, went from being what I was called “a heathen” to a believer of God and Jesus Christ. Ok, that happened to me, so be it.  But, we can all have a telling experience with finding Jesus, and mine occurred to me and I own it. Let me continue.

The last room, or turn in life, or whatever it can be called, is where I became Christ Centered. To be honest, I feel that I go through this door and become this way at times, but am not sure I stay there very long, I am sorry to say. BUT, I feel that this has happened to me and that is good.  Here, I identify that my relationship with Jesus Christ is the MOST important relationship I have in my life. I want to fully surrender myself to Jesus and His agenda by subordinating everything to His will and desires.  It WOULD be great if I lived my life there always, but that is not the case, unfortunately.

OH, one more thing!!!  I believe that each move forward to become Christ Centered has a cost!! Crap, you say?  Well, nothing was promised to be easy and perhaps we just don’t want to pay the price of growing closer to Christ or even centered with Him. Maybe the commitment is too much, the extra effort, or any more involvement is not what we want to do. That may be the case, but if you do, I would like to hear from you and give you my advice on how to accomplish your goal . Perhaps we want to just stay in the same plateau where we are with Him and not reach outward. Guess what, He still loves you regardless! He will always love you, regardless. That is the nature of God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

OK, so I have told you where I feel my journey of life, finding Jesus Christ, has been.  Do NOT compare your life with mine. We are ALL on our individual trip of life. Some include Jesus and some do not. Some are so-so with having Jesus Christ in their lives and that is up to them. I only really care of how MY life is like with Him and hope your life also does include Jesus as part of your life in some way. Where you are in which room or turn, is up to you and my prayers are with you.., regardless.

May the peace of our Lord, Jesus Christ be with you,

Den Betts      bettsden@gmail.com