Submit and Surrender 2018-56

Submit and Surrender!  2018-56

Sounds like a line from a TV show episode, but I am not referring to anything like that reference!

First off, allow me to define both words for you per Merriam Webster dictionary:

To Submit: To act always obedient, particularly to a master. This would be like a pet to an owner, or a slave to a master, but involves yielding oneself to the authority or will of another.

Surrender: to yield to the power, control or possession of another upon compulsion or demand. This would particularly be as a prisoner.

So, what do we do if we are going to submit ourselves to God and surrender ourselves to Jesus Christ? And, why should we do so? I realize that some could care less, but some do, so I will continue.

I have commented on this at one time, when I partook of a reaffirmation of my baptism. After the service was done, I declared that I was going to submit myself to God and surrender myself to Jesus Christ! I said this, but in hindsight, I was not sure of the exact meaning of what I said and what it entailed!

Since then, I have found that God is a demanding God. He does not want us to serve or submit to Him, because we are just supposed to do so. He WANTS us to do so, because we love Him!

Ok, I believe in Him and DO love him, yet I find that submitting to Him is a commitment; one that is difficult to do so in totality. It is making a commitment of ALL my energy, emotions, thoughts, and actions toward God.  Quite a package to consider!!!

I feel I am NOT doing what I could, to fulfill my commitment, but also believe, I AM working on it.  It is a slow process for me but one that I think is going in the right direction.

The same goes for surrendering myself to Jesus Christ. All that I have said about submitting to God applies to this surrendering to Jesus Christ.  I will NOT beat myself up in this matter, just make these statements.  I might hold myself to a high standard for doing these thing with God and Jesus, but feel they have a higher standard themselves for me.  So be it!

Therefore, I will Keep working on how to satisfy God and pray I have their help and understanding, which I really think they are doing for me.  I know one thing for sure!! I am a better person than what I was before, I have a deeper relationship with God and am feeling better about myself and others. I would NEVER have found this out, unless I made the first step toward becoming closer to God and in doing so, my life has been changed; changed forever.

I would suggest that you consider what I have stated above and give it some thought. I am on MY journey and it works for me.  I wish anyone reading this to begin their journey in any way that they feel comfortable, any way they feel good, and maybe, just maybe, they will find the contentment that I have found, the joy that I experience, in my journey.  It really is neat and wonderful………….

Thanks be to God!

Peace,
Den Betts            bettsden@gmail.com   Blog @:  thebettsden.com

What and Who is FIRST 2018-54

What/Who is First  2018-54

We, or most of us, have what is called “living rooms” in our homes! A fact!  I would say that many of us have “dens, kitchens, basement rooms” also. Some people hold dear or reserve the living room as a special place for visitors to sit and mingle with or socialize. It could then be called a “visiting room”, instead of a living room.

Some of us, could say our Lord God is good or an excellent choice for the visiting room in our home. This is where we could invite God to visit us on our terms, perhaps.  If we are any way religious, we could then go on Sunday and visit Him at the church, or visit him during devotional times there, but we do not live with Him on a regular basis, otherwise.

We do not hold God or Jesus Christ FIRST in our lives, but instead hold God just a little close, “in the vicinity”, maybe in the visiting room, but not FIRST.

Do we feel that we do not have time for God, other than, perhaps, the 1 to 2 hours spent on Sunday at church?  And, that is, if we do give Him time then, maybe we have a soccer game that is more important that day, instead? Do we then have a lack of commitment to placing God FIRST in our lives??

Therefore, God and Jesus are not that important for us and we prioritize other things that are more important in our lives, than Them.  Not untypical, somewhat of a fact for many of us.

Being a disciple of Jesus Christ, involves putting Him and God, again, FIRST in our lives. This is NOT easy, but is important. This was asked by Jesus for us to do so, many times as written in the Scriptures.

Throughout scripture, Jesus mentions “FIRST” and nothing less than FIRST is where He belongs in our lives. NOT EASY, because we, and I too, take two steps forward and one backward in our journey of life in getting closer to Jesus or God.

It is easy to call myself a Christian, but much harder to live the life as a disciple of Jesus Christ and to also warrant the title of being a Christian. Could we start taking three steps forward, instead of just two and challenge ourselves to take more and more to become a better disciple and Christian?

I would think so, and I would also think that God would like that to happen. Too many excuses, too many outside influences and things that pull us toward them and not toward Them.  In this modern world we live in things are different than what they were before. Before what!? Before HiDef- TV’s, IPads, PC’s, X-Boxes, Smart Phones, and all the rest of the electronic and Hi-Tech items that now control us in our everyday life. Perhaps they have become our gods to replace the one God of the Universe!????????

 

Peace,
Den Betts            Email:    Bettsden@gmail.com    Blog Site:  thebettsden.com

State of Mind 2018-46

A unique experience that occurred in the past, but I have not had it lately, which is OK, but somewhat missed. Any other person, might be more than scared, or instead, frightened out of their mind; not me. I COULD go on and explain more, but will keep this understanding to myself, which is only right…….

State of Mind 2018-46

I jumped through the window in my mind,

Into the void of darkness beyond.

Pinpoints of starry far off lights,

Surrounded me on all sides.

I was through, I was there,

Scared, but not turning back.

My body and mind floating in free space,

No veil, no hindrance of feelings

A phenomenon as before, visited once again,

A difference, of total absolute awareness.

An intensity born from desire to know,

Culminating in final release and reality.

Now looking back, not knowing for sure,

The reasons of this wonderful sight.

Knowing that again, I will revisit

To feel the power of the feeling.

I am blessed, I am, what I am, and in the knowing,

I realize that what I am is exactly that.

I am a child of God, a disciple of Jesus Christ.

And, I have seen the light!!!!

Den Betts bettsden@gmail.com

Finding/Getting a church 2018-39

Finding a Church 2018-39
Well what a thought! Many people of many faiths go to a religious place to get involved in many things there. They go to pray, learn, congregate, hospitality, serve, and so many other things. This is true for any religion, faith, or location.

First, let me state that I DO go to a Christian church nearby where I live! I do so for many reasons and because of one reason in particular. The fact that I believe in one God of the Universe, the Triune God, that includes Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit is paramount to my going to church.

Because of my belief, I feel I want to know God better, to get closer to God in my relationship with Him and to learn more about His son Jesus Christ. Church is a great place to learn and become closer; simple as that.

What I do know is Jesus was all about love… His teachings show this as His way of life and how He felt we should portray our way of life also. Church is a good way to talk about this love and His love for us.

OK, we are believers in God; let’s say…. The why we could go to church has to be our decision. What will we get out of going? What will we look for by going? Decent questions, that we could look for answers as to the why to go to church!!!!

Let us think we have an idea on why we will go – then what!!??

I suggest we look for a church of any denomination that offers us to get closer to God spiritually and have something to do that will help others in the community. Look for a church that has a goal of what God and Jesus wants us to do and not just to get new members.

I was attending a Sunday School session and asked the question, “What or how do we in this church identify ourselves as to what our church is all about?” Some people stared, some mumbled something, and the Pastor, who was there at the time, said, “Dennis, it is in our Mission Statement, stating “To connect people to people and to connect people to Christ”. That is somewhat easy to understand, comprehend and absorb into my mind.

When I go to church, I feel the presence of God around and within me (like I do outside of church) and that feeling should prevail for anyone going to church. When you go to a church, does it teach the teachings of Jesus by having a study or Bible group to explain what point Jesus was making at the time? That is important also, as an example!

Money you can give to the church is NOT the driving force as to why you join, go to church or what the church is all about. Yes, it is important, just like paying taxes is for a government to be able to give back to the people and to exist.
Also, if you have children, this is not a factor for going, by itself, just to have more bodies to attend, new and in the future. Growth of the church is important also, but bucks and bodies are not the answer. The true, or at least, a great reason is for ALL to get closer to God in the process of going.

Our church made a decision to reduce our mortgage debt down considerably and we did so, and, in the process, we now have a smaller monthly mortgage payment and now have the funds to give back to the community in so many ways. Church is for that reason also, to serve others in some way.

To find a church that offers many things that are important can be a chore or at least be an effort to find one that meets the criteria of what YOU want. You can church hop; go from one to another and see how they operate, what they believe in, what their mission is overall.

I would suggest that a list be made on what you DO NOT want in a church also. If you attend one and go to a service, and you hear things in the sermon you don’t like from the Pastor or Priest, check it off and continue onward, for instance. If nobody greets you and says hello or even asks if you are new or so, that may not be a good recommendation either. Things like that are important.

A church should be inviting, be caring, be accepting, be considerate and not the dreaded word — one of a hypocritical nature. Yes, they are out there, and that is sad to a degree.

The main thing, it may take work on your part. Finding God or getting closer to Him is a goal that you may want to pursue, and I wish you well.

Peace,
Den Betts bettsden@gmail.com

Anger and Hatred 2018-29

Hatred and Anger   2018-29

Why do “some” have so much bitterness and perhaps anger and hatred for those of other faiths, skin color, or ethnic origins?

Where is the love of all in their lives? And, do they claim any sort of religious beliefs like being a Christian? If so, do they not realize that the god-man, Jesus, touted nothing but love for all? Even, if not a Christian or any other faith, is not love a much better attitude towards people of the world?

It is hard to understand the thinking of those that have these feelings of hatred. What story do they have to share that could explain how they feel?  How can they be proud of having Anti-Semite,  racial prejudice, or abhorrence for others in their thoughts or actions?

There is NO answer to these questions that make any sense. I can only pray that time will resolve the issues for them, and in their place, understanding, love and caring for fellow mankind will result.

Hatred towards others is like a slow festering boil that keeps hurting and hurting until expunged and removed. This can happen, but a decision to take action must be made and then acted on, which is hard to do at times.

Many have removed God from their lives or have never had Him there as a guiding light, such as Jesus Christ is for those that believe. He IS the light of the world and coming to this conclusion takes time and perseverance, and simply belief.  Reading Scripture and learning about the man-God that taught love instead of hate is a start, but only a beginning.

The time where we learn from the teachings of Jesus and then mirror the things it takes, will be the finalization of the journey of life with God, or at least a continuation.

Peace,

Den Betts                       bettsden@gmail.com

Becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ 2018-20

Becoming a Disciple of Jesus Christ  2018-20

I am TRYING to become a disciple of Christ, but it is not easy, believe me!

I remember a study course I was involved in called “The Reveal” and one of the excerpts was showing stepping stones in a path toward becoming closer to Jesus Christ. It seems like I am like the typical traveler two steps forward and one backward, in going or getting closer to Jesus.

Such a life!  I say, it is NOT easy for sure, in accomplishing the trip, or journey, toward this destination. The old saying nothing, at times, is easy or nobody promised easy in life. True!

Becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ involves allowing the way of life to take precedence over everything else in life, which is difficult to many today.

In other words, I must do more than look or just act like the one I am following!  I must copy and emulate how Jesus Christ was and is, not an easy job.

I number of years ago, I partook in an affirmation of baptism at an Easter Vigil service and my friend Paul, was my sponsor at the church.  After I was re-baptized, as a Christian I then made a statement to those in attendance.   I declared that I was hereby submitting myself to God and surrendering myself to Jesus Christ.

As of that weekend, I did become a true follower of God and a disciple of Jesus.  I am happy and glad that the one God of the Universe is a patient God.  He heard me and was witness to my action then and I realize that now. 

For whatever His reason was then, He let me know His power, His presence, and Activity and has allowed me to mature and nurture myself as his follower and disciple of Jesus.  I THINK, I am fulfilling His wishes and what His purpose for me in my journey to become His follower and disciple of Christ.

It has taken some time and is still a work in progress.  I consider myself somewhat of a poor student though, but have come to also realize He takes what He wants and uses those he desires to fill His needs in life.

For now, let me leave you with my normal ending of my discourses:   I have found out and therefore know, that God is Alive, He is Active, He is Aware, and ALWAYS, ALWAYS,  ALWAYS, He  is present with us.

Thanks be to God,

Peace,

Den Betts                                                            bettsden@gmail.com

Spiritual Growth 2018-09

Spiritual Growth    2018-

Ever wonder what it would take, or more importantly, what you could do to achieve anything like Spiritual Growth in your life? No, well, consider this anyhow. Yes, then also, read on!

Maybe you are wondering what action you could do, to enhance any one thing, to achieve more of a closer relationship with God.

There are things like doing meditation with prayer, that could or could not help. Finding a church that suits you is another thought, but it may not work for you either.  Seeking someone to council you is another, but then again, it just may not work.

What would work? There are varied things to consider, but I might make this suggestion, which is a simple (not much of a cost either) thing to consider.  It COULD, no WILL, involve something from you, namely — YOUR TIME!  And, not that much of it, I might add, and even that will be up to you to control. You can put as much time into this as you desire.

So, what is it!  Taking a Bible (any version) and reflecting on the meaning of Scriptures therein, and therefore, it will be like using the Word of God as a mirror to reflect back the truth of Scripture on our actions, decisions and events of our daily lives.  Hmmm, interesting to state…..

Just like exercise is somewhat of a pain and takes up our valuable time, the reading of Scripture requires us to contemplate, and meditate on the Words written. There ARE guides to help us untangle the mysteries and power of God’s inspired Words, such as study guides, Bible primers, devotional books and others, that will enable us to understand the uncertain aspects that are written.

Reflection on Scripture might, just might, raise awareness of the Spiritual benefits and motivate us to adjust our daily routines to continue to do this reflection.  In the process, Spiritual Growth can be the ultimate benefit.

I feel there is NOTHING matters more to us, than time spent on God’s Word for achieving Spiritual Growth. The going to church, service activities, small group meetings, etc, ARE important overall, but, reading Scripture beats all.

We can say we are not religious, but instead, Spiritual!  As a statement that sounds neat or good. It also sounds terrific maybe, but just saying it does not mean anything.  Actions speak louder than words.

A simple action, that has minimal cost other than our time, is the main way of expressing our commitment to God. Starting to read just a verse daily from the Bible and contemplating its meaning, is a large, very large, beginning to Spiritual Growth.

I invite you to begin anew with your thoughts about God and His son, Jesus Christ. Allow them into your life, absorb what is said and become one that God looks at with favor.

Take the time and quit using time involvement as an excuse not to increase your Spiritual Growth with God.

Peace,
Den Betts                            bettsden@gmail.com

Religious NUT !? 2018-08

Religious NUT   !?    2018-08 

I recently met a friend, that saw me and said, without any hesitation, “Are you a religious nut now?” This was out of the blue after I had just met him again, after a longish period of time. I was totally surprised, at that moment of time, by his question.

I looked at him and blurted out, “cashew or almond?” My reply was an off the cuff retort and somewhat of a smart-ass answer to him.

He was not expecting this and just stood there and blinked a couple of times.  I regrouped and asked, “WHY do you ask?” This wasn’t going well for him I guess, and he was noticeably embarrassed, perhaps for asking and doing so as an introductory hello statement.

I left him off the hook and offered “Is this because of the cross that I wear?” being the only thing that came to mind right away. I started wearing a cross, that I made, after an incident, which changed my life forever; another story later, perhaps…..

He looked down at it, at my chest, and said, “Eh, no! It is actually because of your posts online that you make and that I follow. You seem to post a lot of religious things now!”

I paused and thought a moment, and then said, “Yes, I have begun or continue to post my thoughts on what I believe!”

He asked if I was trying to preach to people, including himself. I told him no, and that I am just telling my story on how I feel towards God and Jesus Christ. I continued and stated, “I believe in what I believe and feel that I, as a fledging disciple of Christ, want to let others know how I feel, in relation to where I am in my journey.”

He asked, “What journey?”  I looked at him and could see he was serious and I said, “My journey in getting closer to God!”  His comeback was, “Oh!   OK!”

I guess that satisfied him and we went on with what I would call normal conversation. Later I thought about what we first discussed.

He was more used to my OLD self and not the NEW me.  I get that! I appreciate his honesty in asking me though.  We were friendly in the past and I did or do not want to jeopardize our relationship. I let him know that I am still the person I was before, but have a different look at life now.

It is unknown, how many people think his way and it does not matter. If any have problems with what I post, move on, and don’t read them; easy as that. I do hope that you read them, and in the reading, get something out of them.  I am always open to questions of any sorts about my new life now.

As I have expressed before, I will still love you, respect you and Yes, still like you too.

Thanks be to God,

Peace,
Den Betts                            bettsden@gmail.com

Discipleship 101 2018-06

Discipleship 101 –   2018-06

Love came to us, looking like a Cross. For us, not to take up the Cross of Jesus is giving up our duty as a disciple, in God’s mind. There is NO other choice; we can call ourselves a Christian, but we will lack the moniker of being described as a disciple.

We, who we are, can begin with the Cross we carry, and I do NOT mean you have to wear one. This moment, when we placed our faith in God and Jesus, for our salvation, started a new beginning within us. The Apostle Paul, put it exactly, when he wrote in Galatians 2:20,” I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

Jesus told the eleven disciples, “All authority in Heaven and Earth, has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you, and surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the ages.”

I believe we are all tasked with a couple of things.  First, we should honor God Himself, knowing that the Cross and what it represents, that we MUST surrender ourselves to Jesus Christ, and in doing so, make it known that we ARE Christians, believing in Him.

More importantly, we as Christians, have a duty to go beyond being JUST a Christian, and preform as a disciple of Christ.  In doing so, we are obligated in making other disciples around us in the process. I would think this is called discipleship.

This involves a commitment on our part to do something that might be out of our norm, and makes us uncomfortable, also. We have to let people know we are Christian, and that we are disciples of Jesus Christ and not just in our church, but outside the envelop of comfortable living and service.

I now have a habit of saying to people at times, “Peace be with you” or God’s Peace, or “May the love of God be with you.” Those words may perk up their minds that I am a follower of God. It may also, get a good reaction from them or peak their interest further. Then again, it may not!

Let them know you are with Christ in your life and invite them to talk about their beliefs of God and Jesus. In doing so, it may open an avenue of discussion. If you are comfortable, evolve and give any knowledge you have about Jesus and His teachings. The best instruction book regarding this are the Scripture passages taken from the Bible and any version will do.

I like the versus from Mathew and Mark where Jesus said, “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” who were mostly fishermen of the area, who did become his disciples. We can ALL become disciples of Christ and spread the Word and create more disciples in the world.

If we do, we will then turn ourselves from followers, to active Christians and become true disciples of Jesus Christ. It is easy to call ourselves something, but harder to live the life of what we call ourselves. Don’t be afraid of stating who and what you are today.  Let any that doubt, know you are indeed, slaves to God and you have surrendered yourself to Jesus as his disciple.

Peace be with you,

Den Betts                                            bettsden@gmail.com

Sins and Forgiveness 2018-03

                                               Sin and Forgiveness 2018-03

I am a sinner!!!!  We ALL are sinners whether we admit it or not. When I know I have sinned, I am ashamed that I have done something that goes against the will of God, but I will comment on this another time.

The basic, main thing is, that the one God of the universe DOES forgive us when we sin. That, in itself, is a blessed thing to know and realize.  God is a loving god and does love ALL His children, even when we sin repeatedly. Wow, that is somewhat hard to fathom, know or comprehend.

I then ask, how can God do this and why? I like to believe that God is a god with an unconditional love for His children. But, again, I ask, how and why does He do this?

I read that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), but then ask, how does this relate to God loving us and forgiving us?  I think the key is the continuation of this verse “but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.”

When the Godhead (the Father, Son and Holy spirit) decided to take His self as human flesh and become the God-man, it reinforced John’s statement in John 1:14 when he said, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” The Word, being Jesus Christ. Because He became and was infinite God, he had infinite ability to take on Himself, the sins of the world.

What a gift. Jesus therefore died, NOT just for us, you and I, but also for God the Father Himself.

Again, Jesus died, not just for us, but also as a propitiation or satisfaction of a requirement that was intrinsic in the basic nature of God.  We can stand clean and free of contamination in God’s presence – sin free!!!!

I said, God loves and forgives us, but He is a righteous and just God. Since He DOES love us, He was willing to come down from his throne in the form of man, as Jesus Christ, and pay the price for us, which was His death on the cross.  Forgiveness HAS a price and He paid the price for this forgiveness Himself, through the cross of Jesus.

To be forgiven also demands responsibility. The love of God for each of us has an obligation of our loving His son, who gave His life, so our sins are forgiven. This is such a small (let me say) price to pay or thing to do, but as a Christian, I feel I not only want to do, but MUST do.

You can do what you want to do, that is your decision. I do not know the ramifications of your not doing what God decrees or desires, but we will find out eventually. I feel that only God can know or decide as to what happens if we do not believe in God or Jesus Christ, because I surely do not know and doubt if any human living on Earth really knows.

I wish you well and invite ALL, to become closer to God and to find Jesus Christ as your savior in life’s journey. Thanks be to God!!!

Peace,

Den Betts                                            bettsden@gmail.com

I wish to thank Josh McDowell & his book “More Than a Carpenter” for insights for this blog. I also recommend this book and “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis – Both available at Amazon