Disciple of Christ + Christian 2015-37

Disciple of Christ + Christian   2015-37

What are a Christian and a Disciple of Jesus Christ? If you have read the Bible it is stated many times about the followers of Jesus Christ who became disciples and journeyed with Him during His ministry before His dying on the cross.

Let me also state that this blog ends up being seen, at times, by many people of various faiths. That is great and if those of NO faith or a different faith read this, perhaps they will learn something or be aware of a different point of view. So be it….

I had a problem with the word disciple and what it meant, regarding me. I never had a problem in the past until a few years ago. Then it was thrust at me as to what the word actually was and I started to ponder it. The word was on my lips and in my mind and I struggled to think that I may be a disciple, but felt unworthy of calling myself one. It was a BIG word and to think that I could assume a word like that was unimaginable to me.

Affirmation of Baptism?

I fought doing so and in the struggle, I came to grips with it. It took time; a number of years actually. I can remember partaking in a church ritual called “Affirmation of Baptism”. My friend, Paul, was my sponsor to this event and I put off doing so for a year after it was suggested to me by my Pastor. This affirmation is done, even though the person is or was baptized early on or as an infant. It is not an everyday event or doing, but more of a reminder of the ongoing journey of faith, one is on.

Why did I feel like it was a struggle? I felt uncomfortable because it was a commitment on my part. I was almost ready, but not quite. History… I was baptized as a baby or at least the church where it happened had a record of the fact. When I transferred my membership from there, to one where I went 24 years later, they sent the records to the new church. This was after I was married and was going to church. Before that time, I was unchurched as a child and young adult.

At the service, I partook of my affirmation in the Narthex, with the water font situated by the door to the Sanctuary. The words were spoken and I had water from the font dabbed on my forehead. I requested that I have the time to make a statement. I did so and said, “I, with this affirmation, hereby submit myself to God and surrender myself to Jesus Christ!” I meant it! I was told later by a member that it was a most wonderful experience they had, hearing me and watching me have this happen.

So, I continued on my journey. I still had problems with the discipleship thing though. What right did I have thinking I was a disciple of Jesus Christ, I said. I was still me, and I did not feel any better than what I was before. I did feel that I was changing though.

My Spiritual Coach at the time suggested that I might have a calling to be an evangelist.  Wow, that seemed heavy.  I did not see myself standing on a soap box expounding about anything regarding God or Jesus Christ. I am NOT well versed on the Scriptures and have a terrible memory from an accident, so didn’t think that was a hot idea.

This was following what I call “The Happening” and I WILL tell you about that occurrence soon, maybe within a short time in the future. Suffice to say that I was on a journey and still am on one. It is a great and wonderful thing that occurred to me and it is probably a better read than this particular blog.

Disciple of Jesus?

Again, what is a disciple of Jesus Christ? This could be complicated, so I would like it to be less so. Simply put, being a disciple means more than just going to church. It really means you are a follower of God and Jesus and consider yourself a student or a learner who believes or adheres to the teachings of Jesus and make the teachings that Jesus taught a rule of life or how you conduct yourself.  This is not an easy task to be taken lightly, and should take some thought. I now consider myself a disciple, but still find it difficult at times to regularly commit myself to Him, but I try to do so regularly.

I can now say I am a disciple and have taken up the cross to follow Him, and to me, it means all the time, not just when I feel like it. Just saying I am a Christian involves my believing in Jesus and this would be in conjunction with an indwelling of the Holy Spirit that I feel resides in me. Wow..  And in the process I am trying to be an obedient disciple at the same time. The apostle Paul described the reality of taking up the cross and following the Lord: “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” (Galatians 2:20).

Wearing a cross?

I might have mentioned this before as to why I wear a cross all the time. It is NOT to have others be aware of my beliefs, but instead, it is to constantly remind ME of how I feel towards Jesus. I show the sign of the cross when I take communion; not for others to see, but to remind me of the bread and wine and what it signifies. I do not care, if others do not wear the cross or show the sign; it again, is something I do for me and my dear Jesus. This is something I started doing after The Happening.

I will say that a Christian is what it sounds like; a follower of Jesus Christ and one that believes in what Jesus taught, in his time period, and who feel those teachings basically, still apply to today in this modern world. Some of those things are archaic, in a way,  and relate to His time and perhaps do not apply to today though. It was a different time and some of the happenings of then, are not prevalent now, I admit. I think I have to un-relate to how it is today in some cases, but do not have any exact examples to give you now. I think of slavery as an item that is not accepted in civilized society now.

I do not consider myself the perfect Christian or disciple of Jesus. I do try to do the things that Jesus would want me to do, but I fail often and truly admit doing so. I am not proud of that fact, but know that, with the Holy Spirit with me, around me and in me, I am forgiven for my inabilities of life.

Anyone can call themselves a Christian or a disciple of Jesus. I do, and I would (and hope others would also) refrain from judging myself as to how good I am one, or what I actually am. I believe Jesus knows how we stand as His follower and how good of a disciple to Him that we are actually.   Also, I feel I really know how I can relate to being a follower and I can judge myself. So can everyone!!!!!! Den Betts

Judgmental 2015-20

Judgmental     2015-20

What a word, Judgment! How many of us judge others on a regular basis? How many of us would admit doing so? Good questions!  Why do we judge, if we do?  I would think, there are reasons for this act.

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” This is as written in the Bible in Matthew 7. This sounds pretty clear as a religious saying.  So, why, again, do we judge others?

I think that it is stating for us not to judge hypocritically, for it also goes more into detail. I believe it is saying —don’t be self-righteous in your judgments of others. If, in the religious context, I judge someone else for their sinning, I might be judged for sinning even worse; don’t know.

People that state they are Christians have the thought, sometimes, that they are imposing their views on others. It is more so, when it is done by Christians who speak out against behaviors and lifestyles which they look as “sinning” and is considered to be terrible towards God. Heaven forbid!! I believe it is only God that can judge, or will judge others and we could well do, by leaving the judgment to Him.

Our society lives by the rule that what we do is either good or bad and perhaps, it is up to the individual to decide what is right and wrong. I think the religious fanatics who are intolerant are looked at as being judgmental if they take their religion seriously and say something about what they believe. That is normal, but at times, taken to the extreme., such as the Westboro Baptist so called church. (Why did I add that last bit to the sentence?)  The problem with that thought is where those that are not religious then look at ALL the religious as being judgmental. Walt Whitman said, “Be curious, not judgmental.”

How can I judge someone for swearing, when I do so at times, unwittingly? What I may have verbally, or silently said, after smashing my thumb with a hammer is still swearing. So, there I am, standing with a dripping and bloody finger and later saying things about someone else for swearing, for whatever reason. Just isn’t fair, is it. Is swearing, basically, taking the Lord’s name in vain, and vulgarity is plain bad language? I had a talk with someone recently and that is what he believes, anyhow.

I just looked online and found that there has been much written about the subject. There are so many trains of thought about this, with many referring to religious verses and statements. That is ok with me, but I think of the normal, everyday, way of life of treating most everyone with respect and mentally trying to live in the shoes of others and experience what it feels like at times.

Stereotyping people is a way of judging and to do so rather than looking at the other as an individual person and not part of the whole that is being compared to, is more than just important. We can realize that the other faction can judge us as well, so, by trying not to judge is a step in the right direction.

Using any prejudice towards another is another no – no.  By being prejudiced towards someone based on skin color, religion, or any other reason, is opening yourself up to be judged. I know of one person, who is an avowed racist and when they speak towards another person of color, they themselves are opening up themselves to be judged for the actions or thoughts. It could be they just don’t care, but if enough people called them on it, they might change, because of their being singled out.

I was at a breakfast meeting the other day and the subject of “Exclusion” came up. I will react to those things said, at a later time, but will reference this one about judgment. An anonymous quote is “I am grateful that I am not judgmental as all those censorious, self-righteous people around me.” Is this not the way many of us think at times? Well, some of us, anyway…………..

Thank you for taking the time to read this; it is appreciated! You are welcome to give me your thoughts about this subject or any that I have made or make in the future.

Den Betts