Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Imitating Christ’s Humility

A couple of days ago, I was reading Philippians Chapter 2 as part of my daily scripture reading. Today I would like to share my thoughts on verses 1 – 5. This section is entitled “Imitating Christ’s Humility.” Humility, or serving others, is very important to me at this stage of my walk with Jesus. I want to do everything I can to emulate Jesus in every area of my life. For your reference, here are verses 1 - 5 from the English Standard Version of the bible. 1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.

Many people, including Christians, live only to make a good impression on others or to please themselves; but “rivalry or conceit” brings discord. The apostle Paul was stressing spiritual unity and asks us to love one another and be one in spirit and purpose. When we work together, caring for the problems of others, we demonstrate Christ’s example of putting others’ first, and we experience unity. We shouldn’t be so concerned about making a good impression or meeting our own needs which strains relationships in God’s family.

Being humble involves having a true perspective about ourselves as referenced in Romans 12:3. Which simply states, we should not think of ourselves too highly but use sound judgment in accordance to the measure of faith God has given us. We shouldn’t put ourselves down either. We are sinners, saved by God’s grace and have great worth in God’s kingdom. We should lay aside selfishness and treat others with respect and common courtesy. When we consider others’ interest as more important than our own, this links us with Jesus, who was a true example of humility.

Jesus Christ was humble, willing to give up his rights in order to obey God and serve people. We should have a servant’s attitude, serving out of love for God and for others, not out of fear or guilt. Remember, you can choose your attitude. You can approach life expecting to be served, or you can look for ways to serve others. So this Christmas season, actively seek new ways to serve others in order to imitate Jesus’ willingness to serve and to place others' interests ahead of his.

Robert Dodson
December 7, 2010

Thursday, November 04, 2010

My Path to Salvation

Being a toddler in my walk with Christ, I ponder about my new path in life. Prior to asking Jesus into my heart and trusting Him for my salvation, I couldn’t truly remember if I had actually said the words to have Jesus live within me. I thought and thought and did my best to recall, but to no avail. I simply did not know. It took the death of my wife to finally take action toward being saved. I am disappointed no one had ever asked me or witnessed to me about the glory of being saved by Jesus. Although I must admit I had Jehovah Witness’ regularly visit my home. But they didn’t ask me either.

For as far back as my memory will take me, I have had a faith in God. I have always believed in God. I don’t have a clue on how I ever made that decision. I’m glad I did. Even though I was a sinner, God helped me through some trials and tribulations I encountered. But as soon as the trouble was over, God seemed to disappear. I am grateful God is patient. It took me a very long time, but is active in my life today.

Recently, I was thinking about my walk with God in general. I was attempting to come to grips about how I should let God and Jesus control my life. I found myself remembering a long forgotten Robert Frost poem, “The Road not Taken.” I could still remember the last two or three lines. “The road diverged in a yellow wood and, I took the one less traveled and that has made all the difference.” There are several interpretations of those lines. As I reflected on the simple beauty of those words, they made me think of my walk with the Lord. To me the more traveled road could represent those of the world and unsaved. The other road is those who walk with our Savior and are saved.

I do know that I didn’t have to give up anything to become saved. In fact, I trusted Jesus that I was now saved. I took the grace of salvation and asked Jesus into my heart. I didn’t have to bribe, plead or wish God would save me. He gave me salvation freely. I know God wants to control my life, but I have to allow Him to do that. Without me allowing Him to control my life, God won’t. I can’t speak for anyone else, but allowing God to control my life is so much better than me doing it. The more I allow God into my life, the better it gets.

Each day that passes my walk with Jesus gets easier. I do my best to obey God’s commands, but I don’t always succeed. I still sin, though my sins are of a different kind since being saved. I ask forgiveness on a regular basis. The toughest command for me to obey is sharing the “Good News.” There are so many lost people in the world today. I want to do my part in bringing souls to Christ. I might just be the only opportunity for someone to become saved. I do not want God to ever ask me, “Why didn’t you share the Gospel with that person?” Do you?

Robert Dodson
November 5, 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

My Walk with God, Jesus and World Prayr

For most of my life, I had been a clueless Christian. I had faith as I grew up, but didn’t really know Jesus. I knew Jesus died for us to forgive our sins on the cross and was raised from the grave. I knew about Jonah, Noah and Daniel from Sunday school. For many years that was my knowledge of the Bible and Jesus. I couldn’t remember if I had been baptized or had asked Jesus into my heart. Little did I know the plan God had for me? My walk with Jesus began in earnest when I became involved with World Prayr through the social media site, Twitter.

During the spring of 2009, Twitter was making national headlines. Everywhere I turned, people were talking about this new phenomenon. I got curious. In March 2009, I joined Twitter and began to follow all sorts of people; mostly women. Soon people began to follow me and my followers got larger and larger. I have always admired how God gave each woman a unique beauty. I developed a short list of people I tweeted with on a regular basis. To be fair, I followed men, but not nearly as many as women. My wife and I had developed a policy that I could look but not touch women. I began to flirt with the women in a perfectly harmless manner. I was not looking to commit adultery but encourage and inspire these women. I began to write poems for those I shared with regularly and made a commitment to write a new poem every day. During this time, one of the first men I followed asked me to moderate on his Christian account to help re-connect a broken world.

I was surprised and curious at the same time. For a short time, I didn’t respond. The requests kept coming. They were persistent and aggressive. I responded, finally. I asked for more information, which I received promptly. I asked if I could pray about joining his team. One of the early women I followed was already a member of the team and that clinched it for me. I joined the World Prayr team and began to moderate. I began to help this very Christian lady in her duties with World Prayr. It was now May 2009. I started moderating three times a week in two hour shifts. Pastor Pat, the cofounder of World Prayr, was always asking me to change the days and times I moderated. He was doing this to add people to the team who would only moderate during a time I moderated. Being on Social Security disability, I readily agreed. At one point, I told Pastor Pat to move me around whenever he needed and let me know when I should moderate. Those early days with World Prayr were quite hectic, evolving and challenging. I endured and began to grow in my spirituality. I came to the conclusion I had to find a church to attend. I looked half-heartedly. I live in a gigantic town of twelve hundred. It’s so small that if you start to blink, you will miss seeing the town.

Unknown to World Prayr at the time, my wife and I were facing a growing financial hardship. We began to seek outside help. We were unsuccessful. Summer was passing and fall was showing its face. I began to earnestly pray for a solution. All the while, I moderated and kept assuming new duties for World Prayr. I was becoming a very busy retired person. I loved every minute of it. Finally, in late August, I told Pastor Pat most of my situation. It was humbling to ask another for help. I had pride, after all. What would people think? I began to have doubts. I was told to be patient, pray and have faith. Shortly after our discussion, I was told that World Prayr would assist me in my troubles. I became the very first person ever helped financially by World Prayr. They truly fulfilled their tagline with me. They reconnected me back to the body of Christ. As I look back, those were some very tough days, but God was always with me, helping me walk in faith. It was during this time, Pastor Pat and I began a weekly video chat session. These sessions have been a blessing for me and have helped me to grow as a Christian. Pat and I have become close friends as a result. He is my mentor.

People were always leaving World Prayr and Pat would ask me to help out. I eagerly accepted because I know there is no challenge too big for God. I have held several positions at World Prayr and each has been a stepping stone. The first months of World Prayr were like a baby crawling. Slowly we began to walk and talk. Today we are becoming like teenagers. I look forward to the day when we have matured as an organization. I now moderate one day a week. It is my first love because I am the first contact people have with an organization that is willing to help others if they are willing to help themselves.

All of this has been God’s plan for me. God had one more test for me. I firmly believe God put all these pieces into my life for this particular event. On Tuesday afternoon, December 29, 2009, my wife of nearly 25 years died from the result of a fall and hitting her head on something. Five days later, at church during the altar call, I asked Jesus into my heart. I haven’t looked back since. I was baptized three weeks later. It is by God’s grace that I had my wife for those many years. I could have been very angry at God for taking my wife, but I understand God needed her more than I did. I can live with that. I want to shout to the world that I have a very loving God as my salvation. I am growing daily in my walk with Jesus. Through all the sadness, God and Jesus are helping me to do more with less.

There have been some rough days that have followed. They were and are made easier because I have Jesus living and breathing for me more each day I awaken. God has made me aware of my gifts and I am starting to use them so I may glorify Jesus and God. I have a solid grasp of God’s plan for me. It began that first time Pastor Pat asked me to moderate for World Prayr. I and World Prayr have grown a lot during the days and months that have followed. I pray that as I continue to grow in my faith that World Prayr continues to grow in re-connecting a broken world. With faith and God’s help, we both will.

Robert Dodson
October 11, 2010

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

God’s Grace

Since becoming a saved Christian earlier this year, I have struggled with the phrase God’s grace. I tried to understand it and wanted very much to do so. Today, I have a clearer understanding of this most important phrase. I am getting ahead of myself. Let me explain where I was and where I came from to become saved.

As a seven month old baby, I was christened in the Lutheran church. I do not recall much of my early childhood. I do know I didn’t attend a lot of church services. The few I remember are the classic kids must be dressed as little adults and pay attention to the pastor who was preaching the sermon. I did not want to do those things. I wanted to talk, fidget and be a nuisance. I was always being told to stop and pay attention. I would physically stop, but I wandered around in the playgrounds of my mind. This kind of behavior continued until I became a teenager. Then as a family, we stopped attending church services altogether.

Somehow, some way during the approximately eight years I didn’t attend regular services, I had developed a strong sense of faith in God. I will probably never know where that faith came from, except I firmly believe it was God’s way of giving me something to cling to. It could have come from my having a physical handicap and growing up in a world where the weak were held in contempt. To top all of that, I was left handed in an extremely right handed world. I know now that my handicap was a true blessing from God. I didn’t think that way at the time. I often felt pity and shame for myself. I didn’t blame God, however. I couldn’t tie my shoelaces or ride a bicycle until I was about eleven. I could catch a football and catch and throw a baseball with my good left arm. I eventually learned to do everything a normal youngster could do with two hands with one hand. Here’s a simple test. Try to button one button on your shirt or blouse using one hand only. See. I had the same trouble, I couldn’t, but I was determined. I practiced buttoning my shirt until I could do it easily. I persevered. I endured and adapted. I improvised when doing tasks. I HAD to find a way to do the task at hand or suffer the humiliation of asking for help. All these things and many more strengthened my character and resolve. It turned me into who I am today. Little did I know, but it was God who was doing for me what I couldn’t do for myself.

I next attended a Presbyterian church in my early twenties. Even though I was attending church, I was a sinner. I was like the apostle Paul when he said in 1 Timothy 1:15… “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners-of whom I am the worst.” (NIV) After six months or so, I abandoned church and turned to alcohol and drugs. Through more than two decades, I followed this path. Eventually, I quit the drugs and alcohol. Towards the end of my drinking career, I was praying regularly for a sign from God that He wanted me to stop my drinking and drugging. Finally in late September 1990, I got what I thought was the sign I had been praying for for so many years. I had an extremely painful pain in my right side. Fearing appendicitis, I went to the emergency room. I didn’t have appendicitis, but hepatitis C. I made a conscious decision to stop drinking and taking drugs. At the time, I was going regularly to a Pentecostal church. It was through that church I learned God doesn’t usually make people ill. It turned out He used the evil one to get what He wanted me to do.

When my wife died last December, I came to the realization I couldn’t remember if I had ever been baptized. My wife died on a Tuesday. The following Sunday I was attending my current church home. It was during the altar call that the Holy Spirit entered into me and I asked God for salvation. I delivered my wife’s eulogy the next day, a completely different person than what I was a few days earlier. During the days and weeks following that Sunday, I was baptized and came to understand God’s grace. Today, grace means to me that God showed favor upon me and gave me the salvation I sought and future blessing of being in heaven with my wife, Jesus and God.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Reflections on Loss

It seems here lately all I've been doing is talking about my deceased wife. It makes me feel like I'm putting my troubles out for the world to see. I'm really a very private person, except for my poetry. Sometimes I think I'm being a burden and everyone gets tired of hearing the same thing all the time. I know that isn't true. I have trouble pushing those kinds of thoughts out of my mind. I haven't really told anyone how deep the hurt goes in my mind and heart. I feel I have this huge hole in my heart that I can't get filled. I fill it some with God and Jesus but I still feel so empty even though I have God and Jesus in my heart. The one thing I miss so much is I haven't a person to share my life. I praise God for being in and sharing my life, but, to me, it is so much more than that.

I continue this path even when it seems impossible to take another step. I plod onward expecting the best. My pain and loneliness keeps rising slowly, sometimes rapidly toward the surface of my being. It takes all I have to keep everything from boiling over. I'm praying God sends me the relief He knows I am desperate for. God knows my heart. He always has.

It wasn't until my wife, Faye, was gone that I came to realize how much a part of my life she was. She lives on in my heart and she will always be there. You would think I could control my feelings, but I had kept all my love and emotion bottled within. Then like an opened, shaken soda, a mass of feelings and love and hurt come gushing out all over the place. I'm learning it is far better to release these views on a more regular basis. The way I'm thinking, it seems to be a better idea to have a bunch of minor eruptions instead of one major explosion of my frame of mind.

In the recent past, my tears have been like a steady rain with bursts of hurricane strength. The main theme I seem to have developed is I know I should fully commit to God, but I want to cling to the beliefs of my past. I realize that there will be a time when the feelings, emotions and thoughts will bear little pain. I want that to happen now, but I should wait for God's time. With that said, I'm ready to attempt to focus on my duties as a responsible Christian and begin helping others to reduce my sorrow. In the final analysis, that is the choice God wants me to take. By helping and assisting others, I am helping myself.

I have so much love to give and share; I look forward to the day when that special someone comes sauntering into my life. Maybe it will be tomorrow. Only God knows for sure. I must learn and continue to learn that I should lean more heavily on Him, than I have in recent weeks. To that end, I am committing myself whole-heartedly to my mission as a servant for World Prayr Ministries. I can think of no better solution. Right now, I begin the rest of my life.

Robert Dodson
September 3, 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Life Journey

Crawling through the dense jungle of time, love dangles its heart.
Creeping as a snail, shaded breath reveals unseen vines twisted
Fevered brow turns beaded, slatted gaze up the path resisted
Levered strength pales wisdom, gathers a field of tangled life art.

Striding on mirrored hope, tiredness releases its parched taste fisted.
Stepping through wondrous chasms, fatigue sheds chances vague part.
Prepping kindness shared wildly, spirited veil conceals gloried start.
Biding an endless cacophony of nature, exhaustion leaps the visited.

Stooped among restless fervor, solitude grants flowing clouds misted
Looped visions gain trust turned askew with seclusion growing imparted.
Seasoned values gnarly turmoil drips its dream lazily as an imploded tryst.
Reasoned revelation looms gray against sheltered, zealous plans started.

Robert Dodson
August 25, 2010

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dreams of Your Day

May the desire of your heart fill the dreams of your day?
Lost in the spring of newness, glances seal hopes of youth
Tulips sway to breezes struggling down slopes never to stay
Hopeful lies the visiting roses found lost near decaying booths.

Gathering trust, thoughts of fun filled summer begin again
The fullness of haloed moon signals love’s eternal season
Dark and scowling, clouds slowly release its pent up rain
Washing away emotions held checked for dawn’s treason.

Sighted breath huddles among nakedly low, whispering limbs
Coupled hands swing to the heart beat of sweetly singing fowl
Trouble lands upon lonely ground swallowed by faceless scowl
Knighted vision will lure a mind seeking its never ending climb.

Robert Dodson
April 14, 2010

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Chasm of Emptiness

Fragile flowers in the winter hold their own in blinding light,
Against a murky, cloud filled sky hope wrestles victory,
Yesterday passes into the future beyond my fleeting sight,
Each day reminders abound of life lived picked so free.

Dreams dangle dread to fill a need once held high above,
Order reacts slowly to rocky foundations laid firmly still,
Destiny crawls upon a slippery ledge held together with love,
Sympathy borrows a hearts’ ache to gradually linger its fill.

Only visions sought can ever be given the chance of growth,
Nestled vigor wrangles the soft touch on my heart thrown,
Faith carries love through the jungle of emotion to learn,
Deep is the chasm of emptiness within me to ever burn.

Robert Dodson
February 4, 2010

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A haiku for my recently passed wife(12/29)

Eternal Love

Tears stream down my face
The love of one gone forever
watches from white clouds.

Robert Dodson
January 14, 2009

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Journey Through Time

Like a babbling brook my tears flow over the boulders of my cheeks,
Angels carried the day to tug my heart from the pain of the future,
Life lived its course like the stitches of my jeans left, then right sleek,
Cold hands held the warmest heart of my adventure I’ll always cheer.

Stark is the road before me, a road best traveled bravely?
Passion comes to me once then lost for the moment of now,
I’ll carry a burden less lightly now for she gazes through me,
Many will be times turned backward but there is an edgy how.

I have not taken this road, yet it was destined long ago to be,
Images of the heart flow the core of my being, no longer alone,
I fill my bag with pieces of you all around yet no one can see,
That once was two has now become a journey through time as one.

Robert Dodson
January 6, 2010