A Begotten Child

“The Lord has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.’” (Psalm 2:7)

I emulate the ancient prophets of God; I emulate the early disciples of Jesus. I carry God’s word to those I meet, yet my learning is not complete. As with most mortals, I stumble in darkness pretending to see God’s True Light in the world. Instead, I am saturated by my membership in society, facing the mortal reality of greed and power. . . and desire. I want!!!

Yes, I want; but it is not material wealth I desire, it is the desire to carry God’s Love to the poor, the needy, the sick and the dying. As I approach the end of my 80th year on Earth, I want to walk the earth as the biblical prophets and God’s disciples did. But I cannot; I am lame! So, I write; I pray; I bring God’s Love the only way I can. I befriend everyone I meet; I befriend in God’s name.

I have learned that the mission of the prophets and disciples is God’s prophecy of the manifestation of Love. I demonstrate to others how I love in God’s name; I offer His proof. My meeting soon-to-be friends are times of allowing God’s Will to carry us both to the lighted path of Eternal Life and Love. I refuse the view that neediness as a sign of incompetence and any kindness toward those poor, those in poor health, those lacking mankind’s education is a waste of time. God’s poor are those Jesus lived with; God’s poor are the brothers and sisters I love.

When I pray, “Let Your Will be done,” I mean in all things. When I ask not to be led into temptation, I ask for help overcoming any mortal prejudice hidden deep within my earthly lessons I have so eagerly learned. I pray for God to lead me into where my life should be lived, with God’s Spirit gently moving me closer to eternal Love and Life. I want to be one of God’s begotten children.

©Russell Kendall Carter

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“And in His law, he meditates day and night.”

“And in His law, he meditates day and night.” (Psalm 1:2)

I gaze from my window, confined to my throne, a cane-seated kitchen chair covered in cat hair. My cats and I are thrilled by the flock of birds ardently attacking the feeders my wife fills several times each day. We watch finches and sparrows, mourning doves and pigeons, and of course the occasional flock of jet-black crows visit us. I gaze in wonder, listening to my black cat chatter away, carrying on a one-sided  conversation with his winged brothers and sisters.

He is in his own world, communing with the nature he is in awe of yet fully understands. I envy him. I meditate daily, but never really get the intense experience of true life. To experience true life is to be with Jesus, be with the  people who are poor, poor in mortal wealth, but strong and rich in understanding true life; to know Jesus is to be one of the people rich in Truth. Jesus speaks Truth; Love speaks Truth.

To commune with God is to believe that we speak to and with God. Three times in my eighty years I have been on the precipice of entering eternal life with God. And all three times, God has told me that my journey on earth is not finished. My life is a part of the Heart of God. Heart is synonymous with Love, and as we know, God is Love and Love is God. I meditate on Love, but as a mere mortal, I can only experience a thimble full of True Love, God’s full Love, Truth!

As I sit with my cat, writing this missive, I understand what Jesus meant when He said that we must be as a little child to enter the kingdom of heaven. My cat is in total wonderment watching, chattering. As I was standing at the precipice of God’s Eternity, I was bewildered by the surrounding calm; I feared the peace. I watched! I chattered!

Am I ready to face our Father/Mother God in Eternity? Have I blessed others with God’s Love and Grace? Have I forgiven? Has God’s Love and Goodness flowed through me to be shared with all whom I meet? Have I sought God in my heart every day, as Jesus did? Have I walked in the steps of Jesus, as He walks in mine? Am I Just? Am I worthy? Am I worthy??

©Russell Kendall Carter

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Revelation

One cannot think of the word revelation without considering John’s treatise of that name ending the New Testament of the Christian Bible. This is a great read – open to many, many interpretations. I don’t want to get involved in the myriad views and interpretations of what John penned. But I do want to reflect on what this deep reflection by John means to me.

I am not a biblical scholar, nor am I an expert on the historical life when John wrote this. But when I plow through all that he wrote, I arrive at the twenty-first chapter, second line, and read: “Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” And as I reflect on this vision and this prophecy, I think of a different kind of time in a different time of place open to all of God’s children. I think of what life could be!

From Genesis 1 to Revelation 21, I experience a journey of mortal man in a special covenant with God. We have kept this covenant, and we have broken it. We have loved it, and we have hated it. We have lived in alternate cities. One is a green pasture of plenty and love, prosperity and grace; the other is a product of a selfish body of mortal men, lives of violence and hate, poverty and need. The first is filled with God’s Love; the second rejects all of God’s outstretched hands.

John shows me a way to live, as did Jesus. It is the same lighted path of plenty, not material plenty, but spiritual plenty filled with the salvation offered by God. Jesus shows us how we can trust God, how we can Love each other in His name. God is with us; God is within us; God is a permanent part of us. God creates us anew every morning we arise to His Love and Grace. “A God who spends everything to find and recover us. A God who empties himself to fill us so that we might never be lost or alone again.”

When I am on the road paved by Jesus, I experience revelation supreme. I arise from the darkness created by out mortal society to the light of God’s Truth, the light of God’s Love, and the light of eternal Life. John’s Revelation allows me to look back on what could have been with me and allows me to be grateful that God is within me, guiding me to eternal life.

©Russell Kendall Carter

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Belonging

Let’s face it; I want to belong. I want to belong to a church. I want the fellowship of a loving community. A church community is where we learn the basics of value, not money value, but self-value and self-worth. It is where we learn to work in communion with others to help others. It is where we learn to be generous with what we are blessed

But churches are also selfish and  non-accepting, even if they profess that all are welcome. In one church if you do not accept the concept of original sin, you cannot be a member. In other churches there are confessions and statements of faith that you must recite each week. You are taught these at a very young age and recite them rote! I do not believe a person with a degree in theology is perfect enough to tell me I am a sinner or that I am a flawed person and need the church to be acceptable to God.

If I believe that God is Love, I love all beings; man, animal, the planet, etcetera. I deeply care for people, which is why I am a prayer minister; I deeply care for dogs, and cats, and field mice, and wild turkeys. I care for the earth that gives us the food we eat.

I cannot understand how people cannot care for these gifts of God’s creation. However, I will work with them to bring food to those who need it; I will work with them to build a ramp for a person in wheelchair, making their lives better. People who I cannot abide by are those who think that the world is here for their pleasure only. I cannot understand how these hoarders can turn a church into a Godless presence in the lives of others.

Jesus was a Jew; he was not a Christian. He was a homeless, poor, wandering Jew who did nothing but good for the poor, the sick, the disabled, and the outcasts. He brought Love and understanding into everyone’s lives. He blessed the earth, animals, and the people. He denied no-one God’s Love and healing.

Somewhere along the line, sometime in history, we lost the moral compass of the message Jesus brought. He did not support the government; He did not support big business; He did not support anything that harmed God’s children. He loved! He loves.

How can the church (am I am not singling out any church) claim that the support of big businesses that underpay its labor force is Jesus’s message? How can a church deny a person a position at God’s vast table of love and caring. How can a church deny a person because of color, or language, or financial wealth? Jesus never did. Jesus never did. So do not ever say He did.

Yes, I want to belong; but I cannot belong IN church. I can only belong in God’s true world – outside of the corruptness of the Western Church. I am a Christian; but I belong to the Christianity that Jesus taught, not to that which is taught by modern man. I pray it were different!

©Russell Kendall Carter

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NEGATIVE INFLUENCES – ANGER

Sometimes I get incredibly angry when things do not go the way I want or expect them to. I know this is an internal mental release, but it does not help me get the outcome I want. Anger is a negation, there is no love or truth with anger. It is the absence of something. It is unreal because it is the absence of God in our lives.

When we are angry, we feel betrayed by our materialistic society. But we are not abandoned; God is always with and within us. We may have lost something we thought was important, but whatever it may be is surely superficial and has nothing to do with our health or wellbeing. We need to remember that we have more than we ever could lose.

I awakened this morning after a long night of fidgeting. Usually, I am angry all day long when this happens. Then I realized that I was alive by the grace of God. I remembered that my future cannot be ruled by what I no longer have. I remembered something that was told to me, “Don’t be angry because something has ended, smile because it happened.”

So, this is my new life; I will no longer live by the rules I meritocracy, a no-win lifestyle. For years, my life has been one of forgiveness and love, and I should always remember that God has given me great gifts to share; and anger is not one of them. What I viewed as betrayal and abandonment is my human acceptance of societal rules. I work daily to remember to accept God’s Grace, not on my time, but His. He superhighway of meritocracy is not God’ way.

As a former educator, I am not rich, but I am economically comfortable. Those I love and am comfortable being with are now my teachers. I am always amazed at how they are and how grateful they share any windfall of food or blessing they receive. Then I remember that these are the people Jesus loved; these are the people Jesus lived with; these are God’s children.

I long to be as faithful and happy as they are. I cannot due this when filled with anger. I can only be blessed and happy with a life that continues each day when I arise.

©Russell Kendall Carter  

 
   

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Life’s Magnificence

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Life is dynamic!! Every morning  when we arise, we face a new, magnificent challenge to live life’s fullest value and opportunity. What keeps me alive and spry at age 80 is Hope with a capital H. a capital H because it stands for the Hope I receive in my mind each morning when I arise thanking God for being with me today. With God in my life, I live an energetic, vibrant, and dynamic life.

I think of all that the prophets have taught me and continue to teach me each morning. Yes, I have my days of physical, psychologic, and emotional misery. What human has not had those days? As I remember that God is always within me, protecting me, lifting me, I remember that I am truly a member of His Holy creation. I am a child of God who tries to be as humble as Jesus in my care for my fellow man. Isn’t this the true life and peace of God’s Grace?

I do this by seeing the not-so-white face of Jesus in all whom I meet. I recognize the life-burdened body walking from place to place, humble in his reaction to others, spreading God’s Love and Truth to mankind. I give a little money and a lot of love to the brother or sister begging for assistance at the intersections of our roads. I can only give them these because I cannot heal them of their maladies as Jesus did.

But. . .  I know that with the love and kindness I can give them, I am healing them spiritually, for the sharing of God’s Love bring healing in the form of a small amount of peace and brotherly friendship and caring.

This is Life’s Magnificence!

©Russell Kendall Carter

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The Light of Faith

Brothers and sisters, consider this: Faith is more important than religion. I attend an Episcopal church, but I belong to God. At church, I experience a great and holy communion of fellowship with my dear brothers and sisters. I cherish these moments. I have often experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit when I am present in the sanctuary, surrounded by God’s people.

I am, however, not a religious person. I cannot attend to the written liturgy of a religion because it is written by mankind’s thoughts of our relationship with God. I cannot abide by tenants written hundreds of years ago, when life was so different that what I experience. What I can do is take what I learn in church, learn by reading the Bible, the Qur’an, and other holy literature to understand more fully what my relationship with God is – and  what God’s relationship with me is.

I have studied my faith in God for the better part of 80 years. I have learned from many people including all of the clergy that have been in my life forever. I find that walking in the light of faith, the path that Jesus shows us, my faith has left any and all church liturgy as beautiful as it is; my faith has grown. In the light of faith, I have grown to something much greater, trust. The trust I have in God and my devotion to God, comforts me and allows me to know that all is well, and all will always be well.

©Russell Kendall Carter

 

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Faith in Divine Presence

I have been a searcher all my life. I began searching for something to do to make my life worthwhile. Then I began a long time searching for knowledge; this has lasted a lifetime. The other lifelong mysterious goal that has avoided detection is a permanent sense of purpose. This has seemed impossible at times. Wherever I looked I only found confusion and irrelevance.

This can be very spiritually devastating for someone who prides himself on accomplishing whatever he has tried; of course, I had plenty of help in my achievements. My wife was not only on my side; she most often led the way. But, at the base of all is that whenever I felt void, whenever I felt that all was lost, I experienced a dynamic potential at the base of my quest. Not understanding this feeling, I often ignored it.

What I ached for was reason! What I implored all whom I met in my quest was an ability to lift those in need from their society-enforced exclusion from all that is necessary. With the leadership of my wife, I discovered direct contact with those who I was trying to help. I found a quandary. After a very short period of time, I did not know who was helping whom.

Those holding on to the bottom rung in society had a deep faith in God, much deeper than I have ever had. They taught me that at the base of all that happens is God’s Love. They taught me that the void that I thought was present in my life was not a void at all. It was an all-powerful force that I had to face. Once I faced this force, it stopped becoming a void.

It became what was important in my life; it was always present, but in my pseudo-intelligence, I ignored it. Now I don’t; now I recognize that the only thing that is important is my relationship with God. I have learned to accept and trust this Divine Presence in my Life.

Throughout my studies, I have noted that it was often the accused heretics that taught a personal, divine relationship with God. . . and respect for others. Jesus taught us to love one another as ourselves. I ask, doesn’t this loving one another mean sharing and respect. Are not the others all living creatures of God, including our earth? I cannot believe that Divine Faith includes the devastation of mankind and our planet. It is time we examine our true faith in Divine Presence.

©Russell Kendall Carter

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Two Hands

I had a long journey out of the darkness and into the light. I spent four very difficult years as a Marine in the 1960s. The first thing I learned at Parris Island was that I was part of a team and it is the team that succeeds, not the one. I lived that. . . until. . . one day I didn’t.

Although I had a relatively good life, I thought I did it all by myself, with my wife, but basically through my own talents. As I look back, I realize how much of a failure I was.

Then I entered teaching, where teamwork is the name of the game. I flourished. My students flourished, and I pray that the school system flourished. Of course, the system would flourish with or without me, but I was told I made a difference. It is amazing how my Marine training came back to me.

As a history teacher, I worked very closely with our English teachers. We worked so closely that one of them suggested I continue my education and work for a doctorate degree. Being sick of studying history, I decided to pursue a doctorate in literature. I had a ball. I was in my own element. What I learned, I shared with my history students; they, in turn, shared with me their perceptions of history and its great literature. We all learned.

Now, as my life settles down, I have returned to the teamwork of the Marines by being a part of my local Marine Corps League. I again am finding the importance of working together.

My life as part of a team has been good. I am one hand of a powerful force. That force is God. He leads me into areas I fear to go due to a lack of confidence, but I know now that I am one important hand of a strong pair of hands.

God bless!

©Russell Kendall Carter

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The Message

Faith

Jesus lives for all of us. His message remains my most important lesson. It is the simplest message, and it can be the most difficult to learn. Whether we recognize it or not, the Holy Spirit visits with us to confirm this message, this lesson, this Divine Love.

Let me say this first: I love you! It matters not where you live, what shade your complexion is, what religion you practice, or what name you call God. I love you, unconditionally. This is my interpretation of the lessons that Jesus teaches. He even made this the second most important commandment, the first being Love God. When I love, as Jesus taught, I demonstrate and define that Love establishes our divine likeness and divine membership of God’s family.

The Bible reminds me that I need to pay attention to the spiritual side of humanity, not the mortal side for it is only the spiritual that is eternal. This is the lesson of the Word, the Word of God; I pray that you also think this is true. The Word is Wisdom, and Wisdom delivers us from evil to the path of Truth, eternal Truth. . . and Life.

So, I have laid out perfection; I am not perfect, yet. But only Jesus was perfect Man. The Freedom God gives allows me to wander my path of life. I only pray that in my wandering I have come upon the path that leads to true Spirit. The freedom to choose how I meet strangers is my key to God, who has taught me His Will. I did not learn this in slow-minded church; I found this through meditation. I found this by slowing my mind, away from the demands of our very material-oriented society, not giving up as God as God never gives up on me.

I receive God’s Word, God’s Message through daily meditation, daily slowing down, daily recognition that my relations with all whom I meet pleases God. So, I thank the Holy Spirit for being my memory, allowing me to observe and follow only what I need.

©Russell Kendall Carter

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