Friday, March 28, 2008

Road trip to Portland Oregon with my daughter

April 5th, I'm back after departing Portland at 5am April 3rd and drove strait back home to Arizona only stopping for gas and one flat tire arriving back 20 hours later, and not without some sourness and jet lag due to loss of sleep. The whole trip to Portland was blessed by the Lord as I don't think the old Jeep would have made it with the load we had to carry. Even loading up one apartment for a move across the city is allot for two people but across country 1200 miles was an even bigger challenge. Nevertheless it was all a blessing to be able to spend time with my daughter and help her get a few things set up. Her new two bedroom townhome is very roomy for one person but needed for her "work at home" office and music room. Since it is location only a few blocks from the hub of downtown Portland known as the Pearl district free metro Wifi internet services are available, so she was able to resume program writing for her company right away. Although similar to her privious location in that everything is within walking distance. Unlike her old neighborhood, Portland is clean, friendly, and peaceful.  People seem to be very friendly and helpful here and the quality and variety  of private owned small restaurants and outdoor cafe's are a far cry from stereotype usually associated with inner city shops and locations. Surprisingly not even traffic is bad here since quite a percentage of the population ride bicycles with bicycle parking at every store and business front. Although I love the wide open wilderness of Arizona, if I was to live in a big city, Portland is a big city with a small city feel and would be my top choice, not at all like I assumed.
   Throughout the long trip my mind had the opportunity to contemplate all I have experiences in life so far, countries I have visited and cultures I have had the benefit of experiencing, even our own great USA who's blessing by God we take so much for granted. In retrospect I realize that although I have many times been unfaithful to God and fallen so short in my relationship with him, he has always been faithful to me, bringing me back to the realization of his expressed wisdom, love, mercy, and truth. Wisdom and love in that He is self evident in all of creation for our benefit. Mercy in that he has planned a way for us to know Him and be accepted by Him through his Son Jesus Christ. Truth in that all things must one day be judged by God for either redemption or destruction through his Son for whom all creation eagerly awaits his return and also his children who love, obey  and acknowledged Him. 
    Id like to think that because I'm older now my relationship with God is more consistent lending some credit to my overall experience, but the truth is that its by Gods grace, love and the Holy Spirit that we are drawn to Him, too many of us ignore. An indescribable truth and peace that passes all understanding, accessible to anyone who believes and worships him in spirit and in truth.
    So when people ask me how I can after experiencing so many past pleasures and successes in this life subjugate it all to God, I tell them that every success, pleasure, and possession pales in comparison to the freedom, love and peace of knowing the one true living God. More importantly through life's trials, pain and suffering, and yes even the fear of death is swallowed up in confidence by knowing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies. Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power.  But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:53-57

God never intended for man's reunification with him to be complicated although man builds allot of religion around God's simple message. That God demonstrated his love for us all by sending his only begotten son into the world to pay the ransom of sin and death for all those that believe and follow Jesus Christ.  Its a choice pure and simple with the guaranty not only of eternal life after death, but rebirth of the spirit and
renewing of the mind through the Holy Spirit giving you the power to comprehend the truth of man's existence, which will set you free.
    Another question people ask me is when and how did you receive salvation. In my case my first encounter with God goes way back to when I was 6 years old when out of desperation I prayed to him and to my surprise he answered directly. After that first time each time I got into bad trouble in life and prayed to him for help he always told me what to do to turn the situation around even though I didn't deserve it, sometimes dramatically without words. Too dramatically real and too many supernatural encounters and occurrences to excuse as anything approaching luck or coincidence as some of my old friends and even some members of my own family have insinuated. Why would God speak with me? Actually this is pretty common among spirit filled Christians but I believe probubly because when you draw close to him and believe he reveals himself to anyone. Also when it first happened to me I was so young I had little skepticism or fear so like anything else new in a child's life I just accepted it as being normal and expected God would always be available to me and always has, in spite of my youthful wanderings in life and times of ignoring him. But as I got older I realized I was living in ultimate denial of the truth and had no choice but to confront him, at which point he welcomed me back as always with open arms, healing, and blessings. All I can say is He is truly a real living and awesome God,as real as anything he created and there is no other God as he himself declares:

“I am the L
ord, who made all things. I alone stretched out the heavens. Who was with me when I made the earth?
" Isaiah 44:24

This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all.  But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life. All honor and glory to God forever and ever! He is the eternal King, the unseen one who never dies; he alone is God. Amen. 
1 Timothy 1:15-17


March 29th, Getting ready for Portland trip, nopictures yet as the trip is only about to start but I am sure I will have some good testimony of the trip and its adventure. I recently looked up a close childhood friend I once wronged to make amends, and they asked me a very good question,  "Are you bored in your retirement?"  In truth up until the last few months that I have regained fellowship with God, life has always been board and one continuous quest for amusement against a backdrop of an uncertain world system that provides only short lived pleasure but no lasting fulfillment (retired or not). I use the term "world system" because the system that God gives us to live by and the perspective we gain through His Spirit is so vastly more comprehensive and comforting that to compare the two cannot really be expressed in words but must be experienced to appreciate. So my recommendation to all of you  is to draw close God through Jesus Christ and he will draw close to you and reveal to you the truth of the purpose and meaning of life. More to follow when I return from my trip, Godspeed.

When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:11-13

A lyrical rendition of 1Corinthians 13: 1-13
"AlthoughI speak with tongues…of men and of angels…
And though I prophesy, and understand all
Although I have all faith
So mountains may be removed
And though I give up my life
And all I possess…

If I have not charity,
If love does not flow from me
I am Nothing
Jesus, reduce to me to love…

Love is patient and kind.
Love is not envious,
Not proud, but gentle and meek,
Seeks not its own way.
Love hopes and bears every wrong
Believes and endures all things
Love sings when Jesus prevails

If I have not charity,
If love does not flow from me
I am nothing
Jesus, reduce meto love...
Jesus, reduce me to love...

Once when I was as a child...I spoke and I
thought like a child
But when I turned to man, such ways  put aside
Though now we see through a glass,
Yet then we shall see face to face
Though now abide faith and hope...The GREATEST IS LOVE...

If I have not charity,
If love does not flow from me
I am nothing
Jesus, reduce me to love...
Jesus, reduce me to love...