In Memory of “Wylie-Meister”
2012 – 2021
August 2, 2021
Yesterday, my wife Gigi, our cat “Guido Goomba Sarducci,” and our 2 chihuahua’s “Little Bit” and “Pepita,” watched with deep sadness as our precious “Wylie-Meister” breathed his last.
I get home from my project site only a few days a month. Wylie had waited until I returned home, before breathing his last—just two hours after my arrival.
“Guido,” his much larger brother, was by his side as he passed.
*Pictured above: “Guido,” as a baby, hugging Wylie as they slept.
Wylie had fought terribly hard to overcome a progressive respiratory affliction which began when he was but a baby. During the past year we had submitted Wylie to every conceivable test and medicine to battle what was never fully identified. We are certain that his lungs had been seriously scarred as a baby, due to extreme sickness—his condition as we found him. Wylie subsequently labored with his breathing all of his life, breathing a bit faster than a normal cat, and with a faint wheezing sound. Despite his affliction, Wylie chose to be the sweetest and gentlest pet we have ever encountered. He never lost his playfulness and sweetness, even to the very end.
As I reflect upon his precious life and how it affected us, I think of the beautiful music of Tim Janis, and one particular track entitled, “Ever I Love You,” which I have pasted below in the form of a web-link. In the event the reader has the ability to run additional Windows sessions, I encourage you to copy-paste the web-link below into another browser session, and listen to the track while reading what follows:
It was in 2012, while Gigi and I were returning to our farm from running a few errands, that we both noticed almost at the same moment, a tiny animal walking on the side of the road as we passed doing 55 mph or so. It was a long, narrow, deep country road, and with very little room between the pavement and open farmland. We passed the tiny animal not more than a foot away from my truck. We immediately turned the truck around and went back to see what this little creature was.
As we approached the tiny animal we realized it was a very young kitten, which we determined to be not more than 5 weeks old. It was covered in cow manure, malnourished, and its eyes were encrusted with the evidence of sickness. This tiny kitten was running a high fever and walking nearly blindly along the side of the road, desperately searching for food or water. Had we not rescued the poor kitten, it would have most certainly been killed on the road by a vehicle, or would have died of the combination of extreme sickness, dehydration and hunger.
Once we placed this hapless kitten on Gigi’s lap, and drove down the nearest lane, onto an adjacent farm, we would discover that this poor kitten was one of a large litter which had been born to a mentally ill mother, which refused to nurse her kittens. Rather than rescue these precious creatures from certain death, the farm owners simply allowed the kittens to wander the countryside, to ultimately die of starvation, be eaten by coyotes, or run over by passing vehicles. Their cold indifference to such was very saddening. I was in shock as we drove away from that farm, and back to our own.
Once home, not more than 10 minutes away, Gigi set to the task of cleaning the poor kitten. Once cleaned, it would go on to ravage food and milk. Remarkably however, it would pause every few moments to run over to our laps for affection, to then return seconds later to its food and milk. It would carry on this pattern for 10 or 15 minutes while eating. I would later reflect upon this pattern within a book I would go on to write, and while speaking to the topic and process of healing from deep trauma. Wylie’s story would find permanent place in that book.
We would choose to name this precious creature “Wylie” after a friend of mine named “Myles Wylie Albright,” a rancher in deep country Alabama.
Maybe 2 years later we would add another kitten to our family—“Guido Goomba Sarducci.” Guido had been abandoned as well; left in a box on a woman’s doorstep who worked as an assistant at a veterinary clinic. Guido was 6 weeks old when he was left on the doorstep on a cold, Fall evening. He was found in the box in the early morning, hungry and terrified.
Wylie would immediately begin to care for little Guido, not unlike a mother. Wylie was so attentive, gentle and sweet to little Guido; it was a precious thing to see.
*Pictured above: Wylie, caring for little “Guido” upon arrival.
*Pictured above: additional photo of “Guido” as a baby.
Wylie would also express the same brand of affection to our miniature dachshund, “Joybee”. In time, as we would later acquire our fist chihuahua, “Little Bit,” we would find Wylie hugging and cleaning her. He would actually hug her with both arms to still her and clean her.
*Above photo: Wylie, cleaning Little Bit as he steadies her with his paws. Guido (all 21 lbs of him) in the foreground, is cleaning himself while briefly pausing to eyeball birds eating seed from a nearby window ledge.
Wylie would very often sleep next to my head when I would return home from working remotely, and would throughout the night intermittently hug my hand or arm. He did so just a few weeks ago upon my previous visit.
Gigi and I have been changed and challenged by every precious animal we have brought into our family. We have learned profound lessons from each of them. They have often melted our hearts and brought us to tears. Wylie was no exception.
I have written extensively over the years about the endless moments and encounters with animals which have melted my heart, and changed me; challenging me to be a more compassionate, gentle and loving human being. Very often, a given personality within one of our farm animals, one of our house pets, or a chance encounter with one in the wild, will bring to mind and underscore a particular verse in Scripture. In the case of Wylie-Meister, one verse resounded in my mind and heart nearly every time he was near me:
“Let your gentleness be known to all…” (Philippians 4:5).
In the face and wake of shocking levels of wickedness and deception unfolding about me from day to day at this juncture, I find myself wrestling with an internal tug-of-war between readying my family for literal survival in the dark days ahead—contrasted with that of rather allowing compassion, kindness, gentleness and humility to run its full course in my heart—to ultimately guide my outward behavior. It has been that during this ongoing tug-of-war that God has so profoundly used animals to melt my heart when I am feeling hardened inside as the result of the wickedness about me. Wylie did just that, nearly every time he was next to me.
*Pictured above: Wylie, snuggling with our miniature dachshund “Joybee.”
Gigi and I prayed not long after burying Wylie. We prayed that we would see him again, along with all of the animals that we’ve had the privilege of loving and caring for over many years. I realize it may be a theological stretch for many, but I tend to believe that we will see these precious creatures waiting for us in eternity. There are many excerpts of Scripture which hint at such, including Isaiah 11:6-9 for example.
*Pictured above: Wylie, snuggling with “Pepita”, our teacup chihuahua.
I work daily with many very callous men, who are not only indifferent to the precious gifts than animals can be, but are often shockingly cold-hearted toward the same. It is rare that I can share but a glimpse of my love and compassion for these precious beings. I take such liberty now, in honor of the precious gift that Wylie was to me, my wife, and Wylie’s precious siblings.
*Pictured above: Wylie used to love to sleep in pet carriers, and also used to hide in boxes. Very often he would go missing. We would later find him hidden in a box in an obscure place.
It was as I pondered my love for animals many years ago, that I concluded it was due in large part to the fact that they are simply incapable of hating.
You melted my heart more times than I can remember, Wylie. Daddy loves you, and I am so sorry that I spent so many years away from you, while working far away. Thank you for the gift that you were to me.
June 27, 2021
A few days ago, amidst the worst week I can recall in recent memory with respect to the assailing combination of fatigue, stress, strife, tension, chaos, noise and a number of very pointed manifestations of evil—all forming a crescendo in the workplace, I received an oddly-timed text message from my wife.
I had not checked my personal phone for several hours, and had reached for it without much premeditation (I don’t access my personal very often during the workday). As I powered-up my phone to meet with a text message from my wife, I was figuratively arrested by the image she had text to me (image below):
Below this image, she had typed:
“This so much reminds me of you.”
I was so physically, mentally and emotionally numb at the time that I viewed the texted image and message that I had to sit still for a moment before fully appreciating what had transpired. And, contrary to what the reader may readily preclude of that moment, I didn’t receive what my wife had texted me as that of a platform upon which to momentarily revel in narcissistic vainglory by way of concluding that “I am so much like Jesus.” To the contrary, I was rather shaken out of my exhaust stupor as my memory was suddenly flooded by the 1000s of encounters I had had with animals in my lifetime which were divinely orchestrated to speak something to me, and for the animals that would go on to survive after I had had the privilege of caring for them. Of these countless encounters includes a daily experience with birds, as I feed them daily, wherever I happen to be.
Two days later, as I returned to mind-numbing levels of noise, chaos, tension, stress and turmoil on the job, and while engaging several conversations at one time, I recall overhearing bits and pieces of a conversation in the distance which seemed to entail a bird (there were several conversations transpiring in my immediate vicinity at the time). I pieced together that someone was attempting to rescue a bird. Just as I began to focus attention on that end of my office, I was sucked into a series of meetings, conversations, issues and more chaos, to the degree that I completely forgot the passing conversation I had overheard earlier, about a bird.
Toward the end of the day as I was departing my office and stepping back into sweltering heat and humidity, and feeling exasperated, a young engineer approached me and said he wanted to show me something outside that he was certain I’d want to see. He then led me to one end of the job trailer in which I work, and there beneath the trailer sat a terrified nestling (baby) Mockingbird—chirping and crying desperately for food. In that instant, every element of my being was focused upon saving that precious little bird. As the engineer went to fetch a box for me in which to place the baby bird, others who had encountered the bird in the early morning hours laughed at how the bird had been found in a nest within a piece of heavy equipment which had been delivered to the job site earlier in the day, following which the bird had scurried over 100 yards through many pieces of heavy equipment moving about the project site; had dodged an equal number of cars and trucks, and was positioning itself at the feet of anyone who would respond to it—crying desperately for help. I was wholly unaware of all that had transpired throughout the day in this regard. All of the men had simply laughed at the bird. Ultimately someone had scooped up the bird and placed it beneath my job trailer to get it out of direct sunlight, and then simply left it there. The baby bird had had no water or food for 9 hours or so, by my estimate, and was desperately clinging to life.
Before leaving the site I had placed my little finger in water to give it several droplets, which it desperately chugged.
As I drove back to my home-away-from home, with this precious little being in my truck, all that I could think of, and just like countless times before, was that of how I could save the life of this precious little creature. All of my personal suffering and quest for comfort and convenience was placed on hard-hold while I cared for this bird. A very dark chapter on my current job project had suddenly faded into the distance, as my immediate focus and mission became that of keeping this precious bird alive.
I named the birdie “Herbie.” Once home (my home-away-from-home), I immediately scoured a field adjacent to the property for insects, and captured a few, thereafter crushing them up and mixing them with warm water. I had on the way home gone through a drive-thru pharmacy wherein after I had shown them the baby bird they gave me a handful of syringes for free. It bothered me to crush the hapless insects, but in that moment I had concluded the little bird’s life was of greater priority.
I began feeding little Herbie every 30 minutes. I ultimately crushed dry cat food (which I keep in my truck, along with bird food, squirrel food and dog food–to feed strays) and mixed it with warm water, along with a drop of raw honey and some grits. Little Herbie was very happy.
At one point in the evening as I sat over Herbie observing him in his makeshift nest (I had at this juncture placed one of my t-shirts in a small portable insulated lunch box, along with shredded paper towels), I was overtaken by the presence of the Holy Spirit, as He chose that moment in which to minister to me—as I was ministering to little Herbie. In that moment, my heart melted at the collective vulnerability, fear, desperation and dependence in every peep Herbie was making as he looked up at me. I was suddenly stricken with how my every move in caring for little Herbie, meant the potential for life or death for him. Equally in that moment, I was given a glimpse of the Father’s Heart—the way He often sees our fragile frame and the places of desperation in which we flutter—often times while we are wholly aware of just how vulnerable we actually are to danger and the potential for death—while equally wholly unaware of the reality that our Father in Heaven sees our frame and knows precisely what we need. The slightest movement of His hand of grace over our lives can mean life or death. In this moment, I was overwhelmed by what I was being shown, and equally overwhelmed by the love I felt for this precious little vulnerable creature which was clinging to life–the same kind of overwhelming love that our Father has for us.
“He knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust” (Ps. 103:14).
Before retiring for the night, and after feeding little Herbie for the last time before turning out the lights, I gently rubbed his chest, sides and head. In those moments he stopped chirping and gaping for food, and simply looked intently into my face. Somehow, and in some way, it seemed I saw in his eyes the look of gratitude, thankfulness, and peace. I was then reminded that though our Father in Heaven cradles our lives in His hands and subverts death from our door more often than we know, we often go on about our chaotic orbit while rarely pausing to thank Him.
*Little Herbie, pictured below:
The following day, I kept little Herbie in my office, feeding him every 30 minutes, much to the consternation of one of my cold-hearted seniors who was visibly bothered by little Herbie’s chirping. By my lunch hour I had contacted an agency on the island in which I stay when I’m working away from home, which would take little Herbie into their care and nurse him to maturity, following which they would release him into an outdoor bird sanctuary in which he would thrive.
God has spoken profoundly to me over the past 40 years, through precious and countless creatures in my path, many of which I have rescued, cared for and nursed back to health. In each instance, He has spoken something deeply to my heart through encounters which have shaken me from my painful and troubling orbit long enough to be reminded of His Heavenly perspective. He knows our frame, and is keenly aware of the growing measure of wickedness and fear lapping at our feet like an incoming tide which cannot be stopped. As such, He often goes out of His way to speak to us in subtle and simple ways, to remind us that…
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Matt. 10:29-30).
September 30, 2018
It has been roughly 6 weeks following my renouncement of a discerned spirit of terror over the bird populace on the farm in which I presently reside. It was not long following discerning such, that I encountered the dove hunters breaching my property, and which I cited in my journal some weeks previous. My conversation with them was awkward, and tense, but I did what I was supposed to do, by speaking conviction, and to save the lives of the bird populace in my midst.
As of the past 6 weeks I have observed with great joy the steady re-habitation of a variety of birds on the farm, to include a growing influx of doves which are now nesting within the outbuilding lean-to’s, and which are also ground-feeding beneath a large tree immediately north of my house, as I regularly spread an array of seeds for them beneath 2 large tree-mounted bird feeders that I’ve recently installed. I’ve even experienced doves alighting upon a bench very near my door, to remind me that I’m overdue for a seed-sprinkling on their behalf.
Blue Herons, white Cranes, and a host of other unknown breeds have begun to spend time on the property as well. Of unexpected delight has been the appearance of what I believe to be either Scissor-Tailed Flycatchers or Barn Swallows. These birds are beautiful, with very long, graceful swallow-tails, and an array of colors like love birds and parrots. I have observed them arriving on the property with increased numbers.
Yesterday, as I took a break from assembling new furniture long enough to play guitar under the patio, I launched into an exercise on the fret board in the key of E-Minor (with an E-Minor backing track playing on my laptop), and practiced the E-Aeolian scale. Minor keys have always been a special delight to me, and seem to evoke and stir more emotion for me, than major keys. While playing to the backing track, I observed out of my peripheral vision a steady stream of birds flying directly toward me from a tree line 800 yards to the east, and alighting upon the large tree which hosts my bird feeders, maybe 20 yards from me. I then began to hear a bizarre sound coming from the tree. I recognized the sound as that of the Scissor-Tailed Flycatchers or Barn Swallows—very loud and very much like the volume and type of chatter common to parrots. It immediately dawned on me that they visited me only after I had begun playing melodic guitar.
As I increased the volume and intensity of my guitar playing, so the birds did the same, to the degree that their chatter mirrored my volume. Several minutes into the guitar-bird symphony I stopped playing, long enough to crane my neck out from under the patio to see the birds in the tree. They had noticed I had stopped playing, and their volume began to subside, and they stopped. I saw somewhere between 6 and 8 of these beautiful birds. They peered at me as if waiting for me to resume playing guitar.
The moment I resumed playing guitar again, so did the birds resume their very loud chatter—their singing.
I followed this pattern several times—stopping my playing—to see them go silent—then resuming my playing—to see and hear them again resume their chatter—their singing.
About 15 minutes into this pattern I realized that God had given this gift to me—the gift of amazing interaction between these beautiful birds—birds which I had been praying for 6 weeks would once again inhabit this farm.
It is simple delights like these, which sustain me, and remind me of God’s steady nearness. I have had many profound and mind-boggling “power encounters” with the Lord over the past 37 years, and I have cherished each one. I have yet discovered that the very simple blessings I find in nature, and which I recognize to be God’s very subtle set-up’s, are equally profound, as I conclude that He knows the things which melt my heart—the very things which used to bring a smile to my face, as a child.
September 18, 2018
Roughly a week ago, and that during a period of early-morning quiet time with the Lord, sitting outside and watching the sunrise, as well as watching a herd of cows graze, I thought I might exercise a bit of humor, by engaging the Author of humor, as I asked Him quite simply:
“Lord, it is has been extremely hot lately (one of the hottest seasons in history, here in central Texas); I would like to ask that it not get above 86 degrees today.”
For many weeks the temperature had hovered between the upper 90’s and the 100’s, to include 2 days in which the temperature reached 115 degrees on the farm.
Later in the day, and while having a late lunch at an area eatery, and while I was getting back into my truck at roughly 2:00PM, I was “nudged” to glance at the in-dash weather sensor. I had completely forgotten about my prayer very early in the day—that the temperature would “not go beyond 86 degrees.” As my eyes fixed upon the temperature gauge in my truck, it read “86” (degrees).
I then thought to myself, as I drove away: “Well, the temperature peaks at roughly 5:00PM, let’s give this thing ‘till 5:00PM, and see what happens then.” Only a few moments later, not more than 5 minutes or so, and seemingly out of nowhere, strong winds began to kick-up, and a storm blew in, where after the temperature dropped into the upper-70’s—and remained there throughout evening—the coolest evening that I could recall for the previous 8 weeks.
The temperature had therefore peaked at 86 degrees—precisely what I had prayed, some 8 hours previous, and while the forecast had been that close to 100.
God was having some fun with me, by not only answering my prayer, but by immediately answering my thoughts the moment the temperature had hit 86 degrees, when I had immediately thought that “surely by 5:00 it would be much hotter.”
“…He knows the thoughts and the intentions of the heart…” (Heb. 4:12).
That evening I was reminded of God’s sense of humor. And while pondering such, I heard in my spirit: “Ya see, I really do listen to you, ya know.” I actually had a picture in my spirit, of God smiling.
Of course, there will inevitably be those possessed with hyper-faith, who will readily respond: “Of course He listens to you. And did you not know you have the power to command the weather to change its course, and call fire from heaven, just like Elijah did?”
To these, I retort that we’ve not been given the liberty to flippantly alter the weather upon command—solely for the purposes of gaining an audience and amusing ourselves. I will however grant to these, that there have been many occasions in which I have spoken directly to threatening weather, and have watched it obey. In most cases it was because of a threat to some facet of ministry in which I was engaged outdoors, or a dangerous threat to a given region.
The real essence of my thoughts today, as I reflect upon the recent day in which the Lord answered my prayer precisely, is that to underscore that He listens to us intently, and I believe He truly looks for opportunities to answer us in ways which not only bear testament of His amazing creativity, but also His kindness, and His humor.
It was only in recent years that I have begun to talk to God as if I were conversing with a friend. I have taken liberty for decades, to pray-to, call-to, plead-with, and proclaim on behalf-of the distinctly unique facets of the Godhead—God Himself—Jesus the Messiah—and the Holy Spirit—while also remaining mindful that these three-in-one will remain a mystery to me until I transition into eternity (i.e., praying-to and relating-to 3 very distinct facets of God, while yet embracing their distinct personalities—all the while accepting that they are yet “One”).
The very first power-encounter that I had with God was that which occurred on the very morning in which I asked Jesus to invade my heart, to save me, and to transform me. It was, as I recall, at or about 3:33AM—a number which would go on to repeat itself many times over, for the subsequent 37 years, and in truly profound ways. During this initial power-encounter in the summer of 1981, and as the Lord flooded my heart with His presence, I heard the voice of God for the 2nd time in my life. This time it was more riveting than had He spoken audibly, for His voice permeated my being. He simply stated, “I’m going to be your Father now” (the deepest void in my life to date). It was immediately thereafter that I began to relate to Him as a Father. However, I had no bearing upon how to relate to a father. It subsequently took me roughly 37 years to begin settling-into father-son dialog with Him, in much the same way a father and son might “shoot the breeze” while cramming hotdogs down their throats at a baseball game.
Though we surly must recognize, understand and embrace God’s sovereignty and severity, and never become lax in fear (reverence) of Him, I am yet fully convinced that He also wishes to reveal a dimension of His Fatherhood for us in a way which fills a void–especially for those who’ve grown up without an earthly father, or who were deeply wounded by one.
Romans 11:22 challenges us to “…behold the kindness and the severity of God…” It has taken me decades to come to terms with God’s “kindness.” It was His very kindness which equated to His amazing response to my prayer recently, as He commanded the weather on my behalf, precisely so, and to simply remind me that He hears me. And, I am quite certain that He had a smile on His face when He commanded the air temperature to stop at precisely 86 degrees.
Our wounds, insecurities and confused self-concept, often as the result of beat-down’s from others, cause us to not only see ourselves through distorted lenses, but they also cause us to see God through distorted lenses. Even the most mature, grounded and “dead-to-the-world” Believers among us can temporarily lose bearing on who they are in Christ—and Who Father God is to us, when the wounds come. It is a part of being human.
As we dare to step outside of our wounded selves long enough to discover new dimensions of God however, we may very well discover that He longs to relate to us in far more endearing and simplistic terms, not unlike a father—to a small child.
“Unless you become as a little child, you’ll not see the Kingdom.”
September 4, 2018
It was as a young Believer in the early ‘80s that I observed some of the more prominent abuses among those touted as being in “full-time ministry” (i.e., those who held no secular job, and who received paychecks from church congregations or ministries). My observation herein was one of many that would remain unspoken, and very private. I would for many years quietly ponder what it meant to move in “full-time ministry.”
It would be many years later, and that following a series of opportunities to transition into “full-time ministry,” that I would discover why it was that something deep within my spirit could not quite fully align itself with this concept. For I would allow my eyes to settle at one point upon a scriptural excerpt from 1 Corinthians 9, and namely versus 12 through 19, wherein the Apostle Paul clearly stated that though he had every right to expect to be supported financially for his ministry, he yet chose to work with his hands, making tents, so as to “…cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ…” (v. 12b).
It could be that someday my personal position may change, but for the present I remain a tent maker—with one foot in a very dark and demanding world (a stress-filled, strife-filled, chaotic secular job) and one foot in “full-time ministry” – around the clock – going on 37 years at this juncture.
Truth-be-known, every Believer in Christ is a “full-time minister.” The concept of “clergy” vs. “laity” is that rooted in toxic religiosity—to include abuse and excess.
In one such tent-making endeavor, which spanned a good 6 years, while I was laterally engaged in a very heavy ministry plate in many capacities; was that of owning a restorative masonry company, wherein I would often find myself atop extremely steep roofs of slate, on buildings built over 100 years previous, and while rebuilding badly eroded chimneys thereon. It was not uncommon for me to find myself in extremely dangerous positions several times a week. During this season, and without exception, whenever I would find myself gripped with fear while suddenly realizing the full extent of the dangers, I would hear a dove cooing next to me, having seemingly appeared out of nowhere. As the dove would continue to “coo,” waves of peace would envelop me to remind me that the Holy Spirit was near, and was being my “ever-present help in time of need” (Ps. 46:1).
For many years this pattern of danger, being met with the sudden appearance of a cooing dove, would follow me around. Over time I learned to love doves, and found each moment with them a precious thing. To this day doves often appear close to me, and linger in my vicinity, cooing. On each occasion it is a priceless blessing, and reminds me of the countless times in which God has shielded me from harm.
In recent weeks I have been marinating with prayer and worship, a new address in Texas, to include property line prayer-walks, and the declaration of God’s habitation herein, and for His purposes—His “house of prayer for all nations” (Mark 11:17). While doing so I had noticed early on, the saddening absence of birds, namely doves. With this realization had also come the ongoing discovery of spent 12gauge shotgun cartridges strewn about the property. Putting the pieces together, I concluded there was a spirit of terror over the birds in the vicinity of this farm. I quickly began to declare the Blood of Jesus over the property—specifically to drive-out this spirit of terror over the area birds.
Very slowly, yet surely, doves began to appear on the property, which included a little coaxing by way of me spreading bird seed at the base of a large tree in the backyard (and beneath 2 new bird feeders I’ve hung on the tree). It was then just 2 days ago, and while meditating on the Word, in quietness, on the back porch, that I was startled by a shotgun blast—aimed straight in my direction. I got to my feet to see in the distance, some 700 yards away or so, someone running off the property with something in his hands, to then disappear into a tree line on the other side of my property line. I got in my truck and worked my way through a cattle gate, and drove over to the tree line to find another truck nestled against my fence line, hidden from a distance by trees and my pond embankment, and with two men planted therein, with shotguns in-hand, as well as expressions of surprise and guilt on their faces.
Doing my best to contain myself as I discovered they were shooting doves on my property, and while realizing in an instant that the very culprits who had released this spirit of terror over the birds in the area were now facing me just a few feet away—armed; I simply asked them not to shoot doves on my property, while iterating to them that they were free to do so on their property. Engaging the two men a minute further, I discovered that they had developed a taste for doves, and they referred to them as a delicacy. In my anger all I could think of was how easy it would rather be for them to frequent a drive-through to eat the hamburger, taco, or fish sandwich of their choosing—just 10 minutes away—rather than to kill doves.
I drove away from that encounter heartbroken, to realize that all of my prayer, and my waiting, and my hope of the doves returning, had seemingly ended with the violent blasts of 12gauge shotguns.
While a gun enthusiast myself, and no stranger to a 12gauge, and that especially for self-defense purposes, I have yet never had the heart to hunt animals, as I am too much of an animal lover. I can wholly understand hunting as a means of survival. However when food can be purchased within a 10-minute drive, I simply cannot understand why men would feel driven to kill animals simply for sport.
I’m fully aware that men down through the ages have been largely “hunter-gatherer-providers,” and that hunting is “mere instinct” among men, however, unless one is living in remote Alaska in the year of our Lord 2018, one no longer needs to hunt. I’m conversely aware of the predatory nuisance of coyotes toward livestock and cattle for example, and the occasional need to scare them off as well (while most farmers and ranchers prefer to simply shoot them on-site).
I am aware of the many “studies” which suggest many animal species in the U.S. must be consistently hunted, to “control growth.” I’ve never fully been able to buy-into the statistics therein. Perhaps my failed buy-in is that rooted in my love of animals—rendering me unable to understand. If so, I stand guilty.
Lest the reader preclude that I’m subtly building a case for veganism; just hold on to yer horses now, as I’m building no such case. And, you must know, that to the radical contrary, it was I who personally coined the phrase “Militant Vegan,” some 10 years ago—a phrase to denote radical Vegan’s who hate anyone who is not a Vegan. These worship animals while having no problem aborting babies (“fuzzy math”). These insist on telling everyone that they’re a Vegan—before anyone asks. A timely joke to this end, goes as follows: Question: “How do you know when someone is a Vegan?” Answer: “You know it the moment you encounter them, as they’ve told you long before you even thought to ask.”
Since addressing the dove-hunters several days back at this juncture, other species of birds have begun to show up on the farm, to include Blue Herons, Killdeers (which look, act, and sound just like small Sand Pipers); some small breed of what appear to be white Cranes (dozens of them), and more doves.
Thank you Lord.
The dove, in its gentleness, grace and beauty, has long symbolized the movement of the Holy Spirit. To discern and recognize His movement requires heightened sensitivity—the same sensitivity which evokes sadness at the sight of doves unnecessarily being killed.
I cannot condemn those who hunt for sport. I simply don’t understand it, and perhaps never will. Nor can I condemn those who don a vegan diet, for there is great merit in such. In the same way, I cannot condemn eaters of meat, for I include such in my diet.
May God spare me from ever having to witness the abuse of defenseless animals again. And may he grace me with an abundance of opportunities to care for the same for the remainder of my days—in the same way that He graces me ongoing with an abundance of opportunities to care for abused and defenseless human beings.
July 21, 2018
Throughout a twenty year span of unique “tent making” within the federal contracting arena, and that exclusively occurring on military bases and/or federal disaster remediation/response sites throughout the country, I have very recently found myself in both Texas and Louisiana, toggling between two project sites within the same. In so doing it was earlier today that I found myself wince with emotion as I drove unexpectedly through a patch of countryside which I had no idea was so near to the city in which I was staying for another few days.
I was driving to a newly booked hotel, to escape the torment of late night hotel shenanigans from a previous area hotel—late night shenanigans which had plagued me for several days previous to this point; that of people slamming doors, talking loudly in hallways, chirping car alarms, talking loudly on cell phones in the parking lot and in hallways; making drug deals in the parking lot, and engaging in prostitution in the hotel rooms. The hotel in which I was previously booked gave the outward appearance of being “nice,” and a common business standard, as most people understand such. However it was as the sun would go down that my nightly torment would ensue—sleeplessness.
On the final morning of my traumatizing stay in the previous hotel, I was walking toward my truck in the heavily populated parking lot, when I noticed another truck entering the lot on the far end. The truck made a semi-circular turn and stopped abruptly, facing me, from a distance of 100 yards. I knew in an instant, via a word of knowledge, that he was waiting for me to exit the parking lot, to follow me. The truck followed mine throughout town, even thru obscure alleyways, for some time. When I finally decided to end the saga, I drove into a new residential subdivision and looked for a cul-de-sac, that I could lure the driver to, that we could face-off. Toward the end of the cul-de-sac I sped-up, whipped around quickly (the same way he had done back at the hotel) and headed back toward him head-on. Just as he slammed on his brakes I pulled around him and to within inches of his door, facing him not more than 2 feet away, and rolled down my window. Having flown to the area I had been stripped of a firearm, and was solely at the mercy of my fists—and angelic help. As he then rolled his window down I said very directly and loudly, “So, what’s it going to be?!” His eyes were erratically rolling back in his head—he was demonized. Without saying a word he raised his pelvis high enough in the window to reveal himself—masturbating. He then rendered a series of vile things to me verbally.
I rebuked the man, and the demons in him. Had he not been armed (a word of knowledge told me he had a pistol in his hidden hand), I would have opted to drag him out of his truck, throw him to the ground, and command the demons to flee from him—even if it meant punching the demons out of him.
Reeling from the high-adrenaline encounter, I sped-off and continued an evasive course throughout town, keeping an eye on my mirrors. As I did so, and with an ill-timed twinge of humor I recalled the 1000s of instances over the previous 35+ years wherein people had manifested demons in my immediate presence–to include that within “church.” Thankfully, within at least 2/3’s of these instances, I’ve had the liberty and latitude to expel the demons. In this case however, wisdom told me to stand-down and leave.
As I made my way from the hotel earlier today, while yet reeling from the saga of the previous day, to find the newly booked (next) hotel which was situated in a country setting, thankfully, I unexpectedly met with an open expanse of countryside while driving. It was simply overwhelming for me as I gazed into a massive corn field, and moments later a large field of “hey elephants,” followed by a large field of what appeared to be soybeans, and then a series of uniquely southern farm houses. It had been more than 18 months since I had experienced a glimpse of such vast, open fields. It was such a shocking relief, in immediate contrast to the perpetual vice and noise of the hotel I had just left.
Hours later, as I returned to my new hotel room following a few errands, I noticed a cat slinking its way around my end of the hotel. I spoke to the cat for few moments, a wild cat, and sought to call it to me. It was too frightened to respond, and disappeared into some bushes. The sight of the cat was as well a blessing, and reminded me of how much I love and miss my two cats at home in Washington State.
Moments after I spoke with the cat, to include some squeaky-chirping sounds, I thought I heard someone mocking me. I had just exited my truck after talking-with and calling-to the cat, and turned around to find a Mocking Bird perched on a ground-level hotel sign maybe fifteen yards from me. The bird was mimicking my very call to the cat. It then went on to sing a most beautiful song. Each distinct section of the song lasted maybe five seconds in length, and each section was distinct, no two sections were the same. Mesmerized, I stood there with a few grocery bags in hand, and simply marveled at the beautiful sounds coming from this bird. Once in my hotel room I could still hear the music coming from this bird. I then returned to the parking lot to enjoy it for another ten minutes or more. The bird was near a roadway as it flitted between a hotel sign and a tree, and I saw a steady stream of $50K-$60K SUV’s pass, wherein air-condition people sat marveling over the strange man staring at a bird, in a hotel parking lot. For a moment it dawned on me, the primal thoughts going through the minds of the motorists and passengers: “Hmmm, a most peculiar sight. We are nicely air-conditioned, insulated from the sweltering 96 degree air and 96% humidity, discussing our terminal pursuits of comfort-and-convenience, and while insulated from the noise of road traffic; and this strange man is dripping with sweat, and smiling as he stares at a bird, in a hotel parking lot.”
As I type, in my hotel room, I’ve managed to raise the window that I can listen to the mocking bird. In unison with the mocking bird is the cooing of multiple doves, as well as the barking of a squirrel in a nearby tree. The combination of the apparent peace at this hotel, which is a southern plantation style hotel, considered a “Boutique Hotel,” with the arresting sounds of nature, has me so very grateful for the blessings of nature on the heels of three days of hotel mania.
For the past eighteen months I have enjoyed sporadic glimpses of forested tundra as I have frequented hiking trails on foot or 4×4 trails in my Jeep, near my home. These ventures however have not been without the perpetual stress of extreme automobile traffic to-and-from the trails. It was not until earlier today, following eighteen months of perpetual automobile traffic that I found myself face-to-face with the beautiful sights and sounds of nature, once again, this time in the Deep South.
It appears to be no accident to me that I emerged from three days of perpetual noise, vice, aggression and extreme fatigue, to be met with a series of priceless encounters with simple elements of God’s creation.
I have for the past ten years most pointedly, observed the acceleration of vice, and it’s every expression, weaving its way into the masses, and that no longer reserved for “bad guys.” I have witnessed the acceleration of shocking levels of evil in automobile traffic, wherein people casually risk fatal accidents as they insist on preserving their lane or space in traffic, or in and through countering what was perceived as some sort of slight by another motorist.
I have for the past ten years most pointedly, observed the increased callousness of people working the retail industry, underscoring that the concept of “customer service” is a value that died with the onset of the 21st Century.
I have for the past ten years most pointedly, observed an acceleration of emptiness, despair and meaninglessness in the faces of those who refuse to acknowledge the Lordship of Yeshua—Jesus the Messiah.
As I observe the growing tide of all of these dynamics, not unlike an incoming tide at a given coastal shoreline; and as I compare and contrast such with the consistency of the beauty and joy I meet within nature; I am reminded of two pointed excerpts of scripture which will serve to underscore what I’m feeling today and communicating today. The first excerpt is that of a sobering reminder of the times in which we’re living (the End-Times). The second excerpt is that of a reminder of a special gift which God has given us, a gift which serves to help us survive the times in which we live, as Believers.
The first excerpt: “Because lawlessness is increased, many people’s love will grow cold” (Matt. 24:12, NASB).
I have long believed that this End-Times warning applies to both Non-Believers and Believers. For unless we daily fan the flame of intimacy fire with the Lord, we risk, in these very dark times, succumbing to the spiritual coldness all about us. And, as we would succumb to such, we will meet with corresponding hardness, numbness, insensitivity and indifference to some of the most precious gifts God has given us, and which are very often right before our eyes—and along the roadside as we speed toward our next self-indulgent day on any given highway.
The second excerpt: “…since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made [e.g., that to include nature]…” (Romans 1:20, NASB).
It is daily, at this stage, that I thank God for how He speaks to me, and how He blesses me, in and through nature, and countless precious animals. Most certainly He speaks to me through fellow Believers, but He also speaks to me, and to us, through very precious elements of nature. And, if we will force ourselves to slow down long enough, we will recognize His still-small-voice speaking to us—very often through a still-small-creature, a creature which has been divinely placed in our path, to simply bless us.
October 28, 2017
I have long viewed Holy Spirit-induced dreams as precious gifts, for with rare exception they contain messages which are critical, vital, strategic and of course–divinely timed.
Deep in the night last night, I was given a dream which spoke redemption to a very trying season I’ve just entered. For very recently I’ve return to a vocation (my version of “tent making”) which has spanned a sporadic 16 years or so, and which is for the most part extremely taxing physically, mentally and emotionally.
Retiring for the night, I was thoroughly exhausted, in physical pain, and in emotional pain as the result of the severe level of tinnitus screeching in my head–which is exacerbated by the environment in which I work. Feeling like an utter failure in my new position; a position I’ve held many times prior; I eventually drifted off to sleep, to then enter a dream in which I was interacting with others in the industry. As I interacted at an industry-related conference of some sort, I found myself introducing and connecting men to each other–making strategic connections, all the while knowing prophetically of why it was strategic that I connect these men in this way.
As the dream continued to unfold I found myself wandering to another area of what I had now discovered was actually an extremely large conference, which seemed endless. I found myself alone, and wandering through beautiful desert valleys, ravines, canyons etc., with soil very much like Moab Utah, with its endless hues of redish soil, and the purple-like hues experienced when the sun dances upon it in the early morning and early evening. I knew inwardly that the terrain symbolized a portion of the conference, and the industry in general, though the industry in the natural, in reality, is quite morbid and depressing.
As I continued through the desert-like terrain, again very much like Moab Utah, I began hearing a band playing in the distance. I knew that it was a high-point in the conference that everyone had looked forward to. Assuming it to be just another rock band, a party-band, I began to realize in a matter of seconds that this band was actually world-class, and had fused rock-like music with worship. As I then made it to within a few hundred yards of the band, aware that a large crowd would be gathered around the band, I was yet navigating the final few moments of the beautiful desert-like terrain while I enjoyed my final few seconds of solitude, knowing that at any moment I would round the hillside and meet with the crowd. Just before I did see the crowd I recognized song lyrics which wholly glorified God. Even more so, I recognized the powerful anointing upon the music. I then stopped in my tracks, began to weep with joy, and began slowly lifting my hands toward heaven.
As I continued to reach my hands toward heaven I realized that the process was a little difficult. My arms had atrophied, as it had been so long since I had lifted them toward heaven in worship. As I fully released my hands to be fully extended toward heaven, I awakened from the dream.
The message in this dream is quite clear; despite the carnage experienced in one’s secular vocation, we have the hope of seeing God’s redemptive movement therein, as we remain committed to planting and watering Kingdom seeds along the way. If we will simply ask Him to continually show us divine purpose in what we’re doing, even when the atmosphere is terribly trying and even morbid, He will give us the spiritual eyes to see what He is doing through us (John 5:19).
God knew precisely what I needed to understand about my new job. And, it has sustained me looking forward. May this dream speak to someone else who happens upon this recounting of such.
Our overarching call is that to be “fishers of men” (Matt. 4:19), irrespective of the unique ministries to which we’re called, and irrespective of how our secular vocations appear to have no redemptive value–it all ultimately leads to glorifying God–and “drawing all men unto Him” (John 12:32).
May 27, 2017
“Joybee the Wonder Dog”
2001 – 2017
A few days ago I held our precious miniature dachshund “Joybee” in my arms as our local vet enabled her to transition from perpetual pain, to perpetual peace. Joybee was 16 years old.
Moments beforehand I whispered several times to her, how much we loved her, how much she had been such a precious blessing to our lives, and how much we were looking forward to seeing her in heaven. I repeatedly kissed her on the head and nose, to remind her of how much Daddy and Mommy loved her.
It was in the Spring of 2001 that I returned home from what was positioned as another surfing-session (we lived by the beach at the time), with Joybee in hand. I had told my wife (Gigi) that I’d be gone a few hours to do some surfing, while in fact I had an appointment to pick up little Joybee, who was then 6 weeks old, and who was the smallest of a litter of 9 (as I recall) miniature dachshunds. Upon arriving at the breeder’s house I watched 8 tiny puppies frolic about on her living room floor. She had just posted an ad for their availability, and I was the first to see them. While enjoying the circus of puppy play I happened to notice the smallest puppy hiding behind the woman’s ankle. All I could see was the whites of the puppy’s eyes, as it gave me a perpetual side-glance in its shyness. I knew in a moment that she was “the one.”
As I drove her home I held her with one hand, against my chest, and I recall that sweet puppy smell. As I walked up the steps of our condo at the time, I saw Gigi sunning on the front balcony. I put one hand behind my back with Joybee nestled therein. She was the size of a “Twinkie” at the time. I told Gigi to close her eyes and open her hands. I then placed Joybee in her hands. When Gigi opened her eyes she wept with joy—which is when the puppy was named “Joy” – and later donned a modified name of my making—“Joybee.”
Joy would go on to embody her name, by imparting joy to everyone who met her. We continually marveled how, when we were in public with her, “gang bangers” especially would melt, and simply say, “awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwe,” and smile. She would melt the hearts of the hardest hearts who encountered her.
Joybee would later be dubbed “Joybee the Wonder Dog” as I began giving her surfing lessons at my favorite surf spot, which I then dubbed “Doggie Beach”—just for Joybee. The beach was originally named “Folly Beach”—until Joybee came along.
As I began to push Joybee into small waves on one of my surfboards I was amazed at how she would simply ride it out and then jump off when the ride was over. On one such day a fellow surfer approached me laughing heartily, and was blown away by Joybee’s surfing prowess. He went on to say that he had trained his dog to do the same, and was actually forming a Doggie Surfing Contest, to occur later in the year. He was certain Joybee would rank very high in the competition. We would go on to move out of state before the contest occurred. I’m certain she would have taken 1st Place.
On the way to “Doggie Beach” we would pass “Bert’s Market,” which was the only mini-mart for the surfing community in the area. They always had toasty corn dogs ready for consumption, and I would always stop there just minutes before hitting the beach, that Joybee would have a corn dog. On the occasions that I would drive by Bert’s Market, forgetting our ritual, I would turn to see Joybee staring at me—reminding me that I had forgotten her “corn doggie” at Bert’s Market. I would then turn around and buy her a corn dog before hitting the surf.
Joybee loved frolicking on the beach and sniffing-out blue crabs from the rock pilings. She would eat them on the spot. It would sound like a child with a mouthful of potato chips.
Joybee would go on to win the hearts of a sea of people, including a sea of dogs, one such dog named “Louie” (our neighbor’s dog)—a 140 pound hound who made her look like a mouse while standing next to him. Louie may have actually been a Rhodesian Ridge Back, I don’t clearly recall. To express her affection for Louie she would stand upright, not unlike the begging position, reach up and hug his nose with her paws, and lick him on the nose. Louie once saved her by fending-off a silent attack from a local Pit Bull who had charged her from behind me when I was walking her, and where I could not see the attack coming. I did not realize what was unfolding until Louie, who had just joined our walk, let out a low growl, turned and jumped behind me, and grabbed the charging Pit Bull by the neck when it was inches away from Joybee, and slammed it to the ground on its back, following which the Pit Bull scurried off as Louie went on the attack. The incident lasted all of 3 seconds. Louie became Joybee’s hero that day.
It was while reflecting upon what a gift Joybee was to me and Gigi, and so many others, that I realized that she had loved everyone she met—unconditionally. It is for this reason that her departure weighs so heavily upon our hearts, and also why the loss of other animals has pierced our hearts in this way. There can be no mistaking that animals are a gift to us, from God, to bring us joy, laughter and comfort, and more importantly to teach us a profound example of what unconditional love looks like—the same unconditional love which motivated God to send a Savior to us—to die for us. It is the indescribable pain of having to make the decision to end such a precious life that speaks to me, albeit in the form of but a microcosm of such pain, of God’s love for us when He made the decision to allow His own Son to be crucified for us.
I contrast the unconditional love that Joybee perpetually oozed, with the human makeup, and I realize that what she demonstrated, and what other precious animals of ours have demonstrated, is all that we human beings can ever hope to attain in this lifetime—it is the greatest achievement a human being can render in this lifetime. And, to have a precious little being in our midst for 16 years, in the case of Joybee; the loss is painful to put to words. As I have said this, I know that many reading such will bear witness to having endured the same.
You are terribly missed, Joybee. Thank you for being such a precious gift to me and Gigi. You will never be forgotten, and I look forward to kissing you once again on the head and hugging you.
February 5, 2017
It was a few days ago, Friday I believe, that I learned from an Internet service installer that the Super Bowl was to occur on Sunday (today).
This reveals how little I pay attention to traditional sports. Though I had discovered the Super Bowl was to occur today, I was yet unaware of who was playing; the technician did not know, when I asked him on Friday.
It was just yesterday then, that I learned of who was playing—the Patriots and the Falcons. When I learned this, something began to brew in my spirit about the word “Patriot.”
As I awakened this morning, Game Day, I prayed a simple prayer: “Lord, I ask that you would miraculously cause the Patriots to win, as a word to the nation, that I may in turn share this word.”
I had used the word “miraculous” to underscore an unbelievable come-back, which would in turn speak something deeply to Americans. Shortly after praying such, I shared my prayer with my wife, “just for the record.”
As the day went on we wound up spending most of the game on the road, out and about, shopping. We do not have television. We did not listen to the car radio about the game.
As we settled-into some quite-time in our living room later in the evening, my wife checked her smartphone for status of the game. It was the 4th quarter, and the Patriots were down, 28 to 3. It looked impossible. I continued to pray for the “miraculous.” Mind you once again, I am not a football fan, and was not emotionally intertwined in the game, but simply wishing for the word of the Lord to be fulfilled, that I might in turn share the same.
As my wife checked her smartphone just a little while later, we saw the final score: Patriots = 34, Falcons = 28. The Patriots had won, “miraculously.”
Herein is the word: God honored the cries of American Christians and the prayers of Christians globally, leading up to and including the late night hours of the presidential election. Those of us who knew the implications of a Clinton victory also knew that the remains of the ravaged nation would be completely destroyed, and America would thereafter no longer be recognizable.
The presidential election was won by Patriots—in desperation, and the win did not come until after midnight—beyond “regulation.” For deep in the night, in the wee hours of the following morning, a battle had ensued, something deeply nefarious was underway, and which we may never know. It was then that intercessors throughout the country had felt a deep guttural and gnawing unrest, as if something were very wrong. It was then that the midnight oil was burned, and the Patriots spoke-out the impossible, crying-out for God to redeem the nation, with a win.
Since Donald Trump’s inauguration, wickedness at shocking levels has risen up to counter his every effort to redeem the course of the nation, so much so that many Patriots have wondered if their battle was all for not, and whether the nefarious deeds of the godless masses would prevail in wholly thwarting Trump’s plan to restore authentic Patriotism to the nation.
The Super Bowl win today is a word to the Believers in this nation, to never, ever, ever give up, and to remain in a posture of pressing-in, beyond “game regulation,” while believing that Patriotism and belief in the lost motto of “In God We Trust,” can be restored.
Though the Kingdom of God must remain first, and our American Patriotism must remain second, we need to receive the word of the Lord today, following His demonstration of the miraculous, by redeeming the soul of this nation, for a season long enough to redeem the lost souls in America, before the End Times unveil their most treacherous hour.
Irrespective of how you feel about the notion of God’s hand in the Super Bowl game today, I challenge you to come to terms with the reality that God did in fact shower his grace upon the Patriots, giving them the supernatural will to believe for a win—as a word just for you–a word of encouragement, and a divine remainder to stay in the game, even when it looks very dim. Believe that God can redeem what appears to be a lost cause, and do the miraculous.
“Behold I am the Lord God, the God of all flesh, is there anything too difficult for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27).
January 21, 2017
Day-9 of this 21-day fast marked the onset of the worst case of the flu that I have experienced in my adult life, which spanned 12 days, markedly subsiding only today.
It is highly likely that by divulging the above I am merely whining to the largest audience possible, while at the same time attempting to posture myself as some hyper-spiritual guru. Maybe I can convince a few of you, for a time anyway.
I whine further. It is difficult to describe the assault on the body when a severe flu bug has chosen to compliment an extended fast. At one point I feared I would slip over to “the other side,” remaining no longer earthbound. I believe the only thing which kept me from slipping-over, was my deep desire to surf a particular wave 2 hours west of me. With nearly 25 years of surfing under my belt between both coasts, I’ve yet to charge the spot in question. I must do so in due season—before “slipping over.”
In Psalm 98:7, King David shouts, “Let the sea roar, and all it contains…!” I believe this to represent the very first occurrence of someone yelling, “Surf’s up!” I tend to think David surfed in Haifa, actually, which has a great left hand “barrel” with a southwesterly wind, so I’m told. I’ve been to the beach there on 3 occasions, all the while wishing I had a board with me. Maybe next time…
As I may have expressed to some degree in my previous post, I have for 8 years carried a gripping and sometimes crippling prophetic awareness of the depths of the evils spawned by the White House during this period—evils far in excess of anything that had ever emanated from the White House since the birth of the U.S. It was very clear to me, through prophetic lenses, in the Fall of 2007, the spirit which was destined to camp within the White House, for the sole purpose of utterly destroying the soul of the nation. The Spirit of Antichrist and corresponding Spirit of Lawlessness did just that, by ripping-up nearly every fiber of the original fabric of this once-great nation, and coming dangerously close to turning it into a Marxist wasteland—far beyond the comprehension of most Americans.
Donald Trump, who has taken office as an act of God’s mercy, has inherited one hellish mess of a nation, again, beyond the comprehension of most Americans. He needs the ardent prayers of the Saints, around the clock, that he may be empowered to turn the tide of the shocking destruction sown into the U.S. over an 8 year span.
At the spear tip of the impetus for my fast was that of a plea for divine warring against the strategy on the part of the New World Order and it’s Deep State regime in D.C. to thwart the inauguration scheduled for January 20th — just yesterday as of this writing; as well as divine protection over Donald Trump, in the face of the very real potential for his assassination by the same–a very real potential which remains.
Very few in the U.S. know that (2) Russian ambassadors were assassinated within a week of each other just a month ago, followed by the downing of a Russian jet with 80 military officers on board. This series of events occurred within days of Obama stating on international television that he would “choose a place and time and means of his choosing to retaliate toward Russian for hacking the election process.” Most Americans were so caught up in social media and entertainment bliss that they failed to connect these critical dots. These retaliatory actions (based on the erroneous assertion of Russian hacking) were those carried out by the Deep State, with Obama acting as their puppet—for the sole purposes of luring Russia into war; this combined with a massive build-up of U.S. troops and armament along a vast expanse of the Russian boarder (in place as I type). Had Russia been drawn into war, Obama would have declared a national state of emergency combined with martial law—which would have given him the technical liberty to remain in office, thus indefinitely postponing Donald Trump’s transition (I have warned about the playing-out of these events for over 4 years—in writing).
In tandem with the above recent assassinations of Russians, and as equally alluded to above, and for further clarification; the Democratic Party began a new phase of their nefarious psy-ops by fabricating the ridiculous fable that Russia had hacked the election process, asserting that more than a dozen “intelligence agencies” (16 agencies or so) had produced convincing data. They would fabricate utter nonsense and false-data to convince the nation, and Donald Trump himself, that the election had been hacked. Tens of millions of deceived Americans bought the nonsense, hook, line and sinker.
*Note: What you must know, as a Believer, is that as you expose yourself to mainstream media, to include social media, you in turn expose yourself to the toxic tentacles of witchcraft, which in turn have a deluding effect upon the mind (consider the alternate news mediums I have listed within the “Links” page of this site–some of which are owned and managed by Believers).
Most Americans cannot possibly imagine the deeper levels of evil which were working in and through the White House over the past 8 years, to include the covert funding of Islamic terrorism, to the tune of many billions of dollars. Most Americans remain wholly unaware that Obama is a Marxist-Islamic Jihadist—at the highest level. Most Americans are also wholly unaware that Obama plans to set-up camp within walking distance of the White House, to now assume the role of full-time anti-Trump Agitator for the duration of Trump’s presidency, in an effort to discount, subvert, counter and overthrow all that Trump sets his hands to in his attempts to salvage what is left of this nation.
The reader at this point, may be inclined to quip, “You keep using the phrase, ‘most Americans,’ as a sweeping generalization. Are you not exaggerating a bit?” Quite frankly, no, I am not, for I interact with a very large cross-section of the same, and the evidence is quite clear.
It could be that I did not have to belabor the gruesome details of what is truly at work within the shadows of our nation. However it is critical that I offer a cursory glimpse of such, to in turn share with the reader a hint of the warfare in which I have engaged over the past 8 years, in and through intercession and shouting from the watchtowers and warning and calling the Body of Yeshua to ardently join in interceding. During this 8 year saga the most intense has been that which occurred in these final 21 days—leading right up through this very day—January 21, 2017.
As expressed in my previous post of January 17th, over the past 8 years I have been stung by a multi-legged emotional beast in the form of anger, anguish, sadness, bitterness, anxiety, stress and sporadic depression—solely as the result of seeing in the spirit realm what was occurring in and through the White House, while a harlot of a church slept in an ignorant stupor, denying and refuting what I was shouting from the watchtower. Tens of millions of other Believers in this nation have suffered the same, while succumbing to antidepressants and candy-store-Christian-counseling. Not until the month of October did these tens of millions of Believers meet with such collective desperation over realizing the implications of a Clinton presidency—to extend Obama’s reign of terror–that they dropped to their knees and cried out to God for His mercy in sparing the nation from complete destruction—the final 5% of what was/is left of the original founding fabric of this nation. And God heard their cries; mine included, and sovereignly responded in mercy, by allowing Trump to make his transition to office—upon which we have entered a Season of Mercy.
This is the very fulfillment of a word I composed within the original “Welcome” page of this web site on 12-12-12 (i.e., December 12th, 2012), with reference to Jeremiah 50:5, wherein a sea of devastated people, following the destruction of Babylon, cry-out to God in desperation, “Please show us the way to Zion!” The Hebrew word for Zion is “Tzion,” which means literally, “the pure in heart.” Americans therefore cried-out to God to show them how to return to a place of purity as a nation, and more importantly—a Church. And, He is giving the Western Church another chance to turn from her Babylonian harlotry, to wash her robes, to come clean, and to renew her right-standing before a holy God. As the Body of Yeshua therefore continues in repentance (Hebrew, “teshuvah”) we will see God’s mercy breathing life back into the U.S. – not just for the purposes of healing the economy that we can resume our pursuit of “the American Dream,” but for the purposes of granting the Saints the grace to clean up their lives that they can get down to the business saving souls—the souls they have allowed to slip through their hands while they’ve played the harlot for so many years. And, it was because of our harlotry that God lifted His hand of grace from this nation in November of 2008, and allowed the Spirit of Antichrist to weave a web around the White House.
For the lateral record, I have long suggested that those in pursuit of “the American Dream” re-read Acts 2:42-47 and see how Scripture lines-up with such the pursuit.
I have given you both barrels, dear reader. And perhaps more lead than you had bargained for. Perhaps you should consider however that I’ve just paid a severe price over the past 21 days—a price for YOUR PERSONAL FREEDOM. I have earned the right to speak to you this painfully uncomfortable truth about our nation—truth which you have perhaps been led to believe is “conspiracy theory.” Friend, if your discernment meter is in the “ON” position, you should have no problem discerning that there is no “theory” in what I’ve just shared with you relative to what the White House has hosted over the past 8 years (or more accurately—what the White House has been entrapped by for the past 8 years).
I shared in my previous post of January 17th, that God had dealt with my heart during this painful fast, in a way that He reserves for extended times of prayer and fasting, about the anger and bitterness I had carried for 8 years in the face of the unspeakable evils emanating from the White House, destroying the nation and empowering terrorism around the globe. I have since given this anger and bitterness to the Lord, and have in return received a measure of supernatural peace in its stead. I now address the same subject matter as pertains to this nation—minus the bitterness—yet with increased confidence, conviction, boldness and authority.
While Barack Hussein Obama occupied the White House, I occasionally prayed a very unorthodox prayer for him, one which would create rather pointed theological dissonance for most reading this (“There he goes, with that sweeping generalization again”) were I to divulge such. That’s between me and the Lord. What I will say, and which duly corresponds to what I occasionally prayed, is that he was not the “president” of the United States; he was in office illegally. He was not “God’s governmental servant” (see 1 Timothy 1:1-2 and 1 Peter 2:13-14, 17). He was not placed in office to “lead” our government. He was rather allowed to slither into office (a key distinction here) as a measure of divine judgment, as a terrorist—not a “political leader,” as God had lifted His hand of grace from our nation and allowed the deceived and delusional masses to follow their delusion right into the voting booths. Obama was and is wholly yielded to extreme evil, and has become a perpetual agent of destruction–a spirit bent upon perpetual agitation. Most Americans have grossly underestimated the level of evil in which he walks, a gross underestimate on the part the western church as well.
What most Americans are equally ignorant of, is the fact that Obama has his sights set upon leading the United Nations. If he does so opt to pursue such the post, the same New World Order who helped placed him in the White House (with the assistance of rogue elements within the CIA) will help him obtain the post at the UN. What the reader must know on this note, is that the UN has devolved into a state of evil, increasingly so, over several decades, resembling at this stage nothing more than a large pack of rabid hyenas with blood stains about their jaws–as they perpetually pounce upon the “Apple of God’s eye” — Israel (see Zechariah 2:8).
As I have stated before, Obama was never officially the “president.” I have said all of this again; to in turn say that conversely I have not ceased praying for Donald Trump for the past 60 days, and most intensely over the past 21 days. And I will pray for him daily, while he remains in office. And I have said this, to in turn challenge you to also pray for Donald Trump, daily, as time marches forward.
Foremost, Donald Trump needs our prayers for his personal safety, as the New World Order and its Deep State in Washington D.C. want him dead. I’m sorry to be so blunt, but this happens to be the brutal truth of the matter.
God has given the United States a season of mercy, a season in which Believers can get their lives back into divine order, cleaned up, and recalibrated to get on with the business of leading souls to the saving knowledge of Yeshua—in and through a resurrected Church which may be illuminated and positioned “like a light upon a hill” (Matthew 5:14).
January 17, 2017
Day 17 into my 21-day fast, I found myself exiting my 2nd floor bathroom when I clearly heard in my spirit, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and will show you great and mighty things which you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3).
Just then I look at the other end of the room to see my clock reading “3:32.” As it then struck 3:33 I plopped down and entered into another session of prayer.
Jeremiah 33:3 has been my favorite verse in all of the Bible, for many years. And, for many years I have prayed Jeremiah 33:3 at 3:33PM, literally thousands of times at this stage. However today, fuzzy-headed as the result of the flu, and stressed over work issues, I had wholly forgotten this very special time of prayer. And, the Holy Spirit saw fit to remind me of such, 1 minute prior to my special time.
It was many years ago, for a span of a full year or so, that the Lord awakened me at precisely 3:33AM, following which I would immediately glance at my clock, to find it reading “3:33.” For the longest time I would simply lay there, wishing I could sleep, as sleep had so terribly alluded me for many more years as the result of a neurological affliction. And so I would lay there and whine, while praying a pathetically impotent prayer, and eventually go back to sleep.
In time the Lord spoke very clearly to my spirit on one of these 3:33AM episodes: “Read Jeremiah 33:3.” As I read it, I not only knew that I was supposed to pray it, but was also to pray with respect to the fulfillment of a profound word from Him, and corresponding encounter with Him on day-9 of a 9 day fast, which happened to be on 09-09-99 (i.e., September 9th, 1999), on a mountain top in North Carolina.
Having prayed Jeremiah 33:3 at 3:33AM, and at 3:33PM for many years, I would go on to see the very fulfillment of all that the Lord had spoken to me on 09-09-99. The fulfillment of such was that to occur in Jerusalem–Israel. To mark the occasion I asked a local jeweler in Jerusalem to create for me a ring which reads “Jeremiah 33:3,” in Hebrew. It is one of my most precious possessions, and it is rare that it is not on my right index finger.
Of all that I’ve witnessed of God’s “great and mighty things,” and especially since my colorful encounter of 09-9-99, there remains one particular great and mighty thing which He has done for me, over and again, to include that within the past 17 days of this 21-day fast. For paramount among all that I’ve witnessed, is that which He does within the secret chambers of one’s heart.
I have witnessed a number of creative miracles in my day, to include a woman’s leg growing 6″ before my eyes in 1990, and a 72 year old man receiving a new eye in place of a glass eye, in 1982. The atmosphere at both of these events was truly electrifying. However, nothing is quite as beautiful as that which occurs when God softens, changes, heals, cleanses and sets-free the deep chambers of bondage hidden within the secret corridors of one’s heart. We are transformed from the inside-out, and a changed heart, a healed heart, beautifies all that is without.
In the past 8 years that I have wrestled in the spirit-realm with the hideous levels of deceit and treachery stemming from a nation held hostage by a diabolical regime set upon the complete annihilation of the country, I have allowed a perpetual stream of anger to plague me. Though this can readily be defined as “righteous indignation,” it has yet taken its toll, as it has been perpetual for 8 years.
In the past 36 hours, and in the form of an answer to a number of heart-cries during my fast, a divine softening has occurred in my heart, and a subsequent release from 8 years of hardness therein–very pointed hardness toward the unspeakable evils brewing within the White House–revealed wholly through prophetic lenses–revealing a reality far beyond that depicted in mainstream media.
During the past 36 hours an excerpt from Ephesians (4:26 thru 5:2) has broken-through 8 years of battle-hardness. The excerpt reads in part, “Be angry and sin not: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil…do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God…let all bitterness, wrath, anger…be put away from you…be tender hearted…walk in love…”.
I’ve been reading the Word for nearly 36 years, and have read this excerpt, along with many others like it, literally 100s of times. However, the Holy Spirit can cause His Word to come alive as if it were the first time reading such, for the hungry new Believer.
Eight years of intense battle takes its toll on a soldier. This particular battle is coming to an end, in just a few days–God willing. And though I will continue to speak directly to the plague of anarchy and deception enveloping the nation, I am duly reminded that as the sun goes down I must place my armor and sword against the wall–in order to sleep comfortably, peacefully, and deeply.
January 15, 2017
Day 15 into my 21-day fast, I met with a precious word from the Lord, and through a precious vehicle.
Of the handful of very pointed things I have been praying for and about during this time, is that of clear vision of the precise facets of ministry in which I should be focusing. I am involved in so many facets of ministry that at times I lose sight of priorities.
This morning “Wylie-Meister,” one of two of my cats, jumped up on my bed to awaken me. Wylie-Meister likes to carry tiny things around in his mouth. The tinier the better. He then drops them in the funniest places. This morning after waking me up, he hopped down and left the room. As I sat up I look down upon the bed where he had perched only moments prior. There on the bed lay a blood-red guitar pick in the shape of a heart. This particular guitar pick (1mm in thickness) is fashioned to resemble the common artistic caricature of a heart. The moment I saw the guitar pick, I heard in my spirit: “Heart of David.”
I knew in and instant that the Holy Spirit was answering my prayer, and reminding me that worshiping Him, on guitar, should remain among the few of my highest priorities in ministry. I was also dully reminded of the 100s of times I’ve shared while teaching and speaking abroad, that the greatest ministry of our lifetimes will be that which is ministry to the Lord–to Him alone; our fruitfulness in all other facets of ministry flow from that priority alone.
I have since carved-out more time to spend on the guitar, growing in skill and losing myself in worshiping Him.
*Photos of Wylie-Meister and his surrogate mother (“Joybee the Wonder Dog”), below:
January 8, 2017
Upon day-8 of a 21-day fast through January 21st, I took the opportunity during a busy schedule to bundle-up and take a prayer-hike on one of the many wooded trails in my region—a region new to me, as a new resident (or, more appropriately, an implant) to the same.
Within the first 100 yards or so of my hike I met with 3 separate posted signs warning of bear sightings, accompanied by warnings to keep dogs on leashes as the result. Maybe 15 minutes further into my hike I with met with a precious little bird, a species I had yet to encounter. It was very tiny and round, with a very short, stubby tail. It looked like a miniature Sand Piper, and was not larger than a Finch. It initially darted-out from the woods to the left of me and came within inches of my feet. The bird then zig-zag’d in front of me, keeping me from taking normal steps. After a few seconds it appeared to me to be attempting to distract me from its nest; to lure me into following it away from its nest to protect its young. After 25 feet or so it darted back into the woods, assured that I wasn’t about to violate the nest.
Not unlike my encounters with all animals, especially small ones, my heart melts when I see them, and they have been used all of my life to soften my heart and speak something to me.
In the case of this tiny bird, it appeared to be responding to an eminent threat, and was willing to risk its life to protect that which was dear to it. From my perspective, all I could do was smile, wishing that I could reassure it that all was well.
I saw myself in that little bird, as I have long felt an eminent threat in the form of the potential for national chaos in my country, as the present ruling party makes every attempt to disrupt a peaceful transition of power in the coming weeks. And, as I have scurried about in an effort to protect that which is dear to me, I forget that God, far above my circumstances, not unlike me far above the tiny bird, and with perhaps a similar grin, is conveying that all is well, and that no harm will come to my home.
I have been reminded over and again during the past 8 years in which my country has been held hostage by a shockingly evil and destructive regime, that the ability to see-into the spiritual realm and know what is truly going on beneath the deceptive veneer, is only fruitful when it corresponds with the right response.
Over the past 8 years I have witnessed the greatest demonstration of wanton evil in my lifetime, demonstrated in and through the White House. It was been very difficult for me to image things ever changing, as we, as a nation, have drifted so far into the abyss of God’s judgment that I simply could not imagine crawling out of such on a national level.
With only 12 days remaining for a scheduled transition of power, I am still, like the tiny bird, scrambling about, risking my livelihood while warning the masses of what I see unfolding of the very real attempts to thwart the transition of political power scheduled only 12 days hence.
As much as I have tried, I cannot rest on the common-quip that “God is in control.” Though He certainly is in control, He is equally swayed by the cries of the Saints, and their prayers which ascend to heaven night and day. For this reason, again, I simply cannot accept the passive quip that “God is in control,” as a means to fluff-off ardent intercession, and preclude that prayer matters not, as “God will handle this one.”
Scripture says many times over that God’s heart can be changed by the prayers of the saints.
“…the cry of the sons of Israel has come to Me; furthermore I have seen the oppression with which the Egyptians are oppressing them” (Ex. 3:9, NASB).
Exodus 3:9 represents the early beginnings of this pattern which spans the breadth of the Bible. And, the pattern exemplifies 2 distinct components which include both the cry of those in distress, coupled with God’s awareness of the conditions which have spawned such. This to say, that though God is fully aware (i.e., “in control”), He is not moved until the cries reach Him. For this reason I am convinced that though it is easy to quip that “God is in control,” it is very often that His “control” does not play-out to our benefit until we cry-out to him in despair, through prayer.
Later in Exodus (32:14) we see further evidence of God changing His heart:
“So the Lord changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to his people.”
And so, not unlike my encounter with the tiny bird, though I wished I could have conveyed to it that no harm would befall its abode, I yet responded to its message, by ensuring that I did not pass by the same on my way back, so as to further alarm it.
God is in fact, in control. However, His control is very often dictated by our very cries.
December 26, 2016
It has been perhaps 20 years or more at this stage, that I’ve harbored inner turmoil over what the celebration of Christmas has become, here in the West.
It seems with each year, I am more saddened by the commercialization and secularization of the holiday, and certainly so, equally so, as it is reflected within tens of thousands of church programs being waged and staged at this time of year. The time, energy and money funneled into such programs, and which places personal performance within the epicenter of such, simply saddens me, as they are so far removed from a genuine focus upon the personal experience of the Lordship of Jesus—Y’shua. He is referred to often enough, and programs for the most part allude to Him, but it is rare that a soul truly experiences Him, as the result.
Then there is the reality of the pagan origins of some of the primary tenets of the Christmas celebration. These too bring tension, uncertainty and internal strain, preventing me from fully accepting what we do as western Believers in the 21st century at this time of year.
But one element of the Christmas Season has redeemed me this year; that of realizing that 3 immediate family members were with me—family members who had nearly lost their lives just 5 months ago, in a violent head-on collision. My mother, my younger sister, and my older sister were in the vehicle at the time.
It was nothing less than miraculous, to see them laughing and milling about with extended family last night. Most could not have imagined such, upon seeing them immediately after the accident but 5 months ago. I had flown across country to see them within days after the accident, and had visited them in 2 separate hospitals, a few hours apart. Broken, fragmented, torn, bloodied, terrified, and in pain they were. I had not seen either of them in many years.
One very special photo captured we 3 siblings just months before we were scattered abroad in the late ‘70s, throughout the country, and beyond, for multiple reasons. I entered the Navy, and went on to visit 17 countries, a few of those several times each. My younger sister moved to the Midwest with my mother and stepfather. My older sister remained on the west coast, and would be married not long thereafter. My younger brother had been long gone, having moved with his father out of state several years previous. I have pasted a photo of the framed picture, below (that’s me, on the left):
It is remarkable that amidst a large gathering of people there are yet those who are lonely. This is one overarching feeling I have harbored throughout every Christmas season; an awareness of those who are lonely in our midst, and those who are lonely abroad. I have encountered many affluent, charismatic and outwardly-successful people over many years, which are terribly lonely, though surrounded by hordes of the most desirable elements of society. There remains but one remedy for such loneliness. Jesus. The One Who I often refer to as Y’shua, but only because I’ve had several profound experiences with His Jewishness, and have experienced His equally profound love for Jews. His love is no less than that for non-Jews. He has a special and unique love for all ethnic groups. He has yet chosen to reveal His unique love for the Jews, to me.
Considering other dimensions of love; all of my life the Lord has used animals to melt my heart, when my heart was very hard, or very heavy. They can be precious beings, and are used very often to speak to me, very deeply. Upon a very recent move to be nearer to my mother and sisters following their accident, an apparent stray yet very healthy cat began approaching our house. I named him “Herbie.” He peers into our living room through glass panels in our front door. Our 2 cats inside peer back at him (“Wylie” and “Guido”). We feed him regularly, and he looks quite healthy. Gigi made a comfortable house for him on our porch. We cannot allow him inside as it would make for fighting with the other cats. And, we’re reluctant to turn him into a public shelter, not knowing what would become of him. And so for the time being, we enjoy him around the outside of the house, and he enjoys us. It saddens me to think that the previous occupants of our house may have abandoned him.
As I write this evening, many feel abandoned, perhaps not unlike “Herbie.” Many feel there is not one soul capable of comforting them. But we’re very wrong, if we feel this way, ever. For the Lord delights in drawing near to those who are lonely, and those who feel abandoned. I am duly reminded of Psalm 68:6, which reads:
“God sets the lonely in families…”
I have for 17 years to be precise, been on a painful journey into researching the Nazi Holocaust. In and through my personal journey I have on many occasions experienced the unspeakable loneliness and very real abandonment of those who survived the Nazi Holocaust—sole survivors, who had lost every member of their immediate families; many who had watched the very same be murdered before their eyes, or had died slowly of disease and starvation, in their very arms. For these, the westernized and commercialized rendition of “Christmas” means very little. For these, most of them, the only exposure to “Jesus” has been that of abrasive encounters with an obnoxious brand of evangelism which borders on terrorism. And, it is for these surviving, some of whom I’ve personally met in very unusual circumstances, in Israel, that I am praying for, tonight. I am praying that Y’shua, the Jewish-Jesus, reveal Himself to them in a precious, personal, and profound way.
Perhaps there’s also someone in cyberspace who will happen upon this note tonight, and be met with the reminder that God has made Himself available in a very personal measure, in and through his Son. He is there for the asking, and, when He is invited into your hearts He does in fact set the lonely in families.
If I can liken our hearts to that of a manger; may the Lord grant us a rebirth of the Christ Child, within the manger of our hearts, even tonight.
October 7, 2015
1999 – 2015
One Sunday afternoon 1999 Gigi and I went to eat lunch at a restaurant within a very large strip mall. As we strode back toward our car we noticed a pet store nearby. We love visiting pet stores, as we so love animals.
We were not in the market for a pet; we had no pets of our own at the time. We simply wanted to enjoy the special privilege of handling a few precious critters. In and through our meandering about the store we happened to notice that in the center of the store amidst several stacks of empty cages for sale, and within the very top cage, lay a cat. At first glance we thought it to be a full year old. I recall it lying there calmly, as it then reached up and touched my finger with its enormous paw. It did the same to Gigi. It had an unmistakable air of peace about it. He was grey and white tiger-striped, with medium-length hair. Interspersed within his tiger stripes was a beautiful shade of butterscotch. As we stood there staring at him for a few final moments, I felt there was something very special about him—a unique purpose for him being there at that moment.
As we left the pet store I couldn’t shake what I felt when I saw him; neither could Gigi. That evening we both tossed and turned all night, thinking about this cat. In the morning the first thing I mentioned to Gigi, was the idea of going back to get him. Gigi immediately agreed, and had been harboring the same feelings about him. We realized that we both loved him the moment we met him.
How we arrived at the name “Freud,” I do not recall exactly. I do recall that it simply seemed very natural, and that it could be the only possible name for him. We would go on to learn that he was highly intelligent, and he actually seemed to be very analytical in the way he went about negotiating things. We also learned very quickly that he was oozing with love. He acted much like a lap-dog, as he clung to us wherever we sat, and also slept on us throughout the night.
Freud continued to grow and grow, and finally topped-out at 20 pounds, at his peak. He was a marvel of muscle, and most veterinarians were certain he had a percentage of Bob Cat in him, by 25% or so. The most remarkable thing about Freud was his spiritual sensitivity. I’ve known all my life that animals are very intuitive to the emotions of human beings, to include the spirit realm, but I have not seen another animal so spiritually sensitive as he. For on 100s of occasions over the past 17 years, and while praying for others in our home, which we do a good deal, we would often conclude our prayers to find Freud sitting at our feet, and often with an outstretched paw, touch one of us; concluding with a “meow.” This never ceased to amaze us.
As a rule, nearly every time we joined together to pray at home by ourselves, and especially that toward the end of the night, Freud would abruptly appear out of nowhere, to join us. And, just like the times in which we would conclude praying for others, he would stretch out his paw and touch us.
Another precious characteristic of Freud was that of his running to the front door when either of us would come home, just a like a dog, whereupon he would meow at our feet, waiting for us to pick him up and hug him. We eventually began to humorously refer to him as a “Dat,” denoting a cross between a dog and a cat. It wasn’t before long that we determined his apparent longing for a hug wasn’t for himself—but for us. He was hugging us more than we were hugging him. His 20-pound frame draped over our shoulder and against our necks was always accompanied by a deep purr as his arms hugged our necks.
Gigi and I would go on to move a total of 8 or 9 times over the past 17 years, all moves of which, with the exception of 1, were for the purposes of aligning ourselves with a specific ministry mission of some sort. Freud abhorred traveling in vehicles, and I felt horrible for his suffering while on the highway. Once at our new destination(s) we would resume allowing him to be both an indoor and outdoor cat when we were in a country setting, as he was always faithful to come home within a few hours, after his brief adventures around the property. We knew without question that he was a gift from the Lord to us, and we therefore trusted that he would be protected from harm. We shielded him in prayer, daily.
Freud was a veritable gladiator of a fighter, taking-on an endless array of wild animals when we lived in country settings. We broke-up many dozens of fights, and rarely found him injured. It was amazing that he would go from scrapping with a wild animal, to being such a loving teddy bear, melting in our arms moments later, and snuggling with us for the remainder of the night. In a number of town homes or condos he was confined to the life of being indoors-only. In one such town home we recall one weekend afternoon hearing a man yelling from the 1st floor ground level, just beneath our 2nd story balcony. As we ran out to the balcony we discovered Freud had jumped off the balcony to attack a Pit Bull being walked by its owner. The Pit Bull’s paradigm and instincts had not allowed for a flying 20-pound cat—attacking like a strike-fighter and it subsequently retreated and sought to hide behind hits owner. The owner was yelling, “Get your cat off my dog!”
At this same address, and during a two-week period in which roofers were hammering around the clock, installing new shingles in our massive town home complex; frightened by the hammering Freud again jumped off the balcony while we were away. We were devastated to return home that evening to find him gone. We prayed throughout the night, and in the morning we met with steady rain and a thunderstorm. With only 30 minutes before having to leave for work, Gigi went on a desperate search for Freud, in the rain. The Lord answered our prayers, and I ran to meet him, and had to tackle him as he was so terrified by days of hammering and the present lightning storm that he didn’t recognize us.
On another occasion, a few years later, and when living in a country setting wherein the property line bordered a massive marsh and tidal creek, which happened to be heavily populated by alligators as the sun when down each evening; we recall on a Saturday, a man running toward the bushes and marsh behind our house, yelling for his dog. We exited the house and ran to the back to see large bushes, perhaps 6 feet tall, shaking and thrashing violently. As the man later recounted the event, he told us his dog “Louie,” all of 140 pounds, had spotted Freud in a tree in the marsh lining our backyard. As Louie arrived at the base of the tree which was shrouded in the massive bushes, Freud sprung from the tree onto Louie—another aerial dog-fight maneuver. Moments later the bushes were shaking and thrashing as the two of them tangled. It was at this moment that we arrived on the scene to find Freud eventual reappear from the bushes, and standing his ground with 140-pound Louie. Each time thereafter that Louie attempt to make Freud run, he would not, and rather hunched-up higher and growled louder. Louie’s big head was twisting back-n-forth, as once again a dog had met with a scenario outside of his instinctive programming—it was simply outside his frame of reference.
The very last of Freud’s gladiator bouts occurred one early evening while we were on our hobby farm, when, as the sun when down we began to worry as we had not seen him in 3 or 4 hours. Before dark, we saw him moving very slowly from one of the tree lines maybe 100 yards from our back porch. As I came closer it was apparent that he was injured. When he got to us it was obvious he had been in a serious scrap. I recall thinking to myself that his opponent must have been very large, as Freud had to date fared well with red foxes, raccoons, opossums, skunks, mink’s many other wild cats and many other stray dogs; and, believe it or not, small alligators. This is only what we know of him to have fought with; there’s no telling what else he faced in the woods and the marshes over the years both Ohio and South Carolina.
As we began to examine Freud we noticed one of his front fangs was missing. He had bit his opponent so hard that he had obviously left a very large fang in its body; most likely its skull. The following day, as we visited the vet, x-ray’s revealed the perfect outline of a coyote jaw line across Freud’s rib cage. He concluded then, that Freud had scrapped with at least one, possibly more at the same, coyote(s). It was the first time in this vet’s experience that he knew of a case of a cat mixing with one or more coyotes, wherein the cat survived. He praised Freud for his world-class fighting skill. It was that day that Freud became a house cat thereafter. We had roughly 3 dozen coyotes nestled within a 100-acre patch of woods directly behind our 140-yard property line to the south. It was God’s unmistakable hand of protection that spared Freud for us on that day.
Because of a 14-year battle with a severe neurological condition (tinnitus), I have had many bouts of deep sadness and anguish, bouts which have been difficult to put into words. My bouts have imposed the same on Gigi. There have also been 100s of occasions over the years, and that largely rooted in the nature of the ministry that we carry out, wherein we’ve been deeply wounded, and crushed, really. On each of these occasions, Freud laid on our chests, looking us in the eyes, and simply being a bundle of love attached himself to us for the night. Of course, at 20 pounds, it was difficult to breathe, but the shortness of breath was well compensated by Freud’s amazing love. There have been more than few occasions when Freud has kept us alive, to put it plainly.
There was one such occasion, when, during a time of deep despair for Gigi (as the result of a time of deep despair for me) that the Lord spoke to her about Freud, affirming among other things, not only the gift that he is; but also the reality that he needed her. This occasion unveiled Gods measure of love to the degree that she was reminded that God deeply cares about the things that we love, and certainly the animals that we love.
As a child and teen, I would cringe when I saw young boys abusing cats. It seems it was a measure-of-manhood to demonstrate meanness to cats. It deeply saddened me, and I never really got over the abuse that I witnessed on occasion from the neighborhood boys. Even back then, so long ago, I’ve received animals as gifts from God, placed in our lives to bring us joy, and to teach us a few things as well. In the case of Freud, many things were taught.
Gigi and have learned so much from our animals; from all the animals we’ve rescued; and from the farm animals we had until we sold our hobby farm roughly 18 months ago. It is truly remarkable, the countless ways in which the Lord has used our pets to speak to us. However when it comes to Freud; none of them have been used more profoundly.
It was George Washington Carver, the infamous (Christian) Inventor, who was once quoted as saying:
“Never have I been without the consciousness of the Creator speaking to me through flowers, rocks, animals, plants, and all other aspects of His Creation. I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting system, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.”
As I reflect upon Freud, I see the profound truth in what George Washington Carver has stated. Carver’s thoughts are a very human way of restating Romans 1:20, which reads:
“Since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead…”.
Over the past year Freud’s health began to decline, so much so that over the past 6 months he was rarely able to digest anything, despite having tried everything. His system simply began to breakdown. Because we desperately wanted him to remain with us, we kept him alive longer than most would have. He made many messes, sometimes several a day, and we would clean them up while praying under our breath that his 17 years of life would be extended to 20.
This morning I had to drive Freud to the vet, to put him to sleep. This has devastated me and Gigi. It is such a crushing blow to lose this precious animal. The pain we feel after his death this morning is difficult to describe. Those who have lost loved ones know this pain too well.
I’m so thankful for the 17 years we had with Freud. I thank the Lord for such the precious gift he was. I miss him terribly.
I have pasted below (directly beneath the series photos of Freud) an instrumental score by Tim Janis entitled Flowers in October, which is not only timely, yet which also expresses my love for Freud, and my deep sorrow over his passing. If you tarry through the song, please consider giving your pets unusually long hugs thereafter—on behalf of Freud.
(above: Having lost 10 pounds at this stage, and very weak, he yet continued to signal to us, with his paws, that we should join him in an impromtu snuggle–in this instance on a stack of unfolded clothes)
August 1, 2015
Foo Fighters – “Learn to Fly”
One of my ongoing passions for many years, has been that to affirm the spiritual gifts, callings, ministries, passions, talents and skills within people, and in so doing igniting a spark which grows into a flame–which then propels them into walking-in and walking-out their individual destinies.
As I ponder this today, I’m reminded of a personal revelation deposited in me many years ago, as I happened to gloss-over, for the “umpteenth time,” the story of Babel as it unfolds in Genesis 11. Verses 4 thru 8 read:
“Come let us build for ourselves a city, whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth. The Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. The Lord said, ‘Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them. Come, let Us go down, and there confuse their language, so they will not understand one another’s speech.’ So the Lord scattered them abroad from there, over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city.”
In its elemental form, it was collective pride, pure evil, that led a sea of people to seek self-affirmation and self-exaltation. So the Lord judged them. Consider conversely however, the end-fruit of their quest, had they come together as “one voice” to glorify God.
One people, having the same language (i.e., one in unity, and sharing the same Kingdom-focus and mission), can facilitate the ushering-in of the Kingdom of God corporately, to shake a nation. Such has been the case within the beautiful story of the Argentinian Revival, having spanned 3 decades that I’m aware of. At one point the entire country was “rocked” (key word–I’ll explain in a moment) by the power of God, and Believers in all tiers of government, military and commerce, were of “one voice” — crying-out for God’s habitation on earth–in Argentina.
Much of the mainstream Church in the West is under increasingly severe judgement for having built what I have long called “personal ministry empires” — not unlike the Tower of Babel–constructed to glorify themselves. These multi-million dollar empires, “reaching to the heavens,” are presently crumbling–crumbling in terms of God’s increasing vacancy therein. And it is out of the rubble of such that the true Bride will soon emerge–to carry the torch of the Light of Life–into one of the darkest periods in world history–the Great Tribulation.
However, lest we unduly dig a well of despair with the above narrative, allow me to conclude this musing with something a bit more lighthearted, and perhaps encouraging for you personally.
In the middle of the night, very early this morning, and while looking for an instructional video on YouTube for repairing one of my Jeeps, I happened upon a video in YouTube, which rather profoundly underscores the epicenter of what I’ve just shared above, of the converse implications of “a people with one voice.”
In this video, 1,000 musicians and perhaps another 2,000 spectators, have converged to play a Foo Fighters (rock band) song–a song titled, “Learn to Fly.” They taped this amazing gathering and one-song-concert in Italy, and in turn posted it on YouTube, solely for the purposes of gaining the attention of the Foo Fighters, that the rock band would in turn respond to such by staging a concert in their locale–in Italy.
The 1,000 musicians represent an amazing collection of gifts, talents, skills, abilities, passions and dreams (I’m a guitarist myself–an owner of a Fender “Strat” — and could therefore readily appreciate the musicianship herein). And, with “one voice,” they can be seen chanting toward the end of the video, “Foo Fighters…Foo Fighters…Foo Fighters…!”
The person who starts the chant is the “architect” of this project, who spent a full year eating and breathing every aspect of the project. His code-name, is “Dreamer.”
As I watched the video, I was deeply stricken with a combination of a joyful chuckle–and grief–grief over how I have so longed to see the Body of Christ moving in the same measure of concerted vision and passion. I pondered what it would look like, if the same number of musicians had rather worshipped the Lamb on their instruments (which certainly includes the instrument of voice), and had followed such with the equally concerted prayer: “Come Holy Spirit…Come Holy Spirit…Come Holy Spirit!”
With no doubt, that open field in Italy would have thereafter been ablaze with the presence of God, melting hearts with such a precious presence that all would subsequently find themselves prostrated in the grass, praying for personal and collective cleansing–the very ingredients required to spark His sweeping fire which can engulf whole nations–for His glory.
Consider for a moment, as you ponder the conversational flow here; the parallel-profundities of thousands of young people chanting in concert, that a rock band would stage but one concert in Italy–while at the same moment the same number of Spirit-filled Intercessors are on their knees deep in the night around the planet, crying-out for God’s mercy as the globe begins to “rock” and reel under the birth pangs of tribulation. I am not by any means belittling these Foo Fighter fans, I am simply underscoring the profound crossfire of passions represented here–not unlike “two ships passing in the night.”
We are born into this world with a multifaceted void–in the shape of God. And until we find Him, embrace Him, and allow Him to fill this void, we will worship everything on the planet but Him. As End-Times continue to rapidly unfold, so the hearts of those yet to find Him are crying-out–very often in ways they cannot perceive themselves. So it is with these 1,000 musicians and vocalists, as they repeatedly sing in this song, the following lyrics:
“…now I’m looking to the sky to save me
Looking for a sign of life
Looking for something to help me burn out bright
I’m looking for a complication
Looking ’cause I’m tired of lying
Make my way back home when I learn to fly high…”
*Note: you may read the complete lyrics at the link below:
As I watched this video, I smiled as I recognized the unmistakable presence of the Lord on and about this vast field. It wasn’t a matter of an “impression” of His presence, but a matter of clear and distinct spiritual discernment–that of seeing how the Heavenly Host was at work–working on the hearts of those comprising this passionate gathering–the passionate seeking of “the sky…to save them,” and that they could thereafter “learn to fly.”
Those presently crippled by a Religious Spirit will undoubtedly snarl at what I’ve just stated. The snarling will not however change the truth in the matter–our God is the God of Creativity–and He is creatively at work in this hour, moving in ways far beyond our preconceived (religious) notions.
As you watch the following (brief) video, I encourage you to simply enjoy the passion, while at the same time pondering the image of the Body of Christ moving conversely in the same–to glorify God.
*Note: please forgive the one four-letter word that the “architect” (“Dreamer”) uses within his closing petition to the Foo Fighters.
*Postscript: Since posting this Journal entry, I’ve discovered that roughly 24 hours after this video was posted, the Foo Fighters responded, by posting a brief video saying that they were deeply touched, and hereafter promise to stage a concert in Italy, as the result of the massive petition through the one-song concert performed on their behalf. Consider the spiritual parallel of Heaven invading earth, as Believers, in concert, passionately pursue the same–with “one voice.”
July 2, 2015
Recently I stumbled over to one of two large windows within the south end of our living room, to check the status of two bird feeders hanging from a tree very near the windows. As I check the seed inventory, I also glance at the ground beneath them, as I Gigi and I seek to keep seed there as well, for the Mourning Doves and other ground-feeders, like Chipmunks.
On this morning as I glanced down at the lawn just beneath the windows, and I froze. There looking up at me were two baby Mourning Doves, and their mother.
Always fascinated and emotionally arrested by animals, especially baby ones; I froze as I gazed upon those fragile little babies. Ground Doves have a quite and gentle demeanor about them. When they are approached they hesitate longer than other birds, before taking flight. Yet when they do finally opt to take flight, they stay away longer, before returning; ever so cautious.
In the few moments that I was blessed to see the babies and their mother feeding below the window, all of the hardness which had encrusted itself around my mind and emotions melted away. For moment I locked eyes with one of the babies, and saw in it infinite purity, trust, peaceable and gentleness–the very opposite of what I was feeling prior to that moment, on the heels of extreme fatigue and sadness associated with a nuerological condition.
In a fraction of a second, and while peering into the eyes of this beautiful little creature, I felt the revival of areas of my heart which had lay dormant for too long; areas which had one one time been repeatedly massage by the hand of God–areas trademarked by gentleness, and kindness.
In the same fraction of a second I was reminded of two verses of Scripture:
“Let your gentle spirit be known to all men” (Philippians 4:5).
“What is desirable in a man is his kindness” (Proverbs 19:22a).
As the two baby doves and their mother took flight, I stood there in my sleeper stupor, experiencing what felt like a warm water bottle massaging my heart. The Holy Spirit was granting me an unexpected encounter with His overdue scalpel.
In addition to the ministry I’m in involved in on many fronts, I am also busy with multiple part-time employment endeavors. Within one such endeavor I am exposed to very dark-spirited and callous men, often exuding astronomical measures of combined arrogance and meanness. It is often difficult to be around such, without being drawn into the same as a temporary medium of survival.
What the world sees as strength in men, is rather abhorred by those who seek the mind of Christ. Conversely, gentleness and kindness in a man is deemed weakness by men of the world.
As evil continues to envelop the landscape, so Believers are being forced to choose to cling to the head–which is Christ, or yield themselves to worldly pressures, and so conform to the same.
I remain grateful for the precious gift of animals, regular encounters with which very often take me back to a place in my heart where its easy to recognize the nearness of Jesus.
March 29, 2015
Romans 16:20 reminds us that the God of Peace will soon crush Satan under our feet. Perhaps in the interim however, we do well to dance upon the works of darkness by exercising the Joy of the Lord in decidedly unconventional ways.
These two brief videos are a timely reminder that the Joy of the Lord is often bottled up–by choice.
December 21, 2014
As I type, the clock ticks ever closer to Christmas Day. With just a few days left until the big day, I’m greeted with a day off from the grind of my present secular job. While working part-time in the retail sector I have observed a mounting tornado of activity among shoppers, a tornado that began a few days prior to Thanksgiving Day, and which is nearing the tornadic category of “F5” as we approach Christmas Day.
It is in the retail sector that one is greeted daily with the very worst ingredients found within the human makeup. The majority of shoppers use unsuspecting store employees as whipping posts, venting every vile emotion that has been bottled-up within. In part, this license taken is that rooted in a Spirit of Entitlement, wherein a given shopper believes it their right to flog a given store employee—simply because they can. You’ll note that I used capital letters in describing the aforementioned spirit; this is because I call-it-by-name, as a distinguishable spirit.
Yesterday being the last Saturday prior to Christmas Day, I watched as thousands came and went, propelled by a feverish compulsion to complete their shopping lists while also getting the best deals for their money. On countless occasions, and within the context of but one day, I listened to many stories of how a loved one had begun subtly and craftily weaving a manipulative web for the purposes of garnering what they wanted for Christmas from other family members. Of course the story-tellers only referred to such as the “cute” ways in which loved ones began to subtly drop hints as Christmas nears.
It is shocking, to observe what has become of Christmas in America. Yes, I’m aware that Christmas has pagan origins. I am also aware that many Christians, knowing such, yet choose to celebrate the day as that when Jesus was born, even though history suggests His birth was nowhere near December. Do people worship pagan gods when they celebrate Christmas? I don’t think so. However, I do believe that most people in the U.S., who get sucked-into the vortex of Christmas shopping hysteria, do in fact empower demonic forces of selfishness, manipulation, greed and narcissism, when the expectation of an exchange of gifts hangs in the balance. And with growing intensity I have watched the celebration of Christmas evolve into such, over my lifetime. It has become a national perversion, to be very candid; one of many in our midst. We therefore face a dual-pronged attack, not only in the form of those who’ve taken the Christ out of Christmas, but also in the form of secular humanistic political zealots who claim that the celebration of Christmas is an affront to humanity—a crime.
Toward the end of my shift yesterday, and as I stood there in an exhausted and disgusted stupor, looking downcast, and with maybe 15 minutes left of my shift; a flashlight designed specifically for camping was placed on the counter before me. It bore a camo design, and was fashioned to be worn on the forehead, that campers could negotiate the darkness while having both hands free. I can image that campers having occasion to crawl out of their tents in the middle of the night might want to have both hands free. I was hesitant to look up to face the customer, as, being an introvert by nature; I was agonizing for the escape home to have some desperately needed quiet-time. Having mustered the strength to look up, I met with the gentlest, kindest man I had encountered all day. He had a long beard, not unlike that worn by Orthodox rabbis. He wore a ball cap, dark-framed glasses; was maybe in his early ‘60s, and walked with a cane. I picked up the flashlight package to better understand what I was looking at. It was then that this kind man said: “I read a lot. I go through many reading lights, which don’t seem to work very well. I’m hoping this works better for me.” He then smiled and rendered a quiet, nervous laugh.
I smiled at him, and within the span of maybe a nanosecond I was granted a glimpse of his home life. I saw the thousands of books stacked high, a litter box belonging to his only live-in companion, a cat; the stillness with which he absorbed the pages of history; and the quiet solitude in which he lived. Within moments I had deep respect for this humble man, as I realized the wisdom and understanding that he carried. For those who study history also have a keen and discerning grasp on what is unfolding ahead, for the cycle of humanity (history) does in fact repeat itself.
But even more so impacting, was the man’s heart. He was adorned with humility. As the man hobbled away with his cane I nearly came to tears over not having the sensitivity to intercept his credit card, with mine, to pay for the light. I further frustrated a horde of customers waiting in line to check out, when I watched him slowly hobble out of the building. I had encountered the only person throughout the hectic day, who did not come to the store with a soulish agenda. He simply needed a better reading light.
I’ve been walking with (and running from) the Lord long enough to discern when He places people in my path to speak or impart something to me. And in the case of this man, He was reminding me that despite the darkness I had seen all day, there yet existed those rare souls who have rather chosen to be fashioned into His likeness, in and through lifestyles of humility and simplicity—lifestyles wholly removed from the shallow, superficial and aggressive sea of humanity that I had found myself floundering in throughout the course of the day. The encounter with this man, albeit lasting but 60 seconds, melted my heart.
In and through all that I have seen in 33 years as a Believer, I must conclude that the most beautiful thing that I have seen, is that of the softening of a person’s heart—a changed heart—a heart changed as the result of a greater and deeper yielding to the Lord—a yielding which results in the trademarks of humility, simplicity, and tranquility in one’s life.
As one who has behind the scenes, ministered to the most broken among us, and for many years; I recall that the Christmas season is one of the most brutal for the re-opening of the deepest heart-wounds. Largely responsible for this seasonal pain is the gross commercialization of Christmas, in and through, among other things, the varied theatrical portraits of families who seem to have leapt from the canvas of a Norman Rockwell painting of Small Town America, only to torment us with the reality that we do not have 3 or 4 generations of people laughing and singing and having a merry time around a beautifully-lit Christmas tree as the snowflakes gently fall just beyond the window pane. There is therefore a painful contrast between those houses filled with smiling faces, merriment, gaiety, frivolity and Christmas cheer; and houses rather characterized by the grim realities of lives of loneliness and loss.
There are few adults in the U.S., who do not awaken on Christmas Day without also experiencing a secret and quiet twinge of pain in their hearts, as they recall a Christmas experience of finding a precious toy under the tree, as a child—wishing that they could relive such a moment. Equally saddening, are those who recall having no Christmas at all—those who longed for such a family experience but never had one. Irrespective, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day have come to represent a time of painful emotional tumult to most, whether they reveal it or not.
It is on this day, just a few days before Christmas, that I find myself praying for the impartation of a divine gift to all I know—the impartation of the gift of a new-birth in their hearts—a new-birth of the reality of Y’shua, Jesus, and His Lordship in their lives. What greater gift can we behold in this lifetime, than to behold a moment in time when our hearts are saturated by perfect peace—a peace which surpasses all understanding?
Psalm 101:6 reads, “He who walks in a blameless way is the one who will minister to Me.” Much of mainstream American Christianity is focused upon the passionate pursuit of finding our personal ministry. There is nothing inherently wrong with such the pursuit, for in correlation scripture challenges us to “earnestly pursue the spiritual gifts” (1 Cor. 14:1). What is greater than earnestly pursuing our ministries however is that of earnestly pursuing the very heart of God, and in so doing, ministering to Him.
Do we suppose that Psalm 101:6 denotes a person who has managed to stay out of trouble? Do we suppose that those who will minister to the Lord are those who have managed to live angelic lives? Consider this: perhaps being “blameless” refers to those who can look into their rearview mirrors while driving the vehicle of their lives, and see only green pastures behind them—versus dark and dank alleys strewn about with litter—the litter of our sins.
As we experience a new-birth of the reality of Y’shua, Jesus, deep within our hearts, we are reminded that His blood, and His cross has the power to cleanse us of all that has sought to ensnare us and rob us of our joy—the joy that our society has convinced us should adorn our faces on the basis of the Christmas season alone. What does it mean, when I suggest the reality of a “new-birth” this Christmas? It means just this: that we can, in the context of but a few minutes, in and through our contrition of heart, invite the Lover of our Souls to re-inhabit every room in our hearts; that we may again find ourselves wholly yielded to His kingdom residency in our hearts, and in our lives.
It is this gift that I pray you will find under the “tree” (the Cross) this Christmas—irrespective of whether or not you celebrate Christmas as a holiday.
King David declared in Psalm 119:10, “It is with my whole heart that I will seek you.” And it is because of this posture that David again met with cleansing, renewal, and new life (a new-birth) of the reality of the Lord’s restoration in his life and the Lord’s residency in His heart. It is difficult for us to pursue the Lord with a whole heart, when fragments of the same are scattered. I encourage you to ask for but one gift this Christmas; the gift of a whole heart—that we might in turn pursue Him with a whole heart.
When I look back upon the sordid trail of my past, it is easy for me to become crippled with guilt, shame and condemnation. Many of those within the religious community are very helpful in ushering-in these emotions in light of my past. But herein lay the problem: we are not called to meditate upon our pasts, we are rather called to meditate upon the goodness of God in our pasts—and the ways in which He has proven Himself sovereign, and faithful—in the midst of the clutter of our pasts—thus wiping them clean.
As I ponder once again, the lonely man with his cane, humble and kind; living alone with but a cat and thousands of volumes; I recall that he had found the means by which to welcome the Lord into the epicenter of life, in and through his heart of humility and simplicity. He could not hide the reality of the Lord in his life, for the Lord’s signet ring had been stamped upon this man’s life. And it is my prayer, that as you ask Him to do the same for you this season, He will so place His signet ring upon the walls of your heart, that you will not only experience a new-birth; you will also radiate the same in the midst the sea of societal tumult raging about us presently.
November 28, 2014
It has been nearly a week since my return from the Amish community of Shipshewana Indiana, and the beautiful spirit-filled Amish congregation of Eagle Wings Community Fellowship therein.
The 3rd occasion in which I was graced to speak and minister at length via the mini-conference format; I remain basking in the afterglow of the Holy Spirit’s grand display of both power and love—combined to melt, mold and mend hearts in and through the vessel of Deliverance and Prophetic ministry, combined.
Over a 7-year period I’ve had the rare opportunity to fellowship-with and speak-to Amish communities in 4 states throughout the U.S. In and through this colorful adventure, I am repeatedly reminded of an apparent dichotomy represented first by the view of those transitioning out of the Old Order and into the Spirit-filled life; and the view of those like me, who look from the outside-in upon those within the Old Order, who have yet to embrace the Spirit-filled life. For those transitioning from the Old Order and into the Spirit-filled life, a personal reflection often includes the pain of former entrapment in legalism and lifeless orthodoxy. Yet to the contrary, and from my vantage point; I see the redemptive elements of Old Order life—despite the legalism. This to say that the Old Order lifestyle molds an inherent measure of humility and simplicity in the hearts of all raised in such—even though they often do not see the divine merit in it for themselves.
Herein lay the precious metamorphosis that I see unfolding as Old Order Amish, while retaining foundational elements of their history, begin to embrace the Lordship of Jesus—and intimacy with Him, and begin to walk in the spiritual gifts. For in and through this process I see a divine marriage (if you will) between the 9 Fruits of the Spirit (inherent within the Amish), and the 9 Gifts of the Spirit (inherent within mature elements of the Western Church)—to form the mature Bride of Christ—ready to tread upon the works of darkness (see Luke 10:19 and Romans 16:20) as darkness rages about us.
As we pray for the “eyes to see what the Father is doing” (John 5:19), we are often granted unusual glimpses into the redeeming aspects of what may otherwise look like “business as usual” in the lives of those about us. Such is the case as I observe those within the metamorphosis of leaving the Old Order, embracing the Spirit-filled life, and while also retaining the more precious elements of their Amish heritage and identity. This metamorphosis that I observe reminds me of a maxim penned by Jewish rabbi Israel Ben Eliezer, largely dubbed the “Baal Shem Tov” in his day (“Master of the Good Name”) of 18th century Eastern Europe (Ukraine), and spearhead of Hasidic Judaism:
“If it is true that it is possible for man to hide from the light of dawn emanating from the forest simply by shielding his eyes with his hands, still it is no less true that he can rediscover it by merely moving his hands.”
As in the case within the context of the most recent mini-conference among the Amish, wherein I taught and facilitated Deliverance Ministry over multiple public meetings, I often allude to a very painful upbringing wherein I felt a prisoner for most of my childhood. I am yet reminded each time I minister to others, that I could not gracefully negotiate the deep pain and bondage in others, without first having endured the same, personally. When I am reminded of this by others who are outside-looking-in to my personal history, am reminded that I can in fact see “the light emanating from the forest,” if I will simply remove my hands from my eyes long enough to see such.
One of the highlights of the more recent trip to the Amish was that of a divinely-timed buggy ride made possible by “Ernest,” the horse and buggy owner. Pictured below is the 3-part sequence of me and Ernest embarking on the buggy ride. In the first photo I am asking Ernest if his buggy has a flip-down DVD screen. In the second photo Ernest is reacting to the question. In the third photo Ernest and I are about to flip the windshield down and mosey on down the road to his house, from the church building.
October 28, 2014
As I look back upon 33 years of public ministry, I have to conclude that the sweetest times I’ve experienced have been that within and among the Amish of Idaho, Montana, Ohio and Indiana.
More recently I’ve had the privilege of ministering within two mini-conferences among the Amish of Shipshewana Indiana, the latest conference of which was that centered upon the study and impartation of Prophetic Ministry.
Inherent within the Amish culture is the Fruit of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Gal. 5:22-24). To observe this brand of spiritual maturity displayed on a broad scale (young and old) is truly heart-warming, and a refreshing departure from that which is plaguing much of mainstream Christianity presently–Spiritual Narcissism (i.e., “In those days men will be lovers of self…,” 2 Tim. 3:2).
“Those days” are now upon us.
My unusual fellowship among the Amish regularly includes interaction within those of the Old Order (“horse and buggy”) who are dipping their toes in the stream, while taking a closer look at those Amish who have embraced the Spirit-filled life, and have to a degree departed the Old Order lifestyle. They are very discerning by nature, and can sniff-out ministers who have a self-exalting mission. Once feeling comfortable with the spiritual atmosphere, they enter-in and receive what the Holy Spirit is doing. It is a beautiful thing to observe unfold in the course of a meeting.
Soon I will again be in the midst of the dear Amish of Shipshewana Indiana, privileged to speak and minister within yet another conference. As I ponder this, I am reminded of God’s sense of humor. For I come from a very broken family, a very broken upbringing; which has equated to a very broken trail throughout my lifetime as one who has broken many hearts along the way–in and through my unhealed wounds. In recent years much of these wounds have met with healing–long awaited healing. Of course, the “waiting” could just as easily be defined as my non-cooperation with God’s best for me. For He has been about the business of healing all along. It is rather when we fail to cooperate with His ways and means that we prolong the healing process.
While there is a “great falling away” (1 Tim. 4:1) among Westernized Christians presently, there is conversely a Great Awakening occurring among the Amish. This can be traced back to two primary torch-bearers among the Amish for roughly 50 years now–Ben and Barbara Girod. Ben and Barb have endured unspeakable suffering as they have carried the message of personal repentance and intimacy with Y’shua–the Lover of our souls. Only in recent years have their very persecutors come to the light and life of Y’shua. And it is a precious thing to behold; those who used to malign them, now affirming them as Torch Bearers for Christ.
And it is Ben who has granted me the great privilege of ministering among his people. This brings us back to God’s amazing sense of humor. For my trail could not possibly be more broken, yet I find myself ministering among the opposite–those who have been raised in the most stable environments on the planet, by and large.
Perhaps then, my story may speak encouragement to those who’ve created such a mess of their lives that they cannot conceive of being used by God in an unusual way. If this is you, I strongly suspect you’ve been dully stung by the Religious Spirit, who has, through many misled leaders, heaped condemnation upon you, and have “helped” you to forget that our God is a God of Restoration–restoring what the locust has been allowed to eat of your life-story.
We have reached a place in Western Christian history wherein to clearly hear from God we must detach ourselves from much of what is unfolding therein, in order to hear the “still, small voice” (1 Kings 19:12) of God speaking to us. For it is very difficult to discern such when listening to the “noisy gong and clanging symbol” (1 Cor. 13:1) within that presently positioned as “Christianity” in this country.
Not in my lifetime has there been a more critical hour in which to seek-out a healthy gathering of Believers in which to fellowship and grow. As you seek such, simply pray for the “eyes to see” (John 5:19) and the “ears to hear” (John 5:30) what the Holy Spirit would do to direct you therein.
*Photo above: Our host-family; Ivan and Mary Slabach and children. Our co-laboring friends Jerry and Cathy Coulson of the Vancouver B.C. area, on left. Gigi and I had the privilege of hosting Jerry and Cathy in our home in Ohio for a few days, prior to traveling to Shipshewana Indiana for the mini-conference.
**Thanks to Cathy Coulson for these photos.
May 15, 2014
In the midst of a grueling and exhausting move (when are they not?), from one city to another, involving the consolidation of 3 addresses into 1; I found myself today stumbling to and from the barn on our hobby farm, which has just been sold. With aches in my hips, spine and knees, and while spending a full day on a concrete floor in my barn, the only thing on my mind was packing and loading “just one more box.”
On one of my trips to the barn, and while walking across my rear deck, I noticed “Meebsley,” our wild/outdoor cat, fidgeting with something on the deck. At once I realized she had carried a newborn bird (not more than 3 days old) onto the deck. It was so young that its skin was still entirely translucent, and its eyes fully closed. It was flitting about in desperation, and had 2 lacerations, one on the side of its neck and one on its back; the result of Meebley’s fangs.
At once, the perpetual focus upon moving, that Gigi and I had been consumed in for weeks, froze. And as has been customary for the 7 years that we have lived in the country, whenever we meet with an animal in distress, which has happened on 100s of occasions, all of our collective attention is focused upon that creature until we’re at relative peace in knowing it is on the road to recovery.
We mixed boiled egg yoke, milk and sugar-water together, heated it to room temperature, and began feeding little “Herbie” the bird, with a small dropper. We also rubbed bacitracin ointment on the two small lacerations. The bird is not more than 2″ long, so we had to be very gentle in dressing the wounds.
After 2 hours or so of complete focus upon little “Herbie,” and as we got him settled-into a box with a heating pad beneath it, inclusive of a makeshift nest in the form of a wadded towel; it dawned upon me that what had happened was that to serve as a sobering reminder of how easy it is that we can become enmeshed and engrossed in our personal orbits, while the wounded and dying souls about us, flitting about in desperation, clinging to life, are often right at our feet–just like little “Herbie,” the baby bird.
The Great Commission (i.e., “go ye into the all the world,” Mark 16:15-16), remains, irrespective of the course of daily orbits. And in the case of the current spiritual climate here in the West, we don’t have to “go” very far, for often times the wounded, starving, lost souls are right next to us at the gas station, or the grocery store, or the post office, etc. Throughout the day we rub shoulders with perfect strangers, people we may never see again, and we often overlook countless opportunities to detach from our personal orbits, and offer a drop of kindness from a Holy Spirit dropper–not unlike the dropper containing life for little “Herbie” the bird.
I speak-into some of the most wounded people on the planet, on a near-daily basis, in and through one of the many avenues of ministry in which I’m involved. Yet at the same time I often allow the repercussions of this ministry to keep me from remaining outside my comfort zone, as I often retreat into a recess of self-preservation and recuperation following intense ministry times. And if I’m not careful I can stay in this place for days at a time–ignoring the figurative baby birds that are desperately clinging to life, just a few feet from my path.
The times about us are in fact desperate, yet we in the West exercise many mediums within the course of the day through which we create a buffer in the form of a phantom reality–a reality fabricated solely through news and social media. There is a Kingdom reality however, which is far more real than the text message recipient on the other end of our SmartPhones.
Gigi and I are praying that little “Herbie” pull-through the assault on his life. As we pray, we are fully aware that “not one sparrow falls from a tree without your Father’s knowledge” (Matt. 10:29). Perhaps equally so, not one personal issue or concern falls upon our shoulders, without the Father’s knowledge.
“Herbie” and “Meebsley-Meister”:
February 27, 2014
Several days ago I was prompted to look-out the large window directly out from my study desk, which looks-out and into a collective expanse of maybe 10 acres or more, inclusive of the southeast corner of my property, the south section of my neighbor’s property to the east, and roughly 100 acres of heavily wooded property bordering mine and my neighbor’s, to the south.
As I study and write at this desk I have a perpetual view of nature and wildlife, with an immediate view of what is often close to 100 birds feeding on or beneath 2 bird feeders, a birdbath, and 7 birdhouses. The Ground Doves and Mourning Doves are ground-feeders, I therefore heavily sprinkle the ground beneath the feeders to ensure they have their fill on a daily basis.
I was not at my desk the other day when I was prompted to look out this window; I was just walking by at the time. I was prompted to look west at that moment, to a corner of my larger barn where 2 cattle-gates meet, 1 gate of which guards the entrance to the large animal stalls as well as maybe a dozen bales of hay. I had left one gate slightly ajar, that animals could roam to and fro from the north and south sections of property; mostly cats, raccoons, ground hogs and foxes. And at the moment that I glanced over toward the barn I noticed “Meebsley,” our outdoor cat, trying to wedge herself around the adjacent gate which leads into the large animal stalls, and the bales of hay.
It was several days previous that a subtle nudging had prompted me to pull the adjacent gate ajar, that Meebsley could access the hay, that she might explore this option when giving birth to her babies, as she is pregnant. In my busyness I had forgotten to.
As I quickly went outside, slipping and sliding in snow and ice, Meeblsey greeted me warmly and was thankful that I opened the second gate, that she could explore the hay. Meeblsey is the wildest outdoor cat that I have ever encountered, and I have encountered many, here in the country, and have sought to feed them all. It typically takes no more than 3 or 4 days to disarm one of them long enough for me to begin petting them. In the case of Meebsley however; took a good 6 weeks. She had obvious cause to be afraid of humans, as it was clear that someone had been abusive to her, whether it be the result of throwing things at her or shooting at her (such is the median mentality in my area). I made an outdoor shelter for her several months ago, at the onset of what has been a hellish Winter; an animal cage lined with thick foam insulation and further sealed with a blanket and heavy plastic, secured with bungee cords. Her house is close to our back door, and faces east, and is just a few inches away from 3 covered dishes which contain her warmed milk, dry food, and moist food, which we have fed her, around the clock, for 5 months now.
With an existing 20-pound cat in the house (“Freud”), a young 6-pound cat (“Wylie-Meister”–who we rescued 8 months ago), and our 14-pound miniature dachshund (“Joybee the Wonder Dog”); allowing Meeblsey inside would have been sure disaster, as Freud is a Roman Gladiator, and must defeat everything on 4 legs. Even though he is retired from his gladiator days, he is yet quite a force to reckon with, as Joybee and Wylie-Meister know too well (as well as 100s of wild animals who have challenged him in the outdoors over many years).
It was as I was prompted to allow Meeblsey access to the barn, that I realized it was the Holy Spirit doing the prompting. He was revealing the Father’s Heart to me; reminding me that He is fully aware of my love for animals, and more pointedly my love for Meebsley. He was reminding me that He is aware of everything that I care about. And the things that I care about, that in turn touch His heart, are also things that He cares about. I felt the unmistakable presence of the Holy Spirit in the barn, as I watched Meeblsey happily explore the hay, as she added this location to her options. It was at this moment that I was reminded of Matthew 10:30 (as it just happened to be 10:30 in the morning): “…the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”
It is our human nature, I suppose, that daily pulls us from the reality that God knows when one of our hairs falls to the floor, in the same way that “…He knows when a sparrow falls to the ground” (Matt. 10:29). It is amazing to me, how animals can be so sensitive to the spirit-realm, yet we who are wired to be far more advanced in every regard, by the hour forget how close God is to every circumstance in our lives.
As I type, Meebsley is napping in her house, just beneath the East end of the window looking-out from my desk. Freud is napping on a shelf just above my laptop, that I made for him and Wylie, that they could bird-watch at my desk. Freud’s bulk is blocking my view of a good 1/2-acre of land as I look out the window. I tend to think he’s proud of that. Wylie-Meister is napping up against the West end of my laptop, on a fleece blanket-pad I positioned for him. And, Joybee the Wonder Dog is napping immediately behind my chair, on an adjacent chair, in a very cozy fleece-lined bed with a fleece blanket around her. They’ve nestled-in as close to me as they can get, and they’ve done so in response to their awareness of the presence of God, following an extended time of communion and prayer.
I learn so much from animals. Today I am reminded to press-in, to cling-to, and to dwell-under the “shadow of His wings” (Psalm 91), by their example.
Some of the greatest “thinkers” throughout the ages have spoken of the wisdom of daily walks in the outdoors, a practice I have sought to maintain for over 30 years at this stage. Often I engage what is considered “power-walking,” moving at a pace and intensity beyond my comfort-zone, for the fitness benefits. But I have rarely done so for the purpose of thinking. Many thinkers throughout the ages have mentioned that some of their greatest revelations have occurred while walking outdoors. It stands to reason, form a purely physiological standpoint alone, as the brain’s vasculature is greatly enhanced while walking (i.e., increased blood circulation), and the fresh oxygen being inhaled also enhances the same. But when we add prayer to this mix it thereafter makes perfect sense that fresh revelation would come as we walk outdoors.
I have trudged through the worst of the weather, day-in and day-out, for many years, while living here in the country. I’ve stumbled through layer-upon-layer of snow and ice, while bundled-up like an obese mummy. I’m certain my country-neighbors have on more than one occasion concluded that I am a decidedly “peculiar man” for doing so in the face of blizzard-like conditions. But my spirit is always renewed as the result of trudging through the elements.
While walking the property a few months ago, and while also acknowledging that this occurs very often for me in the outdoors; I received a word-of-knowledge. I often receive such when ministering to others, and I usually speak them out as they minister to the hearts and souls of those I’m speaking-into. But the words-of-knowledge I receive while alone in the outdoors are often of a broad nature, and speak to national or international elements. Often I meditate on them for some time before deciding just how to share them. Sometimes I don’t share them at all, and rather opt to intercede for what I am “seeing.”
In the case of that which I received a few months ago; I was made aware that the current Administration is, behind the scenes, working to fulfill a goal of shutting-down any and all TV, radio and Internet media that makes regular practice of exposing the evils in the White House presently; and to shut them down by the end of 2014. Though an aggressive goal, I doubt they will fully achieve such. The word I received included the FCC as the medium, fueled by the false premise that anything spoken to counter the Administration’s goal of a socialist empire is that which is fueling the potential for nationwide civil unrest, and therefore “a threat to national security.”
There are those who harbor a dark and guttural hunger to preach gloom-and-doom, and to perpetually spawn apocalyptic fear, minus any redemptive end. This is the antithesis of the spirit in which I share these things. For to the contrary, I share these things as I receive them, while watching–on the wall, knowing that I must also pray to understand the larger framework of redemption overriding the darkness unfolding about us.
Our national freedoms are fading by the hour, and the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights are under assault, at the highest levels. Our freedom of speech is under the most violent assault, far more intensely than the average American can imagine. And as the FCC has been granted license to go after Conservative media groups, to ultimately shut them down; and that in the same spirit that the IRS has been given such license in recent years; we must now more carefully weigh the reality that time is of the essence as we speak to the masses. Our words will soon be rationed, and every word therefore must count. We must adhere to the admonition of 2 Corinthians 10:5, to “…hold every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”
In the same way that God is fully aware of my concern for Meebsley the Cat’s well-being, He is also fully aware of my concern over the violent assault on our country–from within. The sobering reality, is that He has allowed it to happen, in accordance with His divine judgment. Our reaction to His national judgment, as a Church, will determine whether this once-great-nation will survive the onslaught designed to completely destroy it by the end of 2016. The very soul and fabric of our nation is being excised as I type. A sea of deceived people helped shaped the current Administration, and the mass-deception remains, and even intensifies.
I am reminded of Isaiah 5:20,“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light, and light for darkness…”.
We have arrived…
Pressing-in to stay under the shadow of His wings, in the same way that my animal babies press-in to warm their bones from the warmth being exuded from me; is where we must abide by the hour, hereafter, if we are to maintain a Kingdom perspective in the face and ultimate wake of national destruction.
January 27, 2014
As is typical following a day of intense ministry, I find myself feeling near-comatose–but in a good way.
Yesterday was a day I’ll never forget, as my precious daughter Amy joined me for a sweet time in the Lord as I once again had the honor of ministering among my dear friends in Kentucky. I had slept only 90 minutes the night before, on the heals of deeply saddening news of a dear friend suffering a heart-attack, and dying. The grief kept me up all night. I then wept throughout the service as I led worship, and continued to do so throughout my message thereafter.
The pain of the loss of my dear friend Dale was met with the healing balm of seeing my precious daughter Amy in our midst. She is such a gift to me–one that I do not deserve.
This photo was taken immediately following the close of the service:
Christmas Eve, December 24, 2013
My study desk is comprised of three sides, to form a U-shape. The bottom of the ‘U’ is against a large window facing South, which looks-out over the deck on the backside our house, and which in turn grants an expansive view of a goodly chunk of our hobby farm, which is then bordered by a large tract of thick woods. The view can be very pretty at times. Today I witnessed something truly marvelous through this window.
I had just finished playing guitar in another room, when I walking into the study and noticed our two cats which often sit on a bookshelf I made just for them, which rests on my desk just beneath the window, and enables the cats to enjoy the view, which often includes wildlife. I had entered the room and glanced at the backsides of my cats, as their ears were twitching to and fro. This usually corresponds with an unusual flurry of thoughts and emotions for them. I then looked out the window to see what it was that was causing all the ear-twitching-commotion.
Snow had been falling steadily for some time, and suddenly the clouds had parted and revealed the sun in its fullness. As the sun beamed down upon the falling snow, it caused each and every snowflake to glisten and glimmer with a silvery sheen. For an area of four acres or so I saw nothing of literal millions of silvery flashes for several minutes. It was a beautiful sight, and I was immediately quickened to receive this moment as a gift from the Lord.
As I enjoyed this wonderful scene with “Freud” (20-pound Tabby) and “Wylie-Meister” (5-pound baby Mancoon), I received a few memorable flash-back’s of moments in my life when I had experienced profound measures of God’s tangible presence; moments which appeared to include a silvery mist as a manifestation of His presence–a silvery mist that I can only associate with what I have understood to be “the Shekinah of God.” The Hebrew word (שכינה) denotes the dwelling or settling of God’s presence in the ancient Temple in Jerusalem, or the Tabernacle in the Wilderness.
The Bible often paints a picture of God’s presence in the form of a cloud, such as the one which enveloped Mount Sinai for many days, the seventh day of which corresponded with Moses’ ascension thereon in Exodus 24; as well as that described as “a pillar of cloud” in Exodus chapter’s 14 and 40, which led the Israelites by day as they escaped Egypt.
I am aware of the pagan historicity of Christmas. I am also aware that most Christians who celebrate such, do not do so to glorify or celebrate a pagan god. They rather do so to devote one day a year to celebrating the birth of Y’shua HaMashiach–Jesus the Messiah. I have no problems with this. Nor do I have problems celebrating the Feasts of Israel. In fact, I celebrate both Christmas and the Jewish High Holy Days. I suppose accordingly that many Christians and Jews alike would favor calling me by the same name: confused.
Confused or not, I have witnessed the Ruach, the Spirit of God, manifesting Himself in unusual ways in and around the Jewish Holy Days and Christmas. Irrespective therefore, of whether we tend to categorize these holidays as pagan or religious legalism, we must also acknowledge that God very often draws near a body of people who channel their attention towards Him–irrespective of the historical formalities used in so doing.
It was as I stood lifeless and still, gazing into the beautiful display of millions of glistening snowflakes emanating silvery flashes earlier today, that I was reminded at the same time that all of my mental and emotional suffering had ceased. In essence, I had taken my focus off of my personal suffering, and had lost it in the expanse of a beautiful display of nature–a display of divine orchestration. And it was a gift, a gift on Christmas Eve.
Each Christmas I pray that Jesus be re-birthed in my heart, and in the hearts of those I love. The “re-birthing” that I pray for, is that of a return to the joy, newness, freshness, and new life which occurred when I first embraced His Lordship so long ago. And His Lordship in our lives is a gift–a gift of eternal life.
Several hours prior to this wonderful encounter with the sun beaming upon the snowflakes, I had braved massive crowds at three sectors of a large city maybe 35 minutes from our rural locale. I was stunned at the collective aggression, tension, stress and outright hostility demonstrated in the behavior of the masses as they fought for parking spaces and places in line at cash registers. The climax of my experience was that while shopping at a grocery store, wherein people were angrily and aggressively plowing their way through the masses to fulfill their grocery lists in preparation for Christmas Dinner. One woman who weighed roughly 300 pounds and was 6 feet tall actually pummeled a Marine who failed to look both ways before crossing and isle. Equally so, the mountain of a woman had failed to look both ways before exiting the isle. She didn’t even acknowledge the Marine who has half her size. She simply and angrily continued to plow forward while tightly clutching a very large grocery list, while the Marine looked back in shock as she faded further into the isles ahead.
I paused for a few moments to rest at a Starbuck’s store positioned inside the grocery story, to observe the alarming display of what has become of Christmas within metropolitan America. I was then reminded of the much larger orbit within this country which has us spinning out of control, and into a vortex of divine chastening–such as that which has never before visited our nation.
There is a massive gift exchange underway in this country over the next 24 hours or so. Billions of dollars have changed hands in the giving and receiving of gifts. While this flurry of activity ensures, I am reminded that the greatest gift that any of us can receive in this lifetime, is that of an awareness of the gift of eternal life in and through Christ Jesus, and His daily residency in our hearts thereafter.
In the midst of the flurry of thoughts and emotions which envelope us this Christmas, may a small candle illumine the reality that the Christ Child, Jesus Himself, longs to remain cradled deep in our hearts–far more deeply than anything else we may long for.