This Terminal Existence

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(Photo by Matt Winkleft on Unsplash)

 

This terminal existence is not the true life. It is not the pursuit of happiness but the pursuit of Jesus that is the true life of profound and living Joy.

The true life is not the riskless life of the nest. Although there are seasons of the nest. The true life is found in the footsteps of Jesus as he sprints into the messiness of a life full of the future.

There are two lives we live. One in the boat, one on the water. Joy comes in the pursuit of the footsteps – that disappear rather quickly – on the footpath across the sea that leads to the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. (yes, footprints in the water disappear fast. This requires one to be very close to the person making the footprints…obviously)

Which one are you pursuing?

Are you desperately rowing for all you’re worth? Are you wondering why Jesus isn’t helping you row? Or, are you placing your feet in those footprints in the sea?

Faith is a muscle, you need to exercise it. Rowing as hard as you can in the boat will get you there…eventually. But, you will be exhausted, and will most likely miss the party on the other shore. Exercise the muscle. Get out of the boat, get out of the nest.

How can you tell if you are in the boat or the nest or standing on the sea? I think that might be a pretty simple question. Ask yourself. Are you living for your comforts? Are you living to build your nest? When you read John 14:12;

12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these because I am going to the Father.”

do you wonder why those things never happen in your nest? Or, if you do think about them are they just to be entertained or amazed? Seeking the gift and not the giver? (I have found myself in this one.) 

Miracles, signs, and wonders are a “Mythical Beast” in the riskless nest. But, when risk is removed there is no need for miracles, signs, and wonders. These are reserved for those living on the edge of the Kingdom – the boundary between Heaven and Earth – for the risk-takers, faith wielders, dragon slayers, soul savers, and water walkers.

Miracles, signs, and wonders are not circus tricks performed for the entertainment of the audiences of the world. They are the by-product of the risk-filled life. A life lived in the proximity of Jesus Christ, whose feet are firmly planted on the surface of the sea.

 

 

 

Wait, Wait ‘Till the Moon is Full…

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(Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash)

There are times in life where I tend to get impatient with God. I think we all experience this at times. In my case, I have gone through a transition in my business that I would describe as a divine intervention in my life. To say that the transition was exciting and terrifying at the same time would be pretty accurate. But, it was also comforting to know that Father God was right there with me in that transition.

That was almost nine months ago and all the dreams of progress – and yes – success have been put on hold. All of my expectations of where the Lord was taking me and my business have seemingly been put on pause. But, I still have a prevailing sense of peace in the midst of my wondering what is going on with this pause in progress.

Just to be clear this post is not about my responsibility to make things happen when given an opportunity. I get that and am working on the plan. It’s about Waiting. It’s about God’s perfect timing.

This morning as I was on my prayer walk. This children’s story – that was a staple bedtime story for all three of my kids – popped into my mind. And, I realized that to The Father, we are like the little Raccoon that Margaret Wise Brown so expertly illustrated. I realized that His promises made nine months ago were still good and to rest in His Peace as His timing came to fullness. For me to Wait, Wait ‘Till your Destiny is Full…

“If you want to go out in the woods,

and see the night

and know an Owl

and how dark is the dark

and see the Moon

and how big is the night

and listen to the Whip Poor Will

and stay up all night

and sleep all day

and see that the Moon isn’t a Rabbit

and what color is the night

and see a bird fall out of his nest

and fly away in the moonlight

and find another little Racoon to play with

Off you go, for…

 

The Moon is Full

Trust His timing in all things. Rest in His Peace for you and your family. His timing is Perfect and His Promises are forever. Do not fret, eventually, the Moon will be Full and your Destiny complete.

 

 

The New Creation

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(Photo by Mateus Campos Felipe on Unsplash)

A number of years ago I gave up trying to fight the Lord in the early hours of the mornings when it seemed He wanted me to wake up and talk. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that those were some of the best most intriguing, most inspiring times of my life. I’ve joked about how I get to have Him all to myself during those early morning hours. But, it’s true. I’ve never missed the lost hours of sleep that I have spent talking to God. Never once have I complained that I should have been allowed to sleep because now I was too tired to work. Quite the opposite. Those times in the morning have energized me beyond what I would have imagined. So much so that now – before going to sleep – I invite the Lord to wake me up to talk.

Now, don’t get me wrong here, at times it is a challenge to hold up my end of the bargain. Very rarely has the Lord NOT taken me up on the invitation. The hard part – for me – is to remember that I invited Him to wake me up.

Sometimes it is just a time of prayer and presence that I can find depths of peace for my soul. Sometimes, it becomes a time of sharing my concerns and deep intercession for my children and the Hastings Tribe. And, sometimes He takes the time to download ideas to my imagination. All of the stories I have written come from that Divine Spark of Creative Imagination. ALL of them! That is the purpose of this blog today. The hard part – when He inspires my imagination – is to discipline myself enough to turn on the light and write down what He dictates.

On September first…yesterday…at 4:46 AM (Pacific Time), I managed to turn on the light and write down the following idea.

Every human being carries “potential” as a New Creation. Much like a sperm cell has the potential to create a new human being. Each new human being has the potential to enter the Kingdom of God. 

Each of us is given a measure of time to find the Truth and impregnate it with our potential. We are either successful and become the New Creation as our lives are “Born Again” in Jesus Christ. Or, we reject the truth and after we use up that measure of existence – gracefully given by The Creator – we are thrown onto the refuse pyre as failures.

Now I am sure some of you are thinking; “Doesn’t The Truth impregnate us instead?” And, all I could say is that this is what I was given. But, think about it. A sperm cell “Seeks” out the mother’s ovum (egg). And, although John 6:44 says;

“44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.”

We are called to seek Him in Jeremiah 29:13;

13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

So it seems that there is a natural sense of mutual attraction that exists between the Creator and the creation. So the idea of a New Creation – a New Creature – being Born is a compelling Visual. As is the thought of people rejecting that birth, throwing away that potential to join God’s family.

This is THE most important decision any Human can make ever. And, the most strategic point that Satan attacks. The tragedy is when Satan deceives a person into rejecting life in Jesus Christ. He aborts the New Creation.

Pray for your family. Pray for your prodigals. Pray for your tribe and your neighbors that the eyes of their heart, soul, and spirit would be opened to see The Truth. Pray for that process of seeking and finding. Pray for their “Knowers” to recognize His Presence and embrace the New Creation. To step into that New Birthday!

Gravity

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(Photo by Ben O’Sullivan on Unsplash)

 

My life changed the day I pulled myself into the Library. It was a place I never wanted to visit. Life was a daily grind of launching and landing. The struggle to keep the lack of gravity from dominating my life. Just like everyone else I knew. The struggle was very real. The day began with releasing the belts that held me in my bed so that I could sleep without worrying about floating to the ceiling or out the window and out into space. 

Then breakfast. Tubes of “Cap’n Crunch” squirted into my hungry mouth, trying to ignore the longing to have a plain old bowl of “Cap’n Crunch” in a bowl with milk and the satisfying sensation of the actual Crunch. Still, I wondered at the very existence of that thought. No one ever experienced that. This was life on Earth. A weightless existence. We all made the best of it. 

Every day, began the same. The effort to get from point A to point B. Home to work and back again. Everyone’s strategy was different, and much of it depended on how much money you had saved up. How wealthy you were dictated how much ease you were able to experience as you went about business every day. 

The most basic was the cable poles that lined the streets. First I would open the front door of my apartment and hold onto the door frame. Concentration is everything when attempting to move from point to point. And, yes after a bit you gain a certain amount of expertise in this. You either learn to move or you eventually give up and hide in your home and never come out. Thousands of people in our city give up every day. The insane asylums are overflowing with those that give up. But, I digress. Back to the door frame. 

Using my arms like the elastic bands of a slingshot I launch myself at the pole outside the apartment building. There I can grab the cable that winds its way through the city until I reach my office. The hard part is when you encounter people going the other direction. Yes, certain cables are designated for one-way traffic. But, many people let their frustrations get the better of them and they ignore those rules and just grab the first cable they come to. 

Then there are those that can afford a propulsion backpack. As I am pulling myself along on the cable I can look up and see the wealthy powering their way to work effortlessly and in their cocoon of privacy afforded by their backpack. 

Then there are the EMTs in their helicopters rescuing those that lost their grip on the cable. Or those daredevils that use the ancient launchers from the tops of their homes or apartments. A dangerous proposition as you actually need to have a computer app that will calculate exactly what kind of power to use on the launcher and at what angle and elevation to set it to reach your destination. It definitely requires a daredevil mindset to use those. These daredevils keep the EMTs busy. And, we lose a few every week as their launchers malfunction and send their users into orbit and out into space.

As I pulled myself along on the cable a sense of desperate hopelessness rose up in my heart. Why was living this way? Why was there a sense of something better nagging at the back of my mind? Wasn’t life always this way? 

Then I saw him.

About a mile ahead I saw a man walking down the sidewalk all by himself with a big grin and a to-go coffee cup. And, he didn’t have a hold on the cable. He was just walking as if his feet we stuck to the ground. I had heard that there were a few companies working on shoes that would stick to the sidewalks. But, the costs were thought to be too prohibitive as most thought the sidewalks would need to be electrified so that the shoes could be magnetized…or whatever it would take to make that work.

I was dumbstruck. How was that possible? That man was unaffected by the lack of gravity. Then he was gone. He WALKED around the corner. Unfortunately, I had stopped on the cable and received a quite nasty push from the woman behind me. So I continued on my way to my office. 

But, I never made it to the office. I saw a building I had never really noticed until this morning. “Public Library”, the dingy unlit sign proclaimed on the outside of the red brick building. There was that nagging at the back of my mind. Something that said that there was something new, something containing hope. Something tells me that life wasn’t meant to be hopeless and the same-old-same-old. My heart screamed to follow the nagging. So I launched myself towards the two large oddly barbershop poles on either side of the doors of the Library. 

I managed to grab the pole to the right of the double doors. Each door was made of solid dark stained oak and had large smiling faces carved into each door. The faces looked like the face of that mythological character Santa Claus that my father used to tell me about as a child. All those old stories about Santa and a man from the dark times named Jesus. I forgot about those stories. Probably hadn’t thought of them in years. Years and years of struggle to stay on the ground and not drift off into space. Just a life of survival and the mind-numbing hopelessness of the sameness that kept going like a bad dream.

As I opened the door a warm blast of air escaped and washed over my face, and light streamed out the growing gap between the two doors as I pulled with as much leverage as I could gain from the pole. Until I finally stood next to the door.

I was standing.

There before me were rows and rows of shelves filled with books and people standing around reading books…not held down by anything. 

I walked into the library and came face to face with the Librarian. 

“Hello, Derek. Welcome to the Library. I am here to answer your questions and to lead you into all understanding into the land of Gravity. Out of the darkness and into the light. Out of the hopeless and into the New Creation. My name is Jesus. 

You have been called out of a world that has lost its anchor. I am the anchor. I am the Way, The Truth and the Life. There are weight and gravity in the Kindom and a future. Life without Me is without gravity and lost. Most of the people outside those doors are stuck in their ignorance and have no idea they are lost and drifting off into nothingness. 

You have been called to take the message of gravity to those lost and clueless about their lostness. It won’t be easy as those lost can’t see the hope. Indeed, most won’t even see you. They can’t see beyond their hopelessness. There is a kind of comfort to being lost. Especially when you don’t know you are lost. 

Welcome to the New Creation. Welcome to Gravity.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part of A Conversation with Michael…

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(Derek’s Note: Had a long session in the early morning with The Holy Spirit as He downloaded ideas for my current WIP. This is part of what I received. Please take this as tongue in cheek. It seems the Holy Spirit has a sense of humor.)

Michael the ArchAngel: “Lucifer was my equal in many ways. The most beautiful of all Creator’s creatures. His Music soared through the universe, and we all worshipped along with him.

But, then he lied…

The Creator stripped Lucifer of his great power and left only the lie. Now he is the master of lies, of prevarication, of the grey areas between truths. It’s all he has now. Unless his lies can convince you, humans, to give him your power.

Truthfully, the angels all mock him now. Indeed, his nickname is “Lucy”!

He was given one job to do, the highest honor. He chose to Lie.”

 

 

 

Chapter Two: The Story Writes Itself…

Empty Pages of a book

(Derek’s Notes: This is the second chapter of The Lewis List. The characters begin to arrive.)

 

Chapter Two

The Story Writes Itself

Days passed and the book sat next to C.S. Lewis’s bed…undisturbed and actively ignored. Until one day returning from classes at Magdalen College. Lewis, on his way to change out of his formal clothes, noticed the book was balanced on top of the typewriter in the drawing room, and instead of continuing the path to the bedroom turned into the drawing room and picked the book up. It fell open to the front page and now had writing on the first few pages. The front page exhibited the bold words; TITLE! The next page – in the same font and bolding – CHARACTERS:.

“How do I know?” Lewis thought. But, then something seemed to impel him and he sat in the overstuffed reading chair with his pen in hand and settled the book on his lap. Sitting for a moment in the declining light of the early evening, listening to the sounds of Janie and Maureen preparing tea in the kitchen, raised his pen and then hesitated. “Title? What do I call a book I have no idea how to write? This is so preposterous in so many different ways God.” Jack turned the page and stared at the heading CHARACTERS.

The thought came in like a shot from the enemy trenches. “The savage doctor!”

Jack put pen to the page and wrote; The Savage Doctor. “Well then, right! That sounds correct. But, who ever heard of a savage doctor?”

The second thought followed the first with the same sharp dictation of certitude. “Mr. Holmes! And, his Challenger!”

No sooner the thought echoed on its way out of recognition, the words appeared on the pages of the book. Before, even the pen could contact the paper.

Next, “Tecumseh!”, “Mr. Reeves!”, “Shieldbearer Peggy Carter”, “Maid of Orleans!”,”Artur!”.

As each thought shot through Jack’s mind the words appeared on the page until the page was full.

Quietly put the pen back into his pocket and looked out the window. “The story is writing itself,” Jack whispered into the room. “So what do you need me for God if you are going to write the story for me? Am I a first-year student in need of instruction?” Jack chuckled to himself. “Actually, I suppose from your perspective I still have quite a distance to go to achieve first-year status. Who am I to complain? Here I sit grasping a book well beyond anything I could imagine a man could produce. Watching words appear upon the page as a disembodied voice speaks to my mind. I should be amazed. Instead, I sense a very healthy spirit of skepticism, tinged with an equally insistent curiosity.”

The words still hanging on his tongue, and still gazing out the window, he watched as a huge horse appeared on the street at full gallop with a small child on its back. It was pointed towards the garden and in a bound vaulted the hedges and came to a skidding stop in the midst of the Roses.

Jack pushed himself out of the chair and ran to the door in time to see the child dismounting from the Horse. It was a magnificent black stallion covered with the slather of having been ridden extremely hard. Its eyes were wide with excitement and nervously stomped back and forth in the garden barely resisting the urge to continue its flight. The child – barely standing to the horse’s chest – grabbed the reins and was attempting to quiet its nerves. It was now obvious the child was a female and wearing leather armor of an ancient pedigree. Her hair was cut roughly in the form of an unruly child…or perhaps if she were attempting to look like a man. Which became evidently the purpose as the face of the girl…woman…was pretty and petite. But, then she turned and looked at Jack standing there in his professor’s clothes(minus the robes).

She stepped to the side of the horse still holding the reins and then produced a short sword from her belt. “Qui es-tu?” She said with the force of one accustomed to being promptly answered.

“Mon nom est Jack!” Jack reflexively retreated from the sword and the aggressive approach of the diminutive little warrior. “ The thought erupted, “The Maid!” “Es-tu celui qu’ls appellent la Pucelle d’Orleans?” Jack asked.

“Oui!” Joan of Arc answered. Then sensing no danger, but an overwhelming curiosity, she began to look about the garden. And, now at the two wide-eyed women in aprons standing in the doorway of the house. “Ou’ suis-je?” Joan whispered.

 

 

 

The Lewis List

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Photo By jschroe from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, USA – Lewis’ House, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7304420

(Author’s note: This is the first chapter of a “Fun” Work in Progress (WIP). Thought I would attempt a Mashup Novel. Taking a break from writing on the Grail Fellowship Series)

Rain fell in sheets across the predawn garden and streaked the windows as Clive Staples Lewis watched from his sitting room. The early roses waving in the brisk wind attempting to dodge the drops. Lewis, lost in thought somewhere in Scotland, gently drew on his pipe, enough to keep the coal alive in the bowl. Awake in the sleeping house, ideas demanded his sleepless attention and pointed him towards action. The sound of the teapot whistling drew him back at the speed of interrupted thought to the present.

Tea in cup, Lewis strode into the drawing room where the typewriter sat, and as he set his cup down, there came a knock on the front door. A deep sigh escaped with a puff from the pipe, and a longing look at the cup. “Who could be at the door at this time of the morning? I’ve a mind to ignore their uncivilized approach when most good people should be asleep.”

Opening the door enough to see and not let the rain in, Lewis looked at the figure standing before him. A young man stood in the rain five feet away holding a small oilskin-wrapped package. Tall and muscular, his hair was long and red. His face beamed with expectation and the passion of an Irishman. His eyes burned with the same jovial curiosity that climbed into Lewis’s mind. The rain was falling in torrents now, but the man was dry as if the sun was out. The water seemed to part above the man’s head and refuse to drench him. His cheeks were ruddy and the eyebrows were the same color as his hair, and his smile was brilliant like a lighthouse in the midst of a north sea storm.

Lewis looked behind the man to see what kind of vehicle had transported the man to his doorstep, only to find there was not a car or bicycle to be seen. He looked back at the man, who stepped forward and held his hand out and in a deep Belfast brogue said, “Mr. Lewis, such a pleasure, I have wanted to physically meet you for so long.” He stepped up into Lewis’s face as he extended his hand in response leaning down to within a breaths distance and placing his hand on the door he gently pushed it open, and said, “May I come in out of this bonny weather?” The last word said as he stepped past Lewis, turned and shut the door.

“Hello there!” Lewis exclaimed as his sense of propriety flooded back at the realization that a total stranger had just pushed his way into his privacy. “What business do you have that requires such an early invasion of my privacy sir!”

“Business? Why the answer to your prayers of late. That’s my business, Jackie! And, my name is Aloysius, but you can call me Fred. Much simpler in these days of simplicity. Don’t you think Professor? Like I said, we don’t get out very often. At least not in any physical sense. Let alone to hobnob with our charges. Excited you should be, my good human. Can’t you feel it?” Fred leaned over and sniffed the cup of tea as he settled into the overstuffed chair.

“Feel it?” Lewis said as he shuffled over to his cup and leaned against the typewriter table. “I’m sorry Fred, I have no idea what you’re rambling on about. But, I think that you should tell me right now exactly why you are here, as your beginning to make absolutely complete nonsense about hob-nobbing and charging about and such. Especially at this unconventional time of the morning, that I normally reserve for myself for my writing. So if you don’t mind, I would appreciate your immediate getting to the point.”

Fred looked up at the perplexed Professor Lewis and smiled his electric torch smile, and held out the package. “There is a matter of utmost importance, been assigned to yourself, Professor. Your prayers for this world, the colors, the stories, the history of people and creatures have arrived in the halls of Heaven. Your love for Him has resulted in this. Just remember one thing, “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, to search out a matter is the glory of Kings”. The story has to be written and your imagination is not your own…as you so well understand. Remember, His heart is for you and ultimately for the world. It’s why He came and why He died. But, it’s always been about the heart of man. In this case, Professor your heart and imagination have been chosen to finish the story. And, with that, I will beg your leave my young charge.”

With a blink of brilliant light Fred disappeared, leaving the package in Lewis’s hands.

C.S.Lewis stood as still as a gravestone. Slowly he reached down, picked up the tea and placed the pipe on the pipe holder. He didn’t move again until the tea was gone. Thought after thought cascading through the mind and heart of a man confronted with a first-hand encounter with the extraordinary intrusion of the supernatural into the comfortable but mundane reality of life. Minutes passed before he opened the package. The reluctance to proceed due to an attempt to hang on to the moment of time spent in the presence of what – or who – was obviously one of God’s angels.

Quietly Lewis found his penknife and cut through the string that tied the package, and unwrapped the oilskin. There next to the now empty teacup sat a red leather notebook. Embroidered with Celtic Cable work and embossed with a quite stylized Clive Staples Lewis across the front. The book was ten inches high by eight inches wide and at least five inches deep. A good sized book this was and Lewis expected a heft to it. But, as he picked up the book it was as light as a feather.

Opening the book Lewis saw the pages were empty. Each was luxurious to the touch as silk and yet as thick as lamb parchment. He held the open book under the light of the lamp to look closer at the composition of the tome. The workmanship was beyond the current science of bookmaking. No indication was found of the binding of the leather – or whatever that was – to the pages. Each page was supple and yet unyielding. They seemed to give off a faint luminescence. But, when placed next to his hand there was no light shining on the skin.

Lewis straightened up and looked at the ceiling. “A mystery is what you bring me, Lord? The presence of an angel and now a mystery to lay on top of it? And, what – may I ask – am I supposed to do with such a book as this? And, what story?” The silence settled on the last words of the question. And, then the sunrise exploded through the window and bounced around the room and settled on the book causing the pages to shine with a brilliance of burnished bronze, causing Lewis to set the book down on the tea table as if it were a hot iron.

Fred’s soft disembodied voice drifted into the room from far far away. “Only you can write the story, Jackie. Only you can find the characters. Only you can write the destiny. The story will lead you to Him. You are His cypher. Do not fear, you were created for this.”

At the last word, Lewis’s last thought was interrupted by his brother Warnie. “Who are you talking to Clive? I heard voices and came down here to see what the commotion was.”

Lewis turned to see his brother standing in the doorway still in his bedclothes.

“Well, how do I explain something like this? Or, is this just best left to the secret worlds of creation?” Jackie asked himself…

 

Dead Men Walking…

Handfull of Dirt

We are all dead men walking. We are the new creation, dead to this world and alive to Christ. This understanding is crucial for the war we are in. The following clip illustrates exactly what I mean. 

Lt. Spiers scene from Band of Brothers

Lt. Spiers has a different reason for saying what he told Private Blythe…hopelessness. For the believer though, that is exactly how we are supposed to live. Like we are already dead. Because hopelessness only applies to those who live in this world. If you have been redeemed? Then you are not of this world, but Christ’s, and hopelessness has no hold on you. Rather, give up hope that this world can give you any kind of fulfillment. 
I recommend the sermon Kris Vallotton preached a few years ago on his book Spirit Wars. He does a fantastic job of describing how dead we are to this world. So if we are dead to this world and alive to the promises Jesus gave us? How should we live? How should we fight the war against evil? Fear should have no place in our lives as fear has no effect upon us, other than what you give it. If you believe the lies, then you allow fear to have a place in your heart.   
 
When you were baptized. You became a completely new species of human. Your body may fail you, and we are subject to all the same crud – day in and day out – as anyone else. However, we ARE dead to this world as our lives are seated in heaven. And, yes, it’s a matter of perspective. (in some ways we are the original “Dead Men Walking”) But, that perspective is what keeps me “Daring Great Things”.
I dare, with the understanding that my reward is just on the other side of eternity. I mean, what can they do? Kill me?
I love my kids and absolutely adore my new grandchild Autumn. But, my tribe is waiting. All the Hastings that came before that are before the throne are watching me. Cheering me and the other Hastings still here in this world to attempt great things!
I have always wondered how the disciples went from fearful men cowering in their homes from the Romans to world changers. But, now I understand. Their perspective was from Heaven to Earth. They were convinced that that perspective was the true reality of their lives and that they were already there in Heaven. They were Dead Men Walking! Nothing to LOSE, and everything to GAIN!

 

 

 

 

The Evidence of His Presence

This morning I had a dream that was – in my opinion – from God. It had to do with prayers we raised up last night in a prayer group that I am a part of. Sometimes you just know when He is inserting something into your dream life. And, just like any other moment in time, when He steps into your day, there is a certain amount of thrill that comes along with that. It has a tendency to increase my level of faith.

But, this morning after I woke up and pondered the meaning of the dream, I turned on the light, and started my breakfast, fed the dogs, and…the same old same old started again.

Before too long I had forgotten about the dream and its potential meaning for my life and a low level of anxiety began to creep into my heart. Anxiety about what the day would bring. Would I find success? Would I find a mess?

Let me step back for a moment here and clarify something. One of my more persistent prayers has been that The Holy Spirit would allow me to see the “Evidence of His Presence”. Similar to praying for Miracles, Signs, and Wonders. I guess you could say I am addicted to seeing Jesus move in my life. The little blessings. The naturally occurring supernatural/divine moments that sneak up on you and catch your breath away. I have found that The Father loves to surprise His Beloved. And, I so look forward to those special moments. I considered the dream this morning to be one of those surprises.

There have been a number of those special moments lately. (ask me to tell you the story of Champ the dog), and they seem to be increasing in frequency.

You have probably figured out the point of my blog by now…

He has been answering my prayer to see the “Evidence of His Presence” in my life. So if He is present, why was I allowing the anxiety to set up shop in my heart? I just sat there – I was putting my shoes on when I came to this conclusion – and chuckled to myself and began to worship him with thanksgiving for all these special moments that showed He is there throughout my day.

And, at that moment The Holy Spirit brought to mind the idea of the Hebrews in the desert. They had seen The Lord do “Over the Top” Signs, Wonders, and Miracles in bringing them out of Egypt. And, yet, they still were a bunch of ungrateful, forgetful, unsatisfied, pains in the tookus; that eventually ended up dead in the desert. And, I realized that I had been going in the same direction myself by allowing these special moments to become “Mundane – same old same old” events.

I am sure that many of you have those special moments that you hang on to. Some of you even journal them and go back and read them to remind yourself of His amazing goodness. I exhort you – and myself – to celebrate those moments on a daily basis. Cherish them, tell them to your children and friends. And, keep your eyes – spiritual senses – open for your visitations.

He is a Good Father. He is there. He loves to surprise us and give us good gifts.

A Facebook Story

Ludlow

The Amazing Utility of Facebook

Night in the Mojave requires layering. This becomes extremely important when movement stops. Inserting with the always excellent assistance from the Nightstalkers south of ludlow, a tiny way-station along I-40 in the Mojave Desert. The Stalkers left us in the low foothills along Bagdad Chase road and we walked towards the lights. Zero Dark Thirty looks like this no matter where you are. Cold, lonely, and usually filled with things to stumble over in the dark. Thank goodness for night vision.
NSA intercepted telephone communications which placed nameless faceless terrorists approaching Ludlow from the east. The scenario of Jihadi’s inserting along the U.S. Mexico border – anticipated for years – was now so commonplace Special Activities Division and SoCom assigned a team permanently to the southwest region. So here we are, humping into an afterthought of a place to live to intercept professional “haters” somewhere far from civilization. The thought being that out here, there would be minimal collateral damage.
My name is Captain Terry Gentry, on loan from Seal Team Four. our SOG connection, Master Gunny Devin O’Kirk walked next to me listening to the Commando Solo ELINT Aircraft keeping us updated on the progress the targets were making traveling west on I-40. Quietly pacing measured steps behind Gunny O’Kirk was Sergeant Enrique Llona Falconi. Enrique scared Terry sometimes, but was Devin’s favorite. Born of Ecuadorian ex-patriots living in Fresno California, Enrique served as their point man and navigator. Enrique’s favorite movie was the Adam Sandler version of the classic film Mr. Deeds. Everyone on the team felt that it was spookily appropriate that his favorite character was John Turturro’s character Emilio Lopez. After all he could recite almost all of his lines. But, by far his best imitation was his ability to sneak up on you like Emilio did in the movie. One moment you were alone, the next, there was Enrique, smiling at you saying, “I fear you are underestimating the sneakiness, sir!” It was unanimous that Enrique be point man.
Corporal Sammy Samson – Comms Tech – carrying the team’s iPad and signals jamming equipment, and Staff Sergeant Haliburton James – Burt – team sniper filling in behind made up the rest of the team. Burt standing a full six foot seven, cradling his Socom PSR with TrackingPoint scope, reminded Terry of a very mean Blake Griffin. Sammy didn’t remind Terry of anyone. Sammy was the ghost of the group. Urban ops especially. Sammy looked so generic, Terry swore he could stand in a store window and mimic a manikin and spend all day without being discovered.
Tonight promised to be an interesting exercise in communications cooperation between SOAR, NSA, and the team. As controversial as the news was making it, the communications intercepts value had proven themselves at an increasing rate the more illegal immigrants infiltrated into the desert southwest. Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Southern California were rapidly becoming one gigantic – and deadly – hide and seek playground. So the intercepts rivaled gold in value…in Terry’s opinion. So tonight the relay looked like this; NSA relaying to the Solo, then downlinking to Samson and Gunny O’Kirk. The trick would be getting into Ludlow before the bad guys.

Driving all night from Texas is not an easy task. But, driving at night can make it easier. Less traffic and cooler temperatures. Jim Thibodeau and his daughter Wendy O’Neil – a little road weary – anticipating stopping for sleep in Barstow, pulled into Ludlow looking for gas. The map showed both a Chevron and the Ludlow 76. Hopefully, one of them would be open at close to 1AM. The Advocare convention still fresh in their minds, had occupied much of the conversation since leaving Texas. Jim’s weight loss fired up the enthusiasm in his retired years as well as his daughters incredible energy propelling the entire trip.
Jim faced a little bit of a dilemma with his weight loss. Really it came down to realistic priorities. This thought always caused Jim to chuckle. Jim looked in the rearview mirror to see a thinning mirror image of Santa Claus. A graduate of the International School of Santa’s, his Santa pictures reflected the spirit of Norman Rockwell’s picture of the Jolly One. Never was there a better Santa. But, now health dictated weight loss and daughter Wendy turned dad onto Advocare. The weight fell off quickly and Jim became a disciple.
Wendy, a devoted follower of Jesus and missionary to Ireland, formed the other half of her husband Erin and together they had built a joyful family. Erin and Wendy, both dark haired and handsome young adults looked Irish and had the name to prove it. Their love for the island tinged all of their thoughts of eventually returning to pick up their ministry work. But, this week was father daughter. Wendy, very tired from a days worth of driving urgently looked forward to the gas station’s restroom. It would be her turn to drive the rest of the way into Barstow – hopefully they could find a room.
“There’s the Gas Station Wendy.” Jim sighed with his own sense of relief coming through. “You go while I fill up. Then I will go. You want anything from the Mini-Mart?”
“No Dad, I just want to get going? We still have some of the Gorp if I get hungry I will munch on that.” Wendy yawned.
“Ok.” Jim yawned back. “You sure you don’t want some coffee or something?”
Wendy just stretched, pushing her hands against the ceiling of the car. “Nah, I’m good. I just gotta use the restroom really bad.”
Jim just smiled and pulled into the station, the only car at the pumps.
Wendy, quickly sprinted to the restroom as Jim ran the credit card through the card reader and began to pump gas.

“Weasle One, target leaving I-40.” Squawked the voice in Gunny O’Kirk’s ear piece. “Looks like they are heading for the Chevron Station there on the corner.”
“Roger Stryper One.” Devin replied. “We can see them coming down Cucero. We are in position. There is one other vehicle in the station. Looks like a man and a woman. Is this a go. Potential collateral damage situation here.”
“Wait one Weasle.” came the answer.
The team, hidden in the trees and in the outbuildings across the street at the closed Ludlow Cafe, watched as the target van pulled up to the pumps next to the other vehicle. Terry glanced over at Devin as if to convey his nervousness with the situation.
“Weasle One, Stryper One. Over” The anticipated answer came through the cold desert air. “Prosecute, take down. Capture if you can. But, do not take chances. Targets are considered armed with AK’s and RPG’s.”
Terry and Devin, just motioned go to the team. Shadows separated themselves from the desert flora and converged on the gas station. Terry tapped Burt on the shoulder and the PSR coughed a suppressed bolt of metallic phlegm, into the engine block of the van, disabling it. Gunny O’Kirk sprinted from the back of the Cafe across the street, him M-4 leading the way. Samson and Enrique, advanced from the eastern corner of the intersection from their hide in a stand of trees. Speed and extreme surprising violence would be the key to this take down.

Standing in the cold night air helped clear Jim’s foggy mind. Even here under the lights of the gas station, “I can see so many stars! So amazing what God has made. Just think, there are more stars out there than there are grains of sand in the ocean! If that doesn’t blow your mind nothing will.”
The nozzle on the hose of the pump Jim had ended up with didn’t have a clip to hold the nozzle. So Jim had to stand there holding the nozzle as it filled the tank. The annoyance not enough to interrupt the rapture of the stars Jim held onto. But, standing there he noticed classic white dodge van pull in across the pump island from him. It was being driven by hispanic farm workers, it seemed. But, then Jim noticed the men beginning to file out of the van. They looked different. They looked middle eastern.
BANG!
Jim heard an extremely loud noise come from the van. As if someone had hit the van with a sledgehammer. Things began to move in slow motion from that point. Jim noticed the guns coming out of the van. Those were AK-47’s. He had seen enough movies to recognize their distinctive shape. Standing there holding onto the nozzle Jim saw three of the men drop immediately, blood spurting from multiple gunshot wounds. But, there was no noise. Until, one of the middle easterners managed to get his gun firing. That was when Jim noticed the men running from across the street. Obviously, American special forces warriors, they were firing as they advanced. The difference between the middle easterner firing his AK randomly in desperation and the fast and silent professionalism of the operators readily apparent as Jim’s mind took the entire scene in.
Then one of the middle easterners ran around the front of the van and firing to east towards the two operators maneuvering past a row of short ornamental trees, was backing down towards Jim. And, Jim could see that the operators were not firing, because of Jim standing there.
So Jim took the nozzle out of the car’s fuel intake and smashed the middle easterner in the head gas spewing all over the side of the car and over the now unconscious jihadi. And, as quick as it started the fight was over. Out of six jihadi’s, four died, one was wounded by a carefully placed round from Gunny O’Kirk and the last concussed by Jim “Santa Claus” Thibodeau was alive and being carried to a Black Hawk Helicopter in the middle of the intersection.

Wendy opened the door from the restroom to see her father standing with a group of soldiers who seemed to be clapping him on the back like old friends.
“Dad, what’s going on?” Wendy asked.
Jim just turned to his daughter and smiled.
“It’s a guy thing Wendy. Just a guy thing.”
The Team looked at the puzzled look on Wendy’s face and laughed. The tension of another successful operation draining off with the implausible ending to the night.
Jim and Wendy talked well into the night.