Converting Dollars to Souls?

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(Photo by Ahmad Odeh on Unsplash)

 

This morning was a “monument” moment for me. Where the peace of God led me into thoughts about life that captured my imagination. Most likely this resulted from our prayer time last night. We were praying for that anointing expressed famously by Patrick Henry’s quote, (I am including more of the context of the speech as I think it adds more drama to the actual quote) 

“Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable²and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace²but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

Patrick Henry was expressing his frustration with British Rule over his life. That frustration had grown to the point of being willing to fight and die to gain freedom from that Tyranny. But, last night we were praying that that level of commitment towards Jesus would be evident in our relationship with Him. Instead of the typical American Church “Just-enough-to-get-by” approach. We were hoping for an anointing from the Holy Spirit that would spark that courage in us, to become the world changers He says we are.

As I type this I realized that yesterday there was also a significant bit of input from our speaker at church. It was all about casting off the tyranny of another kind. That of the tyranny of Money over our lives.

Freedom from the tyranny of Money. Freedom from the tyranny of the world’s expectations for our lives. This is what the Holy Spirit addressed for me this morning.

“Wealth in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ is not measured in dollars, pounds, or the renminbi (China’s currency). It is measured in Human Souls!” In other words, Heaven doesn’t operate with the same set of rules/physical restraints that the world does.

So let me take you down a couple of bunny trails with that thought.

I am part of Sentinel Group. Our ministry is to document the places God is moving and transforming cities, regions, and countries. Our research focuses on the difference between a community experiencing a simple revival where many people come to the Lord and church membership grows, and an instance of transforming revival where the entire society is affected and changes in a short period of time. Both are good! But, there is a difference.

One of the thoughts that came to me this morning was that a truly transformed society doesn’t “NEED” money. When one word from the Lord can create wealth…or an entirely new concept of wealth transfer. Thus, the statement that Wealth in the Kingdom is not measured in currency of any kind, but in Human Souls! Wealth in Heaven is not measured in currency. It is measured in relationships. We all know the verses about storing up treasure in Heaven. And, attempting to store up any kind of physical wealth in Heaven is a fool’s errand.

So in a transformed society; capitalism, socialism, and communism are irrelevant. When money (as opposed to wealth) can no longer be used as a tool to manipulate. There is freedom from the tyranny of money over our lives. And, the New Creation walks in freedom.

Does that mean that I think money, capitalism, socialism, and communism would disappear in a truly transformed society? No. That’s just not realistic. That probably would result in people attempting to form the ideal utopia and calling it Transformationalism! But, it would look very different than our secular, dog eat dog, every man for himself, world. And, yes I am talking in abstract terms here. Even the communities that we know are experiencing transforming revival today don’t function like this. Are there miraculous wealth creation events where wealth is needed as a blessing. Yes, there are. But, our “corporate level of faith” in this country is not on the level of Jesus providing loaves and fishes for the five thousand.

But, can our faith grow to that extent where our understanding of wealth is centered in Heaven? Yes, absolutely! Would that result in – in what the secular world would see as – miracles? Where wealth is created like loaves and fishes? Most likely!

Wealth in the Kingdom can be anything of value that extends the Kingdom of Jesus Christ – that brings Souls into the Kingdom. And, to finish my thought about the anointing of courage to be a world changer. To pray and believe about our relationship with money or this world from A Kingdom perspective frees us from the tyranny the enemy of our souls intends by keeping our focus on the things of this earth.

Which led to another thought that I will leave with you and maybe you will get a chuckle out of it.

If we use money (currency) to fund evangelism and the day to day efforts of attempting to build His Kingdom. But, Heavenly wealth is measured by “souls saved”? What is the conversion rate for Dollars to Souls? How would you calculate that? Would Google have a calculator for that like Dollars to Pounds or Dollars to Pesos? Perhaps one of you that are mathematically inclined could figure that out?

 

 

 

 

Eye on the Target

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(Photo by mauro paillex on Unsplash)

Life in the Social-Media age is a challenge. So many platforms, and so many opinions on any subject known to man…in your face 24/7 365 days a year. The cacophony is overwhelming and disquieting to the soul. The remedy is to not listen to the noise but focus on Jesus.

I think we all know this but find it hard to ignore the constant posting of our more social media adept/addicted friends. We all find a certain amount of comfort in some of the positive posts and skim over the negative. Or, block or hide the ones that intrude upon our hearts sensitivity.

But, one kind of post that has my attention these days are the “Prophetic Posts” that tell me that I am going to suddenly be promoted, or my life is going to go from bad to Amazing overnight. And, all of these posts qualify their prophecy by talking to those out there that have suffered greatly over the years. Many people wondering if God is ever going to bless them like the rich people they compare themselves to at church. So there is fertile ground in the hearts of many that wish they were rich like “those people”.

Just to be clear. Those thoughts are in my own heart. I know them very well. Someday – if I am Holy enough – God will bless me with great wealth. And, of course, I immediately begin to list the many things I would give money to if only God would bless me.

Our hearts are in the wrong place.

Lately, my prayers focus on knowing His Voice. Seeing His Face. As I transition into the fourth quarter of the game of life, I realize that the only thing that matters to me is to hear Him say, “Well done good and faithful servant”. I find myself wanting to be found faithful enough to be “TRUSTED” with the proverbial small thing. But, I find my life as a rich American has qualifies me more for the statement of Matthew 7:21-23, 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

You see we Rich Americans already have the wealth to change our worlds. I want to step into that place where my faith actuates His Joy. Where miracles, signs, and wonders are required to see the Kingdom Come and His Will be done in that moment of time. I want to put myself in that place where only His Presence will see me through.

I want to know Him NOW so that recognize Him Then…Philippians 3:14 “I press on toward the goal to win the prize of God’s heavenly calling in Christ Jesus. 

I keep my eye on the Target!

 

 

Holy Tsunami! “Chapter One”

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Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

Alisdair leaned into the wind and attempted to squeeze his lean six foot three runner’s body behind the umbrella purchased at the airport. The heavy drizzle coming in off of the North Sea quickly soaked his San Francisco Forty Niner’s ball cap and the fleece lined gray hooded sweatshirt that added bulk to his wiry frame. And as hard as he tried the umbrella wouldn’t find a correct angle to buffer the twenty-knot wind driving the drizzle horizontally into his face. At any moment the umbrella would buckle… and that would fit. Just another dreary moment in a life filled with dreary problems. Fatalistic sapphire blue eyes flashed out from a weather-beaten, old too early, leathery unsmiling face, framed by a high and tight haircut long overdue for a trim. The weather felt like one more opportunity for Murphy to kick him in the stomach. Not to mention the cost of the cab ride from Aberdeen Airport to this godforsaken corner of Scotland. “I left this place just for this reason!” Alisdair thought to himself. Standing next to the Foot Dee war memorial, he stared at the drab grey stone building — at the end of a long line of identical drab grey stone Fittie tract homes — where the family Solicitor Henry Drummond had instructed he meet to discuss the particulars of his inheritance.

 

The driving drizzle made getting bearings difficult, just opening his eyes was painfully difficult. Having done the homework expected of any Recon Marine, Alisdair knew this was a historic district – Fittie or Foot Dee – but, wow this was way out of the way. There behind the monument to the soldiers and sailors of the Allied Forces in World War II flowed the River Dee. Next to the monument was a parking lot for a fancy four-star restaurant half filled with patron’s cars. To the left the restaurant itself and an interesting round tower of a building overlooking the river. The only thing Alisdair couldn’t prepare for was this blasted wind and rain.

 

The sun was out there somewhere behind the wind, rain, and clouds, but it was quickly giving way to the darkening sky and wet slippery shadows as dusk approached. Even with the rain pelting him and soaking the sweatshirt, Alisdair stood and allowed the ambiance of the moment to settle into his mind. “Always get your bearings, no matter where you are dude!” The voice of Master Gunny Jingo echoed across his thoughts.

 

Those thoughts were interrupted by the approach of a vehicle moving to park near the monument. The lights of the sedan shimmering on the wet Aberdeen street while the swooshing sound of the tires caused Alisdair to back towards the monument to allow the vehicle into the parking lot. The movement sparked an urgent desire to be out of the rain.

 

“Best be getting on with this before you get soaked ‘Dair.” Alasdair used the shortened name given him in the Marines and walked across the street to the wrought iron gate just a few feet from the front door of his intended destination. “No lights on…” Alisdair thought, “I hope I got the time correct. Of course, that would be the rule, not the exception. After everything that has happened over the last couple of years, should I expect anything less?” Alisdair stood motionless before the front door and hesitated to knock. Then noticed that the door was open just enough to be noticed. “Not good!” Alisdair froze and the alarms went off, and his body went into adrenaline mode. Sensory feelers from his training went out and muscles tensed. Training is essential to reducing crisis to the smallest components, and this moved Alisdair’s hands and feet as he slowly pushed the door open to allow what light was outside to illuminate what it could of the house. Here in the lee of the wind and rain formed by the house itself, he could hear the water cascading off of the roof and into the small paved yard. Nothing was coming from the inside of the house. It was warm as if someone had been there, but there were no lights, even from the upstairs that rose just off of the front door. Off to the right a living area, nicely appointed with knickknacks and comfortable, lived-in furniture was illuminated by the last light of the approaching dusk.

 

Alisdair stood silent — allowing his eyes to adjust to the darker interior — and tensed for anything that could materialize out of the darkened home. The silence broken only by the talking and frantic running of those that had just parked only a few dozen meters away and now we’re attempting to get to their destination – and out of the drizzling rain – as quickly as possible.

 

Finally – gaining a measure of confidence – Alisdair stepped down the hall towards the back of the house making as little noise as a Recon Marine could make. Towards the back of the home, there was the kitchen, small by American standards, but well organized and extremely clean. Except for the kitchen table tipped on its side and the broken wooden kitchen chair strewn about the floor. And, there in the tile floor of the Back Bay window was an open floor safe. And, to the right of the bay window another door. Only this one was wide open with the rain creating a large running puddle inside the house.

 

Alisdair stepped quickly through the puddle, out the door, and into the small back yard. There were the typical backyard toys. Obviously, there were small children that lived here. A shed was tucked into the northwest side of the yard. And, sticking out of the shed a movement, which looked like a human head rolling back and forth on the rain-soaked ground. Instantly Alisdair ran to the man and found the solicitor Henry Drummond coming out of unconsciousness.

 

Alisdair sat the man up in the shed – he was soaked and bleeding from a nasty wound on top of his head.

 

“Mr. Drummond, what happened? I came to our meeting and found your door open….” Alisdair grabbed an old moving blanket off of the small work shelf in the shed to wrap around the shivering unresponsive man. As the blanket settled around Mr. Drummond’s shoulders, he looked up as if finally hearing Alisdair’s voice.

 

“I – I really don’t know… remember getting your fathers will out of the safe and now here I sit cold and shivery and everything’s spinning around. Is that really you Mr. Robertson? I’d hate to wake up to such a painful reality.” Mr. Drummond lifted his hand to feel the lump on his head and looked up at Alisdair. “Help me into the house. Obviously, I have been robbed. It is time to see what kind of damage has been done.”

 

A noise came from the back door, and Alisdair looked up to see the horrified look of a wife and two middle school kids standing in the open back door. “Henry!” The wife screamed and ran to the shed followed by the two kids. She stopped just short of the scene and looked at Alisdair with suspicion. “And, who might you be?” The wife demanded, not looking at Mr. Drummond.

 

“Stop Gwen, this is the Mr. Robertson that I wanted to have for supper. He’s Arthur Robertson’s eldest. The one that left and went to the States. Augh! Help me up off of the shed floor will you, Alisdair? I need a stiff one and some pain killers for this killer of a headache.” Alisdair picked Henry Drummond up off the floor keeping the man wrapped like a burrito in the blanket.

 

“Henry, that blanket is all full of Sophie’s old hairs from the day we had to put ‘er down. You’ll get them all over the house.” The two kids were slowly backing into the house and now I could see that the lights were on. One of the kids – a boy about thirteen years old – was in a hall closet rummaging in a stack of towels. The other – a girl about eleven – was bent over picking up the remains of the wooden chair used to crack Mr. Drummond over the noggin.

 

“Wendy” Mr. Drummond started when we were near the kitchen. “Please, dear, put those pieces back where you found them. The police are going to want to examine the kitchen. We can’t disturb things here until they are finished. Gwen, did you call them yet?” Mr. Drummond moved very slowly, with quite a bit of shuffling, blanket hugging determination towards the living room. And, it became evident where the man was heading. There near an extremely comfortable leather recliner stood a liquor cabinet. Mr. Drummond reached into the cabinet and came out with a bottle of single malt scotch.

 

Turning to Alisdair and Gwen – who was talking on her cell phone – and held out the bottle as if to say, “I’m going to anesthetize my noggin! Anyone care to join me?”

 

“I’ll have some,” Alisdair replied somewhat curious to see which of the distilleries the bottle came from.

 

Gwen entered the room and grabbed a tumbler for herself and reached into the cabinet for what looked like a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle’s whiskey. Then turned to her husband and said, “The police will be here in about twenty minutes.” She turned to Alisdair and remarked. “One of the perks of living out here in the historical Fittie area.” The sarcasm and bitterness causing shivering Mr. Drummond to wince as he handed Alisdair his tumbler.

 

“I am afraid, Alisdair… can I call you Alisdair… …somehow using formalities at a time like this just seems a bit off kilter. If you catch my drift.” Henry plopped, moving blanket and all into his recliner managing to not spill a drop of his drink. Obviously, a much-practiced move.

 

“Of course Mr. Drummond.” Alisdair moved to a small sofa opposite the fireplace, and Gwen sat in a small overstuffed chair on the other side of the fireplace. “Except that my friends – and I think this kind of thing makes us friends – call me ‘Dair. It’s a Marine thing. Marines are all about shortening things, jobs, and names, anything that can be shortened actually.”

 

“I doubt that is a propensity that is unique to the United States Marines ‘Dair. I did my stint in the Royal Navy. And, I am proud to say that short cuts were my specialty. However, they are not all that helpful in the legal trade. There are just no short cuts when it comes to the law I am afraid. And, to get back to what I was about to say when our names got in the way, whoever broke our kitchen chair over my head it seems has made off with what I needed to share with you tonight.” Henry looked at Gwen, “Did you look inside the safe?”

 

Gwen put her glass down on the small table next to her chair. “No, you told us all to stay out of there Henry. Do you want me to go look…Oh, forget it…I’ll be right back!” Gwen jumped up and quickly headed to the kitchen.

 

“Yes, they cleaned us out, Henry!” Gwen announced as she returned to the living room. “Who would do such a thing? How would anyone even know about our safe? And, Henry what was in there that anyone would want to steal? You did take my mother’s necklace back to the bank safety box like you said you would, correct?” She asked with an “I’m going to add another lump on top of your noggin if you haven’t” look.

 

Alisdair was sitting quietly sipping his scotch watching the husband and wife deal with the trauma of the evening when the Police finally showed up and began investigating the scene, and their forensics team was closely dogged by the two children Eric and Wendy. The evening wore on quickly as the Police work and the Scotch seemed to compact time into a disappearing moment. By the time the police left the night was fully fallen and Gwen had had Straw Hat Pizza – from just down the Esplanade – delivered. And, of course, Gwen would take no excuses or put-offs and Alisdair found himself sleeping in Eric’s room while Eric got to sleep on the short couch in the living room. Tomorrow was looking to be an interesting day.

 

 

 

More than Conquerors!

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Photo by J W on Unsplash

(Derek’s Note: A little detour from posting chapters from “The Lewis List”)

“Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For your sake, we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[a]

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8: 35 – 39

I have been pondering the meaning behind the above verse 37. I believe that in a previous blog post I mentioned something about being more than a conqueror. But, it occurred to me that there was another aspect to this that needs to be said. 

We are made more than conquerors by the Love of Christ, not through something we do. It’s Jesus in us that keeps us and gives us victory. But, what does it mean to be more than a conqueror? How do you go beyond victory? First of all the description of a conqueror fits Jesus to a “T”. He is the Conqueror! He has brought all of creation to its knees and eventually every knee will bow and tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of all. 

As a Conqueror, Jesus has the right to do anything He pleases with those He has conquered. He can destroy anyone or anything that stands in His way…that is the prerogative of the victor in a war. Unconditional surrender is demanded; and – as the vanquished – you better pray for mercy. Ancient history documents what happened to the losers of battles in great detail. Slavery, torture, crucifixion, and many other gruesome outcomes awaited those unfortunate to be on the losing end of a conflict. 

To take that a step further, Jesus could snap his fingers and everything would be gone. Much like Thanos in the Marvel movie. The only difference is that there wouldn’t be slowly dissolving dark grey flakes drifting on the breeze. There would just be nothing left. No memories of lives gone by. Just oblivion. That is the right of an Almighty God whose very Word sparked a Universe we cannot see the end of. It brings reality to the term the Fear of God.

But, back to the idea of being MORE than a Conqueror. How do you do more as a Conqueror? Is crushing then erasing the remnants of your vanquished foe’s society and culture, all that is expected? Perhaps, if you are a human conqueror. But, Jesus chose to die on the cross for His MORE. An ALL powerful, All-knowing, Omnipresent God can afford to be compassionate. His perspective allows compassion to guide His conquest. Our God is not a Human that He gets offended when we fail. And, it takes diligent and intentional blasphemy to spark retaliation from Him.

Compassion and Love are the benefits of surrender to an Almighty God. When we allow ourselves to be conquered, we gain a Father, a Savior, and a Promise. 

 

 

 

 

 

The Unseen Substance of Faith

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(Photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash)

 

Hebrews 11:1 – 3; “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” 

(Derek’s Note: a Whole lot of speculating going on in this blog post. Right up front; I am not a science guy. I love reading about it and it sparks my imagination. But, I couldn’t calculate my way out of a wet paper bag when it comes to math. So if I make some egregious mistakes in this post. Or, cause you to snicker at my ignorance. Please forgive me and gently correct my enthusiastic speculations. Deal?)

 

People, in general, seem to have a problem with faith and prayer due to the “unseen” nature of both. It seems there is a need to take action when answers to prayer are not forthcoming in a time frame we are comfortable with. The most common – and excellent – response to that problem is the written Word. Because it can be seen.

We are an impatient people. We demand control of our lives and the time we are given. And, when anything messes with that we become undone emotionally and find ways to manipulate our circumstances to fit our goals and dreams. There is a good and a bad way to do that. But, that is not what this blog post is about. That was merely an illustration of the way most of us struggle with God’s timing for our lives. Or, put differently, with the things of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ that require us to exercise faith. Ask yourself what it feels like to be told…or suggested…to “Have Faith! It will all work out in the end!”

In the above verse, it says that Faith is THE substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. The substance of the Unseen.

Okay, I think most of you reading this are familiar with that verse and probably many have memorized it. But, a connection occurred to me as I was going to sleep that I would like to share with you. Please recognize that I am completely speculating here. Raising an interesting series of questions. 

Lately, I have read a number of articles about how astronomers have begun to discover ways of measuring the mass of the universe. Mathematically, things have not added up. So much so that they have theorized that the bulk of the universe’s mass is made up of what they call, dark matter. Problem is, we can’t see dark matter. It supposedly has mass and has been characterized as the stuff that is propelling the universe outward at speeds beyond that of the speed of light.

Perhaps you see where I am going with all this? Dark matter, the unseen substance of our universe. Powerful enough to push our universe at greater than light speed. Invisible, and yet, holding properties similar to the physical world around us. Could our faith/expectation of God actuate this dark matter? As the “New Creation”, do we have access to the unseen properties of dark matter? Could dark matter be what Peter was walking on when he stepped out of the boat? Is science pointing to a basic realization of the heavenly dimension?

Okay, all my science guys out there. What other events or clues in God’s word can we find that point in this direction. Probably a good reading of Hebrews 11 is in order.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Sixteen The Lewis List: Bletchley Park

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(Derek’s Note: Bletchley Park was purchased in  May 1938 by Admiral Sir Hugh Sinclair, head of the Secret Intelligence Service(SIS or MI6). He bought the mansion and 58 acres (23 ha) of land for £6,000, using his own money after the Government said they did not have the budget to do so, for use by GC&CS and SIS in the event of war. The time frame for the Lewis List is during this period of 1938; the buildup towards World War II.) 

 

Night fell as the Lorries carrying the Lewis List – as they were now calling themselves – drove onto the grounds of Bletchley Park in the midst of a downpour. The lorries passed a huge mansion and pulled up in front of a number of bungalows. William Stephenson exited his Austin with Margaret and was met by a large Viking of a man dressed in oilskins followed by a squad of men equally large carrying umbrellas and blankets. The List was quickly bundled into one of the huts where a number of women – WRENs (Women’s Royal Naval Service) – efficiently separated the men from the women and escorted each to a different hut for the night.

Jackie found himself in a hut with Arthur and Tecumseh; Doc, Sherlock, Challenger, and Bass were in a hut next door. Ronald, Hugo, and Owen had stayed behind as their responsibilities required their presence. The three had agreed to cover for Jackie’s absence at the college. The Mother, Margaret, King George, and William disappeared into the large mansion across the road.

Once the men were settled in their hut, Jack’s professorial curiosity took over…with a nudge from his imagination…and the questions began to flow. The three men talked until after midnight. Arthur and Tecumseh explained the unique nature of the Graal Corporation and the Fellowship of Those that Remain, to Jack. How the Two Witnesses of Revelation were supported by the Fellowship’s activities throughout history. The main purpose of the Fellowship is to document the crimes of Satan throughout the Church Age. That Jesus’s mother…The Mother Mary…was the head of the Fellowship along with a core group of the original disciples who have been alive since the beginning, and that Father God periodically added to the ranks of Those that Remain. That many of the events in history were incorrect as Satan was actively in the process of rewriting history to remove the witness of Jesus Christ from the history books.

Jack sat mesmerized on his cot wrapped in two soft wool blankets and listened without more than a few questions about how all this was possible without the general public knowing about it. Arthur explained that Graal Corporation was as busy as Satan was in the world’s most intense Psy-Ops battle to sway the hearts and minds of the average human being.

Eventually, the events of the day took over and the lights went out and the three men drifted off into sleep.

At exactly 02:00 AM an intensely bright light exploded on the footpath that ran along the road bordering the boundary of the Park, the light moved with amazing speed down the path illuminating the raindrops in excruciating detail and casting dark contrasting shadows across the lawns of the park. As the light moved to a point opposite to the door of Jackie’s hut it stopped and an excited voice shouted, “Wee Hoo! What a Joy! Thanks for the lift, Fred! You are still the best! Just remember to return the bicycle to the Magdalen College dormitory. I am sure there will be a consternated student if you don’t!” A quieter, but equally excited voice said, “Talley-Ho!”, and the light launched off of the footpath and streaked through the trees and rain into the clouds.

As the light receded a short individual wearing a dark grey full length hooded cloak stepped through the hedge bordering the footpath and walked to the door of the hut. The man stood for a moment before the door with an otherworldly shimmer and steam streaming from his shrouded shoulders. He seemed to be whispering to himself. Then out from the cloak, a dark and gnarly staff was produced. Nearly the same height as the man it had a large white moonstone agate embedded into the top of the staff and bronze cap over the business end of the staff. The staff hovered before the door as he considered knocking, but realizing the time decided against it.

A strong but wiry hand reached out and opened the door and with the confidence of familiarity walked down the hall and across the room until he stood over the form of Arthur Mac Aeden.

The man set his staff against the wall and then pulled his cloak off; all in complete silence. The only sounds in the room being the gentle snoring of Tecumseh and C.S. Lewis. Standing over Arthur was an unremarkable senior citizen. He had close-cropped reddish hair with streaks of grey. His ears were the ears of a wrestler and painful to look at. His eyes were large, round and green and set in a round jovial face that looked like a Scottish Fold Cat or a cross between a Barn Owl and a Librarian. He stood over Arthur for a few moments with the look of a Father standing over his sleeping child. But, then a mischievous smile spread across the round cherubic cheeks and he held his rain-soaked cloak over Arthur and began to shake the water off and onto Arthur’s upturned face.

“What the Devil!!” Arthur came off of the cot with all the instincts that a lifetime of one thousand five hundred years can give and found himself face to face with the owlish intruder. Who immediately grabbed his staff and knocked Arthur on the forehead with the agate and said. “Sit down Arthur! I would have thought I had taught you better! In times of war to keep a better watch on the gates! It was altogether too easy to find you and your resting place. Why I could have been one of those devils that Judas himself is breeding in the dark dungeons of Baghdad or even a dragon…if those even still exist. Well, you catch my meaning.” The old man started to knock Arthur on the head again as if to emphasize his point. But, Arthur managed to grab the staff and stave off the knocking.

Tecumseh and Jack sat up in their cots to witness the bettering of Arthur King of England by a man two thirds his size.

“Merlin!? What are you doing here? Why do you always have to sneak up on me like that? And, how in Jesus name did you know to find us here?” Arthur rubbed the small knot that was developing where Merlin had smacked him.

Without answering the questions from his ancient and hereditary king, Merlin stepped over to Tecumseh and held his hand out. “It is a pleasure to see you again Tecumseh. It has been altogether too long. I didn’t get the opportunity last time to tell you how much I admired your brother. I think we would have gotten along quite well. His grasp of what Creator originally wanted for the land was profound. Too bad he was a bit of a hot head, wouldn’t you say? Anyway, I am glad that you are along for this ride, to keep an eye on my young charge here.” Merlin nodded in Arthur’s general direction.

Then he turned and leaned close to Jack’s face. “So you are the writer that Fred and The King of Creation have chosen to lead this enterprise. Pleased to finally meet you.” Merlin stuck his hand out and leaned in even closer and with a conspiratorial whisper he asked, “Any chance you could write me into one of your stories? Would love to get to know Aslan on a face to face basis.”

“You’re Merlin?” Jack asked now fully awake.

“In the flesh as they say in all the classic novels. I’m a big fan, by the way! Have all your books in my library at Baker Street. I hear that The King brought Sherlock Holmes to life. Big Fan, Big Fan! I’m somewhat of a sleuth myself. Kind of helps being a wizard and all. Of course, I only get to use my skills when Jesus allows it. But, that’s not so bad. Next to Jesus, there are not many that I call family. Arthur is one, and my oldest friend. We both came into the Fellowship at about the same time. Jackie, is there anything in this hovel to eat? The RAF give you men anything that could be considered victuals?” Merlin held his staff up over his head and the agate blazed forth with a brilliant and glorious rainbow of colors that played over the walls, beds, and windows allowing Merlin to give a visual once-over to the barracks.

Jack looked over at Tecumseh and recognized a look of awe on his face. But, Arthur’s was more a look of exasperation. Similar to when a parent misbehaves in front of his teenage children when their friends are over for lunch.

“Okay, Grandpa!” Arthur sighed. “Let’s go over to the kitchen and see what the cooks have stashed in the icebox. Not everyone can live without sleep like you can. So let’s go so that these two can get some shut-eye. Shall we?” Arthur finished putting on his boots and held his arm out towards the door in an invitation for Merlin to lead the way. No doubt in his mind that he already knew exactly where to find the kitchen.

Merlin grabbed his cloak and expertly threw it over his head and shoulders. “Oh hey Arthur, do you think they’ve got any Haggis?” He asked as the two of them stepped into the now gentle drizzle.

 

 

 

Chapter Fifteen “The Lewis List”: Darkness and Light!

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Photo by Good Free Photos on Unsplash

 

“That is indeed the case gentlemen,” Mary answered Sherlock and Challenger. “I would expect that considering your own situation as newborn creatures, that it would not be beyond understanding that I could be alive at this end of history?”

The group of men mostly followed the logic of the situation and shook their heads as if they understood The Mother’s logic.

Sherlock, however, was not so fast to just accept the non-explanation. “I would agree with you Madam, except I for one have always maintained that you and your Son are as Mythical as I was Fictional. So regardless of the reality I, Professor Challenger, and Mr. Savage there find ourselves in. I must maintain a certain skepticism. Label me a modern day doubting Thomas if you will. But, I find it difficult to the extreme to admit that I have been wrong all these years about something so important. And, yes, I realize the importance of that decision. I just have never been presented with any cogent facts in a precise and convincing manner to change my mind.”

Sherlock looked at Challenger and Doc as if to say, “Back me up here fella’s”! Then continued

“However – again – considering the mounting evidence. I…Did you feel that?” Sherlock turned to look behind him as if there were someone approaching with ill intent. Doc, Bass, and Challenger all turned as well. Then Joan of Arc began to sing.

Her voice was strong as a trumpet rallying the troops. She stood before the door of the pub with her arms outstretched and her face to the sky. Jack realized that she was singing the 91st Psalm in an archaic style that evoked images in Jack’s mind of nuns and monks chanting in St.Paul’s Cathedral in London. And, for a moment Jack caught a glimpse of an army of dark creatures streaming down the street. Emerging from the ground, and falling from the sky like dark and putrid coals of brimstone. His attention, however, returned to the young woman and the boundaries between the natural and the supernatural continued to blur revealing Joan encased in a circle of brilliant light radiating out from her body in all directions. And, as she sang the words of the psalm exploded out towards the creatures hiding in the darkness.

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life, I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

Joan’s words broke the darkness like a strong wind on a foggy day and a sense of peace fell on the street, and the vision changed to one of panicked creatures fleeing from the angels that now appeared behind the words of light.

The vision ended as quickly as it started.

As the peace came over the street it touched the hearts of everyone standing in front of the pub, leaving Sherlock with a profound sensation. For the first time in his short corporeal life, he was clueless as to how to respond. Looking at Challenger as if he might have an answer, he saw that the professor was as lost as he was. Then they heard the trilling sound and turned to look at Doc. The giant bronze man was looking into the sky with that same rapturous look on his face and realized that the strange whistling or trilling sound that was coming from Doc had been harmonizing with Joan’s song. Challenger then grabbed Sherlock and pointed towards where Tecumseh and King Arthur had been standing near Joan. The two men were kneeling and also had the same looks of reverence on their faces.

Challenger looked at Sherlock and remarked, “It seems there is much more to being a human than what our creator has led us to understand. And, considering the fact that Mr. Bronze statue himself seems to understand this, perhaps we should investigate further. Although, I for one despise having to admit my personal conundrum in the matter of spiritual things. I deplore ignorance in any matter much more.”

But, as Joan sang the last verse – and before Sherlock could answer Challenger’s question – she began to run down the street with the butcher’s knife in her hand raised above her head as if it were a sword, her spirit had drawn her attention to the small man at the end of the street holding a cane over his head and chanting loudly.

Everyone except for the mother and the Inklings ran after the young woman. Surprisingly, Challenger caught the teenager and passed her and shouted, “There on the corner! A decidedly evil looking cretin is attempting to flee! After him gents!”

However, as the group arrived at the corner they found their quarry was gone.

“Quite interesting Savage. Don’t you agree?” Sherlock asked. “The man seems to have simply disappeared. Normally, I would ignore such an illogical suggestion. But, considering today’s events, I am disposed to believe that something supernatural may be the most logical conclusion.”

Doc turned to Sherlock and nodded in agreement. “Hard to come to any other conclusion. As there are not any doors near the corner for the man to disappear into, and there are no vehicles on the street in any direction that are close enough to be considered a likely mode of escape.”

Challenger looked at his partners and just shook his head. “I’ve seen some pretty amazing things in my imaginary life. But, this reality business is not what I had imagined life would be…if I had actually been able to imagine.”

Joan of Arc looked at everyone and waved the Butcher knife in their faces. Her petite face glowing with pure warlike aggression. And, since Challenger’s face was the closest to her own, Joan pressed her face up to his and whispered, “He is Devil…Demon!”

 

 

 

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 Ten The Lewis List: Obscure Purposes

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(Photo by Samuel Zeller: https://unsplash.com/@samuelzeller?utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=photographer-credit&utm_content=creditBadge)

Obscure Purposes

Thomas Slowey – the owner and proprietor of the Eagle and Child – pocketed the ten-pound note from William Stephenson and ushered the rest of the afternoon’s customers out the door, while Jack and Ronald shepherded the eclectic troop into the Rabbit Room, which became quite crowded. Jack took up a position near the hearth and was joined immediately by Tecumseh, who gave Jack a look that he could sit down. Jack thought to himself that if ever a man could command with a look this man was him and proceeded to sit down on a stool right near the ash can.

Tecumseh looked at the faces gathered before him; William Stephenson, Margaret Carter, Joan of Arc, Sherlock Holmes, George Edward Challenger, John Ronald Reuel Tolkein, Owen Barfield, Hugo Dyson, Clark Savage, Jr., and Bass Reeves. Tecumseh’s gaze fell upon the questioning look of Thomas Slowey and said, “Thank you, Mr. Slowey, for making your establishment available for our impromptu meeting. I am sure that we will be taking advantage of your excellent selection of refreshments after we conclude our business.”

Mr. Slowey – fingering the ten-pound note in his pocket – smiled and left the room, as the prospect of more business settled into his understanding.

Tecumseh looked around the room for a moment and then said, “My name is Tecumseh. And, yes that means I’m pretty old. I was born sometime in the late 1700’s and history says that I died in battle during the Battle of the Thames. Well, I can assure you that those reports are false. As here I stand before you. However, the fact that I live today is not that remarkable. How this came about is. And, if I can get the story told before Fred shows up and steals your attention, that will be a bonafide miracle”.

Tecumseh looked around the room to see if the Angel had somehow found a way to enter the room without being noticed. Seeing that he hadn’t he began to tell his story. “I was indeed mortally wounded at the Battle of the Thames and thought I was done for. But, as I began to drift off into death I saw a great light and there were a number of women” Joan of Arc jumped from the seat she had been given by Sherlock and gasped, ”This too happened to me! When I saw the Virgin Mary!” …” dressed in ancient clothes who quickly picked me up from the ground and as quickly as they appeared I found myself in a room carved out of rock, and the women began to work on my wounds.

I spent many months recuperating in the Fortress of Lyonesse, as it is called, being tended to by who many of you might call the “Lady of the Lake”. Who is actually none other than Mary the Mother of Jesus…” Tecumseh looked at the young French girl and smiled. “Yes, young one, she is most definitely alive and involved in the affairs of us all. Indeed that is why she has gathered us all here!”

“But, to continue my story.” Tecumseh started. “I have been alive engaged in the business of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. And, now you all have become my new assignment.”

Tecumseh looked around the room as if to give a moment for questions, but only one hand rose. That was the hand of Professor Tolkein who was hovering – with Jack, Dyson, and Barfield – over the book Fred had given to Jack. And, without looking up Ronald pointed to the character list in the book and asked. “Everyone on the list is here except one. Are we expecting The Summer King to just appear as our recently resurrected – and favorite…I might add – characters did? Or, are we missing something here? Is this “Fred” going to bring him into the room? I am afraid Mr. Tecumseh, you have not solved anything with the story of your salvation from the hands of the American Military. You have merely raised the curiosity of a group of professors that demand answers to questions much more difficult every day from our students.” Ronald stood as he was talking and held the book out towards Tecumseh. “It says here that King Arthur…or Artur as it is written…should be one of our group. That seems to imply that we are at that stage of history where his services as King are needed…if not destined!”

The Inklings were all now shaking their heads in agreement, Savage, Holmes, and Challenger also shook their heads in agreement as each of them had intellects matching the four Inklings. It seems that Fred and Tecumseh had collected some of the most imaginative and decisive minds for the assignment.

“Yes, well that is the sticky wicket as you Brits like to say.” Tecumseh walked over to Ronald and asked, “Can I have this for a moment, Professor? I promise to give it back.” He proceeded to thumb through the first few pages of the book and there on the pages – as he turned each page – the words appeared describing exactly how everything was happening. Down to each jot and tittle.

Tecumseh turned the book towards the assemblage as if turning the pages – as would a teacher in Kindergarten – of an illustrated edition of “The Sword in the Stone”, he showed them all the words appearing on the page as he spoke. “It seems that the book is doing its job. Now it seems it’s time for the author of the book to do his job. And, that is to write where we are going next. And, if I may give a bit of a clue, shouldn’t really be as hard as you are all imagining.” And, he handed the book to a rather perplexed Jack Lewis.

“But, how in blazes am I supposed to write in the book that which I have absolutely no clue about how to accomplish!” Jack stood and held the book out to Tecumseh and watched in frustration as the words, “…absolutely no clue how to accomplish!” appeared in golden script on the pages. Jack felt he was on a roll and continued, “And, what about these other names? Himmler? Kahn and Cady? Macbeth? It seems that not only do we have modern authors imaginations strolling the streets of Oxford. But, now Shakespeare? Nothing like having two ancient Kings competing for our attention. Can you imagine the conflict between Kings Arthur and Macbeth? What in all of God’s good Grace was…whomever has us gathered here…thinking?”

George Edward Challenger – disgusted with Jack’s small tirade – stood up and tore the book from Jack’s hands and poking his prodigious nose to within inches of Jack’s face he challenged him, “Mr. Professor big brain Lewis, I suggest you grab a handful of courage and do what ya do best. You take ideas out of thin air and set them to pages, correct?”

Jack stepped back carefully to get some distance from the giant dwarfish man, “Yes!?” He stammered.

“Oh come on Man!” Challenger continued to push into Jack’s space and even poked him in the chest. “How would you respond to one of your own students if they answered you with such a milque-toast answer!? I may be the living resurrection of someone’s imagination. But, I’m enough of a man…now…to understand that we each have a role to play here. And, you, my over pampered academical daydreamers, don’t seem to be grasping that!” Challenger took the book and poked his finger on the next blank page. (right after the words”…seem to be grasping that.”)”Well, if you were to write a book about how and where the legendary King Arthur was to appear? Where in the Bloody Hell would your over-rated imaginations say that WAS!?” With that Challenger shoved the book into Jack’s chest and – adjusting his great coat with a Harrumph –sat back down next to Sherlock and Savage, who were both looking with horror at the bullying tactics of their compatriot.

A moment of silence resulted as each gathered their courage to say anything.

“Yes, well, I would like to express the Prime Minister’s concerns…” William Stephenson stood up as if to address the group. But, before he could begin there was a scuffle at the door as Mr. Slowey was attempting to guard the door against another very large individual, and soon the individual walked into the room with Mr. Slowey’s arms pinned to his side and his feet a good foot above the ground. The man walked into the room, then turned and set Mr. Slowey down as if he were shutting a door in the room.

Tecumseh spoke up. “This is why I said that I didn’t think you needed to worry. Ladies and Gents! Let me introduce you to The Summer King, the one the only, eternal King of England, King Arthur Mac Aedan!”

Arthur walked over to Tecumseh and stood with his back to the group and gave Tecumseh gentle punch to the shoulder. “Thanks for the introduction my friend! What do we got going this time?” He said as he turned to the group.

Arthur was large if not larger than Doc, and much bulkier. But, it was the face that caught everyone’s attention. His face was square and strong with perfectly proportioned features framed by a perfectly trimmed gray beard, and his very long hair was braided and fell across his right shoulder. He wore innocuous black dungarees and a Canadian Pendleton shirt tucked into an intricately worked leather belt covered with Celtic symbols. On his feet were top of the line combat boots – that William Stephenson recognized as the boots they had been handing out to his operatives. On the right side of his belt he carried a holstered M1911 .45 pistol with red scrimshaw grips, and on the left a Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife.

Arthur put his lumberjack sized arms over Tecumseh’s shoulders and asked with a grin, “I’m starved! Anyone ready for dinner…a Pint? I’m buyin’?