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.

 

 

 

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.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Holy Pollination

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Photo by Zac Durant on Unsplash

(Derek’s Note: Will post another chapter of “The Lewis List” later today)

Yesterday, as I was on my prayer walk, I walked through a part of the street – about two blocks – where the houses all have the same type of tree in their yards. I have no idea what kind of trees these were, but they were all attracting bees.

They were good-sized trees (30 – 40 foot high), and since yesterday was the first day of fall here in Northern California, the leaves are all still green and lush. And, the trees almost formed a tunnel over the street. As I walked into this part of the street, the sound of the bees was profound. It was loud enough to be the only thing I was thinking about…like hearing a jet taking off from a distance. I was fascinated. I could see that they were attracted to what looked like very small flowers at the apex of where the leaves sprouted from the branch, and thousands of tiny brown petals were raining out of the trees and covering the sidewalk and street.

Beyond the fact that this was the end of summer and the beginning of Fall, it seemed strange for bees to be this active pollinating these trees. And, I remember thinking, “Every bee in Butte County has to be here!”

Then The Lord began to speak.

He said that the act of prayer is like pollination. That as I walked the street and prayed for the people living in the homes, I was pollinating them with the hope of Jesus Christ. That just like the bees transferring pollen from flower to flower fertilizing them. As I prayed over the people in those homes, God would begin to move over their lives pollinating their destiny, potentially producing fruit. I may not be the harvester. But, fruit would be produced because someone prayed/pollinated for them.

I was given a vision a few months back that I blogged – “Changing of the Guard…or saving the Prayer Orphans. – about the prayer orphans. That was actually my purpose yesterday, to pray over the prayer orphans. Those families/people that used to have someone to pray for them, but now they don’t, because that person (Grand Parent, Parent, Aunt, Uncle) has passed away. These people are flowers that need their pollination to be finished.

The Lost need Holy Pollen! Without it, fruit won’t be produced for the Kingdom. As we pray we are storing up treasure (Honey) in Heaven. Golden Holy Honey!

 

 

 

 

 

Resistance is Futile!

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Lately the thought of growing older has occupied more and more of my imagination. I wrote a blog post a couple of months ago about “Acting Your Age”, which came from this ruminating about getting older. This is not a frivolous thing for me. As I have thought about this in light of my relationship with Jesus, I realize that I want to finish well. Sixty years old. If I live to be the same age as my father who is over eighty, then I have just entered the fourth quarter of my life. It is time to finish well.

But, what stands in the way of that?

As the title of this blog suggests…only I stand in the way of finishing well.

One of the lessons learned up to this point in life is about learning to discern His Voice. This is crucial to understanding His Will for my life, His instructions on a day to day basis, and His intimate Presence. But, since this post is about obedience, let me land on that.

The older I have become the easier it has become to obey His commands, suggestions, and nudges. As an example; we have all been given the visual of the layers of an onion as it applies to how God peels off layers of our worldliness to make us more like Jesus. As a young man I struggled with that. I fought The Lord when conviction to change came my way. There were lots of excuses as to why I didn’t want to obey His leading, but eventually I would comply. Unfortunately, compliance sometimes came after years of struggling, procrastinating, excuse making, and flat out disobedience.

But, recently – the last 10 years or so – I have come to the understanding of God’s relentless pursuit to nurture excellence in me. Resistance is futile! That well known term taken from Star Trek’s famous Borg episodes. These episodes of course show us that resistance for the crew of the Enterprise was not futile. But, with God, resistance is futile for the believer who truly wants what The Father wants for them. And, the sooner obedience comes the sooner the blessing comes.

Let me use another example from my life. I used to be an avid Online Gamer. I spent a lot of time online playing the various first-person shooters I was addicted to. Mostly the Call of Duty series of games. And, I was very good at it. Good enough – addicted enough – to join an online Christian gamers clan. I rationalized that if I played with other Christians that I could justify the amount of time I spent playing. It was a good thing. We witnessed to the Pre-Believers that came into our server to play and at one point even lead about 30 individuals to Christ. But, I was still addicted.

Eventually, God convicted me about my gaming by enticing me with my writing. I became jealous of a friend of mine. She was excited about her writing career. So when I complained to God, He just challenged the wisdom of my time usage. He asked me what was more important – more profitable – online gaming or my writing.

If He had asked me that when I was in my 20’s or 30’s (maybe even into my 40’s) I would have fought that suggestion vehemently. But, after all the turmoil and lessons from raising a family and a business. All the lessons of a lifetime of prayer, I immediately quit online gaming cold turkey. That was almost 2 years ago. I didn’t struggle or make excuses. I just quit.

Why you ask? Because, I knew the blessing that came from obedience would be so much better than staying where I was. And, it has been. It took almost a year for my imagination to return to normal. Another 6 months before the Holy Spirit and I began to get into a flow collaborating on my stories. But, now the joy and intimacy of my writing sessions with The Holy Spirit are much more valuable and precious to me than the best day of gaming ever was.

This is the lesson.

I realized that I have become hungry for the blessings that come from obedience. I began to understand that I can intentionally look at my life – at the layers of the onion that still exist – and decide to take action to pursue Holiness and Purity. To actively participate in the peeling of the onion on a proactive basis. I decided to let The Lord prompt me when ever He felt the need to.

Here is my current Layer that I am hungry to remove. Vulgarity. I am an ex Coast Guard Officer. I came from the enlisted ranks – where I learned to cuss like a sailor – and went to Officer Candidate School. I served for about 6 years as an Officer. . That was 1980. I still, in moments of pain or frustration, can cuss a blue streak. But, I weary of that. As I strive for Holiness in my life as a prayer leader in my community, I have come to the realization…with a bit of a nudge from The Lord…that this part of me has to go. (and yes, prayer for this is gratefully accepted.)

Become an active participant in the process of Layer Removal. I can guarantee you that the blessing of His Presence and His intimacy becomes much clearer and closer the more layers you remove. When we participate in the process, rather than resist the process, we accelerate our becoming more like Him.

The next time Father convicts your heart and calls you to Holiness and Purity? Run to Him. Do not resist His nudge. Resistance is futile!

Angel at the Bus

HISTORICAL PABT PHOTOS AND CONSTRUCTION

I wrote this a number of years ago for a book on angels by Jerry Orthner, “Angels: Friends in High Places”

January 5, 1980, dawned cold and cloudy, snow gently falling on the empty street. Only a few days earlier I had publicly acknowledged Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. And today I was to catch a city bus that would take me to the Port Authority in New York City and on to coast guard training in Yorktown. Nancy and I moved slowly, trying not to think of the four months we would be apart.

Finally, with my duffel bag, a carry-on and my new Bible in the car, we headed for the bus station. About five minutes before the bus was scheduled to arrive, I realized I had left my uniform hat back at the house. Nancy jumped in the car and drove back to get it, leaving me to wait for the bus. By the time she returned, I had missed the bus that would have allowed me to make connections in New York.

I finally boarded the next “86” and arrived at the Port Authority precisely at 10:30. I jumped off in a panic, my mind swimming with images of showing up late for Officer Candidate School.

Once inside, I found the ticket area, got in line and bought my ticket. My bus, they said, was leaving from Gate 36. I ran the full length of the building before I saw a sign that indicated that Gate 36 was downstairs and all the way back at the other end.

I glanced down at my watch. It was 10:45 and there were no people waiting in line! I crashed into the metal door with all the weight of my body and luggage. There sat the bus, engine idling.

Is this the bus to Baltimore?” I asked breathlessly as the driver opened the door.

Yes, it is,” he replied.

The man climbed down from his seat and proceeded to the cargo compartment to stow my bag. He was a big man, over six feet tall with broad shoulders, a big smile and white hair. As I turned to climb into the bus, he asked, “What’s that book you have there?”

It’s my new Bible,” I replied. “I just bought it last weekend.”

The driver smiled.

Read Psalm 91:11 and you will see why I waited for you.”

What?” I exclaimed, exhausted from the excitement.

Read Psalm 91:11 and you will see why I waited for you.”

I climbed on board, found a seat on the let side about halfway back near the window and opened my Bible. “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.”

I looked up. The driver was watching me in the large rearview mirror.

Beautiful, isn’t it?” he said as our eyes met.

Sometime later, in Baltimore, I watched as the bus pulled out of the station and stopped at a traffic signal a short distance down the road. The driver turned, locked eyes with me and, with another big smile, waved. Amazed, I waved back.

When I finally reached the motel, I called Nancy and told her about the incident on the bus.

Maybe the man was your guardian angel,” she suggested.

As first such a thing was difficult to believe, but when I thought about it, I realized that I had not pre-purchased my tickets and no one knew I was coming. Although I arrived almost fifteen minutes past the departure time, the driver said he had specifically waited just for me! And, what’s more, he had waited because God had commanded His angel to guard me along my way.

Throughout the years I have held on to this memory as a very personal and special gift from my Heavenly Father. I believe the Lord sent His angel to establish in my heart whose child I had become.

The Redeemed Imagination

The Presence

When I was young – not sure exactly how young – my mother told me that I can be anything put my mind to. To a certain extent that has been true. At almost 60 years old now, the list of jobs I have held in my life point to that belief that I could do just about anything I could imagine or desire. Of course life’s triage process and a general lack of physical time, limited those choices. But, I have been a janitor, ditch digger, bar tender, clown, roofer, receptionist, grounds maintenance person, waiter, bill collector, US Coast Guard Officer, and a Certified Financial Planner. It only required a confident sense of determination, desperation, and the ability to visualize myself doing those things to attain the employment.

There is also the underlying current of God’s Grace and Provision in every one of those situations.

My imagination is a powerful gift from The Creator. It seems to live right in the middle of the heart of who I am. When I imagine, that imagining is central to my thoughts and colored by everything I have become.

There are numerous books on the thought life, both good and bad. And, I suppose I could talk a bit about how important it is to control that part of your life. But, this isn’t about that battleground. This is more about The Gift of Imagination Creator gave us.

The Creator of all things, has the most powerful imagination out there. After all, it was His Vision, His Imagination that birthed the universe. I have heard from different places that when God created creation, he didn’t merely speak it into existence, He sang it into existence. His Heart overflows with passionate love and that love inspires a boundless creative imagination which resulted in you and me and everything you see. So when He created you and I in His image, that template carries an eternal human potential.

In Second Corinthians 5:17, Paul explains that we are a New Creation in Jesus Christ. We have been redeemed from death and made new. How does this apply to the imagination? It has everything to do with how you see yourself …or how you imagine yourself. If you are a new creation, redeemed and restored to your inheritance in The Kingdom. Then there are certain benefits that come with that restoration.

In John 14:12, Jesus bluntly states that the miracles the disciples witnessed are a template for how they will interact with creation. He tells them that they are going to do those same miracles, only they will do more. The New Creation functions differently than the old creation. That is unless someone – the father of lies – can convince The Newly Created that nothing has changed. And, there are numerous examples of Christian Saints that understood their newness and interacted with life in a manner consistent with their identity. Simply they walked in Signs and Wonders. I suggest to you that signs and wonders are the naturally supernatural realm of the redeemed.

So if that is true – and I believe it is – then the redeemed imagination should be a key to the impossible. In Christ the word impossible does not exist. Paul seems to understand this when he writes his letter to the Philippians.  Philippians 4:8  Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Again, recognizing the battle ground of the mind, I understand it is not easy to think of oneself as having a redeemed imagination. Especially, with the flood of images that bombard our minds everyday.

All of this is important because what you imagine has everything to do with what you do. So let’s apply this to the realm of Art.

I am a writer. All my life my imagination would produce fun ideas – stories – that I would diligently write down. The hard part for me was finishing a story. Eventually, I found myself with a box of unfinished stories. Part of me still considered myself a writer. But, most of my time was spent playing online games. Online games captured my imagination. Specifically, Call of Duty in all of it’s various iterations. Actually, I started in the 1990’s with Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Duke Nukem, Medal of Honor, and then Call of Duty. I was an avid gamer for over 15 years. But one day, about two years ago, a friend described meeting with a publisher about the potential of her book. Her excitement was infectious. I got jealous. So I complained to The Lord about it, “why can’t I do that Lord?” He just answered me with a question. “What is more important to you? Playing Games or Writing?”

I went cold turkey that very day (you gamers out there will understand that one …or, maybe not.)

It took my mind almost 9 months before I stopped seeing the images of the game when I closed my eyes. It was almost a year and a half before the desire to write came back. I forced myself to write. I worked at healing my imagination. It was hard. It was frustrating. The images from the gaming had cauterized my imagination.

But, I persisted and worked at it.

Within the last couple of months – during my normal Saturday afternoon writing time – my desire to write exploded into a passion. I like to listen to music while I write. That afternoon as I sat at my computer The Holy Spirit’s Presence overwhelmed me, injecting a passionate excitement into the entire afternoon. The sense of energetic, creativity, mingled with a profound intoxicating peace, and I just closed my eyes and let my fingers fly. I understood that I was functioning on a level of intimacy with my Creator that defined my heavenly identity. As powerful of a feeling I was experiencing, I knew intuitively that this was intended to be normal for the redeemed. Functioning as part of The Body of Christ, wielding the Mind of Christ, and Creating Spirit inspired Beauty. I experienced a joy I have only felt a few very special times before.

I attended a writers conference this weekend. One of the speakers coined the term, “Presence based Art”. When she said that, I realized that was what was happening with me. Presence based art. Collaboration between The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and Their Human Instrument.

Presence based art will bring about the next Spirit Inspired Renaissance.

Be careful what you put into your mind. The old saying G.I.G.O. – Garbage In, Garbage Out – is so brutally true. Guard your heart and mind, nurture that which He has redeemed. (And, if you don’t know Him or that joyous redemption. Ask Him and He will be there.)

You are an instrument of The Creator of all things. You carry a template of The Holy in your Spirit and your Soul. Write, Paint, Sing, Dance, Sculpt, and invite the Presence to collaborate with you. It will be the best Father Son or Father Daughter project you ever do.