Suicide Awareness and Prevention Class

This class I will be teaching has a deep meaning for me as I’m sure it does with many of the people in attendance.

Like myself many of you have been privy to suicide by friends or family.  In my case it was my mother’s sister.  She was deeply troubled.  Two of my mom’s siblings were troubled enough to abandon their families and disappear.  Both ended up in Wilmington away from the Raleigh area.

I don’t know the circumstances nor the method my aunt used to end her life.  My mom’s brother went back home after he was found quite accidentally.

My dad was living in the Wilmington area back in the 70’s working one of two construction jobs at the time.  He would on occasion take a trip to Carolina Beach to see the ocean and sit there to contemplate.  One evening as he sat there he turned to notice a man sitting near and much to his astonishment it was his brother-in-law.  He moved over and began a conversation which led to his return to his home.  I know little else of his life.  Suffice to say we all feel this way sometimes and sometimes we go home.

My aunt was living in Wilmington when I was married and living in that area in the 70’s. I had time to search for her during this time.  I know I came close to finding her.  She usually waitressed in little mom n pop restaurants.  I would get a cold stare from the staff when I would inquire in some places, but they never told me she had or was there.  I know she did return home, but later committed suicide. I don’t know much of the details of her demise.

Then there was my brother.  He was fourth one in a line of five sons.  He had married and divorced after they had a son.  From that time on he lived with our mom.  She was widowed by then.  My mom had a stroke when they lived under the same roof. She recovered somewhat with only a limp. 

In 1999, December 18 to be exact, my mom died of an abdominal aortic aneurysm.  My brother was there and witnessed her death.  The date was an eventful day because just that morning my youngest son had graduated from UNC-W in Wilmington and it had been a full day for me.  Friends and family were present with situations that tried my patience that day and I was extremely tired when I got home.  My older son had taken leave from the military to be there for the graduation.  When we got home I went to bed a little before nine, but was awakened by a phone call that my mom was being rushed to the ER in New Bern NC.  I was not told she had died enroute till I go there.  I met my brother at the entrance to the ER where he told me she had not made it.  I had taken my older son with me to help me since I was so tired.  I walked into the ER with him in tow only to be told my mom’s body had already been put in a reefer “out back”.  I insisted on seeing her body.  I probably should have let that pass, but I did.  I took my son with me.  When they opened the reefer where sge was lying on a gurney in a retracted state.  It was like a scene from a horror movie.  My son also saw this and I’m sure it affected him quite negatively to see his grandmother in such a state.

I had to share this to explain what happened to my brother.  He became reclusive.  One thing my family did without fail was to disconnect their phone service when financial hardship struck.  This was his first move.  I had no contact with him.  The second brother in the line-up was Danny and he lived close by.  Without knowing the situation my Danny went to see him one day and found him in a foul state.  He was living in the family home without electricity, water or any amenities to live even close to something viable.  He could not pay bills that he and mom had accrued.  With that he could not by medicine he desperately needed to live without pain from an injury that had disabled him.  He also had high blood pressure and uncontrolled cholesterol and likely diabetes.  Danny relayed to me he had not cut his hair or shaved in nine months and his skin was covered with eczema.  Danny got him cleaned up and got his power back on and I was told he was seemingly recovering.  My church had an event during this time and Danny and his wife brought Tim to this event, but he sat alone in a crowd of a couple of hundred or so people.  Danny told me he had been depressed for some time, but did not say anything to indicate he was on the edge of suicide. 

Then one day along the first of October 2001 I felt a prompting to go see him, but I felt I was busy at the moment and one set a time to go, but I kept pushing that ahead.  I should have known to go right then in a day and no more.  My eldest had come home on leave to help me put the back half of my roof on.  I had new shingles and he and I had stripped the roof and was putting felt down when I was called down from the roof for a phone call.  It was my brother Danny.  It was the 23rd of October.  This was a devastating call to me.  I’m sure to Danny it was even worse since he was the one that found our brother dead from a shotgun wound to the head.  Someone called my pastor and he and an elder came to the house and we prayed.  I told everyone I could not go till I had secured my roof from the weather, so my son and I went back to work.  While up there my neighbor’s son and his brother went to the back corner of my yard and began firing shotguns into the open field beyond.  Every time the guns went off I winced.  I finally got down from the roof and walked to where they were and told them about my brother and asked could they refrain from firing.  They were very understanding and went back to their home next door.

We buried my brother on the 25th of October 2001, my birthday. There was a grave side funeral only.  The strangest thing that day was the sky was only lightly overcast, but during the funeral the clouds got dark and the wind picked up considerably and a brief shower came down on us and by the time the last words were spoken the rain had stopped and the clouds had gone.  It felt so ominous. 

So what do we say now?

Suicide is a devastating event that ends a life with such decisiveness for the individual and leaves family and friends to question why, not only for him but for ourselves as well.  Why did we not do more?  Why didn’t we act when we knew we should?  Do we simply think to ourselves this could not happen to a family member and it could certainly not leave us wondering why for so many reasons?

I resolved myself with God over my slack nature to not answer, but I still feel the brunt of it in my heart.  Could I have saved my brother had I went immediately when prompted by God?

That event has instilled in me another resolve to put myself into play.  God directed me to a course to become an American Chaplaincy Association certified Chaplain.  I knew that God opened that door for me to attend.  That was 27 hours through Aidan University.  Then I was prompted to attend a sub course on Suicide Awareness and Prevention that was another 9 hours of classes.  I have to note I was ordained two years prior to my starting the ACA class.  It was during this time till now that God revealed to me the fuller nature of my calling. 

I wasn’t called to preach.  I was called to reach the ones in need. One of the phrases that has been instilled in my heart is this ministry is one of “presence” It’s an evangelistic calling, but not a “preachy” kind of calling. Just being there is all some people need.  The people who have troubled minds that see no tomorrow and have given up hope for a better day. 

To further temper my calling I learned from my wife that calls come to her Appointment Center in a major military facility from people telling them they were going to kill themselves or at least harm themselves.  My wife is the supervisor of this center and much to her dismay she found no one in the hospital that felt enough compassion to help or direct her to a department in the hospital that could field the call.  I feel certain the Chaplain’s Office would have taken it, but was there a protocol to contact them?  I don’t know.  I’m screaming inside myself to know why.  WHY! I’ve since found there is a lot of information for help lines and people to talk with, but I still feel there’s a disconnect. I don’t blame anyone. I’ve been in the blindness of this need myself.

God spoke to me to take action.  So I’ve put together this course for those of us that feel the need to help.  There are so many people with troubled minds today.  Saved or not saved should not be a factor.  It’s a human life in the balance and needs someone to answer the call to talk with them, cry with them and tell them even the darkness of night comes to light when the sun rises in the morning.  There is always another day to face.

Our resolve should be to comfort and show our concern.  It is our responsibility to open new doors to possibilities of a newer brighter future.  We don’t need to present our beliefs in God initially unless prompted to do so.  These troubled souls want to be rescued.  Take the beginning steps on a walk that will develop in time to a new belief system for the individual.  Don’t refer to them as survivors from the outset.  Tell them they are overcomers to their circumstances and they have the power to destroy the obstacles that are eating them alive.  Let them know they are the navigators to their destiny and it is still before them.  Help them steer away from the shoals and onto a course in calmer waters where they can dock and take stock in their situation and repair their ship before moving on.  Don’t let them down early on.  Be there to shore them up until they are able to obtain a steady hold on their circumstances.  This isn’t a once done thing.  It may take a good bit of follow-up to get there.

I hope this course will help us to recognize, engage and help people hold course through their treacherous situation and see them walk steadily through the rest of their lives.

(This is my opening to the class. As I prepare more I will be posting to this blog on many things to help someone wanting to know more on how to approach this subject.)

Posted in Abundant life, Biblical teaching, Christian, Common Sense, Death, Follow God, God's Calling, God's direction, God's Guidance, Mental Health, Patience, Possibilities, Priorities, Respect for Life, Sadness, Sobering Thoughts, Spiritual, Spiritual Growth, Spiritual Investment, Suicide | 1 Comment

To Stab or Not to Stab

Understand me when I say I am for a viable and trusted method or cure for a disease of any kind, but critical thinking needs to be applied to anything that you have entering your body as a cure.

What is the efficacy of the drug? Has it been tested over time to determine side effects? Why “mandate” and give this drug to everyone for free? There is ALWAYS a price to pay for a drug. What will the price be for this covid vaccine? Apparently not monetarily. I’ve lived almost 71 years by the grace of God. I have had COVID19.

I suffer from some of the side effects of the disease. Number one on my list is I’ve never had thyroid issues till now. I have been told I have hyperthyroidism. I’ve had irregular heartbeats since I was around 40 yrs old, but in the last few months, they have gotten more pronounced. Please stop a moment and consider what I feel about it. I’m already dealing with issues and by the grace of God I continue on undaunted by what appears to be adverse to my existence, so why would I complicate it with yet something else going into my body that may further damage my temple.

In the context of Romans14:5 we must remember to consider this to be our view of our fellow man.

2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. 3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. 4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. 5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. 6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. 7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. 8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s

If I don’t want the vaccine I have found the following to be interesting. If you want to see more about what I feel, just understand this one thing. This virus was intended to separate us as a free people. Hasn’t it done enough of that? Why do we argue and live in fear or by the grace of God? We need to stop the bickering and look for the root cause of all this. There is a spiritual warfare involved here and it seems to be working. I refuse to allow this to happen anymore.

This selection was brought over from another blog post that is very informative. Credit goes to this person’s research.
Posted in Biblical teaching, Christian, Common Sense, Death, Follow God, God's direction, God's Guidance, Health, Mental Health, Ponderings, Respect for Life, Sobering Thoughts | Leave a comment

Studying Suicide

The following statements from from my observations on the YouTube video titled:

What I Learned from my Husband’s Suicide

Lori Prichard

I’ve listened to the video and could not help feeling this woman’s heart that has and continues to be wrung from the experience of her husband’s suicide.  She expressed her feeling so well as to her helplessness of not recognizing the signs of her husband’s so well hidden yet plainly viewable markers of depression upon his life.

One thing that struck me was I thought I was depressed myself only in my mid-fifties from what was classified as “situational depression” due to my failing marriage and my poor judgments from trying to deal with it that caused me to have anxiety attacks and ended with me seeing a psychiatrist and psychologist for severe depression.

Lori’s discovery of her husband’s documentation gave her a view of the dark side of his life-long dilemma.  That struck me because in my mid-twenties I was having issues and being a writer at heart I started writing my feelings in composition notebooks and kept them under the seat of my car to keep them hidden.  Little did I know my first wife had come to a place she did not know what to do and looked around till she found my writings and read them.  It gave her insight to my issues.  It was shortly after this I sought God and I mean I would beat down church house doors looking for solace.  Thank God He took me by the hand and walked my family and me into a realm where I awoke to a whole new nature in Him.  I don’t know why, but one day early on I stood in my driveway and watched the clouds pass overhead and for the life of me I could not understand why their movement looked so much different that I’d ever seen before.  It was like God was speaking to me. 

I fasted for a week not long afterward and found myself baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of tongues.  The evening before this life-changing event, having fasted all week I was on my way to work and having had a richness of God over me I found that richness had gone.  I felt a void like no other.  I was driving over the Cape Fear River Bridge on my way to work and on the highest part of the bridge I felt that void so overwhelming I came to within a split second of sharply turning my steering wheel to run my car over the rail into the river some 100 ft below.

In that split second God took hold of me and got me to work where I told my supervisor I could not stay.  He took one look at me and said I looked like I’d seen a ghost and told me to go home.  I went home around one o’clock and knelt in front of my couch and cried for about an hour.  Then God poured Himself on me and I felt heavenly words flow from my mouth and my heart became once again full. 

If I may say this without retribution, I feel I was given just a small touch of what Jesus felt on the cross when he cried out to the Father asking Him why He had forsaken Him.  Even Jesus felt the void God left in Him on the cross.  I vowed then and there I never wanted to live another second of my life without His presence in my life. 

I walked for years with His presence and still do.  Yet He tested me and still does.  But not without knowing He is ever-presence in my life.  No matter how I feel, since that night on the way to work have I been without Him in my life

What I just shared is why I grieve for those who think today is the day to end it all, not realizing that tomorrow is another day to overcome today’s circumstances and walk afresh with God in sanity of spirit.

Posted in Abundant life, Christian, Common Sense, Death, Family, God's Calling, God's direction, God's Guidance, Health, Mental Health, Ponderings, Possibilities, Prayer, Priorities, Respect for Life, Spiritual, Spiritual Growth, Spiritual Investment, Suicide | Leave a comment

Tangibles and Intangibles

I promise a spiritual application to this post so bear with me.

Working in the retail and business world for several years introduced me to the concept of tangibles and intangibles. I’m sure we all have some understanding of what these two concepts mean, but for the sake of this post I will be explaining it.

I’m sure everyone readily knows what a tangible is. We go to the grocery store and we look at the items we want to purchase and we touch them, read the labels, and grade what their value and need is to us. Then we purchase. . .or not. Simply put tangibles are visible objects in this realm around us that we see.

The less thought of product is still very much recognized when we start talking about insurance. Intangible products include all goods sold to customers that can’t actually be seen, touched, sniffed or otherwise handled by the consumer. Examples of intangible products include insurance, tax services, cell phone service, some computer software and transportation services.

So you see the difference. I found selling insurance when I was in my early twenties to be difficult because people didn’t have a visible product. All they knew was it was something they could look to for mental security. The trouble I found with it is selling such a product to the younger crowd especially was difficult and hard to get them to maintain it. Most of the time when people run into hard times the first thing to go it their intangible products. The tendency was to not feel it was valuable enough to them to keep.

As we all grow older we find the need for these things like insurance as a necessity to help with our end-of-life needs so as to not burden family or others. Oh I don’t plan on leaving my wife with any more bills than necessary if I go first. I hope this intangible will pay off for her security of knowing she’s taken care of. It’s my responsibility.

Now to bring into perspective what I’m after here. In the New Testament Jesus said in Luke 5 below:

17 And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.

18 And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him.

19 And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus.

20 And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.

21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?

22 But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts?

23 Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk?

24 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.

25 And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.

26 And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day.

Such as (Doubting) Thomas was not to accept the resurrection of Jesus till he touched the wounds and saw it to be Jesus risen, so many people find it hard to believe Jesus forgives us our sins when we accept Him as our Savior. The intangible nature of salvation through grace by faith in Him is a hard thing to comprehend in so many minds.

I see people going to altars every church meeting with their latest battle against their souls. I feel they have not fully accepted the defeat of their soul’s enemy and made the Holy Spirit so small in their lives. I admit I have my days. I have to say though that I will not lay down to defeat.

I have come to realize the intangible nature of faith has but to wait upon the Lord and He will manifest Himself to us in our circumstances in a tangible way. We just simply need to believe, have hope and our faith will produce the tangible from the intangible.

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My Favorite Aunt

I spent years with no conversation with many members of my family. After my divorce and remarriage I found my new wife to be quite the family type. She was next to youngest of five. I was oldest of five.

She encouraged me to reconnect with family because they are important. I know that. By this time I’d lost two brothers and my parents. I had two aunts left. One was my dad’s sister and the other was my mom’s sister. My dad’s sister was in ill health and passed away not long after my now wife and I married and it left my mom’s sister. . .my Aunt Doris.

She was my very last aunt. She was a hero to me for these few simple reasons. She beat cancer four times. She broke several major bones in her latter years, buried 3 children and two husbands but she still put in the effort to put on that lipstick and holiday appropriate broach.

Aunt Doris was the accessory queen with a closet full of shoes to prove it, heels in her younger days and something comfortable but glitzy later in life. Doris was a social butterfly. She loved her church family, managed the West Durham Senior Center in the 90’s, enjoyed monthly lunches with friends and was sure to be decked out at every family function. Doris loved her family most of all and stated that she was most proud of raising her family and having grandchildren. We all believe that her great-grand kids were secretly her favorite!

She loved cooking for her family and made a mean fried chicken. Christmas Eve at Doris’ home was a tradition the family looked forward to. She often talked about not having many toys growing up but made up for lost time with her beloved doll collection. Being the lady she was, it was rare to hear her utter a curse word but every now and then she would let one slip and it was always hilarious when she did. She made sure the family prayed before every meal, a tradition her 8-year old great-grandson Jack picked up and continues to enforce.

I think it’s best to end with a few quotes by Aunt Doris:

“Dean Martin can put his shoes under my bed any day of the week.”
“April, do you really think you need to eat that other piece of cake?”
“Didn’t make you any prettier either” (in response to a woman bragging that a cigarette had never touched her lips)
“With my fingers” (when you would ask her how she felt that day)
“I don’t like my name, I wish I had a fun name like Cathy or Marie”

Everyone who knew Doris experienced her zest for life that kept her going for 94 precious years. She will be greatly missed here on earth, but she undoubtedly leaves a legacy that will not be forgotten. Until we see you again, we love you.

Most of the above was in her obituary and written in most part by her granddaughter, April.

As for me. . .She was much like my mom. My mom would fight for me to the last breath. I’m sure of the same for my aunt for her family. My mom also had a saying “I brought you into this world and I can take you out if you push me”. Same again. Aunt Doris spoke her mind.

If you are having issues with family. Fix it. Fix it NOW. Don’t let another day go by holding grudges or unforgiveness. After all, our Savior forgave us. Clear your heart of the debris that kills. Nothing is more important than loving your family.

I’m going to miss her very much.

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Another Milestone

This past Tuesday evening I finished my course for accreditation as a Chaplain. All that is left is getting my certification and ID.

It was an 18 week course covering hospital/hospice care, jails and prison ministry, military

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chaplaincy, critical incident response, and workplace chaplaincy. The last one evening was concerning Chaplain to Chaplain Soul Care. That last one is an important one for us as we need to know how to not burn ourselves out.

I’m not done though. Each of the modules have more in depth training and I plan on taking the certification in Suicide Awareness and Prevention in July.

My age had me concerned for a bit, although I know God called me to it for a reason. I have felt compelled to do this to make my calling and election sure. Who knows how long I shall live as long as God can use me by my obedience to Him.

It doesn’t matter how old you are. If you feel your age is a limitation, let me tell you I’m 70 years old and ready to tackle a new phase in my life. I’m not sitting down. I’ve found my groove and I plan on going forward in what opens up. And believe me it has opened up.

I’m now already serving on a committee to put together a 4th of July event with a local ministry that will be Christian based and we are expecting between 3500-4000 people to attend. God placed me with this ministry called Emerge that does a lot of avenues of ministry that includes incident response and prison ministry as well as inner city outreach feeding the hungry and clothing the homeless. I feel right at home with this ministry, yet God has said I would base myself out of my home church, Kingdom Culture Church. They cover me and I answer to the ministry there since they are the church that ordained me.

God is moving me away from secular work to entirely working in the fields of ministry. He has truly been good to my wife and me. To Him is the glory of it all.

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Just Know

Just know that God is God

The answer to all questions great and small

It is truly not odd

He knows before you ask questions few or all

God Knows Everything Pictures, Photos, and Images for ...

I have one thing to impress this evening. Know that God is. He just is. He has no beginning nor end. He just simply is. He doesn’t live in time. To sit and consider this is infinitesimal from the greatest to the smallest.

To imagine the expanse of God think about something I have many times thought about with amazement.

Space. Outer Space. It has no end. It goes on forever and ever. Have you at anytime in your life just thought about that? Better yet, have you ever considered that IF there IS an end to space. . .what is on the other side of it? Studies have thought that space is layered or parallel. Theories abound. I’m not going to be exhaustive. Just a little something to provoke thought.

But God is similar. He has not beginning nor end. He is ageless. Whatever you need or can even imagine to want can be found in Him.

So why do we fret so? Do we want to hang on to our insecurities when the answer is right in front on us all the time? Why?

Getting old in body only unfolds a new dimension of thought for me. My mind has not aged, yet my body ages and wrinkles. Skin tone changes, yet I can look into my eyes in a mirror and I still see the real me inside. You know the eyes are the windows of the soul. Just know your spirit lives inside there too.

I’m tired. It’s been a long day, but I felt to sit down for a moment and write this little something.

I urge you to think about God. Meditate on Him. Not just this moment, but all the time. I’ve found great solace as I think on my Father. Not only that, but to pray as well. Or in my modern day term – converse. God does talk back to me. I just need to stop a moment and He will talk to me. How about you? Do you talk to God and He to you?

Just know you can. Get to know Him. He has all the answers to your questions. You need only ask.

Posted in Christian, Follow God, Maturity, Old Age, Poetry, Ponderings, Prayer, Random Thoughts, Sobering Thoughts, Spiritual Growth | Leave a comment

God’s Guidance

I’m sure in your lifetime you have heard God speak to you. You may or may not have known

James Goll: "10 Essential Principles of Divine Guidance"

who it was speaking, but I feel pretty certain most would know.

I heard God speak to me around age twelve or thirteen. Being from a Free Will Baptist family I don’t know if they would have totally understood that for one that age, but I was certain of it.

He told me then I would be an Evangelist. From Eph. 4:11 states the forms of ministry callings of which this is one.

11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:

At that age all I’d ever heard from an evangelist was hell fire and damnation and that if you did not get saved that service you could die and go to hell and burn forever. And to throw in one more fearful thought, the Rapture could happen any minute so it behooved us to make a decision right then and there for sure.

At my age now I have found this to be about the same tactic as a car salesman. I’m sorry if that might offend someone, but I have to say it like I see it. Over the years my view of the salvation message from the evangelist has completely changed.

The old style of evangelism was to scare people into heaven, which means if you scare them into it you might just have to keep them scared to keep them on the straight and narrow by telling them how bad their sins are.

How about another approach. How about simply telling people God has provided a way to avoid their past sins and indiscretions by allowing His Son to die on the Roman cross at the hands of his own people. We can blame a lot of people of the time, but in reality it was God’s plan that Jesus die for our sins so that God could do a wonderful work of saving our souls and reestablishing fellowship with his creation. . . us. He simply saved us from our past, but He also saved us unto a much brighter future. That future isn’t without it’s issues, but it does give us Him by way of the Holy Spirit to look to in times of trouble for comfort and peace.

So how does the lost get this knowledge. By presenting them this Gospel by way of the evangelist. It doesn’t have to be in words only, but also by deeds or fruit of their work in the midst of the lost. But an evangelist job is more than presenting the Gospel. It’s also to teach the saved to do the work of evangelism as well.

My view of an evangelist was changed several times during my life. Until I was ordained I had no idea how to approach this calling. But God did. All during my fresh and new commitment to God I found myself visiting the sick in hospitals. I visited people that could not get out of their homes due to illness. I didn’t call it anything other than visiting the sick. I’ve come to learn the term “Chaplain”. Then came the Patriot Guard Riders. It’s an organization that performs ceremony for deceased veterans everywhere we are requested. By this time I had adopted the title of Chaplain. Its primary usage was in the military setting so far as I knew and I was called upon to pray for our endeavors at the time of service by the Ride Captain. I became their unofficial Chaplain.

Then along came the American Chaplain’s Association. They have a course of study to become nationally recognized as a Chaplain and God directed me to take the course. I’m now in the final two modules of training and every module has solidified my knowledge that I am where I am supposed to be. The course is through Aidan University in Jacksonville, FL. The course has been very helpful and has given me further vision.

Then a fresh new look at Emerge Ministries like I’d not seen before. It’s headed by Terry Norris. He has been a friend for a few years and still I had not known the full extent of that ministry. God gave me further instruction to seek out Terry and talk at length about what goes on there. I spent four hours talking with him and that talk has me convinced this is where my next step is to be. God is good.

God has guided me all my life. That is even with my shortcomings as well as successes. I promised God when I was in my twenties I would follow Him. Even in my darkest days in my mid to late fifties He did not fail me. He carried me through and now here I am. God’s guidance is always sure and direct. He will not steer you wrong and He will get you where you belong.

Never give up on what you feel God has directed you into. Have faith in Him and you will see the fruit of the labors you endeavor to work in.

Posted in Abundant life, Biblical teaching, Christian, Christian Mission, church, Common Sense, God's Calling, God's direction, God's Guidance, Maturity, Mission Work, Patience, Ponderings, Possibilities, Prayer, Priorities, Salvation, Sobering Thoughts, Spiritual, Spiritual Growth, Spiritual Investment, Spiritual Investments | 2 Comments

Leave The Door Open

I’ve wrestled with this over the last twelve years. Should I close the door or should I keep it open.

By that, I mean my sons. I have two sons, both in the mid-forties. Both are married for several years. The older has three daughters and a stepson. The younger has one daughter.

I was sadly parted from them during the divorce from their mom. I’ve tried for years to communicate, but they have little to no conversation with me. The older lives in California and I even flew out to see the family, but the wife let me see my grand children one evening and then took them to another city the rest of my time there while my son and I went about town and talked. I even went to church that weekend with him. He seemed normal, but guarded. Since I’ve been back over a year now there has been little to speak about. His wife despises me. I have apologized on several occasions. I guess I could say I’ve always been suspicious of her intentions since I first heard of her, but I’m willing to bend.

My younger son’s wife told me on the way home from the airport when I came back from California to Raleigh, where the younger son lives that if it were not for me being her husband’s dad she would have nothing to do with me. So goes the story of the situation as it is to date.

I’ve been to fault to some degree in the lack of communication, but I never wanted to feel intrusive into their lives, so I’ve stayed back hoping they would come around and we could resume some sort of normalcy.

The problem I see from here is that I’ve left the door open for them to see my life through social media and this blog if they read it by some chance. I’m not the same person I was twelve years ago.

I was a total mess mentally. Being diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety attacks left me doing things I did not normally do before. Seeing a psychologist was not in my thinking, but it came to pass. He did little to help me so I stopped going, but I did continue medication to this day. It leaves me emotionless and flat in my responses to situations.

I do have a wife now that has been with me since the beginning of my recovery and has played a huge part in its success to become more sane and together than I believe I’ve ever been in my life, although I still battle depression at times.

Being a Christian has also been a great source of help to restore my mind and spirit. My body has even followed suit. I’m still pretty healthy for a seventy year old man. Some days not so good, but generally I’m good.

Why did I type this? There is one thing I cannot close. I cannot close the door to my sons and their families. I will always leave it open. When I met my wife that I’m married to now she was not speaking to her mom. I told her she had only one mom and she needed to talk to her. She did, although her mom was a bit of a bitter pill to swallow a good bit of the time. How did that turn out for her? Her mom passed away not too long afterward at the age of eighty-seven. There are now times my wife will say she wishes she could talk more with her. I’m just glad she reopened the door and talked to her in her last days.

Advice to all who read this. Don’t let bitterness or unforgiveness get in the way of family or friends. Not leaving a door open to each other hinders both parties in the big picture. Forgive and forget. It’s Biblical. God loves all and holds no door shut. His is always open to us. How would we feel if He closed the door on us?

Posted in Children, Christian, Common Sense, Divorce, Family, Follow God, God's Calling, God's direction, Home, Love, Maturity, Mental Health, Old Age, Patience, Ponderings, Priorities, Sobering Thoughts, Spiritual | 7 Comments

When Common Sense Died

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight! – Isaiah 5:20-21

Over my lifetime I’ve seen a complete reversal of ethics. I was born in 1950. World War II had only been over a short time and the Korean Conflict was getting underway. Truman was president when I was born and Eisenhower soon after.

Living on a tobacco farm in eastern North Carolina was a simple life. I’ve storied the tales of living with no running water in the house for the first nine years of my life. Just an outhouse out back and a hand pump at the sink inside that had to be primed to get water.

Yet with the supposed inconveniences I never knew we were a poor white farming family. We knew how to grow our own food. We had a cow for milk, pigs for pork and chickens for eggs and an occasional Sunday dinner. We made do with what we had or could make. Hunting season netted deer meat as well and the small country store billed us for whatever else we needed and we’d pay on that when money came along.

Common sense was to live with what you had and we were happy with it. No need to worry about “keeping up with the Jones'” In actuality, the Jones family was poorer than we were.

Common sense gave us the ability to deal with situations in the simplest form. We knew life in its simplest form. Our community was close knit. I did not put it together for years that what my mom told me held so much truth. My mom told me when I graduated from high school I would have to move away to find a wife. I was related to everyone for miles. I married my first wife who lived one hundred twenty miles away and found that 37 years of marriage isn’t always a solid marriage and I ended it in quite a bad way, but none-the-less I did. I met and married a woman from closer to home that was born in Morehead City some sixty or so miles away only to recently find out we’re related. Mind you we are like fourth cousins, but still we are related. Her brother told us in his family searches who branched off to make that happen.

Anyway, I am rambling as I usually do, but to get back on the trail, I must say those days we used common sense in all we did. It seemed to make us determine right and wrong in a correct fashion. That’s not to say “stuff” didn’t happen. It did, but is was corrected or we just lived with the consequences.

What happened over the years till now started in the sixties with the hippy generation. I was in that age category where things started blurring what was right from wrong. Free love was the motto of the day and it was full of problems. Traditional marriage started to suffer. Drugs started to tear at the morals of the common man. The seventies was a time of turmoil. We’d been through Vietnam that ended in or around 1975. I’d served two-year active duty as a draftee and went to inactive reserved for four years gaining my Honorable Discharge in 1976. The political arena suffered from Watergate and the first president to resign from office. The previous decade had seen the assassination of President Kennedy and later his brother Bobby Kennedy while running for president. It seemed with the 80’s we saw a resurgence of morals with President Reagan.

In the 70’s I was in my twenties and freshly married. I started working swing shift in 1974 and lost my equilibrium with the balance of life. By the time I was in my late twenties I was suffering from depression with no direction.

I sought God.

I began writing almost everything I thought in composition notebooks. I wish I still had them. I did not know at the time what depression was and that it was what I was suffering from. I started going back to my spiritual roots to find an anchor. Common sense once again prevailed. At the age of twenty-eight, I rededicated my life to Christ and asked God to direct us to a church. Being raised Baptist was good for me, but I wanted more. Then came the Assembly of God church where God placed us. What a difference that was.

What about the world though? What was it doing? Morals were decaying. The free love era was dying away, but it had left its damage and the rate of divorce was rising evening for well established marriages. Moral corruption throughout humankind was taking place. Archie Bunker was a hit show back then that shook people after having Father Knows Best. My Three Sons, The Leave It To Beaver. Those were not dysfunctional families. Archie Bunker on the other hand was a whole different world.

This train of thought could be a book, but I don’t have time to do it justice. Suffice to say morals today has torn the moral fiber of our nation and even the world to shreds. As the opening verse says, so goes our nation and world.

Evil people go unpunished and only get more brazen in their lies to the point of absurdity. To many people in power are corrupt to their core. It seems their infiltration of seats of power have been turned over to them. I fear for the end of our nation.

Yet, I’ll close with this, I am very well aware of Biblical principles and know that evil will eat is own and destroy itself from within in time. God has already laid that foundation of truth in His creation. I don’t fret that goodwill not overcome, but know that it will indeed overcome. Common sense tells me this. That I still have.

“Common sense is not so common”


Posted in Christian, church, Common Sense, Death, Follow God, God's Calling, God's direction, Patriotism, Ponderings, Sadness, Salvation, Sobering Thoughts, Spiritual | Leave a comment