An acquaintance of mine on Facebook logged a post this morning that simply said “Putting all jokes aside, God please protect us from what is coming”. The following is my response to this person.
I don’t press my beliefs on others. If living it doesn’t say enough then it isn’t worth talking about. So with that just read something from my years of study.
The following is basic Biblical history. The Middle East came from the two sons of Abraham. Ishmael and Isaac. Ishmael was the son of the endeavors of Abraham and Sarah to fulfill God’s promise to them through Sarah’s handmaid. Isaac was the miracle God promised. Ishmael is the father of the Arab nations. That’s Biblically recorded in history. You can see this in the link below.
The Arab nations have been fighting with Israel for centuries. Not just the last few decades. Many nations, including Russia as well as the US, have tried to mend the rifts in the Middle East but it is not going to happen. Past administrations in our nation have coddled almost every tribe in the Middle East and as of this past week, you can see where it goes. I’m not saying anything here on that is new.
War is coming. It’s inevitable. Humankind has not learned its lessons from history. Passivism will not make it go away. It will, however, put us who practice this method of living to the front of the line to be annihilated at the beginning. What many are feeling like yourself is for real. It will happen. Mark that down. If you have a fighting spirit, prepare yourself.
It seems like only yesterday I was sixty. That was 2010. Now approaching seventy I’ve found a plethora of changes have occurred not only in my mental state, but physical as well. No longer youthful, even as I presumed so ten years ago. For that matter, even a year ago.
In 2009 my thirty-seven year marriage ended in divorce more on my account, but I think the event was a mutually devastating event on both parties. But that’s the past.
In this last ten years I’ve developed a forward attitude. It comes from a Biblical principle.
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.PHILIPPIANS 3:13-14
I look to the future. None of the past can be changed there from this point in life. But the future can be forged with the decisions of today. Developing goals and listening to God has form my last ten years.
I’ve asked God many times of what to do and when I hear I do. This has resulted in changing a terrible time into a successful point in life presently that I would not change for any reason. My former wife has not moved on and still despises me. My two sons and their wives have forsaken me, even after my attempt to turn the situation. I have made my peace with it and I’m moving on.
I have since remarried to the woman of my life. I only wish I’d met her decades ago. She was my “meant to be”. We laugh, cry, endeavor and walk lock-step with each other. Sure we disagree at times, but the core foundation of our relationship is solid. It’s built on God.
One of the questions I asked God repeatedly when I met her was what was to come of us. His answer was always that I would marry her. That was four years and some months ago now.
Right after my first marriage fell apart God gave me a new job that was substantially more money. I didn’t ask for it. It was laid on my lap. I worked at it seven years until my retirement.
My now wife and I didn’t go to church at first, but then we started going to a quiet little church down the road from my house. Then two or three years later we married there. Not long after we moved to what we thought would be a long term relationship with another church, but the ministry there fell apart after a couple of years. God stepped in and directed us to another church that sprouted out of a former ministry I was in for thirty years. The young twenty-five year old pastor took us in.
This year hasn’t been any less exciting. In January I was asked, that with my background, would I be interested in being ordained into the ministry and state licensed. This is another something that I’d seen in my life decades ago. It was dropped on me and I walked into it in February. Since then my wife has started the Ministerial Apprenticeship program to be ordained in the next couple of years as well. I was set in a couple of months or so ago as the Visitation Chaplain for our church and my wife is my right hand in this, but she has her sights set on helping start a soup kitchen in our church. She is also a part of the Arts Ministry as an interpretive dancer.
In the last couple of years plus I’ve driven a school bus with middle schoolers and elementary students. God told me three years. That will be mostly done at the end of this coming school year. I eagerly await a move towards the next adventure. Not that I want to get away from rowdy screaming kids, but to see how far God is going to carry my wife and me into the future. No looking back. Never.
A decade and a year are coming to a close. A lot has happened for a man who was diagnosed with severe depression and having anxiety attacks to a successful minister and probably the most sane person I’ve ever been in my life. This past ten years and most of all this past year have been a monumental growing time.
If you think you’re sitting in the bottom of the barrel, don’t despair. Today is today. Tomorrow is another day and it can change dramatically if you open your eyes to the possibilities. God is always waiting to open a way for you to walk in that is life-changing. Take that step. You won’t regret it.
I don’t remember writing much about my military time except perhaps in my autobiography. It struck me a couple of days ago how it affected me when my brother commented through a post on his FaceBook page that everyone should take a trip for a period of time outside of their ten friends and two bars, as it was said.
He got away from home after events led him to take leave of situations that were detrimental to him. He took a job in the Marshall Islands in broadcasting similar to what he was doing locally back home. After the contract he got back as far as Hawaii and stopped in and called it home for several years. It was an up-righting period of time for him. Just recently he moved to Riverside California doing much the same thing, but in yet another whole cultural experience. It’s been good for him.
As for me, I was a young teen that graduated from high school in 1969 and went straight into the work force as a carpenter apprentice and then a field engineer chainman. I wasn’t really going anywhere with this except I was taking a course in architectural drafting it that kind of flowed together.
During the engineering and study time I was 1A for the draft. Vietnam was a hotbed of political and national debate, not even speaking of the loss of lives in a small country on the other side of the earth. Some fifty eight thousand young souls of our own died there. I could have been one of those. God saw different for me placing me in a skill that would not lead me to Vietnam.
I’d grown up on a farm. I worked the fields and took care of the animals, where I went to school with the same twenty five kids. I grew up from first grade to graduation with them. My last year was involved in the social change to total desegregation. That added fifty blacks to my graduating class. I though we’d transitioned quite well that year. The trouble is that is was down hill from there to the great exodus as I heard it put.
I tried to enlist into the Army before I got drafted so I could at least have a shot at something that I could use in civilian life. That was construction drafting, but they attempted to steer me to cartographic drafting. I wanted nothing to do with lines that weren’t straight. That goes against my OCD. So. The draft caught me up in September 1970.
Then began the transformation of the country farm boy to a man of travels. I boarded a bus heading to Raleigh in a hot September morning. My mom dropped me off. She later said she cried for days afterward. I wasn’t alone that morning. I made friends with three or four other, but one in particular. His name was Lawrence Shaw. We went through basic training together before parting for our military schooling (MOS training).
That was an eventful day. From the farm that morning to Raleigh where we took our oath and then to the airport. By one o’clock the following morning we were sitting in a bus stop in pitch black dark street where we were told to wait for a bus to take us to Ft Polk. I was so glad to see the headlights of that bus. Fort Polk is divided into two parts. North and South Fort. South Fort was for basic training. That is where our bus dropped us off at the Reception Center. It was a mysterious place in the dark with hot drab two story buildings and smells unlike I’d ever experienced before. A group of us were herded into a room that fit about thirty of us that was set up like a classroom in one of those buildings. We were kind of shook down. They told us to dump anything we had that was considered nonessential, which included naked pictures of our girlfriends. I know those guys had a field day there after we were taken to the mess hall for something to eat. We’d not eaten in a good while, so food was more enticing than any naked pictures could be, yet, I would have loved to had mine back. Yeah. I had a couple of my own.
We’d heard of the stories of salt peter. If that worked I probably wouldn’t have cared, but I sure missed my girl at the time. Research says it wasn’t used, but bromides were. Mostly anxiety and such diminished such urges around others as our dignity was stripped from us. That first night taught me to adjust quickly to new surroundings and what “fire watch” was all about. Any of you reading this knows what that is.
The following week was for hair cuts, new clothes, tests and more tests. The funny part of the week was they gave us a choice of three hair cuts. An A cut got you nothing but stubble. A B cut got you side walled with a little longer stubble. A C cut got you side walled with an inch on top. The point is when we got to our company to begin training the first thing the drill sergeants did was take us all to the barber shop for A cuts. That meant some barbers were making money. We got all new uniforms including underwear, t-shirts, socks, belts, two pair of combat boots and a pair of dress shoes. And what was called a “cunt” cap. Sorry folks. That’s what it was called. When I got my first paycheck I bought a saucer cap. I still have that one.
I won’t go into details of my military time here. I might write that as time goes on. To make a longer story short. I graduated basic training and went to missile school at Ft Sill, OK and then on to Germany via Ft Jackson. I spent almost sixteen months in Germany and visited France and just inside Austria. When I came home I was out-processed at Ft Dix, NJ. I flew back home from via Philadelphia and DC to Wilmington.
I was back home after nineteen months as a Specialist Fourth Class. With that came a bigger vision of the world at large. I was no longer a innocent cloistered farm boy. I had become a man. But, that too was yet another starting point in life to a new still bigger and higher form of learning.
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;James 1:2
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.James 1:12
We are told we shall be able to endure through our trials and temptations. This world (order and arrangement of governments) offers such a lack of stability and it’s up to us to study the Word of God and find that sure foundation.
The cornerstone (or foundation stone or setting stone) is the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation. All other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure.
Steadfastness seems to some as a hard stance to come by in life, but knowing Jesus as the Chief Cornerstone establishes the ability to endure through trials. We can not only “hang on” through our trials, but can ride them like a surfer on a wave. The action of a wave isn’t something that is stable, but it has motion that if we find it can overcome it and ride it to shore.
We learned early on that circumstance or trials have another name to us. That other name is “challenges”. Life’s challenges only serve to strengthen the soul and spirit. Knowing this to be a building of character or nature within us gives us the ability to create steadfastness to see it done.
Don’t ever give up on yourself. Knowing you are His means you have great value in Him. You can stand tall and look ahead, not behind. Nothing behind can be changed. You have the ability, however, to steer the future based on listening to God in your conversation (prayer). Steadfastness to see His will in you and I completed will present what He says to us in verse 12 of James. The crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
So we implore you to be steadfast, knowing the Chief Cornerstone has an end to any circumstance you might encounter.
Tonight I reminisce on what God did for Libby and me. This is a writing from January 2015. I had lived in my previous home on two acres of land, but I was getting to where the lawn was a chore and I was looking to move, but what prodded me was God via a notice that my homeowner’s insurance was going to increase significantly because I didn’t have a fire hydrant within a thousand feet of my house. On another note, Libby and I got married in July of 2015. So the following story from then goes. . .
Walking up from my garage this morning elicited new thoughts. I haven’t moved for 27 years until a month ago. I have known for years the voice of God and also the open door principle.
I felt the urging some time ago to look at this house Lib and I are now in. I played with the thought for some time, but placed it off the table. Then mid-November the prodding came afresh. I told Lib to let’s take a closer look at this house. I called the agent and set up a showing. We found it had been built in 1973. It is brick and is solid. It had been mildly updated, but much updating is still needed in the kitchen, dining and hallway. The doors needed new knobs, but really the whole set of inside doors should be replaced. The flooring was done with a very cheap grade of laminate wood grain flooring. The baseboards, quarter round and door facings had been replaced by someone with just enough experience to cut a piece of wood. They didn’t know much about a measuring tape, though. The bathroom had been completely overhauled with a new tub and it was very fresh and with functional tub, toilet, cabinet and vanity. But the walls are not very likeable. The trim was amateurish. The flooring was not level and upon inspection we found sometime joists had been attacked by termites, but had been repaired and treated. There were other floor joists that needed new supports, which I had the owner repair before purchase. The previous owner had had new double pane windows installed, but two already had that foggy look and I had them fix those as well.
Sounds like I should have walked away from the needs this
house has, but here’s what happened. Lib
wanted the house and I did as well for the fact that it has a half-acre yard
with a huge unattached garage and paved driveway. I later found the garage was once a welding
shop business by the previous owner. He
and his wife had passed on and the children were selling it as sort of an
estate sale. They, being the owners
then, were willing to sell at a giveaway price.
It had been reduced by ten thousand dollars. All I will say is when I heard the selling
price I was astounded to find it well under $100 grand.
Looking at the state of the house and the state of my
previous home didn’t take much for Lib and I to agree to offer whatever the
owners were asking. Problem was the day
we looked at it we found there was another interested party. Problem one.
Yet I felt to go ahead with the offer.
Later that day I was told to secure the offer I would need
to get approved for the loan. That was
not a problem. The next morning after
church Lib and I went to a mortgage loan representative and were approved on
the spot. We stopped by on the way back
home to look at the inside of the garage and the realty agent told me then that
the other prospective party had declined to place a bid. Now it was up to Lib and me.
Monday morning was a holiday from work, so I had gone out to
get something to eat at the local Piggly Wiggly and decided to stop at my
neighbor’s business across the street.
When I asked him was he interested he looked at me like I was pulling
his leg and it took several acknowledgements to get him to believe I
wasn’t. He asked me how much and I told
him. On the spot he offered to buy at
the price I asked. Deal. I’d made
an offer, gotten approved and sold my house in a span of three days. On the fourth day I was moving out of my
house into this house. I had told Libby
when God moves He can move quickly so she should be prepared.
The provocation to look at this house again was God speaking
to me. Once I looked and spoke what I
was hearing, things happened so quickly Libby could not believe it. Doors opened left and right. We’ve been in this house paying rent to live
here from the middle of November until closing and now for almost a month since
Surprisingly I do not miss my two acres down the road seven
tenths of a mile. I feel very much at
home here. I’m sitting in my living room
tapping this out on my laptop while the Contemporary Christian music channel
plays on Pandora, feeling the blessing of God upon this house.
It’s the little things that count as well, which to some
would seem not important and material. I
gave up a 1955 BelAir Chevy when I gave my heart to God in 1977 because I felt
Him tell me it was my god. It was a true
statement. Now all those years later I
feel that owning the car I’d always wanted was a gift and now I have a garage
to put it in and cover it up so I can take it out and drive it and enjoy
it. And Libby and I do enjoy it with the
top down breezing down the highway.
Still Libby has a nice car and I have yet an old beater of
an S10 for hauling stuff around in. We
both have wonderful jobs and I hope to retire the end of this year.
I know there are people who think they hurt me because I
hurt them, but in reality I can’t be hurt.
The love of God is strong on and in me.
I have forgiven them. I release
them to God. Libby and I are recognized
for our love for each other in our church and we’ve developed new friends and
we have become a part of the community of Richlands. In all the years I’ve lived here I’ve not
felt that till we moved into this house just a month ago. Strange as it may seem, I’d never felt this
Yes, I admit my decisions hurt some people close to me, but
I’ve found from other friends and family that their viewpoint was I was not a
well man then. To me I was in a fight
for my life. I knew I was dying and I
had to get out of it. I made only one
mistake. Not having done it sooner.
So my thought as I walked up from the garage this
morning? It is that I’m “home” for the
first time in a long time and I have the love of a woman who truly knows
unconditional love and demands nothing of me, but to be myself. I ask nothing of her other than to not change
who she is. She’s everything I pictured
in my early teens when I asked God what my wife would be like. I can’t marry her as yet because of the
liberality with which the judge meted out “punishment” on me in alimony to my
previous relationship. Under the laws of
the state of NC I am bound to that, but my heart is unbound in the realm of the
spirit and I have all I ever wanted in life and cannot be brought down, not
because of me, but by the help and blessings of God am I standing. That’s my thoughts this morning.
November is well on now, yet it has been a very eventful month. And not in a good way I might add.
My cousin passed away suddenly on a Sunday morning. She had been dealing with cancer for a few years, but it’s like some lingering type of disease that doesn’t seem to be the kind of thing to take her so suddenly.
Being the Visitation Chaplain for our church has kept me busy. I visit with two of our elderly. I make that sound old, yet I turned sixty nine the 25th of last month. One is eighty two and the other is wheel chair bound. Then there is the young man who had gall bladder surgery, but it has turned bad due to infection. This has caused much concern with him, his wife and children. The most disconcerting thing is the family of the one that was in the hospital for a few weeks passed away last week. My wife and I went to the Memorial Service this past Saturday. He left his wife, two daughters and a son. oodles of grandchildren and great grand children. He was five years younger than me.
I made a post of my FB page that I felt selfish to say I’m blessed with all the sorrow that others are facing. Yet in it all it’s God who works to do as He sees fit and I go on.
I still look to see what others are posting, but I’ve no comments at the moment. It’s not to say I don’t care. I, in fact, do.
Driving a school bus for two schools each day tries my temperance with elementary and middle school students. I had stopped my Zoloft, but I found myself getting more angry than I should. So I’m back to my small dose. The advantage of taking it, I’ve found, is that I’ve learned to depend on my spirit to hear God and discern things more definitively. The reason is that it takes my emotions out of the equation and relies totally on my spiritual being to be in charge.
Last Thursday evening I did something I’ve not done very much in many years. In our small home group setting I prayed for a couple in tongues briefly, but then words of prophesy came to them as the interpretation. I know some folks think that’s. . . well, whatever, but I firmly believe in this form of contact with God. Later in the meeting the subject came up with a teen in the room who had spoken with what I consider authority beyond her years. I asked her had she been baptized in the Holy Ghost and she said no. I explained it to her and asked was she willing to allow this event in her life and she replied with a yes. I laid hands on her and she immediately began speaking in other tongues, but the actuality caught her and she stopped and began to cry. Not a bad cry. I think it kind of scared her. So all in attendance encouraged her to get alone at home and talk to God about it. Sunday morning she went to my wife and said it fully happened to her since that night.
For a while now I’ve felt like an unloaded gun, but since last Thursday evening I think God put some bullets in my chambers. I can feel the presence of God all through my being even at this moment. It’s a really precious thing to know. I feel connected more than I have in a while.
So that’s some of my ramblings for this evening. It’s not much, but just something to let anyone who reads my attempts to convey some thoughts that might help others, here it is.
If you’ve felt alone, empty or otherwise, don’t despise those times. God is nearer than you think.
This morning a young lady ministered in our morning service to start the October theme of Phobias. Phobias are simplistically a form of unnatural fear.
Part of the explanation was directed into an area I found to explain something I’ve been looking at for some time. I’ve been wanting to understand how to handle or not handle a situation that has been ongoing for over ten years.
Since my fall from grace over ten years ago my family had cut me off from a meaningful relationship with my sons. In the last few months I’ve endeavored to redeem myself with them. Their response is in one daughter-in-laws words “If you were not my husband’s dad I would have nothing to do with you”. Upon a visit with the other son the other daughter-in-law said one word to me over the entire visit. That word was “Hey” in response to my hello. I know my sons are married to these women and they have to live with them. So be it. I beg that they keep the peace in their marriages. I did not go in there to cause a stir that would cause division in their unions. It was hard enough I left their mom.
Granted I was wrong in how I did what I did. During that time I was confused and burnt out from being so busy “doing” and not “being”. My Christian walk failed. My marriage failed. I failed myself. But I don’t walk around blaming anyone or anything for what happened. It happened. It’s gone into the past and it cannot be changed. My former wife and I argued constantly. Situations I found with finances, that at the time she managed, went south and when I inquired, she had no answer nor anything to prove where thousands of dollars went. She had become numb to me and I admitted in court documents to adultery because I sought comfort I could not get at home. Our marriage was done. We both failed. I have my suspicions of where the money went. Let’s just say it wasn’t anywhere in our house, goods or such. It went somewhere else outside our own need, wants or wishes.
My marriage was doomed months before the admitted failing on my part. I had already found money gone and was searching for ways out of my marriage via divorce, but knew money would be a big deal in the parting. I had not even met my cohort in crime, so to speak when this was going on.
Fast forward to today. Phobias. That unnatural fear I had brought me to depression and anxiety attacks. I was experiencing the fall of myself. My foundational self. I had grown up with the idea of once married, always married. That fear broke me. I could no longer bear the burden of it.
I spent time talking to my now wife who came from that incident. When it all came about she came to me and told me if I wanted I was free to go home and fix things. I told her the same. She had left her verbally and emotional abusive husband and I told her to go home if she wanted. After a period of separation we discovered we didn’t meet by accident. People can say what they want, but I spent many days talking to God about it. I argued with God about it. The conclusion was I did the right thing, but I did it the wrong way. I asked God a hundred times a hundred times what was I to do with this woman who had come into my life and all I could hear in return was “You will marry this woman”.
How this Phobia thing came to bear on me came to one thing. My relationship with my sons and their wives can be fixed by God and only God. The title of this post is the answer I came away with this morning. But it can’t be fixed until they refresh their perception of who I am now.
My sons and their wives have not talked to me in depth in ten years and still have the perception of me from of all things, ten years ago. They have no idea of the evolution of my return to God. The changes in me that came about from humbling me through the fears, depression and anxiety I experienced cannot be perceived by them. I came to realize there is a gap of nothing between then and now and they base all they know about me on stale perceptions of who I was once upon a time. Just like bread becoming stale, it isn’t just bad food. It can make you sick. I’m afraid those stale perceptions have sickened them to the point they cannot see me for who I am today. I’m am likely the most sane person they will ever know now. I don’t condemn people for their faults. I’ve suffered enough from my own.
If my now wife reads this she’ll likely say I share too much about myself, but I say what I say because my fall could or can help someone else avoid the pitfalls of things in their own lives. With age comes wisdom unfortunately and it can only be by growing older. The young suffer from wounds that could be avoided if they only sought the wisdom of the older of us who bear the scars of life already.
Stale perceptions can be the death of the holder. That is a fear I now have. I can only pray the ones who hold them can feel the weight of it and put it down and let themselves come to live in the “now” and build a future on that.