Alone With My Thoughts


It’s a chilly, but unseasonable night. Raining outside and will be for the next day. I’m home alone with my girls, Sarah, Fiesta and Paige. Libby is with her family in Virginia. I would like to have gone with her, but the dictates of my job and the completed sale of my truck and picking up the Mustang for shipment have kept me back at home.

I had a bit of “God” happen today. I sold my truck, for less than I had wanted, but while talking with the young man, I found out he’s a Christian man. I felt like God sent him to not only buy my truck, but also to invite him to Kingdom Culture. He lives in Richlands and the only church he’s liked is in Swansboro. That’s a long drive to church. We rode by the First Baptist Family Life Center so he’d know where we meet and I showed him our building that is under renovation. Hurricane Flo did about $380k in damages to it. I feel we may see him and his family in church.

We are really short on bus drivers and could use some able bodied people willing to make some money while investing in the lives of our young people in our district. I won’t lie. It’s hard to deal with children and teens. I try to deal with it as best I can. I can only hope they absorb some of what I want them to know about discipline. Writing up a student isn’t my fun thing to do, but I have to remember that it’s because they broke a rule and I have to enforce them. Still, I have some I really enjoy seeing every day. I have one kindergartner lose his first tooth while waiting to leave the school in the afternoon earlier this week. Oh, it was bloody hell when he screamed and I looked over at him with blood around his mouth and on his hands, but we cleaned him up and all is well. Unfortunately we lost the tooth somewhere on the bus. It was his upper front. A day later he lost his other upper front at home.

Driving the bus is a no-brainer for me. I drove one in high school and the military and a city bus in years past. I even drove tractor-trailers. It’s probably the only job I can multi-task with. You have to watch for other traffic. Especially the ones who run the red lights at a stop. Then there’s the students who jump seats when they think you’re not looking. Their yelling doesn’t bother me for the most part. I’m hard of hearing. HA! And of course I have to watch that I do what I’m supposed to do during the drive time as well. Enough of work for a moment.

Another thought comes to mind. I knew from an early age I would minister the Word of God. But through my late fifties and early sixties I concluded I was done with it and looked at it as I had done what was required of me. Now in the past few years I’ve felt it coming back to me again. I’ve even told Libby I hear God say I will minister again. My problem was with where I was. Libby was hungry for more, although she dearly loves the people in “our” first church where we were married. So we felt God set us in another church and she grew exponentially, having read the entire Bible through almost to her second time. She’s very dedicated to that. She has been made fun of by some who know her well, speaking about her being a “Christian” woman, but I think it’s admirable of her. Yet I was not given the opportunity to minister as I felt the calling was. Now we recently were set in another church called Kingdom Culture Church. Now my time has come. I have been asked to minister the Word in a Bible Class in February. This will be the fruition of what I’ve been hearing and feeling the last couple of years or more.

From the day I met Pastor Tim Cavanaugh, I have felt a kindred spirit in him. He’s a go getter from the start. The vision he has is a big one and knowing God as I do from years of being a Christian I say “go for it”. Libby and I are behind him and the rest of the people under his care. His ministry is a continuation of a prophesy I heard many times in years gone by. The property the church bought was formerly Praise Tabernacle, then Kingdom Life. Now, it’s Kingdom Culture. The prophesy I heard spoken was in the first ministry was that it would build three times and then there would be further instruction. This church is that third building. God has allowed me to see that building and I thank Him for it.

So, that is my being alone with my thoughts for the evening. Random as they are.

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Change of Season


Ah! what a beautiful fall day!  I love the fall more than the other seasons.  Can’t pinpointautumn_scene_9 a specific reason why, but I could try.

Spring has its hopes of new growth under the warmth of the early rising sun. Days getting longer.  It’s a time for getting out from the cloistered rooms of home to enjoy the new fresh smells of life budding out into flowers.

But fall.  It has a different facet that makes me feel at one with all things.  It’s the time of harvest.  From the labors of the field come the fruits of the summer time growth.  The leaves display their colors and fall to the ground.  The warmth of the sun succumbs to the chill of the fall and coming winter season.  Jackets come out and we watch as our breath fogs the air in the early morning.  Frost is due anytime now and the grass will turn brown and no longer need cutting till next spring.

But aside from what we can see, feel, smell and touch with our natural senses, I tend to sense something deeper inside me.  It’s like a connection to the spiritual realm.  I’m calm inside.  I’m at peace with the world.  I’ve always felt this every year of my life.  Could it be tied to my birth?  I was born on October 25th.  Sixty eight years old this time around.  How did I do it?  I can only answer that I am blessed.  My health is good considering my age.  One thing I’m sure about.  God is in control.  Nothing gets past Him.

For a surety my son, I have given thee longer life.  And even more still.  There is a best time in your life ahead.  You want to minister My Words to people’s hearts in a way to cause them to see Me.  It shall be so.

George_MullerThat’s what I hear God say to me.  I once read the biography of George Mueller.  He was a German/English Christian evangelist who oversaw Ashley Down Orphanage.  This orphanage took care of over 10 thousand children over it’s time.  The thing that impressed me most about this man was that God used him mightily during this time, yet he didn’t start a traveling evangelistic ministry until he was 70 years old.  He went on to preach until he was 87 years old and then retiring back to England after traveling, it is estimated to have been, over 200k miles.  He died at the age of 92.  As I recall hundreds of thousands of dollars flowed through his ministry, yet when he died, he died with very little of his own.

I identify with this man for some reason.  I am from German decent as well.  My Peggys dad 1grandfather was a Baptist minister and was the Germanic influence in my life.  He was a small man in stature, yet in the spirit he was a giant of a man.  I have a picture of him on my wall of fame as a man who inspired my life to be what it is to a large extent today.

Perhaps my best days still lie ahead.  I can only trust God in the matter of that being true.  One thing is for sure.  The time has come when there is nothing in me as in my younger days.  It was an itch to preach.  I know longer have that.

All I care to do is to stand before the people, bow my head and silence myself, clearing a path through this vessel that He may speak.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Paradigm Shift


Next week I will be sixty eight years old.  Life has truly been gracious to me even with the struggles that have been salted into it.

Lately, I have sensed a change of direction coming.  Doors are slowly closing.  My wife and I are set to anticipate the opening of new doors.  The sensation of what may be ahead are usually set with anxiety, but this time, I feel it will be different.  It’s as if it’s the coming into my own right.  All the years behind me have brought me to this day.

My wife and I thought we’d found the church to end all churches for the remaining portion of our walk on this earth, but we have been profoundly shaken over events that have occurred in the church.  None of it involves us as an intricate part of the event.

The contrast of where I came from in life and where my wife came from is broad.  She spent years in and out of church, but in the last four or so years she has grown by leaps and bounds having read the Bible through once and is nearing her second read through.  She has been solidly saved and filled with the Spirit.  I am blessed to know her and have her as a deep part of my life.

I spent 30 some odd years heavily involved in church.  I did grow up in a Baptist church so you could tack on a few more luke warm years.  But those thirty years were very formative.  I saw a lot as a leader.  I’ve seen the good, the bad and the downright ugly.  I could say I am included with the ugly at the end of it all.

It has taken me several years to allow myself time to come to a new realization of who I am.  People from my past would not know me now.  I walk more solidly and understand situations and hopefully can articulate how I feel more clearly.

I do have a fault of going into too much detail and my wife will readily say “Do you have to say so much about that”?  Then I have to pare it down to the base form of the statement I am trying to convey.

I will make this post short.  To say what I feel is this.  I feel a paradigm shift in the making.  A totally new way and direction is at hand.  Where this will take us is not fully known at this moment.  I just know that my heart is open to God so that He can direct us where He wants us.

I’d like to add one thing in closing this out.  I could be mistaken for talking about myself too much, but my biggest hope is that someone else can see themselves in it and identify with it.  It’s my hope that what I say will help someone else.  Never give up in the midst of circumstance.  Take it as a challenge to overcome.  Be prayerful in it and God will draw you and Himself closer together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Broken


I Cor 11:24
And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
Jesus spoke the words for his disciples and all of us to do as a way of remembering his sacrifice to the World.  The gift of His salvation through the beatings, condemnation, crucifixion and resurrection and finally His Ascension have re-established our rights as was those of the first Adam.  All we are required to do is to eat of Him, the Way, the Truth and the Life.  This, of course, in the natural is figurative, but spiritually of a truth.
John 14:6
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
There is no more sacrifice other than what He gave.  The sacrifice of His own body and blood are the final say in all things forward from that day.  The following reference for sacrifice speaks of a slain animal or as defined properly it states the victim or the act, which is a noun or verb.  But I want to use this coming verse in another facet of what God is looking for in us as His people.
Psalms 51:17
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
A broken spirit, a contrite heart.  Just what are we seeing here?  The word broken comes from the Hebrew  as defined as to burst (literally or figuratively):–break,  brokenhearted, bring to the birth, crush, destroy, hurt, quench, tear.
I’m drawn to the phrase “bring to birth”  We often speak of the impending birth of a child with the breaking of the water.  This water has to break before a birth can occur.  Is this a facet that can be applied to a broken spirit cannot be fully birthed until the water has broken that surrounded it during its incubation period?  I see in this the Holy Spirit surrounds us in our formative state prior to birth protecting us till the time we are ready to enter into the world spiritually.
Not only is the heart broken, but also contrite.  Contrite means to collapse (physically or mentally):- break (sore), contrite, crouch.  The Greek counterpart means to crush to pieces.
As a young man in my late twenties, after a year of depression, I found I had to seek God and a Kairos moment.  Kairos is a Greek word that describes a decisive moment or determined decision.  I didn’t know what that meant at that time, but I knew the gist of it.  One day I decided to fast for a week.  Not the kind of fast of no food, but a fast from outside influences.  One day of the seven I did a food fast, but the rest was from media of any kind.  All I did was pray, read the Bible and study what I read with whatever references I required.
At the end of this week long fast I was only able to attend the Sunday evening service since I was working 12/8 shift.  When the pastor finished up the message an altar call was made.  I’m not sure if this was the service or not, but I do remember I wanted to be sure of my salvation and step forward, but God spoke to me quite pointedly that I was indeed saved and why would I want to do that.  I held my place at my seat.  That likely came to mind that evening after fasting if not at the time this happened.  After church I had to go home and prepare for work.  I was feeling very unsettled in my heart for some reason.
On my way to work I got to the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge and a sudden horrific realization of the void inside me that seemingly had previously been filled by God was no longer there.  In time I realized this must have been what Jesus felt in fullness when He cried out upon the cross.

Matthew 27:46

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama  sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

For a moment as my car was upon the bridge I felt to attempt to run my car over the rail into the Cape Fear River, because the void was so real I could not imagine living the rest of my life without the presence of God in it.  I began to cry uncontrollably.  I managed to get to work.  I wiped my eyes as best I could and went in.  I felt I should go back home, so I went to my supervisor and told him I was not feeling well.  He took one look at me and said I did not look so good and I should go home.  I left.
I got home.  Put my car away in the garage.  My wife, at the time, came to see why I was back home.  She sat on the couch and I laid my head on her lap and cried uncontrollably once more.  After a bit she simply looked at me and said this was for me to figure out and she went back to bed and left me there.  After a bit more time had passed I knelt down in front of my couch, with my arms on the cushions and looked up to where I supposed God to be and started to pray, but instead words not of my own understanding came out of me.  My whole body became energized with the power of God like never before.  When it subsided a bit I rushed to the bedroom to tell my wife, but she was asleep and upon awakening she seemed so disconnected from what I was experiencing.  That didn’t lessen my experience, though.
This experience has the 20/20 hindsight of knowing that up till that time I was not broken.  My heart was in need of just the very thing described in Psalm 51.  My obedience to God to fast for a week brought me down.  I’ve never had a day since that I cannot speak to God or He to me and not feel I was not heard or could hear.
This is what you can have when you allow God to break you.   But you have to be willing.  I put my hands up like a criminal when he surrenders to the police.  I gave up my own will for His will.  I was broken.
But was that the end of the breaking?  No.
In my mid fifties, I can only describe then until I was sixtieth year as my mid-life crisis.  I went through separation, made bad decisions, and generally forgot who I was.  I remember sitting in the sound booth at church one evening as I was running sound for the service.  I looked out over the congregation and realized I didn’t feel I knew why I was there, but this I did know.  Once upon a time I was there to be, but I had come to a place where all I there for was to do.  I was basing my walk with God on what I could do for Him and all he wanted was for me to be.
I crashed shortly afterward.  Burnt completely out.  No more rhyme or reason for who I was.
I was not only separated from my wife at the time, but also from God.
Judges 7:19-25

19 So Gideon, and the hundred men that were with him, came unto the outside of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch; and they had but newly set the watch: and they blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers that were in their hands.

20 And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon.

21 And they stood every man in his place round about the camp: and all the host ran, and cried, and fled.

22 And the three hundred blew the trumpets, and the LORD set every man’s sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host: and the host fled to Bethshittah in Zererath, and to the border of Abelmeholah, unto Tabbath.

When we allow ourselves to become broken as the vessels seen in the reference verses above, we will see our enemies scattered and killed by their own hand.  We have nothing, but to allow God to act from that time on.

Allow for your breaking.  It is meant to be for your good.  The ensuing peace of God from that breaking will completely overwhelm you.  Fear will not grip you any longer.  Reverence to God will increase and you will come closer to your God.

 

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Just Have Patience


Earlier this week I filed for, I guess you call it, UIB. It’s unemployment benefits for folks out of work during the recovery after Flo. I can understand schools are going to be outPatience is a virtue copy for at least another week and that means bus drivers and others have also been out of work for a month, the end of next week.
I got a nice guy on the phone, after being on hold for over an hour. He filled out my claim for me and told me to make my check-in calls on Friday and next Tuesday and a form would be in the mail for me. Haven’t seen the form as yet, but I do really understand the situation. So, I’m patient.
Today I called as instructed and found the system has no record of my claim. So. I call and I’m told there is a 111 minute hold time or I can leave a call back. Call back comes a couple of hours later and puts me immediately on hold. After several minutes I get a nice lady, who informed me that the system went down for an upgrade on Tuesday and had just come back up this morning. Hence the reason I had not been able to sign on to my account on DES. While talking to her I found I was now able to log on. She explained to me the guy who helped me earlier had put my info in, but it still had to be keyed into the new system and I would have to call back Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. That’s okay with me.
I worked for the Fed for 28 years and I understand government processes work at a slug’s pace. I know I’ll get my benefit at some point, but I can understand some may not have the time to waste getting cash flow into their account. I’ve learned patience is a virtue and I have traveled a long rode obtaining that virtue.
I planted my seed for a benefit from being out of work. I equate that to a farmer sowing his crop. Sometimes seed takes time to come up, but when it does it will bear its fruit. I’ll have to deal with creditors to defer payments and perhaps get a disaster loan to tie us over till the crop comes in, but it’s not different than a farmer.
I remember my dad going to the bank and borrowing money with the promise to pay back in the fall when we sold our crops. It all worked out some way or other. Today’s world is not different in some ways as well. If you read this and need to have relief now, it may not come right now, but it will. All of us in the part of North Carolina know we live in hurricane alley.
I have to put a smile on my face, look at the good neighbors I have that helped save my house from a near fallen pine tree and count the blessings of God. I really do feel bad for my friends that have lost their homes to waters, whether from flooding or leakage.
One last thing. I sat on my couch this morning after Libby left for work and a burden came over me unlike normal. I like time with my little girls (dogs), so we nestled into place and I leaned back in the reclined position, closed my eyes and went into an unusually deep time of prayer for this area. It went on for quite some time until it lifted from me. I have felt peace not only for me, but all of you in my sphere. Starting out this little note or post I expressed the seeming never ending issues with my needs, but I’m sure there are those of you who have deeper issues and my heart is with you. I sincerely pray for your quick recovery. Just have patience.
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Peace


After the storm I sit

With great peace and calm,

Knowing all is well.

In my heart there is a song

One of thanksgiving

In what I’ve known, all along.

God’s hand is still there

My heart is at peace and strong

In the storms of life

That come our way

Surrendering our will to God

Is the way, day by day.

 

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An Open Hand


Ahhhh!  I find myself sitting in my living room on the couch for the first time in almost a week with a clear mind.  So much has happened in this past week.

A week ago an impending hurricane had everyone in my area on heightened alert for the possibilities.  Sadly some of the most horrendous possibilities came true for quite a

Hurricane Pic 11

few of them.  Every possibility from a few inches of water in the house to total and complete loss of homes and businesses has come to pass.  I feel so bad for them.  Me, inside this almost 68 year old body screams to help, but I can barely get into my own yard and work.  I try, but more than 30 minutes at some things has me dizzy, disoriented and stumbling and have to come inside to recover.  Heat exhaustion can be a bad thing.  My blood pressure dropped to 94/66.  Fluids, fluids and more fluids.  To some that reading would be their ideal or even normal readings, but to me?  No.  Enough of that.  I take care of myself and hope for everyone else to find the strong young ones to help them.

I went out yesterday to run some errands for stuff we need.  It’s not much.  While out I saw a lady in a dually pull out in front of another lady in a car, which ran the car lady off the road.  Fortunately no contact was made and there was no ditch to be pulled out of.  The car lady was quite shaken up, but I stayed by till her husband got turned around to come back.  He was just a bit in front of her.  The truck lady was very apologetic, but still she made a left turn out of a parking lot at an exit that clearly had a right turn only configuration.  Her excuse was that she was in a hurry.  I don’t think hurrying was a necessity over possibly hurting someone.

The biggest complaint I’m hearing is Duke Energy is hardly to be found anywhere in the New Bern before n after Hurricane Pictown of Richlands.  Jones-Onslow EMC has power back up in many areas and is highly visible to the public around here.  Not Duke Energy, though and they have told some customers it could be several day longer than we, who already have power a couple of days ago.  It’s not for the lack of lineman in the area.  I’ve even seen Tideland guys in the town hooking up huge power generators to gas stations so they can operate their pumps.  I know these guys come from areas hit at least as hard as us.

The church that used to be Praise Tabernacle where I attended for some 30 years is in a total shambles.  Shingles are gone and the inside of the building still had water standing in the floors.  Ceiling tiles either have fallen out from the weight of water or bulging near to falling out.  Insulation covers the floors  Everything is going to need to be removed and replaced.  This condition will create mold and mildew without treatment.  I estimate at least $150k in damages.  This instance is not isolated.  There are many homes and businesses in the same shape or worse.

I lived through many hurricanes such as Bertha, Fran, Isabel, Dennis, Floyd, Bonnie, Irene, Matthew and Sandy, just to mention a few.  Florence, that just visited us, has been the most damaging storm of them all.  Up till now Fran held that distinction.  Even so, I still would have stayed here in my own home.  A brick dwelling with a solid roof.  My only concern was a pine tree that is now chained off to another pine with the chain behind another tree on the way around so that if it decides to finish falling the the chain will make it fall away from the house.  I am waiting on a tree service to come cut it down.

My front yard is cleaned up and my roof is cleaned of all debris, so from the road everything looks normal.  Just don’t meander into my backyard.  From back there to the woods looks like a disaster site. . . which it is.

Something that is big to me is that the inside of the house is back to normal.  I’ve washed the bed sheets and anything else that has been slept or sat on like the couch cover, etc.  All the wet clothes have been washed and dried.  Towels, wash clothes, floor mats, you name it.  It’s cleaned.  I’ve swept the entire house and all the bit of leaves and other debris are up and gone.  The house is now where it was a week ago.  Now when I go outside I can comfortably come inside to a clean house and sit down after a shower and relax.

When I shopped yesterday I saw collards that looked really good, so I got a small amount (about 3 pounds).  I stemmed, seasoned and cooked them this morning.  For summer collards, they are pretty tasty.  Dinner tonight will be that and shake n baked boneless pork chops.  My wife is at work and I dare not let her come home without dinner ready.  She deserves that luxury.  God gave me a wonderful woman.  She’s beautiful to me.  The person she is cannot be matched.

During this storm time she’s read a book called the Turquoise Table.  I listened to her talk about it and came to realize it’s about a woman who truly wanted to know her neighbors and a picnic table the color of turquoise was put in her front yard and people began to congregate over time at this table.  Libby has always loved people and more than that she loves to cook.  She has expressed to me the desire to start a project to have all of our neighbors to our home for dinner.  Not all at once, but a couple or two, just to get to know them.  I saw in the spirit realm what her thoughts would likely develop into.  If she follows through with this, I’m in agreement with her.  I also see this becoming a ministry of hospitality for us.  We would become a place where people can come and feel welcome and share their hearts and perhaps at some point the entire neighborhood can gather.  I told her she might want to look at the bigger picture.  This is how a lot of churches start, but that isn’t something we are looking at for now.

Gods-handSo, hurricanes, can spawn more than wind and rain.  They can also allow the mind to stop a moment and observe the nature and calling of God.  People lost their homes and possessions, but let’s concentrate on Him.  Loss can sometimes mean a fresh beginning.  I never look at anything with negative circumstances as anything more than a challenge of something to overcome.  I cannot express that enough.  God’s hand is shown when diversity comes.  And it’s not a closed fist.  It’s an open hand.  Look for it.  It’s there.  Waiting for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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