Jim passed this morning

Life has a way of becoming stunningly obvious at times.

Take last week for example. My driving assignments have slowed since the Christmas rush has subsided.

Not to fear, the Apainter Paul is getting some big painting jobs he needs help with.

Last week we were painting an exterior in Frisco. We finished the back first. On Wednesday I was painting the front of the house when a commotion occurred next door.

A car stopped in the cul-de-sac. A woman in a burgundy outfit jogged to the front door. She was let in almost immediately.

A few minutes later a woman in a matching light blue outfit walked out carrying a few bags of stuff to her car.

A young man drove up and walked to the door. The door opened. An older man asked one question as he ushered the young man in. “What have you heard?”

This did not sound good. We learned from the homeowner we were working for, Lu, that a Parkinson’s patient was on hospice care in the home.

Later in the morning the woman in the burgundy outfit walked outside to talk on her phone away from the gathering family inside.

One sentence jumped out at me. “Jim passed this morning.” Four words that hung in the air.

Hospice workers are a special breed of people.

A first name is all she needed to tell her listener who she was talking about. These aren’t patients. They’re real people.

When you work around death on a regular basis you have your own code words.

“Passed” means Jim is no longer with us here in this world. His soul has passed into the next. His eternal destiny is fixed now.

We later learned one of the hospice workers led Jim to Christ about three weeks ago. He’s waiting for fellow believers with his Savior now.

Some of the neighbors walked to the door and offered the same sentiment: “If you need anything just let me know.”

If the Good Lord ever gives me the chance to own a home I want two things with it: I want a neighbor like Lu and I want to be the type of neighbor Lu is.

Just before one o’clock Lu drove up to the home. She carried a large bag with a deli logo on it. Four hours later she hefted a large ice chest out of the back of her SUV and brought that to the front door.

Lu didn’t wait to be asked to help. She knew these folks weren’t thinking about what they were going to eat at this time. She filled that need on her own.

Our church has a unique way of handling the missionary outreach we have. It combines the overseas missionaries with the local ways of reaching outside of the church building’s walls.

It’s called “missional living.” It’s viewed as more of a mindset than a division of the church’s function.

We recognize that simply building a big church and holding worship services inside isn’t enough to drawn people into God’s family.

There are so many local means of reaching folks with God’s concern that I probably don’t know of half of them, and I’ve gone to quite a few of their meetings. I just wished my schedule allowed me to get involved with more of them.

Lu is living a missional living life. Her neighbor’s know she’s different in the best way possible.

You better believe that if Lu ever needs help one of her neighbor’s will be there for her. And if she ever asks them if they’d like to go to church with her some Sunday they are very possibly going to take her up on her offer.

That’s why I want to be like Lu. Because she’s more like Jesus than most preachers I know.

Preachers are so busy preparing sermons, coming up with catchy story illustrations and thinking about their next sermon series that they can’t do what Lu did.

That’s why there are so many more people in the pews than there are people preaching sermons.

What about you? Are you reaching your neighbors by meeting their needs without being asked?

Do you have pictures of missionaries stuck on your refrigerator to remind you to pray for them throughout the day?

Don’t tell me you’re one of those folks who simply attends church occasionally and then goes back to your normal life the rest of the week.

That’s not what Jesus wants us doing.

Jesus didn’t die for us to simply provide fire insurance for our eternal destiny.

He wants us to attract as many other souls into heaven as we can.

Let’s help Lu be the hands and feet of Jesus here and now.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

A DEDICATION REQUEST

Elkanah sat at the table after serving everybody. He looked at his favorite wife. “Hannah, why aren’t you eating? I’ve given you twice as much as anyone else. Don’t let the food go to waste.”

Peninnah snickered. “I don’t know why you throw the food to a dog like that. She’s only eating for one. She always is.”

A tear rolled down Hannah’s cheek.

Elkanah rubbed her shoulder. “My love, I should be worth ten sons to you.”

Hannah sat in silence until everyone left the table to get ready to go to the tabernacle. She sulked out to speak to God on her own.

She sank to her knees when she reached the front wall of the dwelling place of God. “Oh, God, why? Why? What have I done wrong? What must I change? I’ll do anything for children…anything. I am Your servant, Lord. If you give me a son I will bring him here to You. He will be set apart for Your use. A razor will not touch his head.”

“Woman, why are you so drunk this early in the day? Have you no shame?”

Hannah sat up straight. She looked to her right and found the priest Eli looking at her. “No, my lord. I’m not drunk. I swear. My heart is shattered. I’m pouring my pain out to God. That’s all. Please believe me.”

Eli let out a huge breath. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have jumped to that conclusion. May God grant your request.”

Hannah stood then bowed to Eli. “Thank you. Thank you.”

She returned home and ate her food while everyone else went to the tabernacle.

************

So begins the book of 1 Samuel. A woman praying to God about the pain in her heart.

Most of our prayers are basic. Hopefully we remember to be grateful for what we have. We ask for something we want to have and/or ask for something for someone else.

Occasionally we’re at the point Hannah found herself in, or worse. The pain is so deep. Our emotions are so raw. We’re at a loss about what we should ask God for.

We’re told Hannah prayed silently while her mouth went through the motions of talking. That’s why Eli thought she was drunk.

Hannah was so focused on getting her pain out to God everything around her was gone.

She didn’t know Eli was watching her. If she did she didn’t care.

All that mattered was getting the pain out by bringing it to God so God could help her deal with it.

God still hears those types of prayers.

Now He helps us when we can’t find the words to express how distraught we are.

Romans 8:26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27 And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.

God’s Holy Spirit indwells every born-again believer in Christ so we have an advocate while we pray to God.

Two things are important to notice in those verses.

First and foremost the Holy Spirit prays according to God’s will. That means the pain may continue for a while. It may last the rest of your life. Prepare for that possibility.

Many people are so conditioned into thinking if there’s something wrong in our life God will fix it to bless us.

I have some hard news for you. God is not in the blessing just to bless business. He wants to conform us into the image of Jesus Christ. That usually requires a lot of suffering.

This world we live in is broken. So are the people we share this planet with. One person’s pleasure sometimes comes at the expense of another person’s pain. I wish that wasn’t true, but it is.

We’ll never know full peace and blessing until we’re in heaven with God.

While we’re here we’ll have pain. Fortunately, God understands this.

The second part of those verses to remember is our intercessor occasionally runs out of words for our pain, too.

Yeah, even the Holy Spirit can’t tell God what we want to say because our pain is so intense.

Read verse 26 again. The Holy Spirit groans for us when the hurt is too excruciating.

There is no promise of relief from this pain, only understanding.

I don’t find a formula prayer to pray for freedom, either.

We must trust God is up to something and He knows what He’s doing with us.

Butterflies must struggle out of their chrysalis in order to survive. If you cut it open for them they’ll die.

The effort of breaking free strengthens the heart. After they breathe air that heart must pump blood into the fragile wings. Only after the vessels are spread out are the wings ready to set that bug to flight and freedom from the gravitational pull that kept it earthbound.

Your struggles are making you stronger, too. I don’t know what, or who, God is turning you into, but He does.

There are others going through similar circumstances.

After you come through this mess a stronger person you can help them see how it’s done.

They’re looking for hope. Your story will give them that hope.

When they learn someone else groaned those same utterances they’ll listen to you.

The verse that follows those verses tells us all things are working together for good, not that all things are good when they happen.

Hardship, pain, suffering and struggle are a part of living life.

That’s why God’s Spirit groans for us and with us.

God also promises to wipe every tear away in heaven.

Peace and blessings will overflow then.

Until that time take things one step at a time if that’s all you can manage.

Pour out your heart to God.

He’s listening and waiting to hear your groans.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

Who Really Believed that Overgrown Underground Rodent Anyway?

As I recall Phil said there was going to be six more weeks of winter on February 2nd. You know…that groundhog in Pennsylvania.

So why are we in the 70’s and 80’s here in Texas already? I’ve even seen where it’s in the 70’s back in Michigan…and it’s only the middle of the month.

I drove to Houston and San Antonio this week and can decisively report that the Redbuds (with their purple flowers) and the daffodils are blooming.

The redwing blackbirds are warming up their vocal chords for their mating songs.

We’re either entering an early spring or those folks who tell us what that fat rat says were totally off this time or we’re in for an extremely rude awaking some morning and some dead purple flowers on red trees.

As you can tell I’m totally confused, but that’s quite normal for me these days…or is it daze?

To add to my malady of mix-uppedness the president’s wife just read the Lord’s prayer in public. Can she do that?

Okay, I’m pretty sure she can since she actually did, but why does that seem un-normal?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled she did it. I just wish that simple act of reverence to God wasn’t out of the ordinary.

Either The Donald has been completely transformed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ that he’s a new man from who he used to be, which is so like Jesus to do that to a fella, or he’s bamboozling everybody for a rude awakening some morning.

I’m believing the first case is correct.

The liberal leaning media folks don’t know what to make of such a transformed individual or his wife. But that’s okay. Let them squirm for a while while God sets things back to His track of biblical responsibility.

As I recall Jesus’s disciples were more than a bit confused more than once in their time with Him.

Their most confusing time came after Jesus died on the cross.

All of their predetermined dreams of a kingdom ruled by the Messiah were shattered. The bitter taste of death lingered that whole Sabbath…until Sunday morning broke with the most unprecedented news anybody will ever hear.

The tomb was empty.

Jesus was not there.

Did they dare remember Him telling them He would come back to life?

They sat in their shock and wonderment and confusion…until the room brightened and the smell of burial spices filled their noses.

The war for the souls of mankind took a decisive turn that day. The Savior had accomplished His task.

His death was the sacrifice God demanded of us all.

The war goes on. That’s why the Lord’s Prayer is still causing an uproar when the first lady reads it in public.

The Messiah will reign on the throne. But more people must be touched by the news of Jesus’s sacrifice.

Rodents don’t determine the future. God does.

The media can’t control how often we tell someone about Jesus. We can.

This war is far from over, my fellow soldiers.

Let’s not let up on our efforts just because the leader of this country is a Christian.

Large scale victories don’t need to be won. Win souls one at a time.

Keep marching on our knees to the battle.

Don’t worry. I’ve read the end of the Book.

Our side wins.

Keep smiling.   Wade

This Week I Lingered at Linger

This past Friday and Saturday Stonebriar Community Church hosted the 2017 Linger Conference.

Why do they call it the Linger Conference?

I wondered the same thing until I received an email from the man in charge when I offered to volunteer for setting up on Thursday. The email came from none other than Chris Linger.

The opportunistic moniker did stand for quite a few references during the conference.

The Linger Room was set up in what Stonebriar calls The Hub. This was the prayer room that had musicians playing softly while folks gathered their thoughts and prayers from how the Holy Spirit was moving in their life.

Oh Yeah, I needed the Linger Room…more on that later.

There was a hashtag used for social media postings. #letuslinger

The goal of the speakers and singers was to get us to stop and analyze our Christian walk. This relationship with God is essential for survival. At least that’s been my experience.

It was after I signed up to volunteer that I learned we got into the conference for free. I wish my personal schedule had cooperated better.

I missed most of Friday to paint for rent money. I did get to hear Pastor Chuck speak. He started out a bit slow, but once he opened his Bible he hit full stride quickly.

He gave us 4 disciplines most effective Christians practice; Simplicity, Solitude, Silence and Surrender. That’s been pretty much the lifestyle God has had me on for quite a while now.

Before I could digest all of what that meant Lauren Diagle took the stage. I love her voice and the messages of her songs. That was a definite highlight I’m glad I didn’t miss.

The church was as full as a typical Sunday morning, except I didn’t recognize very many folks. There were a few buses from other cities in the parking lot. One was from Louisiana, another one from the other side or Wichita Falls.

I expected young people there. There were several of them in attendance, but we had quite a few peers from my age group there as well.

On Saturday Randy Alcorn was interviewed about Heaven. He hasn’t been there personally, but has studied the matter extensively from the Bible’s perspective. I’m looking forward to digging deeper into his book now.

Paul Bolache had a slight homecoming when he sang. He used to be the worship leader at a church in Lindale, Texas.

The final speaker was Jonathan Pokluda from Watermark church. I hadn’t heard of him, either. But I’m a fan now.

I think all the speakers got together to make sure they focused their attention on my marriage/divorce in some way. Either that, or the Holy spirit was convicting me about some things there.

If it wasn’t Chuck bringing up the Ephesian church leaving their first love it was Jonathan telling folks to hug their spouse if they came together.

I spilled a few tears in the Linger Room after that session.

Several seminaries and Christian universities set up booths to try to attract new students.

Hope Coffee made samples for us to drink. Oh yeah, I took full advantage of that offer. Even though it meant I had to slip out of some of the sessions for a bit.

During the final session Shane and Shane sang while I helped vendors put away what they didn’t sell. Lifeway books ended up with quite a few empty boxes. They were happy.

The last song was sung about 9pm. Folks didn’t seem to want to leave. They Lingered around the church for quite a while. I guess that means the conference was a huge success.

Please pray I can get in touch with Barb soon. I don’t know why I keep putting it off. Is it normal for a fella to feel nervous about asking his ex-wife out to lunch?

I told Chris Linger they could come back anytime. I hope they do. That was a true blessing.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

TELL ME MORE

A woman walked to the rock she chose for daily quiet time.

Suddenly a man appeared. His face was almost glowing. “You are about to conceive and give birth to a son even though you have been barren. Make sure you don’t drink anything from the vine or eat anything unclean. Never use a razor on his head. He shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb. He will begin to deliver My people from the Philistines.”

The woman ran home. She found Manoah and got his attention. “I met a man today. He must have been sent from God because his face was like nothing I’ve ever seen.”

Manoah sat in a chair. “What’s his name? Where is he from?”

“I…I don’t know. I didn’t ask and he didn’t say. He told me to stay away from alcohol and unclean things because I’m going to give birth to a son who will be used by God to deliver us from the Philistines.”

Manoah fell to his knees. “Dear LORD, please send that man back to tell us more about our son.”

******

A few days later the woman was on her stone again when the man appeared. She ran to tell her husband. She found him repairing a tool. “He’s back!”

Manoah stared at her. “Who?”

“The man from God.”

Manoah crossed the room. “Take me to him.”

She led him to the field. The man was still near the rock.

Manoah was panting as he leaned on the rock. “Are you the man who talked to my wife a few days ago?”

“Yes.”

Manoah stared into the man’s eyes. “What are we to teach our son? What will he do with his life?”

“Don’t let your wife drink wine or even eat grapes. Don’t allow her to eat anything unclean.”

Manoah swallowed. “Please let us prepare you a meal. I have a young goat.”

“I will not eat a meal, but you can offer it as a sacrifice on this rock.”

Manoah stood, then stopped. “What is your name so we can honor you when our son is born?”

The man shook his head. “My name is too wonderful for you to know.”

Manoah and his wife walked back to the house. “Grind some barley while I get some wood and the goat.”

They returned to the rock where the man was still waiting. The wood was arranged on the rock. The goat’s throat was slit before it was placed on the wood. The flour was thrown on the fire.

Manoah stood next to his wife to see the expression of the man. The heat from the flame shook the man’s appearance. He rose with the smoke into the sky as he disappeared.

Manoah fell to his knees. “We have seen God. We’re about to die.”

His wife knelt next to him. “If we were going to die He wouldn’t have accepted our offering. Besides, we have a son to make now.”

Manoah smiled as he led his wife back home.

************

Manoah is so like me. God tells him he’s going to be used for a purpose and the man wants to know the details.

Did you catch that?

Manoah asked God to come back after the news is delivered that they were going to have news to deliver about a son. This guy wants to know what they’re supposed to teach this kid and what his occupation is going to be.

God is as God always is. He doesn’t deviate from what He said earlier. “Don’t let your wife drink any alcohol or eat anything unclean because this boy is special.”

Wayne Stiles has a great quote from his book, Waiting on God. “We want God’s plan so we can trust the plan. God hides the plan so we will trust Him.”

If we knew most of the details about our future we’d do our best to change them.

God is shaping us into the instrument He needs by what we endure. Pain is often included in the process. We want to avoid pain at all cost.

Let God be God. Don’t try to tell Him what to do and when to do it. You’re just setting yourself up for frustration when you do that.

Manoah was so out of touch with his spiritual life with God that he had no clue he was talking to God, in the form of Jesus (yeah, it’s complicated), until God disappeared with the smoke.

Are you on speaking terms with God? That’s what prayer is.

Do you recognize God when He shows up? He’s everywhere you know.

Is God your heavenly Father? Jesus died to make that a reality.

Our spiritual life is much different from what Manoah and his wife experienced because of what Jesus did on the cross. Take Jesus’s gift of eternal life now so God is real in your life.

I wondered why God didn’t tell Manoah His name here. Then I realized the man was probably planning on naming the boy after this guy he was talking to.

If that would have happened we wouldn’t be telling the stories of Samson, but I Am.

The book of Judges records a pathetic period of Israel’s history. “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”

I hope that quote caught your attention. That’s not from today’s newspaper or internet news service feed, but it could be.

We have enemies attacking us now just like Israel did back then. God used judges to rescue them then.

We have the Judge coming to rescue us soon.

Jesus’s second coming isn’t spoken about as much as it should be.

When He does come there will be no doubt who He is. His judgement will be final.

The enemy will be bound and Jesus will sit on His throne.

Those of us who accept Jesus’s death as the death we deserved will be with Him as He reigns.

If you’re reading this it isn’t too late for you.

Become God’s child today.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

I’m More Valuable Than a Bird or Flower

I’ve been shang-hide lately for toddler duty by the fine staff in the early childhood department of Stonebriar Community Church.

I don’t really mind it too much. I mean what’s a toddler whisperer going to say when asked to watch tots so their parents can worship in big church?

This all started on the first Sunday of the year, which was also January first.

They purchased new tee shirts for the department. Shannon insisted I take one…for the summer months, she said. It was in the 70’s today, but that ain’t summer in Texas.

I told Shannon I felt like I was being drafted into the duty. Now I know I should have a jersey with a big number on it and print my name in the program they hand out to the parents.

There’s only been one Sunday I wasn’t with the kids so far this year.

Mateo really needs Mr. Wade to give him attention when he first arrives. He typically settles down in a couple of minutes.

Isabella got tired again, but she didn’t nod off into a nap as she often does.

Emma and Kate, the twins, settled in pretty quickly, too. Even though some of the other adults wanted to set them on the buggy. After Mr. Wade assured them they’d be fine we were all happy.

Today’s Bible lesson covered the portion of the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus talks about worrying, Matthew 6:25-34.

He goes on to say the birds don’t have 401K accounts, yet they survive just fine. The flowers don’t shop at the best stores in the mall, but they’re prettier than anybody.

Don’t worry. That’s my paraphrase, not something the church adheres to.

I think about those verses often whenever I run in Archgate Park. Last October we had a fantastic migration of Monarch butterflies moving through.

There’s some native growing plants that were loaded with flowers at the time. Those bugs tanked up on the nectar so they could continue on their trek to Mexico.

One week later the plants that were blooming for the bugs had gone to seed. Not to worry, though. God had the plants that were still green the previous week in full bloom.

That was extremely handy since there were at least three times as many butterflies at the park.

I just smiled and thanked God for proving His faithfulness yet again.

God has had me on a manna diet for quite a while now. The driving jobs that were plentiful around Christmas are drying up. My bank accounts are low, but I’m not worried. Jesus says He’s got me covered.

How about you? Are you sweating the details of your life?

Don’t think you can’t make changes to help your situation out. I’m planning on implementing some business tactics that I hope will get me out from behind the wheel of an eighteen wheeler soon.

When the publisher I was using to print my books closed their doors I didn’t fret then either. I was frustrated, but I know God’s timing isn’t for those books to come out now.

An interesting thing just happened at the Super Bowl. The team that won was only in the lead at the end of the game.

Don’t give up, my friend. If you’re still walking the face of this earth God has a plan for you.

He’ll provide what you need in His time. And it will be glorious, just like the flowers and birds.

Keep smiling.   Wade

TESTING GOD

Gideon tapped the heads of wheat against the rim of the winepress. The pile inside looked like enough for about two ephahs.

He glanced over his shoulder. I hope the Midianites don’t find me here. They shouldn’t since grape harvest won’t occur for a few more months.

A minute later he looked around. He caught himself against the winepress when he found a man sitting under the terebinth tree.

The man smiled. “Greetings mighty warrior. The LORD is with you.”

Gideon stood and approached the man. “If the LORD is with us why are the Midianites destroying our crops?”

“I’m sending you to defeat them.”

Gideon looked around. “Who, me? I’m a nobody from one of the weakest tribes. What can I do?”

“Don’t worry. I will fight for you.”

“Wait here while I prepare You an offering.”

“I’ll wait.”

Gideon selected a choice goat for the most tender meat. While a flank roasted he baked some bread without yeast. He diced the meat into a basket and poured the broth into a pot. He carried the meal to his guest.

The man pointed to a rock next to him. “Put the food here.”

Gideon set the meat and bread on the rock and poured the broth over it.

The man touched the food with the end of his staff. Fire came from nowhere and consumed the food. The man disappeared.

Gideon fell to his knees. “I have seen God face to face.”

He heard the man’s voice. “Don’t worry. You will live. I want you to destroy your father’s altar to Baal. Take the wooden image next to it and sacrifice the second bull from the herd.”

Gideon waited until the men in town went to sleep. He selected ten servants to carry out God’s request.

********

Soon the Jezreel Valley was filled with the armies of Midian and Amalek.

Gideon felt a surge of courage fill him. He blew a trumpet and sent messengers out to assemble an army.

He paced in his tent while the men assembled over the next two days. A prayer exited his lips. “God, if You are going to use me to defeat this vast army then show me a sign. I’ll set a fleece out tonight. Put dew on the fleece, but not the grass.”

God did that to the extent of a bowl of water being wrung out of the fleece the following morning.

Gideon swallowed and sent up another prayer. “Tonight put dew on the ground, but not on this fleece.”

Gideon’s feet were drenched after he walked through the grass to reach the dry fleece.

He was confident when he saw how many men assembled for him.

God spoke to Gideon. “There are too many men now. They’ll claim victory from themselves when they win. Tell everyone who is afraid to return home.

About two-thirds of the men returned home.

Gideon heard God’s voice again. “There’s still too many. Take them to the river. I’ll sort them out there.”

He separated those who drank water from their hands from the majority who drank from the river.

“The three hundred are the ones who will win with Me.”

Gideon swallowed.

“If you need reassurance go to the camp with Purah.  “

Gideon crept to the edge of the Midianite camp and listened to a conversation two men were having.

“I dreamed a barley loaf rolled down the hill and knocked over one of our tents.”

“That could only be the God of Gideon defeating us.”

Gideon felt a surge of confidence as he bowed his head before they returned to camp.

 He gathered all his men around. “God has given us the victory. I want each of you to take a torch. Cover your torch with a pot in your left hand. Carry a trumpet in your right hand. On my mark smash your pot, blow your trumpet and yell, ‘The sword of the LORD and of Gideon.'”

When they had circled the Midianite camp the plan was carried out successfully.

************

I love how God used this cowardly man to carry out a great victory. But, then again, that’s God’s favorite way to operate.

Gideon admitted his weakness. God saw that as his greatest strength. I find great solace in that.

I find it interesting how God spoke (prayed) to Gideon five different ways in this narrative.

  1. Face to face under the terebinth tree. God showed Himself to His servant to begin this ordeal of choosing a leader to save His people.
  2. With only His voice. Once Gideon knew God’s voice there was no need for physical proximity.
  3. Through nature. The fleece test was requested by the weak man to gain assurance of victory.
  4. Through testing. As God whittled the army down from 32,000 to 300 Gideon’s resolve would be tested.
  5. Through the dream of an enemy soldier. God reached out to give His warrior one last assurance by sending him to the enemy camp to hear of a dream one of them had.

Some people wish God still spoke to us like He did in the Old Testament times. I don’t.

We have a much more efficient means of hearing from God.

  1. We have the Bible. God wrote the Bible, His Word, to us through several writers with the same message; God is powerful and wants a family relationship with us we can’t obtain on our own efforts.
  2. We have prayer. Our prayers are always heard as God’s children. Our heavenly Abba longs for our attention.
  3. We have the Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit was given to a select few in the Old Testament. After Jesus ascended to heaven God made His Spirit available to all of His children. And He won’t take it from us.
  4. We have a Savior. The Messiah was a future promise to them. Jesus is our sacrificial atonement to bring us to God now.

God may not call you to lead a great victory like Gideon.

Each small win you obtain over the enemy is great in God’s eyes.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

The Donald and the Constitution

I’m taking a chance and diving into the political arena with this post. Humor will hopefully get folks to breathe a bit as they watch the video I recorded here.

I pray the message of chilling comes through as much as the call for action to protect those without a voice.

I’ve held my tongue long enough. In order to have a clear conscience I’ve spoken my heart here. This probably won’t make a difference, but it’s the platform I have so I’m doing what I can for the glory of God.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

I don’t have a word for this year, but I do have a verse

Facebook can be such a time waster most days. When I have the time to waste it’s no big deal.

Okay, I admit to spending too much time perusing what folks are posting. It is a good way to keep track of what my siblings and their kids are up to. That used to be hard to do since they live a timezone and temperate climate away.

Some clever folks come up with some very interesting ways to use a person’s Facebook posts to come up with some amazing stuff.

Recently I saw a few of my friends had a verse associated with their Facebook feeds, so I decided to check it out for myself.

I clicked on the link to  Meaww.com. Several options are available once you’re on that site. I chose the one listed as “Which Bible Verse Will Guide You Through 2017?”

Just a few seconds after I gave my permission for them to see my Facebook activity they came back with a verse I had come across recently and considered as something to ponder on.

Isaiah 43:2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

The past few years have felt like I’ve walked through fires and waded in water over my head. I think spiritually I have been.

Each year I wonder if this will be my breakout year. 2017 has some things setting up that weren’t there in the past.

The storybook app that’s been two years in the making is gearing up for completion. Both me and Dyann, the illustrator, have passed through some deep spiritual waters in that time.

I have at least one song God has given me recently. I don’t know if I’m supposed to record it or not, but I’ve been taking some online singing training that’s been very rewarding personally.

Other song ideas are coming to me now, so watch out Grammy’s. Nothing like thinking big!

I’m still selling prayer books. Just had a book signing at a coffee store where I sold seven copies and gave one to the store owner for letting me spend the afternoon there. One of the books is going to a woman whose husband is in the hospital. They don’t know if he’ll make it back home at this point. I hope the on the spot message I wrote in it will encourage her.

Tate Publishing says they’re going through some restructuring. Hopefully I’ll be seeing my Christmas books in the near future. I need them by April to enter them in the Selah Awards this year. That could be a huge boost there if any of them wins.

My marriage is still in the divorce stage at this point from my vantage point. I don’t know what, if anything, God is doing behind the scenes with Barb’s heart. I’ll keep y’all posted. Some fires burn hotter than others.

While I’m typing this a storm is brewing outside with warnings being posted all around me. I’m gearing up to drive to El Paso tonight, right through all that turbulence.

It’s nice to know God has me protected from all that water and fire.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

How Did You Ring in the New Year?

Okay. A show of hands, who watched the ball drop on New Years’ Eve? If you’re in Idaho did you watch the potato drop? They actually do that there. The country bumpkin in me believes it.

Full confession…I didn’t even consider it this time around. I witnessed too many midnights in 2016 to stay up for yet another one.

I did see the first one of 2016 thanks to some friends who asked me to help keep some millennials in line with them on that eve of 2016. They were all Christians so it was actually a piece of cake. Not that we actually had any cake…never mind.

I had to work on December 31st. I drove back from Amarillo after delivering some windows in the morning.

The sun had set before I got to Ft Worth. Clifford, the big red van, was the only one at the window factory waiting for me. The building sets on a hill overlooking the south end of Ft Worth.

Shortly after I parked my phone dinged. That meant I had a Facebook message sent to me. Ruth wished me a Happy New Year. I smiled and thanked her.

You see Ruth lives in Uganda. Since it was officially 2017 there that meant I actually celebrated the new year, even though it was just after seven o’clock on my watch.

While I was filling out my log book I heard a crackling sound. I looked up to watch a thirty second fireworks display. Now I DID feel like I celebrated in style.

Since I still had over an hour to drive home I sent up an earnest prayer for safety on that leg of my journey. Fortunately that prayer was answered in the affirmative.

I have no idea what the next twelve months hold for me. I may be rich and famous when the next December 31st rolls around.

I may be famous but not rich, or rich but still a nobody, or just Wade who still has to drive through the night just to pay my bills on time.

I do hope I have a closer walk with Father God by then. That will mean I’ll be more like Jesus Christ, His Son.

I pray I inspire more people to strive for the same goal in some way.

I know that will mean more tests in the days ahead, but they’ll come anyway. Might as well make the best use of them to further God’s kingdom.

Each day will hold its own troubles. Drivers will still take stupid chances on the roads I drive. I’ll struggle to keep my eyes open occasionally on those same roads.

I wonder what I’ll be inspired to write this year. I’m working on songs now. Caught me by surprise, too.

My writing may win some awards. That’s not why I write, but it helps get my stuff noticed more.

If the first week of this year is any indication I’ll have to come up with a better sleep system to keep up with my work demands. Yeah, I’m very tired.

I’ll still pray for others and ask for prayer from others. That’s what spiritual siblings are for. Right?

I’ll keep pursuing Barb and ask God for wisdom, patience and guidance on that front.

I’ve watched enough races to know that it’s not important how you start the race that matters most, it’s how well you finish it that decides the outcome.

Don’t fret if you couldn’t stay awake to see one year end and the next one begin. That will happen with or without you.

Make the most of every moment and decision in your life.

God has a plan for you. Follow that plan.

How do you know how to best do that?

Spend quality time in the Bible, God’s guidebook for people.

Invest quality time with God’s people, your spiritual siblings.

Devote quality time in deep prayer, your link to God’s ear.

Resolve to do those three things and you’ll be more like Jesus Christ when the next December 31st rolls around.

Keep smiling.   Wade