FIRST ASSIGNMENT

Samuel laid back in bed. The torch was still burning in the tabernacle. That was his assignment each night…keep God’s light burning.

“Samuel.”

He sat up and ran to Eli’s chamber. “What is it?”

Eli rolled over to face the youngster. “What do you want, Samuel?”

“You called for me. I want to know what you need.”

Eli sighed. “I didn’t say anything. I’m trying to sleep. Go back to bed.”

Samuel returned to his position in the tabernacle.

“Samuel.”

He ran back to Eli. “Here I am. What do you need me for?”

The old man shook awake. “Samuel, what’s got into you tonight. Can’t you see I’m trying to sleep here? Go back to bed.”

Samuel muttered as he walked back to the tabernacle. “I know I heard him call my name. There isn’t anyone else here. It had to be him.”

He laid back down.

“Samuel.”

He ran back to Eli. “I know I heard you call for me. Who else could it be?”

Eli looked up. “I’m sorry, Lord.”

He reached out a hand and waited for Samuel to grasp it. “The next time you hear your name called say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.'”

Samuel swallowed as he released Eli’s hand and returned to his chamber.

“Samuel.”

When Samuel opened his eyes a man was standing near him. “Speak, your servant is listening.”

“I’m about to do something that will capture everyone’s attention. The sins of Eli’s family will not be tolerated much longer. I warned him about not restraining his sons. Their sins cannot be covered by sacrifices forever.”

Samuel sat on his hands to keep them from shaking.

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

The legend of Samuel carries on to this day. This was a huge step in the process of making this man who would be used in mighty ways to help the nation of Israel to become the greatest nation in the world.

The first step in that process came before he was even conceived. His parents were godly people.

Samuel’s dad took his family to the tabernacle, the dwelling place of God, annually. That’s extremely significant when you remember this was during the period of the Judges…a time when everyone did what was right in his own eyes. God was feared by dad.

Samuel’s mom dedicated her firstborn son to God at the tabernacle on one of those sojourns. The infertility of Hannah, combined with her reverence toward God, made her say a vow that she carried out to the letter. God was honored by mom.

Samuel had an incredibly godly legacy to build on.

When Eli was given the responsibility of rearing this kid it was a second chance to get that right. He failed miserably with his two sons who were supposed to carry on the role of priest for God’s people. The elderly man took this opportunity seriously and did it well.

With that as the backdrop God steps into young Samuel’s life directly.

God had been so distance from Eli for so long even he didn’t recognize God’s presence when it came.

Where are you in this process?

Are you fearing God?

When I ask that question what first came to mind. Did you see yourself cowering in a corner of a room waiting to be struck by lightning? Most people do.

God does have that much power, but He has just as much love for you, too.

For those of us reared in a family where both parents were present we need to remember how we thought about our dads after we did something we knew was wrong. We knew punishment was imminent. Dad was the last person we wanted to cross paths with, but we knew he loved us, too.

Our earthly fathers are to be a representation of our heavenly Father. Too bad there are too few good examples of that today.

Have you made a dedication to God?

Don’t think children are the only thing that can possibly be dedicated to God. Your life can be dedicated, too.

When I suggest that don’t think you have to go to Africa to be a missionary to carry this out. Dedicating your future may mean taking a stand in your current workplace. It could be being more active at church or another organization. It could simply mean studying the Bible more to hear from God better.

Making God number one in your life is dedication to Him.

Are you passing on God’s principles to the next generation?

If you have children definitely start there. If your children are grown teach your grandchildren about fearing and loving God.

If neither of those opportunities is open to you find a young person to mentor. This generation of young adults is floundering now. Too few of them have a solid foundation to build on. They’ve been fed so many lies in school they don’t know what to believe.

When you step in to teach them about God and His truths as found in the Bible take it slow, but be deliberate.

You only need to change the course of one life to have an impact on several people in the future. If you skip this opportunity to make an impact the next generation will continue to wander in the wilderness and miss God’s kingdom altogether.

Eli taught Samuel as much as he could. God’s second chance wasn’t wasted.

By the time God did speak to Samuel the Creator of the universe was a real part of the young man’s mindset.

God can use anybody. He always does.

You can help prepare someone for that transformation today.

That pebble you drop on the surface of the ocean won’t make much of an impact now, but the ripples will go on for quite some time.

Help God steer those ripples by doing your part to focus a young person toward being used by God in mighty ways.

It’s not too late for you to make a difference.

God’s plan is to use you, too.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

I just prayed for 150 men…one book at a time

I first met Marcia on a Sunday morning. She approached me before our adult fellowship time and introduced herself. She said she noticed me a week or two before that sitting by myself. She said I looked defeated.

This was a few years ago…after my wife left me and before I lost my secure job that held me constantly sleep deprived. Defeated was becoming my constant companion.

Marcia and I have become great friends since that encounter. Life, on the other hand, has continued to beat me down, but not out. I keep hoping the pendulum of fate hits the low part of its swing soon. I could use some things to begin working toward the “Blessings of God” side.

Being a prayer warrior, as most 70+ year old women of faith are, I knew Marcia would love my book of 100 prayers.

She took the book home and devoured the last chapter on the 23rd Psalm. She told me my writing ranks right up there with Chuck Swindoll. I didn’t say it does…she did.

One of Marcia’s sons helps lead three day retreats called Tres Dias. She gave him her copy of my book to see if they’d like to use it as a gift book for the attendees. She couldn’t wait to get her original copy back from him so she bought a second book that she could continue to work through.

They decided my book would fit with their work so the retreat coming up next month in north Texas will have 100 Prayers of a Writer in the gift bag all the men receive.

Marcia is making sure I have no excuse for not attending that retreat. I told you she’s a great friend.

I knew the bare minimum I had to do is sign every copy of my book. Knowing how much Marcia, and her prayer warrior friends, are praying for this retreat I decided to take it one step further.

I set the six boxes of books out on my floor before I opened them.

I pulled one book out of the first box and set it on top of a stack of two boxes in front of me.

While on my knees I set my left hand on the book and prayed for the man getting that book.

I don’t know the names of anybody going to this retreat. I haven’t even met Marcia’s son, yet. I let the Holy Spirit guide me through each prayer.

Some of these men are dealing with serious addiction issues. Others are facing hard decisions…health issues…family strife…career choices…secrets.

There are some good apples in the bunch who need to deepen their relationship with God at this point in their lives. A few are about to be used mightily by God soon.

I’ve heard of others doing such praying before, but this was my first experience with it.

I hope it’s not my last.

About a third of the way through my running time came due. I took the break from this spiritual warfare to recharge my prayer battery.

What began after church ended after supper that evening.

I know some men will be blessed by the words God used me to write in those books.

This man is blessed by praying for every man attending that retreat.

Please join me in praying for God’s kingdom to be built by what will transpire that weekend.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

Is Monday the 13th Really Unlucky?

Happy unlucky Monday the thirteenth Y’all. I have no clue how Friday the 13th stole all the thunder from Monday the 13th, but that’s what we have to live with in this fallen world I suppose.

What makes this Monday the 13th unlucky to the uber degree is the fact that it’s the second month in a row we’ve had to endure one. If you don’t believe me just flip your calendar back a page a see for yourself.

You see…February had a Monday the 13th, too. Now you hurt my feelings by actually checking. Shame on you.

It’s a good thing I’m not actually superstitious or nothing because last month would have done me in to the uber degree.

I was working with the Apainter Paul on an interior job. The tall ceilings made it necessary to use ladders to paint the tops of the walls. No, I didn’t walk under any of said ladders at all if I could at all help it…not that I actually believe it’s unlucky or nothing.

The real problem came from the three cats the lady had for fur children. Yeah, she never got married so the cats are her kids…not that she considers herself a crazy cat lady or nothing. That’s what I overheard her tell someone on the phone.

Anywho…all three of these felines are black. She can tell them all apart. Good fur her.

Now I can’t think of an unluckier event than to have three black cats cross under a feller’s ladder on a Monday the 13th…but I lived to tell about it, y’all.

There are some folks who hope they’re lucky enough to get into heaven after they die. They think if they go to church enough times and give the appropriate amount of money to the right charitable organizations they’ll make it.

Not by the hair of their black cat’s chin.

They count on their good deeds being enough to earn their way through those pearly gates.

Not by attaching all the ladders together will that get them to reach heaven’s foundation.

They pray they’re better than just enough people to make the cut to be selected on God’s team.

Not by any number of anything will that work neither.

There’s nothing anybody can do to get to heaven. There is something one man did to get you into heaven, though.

Jesus Christ was a unique individual…actually He still is. It’s a stretch for our puny minds to comprehend, but Jesus was God and man in one package. His perfect life made him the ultimate one to become the ultimate sacrifice to die in our place in God’s eyes.

There’s nothing superstitious about this. By admitting your inability to reach heaven on your own efforts because of your sinning you have taken the important first step to getting there.

The second step is accepting Jesus’s death as done in your place.

The third step will be when you walk across that threshold of those pearly gates.

Your eternity with God won’t start when you get to heaven. No, He wants to develop that relationship you’ve always longed for right here and now.

Yeah, I’m not hawking a religion here. Christianity was always meant to be a personal relationship with the Creator of the universe.

Jesus always called God His Father. Once you become Jesus’s adopted brother or sister you can, too.

No amount of black critters, ladders nor numbers will ever take that away from you, neither.

This will all make perfect sense when we all get to heaven.

You can thank me when you see me there someday.

Keep smiling.   Wade

Just Me and Jesus

God has an annoying way of giving me writing prompts sometimes. Two o’clock in the morning seems to be one of His favorite times to do such shenanigans.

Just Me and Jesus was set to a tune as I awoke in the wee hours one morning. The chorus played in my head while I drove around. I sang it to myself and contemplated the verses that should go along with it.

Being the storyteller that I am a theme developed over the next few days. I knew a preacher, a doll, a boy and a doctor would be involved. The third verse came to me first while I drove.

The remainder of the story took shape when I wrote it all down. Rather than a song for the entirety a poem formed to fill in around the chorus. I guess you can call it white conservative Christian rap music if you insist on labeling it into a genre.

This video is what became of that 2 AM writing prompt.

I’ll see you later.   Wade