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

I Wish God’s Will for the New Year

I’ve seen a lot of wishes for happiness and good things from well-meaning folks. As a born-again believer I’m not comfortable in making those types of wishes.

By taking a more eternal view of how God sees things I think you’ll see what I mean. Watch my video for a more thorough explanation.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

A Look Back at 2016

Well, Christmas was a hot one in north Texas. We set a record high of 80 degrees. You can have your white Christmases. I’ve endured enough of them in my lifetime, thank you very much. Don’t feel too sorry for us. We did endure a couple of nights in the teens last weekend. I don’t know how cold they would have been if we had snow on the ground.

I finally strolled my neighborhood on Christmas Eve to look at the lights on display. There were a few good ones…too few. It didn’t help my mood when I realized I’m still at the same place I was a year ago. Bah Humbug ;-(

Now that Christmas is behind us we can look forward to the coming year. As tired as I feel from this December’s frantic driving schedule it doesn’t feel like much was accomplished in the past twelve months.

But then I looked at my calendar and realized some significant events did happen despite my sleeping through them.

No major deaths or losses occurred like the previous year, so that’s good news.

100 Prayers of a Writer became real in March. I wish I had a better handle on marketing it than I do, but I did sell some copies to family members, church friends and one at a book signing to a family I never met before in my life.

That book signing was a significant milestone as well. Every writer looks forward to the day they can do such a thing.  I have another one coming up in January at a coffee shop. I think that will go better.

I spent a good amount of energy getting three Christmas books published by October. Eek’s Gifts became available October 11th; The Extra Ordinary Christmas and Something’s Gotta Change were real on October 25th. Thanks to a marketing director dropping the ball near the end zone I still don’t have any copies of either book.

I painted more in 2016 than I did my entire life leading up to that year. That made the difference between me being able to pay my bills on time or living out of the back of Clifford, the big red van. I owe a yu-uge thank you to the apainter Paul for helping me out there.

Speaking of Clifford, he cost me quite a bit to keep on the road this year. I wish I could afford to replace him but that doesn’t look like a possibility anytime soon. He broke through the 200,000 mile milestone so I’m not complaining, just tired.

There are some things occurring behind the scenes that should make 2017 a much more successful year than 2016 was. I’ll keep the curtain closed on those for now. Prayer is greatly appreciated for such success to happen.

You know that verse that talks about pride going before a fall? Did you know that’s only half of that verse? The last half of that verse says a time of humbling comes before success.

From what I’ve endured these last few years I won’t be surprised if I’m considered some kind of overnight sensation soon.

If I didn’t know God is in control of everything happening I would have been too depressed to write a post this depressing. I’m sorry if you were looking for more humor from me today. This is all I could think of to write about when I sat down at my keyboard.

Babe Ruth held the record for strikeouts when he retired, too.

Keep smiling.   Wade

 

WE’RE DOOMED

Joshua waited for his spies to return from Ai. “So, what do you think? Can we take it?”

One of the men nodded. “Ai isn’t anywhere near as big as Jericho. We’ll only need two or three thousand men to wipe them out.”

Joshua nodded once. “Good. That’s what I was thinking, too. Choose three thousand of our best and get it done.”

********

A couple of hours later the men came running back to camp.

Joshua stood and waited for them to catch their breath. “What happened?’

The man in charge looked at Joshua. “I don’t know. We thought they were going to stay in their walls. When they came rushing out at us we panicked, I guess. As near as we can tell thirty six men died back there.”

Joshua tore his robe open. “No…we’re doomed.”

He walked into the tabernacle and fell before the ark. No words came so he just let the tears flow.

As the sun neared the horizon he poured out a prayer. “Why, Lord? Why did we cross the Jordan at all? We could have settled over there. There was plenty of land for us. Now the people here will band together and destroy us completely. What will You do for Your great name then, Lord?”

God’s voice was clear and loud. “What are you doing on your face, Joshua? The reason you failed is because I’m not fighting for you now. Someone took some stuff from Jericho. Everyone knew that was off limits. Assemble the tribes. I’ll let you know which tribe they’re in. Bring that tribe by household, then family, and then man by man. The man who took the accursed things must be burned with the items along with everything he has. Then I will restore My power to your efforts.”

Joshua did as commanded to discover Achan had a robe, gold and silver from Jericho hidden in his tent. Achan’s entire family was burned and covered in stones to erase any possibility of a recurring event.

Ai was then soundly defeated. Further conquests began with council with God to ensure victory.

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

I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it here. I’m sure glad I live on this side of the cross of Jesus. God’s grace is much better to live with than His justice.

Joshua didn’t have that luxury. He lived with a simple formula to live by: obey God and receive His blessings, disobey God and receive His wrath.

Achan thought one person taking some of Jericho’s spoils wouldn’t effect anybody. After they conquer the land he’d be able to enjoy this stuff and probably help his family move ahead quickly because of the wealth they’d start out with.

He forgot one extremely important thing about God. You can’t hide anything from Him. God sees every hidden item and knows every secret you have.

Now I have to ask: are you trying to hide anything from God?

Notice I said “trying” to hide. People can be fooled. They only see things with their eyes.

God is omnipresent. He’s everywhere. You can’t hide anything…and I mean anything, from Him.

Those emotions you’re holding back, God knows all about them. He’s waiting for you to tell Him about them. Find a secluded place if you need to and let it out in prayer. I don’t mean a simple, quiet prayer you say before a meal.

I’m talking about a scream at God as if He was standing right in front of you type of prayer. He’s your loving heavenly Father. He can take it. He’ll still love you with His unconditional love only a true father can give.

This may mean sending everybody away so you have the house to yourself or going for a long drive alone. Whatever it takes…do it so you can move away from it now.

You may have to dig deep into a closet and throw some items away that are keeping you stuck to a past event, relationship or habit.

The best way to move forward is to remove everything that entangles you and keeps you from moving ahead.

You can’t take any items with you when you die. Don’t let them kill you now.

Achan took only a few items. Those things cost 36 fighting men and his entire household their lives.

I don’t expect you to be perfect, neither does God. I’m just using this moment to get you do look deep inside to discover what’s holding you back.

You do want to live your life more like Jesus. Don’t you?

He didn’t have any closets. He didn’t even have a house or apartment to hide anything in because He never had anything to hide.

Time talking to God was such a priority to Him He missed out on sleep to gain as many minutes with His heavenly Father as He could.

He wrote the Bible so spending time reading it wasn’t necessary for Him. We need to spend as much quality time in the Bible as we can fit in.

Prayer is our chance to talk with God. Reading the Bible is God’s main means of communicating with us.

I don’t mean a quick scan by reading the entire book in a year. I’ve done that in the past and found it lacking in really hearing God speak to me. It was good at developing the discipline of setting aside daily time to concentrate on something related to my relationship with God, but that was the most I got out of it.

Read a section until something catches your attention. Then re-read it while asking questions that come to your mind. Savor it like you enjoy a good meal.

A spiritual meal is exactly what you’re getting.

God is feeding your soul while drawing you closer to Him.

One of the lessons Joshua learned about Ai was in contacting God before the battle.

If he had than he would have discovered the transgression sooner.

Victory only came after the sin was dealt with.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

Do I See What You See?

I’ve been doing a lot of traveling lately. I’m been all over Texas…from Houston to San Antonio to El Paso to Amarillo to Wichita Falls and all over the Dallas area this month. Outside of Texas I’ve been to Oklahoma City, OK, Memphis, TN, and Shreveport, LA multiple times.

When a truck driver does that type of delivering there are two options for sleeping away from home. You either konk out in the back of the truck if it has a bed or you luck out and the company pays for a motel room.

I’ve been fortunate enough to fall in the second camp of camping in a well-equipped, climate-controlled setting.

The last motel room I was in had an interesting phenomenon in it. Each wall had the same picture on it whether I wanted to look at it or not.

It’s not that I was unfamiliar to this picture. I see it often, whether I want to or not.

I think one of the reasons the picture was tiring was because it looked tired, at least the subject matter did.

The glossy surface of the portrait made me a bit suspicious as to the motive of the motel personnel who decided on this motif.

I guess they didn’t want anyone leaving their establishment with the excuse that they didn’t know they had something stuck between their teeth.

Yeah, I was getting paranoid from all of the mirrors on every wall I looked at.

I understand the one in the bathroom over the sink. I fully expect one there. But do I need to look at my reflection while I’m working on something at the desk? And I absolutely don’t appreciate seeing myself sitting on the toilet when I close that door. Let’s get real here.

It got me to thinking about how often folks don’t really want to look at who they really are.

I’m not talking about their outward appearance. Anybody can change that easily enough.

I’m thinking about soul searching deep inside. How often do people do that investigation?

When did you last perform such introspection?

While driving these long distances I’ve had a lot of time to think about many things. Prayers frequently follow my thoughts whether it’s about me or someone else on my mind.

James 1:19-27 is a section of scripture that holds a lot of insight in it. Central to James’s theme is this thought of looking intently into a mirror and deciding what to do about what you see, if anything.

I pity people who don’t change after they’re shown something in the Bible about how we’re supposed to live.

I’ve never been a big fan of new year’s resolutions. I prefer to make changes as soon as I’m made aware of them.

The problem with most folks is they’re too caught up with living to actually live.

Their lives are too busy to step back to analyse anything for long.

Make the most of your reflection time. If you haven’t had any lately then set some time aside soon.

The new year is right around the corner. Now would be a great time to decide what you want to change so your life pleases God the Father.

All those mirrors in my room apparently did little to improve my appearance that day. The last thing the guy behind the check out desk did was point out where they had some coffee I could drink before I hit the road.

When you’re suffering through a cold good sleep can be so elusive. Don’t let God’s design for your life elude you as you decide what changes you need to make.

Keep smiling.   Wade

Normal for me is spelled Frustrating Chaos

For anybody who missed me, or this blog post anywho, this past Monday I have an extremely good reason for being AWOL. My computer/internet router/modem gave up the ghost at an extremely awkward moment.

Let’s back up to last Thursday evening. I received an email from The Upper Room devotional folks about one of the submissions I sent to them about a month ago. They said it needed a better takeaway for them to publish it and pay me $30 for it.

Thursday evening I finally had some free time from driving all over Texas that week for work. I had an idea for yet another devotional I thought they might like so I wrote that one out and submitted it via their online form.

Then I went back and wrote three sentences to close out that other devo they were interested in. About half way through that process the electricity went out in my apartment building. At least I think it went out in the whole building.

My apartment was dark but the other buildings I can see from my windows were still lit up. The battery on my computer kept me in business so I kept completing the form while I anticipated the juice would flow yet again to my home base.

The good news is my lights came back on about a half hour after they went out. The bad news is my router never regained consciousness. That meant I was without internet access to send that devo to the nice folks in the upper room. No not the room over my apartment. I could have walked it up there.

No problem, I thinks, I’m scheduled to drive to El Paso tomorrow. I’ll simply take my computer and send it from my motel room.

I made sure I asked if there was a password to access the internet before I left the front desk.

“Nope. Just click on our logo.” The kindly fellow stated assuredly. He obviously had no clue who he was speaking to. Bank computers shut off when I walk near them to get change made.

Sure enough, I tried everything I could think of to get that useless internet thingy to work on my computer to no avail. So I called the front desk and explained my dilemma.

Next thing I know I’m talking to some geek in their technical support department. 46 minutes later I discover I have too many IP numbers within my computer to be of much help to a nice enough geek.

He promises me that if I wait 5-10 minutes I’ll be able to hook up to the internet. Finally something went right for me. I was back in the 21st century and sent my devo submission back to TUR (The Upper Room).

By then I was more than ready to become unconscious myself. So I did just that after a shower that worked just fine for me.

I think somebody must really need the message from that devo about being used by God no matter what your background is. A few days later they sent me an email that said they like it and will let me know when they’ll use it. Perhaps if they read my blog they’ll know what I went through with it and post it post-haste.

In the meantime I found a phone number for the internet company I pay my bills to. I found myself back in El Paso Monday afternoon explaining my dilemma to them.

Their first question to me was, “Is the switch turned on?”

I only thought about throwing my phone across the motel room. I assured them I turned it off and on several times from different outlets with the same dark results.

They eventually agreed to ship me a new router to replace my dead one I used for over eight years.

Fast forward to this week Thursday (yesterday). I’m actually eating supper in my apartment for a very rare instance. I hear some rustling near my front door that included what could have been one knock, then silence.

I heard someone walk up the stairs to that upper room so I peeked out my peep hole. A shadowy figure raced by toward the front of the building followed by the unmistakable sound of a diesel engine starting up and racing away.

I opened my door to find a box there that hadn’t been there before. I was barely home a few minutes so I knew it wasn’t there very long. I can deduce some things fairly quickly after I’ve eaten half of my supper.

My brand spanking new router made it home while I was actually there. Which was good since I don’t know how long it would have stayed there all by itself.

After I finished my meal I decided to see if I could set it up all by my lonesome without calling some geek somewhere.

Two passwords and about a half dozen failed attempts later I tracked down a phone number that came with the packaging.

I don’t know what possessed me but I decided to try one last time to connect to the internet by the only means I thought possible. It must have been the Holy Spirit within me because the computer actually worked like it is designed to function. Glory Hallelujah!!!

Now to take advantage of an extremely rare Friday off to catch up on some computer related items before I drive again on Saturday.

Now I’m wondering what the chances are that my Christmas books will actually get printed and shipped to me before Christmas. That’s probably too many miracles to expect for one Christmas season.

At least I know God is still in control. Whether I’m home to see it or not.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

Dumb They Called Me

It’s time for my annual spoof of a classic Christmas song. This year The Little Drummer Boy gets a make over.

Don’t expect much humor this go-round. A spiritual contrast is more the order of business this year.

Feel free to share this with anyone you think will benefit from the message conveyed here.

I wish you and yours a very merry Christmas.

I’ll see you later.   Wade