September 23 was not a non-event, pt.2 – Backstory becomes story story

Here’s more backstory to help make sense of life after September 23, 2017.

*

Back in June I stepped on a small pointed rock, while barefoot. The full weight of my step pressed onto the rock, which jabbed sharply into some soft tissue at the base of my little toe. There was a small painful lump that grew up in the tissue, at was apparently the exact point of injury. I found that if I iced my foot before getting in bed at night, that would minimize pain in the morning. For the next few months, the first few steps I’d take on any given day were marked by varying degrees of discomfort and stiffness on the injured spot. For the most part, the discomfort would clear quickly after I’d walked far enough into the day. It was a nagging annoyance, but nothing that caused any alarm.

In the three weeks immediately prior to September 23, the morning pain inexplicably intensified with each day. The lump gradually grew during this time period. Just before September 23, the lump was as large as it had ever been, and those first morning steps went from bearable to excruciating.This magnified pain also began lasting longer into each day. My foot hurt even when I was in bed at night. By this stage of the game (of life) I was years into a constant experience of unusual and nagging physical problems; so the foot thing was just one more grinding burden to bear. But the escalation of symptoms was bizarre. I wasn’t doing anything beyond the usual walking that had not (so far) exacerbated the problem. It appeared I was faced with at least having to self-medicate with a plantar boot for the thing to finally heal. Is where I was with all that on the night of September 23.

**

One of my kids has Type 1 diabetes. A T1 diagnosis is the end of spontaneity with food; and it is the beginning of a regimen that turns every minute of every day into a non-stop exercise in health care and mathematics. Any pleasure remotely related to the dinner table can become strictly incidental.

We’ve been doing a great job of maintaining acceptable blood glucose levels, for years now. Our pediatrician told us that many parents use the emergency room as their kid’s treatment; that is, that don’t take care of the diabetes demands until the child is so sick that they have to go to the ER. We never had to do that. Until August of 2016 (Not 2017. We’re not there yet.). That was during a long summer visit where the kids were with me non-stop. Something went haywire in the diabetes maintenance process; and we ended up having to go to the ER. During the interview the doctor told my child that her parents obviously loved her very much, if she had never before been to the ER after so many years since onset. That was nice to hear; but I didn’t understand what had gone wrong. I wasn’t doing anything different than I’d done in the preceding years of care. Anyhoo, life goes on.

Fast forward through this year’s long spring break visit, which passed without incident. The next long visit was June of 2017. Two weeks straight. I was fresh off resigning from my job and was looking forward to a visit with my kids that wouldn’t be built around a work schedule. Everything was great until the end of the first week. We couldn’t keep blood sugar under control; ketones reared their ugly head; and we were back in the ER. This time we had to actually be admitted for a few days. Again, I was flummoxed as to why this was happening. The admission provided some really pleasant (ha) quality time for my family and my ex and her family to be in the hospital room together. People were looking at me sideways, wondering what I had done wrong. And through it all, my face hotspot was blazing away. “Why?” I wondered. Dunno. But it sure was.

***

July 4 – I awoke at 0233 due to a flash of light in my eyes. As I was waking I saw a subtle text vision; it was the letters “A I (something else).” After the image vanished, I noticed that my apartment seemed unusually warm. I got up and messed around with the AC. The unit was blowing uncooled air. I escalated deftly into “call maintenance” mode, wondering at the same time if the text vision hadn’t said “A I R.” I also noticed that there was a thunderstorm beginning, and I assumed it had been a lightning flash that had awakened me.

Later that day, around 3pm, I lay down briefly on my bed. My AC was not yet repaired, and the temperature in the apartment was in the mid-80’s. Once prone, I was immediately sleepy in the thick afternoon heat. I sank into quick slumber and straight away saw a vision of someone’s hand lifting a cup to my lips. They poured a clear, room-temperature liquid into my mouth. I actually felt it in my mouth. The sensation jolted me awake. As I lay there trying to figure out what had happened, I heard, “I look forward to raising your kids with you.” I was taken off guard by this sequence. I was also both encouraged and skeptical. I believed that I’d just heard a hopeful word from Jesus about my family. It made sense to me in that summer drowsiness that He would only bother telling me the thing about raising my kids with me if my ex and I were to be reunited and living with our children under one roof. But our own kids are practically grown, relative to their ages when their mother and I separated. Was He talking about those kids? Would she and I have more kids together? It would be a medical impossibility; but medical impossibilities figure to be a possible (ba dum tss) player in my future. One way or the other, if my ex and I were to end up together again, it would indicate some undeniably miraculous thing had happened. Jesus would surely have to figure into that scenario.

Some days after the July 4 visitation, I realized the dream/vision was reminiscent of a scene in the movie Ben Hur. (Going from memory here) In this particular scene we see Joseph the carpenter discussing his son Jesus with another man. Jesus is absent from the carpenter shop, to the disapproval of Joseph’s acquaintance. We then see Judah Ben Hur chained with other prisoners on a forced march through brutal summer heat. Roman guards stop the procession for a water break in (apparently) Nazareth. Judah falls to the ground in parched distress. All the prisoners are given some small amount of water – all the prisoners, that is, but Judah. The Roman in command specifically forbids anyone to give Judah water. As Judah languishes miserably in the dust, we see someone’s hands come into view, carrying a cup of water. The unseen person offers the water to Judah, who gulps it down. The Roman challenges this interloper who has brought water, starting angrily towards the stranger and the grateful Judah. We then see the back of the stranger, dark hair down to his shoulders. He is standing upright, facing the approaching Roman. He is silent and unflinching. The Roman stops in his tracks; has an evident epiphany; and meekly walks away from the confrontation that he’d created. He hesitates and briefly looks back at the unmoving stranger, uncertain in his fading bluster why he’s been faced down and utterly humbled by this unarmed Nazarene.

Ben Hur is loose historical fiction, so there’s no reason to believe anything like the water scene occurred in real life. As a carpenter in Nazareth, Christ was as yet unbaptized and without the infilling power of the Holy Spirit; and He was not yet tested by Satan in the Wilderness. So He was not likely challenging the authority of Roman soldiers on the streets of Nazareth. Still, it’s a powerful scene in a powerful movie. The scene will no doubt resonate with anyone who has been truly made new by the resurrecting power of the resurrected Christ.

This is getting off track. I first watched the movie Ben Hur with my kids in January of this year. I was at the time coming to terms with what I believed to be my failure to step into a long-anticipated destiny. Related blog posts abound. I was as miserable as possible. Here’s blog content from one of the January 2017 posts:

I gave one of my kids the Charlton Heston Ben Hur for Christmas. We watched the first part just after the New Year. We saved the second half of the movie for later in January. On the evening of January 21, we fired up part two. I’d never seen the movie before and wasn’t expecting anything out of part deux other than a chariot race. SPOILER for anyone who hasn’t yet but might watch a sixty-year old movie in the future: Jesus factors heavily into the second half of the Charlton Heston Ben Hur. Jesus and miracles and man, oh man, did I not see it coming. By the end of the movie, as the life-giving blood of Christ healed the lepers, I was demolished. “These are the things you will not do,” I told myself. “These are the people you will not help,” I told myself…

After December 18 or whenever I’d had the King Kong vision, every successive day had felt more unstable than the day before. I wasn’t aware of how much I’d been anchored into a relationship (real or imagined) with God until it appeared that He’d picked up camp and moved on to a more cooperative child. The span of days from December 18 to January 21 was like one endless taunt from hell, in which I felt spiritually rudderless and beaten. The chaotic sense of loss and hopelessness culminated in, of all things, the surprise appearance of Jesus Christ in Ben Hur. You know things are going south and quickly when the loving portrayal of His Only Begotten, in a shonuf Hollywood epic, is a trap door to more despair than there was before.

I find the Jesus scenes in Ben Hur to be moving and powerful, both of which a tired cliches. Which is itself a tired cliche. The important thing is I had personally identified with Jesus a little better while watching Ben Hur. The personal identification was facilitated by a belief at the time that I had possibly been on track to be Christ’s armor bearer. Whatever that might mean or look like, I don’t know; but it’s what I’d come up with after some armor bearer-centric things had happened and about which I’ve blogged. When I watched the movie in January, I saw only lost potential to be that thing. Then two days after viewing the movie, I’d had a dream about “starting over.” I came to believe I was indeed starting over on a path to something like the previously assigned destination. The notice of starting over didn’t mention anything being different or lesser in the second destined outcome, compared to the original approach, now that I think of it.

By July 4 I was over five months into the starting over process. I had quit my job based on a massive amount of preliminary communication from God to that end. I was already adapting to the idea that I was perhaps headed to the same destination as before. The personalized Jesus of Ben Hur had stuck with me, however far in the back of my mind He might have been hanging around. All of this July 4 section of material to explain why the dream vision of the hands giving me water was reminiscent of the movie scene. I think it’s also interesting that the vision occurred on Independence Day.

****

There were two more hospitalizations during the summer, both of which occurred while my daughter was with me. Her blood sugar wasn’t any less crazy at her mom’s house; but it was only on my watch that we had to admit her to the hospital for ketoacidosis. Through it all the medical personnel and probably everyone else but me were growing increasingly convinced that I could, inexplicably, no longer manage diabetes. I was defiant, refusing to believe I’d somehow suddenly lost the ability to count carbs and do the math necessary to get adequate insulin into my daughter. My ex suggested I was relying too much on estimating carbs, rather than counting meticulously. There had never been any problem with my method before. But we were now giving our daughter much more insulin per injection than we had in previous years. Perhaps that was the problem.

I tried counting carbs more exactly, and I tried using both unopened fast-acting and slow-acting insulin, multiple times. I specifically used insulin that had come from the hospital pharmacy during admissions. No matter all that effort; we had to do a second and third admission. In the build-up to the third admission my daughter was, by all appearances, insulin resistant. I was giving her much more fast-acting insulin than her diet required. We might as well have been injecting water. I was under a most unsympathetic microscope from The Ex and the medical humans involved in all that mess.

And through hospital admissions number two and three, just as had been the case in the first, my face hotspot was blazing. Just roasting hot, the whole left side of my face, for as many days as the hospitalization lasted. That presence kept me from going nuts. I didn’t understand what I was supposed to glean from it all. I wanted to believe it was a sign that something was about to change. We kept going to the hospital, and my face kept getting hot; but nothing changed noticeably. By the end of July, I figured it was just God saying, “Hang in there.” Something like that. It is also worth noting that the second and third admissions saw my ex and me spend the night in the hospital room with our daughter a few times. I slept on the fold out chair; Honey Bun was on the couch. Weird, weird times.

*****

On July 29, I woke just before 0530. As I was laying there in the dark, not sleeping but almost, I heard: “Wouldn’t it be cool if she was able to joke about all this with you one day?” I believed the “she” in question was my ex. The “this” was presumably the stupefying gauntlet of hospital admissions, one of which had just ended. In the voice note that I made for that event, I mentioned that I’d also awakened at something like an absurdly early time, just after 11pm the night before. Upon waking at that time I’d heard what I took to be a word of knowledge for my ex. While recording the voice note I remembered and noted that, before I’d gone to bed the night before, I’d asked God to give me words of knowledge for people. I think there’s little that can be so immediately healing to someone than to have another person speak a secret word from God into their lives. So I asked for that before I went to sleep. Then I awoke ridiculously early into a spoken word of knowledge for my ex (which I emailed to her). Then I awoke again later in the morning into this thing about joking about “all this” some day. I could see how it might all fit together. But the idea of us getting to a point where we could joke about anything in our mutual lives – whether it was the current hospital madness or just the general unnecessary death of a family that had been dragging out for years – seemed impossible on that morning. I was beyond exhausted and confused.

***** *

I’m blogging more than originally planned about July (and possibly August) now. So this backstory thing has grown into more substantial content. Words have a knack for growing out of control.

 

 

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September 23 was not a non-event, pt.1 – Some backstory

Here’s how I ended the relevant blog post, in late September:

“For the record the face hotspot that began on 9/23 (or the evening of 9/22) is still blazing right along. This is the longest I’ve had a continuous hotspot in several years, I think. I doubt that the dream vision about September 23, 2017, was sent just to announce the arrival of a hotspot. Maybe there’s something significant at the end of this particular face heat.

Wait and see, as usual, again.”

The face hotspot continued for a total of ten days. This was unprecedented behavior in my experience with the hotspots. At the end of the hotspot was, in fact, something monumentally significant. In order to explain it all adequately, I’ve got to give some back story.

*

Somewhere early in the summer months, not long after I quit my job, I began kicking around an idea that went something like this:

We know from scripture that Jesus said He only did the things that He saw His Father doing. I take that to mean Jesus only did the things His Father showed Him to do. “Heal this blind man like so.” “Walk across the lake; freak out your disciples; and then teleport your boat to the shore.” Something like that.

We know from scripture that Jesus arose very early in the mornings to go and pray.

If it’s true that Jesus did only the things His father told Him to do or showed Him to do,
then maybe it was during Jesus’ early-morning prayer times that God the Father provided His Son with instructions for that day or for life in general.

And if Jesus got His instructions that way, then it made sense that we followers of Jesus might be able to receive instructions from God in the same manner each morning

I began to regularly ask God if we believers could get life instructions similarly to that theorized method. It was approximately two months later that I realized God had answered with a resounding “Yes!”

**

The summer months were an irregular mess of family medical crises and (mostly) peaceful adjustments to a life with no regular full-time employment. In the midst of it all, a curious pattern developed: approximately every week and a half, I’d dream or receive a word and/or vision on a given morning, in such a way as seemed like God was giving me actionable instructions for the day. If I ever get around to posting blog content about July-September, I will provide more details about several of the days’ activities. Right now I’ll just relate what I think was the most remarkable occurrence.

One morning in late August I awoke before my alarm went off, some time before I would need to prepare for that day’s early prayer set at church. I lay in bed and dozed in and out of consciousness. At some point I realized that God had probably awakened me early for a reason and I’d not yet acknowledged Him. So I said, “What would You have for me today, God?” Immediately I saw a vision of what appeared to be soap suds. I got a notion I was supposed to wash something. I started thinking, “Wash? My car? My clothes?” I heard, “Someone’s feet – tonight.” I rolled right along with the instruction, not stopping to be blown away by what I was hearing. I promptly decided I would wash my children’s feet that night. Easy enough. While I was relaxing into that path of least resistance, I heard a clarification: “Someone who is not an immediate family member.” That obviously made things instantly much more weird. I resolved to pray about the instructions and to get my kids to do the same thing. We could compare notes and see what, if any, revelation we got from God.

A couple of hours later at church, before we began our prayer set, two women entered the auditorium. I’d never seen either woman before. The two sat together on the front row, directly in my field of vision. After a few minutes of seeing the women while we played our worship music, it was obvious that one of the women was severely distraught. She was crying continuously. She would sometimes lean over to rest her head on the other woman’s shoulder. Otherwise she was sitting upright and weeping miserably. The other woman was clearly making herself available for the support of her crying companion.

After I watched this emotional display for a bit, I thought, “I should go offer to pray for her for one week. She can tell me what wrong if she wants to. Either way, she needs prayer.” I took a break from playing and went to the restroom. While I was washing my hands and preparing to go back out to the auditorium, I decided against the prayer idea. Too weird. I sat back down and began playing again. Within a couple of minutes, our worship leader said, “I think God is telling me someone in the room is dealing with cancer.” The weeping woman raised her hand. Nuts. I rebuked my timidity. It was a pride thing. If I had gone and offered to pray for the woman when I was first prompted, I could have felt good about being obedient to a call. Now that the cancer cat was out of the bag, if I offered to pray, then I’d just be tagging along with the crowd that had gathered around the woman to comfort her. That is how small I am, inside this bald head.

We continued our playing while the small group of pray-ers prayed for and consoled the grieving woman. I got over my self and also began praying in earnest for her. Before the two-hour set was over, I decided that I would ask her if I could wash her feet that night. Why not? I’d had no better ideas in the preceding five hours. And the instructions said only to wash the feet of someone who was not an immediate family member. I was evidently free to make it up as I went.

After we finished the set and I’d gathered up my things, I approached the woman. She was by then standing and talking with several people. I introduced myself and told her that I believed God had told me to wash someone’s feet that night. Could I wash her feet? She she said OK. Who knew it could be that easy? Seriously. I got her phone number and told her I’d get in touch with her later in the day. (I will hereafter refer to her by the fake name Claire.) Claire let me know that she was without reliable transportation, as she’d been in a car wreck the day before. I told her I would drive to her home, which was about a half hour north of where I live. I also told her I would have my kids with me that evening, which I hoped would minimize any weirdness she felt about a strange guy coming to her place with such non-standard and intimate intent.

Later that afternoon I called Claire and made arrangements to meet her at her condo. When the appointed time rolled around, not long before sundown, my kids and I headed north into a very new experience. We chatted about how wild life becomes when you open yourself up to God for the most basic things. “What would You like me to do today?” Ask, and you shall receive. Crazy. Jesus wasn’t just blowing smoke.

We found Claire and a female friend waiting for us outside Claire’s residence. We did a round of introductions for my kids and Claire’s friend. Inside the condo we exchanged a few pleasantries and got down to business. I explained to everyone the mechanics of why I believed God had prompted me to wash someone’s feet. Claire asked me if I understood the Biblical significance of foot-washing. I related the various instances of the original apostles arguing among themselves regarding who would be greatest in Christ’s kingdom. Christ countered that mindset by declaring that those who would be great must serve, not the other way around. He demonstrated this posture by washing His disciples’ feet before the Last Supper. I told Claire and the others that, as I strive to follow this Savior who is my king, I must do the things He calls me to do. And He called me to wash someone’s feet.

Claire and I went into the kitchen, where she drew a bucket of water. After she got the water to a temperature that was comfortable for the task, I carried the bucket into the den. Clair sat on the couch, and I knelt in front of her with the bucket and a rag. I’m pretty sure I prayed before I began washing. I washed Claire’s feet in the bucket. There wasn’t much to the process, practically speaking. The brief simplicity of the act stood in contrast to the profound spiritual implications. It was a powerful moment, there in that condo. There was zero chance that any of us had woken up that day thinking that was how we’d be ending it. I offered to wash Claire’s friend’s feet. She obliged, and I washed.

Afterwards, we talked for a bit about Upper Room and some of the things that have been going on there for a few years. One thing that Claire revealed was that she’d never been to UR before that morning. The woman who had accompanied her to the service that morning was a member who had suggested Claire should go to the service in order to ask prayers for healing. She drove Claire to the service since Claire’s car was wrecked. That was certainly one intense day for someone who was first attending a new church.

My kids and I left Claire’s condo soon after the washing was done. The whole business was finished within half an hour. We drove back south, pretty floored by what had just happened. The kids seemed genuinely affected (in a good way) by having watched their father wash a stranger’s feet. We had more discussions about the wild ways God will open life up for you, the more you trust Him with said life. And if Claire and her friend were blessed by having a stranger wash their feet, I was just as blessed by the opportunity to humble myself in that unexpected and unprecedented process.

With about a mile to go still to go before it mattered, I noticed the reading on my car’s odometer. I calculated that we’d be passing my former place of employment at around 123 miles on the odometer. I decided that if we were, indeed, at that location when the odo read exactly 123.7 miles, then I would know it was a “hello” from God. 1237 and XX37 in general have been have been major players for the past two years, and certainly for the better part of 2017. At the appropriate exit, I pulled off of the highway and looped east onto the major thoroughfare that runs in front of my former employer. As we passed the building, the odometer read 123.7.

Fun stuff.

***

I don’t know for sure that Jesus got his day’s marching orders from God the Father during His early-morning prayer time. But I do now know that it’s possible for us to ask Him to show us His vision for our day and expect Him to sometimes provide a distinct opportunity. He is a good father and He loves to see us grow and serve.

****

More backstory pending…

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June 2017 – So begins life without a paycheck.

SUMMARY of June, in case you don’t want to read the whole thing:

– confirmations that I left my job at the right time.

– DREAM instructing me and a woman to join our lives together.

– DREAM about high school reunion and possible opportunity to pray for someone in real life.

– WORD about Hosea, an Old Testament prophet and a guy I don’t want to emulate.

– HOTSPOT that began on September 23 is still burning on September 27.

*

I was done with my job at the end of the first full week of the month. Here are some personalized ways I believed God confirmed I was leaving that job at exactly the right time:

– My user and admin network logins expired on schedule and coincidentally during the final week of my employment. I had to create new passwords to finish out the few days I’d be needing them.
– On June 12, 2012 I began using a particular legal pad for notes in our weekly team meetings. I used that same pad during all team meetings up to and including my final meeting in early June 2017. Five years to the day after I first used the notepad, June 12, 2017, was my first weekday in semi-retirement, away from team meetings and any other thing related to that day-to-day grind. I had tossed the notepad in the office recycle bin days earlier, when I was shutting down that phase of my life.
– My last day at work turned out to be eighteen years and one day after my hire date. That extra day allowed me to take casual and final advantage of my annual employee discount, replenished on each hire-date anniversary, before joining the great unwashed ranks of those who must pay the full price.

**

6/3 DREAM, VOICE: A man and woman are working at separate whiteboards, writing out what are the critical details of their lives, including their finances. Then the two people join together somehow, and I hear, “Stop keeping separate bank accounts.” END

After waking I considered the possibilities. The vignette might have been sleep noise that meant nothing. It might have been some kind of demonic distraction. It might have been a clear message from God that I should stop keeping my life separate from a significant woman in my life. I’ve been waiting on my ex for several years now, at what I’ve believed to be God’s instruction to do so. Her remarriage this year didn’t change the conviction to wait, though it did complicate the potential reunion dramatically. After the whiteboard dream, I resolved to wait and see what might happen to confirm that the dream was about my ex and me. I figured that if God had bothered to tell me to “quit keeping separate bank accounts” from her, while knowing that I’m only waiting for something to happen at her end, then He presumably has something productive in mind that I didn’t know about yet.

A few nights later I woke up at what felt like a weird time. I picked up my phone and saw that it was exactly midnight on my ex’s birthday. Even with most of my brain still asleep, I knew there had to be something significant about the event. I don’t wake up at exactly midnight. I sleepily considered that God had done something yet again on a significant date in my life. After waking enough to think it over later that morning, I figured it wasn’t unreasonable to consider the midnight episode to be confirmation about my ex and me at our whiteboards.

I again told God I would reunite with her, though not necessarily with the gladdest of hearts. From Day 1, she’s seemed at least as much an assignment from Him as anything more Hallmark-friendly. Six, maybe seven years ago, when I believe He first specifically called me in a dream to await reconciliation with her, I screamed defiantly at Him in that same dream. Now, I’m much more willing to submit myself to His eternally-significant plans, at the expense of my own desires. There would be a lot of lives impacted by His grace, if He were to engineer the impossible between my ex and me. That alone makes the submission worth the risk.

***

6/10 – DREAM – I’m at my high school reunion. There are a bunch of people there whom I know from my class. There is another guy whom I believe to be the younger brother of one of my former classmates. I haven’t seen the younger brother since junior high. The younger brother in my dream doesn’t look anything like his young self; but I think it is him. He is sitting next to me on some bleachers. He turns to me and tells me he has cancer. I ask him are, “Are you (his name)?” He replies in the affirmative. I tell him, “Sometimes when I pray for people, they get well.” That gets his attention, but he isn’t interested in me praying for him. END

After waking I decided I’d been pretty free and easy with encouragement in the dream. To the questionable extent that I see any results in my prayers for healing, there’s been absolutely nothing that would justify the confidence that I felt on the dream bleachers, in the face of dream cancer. One thing I could acknowledge was that God does the healing; we are just called to make ourselves available to set the process in motion. I was, on June 10, willing to trust that God might heal any cancer in this guy, if I or someone else got the ball rolling.

Later that day I poked around on the web and found the dream man is a real-life local restaurateur. I didn’t find any immediately easy contact info for him. I began what would be become a routine prayer request that God would get us in touch with each other, if He wants me to pray for the man in person. It wasn’t until writing this blog content, months after the fact, that I realized that the the dream occurred only hours after I’d finished the final day at my job and stepped out into whatever God might have for me on the other side. Interesting timing, at least.

****

6/14 – I woke up early and asked God how I might live that day as a sacrifice. Falling towards sleep again, I heard and saw the word “Hosea.” Not good. I’ve been thinking for a couple of years that I’m a living analog for several Biblical characters whose names are in some way similar to mine. Joseph the Patriarch is an obvious example who has received much airtime in this blog. None of the others are important now. Except Hosea.

Hosea is the first minor Old Testament prophet, a man who married a woman whom God so commanded. Things didn’t bode well for the marriage, as God described her as a “wife of harlotry”. The short version of a long story is, God used Hosea’s marriage situation as a metaphor for how He would take back an unfaithful Israel, after His chosen had chased after pagan idols and practices instead of Him. The restoration would not occur until after a period of chastisement; after that discipline God would joyfully embrace Israel once again.

The loose name connection from Hosea to Joe, for clarification, is a multilingual reach: the English pronunciation of Hosea is like the Spanish “Jose” with an “uh” on the end. There’s no immediate value in hashing out all the ways I might be living in parallel with Hosea. The important thing, for the record, is I believe the end result of that analogous life path will be my ex and I reconciled and remarried. This will require an obvious and obviously awkward end to her current marriage. There’s also a non-zero chance that she and I will begin a new family at our advancing middle age and despite the current medical impossibility of such a thing happening. .

If the other Bible characters and my possible relative analogous living are all interesting food for thought, Hosea has been unique among that crowd. He’s been a slow-dawning thing over the past year, and one that I’ve tried to shut out of my mind. I didn’t want anything to do with Hosea. All of the prophets were called to live non-standard lives, at the very least in as much as they (most of them) were consistently warning the Israelites to turn away from their idolatry and back to worshiping the one true God. The message was rarely received well. Hosea’s personal kick to the gut was being called by God to be a big ol’ chump: “Marry the woman I tell you to marry. She’s going to do you wrong. You have to take her back. You will live out my promise of reconciling with a wayward Israel.” No thanks.

Even as I’ve believed that The Ex and I are going to reconcile, I’ve chosen to imagine it will be a vague magical thing where we wake up one day in the same bed and start playing house again. As the specter of Hosea and all that he implies have been slowly dawning on me, I’ve told God several times I’m not interested in that particular relationship dynamic. God is often not interested in our personal preferences when He’s got eternity in the works. So my months’ worth of trying ignore “Hosea and Me” popped like a balloon in my face on June 14.

Wait and see, as usual.

*****

For the record the face hotspot that began on 9/23 (or the evening of 9/22) is still blazing right along. This is the longest I’ve had a continuous hotspot in several years, I think. I doubt that the dream vision about September 23, 2017, was sent just to announce the arrival of a hotspot. Maybe there’s something significant at the end of this particular face heat.

Wait and see, as usual, again.

Posted in Dreams, Hot Spots, Otherwise Interesting, Who said it? | Leave a comment

September 23 was a non-event.

Here in this skin, there were no fireworks on or around September 23. The dream/vision that had regarding September 23 was in a format that I’ve learned to trust over the past few months; so I’m comfortable believing it was God telling me something. The fact that I don’t (apparently) know what He was telling me is tiresome. I cannot in good faith say that I recommend the “charismatic” lifestyle for anyone who might be interested in pursuing such. There’s a lot of grey area, uncertainty, and second-guessing. At least in my experience.

God did light up my face hotspot on September 22 and right on through this posting at 1600hrs CDT on September 25. I believe that heat to be a comfort in this time of wondering. I haven’t had a multi-day hotspot in many months. Of course it’s well documented that I don’t really know what many of the interesting things in my life mean.

Life goes on. Wait and see. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

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May 2017, pt. 3 – The rest of May

Here are some highlights from the remainder of May 2017, mostly from weeks after I decided to quit my job. I’ve provided a summary here at the top, for anyone who doesn’t want to read the excruciating details:

* DREAM: Is John McCain a spy?

** VOICE: something about replacing weathermen. Maybe/maybe not related to the major life changes I’m beginning.

*** Personal interaction with a work colleague, with regard to my leaving the company. It turned into a unexpected and spiritually significant encounter.

**** Personal prophetic ministry detailed. God gave me solid confirmation about quitting my job, after I had already jumped off a cliff, in faith, and resigned my position.

***** New light shed on a visions from last December, when I became convinced I had blown my destiny.

***** * DREAM: something about preparing a place for those who will be doing healing work; also, another December 2017 dream re-visited

***** ** Evolution of a new hotspot

*
May 5, DREAM

I see a red and white pavilion-style tent in bright sunlight. A sign outside the tent reads, “Welcome, Spy.” I know that the spy in question is Senator John McCain. END

**

May 11, VOICE

I awake early in the morning and hear a voice talking about replacing weather men. “He gets replaced as soon as he starts caring more about the weather than the people around him.” This seems like a veiled explanation of either what I’d missed out on or a warning about what might happen if I don’t get more serious about living as a sacrifice on behalf of others. Maybe an explanation of what happened to the person that I was given a chance to replace. Maybe it means nothing. It is right on the heels of the avalanche of prophetic dreams, visions, and voices, though; so I pay attention to it.

***

Two weeks after giving my notice of resignation, I spent part of one day working at an offsite project that I’d started months earlier. I wanted to complete the thing before I left the company. I came into rare contact that morning with a fellow employee with whom I’d shared a lot of experience early on in our similar tenure at the company. We visited for a few minutes in her office. I told her I was resigning due to what I believed was an invitation from God to do so. I’d told so many people the same thing over the preceding weeks that I didn’t think too long about whether to say such a non-standard thing to yet another person. My friend was interested in my plans and revealed a particular passion in life that she would feel released to pursue if she were to leave the security of her job.

We discussed the sobering realization that comes from doing the safe thing year after year, until such a time as one notices that, to an extent, all you are doing is trading years of your life for a bi-weekly paycheck. She told me, “I want what you have,” referring to my conviction to leave stability for something less predictable. I believed that what I really had was a specific blessing from God to make a huge leap that I never would have made without said blessing. I couldn’t give that to anyone else; but I could pray for her, which I offered to do. She was agreeable. I figured I might as well go scorched-earth Christian, since the worst anyone could do to me at that point was fire me two weeks before my last day.

With her permission I put my hand on her shoulder. I thanked God for creating her; and I asked Him to let her know that He was indeed her creator and to let her know how much He loved her. That prayer is one that I’ve prayed over many other people, generally in remote intercession, because I think “it” all starts with anyone of us knowing how much God loves us (not that I have figured it out, myself). Prior to that encounter in my friend’s office, I’d offered that prayer face-to-face with only a few strangers on the streets. To do the thing with someone that I’d known for many years, and in a context essentially devoid of Christ, was unprecedented. It was an undeniably important moment for both of us in that office and one that neither of us had seen coming. We were both moved by the encounter.

She and I said our goodbyes. I drove back to my own office, aware (yet again) that good things happen when any one of us will step beyond self-imposed limitations and into the confidence to bless another as we have been blessed. On a very practical level, I was enjoying the freedom that came from knowing I would soon be gone from that job. It was the sole life circumstance that had spanned all phases of the metamorphosis I’d lived over the course of nearly twenty years. To a certain degree I was still anchored to the identity of the (spiritually) lost and (subsequently) dangerous new hire that I’d been in 1999. God had mercifully led me since that time through refining trials and turned me into someone who would risk much for the chance to live a life more fully in step with His will for me. Praying for my friend that day gave me a glimpse of what kind of person would soon be emerging from the cocoon of M-F, 9-5, and 401k.

****

One Saturday morning in late May, I went to a music clinic at our church. I also wanted to attend the prophetic prayer rooms, as well. I got in line early for the prophetic ministry; they told me they would hold my place and I could receive ministry whenever the clinic ended in an hour or so. I went next door to the clinic and watched a world class bass player do world class things on some bass guitars. When the clinic concluded, I went back over to the main church building. Prophetic team members were gathered together and visiting in the lobby of the church. All customers other than me had been served. The ministry was finished for the day and also for the summer break, with the exception of the final team that was waiting specifically for me. I went into the conference room and thanked the team members for waiting. They prayed for a minute or so and then began speaking words which I have paraphrased here:

Man 1: I had a feeling you were going to come in. I had a word before you got here. You ARE hearing from the Lord. You ask, “Is it Him?” It is Him. Sometimes you hear preachers say, “I had a message prepared, but God told me to do something different.” Sometimes we ignore those messages, God telling us to go a certain way. When we hear from the Holy Spirit, sometimes we say, “Is my mind just playing tricks with me? Am I really hearing from the Lord? Is He telling me to step out of this box and do something different?” If you will follow His leading, you will be able to go where He tells you, and you can tell people that God loves them. When you tell someone “God loves you,” you are touching their soul.

Man 2: You hear from Him really, really well; so well that you don’t even realize you’re hearing Him. So sometimes you blow it off. (Laughs) We all do that. It comes because we are united with Him in Christ. When you are aligned with Him and His word, many of the things that run through your spirit, many of the intuitions you get, are directly from Him. A lot of times we like to second-guess the thing and we ask Him to give us some proof that it’s Him. “Please give me a word of confirmation.” Or, “Let me put my fleece on the ground.” And He’s willing to do that. But there come a point in our relationship with Him when He laughs and says, “Why? You know Me. You heard Me the first time.” I feel like the Lord is affirming right now that you know His voice, that the things that people call intuition are Him saying, “It’s Me, and it’s Me directing you.” This is a call to say “yes” to those things.That’s where the breakthrough happens.

Man 1: We are all Jonah. We are all supposed to listen and say, “Really? That’s why I’m supposed to do?”

Man 2: Don’t look to other people to confirm what the Lord has told specifically to you. Even if they are walking closely with Him, He’s not necessarily telling them everything that He’s told you. He’s not going to hold them accountable for things that He specifically told only to you.

Woman 1: Have you ever been to Portland, Oregon?

Me: (Whoa) Yes. And Wichita Falls and Long Island.

Woman 1: I don’t know if you should go back to Portland or go somewhere else. But the Lord is calling you into other places, so that people can see His works. I feel like you’ve been hibernating so you can learn to hear Him so clearly. Now it’s time (laughs) to show off what the Lord is doing.

Me: How did you come up with Portland?

Woman 1: I was listening to music this morning. I stopped to look at my phone to see the name of a song that was playing. It was called “Portland, Oregon.” I thought, “That’s weird.” Then the Lord said, “Someone is supposed to go to Portland; someone you’re going to see today.” I forgot all about that until you walked into the room.

Woman 2: I see a rainbow coming over you, and it represents wisdom, not just in one area, but in several areas of your life. I feel that you like to move from one task to the next. I feel that God is telling you “Let Me take your agenda.” I pray that you will be able, with the wisdom that God has given you, to see His timing and His season; so you can hear Him and then run. Because I think God is calling you to be not a sprinter but a long distance runner.

I feel like you are supposed to slow down for a little bit. It’s not that you have to sit down and not do anything. Sometimes we misunderstand what it means to rest in the Lord. Faith requires action. You don’t just “have” faith or hope. The path that you’ll be walking, let God speak from that place. I’m reminding myself, it’s like Elijah went to the cave and heard the still small voice. I feel there are so many adventures to come in this journey that He has for you. But have the moments where you can be quiet and just wait for His whisper. Sometimes the direction for our life comes from that place.

Me: (tell story of WFPLI and this years-long season of refining. How I had little left at one point but to trust Him. Much concern that I’d short-circuited my destiny. The many preparatory motivating dreams and visions that led me to quit my job. No clue what’s next. Portland? A brief description of Joe turning to Joseph.)

Woman 1: I forgot that I’d written this down earlier, but I got distracted: “There are new beginnings. Do not be afraid to walk in. You have not missed it. You’re not late. You’re right on time.”

Me: (freaking out)

(Concluding comments and prayer.)

One of the primary reasons I wanted to receive prophetic ministry that Saturday was to see if God might reveal anything of the the previous month’s spiritual gymnastics to and through the prophetic team. I believed I had made the right decision to leave my job. But I thought it would be encouraging if the Saturday praying prophets were to hear anything from God regarding all that. What actually happened was that essentially every word spoken to me was right on target, with some time warp thrown in for good measure.

If there’s any way to summarize what I think God was saying during the prophetic prayer session, it would be: “You wanted a fleece when you wrestled with leaving your job. Ta da! Here it is.” He didn’t give me such rich confirmation until I’d already acted in (for me) extreme and unusual faith. If I’d received those same encouraging words three weeks earlier, when I was first presented with the wild opportunity to quit my job, I would have had little need to exercise said faith. It would have been a slam-dunk decision: “It’s from God, no question. I QUIT RIGHT NOW!” Instead, I had lived one conflicted week, after the invitation to quit, capped by my resignation; and then two more weeks of disoriented preparations for an entirely unanticipated new life. The timing of the Saturday prophecies was such that I was able to exercise my faith muscle and still get a most welcome confirmation from the Lord that I had done the right thing.

In all the years that I’ve somewhat regularly received this type of ministry, no one has ever told me anything like “Yes, you are hearing from God about doing something improbable.” And the one man’s reference to touching people’s souls by telling them that God loves them – that is exactly what had happened a day or two prior, when I prayed for my friend at work. It had been an unprecedented thing in my life and (I think) in the life of my coworker. The reference to visiting Portland tied the past to the present. The description of me hibernating in order to learn how to hear from the Lord was a comforting acknowledgement of what has been a grueling, humbling, years-long lifestyle. The encouragement to be still and hear His voice was an acknowledgement of that same lifestyle. More importantly, it was also a foreshadowing of opportunities to hear God in the still and quiet on any given day, and to do His specific will on that day. At no point in the years that I have believed in and availed myself of prophetic ministry had there ever been a more appropriate time for me to hear what those folks shared with me that morning. They were precisely the right words at precisely the right time. To me, that means it was from God.

*****

May 30

Before going to sleep that night, I was reading a internet message forum. There was a thread dedicated to favorite fictional battles. One of the posters suggested King Kong vs the biplanes. I immediately thought of the King Kong vision I’d had back in December. It was one of two visions that seemed to indicate that I had definitely blown a destiny or something. The other image had been the dream view of the B-17 with open bombay doors, with a voice telling me the bomber been hit by flak in the bombay at 12:12.

As soon as I read the post about King Kong and his biplanes, something clicked in my mind. “Favorite fictional battles. Fictional. King Kong was fictional.” As in, he wasn’t real. He wasn’t “really” a sign that I’d blown anything. On a hunch or on their own, my eyes browsed the timestamp of that post. 12:37.

***** *

5/31 DREAM

I’m in a cavernous room where there are numerous pallets laid on the floor. I am staring at my feet. Each foot is positioned exactly inside a rectangular box outline, painted on the floor. I am standing next to one of the pallets, and my position relative to the outlines on the floor indicates I am standing in exactly the right place. I look up and see a young and robust version of a man whom I’d only known in life as an aged and infirm person and who had died in the past year. He was in this life a tireless worker for the Kingdom. I somehow know the dream man is a young version of that guy. He says to a person next to him, “These (pallets) are being prepared for those who will be doing healing. (Pointing at me) He’ll be one of them.” I wonder if the pallets are for the healers to lie down on or for the infirm to lie on and receive healing. END.

Later that evening, I walked to the grocery store. I wasn’t even out of any groceries in particular. It just seemed like shopping was the thing to do that evening. So I went. I love grocery shopping. No idea why.

While walking the mile or so to the store, I contemplated the King Kong thing. If the King Kong vision hadn’t really been a confirmation in December that I’d blown it all, then what about the B-17 dream/vision? The weird thing about the B-17 image was that it was unique among all the numerous WWII-era bomber imagery that had shown up in my dreams over the years. All the others had been B-24’s. Which might be a tedious distinction; but there’s something to be said for consistency. Even after waking from the dream that morning in December, it was obvious that the B-17 didn’t really fit the established theme.

If the King Kong vision had been a false positive, then maybe that bomber vision had been also. And if those two things had been false positives, then maybe I hadn’t really blown anything. How does that even work? I thought back to the young woman who had the encouraging prophecy for me the previous week: “New beginnings. Do not be afraid to walk in. You have not missed it. You’re not late. You’re right on time.” Seemed too good to be true at the time. As I walked the final long block to the store, I was aware of how completely improbable it was to wonder about a dream vision of a World War II bomber and its potential relationship to whether or not God was going to powerfully reveal Himself in Dallas, Texas any time soon.

A couple of minutes later, I was walking across the parking lot towards another few days worth of groceries. I love grocery shopping. No idea why. There was one vehicle in the final parking space before the traffic lane next to the store. It was the only vehicle parked within several spaces. It was a nondescript white pickup truck that seemed out of place in that parking lot, otherwise occupied as it was with more hip/urban/new transports. I’ve walked past hundreds of cars in that parking lot over the years without noticing anything about most of them. I couldn’t help but pay closer attention to the truck for some reason, which is why I quickly and abruptly stopped dead in my tracks. On the back window of the truck was a decal of a WWII-era bomber dropping decal bombs. The bomber was a B-17. Bombs were trailing out of the plane, down the back window of the truck. The plane had clearly not been hit in the bombay doors at 12:12 or any other time.

Like anyone else who has lived decades in an urban setting, I estimate that I’ve seen several hundred thousand cars in my lifetime. I’ve never seen one with anything like that display, much less one appearing as it did at exactly the right moment to fit into this narrative that I wouldn’t even bother trying to make up for fear it would sound so implausible. I stared for a bit longer and walked on into the store, with a further shifting perspective on what did or did not happen in December.

I love grocery shopping. No idea why.

***** **

Sometime at the end of this past February and into March, my lips began burning in a way that was consistent with what I’ve called “hot spots” in this blog. In case I haven’t mentioned it already: by the month of May, that hot lips effect had spread to cover most of the left side of my face. Just like most of the previous hotspots had been on the left half of my body – generally on my left leg – this new hotspot was almost exclusively on the left side of my face. The only exceptional heat was an occasional burn on my left heel or up my left calf muscle. The life cycle of any given mouth/face hotspot seemed related to how I ate. Something about eating for pleasure and peace, as opposed to seeking to find my ultimate satisfaction in the Lord. (Even now, as of this writing in September, I can’t say for sure what the parameters of this hotspot are.) The point is the hotspot had spread it’s boundaries significantly by the month of May.
***** ***
That is all.

 

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What hiatus? And September 23.

I put this blog on hold a month and a half ago in order to bring some much needed peace to my life. Keeping this thing reasonably current at any given time is a major resource commitment. Starting in December 2016, and moving into and through this year, noteworthy events became consistently so numerous that keeping content satisfactorily up-to-date was no longer feasible. Hence the hiatus.

Now I’m taking the blog off hold, for today at least, and am planning to post at few months’ worth of info starting next weekend. I figure there’s no time like the present to start shoveling content onto the internet again. I’ll start by posting some info out of chronological order, because it is of a time-sensitive nature.

*

August 7
DREAM: There’s something about my promised “promotion”, I think. I hear a voice speaking words that I can also see: “We know the who and the why. There’s nothing left but the how and the when.” Then I see a date: September 23, 2017. WAKE

I fumbled around in my brain with a resolve to record the details of the dream. As I struggled to hang on to the September date in particular, it occurred to me that the date seemed familiar. I emailed Mary and got her confirmation: September 23, 2017, is the date upon which a rare celestial event will occur. Various astral bodies will be arranged such that they will effectively illustrate the imagery recorded in Revelation 12. Depending on who defines the illustration, at least.

I’d become aware of this occurrence in the previous month. I can’t remember now how it came to my attention. Maybe Mary sent something my way. I can definitely confirm that, before I heard about how the universe was apparently going to express Revelation 12, I couldn’t have told you the first thing about Revelation 12. I’ve read Revelation enough times to have a really firm understanding that I don’t much understand what I’m reading. Consequently, I’m generally and deliberately not attuned to Revelation/End Times-themed excitement, other than I’m ready for Jesus to return. Any second now, actually.

Along comes this September 23 thing, and I’m officially interested. Whether or not you buy into the notion that there’s any significance to the book of Revelation (or the Bible itself, for that matter), it’s hard to ignore the way the September 23 sky is apparently going to act out a scene described by the apostle John nearly two thousand years ago. It’s nothing if not a very interesting physical phenomenon, with some possible metaphysical implications. Boy, are there possible metaphysical implications. And it’s the potential metaphysics that have people of a particular Judeo-Christian bent getting most excited. I’d now like to summarize the various reasons people are looking with such anticipation toward this early autumnal date. But I cannot summarize the reasons because it’s impossible for me to get my head around it all.

There’s a lot to do with prophecies from Daniel, I (or II, I can’t remember) Peter, and Revelation, at the least. There’s likewise a significant confluence of events in the Hebrew calendar happening around the date in question. And nature has clearly been putting on quite a show in the past month. Some people who understand all that stuff much better or differently that I do believe that September 23 will see Christ return to rapture some or all of the church. Or maybe some other stuff.

All I know for sure is that I was aware that many eyeballs were looking ahead to a particular date; and that I had a dream in August that highlighted the date on a personal level. If something big is going to happen in my life on that date, I assume there will be Jesus-style global things happening as well. It’s unlikely that God would spend all that apparent capital to herald events in the life of a random guy in Dallas. I think. We’ll know more in six short days.

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Blog hiatus

This blog is officially more trouble than it’s worth, for the time being. There’s so much blog-worthy stuff happening, and I’m so far behind, that I’d have to dedicate more time than I want to in order to keep current. If there was any one reason that I kept the thing going for so long, it was a desire that skeptical people like myself might see a reality that they perhaps hadn’t considered before. That reality being: the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the living God; Jesus Christ is His risen Son; and the Holy Spirit is active today. I don’t think a blog, in and of itself, will necessarily convince anyone of that. But information like that which I’ve published here is clear evidence, at the very least, that either 1) there’s much more to this world than meets the eye; or 2) I’m insane. I vote for option number one.

As of now I have no intention of posting again unless/until there’s something that I would consider a real breakthrough, in context of the journey that is voluminously documented here since 2013. If you are the praying sort, I’d appreciate any prayers you might offer on my behalf, specifically regarding patience, obedience, and discipline. If you have any prayer requests, please submit them as comments to the blog; I will intercede on your behalf without posting the blog comment. I think that will work. Anyway, thank you for your consideration.

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