March 2017: Security, Cash, and The Return of Joseph

One afternoon in early March, I was walking home from work. I saw White Car Guy out at his usual observation post. In early March there was much speculation regarding the future of one Tony Romo, who had long quarterbacked the Dallas Cowboys. I took an educated guess that WCG and I could talk Cowboys, if nothing else. I smiled and waved to WCG, and he responded in kind. I figured there was no better time than the present and no easier means of breaking the ice. “What are they going to do about Romo?” I called out. And we were off. We talked Romo, Cowboys, Dallas history, apartment history, family lives, and so on. We talked for a good twenty minutes. It was a crash course, of sorts. I left the conversation with a new friend.

3/19
During the church service today, the pastor asked all of us who needed healing prayer to stand. I stood. Our pastor requested that those around us who were not standing should lay hands on us and pray. Vince Corcoran was sitting behind me. He got up and came around the chairs. We greeted each other, and he asked me what I needed prayers for. I told him I had a laundry list but that the big issues were my shoulder and the spermatocele. Vince told me the first healing he’d ever participated in was for testicular cancer. Encouraging.

For purposes of convenience and socially acceptable laying on of hands, Vince decided to focus on my shoulder. I showed him my limited range of motion. He prayed for me for a minute or so, until our pastor instructed everyone to take a break and check for any improvements. I hadn’t felt anything during the prayer, which didn’t necessarily mean anything. I checked for any change in my range of motion and immediately noticed a slight difference. Maybe. I hesitated to embrace or celebrate any change so slight; I’m extremely aware that some perceived healings are nothing more than imaginations based on suggestibility and wishful thinking. Do not want.

We had one more round of prayer, after which I didn’t notice any improvement. I took a turn on the microphone and told the room that I thought there had been some amount of healing and that I was ready to have more. I left church aware that not all healing takes place immediately.

That night in my sleep I moved in some way sufficient to make my shoulder pop loudly. I was jerked awake by the sound of that bone moving into a better place than it had been. I praised God and fell back asleep. Fully awake the next morning, I found I had a remarkably improved range of motion. Not so much that I’d call it healed. But it was much better. Two shoulder healings within two months. Thank you, God!

3/21
My lips started burning again. I hadn’t had the hot sauce in a few weeks. So the lip thing was definitely a hot spot.

Grief was noticeably diminishing by this time. In place of the waning grief were resignation and acceptance. I was officially broken more than I’d ever been before, without a doubt. But my feet were less made of lead, by now, and facing each new day wasn’t a burdensome reinvention of some forsaken wheel. I was hanging on to “worthy and desirable.” My shoulder was much improved, and I figured the new hotspot had to mean something. God was apparently giving tangible evidence that we were starting over – new plan, new hotspot, new whatever.

I even came to peace with something that had been driving me nuts for a while: assuming “we” are starting over, how would I know what to do and when to do it? I felt stranded and alone; ill-equipped to do anything at all, much less reboot a process of the magnitude and apparent complexity of that which has been fodder for several years’ worth of blog posts. Not only that, but there was also a nagging question of whether I was still Joseph in prison. If I had ever been a modern-day Joseph in a metaphorical prison, then there was a decent chance that I was now going to be stuck in that prison for the rest of my life. Such a thing wouldn’t be the end of the world, since I’ve probably got no more than twenty to thirty years left on this side. But still, in such a scenario I would likely live every second of the remainder of my life filled with regret.

Enter God’s mercy, by which He showed something important. I “realized” at some point today that all three of the people who had given me “Joseph” encouragements in 2010 and 2015 had some interesting commonality: prior to the respective incidents in which they each dropped the Joseph word on me, I (mostly) hadn’t known the people at all. The only exception was the guy at Upper Room who actually did his Joseph thing on the second of two consecutive Sundays in which he spoke to me, which were the first two times I’d ever seen him. And I’ve never seen him since then, for what it’s worth.

Also, in each Joseph instance, the people offering the Joseph word were making an unsolicited contribution to the fund, so to speak. I hadn’t asked for any such thing, and I wasn’t looking for it at all, in any of the three encounters. The closest any of the three had to being a response to my inquiry was Charles Slagle, in February 2010. I had approached him as a total stranger, wanting him to pray prophetically over me. I didn’t really even know what I was asking for; I just knew that I was miserable and that any encouragement would be welcome. “Joseph” got started on that day.

The summary realization of that previous paragraph is: “God will tell me what He wants me to know, when He wants me to know it.” Just like He has done so many times in the past. I don’t need to worry about the “what” and the “when”. I don’t need to worry about whether I’m still Joseph. I simply need to relax into the uncertainty of the present and know that He will provide info on an as-needed basis. Easier said than done, for sure. But it is something that allows me a smidgen of control, this intentional surrender to God’s timing of my expectations.

“You: here, now. Me: no plans, no expectations.”

Indeed.

3/24
I am taking a walk during lunchtime at work. For the first time I speak these words out loud to God: “You will tell me what You want me to know, when You want me to know it.” It’s not a command, of course, but a comfortable acknowledgement of a truth that I know from experience. It is a comforting thing, to know that the Creator will let me know when it’s time to know something new. If waiting is often a grind, He is always generous and faithful. Speaking the words one time out loud doesn’t do justice to the peace He brings. So I say it again. “You will let me know what You want me to know, when You want me to know it.” I am amazed by Him, even as I speak the words. I finish the walk and my work day.

I leave work early, because I’d come in early that morning. Walking home at an odd time of day, I’m struck by the unfamiliar position of the sun. The automobile traffic has a different flow than it does during my typical walk home. The unusual circumstances make for a “new” feel to things. Fifteen minutes into my walk, I turn off the main sidewalk, onto the property of our apartment community. There are several people in front of me, walking their dogs. There are other people out in the athletic fields, in the volleyball sand, and in the driving range enclosure. The dog-walkers in front of me stop so their dogs can do dog things with each other. I pass them.

Spring is definitely in the air, and some portion of the grinding regret of the previous four months just falls right off me. I feel like I’m on sudden vacation. I tell God, “I feel like I’m on sudden vaca…” and then I notice something unusual on the path in front of me. There is money on the path. Money is never on the path. However, there it is, right there. My brain is jarred a bit by the image of United States currency on the walking path, where it has never been before. I scan my immediate surroundings. There’s no one within fifty feet of me. I squat down and scoop up the bills from the asphalt walkway. My mind struggles to adjust to this alien reality, even as I count one hundred and eleven dollars. Two $50’s, one $10, and one $1. Clearly, 111 is a good-sized chunk of 1111; and 1111 had been a player for quite some time.

I have the presence of mind to laugh and suggest to God that $1111.00 would have been an even more prophetic amount of cash. But the most important thing is, NO WAY did I just find one hundred and eleven dollars on the walking path. Yes way, indeed I did, even though I’ve walked thousands of miles on that path over the past seven years without ever finding any money. The sense of sudden vacation is not diminished in the least by the likewise-sudden discovery of cash.

I continue walking and taking assessment of the money situation. It’s too perfect. One hundred and eleven dollars? Come on. I consider the distinct possibility that God will soon present me with a chance to give that money to someone else. I resolve to not get too attached to the money. I am planning to attend a church small group that evening, for the first time since April of 2016, when the guy gave me the “kicking through walls” prophetic encouragement. I imagine a scenario in which someone at the meeting announces a need for one hundred and eleven dollars for something or other. I plan to take the money to the group and give it to whoever has such a need. We’ll all have a cool God story to tell.

By the time I’ve come to quick terms with giving the money away, I’m rounding the bend down past the tennis courts and towards the first of two large ponds. It’s early yet on a Friday afternoon; but the park area is busy with people walking dogs, baby strollers, and young children. A couple of lingering Canada geese stand in stark contrast to the usual mallard and Muscovy ducks. These two geese are stretching out their winter visit longer than usual; their dozen or so companions have already flown back north. Diagonally across the pond and up into the visible parking lot, I see White Car Man, leaning against said car and taking in the afternoon sights. I’ve got plenty of time before I need to leave for the church group; so I head over his way.

When I’m close enough to him, I call out his name and wave. He waves back and returns the greeting. We begin what turns into another lengthy conversation. Our talk at one point turns to the topic of White Car Man’s employment. Turns out he’s indirectly affiliated with one aspect of the whole Dallas Cowboys/Seattle Seahawks scene. When he tells me his job, I continue casually talking and listening, all the while some big chunk of my mind begins almost frantically reflecting with a giant eyeball behind a magnifying glass on the potential Cowboys-Seahawks dream reference. That same big chunk of my mind is pretty incredulous. Within weeks of having the dream and deciding there’s a chance that God is sending me to that game, I’m discovering that White Car Man, THE White Car Man, is a possible player in that world. It should be tiresome by now to think or say or type, “No WAY.” But things keep happening to prompt such a response

The cumulative affect of finding the money and then hearing what it is that WCM does for his own money significantly challenges my orientations to person, place, and time. WCM and I finish our conversation and I continue on my walk home. I can’t decide if this day has really become as weird as I think it has. It feels like one long God encounter, lasting the entirety of my walk across the expansive grounds of this apartment world. In the parking lot of my own complex, I spy a lone penny on the ground. Normally, I’ll stop and pick up a loose penny, if only to check and see if it’s an old solid copper one worth saving for the metal value. On this day, flush with $111 sudden dollars in my pocket, I coolly breeze past the hapless cent, leaving it to whatever fate might befall it there on the concrete. (Only days later, at the prompting of Dave From the Office, will I realize that God did indeed give me 1111 that day; only with a different decimal placement than I’d suggested upon finding the paper money.) ((UPDATE January 19, 2019 – I just realized today that I got my decimal place wrong. The added penny made my total haul $111.01, not 111.10. Decimal places are important and deserve updates from twenty-one months in the future.))

A couple of hours later I walk the pleasant mile or so to the church small group. It is to be my first visit to this particular group. I arrive after a few people have already begun setting up for the evening’s dinner. The host introduces me to several new (for me) faces and gives me a tour of his and his wife’s families, via the photos in the kitchen shelves. The small group is established for over a year, so there are some very comfortable relationships in the room. There are a few faces I’ve seen around church before and one in particular that I’ve known personally for a few years. Mostly it’s people whom I do not know and do not know me. There is some pre-dinner visiting, and then we eat dinner in groups around various tables. The group feels like an easy fit for me, and I can easily see myself making this my regular small group home.

After dinner the host/leaders call us all to the living area. We move chairs into whatever configuration will accommodate the group in that end of the room. Once everyone is seated and we’ve had an opening prayer, the leaders ask everyone to share experiences where God has showed up powerfully in their lives. I volunteer a story about how God changed me dramatically in an instant, several years ago, after I’d gotten serious about seeking and offering forgiveness, among other unprecedented acts of humility in my life. I emphasize some of the more striking differences in the person I had been one second before the change, versus the very different person I instantaneously became.

The group leaders offer some feed back, and we prepare to move to the next person. Before anyone else gets started, a young woman interjects something to me. “While you were talking, I got the sense that you’ve been waiting for something. You’re like Joseph in the Bible. You’ve been waiting for something. Don’t give up. It’s going to happen.” She speaks with comfortable authority, and I am appropriately floored by her words. I give her and the rest of the group a brief explanation of my history with Joseph, including a belief that I’d blown whatever promised blessing was supposed to come my way. She says, “I hear God laughing.” She adds something to the effect, “We aren’t powerful enough to derail the plans God has for our lives.” I believe her, and yet I also know what I’ve been living through and experiencing for a few years. Some of my experience has reasonably led me to believe that my actions absolutely have an impact one way or the other on how God deals with me. But most importantly in that moment, there’s this new Joseph encouragement, one year and a couple of weeks after the guy in Ben Gurion Airport.

There’s no way or need for me to convey to the group how nuts this evening is turning out, as a continuation of the already-unreal day in an increasingly unreal life. The focus moves off of me and onto other people who want to share what God has done in their lives. We continue on in group discussion format for another hour or so. Independent of the shocking Joseph business, the whole experience is encouraging and faith-affirming. The husband-and-wife leaders promote authenticity and humility in the room. At the end of the evening, I stop by the new Joseph prophet and thank her for speaking out. “It changed my life,” I tell her in all seriousness. One of the group members drops me off at my apartment, saving me the walk home.

_

It was not until the next that day that I realized the young Joseph woman’s full name – first and last – is a comical reminder from God that He can effortlessly bring together the most unlikely of elements in the most sudden of encounters, to let everyone within earshot know that He’s in control. Suffice it to state the obvious, He can do anything.

Posted in Gifts of the Spirit, Hot Spots, Joseph | 1 Comment

February 2017, pt. 5: More dreams; D-fense; and a new spot gets hot

February 17

Dream: I am looking down on a massive wall, built in the style of the Great Wall of China. I’m probably fifty feet above the wall looking down on a section. The lighting is dim, probably pre-dawn. I see the image for no more than one second…

…after which I am somehow jarred fully awake and alert. Very strange. I wonder if this has anything to do with the “defender” theme.

February 19

Dream: I’m talking to a guy whom I don’t know in real life. He looks to be about sixty years old. He’s got longish white hair and is wearing a decent looking suit. He’s wearing a handgun in an external shoulder holster. I know that this guy somehow is my bodyguard. A younger guy appears on the scene. He’s wearing sunglasses and is covered in personal weaponry. The older guy gets up and leaves. I feel awkward that I didn’t introduce the new guy to the old guy.

The new guy starts telling me that the older guy is having trouble getting around, is too old for the job, and that I should consider getting someone else. I realize the younger guy is schmoozing me and looking to replace the old guy as my body guard. Then the young guy asks me if I like watching the Cowboys. I tell him that, no, I don’t much like watching the Cowboys. On Sunday evenings I’m either busy with family or working on some music or writing project. END.

February 21

Somewhere around this date, I started wondering if the Cowboys/Seattle dream reference was something to do with a security event at the football game. The fact that a Muslim guy was in the second dream that morning kicked off that particular train of thought. The body guard dream which featured a random Cowboys reference also added fuel to the fire. And “defense” seemed to be the all the rage at the time. There might be room for a gifted defender, anointed by God for such a task, to shut down an attack at a major American sporting event

Wait and see.

Feb 22

Dream: I see a crowd in a room, all of them seated in chairs and facing the same direction; it’s an auditorium or something similar. I had apparently been in that same audience; but I’ve been pulled out from the crowd and separated from them. I’ve been positioned to watch over them effectively. The people in the scene don’t look like anyone in particular that I know. END.

*

By late February I began entertaining the notion that I should go meet the guy in the white shirt by the white car. I started taking a short cut to and from work that had me passing his usual hangout. I noticed his car had a Dallas Cowboys license plate frame. And I noticed that his car didn’t appear to be moved very often. After a few fruitless passes by, I found the man himself while on my way to work one morning. He was rightfully positioned by his vehicle. I called out a greeting, and he replied in kind. I continued on my way to work, and he continued standing by his car.

By late February I’d also begun earnestly pestering God with requests that, if indeed we have moved on from the awesome offensive capabilities of a bomber to whatever kind of defenses He might construct through me, could we please revisit the notion of offense again sometime? If I survived another trip through the wilderness and graduated and got to build castles in His kingdom, whatever that might look like, would I not merit another shot at being a bomber? Being a God-anointed defender would be just great. But I want to be able to do everything. Regardless of the fact that I’m a natural defender – if I think He’s taken offensive weapons off the table, then all I can think about it those offensive weapons that are off the table. “Does that mean no deliverance, healing of the sick, raising the dead, anything like that? Can I get a mulligan? Or a tenth mulligan or whatever it would be? Please God!” Except the “Please” was actually better spelled with three l’s and ten of the first e’s. I’m just too proud to spell it that way in the post. This groveling became a theme for several weeks following. As of this typing of this exact sentence in mid-April, it’s still a theme. I’m absolutely shameless about the begging, because I have nothing to lose.

I’ve given a lot of fruitless thought to what are offensive capabilities versus defensive capabilities in His kingdom; and whether I’ve truly lost out on something forever, or at least the rest of my physical life. If it makes sense that deliverance, healing the sick, and raising the dead are offensive efforts; and those capabilities are not available; then what’s left? Jesus didn’t do a lot of defensive-looking work in his ministry, so there’s not much by way of example there. He did calm the storm that was freaking out his disciples. I can’t think of anything else, off the top of my head. There’s no end to the wondering, because there’s no way for me to definitely know (on this side of my last breath) the answers to certain questions. I have to just live in the moment and see where all this goes.

**

February 25 (this entry was added a couple of hours after my initial post)

DREAM: I see written words and hear a voice speaking the words, “What do you have planned for the rest of the year?” END

Either in the dream or in my real-life brain, I immediately believed that this was a message from God. No guarantees about any of this stuff, of course. But the written/spoken combination has me convinced, these days. I figured the message indicated that , whatever we might be working towards for Phase II, it wouldn’t be this year. If the Cowboys/Seahawks game is really going to happen, for example, it would apparently be next year – either a playoff game for the 2017 season or some installment in the 2018 season. I couldn’t imagine waiting for the 2018 season.

All that speculation aside, someone had asked me a question. I hadn’t given the idea of “the rest of the year” much thought before that dream. Over the next few days, I mulled it over and told God my tentative plans for the rest of the year. Pretty mundane stuff: get my blog caught up; finish and record two songs; be the best father I can be; refrain from anything I can think of that will derail this new go-round with divine opportunity. He already knows what I’m going to do. I figure the question was more a way for Him to convey the time frame of Phase II than it was for making small talk in my sleep.

February 27

I tried a new brand of hot sauce on my tuna and crackers at lunch. About an hour later I noticed my lips were burning in a weird way. I was at work in the midst of massive responsibilities, and I only half-way noticed the sensation in my lips. I assumed that the new hot sauce had something in it that I was reacting to. A few hours later my lips were still burning. But it was a cool burn, like from mint. I went to the break area fridge and got out the jar of sauce. I checked the label and saw that the main ingredient was serrano peppers. I wondered if I was allergic to serrano peppers. Seemed unlikely, since I’m almost fifty years old and have been eating hot sauce for most of my life. Whether or not I was reacting to the peppers, all I knew for sure was my lips felt a special kind of strange.

Before bed that night, I bothered to apply some balm to my still-burning lips, some ten hours after I’d eating the hot sauce. I didn’t see how the sauce could have still been a player. That didn’t make sense. But neither did anything else. I went to sleep quickly. Six hours later I awoke to the blatant sensation of an irregular pulse of heat in my lips. It wasn’t a steady thing, like a heartbeat. It was unpredictable and REALLY hot. I lay in bed, first wondering if I’d ruined my lips with serrano pepper hot sauce, then daring to think I was receiving a new kind of hot spot.

I got out of bed and went to read some Bible for a while. I fired up my monk Chant CD and settled into my easy chair to read Paul’s letter to the Romans. I grieved that mundane process, owing to it being an echo of my routine from almost exactly two years earlier – when I was living through what was a documented and frightful time of doubt and self-loathing brought on by (OF COURSE) masturbation. That particular months-long grind had ended in June of 2015 with a blast of demonic deliverance and one of the craziest visions I ever had. Prior to that explosion of heaven on my couch in June, I’d spent many mornings waking early to read the Bible and then falling asleep again on the couch, while listening to the Chant CD. Sitting in my chair in February of 2017, I knew that I was living out a loss that wasn’t going to be resolved by expelling a demon or anything else so cut and dried. Whatever years-long process had seen, among other things, the wild deliverance and vision in June 2015, I believed that said process was over and done with. We were ‘starting over’.

I sat in my chair listening to the monks and hating myself. My lips just fired up more and more. I read through several chapters of Romans, and my lips took on a life of their own. I was reading out loud, which I generally try to do since faith comes from hearing. While I was speaking the words of Paul, my mouth and a growing area around it were lit up with a force that couldn’t have had anything to do with my lunch seventeen hours earlier. I figured God was giving me a much-needed ‘Hello’. I guess. I didn’t see any chance it was still the hot sauce.

Over the next couple of weeks, the lip thing came and went. I was routinely eating that picante at work; so I couldn’t ever say with one-hundred percent conviction that it wasn’t the hot sauce making my lips light up with a cool burn.

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

February 2017, pt. 4: How ’bout them new marching orders? And some other dreams.

February 7

I woke early and prayed for a while. After falling asleep again, I had two dreams:

DREAM 1: I keep seeing something about the Seattle football game. Or “the Seattle game”, which I decide is the Seattle football game. I just know that the Seattle game is a game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Dallas Cowboys. I am trying to find a schedule of the Cowboys season schedule, to see when they might play Seattle. I cannot ever find the schedule. END

DREAM 2: I see a black man wearing what appears to be an Islamic headcover. He is seated, facing me. I see his entire body framed in the view. He is not looking directly at me; his face is looking a bit off to my right. He speaks: “Your total will go way down if you will (something).” I think he is saying that the total number of days until some goal is reached will go down to the extent that I am obedient. WAKE.

These dreams are significant for a few reasons. I had been asking God for a few days if He was planning on sending me to any unusual locations again, along the line of WFPLI. And I had also been wondering aloud or silently to Him every few seconds if sustained obedience on my part might shorten the entire process, if we were indeed starting over. Because someone on January 23 had definitely told me we were starting over. Starting over sounded like death on a stick, after I’d spent so many years in the wilderness already. But if that’s where we were, then there was nothing to it but to jump in with both feet. And so I had asked.

If this day’s dreams meant anything at all, then, maybe they were direct answers from God. “Yes, you’ll be going to unusual places. Yes, you control the duration of testing with your behavior and, ultimately your heart posture before Me.” Either the dreams were from God, or they were not, as usual. Either they meant what I’ve suggested here, or they did not. I’ll just plan to stay alive and alert, and we’ll see what happens.

Something that adds some gravitas to this day’s dreams, in addition to the apparent messages that they convey: February 7 is the anniversary my wife and I separating. God has a warm tendency to reveal Himself to me on important calendar days. I had actually gone to bed the previous night wondering if He might mark such an inauspicious anniversary, especially in light of all that had happened in the preceding couple of months. Blammo, I believe He did. What better way to officially announce “starting over”. If it was Him marking the starting over point, I’m compelled to wonder how much shorter the previous years-long trial could have been, had I been immediately obedient to His call. That’s a depressing thing to contemplate. Better to focus on the chance to do it again and better and more quickly. Obedience to God is much more immediately natural for me in 2017 than it was in 2009. There’s at least that encouraging thing. We’ll see how it translates into any success in Phase II.

The Seattle game is an interesting bit. The Cowboys and Seahawks aren’t divisional opponents. So there’s no built-in regular meeting between the teams. The soonest they would meet would be in a pre-season game in 2017, although I think they did that it 2016. The next chance would be a regular season non-divisional game. The 2017 season schedule isn’t out yet; so we don’t know if there’s going to be a regular season meeting between Dallas and Seattle. Barring that regular season game, the next possible meeting would be in the playoffs. The last possible contest in the 2017 season would be in the NFC conference title game, prior to the Super Bowl. I think the 2017 season schedule is released in March. So we’ll know something in a few weeks.

(The preceding paragraph was written in late February. Since then, the NFL has released the preseason schedule. The Cowboys and Seahawks aren’t meeting in preseason.)

(The preceding parenthetical was written in early March, or soon after the NFL’s release of the 2017 preseason schedule. Since that time the NFL has released it’s 2017 regular season schedule. I’ll save that big reveal for later. Let the anticipation wash over you.)

*

February 11

I went to the church prophetic prayer rooms for the first time since the mid-November “YOU’RE ALMOST DONE” extravaganza. I generally try to go for that ministry every three months. I had actually been dreading going again, because of what I feared I would NOT hear. I fully expected that there would be no one telling me anything about being almost done with anything. I didn’t need any prophetic ministry to tell me that which I already knew. But I still didn’t want it confirmed in such a way; especially since such ministry as that had been such a huge encouragement to me along the last seven years’ journey.

But I went ahead into a room with six waiting people, only one of whom knew me at all. After they prayed for a minute, they began one by one to speak their impressions to me. Nobody said anything about me being almost done with anything. But they said a lot about peace. Of the six people, four of the six had a message that was directly related to peace, either in me or around me. It was pretty interesting. There were actually more people in agreement about “peace” that morning than there had been in agreement about “YOU’RE ALMOST DONE”, back in November. One guy in particular, on this Saturday morning, told me he’d heard “peacemaker” before I even got in to the room; as in God wants me to be a peacemaker; or maybe I already am.

I left the ministry time grieving the confirmation of loss, or at least the confirmation of a new direction. It wasn’t until after Mary and I had discussed things later that day that I had the perspective to be hopeful about what I’d heard that morning. A peacemaker is exactly the kind of person to be maximized in the racially-polarized United States, if nothing else. And my fuzzy recollection of the Beatitudes prompted me to remember a dream/voice experience from Father’s Day 2015. That morning, I’d heard a voice say to me in my half-sleep, “You will be my son.” I remember being a bit confused by the experience. I won’t rehash it. Bottom line is, after the ministry session on Saturday, what with all the references to peace and (especially) “peacemaker”, I thought about the Beatitudes. “Blessed are the peacemakers,” I remembered, “for they will be…” sons of God? I thought that the peacemaker was connected with declared sonship of God. I couldn’t remember for sure. I thumbed through my Bible to Matthew and found the first long block of red text. There it was, in Matthew 5:9: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

Interesting.

The same guy who had heard “peacemaker” also referenced Joshua, by way of piggybacking off another person’s encouragement that my footsteps take territory for God’s kingdom. Joshua, of course, was one of a faithful two Hebrews who both escaped Egypt and got to enter the Promised Land. Not even Moses made that grade. Then when Mary and I were talking, she discussed Moses in context of his failure and the fact that he was still one of the two people who were honored to appear with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. He didn’t achieve his ultimate objective; but he was given a great honor, anyway. She then began talking about Joshua, a couple of hours after I’d first heard Joshua mentioned that day. She made some great points about Joshua, relating some of it to my journey. She began talking about Joshua at 12:37. Interesting enough, I suppose.

The most encouraging thing that whole day wasn’t anything someone said about me directly, which is a refreshing reminder from God. It was when Mary told me that she regularly says to God, “You know my heart.” As in, “No matter what I say or do, you know me better than I know myself. And you know that I love you, in spite of what it might look like on the outside.” I noticed at all that Mary said it because “You know my heart” is something that I’ve been saying to God daily since mid-December, at the least. “You know my heart, God. You know that I love you. I just suck sometimes.” Anyway, when Mary told me that she tells God the exact same random thing that I do, my weeks-long grief exploded into joyful disbelief. “NO WAY!” In that one split and improbable second, God took my lament refrain and turned it into a massive celebration of a struggle shared with the sister that He gave me several decades before either of us realized it was coming. Weight lifted, at least for the rest of that day.

Thank you, Lord.

**

February 13

DREAM 1: someone hands me a can of food and asks “Hey, do you have this?” The label shows something that looks vaguely like green beans or asparagus. I never can tell. And I have plenty of time to wonder – the hand holds out that can for several seconds while I inspect it. There is nothing on the can label that says what’s in the can, as far as I can tell. There’s quite a bit of text on the label. But the only words I can make out are, first, “Creole”, at the very top; and then “Redbar”, at the very bottom. Redbar is situated where I’d expect the type of food, like corn or peas, to be labeled. But it is written in smallish letters. And what is “redbar” at all, much less in context of canned food? WAKE.

After waking I wondered about the cryptic thing in the dream. I did an Internet search for ‘Redbar’. Turns out there’s a bar called Redbar in Wisconsin. It’s a biker bar in Milwaukee, so I figure there’s 0.0% Creole influence there. Maybe Redbar is an allusion to Baton Rouge, where’s there’s surely a Creole presence. Was it a God dream? No telling. There was only the one actual Redbar result in the ‘net search. I fell asleep again.

DREAM 2: I am reading something about someone (The Big Three? Me and my kids?) watching an Indiana Pacers game. After that there is something about a headdress ban. END.

I don’t know if these two dreams meant anything important in real life. Fact is, I don’t know that any of the dreams I’ve mentioned in the January and February blog posts mean anything important in real life. I’m throwing a bunch of stuff against the wall to see what sticks. If there’s anything to the “starting over” revelation, I figure there will eventually be some patterns to emerge. The patterns will make for reasonably interesting blog content. But dreams are pretty unreliable, in my experience. I know now, for one tiny example, that the woman about whom I’d dreamed on January 21 of having sinus problems has never had sinus problems in her life.

I was more truly guided and informed by visions, “spoken” instructions, hot spots, and coincidences over the past couple of years than I had been by dreams. And I don’t know that I’ll ever have visions again. That dream voice in January had said, “You will never (something) again,” while I could see some vague image while hearing the words. Given that I haven’t had anything like a text vision since the King Kong thing back in December, there’s a decent chance I’ve seen my last vision. Point is, Wichita Falls-Portland-Long Island all happened due to one whispered instruction. No dreams needed. The Donald Trump stuff was all visions and coincidences. No dreams. God seems never to do the same thing twice, so we’ll see if dreams become a bigger player in Phase II.

This is all pretty iffy stuff, and don’t recommend anyone try it without a safety net.

Posted in Dreams | 2 Comments

February 2017, Pt. 3: Things that actually happened in February 2017 (mostly)

Sometime in the last quarter year, I noticed an interesting looking guy living in the gigantic spread of apartments I call home. This guy seemed always to be hanging out by his car, smoking and chatting with passersby. It didn’t matter what time of day or whatever day of the week – if I was out and in a position to see his parking place, there was as good a chance as not that I would see him there. That constancy was notable in and of itself. His whole physical presentation was striking and added another layer of interest to it all. He was exclusively partial to blue jeans and white, short-sleeved, button-down shirts. The white shirts matched his white car. All of this added up to the obvious conclusion: “There’s an interesting story there.” Then I would drive or walk on my way, depending.

*

A couple of days after re-acquainting myself with the 2013 journal, I was driving over to Upper Room for the early-morning prayer set. In the predawn blackness I groaned inwardly and maybe outwardly at the consequences that defined my existence that morning.

You: Here. Now. Me: No plans; no expectations.

I turned right, onto the road that dead ends into the office park where our church is located. It’s a nondescript road in a warehouse district by the Trinity River. There’s one cross-street before the end of that road that allows for an optional and winding backdoor approach to the church property. Every time I’ve driven to church in the past thirteen months, I’ve passed the cross street both coming and going. On some trips I’ve even taken the cross street and its alternate route to the church. Which means I’ve seen the street sign with the name of that street well over a hundred times. Until that morning in early February and with a gun to my head, I couldn’t have told you the name of that street. Which is pretty weird; I’m usually aware of street names, especially with regard to streets I see regularly. But it wasn’t until 0550 that morning that I actually noticed the street name:

Farrington

Double take and No way. Farrington. I was only familiar with one other instance of Farrington in my life: Richard Farrington and his crew were killed when the B-24 Black Cat was shot down over Regensberg in April 1945. It was the Farrington crew featured in the book Wings of Morning, which book I’d read in December and had so many parallels to my own life. “Farrington? Right here, all this time?” And by all this time, of course I meant, “Since this street was developed and named long before I was born and possibly even before Richard Farrington died in a German field seventy-two years ago; and since I’ve been driving past it for over a year now, without noticing the street name; and since six weeks ago, when my life story developed a strange parallel to those of a man named Farrington and his crew who had died so close to the end of a struggle?”

All of this before the sun even thought of coming up.

I continued on down the road and wound my way into the parking lot. It wasn’t until the following week that I realized I’d never be able to go to that building again without passing a reminder of Richard Farrington and how he died so close to the end of his war.

**

Three days later at the end of our morning church service, the pastor called the ministry team to the front and invited the congregation to come forward for prayers. I went down front and got in line. I was actually in the queue of people who were waiting for our pastor to pray for them. After I’d waited for about ten minutes, Michael finished praying for the final couple ahead of me. I stepped forward and we greeted each other. Michael began praying for me. He told me that he believed that, due to some things that had happened to me, God was going to turn me into a spiritual handyman. “You can fix anything…you can fix anything,” he asserted with his eyes closed.  He went on to thank God that I was such a good father. Then he got really emphatic. “Thank you for making him a defender, God. You made him a defender! You made him a defender!” That was the meat of the ministry time. It’s always nice to be called out as a good father. But the handyman and defender references were most significant for purposes of this timeline.

In the umpteen-hundred thousand words that I’ve put into this blog over the past three years, I haven’t mentioned my desire to be a capable handyman in the physical world. I want to know how to skillfully and effortlessly use any tool you can show me, to build or fix anything I can imagine. But I was raised in a fairly and unfortunately typical environment where all emphasis was “go to high school, go to college, get a job”, with little attention paid to any day-to-day practical skills. I graduated both high school and college without having any such skills to my name.

I didn’t care anything about that stuff when I was younger. If anything I was intimidated behind an invisible wall of confusion about numbers and abstractions that still frustrates me in my highly number-centric and abstract work today. Beyond that personal limitation, no one who could have mentored me into such skills did so. Both of my grandfathers were respective wizards in their own right, when it came to manual craftsmanship. My dad was a hotrodder when he was young, and before a certain eventual evolution in technology, he could tear down and rebuild car engines. Somehow, almost none of that expertise made down into Generation Me.

As I aged I slowly grew into the realization that I actually had the aptitude to be no less adept and creative as my father and grandfathers with a set of tools. And along with that understanding, I discovered that I had an innate and profound desire to create, build, and repair. I wanted little so much as to be able to use all the sturdy tools that were in my grandfather’s garage. But I couldn’t have told you what fifty percent of them were for. With any passing year I was that much angrier in the realization that I had been perfectly made to be an auto mechanic or carpenter or plumber or the like; but that I had been raised in a demographic that would have slit its collective wrist before encouraging one of its own to pursue something like a blue-collar trade.

I got the preordained college degree and embarked on the years-long grind of having a job; mostly as a data technology jack-of-all-trades, with an emphasis on networking. The work is all boundlessly complex and largely done inside one’s head. Your hands are involved in the work, in as much as tapping keys on a keyboard and moving a computer mouse is “work”. It’s a strange existence where, at the end of any given day, one can be completely drained from the difficulty of designing a process or figuring out a solution – all while your body has done effectively nothing but peck away at a keyboard (if you’re reading this blog, you might have a similar job). And the work is never really done.

With construction trades and the like (and especially being a chef – my latest “I coulda” discovery) the work might have a certain level of complexity; but there are physical limitations to that complexity. And the environment doesn’t change dramatically, year over year. Plumbing is and always will be about gravity and water. Wood is wood, and wood-working tools do not fail in planned obsolescence like so much of the high tech world. A job well done is sitting right in front of you at the end of the day or project. It is possible for a plumber or chef or auto mechanic or heavy equipment operator or welder to build on experience year after year, with little fear that some huge portion of his collected knowledge and skill will become obsolete at any time. “AS OF THREE WEEKS FROM TODAY, GARLIC WILL NO LONGER TASTE LIKE GARLIC. IT WILL TASTE LIKE ASPARAGUS, SORT OF.” By comparison the wrangling of invisible bits and bytes, in an environment that evolves daily, is wildly frustrating and unsatisfying.

I got married and became a home-mortgage payer, which presented me with endless opportunities to either learn how to “do” or to pay someone else to “do” for me. I learned a lot, and I got into a nice rhythm of doing a lot. Youtube was fantastic mentor. I even became a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, where I learned a ton of great stuff over a year or so. I looked at Habitat as 1) an opportunity to bless some people in life as I had been blessed in life – beyond any base physical needs into relative comfort and security; and 2) to learn as much as I could about carpentry and home construction/repair that I didn’t already know. By the end of a few months of volunteering, I was already able to apply my newfound skills around the house. The result was that I saved myself the expense of hiring someone to do certain jobs for me; and I got the immense satisfaction of being able to look at a job well done and know that I had done it. Things were looking up, in regards to the hands-on side of me.

Then my employer required that I get a tech certification in order to justify my existence. I spent one entire year either in class or studying at home, except for the summer months when I was on the road for my job. I had to give up Habitat for that year. Within two months of my classes ending, my wife and I separated. I eventually ended up in an apartment where they pay the handyman to “do” for me. Habitat and home repair are memories in my life that now has no room for giving up entire Saturdays to build houses or work in the shop. My life circumstance dictate there’s little room for any wild and radical career moves. And I just chalk it all up as one more reason to be relieved with every passing day that this life is not the end of the road.

When Michael prophesied, then, that I would become a spiritual handyman, able to fix anything, it resonated in a foundational way. Imagine being able to fix anything, with spiritual gifts from the real Creator. Healing the sick; raising the dead; routing demons; all in the name of the Savior and by the power of the Holy Spirit. Even the most skilled and successful blue-collar tradesman eventually retires and dies. His work might live on for some years after him in this life; but what’s that to him, considering he’s dead? Being a spiritual handyman would mean one’s work would live on in eternity, through lives that were transformed and faith that was made stronger. Passive verb tenses abound.

Becoming a spiritual handyman sounded, frankly, too good to be true, that Sunday in early February. Michael and I aren’t personally close; and I don’t know who knows what or thinks they know what about me at Upper Room. I wondered if Michael was working off of old (if prophetic) impressions of me, formed before the December 2016 meltdown. I immediately discounted the handyman thing as lost potential, yet another in-my-face presentation of what could have been. Anyway, even as I was discounting something that was otherwise perfectly appealing, Michael had already moved on to the emphatic declaration that God had made me a defender. Now THAT seemed realistic in early February. I was mere days – not really even too many hours – removed from both discovering Farrington by the church and rediscovering my 2013 dream journal. If the handyman prophecy felt like wishful thinking that morning, the defender label felt just as much like an actual confirmation.

The prospect of being a defender of sorts is really right in my wheel house. Had I been physically qualified, I’d have been an excellent linebacker. “See ball carrier. Engage ball carrier. Destroy ball carrier.” Had I been born at the right time, I’d have made an excellent tailgunner in a plane such as the B-24’s that Richard Farrington piloted. “See enemy plane. Engage the enemy plane. Destroy the enemy plane.” Or perhaps die trying. These are simple tasks involving laser focus, sanctioned violence, and immediate results. Elegant simplicity. Love it. When I was a kid, I enjoyed designing castles, and then imagining how they might withstand certain attacks. In junior high back when schools taught American history, our teacher gave us the assignment of building sufficient fortifications to defend Breed’s Hill, I think it was. It was a little one-off assignment that wasn’t any big deal in the grand scheme of that six-week period. But I was enthralled with the task and much vexed for weeks that I couldn’t put my design to the test in real life.

When I got older, I grew partial to one particular video game that involves the construction of civilizations which include castles and other fortifications. The game allows you do exactly what I wanted to do with my drawn castles – design and defend a position and see how well the implementation holds up to attack. I don’t get around to playing it much anymore; but if I could live forever, I’d still play that game a lot. Fortunately for me, one of my kids is actually crazy about the same game. So I get to watch, offer pointers, and occasionally take the controls for some live demonstration of how to get things done. Even if I’m the only one who thinks said demonstration is necessary.

There is a lifetime’s worth of behavior traits that support the notion that God made me a defender. Dave Grossman defines three types of people in the world – wolves, sheep, and sheepdogs. I’m a sheepdog by nature, if not by career choice. Outside of law enforcement and military ranks, our society doesn’t value sheepdogs, preferring to lump them in with the wolves as aggressive and dangerous creatures. Our society is pretty stupid in a lot of ways. I assume Michael was hearing that “defender” bit from God, because Michael doesn’t know me well enough to have picked that up on his own. And if God was telling Michael I’m a defender, in the exact time frame that He told him, then I think there’s good chance that Phase II of whatever This is will involve me potentially wielding power via the name of Jesus and by the power of the Holy Spirit, in defense of one thing or another. Emphasis on “potentially”.

Posted in Gifts of the Spirit, Otherwise Interesting | 1 Comment

February 2017, Pt. 2: “2013 revisited” revisited

Here there be reflection on three journal entries from 2013.

*

April 18, 2013

Important dreams, and my name is spoken.

Backstory to Dream 1, from a dream earlier in 2012 or 2013: There were multiple B-24’s; they had been in the war and had been left somewhere. A wave or storm came or they otherwise just magically ‘were’ in the ocean. Pieces of planes and whole planes were washing across the ocean, under the surface. Sunlight on the clear ocean water illuminated the aircraft. Some whole, some in parts. Washed across a terrifying abyss, bottomless black. Toward light and a new war, or at least something better. The staging ground for the new task is indistinct other than being obviously in bright sunlight.

This one is similar in ‘prophetic’ feel to the underwater bird from March 9. Underwater imagery. Potential destiny approaching. Positive vibe. Old becoming possibly new.

Dream 1

There’s a B-24 somewhere. A smiling young man carries a machine gun aboard the plane. This view’s background is a white wall, more like a personal home snap shot than a scene outside where a bomber would have been loading. Young man smiles at me and possibly waves at me. He looks to be about the age of the young men who crewed those bombers. He is possibly me.

Dream 2

I can’t tell if this is a video game or live action.  There is a game board with pieces that are alive, flesh and blood, size undetermined. Human in appearance. They are like chess pieces come to life, only the game isn’t chess. First, ‘my’ team attempts to advance into the objective goal area. There is a route that suddenly appears undefended. One man races toward the goal. I am willing him forward. (I am watching, not actually controlling his actions.) He is shot or otherwise cut down at just the last second before reaching the goal. His weapon skids out into the goal area, even as he vanishes from the board. Then ‘my’ team is assigned to defend the goal. No more action.

This morning a storm woke me up at around 0500. I got up and journaled for a bit. Did a load of laundry. Back in bed by 0600. As I was dozing off, I was imagining myself explaining to JC how little my ex-wife means to me, how I’m not worried about her much now. And I heard my name in my head. I stopped my dozing thoughts, and the words reverberated amidst the sleepiness in my head. I’m pretty sure I didn’t think my name on my own.

 

Reflections: There’s a web of  possible “bookend” and cross-connect elements to the sleeping phenomena here. The voice spoke my name. That didn’t happen again until mid-December 2016, when, right before the final stupidity, I heard a black woman’s voice call me “Mr. Joseph.” The bomber imagery was the last of it’s kind in my dreams until the December 2016 dream, the morning after the final stupidity, that showed a bomber that was destroyed right before its bombing run commenced. The game vignette was all about my team’s player/piece being “shot down” right before he reached his objective. Like the bomber in my December 2016 dream; like the bomber piloted by Richard Farrington and shot down near Regensberg, Germany. That shoot down was on April 25, 1945, and was memorialized in the Thomas Childers book Wings of Morning. I was reading that book during December 2016. In the game vignette my team was tasked with defending the goal, after we failed on offense. A bomber is an offensive weapon. A machine gun on a bomber is a defensive weapon, in context.

All things considered, I think it’s not out of the question that God was showing in me in April 2013 that I would fail to reach my ultimate objective. Or He was at least warning me away from consequences. Something. There’s too much overlap for this all to be strictly coincidental. The mention of my wife ties into something else that will take too long to describe here. This night and morning of April 18, 2013, was ridiculously significant.

 

October 13, 2013

Regarding a visit to man for whom several people were caring during his illness. The info at the end of this entry was the basis for the first post in this blog.

Today I took some drinks and dog food over to “C”. I walked his dog and visited with C for about fifteen minutes. His apartment is dark, messy, and depressing.

I asked C some questions about his cancer. He told me that he’d experienced symptoms for two years before getting any medical attention. The early symptoms were disparate, not apparently related in any way; and he didn’t see any need to go for an exam until he was already very ill. While he was describing this process, I thought of DS and a dream.

Two years ago or thereabouts, I dreamed of a middle-aged white guy who was laying down on something inside a small outside wooden enclosure. A black panther wandered comfortably into the enclosure where the man and I were. I lay across the man’s torso and ‘knew’ that he had stomach cancer. End of dream.

At the time I had that dream, I had no understanding of healing prayer and the potential for people to get supernatural knowledge of maladies before prayer. I have since then learned that some people have capability to discern a malady in another person and then successfully pray for healing of that malady. John G. Lake specifically mentioned being able to touch someone and then know where in their body a problem existed and what the specific problem was. That capability is exactly what I dreamed of, when I had no idea such a thing was possible.

DS is a local doctor who has had cancer for some time. According to what I’ve heard, his current labs indicate his cancer is no longer in remission. Unfortunately, no one can find where the cancer is located. DS knows enough of the routine to know approximately how long he has to live. He’s planning accordingly.

So DS and the dream came to mind as I was talking to C. I don’t know for sure what DS looks like, but I think he looks something similar to the man in my dream back in 2011.  I texted DC, who knows DS well. We’ll see if anything comes of this.

 

Reflections: As of this writing, in May 2017, DS still has cancer. No one has been able to find the cancer. He says that, due to the way the cancer is hidden, by the time anyone discovers the physical location of the cancer, he will likely die soon thereafter. The black panther in the dream is, I believe as of last year, representative of the radicalized hostility in some black Americans in the 2010’s. There’s a really long story there that I’ll have to eventually blog, in order to make some sense of it all. Bottom line is, I believe in the initial dream about the black cat and the man with cancer, God was showing me something that He wanted me to do, something He wanted to do through me. To that end it is not all insignificant to me in 2017 that Richard Farrington’s crew was shot down in the B-24 Black Cat; and that one of the dreams signifying the end of potential, in December 2016, featured me damaging my eyeglasses (ability to see/have vision), right before a car driven by a black guy wrecked into me. I was unable to heal anyone in his car, and an authority figure ignored my efforts to get his attention regarding the situation.

 

December 12, 2013

DREAM

Something about my coffin. It was open and lit from the inside as I looked at it from a few feet away. I don’t remember what happened before that scene. There was a vague impression that I’d been inside the coffin immediately prior.

The coffin was lit by resurrection power. I knew that I had been raised from some sort of death in that coffin. Room was dark, unlit but for the light in the coffin. Also a bit of light coming from an adjoining room. I decided I should go try out my new self. Looked again at the coffin and it was dark. The power that had pushed me out alive had worn off the box.

I went to the lit room. It was the kitchen in M/D’s house. TE was there, seated, facing the hutch, her back to me. R was there, too. I was preparing to pray for R. Either because she prompted me with a comment, or just because I wanted to explain, I told TE that after (something), we walk in new or increased power and authority. She told me, “We don’t want to get carried away with that.” Something limiting. I replied, “I’m going to keep trying.” I positioned myself behind the silent R, preparing to pray resurrection into her compromised organs. END.

 

Reflections: Sometime in November 2016, certainly by early December 2016, I was noticing 12:12 on the clock a lot. Out of the blue, and just like with 12:37, the time 12:12 was important, somehow. I think I mentioned that in an earlier blog post. Then the December 2016 bomber dream happened, and the voice told me that the bomber was destroyed at 12:12. My response in the dream was less than respectful. But I knew upon awakening that the 12:12 reference was just one more indicator that the dream was significant. When I was re-reading my 2013 journal in 2017, I was and was not surprised to see that the coffin/resurrection dream had occurred on 12/12. Extremely vivid and “important-feeling” dream, with imagery befitting the whole process, happened on 12/12/13. Right around three years later, the process came to an end.

**

Thus concludes our reflections on the reflections on 2013.

 

Posted in Dreams, Joseph, Otherwise Interesting | Leave a comment

February 2017, Pt. 1: 2013 revisited, for context.

I spent much of the years 2010-2017 reasonably expecting Something to happen. By November of 2016, it looked like the Something was imminent. Then all the mess happened, and I wrote seven thousand pages of blog content about January 2017. By February I had resolved to minimize the chance for any more similar heartache. My grand plan was to have no expectations of the future at all. I began regularly praying to God, “You: here, now. Me: no plans, no expectations.” I would focus only on God and live in the moment, with the understanding that He would provide any info relevant to the future. I would no longer deliberately spend any energy being expectant.

My ultimate hope is in Christ and an attendant eternity spent glorifying God the Father. That faith and expectation provides an abiding peace – the peace that passes understanding – in all temporal circumstances. What that faith and expectation does not do is change the fact that temporal circumstances are oftentimes challenging. Life is hard. That’s pretty much where I was hanging out in early February. The “living in the moment” resolution provided for much psycho-spiritual whiplash. If I’d been (most often) reasonably and (occasionally) unreasonably future-oriented for several years, it was a new and unpleasant thing indeed to suddenly be absolutely grounded in the present. I found it was a thin line between being solidly grounded in the unpleasant present, on the one hand, and in being buried under hopelessness, on the other. I hadn’t realized how much my day-to-day peace of mind had been dependent on the confident belief that I would eventually wake up in this lifetime in a much better set of circumstances, until that confident belief was gone.

But life goes on, and God is constant. I won’t beat this blog to death with laments about early February. It was bad. He is Good.

*

The idea of “starting over” had been heavy on my mind, since the January 23 dream. Assuming it had been God telling me that we were starting over, I was extremely interested in (if not absolutely panicked by) trying to figure out the starting point of the starting over. All things taken into consideration, it seemed like 2013 was as good a place as any from which to begin again – whatever beginning again might even mean. With that consideration in mind, in the first week of February, I re-read my “faith walk” journal from 2013.

It had been in 2013 that things came alive spiritually in me and around me in new ways.  I wrote 120 pages of journal that year, recording dreams and notable waking events. Reading through those pages some years after the fact, I was struck by the casual ease with which the journal’s author had documented a solid succession of dreams, prophecies, healings, and other markers that indicated big things were getting under way. I wouldn’t have been surprised to discover, upon reading the journal in February, that I’d been looking back on 2013 with too generous an eye, that my memory of that year was constructed more of embellishment and less of substance. But it really had been all that. For purposes of adding context to the present, I’m going to include some 2013 (starting in late 2012) content in this post. And since I (apparently) get paid by the word, recycling my own stuff works out well. Cha-ching.

The journal entries here are a collection of partial and entire entries, included in whatever format conveys the necessary context. Any italics print right after a date is my current explanation of the four-year old journal. Any bold italics after the journal entry is me adding present-day commentary.

 

December 14, 2012

I wrote this after I’d attended two months’ worth of the equipping classes at Upper Room. I had, in those two months, talked at length to God about what all we attendees had seen and done in class. He knew that I was interested in being able to do what I’d seen. He also let me know, through both human agency and Holy Spirit conviction, that He wants all of us to desire a relationship with Him more than we desire to be gifted. I spent some time thinking on that notion and wrote the following as a formal acknowledgement that I’d received the message.

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind.’ I have never followed the first and great commandment. I have read it and wondered. But I’ve never lived it. Christ said, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.” He doesn’t explicitly state, “If you do not do this, you will not live;” but it makes sense that, when the Word Become Flesh prescribes a recipe for life on His terms, we would all do well to put our best foot forward. This necessarily means truly surrendering my life to Christ completely, as I have never before.

If I am initially motivated by a desire for powerful gifting of prophetic, healing, and deliverance, I must first value the relationship over the ministry. Solomon said, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” For the first time I seek to trust the Lord with all my heart, at the expense of trusting my own understanding. I can expect Him, in proportion to my love for Him, to increasingly direct my paths.

So I pray and say, Lord, I don’t know how much I believe these words, or how truthful it is to say; you know my heart and the extent to which I truly desire to love You with all my heart, soul, strength, and mind. I must practice saying these words and familiarize myself with their eternal possibilities. As I say the words out loud, I feel foolish. I have said, “I love you,” to my parents, my children, and many friends and lovers, without feeling foolish. It is difficult to make that same declaration to my Creator. So I suspect I’ve not loved family, friends, and lovers properly, since I’ve clearly not loved my Creator first.

Lord, help me love you the way Moses and Jesus admonished. I have regarded the first and great commandment as a Biblical afterthought. Today I recognize that I must follow it, and to do so will require a re-wiring of my mental, physical, and spiritual processes. I cannot will it, and I ask for the Holy Spirit’s help in taking these baby steps. Thank you for loving me, that I might love you in spite of myself.”

 

March 9, 2013

A dream.

I see a bird underwater, covered in moss. The moss is stacked like conical towers. It looks as if the bird has lived under water his entire life.  I wonder if he hasn’t just hatched and why moss would be getting inside his egg. The bird swims adeptly, even having never actually moved through the environment for which he was designed. The lighting is bright, overhead, two o’clock orientation. The water is clear blue. The bird moves comfortably. After further thought: the tall and tapered stacks of moss indicate the bird has possibly been stationary for a long time under water. END.

Context: is the bird me? I’ve possibly lived my entire life in an environment unlike the one for which I was designed. I’ve been functioning adeptly in that wrong environment.

 

March 14, 2013

Activity at Upper Room equipping classes

After the guest speaker finished his presentation, Michael Hats said it was time for healing. He gathered the Equipping Team up front. They had been praying for leading during the preceding hour and a half. I wondered specifically about healing for my right wrist-arm-shoulder complex. The team members each got up and asked if anyone experienced the particular physical malady that had impressed the team member. Four or five team members asked either generally to the room or to individuals specifically if they suffered from the perceived affliction. Then K said, (paraphrasing) “Does anyone have a right wrist that bothers you? ‘Gristly’ is the best way I can describe it. It doesn’t cause pain, but it worries you.” Me. I got up and walked into the line of folks who were gathering up front after they identified with an affliction.

The team members were asked to sit down and observe the respondents during a brief prayer time. After the prayer each team member was asked if he ‘saw’ anything noteworthy involving a respondent during the prayer. The first team member to respond was T. He called me out and described this that he had seen: “I saw swirling energy over you, without color; then it turned green, like life. The green energy went down in to you.” After all team members had given their impressions from the prayer time, they came to the front to pray for the individuals to whom they had just spoken. T came up to me. I gave a brief description of my issue (‘right hand, arm, and shoulder; many injuries, much spasm and tension’).

T prayed over my arm specifically. They he moved around behind me and prayed at my back, placing his hands lightly on my shoulder, eventually moving his hand to rest directly on the spot in my right shoulder where the most tension lies, the spot that P (body work specialist) ID’d as the source for much of the problem in my shoulder, arm, and hand. While T prayed, I did so as well, asking God to please let me have my hand back. I told Him that I knew I’d ‘owned’ my drumming abilities in the past and that I wouldn’t take credit for it or use it as an identity any longer. I waited and wondered what, if anything, would happen. I prayed with my eyes closed, mostly, with my head bowed.

Something definitely happened. It happened so quickly that I can’t say for sure what ‘it’ was or what order any specific steps occurred. In a confused bit of time, probably three minutes after the prayer began, I became aware of: T deliberately exhaling/blowing on my back; a ‘thick’ sensation in my body; and the distinct sensation of some energy moving down the length of my right forearm, to my fingertips. I was startled by the arm thing, so much so that I jerked my head up from my prayer and stared as if my arm had just spoken to me. T continued exhaling on my back. I noticed my knees seemed shaky. I wondered if I wasn’t experiencing a rush of adrenaline, in the guise of some Holy Spirit activity. After the prayer time I talked briefly with T and told him that I’d felt something. He told me he believed God would heal my arm.

That night in bed, I felt spontaneous activity in the arm. I specifically remember hearing and feeling bones move around, such that at one point things were popping around without me actually moving. There was also some twitching going on in my shoulder and upper arm. The next day and ever since, my right arm complex feels mostly unchanged, though maybe a bit less tight. I haven’t yet played drums since the evening of healing prayer. I did play around with some sticks on 3/23/13; I did notice a slightly better grip than I’ve been used to for years. Will play on Easter and see what it all feels like.

Update – 03/30/13: On Sunday PM, 3/24, I played bass guitar for the first time in a few months. I immediately noticed an improvement of the fine motor control in my right hand. It wasn’t flawless, for sure. BUT IT WAS IMPROVED. Then I played drums at the Tuesday AM prayer at Upper Room on 3/26. Used plastic hot rods, with zero discomfort in my right hand. I’m not used to playing with those sticks, and I don’t know if I can have that level of freedom with wood sticks. Will verify tomorrow during Easter service.

Update – 04/05/13: played Easter at Easter service. I had none of the grip issues that have plagued me since the latest injury back in 2002. Still dealing with the same old lack of responsiveness, but there has been undeniable improvement in my hand and arm since T prayed for me. THANK YOU, GOD.

 

March 30, 2013.

I am recounting a conversation I had with a young man after equipping class one evening. His prophetic encouragement for me serves as a good example of the kinds of things people were saying to me all during the first half of the year.

After the class was over, I was sitting and waiting to talk with M. While I was in line, D came up to me and started talking, and I thought he was just chit chatting. I had given a testimony about my hand healing, and I assumed he wanted to talk about that. He told me he had electricity moving around in his body and that people thought his hand felt hot to the touch. He put his hand on my shoulder, and it felt warm even through my heavy shirt. Since I don’t really know him, I don’t know how ‘unusual’ he appeared. Looking back on it, he was probably uncharacteristically amped up.

He starts telling me he sees people’s spirits, something like their aura, and he can read things about people that way. I have heard of people doing that and told him so. He starts talking about me in some disjointed way – he’s having a hard time putting it in to words. I finally get the idea he’s got a prophetic word for me, but he’s not sure how to say it. I’ll recreate the convo as much as possible:

Him: There’s a wall…no…(he’s looking at the ceiling for help)…you were raised in a tradition, a religious tradition, where gifts of the spirit weren’t (taught, appreciated, something like that).

Me: Yeah. Southern Baptist.

Him: Me too, Southern Baptist.

Me: Yeah, not a lot of spiritual gifts going on.

Him: Right, right. It wasn’t a part of anything.

Me: It wasn’t shunned or anything, it was just something that didn’t exist.

(we talked about this for a bit)

Him: There are parts of you that are…(looking back at ceiling again)…

Me: (trying to help) Dormant? Not active?

Him: It’s like a circuit board that was built for a certain purpose that requires particular software. You’re a circuit board that was built for a certain purpose. But because of the way you were brought up, you’re programming is all wrong. And I don’t mean this in a negative way. Because when that thing happened to your arm the other night God started reprogramming you. It was like (more searching for words)…it’s like when he healed your arm, he took a chisel and knocked a hole in the wall and let some light in. And he’s going to keep knocking the wall down over time. He’s started you on a great journey, an adventure. He’s going to lead you to a place where you do miracles, even raising people from the dead.

Me: that fits with what people have been telling me for a while now. Three years ago, a man I’d never seen before told me that people who had been treating me badly would come to me asking forgiveness, because God is going to give me a gift that could help them. Then one of the first nights I was here, J told me I reminded him of Todd White and that I’d be doing creative miracles.

Him: Right, right (sounded like he knew of that conversation).

Me: And then A told me that I reminded her of someone she knows named Mathias, and that God was going to choose me like he did the Biblical Mathias, because of what He sees inside me.

Him: He’s already chosen you! God wants you to enjoy this process. He’s going to give you more moments like the one where he healed your arm. Rather than just turn you into the finished product all at once, he’s going to do it gradually, so He can enjoy the process. He wants you to enjoy the process as much as He’s going to enjoy the process.

I have no idea even today of whether or not the person “D” is truly gifted in prophecy. It’s what he said that warrants inclusion here.

 

April 10, 2013.

This entry demonstrates the kind of hopefulness that was growing in me four years ago.

The flood of prophecies that started coming in Fall 2012 have derailed a nagging hopelessness that I’d been dragging around since Charles Slagle’s big one back in 2010. The first year after he ministered to me, I watched the clock with one eye on the second hand and the other on seven years down the road. Not a peaceful existence.

In the second year, I learned to embrace the miserable present and not focus my energy on wishing away years of my life. I got serious about becoming someone who could create songs from initial brain chatter to finished marketable product. I practiced guitar and bass. I composed passable song structures and added lyrics. I dialed back my obsessive devotion to journaling about my family. I continued journaling heavily until Fall 2012, but it eventually wasn’t with the same sense of desperation that motivated the hundreds of pages written before. Apparently I made peace with the notion that declining to catalog every syllable of every conversation with the kids wasn’t tantamount to abandoning them to their hellish lives. And it was obvious that all my journaling had done nothing to change their situation. Seeing no apparent return on the investment, and coming to terms with a) the fact that my family was permanently blown up, and b) the fact nobody’s life would be saved by my written word count, I adopted a less rigorous approach to recording it all.

Rambling.

It’s safe to say that it was during 2012 that I began emerging from the suffocating grief and blackness that had defined my life since February 2009. I found myself living longer periods of time between bouts of despair. I was letting go of the illusion that focusing on Charles’ prophecy could be trusted as any sort of minute-to-minute substitute for an authentic existence, however awful the authentic existence might be. There was no way to enter suspended animation for seven years, at the end of which time I might spring out nowhere and enter suddenly and dramatically into a life defined by some nebulous ‘gift’.

So where is the despair that mentioned earlier in this entry? There are varying and competing strains of despair, still. But one of the more dominant despair themes centered on the notion that somewhereoutthere was some new life, far superior to my current one, that was going to show up somehow, before or during April 2017. Even as I released a death grip on hopes that I could sleep through seven years until party time, the prospect of deliverance was a nagging…

Lemme summarize. To the extent that personal prophecy has shaped my perspective over the past few years, the series of words I’ve received since Fall of 2012 have helped motivate me into a peaceful present that cares less for the arrival of The Gift. I now rest peacefully, relatively speaking, in the comfort that It is coming and It is going to be huge. I’m three years into the seven-year wait. God had given me the perspective that the remaining four years aren’t to be endured and survived near so much as maximized and embraced. In the foreseeable future I will continue my current lifestyle that involves dream journaling; prayers for healing; and time spent with those who are mature in the gifts.

Since Fall 2012 I’ve been overcoming my ‘fear of man’ and have begun praying for the healing of those around me. That is, I’ve been laying on hands and praying that the subject would be healed of whatever malady warrants the prayer. Here’s my list so far:

  • A guy in class last fall, for healing of fused ankle. No known improvement.
  • MC, for injured shoulder. No known improvement.
  • MA, for relief of pancreatitis. Debilitating attack later on same day.
  • BH, for healing of ulcerative colitis. No known improvement.
  • BV, head-injured. Prayed for him one day when we saw each other out walking. No known improvement.
  • BH, which actually wasn’t a prayer; I asked her if I could pray for her apparently-hopeless foot. She cried and graciously declined the offer.
  • DC, for a back injury. No apparent improvement related to my prayer.
  • CS, for heart arrhythmia. No known improvement.
  • DA, for new knees. No known improvement.

      – If at first you don’t succeed, keep trying and not succeeding.

 

April 14, 2013.

Another perspective on hope.

It’s hitting home. God is walking back the damage in my arm. He is walking me into a destiny that will perfectly exploit the person he made me to be. <- Speculation. Jeremy Shuck started his ministry time with, “We hate the breaking, but we love the breakthrough.” We hate the crushing, but when He crushes us, he does it so the finished product is devoid of any wrong motivation. I recall talking to home church months ago, telling them maybe God had to destroy me first, before he could do whatever it is He’s going to do. And He has been, for sure. Breaking me, crushing me, destroying me. He’s now giving me glimpses of the finished product.

He’s using other people’s prayers to heal my arm. I am so blessed by that grace and mercy. It’s an invisible grace and mercy that brings visible joy and peace to the countenance of those who receive the touch. Light radiates from those faces in the colors and form of joy and peace. Countenances are forever reworked, reshaped, no longer animated by rage, shame, or jealousy; but relaxed with humble gratitude into the shape of that peace which passes understanding.

Healing of physical malady, born of faithful prayer, accompanied by tangible energy from heaven – it is a ‘shocking’ touch of heaven on earth. Heaven wins. Bones, tendons, ligaments, joints, cells – made new. Not in eternal glorified perfection yet; but new so the blessed one and those close by can know they’ve been party to a miracle, a gracious kiss from the great I AM.

It’s hitting home. God is going to use me to help people like that, use me as a vector for that energy and blessing. The crushing is coming to an end. The blessing is getting close.

All my life I’ve struggled with authority: rebelling against it until my mid-30s; floundering always when trying to find my own. My upbringing was perfectly designed to destroy my spirit and authority, my hope. God is remaking me into someone who has His authority. A person who has feared his own authority for decades is now inching carefully into the jet stream of the great I AM; in which perfect current there is the same authority that created the universe and resurrected the Christ. And healed my arm. The authority to do His will. The authority to be a change agent whose commission papers bear the same signature as the sun and moon.

As one who has  always been unable to muster any personal authority on my own, I’m perfectly poised for the Lord to use me. If a man has lost his legs to polio as a very young child, then he will live a life of one who has no concept of using his own legs. If that man is given a new pair of legs, courtesy of the great I AM at age 45, and those legs are designed to go in the direction and at a speed prescribed by their Creator, and the man chooses to honor that directive, it is safe to assume that the man will be motivating in a way much more in line with God’s will than he would have been if he’d lived his entire life with an original pair of legs taken for granted. I think so, anyway. So I, who have wielded zero personal authority in my life, am suddenly receiving God’s authority for whatever He wants me to do. I can never mistake the authority as my own.

In the past day alone, I’ve begun coming to terms with the idea that this crushing I’ve endured for most (all?) of my life – certainly for the past four years and some months – has been a preparation for the Lord’s unleashing a flood of blessing to me and through me. Most of my life has been lived in a slow-grinding miserable void, where there is no sense of purpose; convinced I’d been born in the wrong era, convinced that every major decision I’ve made has been the opposite of the best option. The past four years alone have been a horrible moment frozen in amber. Maybe it was all a necessary price to be paid, the requisite humbling necessary to allow for the eternal benefit of many folks, via the blessings God is going to push out through me. I can no longer believe this is a vainglorious notion – rather, I accept it eagerly and calmly, as my crystallizing perspective dictates. The millions of seconds that have ticked by, while I watched the hand crawl around and around for years, weren’t endured without purpose. And what a blast it will be, for the dream bird to fly up out of the water into the environment for which he was designed.

            – Or maybe not.

 

April 18, 2013.

Important dreams, and my name is spoken.

Relevant backstory of the B-24 in today’s Dream 1, from a dream earlier in 2012 or 2013. “There were multiple B-24’s; they had been in the war and had been left somewhere. A wave or storm came or they otherwise just magically ‘were’ in the ocean. Pieces of planes and whole planes were washing across the ocean, under the surface. Sunlight on the clear ocean water illuminated the aircraft. Some whole, some in parts. Washed across a terrifying abyss, bottomless black. Toward light and a new war, or at least something better. The staging ground for the new task is indistinct other than being obviously in bright sunlight.

This one is similar in ‘prophetic’ feel to the underwater bird from March 9. Underwater imagery. Potential destiny approaching. Positive vibe. Old becoming possibly new.”

Dream 1

There’s a B-24 somewhere. A smiling young man carries a machine gun aboard the plane. This view’s background is a white wall, more like a personal home snap shot than a scene outside where a bomber would have been loading. Young man smiles at me, possibly waves. He looked about the age of the young men and boys who crewed those bombers. He is possibly me.

 

Dream 2

I can’t tell if this is a video game or live action.  There is a game board with pieces that are alive, flesh and blood, size undetermined. Human in appearance. They are like chess pieces come to life, only the game isn’t chess. First, ‘my’ team attempts to advance into the objective goal area. There is a route that suddenly appears undefended. One man races toward the goal. I am willing him forward. (I am watching, not actually controlling his actions.) He is shot or otherwise cut down at just the last second before reaching the goal. His weapon skids out into the goal area, even as he vanishes from the board. Then ‘my’ team is assigned to defend the goal. No more action.

This morning a storm woke me up at around 0500. I got up and journaled for a bit. Did a load of laundry. Back in bed by 0600. As I was dozing off, I was imagining myself explaining to JC how little my ex-wife means to me, how I’m not worried about her much now. And I heard my name in my head. I stopped my dozing thoughts, and the words reverberated amidst the sleepiness in my head. I’m pretty sure I didn’t think my name on my own.

            – I will reference the dreams and the spoken name again later.

 

May 16, 2013

A reasonably interesting dream about New Life. And the beginning of Wichita Falls – Portland – Long Island.

Dream

A friend is saying something to me, finishes with the words“that’s new life.” Then I sing harmony along with Depeche Mode’s ‘New Life’. “Contemplating, celebrating new life.” In my dream I continued singing, even though I don’t actually know any more words.

Note: May 25, 2013. Evidently I didn’t know the words I thought I did. The real lyrics say ‘Complicating, circulating’, not ‘Contemplating, celebrating’. Interesting.

Added later in the year – Sometime this week, I think on May 16, I was falling asleep again after waking early in the morning. As I dozed off, I heard something like: “You: Wichita Falls, Portland (Oregon, I think), Long Island.”

 

May 25, 2013

Another brush with total surrender.

I lay on the floor of my apartment, by the front door. Deliberately, and after much hesitation, I said to God, “Have all of me. My money; my time; my thoughts; my mouth.” I’ve never been as completely surrendered as I was in that moment.

It’s been a constant nag throughout my faith walk, the elephant in the living room: I’ve never completely trusted God with everything. Never trusted that He wouldn’t kill my car or lose my job or make me a quadriplegic as a method of testing my faith. Something that involves the illusion of my control. I cannot necessarily keep any of those things from happening on my own; my lack of trust in Him doesn’t prevent a thing.

For a couple of days prior to this surrender, I seriously mulled over this lack of trust and the false sense of control I was manifesting. “Why am I holding on?” I decided that anything He might have for me would be better than anything I might pretend to control. So I did it.

Nothing earth shattering followed my surrender prayer. If anything, I’ve felt more ‘released’ to do relatively high-risk internet surfing or fantasy beating off. But I am truly unburdened by the lifelong nagging grip on…nothing. So I am more surrendered now. Starting a two-day fast in the morning.

 

July 30, 2013

Flowers in the morning. Previously referenced here.

I am dragged from a deep sleep by an overpowering smell of flowers. I have no flowers in my apartment. The smell is massive, and I struggle to make sense of what is happening, as I lurch clumsily into wakefulness. Are the neighbors boiling flowers? Why are the neighbors doing such a strange thing as boiling flowers? WHY ARE THE NEIGHBORS BOILING FLOWERS? I am dully sick of living in the same building as other human beings who are not my family.

The smell is gone. As soon as I am awake, slightly alert, and aggravated at my neighbors, who are generally considerate people and have no history of conspicuously boiling flowers, the smell is gone. I am sitting up on the side of my bed, sniffing the air. Where did the smell go? It was just here, waking me up like a mallet to my nose. There’s no trace of the smell. It’s not still overpowering; it’s not somewhat powering; it’s not even fading away. It’s quietly and simply gone. I look at the clock. The time is one minute past 0300. Even at that ridiculous hour of the morning, I know well enough that smells aren’t binary. You can’t turn them on and off like kitchen lights with a wall switch. God just woke me up at exactly 0300 with a blast of flower smell. Sort of a smelling salts thing, waved under my nose, only with a floral twist. It was reminiscent of the smell that fell on KT’s water at class.

I smile groggily and roll to my back. How funny that the Creator of the Universe took the time to wake me out of a deep sleep with the smell of flowers. How much funnier that I don’t bother to consider myself an absolute lunatic for considering such a thing is possible. I am humbled and intrigued.

I begin talking to the Lord in my mind. “Good morning, Lord. I am awake. What do you have in mind for me at 3am, other than the sleep that was happening?” I don’t hear an actual answer. I consider going to the 0600 prayer service at church. And I wonder if I should pray, since God wanted me to be awake. What should I pray about? I begin singing a song in my head using only the word “Hallelujah”, and I say that word over and over in my mind, enjoying the unabashed communion with God. I am prompted to wonder what the word actually means. I turn on my lamp and squint over the stack of books on my nightstand. I dig the Bible dictionary out of the stack and open it. The first key word I see is ‘incense.’ Haha. God is funny. I find what I’m looking for: ‘Alleluja’ is used several times in the Psalms to call a group to worship. Something like that. Notably, its sister word, ‘Hallelujah’, is only used in one chapter of the New Testament – Revelation 19.

The word I’m singing turns into a song. I am singing the word Hallelujah in my mind. I think it’s a good song. I get out of bed and use my phone to record myself singing the Hallelujah song. Maybe this is why God got me up, to write a song.

 

August 15, 2013

Hesitation about total surrender. Highly pertinent today.

Lord…I always feel like trusting your guidance will be an endless exercise in doing whatever is the exact opposite of what I want or like. Is that a bad or inaccurate assessment? I can also say that anything you want for me will surely be the best possible thing, better than anything I might desire in its stead…

 

August 25, 2013

John G. Lake’s example; WFPLI again

Reading John G Lake’s sermons and testimonies. Wow. He’s raw and powerful. He learned something that most of us do not. I don’t know what it is that he learned, or I’d be doing what he did. It’s got something to do with truly assimilating the reality of Christ into our own selves. Something about an outpouring of Christ from us, in love. Charles Slagle has told me twice that the miraculous or prophetic will likely come about as a manifestation of overflowing love. John Lake described a similar mechanism by which something in his spirit ‘broke’ or let go, and a healing took place in someone he prayed for. From Lake’s stories it seems the healing has less to do with faith in the pray-ee than in the pray-er.

Months ago, as I dozed one morning, I heard a voice say to me, “You: Wichita Falls, Portland, and Long Island.” I’m pretty sure that’s what I heard, and I’m pretty sure that’s ALL I heard. I haven’t forgotten it. But I haven’t really done anything with it. What to do with that experience? I initially filed it away with a “wait and see” approach. Now I’m wondering if I should do more. At least pray about it, about the places. Tonight I realized that a triangle drawn from those places would cover a large chunk of the USA. Hmm. And I just read that JGL prayed that Spirit would be elevated above intellect. I prayed for help with that; immediately (I think) I became aware of those three locations again in a more insistent way. Coinkydink?

 

August 26, 2013

A geometric surprise.

Today at work, I printed out a map of the USA. I drew in points to represent Wichita Falls, TX; Portland, OR; and Long Island, NY. I drew lines to form a triangle based on those points. It is a perfect isosceles triangle.

HMM.

 

September 19, 2013

Highly relevant reference to masturbation.

A couple of weeks ago, maybe, I prayed to God and asked him to help me desire only the way he wants me to desire, sexually. I think I’ve only masturbated one day since then. Not much of that going on at all. I wonder to what extent the lack of that compulsion and release has exposed mossy old crazy parts in me. Something weird is happening emotionally right now. Every time I go masto-free, there’s a blessing of some kind. Why have I clung to it? Mostly wanting to keep alive various edgy fantasies about (ex-wife), a woman whom I honestly detest.

 

September 27, 2013

A little something about surrender and obedience and how much I don’t trust God with surrender and obedience. Shows exactly what mindset I’ve been fighting against for years.

Sometime today I began embracing a vision for obedience about which I first read in the past year. The idea is that, as Jesus reported only doing what He sees the Father doing, so ought I to do what the Father is doing. So I prayed to God to show me what He is doing, that I might mimic Him, just as His perfect Son had done. That prayer stung, as there were parts of me immediately in rebellion against the promise of total surrender and obedience. Somehow, any serious thought of being completely obedient to God always turns to dread of unknown miseries He might inflict on me.

But I asked the Lord to show me what he’s doing, whatever that even means.

 

October 13, 2013

Regarding a visit to man for whom several people were caring during his illness. The info at the end of this entry was the basis for the first post in this blog.

Today I took some drinks and dog food over to “C”. I walked his dog and visited with C for about fifteen minutes. His apartment is dark, messy, and depressing.

I asked C some questions about his cancer. He told me that he’d experienced symptoms for two years before getting any medical attention. The early symptoms were disparate, not apparently related in any way; and he didn’t see any need to go for an exam until he was already very ill. While he was describing this process, I thought of DS and a dream.

Two years ago or thereabouts, I dreamed of a middle-aged white guy who was laying down on something inside a small outside wooden enclosure. A black panther wandered comfortably into the enclosure where the man and I were. I lay across the man’s torso and ‘knew’ that he had stomach cancer. End of dream.

At the time I had that dream, I had no understanding of healing prayer and the potential for people to get supernatural knowledge of maladies before prayer. I have since then learned that some people have capability to discern a malady in another person and then successfully pray for healing of that malady. John G. Lake specifically mentioned being able to touch someone and then know where in their body a problem existed and what the specific problem was. That capability is exactly what I dreamed of, when I had no idea such a thing was possible.

DS is a local doctor who has had cancer for some time. According to what I’ve heard, his current labs indicate his cancer is no longer in remission. Unfortunately, no one can find where the cancer is located. DS knows enough of the routine to know approximately how long he has to live. He’s planning accordingly.

So DS and the dream came to mind as I was talking to C. I don’t know for sure what DS looks like, but I think he looks something similar to the man in my dream back in 2011.  I texted DC, who knows DS well. We’ll see if anything comes of this.

 

November 1, 2013

(I had a couple of dreams that accurately represented the life circumstance of a friend of mine. My friend was encouraged when I called to tell him of the dreams. I had no prior knowledge of the circumstances referenced in the dreams.)

 

December 12, 2013

DREAM

Something about my coffin. It was open and lit from the inside as I looked at it from a few feet away. I don’t remember what happened before that scene. There was a vague impression that I’d been inside the coffin immediately prior.

The coffin was lit by resurrection power. I knew that I had been raised from some sort of death in that coffin. Room was dark, unlit but for the light in the coffin. Also a bit of light coming from an adjoining room. I decided I should go try out my new self. Looked again at the coffin and it was dark. The power that had pushed me out alive had worn off the box.

I went to the lit room. It was the kitchen in M/D’s house. TE was there, seated, facing the hutch, her back to me. R was there, too. I was preparing to pray for R. Either because she prompted me with a comment, or just because I wanted to explain, I told TE that after (something), we walk in new or increased power and authority. She told me, “We don’t want to get carried away with that.” Something limiting. I replied, “I’m going to keep trying.” I positioned myself behind the silent R, preparing to pray resurrection into her compromised organs.

              – I will reference this date and dream again.

 

December 30, 2013

(Same phenomenon as referenced on November 1. Dream representing life circumstances in someone’s life, without me knowing anything about those circumstances in waking life.)

**

Reading the 2013 journal in the first week of February 2017 was predictably difficult. The expectation and excitement of four years ago stood in abrasive contrast to the relative gloom of 2017. More exciting content about relative gloom is soon to follow.

 

 

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January 2017, Pt. 6: A change of pace, and another hotspot

January 23

Dream 1: I’m on a trip somewhere, driving in a car. I’m listening to the radio. A preacher comes on the radio and says, “God gives some people one little thing to trip them up, with which to prove themselves. If they are tripped up by that thing, they will have a less glorious life (now or in the hereafter or both – I can’t recall which or if there was even a distinction) than it would have been otherwise. They can still be saved Believers, whose salvation is not in question.”

Dream 2: With crystal clarity, I am reading and hearing, “You can be on a certain path and then get knocked off the path because of disobedience. If this happens, you have to start back over. And that’s what we’re doing now.”

 

January 27

I hear my spiritual twin Mary gasp and say, “That’s what I thought about the Israel trip!” Then I hear another voice speaking, and I read some available text that matches the voice as it speaks (about what I think are Biblical characters who were tested): “They each had ONE chance.” The word ONE is in all caps. The emphatic word, both printed and spoken, perhaps implies that I am getting more than one chance, unlike the original cast of characters.

I don’t know what Mary and “the Israel trip” have to do with it. Maybe she’ll have some ideas about that.

 

January 29

Dream 1: A female coworker comes to me and hands me a picture. The picture is of words. The words read: “You will be the most healed!” Then the words vanish. I leave that place and go to a party held in my honor. I don’t remember anything about the party. Then I’m in another scene, in a dentist’s chair. There’s a hygienist there. She’s not someone I know in real life. She’s has a dark complexion, and she’s wearing blue scrubs. I look across the room at the far wall. The wall is far away, unlike what you expect in a dentist’s office. With no problem at all, I can read small words on the wall. It’s like an eye exam chart, except the lettering is written on the distant wall. And I can read the words perfectly from that distance, without the use of my glasses. That means my eyes are healed, because I can’t normally see details past six inches from my face, without corrective eyewear.

I ask the hygienist to verify, for her benefit and mine, that I am not wearing contact lenses. She checks my eyes and confirms. I am then standing in front of a mirror. I raise both of my arms easily above my head. I am thrilled that I can raise my right arm as comfortably as the left. My right shoulder has been a mess since March of 2016. I consider checking on the spermatocele, but I decide to wait until later.

Dream 2: A vague dream sequence. The most I can remember seeing is a lone figure walking. The perspective is of seeing the person from their front and left. The person is walking near what appears to be a forested area. There is no one else around. The dream imagery seems immediately important once the image is gone, and I am aggravated that I cannot recall it completely. Immediately after the image, I hear a voice say, “If this is you, it will be the last anyone hears of you. It’s too good of a thing to allow (something).” The immediate impression I have is that the person in the dream has treated some great thing with contempt or a lack of adequate respect. That voice is telling me that if I do such a thing, then that would be the last anyone hears of me. Would I die? Would I vanish into thin air? Would people stop “hearing” anything about me prophetically? I am immediately taken aback by the frankness of the message. I ask Jesus to confirm that the voice is Him or not. I don’t get any confirmation.

**

Sometime in the second week of January, I became aware of what might be a hotspot in my left foot. Then I noticed one in my thigh. Hotspots had come to mean, over the previous few years, probable Holy Spirit activity; Holy Spirit activity in general meant cause for hope; and hope in those January days meant that things possibly weren’t as dire as I’d been thinking since mid-December. I made every effort to ignore the heat sensation, in order to protect myself from possible false hope. False hope is never good. Given my immediate circumstances, false hope would have been just short of fatal.

But the sensation hung around for a couple of weeks, just barely discernible. It was never so pronounced that I could say with any conviction that it was a hotspot – until the evening of Sunday, January 29, on which day I awoke after the “last they’ll hear of you” dream. I had been in church that morning, where the head pastor’s wife delivered a message that was dialed into my situation. She discussed “the wilderness” being a place between your captivity and your promise. How the wilderness is marked by boredom, testing, and temptation. How Moses failed to reach the Promised Land due to disobedience. And how “today is the day” to resume obedience. Perfectly timed message, for sure.

Anyway, sometime during the church service, I felt an abrupt and brief burst of heat running from my foot up to my thigh. I was preoccupied at the time with crying and wanting to be dead (WEAK). I wasn’t interested in God trying to give me hope. But there was no denying that burst of heat. By the end of the afternoon and into the evening, I was carrying in my left leg the single largest hot spot I’d ever had. It ran from my foot up to my thigh and covered a large portion of my inner leg. I emailed Mary in Ecuador to let her know. She sent me an unrelated email at almost that exact instant. Her email contained a prayer request, the nature of which was pretty huge in scope. I spoke out loud some commands in the name of Jesus, addressing the problem that Mary had referenced. I went to bed with my leg blazing hot. I didn’t do anything that has characteristically shut the hotspots down, and I fell asleep quickly.

I awoke the next morning with a leg that wasn’t burning any longer. Mary and I exchanged emails over the next couple of hours. She let me know that her previous night’s circumstances were resolved in a way that was consistent with a positive response to my prayers. We didn’t know for sure that my prayers impacted her situation; and we didn’t know that they did not. I thought back to the many times hotspots had come and gone over the previous few years, how they almost always vanished after I did the self-gratification thing. I don’t know that I ever let a hotspot mature for weeks and then prayed into a situation with some power that the hotspots were possibly signaling. That previous night was the first time. Better late than never, I guess.

***

All things considered the events of late January were a definite change in direction. The appearance of the mystery man’s name reminded me of the very beginning of a definite process that had started in 2013. I’d wondered if I wasn’t at the beginning of the same process…again. The next night’s dreams (if they were from God; if ANY of this is from God) confirmed that, yes, I was starting over. I reflected on all the dreams with a faint sense of hope and some powerful dread. If completely blowing my destiny was the worst thing I could imagine, starting over with another attempt was only slightly less bad sounding. Starting over from what point? I had traversed the whole of the wilderness already (I think), never mind that I’d failed to faithfully travel the final few inches or however long was left. Would I have to go through the whole thing again? “GOD, I WAS SO CLOSE!” I couldn’t imagine going through it all a second time.

I’d already been thinking earlier in January about Moses and how he didn’t get to enter the Promised Land. No doubt, that was a bad thing. “But,” I reasoned, “Moses at least died and got a private burial ceremony from God. I haven’t died, and there’s no reason to think I’m going to die any time soon. So I have to live the rest of my life fully aware of my failure.” Moses got the better deal, I thought.

Don’t quote me on that.

Somewhere in the next week or so, in early February, I distinctly remember telling God, honestly, “I can’t. I cannot do it. There’s no way I can start over. It’s not in me. The first trip through the wilderness almost killed me. I can’t.” Never hurts to be honest with God. But I continued on, just as honestly, “Without Your help. I can’t do it without Your help. That might mean You have to drag me some of the way. Because I’ve got nothing at all.”

****

Assuming for the sake of argument that all those dreams were from God; and assuming that I have correctly discerned what He was telling me; then I think this is a decent summary: “You were on a path to a distinct destination. That path was a test not to determine My love for you, but to give you a great opportunity. You got knocked off the path, and now we’re starting over from some point in the journey. I’m giving you another chance, whereas some others have had only the one chance. Make of that what you will. Don’t take for granted this process or the destination when you get there. I so value you, this process, and the people around you that I will not let you make a mockery of it.”

Somewhere in this last week in January I believe I actually referred to God as “Sir” once when I was praying. It was an involuntary thing, unconscious, and it surprised me when I said it. I felt like I boy talking to his father. And somewhere in there is probably a major point to all of this.

The healing dream was interesting. For the record I’ve been asking God for years to heal my eyes so that I would no longer need to wear corrective lenses. I tell Him, “I know it’s impossible. I’ve been wearing glasses since I was eight years old. But you’re my father, so I’m asking for the impossible. My kids ask me for the impossible all the time. Why should I be any different with You? Worse thing you can do is say ‘No’.” I don’t know if the dream was from God or from my own soulish desires. But I plan on living long enough to find out.

And then there’s the hotspot. I didn’t see it coming. I didn’t want to believe it was a hotspot until it was casually hosing my leg with a flamethrower all during that Sunday. On the night of January 29, I was surprised and relieved that hotspots were still an option. I’d spent most of the previous six week convinced that God had politely told me in mid-December that we were through, and “Have a nice life.” Maybe that wasn’t the case, after all.

No later than noon on January 30, the shine had worn off that previous night’s apparent victory, because of what the hotspots represent. I think of the hotspots as training wheels. Our ridiculously patient Heavenly Father uses them to show me how to live my life as a living sacrifice for others. They are highly-personalized classroom instruction. Or are they training wheels? Am I mixing metaphors? Do I care? No. No, I do not care. How great is it that the Creator of the Universe thinks enough of me to give me this one-on-one instruction? But…I’ve already done the course work. I was FINISHED. I was DONE. I was stretching out my hand to receive the diploma. But then at the last second, I was distracted by a shiny object and fell off the stage in the orchestra pit.

WAH WAH WAAAAH.

And now I’m back to classroom instruction.

With training wheels.

I wondered silently and then asked God repeatedly out loud for days if – given what happened with a hotspot that was allowed to mature and prompt some apparent dramatic power in prayer – would the Overall Process be shorter if I was a Paragon of Righteousness and Obedience? “Will the path from point A to point B take less time if I don’t satisfy myself?” I believe after looking back over the past eight or so years that God has provided numerous opportunities for me to have gotten out of This and into That. Perhaps He would likewise give me numerous opportunities in Wilderness v2.0. Maybe I will only need one or two or MAYBE three chances instead of twenty; before choosing so wisely and getting the heck from point A into point B. “Would that be possible, Lord? Can I compress this process?” I think He’d already told me that I could, in many ways. One way was especially notable.

I had a dream sometime in 2013 or 2014 that was practically a neon sign telling me that I was in control of my own destiny, to a degree. In the dream in I was walking down a long, narrow, stone corridor that dead-ended into prison cell. There were burning torches in stanchions all down the corridor. The scene was extremely well-lit. I was walking toward the iron-gated cell, and there was a small white dog walking beside me. I didn’t know him like he was a pet or anything. He was a companion. We reached the cell and walked in. I or another force closed the gate behind the dog and me. I wasn’t the least bit worried about being locked in, because I knew that I had the key to the cell in my pocket. WAKE.

There’s a chance that the dream wasn’t God telling me that I was free to leave prison at any time. And that I knew how to do it. A small chance, I think. But in 2013 I didn’t want to contemplate that getting out of prison would be as easy as giving up the one thing I absolutely didn’t want to give up. This stubbornness was in the face of an eventual awareness that the ancient prison scene was reminiscent of what Joseph would have lived in, during his Egyptian captivity. I haven’t thought about that dream much until the past couple of months. I don’t want to think about it now. To contemplate the implications of this dream is to recognize I might have spent the last three or four years in a day-to-day existence with my children. Instead, I essentially declined that option and chose temporary self-gratification. I don’t want to let that sink in, so I’ll quickly add that this is the kind of thing that makes me so glad that this life is not the end of the road. There will eventually be a glorious eternity where I do not have to care about some of the decisions I’ve made on this side of the divide.

What might life have been like if I’d not short-circuited the hotspot about my friend’s blood clot in November of 2013? Or the guy in the wheelchair in Long Island? We could have moved on to much more entertaining blog posts years ago. Or perhaps I would have chucked the whole blog thing even, because I would have been so busy hugging my kids full time. Instead, I’m writing about January 2017 and maybe getting a chance to start over to reach a goal that we might see before my kids are grown and gone.

And by way of beating a dead horse straight into the ground: via the magic of emails, journal entries, and my memory, I’ve pieced together some illuminating information about the quenching of the critical hotspots. I need to put up one more post specifically about that whole thing. And then, hopefully, I’ll never have to mention that topic again. Will try to get that post up sometime this spring.

Posted in Do Not Satisfy Yourself, Dreams, Hot Spots, Who said it? | Leave a comment

January 2017, Pt. 5: More on Joseph, and the return of Shawn Bolz

By January 22, a full month after the bomber dream and King Kong vision, sleep was officially a refuge from the grief, shame, and pain of waking life. I hated rousing from a night’s slumber, because it meant that I had another full day to be conscious of my failure. And a wicked twist to the whole thing was I didn’t even know exactly how to define the failure that was so burdensome. I figured the simplest thing to do was boil it all down to Joseph. If I had previously been on track to become some modern equivalent to the patriarch Joseph, however improbable or absurd that might sound, then anything I had done to delay or prevent that manifestation was surely a failure. Especially since the thing I did to derail the process was something that God warned me off of no fewer than eight (8!) years ago – and with many episodes of confirmation along the way.

Assuming all the Joseph stuff in my life was truly from God, and assuming I’ve short-circuited the deal with my behavior – here is what I’m thinking and why I’m struggling:

Joseph was despised; betrayed; falsely accused; imprisoned; and forgotten. By any standard this all qualifies as a very bad day. After some period in which God sufficiently tested Joseph’s character, He abruptly blasted Joseph out from his wretched toil and relative obscurity into pretty amazing mortal status and honor. I can’t think of anyone else in history who went through such extremes of fortune, in the desirable direction and in such an unforeseen fashion. From betrayed brother to forgotten prison trustee to “Bow the knee!”

It’s not a stretch to say that my life parallels Joseph’s darker days enough that God could reasonably make the comparison and not have people scratching their heads. Not that He needs anyone’s approval. But the similarities are there, to the extent that I began noticing them well before any strangers began dropping Joseph prophecies on me in 2010. And God is definitely in the business of giving people new names. From my perspective, then, it’s at least as likely as not that God was planning to do this Joseph thing and change my identity. Since the December meltdown, I’ve come to see this all in an entirely different light than when it was just about me trying to make it to the end of my wilderness trek and see what’s in the Promised Land. Some of this perspective, by the way, is based on events that are chronologically beyond January 22; but not by much.

There are a couple of layers to the Joseph redemption narrative. The first has to do with God and His omnipotence. God did not need for Joseph the Patriarch to lend Him a hand in Egypt, a few thousand years ago; and He doesn’t need for me to be Joseph 2017 in order for His will to be done today. The Creator doesn’t lack anything that we creatures bring to the table independent of Him. So why did He use Joseph at all? I can’t answer that completely, because I don’t know. But I believe some of His motivation was simple fatherly love for Joseph. Joseph had been through the wringer. And clearly much (if not all) of that wringer was of God’s design to wring the undesirable “self” out of Joseph. Not sure this is working, so I’ll start at a different place…

Joseph was marking his time in prison, perhaps wondering whatever became of those dreams about his family bowing down before him; maybe believing he would eventually die in prison. Then God did the amazing and abrupt reversal of fortune. The immediate impact, regardless of what came later, was that Joseph was personally blessed in a colossal way. Major lifestyle enhancement, to say the least. I think that particular part of the process was God saying to Joseph, “I want you to have this great thing, because I’m your Father and I love you.” I have come to see the possibility that God had been telling me for years, “I want to give you this great thing, because I’m your Father and I love you. I want to do this for you, just because.” How generous and loving! And my response was, ultimately, “No, thanks. I’ve got this.” It’s crushing, on that personal level, to believe that God just wanted to do something for me out of love; and that I never saw past my own flesh to the reality of His paternal kindness.

Of course there’s a more eternally relevant layer to Joseph’s redemption. It’s about what Joseph did after his elevation into unexpected authority, beyond just the personal blessing. Joseph had spent years sharpening (perhaps begrudgingly) his God-given administrative aptitude into formidable skill. He was able to leverage that skill, under the auspices of near-absolute state power, to preserve and even prosper the nation of Egypt during a famine. Thanks to Joseph, neighboring peoples were able to survive the same famine. Some of those neighboring people were Joseph’s own family. His family came to Egypt and grew into the Hebrew nation. Moses led the Hebrews out of Egypt and to the Promised Land. Without Joseph’s tried and approved character, the entire Hebrew narrative falls apart before it even begins.

And I’ll tag on one last layer to the Joseph redemption story. God surely used the Joseph situation as a means of glorifying Himself. Only God could take that guy from those circumstances and turn him into what He turned him into. It was a wild, dramatic, loving, impossible way for God to say, “I AM, just in case you were wondering.”

I can’t know that there was any eternally-relevant analog prepared in my own life. But I believe that the undeniable connection I had with Donald Trump’s candidacy indicates there might have been some state utility and favor in the works. That theory isn’t nearly as far-fetched as it ought to be. But I was living under a burden in late January that, beyond any personal benefit that might have come, there was a chance that many people’s lives would be “less than”, due to my actions. Heavy burden, indeed.

It’s the “many people’s lives” that was really killing me. I can eventually learn to accept that I’ve cheated myself out of a great thing. I probably have another twenty-to-thirty years left in this life, and each year is passing faster; so I can deal adapt to personal loss and relative mediocrity for the duration. But it’s another thing entirely, coming to terms with having cheated some unknown number of other people out of something better than they end up with otherwise. I have a sincere desire for people to know Jesus as the risen Son of God. I also esteem efficiency. I think God had prepared a way for me to reveal Jesus to any number of people, in ways that bypassed a lot of preparation and preliminaries. Short and to the point, and likely a total blast to live it out, as well.

Thus concludes my explanation of why I did not like waking up in late January 2017.

*

I awoke early in the morning of January 22. I was awake and disappointed for some time before dozing off again. As I slid back into the escape of sleep I heard a man’s name I’d never heard before in my life. I started back into a more alert state of mind. Who? What? I reached for my phone, entered the name into a web search, and hit Return. Turns out there’s one guy in the USA, according to Internet, with the name I’d searched. Interesting. I couldn’t help but think of a similar situation back in 2013, when I dreamed of a woman with a name I’d never heard of before. I did a lookup on the name and found one woman in the USA, a doctor in Boston. I took that opportunity to pray for the good doctor for some days afterward. Here I was these years later, hearing another name for which there was one apparent owner. The man with the name that I heard lives in Troy, OH. I prayed for him regularly for a couple of weeks, after our early morning and one-sided introduction. I couldn’t ignore the feeling on January 22 that I was retracing some forgotten steps from early on in a process that I only recently finished badly.

I eventually did wake up for keeps and go to church with my kids. Later in the afternoon, we played a Mastermind tournament. I had been keeping score on the back of a piece of scratch paper. I’ve saved a couple of cases worth of letter-sized scratch paper over the years, mostly from church band chord charts, non-sensitive work documents, and drafts of my own writing. As I prepared to put the piece of paper in the recycle bag, I noticed it was a page from a blog post draft. I saw the name ‘Shawn Bolz’. Seriously? “Today, of all days…” That blog post was from last summer. I’d written about Shawn Bolz telling our church that no one can be righteous enough to receive a promised promotion from God. Without reading through that original post, I know that, at the time of original writing, I was struggling with being obedient to God’s call to not satisfy myself. And there were a number of voices who had come out of nowhere, it seemed, at around the same time and were telling me that there’s nothing I could do to inhibit God’s promise. Shawn Bolz was one of those voices, and he was a voice to be reckoned with. Did Shawn Bolz’s assertion have any bearing on my situation?

He had told us that evening that he was good about responding to emails, in the event that anyone wanted to personally engage him. In the weeks immediately following his visit to our church, I spent some dedicated time trying to find his email address on the Internet. I wanted to raise with him the issue of my own perceived promise, in context of what I thought were clear indications from God that my presumed promotion was contingent upon distinct obedience. I eventually forgot about that pursuit, having never found Shawn’s email address. I was aggravated that I couldn’t find the address, especially since he’d made the clear point that he would respond.

On January 22 I stared at the piece of paper in my hand, remembering a time in life a mere five months prior when there was still a great deal of hope and promise to the future. And in the time it took me to take one step towards the recycle bag to discard the paper I realized that I could have easily gotten my message to Shawn Bolz in August, via my own church leadership. They surely have his email address. I could have given them the message; they could have emailed Shawn Bolz; and he would presumably have responded to me or at least them. And given the context of everything, I doubt he would have encouraged me to test what I’d perceived to be God’s limitations. And such a hypothetical exchange would have been a big encouragement for me to continue on in faithful obedience until the end of my testing. All of this I realized within the span of a second or so, some months too late for it to matter. I stuffed the blog draft into the recyclables bag and turned back to a grim day.

I went over to the grocery store to pick up something for dinner. I didn’t really need to buy anything; but I knew my checker friend Mary would be working at that time of day on Sunday, and I wanted to see her. When I entered the store, I looked down the row of checkout lanes and saw her out in the middle of the row. I browsed for a few things that were worth buying and then took them to her queue. I waited through one person’s purchase ahead of me. When it was my turn, Mary and I greeted each other. She told me straight away that it was very unusual for us to have seen each other on the previous day. Normally, she said, she just goes straight home after work. The day before, she had instead gone to the shoe store after finishing her shift.  It was a rare thing for her to go anywhere but home, much less to the shoe store where we had run into each other. I figured that it figured that it was unique situation and probably a divine appointment. Was God still rubbing it in?

Mary and I visited for the duration of my purchase. We talked about her family and her work situation. I asked if she needed any particular prayers for the coming week. Nothing in particular, she said. Just for life in general. I told her I would be praying accordingly. We said our goodbyes, and I went back home.

Posted in Joseph, Who said it? | Leave a comment

January 2017, Pt.4: 1237; Mary; And Surprise Jesus makes me sad.

January 20

My kids and I were spending the day at home. They had just returned from the big wedding and were shell-shocked from travel and the surreal family experience. I was likewise wiped out emotionally. I’d never considered the possibility that my ex would actually marry the guy. After all, I’d seen her and him in that dream back in early 2014, in which she left him and came to me. This was the dream I’d had before I even knew that he was in her life for a second go-round. I just knew that God was going to intervene eventually and get in the way of their plans. And I now believe that was His intent all along, with the assumption that I would cooperate by being obedient. When I rebelled one final time or enough to tip the scales against me or however it shook out, back in December, the whole deal was off. Embarrassing moment: I actually told my ex in an email in the 2015 about the dream and how I’d seen the end of the relationship between her and her now-husband. I told her in the email to just go ahead and end the whole thing with him then, since it was eventually going to end anyway.

Oopsie.

Anyway, on January 20 I was coming to terms with the fact that some giant portion of my reason for being hopeful over the prior several years had gone up in smoke – thanks to me. Since my ex had gotten married to #3, I saw little reason to think that any of the other prophesied events would come to pass. I spent some of the morning explaining to my kids that all the great stuff we’d been tentatively planning for a long time was probably not going to happen, due to my not obeying God in some fairly simple matters. I didn’t explain what it was that I’d done, despite my ten-year old’s understandably exasperated questioning. My twelve-year old was silent and withdrawn, due to combined fatigue and disappointment. She’d had much to gain personally from having a father who could work miracles, given her many medical demands. I have always been a steadfast and safe place for her, as far back as when she was an infant and then toddler, when she was my precious shadow. On January 20, 2017, I suspect many illusions were crashing to the ground, as she lay there on the couch, morose and silent.

It was Inauguration Day 2017 – a day for which I’d been divinely prepped over the previous year and a half. Rather than being a day of great celebration and revelation or whatever, the big event in Washington, DC was yet another gross reminder of what might have been – whatever it actually was that might have been and now likely wouldn’t be. All I knew was that God had effectively told me over the span of and year and some change that Donald J. Trump was going to become the 45th President of the United States. Now the day of completion was upon us, and all I wanted to do was vomit and/or die. Instead of making any effort to watch the pomp, circumstance, and festivities with my kids, I barely even looked at any internet news and commentary. I bothered to look at my phone at some random point at mid-day. And the clock said:

12:37

Naturally. The puzzle was completed. I’d first seen 12:37 in a highlighted way in June of 2015. Here it was again, signaling the presumed end of the road for 12:37’s significance in my life. In an alternate universe in which I’d been compliant with God’s simple offer, I was probably slapping hi-fives with the kids and my ex who probably would have again been my wife by then. The girls and I could have been explaining to her all about 12:37 and how that whole thing went down. Who knows – maybe diabetes would have been but a distant memory by then. Instead we three miserable humans in my apartment were on this side of that fantastic reality. I didn’t ever want to see 12:37 again, much less on Inauguration Day. I said to God, “Please don’t rub my nose in it. I get it. I blew it. Do we have to be reminded everywhere?”

 

January 21

I dreamed early in the morning that a woman at my former church was having sinus problems. I told her that she should consider fasting as a means of combating her condition. WAKE.

I was awake just briefly before falling asleep again. As I slid into sleep I heard a voice say, “You will never (something) again.” I could see a vague image of some kind, coincident with the spoken message. I didn’t hear the whole spoken sentence. I would never do something again or see something again, if the voice was to be believed. I hate when I don’t hear the whole thing. Was it from God? If so, I feel like an important message didn’t quite span the dimensions.

Asleep again, I dreamed I was driving at night. My glasses were dirty, so I took them off for cleaning. Inexplicably, I used a tissue or paper towel to wipe my glasses. I put the glasses back on, and they were irreparably scratched. I was incredulous. “I can’t believe I did that!” My glasses were ruined. I’m usually so careful to only use party-approved glasses wipes for cleaning my lenses. Right then, a car turned made a right-hand turn from my left, right into my lane. We collided head-on. I jumped out of the car to address the situation. A black guy got out of the other car. There was another black guy still in the car, and he was totally mangled. I thought about praying for both of them. They both somehow ran off back to the left, where they’d come from. It was now early morning sunlight. There was a man in something like a Royal Canadian Mounted Patrol hat, with a red jacket on. I assumed he was some kind of law enforcement official. He was unimposing and had a mild demeanor, for someone who looked to also be something of an authority figure. I pointed out the running men to him. He ignored me. WAKE.

This particular dream was very similar in content to a couple of others that I’d had after blatant disobedience regarding self-gratification. I can’t remember if I blogged about either one of them. I don’t really have the interest in rehashing all of it in detail. The running theme over the three dreams, going back about three years, was one of an authority figure impassively taking something from me or ignoring me, after I’d been disobedient in waking life. I figure that if the dreams are from God, there’s some representation of the Holy Spirit expressing dissatisfaction with my conduct.

Given the theme of the month in my life – that of unimaginable lost potential – I was concerned that God was telling me there would be no great ministry of racial reconciliation. That particular ministry possibility is something I haven’t blogged about (other than perhaps to say that I haven’t blogged about it), despite the substantial number of hints I believed God had given me over the years to that effect.

Later that morning the kids and I went to get them some new shoes. As I backed my car out of the parking place, I noticed the clock said 11:10. The trip meter read 123.6. We drove the brief distance to the shopping center and parked. Before we got out of the car I noticed the clock said 11:12, and the trip meter read 123.8 Weird. Our trip to the store had happened during 11:11 and 123.7. As we approached the door to the store, a woman was walking out the same door. She was the woman about whom I’d had one of my two waking words of knowledge. I think I mentioned the experience somewhere back in this blog. Nope, I didn’t. Here’s corrected text from an email that I sent I friend of mine back in summer of 2013:

I stopped by the store to get groceries this morning. At the checkout line, the checker was a lady who had wrung me up maybe once before in the past few months. While she was ringing me up and I was putting my stuff in the cart, I got an impression that her name was Mary or Mariel, something like that. Which was weird because I don’t usually give a second thought to what the checker’s name is. That is, in the hundreds of times I’ve been there, I almost always ‘notice’ the person’s name, but only when I look at their tag. And I hadn’t directly looked at the person’s name tag yet. Anyway, I glanced over at her name tag, and her name was ‘Mary’. Which was interesting. Was I remembering her name after not seeing her in many weeks? Was it the Holy Spirit?

She made the usual offer of saving 5% with the store card. I noticed that half of her mouth wasn’t working, like she had Bell’s palsy or a stroke. I said no thanks and asked if her name was Mariel. Which felt stupid, since her tag clearly said ‘Mary’. She said, “It’s Mary,” and pointed at her name tag. I asked if her mouth was hurt. She said she had Bell’s. I told her I have a friend who had that one time. I looked at the line of customers behind me and saw two people waiting. And fear of man started buzzing. I said, “Do you mind if I pray for you?” She laughed and said, “I’ll take all the help I can get.” She was obviously on the other side of the checkout counter, working with money and bags, and there was the fear of man thing going. I stood there thinking while she continued to checking my stuff. I gave her my money and wondered how much of a spectacle I wanted to make. I decided to pray without laying on hands. I prayed quietly, but loud enough that she could hear. Thanked God for Mary, asked Him to give her peace and protection while she was at work today. Commanded in the name of Jesus that her face muscles be made whole, the way they were designed to be. Amen. She thanked me and seemed genuinely grateful. Gave me my change. The End.

After the fact, I figure she seemed blessed by the prayers of a stranger, even if I didn’t lay hands on her. And I wonder if there’s any healing value to healing prayer if you don’t lay on hands because you don’t want to make a scene at the grocery checkout. Ultimately, it comes down to what prophet Charles Slagle told me about stuff like this: That’s why they call it school. I think I didn’t do a flawless approach; but it wasn’t that long ago that I would have never stopped to wonder about the name inserted in my head or certainly wouldn’t have asked a grocery checkout person if I could pray for them. And I realized after I got home that ‘Mariel’ is just ‘Mary’ with ‘El (God)’ stuck on the end.

Mary is an older black woman who works at my usual grocery/home shopping haunt. After I prayed for her that day back in 2013, she and I developed a friendship that transcended the usual customer/checker rapport. I’d make special trips to the store to see her, even if I didn’t necessarily need anything. During a particular run of visits, I asked around for her, only to be told by store personnel that she wasn’t there. When we finally saw each other again, she told me, “They told me someone was looking for me the other day. I told them ‘That’s my praying man.'” I had told her about the WFPLI trips, back in 2014. After a particularly long stretch without us seeing each other, she told me she had been afraid I’d moved to Long Island and hadn’t said goodbye to her. I told her that if God sent me anywhere else to live, I’d never leave without letting her know.

She is a friend who happens to take my money for groceries. And there she was, coming out of the shoe store, the only other place I’d ever seen her other than at the cash register. And on that day, of all days. Crazy. I called her attention and we greeted each other. She put her arm around me and gave me a big hug. She told me she’d been looking for some new shoes for work, because her feet had been getting really cold while she was at her register. We chatted just briefly, and she went on her way. All I could think of was that her face still sags a bit from the palsy that had just struck her when I first met her. “A miracle that won’t happen, Lord. Is this a walk of shame or what?” We three went into the store and eventually got a new pair of shoes for each kid and a new pack of socks for me.

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.

Posted in 1237, Donald J. Trump, Dreams, Gifts of the Spirit, Otherwise Interesting | Leave a comment

January 2017, Pt. 3: John Denver and Joseph and Joe

During the first week of January 2017, when I wasn’t busy being blown away by God’s healing touch, I decided to back up my phone voice notes onto another hard drive. I regularly make voice memos of song ideas, dreams, and whatever funny thing my kids are up to. I lost several years’ worth of kid photos on my phone in a freak accident at work one time; so I make a point of backing up everything pretty regularly now. By the first week in January it had been longer than usual since I’d done a backup. I’d been preoccupied with holidays; health; and destiny or lack thereof. The nagging voice that prompts me to back up my data was finally getting loud enough to be heard of the din of life, however.

I sat down one evening and cabled my phone to my computer and began working my way through the backlog of voice notes. Most of them were song ideas. There were relatively few dream memos in that round of backups. I recall a long stretch of time in the fall where I didn’t remember much about my dreams on any given morning. Also, I wasn’t feeling any need to be diligent about recording dreams during those months; after all, I was right on the cusp of whatever great thing was supposed to happen, right? Recording dreams was only necessary when I was trying to piece things together in relative darkness. I was about to see the whole thing realized in real-time, so why waste time recording dreams?

SIGH.

I began moving notes over to my computer. I listened to a few of the dream memos. The two from mid-December that I highlighted in the first January 2107 blog post were nauseating. In those memos I sounded like my usual sleepy self, much like I sound on pretty much any recording that I make right upon waking. I knew in mid-December, even right after waking, that those dreams likely did bode not well for the future. In the memo about the bomber, I even made mention of my dis-ease with that particular dream. But there was still a certain ignorance on December 18 that I did not have in early January. In those few short weeks, I’d grown soberly aware of the dream implications; and I was really starting to freak out.

I copied those depressing dream notes over to the computer and scanned the remaining memos that I hadn’t backed up. There were a few that I knew I could trash rather than save. And there was one memo that still bore the default name written by the recording program. I typically customize the title of memos, depending on the subject matter. I had no idea what this one memo was, but I assumed it was a dream note, since it was recorded at 4:45am. It was dated in mid-September. I listened to the memo. Most of the memo detailed a dream about a woman I know from work. In the dream the woman had an unusual Bible. The Bible was written in symbols, each symbol representing a cultural idiom. Anyone who knew the idioms and representative symbols could read that Bible.

Then there was a bit at the end of the memo, about a dream that was mostly an idea conveyed in voice or something hard to explain. There wasn’t much imagery associated. The general idea of the dream was that some guy was supposed to receive a great unnamed honor but was declared ineligible to receive said honor. He had disqualified himself somehow. Those parties responsible for bestowing the honor decided to make him an honorary whatever-it-was. Instead of becoming a full-fledged thing, he would be an honorary one. I wondered in the dream about the possible differences between honorary and earned. I’d mentioned in the memo that I awoke in a panic immediately after the dream. Was the dream about me? There was one brief image at the end of the dream of a guy who was very heavy-set and had a full head of hair. He looked quite a bit like a guy I used to work with and nothing at all like me, for whatever that’s all worth.

I thought it was interesting and sickening that I’d found that memo when I did, months after I’d had the dream and right in the middle of really coming to terms with possibly disqualifying myself from a great honor. Had I indeed blown it but was going to be made an honorary…Joseph? Something else? Would it be less miserable to be an honorary anything in God’s kingdom, versus just a legitimately failed experiment? Would anyone of us be able to tell the difference between honorary or legit in our own lives, if it came down to it? All these stupid questions and more can be avoided simply by being obedient to God in the first place.

I assume that I didn’t initially bother titling that dream memo because I didn’t want to think about the one dream long enough to create a title.

*

I was a child of the Seventies. That meant, among other things in those days, that John Denver was like wall paper in the only bedroom you’d ever had in your whole life. He was always nearby – in the foreground and in the background, effortlessly.  Whether on radio, on TV, or in movies, John Denver was everywhere, all the time. Omnipresent John Denver wasn’t good or bad, in my young estimation. John Denver just Was.

Then I grew up and passed through something like seven more bedrooms and probably didn’t think about John Denver in any of them. Sometime in the mid-00’s, my wife inexplicably gave me a John Denver ‘greatest hits’ CD for my birthday. I was and am positive I’d never said word one to her about John Denver before that birthday. I never listened to the CD. I’d heard almost all the songs a million times before and wasn’t interested enough in hearing them again that I would remove the cellophane wrapping and pop in the CD.

Then my wife and I stayed married a few more years after that birthday. Then we separated and eventually divorced. Then I became very interested in finding CD’s that my kids and I could listen to without my worrying about what the kids were hearing. I remembered the John Denver disc one day a couple of years ago and browsed through my collection until I found it. Smug with paternal satisfaction, I knew that I had kid-friendly gold in my hands. I played the CD for my offspring, and they immediately loved it. My youngest was especially taken with this new music. (For the record ((ba dum tss)) the performances sound at least as much like a soundboard recording of a live show as a studio recording. And the piano solo in Dreamland Express screams “Bruce Hornsby”.) We three had John Denver on regular rotation for a few months. Then John Denver fell by the wayside, as inevitable replacements moved onto the scene.

All of this is to say that on January 18 of 2016, at the exact hour that my ex was getting married on a beach in Hawaii, I was miserably walking through the store down below our office. I had taken a break from writing content for the first miserable blog post of this year. On my way down the hall from my office to the stairs, I had seen a huge computer clock display showing 11:11. That wasn’t the actual time of day; someone was configuring that computer for first use, and they hadn’t set the clock yet. I used to love seeing 11:11, especially in oddball situations like that one. On January 18 it was not a comforting sight. If 11:11 signaled transition, it appeared transition was indeed happening, but not in any way that I’d expected or desired.

Anyway, I was downstairs, miserably passing through the vinyl LP section of the store, when something interesting happened: on one row of LP displays I saw ten or twelve or however many LP’s faced out into the aisle. All of the LP covers were more-or-less neutral in presentation, with little art work or color saturation. They certainly were all low contrast with regard to one another…with the exception of one LP – a John Denver LP that I’d never seen before (Which would be most John Denver album covers.The only one I can say for sure I’ve seen is the greatest hits where it’s a close up of his face with the hat and glasses. And the one that my wife gave me, which is a distant profile with hat minus glasses). The cover art was a photo of John Denver against a black background, in what appeared to be a live performance. That album cover stood out like a beacon against the background of the surrounding muted covers. I hesitated for a fraction of a second before veering into a detour to the John Denver album. How could I not go look at this album that was practically blaring my name?

I picked up the album and looked for any indication that it was a live performance recording. I flipped the album over and scanned the songs, assuming I’d see familiar tunes as performed in concert. I didn’t recognize any of the song titles. I keep scanning. I found a song called ‘Joseph and Joe’. Everything appropriately slowed down and got really weird. The day was already weighty with spiritual implications. Now this – ‘Joseph and Joe’? Are you kidding me? No…no, you were not kidding me. I didn’t know exactly what it meant that I’d found a song called ‘Joseph and Joe’ on a previously unknown John Denver LP, and that I’d found said LP and song under somewhat suspicious circumstances, and that it was at perhaps the exact minute my ex was getting married. I didn’t know what it meant. But I knew it meant something.

I finished my business in the store and went back up to my desk. I wept. Big things were happening that day, and I couldn’t shake the belief that those big things were happening in a way that was radically different than if I’d just…not. I emailed Mary to tell her about the John Denver find. She immediately replied that I should buy the album. That seemed like sound advice. I went back down to the store and put the LP on hold. By the time I’d returned to my desk, Mary had emailed me the lyrics to ‘Joseph and Joe’. The lyrics didn’t do anything to minimize my suspicion that I’d found the LP by divine appointment. To the contrary, every single line of the song seemed to have some relation, however minor, to my own life. I’m too tired of it all now to give background on some of the things in my life that made the song lyrics fit so well. Suffice it say, somehow the Creator of the Universe tied my ex and kids; her new husband; John Denver; that song; that exact copy of that album; AND me all together in one pregnant moment.

Seriously, there nothing He cannot do.

One song lyric that I will mention, just because it’s still loud in my head as of this writing (March 22), says something about “another man’s family”. Random song lyric winner, right there. What song mentions another man’s family? ‘Joseph and Joe’, by John Denver, of course, which I was discovering right when my kids were on a beach in Hawaii, becoming stepchildren to a man that I’d first seen in a dream almost three years prior. And while my own Joseph and Joe expectations seemed to be unraveling all around me.

**

This is as good a time as any to bring up a topic that requires some hashing. The massive personal and spiritual failure I’m chronicling can serve as a valuable teaching opportunity. Way back in 2012 I began attending prophetic equipping classes at Upper Room. My attendance each Wednesday for some months initiated (or continued, after hiatus) an undeniable succession of prophetic encouragements for me from people who, by and large, didn’t know me at all. I’ve mentioned the nature of these prophecies many times in this blog; so I won’t go into all that again. The point here is that I began to believe that God was telling me, “Hang on for a while. I’m going to blow your mind. You just need to wait it out in the interim.” None of the prophesying prophets ever said anything that would have made me think differently…EXCEPT one time in class, the instructor clarified for us. He told us something to the effect that, when you receive an encouraging prophecy like the kind I was getting on a minute-to-minute basis back then, you would do well to consider the thing an invitation by God into a possible and not-necessarily-guaranteed future. That is, don’t assume that it’s a promise merely contingent upon your waiting long enough for it to come to pass. The invitational aspect implies that something is expected of you, the recipient of the encouraging word. You must bother to show up. God isn’t necessarily bringing the party to your couch.

I didn’t like the implications of anything being expected of me in 2012. I was constantly warring against my ultimate belief that God had directly called me to give up a practice that was usurping His position as my chief comforter. I did not want to give up anything; but I DID want to receive the lavish gifts that He seemed to be promising. I wanted all that to be on my own terms. “I’m sitting right here on the couch, God. You can just drop all that cool stuff by whenever works for You. I’d also like an i Fratelli pizza, BTW. Surprise me. Sooner is totes better than later.” (I actually don’t think I was all that flip about it, then or ever. There was always a sense of awe and mystery around the process. But I’m bitter and cynical right now.)

So I chose to minimize any understanding that God was proposing an exchange of sorts: that is, if I was (were?) to give up my self-gratification, He would bless me and the world around me in ways that were reminiscent of some of the most dramatic parts of the Bible. I never let myself see it all in those terms until it was too late. And to be honest, I don’t think I totally grasped the true “exchange” nature of the whole thing until February 2017, a couple of months after the Big Fail. And in another post, I’ll (probably) provide some clarification of the exact nature of that final failure.

Posted in Dreams, Joseph, Otherwise Interesting | Leave a comment