I lived out a dream last week

Have you ever had one of those dreams you wish you never had? You know what I mean…someone is chasing you and you can’t move your legs…or a T-Rex is about to eat you alive. Yeah, you want to erase it from your memory but you can’t.

Being poor has it’s pitfalls. Driving an old vehicle has challenges of another level.

Last Thursday I checked my tires before I left work. I often do this after driving on a flat tire several years ago and ruining it.

Sure enough the back right tire was low. Since I was at work there was a shop with mechanics around to fix company trucks and trailers.

I decided to drive around and simply air up said low tire so I could drive home.

I quickly discovered an air hose outside the shop ready for drivers to use. Great, something finally goes right in my life…I thought.

Some air went in my tire for about two seconds then stopped. I stuck my head inside and got the attention of a mechanic. They assured me the air was on.

I walked back out and finished airing up my low tire with no explanation of why it stopped initially.

I did find a small nail in the tread so I decided to finally use that extra thing I bought when I purchased those tires where the nice guys at the tire shop will fix that type of thing for free for me.

I decided to drive about half way home before I found the same tire shop franchise I bought my now injured tire from just to be in a safer neighborhood.

I drove into the shop’s lot about 4:30. The guy I talked to came out and checked the tread depth on said tire.

“You’re in luck. You have 3/32nds on this tire. Any lower and we couldn’t do anything for you. I’ll have one of the guys right on it.”

We went in and checked my account. He continued his conversation. “You have 62,000 miles on those 50,000 mile warranty tires.”

I knew it had been a while since I bought them. I had no idea it was that long ago. Good thing I drive carefully.

A few minutes later one of the technicians drove Clifford, the big red van, into the shop.

I sat down and read a newspaper article about the fuss made when the President said Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. And here I thought that was established back in 1948.

Soon another behind the counter guy got my attention. “I have bad news…we found two nails right next to each other in that tire. I don’t know how that happened but we can’t patch that. Besides, there isn’t enough tread left on that tire for us to work on it anyway.”

I explained that the first guy said there was just enough tread…and why wouldn’t one patch cover both nail holes?

“It’s not our call. There’s a something from some agency stopping us from doing anything in this instance.”

Obviously I didn’t understand what exactly was going on here.

I came up with what I thought would be a good solution to get me back on the road. “Can you put my spare tire on for me?”

“Yeah, we can do that.”

I watched the techs lower my spare…but them they put it back in place without replacing the nailed tire.

The second behind the counter guy sheepishly came back to me ready to duck behind the counter if the blood vessels in my neck rose back up, I guess.

“We can’t use that spare. It’s dated 2006. We can’t install any tire over ten years old. There’s too much of a chance it will blow out.”

I didn’t even know there was a date on a tire. I just wanted to beat the rush-hour traffic, but I knew that was too late already.

Since I didn’t have enough money for even a used “new” spare they filled the tire with extra air and sent me on my way at 5:30. The half hour drive home took another hour.

I couldn’t put into words what I felt while it occurred, but I figured it out later.

I felt like I was in a dream but I knew it was only going to get worse and I was already awake.

I got home 1 1/2 hours later than I could have with an additional nail in my tire than I thought I left work with.

Oh yeah, some days are just like that for me.

Now I make sure that tire is parked with the nails on the bottom so it leaks more slowly…or less fastly anyway.

I haven’t worried much since then since that day had enough trouble for over a week. Isn’t that the point Jesus made to His followers. It works for me.

I don’t listen to the radio much these days. I turned it on to hear a song with the exact message for me.

“This world is not my home. I don’t belong here.”

I’m so glad there’s coming a time where nothing wears out, time doesn’t matter and worries are a thing of the past.

Until then I’ll just keep carrying the cross designated for me…even if that means putting up with little nails and senseless regulations.

Keep smiling.   Wade

Short-term 2nd Chance Successes

Jonah awoke with a sharp pain on his leg. He reached down and groped his right shin. He pealed off what must have been a section of octopus tentacle.

“Lord, how much longer must I suffer like this? I’m sorry for running. I know it was foolish of me. Nobody can win against You. Please give me another chance. Let me see Your temple again.”

The fish turned sharply to the right. Jonah sloshed with the stomach juices. He felt pressure on his feet so he curled up in the fetal position.

The fish seemed to climb up then stop. The stomach opening released just before Jonah slammed into it.

The sunlight never seemed so bright.

Jonah saw the giant fish slide back into the water. A wave washed up rinsing some of the debris off of him.

He looked up. “Thank You, LORD!  I won’t waste this second chance.”

“Go to Nineveh. Tell them what I tell you.”

Jonah searched his surroundings. A city was upriver from him. He stepped into the water and washed himself off.

As he approached the city a man was fishing along the river.

“Excuse me, sir. What city is this?”

The fisherman looked Jonah up and down. “Are you a Hebrew? How did you get here? Why are you naked?”

Jonah blushed. “I guess my clothes didn’t survive the stomach acid. What city is this?”

The fisherman removed his coat. “Here, put this on. This is Nineveh. Always has been. Always will be.”

Jonah put the coat on. “Thank you. My God has a message for your people.”

A crowd gathered around Jonah by midday. He stopped when he heard God’s voice. He turned and faced the crowd. “In forty days Nineveh will be destroyed.”

A murmur built in the crowd. “Isn’t the Hebrew God the one who destroyed the Egyptian military in the Red Sea?”

“Yeah, and He crumbled the walls of Jericho like they were nothing.”

“How do we appease Him?”

“Sackcloth and ashes according to my research.”

The crowd dispersed only to return wearing sackcloth and worried faces.

********

Thirty nine days later Jonah walked east of the city in disgust. “Isn’t this why I fled to Tarshish to begin with, LORD? I know You’re compassionate. They don’t deserve it.”

He set up a small shelter to shade the sun. Maybe brimstone will still fall from the sky tomorrow.

A sound behind him caught his attention. A plant was growing up extremely fast. It’s shade was refreshing.

“Ah, nice.”

Jonah awoke the following morning. Nineveh was still intact. He ate the figs he brought with him. The plant behind him fell. A caterpillar was gnawing on the stump. “What a shame.”

As the sun climbed in the sky a strong wind blew in from the east.

Jonah felt his energy slip away. “Just end my life now, LORD.”

“Do you have a right to be mad about the plant that you had no control over? Shouldn’t I have the right to forgive the people of Nineveh when they show remorse for their evil?”

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

Here we have yet another prophet falling into a depression after a success. Didn’t God have any better men to choose from than that?

Actually, He didn’t. All He had to choose from were ordinary folks.

That’s one of the things I love about the Bible. It’s filled with normal people being used by God even when they fail after they succeed.

That means there’s hope God can use you and me, too.

I see two short-term successes in this story about second chances.

First, Jonah took advantage of his second chance by telling the people of Nineveh about God’s impending judgement on them for their wicked lifestyle. But then he relented and wished God wasn’t so compassionate because of his hate for such wicked people.

Second, the people of Nineveh took advantage of the warning Jonah gave them and showed remorse to stem off God’s anger for their sins. But then they turned right around and defeated the nation of Israel to show their strength.

So, what’s the message of the book of Jonah if these second chances were wasted?

God was really big on using object lessons to make a point to His people.

When Jonah returned to Israel and told them how God relented from destroying the Assyrians they should have sat up and paid attention. That Gentile nation was known for their brutality in war.

Had the leaders of Israel caught the lesson they would have turned back to God to save themselves, but they didn’t. So God used the freshly wicked Assyrians to punish His own people.

I don’t call the shots here. God does.

Wickedness is a tool in God’s belt as much as grace and mercy.

It’s like a tapestry. If you only see the back side of a fine rug it won’t make much sense. It’s just a jumble of threads seemingly thrown together.

We don’t see the picture side of the fine artistry until God allows us to.

The history recorded in the Bible shows us God’s orchestration of all kingdoms through time.

Wicked nations were used more strategically than peaceful Israel was during Solomon’s reign.

That plant God grew for Jonah was destroyed by a bug. All of that was ordained by God.

Mighty nations, fish, storms, plants, bugs…they’re all the same in God’s plan. They all serve Him.

That control you think you have over your own life. Give it up.

Your success and failure are controlled by God.

Accept that it all belongs to God.

He can take it away in a moment or make it flourish past your lifetime.

That should remove a lot of stress from your life.

Do the best you can with what God has given you. He gave you the stewardship of your life for a reason.

Use what you have to build God’s kingdom, not yours.

Don’t waste your second chances.

Let them change you into someone more like Jesus Christ.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

The Holidays are Hard

A writer’s life is fraught with challenges. Like properly using the word fraught in a sentence to lead off a blog post.

If God chooses you to write for His glory don’t expect an easy life.

If your life was cozy before your call it will be turned upside down after your call.

The reason for this is because you need to experience many aspects of life in order to write about them.

Here are just a few examples from my own life.

While I was going through my divorce I realized I experienced rejection on par with what God feels when someone rejects His gift of salvation. He grieves over that.

The unexpected loss of a job will test your resolve and prove where your trust is. I leaned heavily on God at that time. Answers didn’t come, but my faith grew.

I observe things differently than I did before. While I’m helping care for toddlers on Sunday mornings I see how they respond and how we all react to life similarly.

The reason I bring this topic up now is that I find myself in a funk.

I’ve been through funks before, especially while living through those extremely long winters in Michigan growing up.

Some holiday seasons are more difficult than others.

This year’s season is proving a challenge so far and we’ve only gone through Thanksgiving.

Part of my challenge is a personal setback in the romance department.

By taking the chance of reaching out to a certain woman I seem to have totally blown it to the point that she unfriended me on Facebook and does her best to avoid contact with me even when we’re in the same room.

It’s not that we were very close before this, but these barricades are too reminiscent of my pre-divorce experience.

Oh how I wish life came with a ‘do over’ button.

I’ve used the phase “I’m by myself a lot, but I’m never alone.”

It refers to the fact that Jesus is always with me, even when nobody is around.

To be totally honest with y’all…I’m getting tired of using that line in my life.

Don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t trade my relationship with God through Jesus Christ for any woman on this earth.

It’s just that I really would like someone with skin on to share my life with.

Even God said it isn’t good for a man to be alone. So why am I still in His waiting room this time?

Going back to my writing life needing experiences to draw from I see something playing out here for me.

Being born the middle of seven children I never experienced being an orphan before now.

Both of my parents are dead. My wife left me. We never had children. All of my siblings live over 1,000 miles away.

I have some good friends but apparently no great friend I can turn to at the drop of a hat.

I never expected this, but it’s here.

There are folks at church I talk to. That’s been enough.

I have one friend I share a meal with occasionally. Those times are precious to me.

I work with another friend sometimes. This month I’ll be driving too steady for that to continue.

This has all led to my current funk and hopefully a divine writing prompt.

I’ve received story ideas, poems and song lyrics while driving.

I have good drive time this month to let my mind wonder and be open to the Spirit’s leading for any of the above to occur.

I’m reaching out asking for prayers to make this funk a fruitful experience for me.

Nothing better than a funky fruit to set a guy’s attitude right side up again.

I know all of this is going to work for good to make me more like Christ.

He knew personal betrayal, abandonment and rejection firsthand, too.

He even anguished over being separated from His Father for a time.

I guess He experienced a divine funk for me and you.

Jesus was the divine orphan for three days so we can be adopted into God’s family.

He overcame and conquered. He’ll help me do the same, especially with the prayer support of my spiritual siblings here.

Thank you in advance for lifting me up in prayer.

And thank you for letting me open my heart and bleed on my blog here.

It’s good therapy for a writer.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

December 1, 2017 Newsletter/blog post

Hey y’all.

Yeah, it’s that time of crazy time of year for me, too…even though there’s just one of me.

I’m sorry I haven’t been keeping up with my regular blog schedule. It’s kinda hard to think of something to write when you don’t have time to even think, let alone think of anything to blog about, or there’s too much to blog about that I don’t have time to do it right. Right?

It’s okay. I just took a deep breath. I’m good for now.

How’s that saying go? “The more things change the more things stay the same.”

Yeah, I have that hamster on the spinning wheel thing going on…or maybe it’s that one step forward two steps back phenomenon.

All I know for sure is I’m still driving my life away…and not necessarily in the fast lane, if you catch my drift. On second thought, don’t drive next to me or I just might drift into your vehicle. Yeah, that’s definitely bad luck…for both of us me thinks.

Whew! I just had a bad flashback. Let’s move on.

On the good news front I have a set schedule dedicated route that will take me up to Christmas. I get to help Santa deliver packages and letters between Dallas and Lubbock.

On Monday, Wednesday and Friday I drive to Lubbock. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday I drive back home with a night in a nice motel in Lubbock to sleep in.

And guess what…over 90% of the driving is during daylight hours. If I was up to it I’d do a backflip or something to celebrate no through the night drives for four weeks in a row. I might start to remember what it’s like to be like normal folks again.

Do y’all know what you’re missing by not being on the roads at two o’clock in the morning? You’re right…not much.

And even better yet…I found a shortcut that’s mostly in the country. I can let my mind wonder and not worry about it ever coming back again.

If my ship comes in during the month of December this will be what I’d like to retire from driving with.

With my track record I’ll still be stuck in a truck stop when my ship comes in. All right, I just slapped myself hard for that one.

Rumors have it those folks who were interested in buying the Webster family farm on November first are back after a death in their family. We’re not holding our breath on anything. Just waiting for them to show us the money and sign on the dotted line.

I received an email from the nice folks at The Upper Room Devotional. They’re going to publish one of the devo’s I wrote next December. And they want to actually pay me for it!

I just pinched myself. Ouch! That smarts…even thought it’s not too smart.

No, $30 doesn’t count as a boat making landfall, but it’s heading in the right direction for a change.

Speaking of ships…keep praying Noah’s ark sails again. I can hear the herd approaching. That’s all I’m going to say about that for now.

The sails on my business venture just might be catching a breeze soon. I have a mobile app I’ve been wanting to make for a nonprofit organization coming close to becoming a reality. I’m doing it for free for them, but it should get the word out about what I’m trying to do. I consider it a first fruits offering to God. Prayers appreciated.

I may have come across something else that will help small business owners keep in front of some of Google’s changes that are being implemented as we speak…even though I’m typing this and you’re reading it separately.

You know what I mean…I hope.

Okay…I can’t think of nothing else happening in my dull life for now so I’ll go back to keeping my wheel spinning…or the 18 wheels going round and round, or something maybe.

If you’re living vicariously through me you can go back to your wheel spinning, too.

Keep smiling.   Wade

Thank You Father

Gratitude, gratefulness, thanksgiving…all themes with the same goal. Appreciation for what we have over desires for what we want. Sounds good, so why is so hard to keep it in practice?

Just some thoughts to ponder during this holiday week.

I’m sharing another poem I wrote a couple of years ago for Thanksgiving. It doubles as a prayer so I guess you can read it with your eyes closed if you so desire for the full effect if you can.

Thank You Heavenly Father

Thank You for the breath in my lungs, a spark in my mind and praise on my tongue.

Thank You for food on the table, friends to enjoy and a body that’s able.

Thank You for love we can share, hugs to embrace and words of great care.

Thank You for songs that inspire, laughter that frees and poems that inquire.

Thank You for babies so pure, innocence witnessed and curiosity stirred.

Thank You for a new day to start over, fresh choices to make and a chance to recover.

Thank You for the will to go on, to continue this battle till death brings me Home.

Thank You for Your plan for my life, including the trials, the pain and the strife.

Thank You for not leaving me me, but stretching me more so Jesus is seen.

Thank You for wanting me by Your side, enough that You came and suffered and died.

Thank You for Your book I can read, the choice to decide to be slave or be free.

Thank You for choosing me as one of Your own and now using me to tell of Your Son.

Thank You for words that bolster another, encouragement to lift a sister or brother.

Thank You again for breath in my lungs, and a vision to see Your kingdom to come.

In Jesus’s mighty name I pray. AMEN

The Fruit of the Spirit Prayer

Today I’m sharing with you the compilation prayer that ends the chapter of the Fruit of the Spirit from my book 100 Prayers of a Writer. I’m very pleased how well this prayer came together. I find myself needing its message frequently.

Galatians 5:22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Dear Heavenly Father

I come to you filled now. There’s a skip in my step as I approach Your throne of grace. I have consumed Your fruit and found it very good. My walk is lighter. My smile matches Yours. You throw a little tickle in Your hug for me. Thank You for being such a fabulous Daddy. I couldn’t ask for any better.

Thank You for putting all of these aspects of You into a single piece of fruit for me. It’s so like You to give me the whole package at once. You don’t want me picking and choosing which qualities I think I need or want. Grant me the fortitude to put these attributes to use as Jesus did in His life on this earth.

Help me love as Jesus loved, unconditionally. Don’t let my pride or prejudices get in the way of me showing Your love to everyone I meet.

Give me the joy Jesus exhibited, enthusiastically. I always picture Him laughing from the belly when He played with the children. No matter what others thought of Him.

Let me promote the peace of Jesus, unapologetically. Allow me to sleep while the storm is so severe around me others are panicked.

Grant me the patience of Jesus, forever. May I trust that You have everything under control, even when it appears everything is in chaos.

Allow me to show the kindness of Jesus, generously. Let me drop my guard as I reach out in love so people see the genuineness of my actions.

May I live out the goodness of Jesus, authentically. Make my motives so pure I’m embarrassed when others applaud my efforts to make a difference in this world.

Ground me in the faithfulness of Jesus, whole-heartedly. Fix my gaze on heaven while I see the needs on the earth with Your kingdom in mind.

Gift me with the gentleness of Jesus, continuously. Let me see the sinner caught up in the sin before I see the sin itself so I can reach out in love and acceptance of the person.

Build in me the self-control Jesus exhibited, purposefully. Help me drink the cup You place before me in Your time as it benefits Your kingdom, not mine.

Father, I need Your Spirit’s strength to carry out this magnificent calling from You. Your Son left His indelible mark on this world. Use me to carry on His mission as I finish the race set before me.

It’s in the mighty, matchless name of Jesus I pray. AMEN

Man Overboard

“Tarshish? Yeah, we’re going to Tarshish. What you need us to take there for ya?”

“Just me.” Jonah watched the crew loading crates below deck.

The captain looked at Jonah’s small pack. “You sure do travel light. You have family in Tarshish?”

Jonah shook his head. “No. Just been hankering to visit that fine city. That’s all.”

“Four silver coins will get you there. Five will feed ya, too.”

Jonah pulled out a coin pouch and dumped all five of his coins into the captain’s hand.”

The captain smiled. “Looks like your god has blessed you just enough to get you where you’re going. Climb aboard. We’ll be setting off soon.

The crew finished loading the ship and came ashore for final preparations. Jonah climbed up the plank then went below deck to find a good place to settle in. He found a space between some boxes that fit his small frame perfectly. The rocking of the ship lulled him into a deep sleep.

The captain came aboard and waited for his crew to return. He looked around at his men then kept scanning the group.

“What you looking for Cap?”

“Not what, but who. There’s a guy who paid me to take him to Tarshish. Anyone see a little fella carrying a small bag?”

Everybody glanced around. “No sir. It’s just us here.”

The captain shrugged. “I guess I’m five coins the better. We got a schedule to keep.”

They untied and headed west. As soon as the land disappeared below the eastern horizon the wind kicked up in their face.

“Pull the sails down.”

The crew obeyed the captain’s order.

Waves crashed onto the deck.

“We’re going down if we don’t lighten the load. Start throwing cargo out. Everybody pray to your god or whatever you have to do to get this to stop. This is the worst storm I’ve ever seen.”

The men struggled to get crates on deck to save the ship.

One of them called from below. “Cap, you gotta see this.”

The captain went below deck. “What is it?”

“Is this that fella you was lookin’ for?”

The ship rocked Jonah onto the floor. He looked at the men.

The captain looked at him. “How can you sleep through this? Pray to your god to stop this storm.”

Jonah staggered to the deck and vomited overboard.

Somebody grabbed a bag and some stones. “I have an idea. Let’s see who’s to blame for this storm. I have five white rocks and one black one. We’ll each pull a stone out of this bag. Whoever gets the black one is it.”

They all agreed. Jonah took the first stone out. It was black.

The captain grabbed him by the shoulders. “Who are you? Where are you from? What have you done?”

“I’m a Hebrew. Our God made the sea and dry land, people…everything. He told me to go to Nineveh to pronounce His judgement on them. They deserve His wrath.”

The captain shook him. “We don’t deserve your god’s wrath. What do we have to do to stop this storm before it kills us all?”

“Throw me overboard.”

The captain shook his head. “That’s not an option.”

The ship rocked, then cracked.

“Cap, we’re all gonna die anyway. Let’s try his suggestion.”

The captain looked up. “Forgive us god of the Hebrews for this man’s life. We’re innocent of his blood.”

They grabbed Jonah and tossed him into the sea.

The wind stopped. They watched Jonah sink. A huge fish swam by. Jonah was gone.

“The Hebrew God is real, men. Let’s worship Him.”

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

You probably thought the story of Jonah was about a disobedient prophet, didn’t you?

I think it’s more about God getting the attention of Gentiles.

The men on that ship sure found God in a big way. So will the folks in Nineveh once God gets Jonah where He wants him.

Running away from God won’t stop His will from being done. It will only delay it.

It will also affect others in the process, sometimes positively, like here, or more times than not, negatively by reaping consequences of turning away from God.

I’ve seen people claim to not feel good about a decision they’re making, but they carry it out knowing it’s against God’s will because they feel a peace about their decision.

I have news for those misguided folks. God’s truth expressed in the Bible trumps all peace we work up to fit our agenda every day of the week.

Jonah thought he would thwart God’s plan by running the opposite direction. When that failed he expected his death by drowning to end the conflict.

God’s will cannot be stopped. He could have used another prophet to carry out His agenda, but He didn’t.

God chose a way that would not only show his control of every aspect of creation, but would also lead to an object lesson about how long Jesus would remain in the grave after His death.

You see, everything worked together to accomplish God’s ultimate plan in spite of Jonah’s lack of cooperation.

Is there something in your life you’ve been fighting God over?

Have you been running away from a task you know you need to do for God’s work to be accomplished?

Is there something in the Bible you don’t want to agree with even though you know it clearly states it’s God’s will?

I hope you know you can’t win over God. He will win in the end if not sooner.

Too many people quench the Holy spirit’s work in their life to fit in with the crowd they run around with.

There’s no better place to be than in God’s will.

Crowds are made up of individuals led by fickle emotions and whims.

God is the Creator who has a plan for every aspect of His creation.

The more people who work with God’s plan the better this whole planet will be.

Turn your will over to fit God’s will.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

Be Careful What You Stand On

I thought about calling this post “Slippery Footing.” I think the title I chose fits better.

I’ve had trouble standing lately. Not literally, just figuratively.

About the time I think I know what to expect in my life the unexpected occurs.

When the unexpected happens so many times a fella realizes it’s actually normal for him. At least I do now.

Y’all know about my unexpected unemployment in early October. If you didn’t, you do now. We’re far enough along into November that I can safely say I lived to tell about that event.

Now I have companies calling me while I’m driving for someone else. It never rains but it pours.

The Apainter Paul has work coming in, too. So I’m helping him so he can help me, too.

I hope that’s not too many too’s for y’all. If it is then that’s too bad.

One of the first driving assignments, after my mini-unemployment, I accepted was for a company I hadn’t driven for before. It began as a five day gig. Then it became a one day deal. Then a two day thing before it ended up at three days. I felt like I was stuck in an auction on that one.

“Do I hear five days? No, then can I get one day…how about two. I have two can I get three days? Sold at three days.”

The next week Paul found a lady who had neglected the shrubbery around her houses for too many years. He told me I could work there as long as I wanted to or until it was caught up. I just finished clipping the shrubs around the front house when she came out to pay me for the day. She didn’t want to leave the two dogs alone while she was gone to work. She feared they’d tear the inside of the house up in their panic.

That was rug number two that got yanked out from under me. Three if you count the unemployment spell, which I won’t so don’t.

There was that couple excited about buying the Webster family farm in October. They were scheduled to sign papers November 1. It’s still the Webster family farm the last I heard. That influx of cash sure would have been a welcomed sight to my budget, but it isn’t so it ain’t.

Yet another rug gone.

Paul had a couple of jobs come in almost at once so he asked me to commit to him for the remainder of last week. I already committed to a company for Monday and Tuesday. Then company A called and asked if I could drive to Houston for them on Tuesday. I felt like a ping pong ball in a fierce competition.

I made great progress on the house Paul left me with by the end of Friday. I called The Apainter and asked if I could borrow his taller step ladder and extension pole to finish up on Saturday. He was impressed and said. “Sure thing.”

So I drove by his place, got his stuff and drove home stopping for gas and some groceries now that the previous week’s check was posted into my account. As I was on the final leg of my drive home Paul called…gulp.

“I got to thinking about how work is looking for next week. I’ll be done with the house I’m working on Monday. If you finish your house tomorrow I won’t have anything to do the rest of the week. Can you stop by after church tomorrow and return my ladder so I have it to finish that house you were working on?”

I’ve heard people say they regret things they’ve said occasionally that they wish they hadn’t let slip out of their mouths.

After a few seconds Paul had one question…”Wade, are you still there?”

“Yeah. I’m here. Sure, I can swing by after church tomorrow.”

He didn’t want to know the names I had for him that I left silent in my brain. Since he’s done so many huge favors for me I was grateful prudence won that round.

After I punched the “end call” button on my phone I sent up a prayer complaint.

“You know, God, that first rug being pulled out from under me was bad enough. This has gotten old in hurry. When is this going to stop? Where can I stand that’s safe from these falls?”

He knew I knew the answer to that question before I let it slip out of my noggin.

That rock is Jesus. Ain’t nobody nor nuthin’ going to let me slip off that foundation.

I got a call Saturday afternoon for a possible assignment driving to Shreveport that evening. I took it to shore up my budget constraints.

These unexpected things to me aren’t any big surprise to God. He’s got this all worked out for His glory.

All I have to do is keep standing then putting one foot in front of the other.

I’m in His will even when I fall.

I just have to get back up…and so do you my friend.

Keep smiling.   Wade

Stress is Spelled M-Y L-I-F-E

Thursday I drove from Ft Worth to Amarillo. I’ve done it several times and lived to tell about it. So, what made it so different this time? It was 86 degrees when I left Thursday afternoon. On Friday morning it was 38 degrees.

Being a native Michigander I knew enough to check the forecast before I left. Still having permafrost in my bones from four decades in the frigid winter wonderland I knew well enough to dress in layers when it’s cold.

I didn’t bring a dress, but I did bring extra layers of clothes to add during the night. That north wind still blew right through this Texan’s scrawny body.

My illustrious illustrator contacted me during my trip north by northwest. Normally that’s a good thing, but this time a series of miscommunications and misunderstandings only added to my stress level after one of the most challenging months of my life…and that’s saying a lot.

The good news is that it sounds like we’re nearing the home stretch on the storybook app that’s been three years in the making so far. The bad news is this came close to derailing it.

We both agreed it sure felt like there were unseen forces at work during this episode to end all episodes.

Prayers are appreciated as I decide how to program this app so it’s the best it can be.

On another front of my life I’m glad I didn’t spend that inheritance money from the sale of the family farm just yet. The folks who were so eager to buy it a few weeks ago have gone AWOL.

They’re scheduled to sign the papers and pay for it on November 1. They had a death in the family. The realtor hasn’t been able to get in touch with them at all. No deposit was collected.

Pray for God’s will here. The realtor has someone else interested if this falls through. Maybe they’ll pay more for it. We’ll see.

I’m counting on living off some of this money while I focus on making the app. It’s all coming together in God’s timing. I’ve just become used to His time clock running a lot slower than the one in my life.

Yeah, it’s frustrating, but I trust God with all my heart, soul and life. He’s always come through for me. Even during this most financially difficult month in my life.

I had an interesting experience Sunday morning at church. Our church puts food baskets together for poor families in our community each November. I handed out reminder cards to folks as they entered the sanctuary.

Having experienced near bare shelves in my own pantry recently I have a special kinship to these needy folks.

I prayed for an extra dose of generosity from our generous congregation this time around.

Most of the people thanked me as they took the card from my hand. They’ll likely respond positively.

Some couples grabbed the church bulletin from the first greeter then got tunnel vision as they almost sprinted past me.

Being a fairly small person to begin with I’ve felt invisible in the past, but this wasn’t what I expected from God’s children on Sunday morning in God’s house of worship.

I admit, I don’t know how much, or what kind of stress they’re facing in their lives right now. They might want to trade Octobers with me in a heartbeat.

I prayed for God to open their eyes to the world around them and for an extra dose of grace as they heard the message from Pastor Chuck.

I can’t change what happened in October. There are some things I definitely wish I could have a do over.

I don’t know when I’ll have all of the ingredients I need to finish Have You Heard of the Herd.

I do know it will all work together in God’s timing for His glory. He promised me that in His word.

If your life feels like a freight train about to crash find a promise in the Bible you can claim for your situation.

Don’t tell me there isn’t one there.

There are 365 “Fear not” statements scattered throughout the sacred text.

That’s one for each day of the year.

Just hold on to any one of those little nuggets.

God is bigger than any problem you face, my friend.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

Battle Song

“I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes.”

King Jehoshaphat kept walking back to Jerusalem. He couldn’t shake the prophesy of Micaiah about King Ahab dying in this battle. “Why weren’t you fighting at the time?”

“My brother just received a gash on his leg before it happened. I pulled him to safety. When I turned around I surveyed the scene to see where I should go back to fight next. That’s when I watched one of their guys draw back on his bow and let an arrow loose over everyone’s head. That arrow had Ahab’s name on it from God as far as I could tell cuz that’s where it came down. Hit him square in his chest.”

Jehoshaphat shook his head. “It split right between that narrow slit in his armor.”

The remainder of that walk was conducted in silence.

Jehu met the king at his house. “God is not pleased that you allied yourself with Ahab. But He’s happy you took down the idols as you seek Him.”

******

King Jehoshaphat spent the following weeks setting up judges in every town in Judah. “Make sure you don’t take any bribes. You don’t answer to me, but to the LORD Himself. Amariah will be in charge of matters concerning the LORD. Zebadiah will focus on any matters I need to know about.”

******

One day a messenger arrived out of breath. “There’s a huge army heading this way. They’re from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir as far as we can tell.”

King Jehoshaphat stood up from his throne. “Declare a fast through all of Judah. I will seek the LORD’s counsel on this matter.”

Men, women and children showed up from every town. Jerusalem was filled beyond capacity when the king entered the temple.

The priests stood behind him. “LORD God, You drove out the inhabitants of this land You promised to Your friend Abraham for his descendants. You restricted us from attacking the Moabites, Ammonites and the people of Mount Seir. Now they’re coming for us to annihilate us. We aren’t strong enough to win against such a massive army of trained soldiers. Please come to our aid. Nobody can stand against You.”

The silence was broken by Jahaziel. His reputation as a man of God was well known. “This is what the LORD has to say to you, King Jehoshaphat and all the people of Judah. Go out tomorrow to the battle, but don’t worry about the outcome because the LORD will fight for you. You’ll find them at the brook by Jeruel. Don’t be afraid.”

When Jehoshaphat bowed his head so did everyone else. Some of the Levites sang praises.

******

The following morning found everyone ready to leave Jerusalem into whatever lied ahead.

King Jehoshaphat stood at the gate. “Don’t be afraid. Believe the LORD’s prophets. The battle is not ours, but God’s.”

He looked at the crowd. “Who will lead us into this battle?”

“Um, shouldn’t the king do that?”

Jehoshaphat shook his head. “If this was my war I would. Since God has promised us victory and said He’d fight for us we’ll let the Levites lead the charge with praise songs.

The Levites stepped forward singing, “Praise God who loves without end.”

Everyone followed the song’s praise.

Jehoshaphat pushed ahead when they reached the hill overlooking the valley the enemy was in.

The scout stationed on the hill saluted him. “Sir, you’re not going to believe this, but they’re all dead.”

The king smiled. “Tell me when you get to the part where I’m supposed to act surprised. What happened?”

“I was watching them get ready to fight. Then I heard singing behind me. Before I could tell where the music was coming from the men of Moab and Ammon turned on the guys from Mount Seir. Once they were wiped out they turned on each other until nobody’s left.”

The people spent the next three days picking up anything of value the soldiers left behind in what was named The Valley of Blessing.”

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

This is one of those fight scenes the folks in Hollywood would never dream up.

“It could never happen that way. Not in a million years.” They’d say.

That’s why God didn’t use Hollywood insiders to write the Bible. He’s too unpredictable that way.

About now you might be wondering why God stopped this massive army from wiping out the people of Judah.

The short answer is because He wanted to.

The longer answer is because they sought His advice on how to fight against them. King Jehoshaphat was one of the better kings because he did his best to abide by God’s laws and take down any idols anyone might want to worship. From there God stood up for them.

Jehoshaphat’s weakness lied in the fact he supported the northern kingdom too much. They never came around to following God’s decrees.

So, what enemy is coming against you today?

Do they seem insurmountable and invincible?

How long have they been breathing down your neck?

I have some advice for you. Stop looking at the enemy and look to the God of the universe who is waiting to help you overcome them.

Once the people of Judah were assured God was going to win this battle for them they took as unusual an approach to going out to battle as anyone I ever heard of. They sang a praise song before the fight.

Have you ever thought of doing that?

Two weeks ago I was facing some unexpected unemployment with growing debt. I sang the hymn It Is Well on my way home from church that Sunday. God has showed up in mighty ways ever since that experience.

I’ve read the end of the Bible. Guess what.

Our side wins in the end.

Don’t focus on the problem, my friend.

Focus on the God who promises to move mountains if we have faith the size of a mustard seed.

It actually works.

I’ll see you later.   Wade