Called to Fail

Where am I? Who is that sitting on a throne? His robe is incredible. It’s filling every part of the floor.

Those beings over the throne…who are they? Why do they have wings…six wings on each one? They’re using two to fly with, but why are they covering their face and feet?

The seraphim spoke in antiphonal chorus. “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD God Almighty. The whole earth is full of His majesty.”

Their sound is so amazing. It’s even making the door posts I’m standing near shake. That must be…Oh, I’m done. My mouth is so foul. How can I be in the presence of God?

One of the angels flew to the burning altar, picked up the tongs and carried a live coal to Isaiah. He placed it on the man’s mouth. “This has made atonement for your sins. You are safe now.”

God looked at him. “Who shall we send to tell My message?”

Isaiah stepped forward. “Send me. I’ll do it.”

“Go and say, ‘hear, but don’t listen. Look, but don’t see.’ Dull their senses so they won’t do anything about what you say, otherwise they’ll turn and be saved.”

Isaiah swallowed the lump in his throat. “How long will this last?”

“Until the cities are abandoned, the houses are vacant and the land is desolate and resting. I will remove them far away, but I will leave a remnant. A tenth will remain like the growth from a stump after a tree is cut down.”

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

The call of the Prophet Isaiah is one of the most incredible accounts in all the Bible. The symbolism is so rich. Messages are littered all over the retelling of it all.

I don’t want us focusing on that. We’ll let the scholars hash all that out.

Since this is a series on prayers in the Bible I want us to ponder the message God told Isaiah to announce.

This was definitely a divine call of a man by God Himself. Isaiah even got to live after seeing God on His throne. He interacted with the angels who attend God in worship.

How could Isaiah say ‘no’ to the Creator of the universe. So he didn’t.

But, then he asks for clarification of what his job will entail and how long it will last.

In today’s numbers-happy culture we’d expect a grand awakening or incredible revival. Instead Isaiah is told he’s going to me an epic failure.

Isaiah was given the unenviable task of telling the last generation before Judah’s exile what God wants them to hear, but they won’t listen.

I often wonder if Isaiah wanted to back out of this calling at this point. I know I would have wanted to.

I think that’s why God set up this grand show of Himself to Isaiah before He let him know what he was going to do.

Isaiah would have this memory and experience to hold him firm to his mission.

I’m so glad Isaiah was obedient, otherwise we’d have missed out on some of the most incredible Messianic prophecies in the entire Bible.

So, what does this all have to do with us?

I was afraid you were going to ask that question. I’m not sure you’re going to be comfortable with my answer.

I truly think we’re at the same place Isaiah was at in his life.

History has proven that the most powerful civilizations last approximately 200 years. The United States of America has passed that threshold.

Many experts believe China is developing into the next world power. I’m not saying that’s bad or good, I’m just making an observation.

Looking around the world today I have one thing to say.

At best America in on the decline, at worst the entire world is near the end of its existence.

The nation of Israel, then the divided nations of Israel and Judah, were God’s chosen race of people who would bring about God’s redemption.

They were promised prosperity if they obeyed God’s laws and exile if they chose to not obey.

That’s a simple formula that’s complicated to carry out.

Power corrupts. Jesus confronted the religious leaders of His day for that very reason.

It’s human nature to want to take control out of God’s hands so we can get our own way. The breakdown of too many marriages have littered God’s people for that very reason.

Governments today are getting folks to depend on them more and more so they can control them. People are more comfortable with someone they can see having that type of control.

That’s not God’s ideal. He’ll put a stop to this nonsense someday…it could be soon.

That’s what makes our life like Isaiah’s. We have a message from God to tell. People don’t want to listen to it but we must still tell it.

What they do with it is their responsibility. Giving God’s message is our responsibility.

God never blamed Isaiah for folks not listening. He knew it was going to happen.

God loves people so much He wants to give them every possible means of coming into His kingdom. He’ll keep begging them to listen by sending His message as often as possible.

God promised Isaiah a tenth of the people would remain. If only a tenth of today’s people respond that’s still an amazing amount of people spending their eternity with God to experience His love.

They won’t make that decision if they never hear God’s message. We’re being sent with that message of love, forgiveness and grace.

I’m amazed every time I hear of someone in the United States of America who hasn’t heard who Jesus Christ is.

That’s why I volunteer when my church puts packages together for the homeless and poor.

That’s why I write God’s message in as many ways as I can.

That’s why I love each individual I come in contact with.

I’m God’s message and so are you.

Jesus came to personify God to us.

We must go and tell.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

A Christmas Medley for Y’all

I didn’t know what I was going to post for Christmas this year. This was important since I usually send out a new post on Monday morning and Christmas falls on a Monday.

While driving to Lubbock this week I experienced both kinds of snow…falling snow on the way into Lubbock Friday, and fallen snow on the return trip Saturday.

I’ve been teaching myself how to sing better as I drive by listening to a voice coach give voice lessons on a CD. While I’m driving I sound pretty good, if I do say so myself.

Saturday’s drive inspired me to sing some Christmas carols in advance of the holiday. I came up with three that have a similar theme and tone so I decided to sing them for y’all here on my blog. Silent Night, O Little Town of Bethlehem and What Child is This?…first verses only.

As I listened to the video I realized I don’t sound as good in my apartment as I do in a semi. I hope you enjoy these songs as much as I want you to.

Feel free to sing along. Maybe our voices will sound better together and you’ll enjoy them even more.

For a bit of a twist I sang Jesus Loves Me after the three carols. Then I made a new verse to tie it into the Christmas theme to make it a carol, too.

Merry Christmas my friends.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

My Month as Santa’s Helper

December 2017 will go down as the month I got to live out a life goal. I spent this past month helping Santa deliver cards, letters and packages between Dallas and Lubbock. So, I guess I can check this off my bucket list.

As of the writing of this post I still have a week to go, but since I can’t think of anything else to write I’ll give you a glimpse of what I experienced.

Since every drive has been done during daylight hours, 90% of the time anyway, I think I’m getting back into a normal sleep pattern. That means I’m becoming normal again.

I remember telling folks when I was a teenager that I never wanted to be considered normal. Now it feels good to be able to say I’m getting back there.

Anybody who knows me will be glad to hear I don’t expect to stay anywhere close to normal for long. I’ll be Wade again before you know it.

It took half a month to get my budget caught up to the comfortable level, but it’s there. Now let’s see how long it stays there.

It does feel good to be able to give some money to an orphanage in Uganda and pay for a family’s lunch after church yesterday.

I truly do enjoy being generous. I don’t know why God won’t keep me at a level where I can maintain this giving lifestyle.

As far as wildlife goes I’ve seen starlings, grackles, crows, ravens, black vultures, turkey vultures and turkey turkeys…an ascending size for black birds.

One of the tom turkeys was even strutting to get the attention of one of his hen friends. I guess he wanted his friend with a benefit or something.

White tail deer are out this time of year. The bucks are still sporting their antlers. There was one nice 8 point buck with a harem of does. I think he thinks he’s a elk or something. He definitely had things going his way that day.

Some critters bring a song to my mind, not always a song I want stuck in my mind either.

Prairie dogs always make me think of the movie Caddy Shack. “I’m all right” pops into my mind when I see them out eating whatever they eat.

Road runners have the same effect on me. You can tell how old I am when that theme song starts running through my mind when I spot one of them.

Meadow larks are in abundance along my route. No, the Globetrotter song doesn’t pop into my mind when I see them. I guess Meadowlark Lemon wasn’t as much of an influence on me as a cartoon bird.

I saw a covey of quail one day. Unfortunately two of them got too far out into the road as I spooked them up. I hope the one survived. The one that hit between my side mirror and driver’s door got the crap scared out of him in the least. That’s the smudge that was left on the window as a reminder of our encounter.

I’ll never forget the horses I saw running one day. There’s a ranch that raises them. As I drove by last Wednesday there was a field of them running somewhere. That was a glorious sight to behold. I wished I had my phone/camera/video thingy running to record that event, but, alas. I only have that recollection in my noggin.

Just think of dozens of horses running just for the joy of running. What brings God’s joy to you?

Taking the northern route to Lubbock brings me through some fabulous canyons. My favorite rest stop has a red dirt canyon on both sides of the road. I feel like I landed on Mars when I stop there, which I do as often as possible.

The spot is called the narrows because the canyon on the north side of the road eventually empties into the Mississippi River. The canyon on the south side of the road drains into the Gulf of Mexico. That’s what the plaque at the rest stop says.

Indians have been using the same trail for centuries before TX-114 was built.

I fully expected to experience some bad winter weather this month. So far the roads have been dry.

There was an ice storm scare for the second week. Fortunately it stayed south of my route. I hope the last three trips are as event free.

The window company needs me the two weeks after Christmas and New Years Day. After that I’m back to waiting for the phone to ring for my next job assignment.

I know God knows what’s in store for me then.

He hasn’t let me down yet. I’m sure He won’t start now.

Stay safe out there my friend.

Keep smiling.   Wade

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