Prophet Training

Elijah’s hands were shaking as he left King Ahab.

God’s voice was clear. “Go to the Brook Cherith. You will drink the water from it. Ravens will bring you food.

Elijah went to a secluded place overlooking the Jordan Valley. The sun was near the western horizon.

Two ravens landed in the tree he sat under. They hopped to a branch near him. One dropped a slab of unleavened bread on the rock near him.

The other raven held a roasted chicken leg in its beak. Elijah lifted his hand. The bird dropped the meat in his palm.

The scene repeated each morning and every evening.

Elijah contemplated his message to the king of Israel. ‘No rain until I say it will rain.

That is what God told me to say. Right?’

The brook became smaller by the day because of the drought.

One morning the ravens didn’t show. The brook was dry.

Elijah sent up a prayer. “What now God?”

“Go to Zarephath in Sidon. A widow will care for you there.”

The trek seemed longer than normal. Thirst will do that to a person.

Finally the city was in sight. A woman was picking up sticks as he approached.

“Excuse me. Can I have some water?”

The woman stood, then nodded before she walked away.

Elijah’s stomach growled. “And could you bring me a piece of bread?”

The woman stopped. Her hands fell to her waist. Two sticks bounced on the dirt. “I…I don’t have any bread. Honestly. I’m picking up enough wood to bake the last bit of flour and oil I have for me and my son. Once that’s gone we’ll wait to die.”

Elijah swallowed the lump in his throat. “Bake me a cake from what you have first. My God will keep enough flour in the bin and oil in your jar until it rains again.”

The woman looked closely at Elijah. “You’re from Israel. I’ve heard of your God. I’ll be back.”

She brought Elijah some fresh bread. Then they went inside. She bake some bread for herself and her son.

This continued each day.

One day Elijah heard the woman scream downstairs.

He climbed down to see what was happening.

She was rocking back and forth on the floor. Her son didn’t move in her arms.

She stared into Elijah’s eyes. “Why have you come here man of God? Are my sins too great for me?”

Elijah walked across the room. “Give me your son.”

He took the lifeless body up to his room and laid the boy on his bed. Tears ran down his cheeks as he looked up.

He fell on top of the body. “Why, God?”

He stood and wiped more tears away.

He laid over the child again.

He stood and fought off the doubts and pain.

He laid on his bed again. The boy’s body was colder each time.

“Dear God, return his soul to him.”

He felt movement under him.

He jumped up.

The boy coughed, then cried.

Elijah laughed. He picked the boy up to comfort him.

He carried the lad downstairs and handed him back to the widow.

She stared in disbelief. Then she laughed. “Now I know without a doubt your God is real.”

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

Have you ever put yourself in Elijah’s sandals? Too often we’re too familiar with some Bible stories to fully appreciate them for what they are…accounts of real people in real time.

Elijah was just a man living life one day at a time.

Then God dispatches him to give a message to the wicked King Ahab.

Before anything can happen to him by edict of the king God tells him where to hide and provides for him with birds.

We’re not told how long the prophet was out there all alone. But, he was alone.

Solitude is one of God’s favorite conditions to place some folks in to get their attention.

It gives time to think about what’s important in life. ‘What shall I do next…and when?’

‘Is this God I can’t see really someone to be trusted?’

‘How long will this drought last anyway?’

We aren’t told what went through Elijah’s mind as the brook became a weak trickle.

The time of solitude did come to an end.

When did you last spend time just thinking about what’s really important in your life?

Widows didn’t have many options for income back then. Many don’t now.

Yet, God chose a woman with a son and just enough food for the two of them to send His man to.

I don’t think Elijah knew what God was up to when the words came out of his mouth.

Flour and oil don’t appear out of thin air…unless you have faith in God and God wills it.

I’m not about to tell you all you have to do is believe and it will happen to you too. God is too unpredictable for that.

That widow didn’t deserve to be provided for any more than any other widow. God showed her grace.

But, what about her son dying? Was God any less gracious then?

It didn’t appear that way to anyone in that house. Until God showed up again.

Miracles don’t happen every day. They didn’t then. They don’t now.

I’ve known people who’ve been given a way to keep the house they’re living in by some means they didn’t get until the day before they were going to lose that house. I’ve known others who lose it all in a fire.

God doesn’t answer to you. He didn’t answer to Elijah. He calls the shots in this world. Period.

All things do work together in God’s economy and His timing.

I don’t know why you’re going through your tough time.

But Elijah was being built into a man with a steel spine for a hard task ahead.

Trust God to know what He’s doing.

He has a plan.

He’s developing you, too.

Remain faithful and He’ll let you know what He has for you.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

Jury Duty…YIKES

The yellow postcard came in the mail a few weeks ago. I received them before so I’m kinda used to them now.

“You are summoned to appear for jury duty.”

It’s been a few years since I went. I’ve never been selected to actually sit on a jury and hear a real-life trial in person and have to decide the fate of somebody I’ve never met.

Now you know why I put YIKES in the title.

I’ve been called for jury duty in many locations I’ve lived in. I learn something new at each one. I feel like a veteran jury duty person now.

I sat in the big room with everyone else who got a yellow postcard the same day I did. We waited and watched the video about jury duty. They added some funny clips from some movies to keep us awake.

Then they called out some names to go out and follow a nice bailiff somewhere in the courthouse.

My name was called out on the second set of names. A few years ago my name never even got mentioned so they let me go home before noon.

I went with the group to courtroom 4. They seated us in the order our names were called in.

From previous experiences I knew my seat was one of the hot seats.

Lawyers from each side ask questions to get a feel for who they want or don’t want to hear this trial. Each one gets to say who they don’t want. I was in the second row of two and a half rows.

One person in the first row made the cut. Five of us from the second row heard our names called to sit on the jury. Gulp

Fortunately this wasn’t a life or death case. We had to decide which of the young parents was beating up on the other. A daughter was caught between them.

The ex-husband was accused of hitting her in several ways the day after Christmas.

The ex-wife was bringing these charges against him. He claimed she had the anger problem.

From the opening statements from the lawyers it was obvious somebody was lying. That was our decision to make.

The young woman took the stand and gave us a blow by blow of what she claimed occurred.

A very nicely dressed woman brought a piece of paper in and handed it to the ex-wife’s lawyer’s assistant.

Shortly after that her lawyer asked to approach the bench. We were an hour into the trial and were told we’d likely take a break every hour or so.

We were told to go to the back room and wait.

We sat in silence for another hour because we were told we couldn’t even talk about the case amongst ourselves.

When we were finally escorted back into the courtroom the state’s lawyer stood up and told the judge the charges were being dismissed.

We filed back to the back room followed by the judge. He told us this was the quickest case he had ever heard.

Apparently the young woman was involved in another case that was about to cross over into this one and make it a real mess for her.

We were thanked by the judge and told our jury duty status was fulfilled for the next two years at least.

Truth is a funny animal sometimes. It has a way of rearing its head when you least expect it to sometimes.

I have a quaint little hobby of mine I probably shouldn’t get involved in, but it’s kind of enlightening.

I answer some of those spam emails where somebody is calling out for help to accept a large sum of money before they die of some terrible disease.

I send the bare essential information to keep the spam scam going for as long as possible.

It’s amazing how the death bed turns into a visit request or the person is in another country for some reason.

I prefer to stay bound to the truth in my life. The facts are much easier to remember that way.

Of course being adopted by the one who claims to be the Truth is the best place anyone can be grounded.

If more folks found the rest they need in Jesus then there wouldn’t be all this mess in life.

Families would get along better. People would look for ways to help each other rather than trying to take something from someone else.

All I can do is tell as many people about Jesus and the love He offers and the truth that sets men free.

What they do with that truth is up to them.

Help me get the word out.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

Another legend went Home this week, Stan Toussaint

One advantage of attending Stonebriar Community Church is the chance to rub shoulders with some remarkable individuals. Many of them are associated with Dallas Theological Seminary.

One disadvantage of this advantage is feeling a deeper loss when they’re called Home to be with the Lord. Stanley D. Toussaint is now in the presence of Jesus.

Dr. Toussaint suffered a stroke a few months back. The long-term effects left him unable to speak. When something like that occurs to one of God’s saints who depended on his voice for ministry it makes you ask God, “why?”

He taught the largest adult fellowship at Stonebriar. It’s called Marathon because it’s made up of mostly elderly folks. Their marathon called life is nearing the end. Stan crossed his finish line…or has he?

Dr. Toussaint has been teaching at DTS since 1960, longer than I’ve been alive. One of his early students was a young marine named Charles Swindoll…he’s now our senior pastor.

Click on the image below and watch the video with it. I’m sure you’ll recognize some names of other students like David Jeremiah and Irwin Lutzer. You see, Stan’s impact is still going out today even though he’s been silenced.

Stan Toussaint filled the pulpit several times for Pastor Chuck. He usually told us he was from Hinckley, Minnesota. “Where men are men, pansies are flowers and the women are all above average.”

He never used notes for his message. His points were usually five to match the number of fingers on his hand. “I know a sermon is supposed to have only three points,” he would quip, “but, I know you’re super intelligent people so I’m using five points today.”

As you’ll see in the video Stan was a gentle man, and a gentleman.

I had the privilege of shaking his hand one Sunday morning during Church. When I told him I was from Michigan he mentioned that he spoke at the Maranatha Conference Center before.

When I told him I was there a couple of years ago for a writer’s conference he paid special attention to that and asked me what I write. That’s the kind of man I want to be when I grow up, always noticing others.

The Marathon class shrunk after Stan could no longer teach. He’s leaving some mighty big shoes to fill.

Polio at a early age left Stan unable to run a marathon. Toward the end he could barely walk, but he kept at it just to please the Lord.

The Marathon class will carry on. There will never be another Stan Toussaint to teach it. It may never reach the number of attendees it once had. The core group of folks there will always remember Stan.

I don’t know if anyone will write anything like this after I’ve gone Home to be with the Lord or not.

I’m pretty sure I’m impacting a few lives in my life.

The only real accolade I’m reaching for is the same sentence I’m sure Stan heard when he saw Jesus face to face. “Well done, good and faithful servant. Well done!”

Stanley D. Toussaint (1928-2017)

I’ll see you later.   Wade

A Dr. Seuss-ish Post

I have some opening lines in my head. They seem a bit like something Dr. Seuss would write so this could get interesting. I guess I’m letting y’all into a writer’s brain for a change…this writer’s brain anyway. Here goes…

What if a dog and a frog sat on a log?

Would there still be enough room for a hog?

Of course a hog wouldn’t sit on a log.

I’m just wondering with a bit of brain fog.

The dog and the frog could jump off the log.

The poor hog would end up in a tumble.

The three could still be friends in a jungle.

When they get hungry all three tummies would rumble.

When they walk all twelve legs would stumble.

If a bee flew by perhaps it would bumble.

But now eighteen legs could search for food.

The bee is too big for the frog to eat…that’s good.

So the four friends would still will be in a good mood.

When they get cranky they might become rude.

Instead they keep walking in search of some food.

As time goes by they find a small lake.

Because they’re thirsty their thirst they will slake.

The frog will jump in, make no mistake.

The hog will roll into a big muddy cake

When the dog comes out his whole body he’ll shake.

The bee will fly up and watch his friends having fun.

They’ll continue to walk. Being warmed by the sun.

For a little while they might even run.

Food they still need. It’s still problem number one.

The farm up ahead must belong to someone.

The dog finds a bowl with food he finds fond.

The frog slips back into his favorite pond.

The hog goes into his pen that is round.

Mr. Bee bumbles back to his nest in a mound.

They all take a nap and remember that log.

There you have it. What do you think?

Perhaps Mr. Toddler Whisperer just wrote a best-selling picturebook in less than an hour. Or maybe just this week’s blog post on a Sunday afternoon.

Keep smiling.   Wade

Lessons from the Toddler Whisperer

Another summer with the toddlers has closed for the Toddler Whisperer. Since I never had children of my own I get my grandfather fix during the summer months. More firsts were encountered. More lessons learned by this old man.

God directly answered one of my emails at the very beginning of the summer. When I entered room C119 I quickly discovered there were ONLY 6 cardboard blocks in the entire room. A toddler whisperer can’t possibly effectively toddle whisper with only six blocks…especially when some of those were bent.

So I sent an email to the lady in charge of the kiddo department at my church. She quickly sent in a requisition for more cardboard blocks. When I showed up to whisper the following Sunday I was met with astonishment before I ever got to C119. Somebody donated some blocks during the week…before the requisitioned ones could get there.

It just goes to show that prayer takes on many forms. When we don’t know what to ask the Spirit groans for us. When God’s kiddos need blocks they’re going to get there quicker than a toddler can knock them down. Trust me…that’s pretty fast.

I shared a few posts back about becoming a toddler magnet one Sunday when one of the boys ran straight to me rather than welcome the hug from one of the women volunteering then. Well, the following Sunday I was transferred to a different room with younger toddlers. The exact same thing happened to me there.

I know for a fact I had never seen the second boy. Apparently grandfather fixes work both ways. Some people need to have a grandfather figure in their life too.

They say we’re all built with a God-shaped hole in us that only God can fill. People try every sort of substitute only to be disappointed. Well, little kids need someone with skin on to fill in for God until they understand how to regain that all-important personal relationship with the Creator of the universe.

It’s quite on honor to fill in for God at such a crucial part of a person’s development. I don’t take that lightly.

A third first surprised me to no end. Toward the end of the time together we go to a different room with other rooms of kiddos for story and singing time. It’s called JAM time. JAM stands for Jesus And Me. After then we come back to our room and play until the parents come to claim their toddler. No, we haven’t had one kiddo left unclaimed…yet.

Well, one Sunday I began stacking blocks…as usual. Laughter soon began as the blocks fell repeatedly. My arms were getting tired from trying to stay ahead of the falling.

Usually when the parents arrive the whole world stops and the little toddle legs carry that small person to the door as quickly as humanly possible…not this Sunday. This boy heard his dad’s voice and he started crying. I told you a toddler whisperer can’t possibly effectively whisper without cardboard blocks.

It made me wonder how many people are going to do that exact same thing when the rapture occurs. How many folks will be so caught up in their life on this planet that they don’t want to leave it?

Now me…I’ve experienced so much heart ache and loss I can’t wait to go Home to be with the Lord.

But, who among us will yearn for another month to complete that degree they worked so hard for? How much of a loss will somebody feel when they were so close to making their first million dollars? A woman held her purity til her marriage night only to be taken to heaven the day before her wedding. Will she regret her life here then?

Will there be crying while we’re being lifted off this planet because of unfulfilled dreams here?

I hope not, but I don’t know. I never thought I’d see a boy cry when his dad came to pick him up neither.

How about you? What will your attitude be when you hear that trumpet blast?

Are you so earthly minded that you’re no heavenly good?

Or, are you so working for the kingdom that you can’t wait for it to begin?

There’s nothing wrong with trying to make money, or completing a degree or staying sexually pure. There’s everything right about those endeavors if you have God’s will for you in the front of your mind and heart.

Building a strong family is also important. But, if you’re doing it for your legacy on earth you’re missing the bigger and more important picture of everything.

If you look back and see your family wondering what happened to you as you ascend to heaven during the rapture you will be crying and regretting you missed it all.

It’s not too late to do the right thing.

Pray for wisdom and clarity about your daily life.

Ask God to become preeminent in all you think and do.

Focus on meeting His agenda in building His kingdom by leading your family and friends to Christ before it’s too late.

You won’t care how long your bucket list is when you see Jesus face to face.

I know I won’t anyway.

Keep smiling.   Wade

IF…THEN

Solomon climbed on the bronze platform in front of the new temple, the crowning achievement of his young kingdom. The crowd before his was vast.

He fell to his knees. The bronze sang a solemn note.

Solomon’s hands raised toward heaven.

“LORD God of Israel, there is no god like you in heaven or on earth. You keep your promises to those who commit their way to You. You promised David, my father, that he would have a son build You a house to dwell in. Today that commitment is kept. Now continue to uphold Your word by keeping a son on Israel’s throne as long as we follow Your words and commandments.

“But, how can a God who cannot be contained in all of heaven abide in a building? Indeed, this building can contain Your name alone. I beseech You to stay attentive to prayers said in this place. Listen to the broken and contrite, LORD.

“When people pray toward this place hear from heaven and forgive.

“If neighbors take an oath judge between them. Bring retribution on the wicked and justification on the righteous.

“If your people are defeated in battle because of sins against You and they bow before You to confess their wrong then hear from heaven and forgive the sinner to return the land back to them.

“When You shut off the rain because of sin and Your people come and confess their sins then hear from heaven and return Your blessings to our land.

“When You send a plague of any kind and people come to this temple I have built and confess their guilt to You then hear from heaven and heal the land to return your people to prosperity.

“When a foreigner comes to this temple to pray to You because they recognize Your awesome power hear from heaven and do all that is asked of You, LORD.

“When Your people are in battle and they pray toward this place then hear their plea and fight for their cause.

“When your people sin against You, for all sin, and You carry them off to a distant land. When they recognize their failures and pray toward this temple I have built hear their cry and return them to this land for Your great name’s sake.

“Now, LORD God, come and dwell among Your people in the temple according to the promises You made to David.”

Fire came down from heaven and consumed the offering waiting on the altar. Smoke filled the temple so that the priest could not enter it because it was the presence of God.

God appeared to Solomon at night. “I have heard your prayer and will dwell among My people in this temple. I will hear their petitions to forgive when they confess their sins. I will heal their land as I hear the humble who turn from their wicked ways.

“If you continue to follow Me as your father David did then I will uphold the throne of your kingdom, but.

“If you turn away from Me and follow other gods then I will uproot these people from this land and this house you have built for me will become desolate. People will shake their heads and ask why this structure has fallen. ‘Because they forsook the LORD their God who brought them out of Egypt,’ will be the reply.”

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

This public prayer from King Solomon received a private reply from God. Oh, God did show Himself when fire came down from heaven and smoke filled the temple, but the king did hear directly from THE King.

The more I read this passage of scripture the more it became obvious this is a series of If (or when)/then statements.

Wise Solomon knew God required conditions for blessings and cursings even if he didn’t complete the required ceremony Israel’s kings were supposed to carry out.

He thought of several scenarios where people would need to pray to God. He even recognized his own personal need to follow God’s commandments.

Still, the next two decades found everybody loosing focus and drifting away from the God who kept His promise here.

God’s response to Solomon’s prayer was a more concise if/then prayer. He promised to hear the contrite and heal the land. He even promised Solomon a similar covenant to David’s ‘if’ he continued in his steps.

When success comes to people too young it’s difficult for them to keep focused on the real prize, God’s heart.

Saul had no preparation to become a king. He quickly failed.

David had to live in hiding from Saul for several years. Then he had to fight for the kingship before it took hold. He finished strong and became known as a man after God’s own heart.

Solomon was handed the kingdom at the age of 19. His dad fought off their enemies so Solomon inherited a peaceful time to reign. His foreign wives stole him away from this God he just prayed to.

So, where are you in this mix?

Are you still struggling and fighting? Or are you succeeding and building?

If God has you struggling then take heart, my friend. He’s building you into a better servant leader. You’ll be used in ways you never thought you could be used in His timing.

If you’re successful stay on your guard, my friend. Satan will do his best to knock you off your pedestal and flat on your face.

Everybody needs to stay grounded in the word. Encouragement and direction come from the same source.

God wrote His truths down for us because they don’t change, and neither does He.

Society will tell you things are different. We’re more enlightened now.

God made us and He knows whats best for us.

Satan is still whispering in Eve’s ear, “You can be like God.”

I’m here to tell you that lie is still a lie.

Only God is God.

The rest of us answer to Him.

Just ask Solomon.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

I Think My Identical Twin is Charlie Brown

I’ve heard it said that everybody has an identical twin somewhere in the world. The longer I live the more I’m convinced my twin’s name is Charlie Brown.

Apparently Charles Schultz watched my life story when he came up with the idea for this fictional character. If he didn’t he sure could have.

You remember Charlie’s friend Lucy? She’s the one who would hold her finger on a football and egg poor Charlie to kick the ball. Then Lucy would yank the ball away at the last second. Charlie was putting so much effort into kicking the ball as far as he could he always ended up on his back.

That’s been my business efforts thus far. I had one guy who was all gung ho about having me create a logo for his young business. He told me what he was looking for. Nothing too complicated for my simple mind to grasp. He offered to pay half up front. I told him to give me a couple of hours to see what I could come up with.

Two hours later I made what he was looking for. I felt good about finally getting this thing off the ground. I shot him an email with the logo attached…nothing. I called him…no answer. I messaged him through the link we met up with…still no response. I sent up a prayer. “Okay, God. Did you kill this guy off in those two hours I was working for him?”

A couple of months later I called again…he answered. He remembered me then said they decided to go a different direction. He didn’t even know the direction I was taking them in. So there I am lying on my back.

Charlie liked to fly kites for fun. The only problem was every time he sent a kite up it inevitably got caught up in a tree. I literally had this happen to me in college during spring break…but that’s another story.

That’s been my writing history. I have a few different books in various genres. I’ve spent several years going to conferences in many parts of the country looking for an agent or publisher who might be interested in what I wrote…cricket chirps is all I get.

So I decided to self publish with a company that gave me a great price to get it done…only to have them go out of business before they printed my copies I paid for. Pesky trees anyway.

Charles Schultz decided to give our friend a bit of a love interest eventually. Do you remember who it was? That red-headed girl was the only thing she was known as if my memory serves me right…which it sometimes does.

I have some advice for poor Charlie. Leave those red heads alone! Wife number one was one…she left after too many failed expectations and such. So I asked God to bring someone else along who He wants me with. You guessed it…another red-headed woman.

Just like our friend Charlie it takes alot of nerve for me to ask a lady out…especially when I’ve been rejected by the love of my life recently. Nothing like having someone rip a scab off a wound before it has time to completely heal.

The difference between Charlie Brown and me is that he’s a cartoon character. He never gets a chance to grow up and change. Me…I have no choice but to grow up and change.

The business is showing hopeful signs of taking flight. It might be as far as the Kitty Hawk’s first flight, but it will be positive progress. From there the sky’s the limit.

I have another self publishing company calling me about reprinting my 100 Prayers of a Writer book. They say they’re interested in showing it off at the world’s book fair or something like that. We’ll talk further about it Monday morning.

I was sent a lead for my middle-grade book, Eek’s Gifts. It’s a Christian publisher expanding into youth and children’s books. Oh yeah, I’m excited about this prospect.

As far as my love life is concerned…well, let’s just say I’m taking it easy for now. I kept berating myself for not talking to the red-head every Monday for too long. It sure looked like God was giving me indications He wants us together. I kept telling myself “if God wants us together it will happen. Just give it time.”

Well if God wants us together then He needs to let red know about His plan, too. Until then I’m waiting for God to send the next woman to rip that scab off. Ouch!

Seriously, I’m just doing the best I can to delight myself in the Lord. It’s up to Him to give me the desires He wants me to have.

I’m simply doing the best I can, one day at a time, to follow His leading.

That’s all He expects of any of us.

Let’s keep putting one foot in front of the other my friends…to the glory of God.

Keep smiling.   Wade

What is Success?

Everyone wants to be successful. I understand that completely. Why is it so hard to achieve something so popular?

Perhaps it’s because too few people are willing to do whatever it takes to be successful.

It’s like writing a book. A lot of people say they want to write a book. What they really mean is they want to have written a book because writing a book is a lot of hard work.

After you come up with a story line you have to develop the characters. Then you need to decide on the setting and time period.

Eventually you get to sit down and actually write the story…which takes a long time to do it right.

The first draft usually isn’t very good, but you have something to work with now.

Editing a story can be draining. Every detail is dissected to see if it’s relevant and necessary.

If you have a good team of friends who actually know what makes a great story you’re in luck. Otherwise you have to pay for that help to improve your book.

When you think it’s finally done you send it off to publishers, agents and anybody you think might be interested in what you slaved over for several months or years.

If nobody shows any interest you either revamp this story or start all over again.

That’s why very few people get published.

Thomas Edison spent a lot of time trying to get his electric light bulb working. After several hundred failed attempts his friends tried to get him to move on to something else.

“It obviously isn’t going to work.” they insisted.

“Nonsense,” Edison replied, “I now know of hundreds of ways it won’t work. That’s all.”

I like to think of success as imitating the sun. You get up every morning and paint the sky whether anybody is watching it or not.

You do it because God is counting on you to do it.

That story might not be for the masses to read. It may just be an exercise in obedience to God.

It’s not just writing stories I’m talking about. It’s whatever you do with your life. Do it to glorify God and you’ll be successful whether anyone else appreciates it or not.

Awards might come to you in this life. If not God has something very special planned for you in the next life.

Count on it my friend.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

A Legend Went Home Last Month

Ray was introduced to me by Jim.

Jim was recently widowed. I knew him and his deceased wife from the adult fellowship I attend. He’s in his seventies.

Ray met Jim in another adult fellowship Jim had moved to try to move on from his loss. Ray was a diminutive gentle man in his nineties.

When the three of us went out to lunch together we spanned quite a few years…50’s, 70’s, and 90’s.

The common bond of Jesus drew us to Stonebriar Community Church. The fact we were all without our wives pulled us that much closer.

Jim faded from the scene as he struggled to fit in. I still see him from time to time.

Ray and I often sat next to each other during the second service. He would give me updates about the airplane he was building. I guess a little old guy needs something to pass the time of day with. He completed that project last fall.

Another mutual friend informed me Ray was in the hospital a couple of months ago. He recovered fine from that.

Since I’m volunteering with the toddlers during second service I hadn’t seen Ray in a while. The mutual friend told me last Sunday Ray went home to be with his Lord the previous week.

Two of his daughters were with him as he slipped into Glory. Ray opened his eyes wide right at the end. One of his daughters asked him what he was seeing. His arms lifted off the bed before his body went limp for the last time.

Ray was being escorted Home at last. I have no doubt he heard Jesus tell him, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” the next second of his existence.

Ray served his Lord well as a missionary with Wycliffe Bible Translators. He was one of those gifted linguists that learned a native tribe’s language by living with them. Then he would develop an alphabet so he could invent a written language for these folks.

From there Ray translated the Bible into this new written word. Ray did this TWICE IN FORTY YEARS.

That’s when he became a legend in my mind.

The second time Ray had to buy a boat because that was the only way they could access the island those people lived on. Indonesia is like that.

With a lack of modern entertainment Ray could be found fixing something. That would endear him to the native folks. Eight children proved there were other means of entertainment that didn’t require modern conveniences.

Ray likely met some of the people who were introduced to Jesus from his work. I’m sure more will follow.

My writing might surpass Ray’s quantity of saved souls someday. Maybe not. That’s not really important.

God doesn’t keep score on such matters. He gives each of as an assignment to carry out.

Ray did the best he could to fulfill his mission. I must now give it my best, too…and so must you.

You probably won’t travel outside of the country you’re in now. I might not either. We don’t have to to be effective for God’s kingdom.

Do your best to touch the folks you come in contact with. Your neighbors may not see another Jesus in their lifetime.

They do know you’re a follower of Jesus Christ…don’t they?

If not then begin there. Live different from your culture if it doesn’t adhere to Jesus’s teachings. Don’t jamb Jesus down their throats. That isn’t very effective.

Show them the peace Jesus offers during your trials. They’ll come to you wanting to know your secret. I’ll give you a hint…Jesus shouldn’t be your secret. He needs to be made known for everyone who asks.

Sometimes translating the Bible doesn’t require a written language. Living it out is often more of a challenge, but that’s our assignment, my friend.

Let’s pray for each other to be better examples of Jesus.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

ONE WISH FROM GOD

Solomon led the delegation to Gibeon after his speech and feast. He paused when they crested the hill. The tabernacle Moses built always made him pause.

They spent the entire day offering burnt offerings to God. Most were commissioned by the king. Others he did himself. The total offerings by days end was one thousand.

A tent was erected for the king. The trip back to Jerusalem would wait until after a good night’s sleep.

As Solomon slept God appeared to him. “Ask. What shall I give you?”

“You were so gracious to my father. David now has a son sitting on his throne. But, your servant is only a boy. How can I effectively lead this great nation for You? They are more numerous than the sand on the seashore. I don’t know the best way to lead. Give me, please, a wise and discerning heart so I can judge rightly.”

God smiled. “You could have asked for great wealth, the death of your enemies, or long life. Instead you requested a wise heart. I will grant you the wisdom you seek. Nobody will be as wise as you either from before your time or after. I shall also give you immense wealth such as has never been seen and peace from your enemies. If you keep My commandments as your father David did I will also grant you long life.”

Solomon’s eyes popped open. He looked around. After a few seconds he remembered where he was and why he was there.

The dream was so real, but was is true?

King Solomon returned to Jerusalem. He made peace offerings and burnt offerings near the ark of the covenant. Another feast was made for the people.

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

Dreams are interesting places to be. Your mind can imagine so much when your senses aren’t involved.

Solomon had just been established as the king of all Israel, God’s chosen people.

David’s military might gave them peace from all their enemies. Wealth was pouring in from surrounding nations to keep the peace intact.

Solomon was about nineteen years old, still a teenager, when the responsibilities of ruling fell upon his shoulders.

Parties were an easy thing to do for a young king.

The other responsibilities were another animal all together.

David taught his son the importance of worshiping God.

Sacrifices were an easy way to appease the deity.

Did he expect God to talk directly to him?

Being asleep the young man didn’t have time to think. His most immense desire would be utmost on his heart and mind when God asked him the ultimate question.

How would you reply?

How do you think you would answer God if He asked you for one wish?

Look past the immediate in your life currently. If you did that a year ago it would have been totally different. A year from now it will change again.

One way to approach this subject is to ask you, “what do you most want to be remembered for?”

Solomon was known as a wise man, but he was still stupid in many ways. A truly wise person loves the Lord God with all his soul, strength, mind and heart his entire life. He blew it big time.

You have one choice to make. What do you most want in this life?

Check your motives before you answer.

If it’s fame you want you’re barking up the wrong tree. Fame is fleeting.

If you desire wealth you can lose it in a moment. Money burns quickly.

Family is important, but individuals make bad choices. Love hurts.

What does you heart truly long for deep down?

My answer will probably be different than yours. That’s why God creates individuals. I’ve had time to think about my response before writing this post.

Life has been super crazy busy lately with work. Truck driving comes with a lot of challenges, especially when you drive for a temporary agency. You have to take assignments driving during times you’re normally sleeping. I can’t do much while driving, but thinking is something I can do on the open stretches of roads.

Personal relationships have been a challenge for me lately. Then I realized those have changed, so that can’t be it.

A steady source of income would be extremely good, too. I’m working toward that end, but there’s still more to life than that.

More free time to help at church more is a goal of mine. It goes deeper than that, too.

I thought back to almost exactly nine years ago as I write this. I was listening to a sermon on the radio. A point in the middle of the sermon struck me between the eyes.

“Nothing sets God off in a spirit of celebration as when a lost person comes to faith in Christ.”

I was at home. Barb was asleep. I turned off the radio and let the tears flow down my cheeks. My prayer was simple.

“Break me. Break me. Use me.”

I repeated that several times before I finished my request with another statement.

“I want to give You a reputation for being a party animal.”

When I decided to attend Grace Bible College back in the early 80’s I thought I’d discover God’s calling for my life while I was there.

I didn’t.

But my desire to serve Him has always been my main desire.

I didn’t know how, or if, God would answer my prayer that night. A few weeks later I was writing my first book.

I had never taken a writing course in college or high school.

Now I’m writing songs.

I can’t play any instruments.

When God decides to use a person He doesn’t need experience. He needs willingness.

You may know what talents God has given you. Are you using them for His glory?

Don’t think you can’t do anything for God. He’ll bless the smallest gesture done in His name.

Remove your mask. Drop your guard.

What can God do for you?

I’ll see you later.   Wade