The Trial-Final

Mr. Stone said “your honor, I can let the scene run as long as needed to make the point if you wish, but I believe I have already shown Mr. Tomei began showing contempt for all things sacred even as a young man”? The judge sighed and said, “No, Mr. Stone, your point has been made,” and instantly the screen faded back to black. The Judge looked over to the defense table and said, “Mr. Vivam, would you care to counter”? The attorney stood and said, “yes your honor, I would like to enter into evidence Exodus 2:12. Moses killed an Egyptian, yet still went on to lead God’s chosen children out of bondage. The capacity to sin does not make a soul disposable to God”. The scene of Moses burying the dead man in the sand scrolled across the screen and then was replaced with a scene of Moses leading his people across the divided Red Sea. “Many good things have been accomplished by those who have behaved badly at times your honor.” Next the screen showed a homeless man asleep against a building with a light coat of snow on his clothing, he was shivering in his sleep. While the court watched Sal removed his coat and covered the man with it, and the court could feel the compassion in Sal’s heart as he had helped the man. “Human lives are complex your honor, very seldom does one act, or even a series of acts define the motives of the soul”. The defense lawyer then sat back down as the prosecutor’s eyes bored holes through him.

Mr. Stone stood and rattled off the next exhibit quickly, and a scene shot onto the screen of Sal taking change from a sales clerk. Sal walked down a sidewalk with the cash still in his hands, counting it again and again, he was nineteen years old at the time. Your honor, this exhibit shows Mr. Tomei knew in his heart that the clerk had given him change for a fifty instead of a twenty, and yet he chose to keep it rather than return it. Another scene came up of Sal doing his taxes when he was thirty-one, and taking a deduction that he was not legally entitled to. “Your honor, it would appear that dishonesty was more of a way of life to the defendant rather than an occasional error.” Other scenes flashed up on the screen as Sal recognized them and knew the prosecutor was right. This was terrible, having your life examined under a microscope like this. He looked over at Mr. Vivam and once again, the man winked at him. This guy was good, but Sal didn’t see any way that he could continue to be defended for things that he knew himself he was guilty of. When Stone was through, Vivam stood and said “Your honor, I present Genesis 25:29-34 into evidence. Jacob stole his brother’s birthright and then he and his mother deceived his father by even going so far as to wear a disguise to deceive his father Isaac. What a despicable man he must have been, yet God chose Jacob to be the father of Israel”, the scenes playing before everyone.

Stone jumped up and said, “Your honor is the defense going to be allowed to discredit every example that the prosecution gives”? The judge said “Settle down now Mr. Stone, it isn’t my fault or the defenses fault if you didn’t prepare your case properly. Now let’s move things along, what is your next evidence? Stone stood and said “Lust your honor, lust. The defendant has a record of being led to lust after women. The defendant became sexually active as a teenager, and for the sake of the court I am holding the evidence of this from the screen, but I count three girls to whom he was not married that he engaged in sexual relations with, and all before he met his wife Karen. The lust didn’t stop when he got married your honor; it seemed a theme every summer when women’s clothing became scarce, Mr. Tomei’s eyes would roam. I enter into evidence Matthew 5:28, which means Mr. Tomei not only lusted, but committed adultery each and every time he lusted.”
Mr. Vivam rose again and said “Objection your honor, I enter 2 Samuel 11, David not only physically engaged in adultery, but because of that he had the husband of the woman killed too. Yes, this was a despicable act to commit as well, yet in Acts 13:22 the Apostle Paul states that God Himself refers to David as “a man after My own heart”. Yet if Mr. Stone were to have his way, David would not be fit to inhabit the Kingdom with God as he does. Your Honor, even the Apostle Paul had a thorn in the flesh, in Romans 7:15 he even said, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Are we going to continue to waste the courts time by pulling these things up one by one, we haven’t even gotten to the subject of grace yet your honor, but if this continues it will be my next response. Mr. Vivam then sat and looked to the judge.

The courtroom was silent as everyone looked to Stone for a response. Finally he stood and said “Your honor, I really didn’t want to, but I now present multiple examples of repeated sin that Mr. Tomei knew was wrong but chose to go ahead and do anyway. The screen flashed shameful scene after scene as Sal placed his head in his hands and began to weep silently. It was then that he felt a hand on his shoulder, and he looked over at Mr. Vivam, who had a slightly discernible smile on his face, and Sal couldn’t help but wonder what the lawyer still had up his sleeve. The audience continued to murmur as the scenes flashed before them. That’s enough Mr. Stone, the judge said, and once again the screen went blank, are you finished or should we expect more? Mr. Stone had a smirk on his face as he looked over at Sal and said “the prosecution rests your honor”.

Mr. Vivam slowly stood and looked toward the screen as an image came on of Sal on his knees beside his bed. “Dear God, please forgive me for the things I do, I am a sinful man with sinful ways. I want to be pleasing in your sight Lord, please give me the strength to change and become pleasing to you. I will never be able to earn one bit of my salvation, it is only through the blood of Your Son that I can be made worthy, so please wash me and make me white as snow in your sight, and remember my sins no more.” Your honor, Jesus blood was shed for this very type of sin, the sin that while he knew was wrong, the flesh was weak. Mr. Stone continues to waste the court’s time by trying to re-instate the Old Testament laws into New Testament judgment. I move that all charges against my client be dropped and the court recognize that he is indeed innocent, any and all sins quashed, forever forgotten and his soul made white as snow. With that, the screens all lit up again and the memories began to be deleted at lightning speed until they were all gone. The judge nodded and looked at Mr. Stone who surprisingly smiled at Sal and nodded too. The judge rapped the gavel once and said “case dismissed”.

Sal looked over at Mr. Vivam and said thank you, thank you so much! The defender smiled and peeled his gloves off one by one, then shook Sal’s hand. It was then that he noticed the scars on the defender’s wrists. Not knowing what to say, he looked at the Man for an answer. Jesus, My name is Jesus Christ, but sometimes I go by Aquam Vivam, which is Latin for Living Water. “Congratulations”, Sal turned to see Mr. Stone removing his gloves too; he also had scars on his wrists. My name is Peter, he said, although I have been called both a rock and a stone over the years. Sal couldn’t help but wonder, why did we have to go through all of this if you both knew how it would end? Peter answered, because you needed to be justified. Jesus had to defend you and that is why you are here. Without His sacrifice neither of us would be where we are now, free to spend an eternity in heaven with God. As they entered the white hallway again, it was no longer endless, but opened out into the clouds. Any questions Sal had were gone, as were any worries or anxieties, nothing but pure happiness remained as the transformed sinner walked between Jesus and Peter toward the clouds.

The judge said to the prosecutor “You may proceed with your opening arguments Mr. Stone”. The prosecutor said “Thank you your honor. The court will prove Mr. Tomei’s guilt on the charges of conduct unbecoming based on fifty three years of repeated offenses-. “Objection your honor, are we going to judge Mr. Tomei from birth or from the time when he knew wrong from right, which in his case was from about the age of eleven”, the defending attorney asked? Sustained, Mr. Vivam, but let’s allow the prosecution a little latitude in stating their case, agreed? Okay your honor; the defender said waving a hand dismissively.

The annoyed prosecutor began again, “As I was about to state before I was interrupted, Mr. Tomei’s life is all the evidence we need to discover who his true god in life was. From the age of eleven then, he began breaking commandment after commandment, beginning with honoring his father and mother. I will lay out my case piece by piece until the evidence clearly shows that this soul is not fit to be in the same place as God our father. Nothing about him is innocent, and therefore he must be found guilty before this court”. Mr. Stone then took his seat at the prosecutor’s table and the courtroom became silent except the hushed whispers coming from the audience.

The judge then looked over at the defense table and said “Mr. Vivam”? The defense attorney stood and said “Your honor, I will prove today that my client is innocent of all charges and will be an asset to the kingdom of heaven”. He then sat back down and silence retook the courtroom once again. The judge then said, very well Mr. Stone, you may proceed.

Standing, the prosecutor said Your honor, the prosecution would like to enter into evidence exhibit 12-02-1972/15:38 as the first example of his violations. A screen on the wall came to life and Sal remembered it immediately, a fight with his dad when he was a kid. He had wanted to go out and play with his friends, but his father had said no because it was snowing. Sal had a runny nose already and his father didn’t want him to get a full on cold, so he must stay inside. Sal watched as he went to his room and looked out the window at his friends sledding at the hill across the street, he wanted to be with them so badly. His longing turned to anger against his father, and for the first time, he cursed his dad. “Broken commandments your honor, stated the prosecutor, if we aren’t going to hold souls accountable for them, then why have them? He then retook his seat and the judge looked over at the defense table as Mr. Vivam stood.
Your honor, I would like to enter into evidence Luke 15:11-32, and instantly the scene of Jesus telling of the parable of the prodigal son came onto the screen. Your honor, the son clearly did not honor his father, yet Jesus left the example of forgiveness in this parable.
“Objection your honor, Mr. Stone said shooting to his feet. Mr. Tomei showed no remorse for this sin, and forgiveness requires remorse”. Mr. Vivam continued “not the case your honor, in the example of the prodigal son, the example shows in verse 15, an argument could be made that the man was driven by hunger rather than remorse. Another argument could be made in verse 18-19 that the prodigal wasn’t convicted, but was planning what to say in an effort to manipulate the father into taking him back. Jesus made it plain that forgiveness doesn’t require remorse to be given.”
The judge looked over at Mr. Stone and said “he does have a point counselor, sustained”. I will have to overlook this evidence counselor. He then looked down and said, “Please continue Mr. Stone”.

Mr. Stone stood again and said, “If it pleases the court your honor, I would like to enter into evidence exhibit 07-04-1978/21:35. The screen came alive again, and the color drained from Sal’s face as he recognized the scene. It was in his friend Don’s bedroom, he had been seventeen, and Don’s parents had gone out of town for the weekend. There were beer bottles everywhere, ashtrays filled with stubby cigars and cigarettes, and his friend Kevin was passing him a bong. As the court watched Sal had drawn deeply from the pipe, and the view from Sal’s eyes was blurry at best. He wanted to stand and scream “stop, please”, but he couldn’t, and Mr. Stone let the tape roll as the boys began to talk about girls in their stoned stupor. It got worse and worse as the scene rolled on and on, and Mr. Vivam reached over and placed a hand on his. Looking to his lawyer, Mr. Vivam winked down at him.

To be continued.

The Trial-Part 2

The hallway was so long he thought as he followed the man into the light. Finally Carson slowed and turned to the left, where a large set of double doors was visible. This is as far as I go he said, opening the doors for Sal. Thanks, I guess Sal said as he shook hands with the man and walked into the large cavernous room that lay beyond. After the door behind him was shut, the brightness was gone and a large courtroom lay before him and it was like something out of a movie.
Large panels of dark mahogany made up the walls all around with ornately carved crown molding around the top. The ceiling was covered in a mural like the Sistine chapel, with God’s hand reaching down out of the clouds and David’s hand reaching up. There was a full audience of people seated in pews on both sides of the entry, and they were all looking at him. A wooden fence separated them from two carved tables, prosecution and defense he assumed. The two teams of fine suited lawyers were also staring at him too. Behind a huge wooden desk up on a platform was a man wearing a black cloak, and Sal assumed correctly that he was the judge that would be presiding over the trial. One thing that struck Sal was how everyone was dressed. They were all wearing very formal clothing, and atop each person’s head was a silver wig, like the courts in days of old used to wear. It didn’t stop there, they were all wearing white pleated gloves too, including everyone in the audience; it was all very strange.
The judge motioned him forward as he felt someone take his arm and move him forward. Looking to his right, he saw that there was a bailiff in uniform holding him at the bicep. He was ushered through the gate and into the gallery at which point the judge looked up over his readers and said, “Salvatore Tomei, You have been remanded into the custody of the court of heaven by the prosecutor of earth until such a time as you can prove your innocence of the charges that have been leveled against you. You have been formally charged with “adultery, debauchery, lust, lying, cheating, stealing and the list goes on. Because of the complex nature of your charges, the prosecutor has agreed to reduce your charges to one all-encompassing charge. That charge is “conduct unbecoming a Christian” which carries a life sentence, an eternal life sentence that is, in the lake of fire if you fail to prove your innocence and are found guilty. How do you plead?
Sal stammered, terrified and convicted all at once, but before he could say anything the lawyer to his right shot up and said “your honor, my client pleads not guilty to all charges” and then as quickly as he spoke, he was silent once more. Okay, based on your not guilty plea you will have the right to due process, and your innocence will proven or disproven in this court, so please be seated. Sal was ushered to the defense table where he sat next to the fine dressed lawyer who would apparently be defending him. He leaned over and said hi, are we going to have some time to confer with one another first, before the trial begins, he asked? No, I don’t need any time to prepare, I have everything I need right here in my briefcase, he said. The man opened the battered leather case, but the inside looked nothing like he expected. The top portion was all screen, and the bottom was all keyboard, but there were thumbwheels and other things Sal didn’t recognize. The man leaned over and said “this will take a minute to boot up, so please be patient”. The screen came to life, and immediately he found himself looking into his mother’s eyes. She was younger than he ever remembered her being, she looked tired and she was swaying back and forth. The lawyer leaned over and said, “This is the first thing you ever saw in the book of your life, you were just born, and this is the memory of your mother holding you for the first time”.
This is the memory of your life the attorney said, patting the briefcase; your brain was downloaded into this case the moment your life ended on earth. The prosecution has an identical copy that they have used to build a case against you. Sal was fascinated looking into his mother’s eyes; she was so young and pretty. While he watched the lawyer swiped the mouse pad and the screen scrolled, landing on another face, a pretty girl he recognized right away, although he hadn’t thought about her in years. She was the first girl he had ever kissed, and he now recognized her face in the dark cab of his dad’s truck. He felt a cold chill run up his spine as he realized where he had been and what came next. The lawyer looked over and smiled, then swiped the scene to a different place; a beautiful snowcapped mountain took the place of the girl and Sal relaxed a bit as he recognized a ski trip he had been on as a youth. “Relax son, I’ve got this” said the lawyer, patting Sal’s shoulder, “This ain’t my first rodeo”.

To be continued.

The Trial

Salvatore smiled down at the little guy walking with him along the riverbank with a fishing pole twice his height slung over his shoulder. They hadn’t caught much of anything, but it had been a wonderful day. Sal loved that kid more than he thought was possible; they were buddies in the warmest of ways, being a grandpa was great! They stowed the poles in the bed of the truck, popped open a couple of sodas from the ice chest and sat on the tailgate.

Sal sat quietly and listened as Josh told him all about Ms. Rose, his home room teacher. She was so pretty, and her lips were always so red,” how come ladies have different colored lips grandpa”? Sal chuckled and was going to explain lipstick when Josh went on, saying that he had seen ladies with pink lips, red lips, brown lips, and even one time at the mall he had seen one with black lips, and she was dressed all in black too. And how come all us guys lips are the same color grandpa? Sal was laughing inside as he chuckled again and told his grandson all about lipstick. If everyone has kinda pink lips to begin with grandpa, then why do the ladies all want to change the color of their lips, do they not like them? Before Sal could answer, Josh also said that he had also seen her hair color change, that sometimes it was lighter than others. Sal chuckled and said “Josh, we best save some of those mysteries for when you are older”; just know that the ladies will always be a mystery to some degree. Sal raised the tailgate and felt a sharp pain in his chest, but it left as soon as it came and he wrote it off to the jalapeno pepper he had eaten with his sandwich at lunch.

That night as Sal and Karen sat at the dinner table, he told her all about Josh and the questions he had asked. Sal became as animated as Josh had been as he did his best to recount everything. Karen laughed at the wonder in Josh, and the newfound wonder in her husband’s eyes. He had come alive again when Josh had arrived, and he was anxiously awaiting their daughter Tara to bring Josh’s sister into the world, but she still had two months to go, life was good. As Sal brushed his teeth before bed he had another stitch in his chest and thought “that darn pepper”. He took two Prilosec and headed for bed.

Sal woke abruptly, that stitch in his chest now a fire, but as soon as it came it also went and no longer hurt. He lay back down on his pillow and tried to go back to sleep, but it was no use, so he threw his feet over the side and stood up. No since in waking Karen up he thought, looking over at her sleeping quietly on her side, but what Sal saw next took his breath away. There on the bed next to her, with his head on the pillow was Sal; He was looking down on himself. Fear and dread flooded his soul as he did a double take and tried to figure out what was going on when he heard someone clear their throat behind him. He turned around and saw a man bathed in white standing behind him. The man extended his hand and said “hello, I am Carson, and I am here to escort you Sal, you have passed on.”

For lack of anything else to do, Sal cautiously took the proffered hand and walked through the bright doorway that now stood where Karen and his bathroom used to be. It was just like the accounts he had heard about, bright light and long hallway, I guess that’s good he thought as he followed the thing that called itself Carson down the hallway. Was it an angel he wondered, it didn’t seem to have any wings? As if in response, it turned and said “no, I am not an angel, but merely a resident of the kingdom of God. I help out with the transitions; it makes things easier if you have a guide. Sal lit up inside, “this is it, I have made it and I am actually about to see Heaven, he thought.” Sensing, no “knowing” his thoughts, Carson turned around and said “I’m sorry, but not yet Sal, first you must stand in judgment.”

But what about the white light, I thought that indicated I was in he asked? Everyone sees the light Sal, but everyone then needs to stand judgment before God before they are allowed to enter Heaven, that is the way of things here. Terrified, Sal resigned himself to the idea that he was no longer calling the shots, he hung his head and followed Carson down the hallway.

To be Continued.

I listened to the two young men talk about the events of the previous week. The lines of support versus the lines of protest that had formed outside of the Chick-fil-A restaurants across our nation. I knew one of the young men well. “Brent” is a good Christian man having just turned twenty and is working his way through college. The other one “Nick” a recent college grad about twenty-two, a new employee at my physical therapist’s. I have only met Nick a couple of times, but he also seems like a very nice, intelligent young man as well, and both of them have a great work ethic. 

A television on the wall was cued to the news, where they were still doing stories on the event that had begun as a challenge by the Arkansas governor to garner support for the company and it’s owner to believe as he wishes. As they both gazed at the television, the young newcomer Nick said “All of those Christians have no problem going out to buy chicken in support of this, but you sure don’t see them all at the homeless shelters in those numbers do you? I mean think about it, if all those Christians around the nation came out at once to help the homeless, and did it every day, there would be no homeless.”

I was enraged inside, I wanted to point my finger at him and tell him to stop judging the followers of Christ of the world, and where did he even get that just because those people were all in line, they were even all Christians? Are Christians the only ones who enjoy the food at Chick-fil-A? I think not. I wanted to refute him in every way I could, counting off the reasons why he was wrong to make such a statement, but in the end, I said nothing. I said nothing because I knew that what he said was right. Many of those in line “were” my brothers and sisters in Christ, and they were merely trying to support another brother in Christ who had made a bold statement in a politically correct world, and come under fire for it.

But I must also stop and consider the way I look at people who are in high positions, celebrities, politicians, Etc. who use their positions of authority as moxie to make a point. I don’t like it when celebrities use their status and considerable wealth to influence politicians by whispering in their ears, the Sarandon’s and Streisand’s, Turner’s and Trump’s. Therefore how can I say it is okay for someone on the Christian right to do one thing that I think is wrong for someone on the opposite to do. I think that if someone is good at being an actress, they should act, or an actor, the same. If someone is a great real estate investor, then that is what they should stick with, as well as a Christian brother who sells chicken. Am I saying that someone should not be bold when expressing ones beliefs? Not at all, I have no problem with what he said, I admire his willingness to stand up for his beliefs, but in doing so, flak is just something to be expected.

The thing that bothered me the most about what this young man Nick said was that I knew he spoke the truth. It made me wonder why he would think such things about us as Christians, had he been around people who were more talk than action? Had he been interested in becoming a Christian and been turned off by our hipocrisy? I knew deep down that what he said was correct though, we are eager to stand up and “tell” everyone what we believe. But haven’t we been doing that since the beginning of time, isn’t it time that we begin to “show” people what we believe by our actions instead?

I cannot speak for anyone else, only for myself. And although I actually like the chicken there (not a huge fan of the waffle fries though), I did not go out and buy chicken that day in support, I was working all day. I am also not much of a bandwagon guy either, preferring not to jump in and swim with the rest of the salmon just because it seems like the thing to do, every time I have done that I always seem to be eating a heaping helping of humble pie afterwards for one reason or other. But I “do” know that I could spend more time giving to those who have a need, and I do know that we as followers of Christ could make a “HUGE” impact on our world if we were to offer up time and money to those in need in the same way that we did in standing by the owner of this company and his right to express his belief in the biblical model for marriage.

There will always be controversy, there will always be platforms, and there will always be the poor as Jesus has said (Matthew 26:11). But our ministry is not one where we will win souls to Christ by standing on a street corner and preaching to those who pass us by, those days are mostly gone. Our ministry will best be seen by our love, kindness and generosity to those who are struggling through life. Nick, the young and idealistic man who recently began working with my physical therapist convicted me. He gave me a view of the Christian conglomerate through the eyes of the undecided, or possibly those who have even already rejected our way because of our willingness to wear our faith as a badge of “pride”, rather than to greet those in need with a washbasin and a towell (John 13:1-17).

So, does this convict you in the way that it does me? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there is anything wrong with anyone who went out and supported this brother, but it shouldn’t be the foundation from which the world sees us as Christ followers. When they think of us, the lines at the Chick-fil-A should not represent what we stand for to them, but rather as servants of Jesus and those He referred to as “the least of these” (Matthew 25:40).

As always, may God bless and keep you!


Hello friends, I’ve missed you. School’s out, well for a few weeks at least. This latest class was the hardest yet, I have been pulling 20 hour days between work and school over the past two weeks. I turned my last assignment in last night, two days late, (only so many hours in a day).

I cannot begin to express to you how much I learned though, and as much as my mind felt like mush last night when I emailed in my reading logs, I can’t believe I am already wanting to contemplate it, to mull over and even share what I have learned, but I am. The last week-finals week was horrible, my final paper was 10 pages, but in addition to that, I had to turn in a weekly paper, but it was pretty subjective, and actually employed a process called “Lectio Devina” or “praying the scriptures”. I am going to post that paper here, because it turned into a wonderful experience, and I hope that if you are not familiar with the process, you will try it. God Bless

Instructions:  Exercise F: Read Matthew 28:16-20 contemplatively. How does God’s word speak to you in this mode? In 2-3 pages share how this text touches you.
Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teachingthem to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

This passage is so powerful, it is actually just nice to take the words simply as they are without performing an exegesis on them and allowing them to settle into my heart. I read this passage several times, probably five, and listened to it in the soothing voice of the audio bible at least four times, quietly with my eyes closed, picturing the events as they were unfolding. I used the method of Lectio Devina.

I saw the disciples all wearing woven robes, many carrying walking sticks for support as they went up the mountain trail to the place that their Messiah had told them they should go. I see them coming to a place where the mountain begins to open up and the walking gets easier again, and they sit and rest, waiting for the miraculous appearance. Some of them begin to complain that they had better things to do than waste a day sitting on a mountain waiting for Him to come back. He wasn’t coming back, He was gone for good

Jesus hovered behind an outcropping of rocks not far away, listening to the voices of His disciples whine as the day wears on, so He decides to make them wait a little longer, and the outcome is predictable. Several of them get up and begin to pace, looking at the sun getting far in the sky, knowing it is lame, but using the excuse that the day is getting away, they should head back. Peter stands up hotly and says “sit down now”, and the disciples know better than to mess with him, so they do as they were told. Jesus chuckles to Himself behind the rock, “Oh Peter, some things never change, I never thought I would say it, but I am going to miss that hothead”, He thinks.

Knowing that enough time has past, He decides to show Himself, so He stands and begins to walk toward them, His sandals flapping quietly against His heels. Peter hears it first and glances His way, then Jumps to his feet and says “Master”, then falls to his knees before Him. The others look up too, but two of the ones who wanted to leave early say ”that isn’t Him” and refuse to even stand, as the others leap first to their feet and then fall to their knees. It isn’t until Jesus walks right up to them and places one hand on each mans shoulder that they realize who it is and fall to their knees too.

Jesus looks down at these men before him and loves them, He remembers washing their feet to teach them about true servant leadership. He asks them to rise, and then to come and sit with Him

He explains that all authority everywhere is His, with the wave of his hand, or merely a fleeting thought, He could extinguish the sun. I have all authority over the Heavens and the earth, and you walked with me, you were with Me when I had a headache, you were with Me, when I walked out to the ship in the middle of the night that night. You were with me when I slept in the stern of the boat and the waves and the wind howled, until I calmed them. You were with me when I did everything that I did, you know that I was God, who came to live amongst you and to die for your sin.

So, I want you to go far and wide, to every nation, city, town and village telling the story of the things that you have seen. I want you to make new disciples in all of these new places, just like yourselves, and I want you to baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Teach them all the things I have taught you, and teach them to obey all of the commandments that I taught you to obey. And I want you to know this, I am with you, I am with you always, forever, into eternity. I will never leave you.

I wondered how someone could see Jesus and not know Him, or doubt that it was Him, and how that must have hurt His feelings inside, but then I remembered that He understands us better than we will ever understand ourselves.

I thought about the great commission, and its relevance to us today, and strangely another passage came to mind, and even in a different context than the passage was originally intended, but when contemplating scripture, God is driving so I defer to Him.

In Matthew 8:1-3, we read the accounting of the leper asking if Jesus is willing to heal him of his affliction, to which Jesus replies, “I am willing”. Here are the passages for reference.  When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before himand said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,”. I think about the great commission that we all as Christ followers have been charged with. It began on the mountain two thousand years ago and continues today, with the same challenge, “Go and make disciples of all nations”. Then I stop and wonder while I wasn’t tearing it up to spread His word far and wide all of my life, and I think of that scripture in Matthew that I quoted above, only we aren’t asking Jesus if He is willing, He is asking us if we are willing? Are you willing to be my disciples and to fulfill this great commission? Do you love me that much? Do you love your family that much? Do you love your fellow man that much, that you would deliver the life saving news of salvation? Are you willing?


I didn’t want to ruin my experience of reading this excellent story by stopping throughout and writing comments! You have transported me, your reader, into your own thoughts and allowed me to be touched by the same things in this passage that touched you. This was an excellent example of a contemplative reading of Scripture and was very moving to me personally! Excellent work!


 [TS1]Yes. And I hope that you still see the value for this in your life. Allowing Scripture to touch you is still a very valid way of God speaking to us. We just have to be careful to not make major theological treatises out of these moments!

Note to readers:

Hello, If you have been reading the “Master of Chaos” series, you will have noticed that I haven’t been putting anything up lately. I want to assure you that the series will continue, but I am back in school again taking “Bible study methods and tools” and it has been taking up what little time I have left over from work and family life. When your schedule gets full to the point where you can no longer do everything that you have been doing, you have to make a choice and put something on hold. So for the time being TMOC is the thing that I have chosen to put on hold.

I have two more weeks of school after this week, and then there will be a break before my next classes begin. So during the break between classes I anticipate learning with you what will happen with Tim and Carrie, the new President and Vlad. 😉

Thank you for your patience, and as always, may God bless you and keep you!


A Fiction Series; Begin Here   The Master of Chaos

The old office was gone, in its place a grand staircase as wide at the base as the entire office had been. The stairs were carved out of black obsidian and shined like glass as they wound ever upward. When they finally terminated at a landing, there were a series of twenty-four thrones also of carved obsidian, and regal in design. Seated at the twenty-four thrones were twenty-four kings wearing twenty-four crowns of gold, and singing praises. Inside the circle of thrones, the stairs began again, although much narrower and arose to another landing. On this landing, there was another throne, much larger and more opulent than the ones below it. The king of kings sat at his throne, wearing a huge gold and jeweled crown, and a silk robe spun from the finest, the cuffs at his wrists were silver, like that of the Alpha and the Omega’s. He smiled at his surroundings; it was good to be king indeed.

Lucifer’s kings were nothing more than demons selected at random to do as they were told, but it certainly made him feel much more important. Lucifer sat and listened to his demons chant in the kingdom he had fashioned after the heavenly one, and he wondered. Everyone was always taunting him with the scripture, every time he had a victory, there was always some angel there to say, “Yes Satan, but never forget how it ends”. He was sick of it, his people were ruling the vast majority of the earth these days, wasn’t it just possible that he could turn the tables on them? Wasn’t it possible he could catch them off guard and write his own future? He loathed the enemy for all of His righteousness, like that was ever any fun. No, Lucifer had a plan, and scripture or no scripture, prophecy or no prophecy; he was bound and determined to hang on to his kingdom no matter what it took. He leaned back in his throne chair and sighed heavily, it was good to be king, or god, yes, it was good to be a god.

                                                *          *          *

                MONDAY EVENING, 7:25 pm

“Are you out of your flipping mind, I would lose my license if I did that” said the enraged man across the table from Sam Preston. The DEA monitors all of that activity, and any abuses or even suspected abuses are ferreted out, besides losing my license I could do jail time on top of it, the answer is no.  Sam looked around the table at the other elders and guests, hoping someone would jump in and help him out. Tim cleared his throat, “Bill, excuse me if I am butting in, but I need you to know something. After this week, your license will be useless anyway; if you come with us you will be in a different state or country. Aren’t medical licenses a state by state thing”? The Dr. nodded, then said, it doesn’t matter though, after all of this is over, I will need to begin a new life for my family, and if I have lost my license then that isn’t going to be possible.

Tim nodded soothingly, then said, “Bill, this is it, there won’t be any rebuilding afterward, what we are asking you to do is help us stock the infirmary in the place God has prepared for us, and do it now while we can. When we leave here, you are never going to be coming back”. Bill sat back in his chair with a stunned look on his face, the realization of Tim’s words sinking in for the first time. Tim continued, “Dr. Jordan has made up a list of common prescriptions that are taken by many for a variety of reasons, and we are going to need a lot of them before we leave. We have 347 people ready to go out all over the city to different pharmacies to fill all of the scripts that the seven of you write, but you have to be willing, and you have to be looking at the big picture, none of these meds will ever be abused, what you are doing is not unethical”. Bill just sighed heavy and said, “okay, I will do it, but I won’t like it”. Tim smiled, that’s good enough for me.

                                                *          *          *

The death of president Conroy dominated the news, flags were to be flown at half-staff for one week, the funeral was set for Tuesday at 1pm. Ted Sackett was just hoping there would be no bumps in the road that would require him to do anything presidential. He had just met with the Army Chief of Staff on budget issues when his aid said that there was a call waiting for him, and that it was president Petrovski. He told the aid that he would take it in the oval office. A secret serviceman escorted the president into the office, and then Sackett dismissed the man, to which the man replied, “I am sorry Mr. President, someone is to be with you at all times”. Sackett just turned and went to the desk without another word and answered the phone. “President Sackett, I just wanted to extend to you our condolences on behalf of every nation in the League”. Thank you Vlad, said Sackett kindly, it was so unexpected, we never suspected that Lerner was suicidal, you think you know someone. Yes, I couldn’t agree more, I never saw president Conroy like that, he was always such a strong man, such a leader. Sackett agreed, thinking how he wished the man was still alive so he could finish the job he had started.

Ted, I am going to be in town for the funeral tomorrow afternoon, I was wondering if we could meet for dinner and a drink afterwards? Sackett had always been impressed with Petrovski, unlike Conroy who thought the man was rotten to the core. Sure Vlad, I can make time, I will have my secretary set things up with yours, will two hours do? That should be more than enough time, said Vlad as he smiled wickedly into the phone, that will be perfect.

                                                *          *          *

                                 TUESDAY MORNING, 1:32 AM

Tim couldn’t sleep, so he was out in the garage going through cabinets, sorting the things that he would be taking from the things he would be leaving behind. He was so tired, and his mind so full and heavy as he went through each cabinet systematically. He found his old ball glove from little league and smiled at the memory, noting the leather was now cracked and brittle. He remembered putting leather balm on it every week, and every time he wasn’t using it for practice or game, he had kept a baseball in the mitt with rubber bands around it, so that the glove would hold its form. He smiled as he placed it in the “to go” box then turned back to the cabinet. He threw a couple of cans of old spray paint away revealing an old stash of Wild Turkey whiskey he had forgotten about, the bottle almost full. He stared up at it for a moment, and then pulled the bottle down and looked at the label, wondering how long it had been there. He unscrewed the lid and placed the mouth of the bottle beneath his nose, smelling the strong drink. Memories of many nights lost in the bottle came flooding back to him, but also the memory of the numbness from pain and hurt, and as much as he hated to admit it, he longed for that escape now. He looked at the bottle longingly, like the forbidden fruit of a lost love, sin whispering into his ear that one night would be okay, no one would ever know about it. He thought about all of the responsibility that had been heaped on his shoulders since the dream-vision, whatever it was that he had had. Why him, surely there were many much more capable leaders than him out there, why didn’t God lean on them. Then he realized he was feeling sorry for himself, so he walked over to the large garage sink by the washer and dryer, and unscrewed the top again. He poured the entire bottle down the drain, then screwed the cap back on and tossed it into the trash. It was time for bed.   God Bless-JFT

To be Continued–

Note: This series is a work of fiction entirely, for entertainment purposes only, all rights reserved.

A Fiction Series; Begin Here   The Master of Chaos

Ted Sackett, the Vice President of the Unites States was already in the air aboard a secure plane circling Texas when news of the Presidents death reached him. Sackett was stunned and overwhelmed at the thought of what awaited him. Ted had agreed to be Conroy’s running mate because he admired the strong man and his conservative values, but Ted had never thought he would ever have to occupy the office of Commander in Chief. Sackett immediately called Mary Conroy to offer condolences on the death of her husband. When the first lady was patched through, she was sobbing as she took the phone. Ted, I am so glad it’s you, because I needed to tell you something, there is something horribly wrong here, Lerner was never suicidal. I knew that man since I was a freshman in high school, and if there is one thing that he wasn’t, it was suicidal. You must believe me, something is going on, don’t you think it is just a bit odd that on the same day there was a horrific nuclear strike in the Middle East that my husband would also be found dead? Ted just listened, he agreed with her that Conroy was someone he never considered weak or suicidal, but he didn’t know what to tell her, so he just said “Mary, I am so very, very sorry for you and Mackenzie, I know this does not sound right, and I want to assure you that I will insure a full and thorough investigation is carried out. We will find out what happened Mary, and if there is anything that you and Mackenzie need, please let me know. I have to go now, I am so sorry but I am being paged as we speak to the videoconferencing room”.

They said their sad goodbyes and Sackett entered the videoconferencing room in the rear of the huge jetliner, immediately seeing the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court waiting for him on the large video monitor. The elderly justice asked Sackett to raise his right hand and repeat what he said; he would be swearing Ted Sackett in as the next President of the United States. Sackett repeated everything that the Justice said, yet he wasn’t listening to the words he was repeating, his mind was racing a hundred miles an hour, anxious at the responsibility that he was taking on now. So much for just riding out this term, he was about to work harder than he ever had before. He wasn’t smiling when he finished taking the oath.

                                                *          *          *

Tim and Carrie were amazed at the outright power and loyalty of their God. They sat in church listening as one by one, four of the elders went before the congregation and opened their hearts about the visions they had all been given. The people in the assembly were quiet as the elders spoke of the one they were told about who would come, and how it happened exactly as they were told. Tim thought to himself that if someone had relayed that story to him a year ago he would have run from the building and would have never returned. Yet now, no one did, everyone was rapt with attention. They told of Tim’s vision where the great angel Gabriel told of a time of tribulation that will come, and that we must leave now without delay, because a place has been prepared for us. At the end, Sam asked if the congregation would give a show of hands who would be going, and everyone was shocked when all of the family heads raised their hands. Some raised them tentatively, seemingly shy as they looked around them to see who else would be going, but in the end, everyone was on board. It was truly nothing short of a miracle, because attendance that Sunday morning was just over a thousand.

The elders ordered pizzas delivered for the entire congregation and they suggested everyone eat and relax for a couple of hours, and then the planning and inventory would begin. Tim approached Sam Preston with a gym bag that he had over his shoulder and waited as Sam finished talking to one of the other elders. “Hey Tim, I think all is going well, don’t you? We have so much to do in such a short time, but it seems as though God is really paving a trail for us”. Tim agreed, and then removed the gym bag from his shoulder and handed it to Sam. Sam, here is twenty-five million dollars in cash; Sam’s face went slack as he took the bag. Start the purchasing of vehicles and supplies first thing tomorrow, have the people who do the buying to go all over the city and buy our supplies from many different locations so as not to raise a flag to spying eyes. Purchase whatever you need, and do not worry; you don’t have to give me an accounting for anything. Let Carrie and I know how we can help, we are at your service, and should you need more money, just let me know.

While they were still speaking, Carrie came up and interrupted them with the news of President Conroy’s death. A chill ran up Sam’s spine as he thought, “everything is accelerating so fast now”. Tim said “Well, if that doesn’t underscore the urgency of the situation, then I don’t know what would.

Tim and the elders worked late into the night, putting everything together that they could think of until they were literally about to collapse. Although it seemed almost impossible logistically, they were shooting for a departure of early Thursday morning. Tim thought to himself, it will take an act of God to make that deadline, but he had no doubt that they would, everything else up to this point had been facilitated by God, Tim had no reason to think God would abandon them now.

                                                *          *          *

Ben-Asher stood at the Wailing Wall alone with his thoughts, it was past ten in the evening, and the crowds had dwindled from the daytime until there was just a handful of people watching him. As the rabbi faced the wall and awaited his next prophetic moment, he heard the click of heels on pavement getting louder as someone approached him from behind. Suddenly he knew who it was approaching him although he had never seen the man before, and he knew his next prophecy was at hand. He turned to face the tall man, who was impeccably dressed in an incredible Italian cut suit, and was wearing dark glasses despite the fact that it was nighttime. The man stopped a few feet from Ben-Asher and was about to speak when the rabbi said, “Take me to the one who has requested my presence”. The man said “this way”, and turned on his heels, leading off toward the avenue. Ben-Asher and his escort rounded the corner and came up the street to a black limo that was waiting for them. The man opened the rear door and held his hand out for the man to get in, so the rabbi complied, climbing into the dark cabin of the car. After the rabbi was seated, a familiar voice greeted him. It was that of Vladimir Petrovski, the supreme leader of the World League of Nations, and the president of Russia. Vlad held out his hand as the rabbi shook it gently.

I know you must be wondering why I have asked to meet with you Ben-Asher. I know you are a prophet, and that you have prophesied the return of Elijah, and I am here to tell you that I am he. I am the one that you have prophesied has returned. Ben-Asher nodded and said, “I know, your highness”. Vlad then explained to the rabbi that he would like him to join his staff as the supreme leaders personal prophet. Ben-Asher wasted no time in accepting the proposal saying, I would be honored your highness.

                                                *          *          *

Brooke sat at the edge of the sparring circle with the other angels she had come to know so well in recent times. Kennady’s name was called to take a turn on the grass, and then Brooke was selected to spar against her. Kennady stretched out quickly on the grass as Brooke stood and prepared for the match. Although they had become the best of friends, it was pure primal battle in the ring; no favors were asked, no mercies given. The two pretty warrior angels squared off and began to side step in a circle, eyes locked on one another. Kennady struck first as Brooke merely leaned back and Kennady’s sword caught only air. The lithe angel then whirled in a roundhouse assault and was surprised to find Brooke gone as she came back around in her 360 degree attack. She looked around quickly to locate the tall beautiful angel when her legs were knocked out from under her. She had been ambushed from behind she thought as she landed on the grass in a heap. Before she could bound back up in her customary fashion, she felt Brooke’s foot on her throat and she turned her face to look up, only to be greeted by Brooke’s gleaming sword. Brooke was smiling wickedly at the other end of the sword and she chuckled and said, “Gocha”.    God Bless-JFT

To be Continued–   The Master of Chaos – XXVII

Note: This series is a work of fiction entirely, for entertainment purposes only, all rights reserved.

A Fiction Series; Begin Here   The Master of Chaos

President Conroy had been awakened from a light sleep and flown out in Marine One along with his wife Mary and daughter Mackenzie. They had boarded Air Force One and taken off in record time; they were still rubbing the sleep out of their eyes when they reached cruising altitude. President Conroy still didn’t know what the threat was until he dressed and appeared in the videoconferencing room on the plane. Secretary of defense Merrill Stroud appeared on the monitor, a grave expression on his face.

Mr. President, I am sorry to inform you that there have been hostile nuclear detonations in the Middle East within the last hour. Conroy’s mouth fell open, and then he said “How bad is it Merrill, give me the straight story”. Stroud said, “It is bad Mr. President, there have been six high yield nuclear blasts in Iran, Tehran seems to be hardest hit because it was the most populous area. Conroy then asked “What happened, Merrill”?

Stroud said “It seems at this point that it was retaliatory, the Iranians launched three high yield nuclear Shahab-3 medium range ballistic missiles at Israel. Israel then countered with Arrow interceptors as a defense shield. The Arrows successfully intercepted all three of the Shahab-3’s before they even reached Israeli airspace. What happened next is still a little fuzzy Mr. President, we are still trying to piece things together, but it appears that sea based ICBM’s were fired from the Gulf of Oman in retaliation, but they were not Israeli. Conroy’s mouth dropped open again in shock, he had fully expected the nuclear explosions to have been retaliatory strikes from Israel, but if not them, then who?

It was the Russians sir, they had a sub in the Gulf, and when it determined that Iran had fired on Israel, it attacked Iran. Russia is currently awaiting Israel’s answer on whether or not they will join the league, I would say Israel will surely join now. Conroy was stunned, he had been hoping he would never see a nuclear strike in his lifetime, much less during his Presidency, and he knew the world would never be the same again.

                                                *          *          *

Tim and Carrie awoke Sunday morning to the horrible news of what had happened in the Middle East. Tim didn’t know where they were headed yet, but he knew it was north somewhere and he knew they had a long way to go, considering they lived in Phoenix Arizona. As he and Carrie watched ANN, the American News Network, they couldn’t help but feel a sense of urgency to get on the road as quickly as possible. President Conroy was on television condemning the attack by the Russians, and applauding the action of Israel in successfully defending itself from attack without counter-attacking. President Conroy said there were still a lot of unanswered questions about why the Russians had chosen to attack Iran. He condemned the Russian attack, stating that while Iran had attacked Israel, it was the government of Iran that had attacked Israel, not the citizens. It was way too early to estimate loss of life, but estimates were already saying it would be over two million people, because all of the warheads had landed in Iran’s major population centers.

As sad as this all was, Tim knew it would help the elders segue into the difficult talk that they needed to have with the church later this morning. While they were watching, a news anchor broke in on the Presidents press conference to say that there was breaking news. The President of Russia, Vladimir Petrovski would be holding a press conference, and the network would be covering it live. They also promised to cut back to the Presidents address immediately following the Russian President’s press conference. Immediately President Conroy disappeared and a podium at the Kremlin became visible. A few seconds later, Petrovski quickly took the podium and greeted the World League of Nations, and any of the other nations that may be watching.

While Tim and Carrie watched, he told of the events that had occurred, and their response to them. A covert nuclear sub had been on a cruise in the Gulf of Oman when radar had picked up the launch of three medium range ballistic missiles from Iran. The destination of the missiles was quickly determined to be Israel, and the missiles were identified as Shahab-3’s. Recently, on ground intelligence in Iran has reported that Iran had recently fitted advanced nuclear warheads onto ten of the missiles. Our on ground intel. even provided us with photographs of the nuclear armed missiles, and based on the intelligence that we had, we were able to verify that the missiles that Iran launched were Shahab-3’s, and it didn’t take much imagination to realize that they were the nukes.

Upon realization that Israel, and even Palestine were under attack, we had an opportunity to defend Israel, and launch a crippling attack against Iran, and I made the snap decision to do so. Had those missiles reached Israel, the vast majority of the country would have been destroyed. Even though the missile defense was successful, Iran would not have stopped, they would have kept firing everything they had until either they ran out of missiles or they successfully destroyed Israel. The world has been reaching out to this tyrannous regime for decades without results, it is time our world lived in peace.

Yes, sadly there were innocent people killed, and a lot of them, but every war has casualties, every war has collateral damage, and sadly the innocents of Iran had to pay that heavy price because of their countries leadership. I also caution any world leaders that have aspirations of starting new wars or performing terrorist acts against any nations that belong to the league, an attack against one is an attack against all. The time for tyranny is past, peace is the future for the League of Nations, and anyone who would take that away will be dealt with in the same manner as Iran. He paused for a moment and seemed to gather his thoughts, then smiled warmly and said “I would like to welcome our newest nation Israel to the League of Nations, they have kindly requested membership in the League, and they were accepted with open arms. Vladimir then began clapping enthusiastically as the crowd surrounding his podium also began to clap. Tim and Carrie couldn’t believe it, the largest nuclear strike of all time had just occurred and the Russian President was clapping warmly and congratulating Israel for becoming a member of his club. They knew one thing; they needed to get out of here soon.

                                                *          *          *

President Conroy was beyond angry; he couldn’t even give a press conference in his own country without being interrupted anymore. The networks had cut him off to carry the press conference given by the Russian President, he was taking top billing even in America these days. Conroy leaned back in the plush leather desk chair at his private office at Camp David and let out a heavy sigh. He looked up at Tom, his faithful secret service agent. “Tom, can you give me a few minutes of privacy please”? “The brawny secret service agent said “I don’t think it is a good idea Mr. President, not with the things that have occurred today”. “Tom, please, a little latitude if you will”? Yes sir, Mr. President, Tom said and he stepped out of the door. Lerner Conroy poured himself a stiff drink of bourbon and began to sip it as he looked out the window at nothing in particular.

How are you Lerner, a voice said from behind him? Tom, I said I just wanted some…. he said as he turned around, stopping in mid-sentence when he saw who was speaking to him. Petrovski, how could he have possibly gotten here so fast, who would allow him into the president’s personal office without an announcement? “Mr. President, I am here to close the deal on the U.S. joining the League”. Conroy was aghast, “well Vlad, don’t hold your breath, because it will be a cold day in…… Vlad held his hand up palm out to silence the President. America will join without your help or approval Mr. President, the Russian said coolly. Conroy tried to answer but found he could no longer speak, his voice was gone. Vladimir glided over to Conroy as the American President tried to back up but found he had also lost the ability to move. Vladimir raised his hands and President Conroy began to rise up off of the ground as fear began to flood his heart. He found himself standing on the presidential desk, he tried to scream but no words escaped his lips. He tried to jump off of the desk, but he couldn’t move and he was terrified. Suddenly he felt something around his neck and looked down to find a noose around his neck, the other side tied over the log rafter. He looked at the Russian President, who was now smiling. I extended a warm invitation to you Mr. President, you had every opportunity to join me, yet you chose to snub the League of Nations. You alone have stood in the way of my destiny, so this must be your future. Conroy pleaded with his eyes to the Russian, but the Russian President was cold as he extended his hand toward Conroy. Vlad then said, “by the way, I don’t think I ever told you my middle name did I, you might want to remember it for the afterlife, it’s Sartan”. With that, Vlad yanked his hand back toward himself and Conroy slipped off of the corner of his desk. Vlad stood and watched as the life drained from the once powerful American President, until finally all that was left was a lifeless corpse. Vlad, also called Sartan, then turned and walked through the wall of the rustic cabin.  God Bless-JFT

To be Continued– The Master of Chaos – XXVI

Note: This series is a work of fiction entirely, for entertainment purposes only, all rights reserved.