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Archive for November, 2011

My wife takes great pleasure in telling everyone that my in my driver’s license picture I have a mullet. Which is rather funny, considering I have been getting a buzz cut for close to fifteen years, and nearing baldness on top for ten. Now it was never an exaggerated mullet, I never wore denim shirts with the sleeves cut off at the shoulder and unbuttoned down the front, with a confederate flag stitched on the back. It was just a simple haircut where my hair was kind of long in back and short on top. I figured if Huey Lewis could pull it off, so could I. So, I decided to go and get my license updated last Friday, along with my employee ID card, it was a day of new pictures.

So there I sat, in my least favorite places of all, the DMV, (department of motor vehicle). There must be a sign on the door that says if your children are not screaming, you need to whup on em’ until they are, and if your babies diapers aren’t fouled, you need to feed them prunes puree until they go, because the place was packed and tense. I would not have been surprised to have seen a grandmother brandish an Uzi and demand to have a handicap placard immediately, or people were going to start dying. I finally got to the front counter, and waited quietly, as the woman turned and looked threateningly at me and said “don’t move”. I knew only one thing, I wasn’t moving. When she returned, I smiled big and asked her how she was doing; she asked me how I thought she was doing? So I said that since it was 3:30, I figured she was going to be pretty great in an hour and a half. Then it happened, the hard face broke, and she smiled, and she became human again. What can I do for you sweety, she asked? I told her, she gave me a form, and told me to come back and see her when it was filled out, so I did, and she was sweet again, her whole demeanor seemed to be different. She gave me the number A-93

I sat down, and whipped out a Nook to study scripture for my class in school, but there were these three obnoxious preteen boys that came down and asked what it was, so I tried to explain it to them. Their mom seemed to have lost control of them as they began calling it a Nookie and telling her they needed one. They then ran off, and she looked sadly at me, desperation on her face. She told me that she had just been laid off from her well paying job, and that she didn’t know what they were going to do, she hadn’t told the boys yet, but it looked like they were going to lose their house. I asked her if she had God in her life, and she said yes, but they had fallen away, she knew they needed to go back. I felt so compelled to continue speaking to this woman, but my number was called, I said goodbye, and she smiled and waved.

I found my window, and looked for the name of the woman who manned it, her name was Nancy C.. Hello Nancy C., how are you today, I asked the nice woman on the other side of the booth. Okay I suppose, she said. She processed my paperwork as I asked her if she had any grand plans for the weekend. She then said she didn’t, her mother had Alzheimer’s disease, and still recognized her, so she was trying to get in as much time with her as she possibly could before her mother lost all recognition. There was a sadness to her voice. I then asked her if she was a Christ follower, and she said yes, although she hadn’t been going to church that regularly. I then relayed the story of my brother, and how he had been healed of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), and how the Mayo neurologist, pretty much the best in the west, had never seen it before. I told her the story of the woman who had the bleeding disorder for 12 years, but also had a great faith, and how she was healed. I told her that the God who created our planet and the Heavens in six days is capable of anything, and we should never give up hope. Nancy C. broke down, she began to weep heavily, because she had been carrying such a heavy burden for such a long time. I held her hand and let her cry, and when she was done, she cleaned herself up, and I took her mother’s name (Irene D.), and told her I would begin praying in earnest for her healing and would also pray for her, to find her way back to the Lord. Nancy told me that she thought God sent me to her that day, and at one time, I might have doubted it, but no more. John 3:8  The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

God Bless-JFT

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The news was grim, my brother was terminal, but I just couldn’t believe it. This was worse than cancer, but to the great physician, what is cancer, what is ALS, what is leprosy, it is nothing.

We hit our knees, praying through tears, begging God, reciting those scriptures he had left behind for us to live by, those examples of faith. Faith is such a hard thing for many people to grasp these days, they search here and there, looking to spirituality without God, going to places that self-proclaimed shaman proclaim there is power in the rocks, only to find empty promises. Faith is real, but it must be hungered for, it must be sought.

As we prayed, I emailed everyone I knew, I sent letters across Russia to my pastor friends there, across the Arab world, in Eastern and Western Europe. We prayed without ceasing, asking for my brothers healing, but also telling God that we loved him, and should he take my brother, I would embrace whatever happens. Not adapting but embracing, something that I recently learned from a distant friend that dealt with constant pain, that you need to embrace whatever God gives you, not adapt to it.

My brother and I have had a tradition for forty years. Since long before I was ten years old, he began taking me hunting, and as time went on, we began hunting big game in the late fall. Now, when we are lucky enough to be selected, we go elk hunting. It is a cold time, camping in tents, many times in a foot or two of snow in temperatures in the teens, and trying to find a bull elk during the day. At night we sit around the fire and enjoy its warmth. This year we were selected to go hunting, and we leave the evening of thanksgiving for a week.

Upon my brothers diagnosis, I thought this might be our last hunt, and we were told that ALS is not cold tolerant, so I rented us an RV, thinking we would go in style. So last week, my brother and I took a day to drive up the mountain and recon the area, looking for elk, scouting as we call it. As we drove along talking, I said to him, hey bro, wouldn’t it be great if next week when you go back to the Mayo clinic, those doctors can’t find any evidence of your ALS, that it has just completely disappeared? He smiled and said yes, I think that would just about be the best news I could hear. We enjoyed the rest of the day in the mountains, although we didn’t see any elk.

Last night, my brother called me, and I could tell there was a charge to his voice, Darrell was happy. He had just come from an entire day at the Mayo Clinic, where they had been running an new series of tests to see how advanced his ALS was to better predict how much time he had left, and what quality it would be. But the doctors were baffled.

They had test results that they had hard data on from August and October that conclusively showed the ALS throughout his body, his hands, his back, his neck, his arms, etc. Not to mention, other tests that were run in the spring that led that way also. The problem was this, everything was now clear, they had retested everything, and the ALS was simply gone. The doctor had never seen it happen before, and he had no explanation for my brother and his wife, except that it was in fact good news. Mayo doctors are not in the habit of shrugging their shoulders at patients, but what else could he do. I would have loved to see my brothers smile.

So, here is my challenging question for you, where is your faith, because “your” faith is the key to our closeness to God, your “faith” is the key to your answered prayers. I want to leave you with some scripture, and I want you to notice the emphasis.

Luke 17:6  “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.

 

 Matthew 17:20  He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Matthew 9:20-22  20 Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. 21 She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”

 22 Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.

It’s game on people, the time for lukewarm Christianity is over, know whom you follow, and know why you follow Him. 1 pet 5:8-9  8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

I know faith works, I know the Devil sentenced my brother to death, and I know our prayer and petitions to God freed the bond death had on my brother, and I know Satan is really ticked off right now. I know we are to be humble, and I seek to serve and be humble, and to die to myself daily in service to my Lord and Savior. I seek to put to death pride, and to wear the armor of the army of God, and to be a warrior for Him. But having pride in my God is okay, and that lets me heckle the devil a bit and still not be prideful. So I say this;

Satan, you are a worthless sad sack who will never win out over my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, or His Father in Heaven who is my Champion. I call you out every day of my life, you are worthless and against faith, you will fail every time. Where is your victory, where is your sting?

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Okay folks, looks like we’re two for two, we have a pair of Linda’s that left a millstone behind recently, so this past post wasn’t all bad. Still waiting to hear how our little Scottish author is doing and if she was able to drop her millstone of angst, we shall see. I really like this new format of action, and I think we should continue it for a little while, and see where it leads us, so I already have challenge number two cooked up in my head, and yes, this is also an interactive challenge, but don’t worry, you can’t get voted off the island or anything, but you can grow your faith.

Now our leader, the one we follow, none other than Jesus Christ, He was actually a homeless guy. Now don’t take that the wrong way, I don’t think He spent too many nights under bridges, and I don’t think He pushed a shopping cart. I also know that He was a gainfully employed carpenter until He went on the road with His ministry, but after that, He had no place He called home, He took refuge with whoever offered it. He felt kinship with those who were homeless; he felt kinship with those who did without. He felt kinship with the forgotten; He called them “the least of these”.

The challenge this week begins in prayer, I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide me where He wants me, and that he will place me in the path of someone each day that I can share the gospel with, and help me to have eyes open to those who need help. That is my prayer, I am not asking you to pray my prayer, but for you to ask the Holy Spirit to help you spot someone this week that you can help. When you see them, that’s where the Holy Spirit will come in, you won’t question whether they are going to spend it on booze, drugs, whatever. The Holy Spirit will give you the answer, and you trust Him, and follow His leading, without doubt.

It can be the woman in the drive thru behind you, and you pay her bill when you pay for yours, it can be the single mom with her little boy in the restaurant booth down from you and your family, it can be the young girl with a flat on the side of the road who doesn’t know what to do and can’t reach her dad on her cell phone. During the next seven days, everyone who reads this blog will have multiple opportunities to make a difference in someone’s life. Oh and when you pay for someone’s meal, please do so anonymously. Matthew 6:2-4   “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.  But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then you’re Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

To be encouraged is indeed a grand thing, to be closer to God a thing to be desired, and that relationship is greatly bolstered through the love that we show to one another. Let’s hit the streets and make a difference for our Lord, and I want to hear about it, more than last time, I only got one new comer, and I know there are many of you around the world who read this blog, so sound off, I want to hear your stories of making a difference for the Savior. God Bless-JFT

Oh, P.S. This is an addendum to the original note, or addition, however you would like to think of it. Next time you run up to the store, and you are buying groceries or gas, and the clerk asks you if you would like some cash back, say “yes please”. To date, I have not found one homeless person here in Phoenix that takes debit, or a check for that matter. Cash always comes in handy for those times when we feel the tug of the Spirit. Now go get em’ team!

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Hi Brothers and Sisters,

I bring great news from the world of school land, according to the scores from my first week, now this is purely according to the scientific data, I have not yet spoken to the professor about my concerns. But according to the first week’s scores, it would appear that even at my age, I can still be taught.

I know, but you must remember, stranger things have happened Genesis 21:5  Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. 

Seriously folks, school has been great, it has been very busy, and it has taken a while to get the hang of it, but I am catching on now, and I love it, and I am definitely going to want to continue.

But, as for my bog, we have some catching up to do, and today we are going to take it to a new level. Now I know there are a lot of you folks who read this bog from around the world, Korea, China, Russia, even a strange country somewhere west of the mighty Mississippi known as Arkansas 😉  Well, I know a lot of you read the bog, but do not leave comments, which up until now has been fine, but I want to challenge each and every one of you readers out there, and I would like to hear from you, because I would like you to use your response to encourage others.

Here goes!

Sunday, or Saturday, most of you will probably make your way to some type of worship service. Whether it is a home, a church, a bunch of people who meet under a tree, it doesn’t matter, if you know me, you know my feelings on the church, “we” are the church, wherever we are. Anyway, so we will find some way to worship God this weekend if we aren’t working, we may take communion (our church does every week) and then you will take the collection, where you will leave your tithes and offerings. Therein lies a part of the challenge.

I ask you, and I want you to all search your souls as I ask you this, is there someone at work with whom you have a less than cordial relationship? Someone that maybe you got into an argument with a few years back, and you just tolerate one another now, but you “don’t” like each other. Hmmm, no one huh, so you haven’t wronged anyone, that is great, I am really proud of you, you treat people well, and I know that makes God happy too. But what about that guy over there?

I know, you never wronged him, he actually was the one who wronged you, but God says we need to make those situations right also. So how do you make it right with someone who wronged you? Well, here is what I did, I had a guy that just hated me for 22 years and he was a boss too. He never passed up a chance to use his authority to make me miserable either. So I went to him last week, and I said I didn’t know what I had ever done to him, but that if I had wronged or offended him, I was sorry, but either way, I wanted the remaining years working together to be good. In the end, he rejected everything, and stormed off angry, but I had made the effort, and I knew God was happy. I think more often than not, it would have worked with most people.

Challenge, mend a fence before close of business Friday, then come back here and share the story on the comments, would love to hear it. Here is a sch=ripture that goes with this challenge  

Matthew 5:23 

23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.

God Bless-JFT

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“Lectio Divina”

Hi folks,

I have started back to school this week, no big deal, I just haven’t gone since the “mid nineties”  ouch, and it was just programming stuff then. This time, I am taking “Learning Spiritual Disciplines”, and man, do I need discipline. I have put two girls through university so far, and I figured if they could do it, well, you know. Man, it is tough, lectures, papers, reading until I am blind, but don’t let me fool you, I am liking it. I am hoping that if I become a little better educated, I can be a better soul winner for Christ.

I have been reading up on a couple of things I have never even heard of before, and they are quite illuminating. There are some really smart and Spiritual christians out there, and thank goodness they took the time to write all of this knowledge down. One of the subjects that I studied today was an article in Latin called “Lectio Divina” http://www.soulshepherding.org/articles/spiritual-disciplines/lectio-divina/ and it deals with ruminating on the scriptures, it was really quite interesting and inspiring. Brothers and sisters, I will do my best to keep my posts up as much as possible, but my school work is going to have to come first for a while. I will still post, it just may not be five times a week. God Bless you all-JFT

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