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In Spirit and in Truth

The flap of the wings belied the size of the animal, as the wild turkey left its roost from the night. They stand a little over three feet tall on average when strutting on the ground. Their wingspan is just over four feet. The sound thereof beating the air with such great force that I could hear it from where I sat on my porch made me wonder just how much more would that of an Angel’s wings sound? And since I had not seen the bird leave its night’s perch, it was my assumption, based on what my senses told me, that it was indeed air being moved by a winged creature. So too, wouldn’t I be able to discern a more exceptional being than this should it be in my presence? The thought of an angelic being visiting me came to mind. Just the idea of such a moment caused the hairs on the back of my neck to stand, being in the presence of one of God’s messengers. “Thou shalt see heaven open and the angels of the Lord ascending and descending on the Son of Man,”[1] Jesus told Nathaniel. Yes, what a scene it would be.

All of these thoughts ran through my mind as the dawn’s early light began to glow upon the pages of my Bible. Before me lay the gospel of John, which was part of today’s morning devotional.

The sound of the wind, not that we can see it, but rather we know from the effect it has upon the things which we can see, allows us to know it is there. We see the branches of the trees move, the summer grasses dance to and fro. When we seek shelter in the shade during a long, hot summer’s day, we pray for its caress upon our skin. Our natural senses allow us to perceive its existence. We never see it, but we know it is there. Yet, unlike the wind, it is our spirit that senses the Holy Spirit of God. It is this innate ability which we are creator has endowed us with, that allows us to worship him in Spirit. As Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”[2]

It was then the verse of scripture came to mind. Jesus had a late-night visitor, Nicodemus, who questioned what it was to be born again. Jesus told him not to marvel at what he said, that a man must be born again to enter into the kingdom of heaven. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”[3] And then he went on to compare knowing the Spirit to knowing there is a wind, and that we cannot see it, but we hear the sound thereof and know it exists. “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.[4]

Suddenly, there came upon my continence a profound statement made at the wedding in Cana of Galilee to which Jesus had attended. There was an inexplicable connection that I had never noticed before; a paradox of divine nature.

When they had run out of wine, we all know the miracle that happened when Jesus turned the water in the water pots to wine. When the servants drew the water-turned-wine out of the pots and bear it to the governor of the feast, he knew not whence it came, but they did. It was this “knowing” of the servants versus that of the ruler of the feast that gave the moment an irony I had missed before.

Here we have the man of stature, reigning over the wedding feast. He obviously has a position of authority in their daily lives, and as such, has probably tasted some of the most excellent wines mankind had produced. Yet, when the drink was given to him, he was impressed by that the family of the bride had kept the good wine until now. His perception was that of what our earthly desires are aware; that which our senses allow us to understand from the world around us; the obvious.

Meanwhile, the servants, knowing that Christ had turned the water into wine, bore their gift to the governor with shaky hands. At this point, we wonder, “Had they tasted the water-turned-wine or were they blindly taking a substance that had simply changed color to the governor of the feast, fearing what he would do?”  Because the scripture states, “but the servants which drew the water knew,”[5] we must consider the former, that they had tasted it and realized the miraculous nature of the drink. Containing their joy of seeing the miracle before it had been revealed to the world, their minds had already been blown away. Here now, they realized they stood in the presence of someone that commanded extraordinary powers, if nothing else, able to change six stone waterpots full of water into wine – not one, not two, but all of them at the same time. As one carried the drink, the others watched, all-knowing from whence it came. Their perception was not of the actual beverage, but the fact that it was not of this world – something far beyond what mankind could ever produce.

Both parties had reality and the supernatural united when the ruler demanded that the family had kept the best wine until last, which was not of the custom. The disciples who were with Jesus at the wedding were assuredly aware once the announcement had been made by the ruler, if not before. We are left to wonder if the governor of the feast ever realized the blessing from on high that he tasted that evening. If only he had known the truth, how much greater would have been his reward? All we can do is speculate. We might compare the ruler of the feast to the rich young ruler whom Jesus told to sell everything he owned and to follow him. He left saddened at what Christ had told him. We are never told what happened beyond that moment, and here too, we are left to wonder.

Like the water turned into wine, the written Word of God to the unbeliever is nothing more than letters of ink written upon a page. Purposeful to them possibly at best in that they are wise sayings passed on from a time when their usefulness had long ago expired. To the believer, they are more than just words on a page; they are the Comforter to which Christ said he would send. Those words speak to us through the power of the Holy Spirit, lifting our own spirit, teaching, leading, and inspiring to all those who believe. Their taste surpasses any of the finest wines man can produce. The scriptures are from the fruit of the vine given by inspiration to man, so that we may continue in his footsteps long after the ascension of Jesus, to sit now at the right hand of God.

Sadly, there are many that will ever only understand the scriptures from the context of knowledge. Even the learned scholars, some who are preachers and teachers, will never fully realize the magnitude of the gift they behold when reading the words on the pages of the Bible. Some spend their lifetime seeking something before them, not realizing that the Spirit is found through the Word, not upon its literal writings. Many wander this life lost, unaware of the fruit of the Spirit, even when it is placed in a cup on a table before them. It is not until they receive the gift of salvation, by the Grace of God, that they will fully comprehend the depth of scripture, and the real purpose behind God’s Word.

Yes, we cannot see it, but the beating of its wings, we can sense when our senses are awakened to our new selves, a new world when we become one with Christ.

Let not your heart be troubled, for if it were not so, I would not have told you so,” Christ said, but even more important, is what he didn’t say, but rather, allowed the Spirit to speak in his silence.

Therein lies the beauty of the irony, for which we can be even more thankful.

Thanks be to God.

And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;)…” – Jn. 2:8-9


[1] John 1:51 KJV

[2] John 4:24 KJV

[3] John 3:7 KJV

[4] John 3:8 KJV

[5] John 2:9 KJV

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The Voice of Melody

The voices of the distant past return.

Like haunted echoes through the canyon walls, their cries of mourning and anguish retell the story of old. There in the northwest corner of Italy, they were forced into isolation. They were hunted like animals, labeled as heretics: their crime, merely sharing and evangelizing the Word of God. In that foregone time, the troops could be seen coming from afar. Standing on the abyss of the mountain tops, the faithful ancient Waldensians, or people of the valleys, knew their only hope of survival, other than having faith, was to retreat to the upper mountain passes; to the places where even Angels feared to tread. There, in those high, Alpine meadows and caves, they survived. Their legacy, the very Word of God. For through their faithfulness, they had planted the seeds of the reformation.

Today, those voices are once again crying out. Unlike before, their torment is not from man, but rather, from an unseen enemy, a virus. The sickness has permeated their region to the point that the government has called for a total lockdown; nobody can be on the streets without justification. Even vending machine use is forbidden. Again, the people of the valleys, the descendants of the ancient Waldensians, face a darkness that slowly invades their land. Like armies of death marching to seek and destroy, they find once more their hope of survival is that of finding refuge in those high, solitary lands. The remote valleys once more become the perfect setting for isolation and self-quarantine. Having lived through past invasions, plagues, and economic strife, their heritage has taught them to be complacent with impoverished life. Yet, we must decrease so that he may increase, as the Apostle Paul would say.

Forced isolation caused those ancient people to learn how to cope with less. While eeking out a meager existence just to survive, they turned inward to find solace in the scriptures, and in those pages, found hope. Their fears had been diminished by knowing that their trials were only preparing them for a more magnificent journey someday. In those dimly lit stone caverns, they found comfort in the gifts that their Creator had bestowed upon them. Using these blessings, they would use them to pass on their faith, culture, and heritage. Today, one can find a more significant percentage of those ancient Waldensian descendants with all manner of creative talents than in typical societies. It is no wonder that their time in isolation had proved beneficial in not only keeping them alive but also it afforded them the time to enrich their souls.

Last night, as we passed the time in our own home, thousands of miles from those battling to survive in Northern Italy, I was reminded of how when we turn our thoughts to our brethren, our real gifts begin to be seen for what they were intended; to lift those up around us and to be the light for our world. As my eyes scanned through various social media platforms, a message began to emerge.

Musical artists of all ages began to stream live free music. From the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, Marty Stuart, Vince Gill, and Brad Paisley played and sang to an empty Ryman Auditorium. Meanwhile, across our country, various bands played in front of phone cameras to professional-grade videography. In some cases, husband and wife duets performed for the world after having put their children to bed. It was an evening of sharing and uplifting songs. As the performers played, they all spoke in like tone; prayers for our country and for those people facing the uncertainty of tomorrow. Unlike traditional performances, the platform of social media allowed people to give instant feedback to their entertainers. Those of us watching could see a much-needed catharsis taking place as people would praise the singers and lift family members up in prayer.

In all my years, I had never witnessed anything like it.

But it didn’t stop with music. Poets were reading their works to the public to enlighten others. Individuals were sharing inspirational words of encouragement and scriptures. It was as if the world of social media had turned off the news and found themselves once more.

Then, this morning, after I had begun my morning coffee and finished my devotional, I once more wondered what the rest of the world was doing for Sunday morning worship. Once more, scanning through the pages of social media, I was once again blessed to find all manner of preachers, congregations, and individuals finding creative ways to share the Word of God. In my heart, there was a renewed feeling of hope. Gone was the negativity of the new media, and in its place, the true spirit of our country began to emerge, a voice of love, faith, and determination.

Bear the puppy.

Today, as my own family found time for a walk together with the newest family member, Bear the puppy, a sense of purpose, a restoration of hope began to return. In my mind, I tried to drink in the moment. Just being in their presence was enough.

Sadly, there are those in our world that don’t have the ability to receive help from all of those bands on social media. Some have no family with which they can find solace. Many sit alone in the solitary confines of a dark room waiting, listening to the sound of their own heartbeat. Some wishing that it would end.

Reading over the scriptures this evening, I asked God to send a message; to show me the scripture that would help to give hope to the world. It was then the voice said to look upon Isaiah. It was then the words over the recreation of the Church at Ciabas on the Trail of Faith came to me.  The inscription reads, “Le Petit de Sion,” meaning, “God will surely find comfort on Zion,” taken from Isaiah 51:3.

Turning to the scriptures, I read once more, “Hearken ye to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD; look unto the rock whence ye were hewn, and to the hole from the pit whence ye are digged…For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places: and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; o and gladness shall be found therein thanking, and the voice of melody.”

I was reminded of those ancient people of the valleys. They didn’t allow their solitude to destroy their faith. Their heartiness, their ability to live and survive at high altitudes of long periods, as if hewn from the granite upon which they trod, came to mind. Much like the spirit of the American people today, beneath the ambiguity and divisiveness that some would want to portray, we are a hearty people. When we are pushed into a corner, the true American spirit begins to return; one of faith, hope, and charity. Satan wants nothing better than to see us fight over rolls of toilet paper and to hate our neighbor. The fear and despair that Satan preaches can only be spread by those who have no hope of tomorrow. It is up to us who know the truth, those of us who share a belief that God has a purpose in all that we do, to share our faith and hope of tomorrow with those around us. We must be reminded that although we face an unseen enemy, it is no different than any other day we face the same enemy, except it usually isn’t called a virus, it is called sin.

This next week, I urge each of us to lift up your family, your brethren, and your neighbor. Seek to use the gifts God has bestowed upon you to bring light to someone’s dark world. Make someone’s wilderness an Eden; their desert a garden of the Lord. There, when you share with those souls abandoned to dark rooms of despair, you will find hearts floating in the air, and the smile of gratitude spread across their faces. In that moment, when the happiness begins to shine in their hearts once more, listen for the voice of melody, and you will know God has spoken through you.

Yes, gladness, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody will return.

Thanks be to God.

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The Cup of Faith

Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.”- Phil 3:17

It was an early Sunday morning. The air had the feeling as if it could snow at any minute. In an uncustomary manner, my morning devotional was actually upon the steps just outside the front door of our church, Rock Springs Baptist. There, I opened my Bible, journal, and thermos, pouring a hot cup of coffee to accompany my communion with the Lord. Before beginning, the steam from the coffee caught my attention. Swirling from the depths of my cup, the vapor rose, swirling as it ascended, like a spirit rising to meet our maker. On my walk, the bone-chilling air had eventually found its way into my very core. Taking a sip of the hot, bitter brew, I could feel the warmth invade my body, slowly recapturing that which had been nearly frozen.

It was then the similarity hit me; the steam; the Spirit, warmth of my body; us accepting Christ into our hearts.

A car passed and broke my focus for a moment. Taking another sip, I closed my eyes and prayed. The sound of the vehicle dissipated, and soon, the voice of the John’s river began to speak, which lay just beyond our church’s parking lot. The soothing sound and the warmth of my coffee began to erase all the toils, and struggles of the week as the hand of the Lord wrapped his arms around my being. As I exhaled, my breath made another pathway of steam into the air. It was then the thought of how much better coffee tasted when you were partaking of it out in the open, especially on a cold, winter morning. In fact, the more I thought about it, the more everything seemed to taste better when eaten or drank in the outdoors, where all that was man-made was removed, and you were one with the elements; purity begets purity.

Then my mind turned toward the devotionals on my Sunday morning hikes to church and how they always seemed more powerful, more meaningful than those of which I partook every morning before heading up the mountain while sitting in my home. It was as if the materials of man’s creation removed, allowing for a purer experience, a cleaner connection to the Almighty if you will.

There, I had done it; allowed myself to find something of God in merely drinking a hot cup of java on the front steps of the church.

Then my mind took a quantum leap, back, many years to my youth.

The ground was covered in snow. It was the dead of winter in Indiana, a place where Boy Scout Troops wouldn’t cancel a camping trip for the weather, regardless of the conditions. Fortunately, the camporee was at a camp where our tents were the heavy canvas permanent type built on wooden floors; surplus from a not so distant war. It was Friday night when we arrived. The routine was that we were to build a fire and then cook our supper while we made camp. From experience, we knew that in this weather, the fire was the key to everything; warmth, food, survival. Yet, everywhere we looked the snow had covered everything; not one stick of firewood was left untouched. Everything was either frozen or soaked with water. Knowing that we might face a challenge for which we may not fair too well, we began to build our wood in preparation for a valiant attempt, nonetheless. By good fortune, one of our patrol members found an old mouse nest in a hole in one of our tents’ floor. Thankfully, we shoved the dry tender in amongst all the other shoots of Sassafras, Cherry, and Pine, knowing that once the moisture burnt off, we would have the start of a roaring fire. One of the patrol leaders went to the cook box to find matches. When he returned, he held open the small cardboard box, with the little drawer, pulled out. The look on his face said it all. With a look of shock and dismay, we all quickly realized, there was just one match left. We gathered round, each of our young faces had a look of fear and anguish. One of the new scouts almost began to cry, “Oh no, we’re going to starve,” he stammered as tears welled up in his eyes.

“No, we’re not,” I bit back, the steam from my mouth shot into the air like a blowtorch. “You have to have faith. We’ve been through tough times before, and if anyone can make a fire with one match, it’s this patrol.” Ricky, the Scout Master’s son, who was also my good friend, stuck up for me at that moment, and reiterated what I had just conveyed.


“You gotta trust us man, if anyone can get a fire going, we can make it happen. We’re going to show them all, with one match, we’ll keep this fire going all weekend.”


There, he had done it; Ricky had unknowingly made the vow that we would all gladly have given our last breath to uphold. It was an unspoken word of truth and honor, nearly as revered as the Scout Law.

Delicately, like marooned sailors on a deserted island, we made all the preparations and double-checked each other’s work to make sure that the one match would work. Then, with a shaky hand, someone struck the match. The smell of sulfur and warmth filled the space before us. Immediately, we all gathered around, holding our hands as a shield to prevent any breeze from extinguishing our flame before it could take. Slowly, the flame touched the old mouse bed, and steaming smoke began to spread through our pile of tender.

“Nobody breath,” Ricky commanded.

We all stood, feet in shivering in the snowbank that we had created digging out the fire pit so that it would be clear of any moisture, and watched as the smoke seemed to almost disappear. The skeptical scout almost began to whimper once more. “Have faith,” I breathed again.

Then, as if prayers had been answered in unison, a flame nearly 12 inches tall leaped from the center of our woodpile. Smiles spread across our faces as we older scouts looked and nodded at one another. The younger scouts then realized they were with someone who would take care of them.

That weekend happened to get so cold, below zero, that they made us stay in the chow hall one night, for fear we might freeze to death in our cots. Meanwhile, we had stoked and prepared our fire, so that no matter how long we were gone, it would continue to keep a hot coal bed. We needn’t fear that the fire would spread since the ground was covered in almost a foot of snow. So, unlike other times when we would have to put out a fire when leaving our campsite, that particular weekend we were allowed to keep it going. Memory also recalls that the other patrols had not been so lucky when trying to strike their fires. More than one patrol visited us that weekend to warm themselves because of their own inabilities to keep a fire going. We learned a lot about ourselves in the process, not only that we had possessed a knowledge which provided for our own, but that we were able to pass on this to others while sharing with our neighbors.

I don’t remember anything else about that weekend, other than our parents came to stay with us the night we stayed in the chow hall. But the one thing I do recall, even to this day, was that by the time to pack up Sunday evening to head home, we had a fire that had never gone out. Meanwhile, other patrols had problems just getting theirs started, let alone able to keep them going.

We had struggled through adversity, but already in our young lives, having experienced hardship campouts before the one just mentioned had allowed us to have faith. It is the same in our walk with Christ. Those who are new to the faith struggle with knowing that the Father is with them always. By providing them examples of our own steadfast faith, we can give them the courage to face the struggles in their own walk.

The Apostle Paul had faced many trials and difficulties in his life once he turned to serving God instead of persecuting Christians. He was an encourager to others in the faith, and with confidence, not arrogance, as brother David said this morning, he told his disciples to ““Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ[1] He had faith enough to know that if they were to become believers, that they would have to have faith in what he said and to know that through believing him, they too would come to know Christ.

Once they had faith, they would find the love of Christ working in them, warming them, imbuing them with the Holy Spirit, lighting the flame within and starting the fire. Like that hot cup of coffee and a cold winter day, God envelopes you with His Spirit and warms your very soul.

Each day, as I begin to climb the mountain, either figuratively or physically, I ask the Lord to help me find my way. Each day, he answers me in the most unexpected ways.

Nearby, the river speaks to me, and a song begins to play in my head:

“Once I stood at the foot of a great high mountain
That I wanted so much to climb
And on top of this mountain was a beautiful fountain
That flows with the water of life

I fell down on my knees at the foot of this mountain
I cried, “O Lord what must I do?
I want to climb this mountain, I want to drink from this fountain
That flows so clear in my view.”

Then I heard a sweet voice from the top of this mountain
Saying, “Child put your hand in mine.”
I started climbing slowly, “Watch your steps at the edges
And take one step at a time.”

I started climbing upward taking one step at a time
The higher I got the harder I climbed

I’m still climbing upward and my journey’s almost ended
I’m nearing the top and you ought to see the view
Oh the water flows freely, there’s enough to make you free
So friend, if you’re thirsty climb this mountain with me.”[2]

In the gospel of John, Jesus said on the last day of the feast, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.”[3]

While these may or may not be my last days, the harder I climb, the more beautiful things I see and reveal, seeing with eyes anew. From walking in faith, although I will never achieve the level of the Apostle Paul, I can, with deep conviction share with others that with faith, all things are possible. In sharing that belief, may it light a spark within their own soul, one that will make within them a desire to seek Him.

With one spark, a fire can be built, and with it, the light of life can begin

That particular campout of which I shared earlier was one where our parents were invited to come spend a night camping with us. It was one of only two times that a parent of mine came to a campout. My mom, of all people, came to stay Saturday night. She, along with the other parents, stayed in the chow hall with the rest of our troop. Looking back, I wish I had done more to interact with her, but it was a treat just to hear her voice talking to the other adults and to know that someone who loved me was present. Now that she is gone, those few glimpses of the past are ever more precious.

She, along with the other parents, more than likely had no idea of our fire struggles, but rather, took it in stride that we had learned how to survive and were doing well enough. I don’t remember anything else about that weekend, but the one thing I do recall, even to this day, was that by the time to pack up Sunday evening to head home, we had a fire that had never gone out.

From all of this, we can surmise that we are a constant work in faith. We may never achieve the level of faith of an Apostle Paul, but we can share our testimony with others, and with that, provide them the knowledge that they are not alone. Through our faith, shall we lift up others, and in the end, give them hope of the Father.

Like steam from the coffee cup, the Holy Spirit will warm us through and through, and our walk of faith will continue to grow as we climb that final mountain and drink from the eternal fountain.

Thanks be to God.


[1] 1 Corinthians 11:1 KJV

[2] Ralph Stanley, Great High Mountain, lyrics © Bug Music, Z77ss, Z77ss Music

[3] John 7:37 KJV

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Resurrection of my soul…

Like the rock being rolled away from the tomb, this weekend has felt like the resurrection of my own soul.

From whence the countless days of study my mind hath prevailed, it felt as if there would never be an end to the grinding, arduous task of pushing my faculties to complete one more problem; one more page; one more concept of Mathematical computation from which there was seemingly no end.

This was just the final chapter in three years of study. Coming into the field of education as a Lateral Entry Teacher, there were the required Education Classes to be taken that my Engineering degree never afforded. This in conjunction with the learning curve of applying the pedagogy real-time was my learning curve which became a daily experience. But, yet, God in all his wondrous glory, finally answered the prayers for wisdom. So that this weekend, the first, since having recovered from another round of illness the previous, has set me free to pursue the path the Lord hath prepared well in advance.

Deep within my being, there was an awareness of His hands upon the pages of events which would unfold.

Weeks before, the singing engagement for the New Hope SDA Church in Valdese had to be postponed because I had contracted the flu. Too sick to make it out of bed, it had to be delayed; which just so happen to be this weekend.

Then, out of the blue, another church, one we had been members of before leaving our farm and previous life, Cumnock Union UMC, called asking if I would be interested in returning to sing and speak. Miraculously, it was the same weekend. This all happened before the upcoming test that was scheduled for March 22nd.

In my heart, it felt as if God was telling me, that this would be it; this would be the final attempt, the one in which I would pass. He was preparing the pathway of the future because it was time to move on.

I didn’t realize it then, but those words would be more prophetic than one might realize.

Adding to the feeling of culmination, the weekend before the test, my laptop decided that it had enough and was going to finally die. Contrary to my disbelief, I asked God to again give me the wisdom, and through a few more attempts of using the education from my previous career, something inside me clicked again; the feeling of confirmation. A voice whispered, “Before you leave this afternoon, the sign of things to come will be that your laptop will be working better than ever before.” Within an hour of that voice, after an upload, a couple restarts, and driver addition or two, suddenly, the old laptop finally responded. It wasn’t just fixed from the current problem, but as He has predicted, it suddenly began working better than it had in almost two years; Divine IT Guidance at its best!

From that point forward, there was a feeling of God’s hand upon each new day.

Yet, He wasn’t going to let it be easy. A new cold began to overtake me so that by the morning of the test, Friday, March 22nd,  I literally debated going or not. Shaking my head in disbelief, I struggled to the cupboard and took enough cold medicine to hold me through the duration of the exam.

This can’t be happening,” I thought to myself.

A couple of hours later, in a cloud of medication, I walked into the testing facility, unsure of how much it might affect my ability to focus. Once more, God wasn’t through with me. When I met the test administrator, after handing me the sign-in sheet, unlike previous tests when I either had to ask for or was never close enough to obtain it, I was given my favorite locker number: God’s number in my mind, #3. (God the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit). Then to add to the feeling of confirmation, unlike before, I was also given light colored paper; something I had complained about in previous attempts since the paper was so dark it was hard to see the marks of a pencil.

As I sat down at desk #3 in the testing lab, my body began to tingle with the power of God surging through me. The first few questions were a cloud of foggy, cold-medicine induced confusion, but once the surge of energy fully kicked in, I went back and corrected those and then began pushing onward.

Before I knew it, the 2-1/2 hours was nearly up.

Again, unlike before, at the end of the test, after having fully completed the test and had time to go back over questions that I was unsure of or needed more time to solve, I sat and saw 30 seconds remaining. I bowed my head in prayer and when I said, “Amen,” the clock showed three seconds remaining. When the timer ended, and my hand clicked onto the next page, tears began to fill my eyes.

There on the screen was the answer to three years of night classes, almost 10 months of study for just one test, isolation, withdrawal from the world, and diligent obedience to my newfound career; A Passing Score!

It was one of the most surreal moments of my life; here I wanted to shout, but I was so sick I could barely breathe.

Throughout the ordeal, I had vowed to celebrate with a cinnamon roll and coffee whenever the day came that I might pass. Instead, the reward that morning was to drive back home and go back to bed and try to recover from the illness that had overcome days earlier.

I would remain sick in bed the rest of that weekend, while outside the warmth of spring tapped at my window sill. Sunlight sparkling through the closed slats of my bedroom windows, taunting my fever-racked body.

Eventual, healing would begin. This weekend became even more precious as the days of this last week counted down. By Friday I was like a student ready for the end of the school year. My energy level was off the charts.

When Saturday morning broke, I was as a child waking before the dawn in anticipation of opening gifts under the Christmas tree, it was long before the light of day when the bed couldn’t contain my eagerness any longer. Jumping from beneath the covers, the anticipation of the joy of the day’s events kept gurgling up into my heart, like the overabundant rapture, frothing to the surface; the Spring in my soul had returned.

“Today, the new journey begins,” my mind said.

From the moment the fellowship and sharing began at New Hope, the blessings only increased.

There was so much to be thankful for and yet, so much more to come.

Later, when the rear tire blew out going down the Interstate at 70mph, I was unfazed. For in my mind I had already contemplated getting off at the next exit to get gas. This was God’s way of saying, “Yes you will!” Within an hour, there were two new tires on the back of the car, and I was once more off to my destination for the second half of my weekend; God was with me each step of the way.

Resurrected like our Lord and Savior, my spirit has been revived. Like Jesus, the grave could not contain him; God defeated Death, and from its dark domain, Light will forever be in the world.

Today is the first day of the rest of my life.

Thanks be to God.


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Winter of our Content

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
8 For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear[b] when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.” – Jeremiah 17:7-9

Sitting on the bank of the river, below me swirls the cold waters of winter. The fluid motion spins by, never stopping, never ceasing its continual movement. Like time passing, there but for a moment then gone. Around where I sit there is only the stark, gray reminder of winter. Life has not yet returned to the branches of yonder bough; death in slumber.

It has been a long week.

My mind ponders as the countless days pass, from one seeming earthly struggle to the next, one never ceasing, nor stopping to give pause. All around me, others seem to be facing similar earthly challenges and trials; cancer, sickness, and stress. Like the tributary before me, they come in waves, sometimes flooding all that we are. We become overwhelmed with what we must do in order to survive from day to day until there is nothing left of who we are. All that was the light seems all but extinguished. Too often, in our weakness, we feel we must carry it all on our own. It is in these moments, we as Christians must remind ourselves and those around us, we are not alone. As the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, “We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed…” Yes, we are not alone, if only we will allow the Holy Spirit to walk with us.

As these thoughts flow through my head, there passes within the never-ending stream, a dark figure; a solitary oak leaf. It tumbles helplessly along. Its greenery long since faded into the bitter winds of autumn. Now, caught in the chaotic turbulence, it is helpless to choose its path; rather, the substance of which it is now part controls its destiny.

Sometimes, in my moments of weakness, I feel like the leaf.

There was a time when it too was part of the greenness of life; that of the tree that stood beside the stream. There, the life was good. It had no worries, but the waters below beckoned. Knowing not what it missed, the solitary leaf yearned for the mystery of what flowed beneath. On the tree, the leaf had sustenance from the roots that supped the life-giving force. There was no fear in the time of draught, no fear of the world around it. But as we often find in our youth, we are not content with the sanctuary in which we were raised. Like a taboo darkness, the leaf wanted to be free of this safety of which it was reared. When the strong storm winds blew, the leaf wished for its release so that it might be free. One night, when the flashes of lightning thrashed around the sturdy tree, the leaf was finally granted the sole desire; it was set free.

Torn from what seemed like its bondage, it was loosed into the world.

From whence it came it departed and was never to return. Soon the leaf too late realized that without the nourishment of the father tree, there was no hope, no life eternal. Lost, the foliage joined the others who also were blown as the gusts of unseen forces tossed them to and fro. His greenery soon turned to a golden hue, brilliant as the sun; the last rays of hope escaping. In his mistaken glory, he pranced about joyously celebrating the new life of earthly gratification. However, after a couple days, brown stains began to appear on his body. Before he knew it, the leaf’s brown spots connected. To his horror, his flesh had turned to the color of the soil. The countless days of life abundant, those living in the home that taught the precepts of faith now were gone, forgotten as the lost ones ran from all that they had known seeking the fleshly desires of the earth. For it is written, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” The leaf too late found, like those around him, had been mistaken and given up on what that had been promised. Lost in their sin, they now gave up and scattered neither knowing whence they were going, nor whence they came. In their desire to be of the earth, they had unknowingly succumbed to the desires of their flesh. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?” Many of the leaf’s friends, those that had joined in his revelries had now succumbed to the earth, lying in repose as their bodies began to decay, becoming one with the earth from which they came; ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

Yet, the lone leaf had not forgotten the bidding, that it had wished so long ago.

Haplessly, the leaf was finally blown one morning into the waters below the tree from which it once called home. At first, the leaf fought to remain afloat, fearing to sink below the surface. But eventually, its dried skin became full of the cold wetness and began to sink. As he floated down, the world above began to fade, and he could feel his life beginning to pass. As that former life began to ebb, the water began to swirl him around. The light of the sun sparkled upon the waters, casting colors of every hue about him as the current pushed him on. Suddenly, he was no longer alone, but part of a greater body of being than ever before. There was a renewed sense of hope, a life-force from within, the fluidness of the spirit, began to flow. As the leaf became one with the water, he was made anew. Together, the leaf and the crystal waters were made one. His Baptism had been complete, and now, he was one with the Father. As he floated along, he no longer cared to whence he may go, only that he may do the will of the Father who hath sent him. For once, the leaf had found the glory for which he had so long ago sought but could not know; truly to be one with the Father.

And so there he was, passing before me as I sat that evening, as the sun slowly sat beyond the Blue Ridge Mountains. The leaf eventually tumbled and tossed along in the current until it faded from my view into the shadowed bend of the yon waters.

Somewhere in the distance a night bird called.

Soon spring would come, but for now, the winter of our content has arrived.

Thanks be to God.

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Flames of the Spirit…

imagesCAZ5RNSOIt’s not often that dreams stay with me after I wake up but I had one recently that was so vivid and profound that even a couple days later I am still able to recall most of it with clarity. The parts that especially have stayed with me involved a celebration and someone I met; for some reason, I had stepped back in time.

The first part of the dream had something to do with an outdoor event where people dressed in long robes and dresses that one might call, “Sack Cloths”. They had gathered as a multitude upon a tree-lined grassy lawn. The congregation was celebrating some event with songs and praises. I was encouraged to come closer and join in, so I did. Shortly afterward, out of nowhere, from over our heads came a large light beige colored canopy that began to descend over the throng. I got the feeling of being inside an enormous tepee, where the sheet wrapped completely around the crowd, but angled up toward the center as if suspended by a hand from above. Folds of the canopy lay upon the grass and completely enclosed us all from the outside. The material was light enough I could still see the sunlight filtering through it.

It was at this point that I became aware of there being two factions of belief in the crowd; those who accepted faith and our ancestry unconditionally and those who believed but had difficulty accepting everything and felt obligated to track the past one brutal line for line, word for word, tracing it back through time upon part of the canopy that now hovered overhead. The non-accepting partisans had their section of cloth partitioned off into an oblong section of the strange cloth where all of their precious writings were kept. They obviously knew what was coming and had their cloth cut out from the other material, but yet it was still held in place from where it had been cut. The separated cloth was suspended by a large hoop that the cloth was stretched over and was held in place in the massive overhead canopy by leather lashes which were stitched into the main cover. It made their special cloth appear like a door stitched into the floating canopy that was sewn shut.

All believers, accepting and non-accepting began to shout and hold their hands aloft, singing praises and imagesCAXMGPNSworshipping aloud, their voices becoming one. The noise became so strong that the cloth overhead began to rise off the ground. I could see light from underneath the bottom of the great sheet as our shouts lifted it higher. Suddenly, there appeared flames above us, flames that soon caught the overhead canopy on fire and it began to burn. The flames were mostly clear but flickers of yellow and blue sporadically appeared on the edges of the cloth being burnt. Blue sky could be seen through the holes where the fire had burnt and before long the flames had entirely consumed the cloth, allowing the sun and sky to shine on us once more. The oblong cloth stretched over the hoop had been unharmed by the flames and fell gently upon the green lawn below, where it was immediately examined and found to be safe from harm. A chorus of elated voices followed as everyone was overjoyed to find the history had been preserved. It was odd, but those who had been accepting and those who hadn’t had suddenly become one in spirit; the sensation of being divided had vanished like the cloth overhead. I had an urge to share with them how amazing this was but then a strange feeling came over me: I became aware that there was a reason I was here but that I wasn’t to tell anyone what I knew. For some reason I realized my knowledge would only cause trouble and change the course of history; a tragedy for all. So I kept quiet and continued to take it all in.

imagesCA1HVR49From this courtyard of celebration I was led past several small buildings until we reached the yard of a humble dwelling; its functionality greatly outweighed its aesthetics. In front of the home was an elder seated at a table made of roughhewn wooden slats. His white hair was bushy but shoulder length with a smattering of gray streaks throughout.  At first he looked as if he had black bushy eyebrows but once my eyes became accustom to the light, I realized he wore thick black rimmed glasses. His face was clean shaven but the lines of age had etched their mark leaving the corners of his mouth in a permanent frown. He motioned for me to join him and my guests soon left us. He introduced himself, but I didn’t catch his name. I only understood him to be an ancient relative whose message to me was of grave importance. He proceeded to tell me that it was vital for me to understand that monetary things of this world could not be taken with us to the other side. He explained that it was our duty to make what was left behind not easily accessible to those who might be considered our heirs lest it corrupt them and cause anguish. Rather, we had to invest our wealth in things that would continue to grow over time and would enrich the lives of those loved ones we left behind. Their ability to cash out these investments must be made unreachable and only the maturity of our investment be realized from something other than worldly possessions.

I was confused by his words and pondered it at great length. He realized my frustration and then confirmed the feeling I had felt moments earlier when he said, “You are here for a reason and cannot tell anyone, lest you cause great harm. Go and continue your journey and continue to share your story as before.”

I awoke and felt as if I had visited someone very dear, but his face was as unknown to me as was his name. I got up began to go about my day as normal and kept reflecting back on the dream. As the hours passed only certain aspects of the dream began to slip away yet the celebration, the face of the elder and his message stayed with me.

I began to think of the dream in context after hearing another family member talk about loved ones coming back to visit us after they had died and then it dawned on me what the dream had been about. I was no longer perplexed but thankful for the vision and realized the power of the Holy spirit like that of fire, consuming all that tries to smother it, eventually overwhelming all that attempt to block out it’s light revealing the truth and uniting our faith as one.

I might not ever know for sure who the elder was in the dream, but I have a pretty good idea…Lux Lucet in Tenebris.

What do you think?

“And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”[a] 7 In speaking of the angels he says, “He makes his angels spirits, and his servants flames of fire.”[b] 8 But about the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.” – Hebrews 1:6-8

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Confluence of Me…

[Disclaimer: This is meant to be a humorous look at a sleep deprived perspective of life. Enjoy…]mental_dstruction_350

Today as I loaded the car, I had to think about all the various parts of my mind that needed to get it together in order to pull off tonight’s speaking engagement. It wasn’t so much what I was speaking about; rather, it was just the fact that I was going to perform a song that I wrote, speak about a book that I’d written and then present a slide show to back up the research that I’d done in order to write the book. In other words, I had to get all the confluences of thought streaming into the same direction.

I realized all this when I fortunately remembered to grab the binder full of genealogy research my Aunt June had given me. It then dawned on me; we needed to get all of me into the car and go.

As we backed out of the garage into the brilliant sunlit day, I had to laugh to myself at all the various thoughts that were attempting to run through my head simultaneously; Artist, Writer, Musician, Engineer, Farmer and Preacher of sorts. Artist wanted to behold the loveliness of the day, the beautiful blooming trees and flowers with the green grass strong and vibrant in the pastures. Writer agreed with the Artist and wanted to recall the splendor on paper, to describe all of the magnificence the Artist was seeing, but in words.  Musician, full of the exuberance of the moment could only think of how it all made him want to sing, but one look at Engineer glaring back at him quickly dissipated any further melodies that tried to emerge.

All of this talk of glorious beauty only annoyed the Engineer, who now decided it best that he sit on the hood of the car facing us as we drove, so that he could make sure we kept ourselves on track and didn’t wander off into no-man’s land mentally and forget to turn when we needed to do so. At the moment, Engineer simply glared at Musician who wished someone would at least turn on the radio.

Meanwhile, the Farmer, who had quietly and patiently listened to the Artist and Writer describe the scenes around them as they rode, could only think of how well the green grass was growing and that the weeds could use one more spraying of herbicide. It comforted the Farmer to know the cattle would be well sated today and that there would be little fear of them pushing the fence lines. All the while, the Engineer kept reminding us as we drove, that he wanted to make sure we stopped by the church to pick up the projector that we would need to run the slide show which was to be part of tonight’s presentation.

The Preacher, concerned for the well-being of everyone, simply wanted the Engineer to be safe out there on the hood of the car, yet realized that someone had to make sure we paid attention and kept us on time, so he prayed for us all, especially Engineer.

It was apparent, all of us were dependent upon one that had little to no personality at all; our body, the Animal. Yes, Animal instincts and needs overcame any other personality simply because the body in which they lived had to be maintained. So it was today, that as we drove down the road toward Goldston to the church, Animal began to let everyone know that he was beginning to get hungry. After all, we had not eaten anything of sustenance since early the previous morning. It was now nearing six o’clock in the evening, a good twelve hours since the last meal. So it was only fair that he send a sharp stabbing pain to our stomach which indicated his conviction to getting his way while sending a throbbing pulse to our temples warning of a potential headache lest he get his way. Yet, there was no time, said the Engineer, who was still keeping track of time.

I quickly grabbed the water bottle sitting in the console.  It was warm to the touch from having been in the shut-up car all day, and drank down several gulps of hot water. Artist, Writer and Musician all noted the lack of pleasure from drinking warm water and all yearned for a cool sip instead. Farmer quickly let them know, any water, hot or cold was better than no water; they all concurred. The pain subsided briefly, diluted enough so that Animal could wait a little longer to eat.

Meanwhile, Writer was secretly thinking of how funny this would all be if he were to make all of this into a story.

Engineer, who continued to watch us all from outside on the hood, soon caught wind of Writer’s plan and realized he had to regain control from the Writer lest we miss our turn. He broke in; reminding us all that we had to make sure we got all the parts for the projector so that we didn’t get there and find something missing. Engineer again reminded us of the turn into the church parking lot, where we finally arrived. Preacher got out and opened the door for us as we quickly found the projector and easily loaded it into the car with all the parts included, which was confirmed by Engineer.

Then, we were off again…boy were we ever.

As we drove down the road there broke out a huge argument over who, what and how the presentation should go. Preacher tried to calm everyone and told us that if we didn’t work together, we would all fail, yes, all of us. It seemed music was needed to help calm ourselves, so Preacher found the Rhonda Vincent CD and put it into the car’s CD player. Almost immediately the Artist and Writer came back together, reuniting in spirit, joining the Musician who had finally achieved his only wish. Engineer realized the collective result of the action and approved, but remained on the hood, just to be safe. Preacher and Farmer also felt at peace with the beautiful strains of Rhonda singing “Old Rugged Cross” and like the others became one in spirit. Animal, now seeing all the others fulfilled thought of how in times of difficulty it was often better to go into battle hungry rather than full and he too lay down for a brief respite, allowing us all too finally relax.

As we traveled down the road to our destination in the little blue car with Rhonda Vincent singing sweet melody after melody to us, everyone was finally at peace with one another and all was well …with all of us.

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Play Through Me In Spite of Me…

fiddlersWe’ve been attending the local Fiddler’s Conventions in our area lately with friends and family. While there are contests for various instruments and talents I’ve forgone any attempt in competing to win; rather, I have found it much more rewarding to use the opportunity as a platform. I know there are some who would say, “You shouldn’t waste your time going if your not going to compete to win.” Well, in a sense, I am competing to win, but not in the monetary sense.

Allow me to explain.

A couple weeks ago I watched a TED presentation on “Your elusive creative genius” by Elizabeth Gilbert http://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius.html and found her lecture spoke to me quite profoundly from my Christian background. 70532_74x56What she said that struck such a chord with me was that when we are true to our faith, we become the channel, the vessel if you will, through which a power greater than ourselves can flow.  The fallacy of so many artistic minds is that we start to believe the talents we pocess are because of us, something “We” are responsible for creating. With this responsibility comes great pressure. Once you’ve created that awe inspiring masterpiece, then everything after that becomes compared to the one that made you famous. More often than not, the vaccum that follows leaves many in such states of depression that they fall into either a dependency behaviour or take their own lives. However, all of this can be avoided if we realize the source of our talents; our inspiration.

It was from this TED talk that I was reminded of how we must give God the Glory, that everything we have we owe to him. When we try to take credit for it, we are only kidding ourselves and quickly fall into that trap of thinking we are more than we really are. So when the 2013 Fiddler’s Conventions came around, I realized I had to do more than just go on stage and perform; I had to deliver a message, even if it was brief.

So each week, before the performance, and most of the times on the way to the event, I listen for God to speak to me, telling me what I am to do, what song or scripture I will share with the audience. Some weeks he has told me in advance; others, I found out only minutes before. Such was this past week at the Seagrove Convnetion. Before we arried I had picked out a song I thought would be good enough, but on the way there, the idea of rewording the song, “House of the Rising Sun,” and playing it on my fiddle flashed into my brain. Upon arriving, I found my cohart and backup on stage in the recent weeks, a young man who is wonderfully talented and a great Christian, Tanner Henson. I presented to him the song and we tried it out but found neither one of us knew the chord progression on the guitar. I was about to scrap the idea unless I could find one of the many guitar virtuso’s in attendance. Just a few minutes before stage time, I found Harold Pickett; one of those guitar experts. I was also wonderfully surprised to find Harold a fellow Christian as well. Soon, the gig was on.

I prayed for guidance from the Lord and told the crowd before I started that I had to sing a couple lines to the song, so that they would know where I was coming from; meaning, not the original song but the new verse I had written on the way to the convention. So, with the power of the God flowing through me, Harold Pickett on guitar, Clyde Maness on bass and myself on fiddle  performed “House of the Rising Sun” but with these words as the intro instead, “There is, a House, at the end of the street, Where we go to worship God, and many a poor boy, has waited for judgment day, to accept the Spirit of the Lord.”

After that verse, we kicked the song into overdrive and the rest was a blur. I know I couldn’t have won anything monetarily, for I could barely contain the energy that swept through my fingertips as the bow nearly flew off the strings. There was a complimentary applause following our performance, but I think most folks were just being polite. I followed up the fiddle with an old Tom T. Hall song on my guiatar, while I sang and played, “Me and Jesus“. I left the stage, shaking from the adrenaline rush that had come from the fiddle performance and prayed I had not dishonored God in any way. Afterward, all I could think of was the TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert and how it was God playing that night, not me. Regardless of how it sounded, I was more concerned that I had probably ruined my chance to touch a heart. I kept asking myself, “Did I get in the way of God?” You never know until its over if what you did was respectable in his eyes, but again, I kept the faith and carried on.

Shortly after coming off stage, just as we were about to walk out the door, a young man walked up to me and said, “Now I know who you are. Your that preacher from over around Asheboro aren’t you?” I smiled and thanked him for the compliment but told him I was not a preacher; at least not yet. I told him it was a little ironic that he ask that since I was scheduled to preach my first sermon of my book ministry at the Crestview Wesleyan Church in Asheboro on April 7th. I gave him a card and invited him to come to the service. We shook hands and parted ways.

As we walked out, I realized something special had just transpired.  As we drove home that night, I felt as if I had somewhat achieved my goal; at least one heart had been touched, even if it was a case of mistaken identity… and that was all the prize I needed.

All we ask is that he plays through us in spite of us, in God’s name we pray….Amen!

ps. We were tired and there was a lot more convention left to go when we left. We rarely stay to the end to find out who won. We found out a couple days later that my daughter had won second place in vocals when she sang, “Amazing Grace.” You can bet we were proud of her, thanks be to God!

Do you find yourself getting caught in that trap of feeling like its you, like you have to do better next time? Let me know, and better yet, let me know if you’ve touched someone’s life by something you did recently.

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Ancient Past of Being Foretold…

There are times like now that my soul feels as ancient as there is time.

cabin2
I don’t know if it’s a sound in a melody I hear or if it’s a recollection to another place that falls upon my heart, yet I can sense its being. I yearn for that ancient place, to return to its simple existence, its firm timbers of form, with solid bedrock foundations. I don’t know where this place is; yet, when I reach higher terrestrial altitudes on earthly planes, I can feel a connection, as if a place I belong is calling.

To some, this may be more than a mere rambling thought while to others, it’s a sign of early senility. I prefer to think of the former; a clarity of mind that pre-exists all other.

The blaze of the midday sun on the cool autumn days brings about the crispness of eager ambitions, yet to befall upon weakened limbs. I trust these days are mere inclinations of predisposed actions yet to be fulfilled, yet I cannot dissuade their options of mind. I will undoubtedly bring myself to the steps of this endeavor, however great or futile it might be. Fate is only afforded those who attempt to step beyond the limitations of now. This is something that has never prevented my path before, and yet as now, will not stop me now.

Hindrance of thought cannot pull me down like the boat anchor to the soul, for it is merely something that is but of a side note. There was more than enough reasons to go boldly, something that spoke to me from beyond, yet in my mere limited ability to conjure on the process, it will be beyond what I know or can conceive of the future which is why it was done; something yet to be foretold. I must carry on in the hopes that this was more than anything I could have imagined, and yet, was led by a higher power, greater than the singularity of self could know.

The chorus of voices that sing of praise, his name exalted upon high, cannot be faint of heart. Like cascading water droplets on the torrent of waterfall from the precipice of God’s heavenly abode, they fall down to the earth enriching the soul of any who look skyward to their life rewarding embrace, falling upon risen faces, glowing and flowing into the life rewarding embrace they create. Love of God, life and the way toward the light. In these things we search…all of our lives, all of our being, all of our existence upon this we seek.

The drifting soul, gentle breeze of spirit, effortlessly wafting as the butterfly on the wind, carried from one moment to the next. We light upon the cusped of the rose petal, tenderly, ever so gently, and then move along as the light of an angel’s wing glows upon the air. Speaketh not of wanted muses, for today we dance as one with those gone before. Nothing carries us forward or back, nothing lifts us rather we walk on channels of energy that emanate from unseen sources beyond our knowing.

Warmth of enveloping love wrapped around the person, touching caring finger to hushed lip as the voice is quieted to speak not, yet watch as forever longing is removed. No more searching for what cannot be quenched. A spirit of fulfillment overflows so that no more hunger can ache in the stomach, no longer can the fainted breath of longing quicken the heart to reach too soon for the stinging touch of earthly realm. Beyond the pain, beyond the hurt, to no longer feel the reminder of the daily toil. This is where the Godly meets the life forsaken no more; Christ lives within. All is now sated…forevermore.

Recollection of recent dream…

The dream was of a mountain home, where there were two elderly people. I didn’t know who they were or even if they were related, but my visit was one of either research or investigation.

They were intent on showing me all the “old ways”. Everything from how to prepare for the cold mountain winters to how food would be best stored in root cellars. Then there was the mixing of herbal ingredients to be used in a tea elixir or as a snuff of sorts, both intent on curing ailments or providing for better health. I can recall the first being some sort of golden flower, which was cut into some type of tree bark tea. It was bitter but very good for you as a medicinal substitute. The second was a ground snuff, golden flaked in color that gave you a quick pick me up and provided for advanced seeing abilities.

I was so taken with these natural gifts that I went out to my vehicle and obtained two of my books that I signed and gave to these individuals, obviously assuming that they could read. There was a younger one, possibly an offspring of one of the two who was there with us. I also had a host who was there showing me around, introducing me to these people, but the further the dream advanced, the less this person or being became obvious until they were no more.

Toward the end of the dream, a large truck carrying equipment to a nearby bluegrass festival, lost a wheel off of their load. I wasn’t sure if it was from the truck carrying the load or from something on the truck, but it was a large tire, the size of a tractor tire, that came rolling off the back of the vehicle as it flew by the curve above the cabin in which we were sitting. I could see it come off even though we were still inside, and I immediatly warned the others. The wheel came crashing down the mountainside from the roadway, but nobody or anything else was damaged, strangely as it may seem. I could distinctly see the canvas covered load go by, missing the wheel as it sped on, with the driver unknowing to his loss. This was shortly after receiving the golden flaked powder from the two mixing it in the nearby old time store. I guess it worked, for it saved us somehow…of course this was about the time I had to say goodbye, and of course shortly before I woke up.

Unlike other dreams though, this one I knew was coming to an end…I was preparing for it to stop, packing up, and getting ready to go. Strange I know, but it was unlike most dreams which end abruptly either in death, tragedy or arousing surprise.

I really liked this place, its aged timelessness; ancient dwellings where I felt very much at home. This was a trip of preparation, I could feel it.

Was this the place a long for, the ancient place of my feelings, my yearning desires that I cannot place?

Perhaps….time will tell.

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