Monthly Archives: September 2016

Geezer Up (Part 3)

Dylan

The afternoon turned into evening and the evening into night. The only change was the fourteen people that joined us in the holding cell. The newcomers forced me to make a decision between sitting with murderers or with vomiting drunks and strung-out druggies. I chose the five MS-13 homies and behaved myself.

Do you remember how bad school lunches tasted when you were in first grade? Dry bread, chalky-tasting peanut butter sandwiches, and soggy potato chips served with stewed prunes and a dollop of day-old whipped cream. All of it ladled out on a yellow compartment tray.

Well, let me tell you, my first bite into the peanut butter sandwich made me yearn for the good old days of first grade. I gagged and spit up a mouthful into a napkin.

“Hey, old white man, about three in the morning, you’ll be wishing you ate this garbage,” said the youth with the teardrops tattooed under his eyes.

I shook my head and offered my tray to him. He took it and consumed both his and mine. I admired how he and his friends adapted to their situations without so much as a single complaint. I supposed being in jail was just a normal part of their lives.

But the smell!

Nineteen guys in a ten by twenty room with vomit, diarrhea, normal toilet usage, and BO swirling around us without a fan to alleviate the stench. My poor stomach tried its best to unload itself, but somehow everything remained below deck. Steady as she goes, I thought to myself in a moment of humor, which quickly passed

And sleeping!

If I leaned back, my back hurt because of the iron bars, but leaning forward moved my nose closer to the vomit and diarrhea on the floor. I compromised by slouching down like an old sweater midway between both positions. I dozed a little here and there throughout the night, but around 3 a.m., I had a vision.

In it, I was seated high above the city of San Francisco, maybe in the heavenly places looking down on the city. I heard the Holy Spirit speak to my heart, “I am going to use your time in jail as an opportunity to take on the spirit of depravity, which is the main principality governing San Francisco. Be bold and allow me to speak through you. I will give you more than enough grace for this experience.”

I then fell into a deep sleep, comforted by the gift of faith which enveloped me like a warm quilt.

(Continued in Part 4…if you’re interested, the full series to date may be seen here.) 

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Christianity, Church, Fasting, Gifts of the Spirit, Kindle, Kingdom of God, Literature, Prayer, Prophecy, Publishing, Self publishing, spiritual warfare, Writing

Thursday’s Prayers for America (9/29/2016)

 

Then, the angel appeared.

The holiness affixed to his presence caused me to fall on the floor as though I were dead. The glass landed next to my nose, its water splashing my face.

“Fear not,” he said, reaching down to raise me on my feet.

“You again. Will this be a common occurrence?” I asked, wiping my face.

He ignored the question and glanced over at the TV. The screen snapped off.

“I have been sent as a ministering spirit in response to your words,” he said.

“My words?”

“Yes, the questions you asked in your mind just outside the door of the apartment.”

I paused, trying to remember the questions.

“Oh, about whether it was always going to be like tonight at the home group or if there was an easier way.”

The angel nodded. His posture revealed more of a laid back approach toward me this time.

“The answer to the first question is that progressive Christian leaders, college professors, and veteran anti-war activists will always be tough to convert to the ways of God. Their hearts –”

I interrupted him without thinking about the consequences.

“But I thought all things were possible for God and –”

His eyes quickly mirrored his alpha-dog status.

“Their hearts,” he said repeating each word slowly, “resemble those of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and scribes who opposed the teachings of Jesus.”

He paused as if to check my reactions. I bit my tongue.

“It takes humility and child-like faith to lay down what a person knows in order to learn what he does not know. Sadly, most leaders hate showing their vulnerability in this way, especially if chastising and shaking by the Holy Spirit are involved. But you must fast and pray for them. Some will change and have experiences like the Apostle Paul had on the Damascus Road. These will be some of the most influential believers in the next move of the Spirit on college campuses.”

As I listened, I wondered if it would be okay to tape record his words, but I was afraid to ask. Oh well, maybe the Holy Spirit can help me remember his words.

(Excerpt from Deceived Dead and Delivered by Larry Nevenhoven, © 2013, Amazon eBook.)

My prayer today:

Lord, I pray the Holy Spirit will fall on progressive Christian leaders, college professors, and anti-war activists so that some will have Damascus Road experiences like the Apostle Paul and will end up being influential believers in a move of the Spirit on college campuses.

What do you think and has the Lord spoken to you today?

Join with me on Thursdays to fast and pray for America.

 

2 Comments

Filed under America, Christianity, Church, Fasting, Gifts of the Spirit, Kingdom of God, Prayer, Prophecy, spiritual warfare

Tuesday’s Prayers for Prisoners (9/27/2016)

Relevant Magazine’s article, Christian Persecution in China Is Even Worse Than You Thought, details the persecution Christians are now suffering in China:

It’s unprecedented persecution against the Church, where church leaders are going to prison, are being sent to mental institutions, are being beaten and tortured and where crosses have been forcibly removed from now over 1,800 churches since 2014. (Relevant Magazine)

In the article, Relevant Magazine suggests ways we Christians can help those suffering Chinese believers, such as legal means, Humans Rights Watch, Amnesty International, calling our senators, preaching, and of course, prayer.

My prayer ten years ago would have been a cry to the Lord for Him to stop the persecution and grant peace to the believers. But to be honest, my prayer at that time was based on a Western mindset, which was not experiencing persecution then…or today either.

I now agree with Brother Yun’s statement in his memoir , The Heavenly Man:

Once I spoke in the West and a Christian told me, “I’ve been praying for years that the Communist government in China will collapse, so Christians can live in freedom.” This is not what we pray! We never pray against our government or call down curses on them. Instead, we have learned that God is in control of both our own lives and the government we live under. Isaiah prophesied about Jesus, “The government will be on His shoulders.” (Isaiah 9:6)

God has used China’s government for His own purposes, moulding, and shaping His children as He sees fit. Instead of focusing our prayers against any political system, we pray that regardless of what happens to us, we will be pleasing to God.

Don’t pray for the persecution to stop! We shouldn’t pray for a lighter load to cary, but a stronger back to endure! Then the world will see that God is with us, empowering us to live in a way that reflects His love and power. (The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun and Paul Hathaway, © 2003, Piquant Editions, pp. 286-287)

My prayer today:

Lord, I pray that the Chinese believers will count it all joy as they undergo their present persecutions so that the testing of their faith will produce a patience, which will be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (Based on James 1:2-4)

Join with me on Tuesdays to fast and pray for  prisoners in Asia, according to Hebrews 13:3.

Why Asia?

1. 4.4 billion people live in Asia.

2.. 85.4% of world’s unevangelized people live in Asia. (Unevangelized means they may have heard the gospel but have no understanding on how to respond.)

3. The world’s three largest non-Christian religions – Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhists – are based in Asia.

4. Of the 37 countries of the world that are less than 10% Christian, 32 are in Asia. Of the 14 countries, that are less than 2% Christian, 12 are in Asia.

5. 600 million people live in abject poverty in the slums of Asia.

6. 85-90% of unreached people live in Asia. (Unreached means that they have never heard the name of Jesus.) (Operation World: The Definitive Prayer Guide to Every Nation)

2 Comments

Filed under Asia, Christianity, Church, Fasting, Gifts of the Spirit, Kingdom of God, Prayer, Prophecy, spiritual warfare

Inside Israel

The Shuk in Jerusalem

The Shuk in Jerusalem

Once again, it’s time to hear from our sister in Jerusalem about what she is witnessing there as a believer in Yeshua. Put your prayer shawls on and pray for Israel and Sister J. Now here she is —

Beloved brothers and sisters, shalom.

The word shalom comes from Him alone, The Prince of Peace (Shalom) The One who has made us one together in Himself. May HE be blessed and glorified and revealed in His people. Blessings to you with love, in this, the last week of the year, according to the Jewish calendar.

That’s right. The shofarim (ram’s horns) are sounding their deep calling unto deep throughout the city of Jerusalem anyway, and possibly the whole land.

Rosh h’shana is approaching rapidly.

Next Sunday night marks the beginning of the Jewish new year ‫תשע”ז    (tav, shin, ayin, zayin) or 5,777.  The main scriptures referring directly to the feast of trumpets (Rosh h’shana) are found in Leviticus 23:23-25 and Numbers 29:1.  They don’t say much except that it is to be a high holiday and the ram’s horns are to be blown.  Rosh h’shana means literally “the head of the year” and it has become the “new year” in spite of the fact that Moses said that Passover would mark the beginning of the year for us.  Since I have discussed this in depth over the years I will NOT go into it now, but will share with you that it is the beginning of the cycle of the Fall Feasts: Rosh h’shana, Yom Kippur (the day of awe…of confession, repentance and fasting), and finally the amazingly joyous week long feast of Sukkot (feast of tabernacles).  This is a busy busy season over here.

The shofar sounds daily now as people practice their blowing skills during morning prayers all around the city and in every synagogue.  Apples and honey, almonds and raisins − the traditional greeting for the “sweet year” are everywhere filling the air with sweet aromas and tastes.  The grapes and pomegranates, dates and persimmons shine colorfully out of the stalls at the shuk and people scurry everywhere buying gifts to give to others, preparing meals for friends, family and the poor and needy. All are preparing to gather together… and preparing hearts and homes.  It IS a special time.

But in these days that show every sign that we have indeed entered into the path of God’s judgments, time itself seems to me to have speeded way up.  The air is mixed with the smoke of the fires burning all around us in the wars and upheavals on every one of our borders and extending throughout the entire world.  Is it just me or is there a tension which seems to be at a deeper level everywhere. The sounding of a warning shofar, calling us deeper into His Presence, to be hidden in The Rock until the fury passes by, but I have a strong sense that once it passes things will never be the same again.  Perhaps I am a pessimist and this is all subjective.  I don’t speak as a prophet or leader, just a sheep with a profound sense of urgency.

Perhaps part of it is reinforced by a flurry of strange events that have happened to me since our upstairs neighbor miraculously moved out JUST before my husband’s return from Alaska. Then our family moved in with us, creating quite a bit of noise that would have really had us in trouble, had she still been there.

Some of you might recall me asking for prayer for Dalia, a demon possessed woman at the shuk whom I had befriended and was praying much for.  She has been very friendly to me for several years and I longed to share Him with her but felt a caution to wait for His timing on praying for her.  Suddenly, with no warning, she has begun cursing me and my Yeshua.  She sends knives of hatred through me when we see each other, which is almost daily, but how did she know?  I never told her.  It took me so much by surprise.  It also took me by surprise when an old patient from the doctor’s office where I work came in and said, “I have something that you HAVE to listen to.”

She put earphones in my ear.  The music played: Jesus shot an arrow of love into my heart and changed me or something like that.  I looked up, startled, and said, “How did you know?”

“Oh, you told me years ago and I never forgot,” she said beaming at me.

Then I remembered, some 18 years ago she was going through a terrible time and my boss was trying to keep her out of a mental hospital.  I shared with her then, but have not seen her since more than a few times.  She remembered.  It is curious to me: why NOW?

And along with this, at the same time, persecutions against the believers has picked up.  I will not detail this at this point.

Yes, there is more.

With all that is going on in my family I have had NO time to write, and don’t now (it is midnight and I really SHOULD be in bed) but I can not let the new year run in without sharing.

All of the personal news has been stacking up as well: just too much!

Thank you SO much for your prayers!

My husband’s trip to Alaska with our Grandson for his bar mitzvah gift and our son in law being with them, was excellent, a real blessing. I can only trust Him that He is working much in each of them.  My husband’s health did not suffer, and my time on my own was excellent, a time that I needed to gain strength, peace and settling in Him.

Three days after my husband arrived home, our younger, very pregnant daughter with her husband and two and a half year old daughter arrived home after 4 and half years in America. (TALK ABOUT HAPPY GRANDPARENTS!!)

That is nearly 3 weeks ago now.  They are still going through the bureaucratic hoops of being fully reinstated into the system, but Yitzhak is a sabra (born here) and that makes him so much more able to maneuver the system, so we are hopeful that they won’t get too bogged down, even though the country literally shuts down for the 3 weeks of these high holidays.  It is urgent that our daughter and our Granddaughter Maya be fully established into the health care system before the new baby arrives. It would be REALLY GOOD if they had their own apartment, at least with beds and appliances, before the baby comes as well, but perhaps that is selfish of me.  Yet I think it is better for them.

We thought that perhaps the apartment above us that Valarie so recently vacated was for them, but the landlady is asking far too much rent and it is really a dump.  I had asked some of you to pray that they would get it IF it was His will, but I had a check in my spirit immediately that it wasn’t, so I wasn’t terribly disappointed.

On Friday they found an apartment in the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Pisgat Ze’ev.  Those of you who follow our news may have heard of this neighborhood, one that the UN says is illegal. It is on the seam line and so has seen a fair amount of violence, being in close proximity with some large Arab cities.  (At the end of this letter I enclosed a small description)

The 5-room apartment is half the price of our 3-room apartment and is new and lovely, according to Yitzhak, who saw it.  It is being renovated and won’t be ready for two more weeks and only then will they know if they can get it, so I again ask for prayer that IF IT IS HIS WILL FOR THEM THEY WILL GET IT.  It is at exactly the other end of the train line that runs past our house, so I could just take the train to help her.  In times of unrest, it does go through many stone throwing areas and they would be near to these places.

On the bright side, it would be good for them to be in a young community like this one and not too near to his ultra religious family.  It is affordable and pretty.  Thank you for praying for His will.  AND I HAVE A SECRET:  I have seen that, yes, The Lord is sending them witnesses here, and yes, I have peace that HE will draw them with cords of mercy.

Our older daughter’s family as well is going through a shuffling.  Hopefully I can share about that soon, but it all says to me that The Lord is moving quickly, and He WILL bring His people home to the land that He promised.

Comfortable? Easy?  NO!  Faithful?  OH YES! NOT ONE WORD WILL FALL TO THE GROUND.

Oh my, nearly 1a.m. and I must be up in 4 hours. This letter comes to you with love from the center of “it all.” I am PRAYING that I can get more time to share, particularly with these wonderful fall feasts running toward us.  May The Lord of grace and mercy fill you with all joy and hope in believing and refresh us with His own Self for His glory.

LOVINGLY,

your sister J

 

On the way to Neve Yaakov, you’ll pass through Pisgat Ze’ev, the largest neighborhood in Jerusalem. With over 50,000 residents, Pisgat Ze’ev is a relatively new and popular destination for families and young couples looking to escape the skyrocketing property prices elsewhere in Jerusalem. But with a new development in progress, Pisgat Ze’ev may well become the next hot location for real estate hunters in Jerusalem.

Named for the early 20th century Zionist activist Ze’ev Jabotinsky, Pisgat Ze’ev was founded in 1982. The neighborhood was established to create a link between the Jerusalem center and the outlying neighborhood of Neve Yaakov, which was isolated at the time. Pisgat Ze’ev is located near several Arab villages and the neighborhood of Shuafat. Perhaps due to the ideology of its namesake, many of the central streets in Pisgat Ze’ev are named for Israeli army units circa the 1948 and 1967 wars. In ancient times, the region where Pisgat Ze’ev is now located was once a major source of oil and wine for use in the Temple in Jerusalem.

This neighborhood is now home to many Jewish families with children, and consequently has many kindergartens, elementary schools and a few high schools. The population is a mix of religious and secular Jews, with a significant number of synagogues throughout the neighborhood. A small but increasing number of Arabs have been moving to Pisgat Ze’ev, as well.

In 2009, a luxury building project in Pisgat Ze’ev was approved that has already attracted the interest of several buyers. The project has also attracted controversy, since Pisgat Ze’ev, despite being part of metro Jerusalem, lies beyond the 1967 Green Line and is classified internationally as a settlement. But the popularity of the project indicates an ongoing phenomenon in Jerusalem: local buyers are looking to move away from the city center, going instead where prices are more affordable.

2 Comments

Filed under Christianity, Church, Gifts of the Spirit, Israel, Jerusalem, Prayer, Prophecy, spiritual warfare

Geezer Up (Part 2)

Dylan

Any syrupy ideas I might have had about jail were quickly erased when the door banged shut to my holding cell. The five young men who sat on the bolted down metal benches, which lined both sides of the cell, followed me with their dark eyes as I sat down in the far right corner. A stainless steel toilet without a lid and a sink stood in the middle of the back wall. No privacy here, I thought.

“Hey, old white man, what terrible crime have you committed that the police would lock you up with five MS-13 homies charged with murder?” asked a young man covered with tattoos and wearing a white tank top.

My ears perked up with the mention of MS-13, also known as the Mara Salvatrucha. It’s the most violent gang in the United States with its members known for their cruel murders and merciless revenge.

“I preached the gospel of Jesus Christ to the LGBT parade watchers down in the Castro District. Some became angry and kicked me around like an old football. I was charged with a hate crime.”

“Did you fight back, old man?” asked a short young man with teardrops tattooed under both eyes.

“No, of course, not,” I replied.

The five laughed and slapped each other on the back as if my words were the funniest ones ever spoken.

“Old man, that is so hilarious!” said the biggest youth with a large scar on his neck. “You preach the gospel to gays and lesbians. Then they beat and kick the crap out of you, but you don’t fight back. And you’re the one who gets charged with a hate crime. We MS-13 homies understand that type of justice. So, what happened to the gays who did this to you?”

I shrugged. “I don’t know, but I pray that God won’t hold their actions against them.”

The same youth leaned toward me. “Do you really think God cares about gays and lesbians?”

“Yes, and not only that, He cares and loves you, too.”

“Old white man, now you’ve gone too far.”

The five leaned back and closed their eyes, ignoring my presence.

I sat there, checking myself out. My broken nose hurt. My ribs were sore and all of the other bruises added to my suffering. Yet, in the midst of my pain, I wanted to jump and shout and praise God because He counted me worthy to suffer for His name.

“Lord,” I prayed softly, “thanks for giving a seventy-one year old geezer, like me, a second chance to be a part of the action and not allowing me to retire from Your kingdom work. And Lord, use me even more in the days ahead.”

The Lord reminded me of this prayer often in the days following it.

(A new sequel to my eBook, Unhitched Geezer.)

(Continued in Part 3…if you’re interested, the full series to date may be seen here.) 

2 Comments

Filed under America, Books, Christianity, Church, Fiction, Gifts of the Spirit, Kindle, Kingdom of God, Literature, Prayer, Prophecy

Thursday’s Prayers for America (9/22/2016)

In 1994, I prophesied at an inner city church: “There is a voice crying out in the inner cities of America and it is saying, ‘I want to be free. I want to be free. Oh Lord, I want to be free.'”

As I prophesied, the voice of the inner cities reminded me of Israel’s sighing, groaning and crying out to God because of their bondage in Egypt. I also felt God had heard the inner city voice and was ready to move to set the captives free.

Not long after the prophecy, I had a vision in which I saw a black river flowing out of the inner cities of America. This black river streamed into the other cities and towns of our nation. As I watched on, the black river became magnified and I saw that the river consisted of African-American men. They were apostles and prophets, heading out to preach their message, “Repent, the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”

These African-American men were not your normal preachers wearing dark suits and white shirts. But instead, they wore black Oakland Raider tee-shirts and baseball caps. Their bodies were scarred with needle marks, knife cuts, and gun wounds. The looks on their faces showed an inner resolve which said, “Get out of my way. I’m determined to do the will of God.” Yet, in their eyes, I saw the overwhelming love of Jesus.

Since the prophecy and vision, has life improved in America’s inner cities? Conditions have so deteriorated that the inner cities are now considered war zones.

For example, in Los Angeles, gang related homicides in areas like Compton and South LA account for over half of the city’s murders. If these murders were not figured into the total number of homicides, LA would be one of the safest cities in the world. But because of the gang related deaths, LA ranks as one of the ten worst cities for murder in America, along with Washington D.C., Detroit and Philadelphia.

To counter this, billions of dollars have been spent by government and charitable agencies to alleviate the suffering in the inner cities, but the money has had little effect. Misery and anguish continues unabated and little girls still hope and say, “Can I come and live with you at your house?”

And yet, I feel the inner cities are the exact places where God will create His golden vessels to be our Paul prototypes. How can this happen? (America’s Hope: The Hopeless Inner Cities by Larry Who, 4/6/2011)

My prayer today:

Lord, help us American believers to walk by faith and not by sight when we look at the racial problems in our inner cities and help us to call forth those things that are not as though they are so we will see black rivers of godly men and women coming out of our inner cities to help set America free from the spirit of religion.

What do you think and has the Lord spoken to you today?

Join with me on Thursdays to fast and pray for America.

2 Comments

Filed under America, Christianity, Church, Fasting, Gifts of the Spirit, Kingdom of God, Prayer, Prophecy, spiritual warfare

Geezer Up (Part 1)

 

 

Dylan

I hated phoning Jane, but there were no other options because she needed to know my situation. The long distance operator took my info in a business-like manner and connected the call as I sat there with my hands cuffed together. Sweat dripped off my forehead onto the plastic-covered information blotter in front of me. The police officer standing next to me belched, coating the air with his garlic and onion breath.

“Dylan, what’s wrong?” Jane shouted into her cellphone.

“Well, I have a little situation here in San Francisco, but don’t worry —”

“Don’t worry! Are you kidding? Where are you right now? And where’s your cellphone?”

“I’m at County Jail Number Four, on Bryant Street in San Francisco —”

“Is this one of your jokes? If it is, it’s not funny!”

“Honey, it’s not a joke. I’m being charged with a hate crime and will be arraigned tomorrow morning. You need to call our attorney, Jacob, and have him refer me to a criminal lawyer here in San Francisco. Tell him I’m in County Jail Number Four.”

A gasp could be heard through the receiver, followed by a few sniffles.

“Hate crime? What’d you do?”

“It’s really no big deal. I just preached a short message to the gays in the Castro District. That’s all…no big deal. So don’t worry, please.”

“Gunsmoke, no big deal! It’s Pride Week there, right? Did they rough you up?”

“There was a little fighting, maybe even a small riot. I have a few bruises, but my nose should be okay once a doctor  checks me out and sets it in place.”

BEEP!

“Sweetheart, don’t talk. That beep means we have thirty seconds left before we’re disconnected. Call Jacob and tell him I’m at County Jail Number Four.”

“Honey, I love you and —”

The officer tapped me on the shoulder as soon as my call finished. I stood up and he pointed toward the door, leading back to lockup.

Yikes, I thought as I walked through the door, Jane’s really upset because she called me by my college nickname –Gunsmoke – which she hates. Not only that, she’s probably wondering how my arrest will affect our forty-sixth wedding anniversary plans to travel to Tahoe for this upcoming weekend. What a jam you’re in, Dylan Matthews! I’d better geezer up and prepare my seventy-three year old body for what awaits me in the days ahead.

(A new sequel to Unhitched Geeser, which is free on Amazon today. Check it out here.)

(Continued in Part 2)

2 Comments

Filed under Books, Christianity, Church, Fiction, Gifts of the Spirit, Kindle, Kingdom of God, Literature, Prayer, Prophecy, Publishing, Self publishing, spiritual warfare, Writing