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Praying for Our Children (Part 4)

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Our Hunger for God Empowers Our Children

Nearly twenty-five years ago, a divorce turned my life upside down. This upheaval caused me to be apart from my two children most of the time. It was tough being an estranged father and, at the same time, trying to be a committed believer, godly father, and an example for them.

My only hope was to cry out to the Lord. This resulted in me feeling He wanted me to study the Bible in which I discovered some great blessings for us.

I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies and in your offspring all the nations of the earth will be blessed because you have obeyed My voice.(Genesis 22:17)

 The angel of the Lord spoke the above blessings to Abraham when the patriarch laid his promise −his son Isaac −on the altar and raised his knife to slay him as an offering to God. Abraham’s willingness to obey the voice of God and to trust Him for his provision, even though there was nothing in sight, brought forth this prophetic promise for all of his children and offspring.

Jewish believers receive all of the blessings of Abraham through the patriarch’s covenant with God.  Gentile believers receive the same blessings through our faith in Christ Jesus because we are heirs according to the promises given to Abraham.

What this means is that if we believers endure trials and the testing of our faith, trusting God to bring us through them, like Abraham did, God will bless our children:

(1) with possessing the gates of their enemies and

(2) people will be blessed by our children.

Possessing the gates of the enemies?

In Abraham’s time, cities had walls around them, protecting the city dwellers from their enemies. The gates of the cities were the entrances into the city through the walls and whoever controlled the gates ended up controlling the city. So, possessing the gates of the enemies represents power and control over enemies. 

Thus, this blessing of Abraham states that our children will have control over their enemies and will bless other nations (or people).

Who is the man who fears the LORD? He will instruct him in the way He should choose. His soul will abide in prosperity, and his descendants will inherit the land. (Psalm 25:12-13 NASB)

“His descendants inheriting the land” specifically refers to Israel’s descendants inheriting all of the land God gave them in the Middle East or the Promised Land. For us Gentiles, it means that our offspring will inherit the Promised Lands for their lives, whether it is spiritual or temporal.

I have been young, and nowam old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread. He isever merciful, and lends; and his descendants areblessed. (Psalm 37:25-26 NKJV)

The children of righteous parents will never have to beg for food because the Lord will be their provider. And also, because the righteous parents are gracious with their gifts to others, the children will be blessed.

Praise the LORD! How joyful are those who fear the LORD and delight in obeying his commands. Their children will be successful everywhere; an entire generation of godly people will be blessed.(Psalm 112:1-2 NLT)

Parents who fear the Lord and obey His commandments will have successful children.

 He will bless those who fear the LORD, bothsmall and great. May the Lord give you increase more and more, you and your children. (Psalm 115:14 NKJV)

Parents who fear the Lord will be blessed and their children will be even more blessed.

The righteous who walks in his integrity— blessed are his children after him! (Proverbs 20:7)

Walking in God’s ways brings blessings to our children.

“And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.(Joel 2:28)

Peter referred to this verse in Acts 2:17. Thus, if we walk in the fear of the Lord and in His ways, we can believe our children will prophesy and see visions.

For our children to receive these blessings, the responsibility rests on us parents. We need to be righteous before the Lord, fear Him, and obey His commandments to the best of our abilities. But even then, we must use our faith to believe these blessings will be poured out on our children.

Prayer: “Father, because I am a believer in Jesus Christ, an heir to the blessings of Abraham, have Your Spirit dwelling in me, obey Your voice and Your commandments, and greatly fear You, I believe that my children −(names)−shall posses the gates of their enemies, shall be a blessing to other people, shall inherit the Promised Lands for their lives, shall not be beggars, shall be successful in whatever they attempt to do, shall have greater blessings than I have enjoyed, shall prophesy, and see visions. Now, I thank You, Father, that Your word is truth and that I can stand on it, no matter what my eyes may see; and I thank You that it is Your responsibility to make Your words come to pass in My children’s lives. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

(The above is an excerpt from Praying for the Frozen Chosen: Our Children by Larry Nevenhoven, © 2016, Amazon eBook)

(Continued in Part 5)

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If God Loves us, Why do we Still Suffer? (Part 5)

We Evangelicals major on talking about “being born again,” but do you know how many times our Lord spoke on this issue? Just one time. Period.

Yet, there are more than thirty instances in the four Gospels where Jesus cast out demons, gave power to His disciples to cast out demons, or taught about casting out demons.

Now, how is it that we Evangelicals can talk for hours about the importance of being “born again,” but yet, we draw blanks when it comes to casting out demons?

So that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes. (2 Corinthians 2:11)

Paul wrote the above verse in reference to a man who had committed sexual immorality with his father’s wife. The apostle recommended that the man be delivered to Satan for the destruction of the man’s flesh. Then, the man repented and Paul recommended the man should be accepted back into the fellowship.

But the important point is this: Satan has schemes and plans to destroy the effectiveness of us believers.

Okay, who benefits the most by us believers not being able to cast out demons? The Kingdom of God? Or the kingdom of darkness?

But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. (Matthew 12:28)

It’s obvious that if we believers do not understand how to cast out demons, the kingdom of darkness rejoices at our ignorance. Why? Because our power and authority in Jesus’ name bows impotent before the god of this world: Satan.

Oh dear! What should we do?

(The above is taken from my 9-part series, “Do We Still Cast Out Demons,” which can be seen in its entirety here.)

Christians suffer many needless defeats because we do not know how to use our authority to defeat Satan and his horde of demons. We need to remember that Jesus won the victory at the cross, but we still must enforce it.

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith… (1 Peter 5:8-9)

As believers, it’s our responsibility to take authority over demons and cast them out. God will not do it for us because He has given us the tools to do it.

Mike Bickle has a great teaching on the authority of believers which can be seen as a video format or read in a PDF format here.

(Continued in Part 6…the full series to date  can be read here.

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Inside Israel

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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 —

Greetings dear brothers and sisters,

May The Lord be glorified and blessed, and may you who are His be blessed and encouraged.

Two weeks in February feel longer somehow then two weeks at other times, but it has actually been three difficult months, months of challenges. I have learned that every challenge brings the choice: will I stand in HIS way or will I look for a different way out.  This time I learned that SOMETIMES I can THINK that I am taking HIS way, but am really standing in the flesh.

I’m am SO THANKFUL TO OUR FAITHFUL AND MERCIFUL LORD Who is willing to bring us into a corner where we are forced to see our flesh yet again and cry out for His overcoming grace.

Hard times are not synonymous with bad times, IF they produce the peaceable fruit of righteousness.

I made some notes over these past few weeks, things that I wanted to share.  Now I stare at them and try to remember the point.

First I wrote Romans 12. What a challenging chapter to walk through after drinking in His Word.  This is a wonderful chapter as they all are.

I stopped in a shop at the shuk for a new tablecloth.  When I was a kid in kindergarten in NYC we used to have oilcloths.  Do any of you remember them?  I loved them for some reason because they felt good.  Maybe they just felt like a big girl going to kindergarten, but I loved oilcloth.  It MAY be available again in the States now, but for many years, it was an item in the recesses of my memory until we came here.  Oilcloth is still not only popular, but a standard, and it still makes me smile to get a new one for a few shekels every change of season.

The rolls of oilcloth stood on the street like soldiers in front of the dry goods store and I saw one that I liked.  I peeped into the store, which is run by Haradi (religious) twins. “Geveret!  Efo at?”  This literally means: “Maam, where ARE you?” But it is an affectionate way of saying, “Where have you been?”

It makes me smile. “I haven’t needed anything for awhile.  Thank you for missing me.”

We smile affectionately at one another.  It is a warm feeling to know that in Jerusalem a shopkeeper missed seeing me.

It may have been still very cold but there is no doubt that the seasons are changing. The birds changed. The cats howl. The days are longer, and even though we still have citrus fruit, the tomatoes and cucumbers are looking heartier and the red peppers are back.

I decided to take my daughter on a trip that I have dreamed about – back to the mishtala or plant nursery, where she worked before leaving the country 5 years ago.  She had loved working there.  It is a huge, lively nursery across from the Botanical Gardens. The plants for the Botanical Gardens as well as personal gardens, are cultivated there.  It’s a delightful place and was so good for her to work there.

Now that they are home, I wanted to help her to get things growing, working a bit in the earth, putting down roots, and watching things blossom into new life.  She was pleased and even more so when we walked in and the manager shouted out her name. Others came running, hugging her and oohing and aahing over the children.  When she left here 5 years ago, she was still single. Now she was a sprouting tribe and they were all happy to see how she was doing.  Eventually we began picking out starts and seeds and of course some small gardening tools for 3 year old Maya.  I started talking to an older worker who was thrilled to see our daughter thriving.  “Nothing like Grandchildren,” he grinned and we both nodded enthusiastically.

“How many do you have?”  I asked.

“Twenty seven and we all live in the same village.”

I gulped.  How wonderful it sounded as he described all of their homes being around his on the same moshav.  “We aren’t really in each other’s houses all the time but come summer we are always outside together.”

Covetousness reared its ugly head!

And had to be dealt with QUICKLY!

There is no other way to put it: it’s hard for immigrants.

It takes a full generation to plant ourselves into the land, learn the language and the more subtle things of a culture. The generation of the “in between” has raw roots.

I began to thank The Lord for bringing us home and thought of Psalm 90:1 “LORD THOU hast been our dwelling place in all generations…”

My heart was immediately comforted and brought back into His perspective.  HE is our dwelling place…a sure Home and everlasting Abode.  But it’s good to remind those of you who so lovingly and faithfully pray for aliyah, which IS God’s plan, to also pray for the rooting and sustaining of those who come here because of the culture shock. So then a good root system can be formed.

 

On the train the next day I saw a lovely thing.  Two young men, religious boys by their dress, got on the train and without embarrassment called to everyone, “Greetings!  We are collecting money for a young immigrant couple that are getting married and have nothing.  Please share with them?”  They produced water bottles with the tops cut off and began to go along the aisle.  Nearly everyone generously poured change into the bottles.

The woman next to me said, “What?  What did he say?  I didn’t hear him.”  She cupped her hand to her ear.

“It’s for the wedding of a young immigrant couple who have nothing.”

She nodded her head.  She understood.  No one asked to see proof.  I was touched both by their open gesture and by the quick sharing of the people.  It was lovely.  It was Jerusalem.

I recalled the story a volunteer told me recently. It is common here for people to go door to door collecting money for various needs.  This volunteer shared that they had gone to the door of an elderly man and said, “We are here to help with home repairs for those who need help…”

Before they could finish the sentence, the man went to his change bag and pulled out several small coins and gave it to them saying, “Yes.  Please help them.”

They were touched because it was HIM whose apartment they had come to repair.

It’s time for bed.  Thank you for your prayers.  The Lord is faithful!  We are heading toward the beginning of the Spring feasts and the forerunner is Purim: the celebration of the book of Esther.  I will share more next time, but thank you for praying.

God bless you dear family,

Sister J

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Geezer Up (Part 13)

 

Every part of me trembled from a fear so overpowering that my teeth chattered aloud. All I could think about was Kyle’s death grip on my neck and how the next time, he would finish the task. I didn’t know what else to do so I climbed into the top bunk and curled up in a ball, resigning myself to the fate soon awaiting me in Cell 27 at County Jail #4.

My exhaustion and fears struggled with each other for a few minutes, before exhaustion won out. I fell into a deep sleep.

Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote in his memoir, Stride Toward Freedom, about his receiving forty or more death threats per day during the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955-1956. One particular phone call late at night pushed him over the edge. He walked into the kitchen, made a pot of coffee, and sat down in a chair at the kitchen table. He tried to think of a way to quit his leadership position without appearing to be a coward. Finally, he prayed and asked God to help him because he was too afraid to continue. The presence of the Lord cloaked King, assuring him that He would always be with him in the days ahead and forever. King never again doubted or feared for his life again.

What the Lord did for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the kitchen table, he did for me in that top bunk.

Was it a dream? Was it a vision? Or did I really ascend into the second heaven? I don’t know for sure, but you can judge it for yourself.

In my sleep, I heard my voice echoing the earlier prayer: “Lord, thanks for giving a seventy-three 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.”

My words came out of an intense darkness without shadows. Yet, peace, love, and joy filled the same darkness. A spotlight then came on, shining on Reverend Morgan Churchill, the most godly man I had ever met and father of one of our closest friends, Faye Strawmeier. He was the founding pastor of Jedidiah Smith Community Church, which Jane and I attended for thirty years.

“Dylan, give me your hand,” said Reverend Churchill.

I sat up and offered my right hand to him. He grabbed it and we took off, up through the ceiling of Cell 27, through the roof of the Hall of Justice Building, and up into the heavenly realms. Even though I figured we were traveling at the speed of light, my eyes had no problem adjusting to the speed. I could focus on images as we zoomed past them.

We stopped thousands of miles above San Francisco.

“Today, you are going to begin learning about your enemy and how to battle him in the days ahead,” Reverend Churchill. “Pay close attention to what you see, okay?”

I nodded my head, but my mouth itched to blurt out questions.

Reverend Churchill had been an easy-going leader with an infectious sense of humor when he pastored. His blue eyes always looked ready to smile and enjoy a good time with people around him. But on this day, his manner mirrored the solemnity of the occasion, as did his dark suit, starched white shirt, and red-stripped tie. His chronic back problems seemed no longer an issue for him because he stood tall and erect before me.

“Look over there,” he pointed toward a radiant being sitting on what appeared to be a golden throne covered with jewels located in the realm next to us. “What do you see?”

“It looks like a god. I almost feel like worshipping it.”

“What you’re viewing with your eyes is the ruling principality over San Francisco −”

“But he’s beautiful!”

“The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians, ‘For even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.’ That is the spirit of depravity and how you’re seeing it right now is how most San Franciscans − believers and unbelievers alike − view this principality, as something good, and not evil.”

Reverend Churchill reached over with his right hand and covered my eyes. He then removed his hand.

“Now look again at the creature now that your spiritual eyes are opened up two levels.”

The being changed in one nano-second into a grotesque creature, much like a King Kong-sized gargoyle. His body parts appeared to be a surreal mixture of wolf, reptile, and goat parts with a stubby tail, talons for feet, scale-covered wings, paw-like hands, and misshapen goat-like face with two outlandish ram’s horns covering his wolf-shaped ears. His open mouth was filled with hideous teeth. There was nothing beautiful about him at all.

On closer inspection, the principlity’s throne was not made of gold, but rather out of worthless pyritic minerals or fool’s gold. The jewels decorating the throne were nothing more than worthless colored glass.

“In the days ahead, you will expose the spirit of depravity to the people of San Francsisco,” said Reverend Churchill.

“How?”

“By revealing God’s goodness to the city because it is through His goodness that people’s eyes will be opened to repentance.”

Before I could say another word, he held up his hand in a stop sign manner.

“Your first teaching on spiritual warfare is over for today, but from now on, you will walk in His peace. Nothing will faze or upset you in the days ahead because His presence within your heart will be a roaring fire, burning all doubts and fears that may confront you.”

Seconds later, I returned to my bunk a changed man.

(A new sequel to Unhitched Geeser, which can be checked out here.)

(Continued in Part 14…the full series to date can be read here.)

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Geezer Up (Part 12)

 

One moment, I felt ten feet tall, full of faith, defying the judge, announcing my fast, and the next moment, which happened as soon as I stepped out of the courtroom, I was weak old Dylan again. A seventy-three year old, bald, fifteen pounds over weight geezer who needed afternoon naps to stay awake until 9:30 at night. Not only that, I craved blueberry pie, ice cream, chocolate covered peanuts, pizza, and would have robbed a bank to get them if I had a gun or a knife. What’s my problem, I thought.

The young guard marched me up to the seventh floor to County Jail #4, a maximum-security facility for murderers, rapists, drug dealers, gang leaders, and now, a geezer with a big mouth.

After signing in, I went to a room where a soft-spoken guard ordered me to strip off my clothing so he could thoroughly search me. He then handed me my orange county jail outfit, white t-shirt, white underwear, white socks, pair of black slide sandals, and a bag containing toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, deodorant, and a locker key.

I finally arrived at my cell just before lunchtime. My cellmate sat at the small built-in desk, reading a thick book and taking notes on a legal pad. He looked up and shook his head.

“I was hoping for a cute young guy, but instead, I get an old, worn-out coot like you. What are the odds?” he said with a smile. Then, he stood up and offered his hand. “My name is Kyle Bogart. I’m the gay terminator on this wing.”

Even though he wore an orange uniform like mine, Kyle looked like he had stepped out of GQ Magazine with his stylish cut blond hair, blue eyes, chiseled good looks, and muscular six-foot frame.

I shook his firm hand. “My name’s Dylan Matthews. I’m a retired cute guy.”

Kyle laughed. “Okay, that’s funny, but because seniority has its benefits in here, you get the top bunk, and the little locker on the right.”

“That works for me.”

I pointed at his thick book. “What are you studying?”

“Law.”

“That sounds boring to me.”

“Yeah, it is, but I’m accused of murder and thought it would be a good idea to understand what the lawyers are talking about.”

“Murder? You look like a successful businessman.”

“Good guess! I am a part owner of a successful restaurant, but my partner was recently bludgeoned to death.”

“Sorry to hear that.”

“Well, things happen. Plus, he was my husband and cheated on me. By the way, what are you in here for? Robbing a bank or something exciting like that?”

It’s funny how at that moment I remembered his words “gay terminator” and how he didn’t elaborate on that title. My imagination kicked into gear with all kinds of hypothetical possibilities.

I blew out a deep breath and plunged into the deep end. “I spoke a short message to some men watching the parade down in the Castro District. All I said was, ‘Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.’ My words caused a small riot and ended up with me being arrested for a hate crime.”

His facial expression changed from normal to deranged in a San Francisco second. His blue eyes glazed over and the vein on the side his neck popped out, looking like it was ready to explode. He hurdled the distance between us and grabbed my neck with his huge hands and began choking me. I tried to protect myself, but he was too strong. His hate-filled eyes slashed my heart as I stared into them. I figured his face would be the last one I’d see before meeting Jesus in heaven.

The lunch chime sounded.

He released his chokehold on me, much like the dogs had responded to ringing bells in Pavlov’s experiments. He looked at me and then down at his hands, flexing both of them.

“My mom preached this crap to me until I finally left home. So, don’t ever mention Jesus or God to me again because I don’t know if I can contain myself from ripping you apart!” he proclaimed. Then, he lowered his voice. “Let’s go eat lunch now, okay?”

I struggled for breath and shook my head. “No! Go ahead without me. I’m going to rest a little bit.”

“Suit yourself, but today’s lunch is pastrami on rye with lentil soup. It’s really good.”

And just like that, the gay terminator left.

(A new sequel to Unhitched Geeser, which can be checked out here.)

(Continued in Part 13…the full series to date can be read here.)

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Geezer Up (Part 9)

Jacob Cohen (J.C.) Bates and his wife, Shira, waited for me in their BMW outside San Francisco International Airport in the passenger arrival zone. I noticed J.C. packed on twenty extra pounds to his five-foot seven-inch frame, but it did not detract from his rugged good looks. Shira stood a couple of inches taller than him, but the difference seemed even greater because of her model-like figure. Both were Messianic believers and servants of Yeshua the Messiah.

“Shalom, Jane,” said J.C., jumping out of the car and greeting me with a hug and a kiss. “Here, let me put your suitcase in the trunk.”

“Thanks and shalom to you, J.C.,” I said, handing him my black suitcase.

“Even though this may not be the best of times for you,” said Shira, standing outside the BMW’s passenger door, and also hugging and kissing me, “I was so excited to see you again that I went out and spent J.C.’s money on this new black sweater. But as usual, you win the fashion prize with your blond hair, Levi jacket, and khaki slacks. You look fabulous.”

Her gracious words should have reddened my face, but instead, I broke down and wept. Shira hugged me even tighter.

“God will turn your mourning into dancing,” she whispered.

“I sure hope so.”

“Let’s keep moving,” shouted a stocky TSA agent, walking toward J.C.’s car. He pointed at us with a black baton to emphasize his point.

We obeyed and took off for their home.

 

If you have ever wondered what type of home three million dollars would purchase in San Francisco, J.C. and Shira’s condo on the fourth floor of a prestigious address in Nob Hill would be the answer. Twenty-three hundred square feet, three bedrooms, two baths, hardwood floors, gourmet kitchen, formal dining room, large family room with stone fireplace, and captivating views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge through floor to ceiling windows. The furniture and decorations looked like they had been selected by a top Bay area interior decorator.

Shira served a tossed salad with grilled chicken for dinner, but I only moved the food around on my plate without eating much. As soon as possible, I excused myself and headed for the guest bedroom. There I unpacked, hung up my clothes in the closet, and sat down on the bed without changing out of my traveling clothes. Somehow, I closed my eyes and dozed off.

Then, I had a terrifying vision.

In it, I stood before the Judgment Seat of Christ. I wasn’t alone because hundreds of other believers stood there in numerous rows, waiting for the Judge − Jesus − to appear in front of us. I watched Him off to my left walking down my row with a torch in His right hand. He stopped in front of each believer, looked down, and lit piles of what looked like grass and sticks at the feet of each person with His torch. The piles burst into flames. Then, the piles quickly burnt out to reveal gold, silver, precious stones, or nothing but scorch marks on the ground. Those who had precious metals and stones bowed down and worshipped the Lord. Those who had scorch marks wailed and screamed like they were in hell, even though they were in heaven.

I looked down at my feet and saw a puny pile. I knew this small heap represented all of my works done on earth for the Lord. Not much for a whole lifetime, I thought. A holy fear enveloped me.

I turned and looked at the person next to me and realized it was a successful Christian businessman, whom I greatly admired. He was an elder at Jedidiah Smith Community Church, Sunday school teacher, weekend street evangelist, and well-known benefactor. The newspapers were always reporting on his philanthropy and many works.

I watched Judge Jesus bend over and light the businessman’s pile with His torch. The pile quickly burnt out to reveal nothing but scorch marks on the ground. The businessman fell to the ground and wailed at the top of his lungs. His screams echoed through my mind.

Oh no, I thought. If this businessman’s life did not please the Lord, how will mine be any better?

The Lord stood in front of me.

I looked into His eyes and knew His love was not on trial, but mine was at that moment. He bent over, ready to touch my puny pile with His torch.

“Lord, give me a second chance,” I pleaded.

He looked at me without straightening up. His torch remained close to my pile. “And what would you do differently?”

“I will serve you night and day without complaining. If need be, I will crawl on my knees across San Francisco on streets covered with broken glass to be Your ambassador. I will gladly carry cups of cold water to people and minister to them as Your servant.”

He straightened up and looked me squarely in the eyes. His love melted every hindrance in my heart. “Remember to do your works to please Me, not to please other people like the businessman did during his life. He received his reward on earth. Go and be My servant.”

I woke up and immediately slipped off the bed onto my knees. I worshipped the Judge, King, and Lover of my soul − my Lord Jesus.

(A new sequel to Unhitched Geeser, which can be checked out here.)

(Continued in Part 10…the first 9 parts are reruns and can be read here.)

 

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Geezer Up (Part 8)

Because of my standby reservation, I was the last person to board the Virgin Airline’s Airbus A320. One hundred and forty-five other passengers walked ahead of me to their seats. I looked at my boarding pass − Row 24 Seat B − and tried to look over shoulders and heads for my seat, but my five feet three inches of stature hindered my efforts. I eventually arrived at my seat, lifted my black suitcase into the overhead storage compartment, and squeezed past the outside passenger’s long legs into the seat.

The young sailor with a shaved head in Seat A by the window looked up from his iPad and nodded at me. The lanky man to my right, sitting by the aisle in Seat C, paid no attention and opened his iPad, connecting to the Internet through Virgin’s free WiFi service. Both put headphones on as soon as the plane taxied toward the runway.

I reached down and pulled a Michael Connelly paperback novel out of my purse, but the Harry Bosch story failed to hold my interest for long. My mind kept wandering back over Dylan’s and my off-the-beaten-path spiritual journey.

It all began when Dylan walked out of Jedidiah Smith Community Church on that first Sunday in June three years earlier when the new pastor preached his first sermon. Dylan explained that he couldn’t listen to another sermon while he ignored the Lord’s voice telling him to branch off into a different type of church ministry. That different type of ministry ended up being a home church, which we called Last Chance. Two senior couples joined us in the new venture: Phil and Faye Strawmeier and Vinnie and Gracie Nguyen. Both couples had been four of our closest friends for years. Others joined our house church so that the original assembly now numbered eighteen people.

But it was Pamela Walter’s words to Dylan and me just before she died which stirred Dylan’s heart. “The Lord wants the Last Chance groups, like yours, to spread all along the West Coast, from San Diego to Seattle. He wants to use senior citizens as His last chance army to touch millions of people −” she said.

Dylan interrupted her and explained we didn’t know how to do something like that.

I still remember her words: “Shush! Of course, you don’t, but He knows how to do it. Fast and pray and He will show you.”

Then, she died.

Dylan focused his life on obeying Pamela’s prophetic words to us from that moment forward. He fasted, prayed, studied the word, and continually sought the Lord on what we needed to do. His seeking led to three new groups being started: one in Hemet, Lake Elsinore, and Corona.

I went along with whatever Dylan wanted, not because I heard the Lord’s voice for myself or even felt impressed to do so. I just trusted that Dylan had heard the Lord’s voice and followed him. Maybe I caved in too easily rather than seeking the Lord on my own, but that’s how I handled it.

But when Dylan said he felt the Lord wanted us to plant Last Chance home churches in San Francisco, I was shocked. As he spoke his vision to me, I comforted myself by figuring it would be years before we reached the Bay area. Yet, two days later, he received an invitation to speak at a Business Men’s Fellowship luncheon in China Town. He left a week later, hoping doors would open for Last Chance groups in San Francisco.

I watched him leave and waved at him, but in my heart, I prayed nothing special would happen. I hoped it would be a nice trip for Dylan but nothing more. Nothing more at all.

Maybe you think I’m selfish and maybe I am. But I am seventy-three years old and so is Dylan. I want to get off this spiritual merry-go-round and enjoy life again. I want to travel to Branson, Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas, and even Paris or London. I want to enjoy our sunset years without worrying about jail or confrontations or planting more home churches. Why not? We deserve it, don’t we?

(A new sequel to Unhitched Geeser, which can be checked out here.)

(Continued in Part 8…the first 9 parts are reruns and can be read here.)

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