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Monday, April 28, 2014

Things Change

                         Things Change

       There are some things in our lives we wish we could get a do over on.  In most of those situations it is not going to happen.  Mine is a tattoo that says “This to shall pass.”  It was the only thing I could think of that I had always found to be true in my life. Unfortunately for me, I had only heard it and never read it. All things change with time.  Hopefully that tattoo will, sooner or later, be changed into an emblem like the Christian fish symbol. It has that basic shape and will be an easy fix. Yes I know it should be too, instead of to, but I didn’t when I did it.  I claim poetic license. I have been wrong most of my life, so it fits.

    It reminds me daily of my error in judgment and to take time to understand things before I plunge ahead. As a licensed skydiving instructor that is something I definitely understand the consequences of.  Over the course of almost seventy years of life I have found that as soon as you become content and at peace with the situations you find yourself in, your life is about to change. In fact it may alter the whole course of your life.

    The last ten years of my working life I was an owner/operator of my own truck.  While that was one of the greatest Blessings in my life it came to an end only after I resigned myself to my situation.  I started with virtually nothing but a desire to serve the Lord. The Lord kept me operating even with the many mistakes I made over the years.  The final three years I finally got it together and was finally making money, getting in shape, (I lost 90 pounds) and living and almost debt free lifestyle. Finally after ten years I contented myself that I was doing what the Lord had called me to do.

    That was when I had the big one and not only died, but lost my commercial driver’s license and was forced into an early retirement. After selling my equipment and making some adjustments we managed to survive with the disability check I received.  I was fifty-seven at the time.  It had been a hard thing to adjust to and confused me at times. Yet in retrospect I realize the Lord’s hand was working in it. My youngest daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor and fought it for seven years. Because I was on disability we were able to spend much time together. We spent time together traveling to from appointments. We became closer because of our understanding of the delicate and fleeting nature of this thing called life. It made us both learn to appreciate every moment of this gift God had given us, called life. She went home to be with the Lord in 2010.

     My final job before becoming an owner/operator had been almost a dream job.  At least it was from some trucker’s perspective.  I was home every day for part of the day. I had to work six days a week, but I had a lot of freedom to adjust and set my own schedule around things I wanted to do.  It was toward the end of this five year period that I resolved myself that this was probably the best thing that could have happened to me. That changed the day before Thanksgiving 1993. I pulled into the yard where I worked and backed up to the dock. My boss met me as I got down out of my truck and said, “You don’t have to worry about coming in Monday.  We are closing the doors and going out of business. Thanks for your service. I will give you a good reference wherever you decide to go.”

     The irony in this was that only a couple months before I had decided this is where I really belonged and wanted to be. When I came to the company I was working for that was not the case at all.  I was totally fed up with trucking and was in the unemployment office and telling them I did not care what kind of job they had.  I would take it as long as it did not involve driving a truck.  Under much pressure from the guy at the unemployment office I agreed to an interview. The owner and I hit it off from the start.  We were both Vietnam vets.

    I had learned to drive a truck in Vietnam while on TDY(temporary duty) and had not wanted to do it. Yet 90 days later I was considering terminating my jump status and becoming a trucker full time if that is what the Army wanted me to be.  It was when I reached that point of resolving myself to my situation that the Tet Offensive started and I was shipped back to my unit so I could do the job the Army had trained me to do.  Rigging supplies for parachute drops to units that were cut off, and believe me that was most of the units in Vietnam at that time.

      It would be easy to give half a dozen more of these scenarios, but they are not the point.  The point is that often we have to quit fighting God and trying to do things the way we want to do them and let him work through us to accomplish His Will in our lives. God has always prepared my paths. Even the ability to write this comes from an experience the Lord opened the door too.  I spent my last year in the Army in Panama and writing articles for the command newspapers the Bayonet Banner and the Southern Command News.

     The point of writing this is that I find myself in one of those situations again where I am totally satisfied with my life or willing to accept it as God’s Will for me. In October my pay was quadrupled when I received my settlement for Agent Orange from the government.  After struggling for almost ten years I decided to sell the remainder of my assets and get rid of the balance of my bills and live within my means and be content with my situation. A couple months after reaching that point I received the Agent Orange settlement.

      The windfall was used to get our affairs in order, buy our cemetery lots, do our wills, surveyed our land to transfer part of it to our daughter. Yes I splurged and even bought a new used car.  Then suddenly a Déjà Vu feeling hit me and I realized why.

      If you read my free book A Little Further Down the Path on my blog in seven parts. My biography tells of an experience I had.  The old saying is, “You get lucky before you die.” I don’t feel it is luck. I feel it is a Blessing and the sum of my life experiences makes me feel the Lord simply opened the door for me to serve him in a new way.  The vision/dream I had in January 1967 is still real to me.  While I could die before I get out of this chair. Having been bought back twice already I know that to be a true reality, I believe I will see in real life what I saw in that dream.  If I do I will still be standing here on this earth when the Lord returns.


   The point of writing this is that with my present health issues and my Biblical understanding it is my belief that a resolution to the matter is near. If I am right I pray for time to convince those I love to make peace with God.  If I am right in another way, I am glad that I am at peace with God.  The question is, am I about to start a new adventure in life, or going home.  I am at peace with whichever the case may be.  Thanks for taking the time to read this. May God touch your life in a special way.

Friday, April 11, 2014

When God Says, April Fool!!

               When God Says, April Fool!!

      Most people at some point in life experience an event that becomes a part of their being and conscience for the rest of their lives. Events like 9/11, Pearl Harbor, the Kennedy and King Assassinations, are a few that touched great numbers of lives. The memory can be triggered and bought back to life by simple things like a song, a smell or something we see.  Our mood can be instantly and unexplainably altered.  Sometimes we understand it, and sometimes we don’t.

     For me the date is April Fool’s Day.  When God plays an April Fool’s Day joke on you, you don’t tend to forget it. In January 1967 I had an experience that shook me up so much, I volunteered for Vietnam, I was in Germany at the time. Yet just over two years later I found myself back in Germany.  Not only in Germany, but assigned to the same unit, the same room and even the very same bed I had been in when the whole thing started. It was April Fool’s Day 1969. Forty five years ago the first day of this month I found myself setting on that bed wondering, God are you trying to tell me something.

   Over the course of those forty-five years I have learned a couple things. God has a sense of humor and yes he was making his presence known to me in a way that would never allow me to doubt His existence.  Also I have learned He is still unfolding His Word so that we can see his presence working in our lives if we take the time to look.

     If you take the time to really get into and study His Word you will find that there are patterns and events that He uses over and over to accomplish His Will.  It shows he is consistent in His actions and that he is an unchanging God.  What was evil when He established His Word, is still evil.  Regardless of what the views and opinions of modern society are, His Word is still true.

    One of the first events that showed me the truth of what I just shared is when they killed the babies at the time of Christ.  It was Satan’s way of trying to prevent the Messiah from coming forth and doing his work in the world.  It was the same method he used at the time of Moses to try and keep a leader from coming forth to lead God’s people out of bondage.  It didn’t work then and it will not work now in this day and age.  If you are a Christian you know that all the abortion in the world in this day and age is evil.

   There are several events and they are in a blog post titled "A Little Further Down the Path (Meat Only)"dated 4 November 2014.  I know there is a lot of me and about me in the story.  Skip over me if you can and read what the events in the Bible are all about.  It was a seven part book and I condensed it and got rid of myself as much as possible. A few points I kept to show how I came to my understanding.

    God has often uses the same pattern.  He used younger sons to get done what he wanted done.  Remember David and Joseph and what they went through.  That is what the book is about.  It shows many of the events that he has used over and over to perform His Will.

    Every major movement of God has come out of Egypt (Africa) remember Moses, Jesus spent some his youth in Africa hiding from Herod. Many of the prophets at the time of the captivity were taken to Africa. That is the thing I find interesting about Obama’s Presidency.  No I do not think he is the Anti-Christ, but I do think he may be a sign that the end is about to start.  If you read the book you will find there are several four hundred and thirty year periods mentioned in the Old Testament.  They are always followed by a seventy year period.
 
     So why is that important?  Daniel 12 gives several prophecies and they are for the end time.  One of them is a forty two month period at the time of the end. The irony of that is that Israel will be seventy years old in November 2017.  If you count back  forty-two months you come to April 2014. I am not saying that is the date of the rapture or anything else.  I personally do not know if the period mentioned by Daniel starts at the end of the seventy year period or does it start early and lead up to the end.

     I do know that seventy years from the time Christ was born the Temple was destroyed. I know from reading that Israel was in the Babylonian captivity for the whole seventy years.  The interesting one is Moses, he lived 120 years. The first forty years he spent in Pharaoh’s house.  Then he spent forty years in the backside of the desert.  Finally he spent forty years leading God’s people in the desert.

     So based on that God can work anywhere he wants in the seventy year period.  He used the last part of Moses life in the wilderness.  Israel was in the captivity the whole seventy years and judgment on Israel fell at the end of the seventy year period that included Jesus time on earth.  Yes there was a seventy year period at the time of Moses also, but you will have to do some serious studying to find it in the Bible.  It is not mentioned but you can find it if you look at the timelines of the lives for the people involved.  Moses led during the first part of the seventy year period he was part of.

      Because of the Left Behind series of books most people think that we are out of here before the bad stuff happens and we do not have to sweat the tribulation.  That is not what Jesus said though.  He spent his whole last night on earth warning his disciples of the things that would come.  You can read Matthew 24: 29 – 33 and make up your own mind, but Jesus made it pretty clear.  First is the tribulation and then his people are gathered together.  He said it, not me.
 
     Jesus also said it would be as it was in the days of Noah.  If you read Genesis 6:1-13 you will see very clearly it pretty well describes the day and time we live in. 

    So what am I saying?  Just that this is the last Easter that is outside the timeline used over and over in the Bible.  Am I saying the Rapture will happen on Easter?  Not hardly, but I am saying that I would be looking up and anticipating the return of Christ, which I do every year.  The truth is he could come on any day and at any time, but if we are looking at the signs His Word gives us we will be ready.