PART FOUR– Bernalillo to Moon River (cont.)
I was mildly surprised when I red these words months after writing them. Mildly, I say, because it wasn’t a surprise, and yet it was, to see how I have been so down in my hopes, feelings, and outlook on things. I marvel somewhat because I know this has happened on many occasions while between those times I have felt as though the Lord were very much with me and that, by Him, nothing was impossible.
I have particularly felt the latter way, with full conviction immediately after the Lord manifested Himself to me in some unmistakable way. But how soon and how able we are to forget and be in despair!
The whole world rots before my eyes.
Blind I am not to its corruption;
Men bide their time in vain travail,
Awaiting their time to go.
Suffering and death are everywhere,
Sickness, disease, and Hell;
Selfishness and greed reign over all;
Each man denies another’s rights.
Hell is on the left, Death is on the right;
Fake religions promise emancipation;
Vain hopes carrot asses everywhere;
The wisest are led by them,
bled by them,
and slain by them.
God is here, God is there, God is everywhere,
There is no truth, no mercy, no compassion,
No righteousness or justice in this earth.
Men are quick to boast their virtue,
To make a show of goodness,
Til they have you where they want you
And slit your throat for what you have,
If even so very little.
I see the wickedness and the cruelty,
The deception of every man,
But though I have power to see all this,
There is nothing I can do.
I am as helpless and selfish as other men,
Striving for the truth, yet against it all,
Hungering for the right nowhere in sight,
Contributing to its non-existence.
I have sought to be the Lord’s,
To be His and His alone,
To serve Him well and do His will
But I have sought in vain.
There is nothing for me to do;
My searching is at an end.
I cannot go on; my hope is gone;
I see no other way.
What, then, can there be for me?
Where will I go, and what shall I do?
I despair and cry and writhe inside;
My God has forsaken me.
He has forsaken me, I don’t know why.
I know that in me there is no good,
But I thought and hoped that He would come
And save me if He could.
I am worse than I was a while ago,
And worse I get each day.
What can I do and where will I end?
What more am I able to say?
My depressions come more often;
They envelop me as a shroud.
My strength is fainter day by day
To withstand the onslaught of evil.
I have boasted and spoken of my God;
I’ve acted as though I’ve known Him.
Some, though few, have sought my words
To guide them on their way.
But now I find I am no guide;
I have no one to guide me.
Silent and subdued within,
After many years, I am at an end.
Promises have come and also gone;
I stand with empty hands;
Nothing to show for all my work
And sacrifice and search.
If I could find someone to end
This miserable life I have led,
I’d let him have the privilege,
If I knew the other side.
It may well be from pan to fire;
It may be for the worse;
I don’t know, so I can’t go;
I must bear this curse.
Though many who presume to preach the Gospel of salvation would deny this, they give people the impression that, upon believing the Gospel, all trials and troubles will flee. While it is true that if we walk in truth and righteousness, we save ourselves untold evils, nevertheless it is evil which the Lord uses to break us and mold us after His likeness. And these trials can be far more difficult than those we had previously.
Take the apostle Paul for example. Though surely as a human being, he had his problems when yet an unbelieving Jew, was he whipped, stoned, and beaten with rods while sitting amongst friends at the feet of Gamaliel?
The evils applied to us for good develop invulnerability and immortality.
Resilience, where would I be
If not for your helping hand?
At one time I was deathly ill,
So vulnerable to the slightest afflictions.
Scratches would hold sway
Like a pestilence
And linger in my soul
But now like a ball of Indian rubber,
I bounce away from a wall of brick
Whereas once I was an egg.
The past is a fearful jailor,
A formidable tormentor as well.
With an iron grip,
With shackles and chains,
It held me
In bitterness and regret,
In shame and dismay,
In helpless thoughts
Of revenge and amends.
Not so now.
Resilience has come,
Riding upon healing,
Healing harnessed in pardon,
And now I am free.
Afflictions still come
And pain is there
From enemies far greater
In power and number
With liberties of warfare
Given to them
And denied to me.
But whereas a scratch was once
A mortal wound,
Now what seems to be
A mortal wound,
Is but a scratch.
There is life in me
The enemy can’t touch,
Much less overcome.
I am sheltered in a
He has carried me to safety
And there I trust in my Savior
Rather than fear my destroyer.
Resilience, you are mine.
I hadn’t written any papers since 1980 or 1981. At that time, the Lord promised me that if I forsook those, He would give me something much better, which He did. In 1984, I wrote three – The Church, Obedience, and So You Want to Walk with Jesus.
Fred Molnar questioned me about them. “Why are you writing those?” he asked, in a tone and spirit that suggested it was a silly thing to do. I replied that I didn’t know why – I just did what came. Since that time hundreds of papers and letters have been written, yet these three have remained prominent in importance for many (they’ve been revised and improved a few times).
More poems were also given in October 1984, many of them on October 1st….
(I marvel at how so-called worshippers of God are so much more important to themselves than the One they profess to worship.
I marvel at how they worship themselves for worshipping God and how they worship worshipping itself.
I marvel at how they insist and demand of God how He should be worshipped.
In essence, they are demanding that men worship them for their dedication, piety, and wisdom in the way they worship God; truly, they demand of the One they profess to worship that He worship them, even as Cain demanded appreciation!
I marvel at the reversals of men, their utter contradictions, and their blindness to it all.)
(“Beware of false prophets. You shall know them by their fruits,” warned Jesus.
Eggs are fruits, and many seem to assume all eggs are good fruit because they are eggs, but eggs are neither good nor bad in themselves. What kind are they?
Smiles and friendship are neither good nor bad. Why are they? Religious talk, praising, and extolling God are nothing in themselves; so one must have discernment to tell good eggs from bad. That discernment is the gift of God given only to those who love the truth, selling all they have to possess it, even their very lives.
The pilgrim on the path of truth is thoroughly tried, and only the true seeker will enter into that which is behind the veil and have power to see under the shell.)
(The ways and thoughts of the Spirit of the Lord are far higher than man can imagine.
This work had the crucible of a man with above average intellect who was rather impressive and impressed with his powers. What a blessing it would be to see a man set aside his strengths, both real and perceived, and take on the “weakness” of Christ. I have yet to see a man of high intellect do so, besides Paul the apostle. Isn’t it written that God chooses the foolish things to confound the wise?)
(Our Lord’s final stage of suffering began, and His social freedom ended, with a kiss of betrayal from the lips of one who followed Him for years calling Him “Master.”
Our journey of learning has its bitter moments, none more bitter than the times of subjection to duplicity, hypocrisy, and betrayal.)
(“And he who hurries with his feet sins” – Proverbs 19:2 MKJV.)
(We are all in need of help.)
There’s the precious guest whom the Lord sends to minister to us. Truly, as hosts, we could be entertaining angels unawares. Yet, not all who come are precious guests and can’t be treated alike. There are both bad fish and good caught in the Kingdom’s net, and the bad must be returned to the waters. There are those without wedding garments, who enter in to feast with the saints and must be denied.
And then there’s the precious guest whom the Lord has brought so we might minister to him.
Though a guest must be received with cordiality, he may not be treated as a guest in worldly terms of hospitality and politeness. He may even be reproved, rebuked, and told the unpleasant truth about himself. By the grace of God, however, he will believe and discover he is indeed a precious guest, beloved among the brethren.
You have come not only because
You have chosen to do so,
But you have been brought here
To rest and to be comforted,
To hear a word in due season,
A good word.
Whether it soothes or hurts,
Whether it heals or cuts,
Whether it angers or pleases,
The truth will make you free,
You have here a shelter from the storm,
A haven of sweet rest,
If you receive it as such.
Bring your peace with you
If you wish to be rewarded,
And forsake everything unclean.
Take off your shoes
And rest a while.
May you be blessed and nourished,
Strengthened and healed,
Prepared to continue your journey
In an alien world,
In an hostile environment
Because you are His.
We hope you’ll be washed of this world’s dust,
Bathed in the Water of God;
We hope you’ll take on
A fresh change of clothes
And armor for trials ahead.
Fellowship with us,
And know our home is yours,
If you are His,
Because this home is His,
And what is His is yours.
Page 14 PART FIVE – Moon River to Harvest Haven (cont.) Particle – The Feedlot Battle The residents opposing the feedlot held a meeting. I attended and found them demoralized and defeated. Their only remaining hope was to voice their concerns, without expecting any results, perhaps with the possibility of some small concessions. I remember Lloyd Sereda, Luc and Maria Demers, Etta Taylor, Tim Jarvie (a lawyer), and his wife, Anita. Pat King was nowhere to be found. I told them what the Lord had promised us by Marilyn. Of course, most didn't believe. However, Etta Taylor and Maria Demers both declared they believed it and it gave them hope. I was thankful for them. The day came for the meeting at Claresholm on May 20th, 1993, 3 ½ years and ten days after the conflagration at the Moon River fire hall on November 10th, 1989. (I suspect Pat King had informed me of this issue on May 10th, but I have no record of that. I only go by how the Lord has often done things with remarkable timings.) Both parties presented their arguments to council. Al Wheeler spoke briefly for the Mandels and the feed company, owned and operated by the Olafsons (Butte Feeds), who were in partnership with the Mandels. It could well have been a strategic move to have a Moon River resident speak up for them, thus minimizing opposition from the hamlet. Olafson and his son, Randy, were present (which I do not mention without significant cause, as you will see). Olafson Sr. made a short, rat...
Page 12 PART THREE– Israel to Bernalillo (cont.) Particle – Andrea Keeps Her Vow Their daughter, Andrea, was now sixteen. She was fully set on fulfilling the vow she had made a little over a year before. She cut her hair very short, plastered herself with makeup, and fitted herself into a pair of very tight jeans. Art and Doreen were perplexed and depressed, yet seemingly helpless to do anything about it. Andrea was of legal age to be independent of her parents and do as she pleased, and she was determined to take full and vengeful advantage. We were witnessing the fulfillment of things we had warned them about over six years before, and the consequences of their ignoring those warnings. The next day or two, Andrea, Marilyn, and I were in the living room watching something on TV. Art and Doreen were out. I was uncomfortable for both her and us because of some suggestive subject matter. Andrea had no desire to talk or change so, wisely or otherwise, I took the remote and changed channels. Andrea was immediately upset; she rose up and stomped out. Each day we were there, the atmosphere grew colder and heavier. For the first couple of days, they wondered what we were going to do, but we had no idea. After three days, Art and Doreen would hardly speak to us. Yet there we were, on their living room floor, right in the middle of their small apartment with no idea of where to go or what to do. We were beginning to feel about as welcome as a large, fresh, stubborn rug st...
Page 6 PART TEN - The Issues of Life (cont.) Particle - Ceremony and Superstition Trump Sympathy and Reason Dan Stanojevic passed away with cancer. We all prayed for direction and all went to the funeral on the Sabbath, January 11, including Jonathan and Ingrid. The ceremony was at the Greek Orthodox Church on 13th St. North in Lethbridge. The funeral was quite pagan, with drink and food offerings at the coffin. At the grave, a novice priest was totally occupied with the correctness of the ceremony procedure. When the undertaker would hold off the lowering of the coffin, knowing that Senka (Dan's widow) wanted to have her last parting moments in grieving, the young priest insisted the coffin be lowered into the grave promptly as he sang or spoke his ritualistic formulas. Not being in a position of authority and not wishing to offend the powers that be, the undertaker acquiesced. After all, it certainly would seem to be a bad business decision on the coroner's part to please a solitary family but lose the favor of those who determine burial arrangements and decisions for their congregation on a regular basis. Besides, it wasn't his business to tell others what to do. As I watched, I was confounded. Seeing Senka's need and sensing her wishes, should I jeopardize the apparent order of the occasion, step in and insist the priest show more regard to the grieving than to the ceremony? I really had nothing to lose, unlike the undertaker. Howe...