Pray With or For Someone Today

Ecclesiastes 1:9 tells us that there is nothing new under the sun. Thousands of years have passed since that was written and many “outside” things…clothes, architecture, modes of transportation… have changed….but people, well, we’re pretty much the way we were in the days of Solomon.

As we travel, we have met people who have endured the suicide of a spouse, the sudden death of a child, those who have battled sexual misconduct and others who have served time in prison. We have encountered addicts that are clean and those who cannot or will not get clean.

There have been families split apart because of misunderstanding and marriages wrecked because of financial pressure. We have met people who take all they can get and others who give without any thought of getting. We pray for them and with them without seeing any physical evidence that anything has changed. Sometimes we are tempted to get discouraged but then we remember… “faith comes by hearing” and then we remember: we are traveling America doing our best to plant seeds of faith by telling people about Almighty God.

As human beings, we don’t know what is going on in anyone’s heart or mind. We don’t know what to say to encourage them or lighten their load but the Holy Spirit does. So all any of us can do is ask the Holy Spirit to allow us to be a blessing to the person we are about to talk with.

Prayer doesn’t always change circumstances but we do know that prayer always changes people. Changed people move from the fear of society who criticizes them to faith in a God who loves them.

Lord, please let those we talk with today hear Your voice and invite You into their life. Help them to understand that You love them and that what they do with their life matters.

What If….

Throughout Scripture we are told that what we say has an impact on our lives. Speak sickness and lack and chances are you will have sickness and lack. Speak blessings and health and they manifest. Whatever we dwell on, we speak. Whatever we speak, we seem to support by our actions. Our actions, in turn, create our world.
Proverbs 18:21 says the power of death and life are in the tongue. Proverbs 12:14 says that a man is filled with good things from the fruit of his lips. Mark 11:22-24 says to have faith in God; whatever we say and do not doubt but believe it will come to pass…will be done for us. Jesus tells us again in John 16:24 to ask and we will receive and our joy will be complete.
What if Scripture were true? What if we could shape our world with God’s words in our mouth? Would you be willing to give it a try? Lucyah and I have listened to the words that came out of mouth and wondered….Why did we say that? That’s not what we want AND that’s not what Scripture says.

We’ve actually heard ourselves say “We can’t afford that?” when Scripture tells us we are the children of God and He owns all the silver and gold and the only reason we have not is because we ask not! Deuteronomy 8:18 tells us that God has given us the power to get wealth. So the question is…Are we using the power (speaking God’s Word to begin with) to get what we say we want?
“My back is killing me” comes from our lips instead of “my God is healing me.” The Word of God tells us we are healed by His stripes. The same Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead raises me right now from a bed of sickening symptoms.
So…let’s get physically and financially well. Let’s start speaking God’s Word and thanking Him for the positive results that are starting to take root. Whenever you get tempted to confess a negative circumstance, speak one of these instead:

I AM healed by His stripes. (1 Peter 2:24). As I live longer, I get wiser, healthier, younger and stronger!

I AM getting all my needs met by my Father and all my desires are satisfied with good things. (Philippians 4:19 & Psalm 103:5).

I AM exercising my authority over the enemy; nothing harms me. No weapon formed against me prospers! (Luke 10:19 & Isaiah 54:17)

A Time For Every Season

Nothing works outs as planned. In a week’s time, we should have walked from Lynchburg to Charlottesville. Instead a week passed and we were still in Lynchburg!

Our new friend, Haniel, was working on a new web site for us and needed us to be around for a few days. Getting about five miles to the gallon with the RV, we didn’t see any reason to walk and then keep driving back each day. Lynchburg had a WalMart and that provided a place for us to park each night without a hassle.
Our good friend Pastor Bill Zulker has a sister (Betty) in town and we wanted to stop and give her a hug from him but we couldn’t connect with her. Then we received a message from a man who simply said he was told

to contact us. We wondered what that meant? It turned out that the mystery caller was a friend of Betty’s and when he called again, he invited over his home. Wallace & Elinor Turnbull were missionaries in Haiti for sixty years! They now work with the Haitian students that attend Liberty University. While we were visiting with them and hearing some of their marvelous stories, we learned that Betty was in the hospital and they took us over to visit her. Betty was every bit as delightful as her brother Bill. We managed to sneak in to see her again before we departed Lynchburg
During our travels, I noticed that the front tire was wearing badly on the inside and so we used our time to find a place that could do a front end alignment on our RV. I knew we would need one new tire but as it turned out we needed two! Piedmont Fleet Service was jammed up but service manager Louis fit us in on Friday morning. One look around made me feel confident in who we were dealing with. They service all the Emergency vehicles and firetrucks in the area and the place is so clean you could eat off the floor….really!
Now the day before we were scheduled to go to Piedmont, we had a flat. It was 11:30am and starting to get a little toasty. We called Good Sam’s and they told us help would be on the way…in two to three hours! Four hours later, a very nice policewoman stopped and asked if help was on the way. We explained the situation and
she called Good Sam’s who tracked down the truck coming to help. They said he should be there “any minute” and the officer said….in a deep officer-like voice “I’m waiting with these people.” Lucy and I were so excited! Our champion had arrived!

Twenty minutes later, the officer asked us to call again. Once again her strong voice asked with a tinge of impatience, “Where is he?” After some fumbling and “I’ll call him,” they said “He just turned on your road.” About five minutes later the driver arrived and started changing the tire. As I turned to thank the officer for the help, I saw her drive off. I said to Lucy, “We didn’t even get her name.” Just then I got a childhood flashback of a masked man and his Indian companion riding out of town.
I’m nor sure, but I think Lucy said. “Why, that’s the Lone Ranger.”
I checked to see how the tire changing was coming along and as it turned out we had two flats on the same side! The inner tire went flat putting extra weight on the outside tire. Plus the heat we’ve been having just made things worse and the outside tire blew. It was 5:00pm by the time we got back on the road. We were on our way to All Peoples Church to meet Haniel and Carmen. What a loving group of people…small church…big heart!
It’s been a most interesting week but as much as I enjoyed it all. I’m ready to get back on the road!

My! My! My! What a Wonderful Day!

As I approached, he got out of his compact car, walked toward me and gave me a great big hug. “I’ve been watching you walk since Danville and I just knew I had to stop and talk with you.” Danville was about a week ago and that translates into a good seventy miles of road behind me. During that time, not only did he spot me but he took note of Lucy and the RV. He had jotted down our web site, went home one night, and did his research. By the time I met Gates he knew more about me than I did!
His job takes him all over the county delivering medication to nursing home. After he left me, he put a call into his bride, Clelon. (Gates & Clelon…kinda sounds like a law firm, huh? No divorce court for these two though, they really love each other!) I met her a couple miles up the road, she came prepared with a cold water and two mini muffins for me! She’s one of these people who was born with a smile in her voice and a twinkle in her eye. She brightened my day just spending time with her.
A little farther up the road, I met a woman who greeted me with “Pick a number between one and sixteen.” “Eight” I replied. She reached it an accordion folder, counted eight pockets over and pulled out a personally selected tract and a picture of an eighteen year old boy. “Are you a Christian?” she asked. I looked at the cross handing around my neck and smiled wryly, “Yes, I am.”
The picture of the young boy she gave was her son Barry. He died twenty-five years ago, six months before he was going to graduate high school. She wants people to know how quickly life can change and how important it is to know Christ. Her only solace is that she will see him again in heaven.
The next person in my cornucopia of American treasures was Lynne. A lady with a quick wit, creative ideas and a charming smile but who has had a hard life. Abuse comes in all forms but the longest lasting, I believe, are verbal assaults executed in rage. She has managed to overcome adverse circumstances but then fell again. Now she is getting up off the canvas for another shot at the brass ring of her destiny. She knows the Lord and is thirsty for to be and do what is right in His eyes. I was intrigued by her openness and authenticity.
Have you ever walked in the forest and had the opportunity to see a family of deer. You are as stunned by them as they are by you. You both stand still looking at each other. They are beautiful and strong; yet fragile and easily frightened. I find people are very much the same. We do not see our own majesty. We don’t know our own strength and yet our fragile egos are so easily bruised and battered. We often become skittish around something or someone slightly different.
After we finished walking for the day, we headed to Wal-Mart for supplies. Lucy was looking for some deodorant and after shower body mist. Like a good husband, I commandeer the basket when we shop and she is free to roam the aisles. When Lucy is looking for personal items, I usually station myself a safe distance away so as not to encumber the shopping experience for Lucyah and the other ladies hovering about.
I was engrossed in people watching. I especially like to watch people who are watching Lucy. Looking up this one aisle I saw an attractive twenty-something woman helping Lucy reach some of the items that were conveniently located at the six foot level. She would bring down a bottle of mist, spray the air and her and Lucy would smell the air. They would then either make faces or they would make sounds “Aaaah” “Ooooh.” They were like a couple of teenagers whose mother has let them go to the mall alone, giggling and laughing. …and there I was without a camera!
Unbeknownst to me, Carmen’s fiancé, Haniel, was watching the same scene. We looked at them and then each other, started laughing and it was then that God started to build a lovely friendship that would blossom over the next week!
BUT…….our day wasn’t over. Around 9:00pm, Rebecca came by the RV to visit. I had met her mom on the road that day and mom had called her to be on the lookout for us and kind of, check us out. We invited her in and we visited for about two hours. Every life has a story and every story needs someone to hear it. Sometimes the best ministry is the “listening ministry.”
We went to bed that night with the delight of God in our hearts. He had blessed us with the presence of His children and each one, a jewel. We drifted off tired and happy.

Look Around Ministry

He knocked on our door late in the afternoon. His eyes struck me as sad, he was very thin and his teeth were in need of repair. I wondered why he stopped. For food? Money? Directions? Out of curiosity?

Now here’s my confession. Sometimes when I see a person I have a tendency to put them in a box. I think …He’s broke. She’s successful. That one needs help but that one over there, he’s got it together. God’s been working with me and I’m getting better than I used to be but I still jump to conclusions about people. I was about to get another lesson.

Chad didn’t want anything. He came to see if we needed a place to take a shower or do laundry. He offered us his home! As we talked with this very mild mannered loving man, he told us about his ministry. They (he and his mother) don’t have a website yet but they have that on their wish list.

They help stranded people get home. They go to bus stations and train stations and find people who missed their connection and help them in whatever way they can. Sometimes they provide people with a sandwich, snacks or a drink. Sometimes when a person lives two hours or so away, they drive them home instead of having them wait all night for their early morning connection.

He told us that the stations always have people who are down on their luck. He said, “we make sure everyone gets a Bible but they don’t need a sermon, they need practical help.” This man is a true missionary to America!

He reminded us of the opportunities to help that are all around us and yet so often…we miss them. He reminded us of how easy it is to love God…just love His children as best you can. No words needed…just a snack or a cold drink. All we need to do is…look around.

Learning Curve

July in Virginia…hot…humid and a perfect day for a nice cold slice of watermelon.

After church we stopped by the local Wal-Mart and Lucy thumped a few watermelons searching for just the right one. There it was….round….firm and melodious!

We made our way home, got out our carving knife…all the while savoring a juicy slice of summer. I cut the melon in half and…………………It Was YELLOW!

At first we thought we picked a rotten melon. We sniffed it and then took the plunge and bit into it….Delicious!

The moral of the story is… can’t judge a watermelon by its color!

It just goes to show there is something new to learn every day…..for instance

A watermelon is a …..vegetable!
Russians make beer out of watermelon.
The world record for watermelon seed-spitting is 66 feet, eleven inches and the world’s largest watermelon was grown right here in America….in Bixby, Oklahoma. It weighed in at 255 pounds!

They Can’t Hear What We Don’t Say

For nearly ten years now, I thought we had traveled across America doing Biblical presentations.

The other day Lucy informed me otherwise! “We don’t do presentations, Nick. We do first century testimonies.” “What’s the difference?” I asked.

A presentation, she explained, is just a re-enactment but a testimony is a statement based on personal experience or personal knowledge. “You don’t memorize your characters lines like an actor does, you remember the life you lived as them. When a person in the audience needs an encounter with Christ and sees Zacchaeus was accepted despite his lifestyle, they have hope. They realize that what God did for the tax collector, He can and will do for them.”

At first, I thought it was just a manner of semantics but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that Lucy was right. Testimonies, given on the stage or on the street, fill people with hope. We all know God can do wondrous things, we’re not sure, however, He will do them for us. Testimonies, yours and mine, build the faith of others. Scripture (Romans 10:17) tells us that “faith comes by hearing.” No none can hear if we don’t share. We don’t have to be eloquent. We don’t need to be seminary trained…we just have to be willing.

Your life matters. Share what God has done in your life. Give someone hope.

Good Hearts

A Key. Some water. An interview and one very large cantaloupe! So what do they all have in common?

It’s amazing to me that Lucyah and I can enter a new town, walk a country road and meet friends that were strangers five minutes ago! When they woke up this morning, they didn’t know us and we didn’t know them and yet…something clicked in their hearts and ours. Before we leave each others company…we’re friends!

Before we left Mt. Airy, NC, the Barefoot Prophet gave us the key to his home. He said we were always welcome whether he was there or not! I hadn’t been walking in Virginia long when a young girl (around twelve or so) saw me on the road. She thought I looked hot and tired…she was right!…and she asked her mom if they could go get me a cold water. Five minutes later I was thanking my sweet benefactor.

Not too much later Richard Rogers, the News Director of WHEO (1270AM) in Patrick County, VA saw our RV parked at Wal-Mart and stopped to talk with Lucy. He wanted to do radio interview. We didn’t have cell phone access so she sent him up the road after me and said she would join us shortly. Richard played the interview several times the next day and asked people to call in or tell if they met us or saw us.

The next day, we met Daniel Louis from WHEO. Daniel oversees their webpage and while telling him how friendly and giving the American people are…Buddy knocked on our door. He just wanted to know if we’d like a cantaloupe. He said he bought two but he only needed one. He just didn’t know why he bought the other one until he heard the radio program and then saw our RV parked right across from where he was working!

All these people gave what they could….a key, some water, an interview and a very large cantaloupe. They all offered the hand of friendship and we took it. Being on the road we’ve discovered that the American people want to give and if you want to show them respect, you accept what they offer as thankfully as you can. Receiving with grace is a gift that you give back. It tells people, “I value you and I appreciate your thoughtfulness” and we do.

We so appreciate this country and its people.

Generating Friendships

Not too long ago we had to replace our generator. It was a costly repair but a necessary one as the heat index (a combination of air temperature and humidity) has been a real challenge. We need the generator to power our air conditioning for the six days each week we are not at a campground. Normally the oil is changed at every 150 hours of operation but the mechanic who installed our unit said to change the oil at the first 50 hour mark since we were breaking in a new unit.

My dad was a tool and die maker by trade and a perfectionist by personality. He was a good man and a loving father but when it came to mechanical things I just couldn’t seem to do very well to suit him. Even after all these years, I just dread mechanical “stuff”… even something as un-challenging as changing the oil. It’s always been easier to pay to have it done than have to fight my own lack of confidence and besides, I hate getting my hands messy.

I knew this day was coming. Sooner or later, you have to face the fear of whatever it is that is limiting you. I bought the oil and an oil pan, grabbed a rag and piece of plastic to lie on and slid underneath the generator. I couldn’t see a thing and so I had to get out from under and go get my glasses. “Oh, this isn’t starting well,” I thought. I got back into position, tools by my side when I noticed that the screws holding the cover over the oil plug were neither Flatheads or Phillips. They looked like five pointed stars. “What the heck is this?” I thought.

I could hear the evil one whispering once again, “You don’t know what you’re doing.” Then I heard another voice, “Need some help?” Instead of feeling grateful, I felt embarrassed. Here’s a guy who is going to think I’m an idiot because I can’t do a simple thing like change the oil. “Don’t think I have the right tool. These screws look like they need a star fitting,” I said, not peering out from underneath the beast. He walked away, came back, stooped down and handed me a star shaped metric thing. Don’t know if you would call it a wrench or a screwdriver but whatever it was….it fit!

Once I got the screws off the cover, I had to deal with nut that fastened the oil plug to the generator. I had a wrench to fit but the nut was in a recess and so I needed a rachet to give me the leverage to loosen the nut. My friend had that tool as well. As the oil drained in the pan, I slipped out from underneath and met my new friend …Jon Van Hall Sr. He gave me a big smile, extended his hand and said, “Just call me Barefoot.” I shook his hand, thanked him for his help, looked down and sure enough He wasn’t wearing any shoes! In fact, Barefoot hasn’t worn a pair of shoes since November 27, 1989! He literally stands on Acts 7:33.

We talked a bit about walking for Christ and then he said, “Would you like to see my walking staff?” No sooner had I said, “You bet” than did he hop into his van, smile, wave and said “I’ll be right back.” Lucy had been doing the laundry and so I helped her get things out of the dryer while we waited for our friend’s return. No sooner did we finish our duties than did Barefoot return dressed in a white robe, with a red stole about his neck adorned with medals from his service in Viet Nam and his staff in hand.

I noticed that there were marks along the side of the staff. He said he puts a notch in for every year he walks barefoot. Barefoot prayed with and for Lucyah and I and then he asked us to put our mark on his staff. He handed me a small penknife and as I carefully carved N + L into the wood, I could feel God etch Barefoot into our heart. We invited him to have breakfast with us but he said he had to go to work. Before he left, he insisted we keep the tools he had let us use.

We had finished breakfast and we sat silently sipping our coffee; both of us stunned by God’s goodness. I needed someone to hold my hand as I faced a childhood fear; someone who would not judge me nor do it for me but just help me. God had sent His Barefoot Prophet and we sat there feeling incredibly blessed but….

Our new friend wasn’t through with us yet. He walked into the restaurant with a gift covered in a cloth. It was a framed article about him and God’s call on his life. It appeared in the February 3, 1993 edition of the Mt Airy News. It will be the first thing we place on the wall of our home…when we get a home!

Moravian Falls to Ronda

We had an online introduction through our friend Pat in Kansas City…Kevin Basconi’s book is Dancing With Angels and he and his wife Kathy have encounters of the supernatural kind. Despite their many angelic sightings, they do not worship their heavenly visitors as many people do. They are very clear, they only worship Christ! They were kind enough to invite us to stay at their home in Moravian Falls as we were without air conditioning due to generator difficulties.

My first reaction when someone tells me they see angels on a regular basis is caution. My reasoning mind kicks in and I wonder, “Are these people for real or are they lost in space?” I believe that GOD gave us a brain to analyze things but there are also some things that are true even though they are beyond our understanding. I don’t have to understand everything to know it is true. I mean I have no idea how a microwave heats items so quickly yet I know it does and I benefit by using it.

Although I have not had some of the experiences that Kevin and Kathy have, I have no doubt they are sincere in the expression of those experiences. One thing I do know is that GOD is bigger than whatever I as an individual can imagine or experience! It turned out to be two very inspirational and educational days!

After we left their company, we walked one day and then drove about 50 miles to Camping World in Colfax to get our generator repaired. The cost of RV labor is about $100-$120 per hour and after factoring in the cost of repair versus the cost of a new generator, we decided to go for the new model and get a three year warranty. It took us three days in the waiting room for the part to arrive and be installed but now we have power for the AC and the laptops.

On our first day back on the road, Terri pulled over and talk to me for a bit. She has a genuine smile and a quick sense of humor. I liked her as soon as I met her. It was 6:30am when she invited me to lunch! We made a date to meet at the Town Hall building in Ronda at noon. We actually walked past Ronda and then drove back to catch up with Terri and her husband Mayor Victor Valera.

In addition to being the mayor, Victor works as a scientist doing cancer research. Their house burned down last year and they are still in the midst of reconstruction. They were in the home when it caught fire through an electrical malfunction. The smoke alarms weren’t activated because the fire actually started above the alarms. By the time the smoke got down to the alarms, the roof was gone! The good part was that they only lost stuff; not each other and not their animals!

Between Moravian Falls and Ronda was sandwiched LIFE as experienced by three different couples. Encounters with angels, mechanical failure and raging fire and yet in each circumstance these people chose to focus on the provision and protection of God. Never did we nor the other two couples speak of fear or lack but only how blessed we had been in the process. LIFE is a process and it happens to everyone; sometimes it’s rain and sometimes it’s a rainbow….always GOD is there…always.