Yesterday I was one of over 750,000 people to take advantage of Labor Day Weekend at the beach. While most of the people were celebrating the end of summer, I was celebrating the start of my life outside the cave. A family member was in the back seat telling me to forget about the beach parking lot. He said, "it will be impossible to find parking on a day like this". He was about to get his first lesson in manifesting, a very special tool that can be used when you find yourself in an impossible situation. I began my prayer of manifesting so that we would be Blessed with an ideal parking space and my prayer included a thank you to God in advance for honoring this request. We got row 2 parking and this family member learned how to pray effectively. God even threw in a bonus that I received while waiting for everyone else to park... a free towel from a radio station promoter. "Think Blue" was stamped on the towel and it was the last one. This was the very similar to the slogan ADT used and it was God's way of showing me that I was on the right path by leading others to him. The bonus gift is funny to me because I only prayed for a parking spot. God loves to "over-deliver."
As I share my biggest Bible lesson ever, I need to give you some more background first. I was born on the 4th of July. As a child, I thought all the fireworks were to celebrate my birthday. My favorite book was "Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel." It was a story about a steam shovel owner who cherished his pride and joy named Marianne. When the steam shovels became dated, Mike Mulligan made a bet that he could compete with the newer equipment and could finish a job by sunset. He and Marianne worked at this very fast pace to complete the job on time. The more people that came to cheer them on, the faster they worked. The job got done in time but Mike Mulligan forgot to leave a way out for Marianne. The story ended when Marianne was converted from a steam shovel to a power supply for the new facility she was stuck in.
I am much older now. As I look back on my life, I see many errors in my thinking. I also see that without God leading me, I could easily end up "trapped", just like Mike Mulligan's steam shovel that had no way out of the hole he dug for her. I have also learned that even though it appears there is no way out of a bad situation, God can "convert" my challenge into something worthwhile.
One day I was listening to a visitor at our church. The message he delivered was that reading the
Bible is like looking into a mirror. Each character is a mirror-image of ourselves and the lessons these people learned can help us when we are lost.
I went home and told my wife I was going to try out this mirror idea. The first thing I did was pray to the Holy Spirit to "reveal" who I really am in God's eyes. I opened my mostly unused Bible to a "random" page and began reading the upper right column of St. Luke. I started with verse 26 of chapter 8. The character that was revealed to me was this "possessed" man who lived in a cave away from the town. He did not wear clothes and his life was a mess.
At first I was shocked and angry about this character but as I continued reading I realized something Divine was happening. This naked man sees Jesus and his buddies getting of a boat and he confronts Jesus. First question out his mouth is "what do I have to do with thee, Jesus, Son of the most high God?" Next, Jesus starts talking with the man to find out who he is. The man answers, "legions" (meaning multiple demons). By the way, how did a crazy man know who this stranger was when his own followers did not know (great topic that we will deal with another day)?
Jesus orders the demons to leave. The demons don't want to go to hell so they beg Jesus to send them somewhere else. Jesus sends them into the swine who are close by and they go crazy and jump over a cliff. The people taking care of the swine go back to town to talk about the naked man (me) and Jesus. When the whole town comes out to see what's up, the man (me) is clothed and sitting with Jesus having a great conversation.
The people in the town are afraid so they ask Jesus to depart. The man (me again) asks Jesus to take him with him in his boat (I am hearing "come sail away" again). Jesus says no. He orders the man to stop living in the cave (are you starting to see the connection from my first post?), and he asks the man (me) to tell of the great things God hath done to thee.
In this Douay Rhiems version (lots of thees and thous) the man "publishes" the great things Jesus has done to him. When Jesus comes back, the whole town is there waiting for Jesus and everybody lives happily ever after.
For the first time ever, I experienced Jesus as if I was there in the cave when he arrived about 2,000 years ago when St. Luke wrote this story. The demon thing explained all my confusion with our world. There was a time in my childhood when I actually prayed for God to take me and he said "no". This naked man was me and Jesus revealed my past, present and future with one strange character that was my alter ego. It took many months to absorb this Bible lesson.
So, my job is to publish all the great things that Jesus has done for me. It has been many years since I had this "conversion" experience and I must confess that I let other things get in the way of doing what Jesus asks of me. It is not easy to surrender completely to Jesus. This is why I ask my wife to stay in the boat with me no matter how stormy the conditions or how hard it is to just sit there when there is no wind.
My life since letting Jesus be my Lord and Savior is very different. I realize that He is going to keep giving me "flashes of light" that are to be published for the benefit of you, the reader of this blog. I know how this story ends..... Jesus returns and all of you are waiting for Him. That is the job of the "cave man", to publish until the day He returns. When that day comes, I won't have to be worried about any more flashes of light or "bolts of lightning". Jesus will finally answer my teenage prayer and we can all sail away.
If you feel like you are a steam shovel and your life is meaningless, ask God to convert you. There is always something for you to contribute even when you think you are "dated". Happy Labor Day weekend and God Bless!