In the previous Installment, I encapsulated the situation with some of our family and friends. I covered the over-arching development from August 2013 through the beginning of 2016. That Installment summarizes the one element that is, without question, significant to my personal life.
For the continuation of telling “My Story” the situation with family gets moved to the background. While I continue sharing the developments of my life from August 2013, the situation with family was, and still is, continually present.
Back on August 06, 2013, I wrote in my journal:
I assigned [my son] the task that as of tomorrow, he is to research the pronunciation of Mandarin and begin helping me learn.
As I look back on all this, I had forgotten that I had given my son that information, and it seems that I was simply eager to get the process rolling for learning Mandarin. In fact, as things unfolded, I did not have to ask my son to assist me in this task.
On August 10, 2013 my journal records that I prayed giving my requests to God. In my journal, I wrote that one of the primary requests was asking for “a teacher of language and arts so I can learn Chinese culture.” My journal recorded that the Divine had given affirmation saying “That I can do.”
It becomes interesting that as the months unfolded following my journey to the picnic area and my prayer asking for a teacher, it was announced there was going to be a class for those who wanted to learn Mandarin. The Messianic Synagogue that Mary and I visit is where the announcement was made. I want to say that it was announced somewhere in early 2014, like maybe February.
Shortly after the Spring Break of 2014, Mary and I began studying Mandarin with a man and his wife. Before we began having class, they were attending the same worship center that held the Messianic Synagogue. He is a native from southern China and she is from South Asia. They moved to Texas after moving from Canada. He was our instructor and his wife participated in our class adding clarity and discussion.
For the better part of two years, we met once a week. During that time we were introduced to Mandarin, discussed Chinese culture, learned to prepare a couple of entrées, and used our learning of Mandarin so that we could order food at a local restaurant. If memory serves, I think our last official class was just prior to the Thanksgiving Holiday of 2015.
With that class, I felt highly provided for. The teacher showed his interest in language and culture, the very things I had prayed for. For me, I have to admit that I was not overly dedicated to putting the language into my mind. I practiced pronouncing the language. But really, I was most interested in learning about China.
I mean, here’s a class being held at the place where Mary and I have attended, the class was based on studying Mandarin, studying with someone that I had not met previously, and they were willing to share so much about their heritage and culture. All of it seems like an answered prayer, and for me the entire experience was rewarding.
Let me return to the events of August 2013. On August 07, 2013, I wrote in my journal:
Mary told me that she was [meditating] asking [a question] and [was] told “China. China. C H I N A, C H I N A.” (the use of C H I N A represents China being spelled out to Mary) until she finally wrote it down. Mary was unsure of the number of times it was repeated, but she said it was told [to] her several times[.]
For me, I have to admit that this does occur after I had spoken to Mary regarding the events at the picnic area. But, this event also tells me that Mary was given something important. This occurred during her own mediation and prayer time. And the occurrence that the word China had to be spelled out is significant.
My reader might recall that I had begun my research about China. One of the things I was researching was religion. On the same date as Mary’s mediation about China, I recorded an entry into my journal about religion in China.
I was thinking about this Chinese [Shangdi] religion and its worship of the supreme sky deity. … I suppose one of the major things that strike me about Shangdi is this from wikipedia, “It is important to note that Shangdi is never represented with either images or idols.” This does not seem to be [an] accidental discovery, since Shangdi goes back to [the] second millennium BC/BCE, I wonder if Abraham’s sons could be traced. If so, that is kind of cool and interesting.
Religion and items of the spiritual matter to the people, but the form of it is strikingly different from what is experienced in the West. I know that there is a tremendous argument within Christianity about the religion and spirituality of the East, but for “My Story” that is not my concern, because it can be discussed in other places.
What I find of interest about Shangdi is the ancientness of it and the absence of idols. My speculation about Abraham is genuine, because the Book of Genesis says that Abraham’s sons born to Abraham’s concubines went eastward (Genesis 25.6).
My journal records that on August 8, 2013 I spent some time in interactive prayer. During that prayer, in part, the Divine shared:
[A]nger comes from denial, denial comes from lack of trust, lack of trust comes from unwillingness to accept something as true. … Expression of anger comes from one’s inability to express their feelings about the subject in a way to match how their heart and mind conflict with each other. Anger, therefore is not harmful when viewed in light of the confusion, the confused mind. Confusion can be removed through their own efforts, but ultimate removal of confusion is accomplished only by me through the Spirit.
During that prayer I asked “So how does one accomplish not becoming offended at their angry confusion?” The Divine responded:
That is the point, and excellent question. To remain unoffended is easier than you might think, tougher than you think possible, because to remain unoffended is to be at peace. Peace comes by peace and my spirit [lower case this time]. Thus to remain unoffended is to demonstrate genuine trust and faith in me and my guidance, even when others judge… .
With that explanation, I asked “Is there anything else you want to tell me?” The Divine responded:
You are about to begin the hardest, yet most rewarding journey you have ever lived. But remember, I told you, you are capable, more than capable when remaining in me, being one with me. Understand?
To that I respond “I believe so, yes.”
What appears next in my interactive prayer is worth including. Just after I wrote the previous in my journal, the Divine continued:
Good. Here is your final page of this [paperback] journal. This will be successful, for I make success. You will have two wives, the first Mary, now Esther; the second “Kitty,” Kat. … “Kitty” is looking forward, she is wondering, she will be ready when my time is perfect. That time is quickly approaching. Continue your preparations, I will give you more guidance, more information, you will have work, you will get to China, you will be financially stable, everything will be fine, because this is for my glory, my name to be extolled, my Anointed to be known, my church, my son’s church to be understood. Glory, glory, glory, and Holy, Holy, Holy to the LORD God Almighty, in Yeshua’s name. Amen!
There is a lot of information in that last section. The first thing to notice is that it is God that makes my life successful.
Something else that is important is Mary. I am not certain if this prayer is the first that refers to Mary by an additional name. But, here Mary is being referred to as Esther.
The second concerns the marriage itself. Again the Divine used the name “Kitty” but this time, and I think it is the first time, the name “Kat” is used. Additionally, because of where this took place in the prayer, I assumed that “Kat” was spelled with a “K” not a “C” considering it as a nick name. But as why it was included I am uncertain.
Then the Divine discusses “Kitty” as looking forward and being ready only when it is perfect for the Divine. What does that mean? The only thing I can speculate, since I am still in a marriage with only Mary, is that circumstances and life have to unfold in ways that makes it line up with what the Divine identified as “perfect”.
The Divine informed me to continue preparing. As I look back on this, I have to conclude that the ways that my life has unfolded during the last three years is part of that preparation. I have finished several projects and have become a stay-at-home dad helping the family and encouraging Mary in her pursuits.
But as I look back on this section of this prayer, there is a lot that has not yet come to fruition. But that doesn’t mean that it won’t come to pass. This is why it is called faith, having belief that things will become, even though they are not yet seen, especially considering that the Divine claims the glory.
On August 10, 2013, we attended worship. As the habit had developed, I prayed during praise and worship. I began my prayer “Blessed are you Jehovah our God, Sovereign of the Cosmos, who brings forth goodness from sadness.”
It seems like many of my prayers have me in some sort of dialogue with the Divine. But this prayer was different. I mostly listened to hear what the Divine would lead me to understand. The Divine shared:
… You are becoming ready, but full readiness, preparation can only be done, accomplished, in a foreign land. …
Again the concept of becoming ready was presented. As for the foreign land, it might be possible that “foreign land” refers to something metaphorical. However, considering the developments of that August, it seems to be that preparation is completed once I am in a literal foreign land, whenever that might occur.
The Divine went on:
I will provide you a teacher as you have asked, pay attention to my guiding so as to find your master, you will be his study, a student of the master, learn well, learn precision, show discipline so you don’t have to be disciplined.
The type of master is somewhat ambiguous. However, I prayed asking for “a teacher of language and arts so I can learn Chinese culture.” Therefore, it could be interpreted that my Mandarin teacher was an answer not only to my prayer, but to what the Divine was referring to here. But, it is possible that the Divine will provide another master, of whom I will be a student, when I reach the destination.
The Divine went on:
You are capable, you have shown yourself disciplined under the master at the school of Scriptures, that discipline is simply the beginning, prepare yourself to have your spirit opened, and challenged, to reach into a world previously unknown.
What I like in this is the manner in which my Bible School was labeled a: school of scriptures. I would have never thought to refer to that body of work as such, but that is exactly what it is.
But it took me a long time, a long time, to begin to understand that being a student of the Scriptures was only the beginning. When I began those studies, I really thought that study was the end result of faith. Since then, I have learned much.
When I was in Bible School, my mind was opened and challenged by a world I had no previous working knowledge – Israelite history, church history, geography, religious development, Greek and Hebrew languages, study methods, and such like. This time though, the prayer is telling me that my spirit, my person, is going to be opened and challenged.
The Divine went on:
The Scripture school taught you what they knew, then you moved beyond becoming a master yourself, the same awaits you for another topic, another sphere, it will be grand, you will find it amazing and rewarding, simply don’t accept all things true, accept most things true, test those truths against me and I will help you see the fullness of that truth.
Did the Bible School teach me what they knew? Absolutely. Did they share everything they had ever learned? No, because that is an impossibility. But they did share what they knew, because that is all anyone can do.
Now, do I consider myself a master? Not really. Am I good at what I do? Depends on whom you ask. But I do teach others, and that, in a way, makes me a type of master.
But the issue here with this prayer is that I am going to learn more, in addition to the Scriptures. That will be the other topic, sphere, that I will be learning. This is something I look forward to.
The final thing that sets with me is the admonition to not accept all things as true. What I came to realize later, years after my Bible School years, is that was my approach to studying the Bible, that everything has to be verified and substantiated by the Word. Of course, the Church appeals to the Bible to “uphold” its doctrines, every Church does it, but that doesn’t automatically indicate that every Church is using the Bible in a healthy fashion.
But that was my mind scrutinizing the text. Now though, through interactive prayer, I have come to appreciate a whole new level of verification with the Divine. It is an amazing help to walking out my faith. This provides me with two methods of verification. One, the Scriptures. Two, my prayer life.
Then the Divine continued:
There is always a master and a student, teacher and a learner, learn then teach, study then master.
A simple truth, but true. When we read the New Testament, Jesus had chosen twelve specific people, so the ratio changes but the concept is the same. The students had to become the masters, because they had to carry on the teachings and works of their master.
Later in the prayer, the Divine conveyed:
I exist. I AM. You are. You exist. Exist in me. Have your existence be my existence. You are in me. In me you are. Live in me. Trust me. I AM.
Consider how important that thought is. Consider that it begins in the present tense. The exhortation is for me to exist, not along side of, but within the One that exists as I AM. That is a tremendous encouragement.
Then the Divine continued:
Seek my face. Seek my face often. Meditate upon my precepts, know those truths.
Think about that, another exhortation to always be seeking the Divine and to meditate upon those precepts and truths. For those voices that send criticism, this is another proof that the adversary is not the one leading me, because there is NO way that the adversary would encourage me to meditate on the truths of the Scriptures when the adversary is the father of lies.
The Divine then continued:
Learn their culture. Where possible, where permissible always engage. Be respectful, have honor, show respect, bow in reverence, love and honor all, it is possible. This is to show them something different, something unique.
Simple, but also direct. The Divine also provided the purpose of doing those things.
Later in the prayer, the Divine conveyed:
Remember, I always welcome home the sinner. Repentance shows internalization of spiritual understanding, that repentance manifests itself in various forms. Look for these acts of repentance, some will be very subtle, but evident.
Concepts that I have been given previously. But this time, a concept is added expressing what repentance is, and then tells me that I should be aware of this and watchful for it.
The Divine added:
You are about the business of planting, learn in order to plant.
Think about that for a minute. In defending himself about baptisms, the Apostle Paul said that his was sent to preach the Gospel (1 Corinthians 1.17). Yet later the Apostle said that he had planted, Apollos had watered, but it was God who gave the increase (1 Corinthians 3.6). There it is, Biblical evidence that a person can be put on a specific task. Then the Apostle described his task as planting.
Now, through my interactive prayers, I have learned much about the scope of my labor-to-be: a family, to learn the ways of the East, to mediate always on Jehovah’s truths, to plant, and that’s just a few things. The Apostle planted through preaching. I am, it seems, called to plant the news via a different avenue of delivery.
Consider that the Divine continued saying:
In planting plants planters do not always get to see the fruit of their labor. Plants, trees are planted by planters years, decades, sometimes centuries ago, and you see today the fruit of their labor, an oak [tree] does not grow into maturity within months but decades, centuries, have a longevity point of view.
That is an amazing concept. Simply plant, and allow God to do his work. Talk about freedom in Christ.
The Divine later conveyed:
Your work is affecting the future, not now. So live, enjoy, be at peace, learn, live, grow, share, have peace, always learn, always share, remain steadfast to my truths and Messiah, and your work will not be in vain.
Again that is an amazing concept. We as Christians often want to know our role in the Kingdom. Through this prayer, I learned my role. It many ways, it is liberating, exciting, and best of all rewarding.
The Divine concluded:
[B]e at peace, enjoy your family, demonstrate my love, my wisdom, my guidance, always. My love, Dad.
Again, I know who is leading me. It is whom Messiah referred to as Father. It is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They referred to Father as El Shaddai. This prayer closed with the word Dad, the very One to whom we cry *Abba, Father.
Blessings and Shalom
*The Strong’s Number for Abba is G5. Abba is Aramaic, Abba means “father” or “dad”. See also Romans 8.15.