We packed our belongings on Sunday, the 25th of September and were ready to leave our little cave dwelling about noon. John had looked at a map and suggested we spend two days in some small resort community on the Mediterranean. I said, “Let’s Do It.”
I was in real inner turmoil about one item, whether I should take it with me or leave it in the apartment. It was the yarmulke I had worn in the Old City when we were planning to go the Wailing Wall. My yarmulke—a scull cap, a gift from a friend in Colorado, lay on a shelf next to John’s yarmulke. John did not want to take his along. It had been foisted on his head by one of the Jews with black hats when we were heading for the Wailing Wall. His yarmulke had bad memories; mine had good memories. But the whole Jerusalem experience had been so painful, and the thought of succumbing to traditions that were not a part of my upbringing tormented me. But reluctantly and finally, I stashed it in my backpack.
We were off, and we were glad to leave the dense traffic, the narrow streets, and the painful memories behind us. Yosie Avissa, our landlord, told us to drop the key in his mailbox if he was away, and we did. We left without saying goodbye to anyone. And apparently, at this point, there is no one in Israel who is grieving our absence with the exception of maybe an eighteen-year-old girl in Afula. Yes, Afula, was the first bright spot in Israel for me.
From Jerusalem we drove to Nentanya on the Mediterranean Sea, a distance of ninety-three kilometers or about fifty-five miles. If it had not been for heavy traffic as we left Jerusalem and around Tel Aviv, we could have covered the distance in a little over an hour. The main highways in Israel match those in America. They are very good, but also crowded near the major cities. Israel is to be complimented for doing so much with so little land and such a small population. Congratulations for a job well done! In fact, we noted a high-speed rail system under construction that will connect the Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv, and other significant cities, including Jerusalem.
Well, Nentanya was a bust. We drove down the main street of the city, and John and I both got the creepiest feeling. Without much discussion, John said, “I believe we are to spend the next two nights on the Sea of Galilee.”
I replied, “That sounds good to me.”
John whipped the car around. I am not sure if the U-turn he made was legal, but within a couple of seconds, we were heading in a new direction. From Nentanya to Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee is 103 kilometers or about sixty-five miles.
We stopped in the town of Afula after we had driven two thirds of the distance. Afula seemed to be a prosperous new town where we found a brand new shopping center—American-style. There was a new Burger King at one end, and across from it, an Ace Hardware Store. The Burger King must have opened in the last few days, from the looks of it. The employees could not speak English and seemed to be somewhat disoriented. We were the only ones in the store. After washing our hands, etc., we looked at the menu (pictures) and pointed to the burger combination we wanted. Somehow, they let us know that their deep fryer was not working yet and that we could have everything minus the French fries.
John and I looked at one another and said, “What’s a burger without fries? Let’s go next door.”
Next door was a restaurant called, The Duck. It is a popular chain restaurant in Israel. Our first real meal in Israel was at a Duck restaurant in Beersheba. They bring you twelve small salad samplings in little, white square dishes. They are more like appetizers. In addition to that, you are given an interesting menu. A complete meal is about $12.00, the ambience is nice, and some of the waiters and waitresses generally can speak English. They are young, and many of them are working their way through college. The menu is in English, Hebrew and Arabic.
We asked to be seated where the waiter or waitress was able to speak English. A young girl of eighteen, on the slender side, was our waitress. Without having picked anything from the menu, the appetizers are rushed to our table. The moment I looked into the face of the waitress (sorry, I can’t recall her name), my heart leaped, and I sensed the first touch of the Holy Spirit that I had experienced while in Israel.
At that point we knew nothing about our waitress, but it did not take long for John to ask a few leading questions. We learned that she and her mother had emigrated from Leningrad, Russia, when she was six years old, and that her father had remained in Leningrad—his choice. When she told us this, John noticed a pained expression in her eyes. She had just finished high school, had no immediate plans for the future, and loved Israel.
It was so very easy to love this young girl. When we were ready to leave and pay our bill, I felt led to leave a generous tip, clipped to my special card made for Israel. When she came back for John to sign the Visa receipt, her eyes were as big as saucers. She hovered around us, trying to favor us with all kinds of desserts and attention.
We may have stayed an extra thirty minutes or so because of the attention that was lavished upon us and the incredible love we both felt; but we finally left. We were almost at the door. I turned around, and there she was, following us to the door with her eyes and heart.
I went back to where she was standing and embraced her as she embraced me. It was one of those embraces that will linger for all eternity. Heaven had touched my wounded heart, and probably hers, also. There was someone in Israel who loved me, the real me, and there was someone in Israel that was so very easy to love in return. The Father’s heart in me had draped His mantle of love around our waitress. Yes, those mantles of love are very real. Let me explain.
(Written July 9, 2005)
A most gracious revelation came to me this morning as I was writing a letter to our friend Carol. Carol is a visionary. From time to time, she is permitted to see into a spiritual realm reserved for a few of God’s children. What Carol is permitted and gifted to see has not always been received with love and respect. She has been wounded in the past for sharing her gift with those who did not acknowledge God, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus as the author of her gift. In like manner, this author has been severely judged when he manifested the gift of praying in the Spirit or “praying in tongues.” Carol and this writer consequently are far more cautious in making sacred things available to everyone. Being dissected by well-meaning psychiatrists, counselors, or “friends” is exceedingly painful and demeaning: “And one shall say unto him, ‘What are these wounds in thine hands?’ Then he shall answer, ‘Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.’” (Zechariah 13:6)
Carol had a vision concerning this writer that she penned and sent to him. By the grace of God, her words did not get lost among other papers. This writer discovered her letter amongst a stack of papers some three years after they were penned. He was amazed and deeply stirred as he read and pondered its content once more. Here is a copy of Carol’s letter dated. April 18, 2002:
I so enjoyed your call to share with us the news of your acceptance of the mantle of Moses. As always, you end up encouraging me in so many ways, especially that my pictures are indeed from God. On that day, I truly needed it. Thank you.
Well, I’m still learning much about the pictures. You said I should e-mail you with what I saw, and since the Rembrandt painting (The Return of the Prodigal Son) came so strongly to mind, I thought that was it. I must learn to be patient and allow the Holy Spirit to bring clarity before I assume that’s all there is. So, I repent of my impatience and ask the Lord and you to please forgive me. The Holy Spirit has been very gracious to me to continue to show me clear pictures, even with all my shortcomings. How I need His mercies and guidance!
Anyway, the picture did indeed change throughout the day. I have waited to share it with you because I don’t want to be presumptuous again.
Here’s what I see.
Your posture is that of the father in the painting. You are bent slightly forward with your arms resting on the shoulders of a man kneeling at your feet. Unlike the painting, the room is full of light, and you are smiling and laughing! The mantle is a rich red, but is very thick (maybe 2’) and has many folds in it. It looks quite heavy, but you don’t seem to be having any trouble wearing it. When I inquired of the Lord as to the many folds, I heard, “Because it will cover many people.”
While your hands are resting on the one before you, there are many, many also kneeling in the same posture before you.
One very interesting thing is that although you are wearing this splendid garment, underneath you have on a plain white T-shirt and black pants. (I even tried to “put you in” a decent shirt but was not able to do so). I asked the Lord why the common under garment, and He said, “Because it (the mantle) is not about Peter!”. I sensed His laughter at this one.
There is great light and joy. I didn’t pick up any heaviness in you or in those kneeling, just your laughter bouncing all over the place as you imparted to others. I sense this is a time of bountiful reaping in the Spirit for your many years of allowing God to do a deep work in you and then faithfully sowing into others. There is almost a party atmosphere that is very, very holy. I asked the Lord where the light was coming from, and I heard, “From My smile.”
My prayer is that the Lord will give you great encouragement and confirmation through this picture. I feel honored that He trusts me to give it to you.
Blessings to you and Rebekah,
Today and throughout the entire day, the vision – or picture as many prefer to call them – came to fruition; in other words, it became revelation knowledge for me. The Lord reminded me of the many people I was prompted to hug and embrace over the years. The embraces have been so holy; it felt as if my arms and heart were the Father’s arms and heart. Just two days ago as I embraced my dear friend Clint, tears formed in his eyes. Oh, what love I experienced for this man. I knew Clint was touched by the Father’s heart, not mine. I was merely the Father’s arms extended to one of His beloved children. I was the Father’s messenger.
Today and many times in the past, people who came to visit us asked for two and three hugs before they got to their car. I never, ever tired of responding. But I also remember the time two elders from the church we attended, scolded, even reprimanded me severely for hugging their wives and other women in the church. They implied that my hugs were soulish and lustful. I never entered that church again. The church fell apart shortly thereafter.
I recently received a similar scolding for praying in tongues in an empty, local church. May the Lord have mercy upon those churches that do not welcome the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit into their midst. I tremble as I sense individuals and churches in danger of committing the unpardonable sin, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. My heart aches whenever I see an individual or a church root-bound by tradition. Tradition acts like a container in which growth is impossible.
I am awed and humbled as I write these words. When I hug someone, when you hug someone, when we hug someone with the heart of the Father, we are placing a mantle of love, protection, and affirmation around them. Not everyone has been given such a mantle to impart to others. It is a gift entrusted to us by the Father with which He embraces His children and makes His love tangible. Oh, how I wished I could hug everyone. Oh, how I wished everyone was able to receive these hugs or ask for them. Oh, how I wished I could share these words with everyone.
I am not the only one who the Father uses to place a mantle of love, protection, and affirmation around others. I have been embraced many times by the love of the Father, through other’s hugs. I never, ever forget those hugs. The Father lets me know in many ways that He is “nuts” about me – being hugged is one of them.
At times in the past I have demonstrated a reckless enthusiasm and spontaneity that has been inappropriate for the occasion. I am learning to use more wisdom and more discretion. I am not to hug everyone or pray in my prayer language where it will be misconstrued. In my spirit I now ask, “Is it appropriate to hug this or that individual?” The Lord shows me when my hugs would fall to the ground and be stepped upon. I must not allow the hem of Jesus’ garment to be soiled. Many people are only able to handle a handshake, and some not even that. I respect that.
To God be the Glory,
Peter is Healed at “The Duck”
Before leaving the restaurant in Afula, I received a wonderful and unexpected inner healing. It seemed to have nothing to do with our waitress, but maybe it did. We were under the tent of the Holy Spirit at that table, and that’s when healing often takes place. And parenthetically, to this day I am so grateful that the deep fryer at Burger King was not hooked up. It was Jesus’ way of closing a door. Jesus uses unusual, unexpected, and very creative ways to close and open doors.
For at least thirty years, I have been pondering if I am more like the apostle Peter or the apostle Paul. Since my roots were Jewish and since the apostle Paul was called to minister to the Gentiles, I almost felt obligated to claim
counseling chamber than any psychiatrist’s office I have ever visited. And why was that? It was because of the presence of the Holy Spirit. I was suddenly made aware that in Christ, I can reflect both the nature of Paul and the nature of Peter. Both their strength and weakness are a part of who I am. I don’t have to choose. The split in my personality has been healed. I have been healed. And now the Holy Spirit can use me to pass that same healing onto others. What a relief!
|Paul as my big brother. On the other hand, I had had such a strong conversion experience that let me know beyond doubt that Jesus is the Christ, how could I ever forget being another Peter?
I had also had two devastating experiences, like the apostle Peter, which showed me that Satan delighted in sabotaging my life and using me to his advantage. I never wanted anyone to suffer, and my counsel was, “Don’t go to Jerusalem. You will get killed in Jerusalem.” In other words, take the easy and safe road.
Most of us will remember the words Jesus spoke to the apostle Peter: “Get away from me, you Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are thinking merely from a human point of view, and not from God’s” (Matthew 16:23). The other devastating experience was when the apostle Peter denied Jesus three times. In a very real way, I did the same thing.
The restaurant called “The Duck” had suddenly become more of a
I am not a degreed counselor according to this world’s system. When I speak and write, I invite the Holy Spirit, the Great Counselor, to use me as His instrument. This is what the Holy Spirit wrote to a world steeped in darkness and delusion on November 2, 2000.
Today, I shall focus on choosing a counselor. I write from my personal experience both as a counselor and as a patient. I draw upon my personal battles, blunders and victories. Thirty years ago, I vowed to become a friend of the mentally ill and the brokenhearted. I have not strayed from that commitment. I write not only on behalf of patients, but also on behalf of counselors. I ask you to consider what I write, and if my words ring true, do incorporate them in your decision-making process and share them with others.\
The approach one psychiatrist adopted with his patients impressed me. He gives them unlimited options to select the therapist of their choice. This is an unusual approach. It merits consideration by more mental health professionals.
Choosing a counselor with whom we are comfortable needs to be a prerequisite in any counseling relationship. Such a person will not intimidate us, humiliate us, be condescending, or impose a schedule of treatment that violates our conscience or overwhelms us. He will give us the freedom to disagree with his counsel. He will be a person of integrity. We will feel safe and accepted in his presence. His words will challenge us, affirm us and give us hope. We will be able to divulge both the most sacred and the most sordid thoughts and events without fear of being judged or condemned. He will be a good listener. He will be able to separate facts from fiction, delusions from reality, what is holy from what is unholy.
Who our counselor is and what he believes will shout louder than what he says or does. It will shout louder than all the diplomas on his or her office wall. His very presence will inspire peace and confidence. We will like his voice and his mannerisms. His office will feel like a comfortable pair of slippers. We will be able to relate to him both as a counselor and a friend. He will be able to identify with our pain and confusion because of his own humanity. We will be able to consider his counsel, even if it is contrary to the way we have done or seen things in the past.
The counselor we choose must be able to see us as whole and well, even if neither we nor anyone else can. The word “hopeless” cannot be a part of his vocabulary. He must be able to see our God-given potential. If he is unable to do that, he must be willing to say so, and if possible, suggest other counselors.
Note that I used the word “suggest.” Counselors must not go beyond “offering” alternatives for consideration. Unless it is a matter of life and death, patients must not be denied the right and freedom to make their own choices.
The right counselor for us will be able to interpret the crises in our lives not as disaster, but as opportunities for meaningful transformation and growth. Searching for the right counselor should be like a quest for a best friend, not a frenzied effort to corral someone we want to cling to or recruit to believe like we do. A best friend is someone who can believe in us during a season when everything around us is dark, dreary and confusing.
There are a number of ways we may be able to become acquainted with a counselor without making an office visit. Often these professionals hold classes or have written books or articles for professional or secular magazines. Sometimes there are videos available that we can purchase, rent, or borrow. Talking to a current or former patient is one of the best sources of information.
A recommendation by a trusted friend should carry a lot of weight. Our counselor’s educational credentials are important, but it is that “gut feeling” we should rely on. More important than the degrees he has earned is his own personal relationship with God. Is his god the God of the Bible or some other god? Is God’s Word his textbook? Does the counselor believe that sane people can have visions, hear voices, or “speak in tongues” like the apostles in the Book of Acts? In other words, is the spirit realm real or imaginary?
I am personally quite sensitive on these issues. My psychiatrist evaluated my “speaking in tongues” as gibberish. He placed me on disability, a mixed blessing. My response was, “Well, if the world says I’m crazy, I’ll take some of their crazy money.” That was thirty years ago.
Some counselors have taken a strong position for or against the use of mind-altering and mood-altering drugs, shock treatment, lobotomy and hypnosis. If that violates our conscience, it is best not to seek their counsel. We have a right to ask questions about these pivotal issues. At times it is difficult to ascertain the particular leaning of a counselor. In those cases, we can obtain some insight by asking what type of books they recommend. We may have to play the role of a detective to obtain some of these answers.
I would like to digress now and also be an advocate for the counselor. Making ourselves available and vulnerable to be a garbage can for all the conflict within the life of another person can be very draining, even dangerous. To be effective and to survive, a counselor must, above all, have a genuine love for his patients. He must have healthy ways of dealing with the toxic waste poured all over him day after day. He must have the wisdom of a Solomon and the patience of a Job. He must be knowledgeable in several disciplines so that he can determine if a problem is physical, mental, spiritual or a combination of all three.
A very needy individual can surreptitiously attach himself to a counselor as he would to a life preserver. Counselors can be pulled under by the overwhelming needs of their patients. Patients can and often do transfer their feelings of both affection and hostility to the counselor. Patients have been known to seduce, deceive and even intimidate their counselors. It can work either way. Patients can be very manipulative and exploit a compassionate counselor – and vise versa. Professional ethics must never be violated. The counselor must be both personal and yet remain aloof in order to guard against unholy intimacy. A patient can be like a black widow spider, spinning a web for an unsuspecting victim. This happens not only in the secular world of counseling, but also in pastoral counseling.
The need to be needed is very affirming for a counselor, but it can also become a trap. Flattery is the stock in trade of some patients. Being told that he is the only one to whom a patient can open up can be very flattering to the ego, especially for a newcomer to the profession. I have heard words like these many times: “I would not know what to do without you. You are the only one who understands me.”
Many times such words come from a sincere heart, but at other times they may be designed to entrap the counselor. For a while I facilitated a number of unhealthy relationships by giving individuals my private, toll free phone number. But we are failures as counselors whenever we make our patients dependent upon us instead of God.
Whenever someone comes to me who has a long history of seeking counsel from different individuals, a red flag goes up. These individuals will often bad-mouth every counselor they have ever visited. I have learned that my turn to be bad-mouthed may be next if I enter into a counseling relationship with them. Unless I am clearly directed to confront such perverted and offensive behavior, I avoid these individuals. Arguing with an angry person or patient is always unproductive.
One of my greatest protections as a counselor has been a healthy and loving relationship with my wife, Rebekah. She is able to spot those individuals who have ulterior motives in seeking my counsel. For many years, I saw myself as the “rescuer” of those in distress instead of acknowledging God as the Rescuer. That is commonly referred to as a God-complex. This forged some very unhealthy relationships. I continue to be on guard. Counselors cannot afford to become enmeshed in the lives of their patients. The divorce and suicide rate amongst counselors must always be a sobering reminder that the counseling profession produces many casualties.
I would like to suggest to mental health caregivers that they write down how they stand on some of the pivotal issues presented in this letter. This will eliminate many unproductive counseling sessions. Included in such a write-up might be a brief autobiography and what prompted them to enter their profession. Any information that would allow a patient to make an informed choice should be included. If you would like to learn more about this counselor, I invite you to his website at www.stretcherbearers.com.
Counseling is like open-heart surgery; in fact, it is open-heart surgery; and it can be risky. Even though a counselor, like a surgeon, tries to do his very best, not all operations will be successful. I say to you counseling patients, “Cut your counselors some slack. They are not the exclusive custodians of all the right answers.” It is by the Grace of God that we are sane and beautifully unique. By the Grace of God, we are more than a clump of unformed clay. By the Grace of God, we are not in zoos, being analyzed by monkeys.
As a counselor, I have two favorite authors, Paul Tournier and Frances J. Roberts. Paul Tournier is a Swiss medical doctor who draws upon psychology and theology in treating his patients. A good book to start with is called, A Place for You, published by Harper & Rowe. Frances J. Roberts is a woman of great wisdom who writes prophetically and with great insight into the human psyche. Here is a quote from her book, On the Highroad of Surrender: (8)
Never console the one who pines under My chastening rod lest you hinder the work of grace I am effecting in his heart and become an obstacle to his spiritual growth.
I hope a few counselors will read these words. I never understood what a split personality was all about. I believe that I am getting a handle on the meaning of an ambiguous and misunderstood phrase. The religious establishment of Jesus’ day said that many of the prophets were crazy and got rid of them. I am in good company. So far I have been more fortunate than the prophets of old. A few psychiatrists have placed some stigmatizing labels on me, but at least my hands, feet and side have not been pierced.
I have identified with many of the prophets and kings of the Old Testament. At times I came dangerously close to being one of them in modern apparel. But one day I was healed of these dangerous delusions. The Holy Spirit showed me that we can be like someone else, but we can never actually be anyone other than ourselves. We can be like John the Baptist, but we cannot be John the Baptist.
Our streets and mental institutions are filled with people who live in delusional worlds. These worlds can be dangerous alternatives to reality. Those who live in them often become unfruitful members of society and are a great burden to others.
What I am going to say next cannot be proved, but nevertheless, it deserves mentioning. One researcher tried to
||establish how many people in mental institutions thought themselves to be Jesus Christ. He came up with the number 2000. Three other favorites, people of renown, were Mary, the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene and Napoleon. I have seen the inside of a mental hospital as a patient and write with great compassion.
Josephine, my beautiful and intelligent first wife, often said, “Peter, you are going through an identity crisis.”
Those words meant nothing to me until many years later when I wrote an article entitled, “WHO AM I?” This will be the perfect place to resurrect the article.
WHO AM I? (9)
Many years ago I walked into a Salvation Army thrift store, not suspecting that I was about to find an object of great value. I was walking around, looking at different items, when my eyes fell on a gold-framed picture in a baby crib. I looked more closely and saw it was a picture of St. George in full armor sitting on a white horse. A spear was poised in his right hand ready to be hurled at Satan, depicted as a dragon. I liked the picture and purchased it for one dollar.
For a long time the picture found a place just above my bed where it was a daily inspiration for me. I aspired to be like St. George. I like to “Dream the Impossible Dream, to fight the unbeatable foe, to bear the unbearable sorrow, to run where brave men dare not go.”
One day, I showed the picture to my future handmaiden and shared my impossible dream. I said, “Rebekah, I see myself as the warrior in the picture above my bed.”
Without premeditation, she responded, “Peter, Jesus is the hero in the picture. You are the horse.”
I knew that Rebekah, or actually, Jesus through Rebekah, had spoken a powerful and liberating truth. But it took a long time for me to be able to digest it. “Self” very reluctantly vacates the throne it has occupied for such a long time to make room for a new king. In my case, His name is JESUS, JESUS the CHRIST. The moment the Lord showed me that He was the Deliverer and that I was His delivery boy, I began to walk in far greater freedom. I realized that the words in the song, “The Impossible Dream,” referred to Jesus, not to me.
Several years later, another picture, which was offered for sale at a local art exhibit, caught my eye. I did not buy the picture the first time I saw it, but when it was still available the following year at another exhibit, Rebekah purchased it for me. It was an original oil painting of a farmer covered only with a loincloth. He held a clay pot in his hands out of which he was pouring a small stream of water onto little plants neatly planted in a number of long rows. I immediately identified with the farmer.
The picture became a permanent fixture on one of our bedroom walls. It occupied the choicest place, where my eyes would fall on the painting whenever I sat up in bed. For eighteen years it was a part of my internal dialogue, and also many conversations between Rebekah and myself. But finally, it surrendered its prime location to another picture. The painting had served its purpose when Rebekah one morning spontaneously remarked, “Peter, you are not the farmer. Jesus is the Farmer. You are the clay pot, and the water is the Living Water of the Holy Spirit.”
I immediately knew that Rebekah was right, and once again, I had to surrender my exalted position.
I have relinquished the control over my life to the only Someone who is capable of directing its course.
Those words, however, complicated my search for my identity. How could I be a horse carrying Jesus into battle and a clay pot for the Living Water of the Holy Spirit at the same time? One identity is so contrary to the other! This produced a great amount of conflict, a split within my soul, because for a time I felt the need to choose one identity or the other.
Eventually, by the Grace of God, I was able to resolve this apparent dichotomy. Our earthen vessels are not only to express both His majesty and authority, but also His mercy and His long-suffering. There is a time and season for each to be expressed. Through Jesus, God the Father expressed both the Lion of Judah and the Lamb of God, and we are to be conformed to His image.
It all seems so very clear to me today, some twenty years later, who I am. I am a clay pot, a house for the King and a horse for the King. I am the land, and He is my Landlord. He has the option to use me as a hospital, a playground, a temple, a school, a stretcher-bearer, or an invincible tank. I now have the confidence that in whatever way He chooses to use this vessel, it is always best and always right.
Until my spiritual eyes were opened to these truths, my identity – who I am – depended upon where I was born, who my parents were, where I live, how old I was, where I went to school, the profession I followed, my church or political affiliation, and so on. My wardrobe determined my identity. It was extensive and changed as frequently as the seasons. At one time, I was a student, then a soldier, then a systems analyst, then married, then divorced, then a schizophrenic. I searched for identities that would flatter my ego, but I was not always successful. There were those times that identities were forced upon me by circumstances beyond my control. Such identities were very difficult and painful to wear.
But today, “who I am” no longer depends upon my profession, where I live, how much money I have accumulated, whether I am single or married, or how old I am. I wake up in the morning with joy and gratitude. There is that tingle of anticipation as I wonder if I will carry my Lord into battle, be used as a clay pot to water a thirsty soul, or if I will get to kick up my heels in a lush meadow. Every day is new, different, and exciting.
The transition from trying to be perfect to allowing the “PERFECT ONE,” the LORD of lords, to indwell me was, and still is, a gradual process. We are all “in process.” It seems so logical now, and so right, to allow someone with superior love, wisdom, and strength to be in charge – to run the show, so to speak.
I attribute the insight I have received not to any superior intelligence with which I may have been endowed, but to God’s Grace. Walking into a Salvation Army thrift store many years ago, and finding the picture, was no more than a random act when viewed through my human intelligence. But in God’s master plan, there are no random acts. He knows when and how to draw us into the net of His unconditional love. He knows when to send His angels to minister to the heirs of salvation. I hope I get to meet my ministering angel face to face one day and be able to say, “Thank You.”
Gratitude is built whenever we receive anything from anyone for which we did not work, or which we do not deserve. In my case, I can clearly identify the giver of my good gift, the knowledge of who I am, as Father-God. My heart overflows with gratitude. Jesus, instead of self, is now the center of my life. I no longer have to accomplish something in order to be worth something. My worth is defined by the fact that today I am a child of God and a joint heir with Jesus Christ. P.T.L.!
When I began to unravel my thoughts for this story, I focused on the question, “Who am I?” Maybe I should also ask, “Whose am I?” Whom do I rely upon for support, protection, strength, comfort, and inspiration? Do I primarily rely upon my own abilities? Am I an island or a kingdom unto myself with its own set of rules, laws, and entertainment centers? Or have I pledged my allegiance to a King and country whose power and wisdom I recognize as superior to my own?
Our destiny is determined by whom we pledge allegiance. If I bend my knees to no one but my “self,” I am flirting with Satan himself, the prince of all pride. If I bend my knees to Jesus, I belong to God. He is the only one who truly cares for us, and He is the only one who is able to care for us.
How is it that so few settle these life and death questions that so profoundly shape our lives and destiny? One reason is that we have never asked the questions, “Who am I?” and “Whose am I?” We are just too busy with other pursuits that seem more urgent or more fascinating. The second reason is that we may be digging in the wrong soil for answers. We might be compared to prospectors searching for precious metals, but unsure where to sink our shafts. I sank many a worthless shaft before I hit my first bonanza. When I finally humbled myself and asked Jesus to help me, He told me to dig in the rich soil of His Word.
Compared to those days when I thought I was to be the hero on the white horse, I am very whole and very new. The “PERFECT ONE” was nailed to a tree 2000 years ago for the healing of my tormented soul. That act of love does not have to be repeated and cannot be repeated. Trying to be the hero on the horse – and the sacrifice on the cross – only guaranteed space for me in a mental ward, giving me a foretaste of hell on earth. Jesus is the only “PERFECT ONE.” He can occupy the human heart only when the ego, the self, voluntarily gives up its place of preeminence.
Only Jesus can give substance to the words of the song, “The Impossible Dream.” And He can give substance to the words over and over again through you and me when our ego surrenders to Him.
The last verse of the song reads:
Jesus has reached the unreachable star. It is called planet earth. Take the “h” from the word earth, and place it at the beginning of the word, and Jesus has reached the unreachable heart – mine. He came to earth to build a launching pad to heaven. It is called – The Cross. Walk humbly and expectantly! Don’t miss the launching pad. I had to get down from my high horse and onto my hands and knees to find it. Who am I without Jesus? Not much to brag about.
And the world will be better for this,
That one man, scorned and covered with scars,
Still strove with His last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star.
A bird has a song to sing. I had a story to tell. God bless you for listening. God bless you for taking the time to read these words.
Serving Jesus as Stretcher-Bearer,
Peter D. Laue
PETER ELABORATES ON “SEARCHING FOR WHOLENESS”
Not everyone confined to a mental institution belongs there. I believe that some of the patients had prayed the same prayer I did: “Lord, let my life be Your glorious contradiction to the world’s definition of normal.”
If we are too different, this world says we are not normal, and we risk being put into an institution. It’s our modern alternative to being stoned or crucified.
The label of “mentally ill” invalidates what a person says or writes, silencing his or her voice. It robs a person of the freedom to cast a vote. Dead men can’t speak. People imprisoned in institutions can be likened to the dead. They can speak, but no one listens. I am a voice for those who have been silenced by the system.
I have a victorious report for all who might be languishing in an institution or who have been compelled to take drugs they hate to take. If you really don’t want to be there, there is a way out. Caretakers of the so-called mentally ill take note: a mental hospital does not have to be a cul-de-sac or dead-end experience. It is to be viewed as a fiery furnace or a lion’s den where Jesus can become exceedingly real. He is real to me, and now I would like to make Him “real” to others. We have a few booklets left titled, “In Search of Sanity.” They are yours for the asking, as long as the supply lasts. Here is the introduction to the article. It may whet your appetite.
(Written November 28, 2001)
Introduction to “In Search of Sanity
Recently I received 50 empty prescription bottles. I am not a doctor or a pharmacist. I cannot readily tell you the specific purpose for each prescription or how much each one costs. I do know that some of the empty bottles contained anti-depressants, muscle relaxers, tranquilizers, pain relievers, and sleeping pills.
I had asked a few friends who regularly take medication to send me their empty prescription bottles. They have, and I am currently overstocked. I recycle them and use them in my heavenly pharmacy. I remove the labels, wash the bottles, affix new labels and fill the bottles with m&m’s. The labels read:
Rx: Prescription for Healing
M & M’S: Mercy & Miracles
Take as often as needed.
For unlimited refills, see Dr. Jesus.
others to speak to a world that calls black “white,” and white “black.” Homosexuality used to be called a deviant, unacceptable lifestyle. God sees it that way. Today it is called an alternative lifestyle.
Each package of empty prescription bottles reminds me of my own quest for wellness and sanity. It breaks my heart to see all those prescription bottles coming from the same addresses again and again.
There is a big controversy about the best way to help the mentally ill. One of these deals with the use of medication. After reading “Toxic Psychiatry” by Peter R. Breggin, MD, I realized it was not just a controversy; it was more like a war.
When employed as an industrial engineer, my boss rebuked me for being critical of certain methods used in the factory, which I thought to be inefficient. He said, “Peter, unless you have a better idea, I don’t want you to criticize the way things are being done.” Those words have stayed with me for the past 40 years. Please read on; I do believe I have a better idea.
Peter D. Laue
I love to broadcast hope to those who are without hope. On the other hand, I have also been called to challenge those who have become self-serving and self-satisfied. Jesus is very alive today. He is using His servant Peter and
We are continuously being brainwashed by a media that wants to please and entertain the largest possible audience. Its main motivation is to have a high audience rating. It is willing to sell its soul for a pot of porridge. Jesus attacked the establishment. I can do no less. You have heard it said, but I will say it again: “God comforts the afflicted, and afflicts those who have become too comfortable.” That is my reason for being.