The Holy Spirit is just now reminding me of several people who played a significant part in our lives, but especially in the life of this storyteller. I would like you to meet these people who cycled between heaven and hell most of their lives. I want to bring these special people to your attention because they need an advocate. I continue to weep and war for people who are wrestling with any kind of a mental illness; however, I no longer see myself as their savior or rescuer. And seeing myself as their savior was a part of my own illness and delusion. I am willing to pray for them, counsel them, and befriend them; but I do so very carefully now. I do not permit them to hang onto me or make myself as readily available as I used to. I point them to Jesus and tell them to hang on to Him. I also asked myself, “Is there someone better qualified than I am to pour oil on the turbulent images and voices that play havoc with their lives?”
When the fury of their emotions explodes as invariably will and does, we need to be at a safe distance. Inviting someone to live with you who cycles between heaven and hell is like pitching your tent on the side of a volcano. And I used to do that. I used to give these people our 800 phone number and gave them permission to call any time and all the time. I had what is called, “A Savior Syndrome.” It is a common problem – a very, very common problem that has taken many to a premature grave.
My heart continues to bleed for those whose minds are tormented with voices that are flattering one moment and furious the next. I have continued to search for strategies that work. I have summed up what I have learned to date and published it under the title: “The Purple Pamphlet.” It can be read and or downloaded via this internet link: www.schizophreniadefeated.com
I will now let my epistle about B__, speak for itself. It was published in our Spring 1994 “Stretcher Bearers for Christ newsletter.” B__ was a part of our lives for 25 years. Towards the end of our friendship, we learned to love B__ and others like her – “carefully.” She died of breast cancer. She refused medical treatment and used aspirin to help ease the physical pain toward the end of her life. We never found out if she died on the streets or if a compassionate soul invited her into their home towards the end of her life. Over the 25 years that we knew B__, many gave her shelter including ourselves; however within a short time she wore out her welcome. She was in her fifties when she died.
ANGEL OF THE STREET OR?
This story was titled “Especially for Fathers” and how his identity was revealed to me. The story could also have been titled “The Angel of the Street or?” I will let the reader decide which title is most appropriate.
On Monday morning October 11 of last year (1993) I drove to Durango to pick up B__ at the bus station. I had not seen B__ for a long time and hardly recognized her at first. She had been “doing the streets” for many years, the vernacular of those who have no home, and possibly even prefer the life-style of gypsies. Her body was bloated by poor diet and poor hygiene; her face betrayed the scars of abuse. The once pretty face was now only a part of a memory. A pair of tennis shoes, frayed shorts, a meager top and sweatshirt was the extent of her wardrobe and belongings. A small coin purse contained the remainder of her Social Security disability check, the extent of her earthly wealth. There was alcohol on her breath even though it was still early in the morning. When we saw one another there was an awkward moment of silence before we embraced.
When we first met B__, T__ was still a part of her life - her little girl of five or six. She seldom and reluctantly spoke about her husband who was in prison. In fact, it was a long time before she told me her last name. That was seventeen years ago when we still lived in California.
I had met B__ while counseling at one of the churches we attended. I always encouraged her and prayed for her. I always saw her as a person with great inner beauty, potential and integrity. I always sensed that God had a unique and important calling for B__. I believed that her tormented mind and emotions would be healed and then the glory of God would be revealed through her and all would marvel at His beauty in her. That was seventeen years ago; and I still believe that what I saw is true and will come to pass for all to see.
Ever since I met B__ she has struggled with thoughts of suicide. In fact, it is a miracle she has not succeeded. Fear, anger, confusion, deception and every conceivable abuse of her body have added many extra years to a woman who should still be in the prime of her life. I must admit that at times my love for her grew threadbare; but by the grace of God it has stayed intact and I pray that it always will.
fear, anger, confusion and exhaustion have convulsed my being on numerous occasions and have tried to drive me to the brink of extinction or insanity. However, whenever I am at the point of losing my balance, I run to my prayer meadow near our house for answers and relief. There I have previously engaged the powers of darkness in spiritual combat. I had come to that point once again while B__ was here and fled to that private place during the middle of the night.
B__ tells everyone she meets about Jesus. She is very bold that way. She cries over those facing eternity without their Lord and Savior and easily parts with her last penny to help someone who is needy - even if their need is a pack of cigarettes. The sandblasted sign on our display wall she liked the best reads: “Once, long ago, my Lord took a weathered piece of wood and on that piece of wood He wrote a love song in blood.” I tell you these things that you might also love B__ and cradle her in your prayers without condoning her vices.
It was not easy to have B__ as a guest in our home for two weeks. The spirits molesting her continuously prodded her towards suicide. The intent of suicide was a part of many of her conversations with us. Daily she wanted to return to California to commit the act there. Almost every night she would slam cabinet doors for hours in a futile attempt to drive away the demons that she could both hear and see, demons that continuously taunted her. No one in the house was able to get much sleep. Nothing we tried made the slightest impression on the tormenting spirits that were bent on destroying B__. This went on for ten days before peace was restored to our home.
The spirits that were bent on destroying B__ were also bent on destroying us. Although I am not able to hear or see them as B__ does,
A small slice of the moon illuminated accustomed pathways. As soon as I stepped into the arena of total aloneness, I cried out to God for help. Help came quickly. First I was reminded of and shown the beauty and preciousness of B__’s soul; and that the battle was not between B__ and us, but against spiritual powers of darkness that were bent on destroying her body and soul. Then I was given a short refresher course in spiritual warfare: (1) The battle is the Lord’s! (2) The victory is the Lord’s! (3) The glory is the Lord’s! (4) Thank Me (the Lord) for the victory before you see it accomplished!
I hurled these statements of truth at the powers of darkness; and as I did, the doom and gloom of failure, fear, anger, confusion and exhaustion dissipated into nothingness. I returned home and went to sleep with a confidence and peace that passes all human understanding.
B__ slept soundly that night for the first time in ten days. There was no more banging of cabinet doors. The next morning she asked me if she could stay a little longer. For the rest of her stay B__ focused on the words, “Thank you Jesus for the victory.” Whenever the enemy now attacks my own mind concerning B__, I get back on track so to speak by thanking Jesus for her healing. It’s the very best remedy I have found so far. But the story is not over and the best part is yet to come.
I took B__ back to the bus station in Durango on October 26. Before she boarded the bus, we visited with one another for a few minutes. Her final words and my final words startled me. She said, “Peter, I see Satan standing over there tormenting me with thoughts of suicide, telling me that I was stupid for expecting to be healed, that the whole trip was a waste.” I felt I needed to counter those words and replied, “B__, when you see Satan and he attacks your mind with death and destruction, tell him that Jesus and me are praying for you.”
No sooner had I spoken those words, the Holy Spirit gently corrected me. “No, Peter,” He said, “Not Jesus and me, but Jesus in me.” And as I pondered those words in my heart, I received an unexpected healing. Many things came into focus. New clarity came into my thoughts; and new life came into my emotions. It was as if I had been seeing life through a camera, but was never able to focus the lens correctly. I never saw a clear, sharp picture. I always saw a split image through the lens. There was Jesus and there was me. Sometimes we were very close, at other times far apart; but we were never one. Then suddenly the words of the apostle Paul from the book of Colossians became my personal revelation, “Christ in me, the hope of glory,” - not “Christ and me, but “Christ in me.” Indeed, I have received a great gift; for now we are “one.” I see only one image through the lens of my camera. The Gospels are now more alive than ever before. Its pages are like a personal experience, a personal adventure.
But there is more, much more . . . As I drove back to Pagosa Springs, about an hour’s drive, the words, “Jesus in me,” kept washing through my soul. It seemed as if I was being given a new heart, a Father’s heart. And indeed, that is what happened. Let me tell you how I know.
A week later our son Dan called. We had not heard from Dan for a long time. We did not know where he was or what he was doing. We only had the premonition that he was lost in the jungle of a big city. When he left home ten years earlier at age nineteen, he vowed he would never come back. This broke his Mother’s heart but did not hurt my feelings. I had none. My heart had become cold and non-caring towards Dan. But the moment I heard his voice I loved him, a strange and wonderful and new emotion. “Jesus in me” loved Dan. I was no longer a “Prodigal Father.” There now was room in my heart for Dan, lots of room!! I saw Dan as I saw B__, precious and beautiful in the sight of God. I had been healed at the bus station. I could love again. The father could welcome home his lost son, a son who had only the clothes on his back to his name.
I said, “Dan, God has changed my heart. I love you. You are welcome to come home. You don’t have to cow down to me; I love you.” Two days later I picked Dan up at the bus station. I did not recognize him at first. Our embrace was not awkward. Anger, bitterness, disappointment, betrayal - all those deadly thoughts and emotions stayed at the bus station. The healing between father and son is one of the greatest miracles. Thank you, Jesus. I acknowledge You Lord, Savior and Miracle Worker before all men.
B__ called while I was writing this story. I believe with all my heart that the Glory of God will be revealed through her and that many “street people” will find their way back to their “Father’s House” because of Jesus in B__, the Hope of Glory. I love you B__; I love you Dan. I dedicate this story to you and all those who are as yet afar off. The world is sweeping you and others like you into dumpsters as if you were worthless souls. May your pain, your agony, your confusion write a story through my pen that will touch hearts and set the captives free.
And now we have come to the end of the story of “The Prodigal Father.” More epistles might follow.
Serving Jesus as Stretcher Bearer,
Peter D. Laue
The Book of Matthew
Jesus told several other stories to show what the Kingdom of Heaven is like. “For instance,” He said, “it can be illustrated by the story of the king who prepared a great wedding dinner for his son. Many guests were invited, and when the banquet was ready he sent messengers to notify everyone that it was time to come. But all refused! So he sent other servants t6o tell them, ‘Everything is ready and the roast is in the oven. Hurry!’
“But the guests he had invited merely laughed and went on about their business, one to his farm, another to his store; others beat up his messengers and treated them shamefully, even killing some of them.
“Then the angry king sent out his army and destroyed the murderers and burned their city. And he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, and the guests I invited aren’t worthy of the honor. Now go out to the street corners and invite everyone you see.
“So the servants did, and brought in all they could find, good and bad alike; and the banquet hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to meet the guests he noticed a man who wasn’t wearing the wedding robe provided for him.
“’Friend,’ he asked, ‘how does it happen that you are here without a wedding robe?’ And the man had no reply.
“Then the king said to his aides, ‘Bind him hand and foot and throw him out into the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”
SIX YEARS LATER
For many years, we reached out to your sister as if she were an angel of light sent from heaven. For many years, we affectionately called her “The Angel of the Street.” We applauded her, encouraged her, served her to the very best of our ability and invited her to come and stay with us numerous times. At one point, we invited both local and out-of-town friends to come and celebrate her deliverance from the powers of darkness. We had many guests on that occasion, but the “honored guest” did not show up. It was a very disappointing and humiliating experience. You might remember that your mother bought the plane ticket for her. We had made arrangements to have someone pick her up at the airport. We had arranged for a time of great fellowship and good food. I was poised to write her victory story. Instead, I am compelled to write this letter.
For many years, I pampered your sister and told her that I would serve as her personal secretary. Many times I rushed to the post office with cards, letters, books, music and teaching tapes, gifts, and surprises. We paid part of a judgment against her for disappearing from an apartment without paying the rent that she owed. One time I allowed her to charge a portion of her motel expenses to our Visa card to keep her off the streets. For a number of years, we maintained an 800 telephone number so that she could call us anytime at our expense when she was in distress. We reached out to her with unconditional love and acceptance; but unwittingly, we spared the rod and spoiled the child.
We know that you and your sister’s daughter, who has her own family now, have also reached out to her. I thank you for being so very caring. God will reward you. You have done everything possible to help this very lost and confused soul find her place in the world and in the family of God. But as we have all learned the hard way, she allowed herself to be pampered, but never corrected. She attracted all the wrong people, including the father of her child, who is serving a life sentence. You did all you could so that she would become a responsible individual and a blessing instead of a burden to her family and to society. The very fabric of our society is tattered and torn because more and more fallen angels like your sister are calling streets, parks, mental institutions, and prisons their home. All of us in some way have contributed to this tragedy.
As I review all that has happened during the past 25 years, I now see that I have unwittingly contributed to her delinquent behavior. I see no fruit, healing, victory, or deliverance. I see only rebellion, anger, and pride. Instead of faith, I see wishful thinking and unhealthy fantasy. Yes, your sister got rid of some debilitating and expensive habits, but the intrinsic problems remained and have thus far not budged as far as I can see. Maybe our reward is that we are learning how the invisible and tyrannical powers of Satan control lives and, in turn, exhaust the lives of others who try to help them. I am glad that you and I agree that her problems cannot be remedied by an arsenal of medication, but only by the hand of almighty God. Two of your siblings are now “living proof” that medication and shock treatment have hurt a lot more than they have helped.
I was deceived by your sister’s pathetic street life. I was deceived and seduced by her many flattering words and prayers. I was seduced by flattery that attempted to elevate her and me to a place of spiritual prominence. I was manipulated by repeated threats of suicide. She would say, “Peter, you are my only hope, my only rope.” She would hang on to me instead of Jesus for dear life. Shame on me, for I allowed it. My wife saw through this charade immediately but could not gain my attention without arousing unholy anger that was lurking in my own heart. I had to find out the hard way that I was being seduced by flattery and an unhealthy need to be needed. My wife is to be commended for not interfering, even though she knew my efforts would be fruitless. She stepped aside, knowing that I would have to learn some important lessons the hard way.
Here are the intrinsic problems as I see them today. I first searched for clues in my own backyard. Your sister would never have been able to become a part of our lives if I had been a healthier, a wiser, a more courageous, and a more secure individual. For many years, I was unable to confront anyone; and whenever I did try, my techniques were ineffective and wimpy. To tell you the truth, I was actually afraid of confronting your sister. It seemed that Satan, or one of his high-ranking cohorts, was either blocking or twisting my words and efforts to set her free. My being kind, gentle, and accommodating placated the savage, hidden beast in her, but did not help her one iota. For years I confronted Satan without the authority of Christ being in me. I confronted him in my own strength and wisdom. Only after I realized that only the Lord and the Lord in me could defeat Satan did I see the light at the end of a long, dark tunnel. I had such a desperate need to be the hero in the story! That posture made me vulnerable to the deceptions and fury of Satan. There is only one Lord, one Hero, and one Savior. His name is Jesus, and Satan knows that. (Jude 9, II Chronicles 2:15)
To be able to understand how Satan has manipulated your sister and me, I have turned to the Word of God. There are a number of verses that now help me to understand the problem. Romans 12:3 warns, “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to.” As long as I have known your sister, she has seen herself as a mover and shaker with great spiritual significance, yet refused to accept the role of a servant. As you know, she is always waiting for some big TV evangelist to discover her virtues and healing gifts. She believes that every jet in the sky is bringing her prince. She manipulates others and begs for favors, even though she is quite capable of working. She rails against those who don’t “Amen” her lifestyle or spirituality, including the churches in her area. Anyone who disagrees with her becomes her immediate enemy. She controls and intimidates others with her anger and seduces the unwary with her “street-wise” behavior. The welfare system and a variety of helps organizations have helped her to survive, but never to succeed.
It was a verse from the book of Hebrews that woke me up. It is written, “If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” (Hebrews 12:7–8). Yes, without correction we are bastards and bitchy!
I have never in my life heard such blasphemous words and railing accusations as when I tried to correct your sister. Even the gentlest suggestions caused her to explode into a tirade of ugly words. And I am old enough to be her father. The accusations she brought against others who contradicted her in any way were equally vehement. She saw demons in everyone who opposed her, including her own daughter and son-in-law. She conversed with demons only she could see or hear. I cannot tell you how often she accused God, although she seemed to have no problem speaking and using the name of Jesus and praying for people to be saved. That’s what I would call an oxymoron. I am reminded of words from the book of Revelation, chapter 12, verses 9 and 10: “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world. He was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, ‘Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ, for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.’” Yes, Satan and his fallen angels no longer have God’s ear. They have been cast out of heaven. I suddenly realized that I had been pleading with God for 25 years to allow one of those fallen angels to have a place in heaven. I must remind myself and the Church of Jesus’ words:
“Beware of false teachers who come disguised as harmless sheep, but are wolves and will tear you apart. You can detect them by the way they act, just as you can detect a tree by its fruit. You need never confuse grapevines with thorn bushes or figs with thistles.
“Different kinds of fruit trees can quickly be identified by examining their fruit. A variety that produces delicious fruit never produces an inedible kind. And a tree producing an inedible kind can’t produce what is good. So the trees having inedible fruit are chopped down and thrown on the fire. Yes, the way to identify a tree or person is by the kind of fruit produced.
“Not all who sound religious are godly people. They may refer to me as ‘Lord, Lord, we told others about You and used your name to cast out demons and to do many other great miracles.’ But I will reply, ‘You have never been mine. Go away, for your deeds are evil.’” (Matthew 7:21–23)
Your sister is no longer welcome in our home. My wife and I refuse to be manipulated, bashed, or exploited by anyone who wears a backpack filled with unclean and hidden hitchhikers. Flatteries, guilt routines, intimidation–none of these approaches will open the gate to our hearts any longer. Yes, your sister is still “The Angel of the Street,” but she is no longer the kind of angel we care to have around or recommend to others. Is there any hope for your sister or others like her? Yes, there is! The psalmist says, “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)
The only way some of us learn is the hard way. I have learned the hard way. I may be a slow learner, but I am a thorough learner. It is my calling and duty now to trumpet what I have learned into as many lives as I have strength and breath to do so. I do not believe it will take another 25 years before I recognize whether an angel is trying to help me or seduce me. Thirty minutes should be ample. By the way, another name for Satan is “that great deceiver.” If there ever was a con artist, it is he. Many have enrolled in his school. Many have graduated from his school. Many have been recruited by him and don’t even realize it. He was cast out of heaven, but he is surely having a heyday on earth. I believe his days are numbered, and he knows it. There is not enough Prozac and not enough alcohol in the world to calm the fears of impending doom for those who are not right with God. I am so glad we agree on that point.
Here is a brief example of how that great deceiver works amongst us today.
Is Satan real? You bet he is. He always operates under a cloak of anonymity and in sanctimonious ways. Appearing as an angel of light is one of his favorite tricks. Deception and flattery are his stock in trade. Is God real? You bet He is. God can and will protect us if we call upon the name of Jesus; but we must also learn to protect ourselves and always remain on guard. Satan’s bag of tricks is filled with flattery, fear, vanity, peer pressure, depression, suicide, rage, deception, and rebellion against authority. Deception, flattery, and rebellion against authority are his trump cards. Don’t play poker with Satan. If you believe in heaven and would like to camp there forever, don’t invite such unclean, evil spirits to hitchhike in your backpack. If you have, trash those imposters, freeloaders, and thieves. Do it now! Tomorrow it will be much harder!
1. Satan sows fear, anxiety, and panic into our hearts—many unsuspecting hearts.
2. The medical profession has convinced us that fear, anxiety, frenzy, depression, rage, etc. are the result of a chemical imbalance in our bodies and can be successfully treated with medication. This may be true, but often does not identify the real culprit, the root cause.
3. A drug company develops Prozac or some other drug to calm our nerves or “stabilize” our thoughts and emotions.
4. We ignore the “gift of desperation” and allow ourselves to be medicated. We see our distress as a sickness rather than an intruder and enemy. We start taking some drug and thereby disable the internal “fire alarm” instead of addressing the real problem. We feel better and stop looking for the underlying causes of our fears, anxiety, depression, anger, rage, lust, or whatever.
5. Now we are trapped and remain trapped in a vicious cycle of dependency on stimulants or depressants with a variety of names, but all are very expensive, and some come with debilitating and permanent side effects. The spider has caught another fly and sucks the very life out of the paralyzed fly. Let’s not blame the drug companies. It’s Satan who must be exposed. When treatment with Prozac and similar substances becomes the legitimate and socially acceptable form of treatment, Satan has found another “cash cow.” He never kills it; he milks it to death. A “cash cow” may be as innocent looking as a little white pill, a coke, a bottle of beer, a cigarette, TV, or it may be as vile as pornography. Whose “cash cow” might you be?
6. We are once more serving those “Egyptian taskmasters.” Their whips are fueled by an unquenchable thirst for power and profits. The scenery is different; but the scenario is the same. We have become slaves and don’t even realize it.
Don’t squander God’s life, joy, peace, and love within you. And don’t let Satan steal them from you. We must wear ALL the armor of God (Ephesians 6:11–18) and exchange our wimpy, self-seeking, and self-gratifying old nature for that of a fearless warrior and crusader. I am writing these words for your protection and as a warning to those who may eventually read them. I have asked Jesus to help me identify all doors in my own life that need to be shut, and which I cannot shut by myself. My relationship with your sister was one of those doors.
I also see your sister today as one of those foolish, irresponsible virgins, who will not keep her lamp full of oil and will not keep her wick trimmed. She continues to beg, borrow, and steal oil from others. Many adults continue to drink from the breasts of others, even when they are grown. We must neither initiate nor allow these sick dependencies to continue. If we do, it is our own fault. I see these people as spiritual, emotional, and financial parasites. Like leaches or ticks, they attach themselves to another living organism and suck the lifeblood out of them. Are we the spider, the fly, both, or neither in the poem that follows? The Lord and no one else must be our shepherd, provider, and source. Both His rod and His staff are to comfort us. (Psalm 23)
God’s instructions are, “Don’t get ready; stay ready.” Jesus will appear when we least expect Him, just as He promised. The foolish virgins will be left in the dark. The parable in the book of Matthew, chapter 25, verses 1 through 13, tells the story in Jesus’ own words.
Once more, I would like to acknowledge the role of a good woman in a man’s life. She does not have a need to shine. Her only need is to serve her God and be loved, appreciated, and respected by her husband. I want to acknowledge those unsung heroes who stand by the side of their husbands through thick and thin, like my wife, Rebekah. Thank you, Lord, for giving some of us stubborn men such steadfast, loving, and forgiving wives. We really don’t deserve them. Your heart speaks profusely through their love and steadfast commitment to You and to us.
Jesus, the Lamb of God, was betrayed and crucified. Should we expect any less? (Galatians 2:20) Jesus, the Lion of the tribe of Judah has prevailed (Revelation 5:5). Should we expect any less? Jesus came to exchange our cruel and stony hearts for His merciful and bold heart. WOW! Have you apprehended this wonderful gift—the Lion and the Lamb, the full stature of the Son of God? (Ephesians 4:13). Please consider these words and this gift for yourself.
In the name of His Majesty, my Lord and Editor,
The Spider and the Fly
By Mary Howitt 1799 – 1888
“Will you walk into my parlor?” said the spider to the fly;
“’This the prettiest little parlor that ever you did spy.
The way into my parlor is up a winding stair,
And I have many pretty things to show when you are there.”
“O no, no, said the little fly, “to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne’er come down again.”
“I’m sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high;
Will you rest upon my little bed?” said the spider to the fly.
“There are pretty curtains drawn around, the sheets are fine and thin,
And if you like to rest awhile, I’ll snugly tuck you in.”
“O no, no,” said the little fly, “for I’ve often heard it said,
They never, never wake again, who sleep upon your bed.”
Said the cunning spider to the fly, “Dear friend, what shall I do,
To prove the warm affection I’ve always felt for you?
I have within my pantry good store of all that’s nice;
I’m sure you’re very welcome; will you please to take a slice?”
“O no, no,” said the little fly, “kind sir, that cannot be;
I’ve heard what’s in your pantry, and I do not wish to see.”
“Sweet creature!” said the spider, “you’re witty and you’re wise,
How handsome are your gauzy wings, how brilliant are your eyes.”
I have a little looking-glass upon my parlor shelf.
If you’ll step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself.”
“I thank you, gentle sir,” she said, “for what you’re pleased to say,|
And bidding you good-morning now, I’ll call another day.”
The spider turned him round about, and went into his den,
For well he knew the silly fly would soon be back again:
So he wove a subtle web, in a little corner sly,
And set his table ready to dine upon the fly.
Then he came out to his door again, and merrily did sing,
“Come hither, hither, pretty fly, with the pearl and silver wing:
Your robes are green and purple; there’s a crest upon your head;
Your eyes are like the diamond bright, but mine are dull as lead.”
Alas, alas: how very soon this silly little fly,
Hearing his wily flattering words, came slowly flitting by.
With buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer drew,
Thinking only of her brilliant eyes, and green and purple hue;
Thinking only of her crested head – poor foolish thing!
Up jumped the cunning spider, and fiercely held her fast.
He dragged her up his winding stair, into his dismal den,
Within his little parlor; but she ne’er came out again!
And now, dear little children, who may this story read,
To idle, silly, flattering words, I pray you ne’er give heed;
Unto an evil counselor close heart, and ear, and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale of the Spider and the Fly.
Barbara was a part of our lives for 20 years beginning in 1981. She was a ward of the State of Missouri and was never able to visit us. Our friendship was primarily by correspondence since Barbara was deaf. When I asked if she would like me to pray for her hearing she wrote, “No, I prefer the world of silence.” She called occasionally via an operator who translated her words. She was mentally ill; nevertheless it was a delight to correspond with her as you will be able to glean from her letters to me. The correspondence was voluminous and gave me deep insights into the thought-life of someone diagnosed with schizophrenia. Barbara had business cards made for herself. She called herself, “The Angel of the Impossible.” She was a very beautiful angel. I am introducing Barbara via two of the many letters she sent to us. I copied them for her and dressed them up with graphics. She made copies and distributed them amongst the people living in the same care home with her. Over the years she was shifted between various homes. For a number of years she was able to live alone in a trailer under the supervision of the Department of Mental Health. This was the best season of her life.
Barbara smoked, a vice that eventually contributed to her early death when she was in her mid-fifties. She begged me on numerous occasions to help her shake the habit. She asked me to write a prayer for her that she could recite daily. I did. I made a sandblasted sign to help her focus on her decision to quit. But she was chained to her habit to the point that I became increasingly frustrated. I finally stopped praying for her, because the subject of smoking had become divisive. I love being Barbara’s advocate and sharing with you not only two of her letters but also the prayer. The prayer is our combined gift, Barbara’s and mine for everyone who is addicted to cigarettes and wants to quit.
Friday morning October 2, 1998 - 4:30 am (the death of Jesus)
Dear Peter & Rebekah,
Hi, dear saints in the Lord! My prayers have been answered. Yesterday or the other day, I was in great agony of spirit. I felt trapped, alone and desperate. I had a visitor. This visitor gave me the words of Jesus. He said to me: “I love you forever. In my kingdom you shall reign with me.”
You know the picture of the “Rock” I sent you, the one that is sitting on top of my microwave oven? Well, the words, “The LORD IS MY ROCK AND MY SALVATION.” One night I was sitting at the kitchen table. I had a most holy experience. The word “LORD” in the rock became very holy to me. “The LORD is my ROCK, and my SALVATION.”
I saw the holiness and glory of the LORD. And it lasted for several hours. I felt the need to pray and commune with the LORD. I humbled myself and sought the face of the LORD. I am weeping as I write these words.
What I was experiencing was the verse, “He is just and faithful to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” My spiritual life was dead. I was dead in sins and trespasses. But, as I prayed and sought the face of the LORD, He showed me each of the different sins I had committed since 1973, since I was saved. I repented and asked His forgiveness for each sin. I felt the unconditional love of JESUS. I was so grateful to God for the words of this visitor, that I gave God all I had, my life, my trust money - every thing. I loved the LORD so much. I knew at last that I could trust Him.
The LORD is holy. I worship Him with these words, “Holy, Holy, Holy LORD of HOSTS.” It’s the only way I know how to worship Him. And, Peter, I want to thank you for your friendship - for sharing your life with me and others. I love your wife, Rebekah, so much. I know I will reign with Him forever in heaven. I need never doubt Him again.
Holy, Holy, Holy LORD God of Hosts. He is real. He is holy. And He loves us. I had never before experienced the Holiness of the LORD. And I believe with all my heart that Princess Diane and Mother Teresa are with Him. And, also Jessica Savitch, the TV anchor woman. I love JESUS so much.
The Rock was transformed. It became most holy. Peter. In the State Hospital, I saw the burning bush outside the window. And the word “HELL” on the psychiatric nurse’s desk.
I bought the rock when I moved here. And I lived here three years before this Rock became most holy. I could not understand why my life was “so dead.” The LORD honored my faith and trust. “Without faith it is impossible to please Him.” For 25 years I clung to Him. I knew I had sinned most grievously against the LORD. I was like King Nebuchadnezzar. I was insane.
The LORD told me I was cured, that I had finally acknowledged the love and holiness of the LORD. Never again will I sin against the LORD. Forgive me, JESUS. I saw shrinks for 25 years. I am well. I am whole. I believe this with my whole heart. The LORD is holy. Hallelujah!!! PRAISE THE LORD!
This rock will forever remind me of the love and mercy of the LORD. He means business. “For God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews). I know now that the LORD God had a plan for my life.
My parents were virgins when they married. I was a harlot. That’s the truth. I will never marry. I will serve the LORD GOD the rest of my life. Everything I have is His. I have found my place in the sun. And I am happy and content. I do not lack anything. I am rich in JESUS. JESUS is coming back for His people. “The Son of Man will come in the clouds with great power and glory.” “Watch and pray.”
Right now I feel the presence of the LORD. He is most holy.
For 25 years, Peter, Satan used me. He used me. He whipped me around. Satan is the father of lies, a murderer. Satan hates the LORD. He knows he is doomed.
JESUS IS LORD!!!
Today I was at the clubhouse (the Mineral Area CPRC program for the mentally ill). Theresa, who is a Catholic, saw me, and most humbly asked me if she could come to my trailer and clean it for me. She had sensed the change in my life.
Peter, I love you in the LORD. He is holy.
I have my Rock, my Altar in my home. And a spare bedroom. The spare bedroom has paintings from my mother and grandmother. It is a sanctuary, a most holy place. It does not have anything Satan could use. It is simply a quiet place.
Many people have helped me with my new home. The LORD says, “Give me the blind who see, and the deaf who hear.” PRAISE THE LORD!!! He is holy!!!.
Peter, if you feel led to, send B__ this letter. I love B__. I have loved B__ ever since you sent me a letter she wrote you.
As long as I have my Rock, and my Catholic family Bible, the King James Version Bible, and the Living Bible, I will be OK.
The LORD uses the despised people of the world. I am deaf, incompetent, mentally ill; but I love the LORD. The LORD will use me. I am now cleansed. The LORD loves me. And He has a plan for my life. I am well.
And the LORD GOD has confirmed this. I have seen men who go by my window and acknowledge my presence. I have seen insects, birds, and animal wildlife. The world is alive with the love of the LORD. The men who deliver my “meds” treat me with respect.
You are right, Peter. God works in secret. I love your letters and observations, also.
I do not know how I will get your book, “The Wood Blossom,” into print again.
This visitor who gave me the words of the LORD - his name is David Richardson. He used to be my old neighbor; and I used to fellowship with him. He asked me for food, cigarettes and money. And I gave them to him. The LORD will use him mightily in His Kingdom. I am honored to know him. He is presently separated from his wife and lives on the other side of town.
The sign you made for me “Pray Without Ceasing” is most holy.
The LORD made me see it in a new light. And also the ceramic “Ten Commandments” (two tablets) also is most holy. Don Purvis, a hard-of -hearing born-again Christian, gave it to me.
I lead a simple life. I do not go out very much. I feed the stray cats. One night I was sitting outside in the evening when it was dark with my porch light on. A stray cat eagerly approached the cat food and ate some of it. The cat thanked me for the food, rubbing his head against the corner of the trailer porch, showing love and affection for me. It did not come near me. And it left me.
I am most grateful to the LORD GOD for His mercy and love and forgiveness. My old counselor, Kathie, is going to Europe from October 2 to October 15. She has promised me she will send a postcard from Lourdes, France, and a real rosary from Lourdes. I will say the rosary once a week as my “thank you” to the LORD for my most excellent Catholic upbringing. They say a Catholic education is the best.
I praise Him for the freedom and flexibility of the routine I now enjoy. I lived at New Horizon RCF II for six long years. The ten years I spent with Mom have gloriously prepared me for my new life. I have lived here for three years now. I am a success in God’s eyes.
Dennise, my old neighbor, now has one foot in my trailer and one foot in her sister Lynn’s trailer. She is homeless and operates out of my trailer. We deeply love each other and have a great deal of respect for each other.
Thank you, Peter, for opening your heart to me. I have learned much from you.
I have been writing this letter since 4:30 this morning. It is now 7 am. A new day is dawning. And I eagerly welcome it. It looks like it will be a beautiful day.
PRAISE THE LORD!
HE IS HOLY
Much love, Barbara
Saturday (4:30 am) October 3, 1998
Dear Peter & Rebekah,
I cannot stop writing. The LORD revealed to me that I had been demon possessed. This came about from all my sexual sins. Doesn’t the Bible say, “How can light have fellowship with the dark?” It warns godly men and women against marrying unbelievers. Because I was demon possessed, I was extremely dangerous. You may have sensed this in your spirit or had a difficulty with some of my letters. Thank you, Peter, for your godly love and compassion. You responded to my deepest need.
David Richardson helped me see this. God used him in my life.
You know, Peter and Rebekah, that God reveals Himself to babes? I could not stop re-reading the last letter I wrote last night. The presence of the LORD was very strong. The LORD has performed a glorious miracle. The LORD was my exorcist. He knew I could not get help from anyone. The LORD cast out the demons from me. I do not know how many demons dwelt in me. I do not wish to know. But I feel the LORD GOD has given me a message to give to the world.
Sex sins are dangerous. The sex drive is a fire. I just cannot think of the words I wish to use. “The sex drive is a dangerous fire.” How well do I know this.
When I was a little girl, I was at my grandparents’ house, visiting with my parents. I was an only child. Well, I found an article in the Reader’s Digest. It was titled, “The Case for Chastity.” I liked the article and copied it on my grandfather’s old typewriter.
A shrink I saw reported on my case that “I had religious and sexual ideas.” I was hurt by this, for I had trusted this shrink. “Vain is the help of man.” AMEN! AMEN!
I can’t believe this; yet I can (about my being demon possessed). I trust the LORD. He told me the truth. It is so sobering. The world needs this message. You know all about the fanfare of President Clinton’s affair.
This is extremely delicate ground. The Bible is full of people who committed sexual sins. PRAISE THE LORD! The Bible - Gosh, Peter and Rebekah. David Richardson has a sister in the deliverance ministry. I have read books on deliverance. So many words, on and on. I loved Catherine Marshall’s books.
When I moved into a nursing home in Birch Tree, Missouri, I bought a book, a novel about Mary Magdalene (before I moved.) The LORD was protecting me and prevented me from reading it. I became crazy because I could not handle old people’s problems and deep needs. They sucked the life out of me, the little trust and faith I had in the LORD. I had to get out of there. But the head nurse I had befriended suggested I go back to Farmington for re-evaluation.
So, I did this. PRAISE THE LORD! Nothing is impossible with God!!! Nothing. He is sovereign. People think that God is hard to please. Not so. I love the LORD with all my heart. He can do anything.
One day while living with my mother in Mountain View, Missouri, I read a book, Pigs in the Parlor by Frank and Ida Mae Hammond. It dealt with the subject of deliverance. I was extremely upset after I read the book. I asked the LORD to send an adult to our door at exactly 6 am to confirm the fact that I was schizophrenic. The LORD sent the newspaper delivery man at exactly 6 am!!! We hardly had any adult company.
I had terrible problems; but the LORD sustained me. He sent encouragement from time to time. If it were not for the LORD, I would have disgraced and saddened my family with suicide.
Peter, I read the book, The Exorcist, by William Peter Blatty. I’m not sure of the complete name??? I became crazy after I read the book. The fear was great.
I just can’t believe this. Me demon possessed??? It does make sense, though. Experience proves this. The LORD does not lie. Oh, how I love the LORD!. PRAISE THE LORD!!!
I have been delivered by a mighty miracle of the LORD. I am free. But I have to live with the consequences. I feel I will always need medication; and I feel I will always have the need to smoke. But praise the LORD! The LORD came to me when I needed Him. The LORD is holy. “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.”
The Bible says, “Do not give pearls to swine.” This letter is most sacred, a letter from the heart. Please guard this letter in the safest place possible. The LORD means business. The LORD works in secret.
Satan is the prince of this world. JESUS said, “The prince of this world is coming, but he has nothing in Me.”
Satan is incredibly cunning. We are no match for him. Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Satan uses fear as a weapon. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of love, of power and a sound mind.”
JESUS IS LORD! It is nearly 6 am. The LORD just gave me the verse “Guard your heart and your lips.”
Forgive me, Peter, if I have hurt you. I know I have deeply hurt you. Remember you told me in one of your letters that “something in you broke” when you were making the sign, “Pray Without Ceasing” for me? I humbly ask your forgiveness. JESUS said, “Forgive 7 times 7.” Is that right, Peter?
“Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.” Praise the LORD! I am shaking my head in wonder. Holy, Holy, Holy LORD GOD of Hosts. PRAISE THE LORD!
HE IS HOLY
A Smoker’s Prayer
Dear Father-God, Creator of heaven and earth, Author of light, goodness, mercy and justice. I come to You exhausted, defeated and full of pain. I am a prisoner of my own foolishness, selfishness and disobedience to Your precious Word.
Father, I have defiled my body which is the temple of Your Holy Spirit. I am now wearing the grave clothes of death woven by my own hands one cigarette, one pack, one carton at a time. I have exchanged my beauty for ashes, my health for sickness, my freedom for chains.
trivial sin and would not separate us. How wrong I was. How I have deceived myself. Your Word says that “The wages of sin is death”. There are no trivial sins. I have had to learn the hard way that “The wages of sin is death” and that any sin does separate us from You. And Father, by my example I have led many others down the road to death and destruction. Do not lay these many children of my foul habit to my account, but be merciful to them and me.
Father, I have tried to quit and throw off this filthy habit. I have tried to do this in my own strength and each time I have failed. And each time I have fallen deeper and deeper into the pit of my addiction. I have not only violated my own body You so lovingly created for me, but have also created a cloud of filth for others to breathe. Debts have gone unpaid to satisfy this endless craving for another cigarette. Your sweet, gentle, loving voice has been drowned out by the clamoring voice of my addiction. Self and self-indulgence have been on the throne of my life while my imprisoned soul is weeping for freedom.
Father, I have rationalized for years that smoking was a
Father, have mercy upon me. Your Word says that Your mercy is greater than Your judgment. Send Your laborers, Your ministering angels and Your Holy Spirit to unwrap the grave clothes of my addiction. Lazarus could not loosen his own grave clothes and neither can I. I need Your help to live and be free.
I confess my sin, my selfishness and disobedience to You now. I ask You to forgive me and to heal me. I bring my petitions to Your Throne of Grace in the name of Your Son Jesus. You have said that the Blood of Your Son Jesus cleanses us from all unrighteousness. And that if we confess our sins, You will cleanse us. Father, cleanse me, heal me, set me free from this filthy, selfish habit; and I will praise Your name forever with these lips and lungs that have served Satan and self.
Father, I thank You for hearing my prayer and setting me free.
Angel of Mercy
Joe Breen – Friend and Pilot
connected with alcohol. Alcohol was his way of camouflaging deep-seated hurts that he rarely shared with anyone.
We met Joe Breen in 1986. Joe is pictured on the left. Skip Anderson – friend and log home builder is pictured on the right. Joe had landed at Stevens Air Field in a small rented plane. The airport is just a little over a mile from our house. What drew him to Pagosa Springs we cannot remember. Only as the years went by were we certain that we were meant to meet. Our friendship was a part of God’s design. I love making Joe a part of the tapestry of “To Hell and Back.” Hell for Joe had many aspects and seasons. One of these was living under a bridge and being homeless.
Joe was the pilot that God used to fly me to the Terrell State Mental hospital in 1987 as mentioned in chapter XIII. Joe’s burning desire was to be used as a pilot to fly missions of mercy. He earned his living selling cars; but flying was his passion and mercy describes his heart. He was good at selling cars and worked hard and long hours, but he was never all that fond of his job. He was a very generous man and often parted with his last penny. Some of his hard-earned money was sent in our direction. His life was cut short because of complications
During the last six months of his life Joe called me nearly every day from Texarkana. I cannot recall the specifics of our conversation but know that it always centered on Jesus Christ. There was not a time when we did not sense the presence of the Holy Spirit in our midst when we talked with one another. Time seemed to stand still whenever we visited. I remember pacing back and forth in our living room when we talked. It was a happy time and I could never sit still for long.
Joe died in the home of a widow who loved him and treated him like her own son. This widow had read the article in the Texarkana Gazette that chronicled Joe’s odyssey from working a steady job to being homeless and living under a bridge. I am sharing the article here so that you will meet my friend Joe and love him like the widow who gave him shelter. Maybe one day you will invite someone into your home who lives under a bridge. It might be another Joe and an angel of mercy in disguise. I also hope that someone will read these words who has a passion for flying and take up where Joe failed to get “off the ground.” Joe will be looking down from heaven, smiling, and saying, “Thank You.”
Rebekah just reminded me of words that Joe repeatedly spoke to us, and I am sure, also to others. He used to say, “Just be nice!”
Story from the Texarkana Gazette – November 24, 1994 – page 17 A
Joe Breen once had a family, a home and a job. Those are all gone now, and Joe Breen is just one of many who are …
Homeless in the two Texarkanas
By Fran Preseley of the Gazette Staff
Last Christmas Eve Joe Breen stood in the freezing rain along an Idaho highway trying to thumb a ride to somewhere, anywhere. Hope was as distant as the Texas home he lost months before in a flood.
Tucked shivering against his body and under his thin jacket was Joshua, his Yorkshire terrier. Braced against the wind and sleet, Breen fought back the despair. “God, I don’t know what to do,” he prayed.
Nearly a year later, he is no nearer an answer or an address. Now he lives in a small tent near Interstate 30 in Texarkana. It is improvement.
He spent most of the summer calling an overpass home, sleeping on a 3-1/2foot-wide ledge just below the roadway.
“You haven’t lived until you’ve heard a big 18-wheeler’s horn under a bridge at 3. a.m,” he says.
Though he is not happy about his circumstances, he is not without humor. In lighter moments, he called his home under the bridge the Taj Mahal. In a more somber mood, the reality is more painful.
“I rolled off the shelf and hit the pavement below–a 3-foot drop,” Breen said, ruefully, last summer.
“I’m not sleeping worth a durn. I’m physically exhausted. Sometimes I’m so tired I can’t even sleep.”
Breen slept in full view of travelers who drove under the bridge, and he said sometimes truckers deliberately honked to scare him.
Since coming here from Idaho, Breen has lived in vacant lots, under the bridge and now in a tent. Local shelters might take him in, but they wouldn’t take his companion. “It was a problem finding shelter in Texarkana with Joshua,” Breen said. “If they wouldn’t take Joshua, I wouldn’t stay there.”
Joshua is gone now, apparently stolen. Breen continues to have a difficult time improving his circumstances.
It is a hard to find work without an address or telephone to provide a perspective employer.
“What would I tell them?” Breen asked. “General Deliver, I-30?”
Breen left Idaho last winter because he couldn’t find work there. But his journey started long before a van pulled over and carried him south to Arkansas. Until last year, Breen always had a roof over his head.
He grew up in Fort Worth, Texas, living in foster homes because his own parents abused him. He was a fairly typical working, married, tax-paying citizen before his world began to crumble around him.
First, the company he worked for as a car salesman filed bankruptcy and let him go. Then the barbecue business he had on the side failed. Finally, his wife left him.
“It crushed me when she left,” he said. “I still love her.”
Breen took Joshua, some money he had saved, and left Forth Worth to start over in another location. He bought a little house near the Brazos River outside a small town. Two months later, the Brazos River flooded and destroyed his property. He lost everything he had.
“Josh and me hitchhiked to Idaho trying to find a town to start over again,” Breen said.
But it was not to be. His next stop was Conway, Arkansas, and then Breen hopped a railroad car to Texarkana earlier this year.
Here, Breen learned many survival skills. He found out the hard way that red ants and mosquitoes find you fast if you sleep in an open field. “I man big red ants,” he said. “I can pull my shirt up right now and show you bites all over the skin.”
So he moved under the overpass where ants and mosquitoes aren’t quite so plentiful. Most recently he was given a tent, and now calls it home.
Though he may be homeless, Breen has a daily routine. Each morning he walks to any one of the several nearby stores and does what is necessary to persevere.
“I have to hustle just to get money enough for basic needs,” he said.
Sometimes he carries a signs “Flood Victim. Homeless and Hungry.”
The sign caught the attention of the Rev. Preston Wilcox and his wife Linda. They remembered times when they had been homeless, too.
They began dipping into their own pocket to help Breen. They gave him the blanket he now sleeps on.
Sometimes Mrs. Wilcox will cook a meal for him in the small apartment where the Wilcoxes and their children live.
AT 49, a wiry man with touches of gray in his hair, Breen appreciates these small pleasures but can’t forget the larger displeasures.
“They cooked me a hot breakfast this morning,” Breen said, “But I’m just exhausted. I stay exhausted. Right now I’m out of razor blades and shaving cream, and I need a fingernail clipper. I’ve got an earache and a toothache.”
Sitting in the small office of the Wilcoxes’ Texarkan church, Breen looks into the future with tired blue eyes. Despite his troubles, Breen is grateful for the help he has gotten in Texarkana.
“Texarkan people are the lovingest people I have ever met,” he says.
He has gotten aid from Stephen Cain at the Friendship Center and members of Walnut Street Church of Christ gave him money to renew his driver’s license. The Wilcoxes and others offer their friendship, a little money and food from time to time, he says. Even the police have helped.
“But if someone gives me extra food, I can’t take it to eat later on,” he says. “The ants and other bugs get to it first.”
Breen wants a chance to make his own living. But to do that, he needs a roof over his head, a job and transportation. Breen has found out that it is difficult to get that second chance from where he is; it is hard to help yourself without a home.
“People look at me and think I’m a deadbeat, but I have never been on the streets before last year. There are guys on the street and that is all they want to do.
“I believe the Lord wants me to work, and I want to work,” he said. “But I don’t know how to get off the streets unless somebody helps me.”
Portrait of a Heart
Steven Halberstadt needs to have a voice and Steven Halberstadt needs an advocate. And since there are many “Stevens” in the world, many advocates are needed. Steven was the epitome of an “angry man” who hid a very tender heart. He survived by intimidating anyone and everyone who crossed his will or said “no” to him. And he nearly succeeded in adding our names to the list of casualties that littered his life’s journey. He found his way to our door all the way from Florida after reading “The Wood Blossom.” Shortly after arriving he said, “I am making one final desperate attempt to find the door out of the hell where I have lived most of my life.
He left three weeks later with answers and hope. We are still in touch with one another. He earned a portion of his livelihood as an artist and sign maker after he left our home. Several years later he found a woman who was willing to look past his gruff exterior and love the beautiful Jesus in him. Here is the story as published in our Spring 1989 Stretcher Bearers for Christ newsletter.
There was a knock at our front door. We went to open it and there stood a man who filled the doorway both physically and also emotionally. He was packaged in a way that our whole household was intimidated by what it saw and felt. We believe that what he owned was all packed in his car, and it wasn’t very much.
Steven, the man at the door, had called three months earlier from Florida. He had read our autobiography and felt that we might be the people to help him with a lot of confusion. And since he was a sign maker, he felt that he might also be able to help us. We had almost forgotten about him when we opened the door and there was Steven.
We hosted Steven with all the love, wisdom, and patience that was in us. Long ago we had made the commitment to extend hospitality to strangers. However, our nerves were soon rubbed raw and our patience worn thin by his aggressive and pushy personality. He reminded us of a pushy salesman who might say, “Buy or I’ll shoot!” Nevertheless, there was a part to Steven that would cause my heart to melt. Expressions of love and tenderness would come out so spontaneously and when least expected! We resolved to persevere with this relationship even though many times we were all pushed to the very limit. The weeks went by and it did not seem as if we were able to help Steven.
One morning I woke up very early, about 4:00 a.m. My heart was pounding, my mind confused. Fear and anger whipped through me and Steven became the target of all my ugly emotions. I had thought that these emotions had long been crucified, but apparently they were only dormant and waiting for their opportunity to erupt and ruthlessly destroy a soul.
tiny open hand reaching up through turbulent waves, I saw one large clenched fist and one smaller clenched fist reach up opposing the outstretched hand of Jesus.
From time to time in the past I had wrestled with similar strong emotions, especially in the middle of the night. My only workable solution had been to get dressed and walk in a secluded meadow. Here I would cry and scream and pray until all my boiling emotions were extinguished by fatigue, and generally followed by insight and revelations from the living God of Israel.
I got dressed and hurried to my meadow. As I marched along accustomed pathways, I cried out, “Living God of Israel, Jesus, unless You come upon me right now and tame my unruly and unholy emotions, unless you stretch Your hand across the raging sea of my mind, I will be undone, and the labors of a lifetime will surely go down the drain.”
Then suddenly, quite suddenly, a great peace and poise came over my whole being. The turbulence in my soul became like a calm sea reflecting the moon and stars above me. And in my mind’s eye I saw a sign which Steven had created since he had come to stay with us. I see it today as the portrait of his heart. I saw the hand of Jesus reaching down, I saw a
Suddenly I saw the conflict in Steven’s heart; and my own heart was filled with much compassion for that tiny open hand reaching up to Jesus. There was clarity of mind that I did not have moments earlier. I realized that flesh and blood were not my or Steven’s enemy, but that I was wrestling against principalities and power of evil that were opposing God with clenched fists using Steven as their instrument. More than likely Steven was unaware or helpless and was not sure what was happening in him or through him.
For the next two hours until the sun came over the horizon, I wrestled and battled against these powers of evil, mostly by praying out loud in the Spirit, my most effective prayer posture in times of great need. As the sun rose, the battle was over. The giants of fear, anger and confusion had been conquered and a tender, sheltering love for Steven was born into my heart. I knew that the Steven of yesterday could not intimidate me anymore.
The next day and the day after, Steven and I had some long conversations. He said to me, “Peter, you never have to be afraid of me or anyone like me again because you have the Father’s heart.” Suddenly, as Steven spoke these words, the Holy Spirit came upon me and these words from 1 John 4:18 became “rhema” (personal and alive) to me:
“PERFECT LOVE CASTS OUT FEAR.”
What a perfect gift you have left with me, Steven. You pushed me to the end of my limit so that together we had to reach up for the hand of Jesus.
When he drove away a few days later he said, “Peter, when you see my face again it will be different. The mask of anger and violence will no longer be there.”
Ten months have passed since Steven left. Last November he wrote and expressed a strong desire to live in or near Pagosa Springs, to learn more of God’s ways and to help raise up a Crafts for Christ Center. With his permission we are printing this story and the below letter. If anyone would like to respond, help, encourage or comment to us or to Steven, you may write to him in care of this address.
Thank you for your prayers, all your encouragement and your many gifts, which make it possible for us to open the front door to those who knock.
Do please come and see for yourselves what the living God of Israel is doing in this place. The “Upper Room” is waiting to accommodate God’s weary pilgrims.
Serving Jesus as Stretcher Bearer, Peter D. Laue
A LETTER FROM STEVEN
Dearest Beloved Brother and Sister:
I was overjoyed to receive your care package…and that it was. The timing was the Lord’s and although I expected a check in the mail, your package was much more valuable.
The suffering and pain that my heart has undertaken this last year has been exceedingly abundant, so much so that I have prayed for death, wished for it and hoped for it. All to no avail. How could my joyless life, my emptiness, my travail have any purpose? Why did I have to suffer so that my praise turned to ashes and bitterness in my mouth, my love to deep sorrow and cursing the day of my birth, my faith and trust to fall apart like a jug dropped upon a rock, totally useless?
Just last week I examined myself and decided that I was like the worm, despised of men, unloved, a failure at all I attempted, good for nothing, incapable of love, compassion, caring. My heart cried out, “Why me? I give up. I am not going on; I’m not looking for any more jobs. I am not going to try anymore. I don’t care what happens to me. It just doesn’t matter anymore. I give up.”
Then God spoke:
“Now I can use you. All that’s left in you is Me. Your ideas, your strength, your wisdom
is like ashes, useless in My plan for you life. Your ideas will fail. Your strength has run out.
“Now clothe yourself with Jesus Christ. Use My ideas, My strength, My wisdom, My Word.
Rest in Me. I will lead you. I will open the doors. I will provide. I will make a way where
there is no way. I love you; will you love Me? Trust Me, only trust and see what I the Lord
can do. All will be amazed and glorify Me because of what I do through you.”
The time has not come yet, but I know and the Spirit of God bears witness that in His appointed hour I shall return to Pagosa Springs, and God shall raise up a craft center…a place of healing, and He shall call from the nations many that hurt, and they shall be comforted, they shall receive compassion, they shall receive healing in their spirits, souls and bodies. It will not be a long, long time, but not in the next few weeks or months either. When my wounds have healed enough, when my heart has found joy in Him
I covet you prayers.
After reviewing my own life and the lives of the four people in this chapter I have come to the conclusion that schizophrenia is a totally misleading diagnosis for myself and those for whom I am called to be an advocate. I have become aware of the endless and pernicious war that tries to trap our souls. Restless and disincarnate souls and fallen angles – demons that have aligned themselves with Lucifer and that have never and will never find peace through Jesus Christ are always looking for new bodies or hosts through which they can manifest themselves. Their purpose and goal is to dominate, influence, and seduce. We have all heard and repeated the slogan, “Misery seeks company.” In other words there is a power struggle for dominion. It begins in the mind and we call it “schizophrenia.” The power struggle for dominion has existed from time immemorial. Wars between nations and economic wars between corporate giants are other manifestations of the power struggle. We do not call it a power struggle; we call it “competition,” “ethnic cleansing,” etc. Competition is the name of the snake that will eventually bite and devour its competition. And there will be many innocent victims who will be become jobless and homeless. It’s no different than the turf wars that exist between ruthless gangs. It’s the game of “Monopoly” applauded by so called “High Achievers.”
Our degenerate human nature and unholy ambitions drive us to be “top dog” by devouring the underdog. Success is being defined as rich, powerful, famous and being worshipped. This takes place in every field of endeavor – in political, economic and religious arenas – yes, and usually at the expense of others. The rules of engagement are cruel and ruthless. Man-made laws have not and will never be able to bridle the demons that drive the engines of senseless wars, crimes, and cruel competitive and deceiving practices. Without apology or further explanation, I call them what they are – demons–demons of anger, rage, greed, pride, lust, jealousy, addiction, fear, etc. Jesus demonstrated his power and authority over this unseen world when he delivered the demoniac from legions of demons. You may want to read the story in the Book of Luke, chapter 8, verses 26 to 39.
I am fully convinced that if we do not acknowledge and understand the dynamics of the unseen world of the spirit realm, we will be of no help to the so called “schizophrenic.” We will be placating demons with drugs, alcohol, platitudes, and formulas that are totally ineffective and only of temporary benefit. I agree and align myself with the Word of God that our souls will never find peace unless that peace is through Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and my Commander-in-Chief. I am also fully convinced that the Day of Judgment, at which time we will have to give an account of our lives, is closer at hand than anyone realizes. I am not writing these words to scare anyone, but to warn you. Rebekah said, “Peter, God had to jerk you out of the hell and delusions that you were trapped in.” Thank you, Rebekah. You were absolutely correct! I want to jerk you out of hell with these words.
I am writing these words and this book not only for those who have been disenfranchised by society, but also to awaken those who are asleep in their pleasantly decorated homes and apartments with their own personal medicine, liquor, and entertainment cabinets stocked full of goodies. These words are my gift to everyone who has been deceived and betrayed by Satan, the archenemy of our souls.
Don’t buy the lie any longer that you are mentally ill or that your son, daughter or friend is mentally ill. It is Satan and his host of demons that are battling for another precious soul. We are at war. We must learn to recognize the real enemy. We must learn to use the weapons of warfare as provided in the Word of God. Sitting on couches, watching TV, playing cute games, swallowing more pills, and going on cruises does not win wars or fill the vacuum in our souls. We must call upon the name of Jesus while there is breath in our bodies. There is no power in any other name. Jesus is the only one who has the power and authority to open our eyes and bring us back from the hell we are trapped in. He did it for me and wants to do the same for everyone. He gave us His Word and His grace is sufficient. The words I am writing and the thoughts I am expressing come to you from a loving and a caring God through Peter, the Lord’s Scribe and Storyteller.
I could never have written or spoken these same words with finality and authority some thirty, twenty, ten or even five years ago. I can write these words and am writing these words today because I have experienced both heaven and hell and know many others who have as well. Until we know that the realm of the spirit is as real as the physical realm, we will look for the cause and solution to sickness, disease, including mental illnesses in all the wrong places. Keeping the body alive for a few extra years at great expense is not what counts and has little merit. Keeping our appointment at the Throne
of God is what matters. Yes, hell is a very real place and I don’t wish my worst enemy to wind up in hell.
There are some who have allowed the enemy of their souls easy access to their bodies, minds and emotions because they have violated God’s commandments on a regular basis and have scorned His Word of love, mercy, and correction. No one likes the word “sin.” But the truth is that we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. And I mean – all! And we must all, I mean, all, humble ourselves, repent and ask for forgiveness. Jesus won’t cut us any slack unless we do! It is the Blood of Jesus that cleanses us and the name of JESUS that is our VICTORY – nothing and no one else! Compulsively washing our hands or compulsively doing anything is not the answer to cleanliness, holiness, or victory.
GOD has raised Jesus up to the heights of heaven and given Him a Name which is above every other name, that at the Name of JESUS every knee shall bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue shall confess that JESUS CHRIST is LORD, to the glory of GOD, the Father.