Climbing the New Year

IMGP3020reThe New Year is often likened to a steep mountain waiting for us to climb. It is sure to be fraught with toils, dangers, and snares. But with the hardships there will also be joys, blessings, and victories.

To climb it, we’ll need help from our mountain guide, Jesus, who calls us to follow Him. He knows where the dangerous crevices are and where to step to avoid danger. If we stay close to Him we can reach the summit at the end of this coming year in full victory. Even the best climbers need guides when they climb unfamiliar mountains. Many of the great mountaineers have sensed that someone was guiding them and helping them to reach their goal.

Sir-Ernest-Shackleton

Years after his ordeal Shakelton described a mystical guiding presence that was with them during the crossing of the Antarctica.
He said, “I know that during that long and racking march of 36 hours over the unknown mountains and glaciers of South Georgia, it seemed to me often that we were 4 not 3 of us.
I said nothing to my companions, but afterwards Woolsley said to me, ‘Boss I had a curious feeling that there was another person with us.’”

AT-shack-049

Sometimes we may become too self-confident and feel that we can go it alone. We may have to learn the hard way for us to realize how much we need help, just like I did.

A friend and I were on vacation in the Alps of Switzerland. It was late afternoon by the time we reached the foot of the mountain we wanted to scale. As we ascended the slope, a rugged looking shepherd met us as he tended his sheep. He strongly warned us not to attempt to climb as it was too late and it would soon be dark.

He suggested that we wait until the next day and get a guide. However, we did not take his advice, as we had to go home the next day and we didn’t want to miss this unique opportunity. We impetuously trekked onward.

As sure as the night follows the day we were soon walking blindly in darkness. Because the steep mountains cast large shadows, it gets dark sooner in those parts. There was no moonlight and because it was overcast there was no starlight either. We could barely make out the rocky trail right at our feet let alone see ahead much further. It would be easy to stumble and go tumbling down the mountain. We realized that we had gotten ourselves into a dangerous situation. We decided not to risk going down. We would have to wait it out on the mountain until dawn. We had just one sleeping bag with us so we took turns sleeping in it.

Then it started to rain heavily. We were not only cold but also drenched. Our sleeping bag was not much use. We tried to find some refuge under some outcropping of rock. After a long ordeal, morning’s light broke, the rain stopped, and we were able to make our descent.

On our way down the trail, we met the same shepherd we had met the previous afternoon. He looked at our sorry condition and nodded his head somewhat amused at the plight we had gotten ourselves into by not listening to his advice. We looked like a pair of wet cats caught outside in a storm. I’m sure he was happy that we didn’t learn our lesson the hard way with a serious accident.

This coming year, there will be a mountain that each of us must climb. Perhaps, not a physical mountain but a mountain of accomplishment and difficulty that we must each climb to attain our goals. Keep climbing! Closely follow our mountain guide and don’t give up until you reach your summit. Let’s make sure that we listen and follow closely to the Chief Shepherd of our souls on the way up.

1Pe.5:4 – When the chief Shepherd shall appear, you shall receive a crown of glory that fades not away.

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Mountain Climbing Quotes –
The first question which you will ask and which I must try to answer is this, “What is the use of climbing Mount Everest?” and my answer must at once be, “It is no use.” There is not the slightest prospect of any gain whatsoever. Oh, we may learn a little about the behavior of the human body at high altitudes, and possibly medical men may turn our observation to some account for the purposes of aviation. But otherwise nothing will come of it. We shall not bring back a single bit of gold or silver, not a gem, nor any coal or iron. We shall not find a single foot of earth that can be planted with crops to raise food. It’s no use. So, if you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward, then you won’t see why we go. What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life. We do not live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to enjoy life. That is what life means and what life is for.

George Leigh Mallory, 1922

You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know. Rene Daumal

The mountains will always be there, the trick is to make sure you are too. Hervey Voge

If you don’t let go, you can’t fall off! Jerry Moffat

It does not matter how slow you go, as long as you don’t stop. Confucius

Height has nothing to do with it, it is your strength that counts. Lynn Hill

Doubly happy, however, is the man to whom lofty mountain-tops are within reach John Muir

I want to know the thoughts of God. All the rest are details. Albert Einstein

My father considered a walk among the mountains as the equivalent of churchgoing. Aldous Huxley

Unusual travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God. Kurt Vonnegut

Short is the little time which remains to thee of life. Live as on a mountain. Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

If the conquest of a great peak brings moments of exultation and bliss, which in the monotonous, materialistic existence of modern times nothing else can approach, it also presents great dangers. It is not the goal of grand alpinism to face peril, but it is one of the tests one must undergo to deserve the joy of rising for an instant above the state of crawling grubs. On this proud and beautiful mountain we have lived hours of fraternal, warm and exalting nobility. Here for a few days we have ceased to be slaves and have really been men. It is hard to return to servitude. Lionel Terray

If you’re going to climb a mountain, you have to have the feeling that it’s really worth dying for!–Any mountain–the mountain of this life, the mountain of accomplishment, the mountain of obstacles, of difficulty– to brave wind and cold and storm, symbolic of adversities. But on the mountaintop alone, you feel so close to the Lord! The voice of His Spirit there is so loud it’s almost like it’s thundering! The silence on the mountain peak is deafening! You get a real high” on top of a mountain! It’s a thrill! – D. Berg

Climbing is, above all, a matter of integrity – Gaston Rebufat

“The events of the past day have proven to me that I am wholly alive, and that no matter what transpires from here on in, I have truly lived”
– the Canadian Alpine Journal 1993, selected by Peter Green

…writing about climbing is boring. I would rather go climbing. Chuck Pratt

I have been a mountain guide for 70 years. My walking pace is slow and careful – well thought out. I only walk as fast as I need to. When I climb I only take a sausage, a thermos of hot tea, and a loaf of bread. I live like I climb mountains. (simple yet practical)

I have no idea how I got to be 100 years of age but I no longer know any stress. For sure I have no fear of death. I have lived a full and happy life. My only fear is to slip on the ice outside. Why should I be afraid?
It is great to climb mountains, On the mountain, people become better. You are closer to the Lord and paradise.”
-Ulrich Inderbinen, Swiss mountain guide at 103 years old,

________________________________________
Come live with me, and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove,
That valleys, groves, hills, and fields,
Woods, or steepy mountains yields.
— Christopher Marlowe

Well could I curse away a winter’s night,
Though standing naked on a mountain top,
Where biting cold would never let grass grow,
And think it but a minute spent in sport.
— William Shakespeare
2 King Henry VI, Act III, Scene II

Do you not educate youth at the
charge-house on the top of the mountain?
— William Shakespeare
Love’s Labours Lost, Act V, Scene I

Ay, to the proof; as mountains are for winds,
That shake not, though they blow perpetually.
— William Shakespeare
Taming of the Shrew, Act II, Scene I

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Metaphysical Donut Skit for New Years

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By Peter Van Gorder

We did this as a new year’s skit and it was quite fun with good acting. We had fun reading and enacting this at a poetry reading in Uganda. I soon became known as the donut man and was asked at other venues to recite this poem. You can also have the actors wear eccentric outfits and exaggerate their characters. You only need a few props – mainly a donut and some coffee cups.  

Metaphysical: the philosophical study of the nature of reality, subtle or abstract discussions on reasoning.

Note:

Bold letters are the man who is talking next to me at the coffee shop

Italics letters are me talking to him

Regular letters are me talking as narrator

It was New Year’s morn

My clothes were worn

With no real friend to turn to

My disposition was blue

I was down and out

I had just lost my job

My soul was filled with doubt

I felt like a total slob

So with my last ten bucks

I bought coffee and a donut

And indulged myself at Starbucks

Trying to sort things out

Then a young guy sitting next to me

Sensed my gloom worn in a deep pout

My discouragement was easy to see

He spoke to overcome my doubt

His goal was to make me feel better

Thus he spoke as he picked up my donut

The sun comes after the stormy weather.

Here’s a song to help climb out of your rut

 

All through life my brother

If you would be a happy soul

Keep your eyes upon the donut

And not upon the hole

Yeah, yeah I heard that before

Go away – don’t waste your time

I don’t want to hear any more

I was a snail slumming in my slime

But he did not give up on me

He picked up the donut again

And gave me some advice for free

If you won’t look at the donut then…

 

Keep your eyes upon the hole

I have no idea what you are talking about?

Do you take me for a fool?

I began to rant and rave and shout

After I got quiet he had more to say

Even though I was throwing a fit

What is a hole anyway?

Just a nothing with something around it.

 

I am of something reminded

This donut is by its hole defined

I was confused and annoyed,

What does that have to do with me

And the fact that I’m unemployed?

Why can’t you just let me be.

 

Don’t feel bad if you feel like nothing

Cause nothing is almost everything

There wouldn’t be anything without nothing

Out of nothing you can be something

 

In fact with God nothing is impossible

‘Cause He’s the circle around our nothing

If you believe all is possible

Even your nothing can be something

 

Let not your heart be filled with woe

Because you feel like a big zero.

Even a mighty ten

Would just be a 1 when

It has lost its zero

A hole makes a g – go

In fact just about everything

Is made up of mostly nothing

Atoms make molecules, which can be

A group of holes full of energy

 

 

Holes are really something

You may think there’s nothing to them

But without them there would be nothing

I suppose you are going to tell us some of them?

Well now that you mentioned it

A world without holes in inconceivable

Coffee wouldn’t drip and keys wouldn’t fit

Life as we know it would be impossible

 

Bread wouldn’t rise

Baths wouldn’t bubble

Soda wouldn’t fizz

Bodies wouldn’t see

Clothes wouldn’t button

There’d be no basketball

No bowling or golf

 

No volcanoes

No zeroes

No tunnels

No funnels

No rainbarrels

No bellybuttons

No holes for gophers

No pennyloafers

No caves

No graves

 

Emilie D. wrote

And I quote

I’m nobody

Are you nobody too?

Then there is a pair of us.

They’d banish us if they knew

How dreary to be somebody

How public like a frog

To tell your name the livelong day

To an admiring bog!

I hope that’s all you got to quote

Well, yes ‘cause that’s all she wrote.

You are speaking too simplistically

Would you rather I speak scientifically?

 

He picked up his book

“Holes and other Superficialities”

And gave me a knowing look

Holes are slippery, elusive entities

 

We know exactly where a hole resides

It is emptiness with sides

 

A computer is an amazing device

With holes moving around a lot

Through a silicon atom lattice.

The holes are places where electrons are not

 

They are absences

Acting as presences

 

The holes are positively charged particles

As real as the negatively charged electrons

Moving in the opposite direction.

The holes carry the information

I was more puzzled now than ever

To grasp this was a huge endeavor

Is a hole a thing

Or a lack of a thing?

Is a hole the stuff inside

Or the stuff outside?

 

What we know

Is it’s a window

And a door

Yet it is more

It is something

And yet nothing

Holes are wonderful

And just well…powerful

He smiled at me in a knowing way

Then he went on to say

Your life is a hole that needs to be filled

A fallow ground that needs to be tilled

So fill it

And till it.

Well, I gotta go – it was nice to talk

But I need a job – so I’ll take a walk

I finished my donut with joy

I said farewell to the boy

I went out that afternoon

And got a job very soon.

I became permanently employed

On the front lines I was deployed

Now the battle I’m talking about

Is one of faith and not of doubt.

It Just Keeps Getting Better

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by Peter van Gorder

From Pyramid Hill
Looking south towards the sea
Rising out of mist
Lay the mountains I must cross
Before I reach the vast sea.

It was the end of the year. Before anyone in our home was awake, I wound my way up a hill. From the summit I looked out on a series of ranges of distant foothills arising out of the morning mist. The hill on which I stood reminded me of the accomplishments of the last year. It had been a marvelous year in many ways: a book that had been published, a steady stream of acting jobs, a challenging job as a teacher of wonderful kids, a happy marriage to a loving wife, and much more.

Yet this New Year brought with it many uncertainties. Many changes were in the air. Though I knew things would somehow work out as they always had, there was still a lingering doubt in the back of my mind that this year might be different. Would the next year be as good as this last one or had I reached a peak? Was the future for me now nothing but a downhill ride?

God spoke to my inner heart these comforting words:
“Look forward in hope to even greater things this year. This will be even a better year than the last one. Yes, you will have to climb a new path and find new ways of doing things but that is the adventure of life. Trust Me that I will do marvelous wonders, signs, and miracles in the year to come.”

And do you know what? – He did! It was the best year ever. Among many other victories, the Lord supplied miraculously and we were able to help out with an exciting and fruitful work in Africa. Now I look back at my doubts that morning and think, “Now what was I worrying about?”

Whenever those same doubts come again, I can’t help but think back on that misty morning in December and smile.
It just keeps getting better.

“The path of the just is as the shining light, which shines more and more until the perfect day.” Prov. 4:18

Distant hills beckon
me to see what lies beyond
that next range of clouds.

Two Baskets

Here is a cute story for New Year’s that you may want to read with your kids/younger brothers & sisters. You can accompany it by talking about what you are thankful for from the previous year. Thanks Alvi for the illustrations!

by Peter van Gorder

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 One bright day in heaven, the archangel Gabriel called for two young angels, for God needed two angels to go on a special mission to earth. All the angels in heaven were excited about this special mission, but none were more excited tPicture3han Ben and Angela, who had been chosen to go. The two angels flew as quickly as their angel wings could carry them.

“Thank you for coming,” Gabriel said. “God has chosen you to go on this special mission. You will each need an empty basket.”

Gabriel handed each of the two angels a sparkling golden basket. The young angels excitedly waited to hear what they were meant to do with the baskets.

“Ben,” Gabriel said, “God wants you to go to earth and collect all the prayers that people pray asking Him to do things for them or to give them things, such as good health or new clothes or food.

“Yes, sir!” replied Ben.

“Dear Angela, you must also fill your basket. You must go to earth and collect the prayers of praise and gratitude to God.”

“Yes, Angel Gabriel, I will do as you request.”

“Thank you, my dear friends. I trust that you will do well on this mission. God plans to weigh the baskets to see if His children remember to thank and praise Him for the blessings He gives them evePicture4ry day.”

“Thank you for choosing us for this mission,” Ben said.

“I hope to return with a basket full to overflowing with praises. That will make God’s heart glad,” Angela added.

The two happy angels then flew off on their mission. The angels in heaven cheered for them as they went on their way. They were anxious to see which basket would be most full on their return, the praises to God or the requests to God.

Angela and Ben flew all over the earth, to every village, every town, and every farm, even to the hospitals, the nu
rseries, the schools, and the playgrounds. They went to every house and to every child’s bed as the children knelt to pray.
After many days the angels returned, bringing their baskets to God. The angels in heaven cheered as they saw Ben and Angela approach with their baskets.

 

God smiled kindly and reached out His arms. “Come, My young ones, I want so much to see what you have brPicture5ought. Have My dear people on earth taken the time to thank Me for My blessings, or only to ask Me to do things for them?”

Ben approached first. “Here, my Lord. I have searched all over the earth and these are all the requests prayed to You.” Ben put his overflowing basket at God’s feet. It was so full that some of the prayers fluttered up to God’s throne.

God spoke, “I see that My people have been faithful to bring their requests before Me. I am glad for that! I love to answer their prayers. Now let’s see how many took the time to thank Me for My blessings…

“Dear Angela, bring your basket before Me.”

Angela looked down into her partially full basket, and with a sad heart laid it at God’s feet. “My Lord, I too have been all over the earth searching for prayers of praise and gratitude to You. I was certain that I would find many, but dear Lord, these few prayers of thankfulness were all I found.”

God’s face grew sad. “My dear Angela, you have done well. My heart is sad that My people forget to thank Me. I Picture6wish they would remember that the more they thank Me, the more I will bless them and the more I will give them.”

God then said to the angels of heaven, “We have seen the lesson mankind must learn. Pray for them, that they will come to understand how it brings joy to My heart when they praise and thank Me. And in praising and thanking Me, their hearts will also be glad and My blessings upon them will be multiplied.”

And so, on that day, all the angels of heaven bowed their heads and prayed for people everywhere to have hearts filled with praise to God and to utter praises to Him always.

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Miracle of the Christmas Sand Clock

DSCF1904by Curtis Peter van Gorder

Life is a sand clock of rich and poor;
The sand flows not in vain.
It is turned over and filled once more—
What you give returns again.
-from the Christmas Sand Clock story

I went to my desk the morning of Christmas Eve to find that somehow our beloved sand clock glass had broken. I was about to throw it away when I fished it out again thinking I might be able to make a dramatic photo using it.

Sand clocks have always held a fascination with me, especially this one. It was a gift to my wife last Christmas meant to represent ‘the gift of spending time together’. It also reminded me of a story and play I had written based around the symbolism of the sand clock.
https://bringelixir.wordpress.com/2013/11/22/christmas-sand-clock-source-material/
https://bringelixir.wordpress.com/2013/11/20/christmas-sand-clock-stage-play/

I thought nothing more about it and went to my job that day at a corporate Christmas event as Santa Claus. As I was going around the offices and taking photos with the employees and their children, I spied an exquisite large sand clock in one office. We entered and took photos there with all the small children standing on top of the manager’s desk. I remarked to him how superb the sand clock looked and its significance to me. “I use it to make sure meetings are kept to less than 30 minutes,” he replied.

“Did you get it in India?” I asked, hoping to replace my broken one. “Yes, I’ll give you the address where I bought it.” I was making my exit, when he had a sudden inspiration. He handed me the sand clock with a smile that rivaled Saint Nick and told me, “This is a Christmas gift from me to you.” I felt the Lord also had something to do with it as well. I thanked him profusely and after explaining how much it meant to me, promised to send him my Christmas sand clock story.

I came home with my new sand clock in hand, bubbling over to tell my story. It was about midnight before I arrived in our parking lot from a nearly 2 hour journey across town. To my surprise, my daughter’s team and another caroling team arrived in the parking lot at precisely the same moment – to the second. It was a good thing, because only one of us had the key to the house. If anyone had come earlier they would have had to wait outside. Three cars from different locations and times, arriving at the exact same minute! What were the chances of that happening? I started to run the odds in my head and quit at googolplex to one. There is no way anyone could ever pull off such a feat even if you arranged it before hand – especially in the mad mayhem of Mumbai traffic.

So what does that have to do with my gifted sand clock? I wasn’t exactly sure but like a detective, I felt somehow there was some connection. After pondering it further I came to the conclusion that they were both examples of a power behind the scenes that cared about the details concerning my life. I mulled over the amazing events that had unfolded. Was it all a ‘coincidence’? The same day I broke our beloved sand clock, I was given a much better one? And what about our simultaneous arrival? It was all too wonderful to have been by chance. If not by chance, then what was it?

I thought of other examples of the miraculous – the Shroud of Turin, finding Noah’s Ark, the Star of Wonder of the Nativity and the signs in the heavens that accompanied His birth. It seems in all these, there is always some margin for you to ‘take it or leave it’. In all the evidence for and against miracles, it always comes down to personal choice and faith – the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For some, these ‘coincidences’ are just random events that they brush over and continue on their way. I too could have dismissed both of the incidents of that Christmas Eve as mere random ‘good luck’._IGP9414re

But when looking back I remembered other Christmas’ – like the one where the butterfly fluttered into our living room just as we were all gathered around the tree and stayed all day (see photo right), and many other times when things just seemed to click like the tumblers of a safe that is opened. I take it by faith that God loves me and is concerned about showing me in the details of these occurrences.

It reminds me of a huge tapestry that reveals the beautiful picture, while keeping us wondering how it was made. Sometimes, a thread or two stands out and is revealed of the Master Weaver’s warp and weft.

Most of the time I don’t see what God is doing behind the scenes, and sometimes it is baffling what He is up to, but it is a wonderful boost to my faith when miracles happen to me like they did this Christmas Eve. It is at times like these that I get a glimpse of His handiwork in the stars, while being a silly Santa, or in a broken and gifted sand clock.

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Interview with Caspar (one of the Wise Men)

untitledCaspar
(See Matthew 2:1-18.)

(Question:) Tell us something about Jesus’ birth that you witnessed or experienced.

(Caspar:) I was one of the kings who brought gifts to the baby Jesus, and I am pleased to speak with you.
Many people think of us wise men as being so rich and powerful that we had no obligations or nothing better to do than to pull up stakes and head to Judea. That’s not the case. We had our own jobs and means of livelihood as astrologers, and also other work that we did in our realm. In some ways our watching the sky and discerning the heavens was what you might almost call a hobby.
The reason this is important is because you should know how much faith it took for us to be so convinced that this new star signified something special—something so utterly important that we had to leave everything else behind and go in search of the King, the happening, the reason for this star. We were convinced that this was a noteworthy event in history, something that we had to become a part of.

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(Question:) Tell us about some of the thoughts or feelings you had in regard to Jesus’ birth.

(Caspar:) Not everyone agreed with what we were doing. There was a certain reverence regarding “wise men” such as ourselves to where we were given a little more leeway than the common man to be somewhat eccentric and mysterious, but this trip stretched even those boundaries.
You could say that we were one of His first followers—even before Jesus’ first disciples—because without even knowing all the details, we left everything behind and went out “by faith,” not knowing what we would find, but being compelled to do so through the power of God’s Spirit.
Oh yes, we were led by the Spirit of God. We couldn’t have had such insight or been so convinced that what we were doing was right if we hadn’t been. Like Daniel in Babylon centuries earlier, not all wise men were idol worshipers and followers of strange gods. We knew the one true God, and it was His Spirit that we lived our lives in the light of. It was His wisdom that filled us, led us, and later warned us of the danger from Herod (Matthew 2:12).

(Question:) What was something that you learned by being involved in the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ birth?

(Caspar:) The humility of God was what struck me more than anything else. The humility surrounding the circumstances of Jesus’ life and birth have been well documented since, and you read about this in many places, many inspirational talks and sermons throughout history. But nothing could have prepared us for the impact of seeing the revelation of what we were looking for, the end of our journey chasing a star, and finding a simple, humble boy awaiting us.
It was at once the most shocking and beautiful moment of my life. I knew instantly, as did the centurion who executed Him many years later, that “truly this is the Son of God” (Matthew 27:54). It was unmistakable. But at the same time it was shocking beyond description to see how ordinary Jesus and His parents were. To see that God had chosen to manifest Himself to the world in such a regular, ordinary, and humble way was amazing, and deeply beautiful.gifts_of_magi_ebay
That’s how it always was with Jesus, and anyone who knew Him at any age in His life would tell you the same. You could feel something supernatural about Him; His whole life was permeated with the aura of the divine, yet at the same time He was just like you or me. Truly He was Emmanuel—God with us. Looking upon that young child brought tears to my eyes, to see that the God I worshiped truly cared to manifest Himself to us on Earth, and that He’d chosen such a weak and simple vessel seemed at once to rewrite every notion that I had maintained about this God.
From the same God Who wrote His works in the sky, Who hid His secrets in the planets, Who created the entire universe, somehow I expected something else, something more grand or powerful. Yet as I gazed upon the boy, I knew it was right. I knew in my heart that this was the right way, the truly loving way. All my life I had lived in awe of God, mystified by God, but not until I saw Jesus did I feel loved by God.

 

(Question:) What have you been doing lately?

three+kings-e1325867390306

(Caspar:) In the realms of Heaven, I have been learning, growing, teaching, glorifying God, and living my life in His courts of praise. I stand ready to come and help you where needed, which would give my life its crowning honor to date.
Being chosen to be a part of our Savior’s time on Earth is honor enough for many lifetimes. I am honored to help you as well. That our story is recounted in scripture and song is more than I could have dreamt of on Earth or in Heaven!
Through helping you I can play another noteworthy role—a part in the end of the great story of love begun so many years ago.
I will assist you in reaching the rich, the wealthy, the wise, and those whom you need as your kings and protectors. I was not exactly a “king,” as the popular song maintains. I worked with the kings and the governors of that age, as astrologers were always found in such courts, but I wasn’t a king myself. Even so, I was a man of wealth and means, and I gave that up, at least for a time, to seek a higher call, a greater pull than my comfortable position of power.
I can help empower you to have the same effect on those upper classes, you meet. Yes, somehow despite themselves, I can help give them a taste of the compelling love of God that pulled me and my companions out of our palaces and observatories and onto the dusty roads in search of the Son of God.

Ethiopian manger
I am to help when you go to meet with the rich and the powerful, those to whom you think you have nothing to offer. Other helpers will make you bold and make you wise in what you say, but my specialty will be to go ahead of you and influence the heart and mind of the person you will be making contact with. I will whisper as loudly as I can from this realm, and help them to see in you the same irresistible pull that we felt from the Bethlehem star. I help to influence them to feel as though it is worth leaving all to follow Jesus and to partake of the message of life.

(Question:) Tell us something that would benefit us today.

(Caspar:) There are wonders in the heavens in store for this age as well. The heavens will rejoice with you as you play out your role in this time of history. Just as a special star appeared to lead us to our Lord, and hung in the sky to guide us, so will the heavens work with you.
As you do the job and are found faithful, the heavens will move and shake and manifest themselves as never before. You will feel the power of God and hear the final “Come up hither!” You’re bringing that about through the work that you do, and I want you to know that the power is mounting, God’s promises are working, and the final act is gaining momentum. It won’t be long now!

see monologue of wise man at SkitGuys:

http://skitguys.com/videos/item/first-christmas-wise-man

wise

Interview with Anna

annaAtTemple

(See Luke 2:36-38.)

(Question:) Tell us something about the day you met Jesus, and the circumstances surrounding it.

(Anna:) It wasn’t an accident or a stroke of providence that I happened to come upon the infant Jesus in the Temple. Just as dear Simeon was led by the Holy Spirit into the Temple at that precise time—in fulfillment of the promise that he would not die before having seen the Christ—I was likewise led right to the child.

I never received such a wonderful promise as Simeon’s, which kept him holding on to life for many years, but I did receive a gift!—Something wonderful that happened while I was in my chambers, deep in prayer. While in the quiet of prayer—that still center where the Spirit would often tarry with me and where I would be given words and visions which were not my own—I received something very special that day. I felt the touch of a warm hand on my shoulder. Had someone entered my chamber?

I opened my eyes to see something I’ll never forget: there before me was my Lord. I knew it was my Lord simply because my spirit leapt inside of me. I imagine it was how Elizabeth felt when her child leapt in her womb in the presence of Mary (Luke 1:41). I felt myself rise to my feet, and with no conscious thought of my own, my hand joined His. He was spirit, and yet He was warm, like flesh. He drew me close and His eyes looked deeply into mine. In that instant I felt younger than I’d ever felt. I felt as if I was drawn into a space in the spirit where there was no time.

He said, “You must rise from your place of prayer, dear Anna, for the Spirit calls you. I am your Savior. My Spirit has entered flesh and has come to this Earth that all men may be made free. Now is your time—as one of My mouthpieces—to go forth and bear witness of Me. Now is your time to proclaim My arrival to all, that they too may come to find life everlasting. Hurry now! Pick up your skirts, and the Spirit will lead you to the precise spot.”

And so the Spirit led me to the infant Jesus and His parents. My steps were slow on most days, but in that instant I felt as if the Spirit picked me up and carried me there to that precise spot in the Temple. And there I beheld His face, and those same beautiful, engaging eyes. Again, my spirit leapt inside of me! Salvation lay before us! With our hearts overflowing with joy and a liberation our spirits had never before experienced, both Simeon and I glorified Him and our Father, praising and bearing witness of mankind’s redemption wrapped in the frame of this babe!

(Question:) What was something that you learned through being involved in the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ birth?

(Anna:) I learned that when the Lord says, “Now is the time,” He means exactly that! I’ve often thought about what might have happened if I had delayed, if I had not gone when the Lord said, “Hurry now!” Obviously, things would have turned out differently, and you might not have ever even heard of me. I might not have had a part to play in this great story if I hadn’t obeyed and dropped what I was doing in order to follow the Lord.

This, my friends, is key: Always, always obey when the Lord asks something of you. Sometimes it will be vivid and clear, as it was in my case; at other times it will be more veiled and you’ll have to have more faith to obey. Either way, you must obey. Some doors will only open once. Some golden opportunities will expire. Some chances will never come again. So be ready at all times to answer the Lord’s call, to obey His instructions, and to follow His leads. These days require instant obedience in your work and in your winning.

(Question:) What activities  are you involved in now?

(Anna:) My ministry was one of prayer on Earth, and this is my primary ministry in the spiritual realm. I was given a special sensitivity to the Spirit of God while on Earth, which developed and was strengthened over time through the ministry of prayer. The love He gave me for Him made those hours in prayer and intercession and fasting seem like an honor, rather than a sacrifice.

I lived a sometimes lonely life in the confines of the Temple, but prayer was my passion. There I could live in the spirit. There I could fellowship with the Spirit. When I received messages or prophetic visions or impressions, it was merely a case of my entering that heavenly audience, and, as a faithful messenger is called to do, in a spirit of obedience simply carrying that message back. It had very little to do with me and everything to do with Him. So it is not surprising that He has called me to this ministry that I love so much.

(Question:) Tell us something that might help us today.

(Anna:) You, His brides, are His hands and feet and voice on Earth. The climax of your calling on Earth is yet to come, but those days are coming.

Your anointing as prophets will be strengthened in the days ahead. As you have need of more of this anointing, it will be given to you. You are prophets in training, who have been honing your gifts of prophecy, which are going to be vital, and which will become more used in your public ministries in the future. Keep studying and continue honing your skills, because you will want to be ready when the time comes.

Use your prophetic anointing in some way this Christmas, in order to enhance this aspect of your spiritual life and witness. Ask the Lord to reveal something important to you, and then keep your eyes open for it. Or receive a prophecy for someone who needs it and pass on the Lord’s words to them. Stretch your gifts, even if you’re just taking baby steps. Use your prophetic anointing today, and it will grow and be strengthened.

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