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**To my cousin Lisa...I love you, hun.
"There is Always Hope"
Down and out, but not defeated,
so much pain, a healing needed.
We want to run, lay down and die,
We want to quit, I will not lie.
So many things have gone and come,
lost a lot, but won some.
We want to run, we can't do this.
Just can't stand another boo or hiss.
Why the trials?  Why the pain?
Why does every day turn out the same?
I'm just not sure, but I know this.
Through everything...we ARE still His.
                         ~LM 06/13/02



Ringing Bell

"First Day of School"

Hes so great, already five,

my every joy, reason to be alive.

I remember the day of his birth,

the greatest thing in all of the earth.

Blond hair and big blue eyes,

looks of his mother, smile of mine.

So much to go through, so much to teach,

the world of great things within his reach.

Bought his school clothes, set him up right,

ready for his first day, a handsome little sight.

Just yesterday diapered him with such care,

our bundle of joy with curly, long hair.

I watch him go with a pain in my heart,

bittersweet feelings of the day school starts.

My special little guy, happy as he goes,

off to expand his mind and broaden what he knows.

I watch him go with sadness in my mind,

a numbing pain, hurt of a blessed kind.

Hes growing up, opening new doors,

Im thankful each day, to love him more.

(*To my son on his first day of kindergarden, Aug. 21, 2000.)

Blue Book, Turning

~Spiritual warfare is a touchy and mysterious thing. To tell someone they are going through it, or to convince someone that you are, is a controversial subject at best. This short series of writings came at a time in my life when the reality of spiritual warfare was made real and personal to my wife and I. They are written in a surreal style, but the aspects of this time in our life still is very real in my heart and mind.

At once we knew satan was nipping at our heels. His hot breath stirred up the dust of the sin parched town before us. Fear began to catch up with us, as this unexpected attack raged on.

It wasnt long until we could hear the voice of the Master calling out to us. Directing us toward His refuge. A safe retreat from the raging storm. His loving arms surround us, even while we hear the enemy pounding at the gate.

satan cries out for our destruction, but Christ knows no fear or intimidation. The vain and empty threats of one less powerful echo in our ears. Yet we are held safely close to His chest.

The angels of evil and good wage a battle on our behalf. We can almost hear the grunts and wailing of the unholy power struggle.

Though the dust creates a cloud that our eyes cannot penetrate. Our Saviour holds our hand firmly as He guides us through the blanket of confusion.

This darkness will surely pale. The power of satan cannot restrain. The love of God is now, and forever, our driving force!

I sat there quietly as the fog gathered on the still river. The stars of peace shown so brightly they could have been within reach if only I had tried. The darkness surrounding, enveloped me as the awesomeness of the Holy struggle entertained my heart and soul.

satans wicked eyes peered across the misty water at me. I knew if he could, he would devour my very being. I also knew that a host of heavenly angels surrounded me, waiting for him to try.

Somewhere in the thick air around me, ministering angels and demons fought. While Jesus sat on a rock close by loving me and longing to take away my hurts.

Into the wee hours the battle raged. From a nearby thicket came an un-Godly, desperate scream. Was this the sound of a demon who crept too close?

On and on the hounds of hell raged through the darkness.

Still, I knew in my heart that no harm could come to me. The hedge about me stood strong.

**I Peter 5:8, Psalm 34:7, Job 1:10

And the storm rages on. Everywhere I turn satan is sneaking up to me. Trying ever so hard to catch me off guard. Coming under pretense of being a sheep, yet wolflike characteristics give away his grisly identity.

The lightening flashes and glimpses of the real evil appear inside the innocent facade. I hear the flowery words of a hardened heart, but Im not fooled. The inner Spirit prompts me, "Keep an eye on the evil one".

I stay away and allow Gods vengeance, yet I see my adversary striking away at my heel.

My feelings numb, it causes no more pain, but I wonder how long my shields can hold.

The storm is raging harder still. I see him in the most holy of forms. We must be careful to call on God. Watch for fruit in the most impressive of these.

It comes to one undying truth. By their fruit well know, and not their words.

**Isaiah 34:8, Romans 12:19, Genesis 3:15, Matthew 7:16

You hide my hurting soul, oh Lord.  You take away the pain.  My wounded heart Cries out in agony, but you ever comfort me. 
I stepped out on the raging waters.  Knowing you'd hold me up.  The waves crashed, now my water walk is ankle deep. 
God hear my cry, Father know my voice.  I've come this far to follow You.  Don't let confusion swallow me or discouragement drown my soul. 
You have always been my best friend.  A loving Brother, and a Father always near.  I love You Jesus, I know You know.  My heart is drifting;  Hold me close.
**Psalm 23, Matthew 14:27-31