On more than one occasion, Aunt Hazel tried to tone me down in my
zeal to speak to my family about the Lord. I recall speaking to my
sister Barbara on the phone from Aunt Hazel’s home. Barbara
foolishly and ignorantly accused me of reading a prepared script
Hazel felt I shouldn’t have been saying anything to her. She
was right, and she was wrong. I wasn’t ready to sow or reap,
and my sister wasn’t ready to receive. I was preachy. It seems
to me it would have been better to just share my life’s experience,
if anything at all, and leave it at that. Or perhaps I simply should
have walked away.
Yet, as I now see it, babies must burp, gurgle, soil their diapers,
fail, be disappointed, and learn by trial and error. It is part of
the process in all of His creation. These things are natural and
necessary. I must therefore conclude that, as awkward as I was, and
as foolish as it appeared, it was good that I spoke – all part
of His plan.
Sadly, Barb would pay a horrific price for her opposition in time
Particle – Battling
and Baffling the Baha’i
There was an arts instructor at the technical institute in Dauphin
who did some ceramics. I decided to meet with him to seek out possible
benefits for ARC Industries. He was an Egyptian and a member of the
Baha’i religion. He invited me to his home, so Marilyn and
I visited him and his wife.
They soon brought forth their beliefs and tried to persuade us of
their religion. The following excerpt from bahai.org describes the
basic philosophy (emphasis mine):
“Throughout history, God has revealed Himself to humanity
through a series of divine Messengers, whose teachings guide and
educate us and provide the basis for the advancement of human society.
These Messengers have included Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses,
Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad. Their religions come from the same
Source and are in essence successive
chapters of one religion from God.
Bahá’u’lláh, the latest of these Messengers,
brought new spiritual and social teachings for our time. His essential
message is of unity. He taught the oneness of God, the oneness of
the human family, and the oneness of religion.”
We informed them that Jesus Christ was no mere messenger, but God
in the flesh, while all other religious founders or messengers were
men, some true prophets of God and some false.
“How do you know that?” they asked.
I told them we could only know if we knew God personally or if He
revealed the truth to us.
“Are you a messenger, then?” they asked.
I replied, “I am.”
To them, “messenger” comes with a capital “M” and
a Messenger coming means nothing less than a historical earth-shaking
event. They couldn’t conceal their scorn, though they tried.
“We are offering you the last and the best of religion. Why
would you refuse?” they asked.
“We have something better – we have God Himself. How
can religion ever beat that?” we replied.
They were incredulous and politely scornful, the party was over,
and we soon left.
Particle – Spirits
of Nicotine and Gluttony
We had an exciting visit with my brother Bob one day at our apartment.
We began to discuss addictions, of which he seemed to have two. He
had a smoking addiction and couldn’t overcome the habit, though
he seemed willing to do so.
He was also gluttonous, given to regularly eating great portions
of meat, particularly beef. He would go to the A&W, for example,
and order a Poppa Burger with five meat patties. Mom would do up
roasts and keep them in regular supply in the fridge especially for
him. Bob could devour a beef roast in one sitting, though he was
a small person. Mom was unwittingly entertaining what the Lord revealed
to me to be a demon of meat gluttony.
We prayed for Bob and rebuked the demons of nicotine and gluttony.
He then took his cigarette pack from his pocket and, without hesitation,
tossed it in our trash. Days later he declared he no longer had the
compulsion to smoke or to eat unusually large amounts of meat.
Who says there is no God or devils?
Though we can’t vouch that he was finished with his overeating
problem by personal witness, we had no reason to doubt it. He didn’t
smoke anymore, so I believed that if he was delivered from one problem,
he was delivered from the other (it isn’t quite as easy to
smell roast beef on one’s breath, hair, and clothing as it
is cigarette smoke).
Particle – Power
As Bob was leaving our place one day, we could see he was resisting
us in his spirit. While he paused at the door, I placed my right
hand on his forehead, prepared to pray and rebuke devils. If I had
a chance to say anything, it was, “In the Name of the Lord
Jesus Christ…” and that was it. He fell to the floor,
like a rock, seemingly unconscious.
We knew what was happening. We prayed for him, commanding the demons
to come out of him, and then I took him by the hand. He immediately
came to, and said, “I feel so clean and peaceful now. Do you
know I wanted to hurt and even kill you, but I couldn’t move?
It was like I was tied up.” (We knew it was not he, but devils
in him, that wanted to hurt us.)
Who says there is no God or devils?
Bob was now free and able to speak and relate to us. He gave us
each a big grateful hug and left. He was freed of smoking and gluttony,
but he still didn’t prize the company of believers above that
of his companions in the world.
Was his lack of desire and interest to be with us a social thing,
perhaps age-related, or was it spiritual? What we had just learned
from my other brother’s situation should have clued us in.
Particle – The
Bob and his girlfriend, Marilyn Robak, didn’t keep in contact
with us. Not having seen or spoken to Bob for some time, we invited
them for supper. That evening, we decided to have the “Lord’s
Supper,” providing the bread and grape juice.
I walked away from that situation feeling soiled. They were bored
and falling asleep, eyes heavy with slumber, having nothing to say
and showing no interest. Bob did say he hadn’t had much sleep,
but I felt there was more to it than that. Something wasn’t
right. Where were we going wrong?
Particle – Rituals
and Ceremonies Change Nothing
I learned something in the days to come while contemplating that
experience with Bob and Marilyn. The Lord isn’t at all after
the ritualistic act of the “Lord’s Supper.” He
is after not outer, but inner, righteousness.
And there is no intrinsic spiritual value in these outward observances.
We saw that all those we had baptized in water were gone to do their
own thing. What good did water baptism do? What difference did it
make? Of what value is the “Lord’s Supper” to all
the dead churches who do their own thing?
Besides, was not the “Lord’s Supper” derived from
Passover, which was a feast held but once a year, at a certain time,
with certain prescribed elements that were no longer necessary, valid,
or even feasible?
So what of the Lord’s apparent commandment that Paul relayed
to the Corinthian church?:
“In the same way He took the cup also, after supping, saying, ‘This
cup is the New Covenant in My blood; as often as you drink it, do
this in remembrance of Me’” (1 Corinthians 11:25 MKJV).
Was this not an allegory? Was He calling on us to have a regular
ritual, or was He demonstrating and signifying a spiritual reality?
His instruction of partaking of His flesh and blood wasn’t
meant to be an occasional physical ceremony, but a constant way of
Particle – His
Brothers His Flesh and Blood
Jesus was speaking in parables, as He often did. We came to understand
that fellowshipping with the brethren in Christ was partaking in
His body and blood. Partaking in His Body, eating His flesh and drinking
His blood, was a matter of obedience to Him, ministering to, and
receiving ministry from, His brethren, the saints.
He is the Bread of life; the life is in the blood, His blood, and
true believers are His Body of flesh and blood, in whom, by whom,
and with whom we partake of Him. It has nothing to do with a ceremony
or ritual. The ritual is just another of man’s attempts to
be righteous in his own power, without the substance of God.
Particle – Ishtar
My mother invited us to their place on Easter Sunday for lunch.
My sister Barb and her husband Ron would be there. Why did we go?
We always had the hope that there would be a breakthrough. We also
naïvely thought we were wanted there as guests. We didn’t
celebrate Easter, though, and they knew it. I think they were simply
trying to attempt some family unity.
The whole time we were there, a cloud of doom and gloom filled the
room, directed at us. The faces and spirits were black and very few
words were spoken. They acted as though we had recently eaten their
At the time, it seemed we were unable to withstand or confront the
powers of darkness. Soon after we left, Marilyn was in tears. We
felt so abused. We swore we would accept no more invitations from
Particle – Evil
Men Must Have Their Opportunity
Many times I was chagrined at wrongs done against me. I thought, “Lord,
if I am Yours and You are mine, then why do You permit these things
to happen?” I knew, however, that all His servants, prophets,
and apostles were treated evilly without cause, as was He in His
days on earth. I was never forgetful of His warning to His chosen – they
would be hated by all men. Still, I sought understanding as to why
it was this way. He revealed the “why” to me:
Men must have the full opportunity to do their evil. By these doings,
the way is concluded for God to judge them. When they crucified Him,
they became fully indebted to Him. Being fully indebted, He was now
in position to have mercy on all and judge them in righteousness.
Furthermore, if I were to exact any retribution or revenge of any
kind against those who did me evil, I would effectively neutralize
His opportunity to judge them. As it says:
“Do not be glad at the fall of your hater, and let not your
heart have joy at his downfall: For fear that the Lord may see it,
and it may be evil in His eyes, and His wrath may be turned away
from him” (Proverbs 24:17-18 BBE).
Hence, the need to refrain from vengeance. It is His, not ours.
With us, there must be the spirit of forgiveness at all times. When
God decides to turn a soul toward Him, we must be ready, and not
only ready, but joyful. I have wondered how difficult it was for
the saints to forgive and receive Saul of Tarsus (after he believed)
for imprisoning, torturing, and slaughtering their loved ones. It
was only by God’s grace.
Particle – All
Up and Face Up
There is another event I regret, in which I lacked wisdom and judgment.
I advised Bob several times to put away alcohol. One day, he came
to our place, crying. He had gone drinking with a friend; they got
drunk and headed down Main Street, damaging meters and cars.
The police were searching for the offenders, the parents didn’t
know Bob was involved, and nobody else knew who had done it. Bob
came to us in fear, confessing, wondering what he should do.
My judgment was that he wouldn’t willfully do what he did
in sobriety. Being drunk, he didn’t know what he was doing.
I also believed that though he was repentant, the authorities wouldn’t
be able, by law, to recognize or forgive him, though God would. Therefore,
I told him that his repentance before God was sufficient. Marv Isum,
former Lutheran priest and now a Charismatic pastor, agreed with
me (more of him later).
My conviction later changed, recognizing the sovereignty of God
over all, that He rules in the hearts of all men, and knowing all
hearts, He would render perfect judgment by the authorities He has
set in place. I now conclude that Bob had been more guilty and afraid
than repentant. He would prove this to be true, and I would come
to regret that I didn’t urge Bob to turn himself in and make
restitution for his offenses, drunk or not, intentional or not.
Particle – Debate
Soon after this, the Lord led me to confront Bob on deciding between
Him and the world. I made it clear to him that, as a Christian, he
couldn’t company with the world, the drunken spree a case in
point. He needed only to remember what happened to David. He went
home and into the attic at the parents’ place, where he remained
for three days without food, deliberating.
Our parents became concerned and called for the family doctor, a
young man new in town, who visited Bob. I don’t recall what
was discussed, if I ever knew.
I also visited Bob, and he wasn’t receptive. I have learned
that if there is any debate, it is almost certain that the choice
is already made, and it isn’t for God.
Particle – Another
Bob deliberately chose to retain his friends, reasoning that he
wouldn’t have any company if he broke off relations with them.
I tried to tell him that the Lord was sufficient for all things,
and that by entrusting oneself to Him, He, the Worker of miracles,
the Great and Wonderful Provider, would gloriously make a way where
there was no way. It boiled down to basic faith in God.
“Easy for you to talk,” he replied. “You have
each other, but who will I have?”
I had a hard time believing what I was hearing. I said, “Where
there were only two, now there’ll be three! You have us and
we have you. And who knows whom the Lord may bring from there? Trust
He didn’t want to hear it.
Bob concluded in unbelief and withdrew from us permanently. He wouldn’t
give up his friends. That day, I saw my youngest brother die, having
decisively chosen the creature over the Creator. The fruits of that
decision would be tragically sad.
Particle – Vicious
Delusion of the Enemy
A letter came in from Mickey Patrick, now in Saskatoon at Mount
Zion Christian Center. He wrote, “You can’t survive spiritually
on your own. If you don’t find a Spirit-filled fellowship,
you’ll fall into the vicious delusion of the enemy.” As
far as they were concerned, theirs was the church we were to join,
the only one truly “Spirit-filled.”
The Patricks had left us. Dave Grier had left us. Those in Dauphin
were now all gone. We found no place or people with whom to fellowship,
in Dauphin or anywhere else. Indeed, those we knew in Dauphin wanted
little, if anything, to do with us. Everything seemed to be crumbling.
Should we have followed Mickey and Lynn to Saskatoon after all?
Was the group there not a Spirit-filled fellowship, where healings
and miracles were happening and where hundreds were finding joy?
Did not Dave Grier find joy? Why didn’t we go with them? Were
we too proud or independent? Why did we come to Dauphin, just to
But we knew we couldn’t be partakers with them. We had to
believe the Lord, His sovereignty, and His direction in our lives.
Still, Mickey’s words would haunt me for some time to come.
Particle – My
Mother Right When Wrong
My mother had remarked that I couldn’t help Bob because I
was spiritually immature. I was annoyed with those words, thinking, “She
hasn’t even repented, much less received the Spirit. Who is
she to judge me?”
Whether she understood, or had any right to judge or not, she was
right in what she said. It would be many years before I could do
that which was right and good before God concerning others. All these
things troubled me. I fell into unbelief and worry, which caused
Particle - Was Luther a Christian?
One day I made a remark about Martin Luther that indicated he was
a true believer. “Luther was a Christian?!” my mother
exclaimed with incredulity. I insisted that he was, surprised that
she should react that way. I assumed it was because she was indoctrinated
as a Catholic to believe he was nothing less than a heretic of the
first order, a devil.
I took for granted that Luther was a believer because he was the
chief proponent of the Reformation concerning sola fide – the
belief that we have favor with God not by works, but solely by grace
through faith. In the years to come, I would be learning much more
about Luther. Was my mother right? How much did she know? How did
she know what she knew?
Particle – I,
a Dry Root
I once saw, by dream, an angel (messenger or saint) as an ordinary
man, casually sitting on a staircase and speaking to me through the
spindles of the railing as I sat and listened below. He told me that
I was a dry root. He was matter-of-fact and gentle about it, but
I took it very hard.
I had been hoping I was fruitful, healthy, and spiritually powerful.
It was so hard for me to hear that, but it was certainly true. How
could I argue? Why couldn’t I see the truth about myself? Was
it not obvious to everyone else?
Particle – A
Covered Head Covers My Head
The Richardsons, who were Pentecostal evangelicals from Yorkton,
Saskatchewan, held a meeting at the Orange Hall on Main Street in
Dauphin, and we decided to go. They believed in the use of head coverings
for women in church services, which the
Lord had taught us was not
what the apostle Paul was talking about to the Corinthians. As they
had their meeting of prayer, song, and testimony, I sat there with
a degree of cynicism, yet hoping that, somehow, the Lord might do
something for me.
He did. One of the young ladies, perhaps in her late teens, wearing
a headscarf, stood up to prophesy. She said, “There
is a man here who has believed men rather than God. He has been confused
full of doubts, so much so that he suffers headaches.” It
take me long to realize I was the man. She asked that the man would
stand and acknowledge the message, that it is for him from God. I
was too proud to do so.
Meanwhile, a couple of others stood up, thinking they were the man.
I knew they weren’t, and the girl knew they weren’t.
She insisted there was another. Finally, I put up my hand. She was
satisfied and ceased to ask further. She had no idea who I was or
what was going on with me. I had the sense that she knew her message
was for me before I put up my hand. Was that true, or was it my conscience
I felt badly that I had been cynical towards them and also too proud
to confess I was that man. I knew the Lord had spoken to me. I hadn’t
realized that unbelief caused my turmoil and headaches. I was relieved
to know that it wasn’t where we were (in Dauphin), or what
we were doing, that was unacceptable to God (He was indeed ruling
and leading), but my lack of trust in Him.
From that day forward, I resolved not to believe what Mickey or
my mother or anyone else had to say in criticism. I decided to believe
the Lord. One of the things I determined to believe was that He spared
us from joining Mount Zion Christian Center. This faith would soon
lead to fruition, a revelation about Bill Kellers and Dave Roberts.
Particle – Dal
Dal Fulford was the manager of ARC Industries. He was an evangelical
Christian and member of the local Grace Bible Church. He was in his
sixties. I appreciated working for him. What a contrast he was to
former employers I had, who had little or no respect for the Scriptures,
integrity, or godliness!
I found something peculiar with Dal, however. He had a strange passion
for money. He had been a former credit union manager, I believe,
and whenever he would speak of making money for the shop, he would
rub his hands and have a gleam in his eye.
The Lord gave me a vision of Dal. He was a man who was quite pleased
about his faith and spirituality. I saw only his very large head
and there were words to accompany the vision, something about pride,
but I have forgotten them. I quite liked the man, but the vision
didn’t speak well of him.
Particle – Working
with a Jehovah’s
Marg McGregor, a co-worker in her late fifties or older, supervised
another department at ARC Industries. Marg was formerly Anglican
and her husband died an alcoholic (I recall being at one of his drinking
parties, as a high school student). Marg became a member of the Jehovah’s
Witnesses, and was always trying to assert her beliefs upon all.
Somewhat educated, intelligent, and well able to express herself
without showing fear, she sometimes lashed out mercilessly at anyone
who provoked her. These strengths would make her rather formidable
in a confrontation with anyone.
I had a vision of her as a wolf, with a long toothy jaw, in the
form of a standing kangaroo, having paws with big claws. I saw her
eating people, chewing their limbs in her mouth.
She sincerely described me as “dedicated.” We had our
discussions, disagreements, and times of both contempt and respect
for each other.
I have often seen Jehovah’s Witnesses to be bitter and cynical,
coming from unhappy backgrounds or finding fault with others as their
foundation. It seems to me they prefer to hate the false, rather
than love the true. They have made a religion of non-religion.
Marg and I clashed, but while she was often cynical and caustic,
I appreciated some things she had to say. For example, my ceramics
department made and sold a Hoi Toi, a squat Buddha figurine. She
pointed it out to me, arguing that it was an idol and that I shouldn’t
be making it. I didn’t worship it, and it was a good seller,
but I really couldn’t argue with her, so I got rid of the mold,
and we made no more of them.
I wondered why I wasn’t on to it before she was. After all,
I was supposed to be the more enlightened one, especially compared
to a Jehovah’s Witness.
Particle – Some
Backup Is Nice
There was a local ceramist, Doreen Inkster, who helped our department
at ARC in many ways, with skills, knowledge, connections, and even
some charitable help from time to time, being a supporter of the
cause of the handicapped. She was one of our best customers for greenware
(raw clay pieces).
When she found out I discontinued pouring the Buddha figurine, for
which she had supplied the mold, she protested and reported me to
the board of directors, on which sat her brother-in-law. Dal Fulford
approached me on it, and I told him I wasn’t prepared to promote
an idol. He declared that he would stand for my freedom of conscience
and not fire me or permit the board to remove me.
His support seemed like welcome gentle rain on parched
ground. It sure was nice having someone stand up for me. That had
been so rare
in my life. The only other case I recall was when Cy
Puls took Dad to task for complaining about my Christian lifestyle and choices.
Particle – Physical
Prosperity Promotes Patience
Even without Mr. Fulford’s willingness to stand with me in
principle, I think the board of directors wasn’t too enthusiastic
to fire me, because the Lord had blessed my work in ceramics. The
dust level from the ceramics was dramatically reduced, so the whole
shop was much cleaner than it had been before. The handicapped participants
were learning and able to do things theretofore thought unlikely,
if not impossible. Business volume had increased manifold, and the
cost of operations was reduced, which made Dal and the board quite
Besides, the whole issue of the statue was a tempest in a teapot;
there was nothing to it. Didn’t they have many other better
things to bother about?