I've been sharing from my life about choosing God's higher way's and thoughts. Today 3 more incidents from this past week. By baring my heart and life I'm showing this is a lifestyle, walking with the Father and constantly checking for any difference between my thoughts and ways and His thoughts and ways.
Trip to California
Last week I shared how Chris' life was spared when we were in Canada, and the group home is working on fencing to keep him and other residents from wandering off. Right after getting back from that trip I had a small window of time to drive our truck (Old Reliable) to the Victorville, California area to pick up a trailer given for our use. It weighs 3 tons (6,000 pounds/2720kg) which is at the top of Old Reliable's ability to pull.
As I shared last week, I pray in tongues lightly as I mentally think about a trip - I drive along the route in my mind, sensitive to any witness in my spirit about something going wrong, which is marked by a 'heaviness' or my attention is drawn to and stays on a particular point...if so then I stop and dwell on that and seek more information. The ways of the Spirit and Father are such that usually if you dwell more on a revelation He provides more detail to the point He wants you to know, but not beyond.
I mentally scanned the course of my trip out - 1,400 miles (2250km) across I-40 from Tulsa to Flagstaff, Arizona, then across the Mojave Desert to the Victorville area in the high desert above LA. In my spirit I felt no issues on the way out, but there was a rather light 'heaviness' about the trip home - as I prayed and mentally drove along the route I knew I would have a major issue with the trailer just out of California, and then again 2 hours before arriving in Tulsa I felt a minor thing going wrong with the truck. Barb too felt something would go wrong with the trailer, so I was on the lookout. We had the Father's thoughts.
I asked the Father 'how major' by asking if it was enough that I'd still get home Friday if I left California on Wednesday? Immediately when I thought of Friday it was blank, but when I thought of Saturday I had immediate peace - so I understood His thought was arriving Saturday. Yikes, a 4 day trip back so I was a bit nervous. Immediately I imagined the truck's transmission going out, or blowing the engine, or having to sell truck and trailer in California or Arizona and flying home or calling some of our many friends in Arizona for help - all sorts of imaginations because all He was sharing was vague information.
(Get my dvd 'How the Lord Taught me to Hear the Father's Voice' or cd/mp3 'How to Be Led By the Spirit' for more information on the ways the Father speaks or reveals things to us)
Important! I put all those wild thoughts from me, and disciplined my mind to stay focused on what I had been shown - major issue early in the trip, minor issue 2 hours from home, and a 4 day not 3 day trip back.
The trip back
I left the Victorville area Wednesday afternoon, traveling a comfortable 55-58mph (88kph) for 3 hours to the town of Needles, California, right on the Arizona/California border in the Mojave Desert. The next morning I drove the hour to and through Kingman, Arizona and 52 miles beyond, almost exactly 2 hours into the day, when suddenly the left front tire on the trailer disintegrated.
I wasn't in the middle of Nowhere, but I was on the outskirts. It was 132 miles to Flagstaff, 52 back to Kingman, 9:30am. The trailer has 4 tires on 2 axles, one tire in front of the other on each side. The left front tire exploded with such force almost immediately the rim was on the road sending up sparks and ruining it.
I pulled over, jacked up the axle, removed the remaining rim, cut away and unwound the remaining rubber and wire from the brake and axle, and got the spare - it was the wrong size, 6 holes in the wheel instead of 5. Suddenly I was down 2 tires. So this was the major thing that was going to go wrong with the trailer.
Father's ways and thoughts on the matter...
Once the rim was off I could move slowly along the shoulder of the highway to exit #103 which was 1 mile down the road, and at the end of that exit a sign announced 'pavement ends'. I parked along the side just off the road (more of a path at that point). I told you I was almost downtown 'Nowhere'.
The rule I follow is to first always do in the natural what I know to do, which meant I needed to un-hook the trailer, trust the Father it would be OK, and drive the 52 miles back to Kingman where I trusted the Father had a tire shop with 2 rims and wheels to replace the one that blew up and the incorrectly sized spare.
I did the same thing I always do just in case the Father wanted me to drive 132 miles instead - I mentally drove 132 miles to Flagstaff and it didn't make sense and sensed zero in my spirit. Mentally I drove the other way to Kingman, and didn't feel anything either, but I knew by experience that meant do what seems right in the natural - so I went back to Kingman. I called some shops and found one that said they could help.
Within an hour they had 2 new tires on 2 new rims and I was on my way back to put them on the trailer. In the Father's ordering of my steps I had gone to a tire shop where there was an "In-n-Out" hamburger place on the corner.
I hadn't eaten at one yet on this trip, and it is a family tradition to eat at In-n-Out when we are in California, started by our daughter in law who is from CA. It isn't that we genuflect at the famed 'In-n-Out' sign, but it is tradition to eat there- it was lunch time and I'd eaten nothing yet that day, so it seemed good to me and Him that I have lunch there. (Even to stop there for lunch I scanned while praying to see if I sensed 'go straight to the trailer', or not. I had no sense of urgency to drive that hour back to where I'd left the trailer on the side of the road, so I had lunch)
Why the blow out happened
Once the new wheel was on the trailer and spare mounted on the back I continued my journey, but as I drove I considered the remaining 3 tires. The trailer had sat in one place for 3 1/2 years in the high California desert before I started on the trip, making me think dry rot and UV damage caused that tire to disintegrate and made me wonder about the remaining ones.
As I drove I was praying in the Spirit lightly while my mind walked through the various options to see if any of the options I was thinking bore witness - looking for a sudden peace or knowing in my spirit at one of the ideas I had, indicating that was the Father's thought on the subject.
I thought I could stop and put the spare on the right side front, thinking that the left front blew because the front trailer tire gets road debris first, hits every bump first, and bears more weight of the trailer than the tire behind it. But then I thought with 3 old tires, that is a 1 in 3 chance I'd choose wrong and have a flat on another tire, making twice the work if I guessed incorrectly.
After sensing no peace or direction on anything as I prayed and thought, I finally asked, "Father, it would be helpful to know why that left front tire blew, because if I knew that I could make a wise decision on what to do with the spare and the other 3 old tires if anything, or just keep things as they are."
Immediately He said: "When you came off the exit last night and almost missed your turn to the campground, you braked hard and turned right all at once, putting most of the weight of the trailer and force of the turn on that left front tire. The turn damaged it internally, that's why it disintegrated 2 hours into your trip today."
As He spoke I saw that turn all over again. The previous night the sun was setting and I was following GPS to a campground, and after I had exited there was a road to the campground I nearly missed, braked hard and turned instinctively, only a split second later remembering I had a 3-ton trailer behind me. For a second I was scared I was going to flip - the turn was so severe - I didn't, but did hear the trailer brakes lock up as I braked and turned at the same time. Evidently I had damaged that old left front tire doing that.
If I'd been religious
The standard religious response to a tire blowing out would be to tell the devil he is bound and cast out, or something devil-related. But the truth is, I had done it to myself by carelessly braking and turning hard rather than just going past my turn and coming around the other way, remembering I had a 3-ton trailer behind me. It wasn't the devil, I had done it to myself. That was what the Father thought - the lesson is that if you want to walk in His higher ways and thoughts on a subject, don't just blame the devil or someone else as a knee jerk reaction - first look in the mirror, then be willing to be honest.
The wind and steering
Once again on the road I noticed when a big semi-truck (tractor-trailer) rig would pass me, I'd first be sucked towards the passing truck and then be blown sideways as it passed. I did what I always do - I prayed in tongues while I thought on the matter, shifting my thoughts to my spirit looking for a witness or peace at a particular thought. I had a load-leveling hitch on the truck which used 2 chains to pull the trailer and truck tight together - without it the truck would look like it was popping a 'wheelie' due to the weight on the back.
With it, the truck and trailer were level. But I wondered if I needed to change the setting because if too much weight was just on the back tires the front ones would be light, making steering very light and tricky - and maybe that was why I was being pulled into and pushed away from the big rigs as they passed. I got nothing as I prayed and thought on what to do, looking for the Father's thoughts on the matter.
I pulled into a road-side rest stop to use the restroom, and while standing at the urinal a man came in to relieve himself at the urinal next to mine. So I struck up a conversation with him, commenting on the long and hot day. He agreed, saying every day for him was a long day, and I responded by asking if he drove one of the big rigs out front, to which he said yes. Then I told him about being pulled into and pushed away from those trucks as they passed, and he said that is normal and even happens with them. "When my wife drives I always tell her to watch out for the vacuum as we pass, and the wave of air pushing us away right after."
I had my Father's thoughts though this man didn't know it - what I was experiencing was normal so I didn't need to adjust anything on the hitch. As we each returned to our trucks, I asked this: "Father, thank you for this wisdom from this man. I don't know if he knows you or not, but either way I'd like his helping me to be credited to his account on the last day, because you used him to give me your thoughts on the matter."
The rest of that day and the next were uneventful, and 7am Saturday morning found me about 2 hours from home, just east of Oklahoma City but not quite to Shawnee, on I-40, and I was wondering about the 'minor' thing I had felt would happen about 2 hours from home. Just then the 'check engine' light came on the dashboard, and a quick scan of the gauges showed something wrong with the electrical system. Instead of the needle on the gauge being pegged at '14', it was near the 10 or 12 mark.
That meant either the alternator wasn't putting electricity back into the battery, or the battery was no longer holding a charge. When I prayed in tongues and thought of those 2 options, I felt nothing at the alternator, but when I thought of the battery I suddenly remembered I had been prompted to replace this 4 year old battery before the trip, but ignored the prompting - an urge, a persistent suggestion - to replace it. But I reasoned it away at the time, saying it was a good strong battery. But I think in the early morning, when I had the headlights on and all the trailer lights on, it had pushed the battery over the edge and it was no longer holding a charge. The way the needle was moving I figured I had 30 minutes before the engine quit.
I said, "OK Father, all things are provided for me already (II Peter 1:3-4), so reveal your provision - I need a new battery and a parts store open at 7:15am but most of those are in cities with limited parking, so I'd prefer a Walmart where there is plenty of room to park, and I need it right next to the Interstate because I'm not driving this thing through city streets." I then entered 'Walmart' into GPS, up popped one at the Shawnee Mall 12 miles away - I drove right to it, bought a new battery, and was on my way home...whew!
I shared 2 weeks out of my life in such detail these past two 'Thoughts' to let you see the mechanics of how Barb and I live, and that it is a lifestyle not a formula - it is continual communion with the Father. I go through the same routine when Barb drives the 2 hours down to Tulsa - I do what to do in the natural by filling up the car for her, checking the oil, tire pressure, and clean the windshield - then I pray and scan her trip in my mind to see if there is any sense of anything in my spirit. Most times there is nothing.
I do the same when we have Chris home for a couple days, or I contemplate a ministry trip - or if I just run a 15 minute errand - it is lifestyle, and during that time I'm thinking on 100 different things at any one time, always praying in the Spirit while thinking through things. Right now we've found Barb's car's windshield has cracked due to age and the heat most likely, so I'm praying about $250 and the time to run to Tulsa to have it replaced...when I get a peace and sense that money and time come together, we'll get it fixed. It is a lifestyle...did I mention that before? Don't be religious, just walk with the Father...
So remember - do what you know to do in the natural, and then as you pray in tongues think through your day, shifting attention to your spirit as you think to see if there is a witness that may indicate the Father has another thought on the subject, that He might reveal His higher way for you...next week we'll look at this from another angle...blessings,