“A Warrior sat under the Willow Tree” #12

Live Pure. Speak Truth. Right Wrong. Follow the King.

25 years ago I painted those words on our basement wall. I pulled out an old Bible today that I’ve had for 40 years. I found I had written those words in the opening pages of that Bible, and that sent me down into my basement to see if those words were still there, and if they could still be read? My basement is not a pretty place to go.

It’s only a partial basement, almost like a large storm cellar. The walls leak. A sump pump carries the water out but doesn’t do much for the dankness of this chilly cave under our house. As I’ve shared before, we are working on this place and trying to bring beauty out of ashes. Our water heater and furnace use to be in the basement, but I’ve changed all that. They have been replaced with new and have beautiful locations upstairs free of all fear of flooding. Progress made.

So this ugly basement is mostly a tornado escape and also a place I have built support beams to level and strengthen our floors. More progress made. But as I saw those words in my oldest Bible, I remembered a day 25 years ago and the events of that time, leading me to clean that basement as best I could, and create my own little cave where I fellowshipped with God. We had a street ministry at that time reaching out to youth. Every Friday night 30-45 youth came to this old beat up house. Believe me, I needed a lot of alone time with God during that time.

The story of that youth ministry reaching street kids is a tale in itself. We had church support for the first year, until… the Pastor decided it did not fit his church vision and it was too risky and growing to fast. Something bad would happen. They asked me to shut it down. I said I could not. They left us alone with the street ministry. We ran another two years without their help and nothing bad happened. Oh it could have, many times! But God delivered us out of every one. They had no faith. I saw miracles. They did not. The head pastor even got caught in an affair many years later. Go figure. And now today, I’m still running rogue with God.

When God showed me those words in my Bible I knew I could not go to the next movie yet. After considering the Chivalric Code, and the Knighthood Code, I kept contemplating a “Christian Code”. And as I mentioned before Philippians 4:8, and I also highly recommend the Beatitudes, but there is one other, perhaps the most important of all? Before I reveal it, here’s a few pictures of my own condensed form of a Christian Knighthood Code I formed 25 years ago during the time of that street ministry.

Like I said, it’s not a pretty place. This last summer I did spend much time digging against our house and laying drainage pipe. It has helped. Progress made. But the Christian Code I’d like to recommend most of all this day, I believe to hold the key to it all, a key our modern churches have lost.

This Christian life is supernatural or it is nothing at all. We don’t please God through our own force of will-power. The good we do accomplish is by way of God working in us and moving us to do some good. Don’t kid yourself that you’ve accomplished God’s will through the power of your own hand. Fire will test all our works one day, and most will be shocked how little comes out the other side! The modern church has lost the truth of seeking the Holy Spirit. He is the power that charges us to accomplish godly things, even to live holy so God can do mighty things through us. When was the last time you heard a good message in your church about “holiness”?

True holiness is born out of fire, not will-power. It is born out of love, not law. It is a natural fruit within as we hunger and thirst for more of the Holy Spirit. But how many of us are doing that anymore? Does anyone truly fast and pray for more of the Holy Spirit these days? Does anyone spend such time out of love, and not because someone said you “had” to, or shamed you into it? Hhmmm.

I have lost my way on this for a while. These “Codes” have challenged me to get back to some more of the “Old Ways”, a journey I began when I went rogue from the modern Church. With that in mind these scriptures have become my new “Christian Code” of following Christ>>>

This is quoted from my 40 year old Bible, which survived a trailer fire we once lived in, and happens to be an Amplified Bible: “Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but ever be filled and stimulated with the (Holy) Spirit. Speak out to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, offering praise with voices (and instruments), and making melody with all your heart to the Lord, At all times and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.” Ephesians 5: 17-20 Ampl.)

We got to get back to the power of God, not man. If we are filled and stimulated with the Holy Spirit, then everything following in that verse will happen by the power of God blooming in me, and my own will-power will only be a small part of it. It is involved, but it is not the powerhouse! One of the joys of my walk with Christ is most of the time I do find a melody in my heart unto God and life, and I know it’s not there because of any goodness or power in me, other than the Spirit of Christ. It is supernatural.

25 years ago when I spray painted those words, I also hung a jigsaw puzzle I had put together and framed. I hung it next to those words. It was a picture of a warrior in golden armor. He had a sword, a shield with a bright red cross, and he was riding a white winged horse! He was in heated battle with another warrior in black armor riding a huge black dragon! I found that picture so inspiring at that time, but for some reason when I finally stopped using the basement, I never took that picture with me. Here’s a few pictures of what it looks like now, after 25 years of time in a dank basement. If you look hard you might make out the head of the horse, approximately center in the picture.

I don’t know about you, but I want to start seeking more of the Holy Spirit in me in a very real way, here under the Willow Tree. And remember… it is a weeping willow. Thank you for sharing the Willow Tree with me.

“A Warrior sat under the Willow Tree” #11

“The Kid Who Would Be King”

I have looked so forward to begin the sharing of movies I have collected as “special”. Movies of significance, in my opinion. We spent some time in “Star Wars”, and they will probably be mentioned from time to time. I believe God has called us to be “warriors” of heaven, not just comfort seeking citizens. But our battle is to “give life”, not take. And we have a Sword that is a life-bringer, not taker! And what does such a warrior look like? Put in simplest terms, Jesus, the one I am called to serve. I am called to raise up “disciples”, not self-seeking immature children.

The vision I live by is filled with a gleaming Sword of Significance, the Word of God. Because of my personal perspective, I have found there have been movies made with swords, not all of them, but some of them really speak to me in a significant way, and I have delighted in sharing them with friends, family, and the Fellowship. I have collected these special movies over the years of my life and now hope to share them at this site.

I never know what order God will lead me to share them in. But I will attempt to put some kind of possible order here, but nothing is written in stone or stuck in stone as Excalibur was. Swords of Significance we seek, but not all swords can be seen in some of these movies, such as the movie I expect to follow today’s chosen one. We start with: “The Kid Who Would Be King”.

Here is what is written on the back of the case: “Young Alex is just another bullied kid until he discovers the legendary sword of Excalibur, and begins training as a knight with wizard Merlin. Alex must turn schoolyard enemies into allies, and become the leader he never dreamed he could be to defeat the wicked Morgana and save the world.”

Of course this is another movie of good against evil, but with all the “supernatural” involved, it takes on a certain relationship to the Christian battle as well. The special effects are very well done. I was actually surprised how much I enjoyed this show, because I thought it would be more for children, and it can be, my grandchildren very much enjoy it, but I think any adult of a pure heart will also enjoy it too.

Warning> Spoilers follow.

This movie also involves two bullies, named Lance and Kaye. Alex and his friend, Bedders, are constantly tormented by these two mean spirited youth who are larger and stronger. Lance and Kaye plot to harm Alex as he walks home, but Alex hides in a construction site where he finds and extracts a mysterious sword from solid concrete! Lance and Kaye do not see this happen, and of course, we know, this sword must be Excalibur! But Alex has no understanding of this, yet.

The next day a very strange new kid shows up at their school. Merlin has come to the sword! But in disguise! And everything begins happening from there. An eclipse is to occur in just a few days, and when it does, the evil Morgana will rise from the earth along with her supernatural army! Unless Alex and his team defeat her, the earth will be enslaved and destroyed!

A very interesting element in Alex’s challenge is, he chooses the two bullies, Lance and Kaye as part of his team! The only people who can actually see Morgana and her attacks are people who have been “knighted” by Alex with Excalibur! This is a huge problem! Because Lance and Kaye are anything but prime knighthood material! They are mean! Self-centered! And now they must live by “Chivalric Code”???!

This is where I want to spend a little time. Of course when we think of the sword, Excalibur, we think of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Legend has it these knights were sworn to a code of honor to live by and uphold. The Christian also has a Code of honor, a code of pure heart, a Code of Christ. It is said in many ways in our Sword of Significance. I especially like Philippians 4: 8 >

“Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

This movie has a little different list, but still an excellent code to live by. Merlin begins to instruct the four youth in this code, and he starts by explaining this way:

“The Chilvaric Code is the set of rules by which all noble knights live. Obeying the Code from the moment the sword is drawn is what makes you pure of heart. And only a pure heart can slay Morgana. 1.) Honor those you love. 2.) Refrain from deliberate or unprovoked offense. (Bullying?) 3.) Speak the truth at all times. 4.) Persevere in any enterprise until the end. Break any of these rules from the moment the sword was drawn and your quest is lost before it is even begun.”

I love it. I thought it an interesting point to say the Code begins from the moment you draw the sword. Of course Lance and Kaye have problems with every one of these rules. It is explained that a difficult childhood has probably caused them to be this way. But even Alex has a problem too.

I wonder what promises we have made to Christ in which we often fail, or struggle not to fail, in more than an ordinary way? We all seem to have our particular weaknesses, but it is imperative we do not give up or give in! The moment we stop hating the evil, stop fighting and decide to embrace it, that is when we could lose our very soul. None of us are perfect, but when we stop fighting, and surrender to embracing, that’s a whole different thing. We have taken on a new master, and no man can serve two masters. I always want to be samurai to Christ.

I would like to share one thing from another favorite movie of mine that relates to this. It also is a Code of Knighthood as shared in the very first movie of “Dragon Heart”. It went like this: 1.) A knight is sworn to valor! 2.) His heart knows only virtue! 3.) His blade defends the helpless! 4.) His might upholds the weak! 5.) His words speak only truth! 6.) His wrath undoes the wicked!

We need “standards” in our life. How many good Codes still exist today in this world of moral compromise and seek your own truth? How many Codes of honor and valor lie broken and twisted upon bloody spiritual battlefields of the soul because the warriors forsook their warrior ways and raised a flag of surrender?

“When the enemy comes in like a flood, the spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.” (Isa. 59:20)

In truth, God’s answer is a standard. The church is to be that city upon a hill shining the light of such a standard, inspiring all mankind not to slowly slide into the days of Noah! But this modern church we have today, does not seem to shine so bright anymore, as all her warriors embrace worldly ways and material pleasures. But God always has his Remnant, and they shall find David, even if he be living in caves.

This movie is a fantasy fiction. I believe it to be an excellent analogy of spiritual warfare when viewed from the right perspective. It is a visual picture of what is actually invisible to us. So I like to follow this movie with one based on a true story. What does this spiritual warrior life look like in reality? What do we see with our eyes? I follow it with a movie entitled: “Beyond the Black Board”. Another very excellent show about a real person, an incredible person, who made something really special happen. She brought beauty out of ashes. She may not have been a Christian, the movie does not say, but Christians ought to be known for doing such things. Coming next! Save your seat under the Willow Tree!

“A Warrior sat under the Willow Tree” #10

I’m writing this episode for a longtime friend, and to her children who are also dear to us. There is a need…a great need…so many do not understand.

“And the Lord said, my spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh, yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.” (Gen.6:3)

Modern thinking is there can be no God, because if there were, he would surely put a stop to the unfair things of this earth, and if he does not, then who wants to serve a God like that anyway? But your thinking is so very small, and God has put in writing, a whole book actually, the Book of Revelation, when he will do exactly what you are asking for. IS THAT WHAT YOU REALLY WANT?

And here is why he is waiting: I believe there is coming a day when no one else is going to “Believe In God”, and so… he can return…judge the earth as he will… and no souls are lost other than the ones who have already chosen to be.

Do you find this hard to believe? No one else getting saved? Total unbelief filling the earth? I did at first. (Sodom and Gomorrah had become the same. Also Noah’s time.) When the possibility first popped in my head I doubted it. But our Bible almost spells it out when you put together the clues. Do you remember what Jesus so plainly said about the last days?

Jesus said: “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes.” (Matt. 24: 36-39)

This scripture says the people did not know this horrible flood was coming, and yet how can that be? Because II Peter chapter 2 plainly states Noah was a preacher of righteousness, and he did not stop preaching while he was building the boat! It says he “warned” the people during all those years of building! But they did not believe. Not one person! As in the days of Noah? (Jesus said.)

Yes…once I really began looking at this, I began seeing when Jesus asked the question: When I return, will I find faith on the earth? This was not an idle question, but a serious clue. Noah the preacher was preaching it, but no one cared. They had all become smarter than the old fool. They were the enlightened ones. They laughed at him. I’m not even sure his own family really believed, but God saved them just because they were immediate family who was still willing to obey their crazy dad! They ended up being mentally blown away when it all began happening. “Our old man wasn’t crazy after all? Oh my God!” (My interpretation of events.)

Why do we want to blame God for what we have done? God did not give man this mess. He put his perfect creation into the “dominion”- “the hands of” of man. We’re told this from the very start! Genesis chapter one! God has not violated his promise of man’s free will. Not until the appointed time when no one else is going to get saved anyway. If he took back over now, who knows how many souls would still be separated from God in their sins? Cut off from God! And the God I serve is not going to let that happen. “His” children will be saved. You might even be one of them. You might be the prodigal right now, but God still loves you even in your prodigal condition. Having a pig party in the slime. Oh the deeds that are done in secret. God sees them all.

Something else you might want to explore, the Jewish calendar seems to indicate there could be a lot more time left before Jesus would be “late” on his return. Our Gregorian calendar is not in synch with the Jews, in which most of God’s prophecies center around. I happen to believe there is a lot more “unbelief” to develop before we enter the last days. But the unbelief is growing, and a lot of it is in the worldly materialistic modern churches. They don’t even realize. Jesus would call it the condition of Laodicea. (Again, Book of Revelation.)

The mysterious Book of Revelation, which is easy to understand on the important points, indicates a Mark of the beast will come. I know you know this. And this Mark forces everyone to make a choice. The choices are being forced! No more waiting to decide. If you take the Mark, your decision is eternally made. Those who refuse the Mark are hunted down and killed. Revelation 6, and starting in verse 9 reveals a horrible state of affairs on the earth, and God’s people asking how much longer will you wait?

“When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of all who had been martyred for the word of God and for being faithful in their testimony. They shouted to the Lord and said, ‘Oh Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you judge the people who belong to this world and avenge our blood for what they have done to us?” (Notice the word “avenge”? God will avenge? Hhmmm. Does that fit my theology?)

God actually answers their question. They are told “a little longer”… “until the full number of their brothers and sisters… their fellow servants of Jesus who were to be martyred… had joined them.” (HINT: If there is a rapture, you don’t want to miss it. It’s not a “cool” thing.)

And who is murdering these good people? Is it God? If you take the Mark, then you are! Who ruined God’s perfect creation? Who could not resist one simple temptation and decided to listen to a devil rather than God? Who should have a righteous anger over what man is doing? GOD!!!

Here’s the bottom line, folks. Here’s the truth. God is love until… the time of salvation and grace in Christ is over… then comes a judgement day…but he is still the lover of all things good and righteous. This is your Book of Revelation. Whether you like this or not… whether this fits your theology or not… God has said, Vengeance is mine! And the souls under the altar are calling for it. I might even be one of them. You might be one of them. He will pass judgement on Satan and all those who chose to follow darkness. That day is coming. Maybe this is not the picture you had in mind when you asked why doesn’t God just stop all this bad stuff? (Which bad stuff? Your bad stuff, or someone else’s?)

You got to understand eternal things of the spirit realm. We only understand flesh and blood. Sin literally has separated us from God and it is a terminal condition, except through God’s grace he has offered through his Son. If we reject such a righteous one as Jesus himself, and trample his blood underfoot as if it is no special thing… if nothing is sacred and righteous to us… and we love the ways of darkness… then Light will drive the darkness away. That day will come. Light obliterates darkness. Darkness, and all those who belong to it, will flee to whatever place it can find that the Light allows it to still exist, and evidently that is a place called hell, and all this is eternal. Your soul is eternal. We were created eternal beings. The flesh is just a lie, we don’t die and cease to exist. We are eternal. We will eternally exist somewhere. God gave us the gift of eternity, but WE messed it up. He does not take it back.

We can realize how incredible the God is who created Adam and Eve and gave us all this amazing opportunity to go on with him, or we can be like the people in Noah’s day, who thought they knew it all and Noah was just an old fool.

See… here’s one thing… you can’t prove your “belief” either. Your science theology of faith. Yes, we’re all deciding what we believe by what we put our “faith” in. The unseen world is the unseen world, and it cannot be proven. We are all living in our chosen faith. You can’t laugh at me for having faith, you’re doing the same, and I can laugh at you if you don’t realize you’re also living by faith. If you are in denial of that fact.

I think we can all see there is a “Mark” coming. That is only one small thing the Bible predicted thousands of years before it happens. It takes more faith to believe all this happened by some impossible freak’n huge accident, than it does to believe in a supernatural supreme Being. All strong evidence points towards a supernatural Being, and supernatural world.

One more thing Jesus said. He said those who live by the sword shall die by the sword. Well, I have chosen the Sword I have lived and will die by: The Sword of God’s Spirit! The Word of God! My Bible! Which this world has tried so hard to destroy, but it has multiplied far beyond all other words. I am samurai for Christ. I have lived as a warrior, and shall continue doing so. I have a supernatural Sword of Significance. Laugh at me if you will, it does not matter in the least, other than the pain if we do not enjoy eternity “together”. I am completely convinced in what I believe.

From my personal perspective, the evidence is overwhelming. We are surrounded by it, and only the blind do not see. All they see is an old man building a boat where there is no water. If that is all you see, then I pray God has even more mercy and love to open your spirit eyes, before it is too late. We welcome all true “Believers” upon this “Good News Ship”. The angels proclaimed it, peace on earth and good will towards man. God is offering, but will you believe and see? Jesus is our “Peace Treaty with God”. He is the Prince of Peace. Amen. This is today’s word from the Willow Tree.

“A Warrior sat under the Willow Tree” #9

When a person decides to climb a mountain just because it’s there…why?

What is the satisfaction that comes when we answer something “calling to us”?

It might not make sense to anyone else, but it calls to “us”. It does not call to them. It is not in them. And as we answer that call, we find others who have a similar passion, we are not alone, and we find comrades.

Not answering a true calling leaves a very big hole in a person, but climbing a mountain requires strength, and strength is a product of fire! Do we have the temperance to the task? Are we the blade for that battle? Have we become the warrior who has a fire burning in his own belly? If we have short changed the tempering process of God, we will break in the battle. We will fail on the mountain.

There are many mountains before us, whether literal and physical, or metaphorical and spiritual. I’ve always enjoyed both. The young lady I spoke of in previous article has not found her mountain. No fire burns in her belly. I do not know her well enough to guess what her “calling” and gifting may be, but if she never develops a fire in her belly, she will fail, and her life will be hollow, no fulfillment.

“And now behold, the Lord has kept me alive, as he said these forty and five years, even since the Lord spake the word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness; and now, lo, I am this day eighty-five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me; as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in. Now therefore give me this mountain…” (Joshua 14: 10,11, and 12a)

Caleb had his eyes on a mountain. A fire still burned in his belly. The Lord honored his obedience and gave him uncanny strength born out of a lot of fire. He was still willing to answer the call, even in his old age.

I took early retirement from secular work feeling a similar call. I have felt it all my life, and now I have words to write and a work to do as long as the strength in this body does not fail. Only God knows if I will succeed, but I’d rather fail on the mountain than be found lazy in the low lands.

I don’t know if you’ve ever had a baptism of fire? Most of us on planet earth will face such a thing multiple times in our life, but what did you do with it? Did you accept it? Go through it? Gain temperance, self-control, focus, patience, endurance, and strength in the fire? become the warrior? Or did you run? Raise a white flag of surrender? Is there little fight in you? No warrior to be found?

To finish the story of my own baptism of fire straight out of High School, I hired onto a construction crew belonging to a deacon in our Church. It seemed as if about a third of that Church was employed by this man, and he was a great man to work for. He changed the course of my life. He was so hard on me, but it was exactly what I needed. He has a position of great respect in my life to this day.

This construction company was young and growing, so they did not have all the bells and whistles yet. A lot of things had to be done the hard way. We framed houses and poured cement basements. It was hard hot work right out in the summer sun and winter freezing cold. It was dangerous work, too. Climbing two story walls with ice on them and a strong wind blowing. Carrying cement panels on your back across rough terrain, that weighed 140 pounds, and I only weighed 140 pounds! Most days during the summer were 10 to 12 hours long.

As it just happened to be, the day I signed on I got shipped off to a week long job in a neighboring state! Most of their jobs were closer and you came home each night, but no, not my first job with them. No, it just had to be many miles away! And good thing it was, because my second day on the job, when I woke up, I never knew how many places I could hurt! I was tired, sore, and facing four more 12 hour days? Are you kidding me?

But these were friends of mine. Three of us had just graduated High School and signed on at the same time, and I had other friends here too. Was I going to embarrass myself in front of them? I was afraid I might have to. I was afraid I might break! But a warrior’s fire rose up somewhere in my belly, and this 140 pound skinny guy decided to fight, even if it killed me, but it did not, it made me stronger. That set the course for the rest of my life.

I learned construction skills and have saved a lot of money fixing my own house. I eventually did four years in the Army, and excelled while there, because the Army’s Boot Camp ( Basic Training) was just as hard, but no harder than, what I had already been doing for two years! I did two summers and two winters on that crew. I have been a warrior born out of the fire ever since. And like Caleb said, I still have a mountain calling to me, and I’m ready to test the strength God has given to the climb!

In a time when the Church has compromised with the world and is sliding more and more into Laodicea, God is calling his Samuel’s to offer a different priesthood from the Eli’s of this world. Samuel is yet a young boy growing, but he is in the temple and gaining strength. He will become the spiritual warrior for the last days he is called to. I do not want to fail or miss whatever may be my part in this mountain!

So… a warrior sits under the Willow Tree, and if you identify with this site, then you know the fire in the belly I speak of. We welcome all warriors to this site, and those in training, to the shade of this willow.

It is a weeping willow. We must be aware of the pain in others if we are to fight any battles. You cannot be the young lady dumping her work on the others around her, and does not seem to care. She collects her paycheck every week, and has no concern she has not earned it. If this is our way, then it is not the Way of Jesus, for he was always aware of the suffering and needs of others, and he entered those battles in our defense! Now we can have His strength to enter such battles too.

I will be sharing more of the mountain we are climbing with God. The things I did while working full time and raising five children, seem like some other life to me now. That was then and this is now. That was one mountain and this is another. But we build a spiritual retreat and a House Church. We offer teaching, by way of writing and personal teaching. I was limited in what I could do before taking early retirement, but now the flood gates are open and I am full of zeal for the task!

After my 9 Day God quest in the Black Hills of South Dakota, I came home from those mountains and God had me build a mountain of my own, at the spiritual retreat. This mountain was huge to me, as I built it alone in the heat of two summers. It is a teepee, made of wood! (Of all things. LOL.) I also could not have built it without what I learned in the fire of that construction crew, in my youth. Our house, spiritual retreat, ministry, and writings are progressing nicely. Momentum is building. The vision is strong and God’s fire burns in my belly.

I hope you have a mountain of your own that gives you cause to rise each day. If not, then search your heart to find what God put in you. There is a God-given treasure in each of us, but it must be discovered, uncovered, and then put into use. May God bless you on your journey to higher places. Here’s a few pictures of the teepee, my little man-made mountain. It stands forty feet tall, and you can swing on a rope inside it! My kids and Grandkids love it.

“A Warrior sat under the Willow Tree” #8

The fire made her stronger.

I’m sorry, but as of yesterday, I discover I have one more story to write relating to “Rey” of Star Wars. I did not plan this, but I wash dishes part time. I work the weekends since I do not want to work a lot of hours, usually 6 hours on Saturday and Sunday. I figure if I work the hours they most need help, then it is worth it to them, even though my hours are short. I work those critical hours when the place is getting “slammed”, if you know what I mean.

The manager was a little worried as he talked to me after my first two days of work. I could hear it in his voice. “How are you feeling?” he asked. I said, “Tired, but I feel fine.” He looked at me again, “So you think it’s not too much? You can handle this?”

“I can handle this,” I answered. It had not dawned on me yet why he was asking these questions until he ended with these statements, “Well, we like your work. This ‘time slot’ is yours if you want it. But if it ever gets to be too much for you, just let me know.” I smiled, thanked him, and said, “I’ll take it.”

I’ve been there going on 5 months now. My wife, who is a waitress there, when I told her I was going to apply as a dishwasher, she was immediately shocked and laughed as she said, “You won’t last two weeks in that dish room! It’s crazy! (She was right about that.)

You see, at age 64, I’ve got at least 20 years on every other person in there. Most of them are in their twenty’s or teens. One guy is around 40, and he complains all the time. The manager was seriously worried about my age! That did not dawn on me until after he walked away and I pondered our conversation. But after about a week in that place, I was already beginning to be accepted by the best workers in there, and within 3 weeks was as good as any of them. You may think that should not be so hard… I mean… it’s just washing dishes…right? How hard can it be?

Well… much to my own amazement… I’ve seen how people “wilt” and crumble in that room. I see what my wife meant, but she never knew just how hard I’ve worked all my life. She knew what I did, but until you actually do something, you just don’t realize. She has seen first hand what that dish room does to people. She’s watched it over many years. She’s seen the few that excel, and the many who fold, or they settle into a “weakness”, just hanging on until fired or they quit, but they have no fight in them. They do not fight! They become LAZY WEAK people who put their work off on the warriors in the room!

That dish room is a FIRE! Some people grow stronger in the fire, but others melt. And yesterday I was stuck working with a young woman who should be full of life and energy, but she is so weak I can’t believe it. I think she should see a doctor! What kind of sheltered life has she lived to be so weak and lifeless? She’s been there longer than I and should be an expert by now, but is not!

They know I don’t like working with her because of her laziness, so they don’t usually put us together. I must admit, I do struggle with patience for lazy people, but I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. I’ve had words with her before. She probably requested not to be with me. But the “break room” is very close to the dish room, and she slips in and out of there constantly, and everyone is too busy working, and doing her part, to keep track of her. But I did confront her one day.

Anyway, this job is hard for many reasons. It’s not a good set-up for one thing. The dirty dishes, glasses, etc. are dumped into plastic totes on carts outside the dish room, not inside. We have to constantly run out there and grab these heavy totes and bring them in. This place uses real plates and platters. Heavy plates and platters. These totes are heavy and almost spilling over as we grab them. Even the silverware gets heavy!

We’ve tried dragging the carts into the room and changing them out, but our room is so small, and it actually takes longer to fight those carts in and out, than to just keep running and grabbing the totes. Then when the dishes come out on the clean side, they have to be carried to the cooks, down the grill line, another crowded and busy area. You run back and forth the whole time carrying as many of these plates as you can as fast as you can the whole time! Because these are the weekend busy hours. The job is hard, hot, nasty, stressful, physical, very fast paced for hours on end, and did I mention hard? (But it’s not rocket science. It is simple.)

Okay, so I admit not everyone is going to be good at this job, but if you find you’re too weak, you don’t put your work on everyone else. You either get stronger or find a different job! But this young lady just keeps slowly going through the motions, taking the easy task whenever possible, taking multiple bathroom breaks, slipping in and out of break room constantly, putting her work on others, and worst of all… she evidently is so self-centered that she does not even care everyone else is doing half her work! She loves to be carried!

When she carries plates down the line, she takes about one-third the amount she should, and moves at half the speed a normal person moves. She actually gets in the way and slows us down! Why has she not been fired? I honestly don’t know. I’ve seen managers almost yell at her, they’ve had conversations with her, but they do not fire her, and she just keeps going on as if she never heard a word anyone said, and as if whats going on around her is not real. It’s as if she is in a different world than the rest of us the whole time she is there. A world that could care less what her lack of effort puts on everyone around her. (I really do think she should see a doctor.)

So… after working with her for six frustrating hours yesterday, I found myself again thinking about the many lessons of Star Wars and how hard times can create strong people, just like a fire creates a fine sword, a Sword of Significance.

In my quiet time today I realized I could have turned out like her, but after High School I got thrown into a FIRE! I almost quit. I did not understand. But I was many miles from home and had no ride. So I endured five days and by the time I survived the fire of those five days I was beginning to survive and get stronger. For me, it was mostly mental strength I needed.

My childhood was very isolated in the country on a small farm, but we were not farmers! My Grandpa had been before he passed away, but my dad worked in an auto factory. My only real job growing up was mowing grass and taking out trash. During the winter it was mostly just going to school, which I hated. And in my day, college was still pretty uncertain and all I wanted to do was get out of classrooms so I could be in motion! I didn’t like sitting! I liked action! And that saved me, because all those lonely years on the farm I spent my hours being very physical! But not the same kind of “physical” as “working”. You know, “labor”.

But God had a FIRE planned for me, and there was a fork in the road I could have taken in which my life would have become “weakness”, rather than strength, had I surrendered and gone down that path. Thank God I was stuck with these guys and could not easily leave. Thank God I loved movies about heroes and wanted to be like them. I did not want to be a weak person. A vision lived in me and the fork of the road forced a choice, whether I would become the vision, or not.

This is “Bushido”“the way of the warrior”. The Samurai used the word Bushido to describe the warrior way. It is not the civilian lifestyle of the soft and lazy looking for more and more selfish comfort zones. It is a life of serving and sacrificing for others. Like Jesus did. Jesus was “EXTREMELY” Bushido! And he raised up others in His Way. The 12 Apostles being some of the best known of them. And he has his Book, our Bible, and it is His Sword! And our Sword.

It looks like the story of my Baptism of Fire will come next episode. There is simply too much good stuff needing to be said. The weak girl in our dish room would never survive if she were thrown into a situation like “Rey”. We have girls in that dish room who have excelled. They have bushido, the warrior spirit in them, but not her. She either refuses, or is incapable of it. It is very easy to recognize the warriors of life from the civilians who expect the warriors to do all their fighting.

There is much more to come on this subject as we take a sit under the Willow Tree, and we realize planet earth is not a nice place for the weak. It “IS” a FIRE! Warriors rise while the weak fall. Warriors do things of significance while the weak “settle”. Warriors thrive in the fire, because they see the vision of what it means that life is full of mountains to climb, rather than wallowing in the mud of the low lands just waiting to die, suffering through life as a painful thing, but to be ALIVE! Without passion and fire, we are not truly living. We’re just going through the motions. These are today’s words from the Willow Tree, and we have only just begun.

“A Warrior sat under the Willow Tree” #7

Souls are polished here.

Some years ago I saw a documentary about a Samurai Sword Priest. I wish I remember where I saw it, but even though I don’t, the video made such an impression on me that I remember a few special details to this day. One of those being a simple sign a Sword Maker/Priest might hang over his shop: “Souls are polished here.”

Of course, it was in reference to bringing a sword to a highly polished finish, but as I pondered that simple phrase I tried to visualize God working on us! A Samurai believed their soul was in their Sword, one with their Sword, and so it is not hard to imagine such a sign over a simple Sword maker’s shop, but for us followers of Christ, it has even more meaning!

“Souls are polished here.”

In previous articles I gave a very basic overview of what a sword goes through to become a worthy blade, one having great temperance. From its very conception as a raw chunk of steel, plunged into fire over and over, shaping, pounding, cutting, and finally plunged into cold water. This is the creating and tempering process, but yet another very important step must still be completed, that of polishing the blade to a highly polished finish.

They say the difference in ability of an unpolished sword to cut, compared to a properly polished one, is like the difference between night and day! It makes that much difference.

We must remember that a Samurai Swordsmith would labor many days over the creation of a true blade after the old ways. They believed in this process some of the soul of the Sword Priest influenced the Sword. In other words, if you put your blood, sweat, and tears into something, like say a garden, if you labor over something enough, it becomes a reflection of you.

A true sword Priest saw that as a great responsibility, as men went into battle with their very lives depending upon the quality and nature of their blade. They even believed the character of the Sword Maker influenced the blade. Because of this, they were considered holy men living very devout lives, dedicated to their holy craft. They even had special white garments they wore as they crafted their Swords. We all seem to understand holiness is described in white, and Jesus was the lamb without spot or blemish.

In the Star Wars movie, “Attack of the Clones”, Obi-Wan told Luke: “This weapon is your life.” And no truer words could be said of God’s Word, our Bible, the Sword of the Spirit. In this Sword I polish my soul!

Is my Bible a weapon? It’s self described as a Sword. It causes reactions in people unlike any other book I can think of. I have to be careful how I use it. But we do not wrestle against flesh and blood! Satan, and the unseen principalities our Bible exposes, certainly fear this Spirit sword as a powerful weapon against them, if we have trained ourself in the use of it, become one with it.

I chuckle as I’m about to write this. But… I know it should go without saying… but… our Bible tells us to forgive even our enemies… but… please don’t confuse that with our enemy Satan! We don’t have to be nice to him! Take his head off with that blade if you can! And all of his minions too!

A Sword Priest would use several stones in the process of polishing a fine blade. One stone after another slowly and purposely and skillfully and lovingly slid over and over again across the blade, painstakingly bringing to a higher and higher degree of finish. Once one stone had done all it could do, then the next stone, one having a finer grit, would then continue the blades progress towards perfection. Wow. God does all that to us? Or at least tries to?

“You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor. And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. As the scriptures say, I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem, chosen for great honor, and anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” (I Peter 2: 4-6)

“And, He is the stone that makes people stumble, the rock that makes them fall. They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them. But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession.” (I Peter 2: 8-9a)

God’s word has a lot to say about stones and priests. Souls are polished here.

Thank you for sitting a spell under the Willow with me, and allowing God to smooth some of our roughness with his refining stones. I will likely be moving on from Star Wars analogies now, but the Samurai, his sword, and Sword Priests is a constant analogy of mine. I also have more movies I look forward to sharing and pointing out inspiring lessons in those shows. Hopefully, some of these movies will be inspiring for you too.

“A Warrior sat under the Willow Tree” #6

The edge of the sword may have dulled with age and many battles, but do not discount the temper of such a blade, a Sword of Significance.

Her garden was planted in pain.

Rey was alone…very alone. She lived for the return of her parents, but they never came. The loss of both parents at such a young age, and thrown into a lonely existence of poverty and survival as a scavenger in a desert land. Faced with a cruel society that only served itself, dog eat dog, survival of the fittest. Somehow she had survived and grown strong, but she did not yet know just how strong she could become “if”… she began hearing the voice within.

Hers was a garden of pain still clinging to a faint hope of the return of her parents who were already dead, but she did not know. Her world was very small. Her knowledge very small, but she had gifts at work within her. Gifts she also had no knowledge of.

I don’t mean to sound negative here, but we live in a world of pain. Everyone has some kind of pain in their life. Even the rich man suffers. There is no perfect place on the cursed planet earth. And in this garden of pain, people either get stronger and wiser, or wilt away doing nothing of significance because they have given up, just trying to get by.

We pass people every day and ask, “How you doing?” But do we really expect them to tell us? Do we share our pain when asked?

But people do tell in ways they hope someone will see, but few ever do. We open up here and there. We drop hints. Sometimes it shows in our eyes and body language, if anyone is paying any attention. But we only pay attention if we really care. My Sword of Significance tells me to LOVE. It tells me to love God with all my heart, and love others as myself. Am I aware of each person’s pain that I interact with? None escape this garden of sorrow and struggle. It’s there if they let you see it. If you’re paying attention. If you really care.

The Samurai was called to a selfless life of protecting and serving others, even unto his own death. His sword and his soul were one. The Star War Jedi Knights are very much a future version of some kind of Samurai, only with a Sword of Light! But I have a Sword of Light. The one true Light. Do I use it to seek out the pain in others, and offer help?

Rey had the warrior spirit. It seems not everyone does. Many people choose to fold. They decide they need drugs, or alcohol, or porn, or whatever painkiller and joybringer they choose, whether God approves or not. But Rey grew stronger in her garden of pain. Some of us fold and some of us grow. Which are you?

“Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad — for these trials (fire) makes you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.” (I Peter 4: 12-13)

Being plunged into fire is not always a bad thing, if you want to become strong and flexible. The Samurai Sword is both. The sharp edge is very sharp and strong, as it has been hardened in high carbon steel, and stretched to a degree of tension, hence the upward curve of the blade that if it were extended would create a large circle, a symbol of eternity.

However, the back of the blade has a certain amount of flexibility, so it will not break. The skilled swordsmith actually coats part of the blade with clay before plunging it into the fire, the holy hearth, for the heat treatments of tempering. This clay offers some protection from the heat, so the back of the blade maintains some flexibility while the edge becomes very hard.

Now realize the making of a great sword also involves God’s hammer. That raw hunk of steel has been hammered and hammered over and over again, to shape it into a square, and then pound it out, heated over and over, and then the steel is folded and cut over and over, and hammered more. All of this before it finally begins to be coated with clay, returned to the fire, and then plunged into cold water!

The cold water is how the edge is stretched and drawn tight in that upward curve, while the back retains flex, because the clay causing differences, somehow creates this effect of difference in contraction. But all this has been said to show the great skill, artistry, and beauty of it all, which results in a blade so sharp and true that it stands out in battle, even unto significance!

Don’t forget, this word “temperance” means self-control, discipline, focus, sharpness, strength, endurance… all of these things and more… developed within us if we have the warrior spirit… the desire to become a quality Christian… not just a cheap sword from Shiloh.

So… can we trust God in this process? Or do we get mad at God, blame him for the seeds we sow, decide we don’t believe in him? Do we fold? Do we crawl back to our comfort zone rather than fight our way to the beauty He is trying to bring about, whether in us or for others? And so God moves to someone else, a Sword of honor… silver and gold.

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1: 2-4)

Yes, God does plunge us into fire for our perfecting. But bad things happen to both the good and the bad. The difference is, as a Christian, God is working towards our good, like a circle, and the circle is not complete until it reaches our good; whereas Satan is only working towards our destruction. If we choose to serve Satan, then our destination is complete destruction, not perfection.

The samurai for Christ realizes his blade must always form a circle. His path is without end, it is eternal. Until a trial works to my good, then it is not completed yet, and the “fight of no fight” – faith, continues on. Romans 8: 28 promises >

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

Note: This powerful promise is very specific as to who it is directed to. “ONLY”… those who love God… and are the called… to His purposes. This is a samurai for Christ, as well as a faithful child of God, follower of the Way, and Christian.

I invite you to reserve your seat at the Willow Tree by hitting the “follow” button. This lets me know if anyone is listening, and wants to hear more. And I want to thank you for choosing to spend your precious time here with me, under the Willow Tree. This series continues. Now go and GROW.

“A Warrior sat under the Willow Tree” #5

Rey uses the force, pushing the two swords into the sand, a sacred burial.

That’s how I like to think of it anyway, because the Light Sabers of Luke and Leia had been a strong and faithful force against the dark side to the very end, and proved themselves…Swords of Significance. She would have treated them with great honor and respect.

How appropriate for Luke’s sword to end up back at the sands of Tatooine, where it all began for him. He never would have dreamed he’d find his Jedi teacher in the desert, and yet so many spiritual stories come by way of desert places, including many of the heroes in my Bible, my Sword of Significance.

Even as Luke had come to a point of dreading every day in that hot, dry, sand; he was now ready to meet his teacher and become a true warrior, but some of that desert remained in his soul, helping create the warrior able to be used of the force.

Most people try to avoid desert places. In this modern world of comfort zones we can go our entire lifetime and never be stuck in the desert. But God can still arrange such things, and some even choose such things, knowing the treasure that is only found in the silence of windblown desert places. In that simple isolation, we finally begin hearing. We begin to realize the invisible, and what is of real importance.

Rey’s sword, the handle made from her scavenger’s staff, symbolizes her new Way, the Way of the Jedi Knight. She has left her old ways of a scavenger, and has possibly chosen the deserts of Tatooine to be her home base for whatever it is she will go forth to do. She is no longer a scavenger, but a true Jedi Knight, trained by the two people whose swords she just buried.

“At that point Felix, who was quite familiar with the Way, adjourned the hearing and said, ‘Wait until Lysias, the garrison commander arrives, then I will decide the case.’ He ordered an officer to keep Paul in custody…” (Acts 24:22-23a)

In the early days Christians were known as “people of the Way”, because they followed Jesus and he claimed to be “The Way”, (the truth and the life). Earlier, in verse 14, Paul admits to being a follower of “the Way”, and that the Jews considered it to be a cult.

Paul was certainly a sword for the Lord. He proved to be a Sword of Significance. But what does a sword go through in order to become a fine and true blade? There are many cheap swords from China that are never meant to be in real battle. A spiritual comparison to that would be cheap Christians from Shiloh who are never going to dedicate themselves to real battle.

What is this old English word used in the Bible and of utmost importance to swords, this word “temperance”? As a matter of fact, Paul uses it in speaking to Felix, and it is one of the things that so frightens him that he sends Paul away!

“And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgement to come, Felix trembled and answered, ‘Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.'” (Acts 24: 24-25 King James) (Do you think he ever had a convenient season?)

If we are to learn about what it means to be a Sword of Significance, then our best bet is to combine knowledge from a study of Samurai Priestly Sword Makers, along with our Bible, for there are no greater sword craftsmen than the ancient Samurai. The physical sword is simply a material picture of spiritual truth. God has surrounded us with material pictures of spiritual truths, if only we have eyes to see.

Gold and swords are alike! It is fire that purifies them! Fire that creates a purity of which is “significant”, without which it is but a cheap sword from Shiloh! Or gold so full of impurities it is not worth much.

The “ideal” intention of a true Samurai, of which many failed to live up to, but for our purposes, the position of a Samurai was “One who serves”. That is what the title of “Samurai” meant. They served as protectors of the people, and of a ruler. The Samurai was to be completely “selfless” and “devoted” to whoever it was he served.

Great responsibility and honor went with being a Samurai, and because of this, their sword was considered to be an extension of their very soul. They were one with their sword and would fight even unto death in the protection of who they served. If I am samurai for Christ, then it is my desire to become the Word in flesh, even as my Master, the One I serve, is. The Word is in my soul, and my soul in God’s Word. We seek to be one.

The “tempering” process of a sword involves repeated “heat treatments” (fire) applied in skillful ways. And so it is with a true child of God. The word “temperance” is an old English word meaning: “self-control”. Oh my. Do we ever need that today. With divorce rates in the Church the same as the world’s? With pornography and materialism rampant? Do we need more Holy Spirit self-control?

Paul was a sword for the Lord, a sword came out of his mouth, and he spoke to Felix and his wife of three things: righteousness, “temperance”, and judgement to come; and Felix began trembling!

On Pentecost the Holy Spirit descended and lighted on them as cloven flames of fire! That upper room became a Holy Spirit hearth (furnace)! We have much to share about the love of sword craftsmanship as exemplified by Samurai Sword Priest, and how it compares to how God trains and “tempers” us. But for now I want to leave you with a final scripture, and promise to write more soon, here under the Willow Tree.

“But on the judgement day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.” (1st Corinthians 3: 13-15)

Our Sword reveals that heaven is full of gold so pure it is as glass! Do not fear the Potter’s hands or wheel or furnace, for he is a master at bringing forth beauty of the highest order. Shall we be vessels of gold and silver, or wood and straw? A cheap sword from Shiloh, or a Sword of the Lord?

Rey buried two swords of honor in the desert. The swords of her teachers.

“A Warrior sat under the Willow Tree” #4

Her blade has become a yellow gold.

Rey stares off across the desert. Two suns hanging over the horizon, possibly representing the two families. And we discover she now has her own sword, but it does not shine a blue or green or red light. It shines a yellow gold. And what does this mean?

She has fought her way to a new potential future where she is finally free to pursue her own dreams. She did not have that option before. As she finds herself at this incredible crossroads, everything has changed. She has already made important decisions, resisting the dark side, serving light, choosing the family name “Skywalker”, and her sword shines a yellow gold. So what path now?

Her sword is the only clue we seem to have, that yellow gold glow. After doing some research of my own I learn the yellow gold light has only been seen with a very devoted sect of Jedi who guard the Jedi Knight Temple! Is she the only current true Jedi Knight? Will she enter such devotion? Must she become the teacher to raise up others? Will she become the great “balance” spoken of in Episode One? Darth Vader certainly did not bring the balance to the universe. Did Luke? It does not seem so. Has Rey finally brought the balance that was prophesied? And will she bring a true light to the Temple?

Hhmmm. No wonder I connected with Rey so quickly. It’s not been easy losing friends because I spoke out against what modern Church has become, and left those four walls to have Church all the time and everywhere. Where did Jesus have Church? Everywhere he went. When did Jesus have Church? All the time.

We have limited God to a square box that cost too much. If I witness for Christ I must invite people to our Church building so they can learn to worship God and hear the Pastor preach. Hopefully they will be converted and decide to be baptized at the Church building, in a smaller Church box. And they will come to all our Church box activities based on the Church schedule. And they will give their money in the box, and we can do more, including build a bigger and fancier Church box. And the Pastor desires a bigger fancier house, too. So he can show how good God is. Maybe he’ll be able to afford that mansion.

Matthew 21> “Jesus entered the temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for sacrifice.”

“He said to them, ‘The scriptures declare My Temple will be called a house of prayer, but you have turned it into a den of thieves!'” (NLT Version).

Do we forget the simplicity of Christ? Did Constantine lead us down a road of big buildings and lost family closeness? Did he begin putting God back in a box? Back where he was in the Old Covenant? Old Covenant ways of Moses and laws, but not of Christ and freedom?

Does your Church have the faith to preach only those things our New Covenant in Christ teaches? Or do they still love to teach tithing? A law connected to “money”, of all things. (Coincidence?) Where is the faith to live on love offerings as the Apostles and early Church fathers did? You cannot prove tithing by way of the New Testament. The New Covenant in Christ teaches us to be generous givers, and the more you sow the more you reap, but Jesus fulfilled all the law for us, so how can a law of tithing still exist any more than a law of circumcision could? Both go all the way back to Abraham!

Has the modern Church sold out to the love of money and the ways of big business? Most every Pastor today will admit they also have to function as a business man to keep a Church going. And that would be true of these big Churches today. But did Jesus? Did the Apostles? Did the early Church fathers? No. Someone has sold out!

King James version made a very poor choice of words when it quotes Jesus saying, “I must be about my Father’s business.” It should read “in my Father’s house”, or “about my Father’s affairs”. Do you really think God compares “his family” to a business? Like a mob boss? I have never thought of my family as a business. I would never treat one of my children as an employee, unless we actually entered into a business together.

I was even told once by a Pastor, it’s nothing personal, just business! If it were not so sad it would be hilarious. Church was always meant to be “personal”! And not “business”! When Jesus returns a Sword will be coming out of his mouth, and it will not be just against the devil. It will also be against what Church has become at that time, which will be a false Church full of false prophets!

In my opinion that evolution is already underway in our modern Churches, but God ALWAYS has a people separated unto him, walking his true path…Godwalkers. And they will be blowing a trumpet of Zion, warning the people to wake up and seek His face, before all light is nothing but darkness within us. This is why we see a new move of God rising, like the little child, Samuel, coming into the Temple at Shiloh!

For the time being this site, “Sitting Under the Willow Tree”, has become a series entitled: “A Warrior sat under the Willow Tree”. I suspect it shall remain so for some time. Under the Willow is a simple place. I am a preacher of simplicity. Many will not be attracted to such a message. During the summer there are bugs and gnats under the willow. In the winter it gets cold. But I have found God’s voice is there, in the simple things. Is it worth it to hear the voice of God? You bet it is.

“A Warrior sat under the Willow Tree” #3

She chose to be a Skywalker.

As our series continues, I have mentioned I have a collection of movies that when viewed from a certain perspective, can be very spiritually inspiring. Not all of them, but many have something to do with Swords of Significance. For example, the sword “Excalibur” in the King Arthur stories would be a sword of significance, even having some kind of supernatural power.

As you should realize by now, I view God’s Word, our Bible, as a supernatural Sword of the greatest significance. Therefore, it is not unusual for me to find meaning and inspiration in such movies. “Star Wars” would be of that collection. Light Sabers. How much more appropriate could it get? A great battle against the Dark Side! Darkness threatening to rule the universe!

I married a beautiful young lady when I was twenty-one and she was eighteen. Almost 43 years later we are still together and have raised five children! We married in April of 1977, and the very first Star Wars hit the theater later that same year and blew us all away!

I fell in love with the idea of submitting myself to a Sword of Significance, like a Samurai for Christ. I sought training in spiritual ways. I prayed, fasted, even spent times in mountain campsites seeking God. I love the Black Hills area. I studied. I sat under many preachers and read many books. I have loved every day of it, and I continue in that way today. Strange as it may seem, Star Wars drove me towards my Bible, not away.

At that time I could identify with young Luke Skywalker. I could not so much with Obi-Wan; he was what I wanted to be. I hung on all three movies of the original trilogy, and then came the many years of silence. But I continued. The seed had been planted. I had my chosen sword, the Word of God.

As I watched Luke training and growing in the “force” and the way of the Jedi Knight, I also continued in such a path, but not the same. Mine was a different Sword, a different book, and a different way, but I could still identify with and be inspired by the idea of a Jedi Knight.

There is much I could say about Luke Skywalker, but he is not today. Disney brought us a new generation of Jedi Knight, and her name is Rey. When movies I, II, and III came out, for some reason I didn’t connect with them so much. But the moment this new Jedi came on the scene, untrained and unknown, struggling to survive, another underdog, I had an immediate connection.

Rey is of today, and so is my Willow Tree. At least for now, I want to speak of today. She did not know her family tree! She was a nobody! She did not know who she was. She was told she was a descendant of peasants. Nothing special. And yet Luke’s Light Saber kept calling to her?

It scared her. She did not understand. She just wanted to find her family of nobodies. She tries to run from it! The dark side also pulling at her, even as it does all of us! But the need was great. She finally answered the call and even managed to find Luke! But he tossed his Sword away as if it was nothing! A curse! A thing to be destroyed! And her journey became even more confusing as someone almost ruined the Star War’s story, by taking Luke completely out of character, and then movie number IX had to try and fix all that.

I went to the Willow Tree that day, happy, and with much to think about. She didn’t know who she was. Darkness and light wrestled within her. She made choices and her actions revealed them. By the end of the show, her eyes are towards the horizon, her future, and who does she choose to be? “My name is Skywalker,” she says. She disowns her physical birth and her old family to embrace being a Skywalker.

Genesis 5:23-24 says of a man named Enoch, “Enoch lived 365 years, walking in close fellowship with God. Then one day he disappeared, because God took him.”

Enoch chose to be a Godwalker. He walked with God and pleased Him so much, that God took him. Enoch is one of my great inspirations. To choose to be a Godwalker, a powerful force indeed. I have chosen such and only God knows how well I have succeeded or failed, but it has been such a delight in my life to chase after God! No matter how many times I may have fallen, God picks me up. Supernatural.

I thought of these things at the Willow Tree. I broke some bark off and it is right by my side as I write these words. I also took some twigs and use them for book markers in my Bibles. Willow Tree twigs make great book markers.

My Sword, my husband (see P-1), speaks to me of “temperance”. Now that is a biblical word with a whole lot of meaning, and you don’t want to be a cheap sword from China. Temperance is very very very important with swords, and also people!

I want to speak more of this tempering of swords, swords of significance, and of people. Rey took Luke’s and Lea’s swords to the desert. She wrapped them together and buried them with the reverence and honor they deserved.

My thoughts continued at the Willow Tree and so shall this series… soon. Until then, thank you for having a seat under the Willow Tree.

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