Jehovah Shalom – “I am Peace”

My apologies, I know I had agreed to the Jehovah names every Monday. Time got away from my yesterday, and I will be leaving for Florida tomorrow, I wanted to get this up loaded before I left. As mentioned last week, we have Jehovah Shalom now,

Shalom is a special word in the Hebrew language meaning “peace, wholeness, well-being and rest.”

Judges 6:11 – 24

The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a wine press to keep it from the Midianites. When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”  The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”  Gideon replied, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me.  Please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you.”

And the Lord said, “I will wait until you return.”

Gideon went inside, prepared a young goat, and from an ephah of flour he made bread without yeast. Putting the meat in a basket and its broth in a pot, he brought them out and offered them to him under the oak.The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread, place them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And Gideon did so. Then the angel of the Lord touched the meat and the unleavened bread with the tip of the staff that was in his hand. Fire flared from the rock, consuming the meat and the bread. And the angel of the Lord disappeared.  When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the Lord, he exclaimed, “Alas, Sovereign Lord! I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!” But the Lord said to him, “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.”  So Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and called it The Lord Is Peace. To this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

If you will look at verse 24, our name, Jehovah-Shalom is used there. Translated to English, it literally means “Jehovah is our peace,” or “the Lord is our peace,” or some times “the Lord gives peace.” And it is in this instance when we first find this name in the Bible.

A wise man once instilled a small yet potent nugget of wisdom in me. He said, “To achieve peace beyond understanding, you first must give up the right to understand.

Another instance in scripture where the same instance is used is found in Ephesians 2: 13 – 18

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

Philippians 4:7  Then God’s peace, which goes far beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your hearts and minds in union with the Messiah Jesus.

Peace is another thing to deal with. The human mind is inherently evil, it is only by the transformation of the living God that we are able to silence those thoughts and be at peace.


Mankind has never known peace. Peace is not the absence of war, like darkness is the absence of light.

Peace is not refraining from shooting your neighbor when his dog digs a hole in your new lawn.

Peace is not avoiding a fight with your spouse by avoiding a hot topic.

Peace is not found in the stillness of a mountain meadow, or the steam of a bubble bath, or the disjointed tinkling of New Age music with your coffee.

Our municipalities have laws against disturbing the peace.

Nations that have long been at odds with one another, have also long talked about peace. When can they have peace? How can they have peace? But still they don’t find peace.

No peace treaty that man has ever devised has been kept. In man there is no peace; and here is why.

It is because man has never been at peace with God, and if there is not peace with God, then there can be no peace in the soul. Man was made to worship his Creator, and when he rejects his Creator and goes his way, then he also rejects peace, and his path is one of turmoil from within, that affects everything throughout. Don’t go down that dark path.

When we reject God, we don’t just reject Peace, we reject everything good in this world.

This Pastor Amos signing off,

As always…Keep it in Jesus.


Pick of the Week – Episode 6: I aren’t stupid

Time for the pick of the week! This week’s lesson in lunacy is brought to you by Mike in the city of Panama city, Florida. And mike as it seems has been having some issues that revolve around his lack of smarts.

So Mike garners his new services, and as such that brings up the matter of installation. And this is a NEW home, and due to that, this is going to require setting up the connection from the pole, to the home, and then the additional installation of the equipment in the home. And on top of all of that, there is that matter of the first month worth of his top of the line service (all paid in advance). Totaling over $300.

I am not going to delve into the entire conversation as it did go one for the better part of 45 minutes.

Mike did not seem to grasp that services were billed a month in advance. He stated it as… Quote,

“The stupidest thing I even (yes, even) heard.”

I began to explain that payment in advance was a very common thing.

“Have you ever gone to a fast food restaurant Mike? You make your order, you pay for your order, then (after payment has been made) your order is served and given to you. Same principle.”

And after he realized that he had no room to argue. He got it in his head that he still needed a reason to complain. (and he obviously didn’t think things through)

“Well! (4 to 6 second pause) my cable isn’t working. And I am not paying this bill until it does work!”

“Mike, is your television on?”


“How about we turn that on, so we can see what the issue is.”

“I am fully aware of how to turn a tv on. I aren’t stupid.”

“You sure aren’t.”

I hear the tv come on, and the volume was so loud I could hear the announcer on one of those filthy channels telling viewers not to go anywhere because more (fill in the blank) action was coming right back.

“Well sir it appears to be working now. You have a good day now and thank you for choosing cable company.” Followed promptly by me hanging up the phone.

Readers. The poor sucker on the other line is not personally responsible for your lack of understanding. I have no problems with calling a 1-800 number to speak to an individual to better explain something that I do not understand. But that gives me no right to pitch a fit because I don’t get my way. And for the record. Pitching a fit, because you don’t get your way is called throwing a tantrum. (No matter what your age is.)

This is Pastor Amos, reminding you to keep it in Jesus.


I find it an odd thing. Political stance is quickly becoming a war. Call it what you will, but is seems to me that conservatives and liberals, want nothing more than to see the other side burn. And it confuses me. Regardless of what side we align our self to, are we all not just human. And because of that, aren’t we all just broken people with faults and flaws? I mean, a democrat and a republican might hold differing views. But that doesn’t necessarily mean one is right over the other. Does it? Isn’t it all just a matter of perspective? Or is it really a matter of People getting used to their cushy lifestyle and they feel threatened every time something comes along that may disrupt or worse yet, remove it from them.

I think this may be a matter of perspective. I hear the wisdom of my Grandfather echoing in my mind. “Just because you are right, does not mean that I am wrong.” Author Shannon L. Adler said this,

“Most misunderstandings in the world could be avoided if people would simply take the time to ask, “What else could this mean?”
Pastor Amos & Marie Cotter Perspective.

People (specifically Americans) are so caught up with why the other side is wrong that many of us fail to grasp the big picture. Yes money could be viewed as important. Yes genocide on such a scale as this is wrong. And despite all the ruckus that both sides are causing, one simple truth remains untouched.

We all like sheep have gone astray. Why can’t a lot of these arrogant politicians (on both sides) just come together and accomplish something for good? Why is it that the fighting never ends, and each side keeps coming to a stalemate? One that leads to one government shutdown after another.

I am not going to delude myself into thinking that there is only one side to blame for this. There are many corrupt politicians, on both sides of the fence. And I really think this is all boils down to one thing. That one simple truth that I mentioned just eight sentences ago. We are all broken people who need Jesus. There was a man I used to work with in Pensacola Florida. And his motto was “We might be able to break your twenty, but only Jesus can give you change.”

And I don’t know about you, (dear readers) But I think we (as humans) need some real change. (Start talking like that and people may think you are an Obama supporter.) It is a heart issue. This society that we live in has a few underlying causes. Children without discipline, Schools without prayer, and Hearts without God.

And it is those reasons that made up my mind to do something about it. Because of these glaringly obvious reasons, I chose to accept the call on my life. In June of 2008, I made the decision to go into ministry. That September I enrolled are Elim Bible Institute. With the amount of talk about revival, and the stirring in the spirit, I knew. It did not take long to recognize or understand that revival was coming. And I gave myself a goal. I wanted to be a pastor before revival came. I wanted to be in a position where I could be the most useful. I said in the span of 10 years. And it was just as the odometer rolled over to 9 that the opportunity came.

Can’t we just move on? Is there a way where democrat and republican can find common ground? And on that note, perhaps you are non-partisan. This same “argument” can be applied to any number of situations. We are all human, and as such, we have faults, flaws and short comings. I find no solace in government workers. My hope, faith, and trust…is in God alone.

Jehovah Jireh – “I am Provider”

The meaning of this name is The Lord Who Provides. The Revelation of the Name Jehovah-Jireh, Genesis 22:12-14. The name is literally, The Lord Who Sees, or The Lord Who Will See To It. This is what we long for when we have a need that is personal and special; One who will see to our needs and provide for us. This is what Jehovah-Jireh means; the Lord Who will see to it that my every need is met. One Who knows my need because He sees. One Who is able to meet my need in just the right time as He did for Abraham, and One Who can meet it fully. For Abraham, it was the ram caught in the thicket that was offered in Isaac’s place. For us it is whatever we need.

The account of Abraham on Mt. Moriah suddenly becomes more than a dramatic illustration of faith. It paints a picture. The Lord’s eternal grace, all-encompassing wisdom, and continual provision. Jehovah-Jireh is not “The LORD Did Provide,” but “The LORD Will Provide. In this manner, we see the name does not simply memorialize or speak of a past event; it anticipates and refers to a future action.

Matt 6:24 – 26, No one can serve two masters: Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air: They do not sow or reap or gather into barns—and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

Psalm 37:3 – 5 Trust in the LORD and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.

And then again, in the very same psalm, just 20 verses later,

“When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, Because the LORD is the One who holds his hand. I have been young and now I am old,

Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken Or his descendants  begging bread. All day long he is gracious and lends, And his descendants are a blessing.”

I was discussing a matter of Financial distress with a colleague of mine. He had stated that his situation was to the point where he needed to gain the better part of over $200 in the span of 30 hours. And this was the number after he contacted all his supporters, looked under each rock, and drained every well.

Being in so many instances myself always seeing the Lord’s provision, I had no doubts that the funds were coming in. I shared with him about my experiences, and that God dose some weird stuff. And God does it so that His power is manifested. And I shared the following poem.

Pastor Amos & Marie Cotter Jehovah Jireh - "I am Provider"

Jehovah Jireh in the Greek

The saints should never be dismayed,
Nor sink in hopeless fear;
For when they least expect His aid,
The Savior will appear.

This Abraham found: he raised the knife;
God saw, and said, “Forbear!
Yon ram shall yield his meaner life;
Behold the victim there.”

Once David seem’d Saul’s certain prey;
But hark! the foe’s at hand;
Saul turns his arms another way,
To save the invaded land.

When Jonah sunk beneath the wave,
He thought to rise no more;
But God prepared a fish to save,
And bear him to the shore.

Blest proofs of power and grace divine,
That meet us in His word!
May every deep-felt care of mine
Be trusted with the Lord.

Wait for His seasonable aid,
And though it tarry, wait:
The promise may be long delayed,
But cannot come too late.

And here is the funny part…the funds came in not even two hours later!

As always, keep it in Jesus.


Pick of the Week – Episode 5: 411

My apologies dear readers, this week has been rather crazy. Not only did my 4 year old son come and visit with me at the office for the ENTIRE day, we have also had three different instances of freezing rain, so travel has not always been advised.

I would like to make things right, and make this week’s installment of pick of the week a bit late.

Today’s instance of insanity come from Mike way out there in the state of Washington. He was having some …I will just call them issues…with his phone.
Welcome to cable company’s department of activation (Yeah lets call activation for issues with my phone) My name is Amos how can I help you?

Mike: Yeah, um…411 is giving me problems.

Me: Sir, this is cable company, we do not have the systems of 411 available to us, if 411 is giving you problems, I would advise calling them.

Mike: (in the loudest tone humanly possible) How dare you lie to me! I have phone service through you people. Therefore any issues I have with 411 it is your fault!

Me: (in a calm manner) Sir we may provide you with the ability to use the phone, but that does not mean we control every possible connection that you may dial on the phone.

Mike: (expletive) you! Yes it does!

Me: Sir, can I have your name?

Mike: Mike you dip(expletive)!

Me: Mike, if one of our customers were to call Disney world, and the person on the other line was rude to them, would it reflect badly on Disney world or the phone company?

Mike: As I said you moron, it would be you!

Me: No sir. We may provide the service, but 411 is a separate entity entirely.

This whole back and forth lasted the better part of 20 minuets before he
finally got so fed up with me before demanding he cancel his service.

Me: Alright sir, I get that you want to cancel your service because you don’t understand basic business, please hold while I transfer you!

I don’t know what ever came of him, but I never had to deal with him again.

Keep it in Jesus

Jehovah Rohi – “I am Shepherd”

After thumbing around in some old pictures, I came across some tapestries that bore some of the many names of God. and it got me thinking. How many names of God dose the Bible hold? well, I knew that there were many. perhaps too many to count. So, I narrowed my search. The Jehovah names. In my studies, I have found there are 42 of them.

The name Jehovah literally translates as “I am”.

Did you even notice that the name of God is an open ended statement?

“I am…What?” Fill in the blank. He is whatever his children need him to be.

Doing a study on all 42 names of God would take quite some time. And that is not to mention all the hassle. but here is the thing…I have always been a glutton for punishment.  I’m going to start a weekly installment of the names of God. Every Monday for the next 42 weeks I will be bringing my dear readers a lesson on one of the names of God as well as a personal story in relation to it. Let’s get started.

When I heard the 23rd Psalm as a child. That first line really threw me for a loop. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”

7 year old me: “Dad, Why does David not want his Shepheard?”

What I came to realize, is that the passage can be interpreted as, “The Lord is my shepherd, I don’t want anything else.” And it was in that moment when I began to grapple with the idea that all I need is Jesus. And since we are starting a new installment on the names of Jehovah, I find it fitting that we begin with this one.

Jehovah Rohi – “I am Shepherd”

And as we get into this, I want to point something out. When the book of psalms was being compiled, I think it is no accident that Psalm 22, 23, and 24 all revolve around the same central thought. The Shepherd. That is why these three psalms are called “the Shepherd Psalms.”

Psalm 22 is the Psalm of the Good Shepherd, laying down His life for His sheep.

Psalm 23 is the Psalm of the Great Shepherd Who cares so intensely for His sheep.

Psalm 24 is the Psalm of the Chief Shepherd, Who is coming again.

In my study of the passages, I came across a site that really hits the nail on the head

“In Psalm 22 we see a picture of the Good Shepherd, giving His life for the flock. Psalm 22 is the clearest description of what it’s like to be crucified anywhere in Scripture and is the most often quoted Psalm in the New Testament. Written by David 1000 years before the fact, it reads like a first person account of the pain and humiliation that form of punishment inflicted upon its victim. Surprisingly, it opens with the first words our Lord spoke from the cross and closes with His final ones. You have to read the Psalm in Greek to get this last tidbit, because in English the last phrase of verse 31 reads “He has done it.” But in Greek it’s is the same word John used in documenting our Lord’s last statement from the cross, translated “It is finished” in John 19:30. The Greek word in both cases is tetelestai. A legal term in Jesus’ day that usually meant paid in full and was written across a paid invoice, for example. Upon his release, it was also written across the bill of charges for which a criminal had served time. The ex-convict carried this document with him as proof that he had paid his debt to society so he wouldn’t be charged with the same crime again.”*

Isaiah 53:6 “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

1 Peter 2:25 “For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls”

Numbers 27:16 – 17 Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation, who may go out before them and go in before them, who may lead them out and bring them in, that the congregation of the Lord may not be like sheep which have no shepherd.”

Psalm 119:176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; Seek Your servant, For I do not forget Your commandments.

Matthew 9:35 – 38 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.  But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore, pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”

Jehovah-Rohi—becomes the perfect Shepherd of the sheep in this following verse.

John 10: 25-27 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. 26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.

Romans 8:38 & 39For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,  nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

These two verse hold a great Biblical truth. He is the good shepherd, and there is nothing that can take us away from him.

John 10:16 teaches us about His shepherding. As well as the unity of His flock.

“And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.”

Jehovah Rohi indeed. Next week we will be delving into Jehovah Shalom “I am Peace”.

Keep it in Jesus



Pick of the Week – Episode 4: Cable Complications

Well, its Thursday. Time for Amos’ pick of the week.

This week’s moment of moron-ism is brought to you by Jen, way out in the (fill in the blank) State of California. Jen it seems is having problems with a bit more than just lack of picture.

Me: Welcome to cable company’s department of activations, my name is Amos how can I help you?

Jen: You people need to get your act together!

Me: Alright ma’am, I sense that you are not satisfied with your service.

Jen: Your (expletive) service is not (expletive) working!

Me: okay, I hear that our service not meeting your needs. I will need to bring up your account to best assess the situation. Do you happen to have your account number?

Jen: HOW the (expletive) would I know that?

Me: Well, the piece of paper that you got this phone number off of is your billing statement, and it has your account number on the top of page one. It should begin with an 8.

Jen: (rustles around with some papers) THAT (expletive) NUMBER IS TOO LONG TO REPEAT!

Me: Ma’am I will be more than happy to help you, I just need to access the account. Could I have your name?

Jen: Jen (last name).

Me: Thank you Jen, could I have your phone number? And the last 4 of your social?

Jen: Sure (gives requested information)

Me: Okay, I have the account, what seems to be the matter?

Jen: my cable is not working.

Me: (I look on the account and she does not have a cable subscription) Ma’am are you subscribed to a video package with us?

Jen: (expletives) yes I have one, I bought it a few hours ago.

Me: Ma’am, according to the records in your account, that last time you called us was three weeks ago.

Jen: I paid for it today.

Me: alright, do you know what department you got it through?

Jen: Electronics you (expletive) idiot.

Me: (slowly dawning on me that she is referencing her new tv) And what store was that?

Jen: Best Buy.

Me: Ma’am. Purchasing a television will give you the ability to watch video. But you need a cable subscription to enjoy Cable tv.

Jen: How dare you insult my intelligence! The employee there assured me I would be able to get cable channels on this tv. I am so angry aright now I want to cancel all services with you right now!

Me: Okay ma’am, let me transfer you to that department. Please hold. (I pressed the hold button immediately afterward so that she couldn’t hear me laughing.)


People. Just because you purchased a new tv, it does not mean you can watch cable channels. A subscription is required to view that content. Don’t be a dummy.

Keep it in Jesus


A life spared 1 of 5

There have been many things in my history that still astound me. I have been told I have a higher calling on my life, and the following instances will show that my life is important to the master plan of God. because if it weren’t I would not have survived.

I believe I was the age of 9. That would have placed the year around 1994.
A massive super cell thunderstorm rolled through our area dumping more than 6 inches of rain in the span of less than 90 minutes. The storm is not exactly the story here, but rather the amount of water that fell from it. Mom and Dad were not home at the time. The sitter asked what we wanted to do. Those of us who knew the flaw in the question she just asked all said (in unison) “We want Ice cream.”

A little bit of back story first. Our home was very far from modern. And the refrigerator we had, did not have a large enough freezer section to store too much of anything. So everything that we needed to have frozen, we stored down in the unfinished/unfurnished basement a large freezer stood in the corner. That did have a handle, but the door was held shut by slightly rusted latches that required a hammer to knock open, and pound shut.

The sitter asked where the ice cream was…and you can guess the rest. I elected to get the sweet stuff. So down the stairs I went. Lo, and behold. A good 10 inches to a foot of water covered the unfinished floor. But I was not going to let the water stop me from getting my ice cream. I took my shoes off and waded my way to the freezer. I began work to open the door. The bottom latch was easy, the top one was harder. I moved myself as best I could.
I needed some leverage. I reached around the freezer to the back. I was attempting to ease some of the pressure on the latch to make it easier to open. In doing so, I touched the power cord. Typically, this wouldn’t be such a big deal, except it seemed to have at least one exposed wire.

I remember seeing a brilliant burst of blue light fill my entire field of view, as 120 volts of electricity passed though me. And I am positive (no pun intended) that standing in all that water only compounded the issue. I was thrown 4 feet, landed on my back in the dirty water looking up at the cob webs. I couldn’t feel my left hand, or most of my left arm for that matter.
I had only one thought on my mind.


I never did get my ice cream that day. This is my first instance that I can remember, when my life was spared.

Nerf Wars

While at Bible college, the two halls of the dorm I stayed in, had some extra money, and we decided to be a bit childish. We bought Nerf guns. Most of us opted for the classic 6 shot maverick. We had some legitimate wars. Complete with battle cries, and our own flags.

The rhyme is set to the tune of “the lost Christmas eve” by the trans-Siberian orchestra. This link below will send you to it, I recommend you listen to it first, before reading the story.

In the halls in the night, in the dim shadow light,
a figure stands alone and he’s waiting.

And the team bunkered there, shoots darts through the air,
but the figure is just, hesitating.

As the hunter strolls down, he muffles the sound,
of a gun being stripped from its bearer.

The trigger is pulled, but the sounds are soon culled,
as he deals out nightly Nerf terror.

For here in this hallway of fright, the stealthy figure attacks through the night. The teams take cover, and crawl on all fours. With darts whistling in the air….it’s Nerf wars!

Here in Tab west, where the students do dwell,
the team splits up as they wander.

And the groups that hide here, hold their guns very near,
as darts aren’t a thing one should squander.

They are the hunted ones, and he reloads his guns,
with the darts that will hit their mark.

Hope is wished upon, till the moment they’re gone,
as the foam whistles in through the dark.

For here in this hallway of fright, the stealthy figure attacks through the night. The teams take cover, and crawl on all fours. With darts whistling in the air….it’s Nerf wars!

Through this night, the fear grows stronger, as it was meant to be.
And everywhere, the seconds get longer.

With anxiety and happenstance, caught in this childhood dance.

As the team turns around, foam bullets soon hit the ground.

Shouts of fear fill the air, as the shots meet them there.

somehow they start to be grieved…

In the night with the screams that cut through the noise,
it’s the whispering threat that starts to deploy.

The depth of attack that’s about to begin,
it’s the menacing laugh that gets under your skin.

And it invades your mind, with a thought hard as stone,
you soon realize, you are all alone.

And the team that is gone, and you cannot replace,
suddenly he’s there to be found, with darts in your face!

Pastor Amos & Marie Cotter Nerf Wars

Me and my hall, striking a violent pose. I am in the back row, third from the right, holding two guns.

I made a lot of friends that year, and sadly, I haven’t had a chance to be with even a few of them since June 2012.

Missing you guys.

As always…Keep it in Jesus.



At Elim Bible institute, where I received my Biblical education, I found that there was a lot of frustrations, and hardships. There was a running joke about the three year program at Elim. And it was said that those three years are your Death, burial and resurrection. And I am here to say that is true.

I always felt a connection to God while surrounded by nature. And there was a man made pond on the campus surrounded by willow and walnut trees. One willow in particular… had its root system star higher than all the others. As a result, the trunk of the tree was a bit concave, and at a slant. When I sat down in that concave area, I fit so comfortably, it was almost as if it was made for that very purpose. The hanging vines swayed all around except for one spot, conveniently located right in front of the place I sat. I felt like the tree was hugging me in a non-threatening way.

I made that my go to spot for reflection, deep thought, and reading. I adopted that tree. It was so much more that just a tree to me. My first semester came to a close that fall, and when I returned for the next semester, it was the dead of winter. And there was the better part of three feet worth of snow on the ground. Spring eventually came back in full swing and I was so happy to be back in my spot again.

That summer, I stayed on campus, and worked for the college as a landscaper to finance my tuition. And one particular day, I saw my tree had been cut down. I was told the reason it was selected was because it was drawing too much water out of the pond, and this was to regulate that.
My spot was gone. And though I didn’t let anyone see me I cried about it. Time went on as time will do, summer ended, classes resumed. And once more I found myself in the grip of winter. Looking out across the pond, I saw the stump sitting there all alone. It was like looking at death. Nothing was there to give me a hint that there was still life in that stump.

Winter ended. Spring returned, and I could not bring myself to go to the pond, just because the hurt was still there. I had to stay in my room as my spot. At the end of that Spring I was finishing my fourth semester, and at the end of summer, I would be entering my Senior Year. I stayed on as a landscaper again. And then the order was given to make the pond nice. Many cattails and tall grasses had overtaken the banks, and I was to make it look nice again. I pained me to do so, just because I would have to look at me fallen friend again.

And upon returning to the spot, I found there was no stump to be seen. Because it was surrounded by fresh green shoots. Some of them as thick as a pencil is long, and 7 feet high. I wasn’t able to sit in the same spot anymore, but my tree was back. There was life again, and I reclaimed my spot.

God spoke to me in that moment. The last two years of your life have been hard. You feel like there is nothing to show for it. You have been reduced to just a shell of your former self. But much like your tree, there is life still within you. And your season of resurrection is here. Pay attention, and you will see Me work.

And Boy, did I see some changes. Regrettably, I was not able to complete my studies. And I see why that was. God took me down another path. one that I see the reasons for only in the last year. I wouldn’t be a pastor today, if I were to have stayed the extra time and completed my degree.

That is not to say I do not wish to complete it, the time obviously is just not now.
Keep it in Jesus.