[Our conversation over morning coffee continues with factual refutations of a claim of indoctrination…]
The waiter brings a tray of freshly ground coffee; an enticing aroma wafts around our window table. Taking my cup, I muse over how the Lord would like me to play our time: like a mental game of draughts/checkers or, even better, completing an invisible jigsaw?
“It’s good you’re able to join us my friend and, to answer your good question about my ‘dredging up’ the past; it’s been necessary to revisit the launch of my blog. Why, you may ask? Maybe you read how its anniversary week got scrambled? Something I’d written about back in 2011 got repeated precisely on the blog’s 2nd birthday?”
“You mean the references to Jerusalem in Iran’s military plans?”
“S’right! That repetition amazed me – and don’t ask about their nuclear accord’s likely link with EU Recommendation 666! If you’d like to mull that over then check one of my earliest emails…” [See Not many people know…]
“I recall your confiding in me back then,” interrupts Steve, “You sure were slow making up your mind and moving from private emails into public blogging.”
“Right Steve. And when I eventually got down to it, I aimed to briefly tell my story in time for the start of Advent because it’s related to that. Yet, I’d never have dreamt how that timing fitted in with how it was to be repeated – maybe the Lord arranged for that to confirm the change was the right thing to do?..and done at the right time? After all, He’s the only real Time Lord. But don’t make me duck the question Steve…
Steve chuckles into his coffee, “You just can’t get away from that daft, dead duck!”
Grinning too, I continue, “After that weird…nay, uncanny ‘co-incidence’, I wanted to be sure I wasn’t missing anything else. I was open to hearing from the Lord on that score. He reminded me about two items put aside at the blog’s launch. The main one is held pending the growth in readership and the other, our topic, had been briefly tackled at the time elsewhere. However, I thought it may prove useful in addressing any cynical reaction to a later, fuller account of how I was set free. Also, it relates to the validations of that story, as promised two months ago.” [See The last day in my life…]
“Hold on, I find some of that hard to believe. Why would God be interested in obscure, minute details? Couldn’t it simply be your own imagination Richard?”
Putting my cup down, “I understand what you’re saying my friend. I recall having heard in my youth someone claimed to be a Christian because of personal experience. I didn’t believe it because, if God does exist and is omnipotent, then He’d be remote and not be in touch with mere mortals. And, if Jesus had gone to join Him then the same would apply about Him. Anyway, isn’t that why Catholics pray to Jesus’ mother and dead saints; because they were ordinary humans? (None of which I did.)
“What I learned from the brotherhood I joined seemed far more rational and superior to religious nonsense. So, I became intellectually arrogant after accepting the existence of a supreme mind, to which all religions lead. I was taught how to attune and commune through meditation with this ‘cosmic’ mind, which wasn’t like the personal god of Judeo-Christianity. Now and then I’d muse over how such a non-personal being, both the source and goal of existence, could connect with human nature and our minds.
“But when the real Jesus confronted me and I learned He’s exactly as in scripture, then I was able to understand why and how the ultimate Father is very interested in our own well-being and details of our daily lives. So, to answer your point – He had something, or several things, to convey about that ‘coincidence’ to me – a ‘God-incidence’, as I’d say.
“Furthermore, such a grouping of related matters isn’t unusual. It’s happened previously about my blog’s launch – and that again was all to do with timing!
“Look at it this way: suppose you played a game of dice and started by rolling a double-six and then immediately did it again – twice! The next time you go to the same table you repeat triple rolls of double-sixes right at the start, as before. If that happened at a real casino trickery would be suspected, would it not? But we know such an oddity has actually happened. Logically, we could infer some sort of guiding hand or unseen intelligence behind those events, could we not?”
“Maybe Richard, I’m almost convinced. On the other hand your banging the drum about this may mean you don’t like that man’s idea of your dream and conversion all coming out of indoctrination as a child. I can see his point…if he’d read your description of your earlier life.”
“I see where you’re coming from my friend. As a Humanist he had difficulty grasping what my previous, totally different life-style had been like, especially with a working knowledge of the paranormal. To me, it made absolutely no sense to relinquish all that. It would have to take an exceptional event to top it and change me. Also, I’m sure he’d know some dreams can be so lucid it seems we’re more awake than when normally so. But no doubt he’d find it incredible to believe dreams can be controlled and changed!
“That’s why I likened the difference between us as his driving a dodgem car and my flying around and into orbit. Even so, I was grateful for his valuable contribution to the debate.”
“Ah, that’s where I came in. I wondered what you and Steve were talking about. Now I’ve got it – thanks.”
We take a few moments to relish our coffees before I resume…
“So it’s now time to revisit the lessons gained in that friendly debate. I think there’s good reason to put it to use in making a clear pointer to the existence of God in our lives, to encourage everyone to know why it’s vital to learn about Jesus and how to know Him personally.
“This year’s seen a growing number of readers who may not be committed Christians, or who may have a non-Christian perspective, as well as newer followers, maybe you too? – all of whom are warmly welcomed.
“What’s more, however, there’s an increasingly vociferous, if not hostile, anti-Christian posture of secularism within society, as is clear from Gillan Scott’s popular UK blog on God and politics. I’ve found atheists and secularists can have very closed minds. This prevents honest discussion.”
“Oh, come on, perhaps they could say the same of you Richard.”
“Ok, here’s a couple of examples from my online debates: A supposedly open-minded investigator of the supernatural, who claimed evidence for ghosts, refused outright to check documentary evidence for divine healing I’d offered. Someone else, unfamiliar with the Bible and history had no framework for understanding spiritual gifts, although in a Christian community! She smacked me down for being arrogant in referring to facts about spiritual experiences – simply because her community never talks about them!! Obviously, an unusual sort of believers! Or are they?
“Now let’s get to the hub of the matter and discuss data: facts that confirm my claims.
“By facts I mean something more concrete than coincidence or happy chance, or ‘God-incidence’ – facts that refute any claim of indoctrination, or of my imagination, being the cause of that life-changing dream or vision – my unsolicited, unsettling encounter with Jesus. Please bear with me a tad longer on these personal details…”
[It may be helpful to read The last day of my life… for an appreciation of what follows.]
MORE THAN A DREAM – A VISITATION
“Some time was needed to gain a fuller understanding of that awesome visitation. It was so powerful it remains vividly etched in my mind nearly 25 years later!
“The event used two very personal aspects of my childhood to grab my attention. To be fair, they may support the claim of indoctrination. My adversary thought ‘the twitch upon a thread’ had the potential to cause my ‘Damascene conversion’. But even if that were so, those hoary aspects show the event was related to past reality and not imaginary. What’s more, objective facts prove it wasn’t an entirely subjective dream! And if it was imaginary of simply the result of early indoctrination how could it explain all consequent events such as being led to similar testimonials or invisible shackles being shattered?
“Intriguingly, both aspects are directly relevant to the 1st and 2nd Advents! So, they couldn’t fail to enhance my interest in End-Times, instigated as it was only a few years earlier by The Invisible Hand – the starting point of my blog’s Iran-Jerusalem issue!
“Inwardly I ‘knew’ the heavenly visitor was indeed Jesus, and that the impressive action was a foretaste of his promised return – His Second Advent or Coming, in all His power and glory:
“It reminded me of my favourite picture in mother’s Missal, or service book of the Roman Mass. It gave full details of every Sunday service throughout the year with a diagram representing its theme. As a boy keen on astronomy I’d been fascinated by the picture for the First Sunday in Advent showing Jesus standing on clouds over a burning earth in the midst of sun, moon and falling stars. This portrayed events prophesied for the time of His return!
“The first objective confirmation, or validation, of the personal visitation came almost as unusually. During a healing retreat in 1995, one of the ministry team told me God would show me something after lunch. And that did happen after lunch! Someone at my table took me aside afterwards to confide the Lord told her to show me a treasured photo.
“This photo is said to have been taken from an aircraft over a thunderstorm. After the camera film was taken for development the developer apologised for its poor quality – he didn’t know this unusual image of clouds seemed to be of Jesus Christ. Interestingly, the facial features are hazy, not defined, BUT exactly like Jesus in my dream for I had not seen His face. [This is published by Bible Probe. I recall dark, hazy clouds at the foot of the image.]
“Upon seeing this photo my legs gave way – I could not stand but fell into a nearby chair! My companion said I went so white she thought I was going to faint or fall. Yet, just how did a stranger know to show me this photo? I’d not divulged such a personal dream – she simply said, “It’s the Lord’s doing”.
“Therefore, in my opinion this may be regarded as an objective confirmation.”
“I was puzzled over the closing element of the dream-event. When I reached out towards Jesus’ feet to grasp His robe, it turned into the branch of a Christmas tree which toppled over as I touched Him. And a fairy fell off the tree’s top and onto the floor!”
“Indeed, but the event was the most fantastic Christmas present. It’s always an encouragement and help in time of need, no matter how dire.
“Some years passed before a fuller understanding came. In the dream, the corner of the room by the window was where the family Christmas tree used to be placed. So that corner was closely associated with Christmas. In painting pictures I’d put a blue stripe at the top of outdoor scenes to represent heaven, as some children did. But I’d also draw a small Christmas tree in heaven as being Jesus.
“Why? It was quite logical to my child’s mind for I’d heard a TV actor mention “Jesus” whilst in between fir trees of his height. Taking the actor at his word I’d then draw Jesus as a fir-tree. Hence, the heavenly visitor in my dream changed to reflect that memorable image.
“The dream’s dramatic closing signified the time had come to put away not only childish misconceptions but also false teachings and replace them with truth – the one who is the Truth in person.
“Everything pointed to a most intimate knowledge of my childhood. Now that may have come direct from my deep subconscious, as claimed in debate. But that just couldn’t explain 3 separate, objective confirmations from 3 different sources, human or divine.”
“Nor could it explain,” Steve volunteered, “The unexpected appearance of a UFO in the dream for I think you told me, Richard, you didn’t take those claims seriously. You’d done your homework and became quite cynical about UFOs.”
“Yes, that’s so. Sometime later, in a lucid dream, I gained an insight into possible UFO demonic activity. And so in the ’89 dream, I exclaimed to myself when one appeared and then realised I was dreaming. To avoid the necessity of explanation, I didn’t quote what I’d actually said because I’d referred to the UFO by using the name of Eric von Daniken, the author who’d introduced the idea our ancient ancestors as space gods. My dream had already opened into a higher realm, signified by looking through the window. After I saw the UFO and exclaimed, “Not that von Daniken nonsense!”, it brought further revelation but for which I wasn’t in the right place.
“Hence, my realisation of the truth of scripture and that I was not IN Christ Jesus. What an encounter, even though it went on to use intimate memories for reasons unknown to me at that moment. But back to the second validation…
“The visitation of Sept 1989 was validated in 1995, but more confirmations were yet to come! Upon revisiting this story for this blog another 16 years later, I was surprised by a couple of insights that dropped into mind. One was tantalising: could the number of my childhood home (212) possibly be significant in pointing toward the coming year? That is, to 2012!
“Such musing was confirmed by a numerical ‘coincidence’ at the first conference we were to attend in 2012. The car’s odometer measured the ‘trip’ distance between home and the conference hotel as 212 miles!!”
“Once again, timing proves critical in presenting another objective confirmation! Again, had I not been writing about the visitation I would have missed the crucial linkage!
“If you read the installments of my journey into freedom you may recall I’d inserted a report on something pertinent that happened at that time in the USA. This came as a ‘new revelatory word’ from the Lord to Revd John Kilpatrick and began at 2:22am. This is numerically interesting and the word itself is directly relevant to my dream visitation in referring to the angelic host as well as in closing with Luke 21:28, namely:
But when these things begin to come to pass, look up, lift up your heads, because your redemption is at hand.
“Here’s mother’s Missal for the First Sunday of Advent and you can now see how that scripture links into my personal visitation and what pastor John brought…”
[Page 69 on image refers; click to enlarge]