Where is your heart?

What is your first love?

Or who is your first love?

If it’s been a while since you placed your walk with God first…

Take a few moments to read this True-Life Post and reevaluate.

During the spring of 1985, one of my brothers came to visit Pam and I in Sierra Vista Arizona. We had recently moved from Tucson, Arizona to Sierra Vista, Arizona and he wanted to see how things had changed for us.

My younger brother, David, stayed with us for several weeks before any real trouble began.  

For whatever reason,  my kid brother decided to betray our trust and flee the state of Arizona with Pam’s 1977 Mustang, a very expensive Italian leather jacket and most precious to me at that time, a 12 string, Blue-Ridge custom made Gibson Guitar. In hind-sight, the Lord showed me I was too attached to the guitar.  (I’m using a replacement 12 string Taylor in the photo above where I’m serenading my first granddaughter.)

Though not sure what woke me, at about 4:00 a.m. that winter night, I sat up and search the house. I found our front door wide open and our home thermostat set to its maximum temperature setting.  The house was sweltering.  During my search I realized my kid brother was missing along with several valuable personal items.  One of these items was my guitar! 

Pam and I knew immediately what had happened.  For the umpteenth time my brother had stolen from us and ran off.  I was furious; of course, but as the Bible commands, we must forgive.  It took me a while, but I was able to forgive him and grow in the process.

Over the next several days I was able to get in touch with my mother and through her find out where my brother had gone.  With a little coaxing we discovered what he had done with my guitar and other valuable items.   Sadly, I was informed he’d sold my custom guitar for just $50.00 and to make matters worse… he sold my baby (my guitar) to someone he thought was a Satanist.  The man lived in Tucson, Arizona.

It took a bit of effort but I was finally able to get a call through to my brother.  Though he provided nothing in the form of an apology, he was willing to give me the general description of how to locate the guy to whom he’d sold my guitar.

As a kindness, preacher John, now a friend, gave me a ride to Tucson where my brother had sold our things. With only a small amount of effort we were able to recover some of our stole items and then locate the apartment where “the Satanist” was currently living.  Unfortunately, we could not find anyone home for several hours.  The man’s place was near downtown Tucson in a rather secluded section of town.  We made several trips to his apartment in an attempt to catch him at home.  We did not have a phone number or any other method of reaching him short of leaving a message (which I was not confident would suffice).

As our day progressed I became sadly aware that I might not be able to retrieve my guitar.  Isn’t it interesting how God works in and thru our lives?  Someplace during this process of trying to recover my guitar I realized I cared much too much for this guitar.  I realized It was just a thing.  With a sense of finality I turned my feeling of great loss over to God and asked Him to forgive me for putting so much import on something as unimportant as a guitar.  I prayed, “Lord, if it’s Your plan or will that I should never recover this guitar, then so be it… I relinquish the guitar to You and that’s okay.”

Just a short time later, John and I were coming to the end of our time in Tucson and all to soon had to return to Sierra Vista.  We decided we had just enough time for one more attempt at retrieving the guitar.  As we parked outside and below the apartment where the gentleman lived I could hear my guitar being played.  As I had mentioned before, by brother led me to believe he had sold the guitar to a man who claimed to be a Satanist (the ultimate insult, I felt).

As I began climbing the stairs to the man’s apartment, I prayed.  I believed I was entering a spiritual battlefield.  As I mounted the steps I suddenly noticed, what appeared to be, a golden glow projected around my body.  At first I didn’t know what to make of this golden light; still, as I drew closer to the door I could feel a sense of righteousness pouring out from the Lord.  I assumed I was being empowered by the righteousness of God as I stepped up to the man’s front door and knocked.

The music suddenly stopped; I don’t know why, but I was surprised he was playing a little Cat Steven’s piece; nothing evil, I mused.  The door swung open with what to me seemed a normal looking gentleman peeking out at me from his doorway.  Aaah, my rejoiced!  My guitar was suspended from his neck as he, in his most Evil – Satanic – Voice spoke!  “What’s up?  What can I do for you, man?”  So evil!  Wait, I thought, my mind screeching to a halt? He looks normal.

I quickly placed my left hand over my eyes and began from the top of my guitar to the bottom rattling off six or ten identifying features that only the owner of the guitar could possibly know.

His name was David and he was-not a Satanist.  David, not my brother, stood there in his doorway dumb-founded. He then sadly declared, “Wow man, I don’t know why, but I trust you more that any person I have ever met.  Please, come on in and tell me what’s up.”

I came into David’s home and shared with him how my brother had stolen my wife’s car and numerous other items only a few days earlier and fled.  Obviously, those items included my guitar.  David, repeated the previous comment he’d made at his door, saying, “Like I said, I don’t know why, Man, but I trust you more that any person I’ve ever met.”

David handed over my guitar and said, “Here dude. This is obviously your guitar.  You can have it back.”

I offered to return the $50.00 my brother had taken from him and pay for anything else my brother might have sold him that was mine.  David, however, an honorable man, adamantly refused to take any payment. He said he should have known better and realized the Gibson12-String was worth far more than $50.00.

Because of this odd encounter between David and me, I was able to share the gospel message with David, telling him about the love of my Lord, Jesus Christ. That very meeting gave David the chance to accept Jesus into his heart and receive eternal salvation. Praise the Lord, David accepted!  He and I will meet again in the Kingdom of our Lord!

David said he was not a Satanist, but admitted some of the guys partying at his place that infamous night certainly were. Curiously, the one thing David was most concerned with was the fact he was about to enter the US Military in several weeks and just wanted, until that time, to have a nice guitar to play.

I told David my new brother in Christ, that while he was staying with us in Sierra Vista My brother David and I had been working on a nice though old electric guitar.  We had stripped it down and made it ready for repainting.  I told David I would make sure he received that newly painted guitar as soon as possible.  The following day we were able to get that guitar into his hands with a small amplifier to boot.  Praise the Lord, another soul for the kingdom of God!

I think it is important to note the Lord did not return my guitar until after I had relinquished it from my heart and into His hands. Since that day, there has not been any material item which has held that same level of significance in my heart.  Lord willing, there never will be.

Isn’t it interesting how God prepared me for a battle very different than the one I was expecting.

God’s righteousness translated onto David trusting me according to God’s purpose and will and resulted in David’s salvation and God being glorified. So what the enemy intended for evil God used for good in the saving of David’s soul.

Are there things in your life you hold too dear?

Are there people in your life who hold a place so valued they displace God’s first-place position in your life and relationship?

Do these individuals or things hold a greater place of honor or priority than they should?

The time has come when Jesus needs to be your first priority above all else. Your walk with God needs to be number one!

Today more than ever feeding your family, paying your bills, keeping your job and living in your home “may mean” taking the Mark of the Beast.  What choice will you make?  Whom do you serve?

The Beginning of Sorrows is here and the Great Consummation is just around the corner. Whatever you do, you don’t want to take the Mark.

Know what is coming!  Get your copy and read, “This Side of the Whirlwind, the Coming Apocalypse” today!