Proof no. 3 of the Spirit

An utterly unquenchable need for the Lord and to know Him better.
Since the beginning of my transformation 7+ years ago my NEED to know more about my newly revealed Father has been spiritually non-stop. For instance….If I am doing something that distracts me away from God it takes a mere few seconds once the task is complete for my attention to refocus on Him. It’s automatic. I have to, it’s as if I have no choice.
Keep in mind that before God flipped this switch in me I couldn’t even fathom being so driven to know God’s heart.
This evolution of my mind is nothing short of miraculous, praise be to God, and a sure sign of the reality of what has occurred and continues to this day.

Yahweh God is most certainly real and I believe one need only realize this to the heart to undergo this same beautiful renewal of the mind.

To believe is one thing, but to know Him, that’s what it’s ALL about.

Love perfected

Proof #2 of the spirit;

Fearlessness in the heart-
Perfect love does indeed cast all fear (1 John 4:18) in this way. Once you feel the Spirit take a hold of your life and the change begins you also naturally know that God is real and if God is real then by deduction heaven and the afterlife is real. This core knowledge reveals then the truth about this life and that is that it, at best, pales in comparison tando the next therefore ALL the things and fears of this life actually mean nothing. A new everlasting life has begun and NOTHING can snatch you from it, (John 10:28), so what is there to fear?

Don’t misunderstand, It’s not that I am completely Fearless in this reality. Put me on the roof of a house and you’ll see fear in my eyes, but the fear I’m talking about is a fear that drives your everyday decisions.

Am I afraid to fall and hurt myself? Of course! That’s just being undeniably human.

But the deceiver has no power over me for I am a child of God!

Proofs of the Spirit

Signs that the holy spirit is in you

  1. Confidence in salvation
    Upon receiving “the helper”, (as Jesus calls him in ), one no longer merely hopes in their sanctification, a without a doubt realization occurs and he or she KNOWS they have been set apart for God. It cannot be explained in words, you just know.
  2. Will be posted soon…

God’s plan for YOU

Imagine …… being able to speak things into existence with just a simple word. For instance. If you wanted a new goat, you just have to say the word goat and a perfect goat would appear before you. This ability, this power is the power of God Almighty… our creator. Jesus was spoken into existence. Jesus was and is the words of grace and truth and was spoken into existence. He embodied these traits from God, (read the opening to the Gospel of John).

In the beginning God spoke ALL things into existence, First creating a place for humans to exist and then crowning it with the human being, And he did so with a plan in mind.
Now this plan, although incredibly complex, is also incredibly simple.
God’s end goal is to have a creation where he can dwell with his people who love him. But in order for him to have humans that truly love him He has to give them a choice. And of course the only way for us to have had a choice-
We had to have been tempted to MAKE a choice in the first place.

Enter Satan and the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil.
In giving us this tree and the choice to eat from it or not God laid down the very first law And of course, having been given our choosing hearts, we broke it. He knew this would happen because in order for his plan to be set in motion it HAD to happen.
The newly formed humans then had to be given laws to teach them right from wrong, Enter Moses and Aaron after the great flood period. And of course through the law sin was excited all the more. ,(read Romans), But this had to happen so that we could determine good from Evil, right from wrong. And so from this Revelation comes an even greater one, forgiveness.
Forgiveness is an expression of true and unconditional love. God being good and patient and forgiving and merciful and loving Beyond human comprehension Gives us this through Jesus Christ Our Savior and Lord.

Originally this ultimate sacrifice was foreshadowed through the sacrificial System created by God with animals. But why so bloody and messy, right? There are many reasons but the main one was the fact that it had to be that way because that’s where the life is, in the blood, (read Deuteronomy). And so The only true Redemption comes through perfect blood and animals being sinless, were the only perfect blood available, hence the foreshadowing of the perfect human blood through Jesus Christ. The problem with Animal blood was that it, forgiveness, couldn’t last, Which is why they had to continue doing it over and over, but it showed them that they could indeed be forgiven And THAT was the point. Enter Jesus Our savior!
Only perfect human blood could give perfect. Redemption and so God spoke him into life for us – he rigged the game Knowing we couldn’t do it on OUR own.
Now this is where it gets tricky.

Some humans have the choice and some do not.
The first Chosen People by God, (the Hebrews), had a choice, the prophets God knit together in their mother’s womb for the sake of the Fulfillment of His plan, did not.
Sure, some ran away or tried to say no thanks, but in the end they did their appointed tasks.

So what can you do?


The answers are in the book of Revelation. Read it out loud and be blessed and KNOW this truth.

Some will go with Jesus and some will not.
Some will be in the presence of God And some just won’t.
Some will be in the presence of goodness and some will go where there is gnashing of teeth.

When The Pharisees and Sadducees first laid eyes on Jesus, They had a choice. The disciples, Being brought to Jesus by the father, did not….and neither did I.
God chose to change Me from the inside out. I neither prayed for it or even thought about wanting it, And God knows I certainly don’t deserve it, Yet It occurred nonetheless.
But why?
This has been the looming question since the onset of my transformation.
7 years later the answer is becoming More and more clear….He’s coming! Just look at all the converging prophetic signs!

Here’s the Good news…in order to be with God You ONLY have to believe in Jesus.
So again, what Do we have to do to go with Him And be with God at the end?
One need only BELIEVE.
God is real, I’m living proof- why else would the wholsale change in me from being a party-hardy to a bible devouring disciple have occurred?

May God bless you with a peace in your heart which surpasses all human understanding.

The Spirit is real and this REALLY DOES HAPPEN!!

Seven years ago this April I began to change………and life has never been so sweet!!

This is why;

What is written below is what I have come to know to be the reality of the gospel message through my own personal experience.  Because of this revelation an unexpected by-product has also been revealed.

In my six plus years of studying the scriptures, it has been my humble observation that the gospel message has been so entirely muddied and made difficult in nearly every way by the majority of those who claim to be pastors, preachers and teachers of the bible that I feel inspired and compelled to clarify the message in hopes that maybe just one more child can return.

Like I said, this is what I know to be true because it has literally happened to me.

THE GOSPEL

We are forgiven through the perfect blood of Jesus and all we have to do is first BELIEVE in Him. Then, when we accept this as the truth, we then receive the Holy Spirit. Once this happened the repentance began as the Holy spirit began to magnify those things in my life that I needed to humble myself to God about. I don’t know that this is the way for others but this is how it happened to me.
This is a supernatural occurrence that changed me from the inside out by inscribing God’s laws on my heart and consciousness.

This was and is still very real!!

It is at this point that I encourage you to investigate first and foremost who Jesus was and what He did…. at least I know that’s where it all started for me. You can read about how God transformed me here https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/possessedbygod.com/3458

When this reality occurs the result is that you no longer want to “live by the flesh” and in sin, giving evidence that Jesus is indeed the fulfillment of the law just as is written.   How?  Jesus indwells your heart, which is “the circumcision” of your heart.

This newly attained life inside you then abolishes the law. The law in fact becomes a given way of life for those who have the Spirit and are BORN AGAIN now of the water AND the Spirit and so are we no longer judged by the laws because we go by them naturally, meaning we don’t feel good or OK with sinning any longer.

So, although we still sin and fall short due to our Adam inherited humanity and the fact that there are just so many laws one cannot help but to break one or two daily, we still continue to advance with the help of the Spirit, (The Helper, as Jesus calls Him), and are ultimately forgiven and righteous before God regardless of what may occur in our lives…. for just as it is written, NOTHING, not even ourselves can separate those from The Father who truly love Him. AND we have Jesus at the right hand of God as our advocate. We have been sealed as His.


Although this seems too good to be true, this fact remains; we need only accept this gift of grace, (JESUS), to be reconciled to our creator and loving Father.

This is the good news that sets us free!!

But this isn’t just good news, It’s the best news ever so tell others so that they can share in the great joy that life has to offer through Christ Jesus!

Receivieng the Spirit, here’s how.

So ya wanna know how to receive the spirit huh?

Why?

Why DO you want to be “filled” with the Holy Spirit?

This is the question that you really have to answer before you go any further because if your intentions aren’t clear and right than the only chance you have is for the Father to have predestined you from the beginning, which is not impossible but, ….well,… it’s not impossible.

If your intentions are pure and real and not for personal gain, then here’s how you too can receive the Advocate, the Helper that will change you from the inside out, just as He has me.

It’s at this juncture that I am tempted to insert scripture to help support my theory but I am going to resist and instead let you discover on your own what God wants you to read and hear, and therefore you will be getting it directly from Him, because after all, it’s really up to Him anyway.  (If that doesn’t make sense it’s o.k., it will in time and study, but please don’t give up).

I say ‘theory’ because that is what this is.  I don’t know if it will work because I have never done it myself and seen the desired results, nor have I given this formula to someone else and seen it work, but because I am indeed filled with God’s Holy Spirit I crave to help others have it as well, so I am nearly continuously doing just that in one way or another.  In fact, the only time I am not is when this world gets in the way, meaning, chasing this false reality of our own creation which we have to do to some extent just to pay the bills.  (This too will become clearer with scriptural study so don’t get side tracked here either).

First know this.  There are many who will try to “lead you to God” by quoting scripture, and for some this might be the answer, but I am speaking to those who don’t connect this way.  I am speaking to those of you who are like me.  To me this seemed to be a shallow and confusing way that ultimately I gave up on.  I had no idea that I could feel a love so fullfilling that it would give actual meaning to the words “the joy of the Lord is my strength!”

This is as close as I have been able to relate what I have experienced in human terms.

If you have ever felt what you consider to be “true love”, like the first time you fell in love with your highschool sweetheart, you know, the kind of love that completely envelopes your every thought, then you have an idea of what I am talking about.  It’s like that only MUCH stronger and completely infallible.   If this sounds unbelievable, I understand, I once felt that way too.  That’s what makes it all the more amazing and all the more compelling for me to continue to try and find a way to make it accessible to others!

So now on to the theory.  Please give it a try and then let me know how it goes, that is if you feel compelled to let me know.  I mean, your relationship with the Father is really between you and God and that’s what counts here, I would just like to know if it works considering this isn’t how it happened to me.  You see, I was just suddenly changed in a small way that began with a curiosity one morning and so this is where I believe it has to begin.  That’s right, this ISN’T how it went down for me.  But how I was changed I simply cannot duplicate.  I just woke up one day with a curiousity for Jesus.  No one said anything to me the night before, I just on a whim watched a pre-taped show on the History channel about the bible, thought nothing special about it, and went to bed.  This I believe was the planting of the “mustard seed” by God and from there it just grew so how can I expect to say or do anything to simulate this for someone else?  That has in fact been my ongoing perplexity!  But I can come to the obvious conclusion that it did indeed start with researching Jesus Christ and so I think it must start here.  Not just because it happened to me in that way but because after it did happen to me I later went on to read in the bible that this is how it has to happen, we must go through Jesus.  This is multi-dimentional, as you will find out through study as well.

Also know this as truth, you must come to know Jesus.  Not just know about Him but to fall in love with Him.  Now here’s the tricky part, how can you fall in love with someone you don’t know?

STEP ONE-  research who Jesus was when He walked the earth.  What did He do, what did He say, and what do those actions and words mean?

I started with movies but I invite you to go wherever the Spirit takes you.

God bless you and keep you in the same mind as Jesus, Amen.

Pain, the reminder we’re not home yet

Almost three years and my heart still races with love! God’s love is so clear yet bubbly, filling my heart when He comes to mind, which continues to be nearly every moment.

But with this elation a knowing sadness pursues it. A sadness that only the world can provide. The same as when recalling a happy time with someone you’ve lost. A smile followed by a tear.

I only want to be with you my Father. To sit in your love and listen for your voice, but the world and its people won’t stop tugging at my heart.

I have to do work around the house or I won’t be pulling my weight.

I have to pay attention to the time so I stay on course.

I have to earn money so I can keep feeding the machine.

The only activity I enjoy other than either being with or talking about God is being with my family, the rest just gets in the way, ( and if I were to speak honestly, sometimes they do too).

I love this life that you’ve blessed me with!  I want to live it to its fullest so as to glorify you, my Lord and Savior!

When can I come home Abba?

God revealed- Book introduction

Imagine if you will that you are sitting on your deck, enjoying a cup of coffee, or tea, or whatever you like to have in the morning to greet the day.  It’s just after the sun has risen and you are admiring the springtime-crisp morning air. The orange and pink hues are giving way to a light blue sky that is dotted with medium to low flying, white cumulous clouds. You are minding your own business really, not doing anything more than taking in the scenery, when suddenly something happens that is both supernatural and unexplainable. God reveals Himself to you for no reason whatsoever. This is what happened to me……….

You can have redemption too, here’s how.

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You can have the grace of God and be strengthened by His Holy Spirit just as I have been. It feels like the greatest love that you have ever felt, like the first time that you fell in love only better, MUCH better! This is no joke, but you have to believe and love God with all of your heart, mind and strength.
So you may be asking, “how do I do it?” It’s very simple really, and millions have already experienced what I am writing about by doing exactly what I am about to tell you, but again, you must believe wholeheartedly. You can’t utter the words as a test to see if He is real, you have to believe me and the many others who testify to this reality. I mean THINK ABOUT IT, after all is said and done we have nothing to gain, but you have EVERYTHING to gain. Put your pride behind you about this and YOU WILL FEEL HIS INCREDIBLE AND NEVERENDING LOVE!
Simply find a place of peace where you can pray to The Father and just tell Him that you are aware of your sinful nature and the sins that you have committed against Him and that you recognize Jesus as your savior and then ask Him to forgive you and then ask Him into your heart to lead you.
This is exactly how millions have received the Holy Spirit for thousands of years and you can too and He will rejoice just as it is written.
I also recommend that you first study up on who Jesus really was and get the information for yourself and then YOU CAN DECIDE FOR YOUSELF if He was a lunatic, liar or if He truly is the Lord. Stop believeing what others have told you, including me, STUDY AND SEE FOR YOURSELF. You wouldn’t buy a car without doing the research first would you? How much more important is this than that?
I hope and pray to see you on the other side….

Why can’t we put God and family first?

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After watching the politicians go round and round for the past few months, (seems like years already!), I still haven’t heard what I am looking for, but in glances.  What is the REAL solution to the dilemmas that we face as Americans today?

Our society has major predicaments that stretch across and deeply effect all classes.  I could name them but why waste your time, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.  The one cause that the serious problems all really point to when all of the smoke clears is the family unit.  What has happened to the American family unit?  Why don’t any of the presidential candidates speak to the disintegration of the family as a point of emphasis?  Is it because there’s no money in it?  This brings me to the real heart of the matter, money and our insatiable appetite for it.

We as Americans have been convinced that we need more money, no matter how much we have.  It’s not enough to be able to live the happy life of raising up a family that loves the Lord, (which,  by the way, will get us ALL that we need).  No, we have been sold this idea of enormous wealth being the end goal and we as a whole have bought into it, (but not without a coupon we got in the mail for 25% off, of course.  We Americans do love a bargain!)

More toys, (that cost more money to play with and maintain), a bigger house, (that costs more to maintain and one day you will grow out of and ultimately lose anyway), a more expensive car, (so you can feel the fleeting joy of fulfilling an unrealistic childhood dream).  What is life REALLY about anyway?

So from where does this love of money come?

Studies have proven that the first three years of life are the most crucial, and from there our real memories are made.  Our childhood is what shapes us.  All things are seated in our upbringing, whether we want to admit it or not.  Not placing blame, just sayin’.

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And so here we sit atop a giant mountain of “what we are” according to what we have internalized as “important”.  Now I ask you to look down and recognize what your pile is really based on.  Is it the love of money above God?  Be honest with yourself

I say this because if we really want to solve the multi-level crisis of today then we have to look inside the box.  We as parents and role models NEED TO raise our children properly from the beginning to the end.  Teach and show them that putting God and family first is the foundation on which all that is truly good is built.  Otherwise the cycle will continue and we will be continuing to put little bandages on gaping  wounds.  Shouldn’t we be actively trying as leaders to prevent the wounds in the first place?  But then again, think about all the money that would be lost, that’s what all the politicians do….

If we put Father God first in all situations, “good” or “bad”, the multi-dimensionally confusing situation becomes crystal clear and it seemingly takes care of itself As God intercedes for His children.

Money isn’t the root of all evil, greed above God is.

Keep your eye on the ball parents…….the world and your children’s future depends on it.

What Happened to Dad- Chapter 1

Is God real?

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ORIGINAL JOURNAL ENTRIES
5-21-14

Wow, what a day! I’ve never felt so perfect in all my life! Everything has been enhanced 10 fold it seems. My senses are heightened to the max. Tastes are even better and I thought it wasn’t possible.
Putting in lower path and really enjoying life! Having lunch-
Everything makes more sense then ever before. It’s as if the puzzle has been put together today….
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5-22-14

It’s still here! Not filling me up- but here. I’ve been compelled to get up @ 4:30 over the last few days, (several actually), and have a few hours of quiet time to myself-HUGE!
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5-23-14

I’m completely filled with joy today- I came downstairs and had a cup of coffee and checked the news then began editing and writing in my journal. The more I recall and write the better and more mentally coordinated I feel.
Lots to do today so better get to it. Will study Bible later.


Chapter 1

WHO I WAS

Is God real?  Is there really a supreme being that created Heaven and earth and everything in between?  These questions used to exist in my mind, my child, but not anymore.  Not since Arizona.  What you are about to read is a no punches pulled account of how the Holy Spirit has been poured out to me by God, which was and continues to be nothing short of miraculous.  I say “no punches pulled” because it is very raw.  I wanted to keep it as original as possible so I did very little editing.  I hope you can forgive my writing ignorance and stay the course because it will be more than worth it in the end.
I originally didn’t write this with anything in mind other to be able to reflect back on it one day and figure out what had happened, but then it just grew into something much bigger.  It grew like, well, the mustard seed, (you’ll have to read the parable of the mustard seed if you aren’t sure what I mean).
As you know, I am NOT by trade a writer or theologian.  You should also know that I am not a self proclaimed evangelist or looking to “save” you, (or anyone for that matter).  In fact, I now know by what has happened to me that only God can really save.  After all, no one did or said anything to me to begin my process of salvation, at least, that is, within the span of time that it actually began.  But maybe the seed was planted long ago.  For this reason I have included a few chapters of my earliest spiritual history.  Plus, I know I would have liked to know more about my dad’s early history, and I figure you might be just a bit like me, so I threw some in.  This insight into who I was will also serve as a contrast to who it is God has changed me into.
As you also know, outside of being a former professional baseball player with a few days played at the major league level, I am really just a “normal” human being.  There is really nothing special about me, but, for reasons only known by God, I’ve been transformed from the inside out.  But why?  This is what this is truly all about, why me and why now?  In my confused state I said that a lot, so please bear with me on that as well.
You have to understand this first and foremost.  when this first started happening I didn’t have even the slightest idea what was going on, it was all happening so fast and decisively and I felt like I didn’t have a choice.   Thankfully for the sake of my sanity, I have since received many revelations to help explain what was happening, the most recent of which has at least explained to me what I have become and who I now am.
I know now according to scripture that I am one of His elect, a bond slave to Him.  I know this to be true because I wake every day wanting to do only His will, and I absolutely love it!  I am a witness to His awesome power and I have no choice but to witness to anyone The Father brings my way.  My cup is truly overflowing with His love!
Although awesome and beautiful, and even sometimes supernatural, my transformation hasn’t been easy, however.   This new life has come with many challenges, some much more profoundly difficult than others.  I now know what He meant when Jesus said that He did not come to bring peace, but division in Luke 12:51,(I suggest you look that one up as well).
Anyway, let’s get on with it shall we?  I very truly hope that from reading this you can understand that our God is a great and awesome God and that He loves you even more than I do.

Chapter 2 – An agnostic is born

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Shaping the clay

Having been adopted at birth I’ve never known my biological parents, nor have I ever really wanted to. My older sister, older brother and I were placed by God into a loving, middle class family. My mother and father, your Grandma Judy and Grandpa Phil, raised us on ten acres out in the country.  I grew up on a small farm that consisted of a small herd of cattle, a barnyard full of chickens and ducks and one turkey that would chase us kids whenever we got too close.  We also raised some pigs from time to time which all helped to keep our grocery bill to a minimum.  We weren’t able to have much in the way of extras but I don’t ever recall going to bed hungry or going to school without what we needed to fit in or participate in athletics, my Grandpa and Grandma made sure of that.  I can’t tell you the number of times that we made the forty-five minute drive to Portland to visit Na Na and Pop, (as we called them), but whenever we did we came home with more more then we went with.  They not only gave us money whenever we needed help, but vehicle help as well.  Pop had more mechanical knowledge than anyone I’ve ever known and was as clever as they came.  I loved him and my Na Na very, very much.
My earliest recollection of a religious upbringing took place at the local church about a half mile away, on the highest hill around. Our church is as picturesque as they come for a small town.  It’s small and simple white box construction is straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting.  The double door entrance walks you through the steeple which contains a bell that could be heard ringing throughout the valley each and every Sunday.
The community I called home consisted of one four way stop and one tiny store about an eighth of a mile from our house that my brother and sister could walk to for a treat if we were “good”.  I still recall the store owner, Mr. Jiggs, playfully popping me on the top of my head with the bottom of the paper bag in the act of opening it whenever we bought something.  It was as small town as it gets and looking back now I realize just how blessed I was.
Why my parents dropped us off but didn’t attend with us I still don’t know to this day but it seemed just fine to us at the time.  It was probably as simple as just giving them, and us kids a much needed break.  I never saw it as a negative and I still don’t.  Which denomination we were I couldn’t tell you, but this was my first recollection of learning about God.
I still feel regret about how I acted during services.  As young, unsupervised boys, more then once my brother and I had started the service in the back pew by our choice but later wound up being moved to the front by the preacher’s choice.  I guess church was, to my brother and I, a chance to test our newly formed boundaries of freedom.
As I remember it, we did one immature thing after another.  From finger flicking battles that escalated into shoulder bruising wars to uncontrolled giggling fits, the reasons for being brought to front and center varied from Sunday to Sunday.  I have since seen my first pastor Larry, and given him and his wife Carolyn my most sincere apologies, which they simply smiled at and accepted, as any good Christian would.
My next spiritual “growth” took place in and around the 4th grade.  My best friend’s father was the preacher at the local Baptist church so I became involved in those services as well as in their youth group, I recall really enjoying the journey, that is until the bonfire experience.
This “fun-loving” bonfire was initially advertised to us kids as a nighttime spiritual get together and I recall being very excited to go.  I mean what gradeschooler wouldn’t love to watch a giant controlled burn?  I pictured a marsh mellow/wienie roasting, God loving gathering, that is until I was made aware of the kindling that would be used to start it.  Our youth director went on to explain that we should all bring our rock and roll tapes, comic books, baseball cards, and anything else that we ”idolized.”  Naturally, without any further explanation, this came off as quite strange to me, but I remember keeping quiet about it. But as time went on, the question of ‘why?’ kept nagging at my brain, and finally I couldn’t take it any longer so I asked. I remember the director looking me straight in the eye and, with a devilish smile, responding with the words I feared most. “We’re going to burn them little buddy.”
Now you gotta understand, my brother and I were avid and competitive comic book collectors and I also collected sports cards. These were more than just cardboard pictures, they held pictures of my heroes.  And on top of that, I had worked hard doing my chores around the farm to earn the money to buy those comics and football cards.
Well, I decided right then and there that I would not be going to that bonfire.  In fact, I didn’t go to that church, not one more time.  My father painted the 4×8 plywood backdrop of Mt. St. Helens for the baptismal in which I had earlier received my first Baptism, but that didn’t matter.  I knew in my heart that I wanted nothing to do with a church that was taking away my hard earned treasures and therefore a piece of my freedom as well.  I believe that this is when my rejection of God began, not a complete denial, but I began to see Him in a less than positive light, that’s for sure.
Due to the short-sightedness of the leaders of that church, God’s love for me changed into something that had to be earned and from that point forward I saw the church as something that stood between me and a good time. As I look back now, it was actually from that point on that I began to viewed God as a hindrance and a rebel was born.
All throughout my childhood and much of my early adult years I harbored a rebelliousness that would bubble up from time to time.  It was never so strong as to get me into serious trouble, but it existed nonetheless.  From intentionally causing waves in grade school by wearing an obscene t-shirt to paying a $20 fine with a sack full of quarters in the minor leagues for not wearing my uniform “the right way”, I guess there were times it just needed to come out.
Although I somewhat prided myself on my sporadic rebellious “bad boy” existence, I was never a bad person.  I must admit, however, I’ve always taken great pleasure in dominating the cocky types, athletically that is, so they may have a differing opinion about me from back in those days.  But off the field I was as fun loving a spirit as there was.  If there was an argument or fight at a after game party, I was usually the one keeping the peace with a cold beer diversion. Being from very simple family life I was taught early on by my father to always be humble and loyal.  I can still hear my dad tell me to let my actions do the talking.  I was also taught to treat others how I wanted to be treated and that family and team were always first.  My friends and family meant everything to me, just as they do today.  If anyone needed help in any way, I did what needed to be done.
Throughout my early 80’s high school years I admired and longed for the rock star lifestyle.  I gravitated toward older peers because of my athletic talent and a self esteem based on my ability to play the game of baseball and party with the “big boys” flourished.  My ego had taken on a life of it’s own and, I began traveling down what I now know was a self destructive road, although it didn’t feel like it at the time .  All evidence led me to believe that I was special, and I guess I wanted to show that to everyone by being a success despite leading an anti All-American lifestyle.  The rebel in me wanted to prove I could be an All-American and not live the All-American life.  I had thrown no-hitters, hit game winning grand slams and won many ego building accolades living this way.  There were times when I felt untouchable by anyone or anything.  I was athletically talented and seemingly unstoppable, destined to make millions of dollars doing what I loved, playing the game of baseball.  Life was so sweet and simple. Too sweet and simple.
I went on to fall in love with my high school sweetheart and promise my mother the house she had always wanted, an ‘A’ frame with big windows.  Despite my use of drugs and alcohol my grades didn’t suffer throughout high school.  I also enjoyed great success playing the game, which only fueled my thoughts of invincibility, so the party raged on.  It wasn’t until college that the good times began to affect my grades, but even that didn’t matter.  In my mind I would be hiring someone to do my accounting, why should I learn about it?
Then came my first real setback.
During my college sophomore season I suffered a shoulder injury and surgery was required to repair it. My indestructibility as an athlete was fractured but I was determined to make a comeback. My alcohol consumption decreased dramatically because I knew it would inhibit my physical healing process but my ignorant use of marijuana remained. Looking back I couldn’t have been more foolish in that regard. I was undereducated on the harm that pot does and if this drug seems enticing to you I urge you to educate yourself. Use of this drug is nothing short of poisoning youself. Look it up.
I rehabilitated diligently and restructured my throwing motion and through this focused hard work I gained 10 miles per hour on my fast ball, making me a lefty that threw over 90mph. This put me back on the major league scout’s radars and I was back on track in my mind as well. The “party animal” had re-emerged and I was once again feeling invincible.
After my senior season in college I got married, became a father of you, Tommy, and was drafted in the 6th round of the 1990 amateur draft by the Milwaukee Brewers. This reality change slowed my “party hardy” habits a bit. I loved my family very much but my Godless connection of drugs and alcohol to a good time still remained.
Upon signing my first professional contract I was then required to move thousands of miles away to start my minor league career. I remember becoming extremely focused on my career both mentally and physically and it paid off. I had a great beginning and was named “closest to the majors” in the entire Brewer organization in the highly respected publication, Baseball America. My baseball career was taking off and on top of that I got the great news that I was going to have another baby, this time a girl. Outside of being nearly broke, life couldn’t have been any better, really. Then injuries and the travel began to take it’s toll.
Unable to afford to bring my family along with me after my second season put untold stress on my family and relationships. The literal gap created between me and my family was difficult but in my mind we always had the off season to re-acquaint and patch things up. In the off-season of ’93, (I think it was), I received an offer to play in a newly formed winter league in Arizona. All the top prospects were being invited and this would be a chance to showcase my abilities with the best. In my mind I would have been crazy to pass it up. It took all of ten minutes to make the decision to go.
Arizona was as beautiful as you would expect. The days were filled with perfect weather and talent filled baseball. The nights were equally as impressive. A party of rock star status could be found every night and I didn’t maintain my off field focus. My selfishness and downright stupidity sent the season up in smoke and I went home with my tail between my legs, licking my wounds. But then came a chance to redeem myself, or so I thought.
The Venezuelan government had gone through a coup and one of the American major-league pitchers playing there decided he had had enough of the chaos and wanted to go home. I had a friend on the team that recommended me so I got the call just after I returned home in December. Despite legitimate objections from my wife, I went. I was okay with it because I was told I would be paid $3,000 for only a month of play….just a few more starts to get the team into the playoffs and then they would get someone else to fill my shoes. This is what I was told over the phone anyway.
At that time the Venezuelan league was second only to the American major leagues, so the exposure would be great. I could also earn three times the money I did during the minor league season in a third of the time which would enable me to take my wife and kids with me the next season. To me it was a no-brain-er.
Although I heard the sense of urgency in my wife’s voice, and could clearly see the hurt in her eyes when she asked me to stay, beleiving that in the long run it would be what was best for us as a family, I reluctantly went anyway.
The organization I played for, The Caracas Leones, made it into the playoffs and because I had pitched well up to that point they “asked” me to stay for another month. My wife was counting on me coming home, and I planned to return as well, but then came the meetings. One with the players at the chapmionship celebration party and another with the owner. At the party I was fed enough rum and beer to inebriate an elephant but staved off the barrage of pleadings for me to stay. Although I was enjoying the new team and the players on it, I still felt my promise to my wife to be paramount. Then came the meeting with the owner. It was in that office that my naive eyes were opened to the business realities behind the game.
I was told that the $3,000 that I was promised over the phone would be paid in full to me only on the contingency that I fulfilled all requests of the organization and now they were requesting for me to stay for the playoffs. When I told them that this isn’t how I understood the contract when it was explained to me over the phone I was ever so politely shown that it was all right there in the fine print, literally. The contract with my signature was unfolded in front of me and the writing being referred to was pointed out. I was then told that I could leave but they would only pay me $1,500, half of what I needed to take my family with me the next season. I had been officially baited and switched!
I remember the anger and sadness as if it were yesterday. I felt trapped and angry. In my mind my hands were tied and I sadly explained that over the phone to my wife back home. I did my best to convince her it was for the best, and hung up the phone. Then things went from bad to downright miserable.
The playoffs went horribly. The extra two weeks felt like a year. My pitching reflected my internal feelings of hollowness and my performances weere a shell of my ability. Our pitchers didn’t pitch and our hitters didn’t hit and and we were out of the playoffs within a week. Then, just when I thought it couldnt get any worse, I received yet another kick in the butt on the way out the door.
Strangely, on the day for us to leave and go home, I was the only American that didn’t have a plane ticket waiting for me at the airport. When I was told that the next flight available wouldn’t be until the next morning my heart hit my stomach and my stomach hit the floor! I literally wasn’t sure that I was going to survive if I had to stay the night in the airport, and this was why.
My mind rushed back in time to the day of my arrival. I immediately recalled being warned by my pitching coach when we first met about the abundance of thieves and robberies, (as well as by the other American players, many times over), to a Venezuelan thief, an American passport was literally worth killing for.  For this reason we had essentially two rules to live by.  Keep your passport locked up in a safe place or in your possession at all times, and never travel alone. Even though I adhered to these rules as if my life depended on it, (which it did), I was still victimized on two separate occasions, the first of which occurred only days before while traveling to eat.
At that time in Caracas the only American fast food restaurants, McDonald’s and Burger King, were located in the heart of the city so I, and four other players, would travel there via subway to have lunch from time to time. Going to these restaraunts was as close to being home as we could find. These were like holy temples to us, and to satisfy our ingrained need for American style food was seemingly worth risking our lives for.  We had made this pilgrimage several times successfully so our confidence was high.  However, on this particular run through chaos my innocence was lost.
After enjoying a small taste of the homeland we hopped back onto the subway just as we had done a handful of times before, only on this particular return home our grouping effort got twisted up and I was cleverly separated from the others.
While we were getting on the escalator that transported passengers up from the underbelly out to the street level, a man suddenly cut in front of me.  He was just alittle guy so he didn’t seem to pose a threat. And besides, my American friends were right in fron of him, so I simply kept my distance and rode my way up.
We ascended without incident until the very top of the ride where he then suddenly dropped his subway ticket on the stairs at the top where the stairway disappeared under the concrete pad leading to the street.  Suddenly the ticket was lifted into the air by the reversed air current created by the stairs continued motion under the landing and it began to levitate in front of him. It was like a magic trick!
The ticket was bobbing up and down like a butterfly and he was swatting at it and waking backwards at the same time! You see, the way the subway worked there at the time, (and probably still does), you needed to insert your ticket into a kiosk to open one of the many horizontally revolving bar gates at the top of the escalators to advance onto the street, so if you don’t have a ticket, you can’t get out.
Well, because I was immediately behind him I was then forced to suddenly take my hand out of my pocket, (and off my wallet), so I could balance myself while walking backwards in order to avoid running him over. I naturally bumped into the person behind me and this is when this man must have picked my wallet out of my front pocket.  I say “must have” because besides the bumping into him I didn’t feel a thing out of the ordinary and didn’t even realize what had happened until several minutes later as I hurried to catch up with the others.
I recall feeling the relief of catching up to them but then the sudden hooror of my front pocket being empty. Realizing that I had been robbed I was both angry and scared. We all decided that chasing after the thief was pointless so we all cautiously headed back, looking forsard to the safety of our hotel rooms.
Couple this traumatic incident with the overall chaotic wild west lawlessness that ruled the land and yeah, if I were forced to stay the night in the airport, my life was definitely in danger.
With this memory still in the forefront of my mind I began frantically searching for the number of the Caracas Leones front office in everything that I had, beginning with my newly aquired wallet. After methodically peeling apart everything I had, I came to the stomach sickening realization that I didn’t have it.  I quickly calculated that my easiest way out of this increasingly dangererous situation would be to call my wife back in the states. I knew she had the number and could call the front office for me and have them send out what I envisioned at this point to be a rescue party.
With this less than reliable plan, I awkwardly lugged my giant suitcase in one hand and my little briefcase in the other around the dilapidated, third world airport.
I did my best to watch everyone around me with the voice of my pitching coach ringing in my ears, “some people here will kill ya for your passport so be on alert”.
To get a phone line connection back to the United States I first had to find the phone booths of international lines, which were grouped together in one spot and located in the middle of everything. I hurriedly walked to the nearest open phone and picked it up, listening for an operator. The phone system there was, (and I’m sure still is), incredibly simplistic and straightforward. If you heard a busy signal when you put the phone to your ear then you had to hang up and try again.
After what seemed like an hour of trying to connect to the outside world I finally felt the relief of hearing someone in broken English ask me “which country?”. Then my wife’s voice on the other end was truly a HALLALUIA moment! Although relieved to hear her voice this most certainly didn’t mean the potential for death and dimemberment was over.  The challenge then became being heard and understood because the connection was so extremely faint.  It was like trying to hear the smallest voice in the world while standing on a bustling concourse of a major league baseball game during the seventh inning stretch.
Then, just as I got through to my wife, I noticed a man pick up the phone in the open booth next to me.  Knowing that I was going to have to literally yell, I turned away, putting my back to him in an attempt at politness. If I had known what he was about to do, being polite would have been the furthest thing from my mind!  While explaining about the ticket mix up to my only life line out, this professional thief picked up my briefcase and probably calmly walked away. I had only taken my eyes off of it for a few moments and again like magic, POOF! It was gone!
I yelled at my wife to hold on and dropped the phone, letting it dangle by its cord. I hurriedly walked around to the other side of the phones to try to catch the thief.  After quickly scanning the area there I then rushed back around to check on my last sole possession, my luggage full of my clothes and personal items. I was expecting to see someone running away with that too but thankfully it remained there on the floor next to the swaying phone receiver. Probably too heavy and bulky for a clean get away!
After internalizing the loss of my most valued possessions excluding my passport, I put the phone back up to my ear and angrily explained what had just happened to my wife. With the urgency of the situation hanging like a noose in the air, she made the call immediately. My rescue team turned out to be the same scatter toothed smiling guy that picked me up at the beginning of this whole fiasco. He was driving the same smelly, ready to break down, old, mostly American car, but I couldn’t have been more relieved to climb in. I would have got on the back of a scooter at that point! I was back in my hotel room an hour later sipping a rum and coke to calm my nerves and proceeded to fly out the next day.
It probably goes without saying but I have been extremely hesitant to travel outside the United States ever since.
As far as the next year was concerned, there was no change in the downward spiral of the one before.
First my Dad passed away from cancer of the brain, then I suffered a season ending injury of a broken facial bone and crushed sinus from being hit in the right eye with a line drive during batting practice that I didn’t even throw! And if that wasn’t enough to make me turn to God, the next thing should have been!
Two weeks into spring training my wife called and told me that she wanted a divorce! Although I recall being quite literally knocked down to my knees, my pride still wouldn’t allow me to pray for God’s assistance and I still didn’t think He was anything but a fable.
In retrospect I see now that my self-pride was so large and in charge that I simply didn’t have room for God.  I only recall feeling my desire for excelling as a professional baseball pitcher change from a passion into an obsession.  I actually recall telling myself that I was “now married to baseball” and there was nothing short of career ending injury that would keep me from getting to the Major leagues.  My life’s existence was centered around working my tail off to get better at the craft of pitching during the day and partying my tail off at night to numb the pain of not being able to see or talk to my children.
I suffered many ups and downs throughout the remainder of my career and I never acheived the goal of the millions of dollars that I once felt destined to receive.  I look back now and wholeheartedly thank God that I didn’t achieve millionaire status because I know now that with my attitude of invincibility backed by a seemingly endless flow of cash at the big league level, I would have only partied my way into rehab.  I was so twisted and broken on the inside that I didn’t have the self-discipline off the field to do the right thing,  and I now realize that of course God knew that as well. Although I was oblivious to it at the time, God wasn’t taking anyuthing away from me, He was protecting me from myself.
I disappointingly retired from baseball in 1998 but my inward looking, self serving ways continued….that is until the “Arizona enlightenment”.

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