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Carpe Diem
(Seize the Day)



Late at night, after everyone's asleep, there's something I like to do. To my knowledge, no one knows I do this. I'm a night owl. I'm usually still not tired at 1:30, but I often make myself go to bed because I know I need the rest. So, at night, while everyone else sleeps away, I put my plan into action.


Over the past few years, I've often taken time to go in to my children's rooms while they were sleeping and pray over them. It's been a very meaningful time with the Lord. I know for certain that there's warfare going on for the souls of my children and Lygia's and my prayers are critical if they're going to turn out right.


Some nights are harder than others to pray over them. One particular night recently was unusually hard. We've had a lot of trauma in our lives lately. You see, all five of our homegrown children, in contrast to our five adopted children, have been diagnosed with various bone and/or tendon diseases. No one knows why.


As I prayed over Brooklyn, I was reminded of the conversation Lygia and I had earlier. Ever since we moved to St. Louis, the enemy has hammered us unceasingly. But for the past several months, his attacks on Brooklyn's health have been unrelenting. Sometimes she has great difficulty breathing - even hyperventilating at times.


Not long ago, while in a particularly difficult stretch, she sadly said that since she can't breathe, she can't sing. Singing is her life…her calling. Lygia and I recognized that it's because she sings with such a pure heart and sings unto the Lord that the enemy is trying to silence her. We see the enemy's fingerprints all over this. So we prayed for her. I prayed over her. I pleaded with God to bind the enemy and the spirit of sickness from her. But still, she struggles. And the trouble has spread to her heart.


While I prayed from kid-to-kid, I was aware that I was standing in the gap for them…and kneeling between them and an enemy intent on destroying them. I knew there were demons hovering behind me, swords drawn and ready to destroy their little lives. I also knew the angels of the Lord also had swords drawn and had my back, so I prayed. For some, I prayed for their salvation; for others I prayed for spiritual growth, for them to follow God's will and ways, for their future mates, for their characters to develop to the fullness of Christ, and for their physical healing.


I laid my hands on my wife and prayed for her, too. She was so tired, so distraught over all we've been through. I prayed that God would strengthen and encourage her. What a trooper she's been…and, oh, such a blessing to all who know her. Thank you, Lord, for a godly wife.


But, for some reason, when I came to my little 11-year-old boy, Jonah, I lost it. I must admit, I've been pretty stoic through all he's been through the past several months: twelve broken bones, countless tests, his week-long hospital stay at Shriners, and his diagnoses. Even now, because of micro-fractures in both knees, he's in so much pain he needs help walking or needs to be carried.


But as I recently prayed over him and saw him lying there, it hit me. A flood of memories washed through my mind of him and me doing things together: canvassing neighborhoods, playing ball and Frisbee, swimming, running, playing, wrestling, and carpentry; all the fun things fathers and sons do together - but realizing most of those things we won't get to do anymore.


But why? Why is the enemy hitting him so hard with these sicknesses and diseases? Perhaps it's because he's our resident evangelist. He used to go door-to-door most every Wednesday inviting neighbors to our in-home Bible study. He set up a table on the curb, flagged down cars, and gave a Bible to everyone who stopped. He loves the Lord and loves people; and Jonah, whose name means "peace," wants them all to know the Prince of Peace. I couldn't stop weeping before the Lord as I poured out my heart and pleaded to Him to heal my son. I realize if He doesn't, Jonah may spend more time in his wheelchair than out.


The words to Mark Shultz' song, He's My Son, raced through my mind:



        I'm down on my knees again tonight, I'm hoping this prayer will turn out right.
        See there is a boy that needs Your help, I've done all that I can do myself.
        His mother is tired, I'm sure You can understand;
        Each night as he sleeps, she goes in to hold his hand,
        And she tries not to cry, as the tears fill her eyes.


        Can You hear me? Am I getting through tonight?
        Can You see him? Can You make him feel all right?
        If You can hear me, let me take his place somehow;
        See, he's not just anyone, he's my son.


        Sometimes late at night I watch him sleep, I dream of the boy he'd like to be.
        I try to be strong and see him through, but God who he needs right now is You.
        Let him grow old, live life without this fear.
        What would I be, living without him here.
        He's so tired and he's scared, let him know that You're there.


        Can You hear me? Can You see him?
        Please don't leave him, he's my son.



Whenever I hear that song, I distinctly hear the Father speaking back to me, comforting me and encouraging me. He often does that for us, doesn't He? Listen to His call…


        Can You hear Me? Am I getting through tonight?
        Can You see Him? In My Son, all things turn out right!
        If you can hear Me, let Me take your pain somehow;
        See, He's not just anyone, he's My Son.



Can you hear Him? He's trying to encourage you. Do you listen to Him speak when you pray, or do you do all the talking? He's perfectly aware of every facet of your life: all the problems, all the turmoil, the broken dreams, the sleepless nights.


Have you ever stopped to think that, more often than not, all of our problems send us running to God? You see, His great desire is to be your Father; your daddy. Really! He longs to hold you tightly; to pull you close to His heart. But your heart must be soft towards Him…and you must let Him hold you tightly. Only then can everything truly be all right. So, concerning our problems and the fact that they move us toward God, could they really be His blessings in disguise?


You know, for many years, when I woke up in the morning, most everything was just the same as it was when I went to bed the night before. It's not like that anymore. With all the changes and challenges and problems that crop up each day now, and realizing from experience that life may be hugely different tomorrow than it is today, I am learning to truly savor every moment, to live life to the fullest; to understand that the prize is not some distant thing that I will one day attain at the end of some journey, the prize is the journey, the daily privilege of waking up to my dear friends and precious family; and walking with God. Life's a vapor, it's fleeting. Live every moment to the fullest…and be sure you hear Him!


Carpe Diem Deus! Seize God!


How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow?
Your life is like the morning fog - it's here a little while, then it's gone.
James 4:14 (NLT)


Man is like a breath;
His days are like a passing shadow.
Psalm 144:4 (NKJV)



(Click here for mp3 version)









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