Have you Felt God’s Intervention In Your Life?

What seems like tragedy can often be God’s gift to your ignorance of what’s to come in your life. I know. I am the blessed recipient of God’s intervention many times in my life. But most recently it was two related tragic events, 1 month apart from the other, that enabled me to be a home owner and a happily married man.

In 2016 I was starting a year for the first time in 30 years as a single man, having divorced a wife who had changed so drastically from the woman I married that she was hardly recognizable, and proved no longer trustworthy or deserving of my respect. The revelation of these many facts that allowed me to write the previous sentence devastated me. I was lonely, depressed and scared. But through my re-found devotion to God and the confidence, or hope, that he would find grace with me I pressed on and tried to begin a new life by embracing the things I loved most.

One of those things I have always done and always loved was camping and all that’s associated with it, the fishing, hiking, hunting, camp fires, etc.

Michael Schuett in a river

The Author hooking something

In my previous marriage we had over the course of the years some camper trailers that made the outdoors more palatable for my family, and I have to admit, for myself as well.

So in starting my new life I committed to getting a new camper trailer. This goal I successfully accomplished in April 2016. It was one of the few happy events in my life over the previous 3 years; and I was excited to take it out. On July 4th weekend the trailer, my then girlfriend, and my teen daughter traveled to Leavenworth, WA for a five day weekend with friends. Only, we wouldn’t make it to five days. We didn’t make it through 3 days.

In the early morning of the third day I woke to take my dog for a walk. My girlfriend got up and out of the trailer to visit the showers at the camp grounds where we stayed. In returning from my 10 minute walk and coming back into the park’s camping area I saw a large plume of smoke just out of my site. It took me a moment to realize the smoke was a fire in a camper. It took me another moment to realize the camper was MINE! OMG- my daughter was in the trailer!!! My heart raced. In my oversized flip-flops I began running. My 100 lbs labrador retriever, who was never particularly good on a leash, wanted to play and tugged on the leash to go the other way. I immediately dropped the leash to let my dog fend for himself. I had to get to my daughter. The flip flops didn’t help my speed, and I soon ran out of them and made my way over the dirt and gravel road in my bare feet. I arrived at the flaming trailer just as some stranger was emerging from the smoke billowing from the trailer’s only door with my daughter in tow. Thank God she was safe. It seemed like hours but was probably more like 10 minutes, fellow campers and I used hoses and fire extinguishers to dose the flames. The trailer was a total loss.

Once again I was crushed. Fast forward four weeks. I was determined to get back on my feet and get my new life started as I wanted it to get started, with a trailer and with frequent camping trips. But, God had different plans for me. I had to wrangle with my insurance company for a fair settlement on the burnt up trailer. But upon receiving that settlement check immediate found a brand new trailer to purchase with it. The insurance settlement would go for the down payment, and I would finance the remaining balance. I had ordered some special accessories for the new trailer, so had to wait for their installation before picking up my new treasure. It was all set. And I was again looking forward to better days.

Then on the morning I had scheduled to drive to the trailer dealer and pick-up my huge expenditure; my truck died. I was on the side of the road, gritting my teeth, and knowing my dreams had once again been dashed. I knew it was the trucks transmission. And I knew how expensive it’s replacement would be. For those who have never experienced the joy of replacing a transmission on a heavy duty, 4-wheel drive truck, its a lot more expensive than replacing a standard transmission in a car. Where a car’s transmission can often be replaced for under $2000. For my truck, including some other minor repairs that were necessary, came to over $5000. I called the trailer dealer late in the day after getting the initial dark estimates from my repair garage and told them I couldn’t purchase the trailer. God clearly didn’t want me to have a trailer, at least not at this time.

If you haven’t been trough it, divorce can be devastating to an individual’s financial well-being. Such was the case with me. Besides losing half of everything I/we owned and tens-of-thousands of dollars, I also had my credit rating severely damaged by a wife who liked credit cards and liked them so much she never bothered to tell her husband (me). I mentioned this because while severely hurt by the divorce I wasn’t destitute. And I had hopes of buying a new home. But I was under the impression that I would have to wait four years or longer to repair my credit and distance myself from my ex-wife’s atrocious spending habits. However, I was wrong. Some two weeks after my truck’s transmission collapse had destroyed my efforts to own a camper trailer I had a chance meeting with an old acquaintance who happened to be a mortgage agent. After relaying some of my tough circumstances he assured me that he could get me a mortgage; though I still needed to wait a few months, but not a few years.

To wrap up this story, I got my mortgage and my house in April 2017. Based on my mortgage agent’s opinion the closeness of my divorce, and damaged credit made my mortgage a 9 out of 10 in terms of difficulty for approval. And most important had I the debt of the trailer purchase not to mention the added insurance expense and trip/vacation expenditures I never would have had the money or the credit rating to get my home. You see, my insurance settlement covered the $5000 repair…but I had some left over. The few thousand left over from my insurance settlement would be all the cash I had remaining in my bank account upon closing of my house.

It didn’t occur to me for some months after moving into my home the circumstances that had strangely twisted tragedy into benefit for me. The fire and the transmission were both unexpected and both in combination were REQUIRED for me to be a home owner. And through God’s intervention I was independently stable, in my own home, and in being so comfortable asked my girlfriend to become my wife. And BTW- my wife and I hope to have a new trailer by this coming Summer.

Perspective. Use it. Or lose it. Thank you Lord for your many blessings.

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Kavanaugh and Common Ground

The recently concluded U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Justice Brett Kavanaugh have ignited the passions of all Americans. Seldom in our nation’s history have political sides been so fiercely divided. Democrats strongly believe Kavanaugh didn’t belong on the nation’s highest court. They strongly believe he is guilty of sexually assaulting a 15 year old girl 37 years ago when he was 17 years old. Many have called him a rapist. Many believe his angry response to these charges disqualifies him because he demonstrated a temperament and a political bias that is inappropriate for serving as a judge let alone a Justice. Many believe he would over turn Roe vs Wade, the 45 year old Supreme Court ruling that legalized virtually all abortions throughout the land, and because of this he is unqualified for the Court. These are Democrat’s beliefs. And it makes no difference how wrong YOU think these beliefs are. It’s clear Democrats are immovable in these beliefs. Polls show no other demographic is the determining factor in whether a person finds Kavanaugh qualified or not. Not age, race, sexual orientation, income, geographic location. Nothing but your political affiliation determines whether you think Kavanaugh is guilty of the cruel charges against him. If you vote Democrat you believe his confirmation to be a travesty.

Republicans believe Kavanaugh was wronged and smeared with lies and exaggerations in a calculated character assassination designed to derail his Supreme Court nomination. They point to the fact that no charge against him is any newer or fresher than 35 years ago. Republicans point to accuser’s inability to produce evidence or corroborating witnesses. They point to Kavanaugh’s lifetime of service in government and in community service and his wonderful family. They believe him to be a good man.

As this is written we are 3 days from his confirmation being solidified and the storm has not quelled yet. Democratic politicians even talk of opening investigations into the recent claims that date back 30+ years and of impeaching the Justice. Samuel Chase, an original signatory of the Declaration of Independence is the only Supreme Court Justice to ever be impeached. The U.S. House voted for impeachment in 1805. The Senate acquitted the Associate Justice that same year.

It’s hard to fathom where we go from here. Division is so firm right now. But this Republican hopes to invoke the words of three Democrats in this writing in the hopes of beginning a mending of this country. Few things politically have upset me to the degree this matter has and while I think it would be easy to point fingers at the Left for their tactics in the Kavanaugh case, there is no getting around the fact that the Left is firm in its belief. So continuing to try and change their mind amounts to pounding ones head against brick. They would say the same of the Right.

In 1963 President John F. Kennedy said: “So, let us not be blind to our differences–but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”

It was in the context of world peace. But’s its cry for togetherness applies very much to today.

It was during his 1961 inaugural address that Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” 

In 1988 defeated Democratic Presidential candidate Jesse Jackson addressed the Democratic National Convention in a stem winding speech where he repeatedly invoked the phrase “Common Ground”. “Common Ground! That is the challenge to our party tonight. Left wing. Right wing. Progress will come not through boundless liberalism nor static conservatism, but at the critical mass of mutual survival. It takes two wings to fly. The Bible teaches that when lions and the lambs can lie down together and none will be afraid, there will be peace in the valley. Common ground. American is not a blanket, woven from one thread, one color, one cloth. “

And in 2004 a State Senator from Illinois spoke at the Democratic National Convention about Red states and Blue states:

Three Democrats. One theme. We are all bound together and we all can achieve more when we work together.

Togetherness and love for one another is the only answer. It’s important for everyone of us to learn disagreement is not hate. Agreement is not love. Love is love. And we need a lot more of it.

So where can Americans find common ground:

Do we all want health for ourselves and especially our children?

Do we all want our politics free from corruption and graft.

Do we all want reduced crime in all forms?

Do we all want peace in the world and to remain free of war?

Do we all want safe, dependable roads and bridges?

Do we all want police forces that keep us safe and that don’t abuse their power?

Do we all want opportunity to pursue happiness as we define it?

Do we all want clean air and water?

Do we all want to eliminate the threat of global terrorism?

Yes is the answer to all these questions. And there are so many more that given time and some help I could list.

I’ve said many times, you and I are being manipulated. Sometimes its obvious and often it is more subtle. But both sides do it. Republicans and Democrats make crises out of whole clothe in order to incite the passions of their followers for the purpose of gaining money and votes. Be aware of this, sensitive to it, and reject it when you see it.

The American people have it within our own powers to end the hate and move forward happily toward a brighter future. Through volunteerism, charitable donations, and voting for political candidates who reject rank manipulation, corruption and graft we can put into power more honorable men and women. We’re capable. 17 years ago in the wake of 9-11 who would have ever thought a black man with a Muslim father and name would be a two term President of the United States? Two year ago who successfully predicted a vain, loud, egomaniac TV personality and businessman would be elected to the same office?

To get to the point where we can foster the type of political leaders we need to stop calling names and presuming each others motives. As pointed out above, we all want pretty much the same things. We all can share common ground on nearly all issues. We just need to better figure how to get there. Founding father Benjamin Franklin was renowned for his wisdom and ability to find compromise. He also said, “Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.” 

LET’S GET STARTED.