Testimonial 1 "The Giant and the Sheriff"

Giant and the Sheriff

Once upon a time, in God's kingdom in the City of Brandon, there visited a very large evangelical knight named Giant. Giant traveled in from a far off distant land called Mantukkett. Giant took pride in the fact that he was different and stood out in a crowd. He liked the feelings of receiving attention from many whether the attention was good or bad. Unlike most other knights traveling from far or near, Giant, chose to carry his iron horse amid a sheathed carriage drawn by a four wheeled vessel. Giant felt he had the best of everything and he praised God for it. He would travel and not be exposed to the elements and then would arrive at the festival and unveil his iron horse which would still be shiny and clean. After all, appearance was important to Giant and a shiny and clean mount would get attention and praises from others. Giant loved God and thanked Him for all the good possessions in his life. As Giant journeyed alone he imagined the great riding times to come once he reached his destination. Giant tried not to reflect back upon the things he was leaving behind. After all he was embarking on a wonderful journey and there were several days to look forward to in Brandon. He would not allow things in Mantukkett to muddy what lay ahead. Giant concentrated hard on taking every negative thought captive as he pushed down deep into his stomach the things he knew would still be there when he returned home. The conflict with a sibling, a battle over inheritance; he wanted it all to just disappear so that he could experience peace. He thought now is not the time to dwell on such matters as he tried to convince himself to focus on the day at hand.

After several days travel warring against battles within his mind, Giant arrived in Brandon to take part in a royal festival called No Borders. This No Borders was indeed a gala event. It brought evangelical knights riding iron horses from ocean to ocean and from sea to sea. Some even traveled across the great waters to partake in this event. For Giant this was a highlight in his life. This festival was a time for Giant to fellowship with other royal subjects in the Kingdom and to match wits with them. It was also a time for refreshing and encouragement. It was a time for iron to sharpen iron and for Giant's armor to be buffed and made shiny and new once again. It was a time for camaraderie and to hear great tales of what evangelical knights had done for their god throughout the past 730 days. The tales would surely include depictions of boldness displayed by the evangelical knights as they battled not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of the dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Giant came with stories of his own which he prepared in his mind. His tales were going to be heard by all because they were big tales. Giant believed in doing everything big. Everything about this man was big. He stood about 6'05"; weighed about 300 LBS and his voice boomed above all others when he spoke.

Almost immediately upon his arrival, Giant was proud to start up his bike and crack open the throttle causing loud and to some, unpleasant sounds to resonate off the walls of the gathering place. This was done many times throughout the weekend of his stay much to the chagrin of the caretaker of the inn/gathering place. The caretaker/innkeeper initially tried reasoning with Giant but Giant shrugged him off as raining upon his parade. Eventually the caretaker expressed his displeasure to a local sheriff who just happened to be off duty and part of the great evangelical festivities taking place in the Kingdom. The off duty sheriff would sympathize with the caretaker and then wander over to Giant and offer up a loving scolding, reminding Giant of the noise By-Law that exists in the Kingdom. The Giant would laugh, delight in pointing out that the sheriff's iron horse was parked in a no parking zone and then remark how the caretaker was trying to wreck their fun times. Giant tried to persuade the sheriff to see things his way and have a great big fun time. After all no one was being hurt. The Giant would be reminded that this area of the Kingdom was residentially zoned and that the Giant was a guest who should respect the tranquility of others. The Giant would settle down for a time and begin to tell stories and jokes. His jokes were not at all funny and his stories seemed to be without ending. There seemed to be little substance to his stories but he proudly told them for all to hear. The sheriff felt in his heart that Giant really enjoyed hearing himself talk and boast about where he'd been, what he'd done, and how much he owned. Giant, being a big man believed in having abundance and boasted of around 5 iron horses and many four wheeled chariots. Then with a seemingly uncharacteristic display of sadness in his eyes, Giant said these possessions were his kids for he never had any children. Yes there was sadness in Giant's eyes even though his smile remained and his tone strained to block emotional sounds that could almost be heard welling up from his belly. Then Giant would change the conversation and tell another not so funny joke.

Giant talked a lot about himself and his possessions and did not seem to have any friends. Whenever the sheriff found himself away from others, Giant seemed to show up. Sheriff struggled not to pass judgment on Giant for sheriff knew of the Kingdom principle that as a mere sheriff he is not to judge lest he be judged by the Great One by that very same measure. Sheriff also struggled to not want to leave Giant's side immediately whenever Giant came around. Sheriff kept reminding himself that whether it involved one of the King's subjects or one who had not yet accepted the cloak of royalty, sheriff was to display the heart of his King towards all that lived in the land. This included Giant who was royalty and who was well versed in the King's commandments. So the meetings between Giant and Sheriff continued throughout the weekend festival.

Several times throughout the festival, the sheriff would find himself amongst other mighty evangelical knights who were earnestly serving other subjects. During some of these times sheriff would be told about Giant. The stories were always negative about how Giant had demanded a robe when he had not followed proper instructions preceding commencement of the festival. Sheriff heard the gossip of others pertaining to Giant getting in this or that subjects face and making things hard on them. Sheriff tried to walk away for he knew gossip was outlawed in the Kingdom and rightfully so. Sheriff had seen many a royal subject fall away from the Kingdom after being jousted by the piercing stake of gossip. These pierced subjects, who even included mighty evangelical knights, would become bitter and resentful. In time they would stop coming to the gala events and seek seclusion while their wounds continued to fester. Left untreated, the wounds became infectious and a once mighty evangelical knight was reduced to being hunkered down in dark shadows of seclusion outside of the kingdom realm nursing a poisoned and distorted mind. So the sheriff was aware to bow away from these conversations that displayed Giant in a negative light. The sheriff sought out knights of light to celebrate with and to speak of all the good things his mighty King was currently doing for him. After all this was a festival; a time of refreshing. This was not a time to battle but to rest and be healed from battles past. Sheriff couldn't understand why such mighty knights who had such wonderful serving hearts were letting an element of darkness to inhabit their conversations. Be careful not to judge, the sheriff reminded himself once again.

The sheriff took in with elation each praise and worship time and there were many but there could never be too many for the sheriff. The sheriff rejoiced as he heard voices being lifted up to God and holy hands reaching upwards from so many mighty knights. Following worship times, messages delivered by anointed knights were received with joy and God's Word was delivered powerfully. The presence and sweetness of the King was felt in a very tangible way throughout these meetings. During these times, sheriff lost sight of Giant but took note that during the many altar calls for healing and prayer and encouragement and the prophetic, Giant was no where to be found.

The sheriff was blessed by his Creator in so many ways during these times including being asked to lay hands on little boys and girls who were being groomed to become mighty knights once they reached an age of maturity. What an honor sheriff cried in his heart recognizing the honor God was bestowing upon him for his efforts to live a life of holiness and purity. The sheriff had stumbled time after time in this area yet the Great I Am chose to use him so; perhaps because his heart was willing and available. The sheriff was far from being a perfect knight and eventually that weekend a revelation would come that the sheriff's heart was not right towards Giant.

There were other areas in the sheriff’s life too that needed counsel and correction by the Holy Ghost. As Giant had pointed out, the sheriff chose willingly time and again to park his iron horse on yellow lines which symbolized a “no parking” area. The sheriff justified this action in his mind by reasoning that these lines were there for the church meetings involving regular attendees. These were on private property and did not have a posted sign so they were more recommendations that couldn’t technically be enforced due to improper signage. Besides, there was plenty of room for many abreast to walk by; and besides, one iron horse parked on the lines did not take up even half the space as a regular four wheeled chariot. Surely the lines were meant for those vessels alone. The sheriff never stopped to think about the result if everyone began to reason the way he did what the outcome would be. Revelation into this didn’t set in for the sheriff until after the event as he began to reflect on his relationship with Giant. God was teaching the sheriff through this man whom he judged as being somewhat obnoxious and unruly. Through this relationship, God’s Word resonated loud and clear within the sheriff; remove the plank from your own eye before trying to remove the speck of dust from your brother’s eye. There was another unsettling revelation; on one occasion the sheriff rode up and saw that Giant had parked on the lines. The sheriff was not setting a good example for others. The Holy Ghost was prompting the sheriff to repent and turn from prideful and arrogant behavior. The reality was that there was need of much more growth, maturity and humility in the sheriff’s life. Amazingly, despite all these shortcomings, the Great I Am used the sheriff and worked through him to touch the lives of others in positive ways. The sheriff’s god was truly a merciful, gracious and glorious being.

So back to the No Borders event; many gala events took place throughout this celebration of life and ministry. Many knights embarked on fellowship rides to surrounding sights nestled not too far from Brandon. Some including the sheriff went to visit elders who were spending their twilight years away from the battle lines and in places of comfort and security. It was unknown how many were royalty and how many had been brought to these places inside the Kingdom yet in their hearts and minds they dwelled in a dry and desert land. By choice this latter group had not embraced the promises of God; or perhaps it was not by choice but that they had been led astray by the lies of the enemy and the guilt that accompanied religious traditions. The sheriff and others rejoiced because now the doors had swung open and they were in to share the good news of the coming kingdom of God. The love flowed from their hearts as the very heartbeat of God matched theirs as they embraced the elders and prayed prayers of the saints. They were no longer the mighty knights; they shed their armor and donned cloaks of humility and love so that the great King Jesus could pour out His love and His words in prayer. A prayer of salvation was spoken and many individual prayers were offered up as an aroma of godly love flowing upwards towards the Father of heavenly lights. The heads of many an elder lifted and eyes twinkled and came back to life. Some eyes pooled with drops of praise for these saints that had come to share King Jesus' love. All praise was directed to the King for He and he alone transformed these serving knights' hearts. King Jesus deserved and received the entire honor and all the glory. During these times the presence of Giant was unknown to the sheriff; Giant was out of sight and out of mind.

Then it arrived, the day of the great parade. Giant would participate in this event. Indeed it was the opportunity to show off his mighty iron horse, bark his loud exhaust and be noticed by many. The sheriff had the responsibility of rounding up all the knights and iron steeds and lining them in proper formation. Once in formation, instructions were given that all knights were to don their helmets as a requirement in this city of God. It wasn't so much for protection but to send a statement to the young that safety is important and rules in the Kingdom exist to promote the well being of God's people. As the sheriff made his way down the long line a negative comment reached his ears. He looked and saw the source of the comment was Giant. Giant grinned and an air of rebellion was sensed to rise if only for a moment. The sheriff grinned back, directed a second instruction to Giant firmly yet stated in love, then he continued down the line. Upon making his way back up to the front, the sheriff passed Giant again and noted a shiny and clean helmet donned atop his head. The air of rebellion had dissipated and Giant was ready to participate according to the rules. The sheriff mounted his iron steed and the knights pulled into a staggered formation behind him; the parade of evangelical knights and their steeds had begun.

The three lead steeds flew honorary flags giving acknowledgment to God's city, God's country and God’s neighboring country that shared the border; after all it was important to show unity as the gala event represented a commitment to live in such a way as the have no borders amongst God's people. Many observers lined the sides of the streets and cheered and shouted as the procession moved along. In the distance the bark of loud exhaust pipes could be heard. The sheriff smiled thinking of Giant cracking open his exhaust to the delight of the people. Now was an appropriate time for Giant to be loud and even the sheriff barked his pipes in celebration of this event. Smiles and waves were exchanged with all near and far. As the sheriff approached a cross roads in the heart of the downtown area, his gaze was drawn to a young lady on a side walk. She was not there to take in the parade and she seemed troubled, even sad, perhaps stand offish. The sheriff waved to her and received no response. Then a few simple words welled up in his heart for this lady and sheriff shouted aloud "Jesus loves you". The confrontational stance of her body immediately disappeared and a smile broke out on her face as a lighthearted laugh escaped her lips. The sheriff prayed in the spirit - may the joy of the Lord be your strength. For a brief moment their smiles met then the sheriff lost sight of the lady as the parade continued onward.

The parade drew to a close at a field designated to be the host location for the knights' iron horse games. An elder evangelical knight met the sheriff and all the parade riders with directives in hand and instructions on his lips. This elder had forgone the privilege and honor of participating in the parade in order to organize this event for the benefit of all the knights. This highly favored god fearing elder had been bestowed with an amazing administrative gifting. The sheriff had seen many similar gifted royals in the Kingdom however this elder he honored above others. The sheriff honored this elder because this elder was not lazy and used his gifting regularly to bring honor and glory to the King. It was right for the sheriff and others to honor and acknowledge this purpose driven godly knight. The elder gathered the sheriff and others around him and specified tasks for them to perform, then the games commenced. There were seven events which pushed the knights’ abilities to maintain balance and control of their steed. While the knights controlled their powerful steeds, a partner would attempt various feats while perched on the back of the steed. The competition drew forth those teams with the greatest ability to work together trusting each other's abilities to get the task completed. Those who flowed in unity were successful and finished on top. Those who worked against each other fell to the bottom. Although the spirit of competition was present, it was light and both participants and spectators enjoyed many hearty laughs throughout the afternoon. There were prizes for the winners and hugs for those who did not fare as well. God's love was present and the sheriff smiled as he watched husband and wife teams laugh together, tease each other, exchange smiles with each other and love on one another. The sheriff had no soul mate at this point in his journey but he was trusting God that one day he would be a participant in the games with his best friend at his side. The thought caused him to reflect on Giant. Giant was no where to be found during the games; Giant had no partner.

The evening kicked off with a royal feast of pig loins textured to perfection and served by ministers of God in training known as TC. The evening culminated in time spent in worship before King and Creator followed by a word from a messenger with a godly anointing. The sheriff was filled up spiritually, emotionally and physically and lacked no good thing. The days spent at the celebration had truly been beyond his expectations. The presence of God was felt at every event and the sheriff was very grateful for all the blessings he had received. Now was the time to depart and not being real fond on goodbyes, the sheriff looked to make a quiet exit. As he was departing a large man approached him with a smile on his face; it was Giant. The sheriff thought he's exchange a few more pleasantries with this man then make good his escape. However looking into the eyes of Giant something was different. The sheriff quickly remarked that this was his departure from the event. Giant approached the sheriff and entered into his personal space. With eyes welling up with tears, Giant began to speak words of honor to the sheriff. Giant said how the sheriff had been a great inspiration to him all weekend. As Giant spoke honoring words into the sheriff's life, the sheriff thought about how his heart had not been right towards Giant. The sheriff cried in his spirit as he asked God to forgive him for not displaying more of the Father's heart towards Giant. The sheriff broke inside and love for Giant began to well up like a monsoon. A burden to pray for Giant took root and began to grow.

Giant continued to talk and referred to a conversation the sheriff had between the sheriff and a royal spectator. During the conversation the royal spectator had asked about the sheriff's personal life and the mate situation. The sheriff had explained that he was on a fast and had entered into a covenant with God that a mate would not be sought for 6 months while he concentrated on developing an intimate relationship with Father God. During this time the sheriff had explained that he was being spiritually counseled and things that were not of God were being broken off him. Giant referred back to this now and said he felt God was telling him to rest. He felt for the first time that perhaps he will be okay being single for the rest of his life; that perhaps that was God's plan for him. Giant began to open up to the sheriff about his loneliness and that he had nobody. He said that on the outside he was a big man with a big attitude but on the inside he was just a little boy, a child who felt alone. He wanted to be accepted and to be around caring people. He said he had no children to carry on his family name only toys to possess which left him empty. He spoke of one 17 year friendship with a woman in which he became her caregiver until she died of cancer.

Heavily burdened in his heart, the sheriff asked if they could move to a quieter place so that they could pray. Giant agreed and after finding a quiet portion of hallway, the sheriff laid hands on Giant. The Holy Spirit provided words of love and encouragement and comfort and support and Giant reacted by embracing the sheriff while huge tears ran down the face of the big knight. This was to be the first of a couple of periods of prayer. The first period ended with a further outpouring of Giants heart. Giant said he was running away from problems at home, a family division full of conflict and strife, a court battle which he did not want to face. Giant said he was a big man but inside there was fear and he did not want to face what lay in store for him at home. The big knight talked about just continuing to ride his iron horse after No Borders ended and just keep the steed pointed in any direction other than home. The sheriff felt the strength of the Spirit of God welling up in him and entered into another period of prayer. This prayer time was very different than the first as the Holy Spirit rose up to break off forces that were not of God that had laid hold of Giant. Giant held on tight to the sheriff as strong holds were being demolished as King Jesus wielded His battle axe. The axe sizzled as strong holds were cut down to nothing and from its blade could be heard the sweet sound of victory. Holy fire burned as the iron hummed and danced casting sparks and turning darkness into light. One only could wield this axe with such precision and gain such unequivocal results. The axe was in the hand of the Master and Giant was being set free. The sheriff knew in his spirit that the song of freedom would remain in Giant long after the Master had laid down His Word.

Teary eyes gazed into teary eyes; God's love had been shed abroad and there was no shame only joy remaining. After Giant thanked the sheriff they both praised God for His good works giving Him all the honor and glory, Giant looked at the sheriff was a degree of seriousness the sheriff had not seen before. With his big hand, Giant gestured to the sheriff that he would be expecting him at the next No Borders in 730 days from now. They had already exchanged contact information and open invitations for visits but there was a feeling that sheriff got from Giant that the big man perhaps felt in his heart there would be no contact until the next No Borders. Sadness was felt in the sheriff's heart as he wondered how many broken promises had been made to Giant in the past. The sheriff quietly prayed to his king Jesus that lost years be restored to Giant and that his youth be renewed like the eagles. One final hug and the sheriff mounted his steed homeward bound.

The sheriff and Giant were not all that different. Both wanted the love of a God, a woman and friends to fill their empty homes and both cherished dreams in their hearts yet to be fulfilled. Yet the sheriff knew he did not experience the degree of loneliness that Giant faced every day. The sheriff had a strong church family whom he knew loved and supported him and was not afraid to tell him how much he meant to them. The sheriff was truly a blessed man because he had tapped into the treasures in other's hearts by just being himself and letting the goodness of his king Jesus shine from him. Love begot love; the more the sheriff loved on others, the more he received in return from others and from his Abba Father. The sheriff prayed for the Holy Spirit of God to bring this revelation forth in the heart of Giant so that he would no longer strive to be the center of attention. He prayed that Giant would open himself up to give a god based love to those around him. He prayed for the revelation that love begets love and God's kind of love is not earned and is not based upon performance. The godly kind of love receives a love in return that overrides all need to be the center of attention. It overrides all feelings of envy and strife and malice and produces a peace and a beauty within the inner man. Giant needed to know this love can not be reproduced by the world and any attempt by the world to fabricate it results in an empty shell. The shell may look good on the outside, even beautiful, but the inside is hollow and baron and echoes of loneliness and regret. The love the sheriff prayed for Giant to experience was the love that comes directly from the Father's heart.

As the sheriff rode his iron horse homeward he rested believing that the Spirit of God had touched Giant all weekend long through worship, messages, fellowship and prayer which produced a permanent change in the big man's heart.

The sheriff rested on the words of His Father, "the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much".

The days to come would also bring revelation to the sheriff for the need of repentance before his god for thoughts and acts displaying pride, arrogance, and judgment. The sheriff’s god is a faithful god, slow to anger and full of love and mercy. Knowing this would make it easier for the sheriff to fall on his face, come before his god and allow his god to wash away all his sins.

There is no "Once upon a time" for those who serve the same god as Giant and the sheriff. Their god begins his stories ....For I Am faithful time after time and fulfill my promises in the life of..............(fill in your name here)......and so the story of each life begins.

The sheriff