Alaskan Silver Intruders

  Harriet stood at the window with a gun in one hand, and an iron skillet in the other.  One was for the man she had just shot outside, the other was for his partner.  The man who was breaking through the door.  

He waited a second before entering the room, expecting to wrestle his opponent to the ground, or shoot it out. What he didn’t expect was a cracked temple as the woman used her other weapon.  By the end of the night, two assailants lay huddled in the living room floor of Carl Lafayette’s home.

One was bleeding from his leg, and the other from his face.  Soon, Carl and Pin arrived to cart them off to jail. Normally Carl would have been home, but he and Pin were keeping a close eye on their prisoner, the Frenchman.  It had taken fifteen men to transport the giant to jail, and they weren’t about to take any chances.

“Harriet, where did you learn to shoot like that?  Why did you have a gun on you anyway?”  The lady smiled as innocently as she could.  “A friend taught me, and gave me the gun.  You see, where I come from can be a very dangerous place.  You have to be prepared for anything.”

That hadn’t completely satisfied them, but they were content to let it go for now. She had saved Carl’s family from a very bold attempt by the Pick Ace men.  Harriet excused herself to her room. 

Once there, she wrote a letter to Edward Mallory.  She wasn’t happy with the night’s events at all.  It wasn’t the outcome that bothered her, but that her hand had been tipped so early.  This wasn’t a trap, as she explained in the correspondence, it was a fact finding mission.

Someone very intelligent had figured out that she was more than she said.  Since she had only been there a matter of hours, they had to have only guessed. This meant that their opponent was smarter than they thought.

Edward wasn’t as much in the shadows as he had hoped.  This letter had to reach him soon.  “Does this mean your other interests are also exposed?  If so, where do we go from here?”

Find out where that is, in next week’s Alaskan Silver!

Retooling

  Retooling yourself and old ideas isn’t a new concept, Walt Disney was brilliant at it. You’re familiar with familiar fairy tales in his movies, but do you remember the Mickey Mouse Club? If so, what version? There have been five of them.  

The first was a theater based club from 1930-1935, it had over one million members. The second came about to raise money to help build Disneyland in 1955. The third and fourth incarnations were in the seventies and the nineties. 

The 1989-1995 edition had future Hollywood personalities that are household names today. They included Justin Timberlake, Brittany Spears, Christina Aguilera, Ryan Gosling, and Keri Russell. The latest was a 2015 South Korean television show. 

The point is, at different intervals, Disney took an idea and reused it. Trends and children changed, old things that once worked grew out of date. Rather than holding onto the past, they evaluated and updated what would work. Disney discarded what was no longer applicable, and used what still was.

I’m currently in such a state myself, just recently going through a career transition. While I can’t control every facet of this experience, there are a few things I can do. I would like to share them with you, in hopes of helping you through a similar transition. 

First, and foremost, I seek counsel. As a Christian, I believe in prayer, I ask for God’s help as I walk this road. Also, I talk to my Pastor. His perspective not only gives me direction, but inspiration. In addition, I’ve spoken to experts in my industry, and others who’ve faced this same thing.

Second, I do not allow my emotions to be my engine. Some days you will feel emotionally on fire, other days you’ll feel as if all your energy was drained out. We should not deny our emotions, but we can’t allow them to be our director either.  

Talk to someone you can trust about what you’re feeling. Address your fears, concerns, and questions. We are human, and these things are natural. At the same time, they shouldn’t control our decisions, we should.

Thirdly, I’m reinventing myself, in a career sense. I’m exploring my options, discarding what doesn’t work, and attempting to implement what will. In my career I’ve went from IT work, to customer service and human resources. In addition to that, I’m a writer and artist.

I don’t know what the next phase of my work path looks like yet, but I know this. My best job is still ahead of me, and I’m pursuing it. Along the way, I’m brushing off old ideas that still have some life in them, and introducing myself to new audiences.   

You can too, if you’re willing to do something. It takes a willingness to try something new. Being brave enough to streamline what still works, while eliminating what no longer does. Knowing that your ideas are tools that are meant to work for you, but do not define you.

If a tool is damaged, a craftsman repairs what he can, and replaces what is no longer viable. That does not mean that you are no longer valuable, only that you are facing a new challenge. Where you are in life is not your destination, it’s only your current location.

Much like the Mickey Mouse Club, our lives can touch generations, span countries, and have many formats. If, like me, your in transition, then you’re on a grand adventure. They can be challenging, even scary at times, but also incredibly exciting.

We need some new things in our lives to make them interesting. Plus, like treasures in jewelry box, we can accent the new, with classic pieces that retain their value. Our circumstances effect us, but they don’t determine our relevance.  

No matter where you are, or how old you are, you have something to offer. It may mean learning a new skill, or reconfiguring an old one. M I C Key Mouse gave way to malls and music videos, but more than one generation loved it. You may trade an old mouse eared hat for a shiny new look, and that’s okay. Start preparing today, to introduce yourself to the next phase of your journey.

The House Of Staff And Ring

Exodus 38:5
And he cast four rings for the four ends of the grate of brass, to be places for the staves.

The word places, in Hebrew, also translates house. God made a house for the staffs that bear the altar. The staves represent the Ministry. No other item is more tied to it, than the staff which rested in Moses’ hand, and on the backs of the Priests. Everything God does is strategic, from the rings themselves to where they were located, had a purpose.

The rings were a place of rest, a type and shadow of the place of rest that God created for the Ministry. These four rings not only enabled the staves to bear the altar, they were a home for them. God knew the necessity of rest for His leaders, and wants His people to understand as well.

Jesus took His disciples aside to rest, and the people followed. The Lord put His own comfort on hold, to minister to others, as do most leaders, but He still needed rest. Sadly, too many leaders gladly spend themselves to exhaustion serving us.

You and I can help prevent this. We are not all called to be staves, but we can be rings. The rings were at the four corners of the altar. God wants those who labor at the altar to receive their own rest there. We can be rings that watch out for those who watch out for us.

A ring itself is a symbol of faithfulness, of a covenant. It bears, decorates, and is a symbol of love. Love is the heartbeat of God. I believe we are closest to God’s heart when caring for His Ministers. There are multiple ways to be a place of rest for the Pastor in your life, but I want to highlight three.

First, pray for them everyday. Prayer isn’t just us asking, and God giving. It was designed as a joint effort between God and His child. He wants to work with us in interceding, using us to minister to the needs of others in prayer. We can strengthen our leaders by taking their names to the throne room, just as they do daily for us.

Second, be a friend to the Man Of God, in word and action. Loyalty is expected of our leaders, and they have the right to expect it of us. Stand with your Pastor, support and fight with Him. Resist those who are against them.

Gossip doesn’t just involve the speaker’s lips, it equally comprises the listener’s ears. If someone talks about your friend, you don’t listen, you leave the person doing the talking. The same should be true when someone speaks against the Man Of God.

Third, be a blessing to your leader. They don’t serve to be blessed, they live to be a blessing. Expecting nothing, they give, yet God has designed a blessing for them. His plan has always been for God’s people to supply the needs of His Leader.

Say thank you in your own way, but definitely say it. A text, a gift card, or volunteering to lighten their load. It shows them that we care for them, as much as they care for us. We shouldn’t wait for October to appreciate those who work for us every day.

Be a ring to the leader in your life. Bear their needs, decorate their lives with love and support. Be a symbol that they can point out to their children, “Some will at times hurt you, but people like ____________, make all the difference.”

You and I can be the symbol passed down to the next generation of leaders. Heirlooms of hope that empowers the Joshua’s who follow. I’ve seen Christians influence Pastor’s children to either follow or flee Ministry. We can be a house of safety for the burden bearers in our lives, by lightening their load.

It’s Out!

  I’m sorry for shouting, but I’m very excited about this. The Polar Bears Typewriter: Friends In Hollywood is now available @ www.amazon.com/author/pruittwrites.  This story, along with the new Bible study, Famous, are two of my favorite things I’ve ever written.  

The Polar Bears Typewriter is a tale about friendship, which happens to be set in Hollywood. Why a title like The Polar Bears Typewriter?  It has to do with a writer’s imagination, and a story for his children.  

Below is an excerpt from the book.  I hope you enjoy it, and you head to Amazon to check out it and the rest of my eBooks.  Either way, thank you for being the most important part of PruittWrites!

Mat’s agent, Louis Howard, was the closet thing to vintage Hollywood you could get in this day and age. He cultivated that look very carefully. His suits were tailored in retro styling, and he carried himself to evoke a certain look. His slicked back white hair and hazel eyes, hid behind massive sunglasses helped. It was great marketing.

“Matt, what’s the story on the three scripts?” Matt frowned. “One of them is awful, and two of them I’ve already done ten years ago.” “What about the books?” “Eh, not great, not horrible, they’re just not memorable.”

Louis took off his glasses, rubbed his eyes, and flashed his fifteen thousand dollar perfect teeth. “Those two Oscars are getting lonesome Matt. You haven’t done a picture in what, eight months? It’s time to start something.”

I know, I just would like to start something … interesting.” “Sensational I can give you, explosions, no problem, but interesting, that’s hard.” “I just wish I could find another Tripoli’s Titan.” It had been the book about an Italian watchmaker, turned into a movie, that had won Matt his first Oscar.

Matt, it took fifteen years to turn that into a movie, and it had taken the author five years just to get it published. If you want interesting, you may have to write it yourself!” Matt hadn’t realized the look he had given Louis, but Louis did. “What’s that?” “What?” “The look, Matty Higgins wants to be an author!”

The Mortar

  1 Peter 2:5, 6, 9

5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. 

9 But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 

The Bible calls us lively stones, but it does not say that we are all the same size or shape.  If you look at a rock wall, you’ll notice the mortar around them, making up for the difference in the shape and sizes of the stones.  Some areas need more mortar than others.  A wall can be sturdy, even though it is different.  
 

If we are all the stones of the Spiritual building, what is the mortar that holds us together?  According to the encyclopedia, mortar is an aggregate, or a combination of materials. It is made up of crushed stone, gravel, sand, slag, or even recycled crushed concrete.  These natural items give us an insight to the spiritual components that unite us.

 

First we have to understand how to connect with the other pieces of the building.  Once you know the how, you can learn from the process. Just as mortar is an aggregate, so is the connecting tissue of the Church. 

Stone

The primary substance in mortar is crushed Stone.  The word mortar is Latin for crushed.  Christians are connected to others through the crushing. The crushing of our own pride yes, the crushing of our own agendas yes, but more importantly, the crushing pattern of Christ.  

In this same chapter, in telling our story, Simon Peters tells Christ’s story.  He yielded His will to drinking the bitter cup, representing an emotional crushing in the garden, and was crushed physically on the cross. His life, His will, and His blood crushed, to purchase our salvation.  

 

The Spirit of Christ and His sacrifice are the first binder in the aggregate of our soul. I’m not a construction guy, I’m a cook, but I know that to make a cake, you need a binder. If you leave out the eggs in a cake, you’re in trouble. His love is the prerequisite to every part of our lives, and our unity.  The Spirit Of Christ not only rescues us, He equips us. 

When we love Him, His love produces a love for our brothers and sisters, and those that are currently without the Faith. The closer we draw to Him, the easier unity becomes.  Either those around us will seem sweeter, or we’ll be more tolerable when we they are sour.  They will do the same for us, all of us need some mortar in the gaps.

Gravel

The second mortar substance is gravel.  Simon Peter’s name meant a stone, or a smaller rock.  He wasn’t the rock that we build on, but he had a backbone, he just needed the strength to use it.  Tenacity, determination, and a never give up outlook is a mindset. Once Peter had God’s strength, then he could say I’m not moving.  It takes God’s power in this Christian walk, but it also takes a willingness to fight.  The scripture says that The Kingdom of God suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.

Our experiences should strengthen our resolve.  Our knowledge that this world is on the fast track to Eternity should clue us in on what kind of Christians we need to be.  We must stand for our beliefs, and He will do the rest.

However understand this about the day and time we are in.  The Bible says that God will decide when He returns, and no one else.  That’s one reason why John said the spirit of anti-Christ, notice the little a, does already work.  The Bible says only God knows the day of His return, meaning the devil cannot act until God does.   
I believe that the enemy has had candidates in place in every generation, because he has no more idea when than we do.  The devil guesses, but that’s all it is.  In other words, the enemy may have a plan, but he can’t even pick his main general, until God makes His move.  The references in Isaiah 26, II Thessalonians, and in Matthew 25 reflect God’s sovereignty concerning the timing of the last days.  

The point is, don’t worry about the closeness of the end, instead, simply get closer to Jesus.  It is great to study Prophecy. We don’t need to be ignorant of the times that we are in. Yet Christians don’t look for the beast in the sea, we look for the Savior In The Clouds!  

Our experiences should tell us to look to Jesus most of all! A young man I know came to me with questions recently, and I was able to share with him. We don’t have to fear about the future, we know Who is holding it!

Sand

Next, the mortar is made of sand.  Sand isn’t what you build on, it represents our infirmities, our humanness, our frailties.  Let the weak say I am strong.  As we realize how lacking we are, it should draw us closer, first to Jesus, and then to each other.  If I’m reminded that I have faults, and need my Savior, even after 20 years in the Ministry, then surely I can be patient with my brother, or my sister.

Yes, Jesus built on the rock, but He walked along the sand of the seashore. He, The Rock, walked among the sand blown men and women of this world. God said of Abraham’s seed, I’ll make them as the sand by the seashore. Why, because sand touches sand. He makes us new in an imperfect world, so that we can touch those around us.  

Slag

Slag is a glass like by product left after a metal is separated from it’s ore.  When water hits it, it helps form concrete.  Over time, it can make the concrete stronger.  When we both reflect on Jesus, and reflect Jesus, it makes the whole Church stronger.  

Do you have problems, do you have trials, do you have sickness?  Instead of reflecting on those very real and very painful things, let me challenge you, to ignore all of that for a little while and reflect on Jesus.  I admit I don’t know what you’re going through, but He does. I’ve never seen anyone that reflected on Jesus leave any way but better!

The Trowel

The mortar is important, but it takes the trowel to shape it. The word trowel, has a similar sounding word in Old English meaning think or believe. Even though it’s a different word, it’s an apt description. Our faith will shape us, and cause us to hold our ground in every battle. 
 There are different trowels for different purposes. A float trowel or finishing trowel textures the top layer of hardening concrete. A flooring trowel has one rectangular end and one pointed end, and is made to fit corners. The wise builder will use different tools for different circumstances. 

When we apply both God’s Word to our lives, and to our witness or outreach, we must pray and plan. A Strong Christian is a Strategic Christian. Strategic Christians make up a Strategic Church, and Strategic Churches revolutionize Communities.  

To go where you have not yet gone, according to the text is to build up the wall. God said you are built up a Spiritual building, then immediately says something else.  He follows with, we are a Holy Priesthood. Walls build up, Priests extend their hearts and hands. To build up, you’ve got to reach out in a purposeful way.  

The Wall

The Church is one spiritual building, one priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God. It’s a process, it is a progression. We begin by working on ourselves, the lively stones.  

If something doesn’t fit, I must start with me. I cannot change anyone else, but I can examine myself. Are my motives right, is my spirit right? Things are too close to the end to allow pride or stubbornness to halt the work on the entire wall.

Second, I must look around to the needs I can minister in for others. I heard someone doing this just last night. A friend asked, is anyone mowing her yard?  

When you care for others, you strengthen the wall. When the wall is strong, it displays Jesus for everyone to see. When we are one, as one man, we can present Christ’s Message to the world.

The Church was built on years of sacrifice. Where you are is an amazing accomplishment, but with Jesus, your greatest days are always ahead. Isaiah said “Of the increase of His government there shall be no end.” 

The world is filled with souls who need a Savior. The most important thing I can say to you is this, don’t measure your future by your past. Expand your outreach, God will lead you into new opportunities. 

Your future is brighter than where you’ve been. If pain, or fear has robbed you of hope, it’s time to dream again. In Nehemiah it uses the term arise and build. Arise means to continue, build means to obtain children. Christ has bound us together, mortared by His love, to bring in a harvest for The Glory Of God.    

Carve It Out 

  
Last night I watched woodcarvers in Africa and an amazing competition. Warriors, weapons, and animals were carved out of wood. The winner created a small handheld, delicate piece with two Antelope. It was ironic that such a fast animal took two days to produce.

Simple materials resulted in uncommon beauty. The rich colors were accented by markers and shoe polish. Don’t judge what your resources can create before you’ve accomplished your goal.

This is the place where you normally read the names of people who achieved greatness with nothing. Instead, today lets look at your resources. First, no matter who you are, or when you’re reading this, you are alive at a pivotal moment.

Every person whoever achieved anything, altered the time they were in, with what they had. The key wasn’t their resources, or their creativity, but their determination. They found a way to use what they had to change their world.

Second, you are smarter than you think. Intelligence isn’t based on education, nor is there only one kind of it. Whether your strength lies in facts, figures, or fixing things, you are smarter than you give yourself credit for.

We are in the Information Age, if you’re lacking a skill, it’s a few clicks away. If we have the heart to try, our brains have the ability to learn. Every skill needed is attainable, we just have to attempt it.

Third, you have a unique perspective. Only you have seen, lived, and overcame your battles. Others may have similar circumstances, but your life is a snowflake. Every person is created by God to be one of a kind. Therefore you have something to bring to the table that no one else can.

You have the perspective, the intelligence, and the opportunity to change your world, you just need the confidence to try. Make today the start of your new adventure. You don’t have to fly to Paris, but you could start learning a new language.  

Whatever your goal, begin carving it out. They’ll be some marks and scuffs along the way, but they will just decorate your story. Before you know it, you’ll produce something of uncommon beauty out of your everyday resources.

Alaskan Silver St Louis

  The man on the train was Lucas Shelton, but people called him St Louis.  The rumor was it was because of a fight he once had there. Others said it was the style of music he played.  He knew it was because of the trademark on his luggage. An old college roommate had given him the monicker, he liked and kept it.

St Louis had never been to his namesake, until today.  “Mr Shelton, I have the package.”  The tall African American man got up and looked at the case, and his reflection in it.  He wasn’t looking at his shaved head or blue eyes, but at the face of the man behind him.
Searching for a telling smirk, a nervous twitch, or some clue as to his emotions.  The broker didn’t reveal them, which meant St Louis had to carry on.  He opened the case, and counted the money. “Fifty thousand, perfect.  When do you want it to happen?”  

“It may be tomorrow, it may be ten years from now. Just be in place, and you’ll get one of these cases every six months until your job is over.”  “That’s a lot of money, are you that rich?”  “No, but our backers are.  Is it a deal?”  St Louis nodded, and soon he was back on a train.

Next he would reach California, buy everything he needed, and board a boat to Alaska.  St Louis was setting up shop, and he was going to make sure it was a huge one.  He cleaned his gun, and then played a tune on his clarinet to pass the time.

It was his own creation, a melancholy piece called, “Life and Death Of A Hero.”  St Louis kept tweaking the melody.  The beginning and middle were finally okay, but he didn’t like the ending.

Tune in next week for another Alaskan Silver! 

Cold Night Hot Coffee

  A hot cup of coffee on a cold winter’s night. They are at different ends of the spectrum, but each, is one of my favorite things. The combining of these two opposites remind me of how beautiful relationships are.

Whether it’s a spouse, a friend, or a co-worker, we have a choice. Our differences can either separate us, or be a tool to bring us closer together. Cold and hot, big and small, applied correctly, compliment each other.  

This doesn’t mean that it’s always natural, or even easy, but it does prove that it’s worth it. The coffee didn’t make the night less cold, and the cold didn’t make it any hotter. What they did together was to affect my situation. They brought me pleasure.

Many people try to change their partner, which results in lukewarm relationships. The only person I can change is myself, and that’s a full time job. Changing myself is beneficial, trying to force change in someone else is not. Instead, if I can find common ground, our differences can work together to alter a situation.

If the relationship needs work, we’re better served by working with the other person. In World War II, Winston Churchill, and Franklin Roosevelt, were two very strong, but different men. The two formed one of the greatest alliances in history. They realized they faced something far more dangerous than their own egos, or personal preferences. The fate of the world was at stake.

While the free world may not be on the line, our individual world is worth fighting for. My preferences aren’t nearly as important as the people that I value. The more I invest in the relationship, the more those who love me invest in it too.  

We’re often tempted to think that we are the only one working, but that is rarely true. We are just approaching it differently, because we are different. We both are looking at the same picture, from individual points of view.

If someone you love and yourself are struggling right now, try this. Separate, as much as you can, from the emotions that are swirling around you. Remind yourself of all the times they’ve shown you their love.  

If that person has proven that they care, you know they have your best interest at heart. You’re both working towards the same goal, just taking two different roads to get there. Once you see that, look for a way to make the two ends meet. 

An intersection isn’t the merging of two streets, it’s the connecting of them. Each car has to stop for them to work properly, people are no different. We have to stop, yield, and wait our turn. 

When we do, we each reach our goal, when we don’t, a collision happens. Then we must deal with the aftermath of opposites trying to get their way. The right of way is never worth a crash.

There are unhealthy relationships that people should get out of, but the majority of people in our lives love us. They only want what’s best for us, even if they have a different opinion of what that is. Just remember, different doesn’t mean wrong, it just means different.

You each want the same thing. The two of you may need to set and talk about your goals. Approach it by recognizing that you’re both trying. Discuss what is working, and what isn’t. You may find common ground over a hot cup of coffee on a cold winter’s night.

Alaskan Silver Strangers

  A knock at the door, a brief conversation, a man grabs his hat and coat. He throws some things in a suit case and heads out, stopping only for half a cup of coffee.  The business he’s on is that urgent, and that deadly.

Hundreds of miles removed from our heroes, his meeting directly involves both them and their enemies.  The meeting does not go well.  Anger ensues, threats are made, and things look bleak.  As he turns to leave,  he tries one last time.

The thought had just occurred to him.  It was risky, but what did he have to lose now?  He shares it quickly, before they can object.   It doesn’t subside all of the animosity, but it cuts just enough of it.

They agree, with conditions, and the man is off.  He is tired, and a little shaky, his health isn’t what it seems, but he buys his ticket.  A train ride begins that will seal the fate of an entire state.  People’s current and future well being depends on the outcome, as does the life of Alaskan Silver!  

Meet the man on the train in next week’s episode of Alaskan Silver.