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ANOTHER STORM….THERE ARE ALWAYS STORMS…

In a dramatic storm scene from the book, “The Spear of Destiny – The Journey Begins”, we have a scene where the followers of the way have fled Jerusalem which is in chaos. Romans are not happy with the fact they have escaped as they are quite a batch of priceless lineage in the boat. The Romans have orders to pursue and God has other plans. Please enjoy this scene that shows how God takes what the devil intends for evil and turns it into good.

ONWARD TO JOPPA

After hours of riding the horses hard, Longinus slowed his horse and addressed the others, “We have made a good distance, let us stop and rest our horses here.”

     “You have served us like an angel of the Lord,” stated Joseph in a deep, sincere tone as he got down from his horse.

     “The Lord has truly sent him to us,” said Mary, the mother of Jesus.

     “Angel of the Lord or sent, I am impressed!” shouted Khalid.

     “You would make a great bounty hunter, but you would need to find a good dog like Vitali,” he said as he poured water in a cup for her.

     Longinus held the reins of his horse and stretched his legs. He looked back toward Jerusalem and studied the horizon.

     Mary went over to him and asked, “What is it that you see?”

     “I was thinking of my dream and wondering how long it will be until we see the distant dust from horses’ hooves.”

     Mary looked at the horizon for a moment. Then she turned and went over to Mary, Jesus’s mother, who motioned for her to come.

     She brought out a loaf of bread from her haversack and said, “Mary, go and give the others some bread. They need to be nourished.”

     Mary smiled and took the loaf. She pulled apart generous pieces and gave to them all.

     It seemed as though they had just stopped to rest, and it was time to mount up and travel some more. No one complained. They were all very thankful.

     They traveled until the night was beginning to set in. Longinus knew it was time to find a suitable place to make camp. Both the people and the horses needed to sleep.

     “There is a wooded area that I stayed when I came to Jerusalem, not far from here.  We should reach it soon. We can camp there.”

Now miles ahead of the Roman army, Longinus and the others had made a nice camp, and John had prepared some smoked fish and bread.

     Longinus looked at Mary and said, “This is very fresh smoked fish.”

     “And at a price cheaper than Gaza,” said Mary with a giggle.

     Longinus was slow in understanding, but as he thought, he broke out in laughter, remembering Josiah.

     “They are having fun,” John said to Khalid.

     “They laugh at things that make no sense. The fish is good. I’ll have another,” said Khalid.

     After a good serving of food, they all rested. They had plans to get up before dawn and make their way to Joppa. It wasn’t far. Longinus believed that they would be at the ports by the afternoon as long as they got an early start.

The Missing Mariner

Longinus and the others finally arrived at the ports in Joppa. Longinus led them all to the ship of the Mariner, but the ship was not there. At the dock, he asked a fisherman, “Where is the Mariner’s ship? The man from Aksum?”

     “Oh, they sailed out yesterday. Planned to bring in a big catch.”

     Longinus knew that when they planned for a big catch, it meant at least two weeks at sea. Now what do we do? he thought.

     Joseph and the others heard the report. They looked at one another. Mary spoke up, “The Lord has not led us here in vain. He will show us what to do.”

     Longinus was concerned and said, “We have no seaworthy ship. We must go from here.”

     Then Khalid spoke up, “We can get a boat. We have men enough who can row oars.”

Longinus thought and answered, “The old fisherman. He had many of such boats. Khalid, come with me. Mary, you and the others wait here. We will be back as fast as we can.”

     Mary nodded.  

     Khalid looked at Vitali and commanded, “You stay here and guard the women.” Vitali barked in agreement.

     Khalid added, “First, we find the fisherman, then we get the boat, then we sail.” Vitali barked again, and Khalid and Longinus galloped away to see the fisherman.

     When they came upon the bones, Khalid asked, “What does a fisherman do with so many old bones?”

     Longinus answered, “He sees in these the day that the dry bones will awake and become a great and powerful army for the kingdom of heaven.”

     Khalid shrugged his head and rolled his eyes and decided not to ask any more questions.

     As they neared the entrance of the cave, Khalid saw the bones on the outside of it formed the image of soldiers. He wondered at it. Then a voice was heard and they turned and saw the old fisherman coming, pulling a boat on a makeshift cart. It was tied very securely and did not move one little wobble.

     “I had expected your arrival a little later, but I see you made good time.”

     Longinus smiled as he saw the boat and said, “What do I owe you for this?”

     The old fisherman said, “There is no coinage due for obeying the word of the Lord. One simply does what they are told. Rewards come later. But for now, it is my pleasure to help in any way. Take the boat and the provisions in it. Go now, you must not tarry here.”   

     Longinus held up his spear and shouted, “Look upon the first of your Lord’s great and powerful army!” He then pointed the spear at Khalid and shouted, “And look upon the second!”

The old fisherman smiled and said, “Go now, for the Lord has shown me that the Romans come at you with great speed. They are no longer detained.”

     Longinus nodded, and Khalid grabbed the ropes of the cart that held the boat and shouted, “I will lead, you follow behind to make sure the cart does not lose the boat.” “Agreed!” shouted Longinus, and they rode off as fast as they could, being careful not to topple the boat from the cart.

     John and Joseph saw Longinus and Khalid coming with the boat tied to the cart and grabbed some knives to cut the ropes that bound the boat. As they cut away the ropes, Mary, the mother of Jesus, said, “The Lord has blessed us with this boat, may he keep us safe as we sail.”

     They freed the boat from the cart and together the men lifted it down and carried it out past the shallows of the water. The women waded after them, carrying all the haversacks except for one.  Vitali carried Khalid’s holding it tight between her teeth.

     Once past the shallows, the women, Joseph, and John climbed into the boat, while Longinus and Khalid held it steady. Then they lifted themselves up into it. They grabbed the oars and began to row. They made their way out to sea and the ports of Joppa began to look smaller from the distance.

     As they continued out to sea, Longinus tried hard to remember all he had learned in maintaining his direction with the sun. If only I had something to navigate with, he thought.

     As they got further out to sea, John decided to rummage through the provisions that were provided by the old fisherman. He came across a strange-looking object. Holding it up, he shouted to Longinus, “Do you know what this is?”

     Longinus looked as he oared, then shouted, “An astrolabe!”

     “Indeed it is!” exclaimed Joseph, “It’s God sent!”

     Longinus quit oaring and moved over to John and took it from him.

     “That old fisherman has blessed us with an astrolabe. With this, we shall be able to navigate our boat. We will not lose our way.”

     They continued to row as fast as they could until the only thing that was seen from every side of the boat was the horizon line.

     Joseph was skilled in the celestial patterns of the stars and would entertain himself using the astrolabe, both during the day with the sun and at night when the stars filled the sky. He shared his knowledge of the stars and their patterns, with the others, on how they traveled and never lost their course. All of them were now learning how to navigate in the waters through the direction of the sun, the moon, and the stars. Longinus learned so much from Joseph who was a great merchant and traveled the seas a lot. The two of them bonded instantly through their shared fascination with that astrolabe.

Tempest at Sea

After a couple days at sea, in the early dawn, Longinus awoke in the boat and spotted a fleet of ships on the horizon. They were Roman biremes.

     “Oar fast as you can!” he shouted to Khalid. Khalid grabbed the oars and began to row. He looked on the horizon and saw the Roman biremes.

     “May the Lord protect us,” shouted John as he looked and saw the Roman biremes on the horizon.

     “The Lord will make us a way,” comforted Mary to the others.  It seemed that no matter how fast the men rowed, the Roman biremes kept coming closer.

    “They are so fast,” shouted Longinus. “We must keep going.” He looked at Mary and the rest who had their heads bowed in prayer and said, “Pray as you have never prayed in your life for a miracle at sea.”

     Khalid shouted, “You too, Vitali!” and Vitali bowed her head.

     “Well, I’ll be,” said Khalid with surprise as he watched her pray. For those words he spoke out of nervousness and not with any real intent.

      As the Roman biremes continued to gain speed, coming closer and closer, suddenly, out of nowhere, the sky turned dark. A tempest was brewing and the waves began to slash against the small boat, rolling it up and down in the water. The sky grew black, and no one could see beyond the boat. The roar of rolling thunder drummed in their ears continuously, and every few minutes, a flash of lightning cracked in the sky, thrusting a quick burst of light.

     The little boat raised up and down, hitting against the pounding waves. Longinus feared the boat would turn over or, worse yet, split apart. After a long length of time, their little boat suddenly became very still. Yet the waves continued to slash out and crash downward all around them. They heard the desperate commands of Roman captains shouting to their sailors ordering them to tighten sails and throw down anchors.

     Longinus wondered at the strange calm and stillness of their boat when all around them the storm was raging and showing no mercy to the Roman biremes.

     In the darkness, none could see that there was an angel of the Lord, guarding over them. The angel had his legs straddled over the boat, and all the water around his legs was still. His head reached up above the darkened clouds. He was an awesome sight to behold. Yet they could not see him.

     Mary and the others continued to pray. Longinus saw the miracle in the stillness of their boat and bowed his head and began to pray.

     Khalid said, “I do not know this God of yours, but he has answered your petitions. I will petition to him as well.” He bowed his head and began to petition.

     The sounds of ships falling apart at sea, amidst the roaring thunders, were deafening to their ears. Through the bellowing storm, they heard the shouts of men drowning, and the fearful cries of Romans shouting to pagan gods for help that did not come.

     The darkness continued to loom, then all of a sudden, their boat began to sail with great speed. They all held on to the sides of the boat and continued to pray. The boat sailed and sailed. After a great length of time, the darkness lifted, and they all wondered at what had taken place. They could not see the angel of the Lord bending over and taking his mighty hand and pushing their little boat across the water.

     Then suddenly, Longinus looked out over the horizon and saw a faint outline of hills. “Land,” he shouted!

     Khalid reached for his oars, but they were gone. Longinus looked for his and they too had been torn away in the storm. He feared that they would drift back out to sea and ordered Khalid and the men to row the boat with their arms in the water. They all reached over into the water and used their arms to row the boat, and it eventually came to the shallows. Khalid jumped out and began to push the boat from behind through the shallows; Longinus jumped into the water and helped. Then John and Joseph did the same. They pushed it along through the shallows and onto the shore.

     “I do not know where we are,” said Longinus, “but it is where the Lord has led us.” John and Joseph helped the women out of the boat, and Vitali leaped out and ran to Khalid.

     Khalid shouted with joy as he took hold of Vitali’s mane and shook her head with his two giant hands. “We made it, girl!” Vitali barked and barked.

     “Look!” shouted John. “Crates are drifting ashore!” Longinus looked, then shouted, “They are supplies from the biremes, come, we must get them.” The men followed Longinus and began to pull many crates to shore.

     Khalid began to open them to see what was inside. To his surprise, the first one he opened was filled with spices. He opened another and it had a small chest inside. He pried open the chest, and it was filled with coins. “Look!” he shouted. “Great riches!”   

     Mary exclaimed, “The Lord has provided us means for our travel ahead.”

     Joseph still had the astrolabe and held it out to study the position of the sun. After a few minutes, he exclaimed, “I believe we have landed on the shores of Gaul!”

     At the same time the followers were rejoicing on the shore, the Old Man, known as the Apprentice, appeared walking on the waters of the sea, looking down at the floating bodies of dead Roman soldiers.

     He looked as debris from a sunken bireme hit against the lifeless body of his precious Gaius. “There goes that one,” he said as he placed his foot upon Gaius’s head and shoved it under the water. He watched small air bubbles float upward as the lungs of Gaius filled with water. It wasn’t long and his body floated downward into the depths of the sea.

     “That cursed Longinus has learned to wield the power of his spear. No one can stop him now. I will think of other ways to counter the goodness of his spear. Great persecution and death of little followers is where I shall start. I go to Rome.”

STAY STRONG THE LORD ALWAYS PROVIDES A WAY FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM AND CALL OUT HIS NAME!

Dianne

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