Unstoppable God, Invincible

Unstoppable God, Invincible
by Miles H. Rost

Legion upon legion, they stood. Oily, evil, sick looking and mean.

We stood upon a small ridge of crushed rock, jagged spears of basalt and hard stones. The place was the confluence of two rivers, and this area was relatively flat. The sky was a burning red, a late-afternoon sun that cast a red glow across this battlefield. The beauty of the trees and the rolling hills stood stark in the background behind the legion.

We faced these before. Each of us individually. We were caught off guard by them through the week, and we were in need of some real help. That’s when we took to the knees. As we knelt, focused, and raised up all of this to the Lord we serve, we landed at this battlefield. I saw many of my friends, fellow believers, and we were defiant. The legion below wanted to push us back again, and the captain of our army got us ready.

I saw some of my friends, the ones who have helped shepherd me along in my quick journey to this point in time. Many of the folks that I would call ‘compadres’, they stood with their eyes focused, they jaws squared, and their eyes burning with a passion and fight that one could never have seen before.

We heard a short squeal as the legion came towards us, taking the initiative to attack. As they got to the bottom of the rock pile on which we stood, we heard the words we were waiting for.

“Take it back!”

Our ragtag group of nearly 100 clashed with a legion. I waited just a moment before charging down the pile, hoping to help get in and take care of cleaning up the legionnaires that were inevitably going to fall.

Leaping from my right, graceful yet strong, was Chelsey. A short, but firy young lady, she became one of my closest friends in this congregation. I saw her leap from behind me, her normally dark hair looking a bit lighter, shouting a war cry as she lept into the foree. She had a braid down one side, which made her look very warrior-like. She wielded in her hand a mace, a heavy club with what looked like a crown at the top of it. Something in my soul told me that she was speaking with authority and with conviction. She was going to do some damage, believe me.

I looked to my left and I saw Tia. She stood with her left foot in front of her right, her face looking farther back than up in the front. Her neck-length blonde hair slightly moved in the light breeze, her face full of focus and intent. In her hands was a bow and arrow, stretched back and ready to let go. She was aiming for the reinforcements, the ones in back that would cause more damage as our forces started to wear down. Her arrows were prayerful, full of truth, and highly damaging to the legionnaires who liked to use trickery and lies. I was in awe, to say the least.

A little farther down the line to the left,  I saw Brian and Kristi, my close friends and leaders. They were on the charge, looking to get in and do some beating down. Brian’s dark hair was blowing behind him, and behind his trimmed beard lay a mouth that was gritting teeth. Kristi, his wife and a veteran of many harsh battles, ran right next to him. The scars up and down her arms indicative of the previous battles with entities very much like the ones we were battling. Both of them were bearing down upon the legionnaires with gauntlets on her hand and forearms. They are our protectors, getting into the melee and taking the fight to the enemy rather than just sitting back and waiting.

On the other side, the right side and a little farther down, I saw Siobhan. A great lady of the Lord with a voice of passion, she looked intense as she ran right into the throng of legionnaires. She was swinging only what I could have thought was a two-handed axe. She was someone who wasn’t afraid to get into the thick of the battle, and I was quite proud that she was on that side.

Our commanding officer, Morgan, was standing up top. He was giving out the orders. A strong man of faith, a big man of action, he was someone who you definitely wanted to have in your corner. His words were coming out strong, and as they came out, there was strengthening of resolve among the ranks.

In my hands, I saw a short sword. It was sharp, made for cutting through and crying out for justice. This was the first major battle that I was getting into and actually remembering. I rushed past Tia and right straight towards one of the ugliest legionnaires I could have faced. It was quite a fearful one, and very much one that I knew could have hurt me had there not been protection. As I brought the sword down across the legionnaire, crying out the Lord’s name, I knew that it was from the tribe of Fear. It’s only words as it was being cut in half were, “You can’t be a leader”.

The battle raged on for a good long while, and many of our ranks were wearing down and getting worn. Some of my friends stayed back up on the rock pile, spreading their hands and with the Lord’s grace, healing those on the frontlines. Refreshment and restocking came throughout the long battle. Legionnaire after legionnaire fell to the various weapons that we all held, given to us by our Lord and general.

The great legion that had been provoking and attacking throughout the week, who were trying to do a full onslaught this time, were losing their numbers quickly. The ground became black as the legion lost their ranks. But as quickly as it became black, the blackness was washed away. While the rocky bar we fought on was wet, none of us seemed to slip. We stood firm, and we were fighting very very hard.

The battle raged on for what seemed like hours. By the time it finally was done, the leftover legionnaires ran for the hills. Their numbers were decimated. We walked back up to the rock pile, victory in our hands and fire in our veins. We looked into the sun, which had cleared the side of the mountain and shone upon us. The aftermath of the raging battle was quite different.

Chelsey’s hair was slightly messed up, but her expression was one of satisfaction in the job that the Lord had given her.

Tia stood strong and with fortitude. The string of her bow was a slight bit frayed from the vast number of arrows fired, but she exuded a strong calm that only the Lord could give her.

Brian and Kristi reached the top of the rock pile, arm in arm, smiling broadly as they lifted their steel gloved fists in victory

Morgan, our chief, looked solemn but pleased. He knew this battle needed to be fought, even if his plans had said otherwise. But as he looked at all of us, he made certain to drop a word of prayer to each one who returned to the top in victory.

Siobhan’s hand was wrapped in a brace, but as she held her axe up, she smiled. The blackness on the axe gave way to the shiny steely sheen of her weapon. She leaned over, and rested her arm on her knee, as she looked into the evening sun.

I slowly reached the top of the ridged rock pile, putting my right foot on a rock, bending it and resting my sword on the knee.

—–

As we stood, looking at the territory that we had reclaimed, we heard one of the other soldier start singing. It was soft, but as time went along, the song gained more people’s voices. Like a wave, the song rang through and soon everyone was singing:

Unstoppable God, let your glory go on and on
Impossible things, in your name they shall be done

Nothing shall be impossible
Your kingdom reigns unstoppable
We’ll shout your grace forevermore
Jesus our God unstoppable

A few moments after we were done singing, we started walking down the hill again. All close to 100 of us, walking together in victory, walked to the edge of one of the rivers. We stood on the shoreline of the river, in a line. The legion were not going to be getting this piece of earth back anytime soon.

This was Christ’s land. His blood won it, and his grace allowed us to defend it. That is something we are proud of.

 

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We Fight Another Day (Busindre Reel)

We Fight Another Day
(aka “Busindre Reel”)
by Miles Rost

The last of the men arrived the night before, weary but with spirit in their mouths and minds.

The camp had a group of 5,000, milling about and getting themselves ready for what was to come. They came from all parts of the region, from the northern Highland regions to the Great Chasm, men and women of all walks of life were there.

The camp itself was on the edge of a plains, on a border with the Great Fire Forest behind them. A strategic location to organize a battle, the camp was called “Azinari”, a Flindrosian word meaning “protected land”. Knowing the leader of this group of ragtag fighters, one would know that “Azinari” is not a word that was used lightly.

Hardulf Charitaine, the former herald of the Great King of Flindros, could hardly believe all of the people who answered his call to come. He stood on a hill nearby, his encampment similar to that of a set-aside Japanese daimyo’s. He looked over the encampment of a menagerie of people, smiling at all who answered the call. While he may have once been a herald, here he was now a general of a great number.

He looked at a small enclave carved out of the main camp where waterwalkers were based. Hardulf couldn’t have even imagined that elementals, even the lower level waterwalkers, would come to aid in the battle. He looked at the Highland Wingfolk, the riders of the great birds, taking care of their flying steeds and giving their attention fully to them and to the task at hand.

However, his greatest surprise was at the number of Small Men that arrived. As a race, the Small Men were not ones who would normally get involved in such a fight. Hardulf knew this even from the days of studying History of the Lands in his primary schooling. But yet, here were 750 of them, taking up a good space of the main camp, and yet still spending time making sure everyone in the camp had good food and nourishing rest.

He looked at his right-hand woman, his lieutenant, Lady Chantrella Origane. A beautiful, and yet strong elven woman, she was dressed in the enchanted armor of a Elven warrior. She smiled down at Hardulf, a hearty man in his mid-30s. With long white-blonde hair tied into a long braid, a muscular frame, yet with soft definitions, she was a picture of tough beauty. She was in charge of the mystical creatures, the Boudican warrior women, and even the waterwalkers. She would be riding out with them as Hardulf gave his orders from above.

To his left, his third in command stood. A short, stout Dwarven man, Ringli Hardtack was the next best thing to a general. White haired with a long greying beard, he stood out as a tough fighter and a tough organizer. He was in charge of the “terrestrial” fighters, the Small Men, and even the Men of Tarasco. While he was dealing with his own personal demons of racism, he was able to forge friendships with many men that he trained. He even became close with a woman from the Tarascans, a lizard-men like people who normally had the Dwarves as enemies.

They relaxed for the night, preparing themselves for the battle that they were to fight in the morning. All of them drank, going over their plans for what was to be done. Chantrella pointed out the holes that they could end up having against the over 10,000 Greebo fighters that they were going to be facing. Ringli pointed out the weaknesses in each group of fighters they had, and how they could be useful if things went sideways. By the time things were done, they had a plan and were able to sleep part of the night.

They awoke an hour before the dawn, getting themselves dressed up in the battle gear they would be fighting with. The three “generals” mounted their horses and rode down to the main front of the camp, blowing the horns to signal the men and women to gather their stuff together and pack it up.

As the light of the morning started to fill the sky with a beautiful cobalt blue, Hardulf walked along the front of his men and smiled.

“Men and women of the Alliance,” he began, calling out with a great booming voice, “We are here to battle against evil.”

He looked at Chantrella, and smiled, before looking back on his army.

“The evil we are fighting is one that affects us all. We come from different worlds, different regions of life. Some of us are mystical, some of us are terrestrial. Some of us look different from the other, and some have had bitter feuds in the past. But this day, this day, you have come together out of a common bond. The bond of helping rid evil from this land.”

He turned his horse and started to pace the other direction.

“We will fight this day. We will fight like champions! We will win against evil, because we know that the battle is already won! We have a great assurance, and  no matter how the battle goes, we will be winning it. We will win because we are united. Elementals, Small Men, Treehorns, and the lot, we all have one thing in common: We serve with dignity and pride.”

He looked at Ringli, smiling as he saw him get a couple Tarascans focused on Hardulf’s words.

“We have one goal. One goal. That’s to win. Even if we lose our lives today, we win. But it will not be this day that we die. Today we will live, and we will be victorious! The Greebos who want to take these lands from you, and their allies, cannot fathom the amount of perseverance that you all have. You are stout, hearty, and itching for battle. And today, today is the day that you get it.”

He pulled out a set of bagpipes from his side-pack, and proceeded to play “The Call of the Charitaine”, the song of his family that was left to him before he became the corrupted King of Flindros’s herald. As he played, the men and women of the vast army thumped their weapons against the ground in time. They heard the song before, and the respect that came with it. The thumping was heard for miles around the plains, and were even heard in the main Greebo stronghold of the area, which made many of them uneasy.

As the song continued to play, Chantrella and Ringli blew their horns and all of the soldiers got into their formation behind them. They started to march past Hardulf, as they made their way towards the stronghold. After some minutes, the last of the soldiers finally left the camp. The last 50 people at the camp were the servants, the ones who would load up the wagons and quickly catch up with the rest of the moving army later. Hardulf gave the head servant the orders for the encampment and where they were to set up, and proceeded to join with the rest of the army.

Under his breath, he whispered a small prayer, “Yihuwa, you’re the only one to help us today. With your hand, let us be victors.”

Trying to Stop Failure (aka “Mourning Dove”)

Trying to Stop Failure
(aka “Mourning Dove”)
By Miles Rost

Part 4 of Mayumi’s story

Months had passed by since the last time Mayumi Shiomi had left her job at Shine FM and went to a competitor. She waited a month, and in that time had great development in her personal life. With one exception…

The men that she had in her life sucked.

She had gone for a good two to three months without even dealing with such an issue, and she was getting better at staying away from situations, but the last guy she met just took her by surprise and she fell, very hard, in love. And got hurt in the interim.

She just broke up with another guy who wanted to use her and abuse her. After the night of their last date, she cried herself to sleep asking for things to finally just stop. That she didn’t want a relationship anymore, and that she needed some “me-time”.

She woke up the next morning, and looked at herself in the mirror. The short sandy brown hair that she used to have had grown a little longer in the months preceding. It was now down to her shoulders, but constantly tied up in a ponytail. She looked a slight bit older than her age, but she didn’t think much of it.

“Ah feel like crap right now,” she muttered to her reflection, “I have no clue what to do, how to deal with all these problems with men. Why…why do I attract that type of man?”

She changed out of her pajamas and put herself under the hot water of a long shower. She thought about where things went wrong, and where in her past was the catalyst for the change she had to deal with constantly. She turned on the waterproof radio that hung in the shower, and tuned it to her new station, Power FM 87. She knew that her show would be on in about 3 hours, and that before that was a great smooth jazz show by her newest friend, Mitzi.

“…and later this week, Larry Carlton will be in Melbourne, playing a 5 date set at Bennets Lane. Here’s a great one from him, going back a few years. This is Mourning Dove, on the Smooth Move show, here on Power FM!”

The start of the music shot into Mayumi’s heart like a needle into a vein. The soft keyboard and the beginning strains of the artist’s guitar nailed the feelings she felt at that time. She was mourning. Mourning her own problems with men, with falling a step behind again, and feeling lower than normal. She just stood under the steady and hard stream of water, as she started drifting into memories.

As the saxophone and guitars harmonized and carried her away, she looked back to the age of 10. She remembered seeing her own father, a man who she barely ever saw in later years. She saw the memory she had of him, smacking her mom around. She remembered him grabbing her mom’s arm and muscling her towards the bedroom. She remembered hearing the sounds, and running to her hiding place in the far part of the basement.

“Is this what ah’m running from?” she asked her 10 year old self, in her mind, “Is this why ah get the men I do?”

Her 10 year old memory looked back at her, saying nothing but showing her a glimpse of what may have happened to give her the perpetual bad luck with men.

She let the music carry her to another part of her mind, the water relaxing her to the point where she could do much more with her soul, mind, and body.

“Lord, ah think we know why things are the way they are,” she said, in a prayerful tone, “Ah’m dealing with the ghosts of the past, and it’s time that we work together on this. Ah wanna be free, and ah know you love me enough to want me to be free. Ah can’t do this alone, and ah have to give it up to you everyday.”

The song’s warm yet sad tones bled across her mind, the prayers she was sending infused with the music’s energy. She had never prayed as hard as she did at that moment, with hot water hitting her tired and stressed out shoulders.

“Father, help me address this problem. The image of my father, ah need to move on from it. Father, help me as ah do what I need to do.”

She kept praying, the water pouring over her hair like a waterfall. She didn’t know what effect her prayer would be, but she realized that she would eventually need to let everything go in a way.

As the song ended and a new smooth jazz song came on, she started her ritual of cleaning, getting ready for work. She felt lighter, but she didn’t know what would happen next.

 

Emerald Grace

Emerald Grace
(aka The Ice Maid’s Change)
by Miles Rost

As night fell, Amy looked into the small bonfire that her friends had set up for the night. She was alone, sitting by herself in awe of the fire. Sayaka and Chieri were off gathering up wood, while Yumi and Michiko were off getting marshmallows and chocolate from a nearby roadside shop.

I don’t understand. Everything I know about life and existence is in my head, but why is my heart feeling empty? She asked herself.

Second by second passed, and as Amy’s clothes absorbed the smoke of the bonfire, Amy pulled out speakers and her iPod from her backpack. After setting her speakers up, she moved her iPod to a song…a medium-paced celtic song that Michiko gave to her called “Emerald Grace.”

She sat for a few seconds, as the first vocal strains of the song started to play, and a thought immediately came to her mind.

Dance.

She looked around for a few seconds more, and the thought came back to her.

Dance.

Only 20 seconds passed before Amy stood up. She looked at the circle around the fire, a ring that was able to hold two people side by side, and looked upward. As the second refrain started, the accompanying sound of cymbals and triangles joined in, and Amy started to sway. She closed her eyes and just let herself go in thought as she swayed to the music.

What good is knowledge without a root to be grounded in? She asked herself, calling up her memories, I used to be grounded in family, and in life. She looked at herself in her memory, and remembered a time a few years ago when she used to dance.

Amy, make sure to let yourself move with the music, her dance instructor told her You have God’s grace, just let the music be your worship.

Amy looked on this memory and smiled.

She was right. I had been fighting against God for so long, I didn’t understand what He was giving me, she thought.

After a few seconds, a flute joined in, and Amy started to move around the fire in a counter-clockwise circle. She moved her hands upward, her arms following, in a smooth motion. Her hands, upon reaching the apex, moved downwards toward her chest, and outward in a T. She twirled and smiled as she danced to the flute and the triangle, getting into the movement and remembering the fun she used to have dancing.

The vocal strains came back for a third time, and as the voices sang, Amy lifted her hands up and continued dancing. As the voices died out, and the drums introduced what Amy called the “Base Plain” of the song, Amy started her prayer in dance.

Father, I understand now what you have been telling me, she thought, The knowledge that I have is a gift, and it needs to be used for you. You have given me a view of my life that I never would have seen with my own devices.

Amy knew that she had a choice to make. To continue the dance of life that she was dancing, or to walk from it. This would be the point of no return for her, and as the drumbeat descended, Amy made her choice.

Iesu, our Father sent you to give me life, a free gift. I have fought you before, but I will no longer fight against you. I love you, Lord, and I ask of you to enter my heart and enter my life. My life is yours, so I ask for you guidance.

The drums ended, and the haunting vocals came back for a fourth and final time. Amy moved her arms to the voices, while her legs stood still. As soon as the drums started, she went back to movement, praying along with.

I am The Ice Maid. I am Amy Kuruyama. And I am your child, Father. Lay your hands on me now as I pray this in Christ’s holy name.

As the final notes of the song played, she went down to her knees and the finals word of her prayer escaped her lips.

“Amen”.

At that moment, the bonfire roared and Amy jumped backwards, falling backwards over a log. She fell with a thud, but as she sat up, she felt alright. And she was laughing.

“I bet you anything, Amy,” a voice cried out from the other side of the fire, “that you would not noticed me while you were dancing.”

Amy quickly stood up, nervous and embarrased and looked across the fire. She eased as she saw that it was Sayaka.

“You dance well. Very well. Apparently, there are still some things that we do not know about you…”

Amy just blushed as she quickly sat down, turning off her iPod.

“You don’t have to hide it, Amy. We are friends, and fighters.”

Amy looked up with a smile, when she opened her mouth.

“And now, we’re sisters.”

Sayaka immediately shot her head up from the ground and looked straight into Amy’s eyes.

“You mean…that…”

“Was a dance of prayer. He found me, and I said yes.”

Sayaka squealed in happiness, and gave Amy a big hug.

“This is so unbelievable. It’s like God is putting everything into place.”

 

Intimate Strangers

by Miles Rost

From the diary of Richard Sullivan

With the plop of papers into my basket, I was done with my day.

I slid on my leather trenchcoat as I stood up from the desk. It had rained earlier in the day, and it helped to keep my clothes dry. I looked at the papers on my desk, sitting neatly in the basket in which I plopped them down. A typical Thursday evening, everything was ready for tomorrow morning, and I would be on my way home.

I walked out of my building, and onto the sidewalk. I took in a deep breath and closed my eyes for a second as I looked towards the sinking sun in the northwestern sky. The heaviness that was in my heart, in my hands, had come back to sit down upon things.

My thoughts turned from work and work issues to the burden on my shoulders. As the heaviness in my heart spread, the indicator that I was being “called” came up. As I felt the stiffness and the aching in my index fingers, and knew that she was the one in trouble.

I walked towards my home and I focused my thoughts inwards. I took many deep breaths as I walked slowly towards my one-bedroom apartment. I searched deep within my heart to see what was going on, what the problem was.

She has been there for the longest time. I’m not sure who she is, as I have never met this woman. It’s unusual, because I normally wouldn’t connect with someone I don’t know. But, I can sense her in my heart and in my indicators. I feel as though she is not doing very well today. When this happens, I think about the things that I can do from here.

In the time since I left work, have been thinking about this woman, and arrived outside my apartment, it’s been about 25 minutes. Walking is a great thing as it clears one’s head. However, to be honest, I didn’t feel much clearing today, especially in regards to her.

I walked into my apartment and set my things down. After taking a shotglass of water and downing it, I sat on the edge of my bed and started to pray. In this case, it’s the only thing I can do. I don’t know where she is, so I cannot be near her. I know that my prayers, however, will allow her comfort. That she will be shown love in a way that’s totally different from anything.

This woman and I are intimate strangers. We are connected in a way that no one could even fathom, and yet we have never met. And I hope that sometime in the very near future, I’ll be able to see her and that we’ll both know that we’re the ones. This is my hope and prayer.

Along The Waterfront

by Miles Rost

The sun was setting in the skies off the coast. The bright yellow of the sun sunk below the horizon, the sky starting to turn a firy orange with twinges of red. There were no clouds in the sky, the winds were calm, and the surf was very mild. It was exactly like a picture, frozen in a moment in time.

Paul Bernal sat top a set of rocks close to the ocean’s edge, looking out at the seas. He had come there for solitude, to calm the raging beast within himself. He looked out at the ocean, and felt the soothing splashing of the waves on rocks farther out. This was his place of refuge from the rest of the world. This is where he was able to do all of the things he needed to do. He was along the waterfront, right where he needed to be.

The rocks he stood on had a roughness that was pronounced. However, one spot seemed to be perfectly cut into the rock pile where it was smooth. The rocks formed two cylinders, which allowed for ease of kneeling when praying. And it was in those grooves that Paul put his legs, and knelt in prayer.

As he prayed, he thought about all that had happened in the day and even days as he prayed, the situations recounted in his mind as he brought all those cares up for prayer. The images from the computer screen that triggered his inner beast were being addressed in prayer, and how much he struggled with images that were more erotic and stimulating. While it had been a few days since the last time, he knew that he had to continue being in prayer and putting forth all the things that he could not keep inside.

He lifted up his troubles at work, dealing with all of the stresses of being a financial aid counselor. Hearing the hard luck stories and not being able to do much didn’t help his psyche at all, and lifting those cares up helped ease the pain that he felt.

For nearly 20 minutes, as the sun continued to descend beyond the horizon and twilight started to show it’s beauty, he continued praying. As he finished his prayers, he stood up on the rocks, and climbed down from them. Landing on the soft sand, he looked down and smiled.

“I’ll be back again, tomorrow. Be ready for me, Lord,” he said, staring out into the darkening skies and ocean. He turned and walked back towards his car, ready to head home and face another night alone.

Prayer

by Miles Rost

A position of submission. A position of subjugation.

Kneeling for prayer did not come easy for Brighton Avanzari. A former subject of a middle eastern king, he grew up despising kneeling. If he didn’t kneel he was flogged. That’s how it was, especially with a maniacal king.

When he was able to leave and to go to another country to study, he grasped the opportunity with his life. He knew that studying in a foreign country would give him the opportunity to shake off the chains of his country’s monarchist obsession.

What he experienced in his studies broke him.

Brighton was treated like a pawn by members of the university student union, the administration, and others. He quit studying with a four credit course to go before getting his bachelor’s in literature. He was tired, and he didn’t like what he was doing. He didn’t have much to go on as a foreigner in the country, and he was pressured to be a part of so much that he finally rejected everyone and started studies of his own.

He would work during the day, repairing vehicles at a garage in Sacramento. He would travel home to a small apartment in a nearby town, riding his bike. He sat in his apartment and read all of the major works of literature, sometimes spending hours upon end pouring over the details and inhaling it’s scent.

One day, just for fun, he picked up a Bible that was given to him. He started reading in the New Testament, and looked. He read about prayer, about being on your knees. At this he got mad and threw it at the wall. For a few minutes, Brighton went berserk. He sat down after his “hulkout” and started to breathe. He analyzed what happened and thought about it.

He realized that the only way to deal with his anger was to actually do what he despised.

He took the first step, and he put one knee down. It took all the strength that he had not to recoil and remove. Now, the tough part came. He started to put his other knee down.

Prayer can happen anywhere…

He felt this thought go through his head, and stopped for a moment.

Don’t fear. Your previous king was a tyrant. This king, the King of Kings, is not.

Brighton’s heart started to soften ever so slightly, as he continued to put his knee down. When it touched the floor, he bowed his head.

You kneel not in subjugation, but in honor. Pray, and know that you will be heard.

For the first time since he left the kingdom, he was able to kneel and pray. And for the first time since he was a child, he knew what it felt to truly pray to his Lord.