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From The Pigpen to The Throne Room
Grant E. Metcalf

               Thoughts and Notes About My Childhood and Upward

                           My Journey In General 

Two songs help to describe my birth place and day. Goofus--"Iwas born on a 
farm down in Iowa", and Yankee Doodle Dandy--"I'm a Yankee doodle dandy, 
Born on the 4th of July". The second is self explanatory. As for the farm, 
my dad worked there as a hired hand for 30 days. Oh!--by coincidence it 
was also just outside of Correctionville.  I'm not exactly certain as to 
how much significance that may or may not have.

The day I was born, July 4, 1940, dad asked uncle Lee Metcalf to take my sisters Ila Arlene and Wilma Louise and 
go get the doctor. (Ila had rheumatic fever and died in surgery when I was 
9 months old.) Wilma told me that he ran over some little pigs in the farm 
lane  on the way. In 1943 we had moved to the Glen Metcalf farm, where we 
lived for three years. There I fell in the creek that ran through the 
pigpen. Mom gave me at least two baths afterward. I've never liked water 
since. smile. My last memorable experience with pigs was helping dad feed 
the pigs on my fifth birthday when I caught my foot in the fence climbing 
out of the pen, falling and breaking my right arm. So much for pigs.

Other preschool memories: while crossing the yard one day a rooster took a 
dislike to me and attacked--he made a wonderful fried chicken dinner. But 
then, I wasn't always the victim! There was the time I gave Teddy-bear a 
bath. He always had one leg shorter than the other after that.  When my 
brother Keith was about three weeks old, I tried feeding him some of mom's 
homemade catsup. When he was old enough to sit in the highchair, it was 
extremely difficult for me to keep from falling off of a straight chair. 
When Keith was old enough to begin walking, there was an occasion that he 
got in my way and so I reached behind the kitchen door, grabbed a knife 
for chopping field corn and hit him over the head with it--fortunately, 
with the flat side. Later I rode my tricycle about a mile up the road to 
the old country schoolhouse. When mom came looking for me I hid out in the 
tall weeds. She went back home and called my dad who was in town on 
business -- I showed up about the same time he did. 

Then there was the time I took the farm dog across the road to the 
neighbor's chickenhouse. I started the dog chasing chickens while I went 
inside and began busting eggs. A hired hand spotted me and told my mother. 
I tried circumnavigating her on the way home without success. She had a 
length of cotton rope in her hand. No, she didn't whip me -- something 
much worse! She tied one end around my waist and the other to a fence post 
in front of the house. Well, after jumping up and down and bawling for 
perhaps half-an-hour, she took pity and came back outside at which time 
the rope had loosened enough to fall off. 

I remember teaching the litter of pups our farm dog had how to dig and 
also how to chase cars. When a car came by I would run alongside in the 
ditch and bark at it. Sadly, every one of the pups as well as the mother 
were killed by passing cars. I can still vaguely picture my dad dragging 
the mother dogg's body with a chain behind the tractor somewhere to bury 

When kindergarten started in the fall of 1945 at the country school I 
decided I didn't like it and so left early and went home. My mother 
immediately turned me around and I made a second trip to school that day. 

Afgter three years living on the Glen Metcalf farm we spent 1946 on the 
Abraham place. I remember seeing a single engine air force plane that had 
belly flopped in the fields across from the Duncan family's farm house -- 
the pilot walked away.  I also found my collection of little toy cars and 
trucks my parents had hidden until my birthday. When mom caught me playing 
with them, she gave half to my little brother Keith. 

That was the summer when I smoked my first cigarette. The neighbor boy, 
Skeeter Duncan, and I had taken a pack of cigarettes from his house and 
gone down into the culvert under the road and we shared  our first and 
last smoke together. As I started back up the road toward home I met my 
mom with Keith in tow coming down the hill. She asked to smell my breath. 
I don't know how she found out, but that was the day I lost my taste for 

Also that summer my teenage sister Wilma had to rescue her whining brother 
who was hiding under the combine when Skeeter and his friend Jacky chased 
me while riding their horses. On the other hand, she refused to wait for 
me to find relief one day after getting off the school bus. That morning 
I had found some wonderful chocolate candy in the cupboard and helped 
myself. Yes, it was X-lax. Got to walk all the way home with my britches 
full. One other memory I have from that farm was digging a cave in a snow 
bank with a dust pan. 

Even at age six, when my folks would go into Sioux City, mom would have to 
put a harness and leash on me. why? because if she should happen to look 
the other way, I was gone--under or behind the nearest counter or clothes 
rack and away.

1947 found us farming the Bernard place. Dad had to give up his tractor 
and went back to using Dick and Queen for plowing, etc. Queen died and dad 
bought Bird, who turned out to have some kind of vision problem. As for 
me, I can remember that fall walking through the cornfield, picking ears 
and throwing them into the wagon as the horses pulled it forward. 

I don't remember getting into any trouble with my double-barreled toy 
shotgun  that would fire small rocks. I also enjoyed taking a hammer and 
banging on the rocks in the cement walk around the house and watching the 
sparks fly. I must have had a facination with spiders and cobwebs as I 
seem to remember them from that time period. And then there was the matter 
of a small fire I started in the middle of the corncrib. 

It was November 15, 1947 that brought about many changes in my life. Mom 
was upstairs in the bedroom cleaning and I was balancing on top of the 
rail at the head of the bed with my feet against the wall. Suddenly my 
feet slipped and I did a semi-somersault into the window--fortunately it 
had a sturdy screen. A piece of the broken glass had penetrated my lower 
right eyelid and eye. Apparently things didn't appear to require immediate 
attention. We didn't have a car and the neighbor had knocked down the 
phone lines with his tractor's hayrack. The next morning dad walked 
several miles to the main highway and thumbed a ride into town where he 
got my uncle to come and take me to see a doctor at the hospital in Sioux 
City. Twenty-four hours after my injury the doctor stitched up the wound 
believing everything would be okay. A week later I was racing wheelchairs 
with my roommate who had a broken leg. You guessed it, I crashed and had 
to have the stitches redone. The doctor still thought my vision could be 

The only other thing I remember from that time was lying on a gurney with 
a man in the room who may have been smoking a cigarette and was swearing 
about something. At the end of the 
second week I went home. By Christmas I had lost the vision in the injured 
right eye and as we would learn later my left eye was beginning to 
sympathize with the injured one.

In the spring of 1948 we moved to Holly Springs where I can vaguely 
visualize seeing dad tilting a chair against the wall on the hind legs, 
with a pan of popcorn in his lap, a magazine in his hand and listening to 
the Friday night fights on the Philco radio. Holly Springs had a 
population then of about 50 and was located on highway 141 27 miles 
southeast of Sioux City at the junction of a gravel road that ran between 
Climbing Hill and Hornick. The West Fork ran behind the house and there 
was a dike between it and our garden. When mom sent me to the little 
grocery store for milk, etc., I used up much of the vision I still had 
reading the comic books stacked on the store counter. Much of the town is 
now gone and I understand only three families still live there.

My mother's name was Nelly and on the south side of the little church next 
to our house lived Nelly Gesaman and her son Gary. I learned how to ride 
Gary's bicycle. Dad got me my own bike for my eighth birthday, but while I 
was in Iowa City at the University hospital, he gave it to my cousins Don 
and Cliford Campbell figuring a boy going blind didn't have a need for it. 
More about bicycles later. 

The Oliver Weaver family lived just North of our little house and several 
years later his daughter deloris married my farmer cousin Leo Keck of 
Kingsly, Iowa. Dad was working as a hired hand on Keith Haddock's farm 
about a mile walk down the road. 

It was my second grade teacher who told my parents that I was having 
trouble reading and thought they should take me back to the eye doctor. 
The end result was that on August 24, mom's 43rd birthday, she and I left 
for Iowa City and the highly recommended eye clinic. On the 26th the 
doctors removed my injured eye hoping to preserve what vision remained in 
the left eye which had started sympathizing with the injured one. 

I spent seven weeks at the clinic where they repeatedly tested my vision 
and studied the deterioration going on in the remaining eye. Eventually 
they figured out that I was guessing at the letters on the eye chart when 
I could no longer see them clearly. I managed to resist all attempts to 
give me any intravenous medications and so they had to resort to pills. 

In those days cataract surgery patients would be tied down in bed to 
prevent potentially injurious movement. This provided an excellent 
opportunity for tickling their feet sticking out from the foot of the beds 
in Ward 23.  

Mom stayed close by for a time, washing dishes to help pay for room and 
board. One day when she came to visit she told me that she had purchased a 
toy gun with holster and key chain with a dog puzzle on it as I remember. 
Well, of course, I sent her back to fetch it rather than wait until the 
next day's visit. 

In mid October I went home for a couple of weeks, then returned to the 
University hospital to be fitted with a glass eye. After a week, I 
thought, as did my folks, the ambulance driver was taking me home. You can 
perhaps imagine my surprise when after an hours drive he pulled up in 
front of the Iowa School for the Blind in Vinton, walked me up the central 
front walk, across the circular drive and up the steps into the main 
building. That was November 9, 1948, just six days short of a year since I 
had fallen through the window. I can still visualize the little blue 
pullover sweater I was wearing with the broad red, yellow and black 
stripes around it. There I was introduced to Mrs. Dixon who would be my 
dorm mother for the next 3 years. You can find the history of the school 
from 1852 until now on the internet at:

When the principal, Mr. Durwood Hutchinson, and others were discussing 
whether I should be put into the 3rd grade or back into the 2nd, if I 
didn't do well, I said to myself, "No you won't!" As it turned out, they 
did not have to. At that time when I put my nose on the page of the Sunday 
School paper, I could still make out the large letters at the top, but 
that didn't last long. For a long time into my adult years I could 
distinguish some colors up close and still do retain a greatly diminished 
amount of light perception. 

I learned to read braille from Dorthy Petrucci my blind third grade 
teacher by Christmas vacation and managed to make it through the year 
without to many other incidents. Well, there was the time Mrs. Dixon 
discovered I hadn't taken my weekly bath. I think I must have not been 
feeling well, inasmuch as I never was one to be greatly intimidated by 
discipline, because as she confronted me with the paddle in her hand as I 
sat on the edge of the tub, I apparently fainted and woke up in the 
infirmory. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it. 

One of my schoolmates about that time was fond of saying "bite him". Well, 
I decided to do it to a classmate. This time Mrs. Dixon applied the board 
of education to the seat of learning. She also would gather us boys around 
the radio many nights to listen to The Lone Ranger, Buster Brown, Horris 
Hite and others. As I best recollect there were times when she also would 
read the Bible to us and pray. Then there was the time I remember waking 
up after a nightmare about bears completely turned around in the bed and 
the covers in a total mess.

The summer of 1949 was dad's last year as a farmer on the Yates place. I 
have memories of digging roads for my toy cars with a tin can, throwing 
mud balls against the house (oops), Sears, Roebuck and Company catalogues 
in the outhouse, my grandmothers Metcalf and Campbell greeting each other 
in the yard near the clothes line, little brother Keith falling asleep in 
the farm lane, homemade  potatoe or tomatoe soup, mom wringing the neck of 
a chicken and preparing it for dinner.

Music lessons With Maurice Olsen on the trumpet and piano with Miss Lois 
Tiberghien began in the fourth grade -- later it was Miss Phillis Nesbitt; 
and in the eleventh grade Miss Elaine Bruce provided instruction regarding 
harmony, cord structure and progression. 

That year in the fourth grade I chipped my right front tooth on the side 
of the swimming pool chasing another fellow around in the water of the 
shallow end. The following summer, 1950, i chipped the left one on a 
flagpole in the school yard across the street from our apartment in 
Hornick chasing a baseball. I would pitch it, Keith would hit it and I 
would chase the sound as it rolled. 

We also borrowed a girl's bike from the Hobbs family and I would ride it, 
Keith running ahead of me and I following the sound of his voice. Later 
that fall after he got his own bike I can remember learning to ride 
double. I would sit on the seat and pedal while he sat on the crossbar and 
did the steering. There was even one occasion when two other boys joined 
us, one sitting on the handlebars and the other on the back fender. We 
rode together as a tandem like that for seven summers until we got too 
big. Then in the summer of 1957 I met Arlene Rummell who had a 
motor scooter. Judy and I bought a homemade tandem  in the early 60's and 
when Shari and Pam were old enough to ride we bought a Schwin tandem which 
I and the girls rode for about six years, until they both got cars. It has 
been hanging under the house now for the last 35 years.

That same summer between the fourth and fifth grades, Jack Schuller was 
holding evangelistic meetings in Sioux City and mom took us boys with her 
for several days. While there Keith and I borrowed Dave Kehler's junior 
sized bike. I would sit on the seat with my feet spread and he stood on 
the pedals and steered. We had enjoyed a couple of coastings down a nearby 
hill. On the last trip a Goodwill truck stopped in front of us and Keith 
ducked under the corner. Of course, I didn't see it and have a scar in the 
middle of my forehead to this day. I had to convince the police that I 
couldn't see before I hit the truck. After applying a gauze bandage and 
two strips of tape they gave us a ride back to mom. It was at that time 
Stuart Hamblen's song "It Is No Secret" was popular and dad purchased the 
sheet music in order to help me learn it. 

My fourth grade teacher was Mable Hite and I think Miss Beulah Burdine may 
have been my fifth grade teacher. She also was blind and had additional 
deformities in her feet and hands.  She only had a little finger on each 
hand and another half finger on just one hand as well. I was always amazed 
about how strong those two little fingers were.

My folks had not heard me play the trumpet as yet in 1950 and stopped in a 
music store to give me a chance to play for them. The horn I played had 
been used by the store owner in the municipal band and he offered it to 
dad for $50. That was all the money he had and declined the generous 
offer. However, after leaving the store my disappointment must have been 
quite obvious and so dad went back and bought it anyway. Four or five 
years later when money was more abundant he paid $250 for another trumpet 
which I still have stored in the back of my closet today. 

During the summer of 1951 we lived in Merrill, iowa, north of Sioux City. 
Keith and I enjoyed coasting down the hill from the town dump. One day as 
we approached the intersection at the bottom of the hill a pickup truck 
came speeding through. Keith swerved right, bounced over the sidewalk 
curb, across the street behind the truck and we landed in the ditch on the 
other side of the street next to a pile of burned out trash. We walked the 
block or two home from there that day.

The summer of 1952 we rented the Sam Potts house in hospers near Orange 
City in northwestern Iowa. My sister Wilma and her one-year-old son Terry 
were living with us at that time while she taught at a nearby country 
school. I recall sitting at the lunch table near mom and across from Wilma 
and Terry. I wanted something more to eat and Wilma said that I had had 
enough. So, I threw a spoon at her which struck her hand as she reached 
over to feed my nephew, preventing the spoon from striking him. Well, that 
started a real uproar. She jumped up, went out into the utility room, 
grabbed a broom or mop and returned hitting me over the head with the 
handle. I feigned injury until she came back to see what damage she had 
done. That gave me the opportunity to grab hold of her, take her to the 
floor and start choking her. At that moment mom figured out what was 
happening and she grabbed a leather belt and began instructing me 
concerning the sixth commandment "Thou shalt not kill" thy sister! It was 
the last beating I ever  received and deservedly so--it drew blood. In the 
years that followed Wilma and I always got along quite well. She gave me a 
3/4 body, lefthanded, cut away Les Paul electric guitar for Christmas in 

After I had gone back to Vinton that fall the family moved to Earlville, 
Iowa, about 40 miles west of Debuque. dad was working for the Dairy Herd 
Improvement Association in that area testing milk for butter fat content.

In the seventh grade I was the only trumpet player in the band. Four years 
later there were so many that I switched to lead Frenchhorn. I also sang 
in the school chorus, in the early days directed by Mrs. Florence Brock, 
later by Gerald Kakac, and in high school took voice lessons from Mr. 

Music was always an important part in my life at school and after. I 
learned to play the ukulele and guitar from schoolmates and dad bought my 
first guitar for $14 at Christmas in 1954. At last I could string one 

Over the years I made several trips as a member of the band, chorus and 
boys quartet to different communities for special presentations about the 
Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School. The last was with the marching band 
after I graduated. Then band instructor, Mr. William Best, had organized 
our first marching band and we participated in the Lions' Club parade in 
Chicago on the 4th of July, 1958. That was the summer I enjoyed tossing 
water filled balloons off of high places and out windows. At one o'clock 
in the morning I dropped some balloons out of a sixth floor window above 
the hotel's main entrance. Moments later a squadron of motorcycle 
policemen came 'round the corner. Down went the window and I jumped into 
bed. I learned later that they were coming to deal with a highschool band 
from Georgia on a higher floor whose partying had gotten out of control. 

In high school it was fun to take part in the shop class where I learned 
to use a wood lathe, power saw, sander and other woodworking tools. While 
there I made a lamp and my own baseball bat. Never developed a particular 
interest in chair caning, ham radio, basket weaving or piano tuning. 

I was a member of the wrestling team from the seventh through the eleventh 
grades and also was part of the track team doing the standing long-jump, 
triple-jump, and hop-skip-and-jump. My senior year I won the gold medal in 
the long-jump at the conference tournament held at the Kansas School for 
the Blind. 

Frequently during free time you would find several of us roller skating 
around the large concrete oval in back of the main building. I soon 
learned that when playing train or crack-the-whip to be the last one in 
the line. It was much less painful to let go than have the guy behind you 
drag you down on the cement. 

Although i had six years of typing instruction, beginning in the seventh 
grade, it was never my favorite subject even though the skill has done 
well by me over the intervening years.

It was December 10, 1955 that another major event took place in my life. 
Grandma Meda Metcalf had had a heart attack. Dad, mom and Keith were 
driving to Sioux City from Earlville thinking that they very possibly 
could be attending her funeral. That same day a former schoolmate Revanne 
Jenks and her mother had driven over from Des Moines to Vinton to spend a 
couple of days visiting. We had been out to dinner and a movie and when I 
came back to the dorm about 10 PM Mr. Clarence Hilton, my dorm supervisor, 
met me and told me that the school superintendent Mr. Donald Overbeay 
wanted to see me in his office immediately. Oh boy! What have I done this 
time? That is when I received the news that mom had been killed instantly 
in a car wreck, dad seriously injured and Keith, then 12, had escaped with 
a few scratches and the subsequent emotional trama. 

They had come over a rise on Highway 20 between Moville and Sioux City. 
The car ahead of them was going much slower. Dad stepped on the break, hit 
a patch of ice and started to spin into the oncoming traffic. A car coming 
the other way hit the front passenger side and finished the spin. All 
three were without seat belts and thrown out the passenger door as the car 

I got to visit with dad at least once before he died. Mom was buried on 
December 14 and dad died the next day from a blood clot. Grandma survived 
until late May 1959 after Judy's and my wedding. We still cherish the 
afghan she crocheted for us.

The State Rehab Department had offered me a scholarship in music at 
Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, but I wanted to go to a Bible 
school. Prairie Bible in Three Hills Alberta turned me down, supposedly 
because it snows alot there. When I told my friend Arlene Rummell whose 
family had moved to South San Francisco, CA, she said I would be accepted 
at Simpson Bible College in San Francisco. 

On September 24, 1958 I boarded a plane in Omaha and arrived in the Bay 
Area that evening. Arlene picked me up at the airport and we went straight 
to the First Baptist Church on Grand Avenue in South City (as it is 
frequently called) where choir practice was still in progress and that is 
when and where I met Judith Carol Casagrande, my wife soon to be. As it 
turned out, I would only attend Simpson for one semester.

Perhaps it was the second Sunday evening afterward that Judy and I were 
talking in the church foyer when I noticed that her voice was behind me. 
Gracious 18-year-old gentleman that I was, I immediately turned around and 
kicked her. That required a lot of apologetic phone calls followed by a 
couple of dates. On November 2, 1958 I proposed and she accepted, on May 
2, 1959 she married me out of spite and that is all that I have had for 
the last 55 years. Again, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

My father-in-law, Ambrose Casagrande, helped me get my first part time 
job. For more than sixty years he supplemented his family income by 
dealing and playing lowball poker at Artichoke Joe's. He was able to 
arrange my playing piano in Joe's Bar on Saturday afternoons for about 8 
weeks during the 1959 football season. It didn't take long to figure out 
that was not the lifestyle I preferred.

In the spring of 1960 I trained as a masseur, but that didn't prove to be 
financially profitable. Our oldest daughter Shari Lynn was born June 29, 
1960 and her sister Pamela Jane August 31, 1961. In February 1962 I 
trained with my first Guide Dog Nita. She retired in 1969 and it was 1995 
before I partnered with Mink, in 2004 with Orville, and Kerwin in 2005.

In 1963 I trained at Sequoia Automotive rebuilding automatic 
transmissions. It took a while before I was offered a job back in Des 
Moines in January 1966 where I worked until June. Judy and the girls 
stayed behind and as it happened, we were unable to sell our home in 
California and so after visiting my sister and family in early June I went 
back home to mama and the girls. 

That Christmas season I got a $2 an hour weekend job playing organ in the 
window of Bronstein Music, two hours Friday evening and three Saturday 
afternoon. Ultimately that lasted for seven years and I must admit that it 
was the hardest $2 an hour I ever earned. The organ speaker was outside 
the window and I was inside where they were demonstrating TVs, stereos and 
musical instruments. 

I believe it was in September of 1967 to May 68 that we would all pile 
into the car many evenings when Judy came home from work, as well as 
Saturday and Sunday afternoons, then drive to San Jose where I would play 
the organ in the Sweden House Smorgasbord for tips. The manager, Russ, 
would give us $5 for gas since it was an 80 mile round trip and Judy and 
the girls got to eat while I played. Russ was a Christian and so I was 
encouraged to include Christian music as a part of my repertoire. 

That same year, 1967, I assisted in the organization of the United States 
Braille Chess Association in San Francisco; helped raise the money to 
sponsor and send a four man team with two guides to England in March/April 
1968 where we  participated in the Blind Chess Olympics being held at 
Weymouth on the English channel. It was during a visit to Stone Henge 
while feeling around in a crevice of a pillar yours truly found a 1907 
King Edward penny.

Also in 1967 my senior year roommate at Vinton, Bob Nesler, began working 
for the California department of Rehabilitation. In June of 1969 he was 
able to arrange an interview for an X-ray darkroom job for me at Mary's 
Help Hospital. That lasted twelve years and when they moved and remodeled 
the department they planned to close the darkroom. The staff appreciated 
my work ethic and asked me "What else can you do?" I replied, "I always 
have enjoyed working with my hands, but typing is not exactly what I had 
in mind." "Oh! you can type? Our head X-ray transcriber is retiring. You 
get the training, we'll by whatever additional equipment you may need and 
you've got the job." Three months before they oficially close the darkroom 
I began transcribing X-ray reports. That lasted for eight years before I 
burned out from stress and took a medical retirement in December, 1989. 

The stress was partly due to the use of an Optacon (optical to tactile 
converter). It consists of a small TV type camera which is held in the 
right hand and slid across the printed page. The left index finger is 
placed on a small pad of 144 pins which vibrate in the shape of the letter 
the camera is viewing. In this fashion one is able to read a variety of 
print materials. For me it is at times a love/hate relationship. Love to 
read things for myself--hate the stress it can personally cause.

In 1985 Paul Resh, a professor at San Francisco State University, 
encouraged me to learn how to use the computer. I learned about the 
special kind of software called a "screen reader". This program converts 
the printed words on the screen into audible synthetic speech, allowing 
access to almost everything a blind user might need or want. Eventually I 
was able to use these learned skills on the job as a transcriber. 

Soon I would learn about other software that makes it possible to scan 
printed books and articles which I then could read, edit, format and share 
with other blind and sighted computer owners eventually via the internet. 
During the 70's and 80's time refreshable braille displays also had been 
developed and it is possible to access most of the same print materials 
using one's sense of touch without synthetic speech software. The 
mechanical braille dots (small pins) pop up and down in various patterns 
representing the characters in the braille alphabet as one moves the 
cursor around the screen. In 1989 my daughter Pam and I took a computer 
programming class together at the local junior college. Again in 1994 we 
both attended a DOS batch file class. These skills would help later on 
with managing the Bartimaeus Alliance of the Blind, inc. website. 

In December of 1994 I suffered some painful gaul bladder attacks and when 
I went to see the doctor I also discovered that I had developed type II 
diabetes, a family trait. Since that time I have learned to manage my 
diabetes using talking glucometers and a Count-a-Dose device for measuring 
insulin. By the time I was able to undergo surgery the following February, 
my daughter Pam also developed gaul bladder problems and we both "enjoyed" 
having them removed four days apart. She didn't appreciate her dad's 
laughter after his surgery and before her's. Interesting enough, Pam's 
future Husband and mother-in-law each had the same surgery the previous 

The last position I held was as Executive Director of the East Bay 
Center for the Blind in Berkeley on two different occasions, totaling 
about 4.5 years between 1998 and 2005. 

Nowadays I spend a lot of time at my computer scanning, editing and 
preparing books and articles I think will be helpful to other blind Bible 
students as well as for myself when putting together Sunday school 
lessons. Another challenging project has been rescuing old hand-brailled 
and computerized braille books such as Greek and Hebrew grammars, lexicons 
and dictionaries. Again, the scanning software has been helpful in making 
available a number of these old books as it is now possible to reproduce 
many of them in digital files on the computer, which then can be shared 
around the world on the internet as needed. I am ever so grateful for all 
those other blind and sighted individuals who have helped to achieve these 

                           My Spiritual Journey

One of the primary reasons I decided to write this brief autobiographical 
peace is to share my spiritual journey from childhood to the present time. 
It is hoped that the detailed experiences will help others to come to have 
a genuine and positive relationship to God as well. Much of what has been 
written before could have described a number of active young boys growing 
up into adulthood, either sighted or blind. To this point, what has 
received little attention is my personal relationship to God and the 
twists and turns it has taken along the way.

One thing is for certain, my mother provided a strong Christian 
environment in which to grow up. Part of that strength was the Paddle, 
part the regular attendance at Sunday school and church, all complimented 
by a generous portion of Bible reading to us and prayer when at home. Her 
last gift to me was a braille Bible.  I still remember her sitting at the 
piano and picking out hymn tunes one note at a time during our last summer 

It was when I was six years old, on the way home from attending a vacation 
Bible School at the Baptist Church in Climbing Hill that I announced from 
the back seat of the car that I had asked Jesus into my heart -- a term I 
would not use today. My teenage sister thought that was funny. It would be 
several years later that Mom would remind me of that incident and even 
more years later that I would recall it again during my spiritual 

I recall Pastor Evert Mitchell and the members of the Nazarene Church in 
Climbing Hill gathering together to pray for my healing some time in 48 or 
49 -- but God had other plans. it was about the same time that I sang my 
first solo in church, learned at the blind school, Somebody's Knockin' At 
Your Door. It may have been in Hospers in 1952 I first played a trumpet 
solo in church -- Beulah Land.

During the school year at Vinton I always attended Sunday School and 
worship services at the American Baptist Church where Von Elbert was 
Pastor at the time of my graduation and in 1966, when I worked for a short 
time in Des Moines was also pastoring a church there. As I entered my 
teens it seems that God became a more important part of my thinking. 

One odd thing that sticks in my mind is a dream in which Mom and I were 
walking up to a cashier-like window in a beautiful golden wall in heaven. 
Arriving, we were handed a "reward (perhaps money)" for our good works. We 
then turned around and walked away. I can still remember thinking as we 
left, "Is that all there is?" and the feeling of disappointment that 
accompanied the thought. Thank You Father, that it was only a dream!

After returning to Vinton in January 1956 following the loss of my 
parents, while lying in bed one night I found great peace and comfort when 
I prayed, "Lord, it's You and me now."

Wilma and I were baptized that year at the Billy Sunday Memorial 
Tabernacle on Morningside Avenue in Sioux City. I can still remember the 
pleasant warmth of the water as the Pastor performed the emersion. During 
the vacation times spent at home with Wilma and her family, I enjoyed 
attending Youth for Christ meetings and retreats, as well as other church 
related camps and activities.

Pastor Glee Lockwood tried to help me get into Prairie Bible Institute 
which failed and eventually led to my moving to South Sanfrancisco, 
California in order to attend Simpson Bible College in San Francisco. On 
arrival there, within an hour, I attended choir practice at the First 
Baptist Church where I met my wife Judy. While there I taught the third 
grade Sunday school class for a few months. Due to lack of funds I only 
spent one semester at Simpson.

As mentioned earlier, six weeks after we met, Judy and I became engaged 
and were married May 2, 1959. Since I was not of legal age I had to have a 
guardian appointed in order to get married. Lee Scaggs became that person 
and participated in the marriage ceremony. As a part of the service Judy 
and I sang "I Love You Truly" as a duet. She keeps insisting that I bit 
her finger at the reception when we posed for a picture while feeding each 
other wedding cake. When we left the church that day it would be almost a 
year before we started attending church again on a regular basis. The 
Pastor had said and done some things with which we took issue.

In early 1960 we had moved from our first basement apartment on C Street 
with the Ostranders to an appartment in San Bruno. A couple from the Cedar 
Avenue Baptist Church knocked on our door and invited us to their couples 
fellowship meeting. We became members there for eight years. I briefly had 
the opportunity to teach the Junior High boys and began taking a more 
active part in singing and playing the piano and trumpet.

From my teen years and upward I had taken many trips down the aisle for 
rededication after rededication. It seemed to me that something was still 
missing or not quite right. 

In the fall of 1968 while playing the organ in the store window, a young 
couple came in and asked if I would play at their wedding. They had 
approach Pastor Charles Archer of the First Baptist Church in Daly City 
about holding their wedding there. He agreed and they proceeded with their 
plans. When they inquired about an organist, he told them that they would 
have to find another church as First Baptist did not have an organ. Well, 
they had already sent out the invitations and that would not work for 
them. Since Pastor Archer and I had been acquainted with each other for 
several years, he suggested that they contact me and see if I could 
arrange for an organ to be brought to the church and also play it. They 
were familiar with my work in the store window and that's precisely what 

On the Sunday following the wedding I came back to the church and played 
for the morning and evening services. At the close of the evening service 
the organ was surrounded by a number of saints who said they would buy the 
organ if I would come and play it. That lasted twenty-two good years.

            The Benefits of Good Doctrine and Good Teachers

It was 1969 and Pastor Archer was teaching the adult men's Sunday school 
class. His text was First Corinthians 15:3-4 (the Biblical definition of 
the "Salvation Gospel". Paul writes: 

   1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you The Gospel which I preached 
unto you, which also ye received, 2 by which also ye are saved, if ye keep 
in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain (to no 
purpose). 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also 
received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; 
and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to 
the Scriptures: 5 and that He was seen of [many witnesses]. 
(1 Cor. 15:1-5f)

As I sat there listening to his explanation of what one must believe in 
order to be saved, the light of greater understanding began to dawn and 
the years of confusion and uncertainty started melting away. There was the 
realization that I had somewhere in the forgotten past personally believed 
that Jesus Christ "was delivered for our offenses (trespasses), and raised 
again for our justification." (Rom. 4:25) Yes, we can forget if we do not 
learn and grow. 

   9 For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having 
forgotten his purification from his former sins. (2 Peter 1:9). 

We can thank God that He doesn't forget!

At that moment I could not remember, nor even today, the exact time when 
by faith I received Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. But I knew what I 
had believed. He alone had paid for my sin and provided the new spiritual 
life I now possessed. So why all those years of doubt and questions? 
Partly because of the confusing gospel presentations and partly because of 
a lack of good instruction on how to live a spiritual life. and, of corse, 
I may not have always been listening as I should.

Have you ever considered how many different "gospel presentations" you may 
have heard? "you must receive Jesus." "You must repent (feel sorry) of 
your sins." "You must believe and be baptized." "You must confess Jesus as 
Lord." "You need to ask Jesus to come into your heart." None of these 
statements plainly declare 
   (1) 3 how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; 
and that he was buried, 
   (2) 4 and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures: 
5 and that He was seen. 
To add to or subtract from this simple truth in some fashion is to confuse 
and corrupt God's Salvation Gospel.

Earlier I mentioned that at the age of six I announced to my family that I 
had asked Jesus into my heart. The question I cannot answer is: "Did I 
hear the true Salvation Gospel at that time and believe it or perhaps some 
time later?" I don't know. But I do know that by the gracious gift of God 
at a point in time I believed--only God knows when.

Not long after the wonderful realization that I had truly believed the 
Gospel for Salvation, Satan whispered in my ear "But you don't know when 
and therefore you can't possibly be saved or have any righteousness of 
your own!" Well, in one sense I had to agree. I did not know when I was 
saved and I did not have any righteousness of my own. But I did have an 
answer. "I believe that Jesus Christ is my righteousness! He and He alone 
always will be! He is my salvation! my Savior!"

This leaves us with one critical question still: "Have you personally 
believed that Christ died for your sin and was raised for your 
justification?" The answer you provide is the most important one you will 
ever have to give.

1971 rolled around and Pastor Archer moved back to Indiana. Dr. H. LaVern 
Schafer became the interim Pastor at Daly City for about fifteen months to 
be followed by Dave Eckman. I was still struggling with the issues of my 
two natures and thought life. Walking around in my darkroom I would have 
inappropriate thoughts and say to myself: "Christians shouldn't be 
thinking like this!" Obviously, my old sin nature, the flesh, was putting 
thoughts into my mind it wanted to be fulfilled.

I also remember in early March being deeply impressed by Colossians 3:1-3: 

   1 Since therefore you have been co-raised up with Christ, aim at and 
seek those things [divine riches] which are above, where Christ is seated 
on the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind (reflective thinking) on things 
above [position and possessions in Christ], not on things on the earth. 3 
For you have died, and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God.

At that same time Pastor Schafer was teaching out of Romans 6 and 
explaining how that when we were baptized (emersed) by the Holy Spirit 
into Christ, we were baptized (emersed) into His death and resurrection 
(6:3-4), which was also the time when we received our new nature (6:5-10. 
Consequently, we are to reckon (count to be true, consider) ourselves to 
be dead to our old sinful nature and alive to God in Jesus Christ our Lord 
(cf. Gal. 2:20). And that was the key, found in Romans 6:11, that open the 
door for me to a possitive spiritual life experience. 

I recall with a smile the day that truth struck home. I was walking around 
in my darkroom when another of those inappropriate thoughts from my sinful 
nature came into my mind. Immediately I slammed my left fist into my right 
LORD!" Then using the new mind given to me in Christ (1 Cor. 2:16), I 
deliberately began reflectively thinking on Scripture and the truths I had 
learned and OH! WHAT A DIFFERENCE IT MADE! I only wish that I could say I 
had always made that choice. Yet now as I do so my life is filled with the 
love, joy, peace and other parts of the fruit of the Spirit He produces 
when I am in a right relationship with Him. The more, the closer I walk 
with Him the better it gets.

                            Further Analysis

Having shared in brief the history of my spiritual discoveries and growth, 
I would now like to go back and discuss  the conflict between our old and 
new natures and some of the deeper reasons why I believe I struggled 
during those early years. So then, let's go all the way back to the very 
beginning--to our father Adam.

Before Adam decided to "eat the fruit" he and Eve had a very unique 
relationship with God. Apparently they were clothed with a garment of 
light and their human spirit was innocent. When Adam chose to believe 
Satan's lie that he could be like God and sinned, he died spiritually--
that is his person and human nature were separated from God and he 
forefooted that special relationship. And, even though he afterward 
believed in the God who created all things, the fellowship he shared with 
God was not the same as before the fall. Another by product of the fall 
was that he could only pass on to his descendents that same fallen nature. 
As a result we were conceived, born, live and die with that same Adamic 
nature--one that rejects the true knowledge of God and still believes 
"the Lie". (cf. Rom. 1:18-25) 

   25 For they exchanged the truth of God for "the lie", and worshiped and 
served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.

Throughout human history man has believed and acted as though he is able 
to meet or exceed any and all of the behavioral requirements necessary to 
satisfy a righteous God. To illustrate this let us turn to perhaps the 
foremost example, the nation of Israel seen portrayed in Scripture.

In Exodus chapter 19 the LORD said: 

   5 "Now therefore, if ye will hearken unto My voice indeed, and keep My 
covenant, then ye shall be Mine own treasure from among all peoples; for 
all the earth is Mine; 6 "and ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, 
and a holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the 
children of Israel." (Exo. 19:5-6 JPS)

Here the words "My covenant" refer back to the unconditional Promise of 
God to Abraham in Genesis 15:18-21. But notice the response of the 
Israelites in verse 8. 

   8 And all the people answered together, and said: "All that the LORD 
hath spoken we will do." And Moses reported the words of the people unto 
the LORD. (Exo. 19:8 JPS)

God said: "Believe My promise!" They responded: "Tell us what to do and we 
will do it!" God offered grace. They wanted law. And so God gave them the 
Law. But notice what He did not give them: 

   4 "but the LORD hath not given you a heart to know, and eyes to see, 
and ears to hear, unto this day." (Deu. 29:4 JPS) 

The irony in all of this is that what they wanted and received only proved 
that they could not through their own effort earn God's approval. Yet they 
have this precious promise awaiting them in the future millennium: 

   6 "And the LORD thy God will circumcise thy heart, and the heart of thy 
seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, 
that thou mayest live." (Deu. 30:6 JPS -- cf. Jer. 31:31-34; Ezk. 36:26f; 
37:12-14; Heb. 10:16-17)

With the Mosaic Law came the promise of physical and material well being 
if the nation kept it. Yet repeatedly throughout Israel's history we can 
see the evident results to this day of its failure to do so. Nor is any 
human being able in their own strength of character to keep any kind of 
law be they Jew, Gentile or member of the Church. James says: 

   10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he 
has become guilty of all [the commandments]. (2:10) 

And Paul observes in Romans 2: 

   1 Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, 
for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who 
judge practice the same things. (2:1 NAS) ...
   12 For as many as  without law sinned, without law shall also perish. 
And as many as in the sphere of law sinned, through law shall be 
condemned. (2:12 Wuest) ...
   14 For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the 
things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, 
15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their 
conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else 
defending them. (2:14-15 NAS) 

Paul observes in Romans 9:

   31 But Israel, earnestly endeavoring to acquire a law of righteousness, 
did not measure up to the law. 32 Because of what? Because, not out of a 
source of faith but even as out of a source of works they sought to 
acquire it." (Wuest) 

The individual Old Testament believer who managed to keep the Law with a 
certain degree of success by his own efforts did receive the physical and 
material blessings promised as did the nation for short periods of time. 
Yet more often than not their failure produced the accompanying penalty. 
And when on occasion the Spirit of God would come "upon" an individual to 
provide strength for some specific ministry there was no guarantee that He 
would remain.

In Romans 3 Paul summarizes God's purpose in both the Mosaic and natural 

   19 Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are 
under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may 
become accountable to God; 20 because by the works of the Law no flesh 
will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of 
sin." (3:19-20 NAS)

In Exodus 19 Israel refused to believe God's promise given to Abraham and 
extended to them. They asked for and received instead the Law which they 
were unable to keep. 

   13 For not through law was the promise made to Abraham or to his 
offspring that he should be the heir of the world, but through a 
righteousness which pertains to faith. (Rom. 4:13 Wuest)

Today we are given the promise of salvation by faith in the death of Jesus 
Christ for our sins and His resurrection for our Justification. The 
majority of mankind still prefers "works salvation". Kind of reminds you 
of that popular song from the 70's "I did it my way!" doesn't it? 

Unfortunately, that same legalistic or "works salvation" attitude has been 
carried over into and taught as part of the practical side of the true 
believer's lifestyle. It is this very issue that I would now like to 
address. Do we order our behavior by keeping the Law or by the enabling 
power of the indwelling Holy Spirit? 

Paul asks this question of the Galatians:

   5 So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles 
among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? 
(3:5 NAS) 

He then answers the question: 

   10 For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it 
is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written 
in the book of the Law, to perform them." 11 Now that no one is justified 
by the Law before God is evident; for, "the righteous man shall live by 
[an attitude of] faith." (3:10-11 NAS) 

Elsewhere he writes: 

   19 (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a 
bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. 
(Heb. 7:19 NAS)

On the day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2,  verses 1-3, the means by which 
a believer is to live a Godly life was completely changed. Every believer 
in Christ, since that time, during the Dispensation of Grace has received, 
been indwelt and sealed unto the day of redemption by, the Holy Spirit 
Whom Jesus promised in the Upper Room discourse found in the Gospel of 
John 16:7-15. Simultaneously we also have been graced with a new nature. 

   3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining 
to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by 
His own glory and excellence. 4 For by these [His glory and excellence] He 
has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by 
them you might become partakers of a divine [quality of] nature, having 
escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust." (2 Pet. 1:3-4 NAS) 

Then Peter goes on to encourage us to grow in the practical use of this 
new nature. (cf. vv. 5-11)

However, Peter also informs us in his first epistle that we will receive 
at the end or consummation of our faith "the salvation of our souls." (cf. 
1 Peter 1:9) This means that we still have our old, Adamic, sinful, 
soulish nature as long as we are in these mortal bodies. It wars against 
our new nature through the five senses and emotions without appealing to 

Turning back to Romans 7 Paul details for us his personal discovery of the 
fact that he  now had, as do we, two different natures -- one old and 
unregenerate, one born anew from above, one seeking its own desires, and 
one desiring to do God's will. We cannot serve both at the same time. When 
we mentally choose to follow the desires of one of our two natures, we are 
separated from the influence of the other as though it were dead.

It would appear that after one believes the Salvation Gospel that they 
experience a short interval of peace and joy before God allows the 
spiritual growth process to begin. No doubt this was also Paul's 
experience during his early Christian life in Tarsus.

   9 But I was alive without law aforetime. But the commandment having 
come, the sinful nature regained its strength and vigor, and I died. 
10 And the commandment which was to life, this I found to be to death; 
11 for the sinful nature, using the commandment as a fulcrum, beguiled me 
and through it killed me. (7:9-11 Wuest)

The Law killed/separated Paul in his spiritual relationship with God. 
Verses 7 and 8 provide the example.

   7 ... if it had not been for the Law, I should not have recognized the 
sin nature or have known its meaning. [For instance] I would not have 
known about covetousness [would have had no consciousness of sin or sense 
of guilt] if the Law had not [repeatedly] said, You shall not covet and 
have an evil desire [for one thing and another]. 8 But the sinful nature, 
finding opportunity in the commandment [to express itself], got a hold on 
me and aroused and stimulated all kinds of forbidden desires (lust, 
covetousness). For without the Law the sinful nature  is dead [the sense 
of it is inactive and a lifeless thing]. (7:7-8 AMP)

Paul now goes on to point out that the Law reflects the righteous 
character of God and the inability of Man's fallen or soulish nature to 
reproduce it.

   12 So that the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and righteous, 
and good. 13 Therefore, that which is good, to me did it become death? 
Away with the thought. But the sinful nature, in order that it might 
become evident that it is sin, through that which is good [the 
commandment] brought about death in me, in order that the sinful nature 
[its impulses and workings] through the intermediate agency of the 
commandment may become exceedingly sinful." (7:12-13 Wuest)

Paul had previously remarked in 5:20a: 

   20 But then Law came in, [only] to expand and increase the trespass 
[making  it more apparent and exciting opposition].... (AMP)

It should be obvious then that efforts to keep the Law even by a true 
believer can only end in ultimate spiritual failure.

To further show Paul's struggle with his two natures, I cite the following 
from Pastor Schafer's book on the spiritual life.

     During Paul's struggle as a carnal believer (one who was 
manifesting the things of the flesh, or sin nature), his sin nature 
was triumphant over his new nature. The conflict is described in 
the following translation of Rom. 7:14-23: 

     (Key: n.n.= new nature; s.n.= sin nature) 

     14 For I indeed know intellectually the Law is spiritual (i.e. 
pertains to the human spirit, or the rational part of the mind) but I 
am carnal (emanating things of the flesh), having been sold 
under the sin nature. 15 For what I (the sin nature) work out, I 
(the new nature) do not know experientially. For what I (n.n.) do 
not desirously will, I (s.n.) practice; but what I (n.n.) am hating 
non-violently, I (s.n.) am doing. 16 But since I (s.n.) am doing 
what I (n.n.) do not desirously will, I (n.n.) agree with the Law 
(Mosaic) that it is useful. 17 But now it is no longer I (n.n.) 
working it out, but the sin nature (s.n.) that indwells me. 18 For I 
(n.n.) know intellectually that no inner sense of happiness 
(agathos) dwells in me (s.n.), that is in my flesh (s.n.): for the 
desirous will (n.n.) is present in me; but how to work out the 
proper thing (kalos) is not. 19 But what good I (n.n.) desirously
will, I (s.n.) am not doing; to the contrary, what evil I (n.n.) am 
not desirously willing, this I (s.n.) am practicing. 20 But since 
what I (n.n.) do not desirously will, I (s.n.) am doing, it is no 
longer I (n.n.) that works it out, but, on the contrary, the sin 
nature dwelling in me (s.n.). 21 I (n.n.) find then a principle (law, 
KJV) that when I (n.n.) desirously will to do the proper thing the 
evil (s.n.) is present in me. (Evil means to lack character of what 
is expected of one because of who they are. Trench p.315) 22 For 
I (n.n.) delight in the rule of God for Christians (law, KJV) after 
the inner man (new nature plus the mind of Christ and ego of the 
person) 23 I (n.n.) find then a principle (law, KJV) in my 
members warring against the principle (law, KJV) of my mind 
(n.n.) and taking me (n.n.) captive by the principle of the sin 
nature which is in my members (s.n.). Rom. 7:14-23 
(Excerpted from Maturing In Christ by H. LaVern Schafer, Chapter 3, The 
Enemy Within, p. 85, Published by Xulon Press.)

Now notice Paul's cry for help and glorious affirmation of victory in Christ.

   24 O unhappy and pitiable and wretched man that I am! Who will release 
and deliver me from [the shackles of] this body of death? 25 O thank God! 
[He will!] through Jesus Christ (the Anointed One) our Lord! So then 
indeed I, of myself with the mind and heart, serve the Law of God, but 
with the flesh the law of sin. (7:24-25 AMP)

With his mind Paul recognizes that he has a choice as to which nature he 
will serve--the old sin nature or the new divinely given human nature. How 
does he do this? By reckoning or counting it to be true that he is dead to 
the desires and suggestions of his sinful old nature and alive to the 
desirous will of God in his new nature in Christ Jesus. (cf. 6:11) 

Romans 8 in part helps to explain how this is possible. First, he 
recognizes that for those in Christ Jesus there is no longer any 
condemnation--our sin debt has been paid. Secondly, he acknowledges the 
gift and work of the Holy Spirit.

   1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ 
Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you 
free from the law of sin and of death. 3 For what the Law could not do, 
weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the 
likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in 
the flesh, 4 so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, 
who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For 
those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the 
flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the 
Spirit. (8:1-5 NAS)

Then later in chapter 10 he writes: 

   4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who 
believes. (10:4  NAS) 

This brings us back to Colossians 3:2 where we are told to focus our 
reflective thinking on things above. We are able to do this because we 
have been given a new mind. 

   16 For who has known experientially the mind of the Lord? He who has 
been joined together with Him. But we have the mind of Christ. 
(1 Cor. 2:16 HLS) 

The word "instruct," KJV, is translated elsewhere "compacted" in Eph. 4:16 
and "knit together" in Col. 2:2. Just think about it, we can now see 
things as God sees them. How is this possible? By means of the indwelling 
Holy Spirit.

When we experienced initial salvation the Holy Spirit was given to us as 
an earnest or pledge, a seal, a teacher and enabler.  

   13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the 
gospel of your salvation--having also believed, you were sealed in Him 
with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our 
inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the 
praise of His glory. (Eph. 1:13-14 NAS)
   12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit 
who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, 
13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in 
those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual 
words. (1 Cor. 2:12-13 NAS)

In Galatians 5 Paul exhorts us: 

   16 But I say, Through the instrumentality of the Spirit habitually 
order your manner of life, and you will in no wise execute the passionate 
desire of the evil nature, 17 for the evil nature constantly has a strong 
desire to suppress the Spirit, and the Spirit constantly has a strong 
desire to suppress the evil nature. And these are entrenched in an 
attitude of mutual opposition to one another so that you may not do the 
things that you desire to do. 18 But if you are being led by the Spirit 
you are not under law." (Wuest) 

After reciting a list of the works of the flesh Paul goes on to describe 
the product the Holy Spirit is able to produce in a Spirit-filled believer.

   22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, 
kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, self-control: against such there 
is no law. (5:22-23)

Although we cannot produce this fruit ourselves, yet when spiritual, like 
the fireman holding a hose in his hands, we are able to direct the 
individual parts of the fruit toward the appropriate object as opportunity 
arises. In a general sense, though not exclusively, love, Long-suffering, 
Kindness, Goodness and gentleness are directed somewhat more toward the 
activities of our external life, while joy, peace, faith and self-control 
seem to relate more to our inner life. 

When we are carnal and ordering our life according to the sinful nature, 
the fruit of the Spirit is not available and so we act and react according 
to our five senses and soulish emotions. When we "confess", agree with God 
that our attitude and actions are sinful, He is consistent and righteous 
to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all kinds of unrighteousness. 
At this point it is time to count ourselves dead to the sinful nature and 
once again set our mind or reflective thinking on the position and 
possessions we have in Christ.  

                         A Comparison of Love

There is one additional contrast I would like to address as regards 
keeping the Law as versus living by faith in the dispensation of grace. 
The contrast is that between the love of Christ for us and our love for 

In romans 13:8-10 Paul makes reference to the Second Commandment 
concerning human relationships (cf. Mat. 22:39-40) in the statement 

   8 Keep out of debt and owe no man anything, except to love one another; 
for he who loves his neighbor [who practices loving others] has fulfilled 
the Law [relating to one's fellowmen, meeting all its requirements]. 9 The 
commandments, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall 
not steal, You shall not covet (have an evil desire), and any other 
commandment, are summed up in the single command, You shall love your 
neighbor as [you do] yourself. 10 Love does no wrong to one's neighbor [it 
never hurts anybody]. Therefore love meets all the requirements and is the 
fulfilling of the Law. (AMP)

Notice that the standard for love according to this commandment is one's 
love for him/herself. Does everyone have the same level of love for 
themselves? I think not! Consequently, we have a potentially broad concept of 
what love should be. Is this then the standard on which the true Christian 
should base his belief and practice? Again, I think not! So what should 
the standard be?

After Israel's rejection of Christ's offer of the Millennial Kingdom, in 
the Gospel of John during the Upper Room Discourse, Jesus established a 
new and higher standard of love for the coming dispensation. 

   "13:34 A commandment, a new one, I am giving you, that you should be 
constantly loving one another with a divine and self-sacrificial love; 
even as I loved you, you also be loving one another. 35 In this all shall 
know that you are my disciples, if you constantly have love among one 
another." ... "15:12 This is the commandment which is mine, namely, that 
you should be loving one another with a divine and self-sacrificial love 
just as I loved you. 13 Greater love than this no one has, namely, that 
anyone lay down his life on behalf of his friends. 14 As for you, friends 
of mine you are, if you habitually do that which I am enjoining upon you." 
(Note: [Greek word here used of God's love produced in the heart of the 
yielded saint by the Holy Spirit, a love that impels one to deny himself 
for the sake of the loved one], 1 Cor. 13:1. Wuest)

Once more a question arises: Can we keep this commandment in our own 
strength? Even though we have a new nature, as Paul discovered, it is only 
possible through the empowerment supplied by the indwelling Holy Spirit 
when we are in proper spiritual relationship with God. When we were saved 
we were given the Holy Spirit who produces His fruit in us. 

   ... because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts and still 
floods them through the agency of the Holy Spirit who was given to us. 
(Rom. 5:5 Wuest)

In light of the numerous Scriptures that have been cited and compared, it 
should soon become obvious that the true believer cannot attain to or 
maintain a vital relationship to or fruitful walk with God by trying to 
keep the Law by his own efforts in the realm of his old nature or even in 
the new nature (cf. Rom. 7:24-25). However, as we mentally count ourself 
to be dead to our old sinful nature, the flesh, and count ourself to be 
alive to God through Jesus Christ our Lord, then the Holy Spirit is able 
to reproduce a God quality of life in us which we can demonstrate as we 
direct His fruit toward the appropriate objects.

Paul then closes chapter 13 as follows:

   14 But clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ and stop making 
provision for [indulging] the sinful nature [flesh] with a view to 
[gratifying] a passionate craving. (rom. 13:14 AMP) 

Now then let us close with this from Romans 8:

   9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the 
Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of 
Christ, he does not belong to Him. 10 If Christ is in you, though the body 
is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. 
11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, 
He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your 
mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. 
   12 So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to 
live according to the flesh-- 13 for if you are living according to the 
flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the 
deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are being led by the 
Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you have not received a 
spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of 
adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father! 16 The Spirit Himself 
testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, 
heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer 
with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. NAS)

                           ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

I have found the following three books of infinite value in my studies and 
understanding of the spiritual life. I highly recommend them.

MATURING IN CHRIST -- The Revised Christian Life Series by 
H. LaVern Schafer, Th.D., now in one Volume.
Including the newly added eighth chapter.
Available in print at Xulon Press:
or phone: 1-866-909-2665

This prior series of booklets, now revised and expanded in one print 
volume, is designed to help the Christian in Christ grow progressively 
from birth to maturity. The fundamental truths contained here have made a 
profound difference in the practical life experience of many a believer. 
These chapters will probably be most helpful when read in consecutive 

Here is a brief summary of the eight chapters discussing the foundational 
truths that result in a positive Christian growth experience.

 * 1. The Doctrine of God: You can read here about who God is and what He 
is all about.

 * 2. The Christian's Thought Life: This chapter lays down the fundamental 
guidelines for a successful relationship and walk with God.

 * 3. The Enemy Within: This is a treatise on the old sinful nature -- the 
one enemy of the believer that never goes away in this life.

 * 4. The Spiritual Christian: The goal of this chapter is to provide the 
serious Bible student with the "meat" of the Word which will enable him to 
conquer his own sin nature and to experience the joys that God has 
provided for him.

 * 5. Satan: The Enemy Without: This chapter describes Satan's methods and 
the Biblically based defennse available for the victorious believer.

 * 6. The World System and Other Appeals: Learn here how the world system 
would redirect your love for God and derail your spiritual relationship 
with Him.

 * 7. The Maturing of the Spiritual Christian: Helpful instructions for 
the believer's ongoing growth in the grace and knowledge of our Lord 
Jesus Christ.

elements discussed in the first seven chapters showing how they 
interrelate to each other and the Holy Spirit.


The Christian "In Christ": An Introduction to "In Christ" Truth by 
David K. Spurbeck, Sr. This book is an exhaustive study of the "In Christ" 
references found in the New Testament. Absolutely essential reading. Print 
copies can be purchased by sending a $23.95 money order (includes 
shipping) to:

Know To Grow Publications
1601 Limpas Lane
Forest Grove, OR 97116

Here is a list of the various Sections and subtitles in the book:

  The Idea of "Into" (eis)
  The Isolation of Spirit Baptism as the Action
  The Identification with a Unity as a Result
    Predicted as One
    Identified as Christ Jesus
    Identified as Christ
    Identified as the Fellowship of His Son
    Identified as One Body
    Identified as Himself
    Identified as One New Man
    Identified as a Holy Temple
    Identified as a Dwelling Place of God
    Identified as a Man
    Identified as Him or the Christ
  The Induction of the Individual into Christ
  The Involvement "into" the Death of Christ
  The Incentive for Spiritual Growth

  The Recognition of One's Position
    Dead with Christ in His Death as Our Perfect Substitute
    The Believer's Participation in the Substitutionary Work of Christ
    Resurrected with Christ
    No Condemnation in Christ Jesus
    Accepted in the Beloved
    Made Near to God
    Seated in the Heavenlies
    Made the Fullness
    Share in the New Creation
    Put on Christ as an Outer Garment
    Made One with Christ and One Another
    Made Saints in Christ
  The Recognition of One's Possessions
    All Spiritual Blessings in the Heavenlies in Christ
    Possess the Righteousness of God
    Possess Positional Sanctification
    Possess Complete Redemption
    Placed as a Mature Son
    Placed as a Priest
    Provided with a Spiritual Gift
    Possess Liberty in Christ
    Placed as One Inlawed to Christ
    Made a Part of the Building of God
    Christ Calls Us His Brethren
    Provided Forgiveness by God

  Sharing Together in Position / 270
    Crucified Together
    Died Together
    Buried Together
    Made Alive Together
    Raised Together
    Seated Together
    Given All Things Together
    Life Is Hidden Together
    Heirs Together
    Sharers Together
  Sharing Together in Possessions
    Built Together
    Bound Together in a Unity
    Bondslaves Together
    Workers Together
    Chosen Together
    Blended Together
    Knit Together
    Suffer Together
    Citizens Together
  Sharing Together in the Future
    Will Be Raised and Presented Together
    Will Be Conformed Together to Christ's Glorified Body
    Will Live Together With Him
    Will Share Glory Together with Him
    Will Reign Together With Him


ME! A PRIEST? by David K. Spurbeck Sr. 

Pastor Spurbeck has given the Bartimaeus Alliance of the Blind, Inc. the 
unique and special privilege of posting this indepth study on the 
"priesthood" of the New Testament believer on the web in an HTML format 
for your benefit. It is a must read for everyone who has a desire to grow 
spiritually in their relationship to God. We ask that you please observe 
the copyright restrictions.

The print edition of the book contains 684 pages and can be purchased for 
$29.95, including shipping, from:


Please include your check or money order with your request. 

Section and chapters are listed as follows:

SECTION I The Structure Of The Priesthood Of The Believer
  Chapter 1: What Is The Key Concept?
  Chapter 2: What is a Priest?
  Chapter 3: Did Israel Become a Priesthood?
  Chapter 4: How Did Priesthoods Develop Historically?
  Chapter 5: How Does a Person Become a Priest?
  Chapter 6: Am I Competent?
  Chapter 7: Christ our Heavenly High Priest
  Chapter 8: Priestly Potentials for the Grace Believer

SECTION II The Sacrifices Of The Believer-Priest
  Chapter 1: What Is a Sacrifice?
  Chapter 2: The Old Testament Concept of Sacrifice
  Chapter 3: The Sacrifice of the Physical Body--Romans 12:1, 2
  Chapter 4: The Sacrifice of Praise - Hebrews 13:15
  Chapter 5: The Sacrifice of Doing Good - Hebrews 13:16
  Chapter 6: The Sacrifice of Fellowship - Hebrews 13:16
  Chapter 7: The Sacrifice of Giving - Philippians 4:18
  Chapter 8: The Sacrifice of Faith - Philippians 2:17
  Chapter 9: The Value of the Sacrifices

SECTION III The Service Of The Believer-Priest
  Service as a Priest
  Service to God
  Service as a Special Priestly Obligation

SECTION IV The Specialization Of The Believer-Priest
  The Definition of Spiritual Gift
  The Confusion Concerning Spiritual Gifts
  The Provision of a Spiritual Gift
  The Limitation to One Spiritual Gift
  The Identification of the Gifts
  The Utilization of the Gifts
  The Specialization of the Believer-Priest

SECTION V The Sharing Of The Believer-Priest
  Chapter 1: The Believer-Priest and His Bible
  Chapter 2: The Believer-Priest and His God
  Chapter 3: The Believer-Priest and His Communication
  Chapter 4: The Believer-Priest and His Personal Life
  Chapter 5: The Believer-Priest and the Church
  Chapter 6: The Priesthood of the Believer and Its Implementation

Public Domain Print Library