I will make you the focus of these words that are dancing in my heart this morning. I write best when I can picture a person, not just any person, but the one the Holy Spirit suggests. And this morning you are that person He suggested.
It was my original intention to send you a copy of an epistle I wrote in 2002, called “Wimp or Warrior?” and I may still do that a little later. But for now, these dancing words need to spill out before I lose the effervescence of this moment.
I woke up with a jolt early this morning. Dawn was just fighting with the last remnants of darkness; and we all know who won that battle. I woke up with these words on my lips, “EVERYONE NEEDS A SANDBOX:” And most of my friends already know that my sandbox is writing letters and telling stories. I have been dubbed “The Lord’s Scribe and Storyteller.” I just love that title. It fits me to a “T.” My friend Dan Karvonen from Minnesota pinned that title on me two years ago and it stuck. Heaven on earth and heaven in heaven for Peter would be to have an intergalactic stallion that takes Peter from place to place so that he can tell his stories. At the moment his computer keyboard, e-mail, the internet, and a website allow his stallion to streak through cyberspace. He can stay in his robe and pajamas and visit you and others to his heart’s content. Oh, what joy!
Without an audience, the gift of storytelling could have never developed. I cultivated this gift early in life. When in uniform during the Korean War, I exchanged many letters with family and friends. My Mother meticulously typed each one and saved them in three-ring binders. An audience of one has been big enough for me most of my life, but not all of my life. Today, I no longer need or crave a stadium filled with people to pour out the gift of words – alleluia for that transformation. I did try a larger audience for a while, but my ego ballooned out of proportion. Today you are my audience of one. And I thank you with all my heart for being there for me. I never met you except by phone and letter; but it is as if we had known one another for a long time.
I love the unusual way the Lord brought us together. You must agree, it was most unusual!
You had a dream or vision, I cannot recall which and it really does not matter. In this dream you were told to bless a Jew, but that Jew did not have a name or face at the time. You called our mutual good friends, Stan & Linda Jones and told them about the dream. They suggested Peter Laue in Pagosa Springs, Colorado and gave you our phone number. The rest is history. The relationship was and still is a perfect fit. Geographic distance has never and will never be an obstacle. We know one another in the spirit where there is no physical distance or separation.
Having said all the above, it’s time to get to the essence of what is on my heart this morning. As I said earlier, I woke up with a big jolt from a dream, speaking four words over and over again to a group of men. They seemed to be executives at some high level boardroom meeting. I was the new kid on the block and they were not sure if they wanted to give me the time of day. I spoke a few things that got the attention of one or two of the men; and before you know it, I jumped up from my chair and started to pace. I do that in our living room when I get excited and anointed. At times I even jump on our coffee table when I make my proclamations. That seems to rivet my audience of one or two to what I am going to say next. Nothing is ever planned or rehearsed. At times I take their hand, look them straight in the face and speak straight into their heart. Well, in the dream I had no coffee table to jump unto, but kept on pacing and proclaiming with great conviction and boldness, “EVERYONE NEEDS A SANDBOX, EVERYONE NEEDS A SANDBOX, EVERYONE NEEDS A SANDBOX.” And within seconds I had the attention of everyone in the room. And then I woke up.
You might recall those same words in my long letter to the Mortenson’s. Let me copy those pivotal words that have been coming more and more alive for me ever since I wrote the letter last March or April.
“Today I try to help others find their own unique sandbox in which they can play and express their God-given gifts. To be well and stay well, we all need to give ourselves the permission to spend time in our sandbox. But first we need to find it! For some it may be making sandblasted signs, for others, baking or sewing, hunting, fishing, making quilts, painting, photography, gardening, playing an instrument, singing or even cleaning someone’s home. Watching a parade does not count. We have to be in it.”
Have you ever, ever heard someone say, “I work the piano?” No, you haven’t and neither have I or anyone else. We play the piano. We play the harp. We play the violin. Playing an instrument is not work, it is play. We do it because we like doing it and that is why it is called “play.” And we also like to play in an orchestra. We don’t “work” in an orchestra, we play in an orchestra. We sing in a choir; we don't "work" in a choir. Being able to join our gifts alongside similar gifts of many others – oh, what joy. And when we play in our sandbox, someone might even pay us for playing – enjoy doing what we are gifted to do and created to do. But we must play, whether we get paid for it or not. Wow, that’s a mouthful. And how often does a person play the piano or play in their unique sandbox when the only audience is Jesus and the angels? Quite often!
Having to have an audience can be a real trap. If our validation has to come from others when we do our “playing,” we might get very disappointed and discouraged and stop “playing.” There may be no one in this world who appreciates our unique gift. That is why we all need that real and personal connection with Jesus and the angels. Jesus is always listening and watching. And when we are only practicing, it still sounds like beautiful music to Him. Wow, that’s really good.
I am not playing the piano just now; I am typing these words and playing in my sandbox at the same time. I am finding out what is deep in my heart by trying to explain to you what is deep in my heart. Oh, what fun! I am glad you are there. Would you be sitting right next to me on the couch in our living room, these words would be spoken but never see the light of day. It’s all so intricate and so God-orchestrated.
And God plans way ahead. As a soldier during the Korean War I was stationed in a hospital in Nuernberg, Germany. I was a clerk typist and developed real proficiency in typing medical records. And since I was born in Germany, I was able to brush up on my German and visit the places were I grew up. I had a motorcycle and during my free days I explored the countryside and also did a few things that I am not proud of today. Years later I realized when and where I went astray and asked Jesus to forgive me and He did. He told me that He had prayed a special prayer for me when He was hanging on the cross. These are His exact words, “Father, forgive Peter for he knew not what he was doing.” And the Father did. Just imagine, He prayed that prayer long before I was born. He knew ahead of time that I would go astray.
Going astray was very, very humbling but necessary to break Peter’s proud and independent spirit. Peter was taken behind the “proverbial woodshed” quite a few times before finally saying, “YES, LORD” and meaning it. Heaven is filled with people filled with gratitude for what Jesus did and was willing to do. Love and obedience compelled Him to take the stripes that Peter deserved. Today, at this very moment, I am one of heaven’s grateful citizens and know it. Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is within you.” Yes, the kingdom of God is within Peter & Mary. That’s a for sure! No doubt about it!
It was quite a while before I was able to receive that powerful prayer Jesus spoke from the cross and forgave myself; but eventually I did. Don Francisco's song, "He's Alive and I'm Forgiven" helped me a lot to be able to forgive myself. The devil kept bashing me with my past and I did not realize it was the devil. Yes, the devil is able and loves to impersonate himself as an angel of light. Deception is often the winning card he uses in the poker came for souls. It’s a real and deadly game. Satan plays for high stakes - souls, not money. Enough of that – let’s go on.
I am going to get to the hard stuff now. We either play in a sandbox or work ourselves to death in a sandpit. We have a choice whether we will spend our life and future “playing” or if we spend our life and future “working.” And by the future, I mean “all eternity.” There is no retirement program in heaven or hell. We can play and praise or work, work, and work ourselves to death but never die.
Mary, if we don’t do what we were created to do by God, we will be working now and forever. If we do what we were born to do, we will be “playing” and “praising God” now and forever for His goodness and mercy. We will either be making bricks for cruel taskmasters or we will be playing that unique instrument that makes only heavenly sounds in a heavenly orchestra for a heavenly audience.
My fingers have a choice. I am given a choice about the way I spend this day. My fingers can type cruel and misleading words that enslave others so that Satan will have more workers for his brick factories or – they can type healing and liberating words. My fingers have a choice. My lips have a choice – they can speak or keep silent. I wished everyone would know that they have been given a choice – we can make bricks for cruel task masters or play an instrument in a heavenly orchestra. I know I am repeating myself but what I am saying is worth repeating.
I know that I am preaching to the choir as I am writing this, but just bear with me. I got to get this off my chest. Life is like a drama, a major stage production. There would be no play, no drama, unless the good guys were pitted against the bad guys. The good guys and the bad guys both live in our hearts. And we need Jesus’ to identify the bad guys and help us to kick them out. That’s how it works. We cannot politely ask the bad guys to leave; they have to be kicked out so that there is more room for Jesus. We all are auditioned to play a role in this drama. And we have a choice what role we will play now and forever.
No one is forcing us to play the role of the villain, but Satan does his best in deceiving us to do so. He says something like this, “It’s fun to play the villain and it pays well. You will get a standing ovation from large audiences if you play the part of the villain.” He may even tempt you by saying, “You can build a library to preserve all the great things you have done and said. You will get your name on the marquee or the front page of the entertainment section or sports page of the paper. You might get your name in a hall of fame. You may get your name on the best sellers’ list.” And on and on he goes! If he can’t get you with one lie, he tries something else. They are all designed to flatter the ego or entice the lust of your flesh or both. Jesus warned us that the applause of the world is more addicting and deadly than any kind of a drug. Satan tempted Jesus with the promise of applause and riches. He will try the same with us. He only knows a few lousy tricks but wraps them differently for every person. When winning the game becomes more important than playing the game, we are tempted to use illegal shortcuts and often do. The world’s applause is fleeting; the Lord’s applause is forever and forever.
Now, let me go on. Being bored opens the door to trouble, lots of trouble. Boredom is a type of hell and leads to depression and suicide. That’s why young people get into so much trouble – they are bored. They have no direction, hate any kind of responsibility, don’t want to be told what to do, and hate discipline of any kind. They are an easy target for playing the role of the villain. We have all been young and foolish!
Hell on earth is making bricks for cruel task masters – doing the same thing over and over. It’s a very boring job. It kills every bit of creativity and dignity in us. I remember an order for making fifty sandblasted signs for someone. Each sign was to say the same thing: “YES, LORD.” By the time I finished the last sandblasted sign, I screamed, “NO, LORD.” Making the same thing over and over again was for me no better than making bricks. I never took another order that made me into a robot.
The other night I saw the production lines where dolls were assembled in a Chinese factory. We have a VHS tape called “The Music Box.” It’s a perfect representation of what I am trying to say with words. Instead of assembling dolls, the workers put bottle caps on bottles. There are thousands of ways we have been recruited to make bricks or putting bottle caps on bottles – doing the same thing over and over again. Doing the same thing over and over again does not take any brains or creativity. We can do it in our sleep. And all of Satan’s workers are sleeping but are not aware of it. If they were aware of it, all of hell would revolt. I pray this will happen and soon. WOW – that’s strong stuff.
I looked at the faces of the Chinese assembly line workers. They had become robots. They had pretty faces and were wearing pretty clothes, but they were lifeless, just like the pretty dolls they were assembling. And then I remembered the production lines where cars are assembled. Yes, it may be an efficient way for making cars, but the workers had become robots. They were all wearing the chains of “sameness.” They were all working – none were playing. Efficiency as we know it demands that men act like machines. We will never be able to sing and dance and play while wearing the chains of “sameness.” “Lord, I don’t like those tailor-made earthquakes that break chains, but I thank you for them. Nothing else could have set me free.”
I cannot and must not write words that have no substance. I cannot and must not write words that are merely entertaining or flatter the ego. I had to write these words to remind myself and others that “The Cruel Taskmaster” is real and bent upon recruiting more brick makers. The cruel task master is not a figment of a distorted and convoluted imagination. The Bible tells us that he is real and we better believe it if we know what’s good for us. The Bible tells us that he is the accuser of the brethren. The Bible tells us that he can appear as an angel of light. The Bible tells us he is cruel and heartless. And God cannot lie. His Word is true.
I am writing these words so that every person that reads them can ask the question, “Have I been recruited and deceived by ‘The Cruel Taskmaster’? Am I living in a modern day Egypt that has made slaves out of God’s children? Have I been recruited to work in his brick factory without knowing it?” And if the answer is an unequivocal “YES,” don’t go back to the brick factory tomorrow. Don’t give your boss a two-week notice. Don’t tell him you are planning to leave. If you do, he will tell you that you will forfeit your retirement benefits, that you were just being considered for promotion or that you will be punished for breaking your commitment to his worthy cause. Just disappear and don’t leave a forwarding address. Your unpaid bills (sins) have already been paid by Jesus when He was nailed to the cross. That’s a done deal! What a Savior! He exchanged our trash for His treasures. If we can believe it, we have received it and have stepped through the Pearly Gates.
Jesus is waiting for us, for all of us - even if we have the stench of hell and filth on our clothing. He welcomes us with open arms just as we are. He will not only tell us the name of our “sandbox,” He will take us to it and show us how to play in it. And He will even get into the sandbox with us. He will give us a new, clean wardrobe as soon as we give him our filthy one. What a deal! WOW!
What a joy it has been to write to you. You are such a good listener. You did not interrupt the flow of my thoughts one time. Write back when you can. This is only a rough draft. Maybe there are some words in your sandbox that others need to know about.
Someone questioned the words I wrote. He said, “We can’t build homes without bricks.” That is true. Yes, we do need bricks; but they are not to be made by men, women or children held hostage be a cruel taskmaster. It would be better to sleep in tents than houses made by slave labor.
Pagosa Springs, Colorado