Keep Going, 153, 154, 155

Have you ever felt like you are going nowhere fast?  Peddling 100 miles an hour but moving as far as a stationary bike moves or like a trolley car indoors locked in place with no tracks.  Wouldn’t it be great if you could be so motivated that you always felt like you could just Keep Going?

For me, despite being preferably an introvert I have been locked into an extrovert life. Somehow, I survived 35 years in traveling sales.  There were 100,000’s of phone calls, emails (& written letters), texts, flight miles, and millions of hotel points.  The hardest part – 1000’s of people meetings.  It took every ounce of energy to get through the daily stress/anxiety, of which anxiety sadly seemed to be the only thing that came naturally, to make it to an early corporate world end.   I never had a plan to stop, just travel a more rewarding road.  Either way, finding the motivation to keep on going was a constant need.

People ask what was your secret?  I may have had a propensity for anxiety to try to invade me, but it did not win.   I had and have no single answer, we all need constant motivators to keep on going.   My simplest was flipping on music.  Calm ones when the anxiety was high before a presentation or at the end of the day to sleep by.  Fast-paced upbeat ones when needing a boost, blues to relate to low times, victory & positive tunes, and deep ones to meditate on to build the spirit when needing to reach far inside to overcome the toughest times.  You are welcome to borrow from my playlists via YouTube My playlists are here

Exercise!   Which in the winter has slowed to 2x daily dog walks, wood chopping and this: Some people think the only thing I have ever read or quote is Bible verses.  Wrong!  Especially in the early years, I took many motivation and sales courses and read all the popular business and sales books.  My favorites were Dale Carnegie’s, Og Mandino, Kurt Vonnegut (for dark humor), Brian Tracy, John Maxwell, Grant Cardone, Billy Graham, Zig Ziglar, Napoleon Hill, Frank Bettger, Rober Kyosaki,  Peter Drucker, Harvey Mackay, Stephen Covey, Scott Adams, and more.  At some stage, I stopped with the business books and primarily hit online bookmarks like Wisdom Quotes, Forbes, Dr. Amen, Caroline Leaf, and many others some found in my Helpful Links tab.  I never stop reading and expanding knowledge in multiple categories.

I also found having a thought for the day to hang onto to be helpful.  Every morning I start looking for a phrase or verse to meditate on.  I loved watching how like magic it turned out to be just the right one when the inevitable difficult person or situation arose that requires a need for an inner grab of strength.  Positive words are a necessary brain drug to overcome the arrows that will be shot at the mind.  No doubt, the arrows came often, and the word armor helped fend them off.   These are a few of my favorites on the topic of Keep Going!

“Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance, you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” – Winston Churchill

“Courage is not having the strength to go on; it is going on when you don’t have the strength.” – Theodore Roosevelt

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”  – Martin Luther King Jr

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. – Thomas A. Edison

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all. – Dale Carnegie

“I am not the richest, smartest, or most talented person in the world, but I succeed because I keep going and going and going.” – Sylvester Stallone

 “Never end your day missing the last shot or on a negative note.  Keep going until you hit even the slightest goal or victory.  More so, if you succeed or have a huge win, make another call or two.  Ride your high and run another mile, – to seal in your heart the memory forever that you HAD the strength TO KEEP GOING.” – Average JoesPortico

Without a doubt motivators like some of these good habits help us with perseverance and drive.  Billions of dollars have been made offering many more.  But what is really needed is a solid message engraved inside our spirit that we know is greater than any obstacle.  Something so assuring that we always fall back on it and make that next sacrifice to never quit and Keep Going.

I hope what you have read so far has motivated you, but if you would like to hear what I consider a profound spiritual message delivered to me personally, go into the portico to hear more.   This one is a rare only I story.  However, if you read the last post titled 153 Faith Increasers‘     I tell how a man was given a special private message that got broadcast in history for all to read. Only some understood the meaning was not just for him, but it is for all as a sample that deep down, outside of the natural messages, are in reach for everyone. 

Please don’t go away yet! Hit that red button for more. If this is your first time visiting Average Joe’s Portico, every post is written in two parts. You have just read the portion challenging the mind, body, and soul.  In The Portico, I seek to tap into your spiritual side, but only IF YOU DARE.  Tap the Red Line Below to read the Part 2 Spiritual side of the story.  (For an explanation of my madness – read the ‘Do You Dare’ Tab)

If You Dare, Click to Enter Into Joe's Portico (To See Part II of This Story)

Some will think I am crazy for sharing the following ‘prophetic words’ that were given to my wife and I.  You will see it was obviously not as grand as the Jesus to Peter message posted in the ‘153 Faith Increasers’ story. Others will think it is perfectly normal depending on your denomination background.   For those not familiar with the terminology – Paul mentions prophecies being spoken over a person’s life in a letter to his most well-known disciple Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:18.  I use the NKJV version for old schoolers who think it is nonsense.  ‘This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare.”    I like the NLT translation as it calls it ‘prophetic words’:  Timothy, my son, here are my instructions for you, based on the prophetic words spoken about you earlier. May they help you fight well in the Lord’s battles.”  

This is part II to last week’s post.   I know some do not have the time to read the previous story so I’ll give the 5 sentence version: It is about John 21:11 where Jesus for a 2nd time showed Peter a miracle fish catch.  If you look carefully, it tells us they counted the fish to find there were exactly 153 large fish, presumably all of a different species.  I believe it is tied directly to Luke 17 where Peter asked Jesus to Increase our faith as a means of getting through the daily grind of dealing with bad people all the time.   Jesus seemingly blew off the request, but we find that not to be true as Jesus performed many faith increasers for all to see after the request.  It culminated with his after-death visitation in the fish miracle.  It was just for Peter who was offered a major assignment, to be the Rock of Christ’s church.

The ultimate point for today’s church of Christ is still – IF YOU SEEK HIM and Ask Him, HE WILL fulfill your requests, and increase your faith if you humbly ask Him and abide.  He may even provide a Gideon fleece moment to motivate you although in today’s story I did not ask for one.  Keep Going and see a set of ‘coincidental’ events, times, dates, and numbers to blow your mind, er increase your faith that is.

Confession first – I have been reluctant or outright fearful to tell this story.  I have friends who are experts on Calvinism, Cessasationism, Gnosticism etc..  and look for false teachers under every rock. Writing can easily be ripped apart in the name of ‘correct theology.’  I also do not want to be misread that I was given some amazing calling, ‘so look at me.’  It is just a blog, but I know I was called to write and speak with a deep boldness that may offend some, it does not come easy.  That is why I humbly say I am a worrier turned warrior.   At times, I admit I need validation and vindication, God gives that privately mostly.  As I write this, haunting memories of being thrown in pitS, like my namesake Joseph, arise within me.  I cannot write about them specifically, vengeance is mine says the Lord.‘  Thus, I believe He in advance gives us fish stories to help us in the future, regardless of Judas-like people that come along, to help us to Keep Going.

On June 2, 2018, I was at a conference at Morning Star Ministries facilities in Fort Mill, SC.  Part of their property is the former Heritage USA hotel and PTL Club, that is of Jim and Tammy Baker history.  I would love to hear the brain spill out of some of you reading this now with that info.   I am not sure if the trolley car pictured to your right was part of the original PTL club or if MSM brought it in.  I do know from a little research it was in the indoor retail area back in 2014 as shown in this Video Here if you want more info.  Of significance to me, although I did not know it until later, is the date and time stamp from my Iphone. 


My wife and I signed up for a ‘prophetic word’ session for 2:15.   I had felt a crescendo like build up weeks before this conference excitedly and nervously looking forward to it.  With my many years of conservative cessation type thinking, I had been skeptical of these things and typically avoided them.   But it was a little over a year since I had retired for the purpose of being in some type of ministry.  But life since that day had turned upside down for us; everything seemed to be going wrong.  It seemed as if we were fighting to survive.  I wrote about some of the worst storms we had ever faced in ‘How Storms transform worriers into warriors.’ 

We arrived a little early, were sipping coffee on a bench by the trolley, and had a random conversation with another conference attendee.  He told us he had the gift of prophecy and asked if it was ok if he shared something with us.  I chuckled a bit and said well we are scheduled for this thing in a few minutes but I guess it won’t hurt to get two ‘opinions’.  I thought this would be a perfect test if this stuff were true or not.   We said, let’s do it.

He began to say that I sense you two have had some major faith testers recently, some house issues, losses, and several of the other things that could have been taken straight from the storms story I mentioned (which had not been published yet).  He added ‘God wants you to know this is all as it is supposed to be.  You may not know it, but understand many people are watching you to see how you handle it all.  Understand you are on the right path; there is no need to change anything you are doing.  It will continue for a time in establishing where God is taking you into an important calling.’

He had my full attention as my desire for this word from God thing was precisely because I was going nuts trying to figure out if I had made some terrible decisions, or what.  Nothing was going right and not only was the stress bringing me major spiritual and physical attacks, but our finances and everything else were being drained.  Cindy’s parents had both passed away in the past five months.  I thought I had been called to ante up on the writing yet it too was flailing. To top it off, the blog page was deleted in a hosting change by the person I paid to design and host it requiring a rebuild, he had quit. 

Mid talk I said, this is weird God just told me to take a picture of the trolley as the number 33 was staring at me like a spotlight.  So I pulled out the camera and took a quick picture.  The guy looked at me as if I was the rudest person or a nut case, one of the two.  After the click, he continued on pinpointing some other validation details.  He offered words of encouragement about how God would be able to use us tremendously via the manifestation of our spiritual gifts, especially healing.  He warned to stay the course despite how at times things will appear as chaos and I in particular would need to be on guard against opposition.  He ended with saying no doubt; you have something unique for the kingdom of God, keep following what Holy Spirit tells you.

 Our turn to the scheduled time arrived and there was still a long line to get in.  We discussed skipping it because we already heard enough from that man to make our day.  But, our friend Susan who was on the prophetic team saw us and came over to tell us to go to the front because we had an appointment locked in.  There were 12 teams doing their thing and I joked to her wouldn’t it be funny if our random draw was to your team. She said well obviously we could not let that happen.  So we got to the appointment table and we were given a table number to go to for our appt.  We walked to the table and low and behold, the only 7% chance happened as we drew Susan’s group table.  We all laughed and Susan took our number up to the table and asked for another on our behalf.  It was just like Jesus to throw a joke into a serious moment.

We finally got to our first ever official ‘prophetic word session’ and the three women talked with us a few minutes for background.  I was purposely nebulous.  They prayed with us for a bit then one said I have something and began the time.  She proceeded to rattle off a number of things she was ‘seeing’ for us, one being ‘I see you having many trips to the throne room.’   I really didn’t know a lot about what that meant but I do now.   She and the second women were right in tune with the guy we had spoken to earlier but with a little more emotion and emphasis. 

But, then she said something that shook my boots.  I wrote it down afterwards so I would not forget – “There is nobody like the two of you with what has happened and will happen in your lives.  There is nobody else that can do what you all have to offer with empathy to the people God is going to bring to you.”   She stopped and seemed very surprised and then said,   “Ok then.   Usually I hear to say to people as a message from the Lord – if you do not hurry up and do this, I will find someone else to fulfill this role to share what you have and what you have learned.  That is not the case this time it is a solo necessary ministry. ” 

This caused me to shake and shiver (I thought noticeably).  I was overwhelmed and it felt like salt water had been splashed on me and was burning my eyes.  I pretty much missed everything the 3rd person said.  We shared thank yous and pleasantry’s afterwards.  I even got a picture of them so I could remember, as for me, it was a monumental moment.  I wasn’t sure exactly why, I just knew it was.

Afterward I asked my wife what just happened, what did she hear?  She nonchalantly said yes that was good and encouraging.  I said what stuck out to you; she said ‘the thing about trips. We apparently will be making many, not travels in the physical, but in the Spiritual, back and forth to the heavens.  That will be fun won’t it?”   I had no idea what she was talking about, but I guess it was said so I wrote it down.   I asked if she noticed I was shaking and spaced out 2/3’s of the way in.   She said no, really?  Why?   We went off to talk alone about all that had happened.  The rest of the weekend conference was a blur.

Then things got weirder.

I came home with a renewed vigor and immediately hired someone to rebuild, gulp for a big price, my website for a second time.  Noting, I had never made a penny off it in 5 years and still have not to date.  It sort of was in the back of my mind, but in my times in the prayer and reading God said you will have great results, you just will not realize it until way later.  And I want you to keep doing it for free.   Today in 2022, I say to myself often, well I guess I will be like the famous artists and book writers that never saw the fame until after they died.  Nevertheless, Keep Going Average Joe!

I closely examined the picture and had to look up the meaning of the #33.  I had been learning about Biblical Numerology and had the basics of 1-20 revealed to me experientially.   But 33 was a new one to learn about.  Some numbers people say it means Amen, So Be It, or Promised Fulfilled.  I liked that, but what promise was made on 6-2-18.  Jesus died at the age of 33 fulfilling prophecies backing the fulfilled view.    Timothy joined Paul as his #1 disciple at the age of 33. Remember prophetic word Timothy?  My main numbers resource says the Hebrew letter matched to 33 means ‘it is the number of a sign, that is, the confirming evidence establishing a prophetic word.  Get this, further the dual 3’s means that 33 not only establishes a prophetic word but does so with a double witness. 

So doubting Joenah, second-guessing what God has sent you to do, you heard the word right by the #33.  Must I put you in the mouth of a whale before you really get it?

Then things got more weirder.  (yes, that is bad grammar)

Two weeks later, I woke up at 4:44 in the morning 2 days in a row.  Since I was into the numbers thing, I took the hint to research the number 444.    This number had very few references.  One theorizes that it relates to the fingerprint of God.  Meaning it had to have God involved in it. Exodus 8:16-19 tells of the first plagues against Egypt were repeatable by their magicians.  But the plague of turning sand into lice was not imitable.  The magicians said ‘it was clearly the Finger of God.’  Only His DNA was involved.  Some place the timeline of Jesus ministry starting on the 1st day of His 40 night fast and ending on Passover, exactly 44 months and 4 days, 444.  Jesus is clearly the DNA of God also known as the fingerprint of God.

This is the weirder – As I was researching the number 444, I was told to go look closely at the date on the picture again, 6-2-18.  Call me nuts if you want to but I then was told to go look at the day I retired.  I had to look at an Instagram  picture to figure out it was March 16, 2017.    From March 16th, 2017 – June 2, 2018 = 444 Days.  God said to me, do you feel better knowing my fingerprint is on this in many ways?  If there was any doubt, there was none now.

But things did not get perfect after that by any means.  We were still involved in a lawsuit trying to recover funds lost on a bad house purchase, and we had to sell the farmhouse to complete our downsizing.  The next few years had some great things going and some not so great. 

Fast forward to 2021.   If you have read a few of my blogs or Facebook posts lately you would know I had a bad case of covid at the end of 2020/early 2021.  I also was thrown in the pit in March after an 18-month stint of tremendous one-on-one counseling in a couples ministry.  Then a brown recluse bite brought a scare and things were looking very suspicious in a new counseling ministry I was involved in.

Then this story grew with an added new twist of weirdness.  Note, I really mean coincidence, I write for the skeptics too.

On June 1st, 2021 I had a repeat of a 4:44 wake up time.  My first thoughts were to reminisce about what I described above.   I reviewed my notes, most of which is a cut and paste in this writing.    I spent some time reading more and listening to worship music and chatting with the Lord wondering am I really doing what you want me to do, NOW?  When I am involved in any job, volunteer or paid, or any ministry I am all in above and beyond.  I noticed the past 2 years I had very little time to do any writing.  The 18 months stint of a part-time position of 28 hours was habitually in the 50-60 hour a week range.  Now in a new ministry it also turned into the same thing but was filled with dealing with a person I sadly found had zero integrity.  That is when I noticed the date was June 1, 3 years since the word thing.

The Lord said – I want you to go visit MSM’s building again, it is the same date, go around the same time.  I thought yeah that would be cool, I should get a picture at the exact same time to reminisce.  Good idea, God.    I planned to make it a day with fasting and spending some time on the grounds.  So on June 2, 2021 I headed again to the old PTL building, the first time since that conference.  I spent some time walking around praying, reading the word, exploring, for a few hours.   As time was getting close to 1:54 I headed back in by the trolley car.   But I was curious about the ‘buy gold and silver store’ and stopped in to ask what it was about.  I chatted and found some chatty people that also chatted back for a while. 

I suddenly realized it was nearly too late to get the picture from the exact same position on the bench as before.  I had told the women the story of what happened three years ago and they were fascinated.  They like everyone else I asked had no history knowledge of the trolley car.    So when I pulled my iphone camera out to snap the picture they understood.  I stepped outside the door precisely at 1:54.  I snapped the picture and something went wrong with the camera.   I tried again, and again, it kept not taking the picture.   I gave it another try and finally was able to snap a few pictures.

This is how it came out compared to the one before, I missed the time by one minute:  All I could do was laugh and say, oh well the story of my life, a minute late and a dollar short.  That’s what I get for stopping in a money store.  The next few days I toyed with the time and the dates trying to figure out if there was some hidden meaning.  

After the 2018 visit I learned more about numbers.  At that time I like most people I had never noticed the John 21:11 verse about the number 153 ”Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken. ”   It became my favorite topic for a while and still is today.

It took me a couple of weeks after missing the timing of the picture take to hear what God was trying to tell me.  The Lord brought me back to John 21 to a conversation between Jesus and Peter, alone, after the fish counting and breakfast.  It is the famous one that has been preached on a million different ways.  1After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.

16 Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”“Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.”“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.

17 A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”  Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep”.

Nearly always, you hear a breakdown of the three different versions of the word Love.  We hear analogies of the number three, the trinity, reaching the world with the gospel and feeding the world with His word.

Has anyone ever mentioned the need to Keep Going?  The secret to every successful sales person, business, non-profit business, and overall success in life is repeating the same mundane things over and over again.  It took Jesus three years to disciple the twelve and it still was not enough time.  The task Peter was given was to love and feed the sheep.  After mentioning it only three times, Peter was already worn out in the conversation.  With JESUS, who had died 40 days early and risen from the dead, he was already hurt and tired from the repetition.  Similar to hearing forgiving those who sin against you but repent 7 x 70 times.

Jesus was saying to Peter, it’s gonna be a tough task, but you’ll need to love and feed, non-stop,  the people I bring to you.  And you will have to teach others to do it and teach them to teach others to do it.

Jesus was saying to Peter, “I hope you know I will increase your faith as you go!  Do you believe I will, I just did it with the 153 fish?”   I think He was saying the same thing to me.  And I would be disobedient if I did not take the time to tell you, long written story you may be groaning about or not.  If you made it this far.

Hey modern day 2022 Christians, do you think God/Jesus/Holy Spirit stopped doing things after Acts 28 to increase faith?  Did He stop the miracles and spiritual gifts, really Cessationists?  Did zero people get healed or raised from the deathbed since that time?   Did faith end after the book of Jude?  NO WAY!!     Did prophecy end after the book of Revelation?  No way.

Does God want to increase our faith in 2022 and the future?  If He showed Peter, He will show me and you in multiple one on one and group ways that He is with us and behind us.  Maybe He will do it with prophetic words.  Maybe He will awaken us at 4:44 with a personal message.   Maybe He will let us catch 153 big fish.  Maybe He is doing it over and over again and you just aren’t noticing it, like so many miss the #153 hidden in John 21:11.

Maybe He will do it with a picture of a trolley car with a number 33 on it and a timestamp one year that is one minute greater than 153 to equal 154.  Maybe 3 years later (like the love me 3 times, feed my sheep 3 times, theme)  He tells you to go take another picture of a trolley car with the number 33 on it at the exact time.  But He is not going to tell you He will mess up the camera on purpose so it shows one minute and 3 seconds later than 154 to equal 155.    Maybe Joe (or to you reading this)  He created by providence the whole near five years scene just to increase your faith and letting you know He hears your request and cries for re-re-re-re-assurance.

Maybe He will ask you – Do you see how behind and with you I am?  Do you see how I am building your faith with a message that says something like KEEP GOING 153, 154, 155! 

There is no Bible expert numbers listing that explains what 154 and 155 means, but maybe now there is in a weird coincidental way.

153-154-155 in sequence means never quit –  KEEP GOING!

P.S. There is more to this story, coming in a few weeks another discovery from the time stamps.

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