Dear Johnny and the All-American boys and girls in America,
Forgive me for being long winded but please stay with me. In the wee hours of the night I found myself in my Lodge praying specifically for the recent elections and all the inconsistencies and confusion that has been a part of not only the elections, but 2020 itself. I was asking generally for wisdom, justice and truth to prevail when I heard, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”. I shifted my prayer focus to Georgia, understanding that the state has become a focal point in this country and ultimately the course that will be set the next few years.
As I began to pray, I had a vivid picture of extreme evil descending on Georgia. The words of the song again played in my mind…the devil went down to Georgia, looking for a soul…no a nation, to steal! The phrase now took on another meaning and I was aware of a spiritual battle in the state that was a clash of Titans! The words of the popular Charlie Daniels song kept running in my mind and I came to the phrase, Johnny, rosin up your bow and play your fiddle hard. I assumed that the Lord was pointing out that Johnny in the song was Jesus rosining up his bow to defeat the devil.
However, as I continued to listen and pray, I did a little research. I discovered that Johnny has some interesting meanings. First, it is a derivative of Jonathan, which in Hebrew means, “Jehovah is gracious” or “Jehovah has given” or “Jehovah’s gift”. That alone fits nicely into the battle that rages over Georgia. But then another definition caught my attention. Its this:
In British vernacular, Johnny is a term used as a name for an unknown man, often suggesting that he is unimportant or insignificant.
Bingo! This term suggests that Johnny, the one who defeats the devil in the mother of all fiddle “runoffs”, is the unknown man, the one who society overlooks, deems unimportant and insignificant. So, Johnny is your common, everyday, All-American boy!
These words take on a significance for me for various reasons.
Understand that I have been saddled with my grandfather’s words ringing in my head for 50 years: “Russell, you’re an all-American boy!” The words seared a self-image in my mind that...
…relegating me to average, common
…I’m just another guy in the crowd, never excelling at anything but never really failing
at anything either.
…screamed I’m just the typical, All-American boy…an unknown, common insignificant
who has big dreams but otherwise is just another average guy in the crowd.
I admit that I’ve struggled with that declaration over my life. Understand, my grandfather was a wonderful, God-fearing man who had a dramatic, life-altering experience with Jesus in his mid-30s. When I entered into a personal relationship with Jesus around age 17, he was incredibly encouraging in my early days of faith. But his decree left me with a sense of just average...good at all things, master of none. That is, until the past few months when the Lord began dealing with me about this script that’s been running in my head for some 50 years. I now realize that the phrase was a prophetic, positive proclamation over my life. It was not the curse that I have always framed it to be. My life carries the voice of the unknown, the common guy, and the collective ideology of the American spirit and grassroots, foundational principles of this country. I am an old soul, that loves God, baseball and apple pie! ...And there are millions more out there just like me.
But this letter isn't meant to be a confessional. This isn’t about me and it wasn’t about me in my prayer time in the early morning hours. It wasn't until much later that God's Spirit reminded me of the personal connection and then connected some dots.
Several weeks prior to the elections, I had a “vision” of sorts while praying. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a clinical psychologist. My giftings are in the area of knowledge and wisdom with strong teaching, communication and analytical skills. When I hear people talk about visions I really don't know exactly what they mean…that is, I don't really know what qualifies as a vision. I know that in the Bible, the Book of Joel foretells a time that the young men will have visions and I have always trusted this to be true. But that said, on the day several weeks prior to election day, I saw gargoyles circling over the land and a metropolitan area, perhaps Washington, DC. The gargoyles were arrogant and intimidating as if they patrolled over their territory. They were powerful and the look in their eyes was one of “I dare you” to defy me. As they flew about, out of the ground came a cloud of smoke. It grew and reminded me of the video that captured the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9-11. The smoke billowed outward and then upward and out of the smoke an eagle arose. The eagle's eyes were extremely intense as it extended its wings in a manner that signals a warning to those around. There was no question about it, this eagle was intense and it was focused. As the gargoyles flew about, the eagle began to suddenly strike crippling blows to each of them. Their expressions changed from arrogant defiance to intense fear as they knew that the eagle had stripped them of their evil power and intimidating influence. The eagle protected her nest vehemently.
At the time, I assumed that the eagle was either an expression of a Revelation or Daniel figure, or perhaps an angel or even Jesus, himself...and I think it not injustice to interpret the eagle in any of those ways. However, there is another interpretation. Let me tie the Eagle to Johnny and the All-American boy.
The eagle has long been adopted as symbolizing America. It was chosen to represent America in 1789 because it speaks of strength, valiance, power and pride. In scripture the eagle speaks of hope, strength and salvation. Now, let me tie all of this together. What we have is a grassroots revival and uprising of the eagle. An uprising of those who embody the American spirit of freedom, liberty and strength. And who are these people? You got it. They are the unnamed, unimportant (in the world's eyes), insignificant all-American boys and girls of this country. The ones that don’t flash or glory in their individual power, but collectively rise up with intensity in their eyes, jealously protecting the ancient paths this country and its foundation of Judeo-Christian values and principles that made this country great. Again, who is this Eagle? The eagle is…
· * the guy who owns his own plumbing business who is willing to bombard heaven
daily with his fervent prayers
· * the man who works in county government who defends righteousness in the break
room at work, standing alone, while those around him applaud injustice and
dismiss truth as an outdated ideology, fit only for lunatics and religious zealots
· * the soccer moms of those country
· * the woman who teaches our children in schools everyday across the country
· * the father who goes to work each and every day to provide for his family
There are many, many more that comprise the Eagle but you get the idea. The Eagle is not the lawmakers or the CEO’s, the sports idols or the Hollywood celebrities. No, it’s the unnamed, insignificant and unimportant who will rise up to defend this country against the gargoyles. The question is, will they overcome their self-image that they are common, insignificant and unimportant? Will they resist the idea that after all, I'm just one person? But to be effective, they must see themselves as the Eagle, an extension of God’s arm in the earth and that collectively, they can strike disabling blows to the forces and influences that threaten our basic freedoms and rights. The Eagle must see themselves as the ones who are carrying the authority of heaven while on earth. This isn’t arrogance or self-aggrandizement. Its not an action movie complete with cute little characters that charm us as we watch. This is reality. Jesus’ reality. He said to His followers, I have give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven (Matthew 18:18 NKJV). Another translation says, ...a yes on earth is yes in heaven. A no on earth is no in heaven (The Message translation). Like a father turning over the keys of his high-performance sports car to his son, for better or worse, Jesus has all authority given to him under heaven (Matthew 28:18) and He used it to turn over the keys to his sons and daughters. You know, the no names, unimportant, insignificant sons and daughters that hold no place of esteem in the worlds eyes but rise up, collectively, in one accord as the Eagle who strike debilitating blows to the gargoyles. There’s no time left to play church or worry about our performances at the Christmas cantata. There’s a war going on. The devil has gone down to Georgia and Johnny must rosin up his bow...or lose his soul.
So, I’m begging the church, the Ecclesia of God, those who are called by his name, to rise up together as the Eagle. Its not time to sit idle. Its not time to reduce yourself in the guise of common, insignificance and unimportant. Its time for brothers and sisters all over the world to rise up as an Eagle and jealously guard our nation. If you're looking to join the rising Eagle but don't know how to get involved, a good starting point is to join Dutch Sheets’ Give Him 15 (www.dutchsheets.org) or Sean Feucht’s Let Us Worship (www.seanfeucht.com/letusworship). You'll be surprised how many common, insignificant and unimportant are finding their voice...together.
Thank you for hearing me out. I apologize again for the length. Remember, individually we may feel common, insignificant and unimportant, but when we rise together we are uncommon, we can make a significant difference and become an important part of history and the Kingdom and purposes of God on the earth.
Dr. M Russell Thomas, PhD
aka All-American boy.