Grace and Glory - NO HASTE

Grace and glory --- In our haste to accomplish, in our drive to complete goals, in the "proving" of ourselves in the midst of other untold numbers of minions ...that we truly; are above all others, "we are up to the task" ... Do we even begin to look for the Greater Good (let alone the greatest good)?

What if the goal or task assigned has not been analyzed for timing? What if it wasn't weighed for its placement amidst the full purpose of the Big Picture? Was it even scrutinized for the potential loss in pushing to completion with out all the perspectives considered.

Have you ever gotten some where before or after the moment of critical need because the task was more important than knowing when to deliver, or why to pull the plug.

I was so proud of myself; I got home quickly to spend so joyfully anticipated "fun" time with a precious visiting second generation miracle, and yet kept in the back of my mind a critical endeavor..."the task" ... that would fall on that particular evening (or was it that evening). I would get it done with speed, with accuracy, with finesse, and with an exemplary attitude. All would be so proud of me, even I would be able to give myself an Atta boy.

There was that special hug, kiss, walk to the car, gentle seating placement, smiles, waves, blown kisses and a mouthed "I love you!" ... As the car vanished out of sight, the back of the mind raced forward and kicked all the gears into alignment and full cylinders into motion ... Full steam ahead. Even before dinner was ready and the night was destined for the wind down, I had succeeded ... I was the victor. (But even this story timeline is skewed by the blur of an embarrassing turn of events).

The next evening (or was it the next evening?) as I pulled into the palace drive, I was stunned by the irreverence of the second string team's failure to complete their task. Had they done their job it would have triggered bountiful accolades in my direction, and no doubt would have acknowledged the completion of my task as more than.. "well done".

Infuriated by the failure of others and challenged by the Duchess, I lifted the Royal communication device into action and began to proudly announce to the primary responsibility holder ... my success in achieving my goal and the failure of "them" to keep their part of the team effort. Then I heard the most disturbing news delivered from the receiver end of the communication device "Thursday is your pick up day, if you had put it out Wednesday night we would have seen it Thursday morning, but it wasn't there, if it was we would have picked it up"...

A mistake on my part? ... Unheard of! ... Never in the life of ME, but all of a sudden I was overwhelmed with the fateful truth ... I put the receptacle out on Thursday night, and it was now Friday. I was mistaken about what day it was. Holy flies and cloudy skies! The team hadn't failed, I had; all because of a failure to truly acknowledge the critical timing. NOTE: I still do not have the timing of events right -- Too much focus on a task can be devastating to the order of the journey.

Now Grace and Glory... NO HASTE- What are the reality of these and where do they come from? Please do not try to define these without God in the mix, and let's not just spout an answer to get the "quiz question out of the way", so that we can say that we knew that! To do this would cheapen the GIFT.

First - Grace and Glory are permissive, progressive gifts that bring His reputation and power into focus in our lives and through our lives. They are GIFTS FROM HIM.
Second - Grace and Glory will be more and more evidenced as we desire to be "still praising Him" in His Kingdom, and yet while walking this planet... leaving wells of Hope in the Valleys of weeping (for there are many).
Third - Grace and Glory show others that He is our Sun and Shield... and we have no qualms living in the threshold of the Kingdom.

Now let's see what is in the treasure chest of Grace -- Grace is our source for a gracious and elegant walk in this world that will shine that HE LOVES US. Oh what a supply is here, but remember to be a flowing stream and not a stagnant self serving pond. As He pours this care and kindness through us ... This is where favor and influence grows. It will be sensed by all around us that we are "Accepted in the beloved" because we are satisfied with being completed by our God. This Grace abounds!

Step over and peer into the vibrant, transparent, vessel of Glory --- Here you will find the splendor and elegance of Heaven reflected and refracted over and over in such a way that it invites others to taste of the honor filled dignity, and abundant riches of the life that openly longs for Jesus and overtly loves on others for His sake. This glory is evidenced in its simple soothing "song of a soul set free" that that adorns the life that has joyously decided to follow Jesus. This Glory exudes!

Quit focusing so blind sidedly on the tasks ahead as "your" chance at grace and glory. Realize that He gives Grace and Glory without reservation ... so that all good things needed to run this race to the victory are never withheld as we live complete in Him.

"For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly. O Lord of Hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in Thee." Psalm 84:11,12

Don't miss trash day by making it an Olympic Medal Event!

Live Tawmeam (upright - Complete)!
Live Shalowm! (Peace - Whole)

Jesus is our ALL, in Him we are complete and whole!

HLFA,

Jeff

Live it UP

Stand erect! Look straight forward in all directions: realize that our vision fades because it must turn down at the horizon. Even a 360 degree turn on this focal plane will always have our perception fade and turn down at the horizon. If we decide to move forward in any direction, straight ahead, sooner or later we will end up again where we were. We will only go as far as we have been.

Look Down! Measure the distance from our eyes to the ground. This space is confining but this is where we are told success is to be cultivated. Gravity holds us ascending and even the weight of our mortal frames will begin to slump down as our strength begins to dwindle with coming of the night. Between this closing space and our ever dwindling strength, success will have its limitation, and our posterity will only be willing to carry on our efforts as long as they are rewarding and relevant. We will only rise and fall as far as we already are.

Psalm 81:10,11 - "I am the LORD Thy God, which brought thee out of thee land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it. But my people would not hearken to My Voice, and Israel would none of me."

Egypt: the meaning of the word, is all about constraint. Think of Israel and God's deliverance "by the hand of Moses" (Israel means - "God Prevails") ...The turning of Israel's vision had to start somewhere ... For although Egypt had been a rescue from famine in the beginning it became a slave camp of tunnel vision in the end. God is willing to fill every part of the life of His people to the fullest, but as scripture states: "But my people would not hearken to My Voice, and Israel would none of Me" (wouldn't listen and they were not willing to consent to the new vision He would provide).

Egypt is a parallel to this life ... Straight before us and down from us are perceived to be all the opportunities (or so we are told) for life, liberty and pursuit of happiness ... but only at the end of days, it seems that we find that life without Jesus is nothing more than a slave camp, and we have obtained nothing that lasts. All we have gained is turned over to others, and we are soon forgotten as those who knew us also pass from the scene.

True life, liberty and happiness is found in the pursuit of God. That pursuit(if as a result of a heart listening to His Voice and a willingness to consent to His direction of vision) will create a reality that no moth, no rust, no thief will ever be able to break in and steal the treasure acquired in that pursuance.

Look up! - "Open your mouth wide, and He will fill it!" Not just a nice saying but not fully true, as you have heard... the sky is the limit? Look up! There is no limit except your earthly vision. Your imagination takes over where your vision fades, but also becomes the another limitation. Sanctify your imagination therefore by permeating it with the truth of His word.

Look up! ... He will continue to unfold the opportunity that He provides for His people. The world, Egypt, is such a constraint - a slave camp. He will deliver you up and out of your "Egypt"; and in His presence you will know fullness of joy ... Forever.

Live it UP!

HLFA,

Jeff

Ps. No matter what the conflictive voices are saying, God does not have a plan that makes us wrestle with Him to obtain the good things we want or need;contrary ... "For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly."
(Walk Uprightly - walk complete, whole, entire, sound in Him - Will you let Him complete you?)

God, Waiting for a Bus

Prayer hat, long braided hair locks at the temples, beards, plain black and white attire, everything pointing towards "different"... Maybe connected to God...there was that prayer book almost smack in front of his face. Oh definitely Jewish, God's peculiar people???

Google gives us pictures of almost anything - don't think that I was profiling for a second-- look up Hasidic Jews - You will see the pictures of what I saw walking the streets and waiting for buses as we were passing through the community of Monsey, NY ... (A strange out of the blue GPS detour on our way to the Tappan Zee Bridge across the Hudson)I wondered if God was like that?Does God stand in the middle of the bustle of humanity, waiting for a bus, with his nose planted in a holy book...devotionally ignoring others around Him? Or is He constantly engaged with the infirmities of His creation? Just Saying!

Yes, I understand the idea of the need for "separateness" and the need for devotional display to create an identity that appears connected to the Divine. But whatever we put between us and men in our daily walk with Christ ...better be a bridge, not a wall.

Jesus may have failed in this avenue of thought, especially at first glance ... Here was His bend on it though: Got alone to pray (private devotion) and identified with the groaning of all creation when faced with it. He did not hide His own sorrow with the world, and mute His grief with the plight of men, nor soften His anger with those who would sell salvation. He did not hide His divinity behind the facade of a godly costume and a prayer book. If this offends some "spiritually catatonic world view defender" ... then so be it. If your fur has been rubbed the wrong way ... Why???

"Thou didst cause judgment to be heard from Heaven, the earth feared, and was still, when God arose to judgment to save the meek of the earth. Selah." Psalm 76:8,9.

God doesn't need us to point to His greatness, for the most part all we do is distort the attributes of Mercy, Grace and Forgiveness... possibly because we fear the consequences of unconditional love. We might lose ourselves.

Not sure if you are familiar with the film - "The Green Mile", where the late Michael Clarke played the larger than life, gentle giant, black angelic persona -- John Coffey. He came to mind today when I thought of your pain and sorrow. O how I would love to wrap my arms around you and extract all the weakness, all the sickness, all the grief, all the sorrow and all of the intense pain that robs you of your happiness.

I know that the intensity of those things can drive you to the edge of darkness, cause you to shake your fist Heavenward, and cause you to question God's love for you ... While your anger percolates in His direction and radiates its effects as "blame" and "disappointment" with those around you.

While I was considering the image that burned in my heart from Monsey and feeling the pain and sorrow that was coming off of lives around me ... God walked me through Psalm 77 ( I strongly suggest that you take the time to read the Psalmists reaction to bitter disappointment) ... But this verse will give you the turning point that we all need:Psalm 77:10 - " And I said, this is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the Right Hand of the Most High."

Here is where we can stop the cycle of blame and shame; and begin truly reaching others for Christ --- First I must say... stake my claim: -- IT IS MY INFIRMITY - my weakness, my sickness, my disease, my grief, my sorrow ... I will own it.
---Then I will remember it is His time, His opportunity, His rescue time and will trust!

Quit hiding your failure behind a façade of self made dribble -- your infirmity is the bridge to your strategic positioning in the Kingdom of Victory.

Quit hiding behind your failure ... Let Him Love you.

No! ... God was not waiting for a bus with a separation attitude and His nose in prayer book ... God was wearing the shame of everyone getting on the bus. All that was needed for engagement was "remember me... Lord Jesus!" He is always engaged in the lives of men, are we willing to join him?

HLFA,

Jeff

Let Jesus love you through every chapter of this glorious adventure called... Life in Him.

"Edenic Judgment Virus"

Holy crap! ... (What a way to begin a devotion!) How does that flair up your "Edenic Judgement Virus"? Edenic Judgement Virus? Yep! Probably the most invasive, devastating, and deceitful ... open infection that was passed on from the Fall. This goes so far below the genetic level, as it worms its way into the very fibers of human DNA, and it is irreversible without irreparable damage...it must be taken to the point of death. Someone has to die for the cure.

When the temptation went out from the adversary "You shall be like god's having the potential to determine what is good and evil" ... This was the beginning of the end of innocence. What a temptation! So slick in its delivery, so true and yet so indescribably wrong for the "lower than Angels" fabric of man. Anyone of us (put into this situation of the first couple) would have grabbed this benefit of the eating of the forbidden "proof fruit" in a heartbeat; but the consequences of their decision was humanly irreversible, spiritually crippling and physically deadly at the least.

Here are a few of the symptoms of this deadly sub-genetic virus when if flairs up:
1. A desire to hate and separate from the personally offensive difference of others.
2. An attitude of judge, jury, and hangman when it comes to dealing with the offenses of others.
3. A distancing reaction that always telegraphs "hatefulness" to our brethren or strangers that need us.
4. Sees "loving the offender" as a disgusting weakness or character flaw.
5. An almost uncontainable and explosive intolerance of the "perceived" and obvious sins of others.
6. An incorrigible reluctance to forgive, disguised as the right of one offended to a justifiable bad attitude.
7. A total blindside of a personal need for forgiveness all the time, everywhere and everyone.
8. A constant paranoid "360 degree" perception of the judgmental attitudes of those better or "Holier".
9. The unquenchable desire to see "God do something to make THEM sorry". (and the list goes on...)

WE ALL ARE INFECTED!

Psalm 70: Vs. 1 - " [A psalm of David to bring to remembrance] Make haste, O God, to deliver me; make haste to help me, O LORD." (
Stop and let us read this entire Psalm and let it begin to control the effects of the virus -- Our enemy is not others. We may be our worst enemy and God is our only ... our ONLY ... Deliverer; NOT we, ourselves ... We are far too infected and infested with personal opinions to be effective in delivering ourselves, let alone... helping others without His Love ruling our heart, mind, spirit, and strength.)

"Vs. 2 - Let them be ashamed and confounded that seek after my soul: let them be turned backward, and put to confusion, that desire my hurt.
Vs. 3 - Let them be turned back for a reward of their shame that say, Aha,aha.
Vs. 4 - Let those that seek Thee rejoice and be glad in Thee: and let such as love Thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified.
Vs. 5 - But I am poor and needy: make haste unto me, O God: Thou art my help and my deliverer; O LORD, make no tarrying."

I felt alone at a table that was set for a banquet of LOVE,
Waiting, longing and anticipating comforting wonders from Above.

The royal place settings began to shuffle and move by excuse;
Filled now were "the invited" with suspicious pride, and plunder's viral abuse.

There was a hush of silent shame at what the moment had become,
A terrified gasp at the nails, the thorns and the blood of the Sacrificed One.

For what heinous crime was this horror now on for despicable display,
But to quench my sin held deep within, both black and white, and gray.

NOW, Eden's fallen, prideful scar bowed before Love's Crimson Seat
As family and friends forgave as one at the sight of the Lamb's pierced hands and feet.
JJR

"Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice. And be ye kind, one to another. Tenderhearted, forgiving one another ... even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." Eph. 4:31,32

HLFA,

Jeff


No Disgrace

Psalm 55:21 - "The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords."

Their hearts were overwhelmed with the opportunity, in fact they were so excited because this was very much like a dream come true. As they waited off stage to meet the main performer, they could hardly stop their racing thoughts of how they would share this almost miraculous moment with all of their family and friends. The moment had arrived... Face to face and up-close and personal.

With the last explosive note of the concert and a shout of farewell, a torrent of individuals started flooding off of the stage ... There he was in the fog filled distance and growing closer...There was the Star, smiling and heading right toward the admiring fans. The smile stopped almost immediately upon reaching the fan club. There was a brief stop, a pen flashed out of nowhere and backstage passes were hastily signed with what sounded like a complaining growl from the Star... A shove out of the way by security, And it was over. No hand shakes, no thanks ... Not even an exchange of direct glances.

The moment truly lost value and was added to the ever expanding times where life here lets us down.

One thing can be counted on...if we depend on any thing in "this life" other than Jesus to bring lasting joy, we will be consumed with utter disappointment as quick as the newness fades. Not so with our God ... His joy is unspeakable and full of lasting glory... Great is His faithfulness and His mercies are new every morning. We worship a God that provides us with abundant life ... He will not let us down.

Consider His love investment on the Faith-Life-Side of the Cross - "He has blessed us with all spiritual blessings connected directly to Heaven" - "Because of our Cross connection, we have his predetermined securing through adoption" - "We are fully accepted among the beloved family with all grace, redemption, forgiveness, wisdom and prudence" " - "Because of Jesus we are predetermined to live within the full praise and purpose of His Love Design." - "He Gives us His Spirit...His Earnest, His Eternal Security Deposit on our lives to present us holy and without blame" --- we could go on and on ... But the bottom line is "HE LOVES US, OH HOW HE LOVES US - HE WILL NOT LOSE US" (Ephesians 1 is so powerful when you let the supply of love overwhelm your heart with security to live openly for Him).

Jesus' Words are not a topical butter momentarily providing fading comfort ... His Word is sure for all time and eternity because Love is in His heart for those who trust in Him. His Word's are not just a "soft feeling oil", but they are essential and permeating in their power to fully envelop the hearer in promise. His words are a two edged sword always ready to provide the most skilled rescue surgery; reaching into the soul, spirit, thoughts and intents of the heart, and joints and marrow ...for our good and His glory ... No stroke is provoked by uncontrollable anger and is never lowered without Divine Love's predestined purpose to secure us.

I waited at the veil for my Hero
at the edge of my dream
When the finale faded into fanfare
I felt for the veil's uttermost seam

Not a moment of fear while searching for His face,
For peace swept past the veil
As I pulled back on time and opened up space

I felt a soft refreshing spring glow
At the opening of His dream
When its caressing engulfed into care
I reached for eternity's innermost seam.

Waves of love pressing me, cheek to cheek, face to face
For love swept me past the veil
As He erased the scars of time and the distance of space.

JJR

"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorry, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." Rev. 21:4

HLFA,

Jeff

Beyond the Big Picture

Do you see the big picture of the God Story all through the Bible? God loved man so much that He foresaw "The Fall" that would condemn man, and became Salvation for him so that man could be totally restored to God in an Eternal Love Relationship through Jesus Christ. And though mankind since the Fall is born into the same sinful curse, through the Message of the Good News of Jesus' rescue, mankind can be redeemed by the reception of that message, by receiving Jesus.

Example: The context of Galatians 6:7-9 is restoration(not just God is gonna get you, but what you do for others is tantamount!) ...think it through. The will of God is the restoration of Mankind to himself through Jesus Christ. He has gifted this ministry to us also and empowers us through His Holy Spirit enabling us to reach, teach, rescue, and restore. This is all done within the strategic sphere of influence where He places us ... We are placed among a chosen people, in a particular place and with a gifted passion...Where God puts you to play, work, shop, walk, live, etc. ... is a God thing. Don't sell your God assignment short. Pity on you if you see God's assignment as "just a job" or just a "secular" job... Wow limit and handicap your scope of eternal usefulness!

LET ME INTERRUPT THE LESSON ABOVE WITH THE FOLLOWING ACHE OF LIFE:

Another inner world, shaken enough to be at odds against the stream of temporal life around it. Word's like "Non-responsive" , "critical", "stable" and "D.O.A." were being floated in the air like misshapen helium balloons, while experts with opinions of confusion kept anyone attached to the moment lost in the rhetoric. Once again truth seems to have fallen in the streets and hope was so deferred and had stooped so low it was hunchback. Faith was viewed as an alien or a specter of denial instead of a breath of true encouragement. Still all was well in His hands, all are cared for in His desire no matter what perspective could be hurled into the situation from fallen men.

Catastrophes that destroy the body of men from the inside out, and the devastating violence brought on in a split second crushing the shell, do not paint the "truth" picture of God's delivering love. Speculation of God's anger and judgment just fuel excuses for distance and separation between God and man, and these verbally abusive declarations rarely have eternal substance or connection, but they can scar and injure the faith of a suffering Saint.

Psalm 46 (from the vantage of the suffering non-responsive one or the one caught in a split second passing from darkness into eternal light): The sound of beeping and buzzing life support machines had faded in the distance; the agonizing pain is an ever fading distant memory, and the horrendous sound of the crushing of glass, plastic, metal and human flesh was now silenced in the Fog (the Favor of God) ... The declaration has rung true... though the present world is shaking, pulling and tugging not wanting to lose the struggle, fighting to not let go of the victim that appears to have lost the victory - "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" Psalm 46:1

Standing on the eternal shore, released from the bondage of the flesh ... And now sensing the strong sustaining currents of His eternal home ... The battered soul stands sure and protected: "Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah." Psalm 46:2,3

The roaring, the prayers, and the tears were like a diminishing choir behind a slowly closing curtain as the scene ahead became clearer ... God was there! ..."There is a a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High." Crossing the stream of gladness ... crossing from the darkness and pain into the Everlasting Home..."God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her and that right early." Psalm 46:4,5.

There was but a moment to pause to understand Mercy and Grace - "The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: He uttered His voice, the earth melted." All of Heaven's Family shouted in celebration of another pilgrim's arrival: "The LORD of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah."

We who are alive and remain cannot even begin to fathom the amazing things that God has prepared for those that wait on Him, those who actively love Him in anticipation of seeing Him face to face, who now stand before Him and are brought into His Everlasting Arms ... For We, who are left behind, stand at the wailing wall of an event of suffering and separation... We truly cannot see much beyond our grief.

Grieve, but not as the heathen who rage with blame against God when a catastrophe strikes:"Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations He hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breakers the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; He burneth the chariot in the fire." Psalm 46:8,9 --- The battle of the Soul will end in Him.

But O Soul in Christ, left alone on this side of the Veil - Grieve righteously by beholding the truth ... You will miss the loved one that has been taken ... But remember, this incident was not a tragedy, it was a rescue. Do not pretend that you need not grieve ... To not grieve is to deny God the opportunity to comfort us, and then the beauty of that outpouring of comfort ... being there to comfort others with the comfort that we have been comforted with."Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah." Psalm 46:10, 11

Both Manny and Danny found the fading moment of suffering, both found the stream of gladness, both found the Arms of God, both are now Home forever... we are left to the comforts of His Spirit. Be comforted!

God's peace be with you who are broken... Know this, you have not been abandoned ...You are strategically placed in this world with the power of His Spirit filling your shattered spirit and empowering your broken and contrite heart to live fully alive for the King!

Grieve as you must...but let Jesus comfort you... And live.

HLFA,

Jeff

Dedicated to Pastor Manny Diaz in the presence of the King... April 3, 2017; and (D.J.) "Hoagie" Daniel Hogan, Jr. - in the presence of his Savior March 24, 2017.

Arriving at Gate 7

Please try hard again to hear the Still Small Voice, O tender broken-hearted Saint. God knows that your personal pain speaks ever so loudly, and confirms so assuredly with your disappointment ... that it is hard to "hear" the words of encouragement (let alone begin to "believe" those words). He knows that doubt has slithered its way into your life, convincing you that "it - doubt" is a permanent resident and a trusted gate keeper. God sees that doubt guards every access route to your heart to make sure that the Song of Hope has no opportunity to be heard. God has stood waiting while doubt speaks so loudly that hope is quickly squelched in a hellish confidence that boldly announces, "Healing is for others but not for you; for God has deemed you unworthy." He has watched you shift your faith in Him to a faith in things that continue to rip at the very fiber of your spirit.

"Oh lonely sojourner, gain balance in the fact that there is no testing, no tempering, no stressing of your life that is not common unto all sojourners." (1 Cor. 10:13a ) There will always be proof, if you so choose to accept it, that "you are significant" ... or why would God walk with you while "Why this is happening to me if He truly loved me?" The only thing God singles out His kids for is for the fortifying of our faith by His active, extravagant, loving care for each one of us ( and His care is not without purpose, it is for our good and for His glory).

175 passengers trying to squeeze into their enumerated pole positions, (60 at a pop) all trying to line up according to a Letter and a Number. Some sojourners were very irritated by the fact that their numerical placement was not what they had hoped for as others of "lower degree and social standing" were moving into placement before them.

There were commonalities created for this event which should have created unity:
1. All at one specified moment (but not a minute before that time) were subservient to a data entry time frame and a computerized response that reacted to their key strokes.
2. All would harbor some degree of suspicion of anyone that would move in front of them or try to squeeze awkwardly behind them without announcement verification of their personal assignment.
3. All would have to deal with those who would stand like guards at Buckingham palace, almost immovable, once they had secured their mostly vague place to stand in the lineup.
4. All brandished the proof of their standing either by a piece of paper or a digital facsimile.
5. All would move forward and eventually end up in the same destination ... no matter what.

[Note of interest: A seat was guaranteed but no particular seat was guaranteed... just a controlled variation of the old process of "first come, first serve".] Even though there was so much commonality, it didn't seen to eliminate the waves of anxiety. And what would the stressing gain as the acts of the event moved forward? "Nada!"

Although the different tension colors filled the scene like a strange unseen oppressive rainbow, there was no chance of a personal pot of gold at the end, only the looming promise of several hours of discomfort caused by what ever seating awaited beyond the gate. All for one and one for all.

Discomfort expectations were experienced as the line of assignees lumbered their way down a floating hallway-like Gang plank. There was another growing source of tension as the participants in this pageant were released into their vessel of constraint ... There was another promise of ... the invasion of personal space that was evidenced by the constant verbal reminder that announced "The fact" that every seat would be filled on this flight.

Finally with "All" seated in their personal emotional choices of the oncoming time of differential expectations and endurance levels... the flight in time and space... was now in the competent hands of The Captain. No turning back! 

In our flight of Faith it all boils down to "All for One and One for all." The "Captain of Your Soul" will keep you headed Due North... trust the author and finisher of your flight with the placement of your seat. He will see us through!

HLFA,

Jeff

PS - In the midst of the flight keep this in your heart and mind - "And they will know that ye are My disciples if you have love one to another."


To Live Boxless

Looking around the large darkened room filled with beautiful representations of the suffering of our Savior, I knew I had come to the right place to expect a miracle. The scenes of the parable-like ritual began to play out in front of me, heightening my desire for the Eternal. Then all the attention seemed to focus on the long-robed leader as he moved towards a gilded and ornate box to the left of the stage area.

There were kneelings and words that I did not understand so I sensed this could be the moment for the miracle as the robed arm reached into the gilded box. A holy hush settled on to the congregation as the leader turned with what appeared to be a golden, artistically designed mirror-like object. He lifted up the object several times as timed bells rang to announce each raise of the object. Then the leader turned back to the box and placed the mirror like object back in.

My Father was looking at my curious expression and decided to help me through this moment ... Dad said "there is a once a week Jesus that is given to us in the communion time, what you saw was the Jesus that is taken out on special occasions for us to see and then is kept in that box the rest of the year. Wow ... Jesus is kept locked away in a box, so unfair.

Now please don't be too harsh on me for a fogged childhood religious memory, but this one thing I am sure of today: the problem with our faith to see miracles is the package in which we box our God, and the restrictions that we design to limit His working.... (instead of magnifying His glory, majesty, honor, and power that no man can begin to understand). That being said please read on.

There are too many pious parrots in the roost protecting us from miracles -- "Polly wants a cracker" - "Just an ordinary cracker, nothing special" - "And no more, no less should be expected!" -- That first phrase used to be heard from the bird cage, but with the Internet on the rise, social media swooning the masses, and Google granting every request for knowledge - we hear rumors of miracles everyday; but there still are those who would love to see a miracle of Manna from Heaven, but not at the risk of sounding weak and needy. So the additional phrases, after the cracker request, needed to be added for the preservation of self sufficiency.

And So the New Breed of Parrot's will pout and tout that there is no hope for anything other than the cracker, so be grateful for the ordinary variety of cage style crackers, "because there ain't no manna today!" And FOR SURE -- "we don't want to presume ourselves upon GOD!" What has happened to these birds?

Maybe these parrots have written off the most conspicuous attribute of our God because of the failure on our part as humans to change; especially if it would be the only attribute that we believe.  And with that attribute in remission, like some sort of fading cancer-like flaw, we can move on to the more reliable attributes of God like His anger, His judgement, His severity, His Sovereignty, His holiness, His separation, ... (I am having a tough time with this for it is hard to imagine God without this attribute)... For the one characteristic of our God that holds us "still", to know that He is God...

Is His Love.

Without Love, His anger has no mercy,
Without Love, His judgement has no propitiation,
Without Love, His severity has no hope of turning from an eternal fiery end,
Without Love, His Sovereignty would never consider us because it doesn't need us,
Without Love, His holiness would not cover us,
Without Love, His Separation would be from us.

With His Love, God gave His only begotten Son for even the adornment of this fallen world... That who-so-ever believes in Him -- should not perish in full abandonment from His presence, but shall have everlasting, ever regenerative , ever unfolding, ever new, eternal life in His Love... we therefore can truly live.

But Love without God ... Is not redemptive Love at all ... At its best, with lust barely contained, it is but a shallow self-serving show of concern, a self fulfilling and collective desire for approval and companionship, and a fragmented shell of feelings endowed by Our Creator within the fallen heart of unredeemed man... At the beginning of this fallen love it is romantically, magically, wonderfully new ... Until it is tried, tested, tired and empty.

God has not abandoned anyone in the darkness without the light of His Love (that is why we all have experienced the "magic of the feelings"), but it seriously does matter what we do with that light ... Box it, contain it and Squander it on a self fulfilling lifestyle, and so we begin loathing the light of His love, and making our way in a direction opposite of the redemption of His Love.

No apologies for this next statement - We need to believe that God does truly care for us with provisions from the miraculous that are granted liberally to be experienced in our moments of need. Don't settle for the box, keep your "childlike wonder" fully unbridled, fully engaged; and let Jesus love you openly with His extravagant - miraculous love.

"Little Children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen". 1 John 5:21

HLFA,

Jeff

PS - Are we really naïve, or in denial of reality when we believe that God will do the impossible? Stop boxing up that faith, face the truth of a tragic situation, announce its reality, BUT with full trust in God's miraculous outcome.

Shattered

Please try hard to hear the Still Small Voice, O tender broken-hearted Saint. God knows that your pain speaks so loudly and confirms so assuredly with your disappointment... that it is hard to hear words of encouragement (let alone begin to believe those words). The Lord knows that "doubt" has slithered its way into your life, convincing you that it is a permanent resident, and your trusted gate keeper (though you have been misinformed).

The Spirit feels the doubt that guards every access route to your heart to make sure that the song of hope has no opportunity to be heard. The Spirit has stood waiting while doubt speaks so loudly that hope is quickly squelched in a hellish confidence that boldly announces, "Healing is for others but not for you; for God has deemed you unworthy."

Jesus has watched you shift your Faith from Him to a faith in pain's voice, which continues to rip at the very fiber of your spirit. But HE IS NOT DISAPPOINTED WITH YOU, He knows the separation caused by pain - "My God, My God why hast Thou forsaken me?" His love keeps you and remains sure ... for you are His Name's Sake.

This moment is not easy ... but try with every bit of your spiritual fiber to see how you would react if your own child was racked with the torments of pain and the fear that shadows a life threatening event.

The "Pop Culture Christian Voices" all around us proclaim things that never add much to our relief. The "healing" clichés only add to the pressure of our barely bearable reality. But we must stop anyhow and meditate on the deeper truth behind the plastic-wrap façade.

"This to will pass!" But it hasn't. Always seems to be spoken as a hall pass for other believers to relinquish their duties to "weep with those that weep"... This moment will pass, but while it weighs heavily on us .. He will be with us even when we proclaim negative prophesies and curse loudly in the moment.

"You can do all things through Christ". Except this... When pain speaks so loud that we no longer have a voice, Christ will stand in our lives whether we appear to succeed or whether we openly fail miserably.

"He will never leave you!" But they leave and abandon us with a prayer and a pat on the shoulder. Our closest friends may withdraw and stand afar, for so did His disciples for fear of their own lives ... the human condition can only carry grief so far, but He will carry us where others falter, clear through to eternity. Don't judge His nearness by the distance others. He is near, always.

"He will not test you above what you can handle!" Seems to shift the responsibility to our failure to be spiritual enough to receive "the healing". This is always a poorly delivered half truth mixed with a lie ... "GOD DOES NOT TEMPT US!" ... The pain may tempt us to doubt, but He will be there with a way out... "There has no temptation taken you, but such is common to man, but God is faithful, He will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, but will with the temptation make a way to escape that ye may be able to bear it." I Cor. 10:13 This passage is giving us hope in the battle against the sin that so easily besets us ... pain is an altogether different subject and needs to be handled by entrusting it to His longsuffering, not our impatient waiting.

"And now, LORD, what wait I for? my hope is in Thee." Psalm 39:7

When we are shattered ... we should fear not to speak our pain and disappointment to Him... He will be there for us no matter what we say. His Love Remains ... when all else seems gone... and He is all we need.

Little Children ... lift up your hearts, lift up your hands, He cannot resist to lift you up into His loving arms.

"Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear unto my cry; hold not Thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with Thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were. O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more."Psalm 39:12,13

HLFA,

Jeff

Hidden

"Thou art my hiding place, thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah." Psalm 32:7

It first began with a tingling sense that something disconcerting was about to happen in the Kingdom of Love. It gnawed at my already frayed sense of time leaving me a good bit off balance. I knew it was a call to pray. So I went to the hiding place.

As I approached the Throne of Grace, I noticed that there was a small crack in the base of the veil. From this small split that guarded Glory, literally, beams of light pulsed in all directions from its hidden source, enlightening different areas within my shaking world. Everything enlightened began to stabilize and clarify until all that was left shaking was my heart. So I bowed my weakened frame and left my heart vulnerable to whatever the Father would desire to tell me. I closed my eyes and waited.

This is the waiting that produces strength to soar on the currents of adversity through every passage of life. (Isaiah 40:31) The waiting brings knowing. "Knowing" with confidence the preservation of God is a work of my will's submission to the imploring of the Spirit via the power of the truth of Word of God.

Let this truth capture your devotion, if but for this moment of your need:

1. God is His Kid's Hiding place...we are hidden in Christ.

2. He preserves us with His Fidelity, His wholeness, His Character; none dare question God's Holy Song over us. His love defies the most violent oppressor and goes beyond our wildest expectations.

3. He encircles us in all the turns of our wayward direction with His Songs that will deliver us.

His thoughts are not our thoughts. His ways are not our ways. His Goodness and Mercy, that are not dependent on us, are His covering of us that spans time and eternity; there is nothing that truly compares. There is None of us that truly understand, there is None of us that truly seek after God, and by our own choosing we have all gone out of the way. We, individually and all together, have become unprofitable followers of self fulfillment.

.... "Just God" .... is never our reason for seeking ... HE KNOWS THIS HUMAN FLAW and yet doesn't chide us, leave us nor forsake us ... He just continues to call us. His call of Love (whish is for who believe, and for all time) , keeps us within his Ever encircling testimonial cries, his redounding voices of victory, and his omniscient songs of deliverance.

PROOF: The Cross of Christ... He died for us, He arose for us, He calls for us, and He is coming for us!

"Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy all ye upright in heart." Psalm 32:11

Live loud in the Victory of His Love and Compassion for you,

All is well because Jesus is my growing "All in All."

HLFA,
Jeff