The Christmas Abuse

"What a miraculous season! And about the time that hope was rising, and my soul was about to sing: (When the one that should have offered arms of loving kindness) a curse was shrieked in my face and a strong backhand was sent to the side of my head, sending me into a fade (the impact actually numbed me before the abuse actually began)... Oh, how I wish that I had the strength to give them the same, and an hundredfold. Darkness surrounded my battered frame." from the Christmas memoirs of the Scarlet Sinner.

Vengeance is such a strong narcotic that is always attached to an incredible disabling emotional investment. It is an extremely risky direction for the footsteps of men. For a man to carry through to the ultimate end of vengeance, means that his life could be overcome by hate and murder; instead of mercy and love. Any act that proceeds from the heart of man, that is not founded in the love and mercy of God, will ultimately end in a catastrophe of the human soul. Humanity's mandate from above, if and when faced by an offense, is to love and forgive.

"O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, show (shine forth) Thyself." Psalm 94:1 (Read it in it's entirety and hear the echoes of your own thoughts because of those who have offended and abused you).

Life on this side of the Veil seems to cultivate so much injustice and inequity that it bleeds over and touches the life of every human being. The savage onslaught of wickedness will cross the threshold of our comfort and safety via a relentless and merciless intruder of the heart. This intruder, though seemingly dormant through most of our mundane movements in life, won't even be there until someone causes an event that pokes a hole in the security of "Mine".

We are all content in our fragile "happy place" until our big rubber bumper is violated, our safety bubble is popped, and/or something(usually attached to someone) messes with what is "mine".At the moment of the violation of "mine"... Pride, the intruder, steps in to fuel an ungodly vengeance. This is a direct result of our pitiful idolatry.

What? Did you see/hear the word IDOLATRY?

Anytime that "mine" is held so tight that it is no longer under the authority of HIM, it has become an idol. (Now at the sound of this vindictive statement we will all stand up and stand our ground to justify our situation by declaring ... "BUT YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND ... They are mine and they are under my authority and protection. My wife, my kids, my family, my friends, my home, my job, my car, my house, ..... My _______ and on, and on.... It's all MINE!") "Mine" makes me sovereign over a situation where I was abused, I am not capable of God-like authority to determine vengeance ... Only God is able.

"O that there were such an heart in them, that they might fear me and keep all my commandment always, that it might be well with them and their children forever." Deuteronomy 5:29

"It was but a moment ago that hope was dashed with the whack to my head ... But it had caused the world to fade away and the glitter of the season to boil down to a strange fog like image of one very small gift. The gift was resonating a gentle song and it had an illustrious tag containing my name. As I tried to reach out and receive the gift, my reaching caused an ugly impish creature to lunge at me from out of the darkness."

"I froze as it snarled at my every movement towards the gift. It's layers of sharp, filthy, protruding teeth were menacingly shown with each snarl ... It was almost as if I was looking into a mirror of my wounded soul... it was truly offended, truly abused, totally justified in the prevention of my acquisition of the gift."

"I decided in that split second to make a dash for the gift, brave the piercing of the viscous teeth, and tear open the gift meant for me. Surely that gift held some mysterious power and supernatural strength to destroy my abusers. Could it contain the weapon that would allow me the upper hand to demand full payback from my enemy?"

"Oh it was a furious and painful moment, but even as the impish creature was ripping at my flesh, I still found the strength to tear off the gift's wrapping, and pry open its protective box ... And there within the tissue lining of its casket-like interior was a small bronze plaque that read ... (My eyes were fighting back tears of resentment and unbelief) could the tears be deceiving my heart at the ridiculous request of the inscription? ... The plaque read only one word:  ..........................forgive."

Forgive.
Pray,
bless,
and do good to those who have offended you;
even as Christ has forgiven you.

HLFA,

Jeff

"Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots." Luke 23:34 - It is so unfair if I offer anything less than the Savior.

The Answer is NO

Somewhere just before (or just after) the panic attack, I realized that my life's ebb and flow was running out of me. It was almost like a screw press had its grips on my heart, slowly compressing and squeezing my emotions with a relentless pressure. The pulsating pain that I was feeling was draining my strength, evidenced by an invisible drainage that felt like it was running and dripping from every finger of my hands.

I had let down the guard of the seat of my emotions, which had led to momentarily losing my spirit's reflex to turn only to God for help. My heart had lapsed into a limbo of forgetfulness which made it all but impossible to cast my cares upon the truth of His sustaining character. I was paralyzed while staring at my infirmity, and the thought of God involved ... troubled me.

The amazing thing about our God; although we are great at wasting time with our parties of pity, He knows that time is a resource that drains ever so quickly from our lives, but if redeemed it lifts the eyes of the heart in His direction, and brings a renewed breath to ask the questions that fasten us to Him.

His truth that intervenes with purposeful questions will jog our memories to those nights where our soul sang His Song because of a sensing of celestial air and a granting of sweet sleep. I stopped the self affliction, and thought on those miraculous entries in scripture of His loving kindness to His people. This allowed the resurgence of those memories of His intimate rescues, that were slowly fading, to now come back into focus. Strengthened, I asked purposeful questions:

"Will the Lord cast off forever?" ................................................... NO!
"And will He be favorable no more?" ........................................... NO!
"Is His mercy clean gone forever?" .............................................. NO!
"Does His promise fail for evermore?" ......................................... NO!
"Hath God forgotten to be gracious?"........................................... NO!
"Hath He in anger shut up His tender mercies?" ........................ NO!
SELAH. Psalm 77:7,8,9

"And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High." Psalm 77:10

At this point, the mud chains forged by my wallowing in the mire of self pity began to drop one by one, and shatter with each question that had demanded the resilient answer of ... "NO!"

Oh, Pain need not have us focus on any other frame, but cause us to wholly lean on Jesus' Name.

Six powerful questions with only one answer: NO! Even when the pain drives us in the wrong direction, He remains faithful and true in His love and compassion for us. He does not cast us off, He desires to show us favor, His mercy endures forever, His promises never fail, He never forgets grace, and Anger is not His choice in how He deals with His children ... Think about it!

"Be careful (worry filled) for nothing; but everything by prayer and supplication WITH THANKSGIVING let your requests be made known unto God." Philippians 4:6

HLFA,

Jeff

File 13 or File 7

The definition of success has been highly distorted to the point where is has become a corrosive entity to the undoing of so many lives. Success, as you might suppose, for many is an elusive thing such as a get rich scheme, a miracle windfall, or the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. However elusive as it may be, success will be chased after by many a "hopester" with a passionate pursuit, until somewhere in the mad dash a disqualification is etched into the life of that seeker. A fall will take place, a judge disqualifier will arise, and a soul will be devalued and cast into the "circular file" of uselessness.

Note to the Judge: The strange thing is that the disqualification is usually carried out by an individual who has used the disciplining of other's shortcomings as a cover for their own personal punishment of their disqualified putrefying death of a life. "How long will you imagine mischief against a man? Ye shall be slain all of you: as a bowing wall ye shall be, and as a tottering fence." Psalm 62:3 Living to undo others and get glory from their demise is nothing but the disintegrating fortress of the dead.

Pulling the newspapers over not only himself, but also the warm pan of meat that hopefully would squelch the groaning noises coming from his bloated midsection. Possibly the newspaper insulation would quiet the sounds of the never ending flow of the city night time traffic. "Keep a stiff upper lip" was the motto he tried to apply to his life.

The night did hold a pleasant surprise ... a manhole above a boiler room of a nearby business was creating a foggy covering of warm steam that could keep the stranger and his food warm for the night. (Can you picture this of your brother, your friend, your son or your daughter?)

A fall in this one's past had wounded and marked him, but when he went to find support to heal the scars ... good people saw his stained visage and turned him out to the be ravaged by "to each his own". He was curtly and coldly told what he couldn't do because of his fall, but a plan for his future was simple - File 13. "They only consult to cast Him down from His excellency: they delight in lies; they bless with their mouth, but they curse inwardly. Selah." Psalm 62:4 ---- what you do unto the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto ME!

Whom you fiercely judge out of a darkened heart of forgiveness lost - You judge against the will of Jesus.

There was a knock at our door. When we peeked through door peep hole, what we saw appalled our senses. There was a derelict at our door. No not a neatly dressed and finely groomed visitor, but A refugee of sort and a "bum" in appearance... He was leaning against our door with one of his filthy unwashed and scared hands. Instead of neatly combed hair, his hair was matted, soiled and gnarled. His beard that was rudely, almost rebelliously, unkempt ... torn away in patches possibly to state his need to protest?  

His body was bloodied and soiled as if he had never bathed a day in his life. His clothes were ripped and torn with signs that he had been in a violent altercation; and the more we stared through the door's peep hole glass the more we despised the individual that we saw. Personally, I am not sure if he was a man or an animal because his visage was so marred.

I held my breath and said not a word as he knocked again in hopes that he would turn away. And to my relief, the knocking did stop; but was followed by the sound of something heavy being dragged against the pavement as the appalling derelict walked away from my door. One more glance though to be sure he was gone -- through the peep hole I saw only the image of a large crudely hewn wooden "X" over the shoulder of the man ...fading into the distance. File 13 or File 7?

They are all "Jesus!" File 7 - the definition of success:

"He hath shown thee o man what is good, and what doth the LORD require of thee: but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God." Micah 6:8

"My soul, wait thou only upon God, for my expectation is from Him." Psalm 62:5

Is our life leading others, no matter their situation, to the love and compassion found in the Salvation found of Christ Jesus?

HLFA,

Jeff

Love Marker

There it was, standing in front of her, in all of its mysterious glory; this was to be The Love Marker. Every passing of this purposeful piece of creation was to be a reminder to look. Look toward the direction of the rest of the trees, look with love and longing; but not for a tempting to be independent from the love of the Creator. For so soon she would see the Creator walking towards them in all of His majesty, in the “cool of the day” ... with faith, hope and love. So soon they would be filled with His joy that would immediately effervesce with the delights of Eternity and reverberate with celestial praises throughout not only the Garden of Love but it would ripple out to all of Creation.

"Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" -- These were first words of doubt that were ever thrown into the innocence of the Garden. These like many words that have spouted from the cesspool of Hell, start the distraction; they cause man's focus to shift from the Creator to the creation.

And of course woman would sense that the serpents words were in error, and that she may have a chance to argue for truth. Unfortunately woman had a fatal flaw ... She possibly felt she could add to the truth to prove her pho-zealous attitude towards the truth. "And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat it, NEITHER SHALL YE TOUCH IT, lest ye die." Careful!!! Did God say this Eve? Stretching and adding to the direct commands of God can cause the participant to focus more on the temptation than the truth.

And focus she did ... She paid attention to the words of the serpent, she looked for the advantage of eating the fruit, and decided to transgress the safety of staying focused on the Creator.

America is very much like that today ... We have forgotten our Godly heritage that was based upon the Words of Scripture that were carried in the hearts of the first pilgrim and sojourner to this amazing gift of a spiritual refuge, that we call America. Within the freedom provided by the framework of our early forefather's prayers (which we have long since tried to blot out of history books); America had a of a miraculous start ... America started on its knees looking to the Creator. {This is a fact of the history of America's humble beginnings, but is being belittled and degraded by so called "experts" of history who have been offended by the Cross of Christ}.

The past has had a multitude of polluted clouds pushed over America's humble beginnings by self-serving representatives of the people. As a people… we have allowed our leadership to exchange a prayerful posture in leading for an expose' gossip mentality in our governmental gatherings. We have allowed for the loss of focus on the Creator in order to protect our own wallets and wildest selfish dreams. We have allowed our teachers and media to focus on any flaws that our forefathers had so that we can justify our own selfish decisions.

Out of the darkness still arises the "hissing" reasoning that ... To trust the Creator is outdated and erroneous. Loudly proclaimed false injustices have given credence by the deepest pockets and the most greedy. The new style "more educated" and "more enlightened" leadership build on emotional arguments that pull on the minds of the naïve with promises that "we, the more enlightened can do Freedom better" than those "misguided believers" who hold to Neanderthal Dark Age Superstitions.

We, as a nation, have allowed for the substitution of scriptural taught Godliness for a rationale of a goodness that is based on the temptations that stem from a greedy and selfish need for …"more for me" …with no cost or obligation. We have exchanged the rewards of hard work for a bully inmate style of entitlement by Whosoever has the loudest mouth, the money and the ability to create chaos. These brute beasts (as Scripture calls them) claim they have the right to anything that the quiet, hard working, Godly masses have produced. They have changed the words of a patriotic anthem "This land is your land, this land is my land" and have all but rewritten it to be sung by those in power as "this land is not your land, this land is my land, give me".

We must get on our knees and focus our vision on the Creator once again ... For we have grown numb with our eyes being opened to sin’s momentary pleasures. We are callous to the fact that we are naked without defense before the Creator. We have grown satisfied with the flaws of a fig leaf covering to justify our godless decisions. We continue to hide ourselves from God ...and sorry to say, even as Christ Followers, our first love that was born of the old rugged cross of Jesus...has turned to cowardice, shame and embarrassment.

Rise up O children of God, fall to your knees, and let your love for the Savior bath your soul once again. If you have bought into a lie that has lead you to believe that your are powerless and hopeless ... rise up with the truth of God that we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

Hear the tender steps of the Creator, the unshakable constant voice of love ... We are facing "the cool of the day" again with our God -- will we lift up our hearts and hands in reception of His Faith, Hope and Love -- once again? What will we do at the Love Marker?

Revive us Oh Lord!!

Fast and Pray on Tuesday, Nov. 8th - and vote for righteousness.

Everything is changing no matter what the outcome, but let's bow our hearts before the Author of Life for mercy for our nation and its future for the sake of our children and our children’s children!

HLFA,

Jeff
 

Seven Year Itch


"Hear my cry, O God, attend unto my prayer. Unto the ends of the earth will I cry unto Thee, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me top the rock that is higher than I." -- Psalm 61:1,2

This week end was a slightly irritating race. Running and gunning, Going and getting from point A to point B. (or was it B to A?). It was everything I could do to keep focus; and in the midst of "constant camera shuttering" of events there seemed to be an extension granted on the insanity caused by a "full moon". People were out of sort doing normal, and it seemed like the mode of communication all around us was cruel and loud. It is hard not to take some of it personal.

Mawcore (our awesome opportunity to serve the Lord in dark places), had a concert last Sunday Night ... but that meant leaving early that afternoon and getting back early the next morning. Not knowing the comfort of the destination, there was a decision for our better halves to stay at home (was probably the right decision). As a band we are able to enjoy some of the discomfort as an adventure, but that doesn't always work with the ladies.

We were to go on and play at 7:00 but that didn't happen... home was still relying upon the communication of that time frame when we left our maidens waving "fare ye well" from the doors of "get back soon". We arrived at the venue safe and sound...unloaded ... set up ... and waited... and waited (and waited - Oh, I said that already)

While describing to the home base that there were delays in performance via text and goofy photos... (there still was a long distance expectation of a 7:00 O'clock "show time" -- and when that wasn't happening?) ...somehow the communication came back to me (after a few delayed goofy pictures and text delays) --a text came to my phone that read: "What is it the seven year itch?" ... So I thought "Huh?" I better Google this... It did come from my wife to me!

Words ... they can be worse than sticks and stones --- (check it out, there is a creepy "worldly" meaning behind "the seven year itch"... If you check it out for yourself, you will walk into another negative prophesy that has once again inflicted the human race. There is a weird belief that every seven years, of a marriage, it will face a threat of a desire for infidelity ??...What? How sick can someone get (Oh yea! Satan gets pretty sick!). So of course I was wondering where this text had come from being very concerned, and my answer had a typical "too deep"explanatory reply that got a text back that said "what the heck r u talking about????? (Glad there wasn't another seven sent back?)

Well let's stop this week's rambling just for a minute with some "number" thoughts on Seven --- God's number, the seventh day He rested, seventy x seven, forgiveness, jubilee, resurrection, and on and on ... Oh if we could lay down the sevens before Him with a desire for - more of us for Him and more of Him for us.

Granted the text sent to my phone was was way out of context, but so is the life that pays no attention to the things, the days, the hours, the minutes, the seconds that are ordered by our God. Let's spent the next days ahead thinking of Him with every "Seven" that we encounter; and just stop and Praise Him who is the Rock that is always higher than us ... for us!!

HLFA,

Jeff

SEVEN ... Praise God!!
Every Seven, love my wife more!
Every Seven, think on His things!
Every Seven! He is the answer.

Scream Naked in the Back Yard

Can you feel His breath? Can you sense His stare? Can you sense His desire for you? Can you feel the pressure, the draw... of His love Song over you?

"The fool hath said in his heart, there is NO GOD. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good.God looked down from Heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God." Psalm 53: 1,2

He still seeks men today and definitely will not let His own starve their Spirit life.. Let's take a deep breath, and let the next words soak our soul ...

The tempter was rattling our Savior's cage after He (Jesus)had fasted in the wilderness, a deserted place, for 40 days and 40 nights (as told in the Gospel of Matthew and Luke, both chapter 4) - "fasted" means, no food! And the scripture makes an understatement "And He was an hungered".

The first rattle from Satan was about this "Hunger" that Jesus had ..the Devil said "Hey Jesus, if thou be he Son of Man, turn these stones into Bread." ... "If thou be" revealed that the number one problem with Satan was that, with him there is no searching for soul sustenance ... just fishing for trivia to make accusations to the Father. "If thou be", was an attempt to jab into the pride of truth... There is no "ifs" on God's end of things, only with ours.

Sorry , Truth is always seeking first ... so the gnawing, and the drawing of the soul's starvation is there in the heart and soul of God's creation, and especially in His highest creation .. MANKIND.

Hear Jesus' answer, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." SO two big questions: 1. What aches when we don't have food? The Body (and all its related physical support systems). 2. What aches when we don't make ourselves accessible to "every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God" ? Our Spirit (and all of its related eternal, mental, spiritual and social support systems).

Quit starting each day by hiding yourself in the fragile, faultily, sown fig leaves of Word Depravation Living.

What are the symptoms besides a closed Bible?
1. Lack of desire to move forward.
2. Strange fear of "what to do next".
3. An anxiety of being alone.
4. An Overwhelming sense of the fulfillment of Self fulfilling negative prophesies that we place on our lives.
5. A fear the opening the Word will prove God is mad at you.
6.The most obvious results are a paralyzing fear and fatigue with the mention of spiritual words and songs. (This is drawn from the thought of starving at the soul connection).

This morning in sharing the fellowship of anxiety, with the gifted "completer" that God had given me so many years ago (my beautiful wife): we discussed the symptoms that were creeping up on us, and I asked her what should she do differently tomorrow morning to change this downward spiral? Her answer, though it sounded crazy, was right on : "I guess I should just get naked and go scream in the backyard."

NOW if we do this physically it could have some legal ramifications especially if the neighbors call the police; but let's go straight to the Soul.  Start our day by Stripping away the "fig leaves" of false piety and self pity, run out into the presence of our God ... Soul Naked and waiting for His Word to cover and fill our life with the abundance and purpose that His Truth and Spirit from His Word have promised ... Let Him pour love and life into us... Everyday ...

LET US START EVERY DAY with His Word, for that is where we can truly begin to thrive.

Can you feel His breath? Can you sense His stare? Can you sense His desire for you? Can you feel the pressure, the draw... of His love Song over you?

"O God, Thou art my God, early will I seek Thee: (early will I seek Thee)
My soul thirsteth for Thee
My flesh longeth for Thee,
in a dry and thirsty land,
where no water is.

O God, Thou art my God, early will I seek Thee: (early will I seek Thee)
To see Thy power and Thy glory,
So as I have seen Thee in the Sanctuary.

O God, Thou art my God, early will I seek Thee: (early will I seek Thee)
Because Thy loving kindness,
is better than life,
my lips shall praise Thee,
(Where no water is).

O God, Thou art my God, early will I seek Thee: (early will I seek Thee).Psalm 63:1-3

(Words by The Lord - Music by Blushing Well)

Scream Naked in the Backyard of your Soul life every day!Early.

HLFA,

Jeff

I Am Not

I am feeling a little awkward at this moment. I am not here; but what's left of me is. No one is looking directly at me, although I am the big topic of conversation. I have never seen such an array of emotions put on display at any one given time like this. There is a thick serious spirit hanging over even the lightest of conversations; while All with slightly wetted eyes seem to be looking for something that they cannot see.

The achievements of my life have been noted, and listed in a little less than 300 words so that my life and associations would fit on one side of a quickly printed 8 1/2" x 11" folded handout. (The order of the show that will be put on for those who have gathered has actually occupied as much printed space as my deducted achievements). There Pictures and Impressions of me posted for all to see, so that they might connect with me, my family and the moment; while stories of these connections and other moments may only be stated to prove the qualifications of those that have joined in this gathering. I am still, I am not invited into the conversations; I am all but voiceless.

In my life, much like the prophesy of the Savior ... "For I Have heard the slander of many, fear was on every side; while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life. Psalm 31:13" Why did they want me to diminish my love for Real Life? I truly could tell that I did not fit. When I spoke, my listeners' eyes would glaze over and they would start looking for another to converse with. Those who were polite would give me a pat on the back and a quick meaningless blessing to push me on my way.

But I had questions, and I needed answers. I had dreams and aspirations that were quickly dismissed as the babblings of a social idiot. "He is beside himself!" The crying out of the prophetic mad man in not received even by his own kinsmen in his own country.

Why could I not just fade into the gray of the popular faith of the day is beyond me? Why couldn't I be content with the "smile offerings" and the "shallow connections" that seem to get everybody else through life? Why did I have to take eternity so seriously? Why was I in need of making sure "It was well" with the soul of every human being that I shared a moment of time? Why couldn't I just assume all was well? AND why did the freaking tears have to fill my eyes when others would laugh their way through their days?

Some would say that I was a little "off my rocker", "slightly imbalanced", "out of touch with reality", "emotionally fragile" ... but to know the implication of my full salvation because of His "Bloody Sacrifice" on the Cross; and to know the power of His resurrection on each and every moment of my life; and to know the fellowship, groaning, and fullness of the Spirit in battle for the lost souls of men ... I would trade what the world calls stable and sure, for the instability of this declaration: "I am crucified with Christ, never the less I live; yet not I; but Christ lives in me: and the life that I NOW live... I live by the faith of the Son of God., who loved me, and gave Himself for me. " Galatians 2:20

Every day, because of being in the Middle ... it is like we, the faith followers of Christ, are in a velvet bagged box of our own ashes, while the world looks on and wonders ... who we are and why we are so passionate about Jesus. Why can't we live and just let others live whatever way they want to? Because:
WE believe that Jesus is the only Way that leads away from eternity lost.
WE believe that Jesus is the only Truth that has eternal connecting consequence.
WE believe that Jesus is the only Life source that makes humanity truly alive and raises them from death
--because NO MAN can come to the Father but by Him.

Once WE have trusted Him , we live because He lives, and WE believe WE ARE HIS.

1 Corinthians 6:19,20 - "What know ye not, that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which lives in you, which ye have of God and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's."

HLFA,

Jeff

Waiting Warship or Waiting Worship

"We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves: we look for judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far off from us." Isaiah 59:11

How close is our God? Some would suppose that we are too insignificant to catch His attention in the midst of all of events and happenings in all creation (even the Psalmist expressed this when he declares "What is man that Thou art mindful of him?"). We may even feel that He will not notice that we are not even acknowledging that He exits. We will make a choice that is simply rebellion, and then wait for "nothing" to happen. This "nothing" is our sign that all this "God talk" may be a farce...and we decide to "sin on".

We may even dedicate ourselves at times to doing right because of the hope of "good stuff" coming our way. We convince ourselves in that moment that we are planting a seed of good deeds that will lead to a "success" harvest. THEN, when the harvest does not come when we think it should, we abandon the "good works" pathway for self medication and feel good choices (though many of these will lead us further into darkness).

We are convinced that God does nothing while our enemies close in on all sides, and we live under the pressure of constant persecution and impoverished demise. We watch as our enemies seem happy and healthy, while we are sad and sickly ... it seems so unfair. The ungodly prosper while the echoes of the voices the prosperity prophets just bounce off of our empty bank accounts and amassing miss-fortune of spiritual failures. Our enemies seem to win!

Why has God asked us to "love our enemies"? Why has He encouraged us to "do good unto those who spitefully abuse us"? Why is it that the goodness of God leads men to repentance, while voices scream behind pulpits of the FEAR of GOD and the WRATH of GOD - not as a tearful warning to the enemy but as a threat that GOD will get them. And God does not get them ... when we think He should.

YES ... judgment is sure, Hell is real, and God will deliver His people. The timing of this is where the Sovereignty of God is in conflict with the temporal patience of Man. Waiting is a touted as a game for the weak...but scripture teaches elsewise.

Psalm 35 - is an amazing passage where our Triune God seems to wrestle over this issue and this verse deals a catastrophic blow to my need for revenge and gloating over my enemy. Here is what God's response is to the Enemy's time of illness: "But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom. I behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother." Psalm 35:13,14

Obviously my thoughts are not His thoughts and my ways are not His ways --- has he not shown mercy and grace to me, I would be hopelessly lost today ... but His goodness led me to His Salvation. NOW I MUST WAIT and worship for others, I must not become a waiting Warship -- ready to launch an all out assault on my enemy. THAT ASSAULT BELONGS TO GOD ... what belongs to me is waiting.

Read the following expanded devotional translation of Isaiah 40:31:
"They that ...wait, (look eagerly for, hope, linger and lie in wait to collect, bind together...to be collected, and bound together. The simple fact of this type of waiting is ... those waiting have collective contentment with the abilities of the one they trust)
Upon the Lord, shall renew (This waiting causes those waiting to pass on or away for the threat; to pass through, pass by, go through, grow up, to change, to go on from there as the moment of trouble seems to pass on quickly away (vanish) to come on anew, to grow new life that allows them to pass through to overstep the moment; change to change, substitute, alter, to be changed for better, renew to show a newness of ...
their strength, (power, might, that produces a wealth of "good soil", adds an adaptability... like a type of lizard-color-change to better fit in with its surroundings.
They shall rise up with wings as eagles,
they shall run and be not weary, t
hey shall walk and not faint."

It's not you,
that needs to war against the Enemy -
That is God's Battle ...so that there can be:
Redeeming,
Reclaiming,
and Restoring.
It is yours to be in waiting worship -- not a waiting warship

-Wait on the Lord!!!

HLFA,

Jeff

Something's Fishy

This is not where I wanted to be. After spending 3 days and 3 nights in the belly of a whale, having my clothes reduced to rags, my skin and hair bleached white, and what was left of my beard was matted by the most disgusting stickiness of a "big fish mucous ball". To top it off, the fish had hurled me onto the beach like the vomit I had become because of my inability to see mercy. Only judgement raining down, even on the innocent, would satisfy my sense of warped purpose. Think about it! God would have me preach fiery judgement, and then when the multitudes would turn to Him, He would have mercy, the fire would not come down, and I would look Like a powerless idiot.

Why should grace and mercy be there for those who don't deserve it? The problem with me was so simple that I could not see it -- I was more devoted to my reputation than God's.

"His mercy endures forever!" from my perspective, was a promise for the elite, the separated and set apart for His glory and His purpose ... right? "His mercy endures forever!" is not for the Godless, flesh glorifying, sin loving reprobates that just need to be wiped off of the face of the earth.(Man was I steaming, after I waited outside the city that I just preached God's Fiery Judgement to ...anxiously awaiting the fire to fall, but it did not; I give up).

They heard the message and repented AND GOD GAVE THEM MERCY --- NOT FAIR!!!

It was a city full of perverted sexual activity at the highest level ... rape and incest was rampant, maiming and murder was a justified response, the offering of infants and children to the fire of idols was the highest form of worship ... the whole city partied as the children screamed for their lives.
Fear and injustice was the order of the day ... God should have not warned them, He should have just poured out His fiery wrath and been done.

Now here I sit under a stinking juniper tree as I watch a beautiful gourd destroyed from the inside out by a stinking worm ... and I slipped off into the numb sleep of a fool; but man, something is fishy here.

Hey -- Although I am not Jonah --- I think I understand the concept of seeing the blessing of God in the lives of others but not seeing His blessing in my life.

I try to make the right decisions and do the right things. But unknowingly, I set myself up for the kill by the corruption of real JOY by my choice to live under the constant oppression of my negative, stinking thought life. I am plagued by a self inflicted depravation caused by continual negative prophetical utterances over my life. I have become my worst enemy. Here is a sampling of some of my debilitating self talk:
"God does good things for others ... but He never does that for me."
"God cares about everyone else but not me."
"The darkness in my life is too dark for God's light to overcome."
"I must be beyond help"
"I am useless to God."
"I must be under a curse."
"I will never ________ (fill in the blank) --- never, never, never!"

"Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things (food, clothing, position, purpose, etc.) will be added unto you". Matt. 6:33 -- We have it backwards, while striving for the "things", we easily loose sight of real life -found only in Jesus.

"Oh God, Thou art my God, early will I seek thee!" Psalm 63:1

"I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus!" Phil. 3:14

Hey ... I think I have it dumbed down for even me ...
Start every day with a Rugged Cross and Resurrection focus, the Word to my ear and flowing in my heart, and with a grateful heart ... live a life in all prayer and all thanksgiving.

He is my righteousness (rest) - He is MY GOD(trust) - He is my prize (win), my high calling is to empty myself of me "early" - in the beginning of each new day and like Him... take on the form of the lowliest, the servant. Weep with those that weep and rejoice with those that rejoice.

Yes there will be tough days of broken body and broken dreams but He is with us in those moments to see us through ... be ever thankful. Don't live in regretful bitterness.

Jesus Could have called 12 legions of angels - 12 x 12,000 = 144,000 (One angel mentioned in Isaiah 37:36 - in a battle to protect Israel, killed 185,000) -- 185,000 x 144,000 = 26,640,000,000 people. With the world census clock ticking at about 7.5 billion people on planet earth -- God had (during his days on the planet) and has (during our days on the planet) enough Angelic fire power to cleanse the world of mankind BUT that was not the choice of His character.

"For God so loved the world (not just mankind), that He gave His only begotten Son (a personal price paid that could far outweigh all the guilt of 26,640,000,000 humans), that whosoever(anyone) believes on Him should not perish(lost forever separated from God), but have everlasting life (with Him now, and forever)". John 3:16

HLFA,

Jeff

Phil. 2:6 - " Who in the beginning positioned Himself "below" in the form of God, did not deem to lead by seizing to appear equal with God".... Wow He chose to be a nobody that could save everybody and anybody that would believe on Him. Why do we see every one else's blessing but not our own?

Blessing Seeking lesson # 1 - Let His Grace and His Mercy rule your life in His Love.

Why ... should I care?

There it was again ...always when I am haunted by the frail attempts of my faith to be fearless; the darkened glass seemed to make a metallic wind-like noise to call for my attention. The sound took my imagination to a double edged sword being swung through the air by a mighty angelic warrior.

And again, the sound alerted me as my fading hope led me to the edge of the field of sin with all of its bright lights and mysterious wonders that were just beyond my reach. This time the metallic sound whined within the realm of the sound of screeching brakes or a blade sharpening on a grinding wheel. "OK, I hear you!"

It didn't matter which direction I would turn at this juncture of the confrontation with the "darkened glass", for it would always be with me, and it would reveal itself everywhere that I would turn. Knowing this I closed my eyes. The thought of coddling my disappoint to justify my decision and grasp for justification to cross the line was slowly fading against the sound of the Darkened Glass.

Then I heard my own voice cry out of my distress, "Why should I care?" And upon hearing this I yelled all the louder in an upward direction "WHY SHOULD I CARE?" ... Just like I suspected there was no immediate reply... But that high pitched metallic sound of the "darkened glass" stopped with an eerie and awkward silence; And my question with fading delays repeated itself like echoes across the vast plain of my memory.

Now, I was left to whatever my heightened senses could pull in through their emotionally weakened receptors. Still and small ... Between each echo was the resonation of His Voice from the Darkened Glass bringing comfort with each wave of celestial flow:
Why should I care?
"I persevere through your loss of heart and continue to offer kindness and favor!"
Why should I care?
"I do not put my power in your face with boasting, magnifying myself to put you down!"
Why should I care?
"I stay constant in my support for you; nothing will provoke me to think evil of you!"
Why should I care?
"I cannot rejoice when you step aside of truth; but I rejoice in your choices for truth!"
Why should I care?
"I create a protective covering for you, in all of your moments!"
"I choose to give you my constant confidence, in all of your wavering!"
"I wait with a joyful anticipation, for you!"
"AND no matter what - I will not recede, nor flee, nor fall back in your time of need!"
"I WILL REMAIN!"

"Faith may and will fade to fear -- Hope will dwindle until temptation may win -- BUT"

... "But what?" I moaned... ... The silence grew thick;
My eyes were still closed ... "BUT WHAT?" I cried.
I spun around,
opened my eyes,
and there written on the steam-like fog on the darkened glass appeared the words:
My Love remains -- I love you!

I Corinthians 13:13 - "Now abideth faith, hope and Love, and the greatest of these is Love".

This is why I care!

HLFA,

Jeff