Beyond Our Wildest Dreams

Small children dream, and play. Teens dream, and play harder. College and Career age are taught that if there are no steps to a goal it is just a dream?? "What's up with that? Young adults put the dream on a "post-it note", and look at it from time to time. Young married couples try to merge and nurture each others dreams, until the "little one" arrives; and then the dreams may get transferred to the little one.
 
Empty nesters once again try to travel back in time and find the starting point of the dream, and then assemble the pieces that might have been collected on the way ... in an attempt for full re-assembly. The elderly shut in - has the dream in a frame and with eyes closed, sojourns in what ever "mind dimensional" direction sleep brings. LIFE is rarely what we dream, but that doesn't mean we can't live to the fullest in the moment and live a life beyond our wildest dreams.
 
BUT here is the secret if you can hear the words of the Psalmist in Psalm 63:1,2,3: 
"O God, Thou art my God ...early will I seek Thee:" (Knowing Him can cause a gnawing desire to seek Him ... first thing, early, before and because:)
"My Soul thirst for Thee," ( "My Soul" - Self needs Identity . Life needs Breath. The creature needs Creation. A person needs Purpose. An appetite needs Fulfillment. A mind needs Understanding. A living being needs a Validated Life. Desire needs Focus. Emotion needs Direction. Passion needs Love. Thirsting after God, brings it all ... and causes more thirst.)
 "My flesh longeth Thee," (This temporary fleshy body that we get to dwell in, has a longing to put on something more than fatigue, pain, hunger, sweat, dirt, tears, age, impatience, anger, worry, etc... God has caused us to long for Him. Seeking Him early satisfies the longing of the Flesh because He is the MORE that we long for."
"In a dry and thirsty land where no water is." (The need for Him becomes even more intense as we continue on our journey through this dry and water draining land. For what is your life - without Him - it is but a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.)
 
"O God, Thou art my God ... early will I seek Thee" Why? ...
"To see Thy power, and Thy glory, so as I seen Thee in the sanctuary." ( You will know that the dream is drawing closer as you find the most desired and precious time in this world is when you spend time alone with Him - in your sanctuary. Early you will be caused to desire to seek Him and you can experience His awesome strength and abundance to take care of you.)
 
 "O God, Thou art my God ... early will I seek Thee" Why? ... because there I find Thy Grace ... "Because Thy loving kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise Thee." (And there I truly learn to praise Thee, because beyond my wildest dreams is His loving kindness and it carries me way beyond this life!)
 
  Dream early, dream daily, before the Almighty; commit your way unto Him, He will cause you to dream , and He shall bring it to pass.
 
 Early will I seek Thee!
 
  HLFA,
 
  Jeff
 
  Take time to remember - Memorial Day 2015

Peeking Through The Wall

This may not seem to fit what comes next but it needs to be carried through to the end of this devotion... How do you value others?

Awake my love - Come into the Garden of the Redeemer. As the hedge is pulled aside you will find a wonder. There is a Scarlet Worm that has stretched herself out and attached herself to a tree. She will never leave that tree alive. As she attaches herself to the tree she gives her life in the birthing of her young.

Once the birthing process is complete, she continues to be the protective covering for the newly birthed larva. As her life drains from her, a costly scarlet flow secretes from her body that hides her young as they begin their cycle of life. O the amazing images that we can find in the Garden of the Redeemer to keep our hearts close to His and His to us.

But my eyes kept straying toward the Western Gate, where the sun seemed to be forever setting. As my eyes strayed, so my body wandered; and there I would find ... "the Wilderness". God knows that our lives are either spent wandering in the wilderness or in fighting the battle of the land(or so some of us have been told). In the Wilderness God offers reminders of His provision -- Isaiah 41:19-20 – “I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree. That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the LORD hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.”

My first glance was the planting of trees and the setting in place of other trees ...trees - trees - trees! What is in this planting of trees that can cause me to see, to know, to consider, to to understand that the Hand of the LORD has done this? Done what? The death ... the burial ... the resurrection - year after year in its season.

Day after day the provision that extends because of Our Scarlet Worm's sacrifice. Think upon each tree and watch Him plant and place the provisions into our lives as His Desire.
  
The Cedar - "Strength" - Courage for the Soul,
The Shittah Tree - "Scourging" - Discipline
The Myrtle - "Sweetness" - Shelter/Home
The Oil Tree - "Security" - Anointing/Position.
The Fir Tree - "Stateliness" - Royal Access to the Throne Room
The Pine - "Strength" - Fortitude for the Body
The Box Tree - "Straighten" - Direction - purpose.

All these are pictures of the provisions of God in the Wilderness. Not just seeing these trees in the Wilderness - but knowing their symbolic connection, considering and understanding that these are there by the Hand of God.

This life is not just a "hit and miss" timeline of disconnected events. This life is meant to be a Walk with the King. This life is meant to be a blessing vertically and horizontally. A life of daily, Heavenly provision of which His kids are partakers and distributors.

What wrong do you commit in imagining and believing that God is in this for your good and for His glory? Trees - Trees - Trees! All pouring provision and praising ... of the tree that Jesus died on for you and me. Partaking of these provisions will change you and the way you look at others – everyone’s value will be weighed in the fact that they are souls for whom Christ Died.

Can’t see it yet? --- Look to the trees in the Wilderness!

HLFA,

Jeff

Watch Your Step

Stress - Frustration - No one to help - No one really listens, and even if they do...it is just another conversation with no real solutions. WATCH YOUR STEP! In my analysis of most human stress filled situations; going to God for help is definitely not a reflex; and many times it is way down on the list of options especially when we are under the gun. Even when positioning ourselves as a receptor of the burdens of another ... just watch the reaction to - "Have you prayed about it?". What is that look you get? and what does "Yeah but" mean? YEAH BUT --- WATCH YOUR STEP!

YEAH BUT - There are a multitude of excuses/reasons that we don't go to God immediately with our "issues". AND if we were to take the time to analyze the excuses/reasons ... they would all funnel into the realm of "fear of the Unknown that is involved in trusting the Unseen." My heart aches for this generation because of the speed and ease accessibility to information and resources. Easy button answers and plastic card solutions many times cause us to sacrifice our future on the altar of the immediate. Their ease of access have taken the place of waiting, working, and saving... "I want it NOW and deserve it NOW" seems to be the perspective of this entitlement generation. Patience and trust is an archaic notion, so with the abandonment of these Godly attributes, God is no longer an option because we may have to wait and have faith... and that is not fair!

Someone lied to me and told me "It is an unhealthy obsession to always talk about God". "People who have a fixation on the Voice of God all the time, may be on the verge of a mental illness." Although I don't believe this, it has made me self-conscious of my God Talk and it has dampened the courage that I should have. We are not odd-balls because we believe - it actually talks more denial of reality to not believe.

Psalm 29 has been shouting through my soul all this week (I am enjoying my "illness") ... I have sent it on to more than a few people because of its focus -- The Voice of God, and mans need for Real Strength and effectual Peace that can only come from the Voice of the LORD.

Psalm 29:1,2 - "Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due His Name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness." In what ever area of life that you have conquered and feel self-sufficient ... this is the area that you must watch your step -- ascribe all the glory and honor of any of your earthly success to Him.

Vs. 3 - The Voice of the Lord is the Stabilizer over the uncontrollable depth of the oceans...it thunders above in the uncontrollable depths of the vast sky above. He is upon the many waters. Trust Him with the uncontrollable depths of your life.

Vs. 4 - "The Voice of the Lord is powerful" - strength and power in your life., it is the royal adornment that is "full of majesty" and splendor...The voice of the Lord is the desired adornment.

Vs. 5 - "The Voice of the LORD breaketh the cedars; yea, the LORD breaketh the cedars of Lebanon." His Voice is the only thing that can break through Pride - we need Him to break the pride of our personal purity that conflicts with trusting His purity.

Vs. 6 - "He maketh them to skip like a calf; Lebanon (Whiteness) and Sirion (Breastplate) like a young unicorn." This is amazing when you get the picture of destructive pride, dancing away like the young playful animals of the field.

Vs. 7 - "The Voice of the LORD divideth the flames of fire." Get this hidden gold: Like the skilled builder of noble palaces, His Voice will dig, cleave, hew, cut out, dig out, cut down, quarry, line up, and engrave His Name on the turmoil, the burning, and the testing in our lives to present us as a beautiful habitation for His Presence. God empowers those who hear His Voice in the flames of life.

Vs. 8 - "The Voice of the LORD shaketh the wilderness; the LORD shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh (Holy)" - Some times our personal holiness puts us in a wilderness of uselessness, His Voice will drive you out of that wilderness -- but it may be painful, hypocrite (oops - any time our trying to be holy eclipses God's Holiness, we have created an embarrasing blindside in our lives!)

Vs. 9 - "The Voice of the LORD maketh the hinds to calve, and discovers the forests: and in His Temple every one speak of His Glory." New Birth, New Truths, and glorious conversations among those in His temple ... are all brought to you "by the Voice of the LORD".

Vs. 10 - "The LORD sitteth on the flood; yea, the LORD sitteth King forever." Challenge Him and face the flood; or be challenged to be changed by Him and bow before the King of Glory.

Vs. 11 - "The LORD will give strength unto His people; the LORD will bless His people with peace." Constantly given Strength and continually being blessed with Peace ... O we need these especially when at the end of our resources.

Understand and trust this: God's intense endeavor to give us these is intentional, continual, powerful, and personal ...

WATCH YOUR STEP,

and HEAR HIS VOICE.

and Live!
 
HLFA,

Jeff

Burning or Beauty

Did you know that God desires His people to be like a beautiful sash or an ornate belt that He can wear with admiration, care and love .... close to Him always?
        
What is in your closet? What is it that you like to wear? AND is there a small(or large) collection of that favorite thing. Some like to collect and wear eclectic T-Shirts with "snappy" slogans. Others are shoe czars and belt kings. Some love the adornment of shiny pearls, jewels and gems. [ there is nothing wrong with these things, if they are not the emphasis and focus of our lives ] There was a movie where the female lead opened the walk-in closet of the male lead and found nothing but gray suits, white shirts, striped ties, black belts and black shoes...but that is what he felt comfortable wearing because he was not used to taking risks or being different.
  
 Isaiah 2:24 - "And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty."

None of us wake up and try to plot out a day to make us feel uncomfortable, out of place, awkward, or rejected. When we spot somebody that is overtly disheveled, dirty and putrefying; we do a double-take to find that they are out of synch with society via a physical our mental instability. This may or may not have been their choosing, but there they are in all of their inglorious inability to cope with the settings around them. This person is in need of help. We also fully recognize the abusive and violent lawbreakers who are in need of incarceration. We all desire to live in a peaceful, stable and safe society where those who are in need of help get it, and the lawbreakers are kept off of the streets.

Isaiah 3: 25, 25 - " Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war. And her gates shall lament and mourn; and she being desolate shall sit on the ground." NOW though ... there is a sector of the "society of the heart" that little by little is depreciated and led into depravity because of their inability to stand for what is right. They have lived in a pluralistic society without truth as their foundation for so long that society has changed them. The darkness within this "God -resistant" system constantly badgers and belittles insurgents by words like "intolerance" , "equal rights", and "the better good" ... to subordinate the fearful, and align the weak and double minded, and malign those who will question the "New Norm". , Satan desires to grind and wear God's Kids down, and to mar the beauty of their potential closeness to their God. He does this by moving them into a filthy hole of a life that tolerates of sin, lies, and idolatry. And he rewards their tolerance of the things that stand in perversion of the Word of God... by eliminating social pressure.

Stop here for a moment and get out a Bible and carefully read Isaiah 3 (which has "todays society" written all over it) and Jeremiah 13 -- the story of Marring of the Beautiful Linen Sash (or girdle/belt). Now hear the desire and broken heart of God:

 Jeremiah 13:11 - "For as the girdle cleaveth to the loins of a man, so I have caused to cleave unto me the whole house of Israel, and the whole house of Judah, saith the LORD; that they might be unto me for a people, and for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory; but they would not hear."

  ARE YOU LISTENING! If our hearts are hearing, this is where the breaking begins; and hearing now opens the potential for true repentance, Spirit led worship and lasting life cleansing. What are we tolerating that separates us from that close intimate walk with Jesus?

 Don't look around at others ... THIS IS PERSONAL ... GET ALONE WITH GOD and let the change within you begin!

HLFA,

Jeff

The Secret Place

Deuteronomy 27:15 - "Cursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten image, an abomination unto the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth it in a secret place. And all the people shall answer and say, Amen"

A window size affects the amount of light in a room. The closer you are to a window the brighter the prospect of seeing more of the outdoors. On the other hand the closer to the window you are the more visible you are to those on the outside. Although we need to be open about our faith, there is an intimacy that is not to be paraded before men. Psalm 18:11 -" He made darkness His secret place; His pavilion round about Him were dark-waters and thick clouds of the skies."

What do you want seen by your brothers and sisters in your times of Fellowship? What do you want seen by others in your daily walk? What do you want discovered by all, and possibly your enemies, if the window was opened to your secret place? What importance do you place on the unseen intimacy that you have with your God? Do we know that the real power and effectiveness of our lives in Christ does not come from our public displays to prove our connection with God?

Psalm 81:7 - Thou calledst in trouble, and I delivered thee; I answered thee in the secret place of thunder: I proved thee at the waters of Meribah, Selah." So many of us equate piety with our ability to carry the remnants of our suffering in a daily sorrow filled proclamation of our troubles. "Pity me, I am suffering because of the cause of Christ." WOW! What a travesty ... this "Pity Man" has no King to help him? Why would I want to trust this man's King?

Psalm 91:1 - "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." Real "Abiding" Life is found in the Secret Place of the Most High. If our troubles are placed under His Shadow, they will not be seen the same way by others. What is placed under the shadow is to be trusted to be taken care of there. Stay there in secret until you know He is God over your troubles, then bring His marvelous deliverance to light. Luke 11:33 - "No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light."

I followed Jesus down the truth pathways of the four Gospels in search of real life. It was almast like a train ride or a trailer to a bizarre movie. I passed by a crowd who were jumping and praising while still carrying their crutches. I passed by a dimly lit crowd with their lips and fingers full of shushing. I passed by an assembly whose hearts were heavy with sorrow and whose eyes were heavy with sleep. I raced by those who were proclaiming "the Good Life" formulas and "magical outlines" for success.

With tears in my eyes these sights made me feel so alienated from the love connection with my God. To fit in with any of these groups might find me "amidst a doing in His Name" that may very well be foreign and disconnected from the Jesus Story. So immediately I retreated to my Secret Place and found Him waiting. But he pointed to the windows in passing:

Still on the train ... I looked, and beheld, as the media of the day continued to rape innocency by exposing intimacy, all in the name of transparency. I found that this expose' could capture and enslave the heart of the most noble believer. This "frankness with the secret" was causing many of His more fragile Kids to fall by the wayside by the same error... in the name of "honesty"? Honesty and transparency are purposeful in shedding light on darkness, but are extremely destructive when they are a smokescreen for unbridled lust. Real liberty in the Spirit does not excite nor entice the lust of the flesh. Ezekiel 7:22 - "My face will I turn also from them, and they shall pollute my secret place: for the robbers shall enter into it and defile it." (Be careful little eyes what you see, be careful little eyes what you see, for your Father up above is looking down with love, oh.. be careful little eyes what you see.) You can count on the onslaught ...undergird and strenthen your resolve and strongest desires for His Secret Place with you.

Windows are awesome ... but potentially the only windows needed in our "secret place" is a Skylight to the Father and a Oneway looking out to the broken.

HLFA,

Jeff

The Nekros Virus

Happy After Anastasis Sunday!
I was just remembering once again the "Turning point" days of my life because of Jesus...the attic intro, the living-room "win" of my Soul Mate, our first Bibles, the scary concrete baptistry, the church basement first communion experience, the wedding, the Call, the first move, the planting of our firstborn, the flaming hair of promise, the accidents, the surgeons scalpels, the reset ....why is it...that further down the road...the excitement turns to apathy, apathy to narcolepsy, narcolepsy to numbness...numbness to sleep? "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light."..Eph. 5:14

On Anastasis Sunday the challenge left me hungry, naked and wondering "why?". Why has Hope been infused with an anesthetic just by the removal of truth, bit by bit. The full Gospel has become a fools gospel by the truth left behind. Where is the purifying hope? Why is it kept in hiding? What is the purifying hope?2

Timothy 2:18 - "Who Concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some."

News Flash!!! The Weakest point in the Kingdom (on the Westside), the Sensory and Ocular Portal was compromised this morning by two Nekronian terrorists. The two have been identified as Epi Thumia and Aled Zunia. Commenting Specialists in the art of Spiritual Warfare have stated that "Epi Thumia maintains a covert existence within in the masses majoring in the infiltration of the media to change personal and public morality, while Aled Zunia creates "events" that loudly portray the boasting successes of their efforts." These two, though harmless and peaceful in appearance, have anesthetized entire common gatherings. Be on the look out!

Side note: Many well-meaning leaders in the religious community feel there is no cause for alarm for they have not seen evidence of any spiritual insurrection; chiming out that "the Nekronian Terrorist news alert is preposterous."

News authorities have stated that, "The major affect of this "breach of the wall" is that saints of every age and genre have been virally inoculated with what is known as the "MeNow" or the "Nekros" Syndrome. Victims are left with a complete apathy towards the coming of the King; and an overwhelming anxiety that they are leading a 'Breathless' or futile life on the planet."

"For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 1 John 2:16 ( Epithunia - "Lust" or turning desire; Aledzunia - pride, boasting rebellion against the truth of the Kingdom)

Please follow the following instructions to apply the antidote to the Nekros Virus: Once you recognize the effects of these terrorists in your life.
1. Admit that your weakness needs the Kings strength.
2. Trust the provision of His Sacrifice.
3. Read His life giving Instruction daily.
4. Keep in constant communication with the King daily.
5. Completely rely on the King for your rescue.
6. Look daily for the imminent, eminent, and soon to be immanent return of the King.

Hear and trust the words of the King found in John 16:33 - "These things I have spoken unto, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." and take heart by His words in Revelation 22:12 a "And, behold, I come quickly."

O Lord, inoculate me to trust your every word!

HLFA,

Jeff

The Blur

When Does the Night End and the Day Begin? In that moment of twilight or dawn, light can be blurry. For some, the night will never end; but for believers here in the twilight-dawn ... soon there will be no night.  

There was the Crossing over the Stream called Darkness, and into the momentary Garden of Vital Pressing. Oh, the awesome beauty of this garden was the moment of mystery that it held. This was the place where the grapes would be separated from their life giving essence and be called wine. This is where the olives would be pressed and the restorative extraction would be called oil. The Wine and the Oil - the Blood and the Spirit in mystical union, kneeling in the threshold of horns of Eternity's Altar of Sacrifice for all mankind.

Though none could stay awake during the prayer that kept Him alive in that moment of the garden pressing. Jesus prayed that that cup of life-threatening stress would pass. Jesus prayed so that He could press on the to the shame, the mockery, the spitting, the scourging, the nailing and the suffocating pain that He would endure until He would commend His spirit to the Father, and expire with a broken heart. "And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, He said, Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit, and having said thus, He gave up the ghost. Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, certainly this was a righteous man. And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts and returned. And all his acquaintances, and the women that followed from Galilee, stood afar off beholding these things." Luke 23:46 -49

And there still stands men squabbling over insignificant details such as: the day of the week; counting nights and days, or days and nights to figure which day of the week to declare "Holy". They argue over "the hour" ... the third, the sixth, the ninth ...though no man on that day, looking at the sky, could tell the real hour for the dark sky veil that hung so timely to somewhat cover the shame of the moment. They would continue to pick and poke at where the nails were actually placed to torture the body of Jesus; though deaf to the Blood that would scream love from every piercing. They would joust about the wood's carpentry, composition, and positioning; when all that truly mattered was that the Son of God was suspended in that moment creating the only acceptable bridge to the Father with His perfect sacrifice. No one seemed to notice that while hanging between Heaven and Earth, He staved off 72,000 of Heaven's Warrior Angels and all the hoards of Hell's demons, while His death was planted momentarily into the heart of the Earth, but forever planted into the heart of Heaven for such wretched souls that we be.

 JESUS DIED ... and with 3 days and 3 nights of death's silence echoing from a large stone covered, empire sealed, and soldier guarded tomb ... The message of His death became the first belief at the empty tomb. The Horror of Christ's Crucifixion negated and erased the few words that could have sustained hope ... "And I will Rise again!" The first stare into the empty tomb cried "grave robbers" to the disciples. And so they went back to hiding in further discouragement. Jesus did not allow them to stay in despair, Jesus personally and creatively shattered that first belief and brought back their remembrance of the promises.

Today that Gospel was alive and still holds our hearts in an orbit of longing ... longing to be with Him where He is ... some day! This Easter Message is to those who believe without all the squabbling that causes men to fight and bicker to stake their claim on righteous fame. Easter 2015 puts us one day closer to the Return of our Lord to claim His Bride - "I will come again!" So don't just say Jesus is a righteous man. Don't just look at what was done and beat your chest in unbelief, and quit standing afar off in fear. Rejoice for your redemption draweth nigh!

For with each day passing His coming is growing nearer - Woe unto those who blur the light in our days by denying us the hope of this glorious event which could be on us in the "twinkling of an eye".

"He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly, Amen. Even so, come , Lord Jesus." Revelation 22:20

 "The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all, Amen." Revelation 22:21

Happy Easter - Anticipate His return; you will not be disappointed!

HLFA,

Jeff

I Need You

As a smart aleck High School student I acquired a taste for the art of irritating adults(especially teachers, librarians, guidance counsellors and principals). I was not detention material nor juvie bound, just a mischievous fun loving youth; and for the most part my teachers liked me as we got to know each other.

As a rule, I could handle just about any conversation unless I sensed a schmooze or a condescending attitude thrown my way. When this would happen I would engage the conversation by staring at my opponents ear, not looking away. This had some hilarious results and definitely discomfited the adult that was trying to pull something over on me. This was Jeff in the BC of his life ... I hadn't quite caught the the notion yet that Eyes were the window to the soul, not the ear.

It never even dawned on me in those formative years that the teachers needed me as much as I needed them. It never even crossed my mind that the universe didn't revolve around me, and that it might be better to be a cosmic blessing instead of a cosmic irritation. Life is too short, but so eternally connected, to be a mere unfolding of care-less emotional inputs and disconnected activities. Real Life has intense meaning, satisfying purpose, and truly rewarding outcome. Real life maintains both a Vertical connection and horizontal connections that create vertical connections for all involved.

Please do not misconstrue this conversation and quit looking at my ear ... I am looking into your eyes: "He that believes on the Son (Jesus) has everlasting life; he that believes not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." John 3:36.  

Living life without a personal and specific, Redemptive God Connection to and through Jesus, is just as futile as cutting down a tree with an unpowered chain saw, it may not be impossible but there will be a frustrating expenditure of energy that could have been better spent. {Note to those who have tried: When someone else pulled the cord, we were terrified by the sound and instinctively moved away.}

Here is a timeless scriptural snapshot of the Life: Psalm 63:8 - "My soul follows hard after Thee; Thy right hand upholds me." When I quickly glanced at this I saw a lot of work on my part to get God to hang on to me; but isn't that just like the "earn my way" human fabric of Fallen Eden? Keep weaving together those foolish fig leaves of denial, and sooner than later I will be living the lie (I even deceive myself into thinking can do it without Jesus!)

Here is the truth in expose' -- The connection is secured -- Because He undergirds, supports, sustains, and satisfies me with His eternal love; He has created an eternal desire that allows my soul to be held fast to the constant pursuit in His love... "following hard" after Him.

Years later, I have been the teacher, the librarian, the guidance counsellor and the principal ... Students; I needed to see Jesus in you...not you staring at my ear.

HLFA,

Jeff

A Welcome to Worship

Note: Your choice of "Jesus" fellowship connections will affect your life. "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled: and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus." Acts 4:13 Does our fellowship cause us to be perceived as "Jesus followers"? Fellowships can create awesome "teams" to help with the "go and tell" by giving us places where we can continue to extend that invitation and grow along side of other believers. Learning to teach and develop personal daily prayer and Bible study time among participants of a fellowship is key to differentiation. However, many will invite people to their churches to see how " their Worship" is different not fully realizing that Sunday Morning gatherings are a regrouping, a huddle, a welcome, a time of re-emphasis of purpose and vision? 

 I will not spend a great deal of time spinning the wheels of my life in the mud of criticism trying to define what worship is not or what style of worship is right. Arguing about what is right or wrong about the "Welcome to Jesus time" of local fellowships is divisive to the Body of Christ. Everyone out there that shouts "do it our way" have already made themselves poster children for "Pride's" division. "Do it our way" has carried more than one scoreboard into the Kingdom and created a disgusting competition in opposition to the Spirit's cry for unity. And what we are all actually talking about is the defined "Welcome" that each local congregation has put just inside their front door to lead folks to listen to their Jesus Story. The "Welcome" that we have labeled "worship" is important to the life of our congregation, but is not the key ingredient to the depth of our walk and growth in Christ.

After so many years of dealing with "broken" congregations (which we all are to some extent)... our real and lasting welcome is not our program, but it is our people's ability to live in a "real" active - daily - loving connection with their God, which will spill over into their love for others. BUT ...Worship has become: A Time? A Place? A musical style? The Necessary components? A Ritual? Planned spontaneity? Traditions? A great feeling of being with God? An atmosphere? Fun and Exciting? ....... but are these worship or possibly components of the "Welcome" to personal worship?

WARNING SLOW YOIUR READING DOWN AT THIS POINT BECAUSE YOU NEED TO THINK THIS THROUGH!

Worship has always been expressed in the Word as a personal reflexive "bowing". Worship is a personal reciprocal "submissive" action that will be progressive in its nature of service, because it is never done, never completely enough. Therefore true worship will create a strong need for a purposeful intensity of continuance. Worship cries out for vulnerable creativity and embraceable eternity because of our need to connect in a significant way to the Object of our Worship. (Slow down and think on this Biblical definition). Speaking to Israel about any other god("them") but the LORD God that brought them out of Egypt in Exodus 20:5,6 -"Thou shalt not bow down thyself, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and four generations of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments."

 True, Daily, Personal Worship - Positions our lives and living ... to love God with all of our heart, all of our mind, all of our soul, all of our strength; and to love People with all the reciprocal passion that God pours into us.

 In our generation, as in every generation since Pentecost, believers are pulled and tugged at by societal and cultural pressure to make something "better and lasting" out of our gatherings of fellowship. We are always searching for relevance in our "community" times of worship by singing songs that we think matter. We strive for and long for that "awesome message" from the pulpit. We hope that once a week will challenge us in such a way that we will be carried through until next week. Rarely do we spend that same energy in our private times with our God ... longing for that daily "Fresh oil and renewed Spirit" from Him. Do you look forward to every new day with Him?

 "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; " Psalm 63:1

 We want put a stamp of approval on our choice of "Welcomes" by claiming and calling it ..."true and authentic worship", but our church "welcome" will only be as true and authentic as our daily thirsting and longing for that personal and private devotion... that is worship. Don't claim we are doing it by a hyped Sunday Morning Welcome...DO IT, and live out loud from that daily quiet time that you had with your God.

 A strange picture: A crowd of invalids came to Jesus with great brokenness and true needs to be met. As they present their need...and bow before Him waiting: Jesus with a raised hand and magnificent smile ... stopped the moment of need for a moving prelude, three lively songs, exciting announcements, an offering of the heart, a special song, a challenging message, the invitation and a postlude. During that strangely timed worship service, One by one, the invalids pulled their brokenness out from under the piling of uselessness and returned to their affliction. What????

 Worship is.................... A reflexive imperative responsive expression to God in the midst of all of the inputs of life with God. Psalm 13:1 - " A Song of David. How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? How long wilt Thou hide Thy face from me?" Is this how you feel without a daily connection in personal worship?

"Hey men of flesh and bone, in the presence of my God, please don't guilt me onto my knees in prayer or onto my feet in praise. In the presence of my God, join me for I am already there in great need and wonder." (Excerpt from the Scarlet Sinner)

HLFA,

 Jeff

R.I.P. or Share the Adventure

Friday AM, I climbed into my car to head to work; and none of my Bible apps would play for me. OK ...Silence ... Be still. So, my reflex was to begin to pray on my way. Just before I pulled into the parking lot, I was still feeling very hungry for the Word. At that aching moment ...the passage that I had studied the day before began to flood my soul. I sensed that all my prayers for others now seemed empowered by the presence of the fullness of His Spirit. His faithfulness as always was there to supply "More of Him". Jesus is All we need.

The King of Love's eyes opened long enough for all to see the vastness of the blue, eternal love found within His entire being, and then with that same strange confident manner that He seemed to always possess, He spoke one Word - "Victory!"("It is finished!"); He breathed His last breath; and died. Forget not that on the Third day He Arose... "Why seek the LIVING among the dead?" Jesus, The King of Love is Alive ... and He is coming again soon! DO WE LIVE DAILY IN THE TRUTHS THAT HE EVER-UNFOLDS?

The most awesome thing about God's Word, The Scriptures - it is God's Breathed Expression of the full verbal revelation of Jesus: the Word is alive and continues to create true life -- moment by moment -- daily -- today-- by bringing eternity into our temporal reality. Believers can feel it! We don't live by or for feelings, but they are a bonus in the grand scheme of an exhilarating ride. Daily we can wake up hungry for what God says ... O to wake to an ache inside of us to hear and to know what God will speak into the Shared adventure of the day ahead.

According to Ezekiel 36: 26 there is a two-fold desire of God, not only for the Nation of Israel(prophetically), but for all of His "Faith Kids": ("A New Heart also will I give you, a new Spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the stoney heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh." - This desire brings a lively connection to others as we live with one foot on Earth and one in Heaven). Here is a description of His desire:
1. God gives us an instantaneously received and miraculously, perfectly formed... "NEW" heart that gives us an eternal, life support connection to Father.
2. God also gives us a NEW Spirit that He intentionally and daily desires to refresh, renew, and empower us so that our existence is of greater consequence and purpose than we could ever imagine on this side of Heaven.

Our New Heart needs God's daily renewing of the Spirit to truly make our eternal connections, while on this side of Heaven, felt and effective. True life exudes from the heart of God, any disconnect severs the breath line, and death continues to cast its shadow over the circumstances. For believers death is only a shadow, but we still feel it.

Daily we have a choice: Live in the light or live under the shadow. It is all in the "Walk", that conscious cooperation with God's desire for us. The potential reality for the believer is "But If we walk in the Light, as He is in the Light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." I John 1:7.

 He spoke the worlds into existence. He speaks, and creation obeys His voice. His Word creates purpose, and sets the stage for the Miraculous. His Word speaks and we are quickened by it. Why live in the Wordless land of purposeless, breathless, powerless, doldrum; when you could thrive day by day in the "Miraculous" by the Life Breath of His Word in and through your entire being.

Breathe & Live!

HLFA,

Jeff