Deactivation Guaranteed!

The Ecclesiastes Life under the sun, under the Heaven ... Life without any eternal perspective ... Life without a Door of Salvation ... Life with eyelids turned upward ... Even when this living is synchronized with a personal righteous endeavor and a sacrificial attitude ... If it is but a "life under the sun", and NOT LIFE "IN THE FAITH OF THE SON" ... It is vanity. It is uselessly wasted.

Never is there a guaranty of the next heart beat ... Never is there signed certification of immunity without incident ... Never a promise for tomorrow... Sometimes the normal brings with it a life threatening monster that swings the unseen and unwarned sting of death; and we are gone. And at that moment all the most advanced security measures, the most meticulously studied health propositions are found to be anemic. Any accumulated prestige, all the well gathered and garnered wealth and possessions, and all the best laid steps to reaching our dreams ... Deactivated and left behind!

"Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel be broken at the cistern." Ecclesiastes 12:6 " Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was, and the spirit return unto God who gave it." Ecclesiastes 12:7

... Why would Solomon paint the event that can deactivate man from life under the sun in such a poetic way? I truly think that if you take the time to read Ecclesiastes you will see "The Preacher" (every once in a while) allows the curtains of eternity to peek open momentarily by the wisp the Spirit's wind so that we would desire Heaven's perspective and not our own temporal tunnel vision.

"In God's hand" ... All positions, all possessions, all things related to success and failure, all information gathered for wisdom and foolishness ... Are in His hands. It is revealed that LOVE is also "in His hands" and stands out as something we can't begin to muster up or earn in a lifetime ... Real Love is in His hands. Does that threaten us?

He who fashioned us in His own image ... Knows what is best and is directed by His great love for us, to us and through us. If we are threatened, check to verify our connection."It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" ... Yes, there is a deactivation point for every thing on this side of Heaven... But just as sure as Winter buries the death of Fall ... Spring has always ushered in new life and hope of Summer.

If we hear the Voice of the Spirit in this entire matter, we will know that "in Christ", our Fall here may cause a Winter for those mourning around our shell that is left behind ... under the sun; but for those in the Son ... They rejoice in the Hope that We already have been ushered into the eternal Season of the Son.

"In His Hands" is not a Holy terror to those trusting... but an awe filled reverence ... So fear! - Live in awesome respect for - God; and keep, trust, guard and give life to His commands ... for they are His Love directions and life appointments that allow us to have Heaven opened to the eyes of our hearts. Doing is not always keeping (think about it). The Keeping is guarding within the assessment that the value is precious and priceless.

"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and "keep" His Commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be bad." Ecclesiastes 12: 13, 14

Without Jesus ... There is no Way, No Truth and No Life and no Heaven ... And This brief stint on this terrestrial ball is the vanity of all vanities. Deactivation without Him is eternal death in a Devil's Hell. Why would we not choose to stand in awe and trust of His sacrifice that opens Eternity for you and me?

Deactivation here ... Reset ... Reactivation There ... Only in Christ.

HLFA,

Jeff

Before - Beyond - Exceeding

Before - Beyond - Exceeding

Risk? In Matthew 25: 14 -30 The only one taking the risk was the "wicked servant" - God gives every man a valuable gift of a measure of eternity to respond to ... There are two types of people in this passage - The "Saved" investors and the "Lost" hider. The investors are those who because of redemption see the value of the Gift of God and multiply it. Read this passage carefully (a week ago it was presented in a Sunday morning service by the Pastor in an attempt to teach risk ... But we may have missed the point in scripture) Matthew 25 ... Only those given the "talents", who were connected to the Master, would take up what is given....take the gift as theirs ...and multiply the entrusted investment to the glory of God. 5 doubled, 2 doubled, BUT 1 was hidden.

When we don't have the God given perspective of the "safety in the Lord" through His salvation ... In our "lost condition", we will see the Lord as harsh and unfair; which in the Kingdom is to not see God in it ... at all.

Why does the "risk" always have to be in the parenthesis of the church program and how is it a risk within the safety of the Kingdom?

"I was afraid" ...no trust in the Master's goodness... No desire to share the Master's joy. This parable of the Kingdom is a spot on target picture of the heart of lost-ness ....the biggest and most foolish risk is to not Know Him. The Gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord - but to bury that gift - out of sight, out of mind carries with it the consequence of eternal condemnation. The cross reveals God's compassion on us and the resurrection reveals His power for us....why not move forward in trust. Why should we be shamed by what others think is risk?

Instead of risk minimization, risk management, or risk avoidance ... (All are characteristics of a "natural" not a "spiritual" life) ... Why not allow our hearts to be unchained from fear by the obvious limitless promises of the word of God?

Sad are the following verses concerning the Servant who hid the Gift...

Matthew 25:25 - " And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine." (This lost servant never took salvation for his own but buried the opportunity "in the earth" ... Why think of Heaven?).

Mathew 25:29 - "For every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath." (The lost servant ... lost the opportunity completely).

Matthew 25:30 - "And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Only the lost, unprofitable servants face this end ... Never are the "saved" cast into outer darkness).

Let's be saturated by some God perspectives and move forward in the courage that He supplies through His word.

Ephesians 1:19 (Grab all of this Chapter it is overwhelmingly powerful in our favor) " And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power,". KNOWING JESUS!
Ephesians 2:7 - "That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus." KNOWING JESUS!

KNOWING JESUS brings us into the constant festival of the Gospel ... We live in the joyful sound of His Death, Burial and Resurrection. Stay close to the Gospel!

Psalm 118:27 - "God is the LORD, which hath showed us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar." O give thanks unto the LORD for He is good ... His goodness was carving the elements before us, His goodness goes beyond the exchange of our daily decisions and consequence; and His goodness is always exceeding our expectations above all that we ask or think--- because ... His mercy endures forever (in spite of what we may perceive).

But there can be a problem ... It exists because of our perception in the moment ... We will have to choose between Faith and Sight. Sight may suddenly sadden, but faith will carry us to the Father's future.

God is the LORD... He has shown us light and He is becoming our light ... Life in His presence becomes a vibrant ever flowing festival, especially if we fasten the festival with living weavings (of the encounters of our life) to the Altar of Sacrifice -- the Cross. Cherish the moments for this festival could be the last that we share on this side of Eternity.

"Jeff" ... "I am 85, not doing anything has me stiffening up...at least when I drove the truck I could move ... I want to drive 2 more years, and then that is it."

I asked "What then , retirement?"

Dad had no words ... Only a distant look...driving all his life made it near impossible to see the "then" after the "that's it."

As he got into his car he proceeded to break into an overwhelming emotional moment ..
"When life is young and you can go anywhere and do anything with the love of your life ... You never even for a moment imagine that it could be like this ... I am very disappointed with it all."
He continued, "It is not fair ... This is not what I imagined it to be, the pain is so limiting and the dreams are all but gone. Well I have to get back to the nursing home with Mom, see you later!"

"Dad ... Jesus is coming soon!"

His reply. "That would be ok!"

"I love you Dad!" ...

"I love you too, thank you ...Jeff!"

I watched as his vehicle pulled away with the "Jeff" still echoing in my mind ... I cried a bit as I stood there, realizing we may not do this again next Thanksgiving... BUT because of Jesus, eternity's prospects were still bright in spite of the momentary pain and seasonal tears. Of all the things in life ... That we "must" ... We must believe.

Each of us who awake to another day ... Are greeted with the festival power of every promise from His Word ... Start there, stay there until we move forward in victory, as He makes a way for us through our doubts and disappointments.

"Dad" ... "Jesus loves you and Mom so much. He is intimately touched by your feelings in this ... Look for and be grateful for the miracles as they present His glory to you daily (no matter how insignificant they may seem to others) and continue to trust Him in hope of His future."

HLFA,

Jeff

Happy Thanksgiving 2017

I Don't Want Your Toast

"I don't accept toast from strangers."

It was early morning in a remote town at a Gas Station-Convenience Store-Restaurant Combo -- and a working class man was accosted by a stranger at a gas pump - extending toast in his direction. The thought of the stranger was ... "I do not eat this, hate to waste it so I will offer it to someone ... Surely someone would love an offering of fresh toast ... Free".

Some surprises are not well thought out and become a little disconcerting to the recipient of the surprise. The event of the "toast offering" was quite out of sequence -- no relationship established, no need was discovered and a solution from left field was offered ... Would you have taken the toast from the hands of a stranger at a gas pumping moment?

We would like to think that God works that way...BUT ... God's surprises are way beyond "well thought out"... They are sent from the heart of God with the eternal intent to extravagantly love each and every one of us.

NOW THOUGH (and pay attention to this) There is an enemy with a temptation aimed at our "soft spot" ... Satan is the enemy of all of God's creation, and That original sin ("you shall be gods, determining what is good and what is evil) is our "soft spot" for his attacks. This "soft spot" is the target of the enemy that he knows ... binds us so deeply to self servicing decisions, and deep disappointment ... When penetrated it fights against time with a reasoning that has mankind chained to time and timing.

God works in behalf of us within the structure of our time and timing needs, but He is not held captive by our perceptions of the "when", the "where", the "what", and the "how" ... of our rescue. He is not bound by timing or time ... But His "Why" is so compelling: It is His "Love" that is unequalled, unparalleled, undiminished, unmerited, and unending... For us.

Do the following "seems out of sequence" verses bother you because of the order/timing in scripture?

"(It was that Mary which anointed the LORD with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)" John 11:2.

"Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment." John 12:3

Look at the address of the verses above and think for a moment... The word revealed that the Father knew of Jesus' need for anointing for burial prior to Mary's offering. Wow!

Has our life with the LORD gotten to the place where it is like a mindless heathen worship ceremony with constant repetition and boring ritual; where surprises aren't even noticed because of the narcoleptic life style that we have chosen. Worship that is Alive is not a religious activity that we perform or a moment in our formal community church services where we gather together to "hype our faith" with our "cup of tea" songs.

Worship is our Life blood in Christ. Worship is our daily adventure into the goodness of our God. Worship is where daily bow our lives with the "dog lick" to open our hearts for the reception of His amazingly creative... Love rescue of our lives.

Matthew 6:8 - "Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him."

The answer, the awesome well orchestrated rescue is already be on the way.

Living a life of ritual before the Lover of our soul is like a gas pump, dirty hand, unwrapped, toast offering to a King. The King will probably say ... "Depart from me with your toast... I do not know who you are; and I don't make it a habit to receive toast offerings from strangers."

Wash your hands ... Empty your life of limiting expectations... And like a child of wonder ... Get ready for Him.

HLFA,

Jeff

Matthew 6:51 - "And He went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered." This is where He wants us.

Timeless

What time is it? Isn't it strange that we all have a strong desire to never get sick, never grow old and make special moments last forever. We are all captured and controlled by the thought of time, even when life takes a turn for painful dereliction. We all secretly desire ... Not to die... But if we must let it be peacefully, painlessly and possibly in our sleep.

Time rules men. Our ever expanding limitless universe is like a growing monster alarm clock. Between gravity and sight things change to remind us of the race from day break to dusk's dwindling light. We have approximately 12 hours where our senses are subjected ever changing light; but there is an eternal light that can bring constant value and connection within those hours, not to mention rest in the night season. Jesus is that light,but if a man walks without Him, walking in the night, the guaranty is that he will stumble ... and he will fall.

"If only Jesus was here" this would not have happened in that defining moment? DO WE TRULY REALIZE THAT: Time has no bearing on the rescue of God; He never misses His opportunity to love us. AND His intervention will be glorious. He knows our times and our seasons but is not threatened by the changes because HE CHANGES NOT!

But for us:
The call will come ... It will shake and shape our world ... It will challenge our light, and it will tug furiously to close the curtains, to limit the rays of hope and to glorify the chains of darkness. The hands of time will forcefully extend grief and press unfounded worry into our already weakened frames.

The call came two days earlier ..."These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth but I go that I may awake him out of sleep." John 11:11

Four days later ... "Jesus wept." He wept as he saw all the distorted dimensional crags and clefts of man's emotional hiding places. He wept .. But not because He was late with help as accused, but because of the inability of humanity in general to see that the Glory of God is not restrained by time and the measure of it. Jesus is eternally present... His "I AM" "Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already." John 11:17. (Seeing Him would bring the statement - "If you had been here this would not have happened.")

Understand this - In these moments of our potential deepest disconnect because of shock, grief, fear, and/or the feeling of personal abandonment ... HE places Himself "in the midst of the impact with us" in order to carry us to a place of greater security in faith. He does not "put us through hell to test our faith". Stuff happens because that is just the way it is on this side of Eternity's Veil and HE IS EVER PRESENT WITH US.

Time always limits the boundaries of our faith - prayerfully read the discourse between Martha and Jesus in John 11:21-27 -- See the weight of time on Martha's vision and how it stifled her expectations. Then embrace the pinnacle of the fulcrum of the conversation:
Jesus, "Do you believe Lazarus will rise?"
Martha, "Sure, he will rise in the Resurrection on the Last Day!"
Jesus, "I AM THE RESURRECTION!"

This encounter was going to be a violation of the sacred fences that had been planted long ago to bring be an anemic "hope" ally for our already fragile faith. "Hope deferred makes the heart sick:" Hope strung along, dragged along, delayed by "time" will chip away at the health of faith. Hope that desires Jesus will be a constant source of renewed life. "but when the Desire comes, it is a tree of life." Proverbs 13:12.

Do you believe that you will be helped, delivered, rescued, or healed? Don't hang on to "when?"; desire "Him" ... Hear this -
"I AM the Help!"
"I AM the Deliverance!"
"I AM the Rescue!"
"I AM the Healing!"

What do we need in that moment of painful personal struggle?We need Him.

Rest, O my soul, He has this!

HLFA,

Jeff

John 11:40 - "Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, if thou wouldst believe, thou should see the glory of God?"

The "Glory" is the decision ... And He has decided to love you.
Trust that Love ... Not the measure of your ability to trust in time.

He is the Solitary

He is the Solitary!

As I stepped out briefly into the crisp early morning air, there He was in all of His regal but quiet splendor , and all of His majestic sweetness. I sent a whistle into the silence of the moment and watched as creation lifted its head in a gracious response and paused to listen to the crown of God's creation. I lifted up a blessing their way, and turned as He engulfed me in that moment when eternity's robe parts revealing the true source of power and light and healing ... Brokenness.

Psalm 68:6 - "God setteth the solitary in families: He bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land."
HE IS THE SOLITARY - WILL YOU RECEIVE HIM .

"I AM the way, the truth and the life; no man come the unto the Father but by Me." John 14:6. HE IS THE ONLY "LIFE" OPTION.

"And when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, Take, eat: This is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me." I Corinthians 11:24
HIS CHOICE WAS TO LOSE HIS LIFE THAT HE MIGHT SAVE US.

John 9:3 - "Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him."
WE WILL ALWAYS FACE CONUNDRUMS ... WILL WE SEE THEM AS GOD OPPORTUNITIES?

The continued revelation of Jesus is found in the passive snapshot of the way God works...the invisible, becomes actual...realized as overwhelmingly more real than the current reality. Stuff is and stuff happens on this side of eternity that is no ones fault. Our choice is to blame God and man, or to see the "stuff" that handicaps as an opportunity that the works of God may be manifest.

Here is the key to experiencing the Blessings of God:
"He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hath his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal." John 12:25.

Let's unpack the essence of this verse so that it can go viral in our heart and mind by the Spirit of Truth in the Word: He that is wrapped up in nurturing his own life by feeding and fueling the things connected to this life will ultimately tear down, weaken, and finally destroy our life; but he that hates his life, that is wrapped up in this world of adornment that is in opposition to life, shall guard it towards eternal life.

He is the solitary. He is the One.
Let us offer our chains and cease our rebellion.

HLFA,

Jeff

Storehouse or Ransacked

He had conquered his world and amassed his fortune. His lands, his streets, his buildings all carried his name, so that his family could be remembered for his hard work, forever. He was constantly tearing down warehouses and building bigger ones to store the content of his success. He even gave a token of his earning to the poor to appear respectable ... Until one evening at a family business celebration, just as the family was applauding his self praises ... A massive pain gripped his life. As his hand reached toward his chest and he fell into eternity. And his children took his place in the business and followed in his steps while quoting his sayings.

Psalm 49:13 - "This ... Their way ... Is their folly: yet their posterity approve their words."

They had conquered their part of "The World" and amassed their "spiritual" fortune. Their lands, their streets, their buildings all carried their name ... And their endeavors were always "To the glory of the Name." So that the world could see the greatness of the Kingdom of God, they were always building bigger and better "storehouses" to gather in those who had been won to their excitement. They gave a token of their success to the halt, the lame , the maimed, and the blind to appear compassionate in the Kingdom of men.

Until one evening at a family success celebration, just as the family was lifting up the loud songs that they loved so much, and self praises rippled through the gathering hall, a massive unseen and silent pain gripped the congregation as their hands were extended upward. Even while they offered proof to those around them that they were not ashamed, a deadly ache wedged deeply between their souls and their God. Change and Difference was always shown the door as the offspring of the congregation followed right after their predecessors, jostling for positions and congregational possessions while quoting the sayings of those who had led them.

Unknowingly, they had become the same giant mirage in the Kingdom ... bringing in to the walls of their success ...only those who they could comfortably fold into their subculture. "What's right will be done, but will be done only within these walls!" And all the people said "Amen!" Heaven shuttered with shame.

The Body of Christ, the Church, is THE "called out" assembling of believers who have full intimate connection with God through the LORD Jesus Christ. With that connection there is a clear purpose filled calling ... To "GO!" Into all the world with the Good News of Jesus. That connection and calling avails to them the non exhaustive supply of Heaven, and allows the follower to be fully whole in their redemptive work among men.

Why amass, hoard, squander and ration the provisions of grace that God so freely gives? Why have we become far too enamored with the glimmer, the power, the feelings and the sounds of our anemic offering of worship? Have we excused away the nail pierced hand that was knocking at our door because it always seems to toll in a moment of inconvenience.

- It is common knowledge also, that to truly allow Him in would mean we would have to bear the stigma of the suffering servant and bear the enigma of the thorn laden crown.
- Opening the door, though promised fellowship, will mean submission to the Heart for the broken and the outcast.
- And to have His full indwelling will mean the emotional risk of being ostracized by the weight of the cross.
- And standing in His stead means that we live on the "cliff"...
All of these images speak risk, discomfort and isolation ... But taking the step of faith to answer "the knock of the nail pierced hand" brings Him in to our lives so that we can then truly know Him and the power of His Resurrection.

Have we hesitated to answer His knock because we have washed our feet and are done for the day (we already gave at the office)? Inconvenienced to put on our work coat once again and to soil our feet is not the choice of the clean and comfortable, but it is the Way of the Lover. There is nothing that is an inconvenience for love ... "If I would give all the contents of my house for love, my house would be totally ransacked."

Song of Solomon 5:4 - "My beloved put in His hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him."

Is our heart still moved by the thought that He wants to walk with us?

Unto the Lukewarm ... Because of self-sufficiency and self accomplishment ... "Unto the angel of the Church of the Laodiceans (people conquerors) write , These things saith the Amen, the faithful witness, the origin of the creation of God" (read Rev. 3:14-19) ; Get the picture ... The next verse is not to be watered down as comforting or challenging cliche; because it is a call to the popularly accepted church who has grown comfortable with its methods and walls. We think that the risk is to be more relevant to today, but the real risk is found in total dependence with the devotional walk that He calls us to. This devotion consecrates us daily to becoming more and more enamored by Him and less and less attracted to the decorations and distractions of the world.

Rev. 3:20 - "Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me."

Do we hear His voice ... Will we open the door?

HLFA,

Jeff

The Alley

Joy - continued ...

"Hear, O LORD, and have mercy upon me: LORD, be Thou my helper. Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: Thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness. To the end that my glory may sing praise to Thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto Thee for ever. Psalm 30:10-12

He is the only One who knows exactly how to support our weaknesses and leverage our strengths to give us life within the realm of the Favor of the Kingdom. He knows that the dust of the grave is praise less, and that His rescue and life giving activities can make us strategically noisy praise makers. With thanksgiving give great and loud praises of God's Amazing Grace.

Found within the starting passage is an amazing picture of the process of restoration ... A fall is inevitable; whether because of our lack that we choose to steal unattainable needs, or because of our ease in prosperity that we become self sufficient and we steal forbidden desires. The fall for believers ends up in the same narrow alley ... Guilt and shame and a need for cleansing; so there we mourn.

This is where we cry for mercy because He is the only one that has the HELP for our predicament: No human entity can set us free from the penalty of sin's fall.Glittering, flashing and deceitfully welcoming... Always ahead of them in the path of any sojourner, there will always be a captivating choice of direction. That choice, if scrutinized in the pre-adventure, would glaringly be found to be a seditious move of rebellion; but in that faltering moment of the flesh's weakness the choice usually is found to be a release.

Once the "high" of the moment has faded and fair weather friends have all slithered away, unfortunately, the fallen sojourner finds him or herself emotionally and spiritually restrained in a very dark and dismal alley. This alley filled with scars and sordid memories can potentially swallow up it victims and leave them helpless to hope. With hope gone all that is left is "the cry" for help from the Alley.

"The Cry" for the Believing Sojourner is a "God" moment ...when the cry is turned upward and Mercy is brought in abundantly by the Helper. The Alley of constraint becomes the altar for the exchange of "sack cloth" repentance for royal robes of forgiveness ... What was meant by the hater of mankind to be a conduit of execution, now becomes the stage for Redemptions Dance of Joy.

Oh wounded heart sensing your end... end your struggle here, and trust yourself to the merciful arms of Jesus the Redeemer.

The Cry at the edge of loss finds itself with rejoicing continued in the Alley of Joy!

HLFA,

Jeff

Surprise

7:15 AM is a great time in the morning for surprises.

In a non-home city, in an unfamiliar café, I was getting a jumpstart smoothie for breakfast. I was alone just for a moment with the girl waiting on me behind the counter... when an unkempt, unclean, disheveled, (obviously derelict) young stranger strolled in and began a hyper-speed conversation with the waitress...

{To capture his rambling please read the next string of words carefully but in a hyper manner:} " Top of the morning to you... Now I am not here to hurt myself or anyone here, and I am not expecting anything, and there are no obligation on your part because I know that every situation has its limitation. I, my self, have no money but these two pennies in my hand and the emptiness of my pockets ... So do not worry about having to whip up a special order; but if there are any scraps or mistakes that you were about to throw away that could provide me with a little sugar that could give me energy to begin my day I would be much obliged." ...

(Seeing that the waitress was shaking her head side to side and looking pitifully empty-handed herself , he once again tried to put her at ease) "Again there is no obligation and I only have two cents so don't worry if you have nothing to offer... have a wonderful day"

Then turning quickly to move towards the café door, the Stranger turned in my direction ... but not to address me, but just to open a dialogue with the air? ... "Ooooh, I enjoy rubbing these two pennies together, another two and I could do stereo ...(he finished with a chuckle)" Then he fixed his Eyes on me and said as he quickly left ... "Have a great day...Don't let anything or anyone rob you of your joy!"

....What just happened? I was trying to get my wits about me, sensing his need, and wanting to get him a smoothie; but he raced off and into another café so quickly that I lost sight of him. Moving on with my day I realized that this moment provided a very valuable "2 cents" rubbed ... near by me .

Joy is an essential ingredient to sustain life ... No joy, no hope... Potentially no life. BUT Joy, real lasting Joy is directly related to our relationship with God. and it appears that joy is something that can be lost by sin and selfish choices, but it can be "heard" once again; and real joy can be restored by the LORD (Read Psalm 51: It is an epic journal of the fall and return of the heart of the king ... Based on the sins of David and his restoration journey back to God's favor).

Joyless? ... Turn from your self-sufficient struggles back to an empirical reliance upon Him.

"Make me to hear Joy and gladness, that the bones which Thou hast broken may rejoice." Psalm 51:1

"Restore unto me the Joy of Thy Salvation, and uphold me with Thy free spirit." Psalm 51:12

Real Joy is ... To be continued ---

HLFA,

Jeff

Misplaced Identity

The world has absolutely no lasting welcome ... for all that is in it is the wasteful desires of the flesh, the fleeting lusts of the eyes, and the deceitful pride that defends our foolish excuses for our rebellious decisions. Shine and glitter it may, and it does offer a wide gate ... but that gate opens to dwindling pleasures that end in destruction. The god of this world and his cohorts can't be bribed, know no loyalty and show no mercy when the welcome is gone. Those given to the ploys of this mirage will soon find themselves as slaves feeding off of the left over slop from the excretions left rotting of other pilgrims who have also wasted away in the lie. Love not the world.

A follower of Christ still has to live under this world's oppressive influence with its manifold beginnings, choices and voices for sin. We need to be careful and prayer full that the God Breathed Scripture is not run through the filters of understanding offered by the world, but that the world is judged by the rightly allocated Word of God. More to be desired are His words than much fine gold.

Waking up after a crazy night in drug la-la land. The seeker found himself resting next to an old bookshelf - and one book in particular caught his eye. Just the leather cover and gold edged binding was enough to capture his attention and state its Royal standing among the other books. Trying to find out what all the hubbub was concerning this Holy book, he did the only logical thing he could think of ... Flip to the end of the story. Just as the words started to spark his sluggish imagination, a religious voice of reason barged in and said "Don't waste your time with that book, the writer had sun stroke and just wrote about the crazy things he saw. Let it alone ... Just the verbs of a crazy man. The book went shut ... For years.

Another day on down the road of his journey, after a strange night tangled in the darkness of a drug induced delusion, his soul was crying for change... And there it possibly was; a man handing out pamphlets addressing those he met with " need peace and hope? Read this and you may find it!" ... he continued this line of encouragement until the man's eyes caught the seeker coming his direction. Immediately the man turned and began running and screaming. The seeker confused, chased the man for several blocks until finally almost in desperation, the man through a large handful of the "peace and hope" papers into the air. The seeker stopped his pursuit as he felt and watched the shower of pamphlets raining down around and on him. As one hit the ground in front of him, he saw that it's front cover had a picture of that book ... that holy book. Drawing a quick conclusion, that book is why the man through it away... Must be worthless dribble.

"We interrupt our worship for a special announcement...now let's enter back into worship where we left it." This statement in this mornings church service caused me to chortle a little....Truly we are a mixed up generation that has little or no understanding of the Kingdom ... "Interrupt" real worship? And Is there an announcement that is more important than worship (maybe "Jesus is here" but that would just heighten the experience) --? "Enter back where we left it"? Sorry if I get a little frustrated with the children of the Kingdom when they congregate and lodge their faith on clichés and half truths pasted together to get an AMEN -or "APERSON" (to not be gender biased...).

Lately I hear a lot of good People say that... "Jesus said and meant" things that are really pretty fuzzy and slightly bent and sometimes just way out there? Perhaps the point is to quickly Comfort or Challenge with the word, so it is taken through a "expertly educated" paper shedder of sorts and put back together in a momentary palatable fashion? We don't want to offend the listener do we?

Also, There seems to be a movement afoot to discredit and belittle those who believe that the Bible, in its entirety, is the inspired Word of God. Instead of seeking God's face for a fit, we would sooner whiteout the "mistakes". There are even versions of the Bible that annotate and leave out portions of scripture as "not in the original" -- today we ARE FAR TOO EDUCATED FOR OUR OWN GOOD and our true devotion is to self and not Him.

Why don't we all start creating our own versions of the word -- tools required: scissors, trashcan and glue... that would totally eliminate accountability to anyone but our selves... we could be gods of our own world. OKAY we still swallow the tempter's initial lure.

OK ... Now, I kind of understand why we start hacking and whacking away at scripture although not one "jot or tittle" can be removed until all is fulfilled. Let's take a peek at the author or originator of this comment - "jot or tittle" - and see why:

Matthew 5:18 - "For Verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." --- Catch this chapter in its entirety - let the power of the pieces fall where they may. Do not leave your brain at the door and... throw away the scissors, trashcan and glue!

1. Don't ever discard what you disagree with or dislike about the Bible. The Law was meant to reveal the tragic disconnect and depravation of man ... With a broken and contrite heart, you will find yourself fallen and in need of a Savior -- right in the midst of the law. "The law of the LORD is perfect converting the soul."

2. Don't pick and choose what laws you now have the right to obey or to break. Jesus fulfilled the law by His death on the Cross -- not for you to have liberty to Sin, but for you to experience the Liberty of Grace. Grace does not break the Law, it lives in the fulfillment of the penalty and the Law of Love. "The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple."

3. Don't negate accountability to God by assigning scripture to someone else, some other time, or some other place. Context is important but devotion is key. "The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: "

4. Don't be afraid to not understand parts of the Bible. Many portions of scripture have a time for understanding ... and it may not be now. "the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes."

5. Don't strive to be right, your righteousness... which is Jesus... already exceeds the righteousness to the Pharisees. Trust the Lord and His Word... without apology. Explaining away or making goofy excuses for "why God said" puts you in the category of the foolish and slow to believe. "The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether."

The clarity of our Identity in Christ is found in our daily devotion to His Word. A misplaced or distorted identity is the result of alienating ourselves from the Spirit by choosing our thoughts over His.

"More to be desired are they than gold, yea, much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honey comb. Moreover by them is Thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward." Psalm 19:7-11

Then one whose heart was full of love for the Word of God and others, caught the Seeker, and through the Word ... led him to a saving knowledge of the Lover of his Soul, Jesus. There... the Seeker found his Identity. May 1973.

HLFA,

Jeff

"It is not what I think that matters, it is what He has said that matters." - The Scarlet Sinner

The Obvious and The Owl

Psalm 16:5 - "The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance (the obvious) and of my cup (the Owl) : Thou maintainest my lot (choices) ."

Distanced- Yes, they were outcasts, but they had gifts and dreams just like every other pilgrim to hit the planet... Somewhere along the journey they missed the warning signs or just thought the signs were there for anyone else but them; and then it happened - their choice was wrong, now they were marked, scarred, tarnished and deemed unworthy, not necessarily on the outside, but they truly felt that everyone could see their indelible past indiscretions.

She needed someone to come beside her and help her through this. Every gathering of sojourners that she would try to join up with for encouragement, and possible recovery, seemed to distance themselves from her. "They all just seemed to know I was there but did their best not to make eye contact." Isn't this a lot like all of us at some point in time and to some extent?

He was distanced but could not see that distance was a two way street. Too soon, the same addictions that wreaked havoc in his life in the first place were once again adding even more distance from Love's true rescue. Any personal choice, especially the embarrassingly wrong ones, carries with it a monstrous pride and a paranoid prejudice that already sets the stage for isolation and depression.

A wind of hope began to blow their way: Excitement filled their hearts when they heard of a gathering of pilgrims who were former outcasts, who welcomed all and anyone into their family of "believers" ... including searchers and recovering outcasts ... Hallelujah, finally a safe haven, or so it seemed.

They had their doubts ...but ... they forced their selves through the doors of this assembly, but not without many warm hands extending their way and friendly sincere welcomes. So they opened their eyes wide while passing into this scene; and they thought to themselves ...What a great place, and such an awesome welcome ... Fabulous atmosphere, wonderful smiles, clean and bright surroundings, and now there was a high anticipation in their hearts for real encouragement. Every thing about the moment rang true to heart ... A flicker of hope was now alive.

Fatefully the "service" drew to a close as the lights came on and the crowd raced out the door. With moving chit-chat and not a concerned eye glancing toward them, their heart once again turned downward, and painfully fell under their self inflicted defects. They were able to disappear ... they slipped out unnoticed and away back in to the darkness of the distanced life.

She found herself lurking in the shadows of a street light in a painful emotional quaking. She wanted so badly to be seen for what she was becoming, not what she was. The LORD had become the prepared portion of the sum total of her life. And her cup was lifted up and waiting for all the LORD would pour into her life, knowing that LORD had attained her full attention and was now grasping and supporting all of her decisions.

In times past ... Surely his chalice had been lifted unknowingly to be filled with the dregs of sorrow though in the beginning the supply of the world was so attractive and enticing. His desires in times past were concealed in the nocturnal branches of his predatory thinking, and these unbridled would wait in a wide eyed fashion for the right moment to stealthily swoop in to capture the target of his lust. This was no longer where his heart's desire resided...

BUT people, good people still saw them as flawed and possibly contagious.

O their ache was like so many, how to fit into the awkward culture of the assemblies who were more worried about keeping the rescuers safe than "risking all" to rescue the fallen. These assemblies though "called out" into the deep, had traded their rescue devices for comfortable leisure pool floatation devises that carried superficial printed warnings like ...."not to be used for first aid or rescue purposes."... What?

Her heart was now pleading ...
His heart was now screaming ...
"SEE ME! ... LOOK ME IN THE HEART!"
"The LORD ...is the appointed value of my life in the presence of men, and the measure of my heart's desire ... that He is filling; He is holding me securely in all of my decisions!"

Although it momentarily felt as though only the streetlight had been listening, all of eternity bowed in admiration. And the LORD spoke deeply into the pilgrim's soul ... "My beloved".

HLFA,

Jeff

PS - Hebrew word for Cup also means "Owl" --- think about it.