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

Eternal Gazer

Psalm 33:13, 14 - "The LORD looketh from Heaven; He beholdeth all the sons of men. From the place of His habitation He looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth." (Read the whole Psalm ... take a little time with this ...do not just file 13 it!)

 We wouldn't recognize it for the strange events that always surround "them". There is something about those people, almost spooky. When they walk into any situation where people have congregated ... you feel either peace or tension. Although they may appear alone, it almost feels like someone else is watching...watching almost through their eyes ... and you sense the eternally stable convicting of the Gazer of Men. The unseen Gazer is felt like the buildup of the force of lightning that is about to flash with amazing brilliance and potential devastation through the thick darkness of an oncoming storm.
The Gazer is theirs and they are His.

With this the trumpet sounded and warriors assembled.

The threat was real; and the battlefield was filled with the bravest, most fearless soldiers the universe could assemble for war... but the King of Love shouted: "There is no need for an army!" (but he had already given reluctant consent via his counsellors). A few moments later the army was joined by thousands of gloriously arrayed horses with riders that were fully armored and fully armed in a most terrifying fashion ... the King of Love shouted again: "There is no need for horses nor horsemen". (but to this also he had already given reluctant consent via his counselors) And there the terrifying army stood, ready for battle.

At this moment where death and destruction hung so prevalently ominous over the entire scene, there appeared a single strand of blinding light that illuminated the King as He fell to His knees and prayed in a strange but confident manner saying only once; "Not my will, but Thy be done... Into Thy hands I commit my spirit." The silence after seemed to last an awkward and unearthly three hours; and then it happened ... all Hell broke loose.

There was a momentary sound of an earth quake, but the armies stood still. There was the rushing blast of a fiery blazing wind, but the armies stood their ground. Then there was an almost inaudible still small voice that appeared to ravage and slay the armies and the horses. The celestial voice planted the entire army helplessly paralyzed on its face totally unable to lift so much as the sound of a breath. All were helpless to aid the King of Love.

And there the King of Love stood alone in the midst of the most terrifying moment the universe has ever witnessed ... {take your most fearful imagination and gaze at the slithering, horrible, winged, taloned, creatures that began to circle, to pounce and to rip at the King of Love until He was a bleeding mass of ravaged humanity. See as every ounce of His royal frame screams with pain, though His lips remain silent. Watch as He is lifted on a roughly hewn wooden stake high into the sky by the hellish snarling hoard.} The Leader of the hoards of Hell cried in the face of the King of Love ..."Now what do you have to say for your self ... Love?"

 The King of Love's eyes open 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!"; breathed His last breath; and died.

"Victory?" Hissed the army of Hell; silence ...and then there was an explosion of ungodly laughter that filled the air, and a wicked frivolity that filled the scene for three days. The creatures that had held the lifeless body of the King of Love, shook it on the stake like a useless rag doll, "Come on, you are no freakin' fun!". And when He would not respond, they threw the dead King aside like a soiled disgusting broken toy ...
"Is that all you got!" They spit on Him.
 "Such weakness!" They cursed Him.
"Didn't even die with a man-like fight!" They threw a large stone on His torn and unrecognizable body... and then sealed it with a curse.

As the hoards slithered away in an almost appearance of retreat they kicked the lifeless bodies of the mighty army with every move, and cursed the scene and the sky above them. The scene was beyond surreal, it didn't feel like they had won the war or even fought a battle. Something wasn't quite right.

 THEN ...There it was again ... there was that strange sense of Someone watching. Someone whose gaze brought peace or tension. And in a moment full of eternal purpose, the tension escalated to terror among the hoards; and with a flash of an eternal eye ... a voice was heard "This is my Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear ye Him!" With that Word ... the enemy hoards vaporized in screams of despair ... leaving the scene as it had been just three days before, just before the battle. But NOW the King of Love stood alive forever more... the Victory won without an army, without a horse, with only the Word.

This Eternal Victory is now the standing and powerful hope that resides within the life of every Child of the King of Love. God gazes and reaches through every one of his kids to minister to a world that has been ransacked by sin and the hoards of Hell. Those who are His, stand in the midst of the assembly of mankind bringing peace or tension. The King of Love, the Eternal Gazer, gazes through His Own reconciling the world unto Him. Fear not to speak His Word of peace to a world who so desperately needs His saving love.

You are the abode of the King of Love. You are His habitation.

HLFA,

 Jeff

Alien Decisions

There was a loud smashing sound of a windscreen, and then all was still. The next thing I knew, two very strange uniformed aliens were leaning into the "now open" cockpit of my transport vehicle and were questioning me, "You all right?". I lifted my hand up to the right side of my head only to pull it away moistened by the oozing of blood flowing from a gash just above my right ear.

One of the aliens seeing this sat quickly to the ground with his head in his hands, the other tried his best to keep talking with me as if I was in grave danger of leaving the planet. (All I was trying to do was go for an interview at UnPaServices ... and this incident had to be some sort of cruel turn of events, some sort of crass experiment, a trial and a proving to stretch me beyond my experience.) I did fall back into the darkness only to awake in a small dimly lit room with my head bound in a strange turban-like wrap. And ... now there were three uniformed aliens speaking as if I wasn't there - trying to determine my fate: "What are we going to do with him?".

I was released the same evening into the custody of a friend. Although, I was leaving the WindSwept City ... I was jobless, near mortally wounded and my transport vehicle had to be left behind at the mercy of the uniformed Aliens. As for my future, I now had to face the music of those who were depending on my provision. Oh if only I could fly away... Today I can look back on this event and see how strategic it was to lead me to where I am today.

Psalm 139: 9,10 - "If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall Thy hand lead me and Thy right hand shall hold me."

Pain, loss, and sickness can be very isolating events. Did you ever notice that we try to avoid sharing in the pain of others? Why? Reflexively, we may not want others to be around us when we face traumatic events of life? Why? There is distance created with pain, loss and illness that seems to scatter broken love in so many directions the participants of the intersection don't quite know where to turn, what to say, or what to do. {Remember the followers of Christ during and after the Crucifixion? ... the dimensions of separation were devastatingly amazing}.

Listen to Psalm 139 verse 9 from THIS imagination vantage point: "Oh no, here comes the dawn! I will run as fast as I can to find the border of this blanket of light and pull it over me. If that doesn't hide my pain, I will race across the sea and dive into the depths of its darkness so no one sees me as I am" ... OR ... "If I could lift up the darkness long enough to slip under the edges of the dawn along the uttermost boarders of the bottomless and endless sea to hide my invalid existence while caught in this cruel experiment."

Verse 10 reveals the reality of GOD WITH US in the events that make us want to run and hide: "Still I would find your protective hand leading my every step, and the faithful strength of your right hand holding me secure." "God, You never leave Your kids, You never abandon them even when they seek their own abandonment."

The soul of man has the innate ability, because of the Fall, to imagine overwhelmingly negative and toxic things if given the chance. For so many times, in our moments of fear and pain, we want to escape in such a way that hopefully everyone one would search for us, but we seem to coddle the fear that no one would miss us or care that we are gone. Admit it ...if we have not had this moment of disappointment in our lives, we will. But in that moment ... that moment tempting us to give up ... we need strong truth from our God to sustain us.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (An expanded translation) "The temptation, the event that feels like a cruel experiment to prove and test us; though attempting to completely conquer us, this unnerving experience is common occurrence among all mankind. BUT GOD ... is complete in His faithfulness to us in those seemingly cruel experimental moments, HE WILL NOT PUSH US BEYOND OUR momentary POWER TO SUSTAIN ... because with the moment of testing HE WILL PROVIDE an egress, a way out, an exit that we will be strengthened to bear up under the event and carry it strategically into our future."

God loves us so much that our pain and suffering, though common to men, ... is a portal to our greater potential to know him more intimately and to be loved by Him more openly in the future. OH How He loves you and me. He is leading and holding ... He is our Egress (No matter what the Aliens in the dimly lit room decide to do with us.)

HLFA,

Jeff

Seve Minutes - Where is the Servant?

Seven minutes with the morning news ... was enough to send me surfing to find relief? Then it dawned on me, the power button works quite well. I leaned back and took a deep breath. What can one person do to change the tide of evil on this planet? Where can one voice be found to have its greatest advantage to do the most good? Where is the servant? What is the servants heart not treated with great valuation?
   
"Behold my SERVANT, whom I have chosen: my Beloved in whom my soul is well pleased; I will put my Spirit upon Him, and He shall show judgment to the Nations." Matthew 12:18

The Media is really good at depicting the leader as a "boisterous, take charge at the top" kind of individual; and we buy into this worldly picture of strong leadership. A man with the fortitude to stand out, and the courage to "shout out" is the one to follow (even if he doesn't really care about anyone other than himself), right? The one who makes the most noise gets the most camera time and therefore ... he must be an effective leader? Once again, Why is the servant pictured as the wimp and the loser?

"He shall not strive (engage in strife), nor cry (raise the volume of his opinion), neither shall any man hear (there is an inability to truly hear) his voice in the streets." Matthew 12:19

How many opportunities are there at the top? At the top there are very few peers, but plenty of critics. At the top there can be a multitude of pretend followers just waiting for "a fall" to be ready to snatch up the former leader's position. So many "so called" leaders seem way to eager to step on as many followers as they can to march their way up the ladder of success. One sided networking is owned by this type of leader, and many wounded informants are left to flounder and struggle along the way.

The Mantra of these leaders could have sound bites like this: "Get what you can from everyone you can." "Ignore, those who have nothing to offer." "Quarantine the lame, the maimed, the halt, and the blind they are in the way of true success." "Anyone that stumbles and falls move them and their personal embarrassment to the roadside where they can be cared for by the uniformed, servant, good Samaritan". Why is the servant labeled as uninformed, foolish, and a potential waste of resources?

"A bruised reed shall He not break, and a smoking flax shall He not quench, till He send forth judgment unto victory." Matthew 12:20

"We don't have time to train people, we are not a rehab, we just hire right!" was blurted out by a "Boss" who soon lost his position. "We are not in the business of coddling and comforting the feeble, we are here to raise up an army of Victorious Warriors." echoing off of the rafters of an almost empty church auditorium.

The secret to lasting success is found in the "Heart of The Servant". As a servant, upward will be the naturally rewarded direction for movement, though moving up is not his goal. His movement forward will be purposeful and will continue to be an endeavor of helping and building others. This servant drive will earn him influence and trust. Jesus' words ... "Greatest is the servant" were not just a flippant suggestion, but a royal mandate with growing temporal and eternal reward. Good servants build great trust.

"And in His Name shall the nations trust." Matthew 12:21

O the forward movement of our lives... when fashioned in servanthood: love becomes the ulterior motive, grace is the rule for response, and others are of greater value than our personal achievement. You may say ... "what good did servant-ship do for Jesus, He found Himself crucified on a cruel Roman cross!" BUT my friend, forget not that you are the reason for His sacrifice, AND that after the third day He also found himself outside of an empty tomb...Fully Alive with full power to redeem all who will call upon Him.

Trust the Sacrifice of God's SERVANT ... trust the pattern He left for us ... and live fully engaged in a life spent in service for Christ to others. Hear the voice of the Servant: "Not my will, but Thine be done!"

HLFA,

Jeff

"And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the LORD, and not unto men; Knowing that of the LORD ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the LORD Christ." Col. 3:23,24

Here Kitty-Kitty!

Those eyes staring at me were so mysteriously beautiful. The colors and texture of the fur appeared inviting and cozy; and patterned to catch the eye, no doubt. Maybe if I lovingly and quietly accept this beast into my life there will be peace? O the beauty of the Lion in the wild! "Here kitty kitty!", may invite the big cat to lunch, but in the process of the invitation fulfillment, we will probably be found on the menu.

I am sorry to have to state of the obvious, but I must -- there will always be an "us" and "them" until we feel the full affects of the angelic proclamation,  "that there should be time no longer!"
(Revelation 10:6). Until Eternity is ushered in, there will always be conflict not communion between light and darkness. They can't occupy the same space without the darkness being banned to the shadows or the light being challenged for more wattage.

 There is a continual tension between righteousness and unrighteousness, trying to agree to disagree will not "cut it" especially with such stark irreconcilable differences. There are rewards for obedience and penalties for disobedience; and they are not the same (Duh!) What peace is there between Christ and Satan? There is no peace pact with an enemy who will not settle for anything less than mankind's total annihilation.

Just wishing away the conflict, denying it or declaring it not there, coaching it away or reasoning it away is absurd. So many are still looking for the easy way out. If it is not enough to have truth and error standing toe to toe in opposition, we add pressure to the conflict by choosing convenient truth. The easy way out for believers may come in the form of embracing an easy to swallow, lopsided revelation that declares truth that the natural heart can find agreeable and feel good about. Although, this "feel good" fallacy may appear to ease the conflict here, subduing the inconvenient and uncomfortable truths will create a conflict with the Author of Truth.

Sin is man's malady, Death and Hell is Sin's penalty ... Sin must be confessed as oppressive to man, appalling to God, but paid for by Christ's blood via His death on the cross. Here comes the rub - "He that believes on the Son has everlasting life, but he that believes not on the Son God shall not see life but the wrath of God abides on him." John 3:36.

Man is a SINNER, UNGODLY, LOST, AN ENEMY, WITHOUT STRENGTH, at enmity with God ... and he remains that way without a faith reception of Jesus. We may believe what we want. We have the choice ... we stand in a decision ... we either are His by Faith or we are not. If we are not trusting Him for our eternity... we are the opposition. Choosing the Message of the Cross is not a convenient truth but it is the only way to Heaven.

"When I in stealth, crept unaware into the study of man ... I opened his book of faith and found blottings, missing pages, and holes. What I had found is that he had created his own faith and declared his own word. ... here Kitty, Kitty! ... guess who's becoming dinner.

Are we afraid that if everything is not OK that we are not OK? Hey wake up! We are not OK; and that is alright if we belong to Jesus. ... Resolve to make peace with God through faith in Christ; and live engaged in the conflict until the grace of God sees you through.

HLFA

Jeff

Psalm 139:10 - "Even there shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me."