Tale of Two Cities 2 - Where the Heart is ...Momentarily!

The two cities ... the same radio, TV, and Internet choices ... The same insatiable search for Satisfaction. The Media buffet that is set before humanity to tempt and attempt to feed all the dimensions of our physical, intellectual, and spiritual existence is supplied from so many different directions. The key to the success of a Desire Vendor involved in this "Satisfaction Guaranteed" Buffet, is the relevancy of the connection of the product to the desires of the listening "naive" consumer. What happens to a city if it buys in to the barrage of "personal satisfaction noise" ... in so much, that the search or desire for God fades midst the immediate insatiable desires of its occupants?

Will the need to be satisfied "now" ever be satiated? The natural progression in the heart of man is a growing desire for "more" - and is also driven by an ever waning ache for the "different". Where we allow our "wants" or lusts to be directed will definitely determine the extent of our abilities to sustain a desire for the Eternal.

Psalm 17:14 - "From men which are Thy hand, O LORD, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly Thou fillest with Thy hid treasure: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes."

Continual belly filling...replicates ... its offspring become the next generation of belly fillers... but every generation leaves all of their temporal amassed treasures behind. The temporal satisfaction stops at the death of one generation but this selfish insatiable desire begins "here" with the next generation. Will this insatiable desire for "things" protect the next generation from the consequences of a life that has no desire for God?

What does our focused search for satisfaction in this temporal existence do to our children, and our children's children? Where is your heart ... momentarily?

Psalm 17:15 - "As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness: I SHALL BE SATISFIED, when I awake, with Thy likeness".

Continual Spirit filling ... replicates ... its offspring become the next generation of Spirit fillers... but every generation leaves all their temporal amassed treasures behind ... the temporal satisfaction stops at the death of one generation but the personal insatiable desire for Him has the potential to overwhelm and protect the next generation from the consequences of a life that has no desire for Jesus.

What does our focused search for satisfaction in this temporal existence do to our children, and our children's children? Where is your heart ... momentarily?

Seeking "stuff"?...When we are done here...where will we awake? Could we lose everything, even our souls? Seeking Him?...When we are done here...we awake in His likeness, we loose nothing...especially our souls.

The Miracle of lasting Satisfaction is found in a direct and active connection to Eternity through Jesus Christ: the Living Word of Promise, and the Bible: the written Word of promise. The miracle manifests itself in a satisfying desire to grasp an incomplete but progressing opportunity to perceive and to understand our God.

TWO CITIES - One seeking things, and the other seeking Him. Where your heart is, there is your treasure ... and the tale of your City.

HLFA,

Jeff

"Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." Matthew 6:33

Two Cities - Where is the LORD?

As the small band of war torn refugees approached the purported city of refuge (Known as the “City of the LORD” and the “City of Peace”), they gathered everything within their souls to muster up enough strength to travel the last mile of their frightful journey to the hope of safety. Still a bit blurry within that last mile of distance, the full sight of their hope begins to slowly diminish as their blurred vision starts clearing to see that the “Beautiful City of Hope” has become another city of oppression. {This city, potentially, is a greater threat than the battles they had faced. } They now have turned abruptly, just plodding forward with what little strength that remains, to at least die with dignity beyond the clutches of the city that was before them … What had happened to that city of promising peace and safety? Where was the LORD? (Read Zephaniah 3)

Within each of our lives there is a tale of two cities. This tale is actually the story of our choices of life that can bring hope or oppression to our lives and to the lives of those with whom we daily interact. Within our hearts there is either a transforming story of a progressive desire to trust in and draw close to our God; or a decadent tale of a refusal to trust and (even in great despair ) to keep our distance from the only One that desires to save us.

Our lives can offer up a daily breath of fresh air and spark a renewed hope to those around us. But if our choices are focused solely on what we can get for ourselves, amassing the sum total of the getting for our own consumption, we become a life sucking vacuum in the lives of others. There is also an expectation to be loved by friends and family that can lead to further pressure in their lives if all we have to offer is “give me!”. The LORD can be found in the life of every city, every soul … because (as stated in II Peter 3:9) “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Where is He in your city … your life? How is He positioned to keep His promise?

In the City or the Life that is poured out solely for self-gain and self-pleasure where there is a purposeful or ignorant movement away from God, this is how He is positioned: Zephaniah 3:5 – “The just LORD is in the midst thereof; He will not do iniquity: every morning doth He bring His judgment to light, He faileth not; but the unjust knoweth no shame”. He is right in the midst of the oppression. He will not do wrong. He stands in all fairness as the constant reminder that He will not vary in His judgment of sin; but those who are unjust refuse to blush and refuse to let their shame turn them towards Him. A sad oppressive city!

In the City or the Life that is poured out for others, where there is a purposeful movement towards God (although there may temporal calamity and poverty because “we are in the world, not of it”), the Lord has positioned Himself to be the Rescuer, the Rejoicing Encourager, and the Joyful Singer over us... all because He is satisfied within His Love for us (John 3:16). Zephaniah 3:17 - “The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing”. When the Lord is “thy God” ...He “is mighty”... “in the Midst of thee” in His daily declaration of His joy filled love for you. Such a stark contrast to His positioning in the midst of the life that chooses to be without Him. A Joyful City of Refuge!

One thing to note: There will be conflict in both cities until “The Day break and the shadows flee away”... until the Beloved Ones enter the final, eternal city of their God. If our minds are clear, none of us want conflict, but it is that “once and for all” Faith Choice in Jesus Christ as our LORD and Saviour that now has made us a target for the battering of the oppressor. If the oppressor can discourage our daily decision to live openly and joyfully in Christ's love (the only place of life changing power), then the Song of Saviour may be silenced for other war torn refugees seeking the true City of Salvation.

His Love Will Conquer All! Rest in His love, He does.

HLFA,
Jeff

Zephaniah 3:19,20 (Hang on to this vision when the going gets rough, and weep for the outcasts) - “Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will save her that halteth (that is lame), and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame. At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the LORD.”

This grand prophesy is for Israel, but the active daily prophetic implications are for His people who are in the conflict for the souls of men, women and children. Fight a good fight for the Souls He puts us in contact with...they are not the enemy.

Marked & Scarred - Her Tattoos Were Obvious

Marked and Scarred - Her tattoos were obviously there to cover her “cutting” because not all the scars were to be hidden. There was lifeless, monotone conversation blurting from her lips as she tried to serve me with some professionalism in her “sandwich maker” position. "Lord help her!" I cried inside of me, as I tried my hardest to bring out some color of her personality other than the shades of gray that I was experiencing. She was someone's precious daughter, someone's beautiful baby girl, possibly someone's future nurturing mother... now stripped of the color of life. "What value to you are these who have made the choice to deface their existence because of some moment of irreparable pain?" Then I saw her value beneath the shadow of Your bloody, rugged Cross. “O how extravagantly You desire to love her !”

Psalm 60 is a powerful declaration, sung from out of the total oppression borne of one because of an incurable wound, an unhealed scar. Don't pass this one by ... read it to understand; read it to reach deep into your refusal to let go of the horror and embarrassment of the moment that your soul was plundered. Let's strip away the big words and hard to pronounce names, and Devotionally let the words of the Spirit conquer the shattering, trembling world within us. Tear away the torn rags of our fading covering, and unleash the abundant life found in the liberty of love that Jesus provides for us.

{Background laid out in the first half of Psalm 60:1} The Musician must write this intensive musical composition. It must be written to ride its melody upon the former lilies, the former beauty of the Beloved... which are now indelibly stained. It is to be written so the listener can hear, understand, and learn: The Beloved, was in the midst of a battle that he should have won. The battle turns, and now the focus of the Beloved is to get away before he is totally decimated and ruined. The Battle was with emotional underground raging streams and exalted prideful displays in the midst of the conflict … the Beloved's Battle was with himself. So devastating was the moment that “Jehovah is Father” was caused to turn around and slay 11-19,000 “red”, human lives in the Valley of Salt (a place of former horrific judgment)”.

Hear the prayer of the tortured soul as written by the musician at the end of verse 1:
“ O God, Thou hast cast us off..” … we are the stench, we are the totally banished castaways! “Thou hast scattered us...” ...we are broken into, down, and through; we are forever ruined!
“Thou hast been displeased...” ...all we hear is Your hard, dis-pleasurable breathing … no comfort! “O turn Thyself to us again.”…though it feels so final, return to us again: return, return, return for us!

We all try to handle our embarrassing failings, our obvious faults, our overt shortcomings, our hindering handicaps, our viral sicknesses, our shameful sins, our indelible stains, our putrefying sores, and our distasteful scars... with some sort of self righteous cover up; while deep from within our souls there is shout against our covering lie. This is the hopeless and inaudible cry of the totally abandoned. Any violations of our dignity via another cruel human perpetrator adds even more validation to our hopeless self-depreciation that feeds into this unavoidable cry.

We pretend we are “OK” until the unseen, underground streams of spiritual antagonism churn “the Past” until these streams topple all our attempts to win the “I'm Somebody” battle. This battle stance is maintained with even more rigger when we find ourselves trying to find acceptance within the community of purported faith. Faith doesn't have to fake self righteousness, faith trusts the totally adequate covering of God's Righteousness through Christ. A community that pressures it's followers to pretend perfection is failing in its example of the Love of God. His righteousness, that exceeds all others: is freely given without regret, is superimposed upon the life that has trusted the Song of the Saviour, and allows enough room for human failing and open forgiveness. His righteousness is all that is needed for acceptance in the gatherings of the True Beloved.

Psalm 60:9 - “Who will bring me into the strong city? Who will lead me into Edom?” Who will lead me to face me … who will bring me to face my scars? Can you answer without hesitation --- “JESUS”?
Psalm 60:11, 12 -“Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man. Through God we shall do valiantly: for He is is that shall tread down our enemies.”
The end of me is the beginning of You...Your Love Conquers All!
Thank you Jesus, my Love, my Victory!

HLFA,

Jeff

Ageless Gazer

Psalm 56 has been my companion this week as we raced down highways and byways doing our best to get from point A to point B, and then at point B do the tasks required so we could get from point B back to point A at a reasonable hour to have a life (just the thought of all that wandering wears me out!) In that racing there were "snapshots of the heart" that captured my meditations... and one I will carry to you for the soul's purpose of reflection and possible vision redirection.

Psalm 56:8 - "You can recall all my aimless fluttering "to and fro" like a tale that is told; you must put my tears into your bottle, are they not already in your book?"

Ageless Gazer, that is what I will call him. We were watching yellow and white lines flip by with the miles as we passed by him. There he stood alongside of a dilapidated, ivy vine-overrun-shack of a house, that almost bled over onto the highway. Ear muffed hat (one muff up -one down); tattered, lined jean jacket that was improperly buttoned(possibly because of a button loss); roughed up jeans hanging at different leg lengths as they oddly draped a pair of big open clod-hopper type of boots ....he just stood there... he just stood staring to the East, to the sun rise, with a smile on his face.

"What good is he to you God, and what grand purpose is he performing for the Kingdom? He appears to have no plan, no forward movement, no lasting accomplishments with exception of his world that he stands in - that was falling down all around him." "If he has surrendered all then he should be busy ministering to everyone he comes in contact with."

The blush that I felt overcoming me caused tears to blurry my vision, and my heart beat sounded louder than the driving music in the car. I discovered "that heart" within me which is so desperately wicked and momentarily scorned my thoughts. I found my self cruelly thinking thoughts of human worth devaluation until the Spirit cried out to my spirit -- "His value is in the fact that I love Him, and he loves me! What does it matter to you?"

There is such a strong desire to see God in His people, that leaders and peers will add pressure to that already overarching ache ...Too much trying, too much crying, too many plans, too much practice, too much performance, too many promises...all from the brokenness of our lives. Our hope in this grand endeavor: that the Comforter will be made welcome and comfortable because of us (this almost borders obscene). It is all that we can do to make it appear that we are OK to strangers and with a little more effort... to each other.

We have yet to realize the power vested in us, though we are clay vessels. Common earthen vessels, broken in the fact that life as we know it chips at us day by day. But here is the awesome unseen reality of God's plan ... as we decrease, He increases ... as we realize our weakness, He reveals his strength ... As we wait, He works ... As we humble our selves, He lifts us up. Our value is found, and stabilized by His Word... in the fact that Jesus Loves us. We love him because He first loved us.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the real power of a man's life that affects eternal change, is based on the times of anonymous Godly living in an ungodly world, that is fueled by his soul desired secret moments to intimately know his God. Events that have changed the course of spiritual history have not been wrought by the strong faith actions of Godly men and women, but by the fragile dependence of the spiritually battered on the gracious intervention of an Almighty God.

Ageless Gazer, I did not know that you were offering your last words of supplication that brought us protection on the highways and safe passage to our home. Ageless Gazer ... without a word and only your passing image am I challenged to let God love me more.

Walk with God, First ... "O God, Thou art my God, early will I seek Thee, my soul thirsteth for Thee, my flesh longeth for Thee; in a dry and thirst land where no water is." - Psalm 63:1

HLFA,

Jeff

Keep the Light on for Tim


I stooped down so as to very gently reach out and choose what I thought was the most exquisite grain of sand that I had ever seen. I carefully lifted this choice grain of sand and separated it from all the other normal sand that had been resting within the hundreds of miles of Atlantic shore line. At the very same moment that I was going to observe it within the palm of my hand, a sharp blast of ocean air caught it in a quick wisp of irreverent breeze and immediately deposited it beyond my vision. In that moment I held a snapshot of life on this side of Heaven, a life with no differentiation and with no lasting connection. A life Lost!

My memory took me to two named Tim, who are no longer with us – Similarities? They both we greatly talented, greatly admired, great personalities, and they were greatly blessed with possessions and possibilities. They both had families and friends that appeared to love them very much. Everyone that met them wanted to be a friend of “Tim”. Both, though, had painful secret scars that made it impossible to live life … as it was. “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose (incur irreparable damage to) his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange (of equal value) for his soul?” Matthew 16:26

One Tim decided that there was no reason to live at all; he didn't show up for school one day for he decided to “check out” … by his choice, carbon monoxide over came him via a vacuum hose from the tail pipe of a family car. Family and friends were devastated … no satisfying answers as to why. No one saw it coming … though the day before he had tried to call out for help, but no one took him seriously … he had everything! Everything except a reason to live. “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose (incur irreparable damage to) his own soul?” Mark 8:36

The other Tim decided that God's purpose-filled relationship for a man and a woman was an illusion, a mirage, a non-fulfilling proposition, and for these reasons he could not live his life as expected by others. With this decision of heart, he would pursue men as “love” partners until he was diagnosed and found dying of AIDS (At which time, in the presence of his Mom and Dad, he acknowledged his life choice as an offense to his God, family and friends ... and turned his heart back to God). “For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose (incur irreparable damage to) himself, or be cast away?” Luke 9:25

This is not meant to be a proclamation of judgment on either of these two souls … but I want to reflect from the vantage point of the three scriptures quoted. Both of these Tim s were not ashamed of Jesus, but here may be the disconnect … not having “another” who was not afraid to make known their scars:

Trying to find lasting connective eternal advantage in this life's temporary and fading adornment will cause damage the soul (our breath of life) in a potentially irreparable way (if it were not for Jesus). If one gives away the essence of what he is (from an eternal vantage point) to establish his independence from God, he will not only damage His connection upward but also connections outward.

The Tim-s of this world need so desperately to hear, that the cry of their scars will only strengthen their connection to Heaven not void it. Yes, Sin devastates and debilitates; but Christ forgives and restores new purpose. They need to hear that our scars can be made beautiful and useful; and when seen in the pure light of Heaven, they have been covered by blood of Jesus.

We are not grains of sand lost in the sea of sand – We are fragile souls that will spend eternity in Heaven or Hell based on our reception or rejection of the only remedy for our lost souls … Jesus. His Name is the ONLY Name under Heaven, given among men whereby we MUST be saved. Sin is our deadly incurable infirmity, Jesus, God's only satisfying payment for our sin, is eternity's only miracle of life remedy.

If you truly believe this – keep your light on for Tim, don't hide it under the “I'm OK” bushel basket disguise. I am not OK, but I have been forgiven and restored; and my Jesus story must be heard. This Hope hidden will never heal those whose secret scars have damaged them beyond their vision of God's ability to restore. If He restored me, He can restore anyone.

                                 Our souls will bear scars... from here to There in time.
                   Some inscribed by viscous suffering, some branded by shame filled crime.
                Lay bare your scars, His forgiven ones, knowing Healing in His Scars Divine,
                Share your scars as a sacred vessel to rescue those that are hope-lost and blind.

HLFA,

Jeff     

Beautiful Feet - With Shoes - Silver

“How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O Prince's Daughter! The joints of thy thighs are like jewels, the work of the hands of a cunning workman.” Song of Solomon 7:1.
My first glance at her, that totally captivated my imagination, was actually veiled through the protective barrier of two passing sports-car windshields. The image of her long, beautiful, medium dark brown auburn-hued hair, and her dark flashing eyes (that pierced the distance between me and her amazingly angel-like facial features) carried my heart into wonder … “could she ever be mine, and I hers?”

Then the two cars stopped. The driver of the car that I had been riding in, was also momentarily smitten by the sight of the passenger of the other car. During a brief exchange of small and meaningless words, my seat was given to the passenger of the other car while I was left standing between the two cars without transportation. The beautifully mysterious driver of the other car and I were left awkwardly with a decision (and I know this made her very uncomfortable)… what to do with me? To my heart's surprise, there was a reluctant waive to enter the passenger's seat of the other car, her car. Although I was thoroughly pleased with the awkward arrangement, she was determined for the moment, that this would be my last ride in her car.

The ride began abruptly with a chirp of back tires spinning; (now remember this is my imagination, my internal movie of historic events that changed life as I knew it forever) … leather clad hands masterfully turning the steering wheel and slapping the gear shift that were amazingly synchronized with beautifully fitted, leather “Bass” shoe-covered feet that danced with perfect timing between the clutch, brake, and gas petal. Although she kept my one hand gripping the seat and the other hand becoming one with the door handle as she tried so ardently to remove me from the equation (never to step foot into her car again); the mixture of the fear for my life, the awkwardness of the moment and the ravishing beauty seated beside me … my heart was slain... I had to know her... Her efforts to ban me only incensed my desire for more of her.

Love had started His work although in two different directions and at two different speeds … Love was alive although we did not know Him yet. There are so many other events that I keep in my “love memory” treasure chest. I will bring them out from time to time for further embellishment so that my love stays alive.

There is no one to compare to the “beauty” that stole my heart on “that ride” other than Jesus. And in the grand scheme of both of our eternities, that awkward meeting was the beginning of shared joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain, gain and loss, during good and bad days ahead, that we would share together. As we grew together, it became evident that God really wanted us together … He was “the” topic of discussion between us before we even knew Him, both in writing, in art, in music and distance that we shared as we grew together. On the same night in May, of a pivotal year, we were both introduced to Jesus by my brother Joe, thus beginning our journey as two individuals following Jesus, together; and then later, as God would have it: Two as One in following Him on September 7th of the next sequential year.

The beauty of my beloved and God's beloved are very similar (since she is His beloved also): “How beautiful are thy feet with shoes,” – My beloved has always had the coolest shoes for every occasion (now don't lose me thinking that I have a crazy “foot/shoe fetish”) - I think my favorite were a pair of brown, rough, and rugged, tie up, “bass” shoes. These shoes were a simple design fit to the contour of the foot, and looked exquisite during walks along streams and mountain pathways. This shoe has been captured in my heart because it spoke to me of her style, her commitment, her purity, her strength, her mystery, and her connection with this world and her connection with Heaven … Sure, Pure and uncomplicated. Her beauty is founded in a faith in a Saviour, that is with her as she pushes ahead no matter what the obstacle. Her honesty, even with her momentary disappointments with God, have led us both into some of the most amazing love adventures that our lives will ever see.

My love has not diminished, her beauty has not faded from my heart, because He who is “Altogether lovely” is the adornment of the beautiful shoe that we both wear... now and for all eternity. O , if only the world around us could be captured by the “How beautiful are the feet”of those who bring the glad tidings of the Gospel of Peace!"

Happiest of Anniversaries my queen, my bride, my love!
I still love you, more! And more!

HLFA,

 Jeff

Dancing in the Midst of the Battle

Staring in the mirror didn't make matters better. There seemed to be a stark contrast between what her Beloved had said about her and what her family proclaimed on a daily basis. "You are too dark and serious in your search for life!" "Your attitude about your "Beloved" is embarrassing us, like He is the only 'All Together Lovely One' ". "Your ambititions are too high and lofty for such a lowly one like you". O could there not be a willing heart to side with her, for then she could ride the chariots of love into the battle to proclaim the victory surrender? Would there not be any that would join her in the dance?

As she walked away from her family and friends, there seemed to be an ache in her soul that even their hearts could not deny. She knew she was a broken vessel, but she pulled His blood stained veil over her and moved to join Her Love in the Midst of the Battle.

Song of Solomon 6:12 - "Or ever I was aware, my soul made me like the chariots of Amminadib." If ever it was known, my soul positioned me as one riding upon the willingness of the people, my soul rides freely upon a willing people.
Song of Solomon 6:13 - "Return, return, O Shulamite; return, that we may look upon thee. What will ye see in the Shulamite? As it were the company of two armies." Return, return, O Perfectly Peaceful One (Blessed are the peace makers); return... what will we see in the Perfectly Peaceful One? This One Dances between two encampments in the midst of the raging battle.

Dust, blood, smoke, flame, loss of love, hope and fame. Clashing, crashing metal, splintering wood, bone, and frame. Searing pain, limbless cries, numbing suicidal shame... the violent take the kingdom by force, but the hearts of the realm are sick of love. The dead and living cry out for the Perfect Peace with no sound of it to come. Then right in the middle of the of the fray ... begins the dance of the Shulamite, the dance that moves to a melody resounding through all eternity:

"The Lord thy God in the Midst of thee is mighty, He will save...He will rejoice over thee with joy,

He will rest in His love, He will sing over thee with joy"...Zephaniah 3:17.
Our Lord God is mighty in the midst of His two encampments - "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, as in Heaven, so in Earth"... In the "Midst" is where His voice is heard ... hear the song of the Almighty, the Lover of your soul. He sings to come to Him ... - "as deep calls unto deep"...When the "Beloved" comes into the Midst of the two encampments to be with Her Desired Love, and hears the beautiful melody of His Song of Love over her ... she begins her responsive dance of Perfect Peace. The Battle no longer matters, all fear is gone... "My Beloved is mine and I am His." And peace begins to ripple out in every direction from her dance.

Hear the song, join the dance ... there is a King welcoming you, but you must come via His song ... join in with life fully alive in the Song of Jesus!

HLFA,

Jeff

Sick of Love

What was so special about her Beloved? She waited with full anticipation of His visit. In fact her heart skipped a beat when, through her window, she caught a glimpse of his image showing through the lattice-work of her wall. Just barely breathing so as to hear every one of His approaching footsteps (for she had timed His footsteps as He approach her door), she sensed his hand turning the latch before she had even heard the first footstep, but when she threw the door open He was gone. With total abandon, she raced out the door to find her Beloved knowing that her movements would be misunderstood.

Song of Solomon 5:7 – 9 "The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me. I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my Beloved, that ye tell Him, that I am sick of love. What is thy beloved more than another beloved, O thou fairest among women? what is thy beloved more than another beloved, that thou dost so charge us?"

What makes you so special? Most of us have heard this rhetorical question thrown our way throughout our short lives on this planet. Whether it was to be a sarcastic dig or just a statement of jealous jest, there was no expected reply that would be considered by the one asking the question. The heckler was not looking for an answer, they were just wanting to raise our blood pressure by getting us to question our self-worth. If the truth be known, our perceived value may be being determined by our peers (sad as that can be), though we should always seek the highest appraisal from the Ultimate Appraiser. The opinions of our peers should never set our final sale price, but let our value be determined by the One who loves us with an everlasting love.

In the community of faith and in our life among seekers,"What makes you so special?" is determined by how we value our relationship with our God, how we rest in His exquisite valuation of us, and how His love is lavishly poured out to others by our open exaltation of Him. So why do we constantly beat ourselves down with negative thoughts like - "But no one appreciates me!" ?

Building our worth based upon the praises of men is like trying to build a castle on a cloud. Human support so quickly vanishes away with the first sense of a wind of adversity. Even when our worth is based upon the truth of God's Word spoken in the valuation and validation of our lives, we will also find ourselves in a position of having some "explaining to do". “What is your Beloved more than another beloved?” Will you risk being misunderstood as you pursue Him above all others?

“What is your Beloved more than another beloved?” The effectiveness of our lives among men will be determined by the frequency of this question being asked of us. The measure of the propagation of our love for our Beloved will be seen in calm real life responses to the question "What is so special about your God?"...for He is your Beloved.

A love burning brightly for the King of King doesn't speak "just to be heard"; but out of a heart "viral" with God's opinion, this love speaks in hope of being extremely contagious. You can question this love, belittle this love, beat this love, unveil and shame this love...but you will find that this love (burning even more brightly) cries out "If you find my Beloved, tell him I am sick of love."

Do you know the feeling of always having your words groaned at when you begin proclaiming a portion of your love story? Have you felt trashed, beaten, and your veil of sincerity stripped aside (like a piece of soiled tissue paper) by the so-called watchmen, the guardians of truth? Fear not ... Your Beloved is with Thee, you will soon find Him, and His opinion of you trumps all others.

When questioned in a way that could dishearten us, let's stand with the Psalmist and proclaim ... Psalm 73:25 - "Whom hold I valuable in Heaven but Thee? For there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee". When we finally realize that we are His desire, making Him our desire gives us the liberty that sets us free, even if he are imprisoned or marked as prisoners for believing in Him.

HLFA,

Jeff

“Sick of Love” - so weakened by His love that I have no strength to pursue any other, for He is Altogether beautiful and He has declared the same of me.

His Desire, His Vision - YOU

I glanced up and watched her walk away, her beauty was transcendent. Her radiance closed all the gaps of desire and expectation. The sight was incredible because under the beauty were the scars, and the voices of those scars cried so loudly to my heart that I was totally ravished by her momentary glance back. I stood there for a moment as the door closed behind her; and as I walked to my sanctuary all I could do was let the tears mingle with my vision ahead. She is the desire of her God.

Song of Solomon chapter 4 – read verses 1-7 : Let your sanctified imagination be captured by the power of this intimate gaze of our God... represented by the love of the “Kingly Shepherd Boy” for his “Dark, Beautiful, and Seeking” Shepherd Girl. Out of the depths of His soul's longing, and the windows of His heart He pours poetic love upon all of her physical attributes and then states His wonderful summary in vs 7: “Thou art all fair (everything I see about you is beautiful); there is no spot (no blemish, no deficit, no ugliness, no scar) in thee”. This is God's choice of vision over those who have entered His Love through His only Way, His only Truth and His only Life …. Jesus (“No man comes unto the Father but by Me” – John 14:6). This IS how He desires to see us, so He does (Let that capture your heart).

I ache so much inside because of living among a generation of fearful believers whose eyelids are lifted up, whose hearts are waxing cold and failing, who never risk to see beyond the darkened glass, who so quickly close their ears to the voice of the "Lover" for fear of being captured and quarantined by the blind leadership of our day. Why would we dare imagine that the God of all creation lavishly pours His love on us, on individuals, every moment of every day? Why would we not risk the malicious criticism of those lost in dead tradition (who labor to hold us captive behind the bars of an “earned worth” system) if we knew that the risk would bring us into a life of liberty, being actively and knowingly loved by God.

Song of Solomon 4:8 is a call to a higher more fortifying vision for these last days (pray to hear, pray to see, pray to imagine and be loved deeper every moment )...

“Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon” - Come, for you may have been coming for so long! Come, enter with full purpose to know Him and to be known by Him as His Spouse... His bride! Come with Him FROM the place of “ Whiteness and Purity” where our relationship started with Him. Our Life with Him must start at His Cross and the Empty tomb, for without those there is no life. There is no lasting life without His Sacrifice for our sin.

“Look from the top of Amana” - Look, truly see for you may have been looking for so long! Look, with full purpose to know! From the top of the summit, from the source ...the “Head Waters”. Amana(a river and region of support, faith, truth, sureness, certainty – The Amen). Jesus is the Source, the Cross is the connection and His Word is the constant support for His over arching vision for us... There is no lasting vision of His love without His voice.

Look, “from the top of Shenir (snow mountain) and Hermon (the Sanctuary) – Daily clarity of His Vision comes from Our daily trek to His summit for refreshing “snow” cleansing and renewed “Sanctuary” devotion – This is our quiet time with Him away from all others. There is no growing vision without a daily refreshing, cleansing time alone with Him.

Look, “from the lions' dens”- Look out from and among the habitations of this world's “Violent Gatherers” … those who thrive on this dog eat dog world of promiscuous compromise.
Look, “from the mountains of the leopards” - Look out from those that rise up as “transparent infiltrators”, those that reach beyond measure on their own behalf. There is no relevant life without a vision beyond this world of Violent Gatherers and Transparent Infiltrators.

From this vantage point He has determined to pour out His extravagant love on us – Song of Solomon 4:9 – “Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse: thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck.” We have ravished His heart? Yes...O yes, we are His desire.

Live in the beauty of His Vision of you! We do not glorify God by imagining that we have done great things for Him; We glorify Him by openly acknowledging the Great things He has done for us … Imagine Him loving you, and be loved … you can't go wrong.

HLFA,

Jeff

Drop Off - Such a Small Thing

 

It is a small key that usually opens some very large doors, that can ultimately reveal the potential for unlimited opportunities. However, the key is useless if it just hangs collectively with other unused keys on an ornate key ring. The key never used, is usually out sight, out of mind and then decorated with the defeatist phrase, “Opportunities are one in a million, and nothing good ever comes my way!” The key is lost.
     
Small bits of digital information fly across hundreds of thousands of miles of airspace and outer space to create big success and sometimes immense distress and failure. A few tapping sounds on a keyboard followed by an undetected digital squealing; and the next thing you know, someone’s life could change forever. Unplugged from power, out of touch with digital communication, and embracing the concepts that “Ignorance is bliss!” and “Silence is golden!” may create a felling of protective isolation, but that fealling will be totally useless when the Word of the onslaught of an undetected, violent storm is on the threshold of your life. The ignored or unheard Word is lost.

I am not touting that technology is a straight line to salvation; but I am propagating that truth taken advantage of can present opportunities and open possibilities; and I am heralding that... truth ignored does not create immunity to inevitable consequences. You cannot ignore and dismiss the One named "Wonderful, Counselor, Almighty God, the Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace" without bearing the consequences that come from the absence of that Key connection and that vital communication of a mandatory rescue that He offers. The non-responsive life is lost.

There was a sign that we drove by in a construction zone that my wife read out loud as we passed by because it struck her as a little odd – “Drop Off”. Not a sign you see too often at a construction zone, but it was there none the less. That one sign was the only thing making the non-shoulder edge of the road unavoidable, and it was only facing one direction. Passing it, you missed it! If you were driving the other direction, you would never have seen it! Only one direction – a short span of time to be aware – and the opportunity was gone as you obliviously approached another turn. Hours later something happened in that construction zone, tire marks, smashed plastic pylons and a roughed up road side . A small sign missed and no doubt a personal loss.

Isaiah 53:1,2 – Who hath believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For He shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.”
God's Presentation Person for restoration at first glance ...doesn't have much glitz, is so easy to be ignored and can be counted as not worth the bother (like a small key, a bit of digital encryption, or an unnoticed sign); but take note - Jesus has power to rip eternity's -“righteousness standard”- roadblock right out of the way, rescue the attentive believer from eternal catastrophe, and plant the humble receiver right in the Middle of God's unfailing eternal love.

Let's have this devotional attitude towards Him in the midst of so many distractions for He could be lost in the scramble. Let's focus the desire of our hearts - “His mouth is most sweet: yea, He is altogether lovely. This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend, O daughters of “the Teaching of Peace”. Song of Solomon 5:16

“Maybe the fear of failure is not the fear at all. Maybe I’m getting closer beyond the weakened wall . You give me hope to survive when I drop and fall. The edge of a decision, mind division cuts the heart in two. Forward movement into open expanse … the drop off waits for you. (excerpt from the song “Drop Off “-by Mawcore 2014) Don't pass off into the expanse of Holy Terror; Drop Off into the Expanse of His Unfathomable Love.

A life that embraces the fact that the Jesus Story “personally believed” brings the eternal embrace of God to “Me”, the Sin-Leper, lives vibrantly ... making use of the Key, thriving in the hearing of the Word, and following in the safety God's signs ahead. Live Openly for Jesus! In Him there is no shame and no regrets.

HLFA,

Jeff