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."

There Once Was A Man

"There once was a man"... does that catch your interest? Probably not, unless you are trusting there will be more to the story, bored to death, or just reading to read. BUT herein lies the problem with faith...because this is where our thinking is anchored. "In the beginning ... ME" .

We think, we taste, we touch, we smell, we see, we hear, we feel and therefore we must conquer, we must win! NEWSFLASH - Just like a tether ball attached to the top of its "cemented into the ground" pole, we will continue to be contented with the game until someone stronger and taller joins the game and/or the cord breaks. When this happens the game is out of our control --"out of control!"

"If only you had more faith you would have won the game!"--- this despicable lie always oozes out of the riffs of a damaged moment in the lives of so many of the faithful. Scriptural cliches start flying to back this lie, and the truth that could encourage very quickly becomes a "Cat o' nine tails" in the hands of those well meaning souls who have not been caught "yet" in an out of control moment (or feel their deliverance was exemplary of true Godliness.) Watch it!

"If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed you can move mountains". .... The mountain does not move.
"Without faith it is impossible for you to please God". .... God must not be pleased with me.
"Have faith, believe and your prayers will be answered." ... My prayers aren't being answered , my weak faith probably makes God not to care.
"Ask in faith and you shall receive". ... I pray for what? I never receive.
"God will answer the effectual fervent prayers of a righteous man (woman or child)." ... Maybe God doesn't hear me because I'm not His.
(Scarey responses but On the mountain top it is easy to say "amen" to these insufficient truths, but they seem so wrong and hollow when we are in the valley).

So much truth but unfinished, unqualified and thus potentially abusive. Hey "Instant Mashed potato faith" spiritual leaders ... get your head out of your instant cure, flesh motivational, easy fix suggestions and realize that relationships with men and God are a rewarding, but many times, are a painstaking task. The task on this side of Heaven will have us standing at times with no answers, no words, rolling tears .. BUT we will know Him more intimately in these times, because these are the moments we will find "HE IS NEAR!"

So why do the the kids of the King -- stay broken, sick, troubled, unstable, afflicted, addicted, bound, discouraged, and defeated? Why ..Even though many of us pray ... there seems to be little miraculous deliverance? Why in the midst of worldly and even great Kingdom success does a Godly leader choose sin instead of righteousness? Why ...Though many pour out their hearts ... the sin and suffering still takes its toll, and disgrace and death still whisk away loved ones?

Careful, do not respond too quickly to this ... This is where so many that are already wounded, are slain by their brothers and sisters. This is where so many are aborted and abandoned because their suffering does not fit the bill for someone elses definition of faith. Only God knows best the seasons and reasons for pain and for healing - "Wait on the Lord, be of good courage and He will strengthen thine heart; wait, I say, on the Lord" Psalm 27:14

Micah 6:8 (The prophet's words stand in the midst of the Godly and unGodly efforts of men as a testament to a daily attitude to help us keep balance) "He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee: but to do justly,and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" There is a strange little "?" at the end of this passage ...careful.

Here is the essence of victory over the controversy, the victory that overcomes the world: Faith in Christ - Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth." ... Revelation 22:21 "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen." Faith that spoke worlds into existence: was born of a virgin, lived among men, died for our Sins, arose from the grave, is alive forevermore, and is coming again ... and because of Him and Him alone ... "Out of Control" is in His Control.

Therefore walk with Him, wait on Him, and grow in His love.

There once was a man ... who walked humbly with his God. Genesis 5:24 - "And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him." O the cliches that flew that day.

HLFA

Jeff

Affliction - Damaged PGS

Psalm 119:67 - "Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now I have kept Thy Word."

 As a youth I was always prone to wander and try to violate the obvious laws of the planet to test the boundaries that were rumored to be set for me. Jumping off of a roof, falling out of a tree, or crashing my bike ... after what looked like attempts to fly... all earned me story scars and painful memories that have been embellished in an attempt to laugh them off today. Each of the events to go astray, little by little, taught me to respect gravity (as my scars would remind me). Each of the events altered my life and some even damaged and handicapped me.

The thing about these events that is a little haunting, they will either lead to fools wisdom or God's wisdom. The difference between foolishness and wisdom is lodged in the choice of foundational truths that we embrace as we develop our life experience guidance system. Without a personally embraced guidance system in the days of my youth, there would continue to be descending screams flying off of roof tops, broken tree top reminders, and a menagerie of useless bike parts strewn across the countryside all in the name of "I was just having fun!". Even my family's Sunday spiritual trips following city, country or cobblestone roads would only add mystery to my wanderlust but not call for "change" of directional systems.

The call for change of directional systems came. In a May of of my life at the end of my teens; I was not altered by a catastrophic event, but my life was radically altered forever by the Presentation and Embracing of a personal guidance system that was Beyond my sighted belief. This personal guidance system (to some would seem as blind as flying in a storm without instrumentation) took over, and I found myself with immediate and growing clarity about the direction of life. Surprisingly, this guidance system was offered to me by another so much like me (full of scars and flaws), that immediately those scars and flaws of another spoke and opened a reception that began the re-direction of my life. My eyes were now off of me, and redirected with a "New Breath" , "New Life" responsibility for others.

 BIG LIT ROAD-SIGN: "BEFORE AND AFTER". There was a "Before" in my life. That "Before" carried with it all the afflictions, all the humiliation, all the bruising , and all the scarring that would be consequentially acquired on the path I chose to travel because of my gnawing desire to test the boundaries and taste the forbidden. This "Before" was guised in "My Way" or "this is just the way that I am". This was the fool's personal guidance system; BUT "After" the responsive hearing of the Word of Truth, all my scars were brought into safe keeping for my good and His Glory.

The Truth purposefully placed my life into Eternity's Joint Venture. God's Personal Guidance System, provided for by the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, pushed a big reset button in my life and had now set me free from "my way".

God's Personal Guidance System can be updated daily with no additional service fees other than the time invested for the update. The amazing thing is that a love "recharge" takes place upon every update. In time, these updates bring the past into a purposeful positioning; even our self inflicted scars are transformed into viable bridges of presentation used of God in the rescue of others.

O the beautiful light of His love that guides and shines through the scars of a willing Soul to bring personal guidance to a lost and afflicted Soul ... be willing, Let His Love Shine through you!

Isaiah 58:10 - "And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as noonday."

HLFA,

Jeff

Zillions

On another note: Have you seen them lately? The "two great lights"; ( the sun, "the greater light to rule the day", and the moon, "the lesser light to rule the night") they have done there jobs to light the day and brighten night though not always fully visible. Even more out-of-sight this week has been the "also lights". The clouds, that kept rolling throughout all the areas of our travels this week, veiled the "also lights" so effectively, that they were rarely on display. You know what I am talking about! The lights called the stars ..."He made the stars also". Gen. 1:16
 
Even though the night was filled with clouds, I kept looking for the stars ... I knew they were there. I love to gaze at the movement of heavens when seen... the clouds by day and the stars by night. Just as I was about to miss them completely, a friend on Facebook sent me a link to a NASA photo/video of the Andromeda Galaxy ... took a peek at it, and it created an inspiration to humble myself within those amazing Everlasting Arms again ... thank-you my friend!
 
Here are two thoughts, take either and run to Him.
1. A simple thought (but you still have to think)--- Psalm 8: 3-4 - "When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained; What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that Thou visit him?" What a statement of awe by the Psalmist, no doubt, standing under a cloudless sky with his sheep bedded down for the night... you can almost hear him say, "OH ..... my God ... your amazing creation ...overwhelms my soul ... just for me ... but who am I?" As one that adored the Holy, His exclamations and questions only took him deeper in awe and in love with his God.
 
How can He be interested in me? What kind of God can display all this Glory and still decorate flowers, watch sparrows fall and counting hairs coming loose? The answer is simple to little ones ... "He watches over me in love!" Something awesome and overwhelming will usually cause a child to run to the safety of the arms of their parent. What about you? Is your reflex to run to Jesus? ...Run!!
 
{Note: The Psalmist would not be dumbfounded by statements of millions of years ago, zillions of miles of distance or a relic being touted as millions of years old. He knew his mark on History and where He stood with his God. A God that has no time and no space limitations can easily "create with age" to proclaim His investment in our need for Love's awe. These "millions and zillions" can also be a stumbling block/stepping stone to those who want an "out"... because their desire to not be under the Rule and care of LORD Jesus Christ who loved them first. Amazingly he gave us the choice of the direction to run.}
 
2. A more complex thought (even though you may be thinking it could twist you a little) --- Take the millions, billions, trillions, quadrillions, quintillions, and the zillions of multipliers that could be applied to estimate the amount of stars and galaxies that could be in the universe; multiply it by the speculative 186,000 miles per second of pulsating light that makes us aware of the presense of these celestial entities; times all the theoretical fuzzy math calculations to determine distance "from" and "to" and considering the total forward and/or backward moving mass in the heavens that could be related to the "also lights" - the stars; ... (Got it? -- IT IS BIG NUMBER THAT COULD BUY YOU A GRAND MOMENT ON A GAME SHOW - PURE TRIVIA) --- NOW with your mind's eye -- watch as this massive light-veil of the night, bulges for a split second and then rips apart as the cruel cross of the Creator comes flying out of nowhwere, penetrates the veil, and races through space and time to post itself on this God Forsaking Planet (God has not forsaken us but the hearts of so many men live forsaking Him). For just a few seemingly insignificant moments in the grand scheme of a fallen planet and of the rebellious heart of men ---salvation is purchased -
 
"It is Finished!". Watch as God allows His earth suit to be beaten, thorned, torn and marred beyond recognition as His blood is shed, His Heart is broken and His life is poured out for all mankind. So many will stand almost worshipping His creation with great awe and admiration; but will scoff at the thought that the Cross of Christ by faith is the only way to the Heart of the Creator."
 
"It is Finished!". Now listen intently - "There is no other Name other than "Jesus" by which WE MUST BE SAVED" Acts 4:12. All other names offer a "whatever" ! Faith in Jesus is an imperative response to His call to "come unto Me!" His violent death proved this is not an event to be taken lightly. This is an overwhelming and constraining cross-road, and we must choose our direction. It would be best for us that we respond like a child, for if so we will run toward the Savior in willing trust, not away from Him in decisive unbelief.
 
More to be desired than all the knowledge of the universe -- is the desperate, and unheeded, need to know The Speech, The Voice, The Words of the Creator of all. And in hearing ... believing; and in believing ... knowing; and in knowing Him, we can live "abundantly" as He promised in His Word. You may say ... "I cannot Believe!", but are you really saying "I will not believe!" or "I don't want to believe because I know better!? My heart cries to you -- whether you can't or won't; please change your mind and come to Jesus ...now while you still have breath!
 
Psalm 19:1-3 - "The Heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night shows knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard." There is no real lasting communication where the Voice of Eternity is refused to be heard. LISTEN!
 
HLFA,
 
Jeff