The Clamor

Psalm 97: 1 - "The LORD reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of the isles be glad thereof."

You could tell at a glance that she had been weeping. Her clothes were disheveled and torn; and to match, was the soil and the bruises covering her body that were unavoidably seen from any direction. Her eyes reflected that look that you see in eyes of the defenseless victim of a horribly senseless crime.(BUT rainbow colored lighting was now spotlighting her so as to disguise the truth of her torn and ravaged visage).

There seemed to be a strange confusion in the air surrounding her as she struggled to rise up still from the ashes of yet another cataclysmic assault on her royal connection. She now appeared the refugee, though she has been the loving, adoptive mother for so many tired, poor, huddled masses who yearned to breathe free. She had rarely turned away the wretched refuse of the teeming shore. Her lips were still moving but faintly crying, "send these, the homeless tempest-tossed to me , I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

This would be the cover-up of yet another atrocity by a sad and duped group of individuals who felt that they were the heralds of a new day. These modern day evangelists, with eyes glazed with power, and ears which only hear the rhetoric of strangers, were doing their best with the limited biased information given to them. Many may not have been aware that they were being coddled by a more ancient and sinister force solely bent on misguidance, misdirection and murder. This would create the "buzz" and "distortion" to the masses so that the raping and plundering of the past would be seen as a necessary removal of "old fashion bigotry", and the introduction of a better world.

While the clamor of complaints filled the air waves, there continued an assault on the ground in this battle. The enemy troops seemed to be led by one hellacious cry (that for the most part was not understood by the enemy hoards nor discussed by most of the duped, assaulted and complaining masses): "At all cost, do not let Her lift her lamp beside the golden door!"

The assault continued to raise such a cloud of dust and debris that very few could see the real battle was a struggle at the root system. Under the cover of the debris cloud was a hacking, chopping , cutting, sawing, burning, and disfiguring of the foundation. There was a relentless disconnecting excavation effort by the enemy to sever the distracted masses from the TRUTH. The hole left behind by the excavation was constantly being back-filled with open apathy, self preservation and selfish ambition.

So loud and distracting was this excavation that most didn't see nor recognize the Lifted lamp, nor the Golden Door as JESUS. Look and Live!

Psalm 119:105
John 10:9

God Continually reigns ... rejoice and be glad.
Live openly and loudly in love of Him and loving others.

HLFA,

Jeff

The Love and The Glory (Father's Day 2015)

Most of the time in our lives, we grovel in the small grooves of the finger prints of the Father. We are caught by the surprise that there can be dirt and sorrow there. We rarely take the time to lay on our backs, gaze up into the sky, and see that His finger print on our lives is so much bigger than us. O we long for those few brief moments in the busy, burdensome days of our lives that we are able wipe the smudges off of the window pain, look out through the rain to see Him dancing with His kids in the puddles of the fearsome storm.

We will never even begin to understand the Father if the only filter we use is our sin and shame. Our filter should be the Cross, the empty tomb, and the clouds of Christ's returning. Without His Spirit and His Word, the clearest voice we will respond to is the pain; whether self inflicted or life inflicted. Let's take the time to arrange the puzzle pieces of our shattered and discontiquous lives in such a way that "all things that have been working together for good" will shout His love to us, and sing His glory to others.

"O satisfy us early, early with Thy mercy
that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Make us glad! According to the days wherein Thou hast afflicted us;
Make us glad! And the years wherein we have seen evil.
Let Thy work appear unto Thy servants
and Thy glory unto their children." Psalm 90:14-16

The hand of the Father ... is stretched out still.

The prayer of the Father ... is a continuous invitation to walk beside the Heart of God.

The love of the Father ... is a gentle but firm place to trust the safe keeping of our troubled hearts.

The desire of the Father ... is His children. He desires us.

Fear not in the events ahead; trust, O children, in His loving care for even the smallest events in our lives, for He loves us with an ever enduring and endearing love.

Dedicated to the days of June 18-24 in the lives of the Jeff and Yolanda Redding Family
and to the scars that so many of us bear until we se the only Scars that Remain ...in Heaven.

God keeps pouring love into the painful gaps.


HLFA,
  
Jeff

The Zit

As most people who have known me for some time ... they soon realize that I have never given up on childhood with all its wonder, thirst for living, unquenchable zeal for adventure and its unending supply of irritating questions, usually asked at a volume level that can embarrass the most patient and prepared parent figure. Some are of the belief that childhood must be left at the door of parenthood or exchanged for it... NOT I!

 Matthew 18:3 - "And (Jesus) said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven." {not an excuse for my behavior, just an amazing way to position our lives at the feet of Eternity.}
   
And so begins the discussion: Random Topic chosen by my brain while driving with my Wife? ZITS ...{for whatever reason?)

"Will we have zits in Heaven?" The retort..."Are zits perfect?" The return ..."They think they are; they also must think they are always welcome; showing up at the most inopportune times, and the awkward years (which for some can be a lifetime). We all have them or will get them." The audio at this point turned off but the brain kept on humming.

(Bear with me because of my medical expertise - I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night) What is a zit? It is a biological reaction to a foreign object that is introduced to a well established bio-system (introduced externally or internally). The reaction justifies itself as being the Greeters of the (un)Welcoming committee.

Here is a rough outline of the Events that follow the introduction of the foreigner into the Bio-system: 1. The greeters are waiting in a non-discriminative fashion.
2.The foreigner is detected and profiled.
3.The bio-defense system alarm goes off and the agents of defense wrap their rejection serum around the foreigner.
4. The expulsion process begins with a capture of the foreigner in holding cell.
5.The festering between the two factions create a pressure within the same limited space, until the event begins to elevate to an unsightly protrusion.
6.This expansive pressure allows the surface of the ZIT to thin out to cause the foreigner with his new found fester friends to "burst through" for a rescue and relief to those welcome within the body of the bio-system.
7. The foreign object is expelled from the well established bio-system and clean up and cover up begins.

Sounds like a well oiled organizational plan. This may also sound like most clubs (that we join to beat people over the head with), fellowships (to strengthen our bonds against "them") and even families (an obvious system to contain embarrassment). The problems that arise in each of these organizations may stem from its vision of "how to control" others(control is too constrictive for real love).

Is your fellowship of choice a Permission granting life-system that chooses what "others" to serve; or a Permissive Atmosphere Bio-system that is busy creating to serve others? Does your "follow-ship"(not fellow-ship, think about it leader!)  or leadership create unnecessary zits? Zits are normal, zits will happen... more important; what we do with the foreigner...the stranger, the out cast, the un-lovely, the unfamiliar will determine the health of our living in the Kingdom.

Don't become part of the Un-welcoming Committee. 1 John 1:7- "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," In the Light we all see our mutual strengths and weaknesses and realize that we need each gift that comes into our lives. In the light our greatest need is not for control but for cleansing.

Have an awesome life!

HLFA,
  
Jeff

Just Three

Just three. What is the big deal? Only 3 in the midst of billions on the planet – thousands passing into eternity daily unnoticed. They aren't actually missed outside a few family and friends. They made no real mark on their days. The ways of the earth and time has swallowed up their memories, but Tony remembers as he stared at me in my car from a Taco Bell Drive through Window.

This is not meant at all to embarrass anyone or have you searching for who these people could be – they are not to be found on this planet, so don't go looking. The scarey thing is they were loved by God, but no one can truly testify of the condition of their relationship with God before they slipped away because of how quickly they left. I hope as little ones that they Trusted Jesus.

In liberal and conservative Bible believing circles there is a Sunday School default verse that is known by most every child where the Bible is even remotely spoken - “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. So many have heard this and will say, “I know that verse!” Knowing a verse has never saved a single soul from the condemnation of sin. No amount of faithless memorization of the words of the Bible ever rescued any man from Hell Fire (Hey HELL is in the Word --- Jesus was pretty straight forward about the subject – The cruel cross of Jesus was the payment for sin and its consequences – God was pretty serious about this matter of Hell).

Satan can quote and twist God's Word to his advantage to sway men to unbelief. Bibles are everywhere in the USA it is amazing, but our nation seems to grow further away from a daily devotional, and love accountable life before the Living God. Are we growing numb or anesthetized because of our willingness to listen to every voice but God's?

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.  DO WE EVEN BEGIN TO REALIZE THE GRAVENESS OF THE DECISION WITHIN THIS VERSE THAT MEN MUST MAKE IN ORDER TO LEAVE THIS PLANET WITHOUT ETERNAL HELL AS THE CONSEQUENCE FOR THEIR SIN? Maybe this will help ...“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on Him.” John 3:36.
A non-condemning God of love, grace and mercy is awaiting all those who by faith receive His Son whom He loves; But those who will not believe … stand already condemned.

Now back to the Three, if it even matters:
Mark committed suicide 2011.
His sister, Candy, a few years later died because of surgical complications 2005.
His brother, Bud, died a year later in his sleep 2006.

Tony’s first words after remembering who I was in the life of his family (after at least 20 years of MIA - I was still the “pizza preacher”)… “You heard what happened to my siblings?” Like I had??? When he mentioned them by name and how they died … the memory of their faces came back so clear … {I had to get alone and cry. Only Three little ones, no earthly mile markers to discuss except for their mode of leaving the planet.} But before I pulled away from Tony … I had to let Him know that in the midst of these tragedies, God loved Mark, Candy, and Bud … "and as many as received Jesus, they had been given power to be Sons and Daughters of God … even to them that believe on His Name."

 I will seek out Tony again, he need not leave this planet without Jesus. Pray for him with me.

Do you care? Pray for those you encounter. Do you care? Speak the truth in love as you have liberty … Share the good news of Jesus everywhere you are, because you never know when One of these little ones will quickly slip away unnoticed.

“How shall they call upon Him whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?”   Romans 10:14.

HLFA,

 Jeff

Before the Door

There before me was "The Door". I knew that upon opening it there would be no turning back. This was not the first time, nor would it be the last time that I would find myself here with great heaviness. So I stood momentarily, clenching the Love Letter close to my breast.

Be it known, this Door was not a barrier like fear that can paralyze me and keep me from moving forward. Nor would it cause me to hesitate because of a negative prophecy that I potentially could be carrying on my fragile shoulders. For daily, and many times, I would race to "The Door", burst right in, and climb into the Daddy Chair without even a jot of inhibition. "The Door" was a moment, a breath, a transition point that reminded me that not only did I have full access to what was beyond, but that when the door was closed behind me it would be just me and Our Pater (Father).

Here I was again ... no guarded feelings, no words reserved in caution. Here I was with the opportunity within my grasp to be loved extravagantly by the LORD of all Eternity; for He is my Father.

As I paused, I pulled the Love Letter away from my tight grasp and looked once more at His Words. {Please understand, I was in great duress. My life, as I knew it, was being ripped to shreds because of facial expressions, words, feelings, current events, suspicions, body language, past memories, and fear of a cursed and wretched future. The events of my current living were almost too oppressive to bear. They were like riding an unending nightmare of a rollercoaster with no way to get off.}

As I read over My Father's written words, I could hear His Voice saying, "Don't talk to me like you are an outsider or an outcast throwing useless accolades and oppressive psycho-babble my way... I am your Father." Wow! I almost stepped into that one because the events of my life had caused me to question if I even belonged to Daddy. Now my heart was settled enough to read on and let Him establish my thoughts ... Here is His outline to keep me on track before I moved through the door:

"Our Father, who art in Heaven" - I do belong to you and your influence is above me.
"Hallowed be Thy Name" - I can be still, because even at the sound of your Name I am in awe of how You are so wonderfully different than All of your creation.
"Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven" - Your pattern of Love from Above is your desired pattern for Love Here Below; and you will have your desire... And your desire is me.
"Give us this day our daily bread" - First steps to living here below is to trust You with our daily needs, You will provide and You have provided.
"Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors" - Forgiveness is to be our mode of operandi, not an oppressive lifestyle of keeping the books for repay or retribution.

HOLD ON! Wow!! I had to stop here because this is where I needed to start. I was not planning to forgive, and it was seriously affecting my view of the Father's forgiveness of me. Now I can claim what is ahead in the Love Letter "knowing" He will take care of me.

"And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from Evil" - Father, You don't want to just be there bearing us as we crawl helplessly in our own strength through trials and troubles, but You want to rescue us from the divisive impact and oppressive addictions that can cling to our lives when "trusting You" is out of our focus.
"For Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever... Amen!"

Forgive me Father, for I lost sight of the fact that this whole life is so much bigger than me, but Your care for me comes from Your Unfailing Love that always welcomes me in with everything You are and all You have to offer...
O sweet eternity, kiss this fragile and broken time with hope from the Father, to keep me on my way until I am finally Home with Him, forever.

I pushed, The Door opened, and I raced into the arms of Our Father, He was there for me.
He is there for you!
Come to Him!

HLFA,

Jeff

Ref: Matthew 6:7-15

Beyond Our Wildest Dreams

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

Peeking Through The Wall

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HLFA,

Jeff

Watch Your Step

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WATCH YOUR STEP,

and HEAR HIS VOICE.

and Live!
 
HLFA,

Jeff

Burning or Beauty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HLFA,

Jeff

The Secret Place

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HLFA,

Jeff