Surrounded

Well, I was in one of those crazy situations again. Huddled within the fragile frame of my Earthly existence, I was cowering in the darkest corner of the Kingdom that I could find (which, if I had truly thought this one through, once again I was dabbling in the realm of the impossible). Being in His presence had put all the shadows behind me with the exception of one, the Shadow found in going through the Valley of Death... But that shadow was not the issue at this juncture of my life (though that could change in a blink). I had sinned.

Guilt and shame had chased me down and were threatening to over take me. I was stealthily pearing through the small shattered window of hope for the rescue. What I saw dropped my heart into my stomach... "Judgement had been turned away in the opposite direction, Justice could do nothing but stand his ground at too far a distance to help; because Truth had lost his balance and stumbled in the street, while Equity was completely stripped and powerless to prevail." (Isaiah 59:14) Of all men I was most miserable.

There was a Voice that startled me because it spoke in my direction. Not immediately recognizing it, I slumped deeper into my hiding place and dared not to breathe nor make a sound. With rubble around me, now still as death... I could hear the Voice: "You have no place to hide! Come out with your hands up!"

Something strange but familiar stirred inside of me. It was all but melting me at the core and tugging away at anything that I considered as foundational for strength to resist. I was like a string tangled marionette caught awkwardly in the midst of a critical performance that was soon to be launched into ... The Unknown?

The Voice boomed again, "Come out with your hands lifted up, you are surrounded!" Now the urge to move forward was even stronger, and to surrender seemed the only course of action left... But it could mean suicide because of the trigger happy enemy that would be waiting.

The Voice, louder than before but strangely encouraging ..."Fear not, You are Surrounded!" This was that moment when faith and fear would collide, but potentially they would form the alliance of "AWE"... And then it happened: I arose from the rubble of my futile hiding, raised my arms to the Heaven of Heavens, moved forward towards my "would be" Captors to find an amazing but powerful Glory encapsulating and surrounding every molecule of my humanness ... The Glory radiated and overwhelmed the darkness in every direction.

Even though my sight was captured near blind in the Brightness; at the fringes of my perception, I observed the most hideously insidious creatures fleeing in flames caused by the Brightness of the Glory. They raced frantically from the unavoidable destruction of wickedness. The Enemy was conquered... And there in the midst of the incident ---Stood the Glory of the Bloodied Cross.

Near the Cross, Now, there I stood, with a new found desire to abide forever - Judgement stood smiling next to me locking arms with my soul, Justice was sounding me with praises that were within my reach, Truth and Equity intertwined their essence with every breath of my soul ... With Hands lifted up - and heart surrendered - His Glory Surrounded me, crowning my life with the fullness of His Vested Love. AND I was not alone ... Multitudes of battered but restored children had joined me to hear His Song of Glorious Love over us. (Read Psalm 8 at this juncture of the story -- notice that we are crowned - "Surrounded with Glory" )

Join me in a glorious life with Jesus, who has overcome the world.
Praise Him and walk powerfully in His Kingdom!

HLFA,

Jeff

New Beginning

Morning arrived with the dew as expected. As the sun's lattice like rays extended through the countryside, creation began to stretch and groan from its nocturnal stillness: There He waited, there He stood longing and there He desired a sign of love from His beloved. He watched as the day gently brushed against the cheek of His beloved, as the sounds and smells of promise were diffused with the meandering currents of conflict. He Gently whispered, "Behold, I am yours and you are mine." But an anesthetized stillness provided no reply, no response from His beloved, but He stood there still and He Loved.

Then time slammed its gavel of "urgency calls", and we arose with a heart pounding start. We raced right past the Love of our life, and hastily glanced at His love letter that had boldly pronounced "Wait!" Wait? ... (under our breath as though we would not be heard) "You've got to be kidding". Then piously we declared, "We will set aside some quality time later when we can give full focus to love."

We had barely miss-buttoned our clothing, shimmy-jammed our feet into our shoes, and guzzled down some sustenance when the inrush of concerns for the day slammed into our already unbalanced forward movement. Way out of kilter now, our failure to stop and listen to the Love of our Life would begin to take its toll.

He watched on with no "I told you so!". He now spoke quietly "Come unto me all ye that labor!". We thought we may have heard that still small voice; and just for a moment the thought of the sound lifted us, but the weight of the day must have heard it also for with even more gravity it weighed down on our souls. He still waited, and loved.

The hands of the clock finally aligned in the predetermined manner, and our captors released us to our wind down time. You were waiting at the gate to great us with a love offer to release us of guilt and shame, but for some unintelligent reason we thought we could do the impossible ourselves. So we wrestled the immense package of sensed failure onto our already bending frame, and all but crawled to our evening of "home", our hiding place.

You were with us through every agonizing moment of that movement to an unrequited rest. You once again watched over us as we lowered our senses and slowed our defenses in hope of relief. You watched as we mutely dimmed the lights and slipped back into the welcomed comatose state of sleep. You gazed on at our troubled dreams ... you interjected what fragments of hope that we had caught on the way, and gathered them together in our dreams; ... but there was so little hope to work with because of the literal "Word" deprivation of our hearts, minds, souls and strength that our sleep was without true rest.

You waited once more, O Lover of our Soul. You would once again whisper sweet and precious promises to our almost lifeless forms. You would do this without regret and without hesitation. For perhaps this would be the day that we would reckon ourselves dead to sin, but alive in You. Just per chance our first full breath into the day would be a prayer of re-crucifixion with you.

O to be dead to ourselves but alive to You... Who love us and gave Yourself for us."I am crucified with Christ, never the less I live; yet not I; but life I now live, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me. " Galatians 2:20.   This is not a one time deal ... this is a conscious act of the will to "die daily" to myself and to be fully alive with Him.

The Hope for tomorrow: We awoke to Your sweet Voice calling us to walk with You through the Garden, up to Calvary, to be crucified with You and to rise from the tomb with You fully alive and empowering our day for Your Honor and Your Glory, Amen.

Here is the Victory!!!

HLFA,

Jeff

The Variegator

The Variegator -The Swirler of Colors

Just when we thought that we had it down pat, and that we had all of our bases covered...life does what it does best and throws us a monster curve of doubt. That big "NO-ANSWER" question mark clings to us, like a cross borne over the shoulder of our soul, and weighs so heavily on us that now we step into our own worst nightmare. Confusion sets in and we are caught stranded precariously on a handle-less particle that is swept into a larger uncontrollable, faith battering, tidal flow. Why would God allow this to happen... Why wouldn't He stop us from doing this... How in the world can we go on from here?

The Psalmist in the One Hundred Thirty Ninth Psalm explores the fact that our fallen nature is prone to being a flight risk. Our wandering souls are like Dare Devils that are always pushing the boundaries and pushing things to the limit. In Psalm 139 verses 1 though 12 - The writer attempts to describe the "God exposed life" of the believer. He travels off in all the directions from body's basic volitions, to the mind's tapestry, to the roots of the tongue's wagging, to what is in our past and our future... making "all" seen, known and experienced by God being ever present and ever near. He checks out every possible and plausible destination that we could fly; and he exposes every place that we could hide, only to stand in awe of the "too wonderful"... HE IS THERE... FOR US.

In Verses 13-18: The Psalmist places the evidence of His love connection to us front and center; proof positive because His finger prints are all over the minutest details of the fabric of each of our totally unique lives. He desires obvious fellowship with our personality potential. He wants to be evidenced in the way we carry our physical stature. He wants to amaze us with the unfolding miracles of our internally - constantly - forming growth cycles. He has intricately woven and swirled in everything necessary to identify us with Him. We have been "curiously wrought" ... we have been variegated.

Every needed element to face life was colorfully swirled into us in order to give us what is needed to "stay still" during the impossible and keep us close to Him while achieving the possible. Life without the knowledge of the Variegator is a life of futile acquisitions and vain achievements void of eternal focus and purpose. Life without Jesus is a life that is emptied into eternal sorrow in the end.

Jesus is the curiously wrought door, the marvelously fashioned gate, the colorfully woven belt, the adornment of the Daughter ...whom we are "In Him" ... Whom, because of His great love... are made "glorious within".  A Swirler of colors, a Weaver of curious diversity, a Blender of imaginative differences ...mixing in, all that is needed to make the Kingdom complete with intertwined complex simplicity...gold, alabaster, black, purple, scarlet, silver, azure, white, brown, red, blue ... every color, every hue ... all for our good and His Glory.

Some of the swirls are sweet to the taste and satisfying to the soul, though others may be incredibly sour to the stomach. Satisfying or painful, all the swirls are purposeful in the intertwining of our lives with His.

I know how hard it is to take a breath, back away, and see the big picture... when pain, loss, or fear of death ...clamor for our attention. The constraint of emotions and "stressing out" over the temporal can easily cause us to feel that we have been abandoned, or that we have forfeited our authority to be the Kid's of the King; but fear not, for He has planned LOVE for this moment of our sensed "faith devastation" - He has curiously wrought... swirled into our lives all that is needed for Him to see us through.

Realize this: The Devil is a liar! The enemy strives to own God's woven and embroidered things. The enemy desires to claim them for his own. He wants to tout them as trophies and spoil from the battle he thinks he is winning or assumes he has won. His ploy is confusion ... don't give in.

Wait on the LORD, Lay down the doubt, and take up the Cross ... trust Him to see you through this moment of struggle... JESUS, the Variegator, is near.

"Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me and know my thoughts: see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Psalm 139: 23,24

Bring Your swirls into play for my good and Your glory, amen.

HLFA,

Jeff

And There They Stood

And there they stood. Racked with grief that had placed them wanting an answer but refusing to truly embrace the truth, because the truth would not fix or reverse the catastrophe. Agonizing truth ... Unfair truth ... Cruel truth ... Is never a welcome guest and always a terribly abusive tenant.

Loss to the appearance of Thanatos (the separation that we call "death") is a heart ripping and gripping intrusion in our lives. When a life is snatched away and the "breath" is gone, the stillness of that moment is terrifyingly surreal beyond explanation. When looking down into the satin lined, highly polished "box at the end of dreams" , many of us tremble to the point where we strongly desire to lose control so as to run far, far, far away and keep running until... we are out of the reach of death's final squeeze. Our minds will always desire for a transport away... If only we could gain enough distance from death, that the realm of the breathless would not affect us and the virus of age could be staved off long enough that we could accomplish a full escape and leave nothing unattained.

I know they are gathering today, I can't be there. There is no box; only a memorial moment where words will be exchanged in love, to try to remember. We will pull at fading straw to pump up an imagined "good times" image of the "missing one" to attempt to make us all feel better about this "something" that we all truly fear, especially for ourselves (but for the Christ Factor). We will strive to be in the midst of the memorial with hopes that we can add comfort or at least increase those attending our future memorial (it is hard to face the truth of our own selfishness). Truly, None of us want to be left alone even at death and after.

I truly hate what can happen to the little ones who cannot find a way through the grief. This is why "Death and Hell", in the future present of God's plans, are cast into the Lake of Fire ... Never to have an affect on creation ever again.

AGAIN! I truly hate what can happen to the little ones --- BUT this is not a feeling I own, it has come to own me.

In trusting Christ to Save us -- We have realized that death, though sorrowful to others, has no power over us - "absent from the body, present with the LORD."  He holds us. Psalm 23:4 - "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me, Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me."

In walking with Him daily - HE REVIVES ME - HE MAKES ME FULLY ALIVE FOR OTHERS. --- Psalm 138:7 - "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, though wilt revive me: Thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies; and Thy Right Hand shall save me."

What a gift God has given us ... As we allow the Spirit to energize and vitalize the Word we receive daily --- WE, through HIM, become LIFE GIVERS. Please let this soak your soul ... Re-read the passages above, bow your heart under His awesome care for the little ones and allow Him to "fold" you into the pleats of His manifold wisdom. LIVE TRULY ALIVE - BECOME A LIFE GIVING VESSEL.

Hearing the heart of the grief always stirs my soul -- below was one of those responses:
"Reading this...my heart is on its knees, my soul is on its face... my Spirit soars with His because I know that He is touched by the feelings you cannot express. He can handle the blame, the disappointment, the depression, the anger, the loss of faith, the chill from the loss of reciprocative love... keep grieving without shame in the arms of the Father. He is never disappointed with our pained response to earth shattering loss, that is why He is our God and we are His beloved.

Hope In Christ; remember that the "Highly Polished Satin Lined Box" -- is nothing more than a "Hope Chest".

COME ALIVE KIDS OF THE KING - The Little Ones need us,

HLFA,

Jeff

Welcome to the Weaned

What a crazy race life can be! You load the SUV of life with every possible piece of paraphernalia that you think will have you prepared for the journey, only to find that while the car and trunk doors were hanging open for loading, strange transactions were taking place that were way beyond your control. (Oh, quick tidbit of wisdom ... Don't ask the passengers "what can I do to make you more comfortable?" unless you are fully prepared for an earful of grief that can crush the tender heart of an unprepared servant).

Although every door hinge, every door seal, every window closure and window seal seemed to groan as I forcefully closed all loading points... I did manage to secure the ever bulging vehicle. As I stretched my aching "mover-man" muscles to prepare for the embarking of this life crossing ... I glanced over my shoulder to see two distorted faces pressed disturbingly against the glass of the back windows. One appeared as a wild-wide-eyed screamer with a massive ever flowing amount of gooey fluids smeared on the window within the circumference of its press; and the other face was squished in what appeared to be a very uncomfortable position... But it remained like a motionless, sleeping, thumb sucking angel. Huh?

What was going on? I didn't remember loading kids? ... Oh that's right, this was the preparation of my soul for this ride of a lifetime that we call "Life on this Side of Heaven" or "Walking in Christ" or "Walking in the Spirit" or "Walking with God" or "The Christian Life" or ......"In Christ and ever being furnished as a God Habitation (Any man in Christ is a new creation)... What I was seeing was the battle in me to "HOPE in the LORD".

We all have a choice on this celestial bound crazy race ... We can do nothing with God's Word and have a kicking, screaming, momma dependent infant of a soul; or we can develop a life that falls in love with the daily "Word to heart" investments, and grow a "quiet weaned child" - "ever dependent on the Father" soul?

Growing up in Christ has been viewed like a journey from babe to adulthood, but maybe the better depiction could be compared to the developmental stages of a child. Conception, birth, new born, suckling infant, toddler attached to Mom, and then toddler weaned. As the toddler weaned - the sanctified imagination opens, and we actually start to grasp the meaning of terms like warrior, soldier, victor ... and we get wisdom to begin trusting God for our success.

We will never stop being His Kids, but we don't have to be miserable spoiled brats in the faith. Have you ever met a spoiled brat ... Adult? (so embarrassing!) Sure, we all have met these big babies but most of the time in the mirror... and we all will continue to be that brat and spiritual our growth pains could be extended ... the longer we starve our souls by keeping away from the Word.

Daily without hesitation; Let's nourish our souls extravagantly with the Word ... and grow ever more... "Hope Filled".

"Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty; neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or things too high for me. Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child. Let Israel hope in the Lord, from henceforth and for ever." Psalm 131:1-3

HLFA,

Jeff

The Needed Voice

The chilling wind came roaring through the soundscape of the all but abandoned Rail Transfer Station. Miles of a geometrically laid, heavy, metal vertebra stretched from this now insignificant relic in two opposite directions. Turning myself in either direction would reveal two different vanishing points.

In both directions there was a feeling of forevers that would never meet. Both directions seemed pretty much like a locked-in decision once the engines of forward movement were engaged. Both directions showed no signs of immediate or imminent danger; and with a pause for a moment to provide a deep cleansing breath, it would appear hope could be on the horizon within the choice for either direction... Or not (sorry but the station seemed more like a collision of the two directions and the remains of a deserted end of a bad decision instead of a beginning of a promise).

Standing still definitely was an option, unless hypothermia was a condition that wouldn't sooner or later rock one into the burning sleep of a frozen death. Either choice of direction needed a voice so that the decision could be reckoned with. Both directions had light and darkness ... One would be a walk against the light and sooner than later would have the sun passing behind and the movement would definitely be into the darkness. The other direction seemed to be racing to stay with the travels of the light and though darkness would be inevitable ... choice for this direction would be for the fullest day, one would be walking in the light; until it was gone.

I took that deep cleansing breath and prayed for a sign. Then there in the midst of the ruin, dead center of the point of decision, was the Voice.

At first it sounded like the wind, then a babbling brook; but as I turned to listen it's decibel level raised to that of the thunder and the roar of the oceans. Why had I not heard this before? Was it that I was too busy trying to determine which way to go and weighing the outcomes of those decisions ... Though these imagined outcomes were based on the fears of my five senses.

Now that the Voice had caught my attention it had grown so loud that there was no protection for my ears let alone my entire being; the Sound of the Voice drove me to the ground, to my knees right in the midst of the rubble of someone else's abandoned dreams. I guess I wasn't going anywhere soon.

As I knelt there the sound began to dissipate, and I was still ... So I listened... finally ... O the numbing tingling sensation was similar to that of a tap on the right nerve cluster, but it was pulsing through the very fiber of my being. This vibration of my senses felt as though I was in the mode of a death-grip decision to be quiet (it was almost as if the Voice had waited for that decision from my heart) ....So I decide to be dead still.

There was a sudden very obvious silence that was louder in my soul than all the noise prior to this moment ... So I waited, I even tried to breath in such a way that my breath made no sound. The silence was so deafening that I could hear the rhythm of my heart forcing its pulsing pressure through me, and I could sense the flow of my life giving blood moving through my veins ... I was overwhelmed with a sense of extreme helplessness before the Voice .... All I could do was wait for what may come next, so I closed my eyes ... Ready for death if that was the next event.

Then I heard the Voice saying like a song --- "I AM"; and the Word that lay dormant in soul responded in a spiritually captivating litany, and in my mind fell the questions of the Spirit.

"I AM", sang the Voice; my soul sang back "The LORD" --- and my mind groaned a harmony - "So why do I try to rule?"
"I AM", sang the Voice; my soul sang back "The LORD thy God" --- and my mind groaned a harmony - "So why do I turn to idols?"
"I AM", sang the Voice; my soul sang back "The First" --- and my mind groaned a harmony - "So why do I not start with You?"
"I AM", sang the Voice; my soul sang back "The Last" --- and my mind groaned a harmony - "So why do I not rest in your outcome?"
"I AM", sang the Voice; my soul sang back "The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God not of the Dead but of the Living!"" --- and my mind groaned a harmony - "So why do I search in ruins?"
"I AM", sang the Voice; my soul sang back "The Bread of Life" --- and my mind groaned a harmony - "So why do I ache in hunger?"
"I AM", sang the Voice; my soul sang back "The Door" --- and my mind groaned a harmony - "So why do I not trust You to open?"
"I AM", sang the Voice; my soul sang back "The Good Shepherd" --- and my mind groaned a harmony - "So why do I not follow Thee?"
"I AM", sang the Voice; my soul sang back "The Son of God" --- and my mind groaned a harmony - "So why do I feel misunderstood?"
"I AM", sang the Voice; my soul sang back "The Resurrection" --- and my mind groaned a harmony - "So why do I cleave to death?"
"I AM", sang the Voice; my soul sang back "The Way" --- and my mind groaned a harmony - "So why do I search for another route?"
"I AM", sang the Voice; my soul sang back "The Truth" --- and my mind groaned a harmony - "So why do I search in doubt?"
"I AM", sang the Voice; my soul sang back "The Life" --- and my mind groaned a harmony - "So why do I search for another?"
"I AM", sang the Voice; my soul sang back "The Vine" --- and my mind groaned a harmony - "So why am I so barren?"
"I AM", sang the Voice; my soul sang back "The Light" --- and my mind groaned a harmony - "So why do I struggle in darkness?"
"I AM", sang the Voice; my soul sang back "The Root and offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star" --- and my mind groaned a harmony - "So why do I see darkness as the outcome of either of my decisions?"

"I AM", sang the Voice; my soul sang back "the Lord God of your Salvation" --- and my mind groaned a harmony that I did not recognize and the Spirit joined in with groanings that could not be uttered... the whole seen dissolved in a the tears that flooded my soul as I sang -

"I will take Your yoke, your burden upon me, and learn of You; for You are gentle and your heart has bowed near to me: and in You alone shall I find rest unto my soul" (Praying through Matthew 11:29)"

I learned that my dire need wasn't to know the right direction to travel; I learned that what needed most was to know You, my Lord, my God ... Jesus."

HLFA,

Jeff

The Song Prevails

Psalm 114:1,2 - "When Israel went out of Egypt; and the house of the Jacob from a people of strange language; Judah was His Sanctuary; and Israel His Dominion." When God's People depart from the entrenchment of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life; God makes us His Holiness and the Realm of His power to be displayed to encourage other sojourners to walk His way.

Are we His sanctuary(A place set apart for only Him) and His dominion (A place where He rules)? So, here is the beginning of our story ... There was a blinding flash and the sounds of war were all around us. The battle actually was now in the trenches and the siege was on. The enemy looked familiar, but as soon as they spoke we heard their natural, unspiritual, politically correct babble; we should have recognized that we were the aliens, the outcasts, the pilgrims ... the different ones.

Suddenly...The cry as a song came from Above - "Come out from among them, and be ye separate, come to Me!" ... Our flight began as we became part of the "Praising ... Called out assembly". We were free, miraculously, from the divisive entrenchment of the enemy, and from the unintelligibly oppressive communications from those comfortable with abiding there. Now, the Word was becoming clear, and the direction of our lives was turning from our shame to the glory that the King had prepared for us, as He would dwell in us. Hallelujah!!

We began to move forward in the Song and the Song in us. And the Sea parted, the river split, the mountains skipped and whirled away like rams and the little hills like lambs. The Rock became a standing water, and the flint a fountain of water... The inanimate came alive providing passage and sustenance... All the world trembled before Him ... in us.

The divisions and obstructions that kept us from moving His direction, were now so terrified by this Indwelling Song of this assembly that they were dancing, whirling and fleeing out of the Way. At first we were paralyzed by the magnitude of the obstructions ahead of us, but then when the dance of the obstructions began, we were held in awe of this miracle. And so we asked the question, "Seas, rivers, mountains and hills what has sickened and weakened your resolve to stand in our way and caused you to flee away?"

The answer was life changing - "The Song of Hope is in You" - "Christ, The King is in You all!" At that moment we had a momentary window to understand why the whole creation was groaning. We had always believed that the seas, the rivers, the mountains and the hills were a hindrance or a blockade from the enemy. We had never understood nor realized that all Creation was groaning to be free also; free from the division, free to worship and cry out their song in the night ... crying from the need of His Presence ... that would release them from the bondage of the curse of sin.

O hear the Song again, the song of a soul set free... the redemption of the Sons of God.

Every day can either be a day entrenched in the disappointment of not being where we think we should be; or we can greet the day as a divine appointment to rise above the entrenchments of the enemy and begin to animate the world around us with His Song of freedom.

"Yet the Lord will command His loving-kindness in the daytime; and in the night His Song shall be with me, and my prayer to the God of my life." Psalm 42:8

HLFA,

Jeff





It's All Coming Down

It's all coming down... The cry has gone out ... The rescue is in place ... For the most part it will be unseen; like a seed that has lain dormant in the cold ground of winter: the shoots will begin to introduce themselves to the world around them as the warm spring breezes and the gentle showers urge them from hiding. The green will be seen.

All little miracles, in the beginning, show no visual difference or definitive family markings or distinguishing difference because they all push out of similar earth, and they all bear the human colors. However, it is amazing how the flaws will be focused on by the attending experts. There may even be premature rescues or interventions suggested because of the experts glare and fake sympathetic compassion (more pathetic and pathological than truly caring). These predators of fear, these life sucking Gain-Sayers will say {"We advise you to consider a 'premature preventive care termination plan' in order to spare you, the parent, and "it", the "growing mass" inside of you the expense and embarrassment of not having a normal life."}

Have we ever even considered the blessing of the "flawed" differences? Have we noticed the effect on the cold planet by those who have "less" of what we call normal, but so much more of what we would define (if normal) as unconditional love. Unconditional love, enduring mercy and amazing grace are labeled as weaknesses and handicaps in this world of deception. These Heaven sent traits are touted as the "baggage of the simple", "the failure of uneducated", "the stench of the deplorable", and "the blemishes of the despicable".

With the strange events surrounding Mary's conception, had they been reported to the experts ... There is no doubt there would have been an almost violent push for the abortion of Jesus. (with the strange events that surround the New Birth in the life of God's kids...there is a guarantee that the wicked accuser will no doubt try to talk us into aborting Jesus from our lives in the name of "Why can't we just be normal?" Do we really want - just a normal - life (what is it anyhow?)

Now let's fast forward to the verge of 2017. Let's daily look intensely for the little miracles that draw us ever forward into the extravagant love plan of our God. Let's desire His Word as much more precious than gold, than the finest gold; let's long for the taste of Heaven as being immensely sweeter than honey and the honey comb. Let's see the souls of men as precious in the sight of our God. If all we do and all we are is rooted and grounded in Him, O how strong in His tenderness will be the new life that springs from our innermost being.

It's all coming down... The cry has gone out ... The rescue is in place ... embrace the days ahead for the Glory of God and the victory that is found in Him!

HLFA,

Jeff

Psalm 111 --- Read this as we are on the verge of 2017 --- OUR FOCUS, OUR GOD!!!

The Cry

The Sides of the North were sitting on edge with the anticipation of the imminent events. Everything was in full preparation in the celestial city, all the players had been ready from the beginning, and "The Plan" that was established before the foundation of the world was about to shake the groaning creation, releasing the death hold of the curse and breaking the chains of the fall.

It was evident that the only full knowledge of the plans were held by The King. Every one else involved held but a piece of the plan, and all were on a "need to know" basis. The Messenger had already been sent and delivered the edict. "Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found favor with God. And, Behold though shalt conceive in thy womb and bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS."

In secret and under the cover of full purity, the Almighty and the Spirit cast a shadowed veil over a humble servant girl creating The Salvation Miracle within her womb. In that moment of salvation's time capsule, only a small portion that Virgin Girl's song of humble praise would reverberate off of the souls most intimate in her life; because the veil would remain until she would be delivered. Even her fiancé would be held in wonder by the words of the Messenger, and take her as his wife in order to keep all appearances as normal and keep his bride out of public scrutiny.

Who would even notice one insignificant couple whom history had removed from out of the view of their royal bloodline... This was held under the veil until the fullness of time and the Word would reveal it.

Heaven in all of its splendor was ready to burst salvation forth upon all of creation. The Star had appeared and positioned, the Angel of the Lord was ready with the announcement, the angelic host was ready for their Glorious moment of praise. And to what epicenter of Earth's power and prestige would they appear in all of their glory??

The Angels didn't question this remarkably strategic move of simple stealth: Their glorious announcement would be revealed in the remote hillside pasture outside of a small and violently insignificant town of thieves known as Bethlehem (the House of Bread) would be their destination.

Their audience: The outcasts - "Shepherds" keeping watch over their flocks, to whom alone... the message would make sense ... "You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a feed trough!"

Imagination will have it: There may have been a pause as eternity waited for the signal. Then quietly the veil was pulled back to reveal a young teenage mother entering the pains of death to be delivered of her firstborn child... And then it happened; from the thick darkness of the Judean night rang a small but distinctly wonderful sound ... The first tender cry of Pure Unconditional Love wrapped in the brokenness of humanity... And they called Him, Jesus.

What? A Babe ... He shall save His people from their sins? Time stopped: almost hesitated in Awe!

Then the Host of Heaven praised God in such glory that the shepherds left off their keeping of their sheep to see this thing spoken by the Angels. And the Shepherds saw... "The Babe, wrapped in swaddling clothes, just as the Angels said".

Why do you think that the world has made such a fuss and clamor in the centuries to follow?Could it be that it wants to make so much noise that the Babe's cry is driven under the notice and beyond the hearing of the desperate heart. What makes this time of year so broken and yet so miraculous. Perhaps it is that fact that this Babe was not just born for the romancing of the Christmas season, but to extend the shadow of the cross over all of the glamour and glitz as the last hope/remedy for mankind's potential eternal separation from God.

True Christmas of the heart comes when we see that the whole story ... The feed trough, the swaddled baby, the shepherds, the wise men, the words, the healings, the tears, the life, the betrayal, the mockery, the thorns, the beating, the cross, the blood, the swaddled broken lifeless body, the sealed grave, the rolled back stone, the empty tomb, the resurrected LORD, and the soon Coming King: and we, by faith, realize this was and is for US. And He shall be called Emanuel, which being interpreted is: God with us.

The Veil of His Grace, still remains, and all those who believe are safely hidden under it until time is no more and the Father makes the final announcement .. "Merry Christmas to all who have come, and to the chains of the past ... Gone with the night - Come Home!"

Don't be far away from Jesus this year, gather close to know Him and the Miracle of His Love.

HLFA,

Jeff

The Christmas Abuse

"What a miraculous season! And about the time that hope was rising, and my soul was about to sing: (When the one that should have offered arms of loving kindness) a curse was shrieked in my face and a strong backhand was sent to the side of my head, sending me into a fade (the impact actually numbed me before the abuse actually began)... Oh, how I wish that I had the strength to give them the same, and an hundredfold. Darkness surrounded my battered frame." from the Christmas memoirs of the Scarlet Sinner.

Vengeance is such a strong narcotic that is always attached to an incredible disabling emotional investment. It is an extremely risky direction for the footsteps of men. For a man to carry through to the ultimate end of vengeance, means that his life could be overcome by hate and murder; instead of mercy and love. Any act that proceeds from the heart of man, that is not founded in the love and mercy of God, will ultimately end in a catastrophe of the human soul. Humanity's mandate from above, if and when faced by an offense, is to love and forgive.

"O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, show (shine forth) Thyself." Psalm 94:1 (Read it in it's entirety and hear the echoes of your own thoughts because of those who have offended and abused you).

Life on this side of the Veil seems to cultivate so much injustice and inequity that it bleeds over and touches the life of every human being. The savage onslaught of wickedness will cross the threshold of our comfort and safety via a relentless and merciless intruder of the heart. This intruder, though seemingly dormant through most of our mundane movements in life, won't even be there until someone causes an event that pokes a hole in the security of "Mine".

We are all content in our fragile "happy place" until our big rubber bumper is violated, our safety bubble is popped, and/or something(usually attached to someone) messes with what is "mine".At the moment of the violation of "mine"... Pride, the intruder, steps in to fuel an ungodly vengeance. This is a direct result of our pitiful idolatry.

What? Did you see/hear the word IDOLATRY?

Anytime that "mine" is held so tight that it is no longer under the authority of HIM, it has become an idol. (Now at the sound of this vindictive statement we will all stand up and stand our ground to justify our situation by declaring ... "BUT YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND ... They are mine and they are under my authority and protection. My wife, my kids, my family, my friends, my home, my job, my car, my house, ..... My _______ and on, and on.... It's all MINE!") "Mine" makes me sovereign over a situation where I was abused, I am not capable of God-like authority to determine vengeance ... Only God is able.

"O that there were such an heart in them, that they might fear me and keep all my commandment always, that it might be well with them and their children forever." Deuteronomy 5:29

"It was but a moment ago that hope was dashed with the whack to my head ... But it had caused the world to fade away and the glitter of the season to boil down to a strange fog like image of one very small gift. The gift was resonating a gentle song and it had an illustrious tag containing my name. As I tried to reach out and receive the gift, my reaching caused an ugly impish creature to lunge at me from out of the darkness."

"I froze as it snarled at my every movement towards the gift. It's layers of sharp, filthy, protruding teeth were menacingly shown with each snarl ... It was almost as if I was looking into a mirror of my wounded soul... it was truly offended, truly abused, totally justified in the prevention of my acquisition of the gift."

"I decided in that split second to make a dash for the gift, brave the piercing of the viscous teeth, and tear open the gift meant for me. Surely that gift held some mysterious power and supernatural strength to destroy my abusers. Could it contain the weapon that would allow me the upper hand to demand full payback from my enemy?"

"Oh it was a furious and painful moment, but even as the impish creature was ripping at my flesh, I still found the strength to tear off the gift's wrapping, and pry open its protective box ... And there within the tissue lining of its casket-like interior was a small bronze plaque that read ... (My eyes were fighting back tears of resentment and unbelief) could the tears be deceiving my heart at the ridiculous request of the inscription? ... The plaque read only one word:  ..........................forgive."

Forgive.
Pray,
bless,
and do good to those who have offended you;
even as Christ has forgiven you.

HLFA,

Jeff

"Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots." Luke 23:34 - It is so unfair if I offer anything less than the Savior.