Keep the Light on for Tim


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HLFA,

Jeff     

Beautiful Feet - With Shoes - Silver

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HLFA,

 Jeff

Dancing in the Midst of the Battle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HLFA,

Jeff

Sick of Love

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HLFA,

Jeff

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

His Desire, His Vision - YOU

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HLFA,

Jeff

Drop Off - Such a Small Thing

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HLFA,

Jeff

Power Filled Following

Song of Solomon 1:2,3 - “Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth: for Thy love is better than wine. Because of the savour of Thy good ointments Thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love Thee.”
What if … we could begin each day with eyes wide open, imagination hanging onto great expectation, and heart fully receptive to God unfolding His love plan right in front of us. Potentially, the day would be like a well marked spiritual freeway with very intuitive signs and signals leading the Way. And along with our supercharged focus on the eternal, add the unfolding and openness of our will to obey. Oh, the cheers from the angels because of their anticipation of the souls of mankind in our path that could be set free. Set free by the message of the Good News of Jesus; not just flowing from our actions of love, not just sounding from our lips of proclamation, but by the powerful out-flowing of our inner most being filled with His Spirit piercing the lives of all we meet.

Far to often we watch theological wrestling matches that wrest for the predominance to accurately define the signs or proofs of faith in the life of believers … “Faith alone, grace alone, without works, with works, spoken, unspoken, dead faith, alive faith …!” Truly so many are left in “the middle”. Honestly, the Middle, is where most of us spend our time (we are just a little shy in letting it be known). The middle, if acknowledged to Him, will open up an avenue of God meeting with us so that we may “know” Him intimately; and in that intimacy know the power of His Resurrection in our lives.

Do we ever find ourselves aching with a broken heart as we walk among the lost-ness of so many people that we share life space with or pass by during our daily jaunts into the land of the living dead. Doesn't it ever weigh us down with concern for those who appear to not want to have any thing to do with God, let alone Jesus(now we have gone to far!). Do we truly believe that a life without Christ is meaningless and a death without Him is eternal Hell?

Be prayerful reading this … for it is very dear to the Heart of God!

“He came unto His own, and His own received Him not; but as many as received Him … to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them, that believe on His Name”. John 1:12 Such an amazing statement that it goes right by so many of us. Does our hearts say “so what , get Jesus, become one of His kids, what is the big deal? (blah-blah - yawn-yawn)” … I hope not! We become God's redeemed Kids through faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ ... because of the Grace that brings salvation is found only in Him.

But it doesn't stop there … He gives those who receive Him the full potential to connect in such a way that they continually appear less and less like the living death and more and more like the everlastingly alive. With this power-filled connection to Him, we will actually start realizing that there are no more “our connections” with people. No more just doing whatever we want, saying whatever we want, and treating others however we feel like treating them at any given moment; we will live in the expectation that all connections are of life giving consequence because all are His. ALL LIFE'S MOMENTS ARE GOD MOMENTS.

Song of Solomon 1:4 – Draw me, we will run after Thee: the King hath brought me into His chambers: we will b glad and rejoice in Thee, we will remember Thy love more than wine: the upright love Thee.” God's desire is to draw us into a passion to follow Him daily. He has prepared satisfaction there that gladdens and satisfies in a way that makes the enticing distractions of this world appear like the lint at the bottom of an empty pocket. Psalm 16:11 - “Thou wilt shew me the Path of Life: in Thy Presence is Fulness of Joy; at Thy Right Hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Set the direction of your daily affections to know Jesus, everything else in the adventure will unfold before you.

HLFA,

Jeff

A Sickness Desiring Heart

I was hearing the whispers, but they were just beyond reach. Curiosity had me though, in my early morning state curiosity seemed to be the necessary food to get the mind rolling for the day. Even though it was still dark, I had grown very skilled in the art of "light-less room navigation". It is uncanny how with just a few minutes of disciplined mental notes, an unfamiliar location can become familiar for an unlit walk.

{“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"Jeremiah 17:9 The most slippery and insidious thing about the unregenerate heart of man is that is irreparably sick and it doesn't want to get better. It actually thrives on being sick: who has the will power to begin to know it? Staying too close to this heart creates a codependency of a continual desire for discrediting our God Story... it buys bad news, it invests in tragedy, and is incurably ill as it hardens its way through life keeping us at an unhealthy distance from God. Remedy? God does not offer a healing, because He offers a replacement – a new heart … but still a heart of flesh - Ezekiel 36:26,27.}

I had only taken a few steps to find what had been just beyond my ability to hear with any accuracy (actually my toes found it). A gooey and gross meeting of my toes with this object in the dark had me leaping in a backwards direction by reflex. “Man! What in the world?” Immediately my mind began to flash – dead animals, road kill, chunky vomit ...I was totally “creep-ed” out! But by now I could hear a little more clearly ...the little voice that sounded like mine, but like it was coming through a cell phone speaker .. “Help me, I am nothing but a failure, I am trash, nobody cares about me, nobody loves me, God cares about everyone else but me, I am ashamed to live openly for Jesus”.

When I flipped on the light I found a most despicable gruesome image of me, but stripped of any beauty and goodness. There was a murky colored orb with tubes of syrup-like liquid flowing to and from this image of me. This image of me was clinging onto this orb ever so tightly. I stared and wondered , “why was this orb held so tightly?”

Inside the orb were horrifying images: images of sordid evil, murders, adulteries, fornication, stench, pornography, thefts, false witness and slander, all kinds of blasphemies. And this image of me rubbed the orb and kept mumbling, “make me sick, oh, please make me sick”. I was starting to understand why no healing was offered and how a new heart was the only remedy.

But wait a minute! I have a new heart! Not only a New heart, but all things new … New Spirit, New Life, New Mind, New Hope ...(we could go on); the Gift of God is Eternal Life through Jesus Christ Our LORD. Why am I still influenced by this “sick” heart of stone?

If we “Walk in the Light, as He is in the light” we have continual fellowship and His Blood's constant cleansing (I John 1:7). I found myself preparing for "light-less room navigation", when I should have been more focused on "Light-filled Kingdom Navigation". “Thy Word is a Lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105 --- Is just one of the 176 verses in Psalm 119 that teach the dynamics of the necessity of the Word of God to give us victory in the moments when the “sickness desiring heart” wants to speak discouragement, despair, and distance from our God into our lives. Our New Heart needs daily connection to God's Word for victory over this malady.

The battle against this heart begins with a simple prayer of admission to the fact that we are distant and ashamed to allow the God Story to shine from our life. (At the end of 175 verses expounding on the life positioned close to God's Word – the Psalmist like us admitted: ) “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; I do not forget Thy commandments.” Psalm 119:176 Are we hearing  and believing the counsel of “Failure”? Listen again to the One who seeks to deliver you out of darkness into His glorious life of light.

HLFA,

Jeff

Still Holding Stones?

There they stood, fallen and broken. Not wanting to be pitied by those righteous enough to throw stones, who were still corporately deciding who should cast the first stone and when. The sin and the result of their fall was obvious and confessed for cleansing (I John 1:9); but there were still those who thought that they had the right keep their forgiveness in a gold treasure chest, and only administer it in their time.{“Everybody has to work out forgiveness in their own time” seems to be the mantra that often times is held- close by those who want to punish others for their own past sins. Possibly the way they were treated during the time of their restoration was less than Christ-like. So let's not seek fresh oil and abundant grace to help in time of need. Let's dare not get close to God for advice and power to love the fallen. - This is an extremely sarcastic section.} For those of you who ache because of being caught as fallen or you have been caught in the shrapnel and finding it difficult to forgive, read on prayerfully.

Dare not look at this scene too awfully long … our eyes may tear up and ears blur for the bright treble of the sound of the declaration. “Hear ye now what the LORD saith; Arise, contend thou before the mountains, and let the hills hear thy voice”. Micah 6:1 With one of the 6 senses known as hearing … listen, just listen to what the LORD says … right here and right now, listen to what He says: Stand up, address our complaint before the mountains (the strong foundation of Righteous Vision), and let the hills (smaller truths) hear our voice … Stand UP … Speak UP … Speak out!

Micah 6:2 – “Hear ye, O mountains, the LORD'S controversy, and ye strong foundations of the earth: for the LORD hath a controversy with His people, and He will plead with Israel” (“Those who say God Prevails – Jesus Saves”). Are we starting to get the picture yet? Stand up ...Speak up … Speak out – The things that we hold in our heart against God are called controversy (Oh, and we thought we were mad at the fallen brother or sister) … Don't hold on to it, be honest, it is God with whom we have an issue ...(Casting all our care upon Him because He cares for us) …

Micah 6:3 – “O My people, what have I done unto thee? And wherein have I wearied thee? Testify against me!” What a challenge from our LORD of Lords! Stand up (take a stand, mean it)--- Speak up (quit our mumbling in directions of uselessness) --- Speak out (Make our voice heard, from out of the multitudes)... Answer the question! – What has He done to us, to wear us out? Go ahead and form a testimony in our favor. BUT BEFORE WE DO … remember what he has done for each of us:

Micah 6:4-5 - He brought us up out of the Land of Dual Trenches where servants never win. He gave us leadership to teach us … the Word, the Worship and the Tenderness of a Song. But O painfully remember how imitators of righteousness brought nothing but devastation to the heads of our homes, and gave us a false sense of being the masters of determining what was right and wrong, … only to find that guilt has continued to chase us from “the east to the west” - making it hard for us to see that He has put our sins from Him as far as the East is from the West.

Micah 6:6-7 – Why do we feel our pitiful sacrificial offerings get God's attention? Will God be pleased with an immense pile of bloody sacrificed livestock, and rivers of spent burning carcinogenic oil? Shall we obscenely offer our children, even our firstborn to pay for the sin of our soul? BUT DO WE DO THESE THINGS IN DIFFERENT FORMS BECAUSE WE THINK GOD EXPECTS IT, OR because we are terrified by the concept that God wants a daily passionate relationship with us that constantly keeps us in eternity's flux of the ministry of reconciliation?

This is the controversy – God doesn't want stuff, HE wants our devotion, HE wants us … and here is God's declaration of how: Micah 6:8 - “He hath showed 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?” Are you obedient to this three-fold glorious requirement?

HLFA,

Jeff

Miracle Crumbs

Can you picture this – An outcast, a potentially shady character, a “Lowland Lowlife” female ... approaches the King and says “My daughter needs a miracle!”. The King says nothing as his entourage urges the King to send her away, but he finally answers all... “I am here to seek out the Lost sheep of my Highland house.” She immediately falls before the King in Worship and then responds - “I need your help!”

What the King says next is disturbing BUT it was acceptable in the culture of the day ... Matthew 15:26 - “But He answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.”

Somehow I can almost sense the sleazy triumphant thoughts and stifled rude laughter of those nearby … carried by one under-girding insidious; “Boy, Jesus put her in her in place!” But He knew their biased thoughts, and He knew her longing heart, and He knew that she trusted Him.

So what seemed to be a very cold answer actually opened the avenue for faith's response. “And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master's table.” Matthew 15:27 … The attitude of the entourage was caught in the paralysis of this spiritual plea.

Jesus had used an abusive idiom of the day that declared that those outside of Kingdom were known as "dogs". He never once inferred that this woman was a “dog”. {The Crude and the Rude ... love to use so-called truth and absolute truth to abuse, instead of seeing it from love's vantage point}. The allegorical truth of the Word puts anyone that is not God's chosen with characteristics of "dogs on the outside". His words to this woman of Canaan (Lowlands) would reveal what had a stronger pull on her life .. public opinion and cultural barriers, or a needy and faith-filled connection to God. On top of this, her response showed "every hearing ear" that her heart was for the LORD, and she was not afraid to violate cultural barriers to get to Him.

Hear her words again ...“Yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master's table”. Crumbs are naturally, and in her case supernaturally, for the “dog” near or under the table. "Let some crumbs fall on me". When the Children of the King of King are sitting at their table of miracles, is it an unfair expectation for the crumbs of miracles to fall to the “dogs”? In this case (much like today) miracles were a little scarce on the table of the Children, and that meant this Woman of Faith needed to go to the Master of the table. Faith knows where to get a miracle and does not see that crumbs as a disability or a disadvantage.

Some may perceive that this woman had to beg Jesus to get a miracle... and this might seem out of character with some Bible verses that we think are instant promises to instant answers. If importunity is begging then we all need to be beggars. Importunity helps us to continue to focus on the One who can and will meet our need … in His Time. We are all beggars, at some point in our lives (actually most all of mine). With the distance that appears to be there between the seen and the unseen, we are very timid in our approach to the God of the unseen.

People piously say stupid things (Duh!) like "Be careful what you ask or wish for because you might just get it" ... Jesus said "Ask (continually) and it shall be given unto you, seek (continually) and ye shall find, knock (continually) and the door shall be opened unto you." He cares too much to be controlled, like a servant, to obey our selfish barking commands. God is sovereign and nothing in this universe threatens Him to act rashly or without purpose. He is in control...for our good and His glory. God wants us to pray expecting, but He will always answer "beyond" our expectations.

The passage of scripture, Matthew 15:21-28, is one more call to Know our God, know our culture and know that our connection to Him will transcend all cultural barriers and bias. "Yes I am a dog and a beggar, but I have my place too! Let me have access to the miracle crumbs!"

HLFA,

Jeff
"NOW Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1