The greatest love that exists in all of life is in what Christ did for us. He died with no benefit for Himself doing the ultimate selfless act. The Father in His will saw that giving up His Son (who could have lived forever on earth?) gave every human being access to relationship with their heavenly Father!! If not said sacrilegious(ly), Jesus was anxious to do one thing… give away love! He found female Samaritans, prostitutes, short tax cheats (and a regular one for His 12!), and many other societal outcasts! The true love of Christ overcomes all boundaries and obstacles. In most churches today that would be a problem! “He must be emotionally imbalanced” or “He must be receiving tithe and getting rich, look how He has drawn in all these money guys” or “look at this collection of outcasts, good luck getting them all into the Temple!”.

In our love relationship with Jesus we are afraid to ‘be a mess’. We have to pull it together so we don’t look bad at church or with our friends. We have to be able to genuinely smile and say how great things are going, etc. One ‘not so deep’ reason that True Love through Him has not taken over the earth is…people are stupid! Let’s face reality, ‘there be’ stupid everywhere (some of it even has holy names on it)! You can’t see this on paper, but I paused there for about 30 seconds to raise my hand. I have even agreed to stupid things so dumb that by the time I saw it written on my forehead even that was backwards!! We often try creating something instead of just worshipping Him. Maybe we create to hide our blemishes…our problems.

What if the people at the tower of Babel had just loved instead? Could you imagine how much less work would be involved in spreading the Gospel without any language differences? Think about the huge task it has been for hundreds of years in translating the Bible into the languages. Those in that day could not have foreseen the impact of their idolatry. Just some holy wondering here, but I wonder if the opposite of love is really idolatry first. Could it be that idolatry traps our heart first and develops into hatred? Not that this can be proven, but I further wonder if this act of idolatry shaped human history second only to Adams whoopsie (the Cross aside). Can you imagine what humanity missed by the languages increasing? What if love had gripped them to worship the Creator forever changing history?

I see a relationship through Him to Jesus that flows on to every believer. IT is foundational for true Church, the gifts of the Spirit, and all that is the Gospel! Love came through Jesus as the foundation for salvation (hello simple man John 3:16), all true freedom (set in each person’s heart), and even natural human love. I sometimes wonder if Jesus had not come how human love survived another 2000 years!! Humanity still nearly wiped itself out in the process. I am sure I am not the only person reading this that has been in a church that has more mean than love. Judging ain’t no gift of the Spirit! If love is the foundation of our lives, does He want defenders or lovers? In the last days what does He say will happen? “…the love of most will grow cold” (Matt 24:12 NIV).

What is the veracity of love (the habit of Truth)? In other words, what do we sow for the reaping of His love? When I think of the word veracity I see a driven-ness with it! He places love in our spirits for others to receive. He cultivates love for others in us when we come to Him and lay all that gets in the way at the Cross! Veracity for a believer is faithfulness, righteousness, and Truth. What we need is love pushing that in us! If anything else drives the veracity of our faith we end up like many in a Defenders of the First (any name here) Church (if you don’t believe this way, why are you here?). Maybe you have wanted to feel safe and protected at Thine Eminent Shelter House of God. Without love we all create idolatry in our churches…you know…Grace in Your Face Baptist style! He doesn’t need kingdom built, He needs lovers wanting to love!

Ephesians 1:4 at the end into verse 5…”…in love He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ…”. That means everything that IS roots in absolute love first. Our faith, salvation, adoption, predestination, anything that IS roots in love!! Love sounds easy doesn’t it? Let us face what we are…fickle. We can’t go on feelings, yet we feel Holy Spirit when He comes. We can’t live on common sense, whose shall we follow? Anything not fueled by His love is prone to the same…failure. Our love for people should be obvious to the casual observer, but often we are distracted in our own little world of struggle. It is why brethren, He clears out space in our heart for only Him (who is all love). He needs that space to have overflow for others and even a good love for ourselves.

In my own journey I see an increase in the need to love others more. Love opens doors to people’s hearts to see what He sees in them. He wants to show us all He wants to do for others, but we must ask to see what He sees…not to get credit for what we have done for Him. I declare for each one reading this your love in Him overflow and you receive a revelation in Him that increases! I pray His love find you where you are today and seize your heart!!!














Body Imaging

Much can be heard in different circles of believers about the function of or the working of the Body of Christ/Bride of Christ. The newly formed clans of New Testament believers were never thought of in hierarchal form, but in a self-sustaining group of nourished believers. It never was set up around one man and growing the group larger, but to feed each believer within. The original intention was for each part of the body to feed the body. Understand this is not a set up or platform for debate, but to share what the Lord places on my heart about it. My calling is to the Body and how He speaks a word to other believers and their leaders.

Are we not highly limited striving to convince others to join our bend or theological leanings? How is each of us DESIGNED to feed the Body? Should we not be bringing petitions before Holy Spirit to find out what He wants? What could be a better form of destiny than have the Spirit lead you/inspire you to find what He wants today? I truly see the Body best served when believers are overflowing with him BEFORE the meeting even starts! We are designed for spillover! Doesn’t mean it’s always achieved, but for far too many believers, it isn’t even on their mind. They often go to church ‘to get filled up’, when in reality it should be a time of abundant spillover.

In looking how Jesus lived, He never looked to become filled…He just needed recovery time to receive more. We have often heard it said at Christmas time, it is better to give than to receive. Within the Body, our thinking needs to shift from getting filled up to giving. We do need times of refreshing, renewal, and deep worship. Rest, time in the Word, and these other elements are not overlooked here. There are times when we need a word, some good worship, and some time to receive. We each fill a role in the Body designed to give to the Body, and for the Body.

Notice further in the life of Jesus that He did not give openly all the time. His Father told him when to do what. In some respects I like the phrase ‘you can’t out give God’, but you can struggle to pay for things He never ordered! There is a snippet that He gave me recently, it is… The Body is designed to bring food, not sneak it! It is important that we seek Him to find out what He wants to invest in. We are really not designed to be followers, but seekers. Before Jesus was in the manger, there were three wise men seeking Him! Cloud by day, fire by night, and the star or all physical manifestations of seeking Holy Spirit. While we are designed to bring food, we aren’t supposed to set up a grocery store.

Every part of the Body is unique unto itself – each part has its own duties, and cannot do another parts duties – only supporting the other parts and encouraging the journey. We all know story David and Goliath. David comes in from the sheep herding and starts talking to King Saul. Saul says to him ‘hey boy, this guy is 10 feet tall and you ain’t. You’re gonna need some of my armor.’ Some Jeff translation for your enjoyment. Notice God did not have David where someone else’s armor to fight the battle. The Body of Christ is very similar. 1 Corinthians 12:29-30 says “Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?”

If we get too enamored with others gifting’s, we cheapen the ones He gave us. Undoubtedly some part of our journey will be discovering who we are in the Body. Any time the focus is on people and ministries, it takes away from Him. It should always be at the Holy Spirit will affirm what anyone speaks into our life. It should never have any flavor from their food! While good teaching helps, good learning is better. Everything real comes from the Spirit! All the food that we bring to the Body should be overflow from the Holy Spirit. If you try to take on too many of the above seven gifting’s, the enemy will oblige in keeping you busy. I’m going to have to amen that one myself! In summary, we are designed to fulfill our role in the Body and support others in their role of the Body.

A Tale of Two Trees

If a seed or sapling could materialize a thought, what might it ask or think? Would it simply praise God the Creator or would it ask deep questions like it might in a children’s book? Questions like: I wonder what they will make out of me someday? You can almost picture the book, an artistic cover, a title like “what a tree might think” or something catchy like that. Perhaps a book about the wood made for the ships that brought people to America, or went into the stage for the Gettysburg Address. In God’s eyes doesn’t it seem more likely something far more majestic would manifest? I am thinking far out here this morning, it is between Good Friday and Easter! For God it would make more sense in this finite mind to be along the lines of “each tree grows straight up to give praise to the Creator”.

It is roughly the year 75 b.c. (although to ask a person in that day I wonder if they might say “what’s a year?”), and the floor of the forest is decorated with saplings like every year before and to be. To place your face on the ground floor of the forest you might be able to see the past few year’s saplings getting a little taller than our newbies! The human race continues through the years as these saplings grow mature in the cycle of Creation. The view in the forest changes naturally to reflect the handiwork of the Creator and His vision for that acreage. The heavens above display the fullness of His Glory each star lit night allowed to be clear sky!

A fateful day approaches tree kind as we all know and understand. Not to pull your vision away from the two thousand years ago thing, but even the padded recliner I type from at this moment has pieces of wood inside that have met the fate of the Creator’s tree. Ok, back to ye old times…I can picture the strappin’ fellas with their surely crudely created axes out to find a perfect tree for the cause. Prancing around the forest in those man robes they used to wear…had to catch on every darn branch those clothes. Sorry Lord rabbit trail through the forest there…oh yeah the forest! I won’t tell ye the year at this point, it would be a really bad spoiler alert to the vibe. I see these simple agricultural people heading out to the forest to chop down a tree. When you consider how many things were made of wood, it had to seem like a weekly event…”hey Hezekiah, it is ye fourth moon of Edu (for us like Thursday), you know what that means, about time to find another tree for…” And my wife wonders where the silly’s come from!

Hezekiah heads to the plush forest for yet another tree, probably complaining “out here, cutting up another crazy tree, this one to make something for the animals, there are men creating gold inlay for the Temple and I am creating something for ye old cow to eat from!! Arghhh!” Hezekiah probably spent two days, a lot of blisters, and a whole lot of sweat soaking into the old man robe to put together the rough-hewn cattle feeder! He had probably already built the fence, the shelter, other animal feeders, and not to mention numerous tools and implement stuff. Hezekiah was a busy man! I think a picture has been painted and the rabbit seems to be getting tired anyway.

Bounce back in your mind to the forest scene again (I know, not easy after man robe talk). Each clear night the sky looks the same…majestic and beautiful. The trees of the forest do their dance in the cool of the evening, swaying like a worshipper before the heavens (and how awesome that scene is!). At night the fate of a tree seems like an impossibility, only this vision of the galaxy above. The funny thing is, Hezekiah’s particular tree missed the greatest night sky known in all of human history. Aren’t all of your minds racing now? What could be more majestic and gorgeous than the view of the sky from the tops of the forest trees you already described? It came suddenly in the skies above! Like Jesse Duplantis often says “my favorite words in the Bible are …and then suddenly!”

The very trees that stood after Hezekiah’s tree was felled were there like any other night, praising the Creator until their days each came. The sky was clear and full of all the trees light friends, the stars. This particular night though, something different broke the galaxy sky wide open! And then suddenly…a brighter star than any tree had ever worshipped their Creator under appeared in the sky overpowering everything with brilliance and powerful light! The trees would want to ask questions again…”what does this light mean?”, “why is it soooo bright?”, and “did this come from Creator?”

The star of all stars of course is the star of the East from Matthew 2. It ushered in the Savior of the world that would never be the same again. Now back to our lovably sweaty fictitious Biblical character Hezekiah! is 8:30 and the coffee is kicking in wonderfully! My left knee is twitching either because of fire or the caffeine…it is all good! Perhaps some writers will beleaguer the point here, but I get tired of typing at some point, and am only one tree in here (and the rabbit still seems to be panting heavily). Our tree felling hero Hezekiah has probably hacked through more trees with that crude ax then he cares to remember! Perhaps you have already married all these concepts in your mind to the flow of the story.

This first tree is so important to our lives. Remember, there are only two trees that are significant to the human race for all of history. The first tree ended up being a common use story. It was crudely fashioned by Hezekiah to do what it did…feed cattle…and oh ya, bedding for the Savior of the whole known Universe!!! Now if I missed it and Ahaziah, Hezekiah’s blacksmith friend made a manger out of metal, then we will craft a new story, somehow crafting “heavy metal” in…will see. You never know when the rabbit will suddenly get up and start running. So the full majesty of a simple manger built by human hands becomes a baby bed for the Creator’s Son…kind of trippy eh? So how blessed is Hezekiah’s work in the Kingdom, and no one knows the family who built it! I am ok with the fact that the tree could tell this story better than I did, I just was half awake this morning when this vision of the two rough- hewn trees came to me. In case I haven’t used up all of my writer’s license, I will bravely type about tree number two, which you have probably already guessed by now.

We now return back to the wonderfully fictitious world of Hezekiah. How do you not love Hezekiah? He is just an average dude, doing life, probably clueless to the connection of the Almighty he actually has everyday (aaahhh yes…us). I am going to further abuse my freelance licensing (as if that’s possible!) and add a ‘what if’ bend to it all. Screeeeecchhh! Now back to the forest view one more round! These other trees went on after their friend was mercilessly hacked into chunks on the ground. “Don’t look down whatever you do” they perhaps encouraged one another, keep your branches pointed to the sky! It is an admittedly bad humanization of trees I know. You thought this story was going to be serious! I saw rough hewn wood, the manger, et al, I am not thinking humorous Biblical tales here!

Jesus is now walking the earth being awesome for the people. He is now a grown man in the midst of His actually short ministry time (3 years according to the smart theo’s). The same trees we have been visualizing keep growing more mature until their fateful day. The world has been turned upside down by Jesus, His ministiry, and His life. People are getting upset! You all know what happens in Biblical times when people get upset at other people. They find ways to justify not really needing you to use up any more oxygen!!! The Romans were the power of the day as we all know. They had legions upon legions to get the job done…period. The Jews so wanted freedom from this tyranny and they envisioned Jesus as that key to freedom above all else. An end to the madness!

It may not even be remotely possible, but what if Hezekiah was run over by Roman control, hired to be a full time tree guy? Let’s listen in on Hezekiah heading to the forest for today’s work. “Are you kidding me? I thought making agricultural stuff was unrewarding as work…now these power hunger Romans have me out here cutting up crude trunks so they can torture criminals with! Ugghhh!” Wouldn’t it be mind blowing to find out that the tree He hung on was right next to the tree Hezekiah made the wood for the manger out of? Same forest, same area, same majestic view of the sky that the Eastern star rolled through?

So the Glory of all glory bleeds on the single most important piece of wood. The full sacrifice for the sins of the entire world for all of history! The enemy defeated by blood and trees! A scenario so unlikely that darkness could not possibly detect it. How could one tree hewn into a cross seem so important? For the millions of trees existing in history, there are only two that are truly “touched by God”.