Spiritual Senses

I just finished day 5 of the @YouVersion plan ‘Awakening Your 5 Spiritual Senses to God’s Grace’.  What I want to share from it may very well change how you think about your relationship with Christ.

Our freedom from the law translates into a no-strings-attached, total acceptance that we are anchored to through Christ.

This freedom means that we need not walk on eggshells with the Lord. We can move forward confidently, knowing that we are loved with an unshakable, unbreakable love purchased through blood. 

Second, we taste the goodness of the Lord in the new covenant as God has bestowed on us a new identity, making us clean and close to God. We are heavenly at the core.

Our righteousness is not some positional status God has given us while we actually remain dirty and distant.

No, God has actually cleansed us and made us new. He has given us a place of honor in His family by exchanging our old spiritual DNA for a new self.

We are now literally and actually partakers of His divine nature.

(2 Cor. 5:17; Col. 3:10; 2 Pet. 1:4)

Third, our new covenant forgiveness is an incredible demonstration of the Lord’s goodness toward us.

While the forgiveness of old involved animal sacrifices once a year, the new covenant forgiveness we now enjoy is very different.

Jesus Christ is not up in heaven dying again and again, and therefore, we are not being forgiven progressively.

Instead, the sin issue is now over. Christ is seated in heaven at God’s right hand, and his work is finished.

This means we are completely forgiven and cleansed people, entirely reconciled to God. 

Lastly, the new covenant announcement is that God has given us His divine life. Life has been restored to the place formerly housing death.

When our human spirit was exchanged, old for new, we were filled with God’s Spirit and sealed by him until Christ’s return.

(Eph. 1:13–14)

His presence in us is for here and now, and His presence is for the eternity we already participate in. 

Freedom, identity, forgiveness, and life—these make up God’s new way. Each enables us to taste the goodness of the Lord in a special way. Each awakens our spiritual senses to God’s grace.

Find out for yourself how good the LORD is. Happy are those who find safety with him.

Psalms 34:8 GNB

My Jesus, You’ve changed how I look at myself, how I look at others, and how I see You. Thank You for forgiving me once for all. Thank You for freeing me from the impossible standard of the Law. Thank You for giving me a brand-new identity. But most of all, thank You for the gift of Your life. You are so incredibly good to us, and I will love You all the days of my life. 

You just finished day 5 of the @YouVersion plan ‘Awakening Your 5 Spiritual Senses to God’s Grace’. Check it out here: http://bible.com/r/4U7

[from “Heaven is Now” by Andrew Farley]

Get encouraged in God’s grace with Andrew Farley’s videos! https://andrewfarley.org/


Classic Christian Rock song, “Thrown Away” by Dogs of Peace:


God’s Word:

Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come.
2 Corinthians 5:17 GNB

You have been raised to life with Christ, so set your hearts on the things that are in heaven, where Christ sits on his throne at the right-hand side of God. Keep your minds fixed on things there, not on things here on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Your real life is Christ and when he appears, then you too will appear with him and share his glory! You must put to death, then, the earthly desires at work in you, such as sexual immorality, indecency, lust, evil passions, and greed (for greed is a form of idolatry). Because of such things God’s anger will come upon those who do not obey him. At one time you yourselves used to live according to such desires, when your life was dominated by them. But now you must get rid of all these things: anger, passion, and hateful feelings. No insults or obscene talk must ever come from your lips. Do not lie to one another, for you have taken off the old self with its habits and have put on the new self. This is the new being which God, its Creator, is constantly renewing in his own image, in order to bring you to a full knowledge of himself. As a result, there is no longer any distinction between Gentiles and Jews, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarians, savages, slaves, and free, but Christ is all, Christ is in all. You are the people of God; he loved you and chose you for his own. So then, you must clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Be tolerant with one another and forgive one another whenever any of you has a complaint against someone else. You must forgive one another just as the Lord has forgiven you. And to all these qualities add love, which binds all things together in perfect unity. The peace that Christ gives is to guide you in the decisions you make; for it is to this peace that God has called you together in the one body. And be thankful. Christ’s message in all its richness must live in your hearts. Teach and instruct each other with all wisdom. Sing psalms, hymns, and sacred songs; sing to God with thanksgiving in your hearts. Everything you do or say, then, should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, as you give thanks through him to God the Father.

Colossians 3:1‭-‬17 GNB

2nd letter from Peter. Ch.1 verses 1‭-‬9 (Message Translation) I, Simon Peter, am a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ.

I write this to you whose experience with God is as life-changing as ours, all due to our God’s straight dealing and the intervention of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Grace and peace to you many times over as you deepen in your experience with God and Jesus, our Master. Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God.

The best invitation we ever received!

We were also given absolutely terrific promises to pass on to you—your tickets to participation in the life of God after you turned your back on a world corrupted by lust.

So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others.

With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus.

Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books.
2 Peter 1:1‭-‬9 MSG

It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This signet from God is the first installment on what’s coming, a reminder that we’ll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life.
Ephesians 1:13‭-‬14 MSG

Amen

When Everything Else FAILS & Fades

Portions taken from day 1 of the free @YouVersion plan ‘Hope: A Study in Scripture’  By Annie Harley

At this time there are three things that continue. We continue to trust God. We continue to hope for his good things. We continue to love other people. But the most important of these things is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13 EASY

1st Corinthians 13:13 explains that even if everything else fades, faith, hope, and love remain (continue).

Faith and love seem like very obvious pursuits of walking with Christ, holding His hand; however, hope can often times feel like:

  • an elusive concept,
  • confusing,
  • like crossing our fingers,
  • wishing for the best,
  • a wishful thought in which the outcome is unknown,
  • thoughts such as, I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow or I hope my friend doesn’t get bad news on her health.

Honestly that’s exactly how many of us may view hope. But, that is not the biblical word.

The idea behind the word we translate as hope in the New Testament is:

  • like an anchor for our souls,
  • not just wishful thinking,
  • confident,
  • expectant,
  • a joyful certainty!

God is who He says He is.

He will do what He says He will do.

Biblical hope is always rooted in the future. All throughout scripture, hope is always pointed towards what is coming. It gives perspective to see beyond the current moment.

God is the one who causes us to hope for good things. I pray that God will bless you very much. I pray that he will cause you to be happy and to have peace in your minds. He will do this because you believe in him. As a result, God’s Holy Spirit will make you strong with his power, so that you hope even more certainly.
Romans 15:13 EASY

Amen


Notes: All throughout Scripture, these three distinctives, faith, hope, and love are found together (Galatians 5:5–6; Colossians 1:4-5; 1 Thessalonians 1:3, 5:8; 2 Timothy 1:12–13; 1 Peter 1:21–22).
Faith (trust) is “the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see” (Hebrews 11:1 NLT).
Scripturally, faith and hope are inseparable. You cannot have faith without the hope of salvation, and it is impossible to have hope without believing in faith.
You just finished day 1 of the 12 day @YouVersion plan ‘Hope: A Study in Scripture’. Check it out here: http://bible.com/r/544

⛔Stop Stinkin’ Thinkin’🛑

Why do bad things happen to good people? Ya really don’t know how “good” someone is until something bad happens and you see how they respond.

I just finished day 1 of the @YouVersion plan ‘How to Battle Fear‘ (link at bottom).

Here are some notes on that thought that helped me. I hope it helps you too.

Test It

In difficult times, we must consider what we’re filling our minds with.

It’s important to be informed, prepared, and ready to the best of our human abilities;

however, Too many times I have been overwhelmed because I overload with too much negativity or information that incites fear.

God is honored when we play our part, but we must allow Him to handle the rest.

Nothing surprises Him. 

When things go beyond our reach and we feel we’ve lost control, we often let our minds run rampant with fear-filled thoughts and what-if scenarios. Before we know it, our actions are no longer rational

There’s good news!

We have a guide to help us own our thoughts.

Philippians 4:8 is a great test as to whether we should think about something. The verse tells us to think about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and worthy of praise. Consider each word listed below. 

True
One of the most important things to consider about our thoughts is, “Are they true?”  We need to focus on what is authentic and real.

Noble
Because we are children of God, we’re in the highest of ranks! Our thoughts should be loyal, royal, and regal. Let’s not allow ourselves to think in an unkind or repulsive manner.

Right
Thinking the right thoughts means allowing accuracy and appropriateness to guide us. We are called to right-living and right-thinking by God’s Word.

Pure
To be pure in heart and thought is not as difficult as it seems. It’s simply choosing to think about good, upright, and honest things. 

Lovely
To think lovely thoughts means to see the beauty in life and allow our minds to think upon those things. Let’s look for the good (the beautiful, not the ugly).

Admirable
To be admired is something most people want. But do we want admirable thoughts? Thoughts that are credible and distinguished and allow us to live in such a way that is commendable. 

Excellent
The best of the best is what excellent is. When our thoughts are excellent, they are superb, exceptional, and fabulous. Excellent thoughts lead us to live excellent lives.

Worthy of praise
What thoughts are worthy of praise? Thoughts about God.

🔴 His ways, 🔴 His plans, and. 🔴His creation, to name a few. It’s safe to say that when our thoughts are on Him, that’s a good thing. 

So, what happens when we test our thoughts with these guides and our circumstances are still bleak? That’s where faith enters. We weren’t created to know the future—that’s God’s job. 

🔴He sees. 🔴He knows the future because 🔴He is all-knowing, 🔴He is all-powerful, and 🔴He’s everywhere all the time.

And guess what?

🔴He sees you. 🔴He’s with you. 🔴He’s covering you.

Even when we can’t sense it, we can trust that 🔴He is with us. 🔴He is standing on 🔴His truth. 

Can we adjust 100% of our thoughts? Probably not. But, in the world of our thoughts, some improvement is better than none. We can begin to win this mental war by owning one thought at a time.


God’s Word

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.
Philippians 4:8‭-‬9 MSG

You just finished day 1 of the @YouVersion plan ‘How to Battle Fear’. Check it out the full 4 days here: http://bible.com/r/4vB

Prayer, Power, Purpose

The Power of Prayer

I just finished day 4 of the 5 day @YouVersion plan ‘REBOOT’ (link at bottom) Here is what I gathered from today.

“To pray is to change. Prayer is the central avenue God uses to transform us. If we are unwilling to change, we will abandon prayer as a noticeable characteristic of our lives. The closer we come to the heartbeat of God the more we see our need and the more we desire to be conformed to Christ.”

—Richard Foster (Celebration of Discipline)

“If your heart hungers for souls to be saved and your nation to be turned to God…then the life of prayer is a must.” —Paul Y. Cho (Prayer: Key to Revival)

We all want to live a life that carries meaning and purpose.

We want to see our family thrive in every season regardless of what may come.

We want to hear God’s voice and be lead in the right direction for our life. As Believers we all desire this. However, intentions are not actions. 

It can also be true that we all want these things right now, instantaneously.

We want to snap our fingers, say a word, press the button, and it happen exactly as we desire it. This is often a

false reality.

This is often how we view and see prayer. If I say the magic words then it should happen, right? 

Prayer, as Richard Foster notes above, is the central avenue God uses to transform us and to be changed for the better. This does not occur in an instant moment, but in a gradual, habitual lifestyle of prayer. 

True Reality

To pray is to seek God’s heart. To pray is to confess your sins, and share your heart with God. To pray is also to listen and focus on God’s voice through His word. 

Prayer should be more about what God does than some ritual we attempt to perform.

A life that carries meaning and purpose is found in moments of prayer. Our families thrive, persevere, and overcome in every season through moments of prayer. We hear God’s voice and find direction for our life in moments of prayer.

The Apostle James understood that, “The earnest prayers of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results” (5:16b)

Prayer is the fuel to a greater spiritual life. It is the difference between life and death in your spirit. Prayer is the power and the key that unlocks victory in your life.

This is said so we’ll in this Classic Christian Rock song, “Power Of Prayer” by The Joe English Band (former drummer for Paul McCartney Wings):

Prayer:

Lord, as I pray, help me pray. Speak to me. Hear me. Change me. Have your way in Jesus name, and literally for Christ’s sake, may it be so.


God’s Word

Are you hurting? Pray. Do you feel great? Sing. Are you sick? Call the church leaders together to pray and anoint you with oil in the name of the Master. Believing-prayer will heal you, and Jesus will put you on your feet. And if you’ve sinned, you’ll be forgiven—healed inside and out. Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. Elijah, for instance, human just like us, prayed hard that it wouldn’t rain, and it didn’t—not a drop for three and a half years. Then he prayed that it would rain, and it did. The showers came and everything started growing again.
James 5:13‭-‬18 MSG

https://bible.com/bible/97/jas.5.13-18.MSG

God appeared to Solomon that very night and said, “I accept your prayer; yes, I have chosen this place as a temple for sacrifice, a house of worship. If I ever shut off the supply of rain from the skies or order the locusts to eat the crops or send a plague on my people, and my people, my God-defined people, respond by humbling themselves, praying, seeking my presence, and turning their backs on their wicked lives, I’ll be there ready for you: I’ll listen from heaven, forgive their sins, and restore their land to health. From now on I’m alert day and night to the prayers offered at this place. Believe me, I’ve chosen and sanctified this Temple that you have built: My Name is stamped on it forever; my eyes are on it and my heart in it always. As for you, if you live in my presence as your father David lived, pure in heart and action, living the life I’ve set out for you, attentively obedient to my guidance and judgments, then I’ll back your kingly rule over Israel—make it a sure thing on a sure foundation. The same covenant guarantee I gave to David your father I’m giving to you, namely, ‘You can count on always having a descendant on Israel’s throne.’
2 Chronicles 7:12‭-‬18 MSG

A sure thing on a sure foundation.

https://bible.com/bible/97/2ch.7.12-18.MSG


REBOOT http://bible.com/r/5Tf

To start at Day 1 of the 5 day @YouVersion plan ‘REBOOT’ go to: http://bible.com/r/5Tf

F.R.O.G. Full Rely On God

He’s Choking On The Blood That Ran Down The Tree (by band We The Kingdom)

Watch “We The Kingdom – Don’t Tread On Me (Storybrooke Sessions)” on YouTube

In Genesis 3:15, we see an incredible prophecy of Jesus. This is the first foretelling of the Gospel. God tells the serpent that while the serpent will bruise the heel of Eve’s seed (referring to Jesus on the cross), that he (Jesus) will CRUSH the serpent’s head! This is exactly what happened on Calvary. 

My favorite line in this song is “he’s choking on the Blood that ran down the tree” because it makes it clear that when Christ bled on the cross, he not only defeated our sin, but he rendered Satan defeated and His Blood literally choked out the enemy’s power and conquered him forever. 

I take great comfort in that especially when attacks of the enemy come. I am reminded that we have been given incredible authority in Jesus’ name and by the power of His Blood over the devil.  

I want to encourage you – when lies, temptation and fear come knocking at your door to take the Word of God and boldly proclaim it over your life. Over your family. Over your relationships. Over your ministry and work.  Satan hates the works of God and though he is ultimately a conquered foe and powerless against Christ, he is the prince of the air.  He can and will bring attacks our way while we are here on earth. But take heart – what a comfort to put on the armor of God and STAND on the Word knowing that we are victorious through Christ through it all. Greater is He who lives IN us than he that is in the world!

-Ed from We The Kingdom

From

Ain’t No Devil Gonna Tread on Me • Devotional (https://bible.com/reading-plans/19867/day/1?segment=0)


God’s Word

I will cause you and the woman to become enemies. Your descendants and her descendants will always be enemies. One of her descendants will attack your head. You will attack his foot.’
Genesis 3:15 EASY

https://bible.com/bible/2079/gen.3.15.EASY


Lyric Video:


Bonus Lyric Video, “Crush” by Dogs of Peace:

God Sticks With Us.

My thoughts were drawn into how God sticks with us. Portions of today’s post are taken directly from His word and from The Covenant of Peace • Devotional

And He called a little child to Himself and put him in the midst of them, and said, Truly I say to you, unless you repent (change, turn about) and become like little children [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving], you can never enter the kingdom of heaven [at all].
Matthew 18:2‭-‬3 AMPC

My Word Will Not Return Void (without accomplishing what He wants)

The rain and the snow come down from the sky, and they do not immediately return there. Instead, they give water to the earth, so that crops will grow there. Then the farmer has seeds to plant, and people have food to eat. It is the same when I give my word to people. It will not return to me without any result. No! My word does what I want it to do. What I promise to do will certainly happen.’
Isaiah 55:10-11 EASY

His Word is not empty — His Word is full. His Word is alive.

His Word carries weight.

Psalms‬ ‭27:10‬ ‭NLT‬‬ declares, “Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.”

Even in the midst of your enemies. God is there!

You prepare a big meal for me while my enemies watch. You put olive oil on my head. You bless me so much that my cup is completely full.
Psalms 23:5 EASY

  • ‭‭Don’t focus on your enemies —
  • focus on God.
  • Don’t focus on the chaos around you —
  • focus on Christ.

Let the Promises of God overtake you. Let the Promises of God lead your footsteps. Let God’s Peace shield every aspect of your life. Let God keep you.

His Mercy will not leave you. His Kindness will not abandon you.

  • Lay at His feet —
  • lay before Him and
  • yield your heart before Him.
  • Lay your cares before Christ —
  • He is greater than your problem.
  • Christ is greater than your circumstance.

May we give every aspect of our heart over to Christ. He will never leave us. He will never forsake us. He will never abandon us.

I will not leave you as orphans [comfortless, desolate, bereaved, forlorn, helpless]; I will come [back] to you.
John 14:18 AMPC

Submit to Him. 

I often need reminders and may this post remind us

God is with us wherever we go. His Peace surrounds us. His Peace will not abandon us. His Peace will never leave us. His Peace surpasses our circumstance. His Promise will not return to Him void. My prayer is that we may let His Peace consume us even when things around us are dark. May we diligently surrender to His Peace.

Most recently I’ve come to realize how much Christ loves me and now, in my walk with Him, I need to consider how much I love Him back and what that means.

Psalm 26:3 MSG puts it so well…

So I never lose sight of your love, But keep in step with you, never missing a beat.

Psalm 26:3 MSG

God’s Word

Isaiah 55:7‭-‬11 EASY Wicked people need to change the way that they live. Evil people must stop thinking their evil thoughts. They must turn back to the Lord our God, because he will be kind to them. Yes, God will completely forgive them, if they turn back to him. The Lord says, ‘Remember! My thoughts are not the same as your thoughts. The way that you do things is not the same as the way that I do things. The sky is far higher than the earth. In the same way, I do things in a much better way than you do. Also, my thoughts are much higher than your thoughts. The rain and the snow come down from the sky, and they do not immediately return there. Instead, they give water to the earth, so that crops will grow there. Then the farmer has seeds to plant, and people have food to eat. It is the same when I give my word to people. It will not return to me without any result. No! My word does what I want it to do. What I promise to do will certainly happen.’
Isaiah 55:7‭-‬11 EASY

You prepare a big meal for me while my enemies watch. You put olive oil on my head. You bless me so much that my cup is completely full.
Psalms 23:5 EASY


The Covenant of Peace • Devotional (https://bible.com/reading-plans/17236/day/2?segment=0)

KIDEATERS Ch. 7 unedited

CHAPTER 7

To The Zoo

Major Hightower, the boy’s tactical adviser, now felt less like a babysitter, or even just a chaperone, and more like a team leader. Sure, the children were still lacking in some areas but she had the confidence to provide the backing this crew of 5 needed. There was something about her that reminded John of a girl named Raven Stone. He saw that schoolmate in the halls of his high school almost everyday. He never spoke to her and she hardly spoke to anyone else; however, he was under the assumption that she was someone you’d want on your team if you, “needed to kill some monsters and stuff.”

While on the helicopter ride to Zoo Island the boys marveled at the voices of those on the helicopter with them. The bulky headphones protected their ears from the overwhelming  chopper blades but also had built-in speakers and a Mic. that wrapped around to the front of their mouth. The boys wore a smaller child friendly version while gaming but this, this was the real deal.  Each crew member seemed to have an accent all of their own. Hanson must have hired people from all over the world, although some of the crew weren’t really speaking with accents at all, the onboard headsets just distorted what was being said. As the radio squawk was given by the pilot the boys hoped the air traffic controller understood what was said better than they did. The white noise mixed with static was casted through the air giving them permission to be propelled,  what seemed like 10,000 miles high, into outer space. Their eyes were not big enough to take it all in. They communicated to each other through nonverbal body language and looks they exchanged. Once in the air they heard a loud beep then confirmation from the main pilot,

“Chckkkkk (the typical walkie talkie sound of the CB was always at  the beginning and end of each statement) uuuh, check, check, onboard private intercommunication is on. Permission to speak freely boys.”

By, “boys”, the pilot was referring to the flight crew members, not the minor male adolescents. Another crew member was heard venting,

“Chckkk, ya know some don’t really give a ‘shite’ if we take off or land safe. The arse holes are professional hypocrites! Chckkk”

The pilot responded,

“Chckkkk, easy their Jonesey. The pay is all the same. The paaay is all the same. Chckkkk.”

Yet another crew member chimed in,

“Chckkkk, I wasn’t there. Chckkkk.”

John mistakenly thought the guy said, “I won the dare.” Ron didn’t mean to speak next. He was pretty sure the communication was only allowed between the official flight crew members. His words came out anyway, 

“Oh, I wonder. He said, ‘I wonder there’, not ‘I wasn’t there.’ Yeah, I wonder too…uhh… uhhh…uhSIR! I’ll stop talking now.” 

The airmen exchanged looks and Ron sunk into his seat. The safety straps kept him from sliding off and onto the floor. The offensive looks the men threw around turned into smirks and smiles. There was something fresh and even amusing about delivering this type of venture to these boys. They were all accustomed to the way the radio scratched and jumbled their speech. For a newbie the words all ran together. Even Major Hightower had to decode in her own mind what was being said. She knew she may have to translate things that were said directly to the boys, but she also knew the crew aboard this flight rarely addressed her, let alone any guest passengers. She also knew the men still showed some resentment toward her simply because she was a woman in what was predominantly a man’s world.

The boy’s listened in along the way as the men talked trash about their comrades. The overdose of testosterone was almost stronger that the he-man act David’s step dad dished out. Ron, having already spoken once, was not about to say one word more. Jeremy smirked when he was able to translate another man’s words. At first it sounded like the guy said, “It’s whiskey.” What he actually said was, “It’s risky.”  The man stationed in the back of the helicopter said,

“Chckkkk, How come there’s still not mushroom in the back here? Jimmer, ya bring too much stuff! Chckkkk.” 

The translation of mushroom was, “much room”. The man they called Jimmer responded,

“Chckkkk, It’s school Mark. Let’s fly without that extra gear and try jumping without lines or parachutes!!! Chckkkk, over AND out, Chckkkk.”

John wondered if his friends heard something about school with the way the phrase “It’s cool” came out. 

The third man backed up the retaliation with,

“Chckkkk, Twos of the trade. I pity the fool who blames the twos. Chckkkk.”

 Dave had a proud moment because he knew the wording was, “tools”, not twos. He recalled how some also said the word jail funny. When some people said Jail it sounded like they were saying, “gel.” In his head he heard the words and accent of this kid named Joe Kilmer saying,

“I hate gel. It’s hard in her.”

It cracked him up how the word, “here”, was pronounced , “her.” The whole phrase untranslated sounded so perverted.

The pilot’s name was Michael Cane. When one of the crew used the full name in a sentence it sounded like he said,

“Chckkkk, well uuh I’m sure glad we got my cocaine on board. Chckkkk.

In Ron’s mind he wondered why they kept calling one guy Monkey. Later he’d figure out the man’s name was Mike Key. This actually left Ron feeling let down. He was looking forward to catching monkeys they had only seen from a distance, using the tree canopy like a highway high far above their heads on their last visit to Zoo Island. He knew he wanted to keep one. That ushered his thought through a sad dark valley, reminding him that he had to return Tiny Tina The Tiger, the creature he had kept since their 1st trip. 

When the initial idea about catching animals was presented to the boys they honestly thought that meant catching them on video. Shooting them meant capturing pictures, like a photo shoot. Quickly they realized they were being sent to not just seek out the creatures but succeed in catching them in cages.The boys knew this task was pretty much a suicide mission. They questioned, 

‘Was being dead better than serving their sentence out in jail?’ 

They also questioned, 

‘Do the adults involved realize how’ dangerous this mandate is?’

John wanted so badly to talk back to the superiors who were forcing them to tackle this feat. He desires to shout back,

“Capturing 1 house fly is no big deal but many horse flies, flies the actual size of horses, definitely requires someone with the skill of driving cattle and corralling a team of wild horses. The same goes for ants, the type on this island that picked ME up and literally flew off with MY BODY!!!”

Although that is what John wanted to protest he remained silent, like the good little boy the correctional system pushed through the proverbial hamburger grinder. They all knew that speaking up, talking back, expressing themselves in anyway only resulted in more punishment and penal torture. All 4 Boys liked the whole Good vs. Evil, super hero syndrome, but the line between what was right, and what was wrong was not only blurry it was a smear since the start of this project. They were no longer sure what was good, real right, or honest. There was no longer even just black, white, or shades of grey. They were dealing with an array of colors far beyond the acronym of Roy G. Biv, (the red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet of the typical rainbow). John, the artist among them, once said to his friends,

 “If Zoo Island were a box of colored pencils it would feature far more than even primary colors could form.”

He was still amazed how the 3 colors, red, yellow, and blue formed secondary colors and that from just those 3 there was almost an infinite amount of colors available. He likened it to his 3 friends and how their personalities combined made such an amazing spectrum of colorful characters and language. Their story would not be the same if John (the 4th color) wasn’t blended in.

The aircraft’s pilot called in to the main land before landing on the island.

“Chckkkk, Southport private air strip please confirm permission to land at….”

The boy’s listened as GPS coordinates were rattled off

The pilot’s squawk was monotone, routine, and all business,

 “ChckkkkOk. Dr. Kowsinburg our GPS Reads (coordinates were spit out once again. Even faster this time). We arrrrrre uh rrready to land waiting per your approval chckkk. Over chckkk.” 

Then they heard the beep, letting those suspended in the air above the island that their communication to the air traffic controller was temporarily turned off. The beep was followed by the co-pilot inserting his own derogatory description, an adjective he always used behind the head traffic controllers  back,

“Chckkkk Doctor Fat Cows And Bird Brain! Chckkkk”

The pilot chastised him,

“We all know it’s true but watch yourself. Stay in check ladies. We are almost done.”

Jane (Major Hightower) hated when men called other men ladies.

The pilot switch back as the response from the control tower came in,

“Chckkk. Hawk Flight 90215 you’re confirmed to land. Keep radio channel communications open and clear in the event that conflict or obstructions prevail chhhhckkk.”

Even the kids knew this really meant,

‘Let us know if you end up under attack!’ 

Jeremy noticed the man in the back prepped a machine gun mounted in the rear. Dave was secretly hoping they’d have to battle some creature opposed to them landing. John’s intellectual  mind told him the monsters on the island wouldn’t fight them. These beasts wanted visitors, it was like a full buffet sat out before them. Ron looked out the side door. He wondered if they were going to land or have to propel down on lines, ropes, or long cordes. Jeremy was looking also. He searched for the pet they left behind, Quazzy, the half dog, half Komoto dragon. There was no sign of life. Major Hightower was convinced if there were threatening creatures on this island right now was when they would fight and defend their home. She was wrong. The worst was yet to come.

The Pilot’s Answer came back quickly, 

“Chckkk Affirmative (gps coordinates were rattled off again for what seemed like the 12th time) we arrrre free to land chckkkk.”

The pilot flipped the switch once again to privatise their communication, cutting them off from the tower, in spite of the directive. The pilot addressed his crew,

“Chckkkk Let’s drop this shite’ cargo and get the hell outta here kids. Chckkk”

Dave hated when men called other men kids.

They felt the hovering,

bulky, dual propeller machine dropping. The descent was slow but jerky.

“Chckkkk HANG ON! Chckkkk”,

The co-pilot commanded. Then he addressed the soldier in the very back.

“Chckkk GUNNER ALERT. DO YOU SEE ANY HOSTILES?! Chckkk.”

The report came back immediately,

“Chckkkk NEGATIVE! WE ARE ALL CLEAR! Chckkkk”

The boy’s stomachs began to rise acid as the flying vehicle came down. The thoroughly trained military men had only seen some of the life on Zoo Island and that was enough for even them to be nervous and thankful they were going to be able to leave in a few moments. At least they hoped they would be able to leave. There was no guarantee. They knew that at any moment they could possibly be portrayed as bait, prey for the godforsaken predator mongers living there. As soon as the skids hit the ground Major Hightower jumped out, immediately taking a defensive stance scanning the terrain for danger. She held two, automatic, fully loaded rifles, one in each hand. The safeties were off and she was ready to kill anything that moved. The remaining crew tossed the boys and their gear out. The boys felt like they were being treated like luggage but the reality was far worse. The men didn’t value them as much as they valued their own lives and their own equipment. These kids and their female mascot didn’t mean a thing. The co-pilot confirmed this as he shouted four harsh words,

“ChckkkkTAKE OUT THE TRASH! Chckkk.”

The boy’s tumbled out. Dave wanted to get on his feet first so he could turn back to fight the men who tossed them out. It was too late. Even quicker than they landed the helicopter carried the men up, off, and away. Leaving Hightower and the boys there to fend for themselves.

Go to Ch. 8

In Christ We Are

Small excerpt from Flourish In Gratitude • Devotional https://bible.com/reading-plans/16270/day/4?segment=0

Through Jesus we are

  • Called whole and complete [Colossians 2:10],
  • Adopted [Romans 8:17],
  • Forgiven [Psalm 103:12],
  • Free [Romans 8:1-2],
  • More than conquerors [Romans 8:37],
  • Reconciled to God [Romans 5:10],
  • A new creation [2 Corinthians 5:17],
  • Blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ [Ephesians 1:3].

And that’s just a start!

Walking to the Rhythm of His Song

From. Bright City – Still, Vol. 2 (http://bible.com/r/2vO)

Before we were singing to God, He was singing a song of love over us.

The Lord your God is with you,
 he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you;
 he will quiet you with his love,
 he will rejoice over you with singing.

ZEPHENIAH 3:17 (NIV)

It’s no secret or mystery that one of the best ways to calm down a distraught baby or young child is by the parent holding them tight and singing over them. I know this from my own three daughters. Lullabies and soft melodies in the dark of night to ease their distress and quiet them. It’s no surprise then to hear this truth from scripture that we have a Father who sings over us. 

Our concerns, our fears, our insecurities all become quieter when we are tuned to the melody of Love. We have to be still and hear the Father sing over us. 

If there is ever any temptation to doubt your worth or the love God has for you, it’s important to go back to the very heart of the Christian faith: 1 John 4:9–10 says:

“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

This is the Gospel of love. It’s the song that echoes through eternity and was sealed on the cross. You are loved. I am loved. This amazing passage in 1 John goes on in verse 18:

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

When we can really begin to tune in to the Father’s song over us, it leaves no room for any other frequencies in our heart. Fear is pushed out. Love is louder, stronger, and clearer. 

Fears and worries in our life can create a noise that we start to live by. Instead we need to make sure we are walking to the rhythm of His song

Find time today to be quieted by His love.

Be still.

Let your Father’s voice cut through the noise

There are times to sing to Him. We won’t ever stop doing that. But first let Him sing to you

“We love because he first loved us.” 1 JOHN 4:19 (NIV)

Go with God. Walk to the rhythm of His song.




God’s Word

For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
Zephaniah 3:17 NLT

From. Bright City – Still, Vol. 2 (http://bible.com/r/2vO)