Who Dat? Holy Spirit?

Is that You, Holy Spirit?

Inspired by Who Is The Holy Spirit? Day 5 of a 6 day devotional reading  plan called  ‘Who Is The Holy Spirit?’ by @YouVersion.  Link at bottom.

Think for a moment about the magic of radio, T.V., Telephones, Cell Phones and Satellites. Specifically a satellite, 🛰

🛰an artificial body placed in orbit around the earth or moon or another planet in order to collect information or for communication.”a communications satellite” 🛰

All those devises feel magical, but if you understand a little bit about how those waves, towers, dishes and antennas work, some of the wonder fades.

Hearing the Holy Spirit’s voice is sort of the same way. We never really lose the wonder, but when we learn how God speaks, it can start to feel more natural. The more We seek God the more We are equipped to understand Him.

It’s a Spirit thing.

Newsboys song

So, how do we know it’s actually the Holy Spirit’s voice in our head? It’s not as hard as you think.

Remember that God wants to speak to you, and He built you to hear His voice. When you hear or feel something you think might be God, you can run it through a few simple tests to be sure.

Test #1

First, test it against the Bible.

Is that voice in your head asking you do something that doesn’t match up with God’s character as described in the Bible? If so, then it’s probably not the Holy Spirit. God never lies. And God will never direct us to sin or to make wrong choices. He loves humanity deeply, even the people that you don’t like.

So sometimes, He’ll ask us to do things that we’re sort of uncomfortable with, like giving someone a second chance after they hurt you or going out of your way to encourage someone you’d rather ignore.

That’s why reading the Bible is so important. The Holy Spirit can use what you read in the Bible to teach you about God’s character so that when you hear His voice it sounds familiar.

Test #2

Next, you can test it against your own selfishness.

As humans, we’re naturally selfish. So, when that voice in your head says to do the unselfish thing, or to think about someone else first—that’s probably the Holy Spirit. You know how it feels when a parent or a teacher encourages you to do the right thing, and you really don’t want to do it? On the inside, you resist it. That little rebellious voice—that’s not God. But, the voice that’s asking you to do what’s right instead of what’s easy—that just might be the Holy Spirit.

Test #3

For this test ask, “Does it sound like something Satan would do?”

I know this one’s probably obvious, but if you haven’t read much from the Bible, it can be easy to confuse his voice for something good.

We have to know and understand how the enemy works.

To Hell with the Devil.

He even used God’s words when tempting Christ. He loves twisting and misusing God’s recorded words.

Satan always makes things sound good, but one of the Holy Spirit’s jobs is to give you something called discernment.

Basically, that means the Holy Spirit will help you recognize when something is coming from Satan instead of God.

So, if the voice in your head is asking you to do something that sounds a little off, but you can’t quite pinpoint the reason—that’s probably the Holy Spirit helping you recognize the wrong voice.

Sometimes, people can throw God’s name around like a badge to do and say some ridiculous and sometimes hurtful things. Don’t do that. If you haven’t seen this yet you will.

If you ever feel like God is telling you to do something that could hurt someone else, it’s definitly not God.

Bonus Test

There’s actually a great bonus test we find in the book of Galatians. It talks about

the fruit of the spirit, which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against things like this.

Galatians 5:22‭-‬23 CEB
  • love,
  • joy,
  • peace,
  • patience,
  • kindness,
  • goodness,
  • faithfulness,
  • gentleness, and
  • self-control.

The Holy Spirit’s promptings will line up with those outcomes. Sometimes, the Holy Spirit asks you to be a little more loving. Or patient. Or kind. But He’ll never ask you to be the opposite. He’ll never ask you to be impatient or hateful.

And the great news is that if you aim to please God, He will honor the intent of your heart and make His voice obvious. Jesus said,

“My sheep know my voice.”

So don’t worry. When He speaks, you’ll recognize Him.

If you know who the Holy Spirit is and how He speaks, it’s time to start a conversation with Him.

If you’re still unsure just simple ask Him for understanding.


God’s Word

John 10:1‭-‬15. Jesus went on to say,

‘I am telling you what is true. A shepherd keeps his sheep in a safe place with a wall round it.

There is a gate into that safe place. Anyone else who gets into that place by another way, not through the gate, is not the shepherd. That person is a robber. He comes to take away the sheep that are not his.

The shepherd goes in through the gate. The person who watches the gate opens it for the shepherd. The sheep recognize the shepherd’s voice. He calls each of his own sheep by their name and he leads them out.

When he has brought out all his own sheep, he goes in front of them. The sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger. They will run away from a stranger because they do not recognize his voice.’

Jesus told them this story like a picture to teach them. But they did not understand what he was saying to them.

So Jesus spoke again. He said,

‘I am telling you what is true. I am like the gate for the sheep. All other men who ever came to the sheep before me were like robbers. But the sheep did not listen to them.

I am like the gate. Everyone who comes in through me will be safe. They will be free to come in and to go out. And they will find plenty of food.

The robber only wants to take away my sheep. He wants to kill them. He comes only to destroy them. But I have come so that they can have true life. And so that they can have everything that they need. I am the good shepherd.

The good shepherd would die so that he can save his sheep. Another man may work with sheep so that he gets money. But the sheep are not his own. A man like that is not the shepherd. If a wolf comes, a man like that runs away. When he sees the wolf, he leaves the sheep and he runs away. Then the wolf attacks the sheep. It causes them to run away in all directions. That man runs away because the sheep are not his own. The sheep do not really matter to him.

I am the good shepherd.

I know my own sheep, and they know me. I know them in the same way that my Father knows me. And they know me in the same way that I know the Father. I will die so that I can save my sheep.
John 10:1‭-‬15 EASY

Romans 8:5‭-‬17 Some people do what their weak human thoughts want them to do. They think about the things that will make themselves happy.

But people who live with God’s Spirit as their guide think about what will make God’s Spirit happy.

People who let their human thoughts rule them will die. But people who think about what God’s Spirit wants will have life with God. They will have peace inside themselves.

If our weak human thoughts rule us, we become God’s enemies. People like that do not want to obey God’s laws. They are not even able to obey them.

People who let their human thoughts rule them cannot make God happy. But you are not like that. You no longer obey your weak human thoughts. Instead, you obey God’s Spirit as your guide. That is true if God’s Spirit is really living in you. But if anyone does not have Christ’s Spirit in them, that person does not belong to Christ. But, if Christ lives in you, you have a new life because of HIS SPIRIT. Your body will die one day because of the power of sin. But your spirit lives because Christ has made you right with God.

God raised Jesus, to make Him alive again after his death. Now God’s Spirit lives in you. So God, who raised Christ from death, will also cause your human bodies to live again. He will do that by his Spirit who lives in you.

So, my Christian friends, we must not obey what our weak human thoughts tell us to do.

We no longer have to live like that.

If you agree to live in that way, you will die. Instead, you should let God’s Spirit help you with HIS POWER. Then you can stop doing the wrong things that your bodies want to do. As a result, you will have life with God.

All those people who live with God’s Spirit as their guide are God’s children. The Spirit that you have received from God does not make you serve him like slaves. That would make you afraid again. No. The Spirit that God has given to you causes you to become God’s children.

Now HE takes care of you.

God’s Spirit makes us call God: ‘Abba (Daddy), our Father.’ God’s Spirit himself causes us to know that we are God’s children. God’s Spirit and our own spirits agree that this is true. Because we are God’s children, we also know that we will receive good things from Him. Those are the things that he has promised to give to his children. Together with Christ, we will receive the things that God has kept for him.

That is true if we agree to have troubles like Christ did. Then we will also enjoy life in heaven like Christ does.
Romans 8:5‭-‬17 EASY

Galatians 5:16‭-‬26 So, this is what I say: Let God’s Spirit show you how to live in a good way. Then you will not do the wrong things that you may want to do, as people who are weak and human.

The things that you want to do as a weak person are opposite to the things that God’s Spirit wants. The things that God’s Spirit wants are the opposite of what we want as weak people. Our own thoughts fight against what God’s Spirit wants us to do. As a result, you are not free to do the things that you really want to do. But if God’s Spirit leads you, then the rules of God’s Law have no authority over you.

Everyone knows the kinds of bad things that weak people want to do.

They have sex with people that they are not married to. They do things that are bad and dirty. They worship idols. They do magic to hurt people. They become enemies and they fight one another. They are jealous of other people. They become very angry. They want to please themselves and to be important. They cause trouble. They make people belong to different groups (such as cults and sects). They want things that belong to other people. They are drunks. They have wild parties. And they like to do many other bad things like those.

So I warn you again, as I have already warned you before. People who continue to do any of those bad things will not receive good things from God. God has prepared those good things for the people who belong to his kingdom.

But God’s Spirit causes us to live in a different way. We love other people. We are happy and we have peace in our minds. We are patient, kind and good. People can trust us to do what is right. We respect other people and we rule ourselves properly.

God’s Spirit helps us to live in that way. There is no law that says these things are wrong.

We belong to Christ.

As a result, we no longer obey our wrong human thoughts. We stop doing the bad things that our thoughts want us to do.

It is like we have killed those thoughts on the cross. Now it is God’s Spirit that gives us life. So we must let God’s Spirit lead us in how we live. We must not become proud. We must not be jealous of each other, so that we cause trouble to one another.
Galatians 5:16‭-‬26 EASY

You just finished day 5 of the 6 day @YouVersion plan ‘Who Is The Holy Spirit?’. Check out the full plan here: http://bible.com/r/3Li
Links: https://bible.com/bible/2079/gal.5.16-26.EASY https://bible.com/bible/2079/rom.8.5-17.EASY https://bible.com/bible/2079/jhn.10.1-15.EASY
He knows

Music:

A Church Without Walls

We’re all one

Thoughts from

Who Christ Calls You To Be (http://bible.com/r/3rI) Day 4: Christ Calls You to Unity and Fellowship

Key Verse

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:28)

In his letter to the Galatian church, the Apostle Paul offers a glimpse of the demographics of heaven. And it looks like paradise. If there were a census in heaven, it would ask only one question: 

Is Jesus your Lord and Savior? Everything else is incidental.

But Paul is not necessarily talking about heaven in Galatians 3. He’s talking about the church—Christ’s followers in this world. The unity of our shared purpose far outweighs any differences in race, gender, or background.

In 1 Corinthians 12:12–31, Paul uses the human body as an analogy for the church. Within the body, various parts have different features, different functions, and different ways of working. But they share a common goal—one that unites them profoundly and overrides their differences.

Like the parts of the human body, Christ’s followers work together and depend on one another to accomplish Christ’s work.

The unity to which Christ calls us can serve as an example to the world. It can inspire and give hope to people who know little about Christ. Learning to embrace—and celebrate—the unique set of cultural mores, personal experiences, and God-given gifts and sensibilities that every believer brings to the work of Christ is one of the most powerful forms of outreach the church has to offer.

A lack of unity within a church can have a devastating effect on its outreach. If people look to the church and see fractious relationships, backbiting, and internal warfare, they will likely, and justifiably, chalk it up to hypocrisy.

For many, it will confirm their worst suspicions about Christianity. If they see there’s nothing special about the way Christ’s followers interact with one another, they may question Christ’s ability to change lives.

If, on the other hand, people see loving concern, cooperation, encouragement, accountability, and “iron-sharpening iron,” they may be inspired to investigate Christ further.

Romans 12:18 gets to the heart of the matter: “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” You may be surprised by how much does depend on you—that is, how much unity you can inspire simply by developing a Christlike heart for others.

The walls that separate us are much more fragile than they seem.

If you take the time, effort, and risk to reach out to other believers, especially those who are different from you, you’ll find that those walls can be toppled in no time.

The opportunities for unity and fellowship are endless. To learn more about how you can align yourself within the body of Christ and create relationships within the church that will inspire others, click on this link: https://bibl.es/ThisIsFamily. 


God’s word

28 It does not matter whether you are a Jew or a Gentile. It does not matter whether you are a slave or a free person. It does not matter whether you are a man or a woman. You all belong together because you all belong to Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3:28 EASY

12 Each person has only one body, but that body has many parts. All those different parts make only one body. It is like that with Christ too. 13 When they baptized us, we all became parts of one body. It was the one Spirit who brought us together. It made no difference whether we were Jews or Gentiles. It made no difference whether we were slaves or free people. God poured his one Spirit into all of us. 14 A person’s body does not have only one part. It has many parts. 15 If the foot could speak, it might say, ‘I am not a hand, so I do not belong to this body.’ But what it says makes no difference. It is still a part of the body. 16 If the ear could speak, it might say, ‘I am not an eye, so I do not belong to this body.’ But what it says makes no difference. It still belongs to the body. 17 If the whole body was an eye, the body would not hear anything. If the whole body was an ear, it would not recognize different smells. 18 But God has decided where each different part of our body should be. 19 If our body was all the same part, it would not be a proper body. 20 But as it is, a body has many parts. It is still only one whole body. 21 For that reason, the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I do not need you.’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I do not need you.’ 22 No. Even the parts of a body that seem to be weaker are very necessary. 23 Think about the parts of our body that are not very special. We dress them carefully! And we take special care of those parts that we do not want people to see. 24 But we do not need to do this with the beautiful parts of our body. God has put all these parts together in one body. Some parts seem to be not very special. But God has shown that those parts are very valuable. 25 He has done that to bring all the parts together as one body. All the parts work together to help each other. 26 Then if one part of the body hurts, every other part also hurts. If people praise one part, every part of the body is also happy. 27 All of you together are Christ’s body. And each of you is a part of that body. 28 Like the parts of a body, God has put people in different places in his church. First, there are apostles. Second, there are people who speak messages from God. Third, there are teachers. After that, there are people who do miracles. There are people who have gifts to make sick people well. There are people who help others in special ways. There are people who can lead others. And there are people who can speak different kinds of languages. 29 Not everyone in the church is an apostle. Not everyone speaks messages from God. Not everyone is a teacher. Not everyone can do miracles. 30 Not everyone has the gifts to make sick people well. Not everyone can speak in different kinds of languages. Nor can everyone explain what messages in those languages mean. You know that. 31 But it is good if you really want the more valuable gifts from God. Now I will show you a way that is better than anything else.
1 Corinthians 12:12‭-‬31 EASY

18 If it is possible, try always to be friends with other people.
Romans 12:18 EASY

Will Of The Walls

Post from, “The Faith to Become Fruitful” • Devotional (https://bible.com/reading-plans/23809/day/2?segment=0) Link at bottom too.

Walls have the ability to prevent access. Isn’t it funny how something that is standing still has so much power to prevent someone from entering into a next part or phase? 

Have you ever pursued building, buying, or just renovating a home and you found that there were ONE TOO MANY walls in that particular area? You might’ve requested for one of the walls to be torn down because you had a vision and an idea for that space. You saw the potential but there was something standing in the way. 

This might sound pretty cliche’ but

“as it is in the natural, it is in the spirit.”

Who’s responsible for the walls in our lives? The person who put them there. We’re the builders of our life, therefore, we decide what walls we’re going to put up and what walls we need to tear down.

Now, let me help you understand that there are walls that protect us from the enemy. They control our interaction and defend us from the attacks of the adversary. 

Nehemiah had a unique responsibility. As a levite priest, his assignment was to supervise and secure maintenance around the temple by filling and fencing the wall of Jerusalem in efforts to keep religious laws away sent by his enemy Tobiah.

In chapters 7-13 of Nehemiah, the wall was rebuilt, but rumors began to spread regarding Nehemiah’s position as King of Judah. Tobiah, Sandballat, and Geshem tried to frighten Nehemiah during the course of his project. But he made no efforts in entertaining what they were saying. 

When we interview the reality of our lives, some of us are distracted by the voices that are surrounding us. These voices can impede us from fulfilling our assignments,

only if we allow it.

Nehemiah didn’t allow it. He ignored what they were saying, yet he responded to protect his character. He continued building the wall and did not come down according to scripture.

When the enemy sends a distraction our way, we grow fearful, and intimidated by the threat of a rumor. It’s important and necessary that as you’re building whatever you’ve been called to build, whether it’s your ministry, your business/brand, your legacy that you remain solid and stable in what you believe. 

If you’re not strong in your faith, then situations like this can create other walls that will eventually become strongholds. Strongholds that have been heavily fortified by the enemy.

This will cause you to continue wrestling between the process and the promise, the journey and the manifestation.

We all desire access to the miraculous things that God has waiting for us. Don’t come down from your assignment. Whatever you do,

KEEP BUILDING!

God sees our potential even when we’re blinded by it. We’re consumed by our walls, yet God is saying,

“I want to consume you with my love.”

God wants you to have victory over every generational stronghold in your life. 

The goal of the enemy is no match to the promise of God. God wants you fruitful and productive in every area, seen and unseen. The demonstrative power of God has the ability to demolish every demonic assignment that has built walls around the sanctuary of your life. He wants to give you access to a fruitful life.

Post from, “The Faith to Become Fruitful” • Devotional (https://bible.com/reading-plans/23809/day/2?segment=0)

Yesterday’s post ties in with these thoughts. If you want to you can go back to that post click here:👉Labor Of The Labyrinth ( https://wp.me/p6Exj2-4Ax )


God’s Word

17‭-‬20 But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.
Romans 7:17‭-‬20 MSG

Labor of the Labyrinth (Maze)

2nd Co. 10:5

The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity. 2 Corinthians 10:5 MSG https://bible.com/verse-of-the-day/2co.10.5/58400

Classics Christian Rock song “Plunder He’ll and Populate Heaven” by Jerusalem:

“You know my heart, Lord.”

He smiled back and chuckled ,

“I also know your head.”

Then He went on to explain. (Excerpt from The Maze Blog Post. Link below)

Link to very short story “The Mazehttps://wp.me/p6Exj2-m

What Is Worship? Back To The Basics • Devotional

Taken from the Back To The Basics • Devotional (day 2 of 7 day reading plan) https://bible.com/reading-plans/15533/day/2?segment=0

What is Worship?

Scripture says: “But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning.” Psalm 59:16

Devotional: What is worship through song?

Worship is first and foremost about the longing of God for unfettered relationship with his people.

In authentic worship we can touch the heart of our Creator—satisfying the desires of he who paid the highest price simply to have us.

Scripture is clear that God loves when we sing to him and about him.

Ephesians 5:18-19 tells us to “be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart.”

John 4:23 states, “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.” 

God loves worship. He longs for it. Think of that!

You have an opportunity every day, through worship, to satisfy the heart of the one who paints sunsets, breathes life into dust and forms mountains, galaxies, animals, angels and humankind with just the power of his voice

You bring your Creator immense joy and satisfaction when you worship through singing.

You see, God is after your heart. He’s after direct connection from his Spirit to yours.

Music has this profound ability to reach past our limited understanding and help our heart connect with HE who is limitless and eternal.

It serves as an avenue for this cyclical (occurring in cycles), reciprocal (done in return) act of love and devotion between the Creator and the created.

Music can take our worship to a new, next level, different than reading Scripture or spending time in prayer or community.

In worship we can sing to God songs of adoration, thanksgiving, high praise, and unadulterated love in response to his character, nearness, and devotion.

Simply put, in worship we give and receive that which is most important—love. 

Whether you normally engage in personal worship right now or not, know that you were created to worship. You were made to connect directly with the heart of God. As you engage in the act of worship you will discover the nearness of a God so filled with steadfast love and devotion for you that everything changes.

As you consistently touch the heart of the Father your life will be transformed by his limitless grace and passionate pursuit. Engaging in worship will result in an overflowing, unquenchable joy, as there is no greater experience than that of,

a perfect God meeting with an imperfect person. 

Take time in guided Scriptural prayer to reflect on the importance of worship and connect directly with the heart of your heavenly Father. May your time be marked by a greater revelation of his nearness and love. 

Guided Scriptural Prayer:

  “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, HE is God! It is HE who made us, and we are His; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His name!” Psalm 100:1-4

“Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to THE ROCK of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise! For (because) the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In His hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are His also. The sea is His, for He made it, and His hands formed the dry land. Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!” Psalm 95:1-6

“Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.” Psalm 29:2 2.

“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.” John 4:23

“That you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the  saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that  surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19

“And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!’” Revelation 4:8

“But for me it is good to be near God.” Psalm 73:28

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.” Zephaniah 3:17


If you feel the weight of the world resting on your shoulders at any point, take a few minutes to engage in worship. A small time of worship has the power to reprioritize our lives and make the stresses and burdens of life diminish in light of God’s eternal love. May your day today be marked by the peace and joy of one who knows the love and nearness of the Father.

May we continually Ask God to show us how much he loves our worship—to give us a revelation of His great love for us. May His desire for worship be the foundation of our devotion. 

We can also spend some time resting in the presence of God. Asking Him to reveal His love to us in a fresh way and, in response, worship Him.


Remember, God told the people of Israel, before going into battle, to put the singers first.

Classic Christian Rock song by Petra, “Let Everything That Has Breath”

Check out Let Everything That Hath Breath (Praise Medley) (Live) by Petra on Amazon Music
https://music.amazon.com/albums/B000TEMSRK?trackAsin=B000TE0JS0&ref=dm_sh_ubVU6RA66Mz27pfltEsayNudA


Taken from the Back To The Basics • Devotional (day 2 of 7 day reading plan) https://bible.com/reading-plans/15533/day/2?segment=0

This Is A Job For Jesus

I just finished day 3 of the 4 day @YouVersion plan ‘A Job for Jesus’. (Link at bottom) today’s post related directly with yesterday’s. Some things are worth repeating a second time, reedirating for a deeper meaning

I believe God is the source for everything we face in life. Here is what I gathered from this resource;

It looks at “Disproportionate Faith And The Mountain”

The beginning of this text (Mark 9:14‭-‬29 at bottom) is the ending of a lifelong trauma for a little boy who has spent his entire life under demoniac power.

As difficult as it is today to understand emotional and mental health you can imagine what it was in the days of Christ.

This was more than Schizophrenia or some mental malfunction. This boy was moved under the unction of the devil—falling into things that he did not even want. 

The father, in exasperation, has come not to Jesus first, but to his disciples asking them to heal his son.

Note:

there are only nine disciples present, because the rest of them are up on the mount of transfiguration.

When Jesus comes down from the mountain he is confronted by a crowd of people and there are serious accusations being thrown at him because of the frustration of a father who has come to his wits’ end

The retreat from the mountain top is over. The revelation has been experienced. It is now time to get back into the valley. What do they encounter? This is a chaotic mess.

This is not dissimilar to Moses when he came down the mountain after experiencing God’s glory and having the law revealed, only to see God’s people deep in faithless idol worship. But,

this mess is where the mission is.

In the crowd are people who are hurting, families with members who are sick physically and oppressed or possessed spiritually.

At the end of the day you may appreciate everyone praying for you but,

There are some problems that rise to a level that you cannot bring to anyone or even God’s servant. You have to bring them to the feet of Jesus.

You have to go to God for yourself. This is a job for Jesus.

When they bring the boy to Jesus, he begins to peel back the layers of the complexity of the problem.

Often our problems are complicated. It wasn’t that Jesus just touched him and said be healed. Jesus enters into a dialogue with the father that affects the son and then delivers the boy because this is a multi-layered problem which is complex. We all have problems that are complicated. Jesus deals with the father’s duality of faith. The dad says,

“Lord I believe. Help my unbelief.”

How can you believe, and not believe. How can you trust. and not trust? How can you have faith and still have doubt? Is it possible for both to coexist?

To heal the boy all they needed was faith “as small as a mustard seed.” In that day and age the mustard seed was the smallest thing the human eye could see. We can only conclude, then, that the disciples’ faith was even smaller than the mustard seed. Jesus is saying that their faith was so small that it was non-existent Faith is so impactful. If it’s a mountain you want to move, don’t use a cup—a grain is enough. 

Remember Jesus has just come down from a mountain so the mountain is there right in front of him, right in front of them too. (Think about the mountain that is in front of you that is staring you right in your face).

Jesus is saying the promise is not proportional.

You don’t need a mountain of faith for a mountain of problems. I know that when Jesus is talking about mountains, he is not just talking about literal mountains but whatever is standing up in your life blocking your view that you cannot see him—that is your mountain. 

Sometimes our perception of being small comes from how we see ourselves.  

If you read Numbers 13: 32-33 notice it  says because of how we saw ourselves—as little insects and we saw them as giants.

Sometimes our smallness is imagined or imaged on us.

Where did we get those images from? Why did you believe them? If you have been beaten down and all you have is a little bit left, that’s all God needs. He is the God of all, the big and the small.  


God’s Word

Matthew 17:17‭-‬20 MSG Jesus said, “What a generation! No sense of God! No focus to your lives! How many times do I have to go over these things? How much longer do I have to put up with this? Bring the boy here.”

He ordered the afflicting demon out—and it was out, gone. From that moment on the boy was well. When the disciples had Jesus off to themselves, they asked,

“Why couldn’t we throw it out?”

“Because you’re not yet taking God seriously,” said Jesus.

“The simple truth is that if you had a mere kernel of faith, a poppy seed, say, you would tell this mountain, ‘Move!’ and it would move. There is nothing you wouldn’t be able to tackle.”
Matthew 17:17‭-‬20 MSG

This is also in The Book of Mark

Mark 9:14‭-‬29 MSG. When they came back down the mountain to the other disciples, they saw a huge crowd around them, and the religion scholars cross-examining them. As soon as the people in the crowd saw Jesus, admiring excitement stirred them. They ran and greeted him. He asked,

“What’s going on? What’s all the commotion?”

A man out of the crowd answered,

“Teacher, I brought my mute son, made speechless by a demon, to you. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and goes stiff as a board. I told your disciples, hoping they could deliver him, but they couldn’t.”

Jesus said,

“What a generation! No sense of God! How many times do I have to go over these things? How much longer do I have to put up with this? Bring the boy here.”

They brought him. When the demon saw Jesus, it threw the boy into a seizure, causing him to writhe on the ground and foam at the mouth. He asked the boy’s father,

How long has this been going on?”

“Ever since he was a little boy. Many times it pitches him into fire or the river to do away with him. If you can do anything, do it. Have a heart and help us!”

Jesus said,

“If? There are no ‘ifs’ among believers. Anything can happen.”

No sooner were the words out of his mouth than the father cried,

“Then I believe. Help me with my doubts!”

Seeing that the crowd was forming fast,

Jesus gave the vile spirit its marching orders: “Dumb and deaf spirit, I command you—Out of him, and stay out!”

Screaming, and with much thrashing about, it left. The boy was pale as a corpse, so people started saying, “He’s dead.” But Jesus, taking his hand, raised him. The boy stood up. After arriving back home, his disciples cornered Jesus and asked,

“Why couldn’t we throw the demon out?”

He answered,

“There is no way to get rid of this kind of demon except by prayer.”
Mark 9:14‭-‬29 MSG

Numbers 13:31‭-‬33 But the others said, “We can’t attack those people; they’re way stronger than we are.” They spread scary rumors among the People of Israel. They said, “We scouted out the land from one end to the other—it’s a land that swallows people whole. Everybody we saw was huge. Why, we even saw the Nephilim giants (the Anak giants come from the Nephilim). Alongside them we felt like grasshoppers. And they looked down on us as if we were grasshoppers.”
Numbers 13:31‭-‬33 MSG

You just finished day 3 of the 4 day @YouVersion plan ‘A Job for Jesus’. Check it out the whole plan here: http://bible.com/r/4UQ

Feel Like A Gresshopper?

we felt like grasshoppers. And they looked down on us as if we were grasshoppers.”

Numbers 13:31‭-‬33 MSG

As I tried to organize my thoughts I felt like that rodeo clown trying to wrangle a bull or two. After sitting still, reading my Bible, and resources backing “The Source”, along with prayer (communication with God), here is what I gathered from that dialogue with God.

Listening to Matthew 17:17‭-‬20 & Mark 9:14‭-‬29 in the MSG (Message version) Jesus was deals with a father’s duality of faith. The dad said,

“Lord I believe. Help my unbelief.”

This leads us to many

Questions:

How can you believe, and not believe. How can you trust. and not trust? How can you have faith and still have doubt? Is it possible for both to coexist?

To heal this dad’s son all they needed was faith “as small as a mustard seed.” In that day and age the mustard seed was the smallest thing the human eye could see. We can only conclude, then, that the disciples’ faith was even smaller than the mustard seed. Jesus is saying that their faith was so small that it was non-existent.

We hear the saying,
“I’ll believe it when I see it.” But, with faith we have to say,

“I will see it when I believe it.”

Here is a great song with that correct statement:

Dogs of peace song, “When I Believe It”

Ya know when we are about to take a flight somewhere we have to get on a plane. If we wanna fly we can not keep our feet on the ground. It’s the same thing with a cruise ship. We have to be on board or keep our feet on the ground right where we are. We can’t do both.

Jesus says,

“If you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.”
Matthew 7:26‭-‬27 MSG

Consider who Jesus Christ is. Ask, “Who is this man? Even waves obey Him?”

Late one day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s go across to the other side.” They took him in the boat as he was. Other boats came along. A huge storm came up. Waves poured into the boat, threatening to sink it. And Jesus was in the stern, head on a pillow, sleeping! They roused him, saying,

“Teacher, is it nothing to you that we’re going down?”

Awake now, he told the wind to pipe down and said to the sea, “Quiet! Settle down!”

The wind ran out of breath;

the sea became smooth as glass. Jesus reprimanded the disciples:

“Why are you such cowards? Don’t you have any faith at all?”

They were in absolute awe, staggered. “Who is this, anyway?” they asked. “Wind and sea at his beck and call!”
Mark 4:35‭-‬41 MSG

Remember God tells oceans, “You can only go this far.” Remember He controls every wind in the sky.

Remember the scouts, children of God, who went out as scouts to check out the land God promised to give them. They came back with the report,

we felt like grasshoppers. And they looked down on us as if we were grasshoppers.”

Numbers 13:31‭-‬33 MSG

When we face what we were compare to a giant, or a mountain, may we remember that we have a higher power and God is bigger than it all.


Source & Resource: Day 3 of the @YouVersion plan ‘A Job for Jesus’. Check it out here:http://bible.com/r/4UQ

God’s word:

Matthew 17:17‭-‬20 MSG
Jesus said, “What a generation! No sense of God! No focus to your lives! How many times do I have to go over these things? How much longer do I have to put up with this? Bring the boy here.” He ordered the afflicting demon out—and it was out, gone. From that moment on the boy was well. 19 When the disciples had Jesus off to themselves, they asked, “Why couldn’t we throw it out?” 20 “Because you’re not yet taking God seriously,” said Jesus. “The simple truth is that if you had a mere kernel of faith, a poppy seed, say, you would tell this mountain, ‘Move!’ and it would move. There is nothing you wouldn’t be able to tackle.” Matthew 17:17‭-‬20 MSG https://bible.com/bible/97/mat.17.17-20.MSG
Mark 9:14‭-‬29 MSG When they came back down the mountain to the other disciples, they saw a huge crowd around them, and the religion scholars cross-examining them. As soon as the people in the crowd saw Jesus, admiring excitement stirred them. They ran and greeted him. He asked, “What’s going on? What’s all the commotion?” 17‭-‬18 A man out of the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought my mute son, made speechless by a demon, to you. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and goes stiff as a board. I told your disciples, hoping they could deliver him, but they couldn’t.” 19‭-‬20 Jesus said, “What a generation! No sense of God! How many times do I have to go over these things? How much longer do I have to put up with this? Bring the boy here.” They brought him. When the demon saw Jesus, it threw the boy into a seizure, causing him to writhe on the ground and foam at the mouth. 21‭-‬22 He asked the boy’s father, “How long has this been going on?” “Ever since he was a little boy. Many times it pitches him into fire or the river to do away with him. If you can do anything, do it. Have a heart and help us!” 23 Jesus said, “If? There are no ‘ifs’ among believers. Anything can happen.” 24 No sooner were the words out of his mouth than the father cried, “Then I believe. Help me with my doubts!” 25‭-‬27 Seeing that the crowd was forming fast, Jesus gave the vile spirit its marching orders: “Dumb and deaf spirit, I command you—Out of him, and stay out!” Screaming, and with much thrashing about, it left. The boy was pale as a corpse, so people started saying, “He’s dead.” But Jesus, taking his hand, raised him. The boy stood up. 28 After arriving back home, his disciples cornered Jesus and asked, “Why couldn’t we throw the demon out?” 29 He answered, “There is no way to get rid of this kind of demon except by prayer.” Mark 9:14‭-‬29 MSG https://bible.com/bible/97/mrk.9.14-29.MS

Remember The Password

Enter with the password: “Thank you!”

Psalm 100:4‭-‬5 MSG Translation. Enter with the password: “Thank you!” Make yourselves at home, talking praise. Thank him. Worship him. For God is sheer beauty, all-generous in love, loyal always and ever.
Psalm 100:4‭-‬5 MSG

Psalms 139:1‭-‬18 EASY Translation: Lord, you look deep inside me, and you know all about me. You know when I sit down, and you know when I get up. Even when you are far away, you understand what I am thinking about. You see me when I go out, and you see me when I stay at home. You know everything that I do! Yes Lord, before I open my mouth to speak, you know what I will say. You are all round me, in front of me and behind me. You put your hand on me to keep me safe. What you know about me is so great, I cannot understand it. My thoughts cannot reach as high as that! Is there anywhere that I can go to run away from your Spirit? Anywhere that I go, you are already there! If I go up to heaven, you would be there. If I dig deep down into the ground to reach Sheol, you would be there too. If I fly away to where the sun rises in the east, or to the other side of the sea in the west, you would be there. You would use your hand to lead me. Your strong right hand would keep me safe. I might say, ‘I will hide myself in the dark, and the light round me will change into night.’ But it is never too dark for you to see. For you, the night has as much light as the day. Darkness and light are the same to you! You made every part of me. You made me grow inside my mother before I was born. I thank you for the wonderful way that you have made me. Everything that you do is wonderful! I know it is true. While you caused me to grow in a secret place, none of my body was hidden from you. You made me deep in the earth. Your eyes watched me before I was born. Before I had seen the light of day, you decided how many days I would live! You wrote it down in your book. You have so many thoughts about me, God, that I cannot understand them all. They are too many for me to count, more than the sand on the shore of the sea. Even if I finished counting them, you would still be there!
Psalms 139:1‭-‬18 EASY

Matthew 18:19‭-‬20 (AMP version) Jesus said, “Again I say to you, that if two believers on earth agree [that is, are of one mind, in harmony] about anything that they ask [within the will of God], it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in My name [meeting together as My followers], I am there among them.”
Matthew 18:19‭-‬20 AMP

A few notes from the Everything I Need • Devotional

Craving God’s presence, God’s voice, and God’s Word.

In His presence, fear flees faster than the tiny lizards that line the path on a South Florida sidewalk.

Peace falls like a warm heated blanket on a cold winter’s night. Dreams leap and dance with newfound delight.  

Align with His heart because He abides in ours and transforms us from the inside out.

Let His Holy Spirit fill and overflow our hearts.

He is always and forever crafting new things out of the old and dried up areas in our lives. God doesn’t simply change your circumstances and battles, but writes NEW stories, NEW memories, and NEW adventures.  

God’s presence makes broken things whole. Not because of anything we have done, but because:

  • He is whole.
  • He is unbroken;
  • He is undamaged.
  • He is not divided or disjoined;
  • He isn’t injured or impaired.
  • He isn’t wounded;
  • He is complete.
  • He isn’t hurt.
  • He is sound. 

And through Jesus Christ, we are also whole. We are made new in His presence.

There is nothing like pressing into His presence in pursuit of our portion through Him. There is nothing like pursuing the Provider.

May we continually,

Pursue our Provider with praise & thankfulness, with worship, and with the truth of His Word.

Remember, we don’t always have to try to pursue by ourself, even when it is awkward or embarrassing. May we fight through the desire to always or only retreat to the comfort of solitude on our couch (or with the empty company of Netflix).

Remember, the words of Christ, where there are two or more gathered in His name, God has promised to be there (Matthew 18:19‭-‬20).

God is the God over every good and bad season, both the dry and the fruitful seasons, the busy and the restful seasons.

He desires our thankfulness, our praise, and our worship because He knows it will remind us that He is on the throne and has already gone ahead of anything we may be facing today.

My heart beats for you, the reader of these words. More than anything, I want you also to know Him, and just remember how good He is.

He doesn’t leave us on our own, He doesn’t sit back and watch us fend for ourselves when we ask for His help. 

Regardless of where we are, and how we got there God has promised us that when we seek Him, we will find Him. God has a perfect portion waiting for us.

Closing Reflection and Prayer

God, every good and perfect gift comes from You, and we can’t even fathom what You have in store for us in the future… but we do know that You have already secured it, already paid for it, already laid out a path for us to get it.

God, we want to be where You are. We want to see Your face, to hear Your voice, to be in the very presence of perfect Love. Love undefiled. Love as pure as the cry of a newly born babe.  

Lord Jesus Christ, Come meet me and the person reading this right where we are at this moment, for You, Lord, know us completely. You know the struggles, the battles, the failures, and the giants we are fighting against. You know what is needed to win, and You already have it secured. Now we claim it and will proclaim it. More than the good gifts You bring to us all, bring Your presence to us right now.

In the tension, in the darkness, in the battle, in the wilderness, during all this we will not stop praising You, worshipping You, crying out for You, trusting You, humbling ourselves to You, and remembering how You have faithfully brought us here.

We wait expectantly to accept and understand that we are always in Your care and in Your presence, especially when we don’t “feel” like You’re in us and we are in You . You alone Lord, are everything we need.

Amen (may it be so).

These notes were taken from day 3 of the 3 day @YouVersion plan ‘Everything I Need‘. Check it out here: http://bible.com/r/5wZ

KIDEATERS Ch. 6 unedited

KIDEATERS Vs. Zoo BoyZ unedited

Chapter 6
Meeting Mission Command

Now our boys are a year older than they were when they went to Zoo Island (editorial note for blog place link to Zoo BoyZ here). And they are 2 years older than when they broke into The Forever Happy Amusement Park (editorial note for blog insert link to The Park), although John did not commit that crime with the other three.

When you are 15, 14, 13, and 12 you naturally jump between all kinds of different factors from without as well as from within. Those years are arguably the most developmental years of everyone’s lives. It was no different for our boys. We find them suddenly going through some brutal progressive
changes: hormonally, physically, emotionally, morally, even financially, while also being forced into invading the foreign soil of Zoo Island. This was no world war, no Vietnam or Pearl Harbour, but to these four children it was as serious as any other, full on military invasion. The strategic situation they found themselves in now was as complicated, confusing and combative as they had only witnessed through motion pictures released from Hollywood. Hanson wasn’t just unleashing the boys from jail he was also plunging them into what could be a suicide mission.

Mr. John Hanson was gracious enough to not send the boys alone, although after hearing their testimony and how they outwitted his octopus on their last visit to Zoo Island, he was confident they would do a better job than his own professional scouts, survivalist, animal tamers, and biologists.

As planned, the boys were transported under extremely high security measures, as if they were linked to part of some major mob or one of the organized criminal empires. Shackled, not only on their wrists but on their ankles as well. They even had black hoods placed over their heads to keep their final destination confidential.

When they arrived at the secret location of John Hanson’s underground layer they were drug out of the black suburban SUV and forced to their knees. It was there, in a position only an assassination would use, they were released from their bonds. Each boy greatly appreciated being uncuffed,finally, and the feeling of being set free for the first time in a year.
One of Hanson’s assigned henchmen rapidly pulled the hoods off their heads. It was almost like a dream, almost too hard to believe, almost incomprehensible. The reality was that they were still captives, still convicts, still restricted from being able to go home and live out an average, normal, life, like any other boy their age. Most teenagers were over concerned about the pimples and blemishes on their face. Many teenagers were right acme, growing pains, and broken hearts from crushed that wanted nothing to do with them; but right here, right now, these 4 young men were only beginning to discern the blasphemous, immoral principles they were forced to face. They had no idea how deep seeded John Hanson’s plot ran.

Still on their knees, side by side, in a parking lot, the smell of fresh air and wind hitting their face gave some ease to their minds. Their adolescent eyes were still trying to adjust to the sudden brightness. The transition took much longer than they desired. In the distance they could only make out a slender silhouette, a vertical line. Soon they realized it was a tall thin figure coming toward them. Their minds rapidly fired images from several sci-fi movies they caught by sneaking into the local movie theater. Any ease they were offered didn’t last nearly long enough. Within seconds the creature was standing right infront of them. Too close for comfort. This wasn’t the first over authoritative obstacle they met, however, there was something even more… what is the word? Something like… a dominatrix, strangely taboo but also enticing. There was a hint of allure and almost a strange sense of sexual gratification in nature. Although they couldn’t put their finger on it they knew it was some type of tempress. “It” was their assigned chaperone and guardian. Another grinding voice shouted at the boys,

“THIS IS HIGHTOWER!!! YOUR NEW MASTER!!!”

The unusually tall figure blocked out the sunlight. That alone gave their eyes an opportunity to recover but made their palms become sweaty, like clams grasping a grain of sand.

Back home the Parents worry about their children’s safety but in THIS situation, destination unknown, the boys feared for their own security.

Hightower growled,

“Get up boys! Come with me!”

They were being led but also had armed officers behind them. Dave whispered to his partners,

“I think he’s really a woman.”

The other three noticed the whisper went unnoticed by their captures so Jeremy spoke next, a little softer than Dave. As he let out his words with a soft breath only his friends heard him state,

“Shhhh…she just dresses like a man.”

Ronnie’s words were almost too low to hear,

“Ah, so?! So do I! But, ya think he ahh..sshhhhe is a good leader?”

John said softly,

“I guess we’ll find out.”

He swallowed hard as Dave spoke again. Hardly even a whisper anymore he announced to his friends,

“Dogs, shhhe ain’t leading shhhit. We leadin’ her. That is the whole point. The whole purpose. We gonna lead this operation. Their boss picked us.”

Sometimes to see the best you gotta understand the worse. Others would claim Dave always stuck out like a sore thumb but the truth was that Dave was the healed finger in the bunch. So many teens his age were like black and blue or paralyzed appendages, not functioning well at all. Dave had such a hard upbringing that he was willing to take on dangerous tasks others never dreamed of addressing. Often Dave’s careless, fearless demeaner came across as idiotic, foolish, and even cocky when in reality the fact of the matter was he was raised to endure, survive, overcome, and conquer whatever was thrown at him.

Jeremy’s voice remained soft and timid,

“Bu, but we’ll need their co…cooper…ah…ation.”

His words were warped and hard for him to form. John shrugged his shoulders. Trying to shake off the doubt and the unmistakable, uneasy, feeling surrounding him. He knew nothing was within their control. His voice was just under a hush,

“Guys, like I said, I guess we’ll see. We better stay quiet.”

Although he told his friends to remain silent he himself went on talking,

“Oh, also by the way Ronnie, this is an opportunity to take Tina back, bet she misses her family and ya know if you get caught with her here, just like if you would have got caught with her while we were in jail we’d be dead.”

Tina was an extremely tiny tiger, smaller than Ronnie’s pinky finger. He took her from the island on their last trip there, masking his secret for a full year. She still hadn’t grown and was very calm in the darkest recesses of his pocket. His brain entertained what John said. He knew if an adult discovered her they’d take her, do scientific experiments on her, and throw him and his friends in solitary confinement. Ronnie’s mouth opened. Unknowingly he released his thoughts,

“Yeah, who knows what they’ll do to poor Tina. I gotta get her back.”

Ron was hurt and sad but if he would be honest with himself he knew John right. He fought with the fact that even if he took her back to her original home she’d still be taken away. Part of their chore was to capture animals there and put them into the hands of, well, of who knows who.

Jeremy put his hand on Ronnie’s shoulder. He reassured him,

“Dude, it sucks! I know, but, it is time to take her back. Return her home where she belongs. She belongs to her mother.”

He heard his own words then added,

“So do we. This is mucked up man.”

Without putting his hand in the pocket containing his secret pet, for fear their captors would think he was pulling out a weapon, Ronnie just gave it a soft, delicate, pat. His 3 friends admired how Tina was so small Ronnie never got caught with her. Even when they thoroughly searched him while being booked, or admitted, let alone when they left. For other searches while in jail Ronnie always hid her in places the guards never checked.

As Sargent Sladder
was turning the boys over to Hightower he yelled with his hard “A”, North Eastern, accent,

“Don’t disreGOD any instrAhctions yous guys Ah toad! Just do as yous AH TOAD!”

Dave spoke up, using his full on out door voice, he demanded,

“Where ya taken us now??!!”

Sladder’s answer came back with even more volocity,

“THAT IS ON A NEED TO KNOW BASES!!! AND YOU DON’T NEED TO KNOW!!!”

Sladder nodded to Hightower. He added,

“This tAss fours gonna tac ovAh!”

Sladder was referring to
their chaperone, this new task force taking over. The fully armed adult stepped toward as Sarg. Sladder and the other armed minions retreated. The name Hightower perfectly fit the physical description of this new character. The boys dwarfed in size while this high towering tyrant stood directly in front of them. The kid’s emotions and mental status shrunk as well when the,
supposed guardian, spoke with a tone just as harsh and cold as Sladder. In Spite of this, at the same time the voice somehow carried a form of reassurance, almost like a parent giving loving discipline. Direction and instructions flowed out of the mouth of this new forerunner. Out of the sea of jargon 1 key word stood out to the boys. That specific word was,

“Classified!”

Their minds were full of questions but without asking they knew the answer for everything was going to be that same word,

“Classified ! ! !”

Classified rang in their heads over and over
again and again. The reply for every single question and request was going to be the same during the time they served here. They could clearly imagine it being taken to the extreme,

“Can I go to bathroom?”
“Classified.”
“Where is the bathroom?”
“Classified.”
“Can I please have some toilet paper?”
“Classified.”
“Will you please let me wipe my ass?”
“Classified!”

They knew, without even asking, this hard nosed adult would chant and the boys would soon join in unison,

“Classified, classified, CLASS IF IED!!!”

The boy’s eyes were fix on Hightower, not only because they were coherst to. They took mental notes of sleek curves indicative of the female anatomy. Past the strong willed voice, beyond the utility belt and bullet proof vest the young men’s minds uncovered and revealed to them Hightower’s figure. Masculine? Yes.
Brawny? No question.
Stern stance? No doubt! But time after time with a few hip thrust and sideview glances the hormonally fueled juveniles unveiled the undeniable fact that Hightower was definitely a full grown, completely developed woman. She was exposed. As she addressed them they couldn’t help but to continually try to undress her with their minds. Her voice was loud, concret, and demanding; and yet every so often it cracked into a higher range than most men the boys knew. They absorbed her words as she spoke to them,

I am MAJOR Hightower. You call me Major!”

The boys thought, we got major problems here.

Before the boys were released from jail they met with Hanson’s staff in a pre-briefing meeting. That was a complete turn off, unbearable boring. It was a lot like being in school. Now they were about to undergo some hands-on training.

From somewhere inside themselves they felt a surge of excitement and unbridled energy. They studied her motions as Major Hightower displayed some weapons and certain specific tools of the trade. Occasionally their thoughts would divert to what was actually being demonstrated, like when she shot out an net launcher onto a fairly nearby taxidermied bear. They expressed somewhat of a gasp but their eyes and thought flow quickly recovered focus on who was teaching them, not what was being taught. She seemed to be taunting them by bending at the pelvis rather than at her knees. David noticed a weakness in his own knees, one that he had never experienced before. Ron thought back to some of the stories he wrote that involved a beautiful model seducing the special agent. He got a certain thrill when describing those characters and their actions. What he wrote formulated beautiful fantasys in his mind. Jeremy remembered a sports illustrated swimsuit edition being past among classmates. Before that the original hint of arousal that accompanied looking at females he discovered by looking at his mom’s J.C. Penny’s catalogue, the women’s undergarments section. Not too long ago, before all this, Dave found his dad’s girly mag.s under a mattress. He mixed what he saw in front of him now with the adult images he took mental pictures of back then. John, being the oldest and being an artist, checked out the natural, anatomically correct, well formed, defined structure of the female’s body. He marveled at the proper,
perfect, placement and proportioned curves. For him human sexuality had not been perverted yet. He was aroused by photographs and paintings he viewed in several art Museums he was fortunate enough to visit. He blushed as he passed by certain provocative exhibits and tried to take a quick glance when passing by, his hope was that no one else noticed he was looking. The boy’s sex drive was preventing them from hearing important details and drills. Ms. Hightower held their attention without diversion but for all the wrong reasons.
What Major Hightower was explaining was the safety instructions needed when using the equipment they were taking with them to Zoo Island. The young adults she was tutoring assumed they already knew how to fire a gun, after all they had seen it done in so many high impact, action movies. That was more fantasy than reality but it was all taken for granted. Ron’s fantasy of Hightower taking advantage of him were interrupted by an extremely deafening explosion. The other 3 were reeled in as they gasped for air. The Major shouted,

“AS I SAID, COVER YOUR EARS BEFORE SOMEONE FIRES THE FLASH BANG!!! YOU ALL NEED TO FOLLOW MY INSTRUCTIONS AND DIRECTIONS!!!”
DO YOU HEAR ME?!! ARE YOU FOLLOWING ME?!!

The youngsters were willing to follow this figure anywhere. She repeated herself,

“CAAAN YOOOU HEEEAR MEEEE!?!?”

They nodded in reply. Their Major continued in a shout,

“CHILDREN, IT IS A MATTER OF LIFE OR DEATH!!!

John, although the oldest, was the first to realize he was way too young to be romantically involved with his teacher in any way, form, or fashion. As the ringing in their adolescent ears was dissipating, the officer reached for the next piece of artillery. Dave’s eyes moved off of her and toward the ridiculously large gun she grasped with both hands. Her voice pulled Ron’s imagination back into the current situation. They heard the words,

“SOME MAY HAVE SHARP TEETH AND A FEROCIOUS APPETITE TO FEED, AND OR FIGHT! NOT RETREAT!!! THEY WANNA EAT ANYTHING THAT IS AVAILABLE, LIKE AN AFTERNOON TREAT. YOU WOULD BE LIKE AN AFTERNOON DELIGHT FOR THEM.”

Jeremy, without thinking said,

“All the better to eat you with.”

John replied,

“KIDEATERS!”

Ronnie nodded in fear.

Dave said,

“Just let them try.”

Hightower didn’t hear him. Even their nonverbal responses made her feel like she finally had their attention on the content being covered rather than on the way she was sexually created. Her demands were made clear,

“You could end up hurting yourself, or worse, hurting one of your platoon members. This ain’t no joke boys. Any of you ever fire a real gun?”

Her students didn’t want to admit it. She took their silent response as a hard no.
As she picked up and flung another riffle around she pointed out the safety switch. She also showed them another button that, when pushed in, drops the cartridge holding the magazine of bullets. She confirmed,

“If you push that rather than flipping the safety switch off you’ll not only not be ready to fire, you’ll instantly be out of ammo. We must:
Get ready!
(She crouched down. Then went flat onto her belly).
Aim!
(She closed one eye and pressed her opened one onto the scope above the barrel)
Confirm what we are aiming at!
(Her eye still fixed within the scope connected to the gun)
ONLY THEN DO WE (Her voice lowered in volume)
Release the safety.
(Her trigger finger slid down slowly to move the switch ever so gently and soft.They noticed she took a deep breath and held it in. They were memorized as they observed her finger move back to the trigger).
Theeeen…
(John covered his ears and looked at his friends. All but Dave moved their hands to muffle their own ears. They heard a quick and almost quiet

PLATTY PLATT TAT TAT!

Dave said,

“Well that was underwhelming.”

Major Hightower argued,

“Not every assault is loud. Some are almost silent but this one serves its purpose.”

They watched her saunter over to the big stuffed bear. Ronnie said,

“It did nothing.”

She bent at her knees as she grasped the bear to turn it around. The side they had not seen yet was in ribbons.

Jeremy said,

“The little
ratty tat tat does that?”

His new hero answered,

“We call them barbed bullets. They go in, hardly leaving a trace but after passing through the victim they grab vital organs and splatter them across any and everything beyond your target. You can kill several things with one shot. When you aim take note of what is behind where your aiming because these projectiles will hit well past where you intended.”

John raised his hand. She nodded. He formulated his question,

“Well we, I mean you, plan on like… killing the animals?”

Before she answered she looked around as if not wanting anyone to hear her. As far as the boys knew they were there alone with her. This was the first time their director was really soft spoken,

“Some of them.”

She crouched again and let out a grunt as she moved the bear back around,

“Aaand ifff weeee…”

Her grunts continued as her body gyrated to move the bear.

“…yeah, yes! Yes, If we are in danger, if any of them resist our attempts to capture them, putting us in harm’s way, we will kill. I say we because you may have to pull that trigger too.”

The severity of the situation was kicking in. This wasn’t just playing war in the woods with plastic toy guns.

She stood erect once again, towering over the well stuffed grizzly bear. She admired how she had the boy undivided attention. She knew she had to give some credit to her gender. Just being the oposite sex caused the boys fixation. She spoke with such confidence and clarity,

“When Mr. Hanson first offered me this job I refused it. My indifference with this training, with this whole mission, is that you children shouldn’t even be old enough to hold, let alone handle any type of tactical weapons. These are not b.b. guns you begged your mama to buy you for Christmas. They aren’t like a paint gun that are virtually harmless unless you get hit in the eye! However, we do have some less lethal munitions. I want to see how you kids handle some of the armament that fire less lethal ammo. You…”

She pointed to Ronnie.

He felt the blood rush to his face then back out again. He shivered as he answered, pointing to himself with one hand and placing his other hand over the pocket containing his pet.

“Mmm me?”

“YES YOU! Come up here to my table.”

His friend wondered why she picked the youngest and smallest of them all first. Ronnie took small unesertive steps toward her. She picked up one of the bulky firearms then continued,

“This one shoots less lethal artillery. Notice I did not say it is non-leathal or that it is NOT lethal!”

Although Ron was now up there with her she addressed all 4 boys.

“Even a taser can be lethal if used the right way, or the wrong way, depending on your mission or what you’re trying to accomplish.”

David’s eyes moved over toward the cattle prodding taser on the table. He remembered that instrument from their last trip to Zoo Island. She handed the gun to Ronnie as she reached for an identical one that was sitting on the long table full of all kinds of gadgets, devices, and hunting type gear. Ronnie took the one she gave him and he marveled at how heavy it was. He pointed it toward the ground and kept his fingers away from the trigger. Hightower spoke,

“Mine looks like yours doesn’t it?”

Without warning she took quick aim and fired it at a wall, putting a hole right through the concrete block.

“Now you shoot the one you have.”

Ronnie slowly raised the gun. He tried to remember the prior instructions. He held it in the direction of the wall, put his finger in the trigger, and squeezed it. Nothing happen. Hightower asked softly,

“Did you remove the safety?”

He slid his finger down, searching for the button he saw the Major click. It wasn’t there. Major Hightower took a deep breath trying to be patient. She formed her words as gentle as she could possibly muster,

“Are you left handed?”

Ronnie didn’t answer. She prodded, 

“What hand do you write with?”

“Mmm my left??”

He didn’t mean for it to come out as a question. He knew he was left-handed. She nurtured him,

“So, let your trigger finger be your left index finger.”

Ronnie shifted  the gun into his dominant hand. He still didn’t see a safety switch near the trigger. It took everything in Hightower not to become completely exasperated. They heard her take another deep breath then explain,

“Okay. So. The safety is going to be a little tricky because it is on the other side of the trigger. If you were right handed it would be located on the right side but…”

She took another deep long breath in.

“But you’ll have too…. Oh here jis’ give it to me!!! Point toward the ground and hand it to me!”

Ronnie felt like a coward. John feared he’d have the same issue. He was left-handed too. He asked his own mind,

“Guns are made for right handers only?”

He had no answer.

Hightower sat hers on the table and tried holding his with her left hand. As she fumbled trying to demonstrate properly she enquired,

“How many of you are also left handed?”

John slowly inched his left hand from close to his body up and into the air. He looked at his friends and defensively proclaimed,

“What? I was born this way.”

Although still in fear Ronnie confirmed,

“Yeah! Me toooo.”

Hightower tsked,

“Well, I read a background profile on you four kids but it didn’t state two out of four were Southpaws! That would have been helpful. All these guns are for right handers! I didn’t bring any that are especially made for the opposite handlers. So Lefties, you’ll have to use your right hand to release the safety, then aim, then pull the trigger with your left hand.”

She handed the gun back to Ronnie. He didn’t want to take it but felt forced to.

“Careful now! The safety IS still on so look on the right side of the riffle. See the little round button next to the trigger?”

Ronnie turned the gun sideways. As he did he unknowingly pointed it in the direction of the instructor and his friends. The Major’s shout startled him so bad he almost dropped it. The friends and Hightower instinctively ducked. She barked,

WOE! NO! NO! NEVER POINT IT AROUND. POINT DOWN… BUT NOT AT YOUR OWN FEET EITHER!”

Ronnie felt so defeated then he became angry at himself. She reminded herself that her audience were just children, babes. She noticed his timid, unconfident, demeanor. She knew she wouldn’t be able to help them if she shot down what little self confidence they had. Ronnie begged,

“Can you just let David do it first so I can see?”

Ms. Hightower insisted,

“No, no you’re all gonna get a chance. All 4 of you need to learn, even if it is just the basics.”

Ronnie whispered to himself,

“I don’t wanna chance.”

Major Hightower went around Ronnie and approached him from behind. Davis smirked. John and Jeremy were thinking the same exact thing, 

“She’s gonna hug him from behind !”

She did just that. Ronnie felt her warm inner arms against his. She crouched down a bit, arms around his, crotch pressed tight to his butt. Ronnie felt drops of sweat trickle from his underarms. He became light headed as he noted her breath moving through the hair on his head. Then her cheek touched the hair on the back of his neck, making him shiver a little. The hair on his arms stood up at attention. She spoke soft and gentle,

“Okaaay. Now.”

She grabbed his right hand and moved it toward the safety button. Ronnie was turning into jello. Still at a whisper she guided him,

“Push this button, the safety, now then… put your left hand on the trigger. So,  you’ll have to take the safety off then take aim. Normally we would aim first and confirm our target but… it’s okay.”

Her left hand cupped his left hand. She placed her finger on top of his. As simple as this gesture was, it was something Ronnie had never experienced. 

“Now breathe in… hold your breath… aaand gently squeeze.”

She forced his finger to fire. The bullet shot out with tremendous force, causing Ronnie to be thrusted back a little, pressing him into Ms. Hightower even more. The bullet bounced off the concrete wall. The boys thought Ronnie did something wrong. Ronnie’s vision was still a bit blurred from having one eye closed too long. He blinked trying to get his full vision back. He was able to see a black streak flying through the air. He was sure he hit something. Whatever it was must have been blown to pieces and that was one of those fragments.

“RUBBER!”,

Dave shouted. Ms. Hightower confirmed,

“That’s affirmative. This one is loaded with rubber bullets. Less lethal than the ammo I have in the gun I fired first. Pay attention because some guns can hold real bullets as well as less lethal bullets, like that one.”

She pointed to the bullet  that flew off the wall and onto the ground closer to where they stood. John wondered if being shot with a rubber bullet still hurt. Jeremy wondered what it felt like to be hugged from behind by a woman. Dave asked,

“Can those bullets also kill something?”

She answered, 

“Only if hit in the right place or if it is a very frail creature, like some birds. However, these and the bean bag launchers are more of a deterrent than something you are shooting at to kill. Some animals just get more angry if you sting them with these.”

Ronnie shook his head trying to transition from fantasy and get back into reality. Jeremy raised his hands and blurted out,

“I wanna be next! Please?!”

Their mentor had so much to cover and only a day to cover it. She knew she’d have to give an extremely brief summary of the equipment and leave out somethings that she could not trust the boys to use at all. As she went along she emphasized which instruments they were forbidden to even look at for any length of time, let alone  lay a finger on.

She covered the difference between gas grenade launchers and smoke bombs they would throw by hand. She covered how to wear a gas mask, how to apply camo makeup,  and wildlife containment devices (just a fancy name for a cow proder) that was the long staff with the taser prongs on the end. That was the same kind they saw that lunatic Robinson carrying on their last exit from Zoo Island. The boys had no trouble recalling when Dave handled the one given to him as they made their way back out of Zoo Island, no longer accompanied by that Crusoe character. It was even the same brand as the one Dave surrendered when the rescue helicopter showed up. 

This new training in services gave the kids the confidence they needed to begin this major undertaking. They knew more than Major Hightower when it came to what life was really like on Zoo Island but she knew more about tactics and would be packing the fire power needed to back them up. She got them as 

prepped and ready to go as she could but they knew there was a need for more than Army Navy schemes and streams. It was going to take an actual army to win this battle and they really needed some of the scientists who bred the creatures to begin with; however, they had none of that at their disposal. To decode the islands secrets behind the habitats dwelling there was no small task. Both great and small creatures were going to be almost impossible to round up, coral, and get into crates or cages then get them onto a ships, or aircraft and eventually onto trucks waiting on the mainland. 

After a full day of rigorous training they finally stopped everything so they could have  dinner. Although their bodies stopped their minds were still racing and trying to comprehend all the information and details that were thrown at them. They felt as if they were trying to drink water from a fire hydrant. In between bites Dave let out what he had been trying to hold in since they were delivered to this place. He blurted out,

“Um Major, so let’s meet the crew and get on with this classified excursions.”

Major Hightower proclaimed, 

“HAH! Crew? My dear boy, HA HA! You are the crew, you 4 and me. That’s it, and I’m all you really need.” John thought how much that sounded like something Dave would say.

To Ch. 7 “To The Zoo” (https://tombeetlebailey.wordpress.com/2021/08/28/kideaters-ch-7-unedited/)