The Native: His First Words”

Matthew 3:15
And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now:for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

A child’s first words are huge. I would guess that every parent remembers them. We don’t know what The Lord Jesus’ first words were, each Gospel chooses a different phrase to introduce us to The Master’s Voice. In Matthew, He is talking to John The Baptist. Suffer in the original means allow. Jesus is saying, Allow this now, for we are called to fulfill all righteousness.

Mark 1:14-15
14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand:repent ye, and believe the gospel.

The verse before it is very important as well. The catalyst of this setting is John’s imprisonment. In the Hebrew John means “Jehovah Has Graced”, or the Grace Of God. Man had sinned, and fallen into despair and degradation. For us, the possibility of Salvation was non existent before Calvary. That was when The Lord Jesus walked into the center of the world preaching The Gospel.

In Mark He mentions fulfillment again.”The time is fulfilled, The Kingdom Of God is here, repent, and believe the Gospel. ” In other words, Grace is here, it’s time to make a choice, discard your sins, and believe.

Luke 2:49
And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?

Luke gives us the earliest words of Jesus, at twelve years old. This is not the bearded face of The Carpenter, this is Christ in transition from boy to teen, the age that began the journey from child to man.

Sought: g2212. ζητεω zeteo; of uncertain affinity; to seek (literally or figuratively); specially, (by Hebraism) to worship (God), or (in a bad sense) to plot (against life):— be (go) about, desire, endeavour, enquire (for), require, (x will) seek (after, for, means).

He made statements in Matthew and Mark, in Luke and John He asks a question. Jesus uses a word, sought. He had experienced it’s meaning, in both a positive and a negative way. The Shepherds and The Wise Men sought to worship Him. Herod sought to kill Him. Every one will seek in some way. Either to join Him, or to attempt to destroy Him out of their life.

The Lord Jesus second sentence clarifies our options. If you seek Me, then it’s going to be about the work of God, the work of Redemption. Everything else is secondary. Jesus later said “Seek ye first The Kingdom Of God, and His righteousness …” Prior to saying it, He lived it.

John 1:38
Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye?— They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?
39 He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where He dwelt, and abode with Him that day:for it was about the tenth hour.

In the fourth Gospel, He is followed by two disciples of John. They were Andrew and John. His simple question, “What Seek Ye?” The answer, was, where you dwell, or abide. Jesus’ response to them is His answer to us all. “Come and see.” His life, death, and resurrection made it possible for us to be with Him. Something that was impossible until a child cried in Bethlehem.

When you combine the message of all four of “His First Words”, you see The Kingdom’s Mission Statement. The Lord Jesus allowed Himself to go through all that He suffered so that He could impart His righteousness to man. He made it possible for us to choose Heaven as a future. To leave all our sin, and all our past at an altar. To join Him in the work of The Gospel. Asking others in pain, like we were, what are you seeking? When they ask if this is really an option? We can smile with the hope of Heaven, “Come and see.”

Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving. While we should be thankful every day, it is important to take time to reflect, not on problems, but blessings. Too often, worries fill our days, many times making us numb to more important feelings.

Our concerns are real, our trials, are battles that must be faced. However, I watched this morning, a base of soldiers. They were armed, and ready, having already been attacked recently. What they were not, was jaded, or laden with sadness. These faithful volunteers were smiling, playing games, and celebrating. Even though their closest contact with a loved one is a video screen.

This year, we have faced, and are facing a number of situations, but this morning tears of joy flowed. I was reminded how wonderful our God is, how ardent and how faithful. He reminded me, through Scripture, that He always supports His soldiers. Men and women who were facing insurmountable odds were reinforced by an invincible God. One who understands everything, except the definition of the word impossible.

Today, we are thankful. Thankful for things? Yes, but also simply Thankful. For The God we serve, the family and friends that embrace us, and the future that stands before us. Jesus loved us enough to embrace the cross for one reason.

Hebrews 12:2
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

God forgive me. For forgetting that The Cross wasn’t easy, that this world was never meant to be anything but hard, and that most of all, our joy will always outweigh our sorrows. Thank You Lord for being faithful, for being kind, and for giving us the opportunity to make this day better for someone in need. Lord, may all that love you today, minister to someone in need, and to give them a new reason to be thankful this Thanksgiving!

Focus On The Baby

We are blessed to attend the Church, Point Of Mercy in Nashville, Tennessee. Pastor’s message last night was so incredible. It was something that I needed to hear. Lately, I’ve been provided opportunities to overcome. I didn’t realize it as much until the lesson last night. I should have, but too often I tend to panic in the midst of a battle.

We see trials as giants, whereas God sees them as contractions. Struggles cease, but the character they give birth to grows throughout our lives and Ministry.

Too many times, I discard the child and fret over the birth pains. It would be very easy to allow my trial to en-grain itself into my destiny. Instead, I must focus on the baby produced, not the means that brought her to birth.

God reminded me that Joseph didn’t name his trial, he named his sons. One was Manasseh, the other was Eprhaim. When referring to his firstborn, Joseph said that God had made him forget his toil. When the youngest was born, he stated that God had made him fruitful in his affliction.

Joseph raised his sons, not his sorrows. When he left Potiphar’s house, he left it completely. After leaving the prison, he washed, changed his garments, and left it behind. His children produced generations because he refused to allow the germs of past struggles to infect his future.

Lord, help me to focus on the permanent, and to let go of the temporary! We have been blessed with a God, and a Man Of God, that helps us grow the results of our trials. Their goal is to inspire us to release our tears when we hear the baby’s first cry!

The “Sage Bros” Turkey

Harry smelled the turkey when he walked in the kitchen. What he really smelled was the sage in the dressing, but Harry associated one smell with the other. In fact, he probably always would, especially after last year.

Mom’s hands were dripping from the eggs that she was placing in the mixture for the pecan pie. Harry hugged her as he swiped a taste of the batter. Harry loved to visit his Mom in the kitchen, ever since he was a kid.

He navigated through to his Dad in the living room. He and his kid brother were watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade. His Wife Molly was coming through the door with the broccoli casserole and sweet potato soufflé that her Mom had made. It was their first Thanksgiving since they had married in September.

The Oliver Family and the Maxwell family were now one group, and everyone loved it. Thanksgiving was special to them all, but especially since it was what brought them all together to start with. Harry remembered last year well. He was sent out to get more chicken broth and sage in an emergency run. Dad had chickened out and volunteered his firstborn instead.

Harry had expected crowds of fellow shoppers. He told himself to watch for people that ranged from mildly irritated to horribly mean. These were sad victims of forgotten shopping items from the week before. As he pulled into the grocery store, he was ready for anything. Except that he wasn’t prepared for the thump he heard as he backed into an empty parking space.

He sighed, grabbed his insurance information and got out. “I’m sorry I didn’t think I was anywhere near another car.” “Who are you talking too?” Harry looked around. No one was in the space behind him. Hearing a voice but seeing no one not only confused him, it scared him a little.

It only took a couple of seconds, but he was relieved to realize the voice was coming from the person parked to his right. “I heard a noise and was afraid I hit the car behind me. Since there isn’t a car there I don’t guess I have to worry.” He grinned at the young lady parked beside him. She smiled back, “Do you make a habit of hitting invisible vehicles?”

“No maim, I try to avoid both kinds, visible and invisible ones. Still, I know I heard something.” “I did too, but I’m not sure what it was.” Harry offered to help her load her car. It looked like she had forgotten to shop for Thanksgiving dinner period. She thanked him, and agreed.

They made small talk for a short while and then she pulled off. That’s when he turned to head inside to the store, and fell flat on his face. Molly saw this in the rear view mirror and stopped the jeep. She got out to see if he was okay, or if this was some ploy to keep talking to her. He was cute so she didn’t mind either way.

“What did you trip over?” Harry shook his head, “I don’t know.” “First you hit an imaginary car, now you trip over something else that wasn’t there?” Of course, there was something there, and they both couldn’t help but laugh when they saw it.

It was the same thing that he had hit when he parked. They didn’t see it because it was barely sticking out from his back tire. It was a partially frozen, bruised fourteen pound “Sage Bros” turkey. To be more precise, it was Molly’s fourteen pound “Sage Bros” turkey. It had slipped off her cart on the way to the car.

They both laughed as she helped Harry stand. “Can I ask you, did you forget about Thanksgiving? Most people don’t wait until today to buy a turkey.” She beamed from ear to ear. “My Dad was stationed overseas, he wasn’t supposed to make it home for Thanksgiving.”

“Mom and Dad were going to celebrate with my brother and I the first week of December when his project was over. There was a change of plans and they showed up from Germany this morning. They said that we would just have a simple dinner, but I insisted on a complete Thanksgiving spread.”

Harry looked at the wounded bird, “That’s wonderful, but I don’t think that your turkey is going to be fit to eat now.” “I can always get another one, no grocery store wants to run out of turkey on Thanksgiving.” They spent a wonderful fifteen minutes together in the store, and started their goodbyes.

Harry stopped her before she pulled out, “I could come up with some excuse, but I’d like to get to know you better. Can I have your number? I promise not to hit any more turkeys.” She laughed and they exchanged numbers.

Harry told his parents about the beautiful girl as soon as he got home. He had expected to call her first, but was happily surprised to hear his cell phone ring after he got home. “Harry, are you missing anything?”

He was sorely tempted to respond with a corny “Just you”, but didn’t. “Not that I know of, why?” She laughed, “Remind me not to ever send you to the store. You left your sage and chicken broth in my bag with the turkey.”

Harry apologized and left the house with the intention of simply retrieving the forgotten items. His Mother grinned at his Dad. They knew what Harry found out twenty minutes later. He never made it home for Thanksgiving dinner. It had been his first Thanksgiving dinner with Molly Maxwell. This year was his first Thanksgiving with Molly Oliver. All thanks to a can of sage, and a frozen “Sage Bros” brand turkey.

The F.L.O.P. – Your Eyes Only Mr. President

Every writer has at least one flop in their notebooks. That story that didn’t work, or the character you love everybody else hates. So, with the encouragement of my Wife, I decided to purposely choose my flop story with a character who’s code name is known as the F.L.O.P. .

It was this play on words that I loved about this character. PruittWrites had a contest to decide who would be the star of our 140 Mile Stretch serials, and this one lost. As you hopefully know, the action star of it is Cameron Taylor. My choice, Edward Sandstone didn’t win. I hope you enjoy the introduction of one of my Wife’s favorite characters, The F.L.O.P.!

If you are reading this, then you either set behind the resolute desk, or work for the man who does. It is with respect that I begin this way. In the situations that I find myself, I’ve chosen to write the rest of this, as if this was a journal, it simply makes recording this easier.

It was 4:00 am when the alarm went off, I wanted to throw it, but I knew I couldn’t. By 5:00 am I was at the office, in my boss’s office to be exact. It doesn’t sound impressive, until you realize that he’s the President of the United States. He wasn’t scheduled to be there until 7:00 am, but he walked in two minutes later.

As you know, there are no records that I’m anything more than a Secret Service agent. I’m just one of many agents, who never officially leave the residence without accompanying the President. Of course, I had only seen the White House twice this year, once after a visit to … project Porter.

For the record, I’m Edward Sandstone, here is my bio.

Edward Sandstone, is a second generation American on his Mother’s side. He speaks at least 10 languages, and is a diplomat as well as a soldier. His Mother, a famous South Korean author, married a member of Silicon Valley’s technical elite. Raised in an innovative and imaginative home, he uses both of these gifts to operate “special” missions under the direction of only the President himself.
He looks more like a professor than an agent, but that is intentional. Hiding his physique in slightly oversized suits, he attempts to cause his opponent to underestimate him intentionally. His nickname reflects the President’s sense of humor, “The F.L.O.P.”, It stands for “Friend and Liaison Of the President”.

Your Predecessor Mr. President had an interesting sense of humor, so I became the Flop. It’s a name you seem to be fond of as well. Anyway, your predecessor and I met with you, at that time the President Elect, to explain my real position. He also explained the mission that I would find myself on for the next four weeks, which is why I missed your inauguration.

As I recall, you were as interested in the answers to some questions as he was. Which is how I found myself two nights later, on a boat to a certain island in Canada. I wish you both would have let me drive across the border, but I understand why it wasn’t possible, given my cargo.

Jean Luc and I arrived four days after that, neither one of us was happy about the partnership, but we had resolved to a silent, mutual distrust. Our contact was late, probably due to the fractured leg that he had just experienced from Meyersmith. It was going to be a long week, and my allergies weren’t helping, but then neither was my partner.

Serial Contest

Sky Bridge is aiming to a close. When it ends, we intend to introduce our readers to “The F.L.O.P.” and at least one other serial, when 140 Mile Stretch ends. This is where the contest comes in. The two candidates are Cambridge’s, and Mrs. Withers’ Dress Shop.

Mrs. Withers Dress Shop is a comical look at a family planning a wedding. While it centers around a loose fitting on an engagement ring, you watch as nervous family members slip into comical pieces. Watch as Mrs Withers fights to hold everything together for the big day.

Cambridge’s is nestled in the a cozy little shop in England, where nothing happens at 4:00. Of course that is before it does. Watch as the surprises unfold in a store filled with memories, and promise for the future.

Our question to you is this, Which would you rather read first, the “Cambridge’s”, or “Mrs. Withers’ Dress Shop?” It’s also our Weekly?, and we can’t wait for your answer!

Sky Bridge: A Cure

Jerry wasn’t moving, the team had expected either an explosion, or an escape at this point. They never even considered silence. Carter felt like he should say something, but he didn’t know what to say. He hadn’t been involved on one of these missions for a long time.

Isaac was used to the unexpected, even on these missions. He and his crew had a plan, everything was in place, and then something totally unplanned happened. He had learned that this wasn’t coincidence, it was Divine intervention. Isaac knew this was the case, because of the results that followed. He was experiencing one of those moments right now.

Finally, after two minutes, Jerry spoke. “Mr. Rosen, if I agree to speak to my Mother, will you help me with something else?” Isaac nodded, and didn’t ask for an explanation. Instead, he replied, “What do you need me to do?” “We need to get Mr. Gold to a hospital, I can save his hands.” Carter just looked at him.

“The company that I worked for found a cure for what I’m guessing is a degenerative never condition. Dr. Spencer Frankola just got Government approval on the medication. It’s not an instant cure, but it will work over time.”

Isaac laughed, “Dr. Spencer Frankola is an old friend, but I had no idea. He also is a member of a practice. One of his fellow doctors is looking for a transplant donor for your cousin. This transplant could save his life, and I believe, it may be the next step in salvaging yours Jerry.”

The Native: In The Order Of His Course

Luke 1:5-8
5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife [was] of the daughters of Aaron, and her name [was] Elisabeth.
6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
7 And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were [now] well stricken in years.
8 And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his course,

He was “of the course of Abia”. This is something that I had skipped most of my life. However, as we have been taught, The Word Of God has a reason for everything within it’s pages. Years before, King David separated the Levites into twenty four courses, one under Abia. This family of priests, showed no record of returning from Babylon in the captivity.

In Nehemiah’s days, the remaining families of Priests were separated to fulfill the twenty four courses. This meant that Zacharias was a substitute for a family that no longer had a record of existing. It may not seem like much, until you view it this way. God appointed a man to serve at His altar in a substitute capacity for someone who no longer had rights to the altar.

Aren’t you glad that God sent a High Priest to intercede at the altar when sin had cost us our place? The difference is this, there is no record of Abia’s family ever returning.

The Lord Jesus didn’t come to Earth to adapt to our sinful ways, but to graft us in to Him through His blood. So that we could triumphantly enter with Him into glory one day. The name Abia means My Father Is God. We can come before the altar because God has adopted us into His family. That is what makes the next verse so rich as well.

8 And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his course,

The word order in Luke 1:8 comes from the Greek word taxis. It means a fixed succession, observing a fixed time. It’s no coincidence that this was when God chose to reveal the coming of Zacharias’ son. Zacharias was the son of a priest, who had been the son of a priest, and so on.

So many times, I allow myself to become overwhelmed by my current problem that I forget all the answers to the ones behind me. Zacharias longed for a child, and it didn’t seem possible. Then again, it doesn’t seem possible that a nomadic people who were slaves in Egypt could be liberated. It doesn’t seem possible that a people who were given a promised land by God, and lost it due to sin, could ever have come back to it.

How often we forget that our God is The God Of The Impossible! That, just as ordinary is common for us, impossible is His daily routine. What is amazing about our God isn’t that He performs the impossible. It’s that for thirty years on Earth, He would choose to limit Himself to the ordinary.

When you view God through this thought, giving an old couple a baby isn’t hard for Him. After all, that’s how this people started to begin with. How often we forget Abraham when we’re facing a trial. Isaac was just the first of many children of Israel produced in a miraculous way.

James 1:4
4 But let patience have [her] perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Notice, Patience is referred to as a female, and it references maturity. Much like the picture of a Mother giving birth to a baby. Tribulation worketh patience, just as contractions produce a child. Trials are the contractions of a Christian. They are used to give birth to the Ministry that God has placed in us, for a specific time.

Our Lead Pastor, Pastor Livingston, from Point Of Mercy in Nashville recently shared an incredible message on Hannah. In it, he brought out a life altering point, Samuel was given at exactly the right time. Years earlier, and he would not have been in time to anoint and train two kings, one of those kings was David.

Hannah had to wait for an appointed time. Zacharias and Elisabeth also had to wait to have John when they did. Years earlier, and he could not have been the forerunner. He would have missed the very purpose of his existence, had he have been born sooner.

Whatever battle you face today, ignore your clock. We look at second hands, and panic. God takes His hand and stops time to bring His people out of a valley. It’s all done when we serve, before God in the order of His course.