..."and a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness; evil minded people shall not travel on it, but it shall be for those wayfarers who are traveling toward God. (Isaiah 35:8, adapted)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Holiness of God

"The holiness of God makes the angels cover their faces, and crumbles Christians,when they behold it, into dust and ashes." --John Bunyan

It's Never Too Late To Change

(Corky at the airport)

Yesterday, Corky started his new life in Oregon.
He's as old as the hills and has been one of the
crabbiest dogs I have ever known. He is also
amazing. I first met Corky about 8 or so years
ago. He was dropped off at a kennel where some
friends and I who did "dog rescue" would keep
our rescue dogs while we found homes for them.
Corky had been dropped off by his owners and
"not retrieved." One can guess was the reason
was that he was too crabby. Only a guess.

He was not what you would call an "adoptable"
dog. None of the local rescues seemed to want
him. Not that I actually ever saw him bite
anyone. It was just the growling of that
little gremlin-like face that put you off.

So Corky was kind of "adopted" by the old man
who ran the kennel. The old man was nearly
blind and quite a character. Corky did not
get along with the man's other dog, so he
was gated in the kitchen. I used to visit
ever day to make sure the other dog got his
eye med's and Corky would always be there,
being Corky, which usually meant being
crabby. Once someone came all the way from
New Jersey, I think,to adopt Corky and
Corky just growled at them and went to
stand by Walter. He did not get adopted.
Corky is what you would call a "curmudgeon."

Well, Walter, the kennel owner, died this
year. We tried to find out what happened
to his dogs. Months later we found them
in a truly horrible condition. Corky was
just a matted, stinking mess. But what
could we do? He ended up coming to stay
with us for the last two months. Growling
and snarling all the way. But family is
family. We got him cleaned up and cared
for and he started to show signs of a
different kind of Corky, a mellower side
which actually might want you to come near.
I watched in amazement as he let my elderly
mom pick him up. He would follow her all
over the yard.

The day before yesterday we drove him to
meet some kind folks who had volunteered
to take him the rest of the way to meet
his new "mother." He crawled out of the
crate and slept on my friend's lap the
whole way. Hmmm. This was something new.

When we reached the place we had agreed
to meet these folks the man jumped out
of his car and so quickly came to look
at Corky that I had no time to say "But
wait, be careful, he may biteeeeeeeeee!"
but by then the man had already scooped
Corky up and cradled him in his arms.
Corky LET HIM. He leaned back against
the man's chest. No growling, no
snarling. Nothing. He wagged his tail.
HE WAGGED HIS TAIL! He looked alert and
happy. He looked at me directly, for
the first time. "Goodbye" I said.
"Goodbye!" I think he understood.

Yesterday these kind folks delivered him
to the airport where he was introduced
to his new mom and had a long, long flight,
in the cabin, to Oregon. We waited with
bated breath for the news of how it had
gone. His new mom called him "a trooper",
who basically slept the whole way. Today
he is settling into his new home, with a
kind, big-hearted woman and her other
canine companions.

I've learned two things from this: One,
its never too late to change, even if
you have been crabby your whole life.
Two, that God, in His infinite mercy,
loves even the smallest and most cast
aside of things, and using human hands,
can make a way for them.

Corky has dodged a lot of bullets in his
life. The last few he dodged were the
most amazing. The amount of things that
had to fall into place for this little
scrap of a dog to experience a real home
and warmth in his latter years is simply

It is never to late. We are never beyond
hope. God can still reach us. And yes,
we can change. Love does it every time.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Decisive Moment

The process by which God molds us into
His image is truly an amazing one.
This morning I think I was having a
pre-Christmas vision, Dickens style,
a sort of reflection on my life and who
I am, and the nuances of the many things
I could have become and who I might yet
become. I'm not talking occupational
things. I'm talking about how God uses
the process of life to bring us to the
destiny of our identity in Him.

I am quite sure that God had a plan, a
finished idea of what He created each
of us to be when we were just "twinkles"
in God's eyes. That God! He has such
a confidence in His ability to bring to
perfection those He has chosen. In the
human realm any artist, any creator of
any sort, knows that variables are part
of the process of creation. A hundred
different things can go any which way
when we get down to the process of
painting or photography or throwing
pottery, or glass-blowing.

I love the French photographer, Henri
. He is known for his
"decisive moment" kind of photography:
the ability to press the shutter at the
precise climactic moment of life's
most awesome moments. You need a kind
of intuition born of long hours of
watching to get that kind of sight.
You need to know about ebb and flow,
about shadow and sun, about longing
and fulfillment. About waiting. And
grace. Sheesh. I'm getting a rush just
thinking about it.

God wants to sculpt my life and yours
into something beautiful that both looks
like Christ and is our own unique
reflection of Him. He has so many
decisive moments both on His end and
on ours. He sets up all the
circumstances of our lives, uses each
high and low, ordains some things,
allows others, all for our benefit.
He knows that, like any great Artist,
that one mistimed move can wreck the
whole work.

So this morning I suddenly saw myself,
the thousand different selves, the
different "me's" that would have
developed BUT for the grace of God. And
even the good but not perfect "me's" that
are still tempting me to accept them.
I basically tell you this from my knees

My very first recollection of
why I came to God was as a very young
teenager catching this same sort of
vision of myself: the kind of person
that I would become if God did not
intervene. That sight horrified me
and drove me to my conversion even
before I intellectually, or even
dictionarily, knew what conversion
was. How, you may ask,can a young
person of 13, have a sense of their
own destroyed destiny? I think we
know far more than we care to admit,
and far earlier then we imagine,
if we dare to be honest.

But the process of conversion, is just
that, a process. Yes, yes, I know, we
are "saved" at a specific moment in time,
but the process of being renewed, being
made into the image of His dear Son,
is a lifelong one. In some eternal moment
of now I can see my life as a motion
picture, with all the decisive moments,
the choosings of the "road less traveled,"
the near fatal steps, the near misses,
the clouds, the deaths, the deserts,
the mountains, the still, small Voice
of God, the grace-laden interventions.
My heart is beating pretty fast now.
All, all, all is the grace of God.

In this moment I can see all the
ugly things I could have easily become:
destroyed by bitterness, pride, pessimism,
self-seeking, ambition. Shall I continue
to name my own personal bullets? But God
is trying and I trust, only because of
who He is, succeeding, in turning me into
something that will delight Him and bring
Him glory. Rabbi Aaron Kaidanover
once said, "if you knew how
many demons thirst for your blood
you would abandon yourself
entirely...to the Almighty."

Life, in one sense, is Precariousness
on Wheels. There is no way that I can make
it through it in my own power, using my
own wisdom, fighting with my own strength.
In another sense, life is God's Grace on
Wheels, always speeding to my ever present
need of aid.

Played out in this is the idea that some
make it and some do not. Jesus did not hint
that it is or ever will be otherwise. Has God
predestined some? I need not go there.

Where I will go is to the idea that there
are many, many, many, many, many decisive
moments in our lives. If we knew the
importance of them, (and how can we know but
in retrospect, looking back from "ages and ages
hence"?), we would indeed throw ourselves
on the mercy of God, and tell Him to take,
without reserve, every bit of us.

We live in troubled times. We always have,
and until He comes, we always will. Yet
these times seem a bit more troubled,
or perhaps I have just put on my glasses.
This moment, like all others, is a
decisive one. Will you let it tick by,
unnoticed, and ignored? Or will you turn
your heart to God and allow Him to do all
that He needs to do in you? The choice is
yours. Your destiny is being determined.
What are you deciding? Let His grace
intervene. Here is your decisive moment.

Friday, November 24, 2006

In God's Treehouse

When I grow tired of living,
When I am hurt from loving,
Lord Jesus, I will climb up the stairs
and sit with You, sit at Your feet,
where the air is cool and where
I can feel the strength and stability
of Your royal leg as I lean
my back up against it.
Your strength will penetrate and uphold,
cracking away the defense,
melting the offence.
Then, when I have been replenished,
You will invite me to your Divine
Tree House, where we will play
like kids on a summer's afternoon
and laugh until our bellies hurt.
I'm feeling better already.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Yellow, mellow, ripened days, Sheltered in a golden
coating; O'er the dreamy, listless haze, White and
dainty cloudlets floating; Winking at the blushing
trees, And the sombre, furrowed fallow; Smiling at the
airy ease, Of the southward flying swallow Sweet and
smiling are thy ways, Beauteous, golden Autumn days.

--Will Carleton

We have had the most glorious fall in New England, each
sparkling day has nearly overcome me with thankfulness
and wonder to God for His handiwork.


And let these altars, wreathed with flowers and piled with fruits, awake again thanksgivings for the golden hours, the early and the latter rain!
--John Greenleaf Whittier

It is raining here in Massachusetts on this Thanksgiving Day. Amidst the rain there is much to be thankful for--even for the promise of the "latter rain." Rain on our thirsty hearts, O God!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Opposing Spiritual Codependency

The other night I had a dream that I have been
pondering. I dreamt that I saw a man and a
woman and I was filled with foreboding about
them. I knew that they were up to no good. I
felt I must follow them and keep an eye on
what they were doing. I had sat down on a step
to think about what to do and as soon as I had
decided to keep an eye on them a rather rotund
young lady came and sat squarely on my lap,
sort of pinning me down.

I saw the lady and the man turn to me. The
lady said, "I am a white witch and I use
my magic for good, there is nothing to
worry about. She pointed to the man,
and said, "He is an atheist, and doesn't even
believe in God, he is harmless. " I looked at
the man and knew that he was not just an
"innocent" non-believer but could tell that
he was, in fact, demon-possessed, and that
and had a sinister plan.

They headed off across the street toward a
very high grove of mushrooms. I was thinking
about how to get this young lady who was
pinning me down to stand up so I could keep
these people from fulfilling their bad
intentions. I had to make a concerted effort
to push her off my lap.

Here is what I felt the dream means. The
lady who was sitting on me was someone
that I used to babysit for when she
was a baby.That was an appropriate
time for her to be sitting on my lap
and to be receiving "babysitting"
kind of care. Now she had grown into
a woman but still expected to be
cared for and treated like a child.

How many of these relationships do we
have in our lives? How many babies are
sitting on us, keeping us from a
necessary spiritual watchfulness and
engagement? What unbalanced relationships
have we continued to foster,
relationships that started out healthy
but have turned into entrapping ones?
People can often get used to our help
but unless we as spiritual mothers and
fathers are helping people develop
a strong relationship with God that
is not primarily dependent on man,
then we are failing them.

In the meantime evil, often somewhat
disguised as something good or innocent,
can creep in. Mushrooms are symbols of
decay. They grown in darkness and are
parasitic in nature. Our attention can
be taken up with those who are refusing
to grow and mature while our real job
as spiritual sentries is

There is a season for "everything under
heaven." Let us look to the Lord and
ask Him to show us things, including
relationships and people, that we are
meant to let go of lest they become an
entrapment to us. Things can appear to
be innocent but can draw us away from
the Lord into spiritual darkness and

It is not our place to "babysit" others
but to make disciples who will follow
the Lamb wherever He goes. Let us not
be unaware of Satan's schemes to slip
past our watchfulness and trap us until
we are not able to move.

There is Nothing Like the Sweetness of God

For love comes from meeting Him. Knowledge united to
God fulfils every desire. And for the heart that receives
it, it is altogether sweetness overflowing into the
earth. For there is nothing like the sweetness of God.
--Isaac of Nineveh

Friday, November 17, 2006

In Praise of Dappled Things

GLORY be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;

And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)

With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise Him.

--Gerald Manley Hopkins

(I absolutely love this poem, and yes, the photo is an
actual scene, in Suffield, Connecticut, slightly
enhanced :) --RM

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Great Mosaic of God

If you feel that you don't fit in,
that no place seems to be "your place";
It is because earth is too small for the
grand, eternal design of God to be displayed
in all its splendor.
Someday, in a new heaven and earth,
the pieces that have been flung to the four winds,
to rough terrain, and dry, hidden corners,
to the bottom of the sea and to the top of
rarely-climbed mountains,
Will be gathered up into a great mosaic
of God's own making.
A mosaic made, in praise of Christ, and
as a present to the Victor
for having ransomed every sort of man
and woman from the tribes and nations
of the old earth.
In that day, you will fit perfectly,
for you have been chosen
and designed for that.
It will be a great work of art.
It will be a great day.
You will fit.
God can see it in His mind,
even now.
He is smiling.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

One characteristic that marks the average church today
is lack of anticipation. Christians when they meet do not
expect anything unusual to happen; consequently only
the usual happens, and that usual is as predictable as the
setting of the sun...We need today a fresh spirit of
anticipation that springs out of the promises of God. We
must declare war on the mood of nonexpectation, and
come together with childlike faith. Only then can we
know again the beauty and wonder of the Lord's presence
among us." --A.W.Tozer, God Tells The Man Who Cares

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Process of Dying Daily

Much in our life experience is actually an experience
of death. Death surrounds us in many forms. Jesus
speaks much of death, but he speaks of it in widely
divergent ways. There is a death that produces
death, and there is a death that produces life.

How do I know that my experience of death will
result in the new life of resurrection or whether
I am simply dead in my sins--dead the worse
possible way? For in either case, a genuine death
occurs but of two completely varieties.

I love it when Jesus tells people that certain dead
people are "just sleeping." You really have to laugh.
We are human. We know dead. Lazarus is stone
cold dead. Dead 3 days in the hot sun dead.
Abutting the decomposition mode dead. Jesus,
however, tells his disciples that dear old Lazarus
is just "sleeping" John 11:11. Because they are
nowhere near smelling range of Lazarus, they
think he really is just "sleeping." "Ok," they say,
"that's a good sign, he'll rest and feel better." But
Lazarus is utterly dead. Sleeping won't help him
if Jesus doesn't do something.

Then there is the little girl who has died. Jesus
tells the family that she is "just sleeping"
(Mark 5:39.) His assessment of the situation is
not met with a lot of respect. The girl is dead.
I'm telling you, we are human. We know dead.
Jesus, stop being so mean to the family! But
Jesus is by no means "mean." Christ's
assessment of what dead is and my assessment
of what dead is, are two different things. In His
assessment, people can look to be completely
alive but really be "whitewashed sepulchres"
(Mat. 23:27) and completely without life. He
tells people to come and follow Him and "let
the dead bury their own dead (Mat 8:22) ."
Yes. Hmmm.

I notice that the early church picks up Jesus'
term of calling physically dead believers simply,
those who have "fallen asleep." Stephen "fell
asleep" (Acts 7:60) as he is stoned to death,
Paul preaches that David accomplishes his
earthly journey and "falls asleep" (Acts 13:36).
Many of the Lord's followers have "fallen
asleep," (I Cor 15:6, 18, 20); and that at the
Lord's table, many are sick or "have fallen
asleep" (I Cor 11:30). Those who die in the
Lord, fall under Jesus definition of "falling
asleep." Death has lost its cold, hard sting.
For I must say to you that we who are the
Lord's experience a real death process long
before we get to the grave. It begins, in
great measure, with our baptism. It by
no means ends there.

T.S. Eliot, reportedly reflecting on
his own baptism, in the poignant
poem: The Journey of the Magi

"All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen
birth and death,
But had thought they were different;
this Birth was Hard and bitter agony
for us, like Death, our death,
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old
dispensation, With an alien people
clutching their gods. I should be glad
of another death. "

Eliot reflects that the Magi coming to Jesus
know that everything will now change in
their lives. A certain death of the "old
dispensation" has come and will leave their
future uncertain. For make no mistake about
it, our baptism ushers us into a genuine death.
For what is death but a process of being put
out of the control of one's self? Our future as
believers is anything but uncertain, but before
we can enter into the glory of this heartfelt
knowing, a real death must come. A death that
sweeps us away from all that we have known
before. It is a complete death, and it is without
escape. It is not a physical death but the
experience of a spiritual one.

A death, our death, is what births us into our
new life: the life of God. Of course we are
already spiritually dead to begin with. Then
we come to a place of accepting God's
forgiveness and receiving His life. We are
baptized with Him into His death (Romans 6:3)
and all of our old identity dies with Him.
And then Jesus promises us the another
baptism, this time one of fire! First I will
be drowned, and then I shall be burned!
Dear Lord, shall there be anything left of
me? Well, if you put it in those terms it
seems to move away from the strictly
theological understanding to one
connected to our everyday lives.

Paul says, "I die daily"(I Cor. 15:31). Dying
to ourself is both a one-time event and a
continual process. If we were expecting clear
sailing every day, we would be very naive
sailors indeed. What we are not prepared
for is the intensity of the death that we will
experience. Not just a little scary ride through
the "fun house" but a force so overpowering,
that, well, it could only be Death.

Ah, but dear reader, our faith is about Life
and resurrection. Yes, but first we must speak
of death. And back to our question, how do I
know that I am dying unto Life, or dead into
eternal death? It is only by my simple, childlike
faith in Christ.

We must follow the Lord where He leads us. If
that be through death before it is through life,
and most assuredly it will be, then follow Him
we must. It is our faith in Him alone, faith
stripped naked and bare, that gives
us the assurance that we are kept by Him. Do
know that He himself has made this journey
before. Alone. He came forth the Victor. He did
it for us. He experienced the height and breadth
and depth of Death. For me. For you.

There will be days when we will be sure that death
has won over us. It is for those who are in those
days that I may be writing. To those I have but
one word of advice: Do not focus on the process of
death, but on the One in whom you have believed.
Death is meant to overwhelm us, and to conquer
our natural strength. It will finish us off unless we
reach our hearts ever so slightly to the One who
conquered death even from the midst of death.
We have all seen those movies where someone
has become so paralyzed that they
can only move the smallest part of their
finger to signal for help. It is no different with us.

Call unto Him, even if the call is seemingly
imperceptible, and He will not forsake you.
Death is real. Life is more REAL. Life is our
glorious Christ, risen from the dead. In Him
we most certainly die, but in fact, we have
fallen asleep in His arms.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Ad augusta per angusta:
To high places by narrow roads

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

God Meets Us In The Wreckage

It suddenly occurred to me this morning that while we are trying to meet God in the one halfway decent (in our estimation) inch of ourselves that we deem presentable, that God always seems to choose to meet us in the place that is hopelessly disfigured, dark and demon-filled. As we read through the Scriptures it is always God coming to us at the point of our need, loss, and failure, holding out restoration and salvation to us in His outstretched, humble yet decisively all powerful Hand.

Peter's darkest hour was denying Christ. Yet, at the very
time of the denial, Christ is on His way preparing what
is needed not only for Peter's restoration but for the
restoration of the whole world. Hallelujah! Peter, in a
fearful fog of self-preservation, is bitterly startled back
into reality by the crowing of the rooster.

Morning was about to dawn in Peter's life. The
Morningstar was rising and coming to get Him. When
Jesus re-appears on earth after His death, He makes
a bee-line for Peter to set him firmly on the right path.
Peter would be restored and go on to be all that God
meant him to be.

You see, the gospel is really all about our total surrender
into the wild liberty of enslaving love to Christ. Yet we
become slaves to Him with no strings attached and only
the power of Everlasting Love keeping us close. It is a
liberty and wholeness we have never known and can
not imagine with our natural mind.

We think that we must get ourselves in shape before
God can use us. We believe we must try harder. If
there is something really wrecked inside, we must
hide it. God says, "When you have reached the end
of yourself, I will be there to talk about My kind
of kingdom."

The problem, from our side, is that reaching the end of
ourselves usually involves crashing and burning in some
major spiritual, social, psychological or emotional way.
We don't stop ourselves until something stops us. God
meets us at the point of our blindness and error. He
meets us at a place where we cannot help ourselves.

Why? He really, really loves us. He doesn't want to just
help us live our life, wants to BE our life. He wants to
be our everything. He does not want us to rely on
ourselves. He wants relationship with us. "Who
is this that comes up from the wilderness,
upon her beloved?
Song of Songs 8:5). It is always out
of the wilderness that we learn to so lean and do it
with gladness.

God will come after each of us at our greatest point of
need. Straight to the disaster He heads! And if we
manage to hide the disaster, He will still come. We
do not understand the ferocity of God's love for us,
and what He is willing to allow or us to come to know
Him in liberty.

Ted Haggard did not know the lengths and depths of
this ferocious Love. But before you cast a stone, neither
do you. Neither do I. Not completely, maybe not at
all. He allows the circumstances of life to bring us from
a place of absolute weakness, to a place of absolute

This surrender is not a slavish violation of liberty, but
a magnificent entrance into the liberty that is
apportioned to God's sons and daughters. Too bad
it takes such drastic measures to get us there. But once
we are there we could easily spend eternity worshipping
God and giving Him thanks for it. Too bad we initially
view it as a hostile invasion. It wastes so much time.

God is not looking for forced submission. He is looking
for eager pursuers of Himself. He is waiting to be
known for who He is. May that journey start afresh
and anew for each us, and may our prayers be with
our fallen brother who has the chance to come to an
utter and happy leaning on God and restoration that

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Is the Gospel in America Poisoned?

I've been hearing the wake-up sirens blowing for quite awhile now and in the wake of the recent controversy regarding Ted Haggard one can only wonder, is this the first of a new batch of public symptoms of a totally compromised gospel in American Christianity? Are we beginning to reap what has been sown? Is our spiritual well water poisoned?

You know, I must tell you, that for quite awhile I have been heartsick. I listen alot. I read alot. I hear a lot of preaching. I see alot. I am left feeling like, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, ...we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way" --Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities.

America has so much: really, a land of opportunity and blessing. A land of abundance and beauty. But what has happened to the gospel here? American ingenuity and pragmatism have helped us create some of the world's greatest inventions and technology. We are a "can do" kind of people. But have we concocted a gospel soft drink, goes down smooth, but full of emptiness? Is it made from a polluted spring?

Much has been said about the American gospel, and a lot of what has been said is true. The fingers however always seem to be pointing at the "other" church, with their heretical beliefs, and not at our own hearts. Maybe we all need to take one giant step back and see if how we each form and hold our beliefs is American and not, in fact, biblical.

I love reading the old American revivalists: Edwards, Brainerd, Whitfield as he preached in America, etc. And yet, when I actually read their words and hear their mindset, I wonder if they were to preach today if the churches they preached in would have many people attending them. Might not all the folks be across the street at "seeker" friendly churches, the one with comfy seats, and pastors wearing cool flip flops, where you are nudged toward a calm, friendly kind of spirituality, where Jesus never really makes any demands on you, much less causes you to fall on your face in repentance? Or, if you like things a little radical, maybe join a church with lots of purpose. Only the purpose is really about a lot of American kind of ingenuity painted in spiritual hues but lacking the power to change the hearts of men and women. Just because something seems to work, doesn't mean its true. Apparently much of what is preached isn't even working.

Where is the gospel that turned a bunch of fearful, bumbling disciples into people that willingly and fearlessly went to their deaths proclaiming a Christ out of whose mouth came a sword so sharp that it could divide completely between what was of God and what was of man? Where? I really want to know where it has went. And do we really think that all that the early church was about was presenting orthodox doctrine? If that was all it was about, where would they have gotten the power and boldness to shake society, including religious society, to its core? Wouldn't it have have been just another near-eastern religion, long forgotten? So where is that gospel? Where is the cross? Where is holiness and fear of the Lord?

Today it was a typical fall day in New England. This meant that there was a church bazaar on every corner. Great pies. Nice hand-knit gloves. Lots of preserves. No radical gospel that I could see. Lots of bread, but no Bread of Life. Have we, as Americans, just made the gospel serve us? Have we knocked off all the difficult parts so we can fit it in to our schedules? Have we preached mostly what brings good attendance and lots of money? Homey feelings and patriotic pride? Now don't get me started there.

Be forewarned: the real Jesus is a stumbling block. Many will stumble over Him. I have always gotten goosebumps when I read this:

Jesus said to them, "Did you never read in the Scriptures,'The stone which the builders rejected, the same was made the head of the corner. This was from the Lord. It is marvelous in our eyes?' Therefore I tell you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and will be given to a nation bringing forth its fruit. He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but on whoever it will fall, it will grind him to powder (Matthew 21:42-44).

So, will the kingdom of God be taken away from us and given to a nation that will bear fruit? Is the Stone ready to fall on us? Frightening correlations. This all strikes me as Toll One on the bell of "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand" ....well, maybe its not really Toll One. It might be a little late for that. You know what I mean. We need to ask ourselves this: Is the gospel we preach Christ's gospel? Is it the gospel of God? Does it honor the Cross of Christ? Does its message come down from heaven or is it a poisoned well of destruction and deceit?

Our leaders get to where we are going to first. They have served the poisoned water and now they must drink of it. That is a very scary thought. Are we going straight to heaven or direct the other way?

Friday, November 03, 2006

Praying for Those Who Fall

Jesus, on this day, we have heard of a man' s fall. Someone who set out to follow You and to lead others. You alone know his heart. You alone know what will heal it. Thank you that You have warned us that "everything that can be shaken, will be shaken" (Hebrews 12:27). Thank you that while many will scorn him, and many may question how this can be, that Your Nature, a nature of uncompromised Love, is unchanging, and Your kingdom is unshakable.

Thank you that because of Your graciousness to us, we need not judge another, as it is best left in Your most just and merciful Hands. May those that truly seek You not be dismayed. May those who use this as an excuse or an opportunity for their own purposes understand that You are watching them, also.

Cover the hearts of the innocent. Uncover all that is not of You so that healing can come to that which would be a hidden and destructive cancer. We who are built of dust dare not cast stones. Let those of us who know your love, cast love instead. May your peaceable, holy and righteous kingdom come in our hearts and to this exceedingly troubled earth.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

If you are just what you are meant to be, you will
set the world on fire.
--Catherine of Siena

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

What you see can be done with love you must do; what can only be done with debate must be left alone.
--Frances de Sales