..."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)

Friday, September 28, 2007

On No More Onward Christian Soldiers

Attention, all onward Christian soldiers:

I have it on good authority,
that you should report to the
retirement office.

Only one Soldier is needed for
the war,

and He has already won the battle!

Your services are required,
but as lovers and not fighters.
Put down your arms,
or use them to wrap
around others needing affectionate aid.

Rumors have circulated that you
are needed to fight fiercely on
the Spiritual Battlefront.

Where that front might be located
has been distorted by Enemy Intelligence
or should we say, Counter-Intelligence.

To your prayer closets dear retirees,
To worship, praise and adoration,
To wonder and dancing and celebration.
To love.

The Allies have won: Father, Son, & Spirit.
Do you know why?
Because they are One!
Lovers Three united in Love's purpose.

Come out for the victory parade!
Admire our Victorious Soldier of Love.
Throw your beads of admiration at Him.
It is better than Mardi Gras!

Throw whatever you have at Him in your
delirious happiness! He has a great
sense of humor and will not mind
being hit by the army boots you will
no longer need!

But Beware!

You might be surprised
at what He will throw back at you!

Better duck now!

His Love will level your misconceived
fighting spirit to the ground,
and give you a
new perspective, along
with a new face,
not to mention the insurance check for the damage
done to the armor on your little bunker,

after He has given it a great kick.

You have been trying too hard,
Living in a cement closet with
only a place for your gun to poke out.
Eating MRE portions as if they were

Come now. Let it all go.
Be all you can be: Love God, love
man, love your enemies. Such soldiers
have lots of rest & recreation.

God will do all the fighting necessary.

You are in good Hands,
Relax, I have taken a look,
His muscles are quite large.

"Thou hast a mighty arm:
strong is thy hand, [and]
high is thy right hand."
Psalm 89:13

Admire and Adore the Author!

"Admire and adore the Author of the
telescopic universe, love and esteem
the work, do all in your power to
lessen ill, and increase good,
but never assume to comprehend."
--John Adams

photo taken at Painted Mines, Calhan,
(right click on the image and open
in larger window)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

T. Austin-Sparks: A Course of Reduction

Sometimes we have to ask ourselves,
as we see personal desires being
followed out, likes being served,
preferences being manipulated, and it
becomes so patent that there is something
which is quite natural ruling decisions
and making the plans: Where is the Cross,
and where is the Holy Spirit working by
the Cross?

Therefore, you and I need to ask the Lord
more every day to make these crises acute,
that we shall have no blind spots on this
matter, thinking that it is for the Lord
when it is really for ourselves. Any measure
of that 'I' is countering God's end, and
anything that is done, even though it be
by a most devoted soul, for the Lord on
that basis is bound to have in it that
element which will limit its ETERNAL value.

The thing which is going to be wholly,
utterly abiding, eternal, must be utterly
Christ. It may, therefore, be necessary
for a course of reduction to be followed
by the Lord. The thing may seem small and
it may seem to be very limited according
to the world's standards. What is going
on can hardly be seen on the surface, but
God is working right down at the bottom to
build from the foundation, slowly, steadily,
surely, and every fresh fragment that God
adds to that work is sifted, purged, tested.
It is as though God puts in something and
then, before He adds to it, He tests it,
proves it, tries it, sifts it, until the
thing is, in its absolute purity, all of
Christ and is established.

T. Austin-Sparks, from Christ in You

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Keep Your Face Upturned

Keep your face upturned,
looking for Him,
looking to Him,
looking at,
Your Beloved.

For once you have seen Him,
your eyes become one-track,
unable to be turned aside,
your head rubber-necking
God's every move.

Son-burnt and God-smacked,
You are now a melted ruin
for anything but Him.

Blessedly so.
Once you have seen Him,
Your eyes have that ever-distant mistiness
Your soul devastated, undone, healed
one glimpse of His ravaging, ravishing
Now wonder people ask,
"Whatever happened to ....?"

Until He return and
Kiss you again
Keep your face turned upward,
looking for Him,
looking to Him,
looking at Him,

You know you cannot do otherwise.

...which made me think of this great
classic by John Donne:

Batter my heart, three-personed God; for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine,
and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand,o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn and make me new,
I, like an usurped town, to another due,
Labor to admit you, but O, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betrothed into your enemy,
Divorce me, untie or break that knot again;
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor chaste, except you ravish me.

John Donne
spiritual poetry

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Thank You!

The heart of the Christian life
is to stand in wonder before His
love and say, "Thank You!"
--Malcolm Smith

photo taken in Calhan, Colorado
at the Paint Mines
(right click on the image to
open in a larger window)

Colorado Springs
Calhan, Colorado

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Mirages in the Desert

In the desert are many mirages.
When your soul has walked for
who knows how many days
and not seen its Beloved,

dangerous suggestions arise from nowhere.

"Come here and rest, sit down,
what is your hurry?

But that is not the Voice of your Lord.

It promises you shade but leaves you
to die in the heat, your carcass
food for vultures and demons.

"Come, sit and eat,"
but what looks like a gourmet dinner,
turns to sand on your plate.

Beloved Wayfarer, do not stop.
Keep walking, even at night.
Walk and let the Light in your spirit
illumine the way.
Though it seem to be a faint Light,
it is the Light of God,
and it will lead you Homeward.

Eat of the hidden Manna that appears
in the wee hours of the morning,
or deep in the dark of the night.

Even though you have lost your bearings
and all outward and inward signs of your God,
Even when your head cries,"there is no hope,"
Your heart knows the way to the
Inn of the Living Water.

Pay no heed to the mirages that tell you
to camp in the desert of Egypt.
Keep walking, one step at a time,
one foot in front of the other.
You shall soon find rest in the
arms of your Father,
in a land laden with milk and honey,
Your homeland.

The Parables of God

Every happening, great and small,
is a parable whereby God
speaks to us, and the art of
life is to get the message.

-- Malcom Muggeridge

photo taken in Painted Mines, Colorado
on the most glorious day imaginable.
(right click on the image and open it
in a larger window to enjoy!)

Colorado photography

Monday, September 17, 2007

Consume My Substance for Your Glory!

Consume my substance for Your Glory; let it
distill drop by drop for Your Church.”
--Elizabeth of the Trinity

photo taken in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Colorado Springs
Elizabeth of the Trinity

Friday, September 14, 2007

Oswald Chambers: Obeying Brings Clarity

Simplicity is the secret of
seeing things clearly. A saint
does not think clearly for a
long while, but a saint ought
to see clearly without any difficulty.

You cannot think a spiritual muddle clear,
you have to obey it clear. In intellectual
matters you can think things out, but in spiritual
matters you will think yourself into
cotton wool. If there is something upon
which God has put His pressure, obey in that
matter, bring your imagination into captivity
to the obedience of Christ with regard to it
and everything will become as clear as daylight.

The reasoning capacity comes afterwards,
but we never see along that line, we see like
children; when we try to be wise we see nothing
(Matthew 11:25).

The tiniest thing we allow in our lives
that is not under the control of the Holy Spirit
is quite sufficient to account for spiritual
muddle, and all the thinking we like to spend
on it will never make it clear. Spiritual muddle
is only made plain by obedience.

Immediately we obey, we discern. This is humiliating,
because when we are muddled we know the reason
is in the temper of our mind. When the
natural power of vision is devoted to the Holy Spirit,
it becomes the power of perceiving God's will and the
whole life is kept in simplicity.

My note: how wise is this teaching! We cannot
know what is the good and perfect will of God
through our reasoning, but it is revealed as
we obey God. Our walk of faith is a walk of
childlike trust, holding our Father's hand,
knowing that all that He has for us, and leads
us into, is from a heart filled with unutterable
love and compassion for us.

Reasoning with our minds allows us to lead ourselves.
Obedience puts all that concerns us back where
it belongs: into the hands and under the authority
of Jesus.

Oswald Chambers
obeying God

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Oswald Chambers on Spiritual Confusion

There are times in spiritual life
when there is confusion, and it is
no way out to say that there ought
not to be confusion. It is not a
question of right and wrong, but a
question of God taking you by a
way which in the meantime you do not
under stand, and it is only by
going through the confusion that you
will get at what God wants.

The Shrouding of His Friendship.
Luke 11:5-8. Jesus gave the
illustration of the man who looked
as if he did not care for his
friend, and He said that that is
Heavenly Father will appear
to you at times. You will think He
is an unkind friend, but remember
He is not; the time will come when
everything will be explained.
There is a cloud on the friendship
of the heart, and often even love
itself has to wait in pain and tears
for the blessing of fuller
communion. When God looks completely
shrouded, will you hang on in
confidence in Him?

The Shadow on His Fatherhood.
Luke 11:11-13. Jesus says there are
times when your Father will appear
as if He were an unnatural father,
as if He were callous and indifferent,
but remember He is not; I have
told you - "Everyone that asketh
receiveth." If there is a shadow on
the face of the Father just now, hang
onto it that He will ultimately
give His clear revealing and justify
Himself in all that He

My note: We have no idea how much
God loves us. What we see as chaos
or the absence of God is neither.
God is trying to get at things
deep within us. We should not waste
our energy mulling the disasters
that appear to have befallen
us, but instead, looking for
the goodness of God and sight
to discern His coming to us
in ways that we do understand.
His love, nevertheless, undergirds
it all. You are safe. Trust that.
Trust Him. --RM

Oswald Chambers
trust in God

Worship in Colorado Springs

Out for my morning walk in a lovely
neighborhood in Colorado Springs, Colorado
I saw this lovely little sunflower
worshipping God.

Colorado Springs

Monday, September 10, 2007

Help for Your Head

Dear Ones,

Keep thinking about the wonders of God
until your head explodes.
You will look a little odd,
but you will soon discover
that since your eyes are gone, too,

Sight comes from another place,
Knowledge of the Holy One
streams in from a different part
of yourself. Live there.
Deep in Spirit.

You are asking too much of your mind.
Have a party in your heart.
Invite your limited thoughts
that are ever so straightlaced and geeky.

Keep offering them
the spiked drink of the Spirit
until they get up from their
narrow cabin
and dance on the table.
They are tired from living in
your tiny head.
How is there room for them to
dance in there?

Even your thoughts need a vacation, no?
Give them a good, long one.
Keep them laying like
drunken men in the street
while your spirit soars in God.

Later you can go back for them
and tell them how to live in the
pure light of the Son.
Since your head will be gone, they
will have to get used to it,
but they will have more room to dance,
and perhaps then they won't be so bossy.

Mercy, Jesus

picture taken in Stanton, England in
a church cemetary

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Killing The Homeless Man from Berlin

Killing The Homeless Man from Berlin

I have still been ruminating on the whole
stumblingblock issue. Mostly trying to
understand why I have been so aggravated
lately by issues of legalism. Then the other
night I had this dream that I must tell you about.

I dreamt that I was with a friend and
we were in a national park. My friend
opened the trunk of the car and, in plain
view, was a pipe. It was the kind that Sherlock
Holmes smoked. I thought to myself,
“The park ranger is coming around and
I wish my friend wouldn't leave the pipe
out in the open, it will cause the
ranger to think we have drugs.”

Sure enough, the ranger pulls up,
and sees the pipe. Of course my
friend conveniently disappears, leaving
me to answer the ranger's questions. I am
aggravated. The ranger asks what
we were doing with the pipe. My friend
had purchased the pipe the previous day
to “ebay” it.

I told her, "If I told you the real
reason, you wouldn't believe me,"
and I walked away." She continued
to ask me questions and surmised I
was innocent but said, "We need to
ask you further questions so you will
have to come to the center."

Oh, great. She takes me to a center
that is a Jewish Community Center.
It is suddenly December and the people
are decorating for “the holidays.”
The director shows me a picture of
a jolly, red-cheeked, Santa Claus,
circa 1940 or 1950, the kind you
would see on the cover of the
Saturday Evening Post during its
heyday. She points to him and
whispers slyly, "We can't celebrate
Christmas." She points to the Santa.
“We have to call him,
'The Homeless Man From Berlin' so
we can still celebrate Christmas
without controversy or offence.”


We are so willing to make it
easy for ourselves and I am still
struggling with the problem of not
causing others to stumble by my
free actions.

Let's discuss a stereotypical problem
in this area, since meat sacrificed
to idols is usually not available at
Stop and Shop.

I want to have a drink
but the people I fellowship with
don't think alcohol is something
a Christian should have. Ok, so
do I really need the drink? No.
Could I have a drink away from them?
Yes. But then what if I go out
with that nice John Freeman to a
restaurant and we decide to have
a glass of imported wine?
South African. But in walk my
nosy tea-totalling friends
who sit right next to me.

I'll tell you where the principle
of this matter is going
to stick with me. I am going to
feel like my life is being
hampered by the judgments of
others, others whom I perceive to
be either weaker or, more likely,
annoyingly legalistic. Weaker I
can deal with, legalistic will
make me angry.

So I think to myself, how can I go
the higher route? What am I missing
here besides a nice vintage? God is
holding out an opportunity for
me to go to a higher place,
a place where I don’t feel held back,
a place that is true freedom. If I look
at it this way, I would trade the
nice vintage for a chance to
go higher in God.

I also think that I might gladly
give up something if I thought
someone were just learning and
didn't know the Lord very well.
But I guess that I have just
realized that if I think you
are a legalistic pain you might run
hard up against my cold shoulder.
What kind of help would God
want to offer the legalistic through
me? I wonder. I don’t think I’ve
gotten that far past my annoyance
to ask yet. I do know that Jesus
was holding something out to
Pharisees when he exercised His
liberty in front of them. He was
also exercising His liberty
when He went meekly to the cross.

Enter 'The Homeless Man From
Berlin.' In my dream my
intent was being questioned and
I was sent to a place that thought
it was a center of "spiritual
correctness." I interpret the
Jewishness of the Center to mean
the Law apart from Christ. It could
easily have been the First
Assembly of Christian Pharisees.
I certainly am not singling
out anything Jewish.

The folks in the center wanted to
party and celebrate but
it went against their tradition.
So they changed things to
accommodate the situation so
that no one would be offended.

It is funny, being that it was
my dream, that it was not
a picture of Jesus causing trouble:
it was just Santa causing a stir.
Jesus didn't even make the
conversation. He was so far out
of the picture He didn't even
make a blip on their Christmas
screen. Can you imagine if it
were Jesus? Yes, lets.

Couldn’t we call Jesus, “The Homeless
Man from Berlin?” Think about
it. Did not Jesus come to His
own and His own did not receive
Him? Did He not have a place to
lay His head? And what
might we think of when we think
of Berlin? Nazis!

It wasn't just the Jews that
stumbled over Jesus, it was
the Aryan nation also. Jesus
as He is would not have been someone
that Hitler wanted or would welcome.
The flesh fights against the Spirit.
Oh, does this ever cut across things!

But before you think that I am pointing
fingers, I will point one back at me
for a moment. When I feel my
"Christian liberty" being infringed
upon, is it my flesh reacting, or
my spirit?

Discerning this will help me immensely.
Discerning this might also be a
challenge. Am I innocently and
obediently living as a free person
in the Kingdom of God or is my walking
in the flesh becoming so refined that
I fail to recognize it until it's tell-tale,
touchy nature is aggravated? In claiming
my right to walk in freedom, am
I still walking in the flesh? Am I just
making things how I want them to be and
calling it freedom? Ouch.

Why would the folks in this dream
Center be ok with celebrating
a homeless man from Berlin?
Well, it is something they could
feel in a position of strength about,
a social issue they could rally around.
"Oh, the poor homeless man, let's
remember the homeless on this
holiday, we in our fine homes,
yes, lets remember the faceless
bums who live on some street other
than ours. Let's have someone bring
them a box with some ham and some
yams." That’s really what Christmas is
all about anyway, right?

The spirit of religiousity runs
deep. The flesh runs deep. We need
to take care that the flesh is
being continually dealt with
so that its latent appearance
does not subtly rise up in the
form of a self-constructed liberty
and deceive us.

And Berlin? That which had been
the enemy of our soul and of our
nation, has fallen from power,
(or so we think), so we can pity
it with refugee programs, and not
oppose it strongly. Underestimating
Babylon is a mistake.

We need to oppose the flesh strongly,
especially the most stubborn
roots of it hidden deep within ourselves.

What separates freedom in Christ from
disguised fleshly liberty is the
amount of aggravation that arises
when my freedom is taken away from
me or I feel that I have to "lay
it down." Like I’m making some
big sacrifice. Oh, Please!

I forget so quickly that I am the Lord's
bondslave. Love works in a completely
different way. Period end. Love trumps
any freedom the law allowed me with
an absolute joyful enslavement to Christ.
Whatever technicality of license I might
have eked out of the law pales at the level of
devotion and obedience I can lavish upon
Christ simply because I love Him.
When I feel put upon I must ask
Christ what grace I am missing.

Renaming a holiday to make
it serve me and my purposes
is not my right. Neither can
I rename Jesus to make Him what
I would like Him to be.

I ask you, “What kind of Jesus do you worship?”
Have you given Him a name or a moniker
that does not due Him justice? Is He Jesus,
Merely Meek and Mild? Jesus, Good Teacher?
Jesus, Purpose-Driven Political Preacher?
Jesus, Prosperity Guru? Jesus, Zen Master?

Jesus, Fielder of My Dreams? Jesus, Lord of
My Sunday Mornings? Jesus, King of My
Marketing Ideas? Jesus, Shaman of Mystical
Encounters? Jesus, Power Broker?

Unless He is Jesus, Lord of All and Everything
He is not Jesus at all.

My "christian liberty" frees me to do
one thing: follow Christ completely
without restraint: make Him completely
my Lord, become entirely like Him.
I no longer look in the rule
book to see if I can do something. The
bar is much higher than that.
Now I look to Christ in every and
all circumstances. Legalism gives
way to relationship. Nothing and
no-one but Christ dictates to me
what I can do.

Let God take care of legalism.
He knows just how to do it.
I don't have to cold shoulder it
or flaunt something in its face.
It will self-destruct because
of its own self-righteous inward

May my goal to be how to
follow Jesus into a higher
place, even laying down
all and any of my “rights”
to win something far greater than
fine wine: the knowledge of Christ alone!
May I call Him “Lord” and nothing

Dear friends, kill “the homeless
man from Berlin”, and all
gods made in and for our purposes.
Living and True One, come visit me.
Shatter everything that is not true.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

When my enemies chase me down,
I run to Your arms,
where I can complain about my suffering
and You listen and incline Yourself to me.

You know exactly how to strum
the strings of my soul.

- Mecthild of Magdeburg,

photo taken near Worcester Cathedral, Worcester, UK

Monday, September 03, 2007

The Hope of A Rainbow

It seems to me, as time goes on,
that the only thing that is
worth seeking for is to know and
to be known by Christ -- a
privilege open alone to the
childlike, who, with receptivity,
guilelessness, and humility,
move Godward.
-- Charles H. Brent

rainbow over Porthcawl, Wales


Porthcawl, Wales