..."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, December 31, 2008

Keeping our Eyes on Jesus!

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and
perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set
before him endured the cross, scorning its
shame, and sat down at the right hand of the
throne of God."
(Hebrews 12:2)

As a new year starts, there will be, no doubt,
much to distract us from keeping our eyes
on Jesus. May we resolve never to let that happen!
Only Christ is a Calm in the storm, a Hiding
Place in the dark and dangerous hour, and
a worthy and everlasting Vision!

photo taken near Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs,

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Devotions From the Heart: Worship: A Reality Check

by Derek Gitsham

"God is a Spirit, and they that worship
him must worship him in spirit and in
truth." John 4:24

These words were spoken to a woman of Samaria,
while fetching water from Jacob’s Well at Sychar.
Jesus was thirsty and asked the woman for a drink.
She exclaimed in total surprise: “'How is it that
you being a Jew askest a drink of me which am a
woman of Samaria?' For the Jews had no dealings
with the Samaritans.”(John 4:9)

The conversation proceeds from living water to
a well of water till finally they arrive at the
subject of worship. Jesus tells her that He
knows she had five husbands: this causes her to
marvel and she begins to really listen. Arriving
at the sixth hour of the day was is significant
because few people would have been there at the
well. She obviously was ashamed to be seen because
of the type of woman she was. But Jesus showed
His love and care to her. She was forgivable and
savable, as all men are, and that is what mattered.

Worship is what the Father desires from us. He
seeks such to worship: those that worship in Spirit
and in truth. The word “truth” is translated
“reality” amongst other things. To to be a
worshipper we must be real. What does it mean to
be real? Reality has been far from the shores of
many saints in these days. Spiritual reality must
be present if we are to worship. That means that
the things of God must be more real to us than life
itself. Deny this aspect of things, the reality of
God to us, and worship is not attainable.

The Christian life must work if we are to be
worshippers. You cannot be one thing in a church
and another thing in the world. You have got to
know what you say and say what you know. This
is not a guessing game.

Paul exhorts the Corinthians in the second
epistle 13:5, “Examine yourselves whether you
be in the faith, prove your own selves.” There
are many ways to test yourself: Do you sin
willfully? Do you long for holiness? Are you
longing for God? Is He in all your thoughts?
Do you practice righteousness? Is he sitting
on the throne of your heart? and much more.

God make us very real; give us spiritual reality,
that we may worship in spirit and in truth.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Whoever preaches with love
preaches sufficiently against heresy,
though he may never utter a controversial word.
... Francois de Sales (1567-1622)

photo taken in Manitou Springs, Colorado
at the Rainbow Falls

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Determined Journey of Love

It is the night of our dear Savior's birth.
And just as He came, illuminating the dark,
the Eternal Light rising in Israel,
even in the nations,

so must we cast His Light like a flaming net,
gathering up those who dwell in the darkness.

This is no time to hesitate,
not time to think it through,
or sit, vacillating, in the safety
zone that shall soon be dangerous.

Here is a call to action: to
bold shows of fervent love toward God
and man, to large slices of kindness,
heaping portions of forgiveness,
giant wedges of the inability to
be offended; to patience unending,
and hope unrelenting, and faith

May lesser things be gone, may
sitting and watching be finished,
pack your bags, my friends, and
go on a determined journey of love.

There is no time like now,
no moment like the present
to get really right with God,
to wash the slate clean with every
man or woman who has caused you to sorrow,
to trip, to turn away from
the One True Life you can have
only in God.

There is None like He,
No Life like His life,
no love so fervent, so pure,
so righteous.

Do you hear that Love calling
to you, even now?

To Boldness! To extreme acts
of love! To the Highest Place!

Go out into the streets searching
for those lost in every way.
Look in the wards of the sick,
who have turned away from the
Heavenly Physician.

Help them demolish what
holds them back from the
Only One who can heal.
Tear down the roof to let
Him in!

Look even in your own home
for the one gone astray: the
one for whom Christ is still looking
for, calling for, praying for.

Implore them with kindness,
Ply them with understanding,
Beg them with unfeigned affection
to turn toward the Light.

This is Christmas! More Christ!
All Christ! Fall on your knees!
O hear the voices of angels and
men of good will calling you
across the centuries, to
the eternal kingdom of the Father.

In a manger crib the Child
came to us, showing us what
it would be like to be held
at the mercy of others.

Hold, therefore, others with Mercy!

Christ comes to you, still,
yes, to you, watching how you
will treat Him, seeing what
you will give Him!

Play your heart like a drum
for Him. Play your best for
Him. See Him smile. See Him
reaching out His hand,
lighting up the universe,
lighting up you,
in the spontaneous combustion
of a fiery flame of
Endless Love!

Lo, He has come to send
a fire on the earth and
what if He wants to use
you as kindling?

Burn, then, with an
incendiary passion for Him.
Burn, my dear friends,
burn fiercely at the cold, hard,
dry death that is consuming
your neighbors and friends.

If you do, this shall be
a Christmas to remember:
you and I, a blazing fire
in the hearth of God.

Do not waste a moment,
who knows how long any
of us have?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Lord, let your love enlighten the eye
of my understanding with the light of
trusting in You. Help me see Your
truth as You reveal it to me. Make my
memory big enough to hold your kindnesses.
Set my will on fire in Your love. Let that
fire melt my most intimate being and make
me bleed with compassion for others.

- Catherine of Siena, --

photo taken near Monument, Colorado

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

How Shall I Know If You Belong To God?

The world is darkening around us,
even now it is dusk
and your features are becoming

How shall I know if you belong to the Beloved?
Who goes there? friend or foe?

You may smile with gleaming white teeth, but
how do I know if that is because they
have no history of biting or because they have
been merely bleached white with Crest strips?

You may sing like an angel,
but how do I know that you have
not taken lessons from the Dark Song Leader
who was thrown out of heaven?

You may tell me I am a "wonder", "precious',
"the greatest thing since smoked salmon",
but how will I know that these endearments
are not sugar-coated rat poison or chocolate
covered shark teeth?

You may drip oil, glisten with gold glitter,
be knee-deep in angel feathers, but how
shall I know if that is from God or
just you gone mad at the Craft Emporium?

I will tell you how I will know--
come here and stand close to me.
From inside of me a Heavenly, Holy Ghost shall arise
and call out to you, with wordless words,
He guards His oasis inside because it
is His to guard. He knows all things.

Even a voice may trick me, but
the Ghost Most Holy cannot be tricked.
His Presence dances--up and out, from
a wordless place,
soaring, heaven-bound, sending out
the spiritual sonar, checking for some
sign of Himself, the Divine Fraternal
Handshake, the Heavenly High-Five,
looking for Himself in you.

When I see the big grin emerge on
His Face, I know that I may call
you Brother, Sister, Friend of God.

When He gives the "all clear"
then out go all the formalities
and the chairs are pulled away from
the tables, and we dance on them
until the Sabbath is over--
the space between us gone,
squished together like
two peas in a heavenly pod.

We shall know if we
watch and listen to Him.

"Wherefore we henceforth know no man
after the flesh: even though we have
known Christ after the flesh, yet now
we know him so no more."
(2 Corinthians 5:16)

"And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth
heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped
in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with
the Holy Ghost." Luke 1:41

"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try
the spirits whether they are of God: because
many false prophets are gone out into the
world." 1 John 4:1

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christ Coming Home

To be perfect with God you must have
Christ come home, come HOME to you and
sit by your central fire--come home to
you, to YOU, as if for the moment
mankind were centered in the burning
point of your soul, and you touched
the burning point of God's. You must
court and haunt His Presence til
it break forth on you, and it become
as impossible not to believe as to
believe is hard now.

--P.T. Forsyth

photo taken in Wilmington, Vermont

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

"You are a fire that takes away
the coldness, illuminates the mind
with its Light, and causes me to
know Your Truth. And I know that
You are Beauty and Wisdom itself.
The food of angels, You gave
Yourself to human beings in the
fire of Your Love."

- Catherine of Siena -

photo: Colorado Springs sunset

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Devotions From the Heart: He Opened Their Understanding

by Derek Gitsham

"Then opened He their understanding,
that they might understand the
Scriptures." Luke 24:45

Obviously to be able to discern the truth
of God’s Word, Jesus, by this act in His
resurrection, is showing us that unless
the intellect or mind is opened by His power,
there will be no grasp of spiritual truth.
The literal rendering of this verse reads
that "He fully opened their understanding,
that they might understand the Scriptures."
There was partial understanding, now it
was going to be complete.

Understanding the Word of God is such a
mystery to many. So few enjoy reading the
Word of God, getting nothing from it. At
first glance not everything is going to
be comprehended, but as we pursue our
relationship with God so things will
be opened up to us.

Jesus said, “There is nothing hidden that
shall not be revealed” (Matthew 10:26).
Paul prayed that the eyes of the Ephesians
understanding would be opened (Ephesians 2:18).
Reading the subsequent verses (19-23) clearly
shows us what Paul is wanting us to see and
understand:“the exceeding greatness of His
power to usward who believe, according to
the working of his mighty power, which He
wrought in Christ when He raised Him from
the dead, and set Him at His own right hand
in heavenly places.”

In Colossians Paul says, “That in Him are
hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”
(2:3). These words in Luke, “opening their
understanding” is connected to the desire
to understand. There must be a desire to
understand, to want God, this is what God is
looking for in the saints.

He that hungereth and thirsteth for
righteousness sake shall be filled (Matthew 5:6).
David writes, in Psalm 106:24, talking of Israel,
“yea they despised the pleasant land, they
believed not his word." The words “pleasant land”
are translated “land of desire.” Despising it
(the Hebrew meaning for despise is “to spurn”)
cost her dearly. It also meant to reject or

Acceptance of the word by obedience
to it, is the beginning of our understanding
being opened. What we are willing to obey,
we will understand.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

"We must allow a great many books
to go unread, and a great many
social visits unpaid in order that
we may concentrate on Christ."
--PT Forsyth

photo taken at Great Sand Dunes,
near Alamosa, Colorado

Thursday, November 27, 2008

"Someone Left the Cake Out in the Rain": Is What You've Built Headed for Ruin?

"And every one that heareth these sayings
of mine, and doeth them not, shall be
likened unto a foolish man, which built
his house upon the sand:

And the rain descended, and the floods
came, and the winds blew, and beat upon
that house; and it fell: and great was
the fall of it." (Matthew 7: 26,27).

"MacArthur Park is melting in the dark,
all the sweet, green icing flowing down;
someone left a cake out in the rain,..--
Richard Harris, 1968"

This is a hard one. Earlier this month I
couldn't get that classic piece of
exhilaratingly negative foreboding,
O Fortuna, out of my mind.
It was election month,
what can I say?

Now, it's MacArthur Park.
After several rebukes it still
did not go away so I decided
to make it work for me. Last night I had
a great time in the Word looking
up every instance of "cake" and
"rain" in the bible. Two worthy
studies that I highly recommend.

It doesn't take a theologian or a spiritual
director to tell you that something
has gone terribly wrong with our
responsibility to be true to the gospel.
Lee Grady recently spoke of a
"charismatic meltdown" and his
article doesn't touch the tip of the iceberg.

A "MacArthur Park" type frosting malfunction
in wide layers of the current charismatic
movement, along with many of the other
emerging or receding movements within
Christendom, are indeed, "melting in the
dark" of their own making.

We really need to put out the
"no vacancy" sign with folk who would be
careless or crazy enough to leave
"a cake out in the rain." We honor
people who are dishonor Christ, we
embrace false teaching and a false
gospel and we don't notice the difference.
If this is the kind of people we have
become we can anticipate big trouble

As silly as it sounds, we have,
spiritually, left a lot of cakes
out in the rain. We do not really seek
after the lost, we do not really tend to
the lambs, we ignore the basic
things that God has called us to
as believers: forgiveness, reconciliation,
care of the poor, love. Our ideas and
our actions seem good to us now, but what
will hindsight and the judgment of God reveal?

I ask myself this as much as I ask you.
Scripture says "There is a way that seems
right to a man, but its end is the way
of death (Proverbs 14:12)."

The old time Pentecostals, Jimmy Swaggart
I think, used to sing, "Its beginning to rain"
--that song was about the Holy
Spirit coming. I know many people
are expecting a rain of universal
revival but most of that expectation
does not seem to be scripturally
supported. What is promised is
a great "falling away" and also
the saving of the remnant of
Israel, but that not without
unimaginable tribulation.
Somehow we think deception will
happen somewhere else, but what
if it is happening to us and
we fail to notice it? Isn't
that what the Deceiver would want?

Here in the above passage
Jesus speaks of another kind of rain--
a rain so fearsome that it will
level your house if you don't build
it carefully. That kind of rain, and
wind, and flood are starting to get
their storm mojo on, so better check the
footings and board up the windows,
here it all comes.

Brothers and sisters, we all need
to be in our place--we need to be
building where and what God wants us
to build with His building materials
or what we build will most assuredly
melt. In truth it is not we who
build but God and unless He
build it, we labor in vain that
build (Psalm 127:1).

Beloved, lots of things are
being constructed: jerry-built to
high heaven but never capable
of reaching it. Lots of things
look good on the outside but
will never weather a storm.
I'm not talking about things
outside of Christianity, but
INSIDE it, things very close to
you, things you may believe
and perhaps things you practice.

Let's face it, we need to ask
ourselves if we have left our
glorious First Love to run after lesser
things--after signs and wonders,
after prestige, or comfort, after power in
any form, or praise of men, or
the things of this world brought
into our heads and our homes, or the ways
of this world brought into
our churches. The list goes
on and is almost endless.

What we need to do is hold up all
that is being said and done,
both individually and corporately,
under the piercing light of
Scripture and measure it
against the character of our
Most Holy God.

What are we building and who
are we building with? A friend
of mine has been trying, for over
a year, to build a rather large
outbuilding. By now she's hired
a large squad of people, and just
about every last one of them has
completely wrecked his portion
of the work. Even the cement
in the foundation wasn't right,
so you can imagine. Something
that should have taken 3 months
has now taken a year and 3 months.
We need to ask ourselves how are
houses have been built. I hope
they stand up when hell and high
water come.

God says that two cannot walk
together unless they agree (Amos 3:3).
You should not build with someone who
is not of the same Spirit.
Wheat and tares may grow together
until the end but they have two
TOTALLY different agendas and
two totally different destinies.

God does not want us to build
out of our carnality or with
those with whom we are unequally
yoked and that comes in all kinds
of ways. God allows us to
make choices, and He knows we make
foolish ones. He also knows the
consequences: its much worse than
a melted, rain soaked cake.

This is a time for us to make
some serious choices about who
we build with, and what we build with,
and what we are building.
We have to know each other by the Spirit
and we have to know what post we
are meant to stand at. It can't be
a matter of the cake being left
out in the rain and "someone" else,
we don't know who, being responsible.
If everyone is on crack it
doesn't bring glory to God.

As Christians we need to be
accountable to God and to each other.
We need to each stand in our
place just as each family stood
in its place in the time of Nehemiah
while they rebuilt the wall.
All of us, without exception,
cannot assume we are in the
right place. Its time to seek
the Lord so we know where we stand
and where to stand.

You see, the Kingdom of God is
being built and God allows us
to be part of that. Will our
part be found wanting? shabby?
unusable? Will we have compromised
the Gospel? For surely our work will
all be tested by an Inspector
with a keen Eye and the
resources to shake the living
heck out of the foundation
and everything on top of it.

I fear so much of what we, what I,
have built will be quickly annihilated
when the rain comes. We think
things are sturdy but they
are cardboard. We think it is
right, but it is wrong. We
don't build from the building
code of the Spirit, with the
blueprint of Christ, under
the authority of God. We do
not check the written standards
of His Word. We may have set our
standards far too low, or associate with
those who have. Shoddy builders.
Folks who would leave the cake
out in the rain.

How often do we see people
building their house on stilts
by the ocean and then having
it knocked down by the next
"perfect storm?" Do we not learn?
If we build in that neighborhood,
we will undoubtedly share that

We need to exercise wisdom, we
need to listen to God, we need
to associate with those who are
building wisely. Many will lose
that which they have built on
emotion or feeling or spiritual
thrill-seeking or even good
intentions apart from what
God has asked of them. God is a
God of miracles but Jesus said also
that a wicked and adulterous
generation seeks after a sign
(Mat 16:4). God is a God of mercy,
but He is also a God of justice.

Our building will be tested and
we must be prepared for it. There
is every possibility we can
survive the hour of testing intact,
but so many of us, individually and
corporately, are in danger
of massive wind, rain, and flood
damage. At this point, its not too
late to build to last. It may soon be.

Dear ones, it is beginning to rain,
so if you see, sweet, green, icing
flowing down the outside of your
house, know you are in trouble.
Don't say I didn't warn you.

Oh, and as for MacArthur Park,
named after that noteworthy American
general, for many years it fell
into the hands of drug dealers
and gangsters and was known for
its high murder rate. In recent
years it has undergone revitalization
and is on the upswing.

There is always hope.

Blessed Thanksgiving!

Smoke hangs like haze over harvested fields,
The gold of stubble, the brown of turned
And you walk under the red light of fall,
The scent of fallen apples, the dust
of threshed grain, the sharp, gentle chill
of fall. Here as we move into the shadows
of autumn, The night that brings the morning
of spring,

Come to us, Lord of Harvest,
Teach us to be thankful for the gifts you
bring us. . . .

photo taken from Hogback Mountain, Vermont

Monday, November 24, 2008

Be A True Prophet

"Hast thou not known? hast thou not
heard, that the everlasting God,
the LORD, the Creator of the ends
of the earth, fainteth not, neither
is weary? there is no searching of
his understanding" (Isaiah 40:28)

Read the prophets
as though they were the poets
of the world to come.
For their world is the real one--
the one past our best dreams
or our worst nightmares,
the perspective depending on
the bent of our souls.

The world has not known,
the world has not heard,
that "the Everlasting God
fainteth not nor is weary."
Yet a prophet can know nothing else,
hear nothing else, speak of
nothing else.

So many say, "I am His prophet"
but their souls show no signs
of the agony of being God's friend
in a world that hates Him.

Believe them not.

You are, all of you, prophets of some sort--
true or false.
Be a true prophet.
To do so your first job is to listen to Him
until your ears ache from straining to hear.
It is not that God is afar off or that
He has a voice like a mouse.
It is just that we believe so many other voices

The Voice of God fills the world.
But He does not share His secrets with strangers.
Nor cast His pearls before swine.

"Have you not known? Have you not heard?"
Your first job is to listen 'til you can hear
no other. Your second job is to speak, indeed,
to sing of Him, in agony and ecstasy, until all
the other voices, either join in or are silent

Be ready to be sung through, or cried through.
Be ready to lose yourself. Be ready to make listening
to God your occupation, and obeying Him your life;
Or go home to bed, and the company of the godless.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Power of Truth

The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it,
ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there
it is. --Winston Churchill

photo taken near Alamosa, Colorado

Devotions From the Heart: Self Vindication

by Derek Gitsham

"Now therefore there is utterly a
fault among you, because ye go to
law one with another. Why do you not
rather take the wrong? Why do you not
rather suffer yourselves to be
defrauded?" (1 Corinthians 6:7)

St. Augustine said of himself, “Lord,
deliver me from the lust of self-vindication.”
It is one of the most powerful of emotions
inside the human body: the desire to set
the record straight in the eyes of your
accuser. Yet Paul says, “Let it go, take
being wronged.”

It is interesting to note this was
happening in the Corinthian Church. The
first epistle is loaded with truth, which
makes it obvious that they knew a lot of
things. However, they began to allow divisions
and carnality to enter in and, before long,
things were accepted and tolerated that were
far from what the standard of holiness should
be in the lives of those who follow Christ.

Taking offence lies at the heart of much of
the strife here in Corinth as in Christians
today. This could prove that many of us are
not as dead to things as we thought we were.
Paul’s reference to the Colossians in 3:3,
”You are dead and your life is hid with Christ
in God.”

He does not mean they are spiritually dead but
dead to self, dead to being offended. Jesus said,
“Blessed is the man who is not offended in me.”
(Luke 7:23.) The Corinthian Church was about to
boil over with division and rampant carnality.
The definition of carnality can be "reason married
to the devil!" Many saints have been reduced to
crumbling edifices of uselessness because they
have allowed themselves to be offended.

Paul’s words are serious, "Why do you not take the
wrong?, why do you not suffer yourselves to be
defrauded?" The death of Jesus is a gift from God
for us in this context. Oh, to be dead to all that
is said about us, without the fierce response and
desire to vindicate ourselves.

Letting people think the worse about you is tough,
but it can be done. If we ask the Lord, He will
help us get free from vindicating ourselves. God
will come through for us all. Only trust Him,
knowing that it matters only what He thinks
about us and knows of us. To be free of offence
is to be free indeed.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Word is not in the Bible as a treasure
hid in a field so that you can dig out the
jewel and leave the soil. It grows up like
a tree. It breathes from it like a sweet
savor. It streams up from it like an exaltation.
It rises like the soul going to glory from
its sacred dust. The Word of God is not to be
dissected from the Bible, but to be distilled

--P.T. Forsyth --The Grace of the Gospel as
the Moral Authority in the Church

photo taken in Colorado Springs, Colorado

Thursday, November 13, 2008

God's Love

When you speak of Christ's Love,
Do you hear the clang of Heaven's door opening;
and feel the agape of God
gushing forth, like milk and honey,
over and within you?

When you think of Love's Face
Do you look past earthly passion
to see the kind and fierce Face of God
that cherubim and holy innocents know so well?

When you dream of God's Love
do you awake from the night's journey
having travelled to a place prepared,
to spend the sleeping hours at Home,
if only for a night?
After all, the Finish Carpenter is not
yet done with the final touches.

When you eat of God's Banquet,
Do you remember Him, and what a wondrous
thing He has done for you,
aware that there is a coming Banquet Meal
that will be an eternal one?
God and man at table sitting down.

When you drown in God's Love,
I understand that your ability to live
to tell of it will be severely
but we will figure it out by the peaceful
glow emanating from your soggy face.

Speak, Dream, Eat and
Drown of God's Love.
Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Devotions From the Heart: Only Believe

by Derek Gitsham

Only Believe

"As soon as Jesus heard the word that was
spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the
synagogue, ‘Be not afraid, only believe.”
Mark 5:36

The Lord in His dealings with his people is
narrowing down everything to this phrase “only
believe” and the rest just falls away. What a
wonderful statement this is. I’m not asking
anymore of you this day, only that you live
believing Me. It is the answer to all your
problems, troubles, every difficult situation
in your life only believe.

Whatever your reasoning is telling you, that
seems contrary, only believe. Confess to God
that you believe Him now. Confession is made
unto salvation. Tell Him you believe, prove
you believe Him by shaking off the unbelief
(i.e. the wrong believing). So much is packed
into this little statement. Firstly, only believe.
It is all you have to do only.

The one thing you must cultivate in your walk,
only believe. There will be times you will have
to remind yourself to do it. In the solitary
place, in the isolated place, in the painful
place, the place where you have been unjustly
treated, lied about, only believe.

When your heart is breaking, when there seems
there is no more reason to hope, only believe.
When strength begins to seep away, when you
cannot lift your head, only believe. When
darkness and the enemy aim their fiery darts
at you, only believe. When loneliness becomes
unbearable and intolerable, only believe. When
nothing is going right, only believe. When the
finances run out and friends have forgotten you,
only believe.

Faith can remove mountains, all things are
possible to him that believes. Nothing can
stop this juggernaut of faith. It crashes through
every barrier, it knows no limits, there is nothing
it cannot accomplish.

Secondly, believe and believe again. Do not hesitate
to declare it to devil and angel alike. Believe
yourself out of your troubles. Give flight to reason.
Only believe He is the God who answers prayer, prayed
in faith. Finally, only believe.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The real voyage of discovery consists not in
seeking new landscapes, but in
having new eyes.--Unknown

photo taken near Cripple Creek, Colorado

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Daniel 10 Bible Study: Who Is Visiting Us?

Daniel was a man of God who sought
God: sought Him high and low, in
weakness and in strength, in good
times and in bad, in Jerusalem and
in Babylon. God chose to visit Him.

In these days we often hear "God has
spoken to me" or "God has visited me."
But we must ask ourselves in all
seriousness, "Who is visiting us?"
for we need to know that it is God
and not man, beast, devil or or own
nature that is informing us.

Now that the elections are past there
is quite a pile of wreckage of failed
prophecies and incorrect "words"
attributed to "God" of what was
supposed to happen in our recent
elections. Even words that have been
spoken and may have seemed to come to
pass may still be not words from the
heart of God and not the end of the
the story.

We need not shame others, but WE CANNOT
IGNORE that in so many situations so
many words and prophecies have proved to
be dust in the wind! We are flesh, we
get it wrong but we need to take a careful,
even dreadful look at why we are getting it
wrong. If it was an isolated or occasional
case, it would be one thing but it is not.

Isaiah was told, "Cry out" and when he
asked what he should cry out, he
was told "All flesh is as grass,... but
the word of the Lord endureth forever"
(Isaiah 40:6-8).

Let me say that I believe that God does
speaks to men and women. I believe that
He leads us and guides us. I believe that
that leading is ALWAYS in accord
and proceeding from His Word.

Yet, some or much that we presume to be
God speaking to us turns out not to be God.
Prophets of God could not get it wrong
in the Old Testament. They had to speak
for God correctly. They had to know Him.
They had to be accountable
to Him. Do we believe this has changed?
No, it has not changed! Are we held to a lesser
standard? we who have the Spirit actually
indwelling us?
I think not.

What is the difference in spirit between
a prophet like Daniel and those who speak
"visions of peace when there is none" and
"prophecy out of their own heart"?
(Ezekiel 13: 16,17)

Daniel is found continually seeking the
Lord in adverse circumstances. He has
an awesome encounter with God: "Who is
this one whose face had the appearance
of lightning, and whose eyes are as
lamps of fire?" (vs 6) (Compare John's
vision of Christ in Revelation 1:12-16).

Whether it be Christ Himself, or an
angelic representative sent by God it
does not say for certain, but the
encounter, no doubt, was from the Living
and True God and not a wild imagination.
What are some safeguards we can put into
place as we seek to hear and know God?

1) We must continually seek God and
dwell in His Word, putting Him first.

There are no safeguards for those whose
hearts are not turned toward the Lord!
God comes to Daniel while Daniel is
fasting and interceding on behalf of
His people. He identified with the
sins of His people. This was not a whim
for Daniel but a lifestyle. The encounter
with God floored and devastated Daniel.
It raised God up and lowered Daniel.

Unless we allow ourselves to be emptied
of spiritual ambition and spiritual
thrill-seeking then we are open to deception.

2) We cannot allow other people to hear
God for us though we should be teachable
and part of a community of accountability,
we must still hear God for ourselves.

Daniel ALONE saw the vision (10:7). No one
else was permitted to, but the others
fled in terror because they knew that whatever
was happening, it was a terrible event, in the
deepest sense of that word. .

We must have the moral courage to meet God
ourselves.. With that comes opportunity for
great blessing or great de ception. We need
to know that it is, indeed, God that is visiting
us, and not a figment of our own imagination or
an idol of our own making.

P.T. Forsyth said, "The non-theological Christ
is popular; he wins votes but he is not mighty;
he does not win souls: he does not break men
into small pieces and create them anew

--(The Taste of Death and The Life of Grace)

Jesus tells us that those who fall on the Rock
will be broken into pieces, but those on whom
the Rock falls will be ground into powder
(Matt 21:44). Either way, no one is left intact.
God has no casual armchair prophets, He only has
those who have chosen to fall on the Rock so that
He might be Everything in them. The one who has
let God deal with his motivations, his desires,
his innermost being is the one who is most
safe from error.

The God revealed in Scripture, the Living God,
is a God to be encountered. When Daniel
encountered Him, "there remained no strength
in me: for my vigour was turned in me into
corruption, and I retained no strength" (vs. 8).

3) When we meet God, we know and see that He
must increase and we must decrease.

Our own human agenda's must be done away
with. Encounter with God drains our natural
posturing and our natural strength. It shows
us who we are and who God is. In that encounter
we should be, indeed will be, slow to speak.
After that encounter we should speak only out
of our inevitable brokenness at the sight of a
Holy God.

When we receive a word it must be with
fear of God and trembling. We must know that
that word is for God's purposes and we must
handle it ever so carefully. We must let
the Word examine our motivations. Are our
prophecies for God or for ourselves? Why
are we giving them? Are we in align with
God's purposes or looking to appear spiritual
or to market "the word" with books,
tapes, cd's and guest ap pearances?

We have become too familiar with God and
yet we do not know Him at all. Who is
visiting us? A god of our own minds,
conjured up by our own lusts? a fairy
tale, a fantasy, a virtual
but man-made "reality"?

When you have encountered God, you will
know it, even it He comes to you in a
still, small Voice. There is really no
mistaking the Living and True One, and
yet our hearts are deceitfully wicked and we
are easily led astray.

Who is the man or woman God comes to? And
Who is this God who comes to him? This is
no time for us to be deceived. Jesus warns
us that in the last days false christs will
come. Need they be all external ones? Cannot
false Christ's present themselves to the
mind or be created by our minds? Can another
Jesus be visiting me, even one I have
made myself?

God never changes. He is always and eternally
the God of Holiness, full of Truth, crowned
with righteousness. In His Presence all
darkness must flee away. If you think you
are in God's presence and do not see that
you are naked and blind and hopelessly lost
without Him, then you are not in God's
presence but in a blinding fog.

Encounter with God demands change, creates
change, IS change. And the change is one
of godly, spiritual fruit issuing forth from
a root of holiness. If we want change we
should start here. We cannot meet God and
be the same. If we are, we have to ask, "Who
is visiting us?" or "Who are we visiting?"

The one who spoke to Daniel revealed some of
the reasons that God was coming to Daniel. It
was because Daniel had sought God, had chastened
himself, had sought to understand. "The eyes
of the Lord roam to and fro upon the earth
looking" for such people. But why does it seem
that the Lord's eyes have to look far and wide
for such ones? It appears that there are not so
many of them that they can be found everywhere
that the eye, even the eye of God, looks.

God looks for those who are in line with His
purpose and are about what He is about. Any
other agenda but the eternal purpose of God
has within it the DNA of error and will bear
the deformed child of corrupted human flesh.

We will make mistakes as we walk along and
try to hear God, but there are real reasons
why we make mistakes, and real reasons why
those mistakes then can harden into recalcitrant,
continuous error, and then into godlessness,
and then we are given over completely to deception.

Do not despise prophecy but bear in mind
this balancing thought: "Be not rash with
your mouth, and let not your heart be hasty
to utter any thing before God: for God is in
heaven, and you on earth: therefore let
your words be few." (Eccl 5:2). If you have
a word, weigh it, and let God weigh you.

Many spirits have gone out in the world and
there is much deception. Let us not
be deceived, nor contribute to another's
deception. Test the spirits (I John 4:1).
We must ask ourselves, "Who is visiting us?"

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

We need a baptism of clear seeing. We desperately
need seers who can see through the mist--Christian
leaders with prophetic vision. Unless they come soon
it will be too late for this generation. And if they
do come we will no doubt crucify a few of them in
the name of our worldly orthodoxy." ~ A. W. Tozer

photograph taken near Divide, Colorado of Pikes Peak

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Devotions From the Heart: Wake Up

by Derek Gitsham

"Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some
have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to
your shame." I Corinthians 15:34

It is a sad thing that God, from time to time,
has to resort to wake-up calls to get our attention.
We get so carried away with the spirit of the
age that our walk with God diminishes and our
love for Jesus becomes lukewarm or cold.

The Greek word for “awake” means “to rise out
of a stupor.” The Amplified Bible translates
the verse “Awake from your drunken stupor and
return, to sober sense, and your right minds,
and sin no more. For some of you have not the
knowledge of God—you are utterly and willfully
and disgracefully ignorant, and continue to be
so, lacking the sense of God’s presence, and
all true knowledge of Him, I say to your shame.”

These are strong words by Paul. He is rebuking
them severely as he feels the necessity to do
so. Most of our churches today would never endure
such a rebuke. It was critical to Paul, and there
were reasons why the knowledge of God was not
among them as it ought to have been. It is the
knowledge of God known only by our relationship
with Him (John 17:3).

Jesus said, “This is life eternal, that they might
know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ
whom Thou hast sent.” Eternal life is simply
knowing Jesus. What a wonder! They lacked this
because they were drunk with so many other things.
They were asleep with the sleep of death.

Jesus said in John 11 that Lazarus was asleep, but
really meant he was dead. He wonderfully He changed
the word death to sleep, dealing with the fear of
death in our hearts. Who is afraid of sleep? We do
it every day. But spiritually, sin’s death is
sending us into a sleep. Stupor means
unconsciousness. Wake up, church. Righteousness
is upon us, we must be wide awake to the things of

Proverbs 6:10- 11 says, “Yet a little sleep, a
little slumber, a little folding of the hands
to sleep. So shall thy poverty come as one that
travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.” God
keep us wakeful and awake to the things of God,
beloved, by stirring up ourselves to run after
Him. He will be our every waking hour. He cannot
fail us! Sin is trying to get you, to resist it
you must be awake to righteousness and conscious
that you can be righteous.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Coming Elections and the Spirit of the Age: It All Changes Next Tuesday

"And the word of the LORD came unto me the
second time, saying, What seest thou? And
I said, I see a seething pot; and the face
thereof is toward the north." (Jeremiah 1:13)

As followers of Jesus it is really not our place
to be caught up in politics. Ours is a heavenly
country in a place called the Kingdom of God.
As much as we can we should be good citizens,
but we owe our final allegiance to God.

Politics, to me, is odious. I think Jesus
thought so, too. But I write about this
upcoming election because it really is a
historic election. It is not about Democrats
and Republicans and their differences--if you
camp there you fail to see the point. It's about
weltanschauung and zeitgeist.

Say what?

Weltanschauung is the German term
for "world view" and "zeitgeist" is
a German term meaning "the spirit of the age."
Every so often things reach a stage of
critical change. Kingdoms rise and fall.
In the book of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar has a
vision of the kingdoms of this world rising
and falling, his included. They give way to
the glorious kingdom of our Lord and of
His Christ! His Kingdom comes and smashes
all lesser ones others to pieces. A "Stone
not cut from hand" comes out of the mountain
and breaks all the other kingdoms.
Daniel said, "the dream is certain
and its interpretation sure" (Daniel 2:45).
The plan and purpose of God are indestructible
and imperishable.

In this election much has been paraded
forth about the need for change. Indeed!
But what we have here is change in its
most elemental form: we have a clash
of "weltenschauung" and a looming
fluctuation in the "zeitgeist."

This election is not just about policy
changes, it is about conflicting world
views. It is not about this policy on one
hand, and that one on the other, but a
change in zeitgeist, the very spirit
of the age. It is scarily obvious that
people, our "good' American people, are
changing what they think and what they
value. It is not about Republicans
deciding to be Democrats, please look
underneath and beyond that, but an entire
change in what we see as important: how things
should be, what truth is.

Decades of unbiblical and twisted thinking
have lead to this: God letting us choose
our king and have it our way. We get what
we choose. That is scary. What is scarier
is that in thinking we are choosing the
right thing we can be choosing the tools of
our own destruction. We can think we stand
for truth, and change, and actually be
standing for a lie more deadly than we can

I am not writing this article because I
am a Republican or a Democrat. My allegiance
does not lay along political lines. McCain,
too, has issues, and he is a dinosaur: he
is an emblem of the spirit of the previous age
in America. Somehow, that may only be a
half-bad thing. Probably even dinosaurs went
extinct somehow because of the sin of man.
In our seeking to get away from that imperfect
tenor of spirit we turn too quickly to what
appears to be another spirit and fail
to see the implications. New Song, next verse,
same tune, worse trouble.

We choose our man and our man chews us.
We get our man and our man gets us. This
will all unfold in a far worse way
in the already at hand, and not to
future, end-times. The Antichrist is the
spirit of man. 666.

Is Barack Obama the Antichrist? That's
quite a bit for politics to lay on any man!
No, according to Scripture, he was not born in
the right country to qualify for that job! In
most ways he is probably an ordinary person, not
necessarily or consciously disposed to
evil, but simply a post-modern man influenced
by his spiritual and political milieu, perhaps
more easily influenced then he knows. God help

He is not the Antichrist, but, and I say
this without animosity of any sort, he is
probably like what the Antichrist will start
off as. His words reveal him to have a world
view that we have not yet seen in an American
president, but they are timed
with a change in the "spirit of the
age" that is ready to accept what he
stands for. And he most definitely stands
for change. But change of what kind?

Many think that is a good thing. But many,
even Israel, will think that the Antichrist
to come is "a good thing"--a thing of peace
and safety until the real story suddenly and
violently emerges. God wants to rule us in true
peace and safety but we will not have it.
He allows us to choose our king and we
choose that king based on what we value.
A scarier thought I cannot imagine.

I fear that we are not seeing through
the issues to the Issue. America is changing.
It has been changing. It has changed. Its
been years of sometimes hidden, sometimes
blatant change. We can name all the old,
well-worn issues: abortion, prayer in schools,
religious freedom, sexual issues etc. but
even those are indicative of people who
were already not seeing clearly. Perhaps our
time is up, perhaps our season is finished.
If not now, sometime.

America labels herself as a "melting pot"
where everyone can be who they want to be.
The problem is: that is not possible!
Guess what? Conflicting ideologies conflict.
And guess what? Christianity makes some
claims that are exclusive and will
not allow other ideas to be melted
into it. So do other ideologies. You
know what I mean.

So we are really going to be melting
pot, just as the prophet Jeremiah
saw (Jeremiah 1:13) or really, it looks
to be, a melted pot. The "spirit of the age"
is about to change and it will not
be the change born of the Spirit of God.
If you are a Democrat and are reading
this, I am not attacking Barack Obama.
I am just saying that the issues are
bigger than they seem. Obama, like
any of us, is somewhat a product of
the "spirit of the age" that he grew
up in. He is just being what he was
made to be. All of us will, without
Christ, be just what the world and
its spirit makes us to be. And we know
who rules this present world! Unless we
are overtaken by another Spirit: the
Holy Spirit, we are merely pawns of
the devil's plan.

The Holy Spirit only campaigns for Christ.
And Christ is not American. Or Republican.
Or Democratic. The Spirit of Christ's
ticket is one of holiness, and humility,
and Truth. It levels us all under the Cross
of Jesus! The scriptures tell us,
"Be not deceived, whatever a man
sows, that is what he shall reap"
(Gal 6:7). We are set to reap the seeds
of decades upon decade of our choices
built on top of each other. This is not
about one man, but about a nation and why it
chooses what it chooses. It appears to
be too late. I pray it is not.

To citizens of God's Kingdom, residing
in these Untied States, take heart, take
courage, and stand in your place living
and speaking for Christ and Christ alone.
You can change more lives than a posse
of politicians.

Monday, October 27, 2008

When we understand the outside of things, we think
we have them. Yet the Lord puts his things in
subdefined, suggestive shapes, yielding no
satisfactory meaning to the mere intellect, but
unfolding themselves to the conscience and heart
-- George MacDonald

photo taken at Great Sand Dunes National Park,

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Devotions From the Heart: Jesus Revealed

by Derek Gitsham

"For I neither received it of man, neither
was I taught it , but by the revelation of
Jesus Christ." Galatians 1:12

The enemy of our souls has very cleverly
manipulated us all by many tricks, and
deceptions, that have substituted the gospel
for another gospel. The context of this verse
is quite plain. Paul is actually quite
aggressive here. The Churches in Galatia were
being infiltrated by another gospel. So alarming
is this to Paul that he cries out in the 8th
and 9th verse that the individuals responsible
for this outrage to be accursed. They had
denied the relevance of the gospel, to him
the gospel had now been made irrelevant.

It was a simple error. When things go wrong it
is not a big thing at first, seemingly, but
really it is. Verse 6 says “I marvel that you
are so soon removed from Him that called you unto
the grace of Christ into another gospel.” The
gospel to Paul was Jesus. Everything about it
was Him and Him alone. In fact, he goes on to
say in the verse we are looking at, that he
received the gospel by the revelation of
Jesus Christ.

Revelation means unveiling. Jesus was unveiled to
Paul and at that moment he claims the gospel was
his. How marvelous. Knowing who Jesus is was the
key to all his preaching and ministry. Paul
claimed to the Corinthians, in the first epistle,
ninth chapter, verse 1, in defending his apostleship
of them, “Have I not see the Lord?”

We know on the Damascus Road that Jesus spoke to
him. He was blinded by the incident, but three
days later a disciple named Ananias is commanded
by God to go and pray for him to receive his sight.
He does and Paul receives his sight, inwardly and

The voice of Jesus alone was not enough. He had to
have Jesus revealed within him. Many are saved, but
still have had no revelation of Jesus. Could this be
the answer to so much lack of power in our lives?
Jesus reveal Yourself to our hearts today. Amen.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Spurgeon on Compassion

"She went, and sat her down over against
him a good way off, as it were a bowshot;
for she said, Let me not see the death of
the child. And she sat over against him,
and lift up her voice, and wept.” Gen. 21:16

Brethren, the whole ruin and current, and tenour
and spirit of the gospel influences us to

Ye are debtors, for what were ye if compassion
had not come to your rescue?

Divine compassion, all undeserved and free,
has redeemed you from your vain conversation.
Surely those who receive mercy should show
mercy; those who owe all they have to the pity
of God, should not be pitiless to their brethren.

The Savior never for a moment tolerates the
self-righteous isolation which would make you
despise the prodigal, and cavil at his restoration,
much less the Cainite spirit which cries,
“Am I my brother’s keeper?”

No doctrine is rightly received by you if
it freezes the genial current of your Christian
compassion. You may know the truth of the
doctrine, but you do not know the doctrine in
truth if it makes you gaze on the wrath to
come without emotions of pity for immortal souls.

You shall find everywhere throughout the gospel
that it rings of brotherly love, tender mercy,
and weeping pity. If you have indeed received
it in its power, the love of Christ will melt
your spirit to compassion for those who are
despising Christ, and sealing their own destruction.

Charles Spurgeon from the sermon: Compassion for Souls

photo:Israeli boy,
near Cana of Galilee

Sunday, October 19, 2008

He is in himself, in his holy Trinity,
nothing else but the boundless abyss of
all that is good, and sweet, and amiable,
and therefore stands in the utmost
contrariety to everything that is not a
blessing, in an eternal impossibility of
willing and intending a moment's pain or
hurt to any creature.

For from this unbounded source of goodness
and perfection, nothing but infinite streams
of blessing are perpetually flowing forth
upon all nature and creature, in a more
incessant plenty, than rays of light stream
from the sun. And as the sun has but one nature,
and can give forth nothing but the blessings
of light, so the holy Triune God has but one
nature and intent towards all the creation,
which is, to pour forth the riches and sweetness
of his divine perfections, upon everything that
is capable of them, and according to its capacity
to receive them.--William Law

photo taken near Wilmington, Vermont
at the base of Hogback Mountain

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Devotions From the Heart: That They Which See Might Be Made Blind

by Derek Gitsham

"And Jesus said, "For judgment I am come
into this world that they which see not
might see and that they which see might
be made blind." John 9:39

The man blind from birth, having his sight
restored by Jesus is one of the seven miracles
recorded by John, and for our particular
attention also. After the miracle Jesus
spoke of the reason why He came. He said
“For judgment I am come into this world,
that they which see not might see, and
that they which see might be made blind.”

The Pharisees response was “Are we blind, also?”
Jesus replied, “If you were blind you should
have no sin: but now you say, ‘We see,’
therefore your sin remaineth.” The Lord was
telling them by healing the blind man that
they were blind and could not see the truth.
He came to open our spiritual eyes that we
might see what we could not see.

Man is born blind to spiritual realities
and its going to take a miracle of New
Birth to have their eyes opened.

The second thing Jesus was saying is that
those who see might be made blind. Isaiah 42:19,
when talking about Jesus in the Servant Songs,
says, “Who is blind, but my servant? or deaf
as My messenger that I sent? Who is blind as
he that is perfect and blind as the Lord’s

His eyes were blind to so much of what the
natural man sees. Jesus says we have to be
blinded, too. So much of what we see is
troubling us, when the eyes of our heart
need to be blinded to these things. Paul
in 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 says “our light
affliction, which is but for a moment,
worketh for us a far more exceeding and
eternal weight of glory, while we look not
at the things which are seen, but at the
things which are not seen.” The Lord blind
us to those things we see, that we might see
what we cannot see.

Paul’s prayer to the Ephesians in the last
chapter, verse 18, is similar, “that the
eyes of your understanding may be opened,
that you may know” . God open our eyes and
blind them, also.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Pick up the key of obedience. Go on,
pick it up. What are you waiting for,
really? Why not take it right now?
You can do that if you're living by
the light of a confident trusting in God.
You don't have to walk in blindness and
bitter cold today. All you have to do is
cling instead to obedience with a burning
love that God will give you. It will make
you warm, and its warmth is the
best heat.
- Catherine of Siena, "Dialogue"

photo taken at St. John the Evangelist Church,
Agawam, MA

Saturday, October 11, 2008

"I am the true vine, and my Father
is the gardener. He cuts off every
branch in me that bears no fruit,
while every branch that does bear
fruit he prunes so that it will be
even more fruitful.

You are already clean because of
the word I have spoken to you.
Remain in me, and I will remain in
you. No branch can bear fruit by
itself; it must remain in the vine.

Neither can you bear fruit unless you
remain in me. I am the vine; you are
the branches. If a man remains in me
and I in him, he will bear much fruit;
apart from me you can do nothing. If
anyone does not remain in me, he is
like a branch that is thrown away and
withers; such branches are picked up,
thrown into the fire and burned.

If you remain in me and my words
remain in you, ask whatever you wish,
and it will be given you. This is to my
Father's glory, that you bear much fruit,
showing yourselves to be my disciples.
As the Father has loved me, so have I
loved you. (John 15:1-9)

photo taken in Feeding Hills, MA
early fall raspberry

Friday, October 10, 2008

Devotions From the Heart: Lingering

By Derek Gitsham

"And while he lingered the man laid
hold upon his hand, and upon the hand
of his wife and upon the hand of his
two daughters; the Lord being merciful
unto him; and they brought him forth,
and set him without the city." Genesis 19:16

As staggering as it appears, Lot, during his
encounter with the angels of the Lord before
they destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah,
procrastinated about leaving. Having been
forewarned by them that the city was to be
destroyed, he lingered. The angels had to
forcibly remove him and his family.

Notice from the verse that the angels laid
hold of his hand, his wife and children. Not
only did Lot linger, but because of Lot’s
lingering they did the same. Boy, do we
have something to answer for, regarding
our families! How often the head of the
family produces in his wife and children
the same response as his own.

So often when God sends warnings to His people
we are oblivious to the urgency of the
situation. A very dramatic event was about
to unfold. The destruction of so many people
and all they owned was about to take place.
Yet, seemingly, no one is taking this seriously enough.

Lingering sometimes is connected with the
fact that we still want our own way in things.
Self is hanging on tenaciously, stubbornly.
In the things of God it is better to obey God
immediately. Any delays will have reasons
attached to why you should not do what God
wants. Thankfully, God in His mercy, showed
mercy by taking them all by the hand, as this
verse reveals.

Is there anything in our lives today that we
are lingering over? The consequences could be
disastrous if we do not follow God’s leadings.
Lot’s wife did not heed the angels word to not
look behind, and was turned into a pillar of
salt. When God does not want us to see but to
believe, it behooves us to believe. Had the
lingering produced this final result? Only God
knows. The day is fast closing, linger no more,
escape for thy life and do what He says.

Monday, October 06, 2008

"If I profess, with the loudest voice and clearest
exposition, every portion of the truth of God except
precisely that little point which the world and the
devil are at that moment attacking, I am not
confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing
Christ. Where the battle rages there the loyalty of
the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the
battle fields besides is mere flight and disgrace if
he flinches at that point." - Martin Luther

photograph taken in Kalinin, formerly USSR, around 1986
now the city of Tver in Russia

Friday, October 03, 2008

Few souls understand what God would
accomplish in them if they were
to abandon themselves unreservedly
to Him and if they were to allow
His grace to mold them accordingly.
- Ignatius

photo taken in Feeding Hills, MA

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Hearing the Voice of God: "Some Say it Thundered"

Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I
say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But
for this purpose I came to this hour.
Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice
came from heaven, saying, “I have both
glorified it and will glorify it again.”
Therefore the people who stood by and
heard it said that it had thundered. Others
said, “An angel has spoken to Him
(John 12:27-29)

Was that thunder or the Voice of God?

What is the difference between those who
clearly and accurately hear the voice of
God and those who can't quite make it out?

Are you one of those who hears God like thunder
in the distance or one who hears His Voice

Jesus said, "My sheep hear My voice" (John
10:27). If we are born of God and belong to Christ
then He promises us that we will be able
to hear Him. Throughout the Scriptures
we are enjoined to "hear the Word of the
Lord" (Deut. 4:10. 6:4). Does this mean just
to actually be able to hear it with our ears?
No, it means to hear and receive, to hear with
the sense of obeying, to hear and give
heart to.

There are many cliches in our society with
regard to hearing: "We hear what we want to
hear" is indeed true. We hear what is of
interest to us. Our ears "perk up" when
we hear something we want to hear. Anyone
who has a dog knows that they know certain
words that have great interest to them:
"walk" "ball" "biscuit" and, the word
of words, "Greenie". They may appear asleep
and yet their ears will "perk up" when
they hear them. All other words may be
indistinguishable but those words that
they want to hear are clearly

There is the childish way of putting your
fingers in your ears and saying loudly,"
Lalalala, I can't hear you." Listening
to God starts with loving His voice.
Those who hear God really want to hear God.
Those who hear God are of the same Spirit
as He is.

In John's gospel, chapter 12, Jesus predicts
his death. He pledges obedience to God and
says, "Father, glorify Thy Name" (John 12:28).
A Voice replies from heaven saying, "I have
both glorified it and will glorify it." The
people who stood nearby heard it and said,
"it thundered." Others said an angel spoke
to Him. Jesus tells the crowd that the
voice that spoke was not for His sake
for He already heard God speaking quietly
in His heart. The voice was given so that
others might know what God's point of view
was. Notice some heard it, and some heard
just the loud rumbling of thunder.

How is it that some are able to hear God's
voice and others only hear the indistinct
rumble of thunder?

The days ahead, even now, demand that we
hear our Lord's Voice clearly and take head
to His Words. What will help us listen?
What will help us hear?

We must be people who seek after God in
Spirit and in truth (John 4:23). We must be people
of the Word so that we are able to discern
His voice from the voice of all others.

The trouble with thunder is that it gives
an indistinct sound. If we do not take
care and cultivate our ability to listen
to God, we will hear the voice of God as
thunder. The trouble with that is that it
is easy to project a translation of what
that thunder is saying. We can hear that
God is saying something, but we can't quite
hear what it is. So we speculate or guess,
or put words in God's mouth. "It sounds
like He's saying...." This can quickly
degenerate in hearing what we want to hear
and not what He is saying. This quickly
brings us to delusion and a strong lie.

When Elijah encountered God it is written
that a strong wind tore into the mountains,
and then an earthquake, and then a fire, but
the Lord was not in any of these but in a
still, small Voice (I Kings 19:11-12).

But even hearing the God as a still, small
voice is not proof that we are hearing God.
Many voices have gone out into the world.
We must know God's character. We must know
who the Spirit of Truth is like. The more
we live and walk in the truth the more our
spirit will resonate with God's Spirit, and
the clearer His voice will be to us.

Jesus told us that he hid the wisdom of
God from the wise but revealed it to babes
(John 11:25)-those who would simply trust Him
and walk in what was revealed. He said that
he shares what will happen with His friends
(John 15:15).

This is a simple but profound truth. We can
hear God the minute we are born of God, but
that hearing is refined over a lifetime of
listening. And it is not just a passive
listening, or a listening out of idle
curiosity, but a listening that has the intent
to obey and to come into submission to.

God does not favor some with His voice and
let thunder speak to the rest. It is we that
must fine tune our listening. It is we that
must immerse ourselves in His word. It is we
that must cast aside every hindrance and
tear down everything that blocks our hearing.
Hearing is much more an attitude of the
heart than it is a physical ability.

We must cultivate our delight in hearing
God for his words are sweet and bring life.
We can see God as harsh and speaking difficult
words, and if we do, we do not know Him and
our ignorance will soon block our desire
to be with Him, assuming Him to be Someone
He is not. Jeremiah speaks to deafened
Israel: "To whom shall I speak, and give warning,
that they may hear? behold, their ear is
uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken:
behold, the word of the LORD is unto them
a reproach; they have no delight in it
(Jeremiah 6:9-11)

Delight yourself in hearing God and you will
come to hear Him clearly. He is Love itself.
He is Mercy and Goodness, and Life.
Hear, O Israel.

Devotions From the Heart: Keeping Power

by Derek Gitsham

"Who are kept by the power of God, through
faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed
in the last time." I Peter 1:5

Legend has it that the apostle Peter lived all
his life in the power of God from Pentecost to his
death. That in and of itself is remarkable. For
many of us the Christian life is up one minute
and down the next. Peter’s shadow in the early
days would fall on someone and they would be healed.
Peter continued to walk in the power of God until
the end.

Our opening verse is a key to this incredible
ability to stay in the right place with God, and
in a place of power. The apostles were men of power.
God began everything in power and intends it to
continue in power. They were kept by the power
of God throughout. Believing keeps us in the power
of God. This was Peter’s secret. What a wonder!
This word “kept” in Greek means “a military
garrison, to post spies at the gate, to mount
guard as a sentinel.”

John, in his first Epistle (5:18) says, “Whosoever
is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten
of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth
Him not.” Another Greek word is used here meaning
“to prevent escaping, to guard from loss or injury
by keeping your eye upon.”

Being begotten of God is the saint’s regenerative
power, enabling himself to keep himself, and in
turn, God keeping him. The very power of regeneration
has within it the power to separate the saint from sin,
and the wicked one, and by virtue of God’s power,
he cannot touch us. The wicked one not touching us
is in the context of luring us back into sin and the
old habits and ways of the world. Regeneration has
cut the head off that enemy which dwelled in our
hearts and renders him unable to touch us, providing
we walk and abide in Him and His power. He is keeping
us, praise Him; it now behooves us to keep ourselves
for His glory.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Christ’s excellency is always fresh and new,
and tends as much to delight, after it has
been seen a thousand or ten thousand years,
as when it was seen the first moment….

The soul that comes to Christ, feeds upon this,
and lives upon it; it is that bread which came
down from heaven, of which he that eats shall
not die: it is angels’ food, it is that wine
and milk that is given without money, and
without price. This is that fatness in which
the believing soul delights itself; here the
longing soul may be satisfied, and the hungry
soul may be filled with goodness.

The delight and contentment that is to be found
here, passeth understanding, and is unspeakable
and full of glory. It is impossible for those who
have tasted of this fountain, and know the
sweetness of it, ever to forsake it.
--Jonathan Edwards

photo taken in Feeding Hills, MA

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

"When I had drunk the spirit from Heaven,
and the second birth had restored me so as
to make me a new person, then immediately
in a marvelous manner doubts began to be
resolved, closed doors to be opened, dark
places to be light; what before was
difficult now seemed easy."
- St. Cyprian -

photograph taken near Pownal, Vermont

Friday, September 19, 2008

Devotions From the Heart: The Word of the Lord Abideth Forever

by Derek Gitsham

"Being born again not of corruptible
seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word
of God, which liveth and abideth forever
I Peter 1:23

Yesterday’s devotional was concerned with
the Word of God. Today another aspect is brought
before us: that we are born again by the
Word of God.

The apostle John begins his gospel: “In the
beginning was the Word, and the Word was with
God and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Peter’s
refererence to being born again by the Word of
God is important. Birth is our beginning,
the Word, according to John, is the beginning.
A true new birth involves the Word of God. Born
by the Word, the Word of God is in us, and
because of that we are drawn to the Word of God.
His Word is our life. No more do we live by
bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth
out of the mouth of God.

New birth is a crisis and a process. We are a
work in progress. Out of our new life springs
all the life we will need, or ever need on earth
and in heaven. We live for His Word, to read it,
to have it, to know it. Oswald Chambers says
God baptizes us in the Holy Ghost and spends
the rest of our life showing us what He has done.

All things are upheld by the word of His power
(Hebrews 1:3). Not by worship meetings or prayer
meetings, but by the Word of His power. His Word
is power to us. He has created all things, His
Word is creative in us.

The Word is God, not about God, it is God, Himself.
He is behind every word that He speaks. To desire
His Word is to desire God and to receive Him.

Mary believed the word of the angel and Jesus was
conceived in her womb. God is asking us to believe
His word again in our hearts, that we might
conceive Him in our souls, and bring forth His
life in the earth.

Silent love knows much in
effortless pleasure.
How little the body knows
what love does in stillness!
- Mechthild of Magdeburg

photo taken near Williamsburg, MA

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Blessed be the God and Father of our
Lord Jesus Christ, which according
to his abundant mercy hath begotten
us again unto a lively hope by the
resurrection of Jesus Christ from the
dead, To an inheritance incorruptible,
and undefiled, and that fadeth not away,
reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept
by the power of God through faith unto
salvation ready to be revealed in the
last time.
-- 1 Peter 1:3-5 (KJV)

photo taken at Chesterfield Gorge,
Chesterfield, Massachusetts

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Devotions From the Heart: The Word of the Lord

by Derek Gitsham

"But the word of the Lord endureth forever.
And this is the word which by the gospel
is preached unto you." I Peter 1:25

In the previous verses of this chapter, Peter
is saying that the gospel is preached
(verse 12) with the Holy Ghost sent down from
heaven. The Gospel cannot be preached unless
it be preached in power. Paul, writing to the
Ephesians (3:7), says God made him a minister
according to the gift of the grace of God, given
unto him by the effectual working of his power.

In these days of rapid change, and the
introduction of new technology, new methods of
worshipping God are being introduced which bear
no relation to the way things should be. No
more is this so then in the preaching of the Word.
If the enemy can restrict in our gatherings the
ministry of the Word, in fact, get it replaced
from our places of worship, then he has succeeded
in weakening the Church to the point of paralysis.

Peter says, “The Word of the Lord endureth
forever.” We cannot build on anything else and
we cannot be built on anything but His Word.
David has many references to the Word of God
(Psalm 119:105) “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet”;
“I hope in Thy Word”(verse 114); “Order my steps
in Thy Word”(verse 133); “I hoped in Thy word"
(verse 147). We are commanded to live by the
Word from His mouth (Deuteronomy 8:3).

Acts 12:24 reminds us that the Word of God grew
and multiplied. Increase in the early Church was
by the Word. Sensationalism is replacing the
Word, and many spurious things are being
claimed as movings of God which are ultimately
nothing more than a counterfeit of the real thing.

Only the Word will survive in us, everything else
is going to pass away, but His word shall not
pass away. God increases in us the desire for
His word, that we may keep it in our hearts and
as Mary, gave birth to the Son of God within us
(Luke 2:19). Preach the word, dear saints, that
the Lord’s people might be built on the Rock.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Bible Study Daniel 9: Daniel, Greatly Beloved of the Lord

"At the beginning of thy supplications
the commandment came forth, and I am come
to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved:
therefore understand the matter, and consider
the vision." (Daniel 9:23)

What an honor to be visited by the angel
Gabriel and be told that you are "greatly
beloved" of the Lord. This is what happened
to Daniel and yet God is no respecter of
persons. What makes someone "beloved of the
Lord?" The life of Daniel gives us rich
clues into the kind of person that God
speaks so highly of.

First, Daniel is found standing faithfully
in the place that God had called him. Year
after year, amidst the life of captivity,
Daniel stands for God. He does not turn aside
to other gods, grow lax, or give up.

When a dog is trained in obedience, he
must learn a hard command: to sit and stay
in place for a long time. If he gets up and
walks away before the command is given,
then he is not properly trained. Being able
to sit and stay in your place is a sign
of learned obedience. It is a high compliment
to your Master. Daniel was able to do this.

Ephesians 6:13 says,"Wherefore take unto
you the whole armour of God, that ye may be
able to withstand in the evil day,
and having done all, to stand."

Daniel could not escape his circumstances, but
in them he knew how to stand firm in God. He
did not complain and he did not waver in his
faithfulness to God.

2) Secondly, Daniel is found studying the Word
of God and inquiring of God. He is reading the
prophet Jeremiah and pondering the end of the
captivity of his people. He is seeking the Lord.
He is disciplined and active in his seeking. He
has not given up hope or passively accepted
defeat. He is grounded in the covenantal
promises of God. He understands that God
will achieve His purposes with His people.

3) Third, Daniel is willing to intercede. He
is not "me centered." He has not fallen into
a mire of passive self-pity. He appeals to
God to save Israel "for God's sake."
He knows what is important to God. He stands
in covenant with God and stands in solidarity
with His people.

God is looking at the bigger picture
while Daniel is looking at a small portion
of the picture. Perhaps Daniel is hoping and
praying that this is as bad as it gets in
Israel's history. But God sees a much bigger
picture, a greater and more comprehensive
work and sends Daniel understanding and
guidance through the angel Gabriel.

Daniel owns the people's sins as if they
were his own. He does not point fingers,
but stands in the gap. He rightly recognizes
the character of God: His mercy, His
righteousness, His wisdom. He knows his
place before God and makes intercession
according to that knowledge.

These are the characteristics of the
man or woman who is beloved of the Lord:
obedient, disciplined, having a seeking
heart, dwelling in and meditating on the
Word of God, an intercessor who knows the
heart of God, and His intentions for
His people.

These characteristics don't just happen.
They are nurtured and developed and
disciplined into being. Jesus had
these characteristics even before
He was baptized and launched into
public ministry. They are characteristics
that are developed in silence and
consecration to God. They are often
developed in captivity or on the back
side of the desert yet they come
freely from a devoted heart.

Will you be the kind of person of
whom God will be able to say,
"Here is my beloved son or daughter,
in whom I am well pleased?"
That is surely something worthy to strive
for. Make haste to do so.