..."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)

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.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Who are you to judge someone else's
servant? To his own master he stands or
falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is
able to make him stand.
-- Romans 14:4 (NIV)

feet of a seagull,
photo taken in Weekapaug, Rhode Island

Devotions From the Heart: Losing What We Have

by Derek Gitsham

Losing What We Have

"Therefore we ought to give the more
earnest heed to the things which we have
heard, lest at any times we should let
them slip." Hebrews 2:1

In the Greek the words for “let them slip” are
literally translated “run out as from leaking
vessels.” So many are suffering this malady in
the Church due to this one reason not taking heed.
Another rendering reads, “less we should slip.”
How apt is that? If we do let the words that the
Lord is speaking to us not take a hold, we shall
be liable to slip.

Our minds and memories, because they have been
twisted by the corruption of our nature,
have to be diligently harnessed to lay hold of
what we are hearing and reading from God’s word.
We are told the birds of the air, in the parable
of the sower, (birds are types of demonic spirits)
sweep down upon the seed and steal it away, the
fowls of the air devouring it (Luke 8:5).

Hearing the word once is not enough for most
of us, we need to hear it again and again, our
memories and minds being so leaky. The work of
the enemy, if he cannot steal the word away, will
try and distract us and he will work hard at it
to obtain his purpose. The word fell by the way
side, some upon a rock, some among thorns.

All were places to be avoided if the word is to
be fruitful in our lives. The final place was
the good ground which Luke says is a man who in
a good and honest heart, having heard the word,
keeps it, and brings forth fruit with patience
(Luke 8:15).

The word “keep” in Greek is to keep is "to keep
in memory, possess, seize on, and take." A good
exercise for all of us is when we hear God’s
word and know it is for us, we need to say, and
“That’s mine Take it, seize it, snatch it out of
the air, and claim it for ourselves. So serious
is this word, to take heed, that failure to do so
could have terrible repercussions, as Hebrews
begins to unfold. God makes us serious as we
listen to His Word.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Remain in God

"I advise you to remain simply in God,
without trying to do anything there,
and without asking anything of
Him, unless He urges it."

- St. Francois de Sales -

photograph taken at Chesterfield Gorge,
Chesterfield, Massachusetts

Devotions From the Heart: Something Happens When We Believe

by Derek Gitsham

"He that believeth on Me, as the scriptures
hath said, out of his belly shall flow
rivers of living water." John 7:38

It is a most obvious note and emphasis that
is being made, that John in his gospel is
a pragmatist. For him things had to work
in your day-to-day life. By the scripture
that we have chosen it is clear to see where
he was going.

“He that believeth…out of his belly shall
flow rivers of living water.” You cannot
believe God, says John, and have nothing happen.
Throughout his gospel there is more evidence of
the same thing. By using the verb “believe”
and not the noun “faith,” it is quite
self-evident that John believed in results.

His gospel is replete with treasures not
included in the first three gospels and,
oh, what a treasure they are. The early
Church desired John to write his gospel
with the emphasis on the person of our
Lord Jesus Christ rather than on the
work that Jesus performed.

He omits the birth of Jesus, includes only
seven miracles, all of which are called
“signs”—they pointed to truth, that is
why they were included. He alone is the
one who gives us the upper room discourse
on the Holy Ghost from John 13:17 and
brings to light the divinity and Godhead
of Jesus for all to see. Truly He was God,
and John makes it real to our hearts.

Believing will produce its own evidence.
“He that believeth in me shall not walk
in darkness.” No ifs or buts. You will
not if you believe. How many are walking
in darkness? Check your believing. Again
John says in chapter 20:31, “These are
written that you might believe that Jesus
is the Christ, the Son of God, and that
believing you might have life through His

John is so simple here. Here is the
pragmatist talking: all it takes is to
believe God, and keep on believing.
Our believing must not stop just as our
life does not stop but is always keeping
us alive. Let us join, then, with John.
Return to simple believing and watch with
wonder God moving, and life flowing like
a river out of us to all around. Amen!