..."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)

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.