..."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