..."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)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Oswald Chambers: What to Concentrate On


"I came not to send peace,
but a sword." Matthew 10:34

Never be sympathetic with the soul whose
case makes you come to the conclusion that
God is hard. God is more tender than we
can conceive, and every now and again He
gives us the chance of being the rugged one
that He may be the tender One.

If a man cannot get through to God it is
because there is a secret thing he does
not intend to give up - I will admit
I have done wrong, but I no more intend
to give up that thing than fly. It is
impossible to deal sympathetically with a
case like that: we have to get right deep
down to the root until there is antagonism
and resentment against the message. People
want the blessing of God, but they will
not stand the thing that goes straight to
the quick.

If God has had His way with you, your
message as His servant is merciless insistence
on the one line, cut down to the very root,
otherwise there will be no healing. Drive
home the message until there is no possible
refuge from its application.

Begin to get at people where they are until
you get them to realize what they lack, and
then erect the standard of Jesus Christ for
their lives - "We never can be that."
Then drive it home - "Jesus Christ says
you must." "But how can we be?" "You cannot,
unless you have a new Spirit." (Luke 11:13.)

There must be a sense of need before your
message is of any use. Thousands of people are
happy without God in this world. If I was
happy and moral till Jesus came, why did He
come? Because that kind of happiness and
peace is on a wrong level; Jesus Christ came
to send a sword through every peace that is
not based on a personal relationship to Himself.

--Oswald Chambers

photo taken in Colorado Springs, CO

Friday, December 18, 2009

"Pressured man on the run is always
postponing his encounter with God to
a ‘free moment’ or a ‘time of prayer’
that must constantly be rescheduled,
a time that he must laboriously wrest
from his overburdened workday. A child
that knows God can find him at every
moment because every moment opens up
for him the very ground of time: as if
it reposed on eternity itself."

Hans Urs von Balthasar,
"Unless You Become Like This Child"

photo taken at Somers Congregational
Church, Somers, CT: nativity display.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Now men say, "I am in no wise prepared for this
work, and therefore it cannot be wrought in me,"
and thus they find an excuse, so that they neither
are ready nor in the way to be so. And truly there
is no one to blame for this but themselves. For if
a man were looking and striving after nothing but to
find a preparation in all things, and diligently
gave his whole mind to see how he might become
prepared; verily God would well prepare him, for
God giveth as much care and earnestness and love
to the preparing of a man, as to the pouring in of
His Spirit when the man is prepared.

... Theologia Germanica [1518], Anonymous

photo taken in Westford, MA

Saturday, December 12, 2009

When we find our souls at all declining, it is best to raise them up presently by some awakening meditations, such as of the presence of God, of the strict reckoning we are to make, of the infinite love of God in Christ and the fruits of it, of the excellency of a Christian's calling, of the short and uncertain time of this life, of how little good all those things that steal away our hearts will do us before long, and of how it shall be for ever with us hereafter, as we spend this short time well or ill. The more we make way for such considerations to sink into our hearts, the more we shall rise nearer to that state of soul which we shall enjoy in heaven.

—Richard Sibbes (Puritan author)

photo taken in Garibaldi, Oregon

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Show me where it hurts,

God said

And every cell in my body

burst into tears

Before His tender eyes.

- Rabia of Barsa (c. 717-801 C.E.)

PHOTO: The Wreck of the Peter Iredale, Ft Stevens,
Oregon (solarized)

The Peter Iredale was a four-masted steel barque
ailing vessel that ran ashore October 25, 1906,
on the Oregon coast en route to the Columbia River.
It was abandoned on Clatsop Spit near Fort Stevens
in Warrenton about four miles south of the Columbia
River channel. Wreckage is still visible, making it
a popular tourist attraction as one of the most
accessible shipwrecks of the Graveyard of the Pacific.

Monday, November 30, 2009

"Be persuaded, timid soul, that He
has  loved you too much to cease
loving you."

photo taken in Garibaldi, Oregon

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise
and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how
nature - trees, flowers, grass - grows in silence; see the
stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence...
We need silence to be able to touch souls.

Mother Teresa

photo taken in Bloomfield, CT

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Have you been holding back from a
risky, costly course to which you know
 in your heart God has called you?
Hold back no longer. Your God is
faithful to you, and adequate for you.
 You will never need more than He
can supply, and what He supplies,
both  materially and spiritually,
will always be enough for the

--James I (J. I.) Packer

deer feeding by the wayside, Astoria, Oregon

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Love all God's creation, the whole and every
 grain of sand of it. Love every leaf, every ray of
 God's light. Love the animals, love the
 plants, love everything.  If you love everything,
you will perceive the  divine mystery in things. Once you
perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every
day. And you will come at last to love the
 whole world with an all-embracing love.

-Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

photo taken past sunset  in Feeding Hills, MA

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Letting Go: It Only Hurts for a Minute!

We are a funny lot. Adults, babies, dogs, cats,
birds, chipmunks, squirrels. All of us seem to
like to hang onto things. Babies, even from
a young age, have a sense of entitlement,
they can hang onto sweets for dear life only
minutes after they have learned to use their
hands. Dogs hold onto their toys with their
teeth. Chipmunks and squirrels pack their
mouths full. Crows gather shiny things. Me,
mine and more mine.

In the bible study that I have we have
been looking at hardness of heart. Its been
a penetrating study and I have had the
privilege of seeing how and why I hold
onto things way past when I should! :)
The things that we often hold onto
are intangible but they hold us as tightly
as any chain ever could.

We hold onto our sense of being right;
we hold onto our rights, our repugnance
at being "used" or taken advantage of,
we hold onto our sense of what is ours,
and what we place our value upon. We
hold onto our life and ourselves.

These things become part of us and
when we have to let them go, we feel
as if part of ourselves is going with them.

Recently as I have been made aware of
how I protect myself, and how I hold
things to prevent injury or loss, I have
heard the voice of the Lord coming
up quickly behind me. His calm,
authoritative Voice, with a hint of
playfulness, has often recently said,
"Let go, it only hurts for a minute."

We hang onto so very much: our rights, our
possessions, our sense of ourselves; and when
we think of letting go, of surrender,
of turning the other cheek, we often
feel something clench tightly inside.
We anticipate the ache of pain or loss.

But God's advice is to let it go. He
doesn't say there won't be pain, He says
that it just hurts for a minute. A wall
of pain that, once pierced through, sets us
loose into a calm, clear place of immense

On the other hand, when we hang onto things
when we shouldn't, things like unforgiveness
or self-focus, or entitlement, or pride;
then we have hell to pay for hours, days,
weeks, months, or years after. We think
we are protecting ourselves but we are
only walling ourselves away from the life
of God flowing through us.

You see, "letting go" is another name for
surrendered obedience. It is meant to take
us deeper into the Kingdom of God. It is
meant to take us out of this world and
put us in the Kingdom of our God and of
His Christ.

We always see the whole idea of walking
the extra mile or turning the other cheek
as a burden, as something to steel ourselves
against, or at best, our "Christian" duty,
when it should be our delight and our joy
because of what it does within us and
where it brings us in God.

Letting go is the gateway into the Kingdom
of God. The Beatitudes (Matthew 5), those
that Jesus calls "blessed" are those that
have mastered the art of "letting go."
They are meek: they have let go of pride.
They are merciful: they have let go of the
spirit of retaliation; they are pure in heart
because they have let go of impurity; they
are peacemakers because there is no war in
their souls.

They inherit the earth, they see God, they
obtain mercy, they are truly called "sons
of God because they have learned one
beautiful thing: how to let go.

How much pain we will save ourselves if
we quickly let go when God says to.
The earlier the better. There
is always the moment of grace, early on,
when there is grace to let go. If you look
at any addiction, there was a moment, long
forgotten, when just one "no" would have
closed the door. Always God gives us
that moment, no matter how weak we are,
we have that moment, and it is held out
to all men and women, no matter what their
past was or what has happened to them.

We as human beings have something wonderful
given to us by God: the power to will to
forgive. Our animals friends may hold onto
things because their souls say they should.
Play tug of war with a large dog and see
what holding on is like. We, as humans,
have been given an additional grace to
let go, to choose not to serve ourselves,
to forgive, to go higher, to be like God.

It all starts with letting go when God
says to. It wont always be easy or
instanteous, but this I do know,
it is far easier then we are led to
believe by the world.

It is vitally important that we cultivate
a listening ear to the voice of God,
carefully listening to that moment when,
in the face of our many difficult day
to day situations, He urges us to "let go."

This is not a sign of weakness or a giving
in to evil or abuse. It is a making way for
God to act, and for God to change not only
our enemy or opposer, but WE OURSELVES.

I've noticed a marked change in my approach
to opposition lately. I can feel God,
and those great cloud of witnesses saying,
"For heaven sake, RM, let go!" I'm actually
having a good time...why don't you give
it a try? It only hurts for a minute.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

A.W. Tozer: Taught by the Spirit?

“The church or individual who is Bible
taught without being Spirit taught has
simply failed to see that truth lies deeper
than the theological statement of it. We
only possess what we experience. The devil
is a better theologian than any of us and
is a devil still.”

~ A. W. Tozer

photo taken near Abergavenny, Wales

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Relatives I Didn't Know I Had: Hebrews 11: 22-24

Recently I have been researching my family tree.
My relatives on my mom's side, the DelNegro's,
come from a tiny village in the mountains of Italy
called Atena Lucana. It's amazing to me all
that had to transpire for each of us to come into
the world, and we are largely unaware
of all those little destined moments crossing into
time so we could come to be!

I guess it has surprised me to find out just how
many relatives I do have, since the part of
our family that I know seems relatively limited.
I started to think about this, and how, even
on an earthly level, this fact somehow expanded
me, made me see a bigger picture. Then, I really
started to think about this concept spiritually.

No matter how large our earthly families are, most
of us have felt, at least at times, alone,
out of place, misunderstood, and longing
to find "our people." I think because the
Body of Christ seems fragmented (from our
point of view, anyway, from God's point
of view it really isn't) we feel a bit
more solitary than we need to. Let's face
it, sometimes its hard to find fellowship
with people who really love and understand us,
and are rooting for us!

What we fail to realize is how many relatives
we have that we don't know that we have!
Paul, and the person who authored the book
of Hebrews, and even John, in Revelation,
see things in terms of earth being a large
theatre for spiritual truths to play out
before those in the heavenlies. Angels watch
and learn, but listen to this:

"On the contrary you have come to Mount Zion,
and to the city of the ever-living God, the
heavenly Jerusalem, to countless hosts of angels,
to the great festal gathering and Church of the
first-born, whose names are recorded in Heaven,
and to a Judge who is God of all, and to the
spirits of righteous men made perfect,
and to Jesus the negotiator of a new Covenant,
and to the sprinkled blood which speaks in more
gracious tones than that of Abel."

"Hebrews 11:22-24 Weymouth translation"

Beloved, if we could know in our hearts just
what kind of glorious family surrounds us, if we
could know that "our people" are watching us and
cheering us on, if we could sense that we
are not alone in our little enclaves but actively
part of a universal Body, unhindered by the
constraints of space and time, and undivided
from God's point of view, we would have
a greatly enlarged perspective of what our
life means. The sinful, self-focused part of
our experience could be diminished and the
good, "I'm part of a greater Whole" part could
be increased. "Little ole me" would seem
both less important but also more important.

When Hebrews 12:1 says, "Therefore, surrounded
as we are by such a vast cloud of witnesses, let
us fling aside every encumbrance and the sin that
so readily entangles our feet. And let us run with
patient endurance the race that lies before us"

You go, men and women! boys and girls! You are
included in the spiritual genealogy of Jesus, and
of God, the Father! You have family immeasurable,
and holy, royal family at that! You are not alone,
not forgotten, not poor for resources! We can think
ourselves poor when we are rich beyond our wildest
dreams. We can think ourselves alone when we are
included in a Family more numerous than the grains of
sands are on the beach.

Dear hidden ones that dwell in the solitary wood (Micah
7:14) know you are well cared for. You are never alone!
Perhaps I am writing to just one person out there,
but I know in my spirit that I am writing to MANY
of you. Sleep well in the safety of your Shepherd,
know that you matter and are noticed, know that
in the heavenlies, your true family cheers you on.

And so do I.....

Seeking the Knowledge of His Will

To the individual believer indwelt
by the Holy Spirit there is granted
the direct impression of the Spirit
of God on the spirit of an individual,
imparting the knowledge of His will
in matters of the smallest and greatest
importance. This has to be sought and
waited for.
- G. Campbell Morgan

photo taken in Feeding Hills, MA

Monday, November 02, 2009

He that has light within his own clear breast
May sit i' the centre, and enjoy bright day:
But he that hides a dark soul and foul thoughts
Benighted walks under the mid-day sun;
Himself his own dungeon.
~John Milton

photo taken in Feeding Hills, MA

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Decide at Once

We Christians too often substitute prayer
for playing the game. Prayer is good; but
when used as a substitute for obedience,
it is nothing but a blatant hypocrisy,
a despicable Pharisaism... To your knees, man!
and to your Bible! Decide at once! Don't hedge!
Time flies! Cease your insults to God, quit
consulting flesh and blood. Stop your lame,
lying, and cowardly excuses. Enlist!

... C. T. Studd (1860-1931)

photo taken in Barnstable, MA

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

With My Face into the Wind

"I work now as I have always worked:
with my face into the wind... I'm only an
instrument that God is using for
the moment. Afterwards, things will be
as God wants them."
..... Fr. Alexander Men

photo taken at Beach near Wreck of the Peter Iredale"
(Fort Stevens State Park near Astoria, Oregon)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Embracing Detours in Our Spiritual Lives

Detours are inevitable both in our natural and our
spiritual lives. We often have a negative view
of them because we want to be "on with it." We
want to get there, we want to proceed with our
plans and go the way we want. God, often,
in His Wisdom, has other plans. We must learn
to trust Him in the detours of life, even
when we do not know where the detours will take us,
and even when they are confusing.

Detours are not always bad. Sometimes they are
ordained of God. In the natural, detours are
meant to steer you around trouble. In the town
that I live in, they are laying sewage lines,
and God knows we need the sewage pumped out
of town. Where the road once was, are deep, deep
holes. To proceed as you have always done would be to
find your car and yourself wrecked in a ditch.

The authorities, well-meaning folk that they
are, have posted a traffic sign recommending
that you take a detour. Of course, there is no
easy way around. As the old Vermonter's used
to say when asked directions: "You can't get
there from here." Sometimes detours feel
like that. But God has His ways. Going the
long way around may be a pain,
but not as much of one as going through
a forbidden zone.

When Paul preached the gospel he encountered
Holy Ghost detours: "Now when they had gone
throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia,
and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach
the word in Asia, 7 After they were come to
Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but
the Spirit suffered them not. 8 And they
passing by Mysia and came down to Troas.
9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night;
There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him,
saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us.
10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately
we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly
gathering that the Lord had called us for to
preach the gospel unto them. (Acts 16:9-10)

We make plans, but the Lord continues to guide
us in the best way. Sometimes doing the
right thing will include a detour.
The story of the good Samaritan is one such
example: "But a Samaritan, as he traveled,
came where the [wounded]man was; and when he
saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to
him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil
and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey,
took him to an inn and took care of him.
35 The next day he took out two silver coins
and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’
he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you
for any extra expense you may have.’ (Luke 10:33-35).

The "Good Samaritan" had to stop to help the man.
He had to take time to tend to his wounds, and
take him to a place where he could recuperate.
Perhaps not much time was lost, but whatever
he had planned for that day was disrupted.

Can we see these detours as divine appointments?
Can we trust that even when we are delayed
that God is watching out for us? Sometimes
the right road to proceed on is not abundantly
clear. We look one one way and there is a detour,
we look another way, and that way has a detour
also. How can this be of God? As long as we
are looking to God and are willing to
submit to Him, we will be on the right
track, no matter what. Sometimes the
detour is so bad we have to come to
a complete stop. Being puzzled at that
point is all part of it.

Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit out into
the desert to be tempted! Upon his return
He went to His home town of Nazareth but
was not well received. God created His
own detour for Jesus. The people of
Nazareth "rose up, and thrust him out of
the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill
whereon their city was built, that they might
cast him down headlong.

30But he passing through the midst of them
went his way
. (Luke 4:19-30). Sometimes
when God detours us, it is to protect us.

The detours of God can be God's most
swift and efficient ways of getting
us to where we need to be. Trust God
in this season of detours. You are not

photo taken in Southwick, Massachusetts

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Sleeper Cells of God

In a day when we hear much, and
possibly fear much, about embedded
terrorist sleeper cells even in
our "sleepy" suburban neighborhoods, be
greatly encouraged that God has a plan.
His plan includes righteous and Godly
sleeper cells for His purposes. And
realize, too, that you have a call
to be a member of those holy cells!
If you look around, like Elijah, and
wonder where the people are who have
not bowed their knee to Baal, rest
assured God has them out there! He
may have them hidden, but they are
hidden for His purposes.

I am a child of God, born of God, but also
born in the atomic age. Atomic is back
"in," you know: atomic as in nuclear,
"duck and cover," Cold War kind of stuff.
I grew up with the spy movies where the bad
guys, and the good guys, plant "sleepers"
into everyday Springfield kind of cities
to live soccer mom and banker dad kind of
lives until the red phone rings in their closet.
Then they are called out on their Man from
kind of missions.

Consider this. God also has a plan.
An anti-evil, anti-terrorist,
anti-antiChrist plan. You may feel not
very useful in your situation, you
may wonder if God is using you at
all, you may try and figure out what
in the world it is you should be

Well, perhaps you are all already doing
it: perhaps you are just meant to be
who you are as a Christian, little ole
you, just living your life, seeking
God daily, loving others, being salt
and light in your neighborhood, but
in the back of your mind you were
expecting it to be different. You
know, somehow more dramatic. Well,
more drama may very well be coming and
the only way you will live through
it is to faithfully keep doing what you
are doing. Be faithful to your calling.
Be faithful vehemently!

Although you may be part of God's
sleeper cell for the coming Day,
you should not be sleeping. And
when you do need to rest, you should
rest in spiritual preparedness and
be ever ready in your heart.
You never know when the red phone
is going to ring in your closet
and you need to be ready.

Remember the parable of the ten virgins?
The bible says that ALL the virgins were
asleep, not just the slackers. A lot of
time had gone by since the Lord had sent them out
to prepare for His return. The point
is, when the Lord calls us into
an active service, for an appointed
hour, will we be ready?

Or will the cares of this world cause
us to ignore the call? Will we have so
assimilated into worldliness that
we will have forgotten who we really are?
Will our tools be rusted over, and
the weapons of our spiritual warfare
dormant? Will we care about the
spiritual mission we are called to
or will we say, "just a minute
after I finish watching the game,
or "just as soon as I am able to
get a moment in my busy schedule."

Jesus calls us to follow Him. He
tells the one who hesitates because
he needs to go bury a dead relative,
"Let the dead bury the dead." Not
a very "politically correct" admonition,
but a totally "spiritually correct" one.

Soon, even now, God will be waking up HIS
sleeper cells to serve on the spiritual
battlefronts of the end of the Age.
"Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that
sleepest, and arise from the dead, and
Christ shall give thee light."
(Ephesians 5:14).

"And this, knowing the time, that for us,
the hour already is to be aroused out of
sleep, for now nearer is our salvation than
when we did believe." (Romans 13:11)

Finally, may the Lord of the Harvest
find us faithful and ready when He needs us.
Let us continue to walk, day in and day out,
in the simple tasks that He presents us
with. But do know this, there is most
probably, for our generation, much
more to the story. Be ready for
His call. Be faithful NOW.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Judgment amidst the Falling Apples

We have this really old apple tree in our yard.
When we have the pruning man over to trim it, he
is always amazed. Its a great tree, although
by now it has lost quite a few major limbs.
It still, however, produces large quantities
of apples. Baldwin apples to be exact.

My job, each fall, is to pick them all up.
We are an organic folk, and don't spray,
and our hand apple picker just doesn't
work right. So all the apples fall to their
destiny on the ground. I hear them, especially
at night, falling with a padded "thud" to the
earth below.

What got me to thinking is my approach to
picking the apples up. It takes longer
than it should because, being a "waste not,
want not" kind of gal, I examine each
apple to see if it worth saving. We make
applesauce, apple pies, dried apples,
apple cakes. You really should stop by
in the autumn if you are hungry.

Instead of just picking up all the apples
and throwing them all away, I sort through
and inspect their defects, hoping that,
through any means, some can be "saved."

I think about how God looks at me, and
where it not for the grace of Jesus,
and His sacrifice for us, there would
be no hope, but realize that all our
works shall be judged by God and
He shall look so very carefully
at us and make all hidden things

So it takes forever to sort the apples,
not wanting to be unfair to the good ones
and just dismiss them with the bad.

Some apples, perhaps most, because we do not
spray, have worms in them. So some are
too wormy to be saved. Some have fallen
on the hard, wooden steps and because
of the hardness are broken to pieces,
Many of the large ones make it to the
ground safely, but then are eaten
by chipmunks or squirrels. The sweetest
ones are attacked by ants and slugs.
The hardest ones will never ripen properly.
Some look fine but have fallen in such
a way that the damage is hidden.
Others have rot and will damage the
other apples if they get too close.
If Jesus had been born in New England
the parable of the sower might
have been about fallen apples.

Yes, spiritual lessons left and right,
overwhelming my thinking and causing
my ability to judge them to slow way
down. Yikes. Now I have moved from
how God will judge me to how careful
I need to be in judging others.

This morning as I was out there picking
up the apples, judging them into good
and bad piles, I saw a little apple
that, for some reason made me smile.
it didn't have much going for it,
not overly big, a bit mishapen,
but a lovely red, shining in the sun,
but no worms, no rot, no damage.
Something in that apple made me want
to save it. I love that God looks
at me that way, and you, too.

May we co-operate with who God has
made us to be, no matter where we
have fallen, or no matter what
issues we have. God's grace is different
from man's opinions and man's judgements.
His judgments are righteous and true.
Sobering but comforting at the same time.

As I picked up the apples, I told
God, "You can have the judgment job,
its just too much too handle."

A word to the wise is sufficient.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Praising God in the Approaching Storm

"You will never find Jesus so precious as
when the world is one vast howling wilderness.
Then he is like a rose blooming in the midst
of the desolation—a rock rising above the storm.

... Robert Murray M'Cheyne (1813-1843),

photo taken near Oceanside, Oregon

This World in Its Present Form is Passing Away

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer
man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed
day by day. (2 Cor. 4:16)

Those who use the things in this world should do so
but not depend on them. It is clear that this world
in its present form is passing away. (1 Corinthians 7:31)

photo taken of a tree near Cape Meares Lighthouse, Oregon

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

And I Am One of Them

This seems a cheerful world, Donatus, when I
view it from this fair garden, under the shadow
of these vines. But if I climbed some great
mountain and looked out over the wide lands,
you know very well what I would see--brigands on
the high roads, pirates on the seas; in the
amphitheaters men murdered to please applauding
crowds; under all roofs misery and selfishness.

It is really a bad world, Donatus, an incredibly
bad world. Yet in the midst of it I have found a
quiet and holy people. They have discovered a
joy which is a thousand times better than any
pleasures of this sinful life. They are
despised and persecuted, but they care not. They
have overcome the world. These people, Donatus,
are the Christians--and I am one of them.
... St. Cyprian (?-258), a letter in A Treasury of Sermon
Illustrations, Charles Langworthy Wallis, ed.,
Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1950, p. 59

photo taken near Oceanside, Oregon

Monday, September 21, 2009

Here is the Patience of the Saints: a prophetic word

The lives of mankind ebb and flow across history,
but these are hours, yes, an hour is upon you,
when things destined for My Son override
the histories of individual lives.

Always I know and care for your individual
circumstances and your lives as individuals,
but do not lose sight of the fact that you,
as one individual, are but a small part of
the corporate Body. All is coming to an eternally
destined moment for Christ and His bridal inheritance,
to whom and for whom all earth's history culminates.

Look about you. Think you that all this is created
for your small life alone? No, it is part of a
great mystery--I have purposed it for My Son and
all those TOGETHER that shall be His inheritance.

Always I am with you and for you but there are times,
of such now is, that the designs of a larger picture,
My eternal purpose, take precedent over the individual
events of what you see as your specific destiny.

If you know and understand this you will be able
to abandon yourself to My purpose more fully, and
more happily. You are like a drop of water in a small
tributary finally reaching the water of a large
river, which in turn finally reaches the ocean.
Does the drop of water that you are diminish
as it loses itself in a larger body?--not from
My perspective, but there is a certain abandonment
needed so that it is FELT from your perspective.
You are flowing toward a great ocean that is an
eternal sea of life in Christ. Be unto Me and
for Me.

You are IN Christ so know you are safe but it is
not about you but about things greater than
you know. Let your perspective be changed and
the view you have of what life is and where your
life stands in it all.

Your life is surely hid with Christ in God.
The pages of human history are surely moving
toward the ordered destiny I have willed: he that is
prudent let him hear. As Peter was bound and
taken to where he did not choose for himself
to go, so your individual lives are bound
up in My will and eternal purpose. This
does not diminish your life but you need to
abandon yourself to Me entirely to feel
the same joy that Jesus did when He abandoned
all to Me. "In the volume of the book it
is written: I have come to do Thy will, O God.
He taketh away the first that He might establish
the second."

Be about my business. Be unto Me and for
Me. He who loses his life shall surely
gain it. "If any man have an ear,
let him hear, he that leads people into
captivity shall go into captivity, he that
kills by the sword must be killed by the
sword. Here is the patience and the
faith of the saints (Rev. 13: 9 & 10).

Here is the patience of the saints: here
are they that keep the commandments of God,
and the faith of Jesus. (Rev 14:12).

He that is unjust, let him be unjust still,
and he which is filthy let him be filthy
still, and that is righteous, let him be
righteous still, and that is HOLY, let him
be Holy still. And behold, I come quickly
and my reward is with me to give every
man according as his work shall be
(Rev 22: 11 & 12).

If you have ears, listen and obey.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Romans 12: 1-5
1 For this reason I make request to you, brothers,
by the mercies of God, that you will give your bodies
as a living offering, holy, pleasing to God, which is
the worship it is right for you to give him. 2 And let
not your behaviour be like that of this world, but be
changed and made new in mind, so that by experience you
may have knowledge of the good and pleasing and complete
purpose of God.

3 But I say to every one of you, through the grace given
to me, not to have an over-high opinion of himself, but
to have wise thoughts, as God has given to every one a
measure of faith. 4 For, as we have a number of parts in
one body, but all the parts have not the same use, 5 So
we, though we are a number of persons, are one body in
Christ, and are dependent on one another

photo taken in Feeding Hills, MA

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Wonder that is God

Hearts that are "fit to break" with love
for the Godhead are those who have been
in the Presence and have looked with
opened eye upon the majesty of Deity. Men
of the breaking hearts had a quality about
them not known to or understood by common men.

They habitually spoke with spiritual authority.
They had been in the Presence of God and they
reported what they saw there. They were prophets,
not scribes: for the scribe tells us what he has
read, and the prophet tells us what he has

The distinction is not an imaginary one. Between the scribe
who has read and the prophet who has seen, there is a
difference as wide as the sea. We are today overrun with
orthodox scribes; but the prophets, where are they? The
hard voice of the scribe sounds over evangelicalism, but
the Church waits for the tender voice of the saint who
has penetrated the veil and has gazed with inward eye
upon the Wonder that is God.

... A. W. Tozer, Pursuit of God

photo taken in Neahkahnie Beach, Oregon

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

When we are spiritually free, we do not have
to worry about what to say or do in unexpected,
difficult circumstances. When we are not
concerned about what others think of us or what
we will get for what we do, the right words and
actions will emerge from the centre of our beings
because the Spirit of God, who makes us children of
God and sets us free, will speak and act through us.

- Henri J. M. Nouwen

the photo was taken at Rockaway Beach, Oregon.
It is white floating kite on a cloudy day. This is
the light we couldnt see with our naked eyes!


Monday, September 07, 2009

Whate'er may change, in Him no change is seen,
A glorious Sun, that wanes not, nor declines;
Above the clouds and storms He walks serene,
And on His people's inward darkness shines;
All may depart--I fret not nor repine,
While I my Saviour's am, while He is mine.

While here, alas! I know but half His love,
But half discern Him, and but half adore;
But when I meet Him in the realms above,
I hope to love him better, praise Him more,
And feel, and tell, amid the choir divine,
How fully I am His, and He is mine.

-- J. Quarles (1624-1665)& Henry Lyte(1793-1847)

photo taken at Rockaway Beach, Oregon


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Fuji Flies His Kite

I met this little dog, Fuji, on the beach
in Rockaway Beach, Oregon. He was a rescue
dog, very much loved. His family was flying
kites, and if you look very closely you
will see that his blue leash is attached to
a kite, also. His joy was great in being
who he was that day, and the wind, carried
his Spongebob Squarepants kite to great
heights. My joy was great in watching him!

(p.s. the dog was absolutely safe in flying
the kite!)

photo taken at Rockaway Beach, Oregon


Monday, August 31, 2009

The Invisible Church: Indefectible

"What is in ruins? The invisible church,
composed of all Spirit-baptized persons, is
indefectible, it cannot be ruined;
against it "the gates of Hades shall not
prevail." The local assembly may indeed be
sadly ruined; but it can be restored,
as, by the grace of God, has been seen times
without number--at Corinth, for example.
The only other institution in question is
that agglomeration of sects that is called
"Christendom." But that is unrecognized by
the New Testament--it is not of God at
all: and that it is "in ruins" is no matter
for our regret.
... G. H. Lang (1874-1958

photo taken at Rockaway Beach, Oregon


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Believing Impossible Things

There is no use trying, said Alice;
one can't believe impossible things.

I dare say you haven't had much practice,
said the Queen. When I was your age, I
always did it for half an hour a day.
Why, sometimes I've believed as many as
six impossible things before breakfast.

Alice in Wonderland
Lewis Carroll

photo taken at Rockaway Beach, Oregon
"Beach Grass at Sunset"

Monday, August 24, 2009

Really at Rest

No soul can be really at rest until it has
given up all dependence on everything else
and has been forced to depend on the Lord alone.
As long as our expectation is from other
things, nothing but disappointment awaits us.
Feelings may change, and will change with
our changing circumstances; doctrines and dogmas
may be upset; Christian work may come to naught;
prayers may seem to lose their fervency; promises
may seem to fail; everything that we have
believed in or depended upon may seem to be swept
away, and only God is left, just God, the bare God,
if I may be allowed the expression; simply and only God.
- Hannah Whitall Smith

photo taken at Rockaway Beach, Oregon

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sunset, Twin Rocks, Oregon

You ask then how I knew He was present,
when His ways can in no way be traced?
He is life and power, and as soon as He
enters in, He awakens my slumbering soul;
He stirs and soothes and pierces my
heart, for before it was hard as stone,
and diseased.
- Bernard of Clairvaux

photo taken at Twin Rocks, Rockaway Beach,

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Spurgeon on the Old Gospel

There will be no new God, nor a new devil,
and we shall never have a new Savior, nor
a new atonement: why should we then be
either attracted or alarmed by the error
and nonsense which everywhere plead for a
hearing because they are new? What is their
newness to us; we are not children, nor
frequenters of playhouses? Truly, to such a
new toy or a new play has immense attractions;
but men care less about the age of a thing
than about its intrinsic value.

To suppose that theology can be new is to
imagine that the Lord himself is of yesterday.
A doctrine which is said to have lately become
true must of necessity be a lie. Falsehood has
no beard, but truth is hoary with an age

The old gospel is the only gospel. Pity is
our only feeling towards those young preachers
who cry, “See my new theology,” in just the
same spirit as little Mary says, “See my
pretty new frock.”

God Does Not Withdraw Himself

"It is not the distance of the earth from
the sun, nor the sun's withdrawing itself,
that makes a dark and gloomy day; but the
interposition of clouds and vaporous
exhalations. Neither is thy soul beyond
the reach of the promise, nor does God withdraw
Himself; but the vapours of thy carnal,
unbelieving heart do cloud thee.

-- John Owen (1616-1683), "Works of John Owen,"

photo taken at Twin Rocks, Rockaway Beach, Oregon

Sunday, August 02, 2009

The Stamina of Faith

"If you're faithful to Me, your faith can't
be lessened by the unfaithfulness of those
who want to do evil to you, nor can these
same people lessen your hope once you've
created it through love of Me. Your hope
will be strengthened then, and your love
will be proven in your affectionate kindnesses
towards your neighbors."
- Catherine of Siena, "Dialogue"

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Mysteries of the Abandoned Life

"It is the nature of abandonment always
to lead a mysterious life, and to receive
great and miraculous gifts from God by
means of the most ordinary things, things
that may be natural, accidental, or
that seem to happen by chance, and in which
there seems no other agency than the ordinary
course of the ways of the world, or of the
(Jean-Pierre de Caussade, "Abandonment to Divine

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Devotions From the Heart: Forgiving One Another

by Derek Gitsham

"And blessed is he whosoever shall not be
offended in Me." Luke 7:23

The Lord’s teachings on forgiveness in the
New Testament are the strongest statements
ever recorded on the matter. They leave the
saint in no doubt that much is required of him
if he is to follow the Lord completely and utterly.
The challenges that the saint wiill face on this
matter of forgiveness will, in and of themselves,
be that which molds his life to the Jesus life
more than any other.

There is much resistance in the natural heart,
the heart born in corruption, towards forgivness.
Many are the injustices done to the saint in his
life time: all of them must be completely forgiven
if he is to go on. The Lord, in His ministry,
kept the subject of forgiveness before the disciples.
It was important that they did not get caught in the
trap of offence, which would hinder them in their
walk with God.

John, in his first Epistle, records that ‘He that
loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there
is no occasion of stumbling in him.’ The phrase
occasion of stumbling means scandal or offense.
In other words there is no desire in him to betray
or speak evil of his brother.

Everything goes back to this one thing, whether we
love our brother, and abide in the light. If we love
our brother we will want to forgive him and not hold
anything against him. This is what is meant by abiding
in the light. There are dire consequences for the saint
if he allows himself to remain unforgiving towards his
brother. So much so that he becomes blinded by
darkness and cannot see where he is going because
the darkness of unforgiveness has blinded his eyes
(I John 2:10-11).

Not forgiving someone is another form of standing up
for your own right, and trying to justify yourself in
your own eyes. By not forgiving someone I feel right
in doing so because of the wrong they have done. This
plague of our hearts must be arrested quickly, and our
self rights laid on the altar, lest we become embroiled
in the poison and bitterness that will accompany
unforgivenss. Jesus’ words to forgive are a command.
We have no choice, to fail to do so will cost us dearly.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Amy Carmichael on Wanting to Be Used by God

If I crave hungrily to be used to
show the way of liberty to a soul in
bondage, instead of caring only that it be
delivered; if I nurse my disappointment
when I fail, instead of asking that to
another the word of release may be given,
then I know nothing of Calvary love.
... Amy Carmichael (1867-1951), If [1938], London: SPCK,
1961, p. 52
See the book at http://cqod.com/r/rs115

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Relentless Hope of the Prophet

Prophetic speech, finally, is not an act
of criticism. It is rather an act of
relentless hope that refuses to despair
and that refuses to believe that the world
is closed off in patterns of exploitation
and oppression.

It stands against a closed present tense
that is either excessively complacent about
social relations or excessively despairing
about an unbearable present tense. This speech
knows that such closed-off life inevitably
produces brutality, the child of despair,
either out of strident control or out of
hopelessness. It dares to assert in any
and every circumstance the conviction
known since Abraham and Sarah and Moses
and Aaron, namely, that there is a God
who can and will make all things new,
even in the face of our most closed-down,
self-satisfied present tense.

This is what the text means when it asserts
that God works an impossibility in order that
“all the earth may know that there is a God
in Israel” (1 Sam. 17:46).

"Like Fire in the Bones"
Walter Brueggemann

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Holiness and Revival

Holiness can never be separated from
revival. If some kind of spiritual
experience in an individual, or among
a community, has the label revival pinned
to it, we should always look at the lives
of the Christians and the new converts.

Are they a holy people who fear only God
and sin, and who allow God’s Word to rule
their lives? If not, then we are not looking
at revival.

--from Conviction Of Sin And A Revival Of Holiness,
By Brian H. Edwards

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Disappointment with God: When Your Nest Falls

It has been a rainy few months in New England.
Seems like it rains almost every day. Each
morning I listen for the songs of the birds
that live in our yard. I know most of the
robins. You see, our family has a kind of
affinity with animals. Robins have lived
in our yard for decades. They are nearly
tame ones.

Many years ago, my mother saved a robin
who had come north from her
winter migration much too early. One
of those early spring snowstorms hit
and, my kindly mother, seeing the
hungry robin huddled in the back yard,
threw out some raisin bread for it.

The bird never forgot the kindness and
became sort of a family member. She learned to
trust us, and when she wanted
raisins she would sit on the clothes
line by our kitchen window and
peer steadily and impatiently
into the house. She would almost
eat out of our hands. She taught
her young that we were safe. And
they taught their young, on and on.

So the robins in our yards tend
to feel safe and tend to stick
around. This spring one nesting
season has already gone successfully
by despite that fact that the robin
youngster was not the brightest
bulb in robin-land.

A few days ago the mother robin
started to build another nest.
I heard a noise in the eaves and
looked out the window to see
that she had picked a spot
under the roof overhang and
on top of the downspout to build
her nest.

Really, all things being equal,
it was a good choice:protected
from rain, high off the ground,
and near the food supply.
But all things were not equal.
There was something she didn't
know. I had removed the downspout
pipe to try to clean a clog
from my window rather than
dragging out the 24 foot ladder.
I was able to clean out the clog
but was not able to get the
downspout securely back
into its position. When
it rained hard, it often fell out.

My heart sank as I saw her
happily and busily building
her new nest in this most
precarious place. It looked
secure, but it wasn't.
All day she worked. I half-
heartedly tried to warn her
away, but she was on a mission
and payed me no mind.

I kept thinking about that
nest and imagining her and
her babies plummeting to the
ground. My heart was sad.

Yesterday, we had another
downpour. Serious, heavy
rain. To my relief, I heard
the nest fall to the ground
along with the downspout.

I felt sad but happy!
That storm had really
saved her and her babies
to come.

She came by this morning
just to check on the
nest. I was waiting for
her. She sat on her
familiar perch and looked.
Looked and looked puzzled.
She saw the downed nest.

She saw me looking at her.
I wondered if she thought
that I had wrecked her nest?
I wonder if she understood
that it was the rain?
I could see her disappointment.
But off she went to look
for another place to build.

I thought about this, and thought
about what it teaches us about
life. How often have we built
our nest on something that we
thought looked secure, in
a place that delighted us,
and seemed safe, but was
precariously perched on something
that would give way in the
first storm?

Jesus warned us not to build
our house on the sand but to
build on rock, on a sure foundation.
This story can be translated
into the avian version of that

When that nest fell, it was
actually a blessing. There
were no eggs or little birds
in it yet. No real harm was
done. Just disappointment
and a few hours work.

God's grace was at work,
but did the bird understand?
Did she see me as God and
blame me for its fall?
Did she think that I
knocked it down to
be mean? Did she know
that the rain knocked
it down? Was she thankful
that the eggs were not
in it yet?

How often are we saved
from disaster but can
only see the downed nest
in our situation? We
blame God and accuse Him
of not protecting us, when
He is protecting us from
dangers we do not know of and
problems we cannot see.

How often do we get
comfortable in a situation,
with our nest built,
only to be pushed out
to another location?

Beloved ones, let us see the
hand of God in all this.
Storms may knock our nests
down, but God holds us in
His hands. Sometimes the
storm is our salvation.
Always, God knows what will
happen. If we in our ignorance,
build in a untoward location,
God can still save us.
So let us not be disappointed
in Him, for He is most surely
for us.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

A Man That Truly Prays

A man that truly prays one prayer
shall after that never be able to
express with his mouth or pen
the unutterable desires, sense,
affection, and longing that went
to God in that prayer." --John Bunyan

On Revelation 5 & 6: John Beheld You Safe

Angels crying "Holy" all around.
Elders at the Lamb's feet falling down.
Ten million and untold thousands more,
casting down their crowns

Behold Him,
worthy to unseal the seven mysteries,
to open and to close the doors of history,

Watch the Worthy Rider wax victorious,
Nothing else could ever be that glorious,

Sons of men are melting as they see You,
Creation groaning, as its hope in Christ
is proved true.

Time becomes eternity,
O true believer, can't you see
it written here:
John beheld you safe
on that Great Day!

Yet, night soon comes and then
no one can work.
An Enemy waiting,
always on the lurk.

Hearts failing from the fear,
Hours, minutes, months or years?

None but God
know what time is left.

Men's awful date with hell
is ours to intercept

So snatch your neighbor's soul
from pending doom,
from empty, eternal horrifying gloom.

Labor in the fields of the Lord,
with sober, joyful hearts and love in one accord,

Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord.
Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord

Saturday, June 27, 2009

C. T. Studd on a Red-Hot, Unconventional, Unfettered Holy Ghost Religion

Christ's call is ... to save the lost,
not the stiff-necked; He came not to call
scoffers but sinners to repentance;
not to build and furnish comfortable chapels,
churches, and cathedrals at home in which to
rock Christian professors to sleep by means
of clever essays, stereotyped prayers and
artistic musical performances, but to capture
men from the devil's clutches and snatch them
from the very jaws of Hell.

But this can be accomplished only by a red-hot,
unconventional, unfettered Holy Ghost religion,
where neither man nor traditions are worshipped
or preached, but only Christ and Him
... C. T. Studd (1860-1931), quoted in C. T. Studd--
Cricketer and Pioneer [1933],
Norman P. Grubb, p. 163

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

T.Austin Sparks on Pioneering

The whole history of the Church is
one long story of this tendency to
settle down on this earth and to become
conformed to this world, to find
acceptance and popularity here and to
eliminate the element of conflict and
of pilgrimage. That is the trend and
the tendency of everything.

Therefore outwardly, as well as inwardly,
pioneering is a costly thing.
--T. Austin Sparks

Friday, June 19, 2009

Prayer is for All Times

Reading is good, hearing is good, conversation
and meditation are good; but then, they are only
good at times and occasions, in a certain degree,
and must be used and governed with such caution as
we eat and drink and refresh ourselves, or they
will bring forth in us the fruits of intemperance.

But the spirit of prayer is for all times and
occasions; it is a lamp that is to be always burning,
a light to be ever shining: everything calls for it;
everything is to be done in it and governed by it,
because it is and means and wills nothing else but
the totality of the soul -- not doing this or
that, but wholly...given up to God to be where and
what and how He pleases.
- William Law

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Perfectly Joined

by Derek Gitsham

"Now I beseech you, brethren, by the
Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you
all speak the same thing, and that there
be no divisions among you, but that you be
perfectly joined together in the same mind
and in the same judgment." --- 1 Corinthians 1:10

Upon first glance at this verse one would
question Paul. Could it be possible for any
group of believers to live and dwell together
without contentions and divisions? To Paul the
answer is definitely in the affirmative. It is
possible. However, there were divisions in existence
in the Corinthian church, and because of them,
erroneous teachings were beginning
to creep in.

Later in the first Epistle, Paul addresses the
issue and goes straight to the point in chapter 3:1-3.
He tells them they are not spiritual but carnal, even
babes in Christ. He says of them, in verse three, that
they were carnal, because there was envying, and strife,
and divisions, “Are you not carnal and walk as men?”

Paul talks of carnality in the Romans Epistle calling
it, “enmity against God.” In other words it was against
God. Divisiveness is a spiritual thing. Paul says we
have been given the ministry of reconciliation. Ministry
is a life not a pulpit function. Every one of us is
ministering something. It is either divisiveness or
reconciliation, depending on what God has been able to
do in our hearts. Carnality is a fleshy thing.

Again Paul says that if we ‘live after the flesh we shall
die: but if you through the Spirit do mortify (destroy by
neglect) the deeds of the body, you shall live’ (Romans 8:13).
We need to be conscious of things in ourselves that are
divisive, take them to the Lord and pray that we might be
perfectly joined to those we are not naturally one with.
Paul believed it, God expects us to work it out in ourselves.
Whatever is separating us from our brethren we must lay on
the altar, and see God change us in the process. The fault
is not in my brother, it is in me. Be perfectly joined

Not Overcome

"He said not Thou shalt not be tempested,
thou shalt not be travailed, thou shalt
not be distressed; but He said, Thou
shalt not be overcome."
Julian of Norwich (1342-1417)

Friday, June 05, 2009

Have I Not Seen The Lord?

by Derek Gitsham

"And last of all he was seen of me also,
as of one born out of due time." I Corinthians 15:8

The Apostle Paul was not numbered among the
first and original Apostles. Yet he made
the claim along with them that he had seen
the Lord. In a previous chapter (9:1), he
mentions again that he had seen the Lord,
in defense of his apostleship to the Corinthians.

The reason for this was that they were questioning
his authority over them, so he needed to clarify
his position among them, and to give proof of his
Apostleship. In another reference he says that
the signs of an apostle were “wrought among you
in all patience, in signs and wonders and mighty
deeds” (II Corinthians 12:12).

The interesting thing to note here is that Paul
had never seen Jesus in the flesh, yet compares
what had happened to him on the Damascus Road as
the same as seeing Jesus in the flesh after He was
risen from the dead. All the references in
I Corinthians 15 were to those who had seen Jesus
raised from the dead, but he also lists the names
and includes a number of five hundred who also had
seen Him. There were infallible proofs to Jesus
being raised. Right in the middle of all their
claims, Paul says, ‘He was seen of me.’

This was obviously a spiritual event, a light shining
from heaven, and Jesus speaking to Paul. The many
who had seen Jesus alive after His death became
eyewitnesses to His Resurrection. Though Paul
includes himself among those chosen ones, his
personal encounter with Jesus was a special
moment for him.

Jesus was now in the glory, at the right hand of
God, revealing Himself to Saul of Tarsus; an event
that would change him forever and save him. Paul
did not see just a resurrected Jesus, but an ascended
and glorified Jesus. Was not this an honour being
bestowed on him that was to greatly affect the whole
Christian world throughout the Church Age? To see Him
in His glorified state was indeed something Paul would
never forget. Surely the Holy Ghost comes to bear
witness to and glorify Jesus. May we seek to encounter
the Risen and Glorified Christ and may let Him be
glorified in us all today.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Use of Prophecy in Evangelism and the Church's Call to Israel

by Reginald Kelly

All modern trends are moving inexorably
in the direction predicted by the Hebrew
prophets. In addition to keeping the church
wakeful, this fact should be continually
pointed to in the church's witness, as a
powerful evidence of the Bible's authority
and inspiration, and as a call to come to
terms with the claims of Christ and the
urgency of salvation through faith in the gospel.

Expectation of the sure fulfillment of
prophecy was a given in first century Israel.
The church's task was to show that prophecy had
been fulfilled in Christ and would continue to
be fulfilled in the imminent destruction of
Jerusalem and ultimately, the return of Christ.

Many, such as the sectaries of Qumran, the people
of the Dead Sea scrolls, dwelt in desert
communities in expectation of Jerusalem's imminent
desolations and the final world conflict. We have
come full circle. Once again the world stands under
the shadow of another threatening age ending crisis
over the question of Jerusalem, the "controversy of
Zion." The prophetic scriptures are indeed on schedule,
but few employ this compelling fact in presenting
the gospel to an intellectualizing generation that
demands evidence. Well, the evidence is in our daily news.

The modern church naturally acknowledges that Christ
fulfilled prophecy, though many are at a serious loss
to make the case from the Old Testament. But for the
larger part, the church has scant knowledge of the
legitimate aspects of first century Jewish expectation.
Those "legitimate aspects" are still outstanding and
in evident process of contemporary fulfillment.

As for world Jewry, unlike their first century
counterparts, Jews for the most part are ignorant of
what the prophets foretell concerning Jerusalem and
the last days, but this is beginning to change through
the current popular fascination with apocalyptic themes
(albeit only slightly and with pitiful distortions).

Most modern Jews are secular, and like the world, are
comparatively ignorant of both sides of the prophetic
equation concerning both Christ and Israel. But God has
given the church a powerful tool for the convincement
of a skeptical age. However, due to the scandal of its
recurrent misuse through failed 'apocalyptic scares',
this tool, so powerful in the early church, has been
allowed to slip into disuse.

Prophecy is God's own self-chosen apologetic
(Isa 41:21-23, 26; 43:9-12; 44:7; 45:11, 21; 46:10;
"the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy;"
Rev 19:10b). And where prophecy does not at once
convince, it leaves a seed of witness that unfolding
of events will confirm pointing to the truth of Christ
and the gospel. The seed may yet germinate under the
right conditions, particularly in the case of Israel
when the church will move the Jew to jealousy by the
manifest evidence of the Spirit, coupled with the
testimony of prophecy. Furthermore, prophecy leaves
all who persist in resistance of the saving good news
without excuse (Jn 15:22). Prophecy exposes the hiding
place (Isa 28:17).

Paul said his gospel was to be known to all nations
by the scriptures of the prophets (Ro 16:25-26). This
was the divinely ordained 'modus operandi' of the the
early church's approach to evangelism as seen in all
the NT examples of apostolic proclamation. The gospel
was to be held forth to Jew and to gentile as a
heretofore hidden, but no less foretold mystery
Ro 16:25-26; 1Pet 1:10-12) contained in the prophetic
writings and to be made known to all nations by the same.
Perhaps this neglect, together with its failure to take
seriously the mandate to go first to the Jew, has robbed
the church of some of the strength of its witness.

In these days of restoration, let us pray that the
church will recover this vital key, which is essentially
the apostolic method of evangelism, and that recovery of
this lost key will also aid the church in the recovery
of its own lost apostolic and prophetic identity.

So while the end of the age awaits what God has determined
concerning Israel (Zech 12:10 w/ Mt 23:39; Acts 3:21;
Ro 11:26), Israel awaits a further eschatological purpose
that God has determined to accomplish in the church before
the Lord's return (Dn 11:32-35 w/ Jn 13:35; 14:12; 16:21-26;
17:11, 21-22; Eph 4:13; Phil 1:20; 3:10-14; Rev 12:10-11).

Though not easy to prove exegetically (since it is more by
implication and by the cumulative evidence), there is a
case from scripture that certainly implies that a prior
travail and birthing into eschatological fullness must be
accomplished by the church before the final tribulation
(Zion's travail) can begin for Israel (consider the mystery
implicit in Isa 66:7 as compared w/ Rev 12:5, 13).

Paul said his gospel was to be known to all nations by
the scriptures of the prophets (Ro 16:25-26). This was
the divinely ordained 'modus operandi' of the the early
church's approach to evangelism as seen in all the NT
examples of apostolic proclamation. The gospel was to be
held forth to Jew and to gentile as a heretofore hidden,
but no less foretold mystery (Ro 16:25-26; 1Pet 1:10-12)
contained in the prophetic writings and to be made known
to all nations by the same.

Perhaps this neglect, together with its failure to take
seriously the mandate to go first to the Jew, has robbed
the church of some of the strength of its witness. In
these days of restoration, let us pray that the church will
recover this vital key, which is essentially the apostolic
method of evangelism, and that recovery of this lost key
will also aid the church in the recovery of its own lost
apostolic and prophetic identity.

So while the end of the age awaits what God has
determined concerning Israel (Zech 12:10 w/ Mt 23:39; Acts
3:21; Ro 11:26), Israel awaits a further eschatological
purpose that God has determined to accomplish in the
church before the Lord's return (Dn 11:32-35 w/ Jn 13:35;
14:12; 16:21-26; 17:11, 21-22; Eph 4:13; Phil 1:20;
3:10-14; Rev 12:10-11). Though not easy to prove
exegetically (since it is more by implication and by the
cumulative evidence), there is a case from scripture that
certainly implies that a prior travail and birthing into
eschatological fullness must be accomplished by the church
before the final tribulation (Zion's travail) can begin
for Israel (consider the mystery implicit in Isa 66:7
as compared w/ Rev 12:5, 13).

There is a twofold travail of the woman. First there
is the preliminary spiritual travail of the heavenly
Zion. This is accomplished before Israel's pain comes
(see Isa 66:7 w/ Rev 12:5; compare also Jn 16:21; Gal
4:19 as a pattern). Then follows the earthly travail
(the literal tribulation) of the earthly Zion/natural
Israel (compare Isa 13:8; 66:8; Jer 30:6; Mic 5:3;
Dn 12:1; Mt 24:21). It is only AFTER this travail
(the brief but unequaled tribulation) that "a nation
is born in one day" (Isa 66:8; 59:19-21; Zech 3:9;
Ezk 39:22).

This 'one day' is the spiritual regeneration
and regathering of Israel (as also the translation and
gathering of the church) that comes at the 'great day
of God' at the tribulation's end in conjunction with
the destruction of the Antichrist (2Thes 2:8) and the
resurrection of the righteous at Christ's post-tribulational
last trumpet return (compare Isa 25:7; 26:19; 27:13;
Dn 12:1-2 w/ Mt 24:29-31; 1Cor 15:52, 54; 2Thes 2:1-3,
8; 2Pet 2:10, 12; Rev 16:14-15).

However symbol and imagery may be interpreted, one
thing seems beyond dispute, i.e, there is a spiritual
kind of travail and birth that must be completed before
Israel's earthly tribulation can begin. There is a
spiritual birth that happens before the time of Israel's
eschatological tribulation. The two travails, one
spiritual, and the second physical, are bound together.

Unless an unscriptural wedge is driven between Israel
and the church (as in dispensationalism), the woman's
birthing of the manchild pertains to the church (the
true Israel within Israel), no less than the persecuted
woman pertains to both Israel and the church in the
tribulation. Unless the presence of the church is
defined out of the tribulation, as in dispensationalism,
then it cannot be doubted that the church is in view
when the scripture refers to "the rest of her offspring,
who hold to testimony of Jesus;" Rev 12:17). It is not
enough to see this as only fulfilled in Mary and Christ,
since this travail and birth is accomplished at the
threshold of the last 3 1/2 years and is the catalyst
for what follows.

The New Testament shows an awareness of the clear
distinction between tribulation as an inalienable
principle of the spiritual life, and the final
'great tribulation' of brief duration that ushers
in Christ's return. The two must not be confused.
When this important distinction is made, it becomes
clear that the travail of the woman and the birth of
the man child has to do with a heavenly occurrence
that immediately results in the final tribulation
of 'short' duration.

The birthing of the man child completes the time of
the woman's travail, which permits Michael's victory
over Satan in heaven. With Satan's expulsion from
heaven to earth, his time is 'short'; the tribulation
is here, and thus the kingdom of God can now come.
Regardless how the woman's travail is understood,
it is clear that it has not reached its final goal
until the final casting down of Satan, and this
happens only at the mid point of Daniel's seventieth week.

Paul shows that the day of the Lord and the church's
gathering unto Christ must await the revelation of
the mystery of iniquity (2Thes 2:1-3, 7-8). The
revelation of this mystery is the 'without which not'
of Christ's once and for all return. But this event
cannot come until Satan is cast down. It is important
to note that Michael's expulsion of Satan, the
announcement of the inbreaking of kingdom power (12:10),
and the woman's 3 1/2 year flight into the wilderness,
all hinges on the completion of the woman's travail
in the birth and ascent of the man child.

In view of the connection of these events to the
limited tribulation of 3 1/2 years, it is evident
that the fulfillment cannot be limited to the
entirety of the inter-advent period. Rather
something future seems intended that reiterates
in pattern and principle what was accomplished
in the birth, safe escape, and victorious ascent
of the Seed over all principality and power.

I believe this future travail of the church awaits
a Pauline or Danielic kind of priestly travail for
Israel (compare Ro 9:3; Gal 4:19)? What will it take
to bring an indulgent and self-occupied church to
this? Will the church finally understand that there
can be no informed praying for the coming of the
kingdom that ignores the prior necessity of unequaled
tribulation, as only this can end in Israel's age
ending confession (Dn 12:7; Mt 23:39; Acts 3:21; 14:22)?

Will the church come to understand that the age cannot
with Christ's return independently of the day of
Israel's national repentance? And will the church ever
come to see its own divinely intended role in preparing
Israel for that confession through its tribulation
witness? The church, rightly defined is the corporate
Ebhed Yahweh. Not only as the witnessing remnant,
but also as the corporate 'servant - intercessor' in
the travail of divine love for covenant Israel.

Such travail will require a selfless willingness
for the events that are necessary to its fulfillment?
What will raise the church's consciousness and prayer
to its calling to travail for a kingdom that cannot
come apart from a church willing to lay its life
down for Israel? [Note that on the basis of
Ro 11:12, 15, Israel's future "fullness" is the
key to an exponential increase of salvation
among the nations. Thus how can a church devoted
to 'missions' ignore its calling 'to the Jew first'?]

It is so much more than Israel's salvation that is
at stake; it is the very name and glory of God in
His covenant pledge that is at stake, though most
of the church historically would see no loss at
all to their concept of divine glory if Israel
should remain estranged forever (Ro 11:25-36).

If the travail of the woman is not wrongly dissociated
from the church, it seems clear that there is an
inseparable relation to something that must first
be accomplished in and through the church that is
related to the finishing of the mystery of God (Rev 10:7).

This doesn't happen in a vacuum; it presupposes truth
and revelation, and the travail of true faith and
intercession. It is not new truth, but a deeper
apprehension of the prophetic scriptures at the
time of fulfillment that will constrain the church
to a place it would not otherwise have gone, in
analogy with Jesus' word to Peter: "Truly, truly,
I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress
yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when
you are old (weak and dependent), you will stretch
out your hands, and another will dress you
("dressed in His righteousness alone"), and
carry you where you do not want to go" (Jn 21:18).
For Peter, it was a martyrs cross; for the church
of the last days, it will be the great tribulation.

I believe the church will be brought corporately
to something almost analogous to Mary's conception
and birth of the Word, as utterly weak, as utterly
meek, and so completely apart from the help of man.
There is mystery here; but I am sure that Michael's
removal of Satan (in analogy with his removal of
the opposing Prince of Persia in answer to Daniel's
travail; Dn 10:13), and the resulting tribulation
(which is necessary to bring Israel back in
fulfillment of the everlasting covenant at Christ's
return), must not be dissociated from a fullness
that must first come to the church, as it knows
itself to be facing the final and greatest test.

This heavenly victory will be accomplished by the
church's deeper apprehension of the revelation of
the mystery of the gospel in conjunction with the
final opening of Daniel's sealed vision. In short,
the church must attain to its own "fullness"
before Israel can attain to "their fullness"
(compare Ro 11:12 w/ 11:25). God has placed the
two in amazing tandem. The one is dependent on the
other and cannot come to full formation without
the other. Israel and the church are a mutual
source of divinely intended provocation with a
view towards the revelation of the glory of
sovereign mercy apart from works. "I will have
mercy on whom I will have mercy."

I am personally convinced that the same God who
will be publicly vindicated in His word
concerning Israel will be no less vindicated in
the sight of men and angels concerning a yet
unfulfilled eschatological fullness for the church.
Before it will be "Israel My glory" (Isa 46:13),
it will be "glory in the church" (Eph 3:21).

And contrary to the false dichotomy of the
dispensational error, the twain do meet! Regenerated
Israel on earth will be no less the body of Christ
than the glorified church ruling and reigning with
Christ. The seed is the seed, and it is such by
nothing other than union with the indwelling Spirit
of Christ, regardless of dispensation.

So while the end of the age waits for Israel, Israel
waits for something to be restored and demonstrated
in the church, and it is a sovereign God of absolute
predestination that will accomplish to fulfill His
purpose in both at the "set time" (Ps 102:13),
"for that that is determined shall be done" (Dn 11:36).

God knows how to both to their appointed place
"at the time appointed" (Dn 8:19; 11:35), but it
is a pitiful theology that drives a wedge between
God's sovereign ability and the church's necessary
responsibility. A new dispensation of divine requirement
is at hand. When prophecy will be in the final
stages of fulfillment, things formerly discussed and
debated of only casual consequence will begin to be
divinely required. Much will be exposed and many
will fall away.

As Jesus was a stone of stumbling and rock of offense
to the religion of first century Israel, so will the
offense of Israel, Jerusalem, and the Jew, become an
extension of the same essential mystery in its final
form (see Isa 28:9-16). All nations will be required
to grapple with a prophetic testimony of the gospel
that can no longer be conveniently separated from the
issue of Israel.

As the age began, so shall it end, and all the great
issues that formed the offense of the cross and the
gospel, will be present in the last offense that
brings all nations to oppose the everlasting
covenant in Israel's election and divine right
to the Land. Not because they are worthy in
themselves, but because of what God has decreed
concerning them. It is not their Land because
they are holy Christians; it is their Land because
of God's predestinating prerogative to make them
holy Christians in the day of His power (Ps 110:3).

Apparently, God is holding all nations responsible
to know this, since when the nations come down to
the mountains of Israel to 'divide' and 'part' the
Land (Dn 11:39; Joel 3:2), God's fury comes up in His
face (Ezk 38:18), since He regards this act as the
ultimate act of hubris and violence "against the holy
covenant" Dn 11:28, 30). So it is clear that the
contention of God with all nations over the issue of
His covenant with Israel cannot be separated from the
issue of the gospel.

In fact, this is how God has chosen to press the
issue of the gospel upon the conscience of all
nations. To not have God's heart towards Israel
(especially when the prophetic standard is being
raised in the sight and hearing of all nations)
is to not know God's heart or His covenant.

We may be sure that Satan enjoys the church's ignorance
of this mystery, as it helps to extend his illicit
tenure in the heavens, which prolongs this present evil
age. But at some soon point, something's got to give!

Come quickly Lord Jesus, and accomplish in heaven and
on earth all that holds back your return! Lord, you said
that when you looked there was "no man .. no
intercessor," so your own arm brought to you the
decreed salvation of Israel (compare the contexts
of Isa 59:16 w/ 63:5). Lord, this is not in the
heart of man; it is in your heart.

Lord, in ourselves, we could never be willing for
the price. Create the intercessor in us. It is
Him you always hear. Come quickly Lord Jesus!
Come suddenly to your temple! is our prayer.