..."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, 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