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  • You are here: Blogs Directory / Personal / Living In The Rockies Welcome Guest
    Living In The Rockies
          On he road to Cheley Camp, Estes Park, Colorado

    Tue, Aug 26th - 11:29AM

    Fighting With God - A Way of Life

     The more I learn about God, the more I have to face the real ME.  This is a harsh reality I’ve been able to avoid most of my life, but the problems began when I re-committed myself to him.  Now I’m embarked on a voyage that is taking me on ground I perhaps should have covered years ago.  I was able to put it off by fighting against God.  The irony is that I always knew there was no benefit in fighting against him, yet I do it anyway.  Why?

       I have no idea sometimes why God doesn’t seem to answer prayers, but lately I’ve realized that the “fault” is on our side.  He longs to answer prayers and satisfy the needs and desires of his children, just like earthly parents do, yet we do not let him.  Some reasons for that may be found on this short list:

    • We ask according to our desires – not his desires for us;
    • Our motives seek to elevate us, rather than further his kingdom plans through us (we rationalize that he gets glorified with our elevation);
    • In any event, we seek to have God serve us rather than us serving him
    • We self-limit ourselves and refuse to allow him to act, and
    • We steadfastly resist change

      Let’s address the last bullet; we resist change.  Whoever coined the phrase, “Change is good” failed to mention we naturally hate it.

      Recently, I’ve become aware that when I ask God to perform his will through my life (standard prayer fodder in most churches), I fail to understand that any attempt for him to actually answer my prayer will appear as change, and my human (natural) instinct to resist change kicks in, just like my body naturally fights infection.  His  answers always represent changes in my life, and I must learn to first see them as such, and then determine not to resist.  Good luck!  That’s where it gets tough.

       It is tough because we are naturally not God, and as humans, our default position is usually found to be about 180˚ at variance with his thinking.  We are not just a little bit different, like the two sides of the gender coin, we are complete opposites most of the time!  Hopefully, we can become more like him if we want to be more like him – but that’s the hard part, and, of course, it all comes down to control.  If we want to remain in control of our own lives we shouldn’t waste time praying for him to take control; he won’t do it.  And when he doesn’t do it, we are wrong to blame him and lament that God doesn’t answer prayer!  It’s not his fault!  Often, he wants to answer, but we will have none of it – we are caught up in resisting the changes his answers will bring.

       Let’s clarify what it means in practical terms to let God be in control of our lives.  I picture it this way:  there is a river flowing from the throne of God, and his purpose for my life, indeed, why I’m alive at all, is only nourished from this river.  My job is to find where that river flows and get in it.  Very importantly: I have to go to it.  If I want the river to come to me, it is obvious I still want to be in control of my own life, and I am resisting him.

       What are the dreams and deep desires we all have that just won’t go away?  Is it possible God gave them to each of us?  If we don’t have any, ask God to give them to you – and believe he will.  If you can identify them, subject them to harsh scrutiny – if fulfilled, who would be glorified?  Be honest!  Do you realize that God has dreams and desires for us?

       While on dreams, I firmly believe most of us self-limit ourselves right out of them.  By doing this, we reveal what the police would call a “clue”:  it means we are still struggling for control, even though we pray to be used as he wills.  So here’s a big challenge:  are you up to praying and letting God fulfill the dreams he has for you?  Are you truly willing to relinquish control and let God be God in your life?

       I’m convinced God doesn’t care as much about our circumstances as he cares for our responses to our circumstances.  Doubt it?  Read the book of Job.  It really is all about how we play the game; the eventual outcome has already been decided by Jesus.  He assured us the game was already won, and gave us the opportunity to grow our spirits into Eternity by how we play the innings now.

       God has made provisions for what the world – his world, needs.  He has placed those provisions in the hearts and minds of his people, called by his name – yet they fight against him, even if they don’t really want to. 

       Give up; give in to God’s plans for you and let him be in control.  Ask for the discernment to see your own resistance when it appears. 


       Let God be God with your lives – every other fight is a losing battle. 








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    Tue, Aug 26th - 11:26AM

    Dark Night of the Soul

       I don’t know how to adequately title this piece, but the person who coined the phrase, “Dark night of the soul” saw the “elephant” for sure!  Last night was the culmination of several dark days for me, and I saw the elephant for myself. 

       Late last week, over the course of 48 hours, both of my hands and wrists, both ankles and my right knee and leg swelled up to approximately twice their original size.  If this mystery condition wasn’t bad enough, the pain was very severe when I tried to move.  Then last night the fever came and overwhelmed me.

       Leading up to last night I had prayed a lot, almost constantly, and with seemingly no results.  Yesterday, I finally buckled and went to a local clinic.  Their doctor guessed I had one of the most “dramatic” cases of rheumatoid arthritis he had ever seen, and of course pulled a tube of blood to confirm (negative!).  I was sent home with pain medication (that did not work) and a fever that was building quickly.  I would like to relate my spiritual journey so far, because I think we all have similar spiritual journeys.

       With severe afflictions or sicknesses there are established patterns of behavior.  I’ve tried to break them down and make the steps easy to understand.  This is what it’s like for me – maybe you will agree:


    1. Fear.  Raw fear.  Thoughts come violently into my head, pushing all other concerns to the rear, and they sound like this: “Oh no, I’m sick!” or “Oh dear God, no!”  and a knot tightens in my guts and doesn’t subside.  I am immediately on the defensive, and I intuitively know it’s a weaker position than the offensive.  At this point, I am beat into submission before the fight has been joined.  I’m whipped and I begin to feel very sorry for me.
    2. Sympathy is sought.  I need strength I don’t have, and so I go to others and elicit sympathy in (always vain) attempts at bolstering my defenses.  However, the only real input has been a tactful variation of “tough luck; it must be tough to be you”.  The aloneness of that message washes over me and adds to the ambient level of fear, tightening my knot even more.
    3. Acquiescence and commitment.  I’m forced to adjust my life to my circumstances, and commit myself to a course I did not choose.  I feel obligated to turn a corner and I may never be able to come back because I’ve accepted that I now am, thanks to my circumstances, this new person.  Now that I’m a (fill in the blank) I’ll be on this medicine for the rest of my life, and etc.


      As Christians, we need to be aware that the issues that concern us most, like everyone else, are all about control.  It’s not bad luck or being at the wrong end of the beast, it is simply a control issue.  Everything that impacts our lives has a control factor attached, and the pathetic thing is how we buy off on them so readily.  You should know this: what controls you becomes your god.  It really is that simple.  Something else: you can choose.  Nowhere here did I say the choosing would be easy or non-costly.

      First, we need to fight the fear.  Do not let it take control of you.  Resist, and keep resisting.  We are admonished to fear only God.

      Secondly, seek God, and keep on seeking.  He can be found, but He loves it when we seek after Him.  We may feel like He’s playing hard to get, but He’s there with a smile on His face if we don’t give up.  And really, who else would you seek?  Where else would you go?  He has all LIFE in Him, and life is what you want and need.

      Third, God has chosen my course and my ‘life is in His hands’.  Remain committed only to Him – ‘He will make a way where there is no way’.

      I prayed for healing so much in the last week that I frankly ran dry last night.  I last took my temperature shortly before bedtime and it was a little over 100˚.  By 3:00am it felt like the worst fever of my life.  I did not re-take my temperature because I knew the knowledge would devastate me.  I had to move to the couch because I couldn’t remain in one place.  The fever was so bad I would take the sheet off and begin to freeze, only to put it back on and burn up.  This cycle would repeat itself every minute or so.  In the middle of this, my headache became so severe I felt I was going to die – really!  I began picturing how my wife’s life would change after she found my (finally) cooled off body on the living room floor.  I finally told Jesus, “I can't pray anymore.  All I need from you are one or two answers”.  Then I fell asleep for the first time since midnight, and about 4:00am I awoke and realized my fever was gone and my headache was half strength – so I went back to bed.

      This morning I felt very emotional when I remembered last night – very sympathetic to the crippled in our society.  I remembered a man yesterday getting out of his car; he was so crippled and bent over he could hardly exit the vehicle, and I could tell that moving to the rear of his car was an almost unrealistic goal.  I remembered the look in his eyes as he watched me hobble and limp across the parking lot from my own car – he would have traded anything to be as mobile as I was in my impairment!  But what really hurt me this morning was the realization that yesterday I was able to look at the man and feel nothing.  Tears began to flow as I realized that as recently as yesterday I was totally blind to the suffering of others. 

      Because of last night, probably the toughest night in my life so far, I am forever grateful today to be not as blind as I was before last night.  I can honestly thank God for it!  Several weeks ago I asked God to let me see others as He sees them.  I’m more grateful than I can explain that He answered my prayer – and humbled that the lesson had to be so painful for me to be reached.

      Something else I realized last night was that apart from Jesus Christ, we have no reason to be alive.  None.  You will never find meaning or reason in life apart from Him.  You will find fraud and self-deception, and see a life of wasted years – but apart from Him there is no reason for you to be alive at this moment.  None.  I hope you can accept that wisdom at face value. 

      Yet another lesson I learned was to see crippled and lame people differently.  They did not choose that condition, and it has also crippled their view of the world.  If you don’t realize the utter vanity of assuming your body will always be able to function perfectly, you may very well die in your ignorance and stupidity or become just like the ones you’ve abhorred.  God loves those people – they are who He died for.

      And yet something else I learned – God’s view of “beautiful” is almost impossible for us to understand.  I do know for sure that his view of beautiful and our view of beautiful are almost completely opposite.  He looks over the lame and ugly and can't wait for them to be home with Him.  We look away from them and don’t want them around, but that’s OK with us; the god we’ve constructed in our heads doesn’t want them either.  Do you see where that puts us with the real God?



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    Tue, Aug 26th - 11:19AM

    The "Curse" of Email


      I am grateful to the person who sent me an email containing an unfocused image of the cross and Jesus’ face, because the message with the email told of a person who looked at the picture and suffered great harm by not forwarding it on.  Sounds silly, doesn’t it?  Think again.

      Down deep where we really live, most of us will not seriously deny the existence of satan.  Actually, his existence brings all the unexplained evils we see and hear about every day into sharp focus, and the only other option seems to be a system of miscellaneous, random horror, operating somehow without intelligence.  Trust me, it’s a lot easier to accept that satan exists, hates us and is trying (successfully) to destroy us.  Destruction is a perfect, one-word description of his character.  In fact, in the bible, he is referred to as “The Destroyer.”  You can read about him in Isaiah 14, starting at verse 12, and all through the book of Revelation.  The first two chapters in the book of Job also give us a snapshot of satan’s character and abilities.

      Since Jesus stated he came to ‘give us life, and give it more abundantly’ (John 10:10), and since a curse of any kind is inherently destructive, and is thus the antithesis of life, it would seem obvious that curses come from a satanic intelligence rather than a heavenly one.

      When we put ourselves under curses we usually do so out of ignorance.  In Hosea, (after the book of Daniel) in the Old Testament, chapter 4, verse 6, it says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.  Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.”   Christians are the New Testament corollary to this verse in Hosea, because in the New Testament we are described as ‘priests’ to God.

      We know that the earth fell under The Curse when Adam and Eve purposely disobeyed God in the garden, and we know that all problems ultimately leading to death for us here spring from that curse.  As such, all sickness and deformity, etc., reduced to their one common denominator, point to satan himself.  We know this because God did not create sickness and deformity.  Those maladies are the price we pay to be alive in the middle of a war zone.

       As Christians, we should not fear, and that includes curses.  However, we should also be aware that care is needed when communicating with others due to the likelihood they are ignorant of them.  I have heard faithful and faithless people alike proclaim things like, “I have cancer (or anything else)”, when in fact, the cancer has them.  “I have cancer” said in ignorance, throws the door open to cancer and invites it in to stay. 

       Oh, by the way, if it was God’s will to take someone home by using a horrible disease, why did the victim go to the doctor in a rebellious attempt to circumvent God’s will?  How does this compute when Jesus healed and then stated, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father”?  Is the Kingdom of Heaven so short of pretty babies that God has to kill them with some disease or tragedy just to secure more of them?  Any wonder why Jesus labeled satan as a murderer?

       As Christians we need to be more aware of curses, particularly the ones we just take for granted in our everyday lives. 


       They do not originate from God.




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    Sat, Aug 9th - 2:49PM

    Time the Healer?

       The other day I was talking to someone about the death of their dog.  The dog had been put down about a year ago, and the person I spoke with is an avid dog lover.  I asked if she had a new dog yet, and she said she was not ready yet for a new dog. 

       Almost a year ago a friend of mine died suddenly and left a huge hole in a church congregation by his absence.  At this date, many of the church members are still limping along just a shade this side of dysfunctional.

       Seven years ago, a man I know divorced his wife and found to his horror that he inadvertently had also divorced his children and his grandchildren.  That situation today is also just a shade this side of dysfunctional. 

       So what is it about loss and the consequent grief that stall us in the doldrums for so long?  We testify that we know we should move forward with our lives but we also know that the process of grief needs closure, yet we usually let time be the healer while the process of grief lies uncompleted behind locked doors of our souls.  In essence, we get the worst of two scenarios – we don’t heal, and grief sits in perpetual ambush year after year.  For many, maybe most of us, this becomes a nightmare facet to our lives that we tend to live with, rather than instead of.

       I firmly believe that God wants us to resolve our grief and move into the future by looking to Him to do both.  I also know that if we fail to do this, He can do nothing we won’t allow.  So how can we move through our losses and focus on His future for us?  It is, of course, simply complex.

       First, let’s understand how “time” works as a healer.  This is a misnomer, of course, since time doesn’t possess this capacity, but how does this supposed process take place?  The only way time works as a healer is to provide other events that barge into our lives and gradually take immediate precedence over our grief.  We need to go back to work, or we need to work our way through another set of circumstances; as has been said, “Time waits for no man.”   Remember the old song lyrics, “How could the sun keep on shining….”?  Most certainly rhetorical because in spite of our losses, the sun just keeps on shining.  As it does , other more immediate circumstances impact our lives and the passage of time makes it seem like distance has put us out in front of our grief, but in reality, time only allows us to partition off the grief somewhere inside.  Maybe we mean to clean up those rooms some day, but we probably never will – it’s a case of out of sight, out of mind.

       I think the only way for us to work through loss and grief is to eventually (the sooner the better) make DECISIONS, and make them consciously and in prayer.  If we don’t, our lack of decisions will allow time to build another unresolved partition in our souls.  Our decisions should verbalize our goals of moving forward and not harboring grief any longer, and trust God for our changed lives. 

       Sometimes we try to move forward by saying things like, “What would so-and-so have wanted us to do”?  This becomes an easy dodge as we put the responsibility of the decision off on a person we can’t contact.  After the loss, the responsibility is totally OURS, and should be focused on God alone.  It should sound like, “What would God have me do in this circumstance”?  Come to think of it, it should have sounded like that before the loss.

       My advice to the dog lover:  thank God for the gift of your last dog; trust your last dog to God; make a decision to put down the grief, rather than continue to cling to it; and trust God to provide another dog as a gift – not to take the place of your lost friend, but as an additional gift to you.  He gave you the ability to love dogs – use it for His glory.

       My advice for the church membership:  your lost brother left a huge hole, but you need to let God fill it back in.  You need to thank God for the life of the man you loved; decide to put down your crippling grief and let God provide light and life at this time; let Him provide light and life in the changed lives you live now.  He will provide, if you watch for Him to do so in faith.  Be grateful for the answer you know He is, and will continue to provide.

       My advice for the family involved in the divorce:  the only healthy option for you is to realize you’ve paid enough heed to grief and decide to put it down.  Let it become history, rather than pain hidden in your souls.  Decide this, and you free God to clean out that room for you – as I’m sure He longs to do.  Decide not to, however you justify it, and you will remain in bondage – and consequently, so will your God.

       On any given day on this dark planet, half of the answers we hear are “no’s”.  On any given day half our circumstances are varying degrees of “not good”.  So who’s in charge of your life?  Time?  Circumstances?  Grief?  Please don’t dishonor your humanity and insult God by saying something like, “I just can’t help it…”; you were created for so much more and God has designed so much more for you.

       Yes, there is certainly a time for grief, and it is necessary and healthy up to a point, but grief should never be your ruler.  It’s effect should never decide the course of your life.  Jesus didn’t die so you could be ruled by this sticky specter.  Acknowledge it, accept it and go with the flow – but do not let it have it’s way with your life. 

       No power in Heaven or earth can supersede your decisions, and no power can destroy your ability to make them.  Just do it.

       Time is not a healer – only God does that.  Only you can let Him.



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    Tue, Aug 5th - 6:13PM


      I wrote a blog the other day, and mentioned in it this quote: ‘this only makes sense if you believe in Creation, because only then does your life have any chance at significance.’   I realized when I wrote it that some people might want to find it offensive.  So today, I’m going to elaborate a little – not in defense; just explanation.

      As humans, we all seem to consist of the same ingredients, with minor cosmetic variations.  One of the things we share, along with the need to love and be loved, is a deep desire to feel our lives have meaning – that our lives matter.  Odd, but we don’t really define that need; we just know it’s hiding inside each of us. 

      I suppose we could make a proof of this by using the negative example, as when someone contemplating suicide says or thinks things like, “It just doesn’t matter anymore...”  The opposite side of the coin would be a realization that our lives do matter; therefore depression leading to suicide would be out of the equation.  The point is:  we need to feel that our lives matter; that they count for something.  Now, let’s keep it realistic – I doubt if many of us will find meaning and worth out of fame and fortune.  Most of us would settle for contentment.

      I’ve always been told that human life is invaluable.  I never understood that until I realized that the intrinsic value to human life is, in fact, external and derived.  If humans are valuable, they are valuable because someone else gave them the great value they possess, and not only gave it, but paid dearly so that they could have it.

      If we were able to subtract our derived value, and the payment given for it, we would be like blobs of flesh merely soaking up time and the environment.  Like just so many cabbages.  But instead, we each possess a greatness we sometimes glimpse like a shadow, deep inside.  We are not accidents of chemistry, or products of random evolutionary development – we are more than that, and we all know it; whether we admit we know it or not is another issue.

      Let’s take it a step further – we all know the bible is different than any other literature.  We might deny the author, authority, truthfulness or relevancy in today’s world (by the way, it’s always been “today’s world”, anytime in history), and we might fight over our respective viewpoints, but we all sense on some subsurface level that it is different.  And believe it or not (your choice, of course), no other document in history has been proven as trustworthy as the 66 books that comprise our bible, in spite of the fact no other book in history has been attacked so viciously for so long.  We routinely and legally put criminals to death on testimony less truthful than that which testifies to the truthfulness of the bible.

      We argue over the veracity of the bible primarily because once we admit we believe it – we can no longer claim “Plausible deniability”.  We can't play dumb anymore, and we become accountable.  How we hate that!  There’s that “R” word again – Responsibility (if only it had 4 letters!).

      It is the bible that teaches from beginning to end that all human life will survive death.  I’ve met many people, and so have you I’m sure, who proclaim that when they die they will just go into nothingness.  I suppose that’s one gimpy philosophy we can use to justify a self-centered lifestyle.  Maybe it’s also comfortable for the overly educated ignorant among us who proudly boast that adding 500 billion years to the evolutionary timeline would cause it to work…. .  But the bible says we are going to live somewhere forever, and it doesn’t even leave us room to make up where that would be – just says it straight out:  Heaven with God, or Hell with those living without Him.  I think that’s pretty simple; no more complicated than turn signals on a car.  There are only 2 choices – what a simple menu!  It is also the bible that spells out in great, gut wrenching detail the Who, What, When, Where and How we were granted our derived value. 

      So here’s the real deal:  if you want to live forever being the wallpaper on the side of an eternal furnace, and spend it with all the people you love to hate in this life, go ahead – the choice is yours, and even God won’t argue with your right to choose.  It’s not much of a stretch for that life to be labeled “Insignificant” if it’s been packed full of things that won’t last, no matter how temporarily important they might seem.

      I would encourage you to choose the other direction.  It makes you braver (because real Christianity is not for the timid), wiser (another gift), valuable (because He chose you and paid for you) and truly Significant, in spite of your circumstances. 

      It all boils down to this:  your choices are:

    1. Eternal insignificance, or

    2. Eternal significance.

      There are no other options.  It’s like the old joke about the game warden and guy in the rowboat caught fishing with dynamite.  As the game warden began to accuse the poacher and argue with him, the fisherman handed the game warden a stick of dynamite with a burning fuse.  He then said, “Do you want to fish – or argue”? 

      We have the same exact choice.  Be significant.



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    Sun, Aug 3rd - 6:14AM

    Cry of the Dying

      Father, I cry out to you tonight.  You alone are the only resource I have – every other has again proved false.  You stated in your word that your son knew what was in the heart of man…what a statement!  When I see that heart of man, in myself and others, it dis-heartens me, and yet your son willfully died because the redemption he paid for was what you wanted.  No words can describe what he did!

      Tonight is a night of falling apart.  My prayer, Lord, is that it precedes a building up.  There is nothing I can do to avoid this experience.  On a much smaller scale, my choice is the same as your son’s – I cannot give life to it, I can only choose life through you.  As such, my life has become death to me – your death has become my only life.  Through my paltry human experience, I share in your sufferings – please raise me to life with you.  All I see is death – please give me the vision to see you through eyes of faith. 

      This is not natural for me.  It is out of character, but rather than flee from the pain of loss and defeat, I have to choose to pull it close around me while I desperately try to focus on you in the midst of the chaos.  Your life only belongs to me when I choose death to myself.  It is so incredibly painful.

      In this process I can feel you auguring me out inside and making me deeper, but the pain of the process is immense.  The glory of being fashioned by you is obscured by the horror, the joy obscured by the agony.  Oh God…please be merciful!

      You are the only reason I hope to live, and live to hope.  Apart from you, there is no other.  As I watch and feel the pain of this death, please be merciful to me – I know I do not deserve mercy; I know I do deserve the pain I feel, but I cry out to you tonight: Oh God, please be merciful to me!  Oh God, who else would I cry out to?

      I ask you to judge between me and my enemies.  I ask you to come to me with justice, but perhaps the justice is what brings the pain.  Perhaps I would do better to beg for mercy…

      Please look upon my heart, Lord.  You alone know what is there, and no man can guess.  Please take it gently in your shepherd hands and warm it, even as you cause it to be purified.  Even as your love causes my flesh to writhe in pain sometimes, please soothe the pain with your love. 

      I have no other.  You are my only god – all the others have died.  You alone have the words of life I crave.  I would trust only you, hope only you, love only you and wait for only you.  All others have miserably failed.  You alone are the God who survives!  You alone are Life.

      We share the same blood!  I remember the covenant I have with you, and I call it to mind in your sight.  We share the same blood!

      Your son,



    August 3rd, 2008

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    About Me

    Name: John Miltenberger
    ChristiansUnite ID: jmilty
    Member Since: 2006-08-22
    Location: Estes Park, Colorado, United States
    Denomination: Born-again believer
    About Me: Retired from Overland Park, Kansas and now living in Estes Park, Colorado. Another escapee from the Midwest!! Email: jmilty@q.com

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