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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

    Thu, Jan 29th - 11:20AM

    The American Cornbread Diet



      Isn't it odd that we can have faith for Eternity far more easily than faith for healing?  It’s odd, but it’s true.  I don’t have a challenge believing that God’s kingdom will arrive some day, or that I’ll be a part of it – I do have a problem with believing He’ll answer my prayers right now.  I suppose that believing for answers I need right now involve more work on my part; active faith, more trust, more seeking God – right now.  It’s hard on me because I have to struggle against my innate unbelief, and my Adamic desire to control.  In fact, it’s just like releasing my grip on the edge of a cliff because someone I can't see has promised to catch me when I do.  The implication is that he’ll not catch me until I let go.

      Years ago, my brother-in-law took me rappelling.  I don’t like heights – like they say, “It’s not the fall that will kill you – it’s the sudden stop!”, and I vividly remember leaning backwards over the cliff edge and loosening my grip on the rope!  It took a lot of my will power to trust my brother-in-law’s knowledge, but it took a decision to slide out into space.  After that, it was a lot of fun.  Having faith in God is just like that.  It takes a decision.  Usually many of them.  And if your faith doesn’t require decision I would question it’s validity. 

      It all comes down to this:  before faith, before trust, and before decisions – do we know that God is real?  And after we know He’s real, do we believe it enough to live like it?  This is better stated at the beginning of the Truth Project DVD’s (http://www.thetruthproject.org) when Dr. Del Tackett asks, “Do you really believe, that what you believe, is really real”?  And this leads naturally to the next question, “If what you believe is real – are you living like it is”?  It’s very easy to answer these questions glibly, but these are questions we should be honestly asking ourselves every day. 

      All of this brings me to the topic of dog food.  I was in Sam’s Club the other day, and I needed a bag of dog food, so I began my research by reading the label of ingredients.  Apparently all dog food isn't equal.  The rule of thumb is that the first ingredient listed is the main ingredient – what it has the most of, and the lesser ingredients populate the list in order.  It’s amazing how much “filler” these products have!  It’s not at all unusual to pay $20 for a bag of dog food that’s mostly corn meal.  In like manner, it’s not unusual to hear corn meal sermons from our local pulpits. 

      Now before you think, “Oh, there he goes again...”, understand I like corn meal just fine.  After all, what’s cornbread without it?  But corn meal will never be protein.  It will quickly fill me up, but I’ll get a fat belly out of it before I’ll build muscle.  Not only that, but cornbread should never be the main course.

      My point is obviously this:  right now in America, American Christians need muscle.  Sad to say, most of them don’t know the difference between cornbread and steak.  Many don’t know they should be dis-satisfied with cornbread.  Many don’t know that although God probably likes cornbread too, He wants us to build muscle -  in Him. 

      I’m not advocating church hopping – I think that’s akin to getting a divorce without fixing any underlying issues.  I am saying we should get serious about what we believe.  We should be deadly serious in searching out (seeking) God’s face for ourselves, and we should dump the notion that only the churches are responsible for building our spiritual muscles.  They are not – we are.  And our church congregations will ultimately reflect who we are collectively as the local body of Christ. 

      So let’s take a look at our reflection.  Let’s take a look at the reflection of our church congregations.  Like what you see?  I hope not.  I hope we are never satisfied. Not now – not ever. 

      There is more.



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    Thu, Jan 22nd - 11:52AM

    Coronation American Style



    Well, it’s over. The coronation of our new king took place several days ago. It reminded me of the Israelites demanding a king from Samuel. I’m thankful the coronation was so honestly portrayed, for a coronation it was indeed. Most of the media is playing to the fawning masses, and I’m sure the carnage to the American constitution has just begun in earnest. We now have what we deserve.
    It should be blatantly obvious that we have systematically become a nation more set against God than at any time in our history, or maybe the gloves have just come off.
    What makes me sick are the statistics that show we claim to have a “Christian” majority population. Election results alone should suffice to put the lie to that statistic. I think what it really means is that we are mostly a Christian population based entirely on our own opinion of what it means to be Christian.
    More and more our world environment declares Truth to be subjective. Stop right there – we can not survive that one lie alone, much less the spinoffs.
    The re-hash of the 9/11 photos on TV this morning were a graphic reminder of what is happening to America as a nation. First the impact, then the floor by floor collapse – it was a microcosmic picture of American culture and values. We see it everyday, from corrupt politicians (a redundant phrase, most of the time), to the unbelievable gyrations of our finances; America is falling down.
    This would be pretty grim, were it not for the fact that God certainly knows what is happening to America. It is no surprise to Him. In fact, I would state that God is most certainly allowing this to happen to America for His own purposes.
    If this is so, should Christians continue to fight the good fight? Of course – we are responsible to remain faithful to our calling. However, now may be a great time to do some serious thinking about our “calling”. Now may be a great time to seek God about why He is allowing this to happen. And now might be a great time to ask Him what His purposes are for this country.
    However, it’s hard to not be bitter as we watch our great nation fall into third-world status as the feeding frenzy begins in gross detail. We are like Humpty Dumpty – and the other nations who hold our money are not going to put us back together again – and we are in no position to put ourselves back together, in spite of the empty promises of our new king.
    Only God can put real life back in our country, and I believe He still desires to do so.
    The real issue is this: will we allow Him to do it?

    John


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    Fri, Jan 16th - 11:48AM

    What Happened When The Lights Came On



      Every now and then, but not often enough, the Holy Spirit turns on an additional bank of lights in my brain.  It is just as if the other half of a computer suddenly comes to life!  And is it ever exciting!  The closest I can come to describing it is when the disciples on the road to Emmaus exclaimed to each other (Luke 24:32), ‘Did not our heart(s) burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?’  For me, when that bank of lights kicks on, my heart burns within me.  But it’s also frustrating knowing I’ll have a tough time passing the fire on to anyone else, and I know you might struggle with this…

      So this morning, I woke up about 45 minutes before my alarm – and the lights inside my heart exploded!  I was so excited I shook.  My wife probably thinks I’m crazy, and maybe you do too, but I believe the Holy Spirit revealed a major key to me today, and I’ll do my best to tell about it accurately.

      The beginning to all this occurred the other day when I wrote about My Life, or Your’s?.  I tried to explain in that piece, that God put His very life inside of me when I was born again.

      The key lies in understanding that God’s Life living inside me, and My Life, of sin – are two entirely different entities.  

      Consequently, some familiar passages in Romans lit up for me.  For instance, I have always stumbled over Romans 7: 15-25, and Romans 6: 11.

      All these years I thought God would re-make my mind after His image.  This has always been a losing battle for me because I failed to see My Mind separately from His Mind.  I never saw many changes, either.  Now I realize if He wanted to change My Mind, I would have no need of His Mind, or His Life, inside.  The “New Birth” gave birth inside me to His Life and mind.  That’s where my real life resides.  [See: Colossians 3:3]

       This morning I realized I was dealing with two, mutually exclusive entities – My Life (of sin), and His Life (of grace).  I also understood that Paul was not being schizophrenic. Instead, he too, was describing two different entities operating inside of him, but without the key I described above, what he’s describing remains elusive and shrouded in mystery.

      When Paul said in Romans 6:11, ‘reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus..’, he was saying in effect, your natural life, as one entity, died with Christ – and – your new life in Christ, the other entity, was born at the new birth and now lives IN (or hidden inside) CHRIST JESUS.

      Am I making any sense here?  I hope so, but it’s difficult to explain. 

      What Paul was saying in Romans 7: 15-25 was concerning his personal struggle to live within and by the entity of his new life in God, rather than the entity of his old life – crucified (hence, dead) in Christ. 

      Don’t we all have the same problem?  Haven’t you cried out to God, like Paul, ‘O wretched man that I am!  Who will deliver me from (the entity of my old life) this body of death?’ 

      That’s why Paul answers his own cry when he thanks God in verse 25.  That’s why there is no condemnation to those who are IN Christ Jesus in 8:1.  And he goes on to tell us that he has been made free in 8:2.  At this point, it would be hard to overemphasize the word, ‘reckon’ in 6:11. 

      Overall, Paul is saying that our old lives died with Christ (see: 2 Cor. 5:17), and the lives we received through the new birth now lives inside of us. 

      Del Tackett, teaching in the Truth Project DVD series, asked a student to divide Infinity by 3 (or any other number).  The answer was always the same: Infinity divided by any number equals Infinity.  Then he asked the students if they had God living inside of them, how much of God did they have?  The answer of course – all of Him.  Doesn’t this help to explain why Jesus said we would do greater works than He did?  [See: John 14: 12]

      Shaking this all out, here are the remaining facts:  my old life is dead; that’s why it can’t be fixed, and my new life in Christ is alive.  My problem is the same as Paul’s; it’s hard to habituate myself to live day to day in my new life in Christ.  But as Paul says in Romans 6:11, we now have the power and authority to make the choice.

      By the way, this helps clarify why “The joy is missing”.  Joy is only available in the new life in Christ – there is no joy in deadness.

      See, once again, SIMPLY COMPLEX!

     

    John

     

     



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    Thu, Jan 15th - 5:32PM

    WhyGod Didn't Give The Jews Colorado



      Have you ever wondered why God gave the Jews the land of Canaan instead of something else?  Why not Colorado?  I know, it’s sort of funny, but I’m being serious.  Why not Colorado?  He could have, but He didn’t. 

      As I mulled over this thought on the way home today, I began to see some answers to this question.  I won’t claim to have seen them all – maybe He’ll show you some, too.  So here’s what I came up with:

     

    1. Colorado doesn’t have much of a desert wasteland handy nearby.

    2. Colorado is lush, most of the time, and stuff we can eat grows here.

    3. Colorado is not next door to a prosperous nation of idolaters, governed by a dictator.

    4. As far as we know, states adjacent to Colorado don’t hate us.

     

      There are no doubt, many I’ve missed, but let’s discuss some of these reasons.

      As we read the Old Testament record of the Jews, a cursory glance looks as if they were led to it by God through Abraham, who lied as soon as he arrived;  left for Egypt through Jacob, when Canaan dried up; left Egypt, where they apparently had food and water, and followed Moses into the desert next door, where they thought they had neither; then they wandered around for 40 years trying in vain to make a 2 week trip until all but 2 of them died; then they jostled their way back into the land God had promised them through unrelenting, constant, brutal warfare. 

      In short – God gave them Canaan because He understood in advance the adventure would be long, difficult, and would demand absolute soul-wrenching trust in Him, and there aren’t a lot of places in Colorado that would produce these necessary results.  No really!  And here’s why I think this all makes sense: the Jews were always more at risk in the backsliding department when they were prosperous.  It’s true!  And so are we.

      If you’re serious about getting closer and more intimate to the God of the universe, He will take you into your own tailor-made Canaan experience.  And when He does – you will hate it at first.  If you don’t learn which rocks will gush water for you, you will never stop hating it. (It only took the Jews 40 years!).

      However, if you learn enough faith and trust in God to actually see the incredible value of the journey, nothing will ever be able to stop you!  I never said the word, “fun”, only “valuable”.  Fun is an extra our God will provide in His time, because He understands how easily distracted we are.  But if we understand “fun” is an interlude, He’ll make us strong and give us Joy, which is not an interlude.

      I would encourage you to take the more difficult road – the traffic’s not nearly as heavy.

     

    John



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    Thu, Jan 15th - 12:03PM

    For Just Such A Time



     

      I suppose one of the reasons the bible is so incredible is the ability of God’s Spirit to “multi-apply” it.  This morning I was reading two diverse passages.  The first is John 14:6, where Jesus says: ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life.’  As I read this, the Spirit re-translated it into: ‘I am your way, your truth, and your (only) real life.’ 

      You know, the Spirit of God can re-translate anytime He wants.  Aren’t we blessed that He’s not as narrow minded as some bible colleges?

      The second scripture is found in Esther 4:14, and it says: ‘If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die.  Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?’

      And then the Spirit said that today, His church needs to understand that both of these passages apply to the Church – NOW.

      I don’t lightly claim to hear from God, and I know that to do so in error is a horrible misappropriation and misunderstanding of His holiness – but I tell you now – this message is from God, and it is for His church – NOW; today.

      Through our national and world events, God’s church is being given a call from Him to stand up and be counted.  God is real, not ritual.  He is unimaginably powerful, not weak.  He is forgiving, but not without cost.  He, in human form, voluntarily allowed Himself to be put to a horrible death, and this was costly in ways only He can understand. 

      Why is it that we view God’s forgiveness but are blinded to His justice?  He alone is Justice, just as He alone is Truth.

      And there is only one way for God’s church to make itself ready for these times – personal and corporate Repentance.  Oh, how we miss this reality.  I spent many decades blithely asking for God’s forgiveness for sins I wasn’t sure I believed in.  I felt duty-bound to ask, but my heart was too proud to even feel the sting of sin, much less the relief of His Grace.

      But now it is desperately imperative that each believer beg God to reveal the sting of the sin in their lives and their minds, and that we honestly and truly contritely seek God and His mercy. 

      Judgment is already beginning – in our nation, in our world, and in the church.  For those who truly believe and follow (two different things), right now is the time to get deadly serious about the real God and His faith. 

      In my view, we no longer have the comfortable option of using God and His Word as a spiritual insurance policy.

      Our test is on it’s way – and if we don’t pass the test – ‘deliverance and relief’ will arise from some other place.

      I don’t want to miss out.  Do you?

     

    John



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    Wed, Jan 14th - 5:16PM

    Habits



      Today I learned about habits.  I talked to two friends on the phone today and on both occasions got up on my “soapbox” about the (federal) government.  It’s safe to say that my love affair with the government ended before it began when I was in the army, almost 40 years ago – it’s gone downhill since then. 

      About an hour after my last phone call, Max (my golden retriever) and I went out to his hill so he could check out the bushes.  Checking these bushes is an important part of any successful day for Max, so we take a break and roam aimlessly together – he sniffing and me waiting for him to finish sniffing. 

      This is an interesting environment we live in.  Last week, Max’s hill was closed because a mountain lion had killed an elk on it, and was feeding on it.  Mind you, this is in the middle of town!  So this week, Max is in tall clover.

      On the way home, my mind was in some kind of neutral when the thought occurred to me that I was bitter; bitter about the government, and my bitterness was poisoning my relationship with God.  I’ve heard this before, but never quite so clearly, and I had to admit He was correct.  Immediately I began to think that when God sets up governments (and He does), they result either in blessing or judgment.  Further, God made it clear that no matter what I thought about the coming administration (judgment), bitterness was not my prerogative – carrying the weight of the government was not my job, and never would be.  Whereas, maintaining a healthy relationship with God was my only responsibility – regardless of the government.  And He made clear to me that no matter how justified I might be in my assessments, they should never feed into a relationship with Bitterness.  He told me that many years ago I had established habits of bitterness, and His lesson began.

      As I think about my standard menu of reactive habits, I am beginning to see a life characterized by them; bound and governed by them.  I see a life fenced in by habits, and not usually very good ones.  My menu of standard reactions has defined my personality in the eyes of everyone I know – even in my own eyes.  I’m always, “just that way”….

      I badly need to be free of all this, and right away!  And so, like the pot addressing the potter, I pray to God to make a way for me ‘where there seems to be no way’.  He’s good at that.  And if I let Him, He never fails.

      And in the middle of all this I know that I’m still free to disagree with the government; free to have an opinion – just not free to let it drive me into bitterness.  I am fed up with being a Bed and Breakfast for habits of bitterness.  And the gist of it always comes down to this:

      Anything that blocks out my relationship with God is my enemy – and His.

      And the day isn’t even over yet!

    John

     



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    Wed, Jan 14th - 11:48AM

    My Life, or Yours?



     

      I began my prayer this morning knowing that I had an agenda I wanted to bring before God.  That’s why I prayed.  And there was nothing wrong with bringing the request before Him, but it felt like “just business”.  Sometimes prayers are simply “just business”.  Doesn’t make them necessarily invalid, but they come from My Agenda, not His.

      After conducting business with the God of the Universe, the Holy Spirit very subtly entered in and began to set forth -  His Agenda.

       He was so subtle that I didn’t even realize what had happened until I was finished praying!  He really cracks me up!  It’s almost humorous how He takes me on a journey I had no intention of taking, and does so because He loves me enough to know I need to take it.  And afterward, rather than feel used or abused, I feel so honored and humbled that I was His guest on the journey, rather than the other way around.  When I pray according to My Agenda, it’s usually the other way around.

      Today, His Agenda was simply, My Life, or His?  My choice.  And I began to realize that all of the things I’ve always wanted from God; the things I don’t have; are still waiting for me in His Life = the life He has for me.  All these things are waiting for me while I spend 60+ years living My Life, wondering why My Life is so empty. 

      And as I prayed I found myself asking God to provide His Life, in place of the life I have given myself.  My Life has always been full of wants and desires, but short on fulfillment and satisfaction.  Yes, I know I should ask God for many things, and trust Him for them – but why should His Son die to validate My Life?  All those things I crave are waiting for me – safely tucked away in the life He has for me; in the life He redeemed me for.  That Life – not Mine.

      I should probably just end this right here, but I also want to acknowledge an aspect of God’s nature I have come to love, namely His unchangeable-ness.  (My spell checker is hating this piece!)

      I have daily moods that affect me like cloud cover affects the earth.  Every day I have to deal with myself, before I can make myself ready to deal with God.  I am so grateful and thankful forever that He is forever Unchangeable. 

      Several times lately I’ve been hearing about God and light – that there are no shadows around Him. 

      My prayer is that the life He will provide for me will have no shadows!

     

    John



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    Thu, Jan 8th - 4:18PM

    Animal Lesson



      I know the bible teaches us to ‘knock, and keep on knocking’, but there’s a fine line of demarcation between knocking and nagging, and I think it well that we know the difference.

    I had a fine object lesson in this difference today, while I was eating a piece of chicken for lunch.

      I currently have three cats and one dog.  My dog and one of the cats tend to sleep through my meals.  Of my remaining two cats, one begs without shame while the other stares at me from across the room and patiently waits (most of the time) for me to finish.  It’s hard to figure out who has trained who, but I usually give out a very small treat of whatever it is I’m eating to the cats. 

      Today, I analyzed which of the cats gets fed first – and most.  For me, it is the one who waits patiently and expectantly.  The nagging cat sometimes doesn’t get fed at all, because if I feed in response to the nagging, I’m teaching the cat to nag.  And as I watched this unfold today over lunch, I had a brief picture of God, and how He wants to give good gifts to us. 

      Am I suggesting we are not to keep knocking?  Not at all, but it’s important we learn when to knock and when it becomes prohibitive. 

      Of course, it’s always good to know if it’s God’s will for us to have what we ask for, but assuming we’ve  done our homework, we usually encounter four responses to our prayers:

    1. No
    2. Yes
    3. Yes, but not right this minute;    (a)knock awhile, or (b) wait patiently 

      Of the above responses, the No answer can be tough to hear – because I don’t want to hear it.  It may mean I miss-calculated God’s will for me, and I have to re-learn it.  It is however, and this is important, still an answer.

      The answer I like best is Yes, but in my experience it’s more of a rarity compared with the conditional versions.  I don’t want to accuse God of capriciously teasing me, but sometimes He wants me to keep knocking because it gives me time to decide how much I really want it.  Many times, I will be hammering the gates of heaven with my knocking and it will dawn on me that I really don’t want what I’m asking for, or more likely, have been asking for the wrong thing, or the right thing from the wrong motive.  If I’m knocking when I should be knocking, I will value the answer more when it finally arrives than I would have with a simple Yes. 

      The hardest of all for me, is the Yes (a or b) that drops me into a vacuum.  It comes across as, “Yes, but wait and trust God for it - in His timing.”  When I hear that, I know from experience that the answer will arrive when it seems overdue, and probably won’t arrive at all if I stop trusting.  While God’s timing is usually quite different from mine, it is always perfect.

      Today, my one cat begged, and got nothing; my other cat waited attentively, knowing (trusting)  that I always take care of him  – and got fed.  Long before I fed him, I reveled in his trust, and anticipated giving him my gift.  In the end, we both got satisfaction.

      In the midst of this, my dog just wanted to play.  No matter what is happening around him, he just wants to ignore the world around him and play.  It is his only focus.

      More about the dog later…

     

    John

     



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    Tue, Jan 6th - 12:00PM

    Resume



      Every day the financial crisis of the country, and the world, gets worse.  I guess it’s a down-cycle, but I don’t feel entirely comfortable thinking it will improve soon.  There really are no guarantees, history included.

      Consequently, I’ve become somewhat uncomfortable.  Lately, I’ve had more of an urge to pray to the God of history about my unrest.  I say “lately” because most of the time in the past I’ve just trusted that someone, somewhere, somehow, would take care of the things I take for granted in this country – because it’s always happened that way.  Now, I’m not so sure, and my confidence in man’s ingenuity is sinking fast.

      And then the other day I had a thought (unusual?!); I realized the God of the bible would have to apologize to Christians all over the world if he didn’t allow American Christians to also be tested. 

      I have mixed feelings about my thought.  First, I’m not sure it came from me, and second, what form will the testing take for us in this country?

      I can sense the spiritual polarization beginning to take place in this “Land of the Free”.  I believe God’s Spirit is afoot in our land, and He’s creating an urgency among us to choose sides.  Marginal Christians are feeling the fences they sit on digging into their backsides; non Christians are casting about for answers to life’s questions, or they are actively turning away and choosing against their Maker.  A lot of people are burying their heads in the sand, trying to make it all go away.  The great, gray-colored middle ground we’ve always enjoyed is shrinking every day, and without really focusing on the topic, something inside us knows it is shrinking.

      As the Joshua of the Old Testament once said, “Choose you this day who you will serve” – and all will serve someone.  I suppose that’s also the message of the Spirit as He removes our comforts and our securities – choose you this day who you will serve..

      Uncomfortable, isn't it?  And yet, I am also glad that the Spirit is in motion in our land.  It may be uncomfortable, but He’s a good God, and his plan calls for us to finally become comfortable IN HIM.  To add to my excitement, I know God never calls to action without empowering, and I want that.

      So today, I handed God my resume.  I want a job.  My resume included the facts that I have regularly failed Him, sometimes turned purposely away from Him, been an adulterer and murderer, at least in my heart, and without too much remorse – a sinner.  I sin because I’m a sinner.  All of this was on my resume.  I couldn’t find a way to keep it off. 

      And as I handed God my resume, I asked Him to heat up His branding iron and burn it into my soul.  I want to feel the brand, and I want it to scorch my soul with it’s heat.  I asked Him to burn me so I would never forget to whom I belong.  And then I asked for wisdom and power.

      I really have no idea how this will work out – maybe I’ve pushed the envelop this time.  I just don’t know, but I know this – He took the resume!

     

    John



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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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