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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, Jul 30th - 11:56AM

    Good Grief



     When I was growing up in St. Louis County (Missouri), all the kids I knew had  neighborhood boundaries.  Defined by streets, alleys and backyards, the boundaries were known by all the kids, and entry could be strictly enforced.  We didn’t use weapons to defend the integrity of our neighborhoods, just fists, and the police were almost never called by adult residents; after all, they were “adults”, and expected to exercise adult authority.  Normally, a phone call to the offending child’s parents would be akin to capital punishment!

      In my part of the county, in the 50’s, kids were commonly out riding bicycles throughout the community from dawn to dusk, and no one worried about them.  It truly was a “Mayberry” lifestyle, and we all took it for granted.  Wasn’t everywhere just like this?

      I had several friends in other neighborhoods, and I often would spend a good portion of summer days playing with them.  I had two friends my age in an adjacent neighborhood, and I remember one day in particular, when I had been playing all morning in their backyard.  At about noon, I suddenly became incredibly homesick.  The urge for me to return to my own neighborhood became an overwhelming compulsion – it was almost like I couldn’t breathe until I did. 

      I said goodbye to my friends and climbed the hill from their driveway to my own neighborhood, and as I topped the hill and entered my next door neighbor’s backyard, I was equally overwhelmed by an immediate sense of peace and well-being.  It felt like the sun had come out and was shining directly on me.  I might add that this homesickness never manifested itself again.

      I’ve always wondered what I was supposed to learn from this one-time event, and perhaps it’s just this: as Christians, the neighborhoods we live in now aren’t really HOME.  Someday we will return to our real home, and the Son will shine on each of us.  And when that happens, each of us may well leave grief behind in family and friends.

      Grief has always interested me.  I’ve experienced some of it, and it still remains shrouded in mystery.  Several years ago, a Christian friend of mine died suddenly, and although I look forward to seeing him again, and know that I will, and although the pain of his leaving doesn’t dig into me anymore, I still miss him every day. 

      I want to go home too, but I’m impressed by how this world clings to my mind and body like quicksand.  This natural life seems to possess a life of its own.  In truth, I’m not afraid of Death, but I fight fear when I wonder how I might Die.  Unfortunately, the possibilities are endless!

      Perhaps a small portion of our grief, like a wispy shadow, occurs in us because the Father also feels grief – after all, abandonment through death was never part of His original plan; abandonment is not in His nature. 

      And as He probably grieves for our temporary pain as we grieve our temporary losses, how severe His grief must be over one destined for eternal separation. 

      Maybe, as His life grows in us, we will one day begin to honestly grieve for the lost, as He does, and because only God is good, that’s good grief.

    John

     

     



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    Tue, Jul 28th - 1:31PM

    The Nesting Box



      The longer I observe the Creation, the more I realize it’s true: everything testifies to the Creator.  I don’t know what birds know about God, but I plainly see their testimony, and their testimony seems to be for our sakes.  I really don’t suppose the average bird wakes up and plans to testify for God, but I do know that the average bird does – plans or not.

      I have a nesting box hanging on my deck, and every year it is the home to a family of swallows.  About this time of year, the parents fly around collecting bugs, and they dive into the nesting box to feed them to the young.  As the parents dive through the hole in the front of the box, much chirping is heard from within, then the adult birds shoot out of the box and resume their search for more bugs. 

      This year, I’ve had the opportunity to observe these birds at length, and they are fascinating.  The parents are extremely active during every daylight hour, and the young never seem to stop feeding.  I’m beginning to feel sorry for the adults because they must be losing a lot of weight!

      Then this week, the babies of all this attention have begun to stick out of the hole in the box.  They look bigger than the adults!  Today, they are almost half their length out of the box, and they swivel their heads around and observe the world outside.  I can almost see their looks of amazement at the size and complexity of the real world!  I can also see their looks of excitement, mixed with fear.

      To complicate matters, I’ve noticed that in the last few days the parents haven’t been quite as attentive.  More often than not, they will fly up to nest, right in the face of the protruding baby, and show the bug – then they fly off with it!  Every now and then, they will deliver a bug into the waiting mouth, but not that often.  I can see that the babies are getting exasperated with the new arrangement.  It’s getting harder to find good service!

      Of course, as the babies spend more time hanging into the real world, they are getting more used to it, and I’ve seen them track bugs with their eyes – ones they could be catching.  What a huge menu! 

      Soon, maybe today, the babies will make the jump, and test their wings in the outside air.  Soon, they will be catching all the bugs they want, and as often as they like.  Soon, they will be totally all their Creator made them to be, and I’m rooting for them. 

      Like these baby birds, I’ve always wanted to “fly”, and like them, I’ve spent years being fed by others while I lived in fear of making the jump out of the nest.  When I was first a Christian, God answered all of my prayers – usually without delay.  I enjoyed “God on demand.”  But as time went by, I began to notice the service was slipping.  I think I progressed backwards from “God on demand” to “demanding God”.  Gradually, my prayers began to be seldom answered, or at least it seemed so to me. 

      Years passed, and I figured I should take a little of the self-focus out of my prayers, and this helped for awhile, but only temporarily.  Then, through illness, I learned I was always better off seeking the Giver rather than the gift.  Not that I didn’t need the gift, but I needed to seek the Giver instead, because in Him, all my needs are met.

      During this journey, I began to starve.  Not that the food wasn’t there, just that it wasn’t delivered with full service.  Smarter than the average bear, I finally realized I was way past ready to get my own food – what I was created to do. 

      And now I realize that if I choose to remain in the nesting box, I will indeed starve, but if I take a chance and trust the Creator, just maybe I really can fly and find my own food – anytime I want it.  What will you choose? 



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    Tue, Jul 28th - 11:33AM

    Courtroom Drama



      Remember the old line, “You can’t handle the truth”?  I believe we often live the truth of that statement, probably more often than not.  The “World’s” worldview has made giant inroads in all of us for most of our lives, and discerning God’s worldview can seem like looking for a needle in a haystack.  In fact, in our daily activities, seeing our world through God’s eyes is usually something we delegate to the preachers.  After all, it’s their “job”, isn't it?

      So picture this; you finally die and face Jesus, but surprise, He’s the Judge!  And all this time you thought He would only be the divine dispenser of hugs!  Imagine asking yourself this question, as you grovel in the blinding light of His presence: “Where’s the preacher?”  You’re all alone with the Judge; pretty scary.

      Now, explain to Him why you delegated your spiritual obligations to someone else.  Explain why you (honestly?) thought the Gifts of the Spirit, like that pesky “tongues” thing, did not pertain to you, because the church got off the ground floor years ago and Scripture was already canonized before you came along.  (Oh dear, your  professors aren’t standing next to you either!) You might just as well be totally honest and explain to Him why you thought He had changed, considering He told you specifically He changes not. 

      Well, as long as you’re digging a hole, go on and explain to Him that even though you always believed in the inerrancy of Holy Scripture – always said it was “God breathed”, you much “preferred” the Great Commission version in the book of Matthew, over the one in the book of Mark, chapter 16: 17-18.  In fact, you never even mentioned the Mark version – not once.  Oops! (Bet you thought that version was stuck in there just to make sense of the Pentecostals)!  Well, your reasons might make sense to you now, but will they make sense to the Judge, then?  Not likely, I think.

      Let’s get down to the ground floor – don’t we really pick and choose our way through God’s Word?  The more professionally educated amongst us pick and choose differently than the rest of us – that’s why they’re “special”, and we can trust them to teach us – but we all do it, don’t we? 

      Just like the “selective hearing” skill husbands and wives practice on each other, we pick and choose parts of Scripture that we find comfortable or comforting, to the exclusion of other parts.  We systematically exclude parts of Scripture that make us feel convicted or uncomfortable, or parts we just don’t understand, or frankly, parts we don’t agree with at all (even though we don’t admit it to ourselves).  And don’t we secretly think that God, being Who He is, will understand?  Sure you do.  We all do, to some degree.

      One thing I’ve learned while hiking in the Rocky Mountains: it’s better to take the hard, uphill part of the  trail at the beginning of the hike, rather than the easy downhill trail.  I have more energy at the beginning, and when I’m tired on the backside of the hike, it’s all downhill.  No cranial giant here; just works that way every time, and our individual journeys with God are just like that hike. 

      Do you really think the main reason God created you was because He was short one businessman, or one real estate agent, etc.?  

      My advice is simple: face God now, today, everyday, while we still have a choice.  He loves us more than any of us will ever understand, but right now, while we yet live, is the only time we get to prep for our courtroom appearance, and it’s a hearing none of us will miss.

      Hugs come later.

     

    John



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    Wed, Jul 22nd - 12:28PM

    Confession



      We are all familiar with the well known K.I.S.S. Principle, aren’t we?  You know: “Keep It Simple, Stupid”?  It’s right up there with “Murphy’s Law”.

      I’ve often run across the daily “confessions” of men of God, and they range from a few paragraphs to several condensed pages.  These confessions are intended to bolster the individual believer in his or her faith by verbally proclaiming the Truth in their daily lives, and the participating believers are encouraged to read the confession out loud, every day – proclaiming God’s truth about their lives to the enemy. 

      Now, I’m not criticizing the authors or the content of these daily faith-building tools.  In fact, they are a good idea.  My only complaint is that they are usually too complicated to remember, and must be read.  Still nothing wrong, but you know how “routine” daily things become, and almost immediately. 

      So I’m proposing something much simpler; something we all can understand and remember easily.

      Accordingly, here’s my Confession – intended to be recited in prayer to the One who gave it:

    “YOU ARE MY KING.  I WILL HAVE NO OTHER.  NOT EVEN ME

      That’s it.  It meets the K.I.S.S. Principle as well as the test of Scriptural doctrine.  I don’t have to read it; it’s uncomplicated; covers all the bases, and can be recited all day in my head. 

      And since I don’t own it, please make it your own.  Today, it is my gift to you.

    John

     

     

     

     

     



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    Wed, Jul 22nd - 10:46AM

    What Last Battle?



      At the recommendation of a relative, I recently read the book, The Final Quest, by Rick Joyner.  I realize there are way too many good books to read all of them, but I would highly recommend this one as a priority. 

      As I see it, the real value of this book is not to be found in the believability of the venue (visions and dreams), but in the raw insight into the Word of God that it presents.  This is meat that is, in my opinion, 100% lean. 

      The contextual setting of the book is “The Last Battle”, which raised a question with me – other than a vague, spiritual impression, exactly what is the Last Battle, and what does/will it look like when it occurs?  C. S. Lewis also wrote about the topic in his well known Narnia series, but from an earthly, day by day perspective, what will this battle look like to you and me?

      I would suggest that The Last Battle is not only upon us, but in full swing right now.  And, as most Christians will recognize, the battle is for the hearts of men before the actual, physical return of the Lord Jesus Christ.

      Secular and Christian alike will find common understanding, in any coffee shop in America, that the polarization of darkness and light is quite evident in the world we live in.  Pick a total stranger and ask, “Does it seem to you that the quantity and pace of evil in the world is exponentially increasing?”, and the answer will almost always be, “Yes.” 

      Any casual glance at what passes for “news” attests that the gloves have come off, and the combatants have ceased to shadow-box.  You and I are watching the Last Battle right now, fought out on many fronts and without mercy.  As the wounded and dying pile up, I believe we, as Christians, are being given a stern message from the Holy Spirit – “Stop ‘watching’ and get involved, while you still can!”  The Commander in Chief doesn’t need any more ‘watchers’.

      I mentioned many fronts, and this would include the areas of government, education, abortion, religion, and more.  Often, Christians are caught up in confusion over the fronts because they are presented as separate, complicated issues that may, or may not appear to be inter-related.  I propose this with emphasis: they are all related, and they are not complicated. 

      Reduced to their common denominators, any of these issues are only mini-battles of The Last Battle; simply Good versus Evil, or more commonly, the response of a few good to the onslaught of the evil invasion which is aggressively, and apparently successfully, over-running our world today.

      To Christians, who are being pushed out of the comfort zones of the rear areas and into the front lines, I would say this: trust your Commander to place you where you are most needed on the field.  If it is within the raging battle over government, or any other position – abandon yourself to Him and to the fight, for the fight is His.

      I would also give a stern warning: the only thing Christians can do wrong is to do nothing, and they will face a most severe Judge. 

      There absolutely is no such thing as “Welfare Christianity” or “Workman’s Comp” in this battle.  It is strictly a Family affair, and if you are indeed in the Family – the Last Battle has come to you, and if you don’t fight, God have mercy on you – the Enemy won’t.

      Get involved, with all your heart, while you still can, but realize this also: you can’t win if you take your eyes off the Commander in Chief.  Your union with Him provides victory; anything else is total defeat.

      Now get involved!

     

    John



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    Tue, Jul 21st - 3:52PM

    Acceptable Sins



      So here’s the dilemma – I have several courses of action to choose from, and as I see it from here, only several.  Now, all the courses of action are “technically” wrong (read: “sin”), but one is “better” than the others.  I feel I must choose which path to follow, and quit vacillating between them, so I begin to pray for God’s guidance.  Why don’t I hear from God on which option to choose?

      Of course, my first recourse is to assume God will choose one over the others, and let me know which, but the more I pray, the more Confusion I fall into.  In fact, the more I pray, it seems I’m more alone and even more confused than when I first began to pray. 

      Soon, Confusion itself begins to imprint my life, and I’ve become known for being unable to make up my mind.  My life is tossed and lost at sea, and the more multi-faceted it becomes, the more multi-faceted my confusion. 

      My second reaction is to assume God wants me to make up my own mind, and really doesn’t care which option I choose.  Of course, this is all wrong, but why don’t I hear from Him?  Doesn’t He care?  And so I am somewhat comforted by thinking that He will let me know what to do when it suits Him.  I wait, but I get more confused….  Good of me to “wait on God”, isn't it?

      It is at this point that congratulations are in order.  Here I am, a finite person, and I have tied God in knots.  Well, not really, but can I expect Him to choose a course of action for me when all the options are SIN?  Even if one course is “less” sinful than the others, is it reasonable for me to think God would choose any kind of sin for me?

      To sum up, here’s what happened:

    • I’m trapped in sin because of my own bad choices, and

    • I want God to get me out of it, but

    • I don’t want to dump it all out of my life because then I will have no options.

    • If I put my foot down and throw out ALL the sin in my life, can God be trusted to replace the garbage with righteous choices?  (But wait,

    • Didn’t He do that when I was born again?)

      The fix:

    • Recognizing that God loves me and will always choose what is best for me,

    • I choose to trust Him as I systematically and ruthlessly root out all the sin I know about in my life (no matter how innocuous it may seem by comparison with my other choices); confess it as such, and get rid of it.**

    • Then, I’m going to tell the spirit of Confusion to take a hike and then,

    • Trust God to reveal His guidance for me.

    • It is at this point that my clouds should begin to part, as I keep my worship where it belongs.

      So now, everyone has a part to play…God’s part is to lead and guide; but my part is to prepare the stage of my life so that He can do His part.  If I truly like the sin in my life, I will get to keep it, and the confusion.  Like Derek Prince used to say, “Even God will not deliver you from your friends.”

     

    ** When I purposely choose sin (in any magnitude) over God, I choose against Him and for the devil.  Technically, I have become an Idolater.   Confusion is just one of the “rewards” of doing business with the devil.  It could be a lot worse…and if I don’t come down on God’s side – it will be.

     

     

    John



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    Thu, Jul 2nd - 10:56AM

    Irreducible Complexity



      Dr. Del Tackett, in the incredible DVD series known as The Truth Project (available from Focus On The Family at http://www.thetruthproject.org) teaches about the concept of Irreducible Complexity.  In his application, Dr. Tackett talks about the reduction of an organism to it’s most simplified form, beyond which it can not be further simplified and continue to exist.  So, within the bounds of irreducible complexity, what is Christianity? 

      If all the decorum, traditions and diverse peripherals are subtracted, what is at the core of Christianity, beyond which it can not go and exist?  I submit it is this: HIS LIFE FOR ME; MY LIFE FOR HIM.  I believe that is the heart of Christianity, and as He once said to me, “You must guard your heart.”  In effect, after all the subtractions, we end up with a relationship – but a relationship from which every facet of our lives are rooted.  It’s an unholy irony that most of us tend to root our lives in the peripherals.

      One of my favorite books this year has been Watchman Nee’s, The Normal Christian Life.  After devouring the book from front to back while filling it with notes, the overall message seemed to be, you guessed it, ‘His Life For Me; My Life For Him’.  Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it?  But try living it!

      In nearly every area of our lives we are encouraged to “take inventory” from time to time.  From retirement plans, investment portfolios, job goals, personal goals and even our marriages, taking inventory is an essential ingredient.  Many expensive public speakers fly all over the world teaching audiences the value of taking inventory and adjusting goals accordingly – yet all these things are rooted in a world and  a world system that is passing away, i.e., dying.  Why is it that so many “professing” Christians in America rank God first on their list of priorities but live their lives with Him not even in sight?

      We will sit next to strangers and feel comfortable exchanging the intimate details of our lives, but be uncomfortable discussing God.  I guess we are more comfortable talking intimately about things that don’t really matter than we are about the one thing that does. 

      From pulpits across the land we are encouraged to “witness”, and some fine churches have been built on witnessing programs, but don’t most of us feel that witnessing is what we pay the Pastor to do?  Isn't he paid to be the representative of our faith (instead of us)?

      Another (possible) cop-out is the “how we live our lives” version of witnessing.  You know what I mean; it’s the version that teaches if we live good, outstanding Christian lives, our friends and neighbors will eventually come to us asking what makes us so joyful/hopeful…whatever.  And sometimes this actually works – eventually.  But do we have the time, and the ‘commission’ to wait for “eventually”? 

      I believe both of these witnessing tactics miss the real point.  I think both are based on the belief that He sacrificed His life to make our lives better.  Sorry, that’s not necessarily Christianity, and in fact can be some sort of Christian Humanism… .

      Real Christianity works like this: He gave His life so that with our consent, He could live His life through ours.  Just as the Son of God was ‘brought forth’ by His Father, He is asking us to let His life ‘come forth’ through ours.  That’s what the New Birth is all about – a new life (His) in us.  The bible states it succinctly:

     

      I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me…’ (Gal 2:20a, NLT).

     

      Now that’s irreducible!!    



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    Wed, Jul 1st - 12:46PM

    Talk About Communication



     

      A close friend of mine recently told me that so-and-so was the “love of her life”, and followed up by telling me that he always gave her days to have her own space.  Didn’t sound like love to me….  Barring prevalent dis-functionality, if you have children that you love with all your heart, would you be happier seeing them only three days a week?  I doubt it.

      Let’s take this a step further.  The bible tells us that love is God’s very nature.  In fact it credits God with being Love.  The fact of His love for mankind is uncontestable, so why is it that people think it so unusual when God communicates with them?  Does it make sense that He’s satisfied to communicate with the apex of His creation infrequently?  Frankly, it makes more sense that the apex of His creation just doesn’t expect to hear from Him and have forgotten how to listen for His voice.

      Since we’ve been accustomed to talking to God only when we get in over our heads, and then, only a one-way basis, is it any wonder we forgot how to listen to Him?  But let’s face it, God doesn’t seem too concerned for our sensitive natures when He communicates His Truth to us….

      1 Kings 17: 4-6 is the record of God communicating with His birds, so we know He is, and remains, in intimate touch with His creation.  We also know through scripture that God doesn’t change.  So if mankind doesn’t hear from Him on a regular basis – who moved?

      It strikes me as odd that animals talk little and communicate much, while man talks too much and struggles to communicate.  We didn’t learn that from God, but we certainly did learn it.

      It doesn’t take much of a cranial giant to recognize that now, more than ever, we need to hear from God.  God has very detailed plans for each Christian life, but are we seeking Him earnestly, or at all?  Aren’t we instead bombarding Heaven with our perceived needs (wants), as if He has no idea what we need?

      Let’s turn it inside out and backwards – so often helpful in discovering God in our lives, and ask this:  What does God want from Christians?  What does God want from your individual life? 

      If you are like most believers, you only have a general idea at best.  I believe it’s time for all of us to hammer Heaven with this request:  Why did You create me, and what specifically do You want from me?  And another: Exactly how can I serve You today – right now?

      If He can talk to the ravens, and Balaam’s donkey, can't He get through to us? 

    Remember – not hearing from God doesn’t make you Special.

     

    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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