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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

    Fri, May 28th - 10:51AM

    The Springs of Obedience



     

     Godly obedience springs from love, not duty. Obedience that springs from duty is the obligation of slaves. It is for each of us to judge which of the two motivates our obedience, but bear this in mind – we will naturally obey that which we love (John 14:21). And in those three sentences the Lord answered my prayer this morning: “Lord, speak to me”, and He did so almost before I prayed. 

     In a side note, I think the Lord often speaks to us, but he does so before we expect it, and therefore we are not yet ready to hear. We all know people, who because of their mental makeup and background, never seem to hear anything said directly to them, the first time it’s said. It is frustrating, and I’ve often wondered if we should preface everything we say to them with, “Are you ready to listen?” I have to confess, I’m most often this way with God, and I wonder how often He speaks to me before I hear Him. I’m thankful that He’s patient.

     Because we love Jesus, we keep His commands. Keeping commands in order to love Him, or to show that we love Him is backwards, and is like becoming pregnant to keep a marriage together – it’s just backwards, and doesn’t work. And it doesn’t work because the child is a child of duty, not love. Being backwards from God is the earmark of “Man’s wisdom.”

     Biblical obedience is explained in John 14:21 (above), and is further explained by Jesus in John 15:10 - If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.’ 

     In John 15:14-17, Jesus goes on to explain that obedience from love equals friendship with God, and in verse 16 He says that if this is the case, the Father will grant us whatever we ask. All of this chapter in John, from verse 1 through 17 is describing an upward spiral – and it is entirely conditional on the “If’s”.

     I mentioned in the opening paragraph that obedience from duty is the obligation of slaves. Jesus mentions this in the oblique in John 15:15, when He says that a slave doesn’t know what his master is doing. That’s because the slave doesn’t need to know, and indeed, has no right to know. Dutiful obedience is the end of the line for slaves, and their total function is perfected in dutiful obedience to their master. 

     But Jesus calls us “friends”, which in biblical times meant a lot more than being friendly. “Friend” in biblical times referred to an existing covenant relationship, and usually meant that both would willingly die for each other, as seen in the relationship between David and Jonathan in 1 Samuel 18:1.

     And so, in essence, we are covenant friends with Jesus and His Father (and the Holy Spirit), if we obey out of love. We are still slaves, hoping to be friends, if we obey out of duty. 

     In my opinion, it must be grievous to God that so many of His family are still stuck in slavery. 

     He died for so much more.

     

    John

     

     

     



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    Thu, May 27th - 11:22AM

    Mindset



     God is raising up a generation of warriors at this time. I am commissioned a warrior and a recruiter. While that last statement may seem arrogant to some, I only say it as a statement of fact; it is not something I’ve chosen for myself. As such, I am commissioned by God to have the authority to talk about mindset. Many reading these words will know that I am talking directly to you. Although the words come through me, they do not come from me, and if they are for you, pay attention.

     As with Gideon’s army, God’s army has always depended on those He set aside and called to the fight. As with Gideon’s army, God is not interested in how many serve, or how hard they “work” – rather, He is raising up those desperate to hear from Him, and 100% committed to unwavering loyalty and obedience. 

     Read in Judges 7:5-8, where God decreased Gideon’s men from an already anemic 10,000 troops to only 300. Do you see where He only chose those who brought the water to their mouths while reserving their vision for God? Just so, the army of warriors God is now raising up are those who will feed from the water of God’s word, but only as they keep their eyes on His face. He alone will provide the water, but only they will determine their focus. It is the only winning combination in this battle, anything else will result in loss.

     Someone once told me, “It is not the size of the dog in the fight that matters; what matters is the size of the fight in the dog.” Gideon’s 300 men trusted their very lives to the God they represented, and I’m sure each one of them fully realized that without God, they were soon to be dead men, irrespective of their loyalty and dedication. And that is mindset.

     Many want to leave the uplifting spiritual conferences and hit the streets running with the name of Jesus, but those that burn the hottest, the soonest, usually burn out. Look for them a few years later – where are they? They burned out because they entered the army without any intention of going through basic training. They wanted the combat ribbons without the mature, combat mindset. Basic training is wholly and completely the responsibility of the Holy Spirit – bypass Him to your peril.

     And while “Timing is everything”, to God’s warriors, ‘Our times are in Your hand’ – at all times. We do not take orders from any source other than our Commander in Chief. To even entertain any other source only empowers our enemy while weakening us. Every shadow occurs as a result to a blockage of the Light. 

     In this army, some are issued swords and stationed at the front lines, while others are assigned to the mess hall, or quartermaster’s Quonset. As King David decreed, (1 Samuel 30:9-24), those who watch the baggage share equally in the spoils; the point was, and is, they were all assigned tasks according to their abilities, and no task took precedence over any other. We cannot afford to look down our spiritual noses at those who stay home and pray in support, but neither can we ally ourselves with those who turn back from the fight. We cannot sacrifice our mindset for the comfort of others, because God is in charge of ‘renewing our minds’, and bad mindsets corrupt good ones.

     If you hear the call of God in this message, accept without reservation your commission. Also, accept the basic training, administered by the Holy Spirit in these tense and perilous times. Realize also, that the Holy Spirit will alone determine the battles you will fight, and the ones you will sit out while in active support. Everyone called has a part to play, and each part is vital.

     Please raise your right hands and throw your life away – to gain His.

     

    John

     

     



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    Tue, May 18th - 12:26PM

    His Joy



     In Nehemiah 8:10b, the Bible records these words: ‘Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.’ (NASB). 

     

     I’m not sure how it happened, but I always interpreted this verse to mean that I became spiritually stronger when I was joyful. Therefore, it followed that I was to put on a smiley face in all situations. In retrospect, I wonder if that’s honest. Aren't there some days the clouds cover us and everything looks dark? Am I honest when I plaster on a smiley face then? Frankly, I think it’s a dishonest denial of the facts, and unnecessary.

     I just got off the phone with a close friend of mine who called because her life began to unravel yesterday. By the time she called me, her future looked dark, and the devil was whispering thoughts of fear and recrimination into her head. She saw a possible pathway, but there was an element of deception involved in it, so she rejected that way – but now what? We mutually decided she should honor God by being totally truthful, and trust Him to put her life back together. It was not an easy decision for her, and would potentially subject her to more breakage prior to His reconstruction. 

     I underlined some words in the above quoted scripture. The truth exposed in this verse has nothing to do with my denial of reality by smiling through bad times. Instead, it means that when God is joyful, He will make me strong with His strength. And in the darkest of times, isn't that the kind of strength we need – His? 

     You know, anyone can praise God from the mountaintops, standing in the sunshine and soaking in the perfection – everyone’s a winner when there is no contest, but only a true child of God can stand in the dark, dangerous shadows, reject Satan’s whispers, and then purposely choose the course that will make God joyful. That’s when trust matters; that’s when praise sounds the sweetest to God. These are the expensive lessons, and they are the lessons that matter the most. These are the times that require nothing less than faith.

     Hebrews 11:1b says, ‘..the conviction of things not seen.’ It remains impossible for any of us to have real faith unless we know the will of God in the situation. That’s substantially and critically different from hoping His will coincides with ours – and only faith pleases God.

     So in essence, my friend chose to honor God by following the hardest, most dangerous looking course. And she chose it not because there weren't other options; she chose it precisely because it honored Him. And I have to say, choosing God’s way may not look sensible to the world, or even to us, but it makes Him joyful. 

     It may be temporarily difficult for my friend to see, but it is her great honor today to be able to honor the God of creation with her choice. And even if her choice results in more wreckage, I can testify to this:

      Never has God’s beauty been easier to see than when it reflects from the lives of His family, but those reflections are easiest to observe in contrast to darkness.

     

    John



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    Fri, May 14th - 11:49AM

    The Sound of Music



     If I were to strike a piano note, I have no doubt the instrument would uniformly and accurately sound the requested note. You and I would be able to agree we heard the same note, and both of us could identify what we heard by name. But would your ears hear exactly what my ears heard? I don't think so. And it’s just a guess, but I bet if we could switch ears for a repeated sounding, each of us would probably be amazed how different the same note sounded.

     In the same way, none of us really has any idea what God hears when we interact with Him. Does He only hear our audible, spoken words? No, because He also hears our thoughts and the intent of our hearts, but what do those sound like? They’re inaudible to us, but He hears them.

     For the last few days I’ve been thinking of Psalm 22:3, where it says in the King James Version, ‘But Thou art holy, O Thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.’ In the New American Standard Version it reads, ‘Yet You are holy, O You Who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel.’

     The word for “inhabitest” and “enthroned” is the Hebrew YASHAB, and among other various meanings in Strong’s, denotes ‘to dwell; have one’s abode; to remain or stay’. 

     My question is, what do our praises sound like to God? I think we are allowed a little margin for supposition, and within that margin I would propose that to God, our praises sound like music. And why not? In Revelation 5:8, the prayers of the saints are called ‘incense’. I think our praises affect all of God’s senses.

     God is an intimate God. He is much more intimate with His people than we come close to understanding. We make a big deal over how He wants to be included in our every day lives, but I think that’s a far cry from How “included” He wants to be – and already is. 

     In faith, His very blood flows in our veins, how intimate is that?! When you are “born” of someone, you necessarily share their blood, and we have become “born again”; born of His Spirit. Compared with that intimacy, our human-to-human intimacy pales, almost to the point of coldness.

     It does not matter at all how well we can sing, and while many of us can’t carry a tune in a bucket, it sounds good to God’s ears. We fill our homes, our cars and our workplaces with music – so does He. That’s really where we got the idea in the first place. You didn’t think Heaven was quiet, did you?

     God absolutely adores the praises of His people. He likes them so much He decided to live in them, and be enthroned upon them. He purposely gave us the freedom to praise Him no matter what our circumstances – it’s not about us – it’s about Him, and He is always worthy.

     You may not be able to sing well enough to please other people, but when you praise God, it’s the sound of music to His ears.

     

    John



    Comment (1)

    Wed, May 12th - 4:48PM

    Paralyzed Lions



     Yesterday I left my church; today I’m a pariah, and I suppose I’m writing this to relieve the pain. I don't know how I didn’t foresee the turmoil and personal cost my decision would create, and the backlash I would experience, but I’m blaming only myself. As usual, I probably should have found a better way to deal with the church issue. I really don't know if there was a better way to deal with the issue – maybe. I’m usually most blind when I think I see most clearly.

     My friends must feel like I rejected them personally, and nothing could be farther from the truth – but I am helpless to fix it now. In the past, I’ve received advice from people who advocated crawling to those we have wronged and tearfully begging; I’m not very good at that, and frankly, the whole idea leaves me with a bad taste. It’s the same taste I’d get in my soul when my dad would lose his temper while giving me a well deserved whipping. 

     Someone once told me that any parent who loses their temper while swinging a belt at a child’s rear end has slipped over a line marked Discipline on one side, and Child Abuse on the other, but I’m not sure that’s correct. Probably a better definition of abuse is when a parent uses violence as a means to self-gratify themselves in some sick, perverted way.

     Whichever, I deserved the whippings – no child ever earned them better, but I hated them most because I knew my dad would sneak sheepishly up to my room afterwards and apologize. I can't begin to explain how much that destroyed my respect for him. Right or wrong, I never loved my dad less than when he crawled sheepishly back to me after giving me a whipping I deserved.

     In the matter of my leaving my church, perhaps I filtered out God’s guidance and only believed what parts of it I was pre-disposed to hear; perhaps I heard validly from God and He asked me to walk a tough road, but the “Die was cast” when I hit the send button on my email yesterday, and history is not to be reversed.

     So today I’ve been beating myself up after a long night of doing the same. Did I do the right thing? Was my decision made at God’s direction? Will I ever know? I know my friends will forgive me, but will they ever trust me again? Probably not.

     Last night as I prayed into a vacant heaven, I realized that all I’ve ever wanted in my whole, entire life is more of Jesus Christ, Himself. And I ended what seemed like a fruitless session of one-way prayer by begging Him for a much more intimate relationship.

      Everything I’ve ever wanted, everything I’ve ever needed, the only reason my life has any value or reason for being, has been to acquire more of Him. Not His benefits, not His wisdom, not His gifts, not His understanding or any others of His perfections – just simply HIM. Everything resides IN HIM. It’s not complex. But since this relationship is a two-way street, and He also has perfect free will, will He let me in? That question torments me, but even as it does, I’m banking my life on it. What other choice do I have?

     Yesterday, I put myself on a moving train headed into an unknown future. I bought the ticket, I boarded the train and there is no way off. I am on for the duration of the ride. Perhaps I was the only one who didn’t know the train was moving? But it was moving, and it’s too late now to recall it back to the station. And I’ll miss my friends. I loved them, and didn’t want to leave them. That was never my intention. But they had no interest in getting on the same train, and today I fear we are far apart, and getting farther apart hour by hour.

     I can't begin to describe how lonely it is on this train. Lonely and frightening. My only hope, the only comforting thing I cling to, is that Jesus is the conductor, or if He wasn’t when I boarded it, maybe He is now. And in a miniscule way, I understand Jesus’ cry from the cross, but there is one notable difference:  years before I was born, Jesus promised not to leave me or forsake me. 

     And I’m staking my life on it being a vital difference.

     

    John

     

     



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    Wed, May 12th - 11:09AM

    The Key



     Across the world at this moment, groups of Christians are praying fervently for revival. As a citizen of the United States, a country broken and breaking daily, I can't think of a time in my life when revival has been more needed, in fact necessary, than right now. I’m writing this today because I believe God wants to send revival, and I think He will – but we need the key to unlock His power.

     Keeping apace with our conviction that a mighty revival is needed is the frustrating, even haunting fear that we need a key of some kind to unleash it. What is that key?

     For many typically evangelical Christians, the key is more and more prayer. Don't we just love to work at it? Across the country, indeed the globe, groups are hard at work bombarding the Throne Room with their cries for powerful revival. We repent and repent again, and resume the arduous task of intercession, but somewhere deep inside we hit a snag…we need the key. 

     Perhaps we’re not praying aright; perhaps we need to re-read Malachi and quit ‘robbing God’, but even as this traditional message is once again preached, we still hit the same snag. Where, oh where is revival? Doesn’t God hear our prayers?

     Well, because God told me in simple terms, I’ll pass it on…the key isn't an “it”, it is a “Him”; the key to unlock the flood of God’s blessings has never changed – but unfortunately, we have. As someone once observed, “If you feel far away from God, who moved?” The key is:  THE HOLY SPIRIT (in Person).

     Most of us know about the Holy Spirit, and pay Him recognition in our congregations when we blithely repeat the phrase, “Father, Son and Holy Ghost”, but then we go on to preach, teach and focus on the Father and Son (nothing wrong yet), but we shortchange the Holy Ghost.

     Perhaps we’ve been ignorantly ignorant of Him, or perhaps our belief systems don't focus on Him for their own reasons, but the fact remains the same throughout history – if you want revival, in addition to making yourself ready and willing, praying and fasting, repenting and focusing on pleasing God, you absolutely MUST purposefully and zealously make the Holy Spirit welcome; make room for Him; invite Him in – for all revival comes through Him.

     Just as He moved upon the surface of the waters, and brought life and order out of chaos, all life, i.e.: revival, comes through Him and by Him – it always has. There is simply no other key, period.

     Over thirty years ago it was my privilege to serve as an usher in several Kathyrn Kuhlman healing services held in downtown St. Louis. Ms. Kuhlman was a most interesting person. She was flamboyant on stage while maintaining an aura of incredible humility. At first, I found her manner irritating, and I had to work past the flamboyant presentation, but she was genuine.

     Ms. Kuhlman would come out on stage to a packed house (and packed sidewalks outside) with a grand wave of her arms. Then she would just talk. After awhile, just about the time I would give up on hearing anything said that was significant, the Holy Spirit would enter the auditorium. 

     His presence was unmistakable and electrifying! And as He entered, Ms. Kuhlman would stop talking and get very still. Not a sound could be heard. Suddenly she would say in an authoritative voice (much different from her “stage” voice), “Someone right there is being healed of cancer”, and she would point to a certain place in the crowd. She was very specific, and spoke as if she was actually seeing the Holy Spirit doing the work. These declarations went on for quite awhile, and then just as abruptly, she’d relax and resume her stage presence, “Isn't He wonderful!!??”, she’d say. 

     Someone once asked Ms. Kuhlman how she did it, and she replied, “I don't do anything, really. I just invite the Holy Spirit and talk until He shows up.” And for her, that summed up her entire “ministry”. She didn’t say any more about it. Simple.

     THE KEY YOU’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR IS THE PERSON OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. MAKE HIM WELCOME; INVITE HIM IN, AND YOU’LL GET YOUR REVIVAL.

     It’s that simple.

     



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    Tue, May 4th - 10:44AM

    The Basics



     With all the different looking architectural structures we see in America, the construction of most foundations remains pretty much the same. This is because foundations are basic, and most basics don't change. The shape of the foundations do change, and influence the top structures considerably, but most foundations remain rooted in the reality of the ground. To change the “rootedness” of the foundation would not only influence the shape of the top structure, but invite disaster, because on this planet only the ground is fastened down securely.

     In metaphor, America’s foundation is rooted in the God of the Bible, and because of the firm footing provided by this foundation, we traditionally have been able to offer asylum to different peoples from all over the world – on one condition – that they accept, and adhere to certain basic principles that spring from our foundation. No one is demanding they worship the Christian God in order to become Americans, but there is a requirement to adhere to the underlying principles that come from Him.

     Our physical borders have become more and more porous because we have allowed holes and erosion to occur to our spiritual foundation. We have been in the process of denying God for several generations, and slowly, incrementally, we have uprooted ourselves from our foundation in the process, casting our nation adrift.

     We thought we could chart our own course, but this arrogance mandated a foundational change. We wanted to tweak the upper structures of our society, but as we realized we would have to abandon our old foundation, we felt the necessity to build back a new in place of the old; one not based on biblical truth, but instead on secular truth. Today, we are seeing the outworking of that new foundation. As a nation, God can only be rejected for so long, and then the effects catch up to the cause. We are just beginning to see the effects today. Let me say that again: this is just the beginning.

     The unsustainable problems that are piling up on America nearly every day are upon us because of our decisions against God, or lack of decisions for Him. We have abandoned our God, and now He is demonstrating quite clearly through our daily events what the effects of that abandonment mean, and will continue to mean in our future.

     Countries have come and gone in history. Once mighty, unconquerable nations have walked across the stage of history and fallen off the other side into obscurity. The only way for us to avoid that fall would be to return to our original foundation that is based on the only eternal life force in the universe. 

     If we can't find our way back to our original foundation, there is no political answer for the problem. There is no fix to be found within either of our political parties – none. As long as our country is focused on self-determination without God, there will remain no political solutions. 

     The answer to all our national problems is very simple – just hard to accomplish. First, we have to acknowledge we were wrong to abandon the God who called this country into being; second, we must genuinely change our minds and consequently our direction (repentance), and head back in His direction, and third, we must only elect men and women who will hold to this course no matter what their personal sacrifices. 

     Tough decisions demand tough people who can maintain clear visions of our true foundation without being distracted from the course by other alternatives. Do these people still exist in America? Do they exist anywhere else? I don't know – most days it doesn’t seem like they do, but I do know one thing: if we don't fix the basic, underlying, foundational problems in this country and turn back to the only real God, the most we can hope for is to become just another poster child for national obscurity, no different from any other godless nation. This is not a Democratic/Republican, Liberal/Conservative issue – it is more basic, and more important.

     

    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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