Canaans Rest

Canaan’s Rest represents a quiet place “set apart” for the purpose of hearing God's voice, growing in intimacy with the Lord, and being renewed in soul and spirit.

Entering Mission Territory

These were the words of Arthur Brooks, in his address at the 68th National Prayer Breakfast.  He asked the audience to imagine a sign above the door reading, “You are Now Entering Mission Territory.”  He was encouraging biblical love amid what he called a nationwide, “crisis of contempt and polarization.” He noted, “contempt is ripping our country apart.” 

Brooks, who described himself as a “follower of Jesus,” reminded listeners that Jesus taught us to love God and to love each other.  Today,” he observed “the biggest crisis facing our nation and many other nations [is] the crisis of contempt and polarization that’s tearing our societies apart.”

In our cultural crisis, Brooks called for “moral courage,” which he defines not as, “standing up to those with whom you disagree…..[its] standing up to those with whom you agree on behalf of those with whom you disagree.”  I want to recommend this suggestion to the readers of this blog.

Men, we need to stand together in our desire to love our enemies.  Brooks thinks that talk of civility and tolerance is not enough, “because civility and tolerance are a low standard.”  Jesus didn’t say “tolerate your enemies.”  He said, “love your enemies.”  Our calling as followers of Jesus is to answer hate with love.  To do this is to be “subversive and counter-intuitive” in a culture that is getting more polarized.

Brooks give us men three pieces of advise.  May we pick up the mantle and take the lead in following his advice.  First,”ask God to give you the strength to do this hard thing, to go against your human nature, to follow Jesus’ teaching.”  Brooks encourages us to ask God to “take political contempt from your heart.”  If it’s to hard, you might have to fake it for a time.

Secondly, “make a commitment to someone else to reject contempt.”  We are going to have disagreements.  Brooks calls it “the competition of ideas.”  There will  be times when we need somebody to hold us accountable.

Thirdly, “go out looking for contempt.”  Why?  I love what Brooks had to say.  May this burn into the souls of godly men. “Because when people treat you with hatred and you answer with love, you change the country.  It’s like being a missionary.  This is your opportunity to show people what leadership is all about.  Run toward the darkness, bring your light.”

Notice what Brooks says about leadership.  Men, it take moral courage to stand for what you know is right.  You will be hated and misunderstood.  We need to be able to take the arrows?  Yes! Brooks encourages us to “run toward the darkness.”  Why?  Because we have the light.

Interestingly, President Trump who was in attendance, after hearing Mr. Brooks remarks, seemed to go off-script at the end of his remarks and had this to say. “I’m sorry, I apologize.  I’m trying to learn,” he said, appearing to return to the question posed by Brooks.  “When they impeach you for nothing, you’re supposed to like them?  It’s not easy, folks.  I’m doing my best.”  

Men, I include this remark from our president, as a strong reminder to pray for our president.  We are strongly encouraged to do so. “The first thing I want you to do is pray.  Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know.  Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well…” (I Tim 2:1-3 – Message).






Curled Up

Men, I am learning more and more to live in the darkness.  I love the Michael W. Smith song,  “Light to You.”  It is based on Ps.139: 11-12, “If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is a light to you.”

Darkness will descends upon us in our walk with the Lord, when we find ourselves in circumstances in which we are not able find a solution for the lack of peace and “the heaviness of soul.”  Our effort and understanding will not produce any lasting results.  There will not seem to be a way out.  Let me tell you, God is in the very center of what is going on if your desire is to know God

For me it has gotten to the point, where I just want to go away and hide from reality.  I am confessing to you men that it is similar to a little boy curling up in the womb living in self pity.  I testify to you men that the darkness has been significant lately. 

I am so thankful for those who have helped me integrate more of the teaching of St John of the Cross in my walk with Jesus.  He informs us that “faith is like a ray of darkness.”  I read that years ago and it made little sense to me.  Now I am starting to get.  I am learning to trust God in the darkness.  I hope it is an encouragement to a brother reading this post.

The key is what I desire.  I desire God more then anything else.  Desire takes me beyond my thinking and doing.  I have come to the understanding that God loves me unconditionally.  I do not say that lightly.  To come to such a confession has meant being able to surrender and trust God’s goodness. 

The key lately has been allowing the love of God to penetrate into the deeper parts of my soul; what St John calls “the caverns of the soul.”  It is there that I can be found curled up in a womb-like position out of fear, filled with self pity as to what is going on in my every day life.

I testify to you men that there is nothing I can do accept receive God’s love for me.  Since I don’t understand what is going on nor can I fix my condition, it is really a “ray of darkness.”

Why is it darkness?  God’s light is so bright that it overwhelms my understanding of what is going on.  I just have to let it happen.  By being open and willing to receive I create space for God to enter and bring healing.

I know today as I write this blog, that the Lord is bringing new healing to the “caverns of my soul.”  My advice is as follows: First, desire God above all things in our life.  Second, open your heart to receive the love of God, thus making space for his presence to bring healing to your “wound.”  Thirdly, accept the darkness.  Faith is like a “ray of darkness” doing God’s healing work in your soul.

Then remember your desire to want to be free.  Only God can bring you lasting freedom from your bondage and brokenness.  At this moment I testify to you that I can celebrate the freedom that He has given me.  I don’t want to go back to depending on my attempts to patch up my wounded soul.  



Follow the lamb

Here is one more blog on the book of Revelation (note: not Revelations).  It was written to the “seven churches in the province of Asia” (Rev 1:4).  At the end of the first century, Christianity was a tiny minority, a movement considered to be a splinter group of Judaism. Try to image yourself committed to one of those small churches, wanting to spiritually flourish in the mighty Roman Empire.  You would be living in an indifferent and sometimes hostile environment, with the increasing pressure to worship the Emperor of Rome.  

The Empire was the undisputed ruler of the known world.  Roman civilization was impressive.  There were signs of its glory everywhere.  There were treasures of art and architecture to be seen along with magnificent temples that held lavish ceremonies.  Rome had a matchless legal and political organization, all of which was protected by a huge and mighty army proud of all its victories.  

Confronted with such an imposing and well organized society and culture could easily intimidate members of the young churches, causing some to question whether following Jesus was realistic. Revelation was written to help those committed to Jesus to be assured that they would be victorious, especially as the persecution increased.

The visions and symbols of the book were meant to stimulate the imagination of believers to see the spiritual reality, one more real than their daily life in the Empire.  It was intended to say, “things are not the way they seem.”  The book as one observer noted was, “a kind of  ‘therapy’ for believers who were in danger of being blinded and deafened by the environment in which they lived.” One such symbol is the Lamb.

 In Revelation the Roman Empire is portrayed as a great prostitute with her seductive powers of adultery and idolatry.  But heaven declares that mighty Rome has fallen.  “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the Great…For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries.  The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries” (Rev 18:2a, 3)

It is Jesus, the lamb of God that defeats the forces of darkness.  We read in Rev 17:14, “They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of Lords and King of Kings.” In heaven they rejoice, “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise” (Rev 5:12).  

All of heaven rejoices and shouts out in victory.  God, “has condemned the great prostitute who corrupted the earth by her adulteries. He has avenged on her the blood of his servants” (Rev 19:2).  Then an angel tells John, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!'” (Rev 19:7).  And the angel added, “These are true words of God” (Rev 19:9)

Men, the seductive power of our culture which is similar to Babylon is indeed seductive.  It has caused many men to compromise.  Many men in our churches live in a kind of spiritual stupor because of the influence of the harlot.

Like the Moravians, whose spiritual cry was “to follow the lamb,” I challenge each of you to be a follower of the Lamb.  May this be said of us, “These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure.  They follow the Lamb wherever he goes.  They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb.  No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless” (Rev.14:4).  



Behold, I am coming soon

These are words from the book of Revelation. I have been studying Revelation for the last couple of months, while teaching the adult Sunday School class at my church.  One can be overwhelmed by the various interpretations of all the symbols and visions.  But this could be a trick of the enemy to keep believers from this unique book.    I hold unto the promise in 1:3, “Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.”

The cry of my heart for some time has been, “Lord, what are you saying to the prophets.”  My contention is that the days ahead will be darker for followers of Jesus.  This was certainly true for the young church in the first century during the reign of the mighty Roman Empire.

But we know this: 1) We have the word of truth in Scripture, 2) Jesus is Lord over history  3) We reign with Jesus in his kingdom and 4) God speaks to his people through the prophets. The Revelation tells us not to be afraid. “Do not be afraid.  I am the First and the Last.  I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever!  And I hold the keys of death and Hades” (Rev. 1:18).

The first century followers of Jesus eagerly awaited for the return of Jesus. They firmly believed the reign of Christ on the earth was more certain the the victory of evil.  The book is meant to give hope to the followers of Jesus.  One author observed, “Revelation touches at the point of our despair, our world-weariness, our future shock, our fear of persecution, our collaboration with an anti-Christ society.  It is quite possibly the most relevant book of the Bible for this moment in history.”  

Here are four reasons why we should be acquainted with the message of Revelation. First, We learn how to live in a post-Christian culture.  The small churches in Asia Minor faced external persecution from a hostile culture that had a seductive influence.  The churches had to also combat lethargy in its midst.  We too, can be attracted to the culture, tempted by its life-style and thinking.

Secondly, Revelation unmasks the powers of darkness.  It opens the curtain so we can see what is taking place in the spiritual realm, alerting us as to how the powers of darkness tempt us and fight against us.  Thirdly, we can celebrate the victory of Jesus, as Lord and King.  The  wonderful worship in Revelation declares the victory obtained for us through the blood of Jesus (5:9).  We are able to see ourselves as overcomers in Jesus, even though it might not seem that way at times.

Fourthly, Revelation helps us to see beyond this world.  Revelation give us a wonderful vision of the new heaven and new earth.  Because we tend to easily focused on the “here and now,” we need to embrace the compelling vision of our final home and destination prepared for us by Jesus  Fifthly, we gain the assurance of God’s sovereign control.  Revelation helps us to understand that God is still in control of a world that seems to be spinning out of control.

So do your self a favor.  Read the Revelation of Jesus.  Ask God for guidance and discernment.  One of the promises of Revelation should be an encouragement to to you. “Behold, I am coming soon!  Blessed is he who keeps the words of this prophecy in this book” (Rev 22:7).    


Kneeling in Prayer

You might assume  I am writing a blog about some good experience I’ve had in my prayer life.  But that is not the case.  I am writing to tell of an experience I recently had with my wife and sister, as I knelt in prayer before them.  It certainly went against my natural inclinations as a man. 

I use myself as an example of what is typical of men in their spiritual life.  We have difficulty being vulnerable, not being able to “fix” what is wrong in our spiritual walk.  It is hard for us to admit that we have needs, especially to other women.  There comes a time when we are meant to let go, stop managing our spiritual life and simply surrender to God’s love for us, by crying out for mercy.

This was the case in my life, when my only sister came for a visit.  There are only the two of us.  Ann Marie is three years younger then myself.  I am very thankful for how our relationship has grown in these last years.  She is an understanding and very perceptive person.

I have had some spiritual struggles, that I finally was able to admit to her.  This was not easy as the older, “spiritual,” pastor brother.  I had to admit how needy I was to my younger sister.  She was able to pinpoint my dilemma as that of being anxious. It seemed to her, that I was manifesting some of the same traits that our father had when he was my age.  I didn’t like what I was hearing.  

So I had to digest what I was receiving in a very loving and concerned manner from my wife and sister.  Both They both agreed that I was struggling with anxiety.  As I was on my prayer walk alone, I sensed that I needed to humble myself before both my wife and sister, by kneeling at the couch, so that they could pray for me. 

Now this was not easy for me to do.  But I knew God wanted me to do this so that I could get some release from what was going on in my soul.  I knelt and confessed my sin of unbelief and my inability to get out of the spiritual slump I was experiencing.  Then I asked them to lay hands on me and pray. 

I can report that I have gotten some release from inner darkness, along with a freedom to avoid being curled up within, focused on my need rather than trusting Jesus to carry me.  It will continue to be a process. But I can testify that when I humbled myself before them and asked for prayer, something got released within my soul so I could gain a new perspective on my journey.

The main reason for writing about this prayer experience is the comment that my sister made after our prayer.  She said something to this effect: “I wish more men would do what you have done.”  I was surprised at her comment

Again it demonstrates how God can use our weakness, to be our strength.  At the end of Jesus parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, Jesus says of the tax collector who cried out for God to be merciful to him as a sinner, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 18:14).  

My advice – don’t resist humbling yourself and seeking help for spiritual needs and struggles, particularly from women who love you. 





Another Beer Ad

Have you see the Dos Equis beer ad when you have been watching sports on TV?  It’s the one with three guys in an old row boat fishing.  A dad, son and a grandfather are sharing time together.

The father goes into the ice chest and pulls out two Dos Equis beers.  The dad, trying to be serious, says to his son, “Son, I need to tell you something.”  The young son responds, “What is it, Dad?” In a rather sober tone the father says to his son, as he looks at a label the bottle of beer, “If you have any question call 1-877-522-5001.”  The son, encouraged by that bit of advice, says in a heartfelt manner, “Dad, I’ve always wanted to hear you say that.”  The grandfather, having heard the exchange, adds his two-cents with, “I wish my Dad would have said that to me.” 

The beer ad ends by a voice encouraging the viewers of the ad the make father and son times specially by having a Dos Equis beer.  That’s it!  Forget any heart to heart conversation between men.  If you have any question call the number.  I called the number and hung up.  It’s the beer company.  I wonder what kind of wisdom they have for  men and their masculinity.

The ad, in my opinion, touches a nerve in the souls of many men.  It exposes the wound in the soul of men; that of an absent father. Why else would a beer company spend valuable advertising unless they got the attention of men.  I know they got mine. 

The tone of the conversation, in the fishing boat, was meant to be sober and reflective.  It is saying in a back handed way, “Men, we have a problem.  We don’t know how to deal with the real issues of the heart.  The best thing to do is call the beer company and then go out a enjoy a beer together.”

The ad actually makes me mad.  Communication of the heart between father and son is a vital.  Here it is made to seem trivial.  Instead of the soul talk that a young man with father hunger so desperately needs, we have a grandfather living with regret and a Dad failing miserably to share with his son.

Thomas Wolfe, writing about the search for father, observes, “the deepest search in life…..the thing that in one way or another was central to all living was man’s search to find a father, not merely the father of his flesh, not merely the lost father of his youth, but the image of a strength and wisdom external to his need and superior to his hunger, to which the belief and power of his own life could be united.”

My take on the ad – Grandfather and father missed a wonderful chance to speak life into a young man soul.  Their own lack of fathering didn’t allow them to pass on masculinity.  They had neither the words or the courage to go “below the surface.” That is the crisis of our day among men.  They have not been fathered, so they cannot pass on a healthy masculinity. 

To me this ad is a modern day lament.  It is the cry of young men needing to hear the masculine voice.  Men, don’t miss the opportunities you are given, like those in the boat, to speak life into the souls of sons and other young men in our life.    



Merriam-Webster announced recently that its Word of the Year is “they.”  The company, which publishes dictionaries and reference books said that online searches for the word increased 313% in 2019 over the  previous year.  The plural pronoun “they” according to the company, may now be used as a singular pronoun.  

Merriam-Webster also stated that “they” should be used for individuals who are “gender-nonconforming” or “nonbinary” and prefer the plural pronoun to refer to themselves, instead of “he” or “she.”  

As a number of observers have noted, Merriam-Webster has acquiesced to a gender theory which says that there are multiple “genders” rather than two sexes; that people may shift from one sex to become the other; and that gender is an internal sense, rather than a biological reality.

Men, when our culture loses a sense of transcendence, in which life has its source in a supreme creator, who created us in his image, our existence is reduce to a small horizon and narrow space.  We are then limited in making sense of our very personhood. We live with an enclosed self.  We don’t know who we are.  We then come to the place today where an individual human being is to be addressed as “they” since they claim to be “nonbinary.” 

It is vital that you get your basic biblical anthropology  straight.  Are you a new man in Christ, created in God’s image to live in fellowship with your heavenly Father and others?  Or are you something else?  Do you know who you are in Christ?  

I intend to stand firm as a male, affirmed in my masculinity, by a heavenly Father who delights in me.  I am a “new man” in Christ. “What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons.  They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone.  A new life has begun” (II Cor. 5:17).    

Again we have to go back to Genesis.  “When God created people, he made them in the likeness of God.  He created them male and female, and he blessed them and called them ‘human'” (Gen 5:1-2).  We were not created as “they” but as a person in relationship to the creator.  We also rejoice in being made new in Christ. 

I want to  give you the following quote from Fenelon.  He is celebrating his new life in Christ.  “The first of God’s gifts, the foundation of all others, is what I call self.  He gave me myself.  To him I owe not only all I have, but all I am……the mind of Man can not understand the infinity of such a gift.  The God Who made me, gave me myself, the self I love …..I owe to His goodness, and that God should be in me and I in Him, seeing I derive myself from Him.  Without Him I should not be myself, without Him I should not have the self I love nor the power of loving it, neither the will to love nor the thoughts whereby I know myself.  All that I have and am is given me”

It is a profound reality, when a man, comes to the awareness that God love him as he is in Christ, allowing him to love himself, to love God in return, as well as others with the love that God has for him.  What is so needed today in our culture are men, who know they are loved by God, who can love others with the love of Christ. 


Volunteer for your death

Sometime ago I came across this quote from Francois Fenelon, a spiritual writer and guide from the 17th century. “Volunteer for your own death, for God will only accomplish his work to the extent that you let him.”  I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the thought of  volunteering for death, even if it means spiritual death.   My old nature is so familiar.  I’m comfortable with who I am, especially my “religious” self.       

But the Lord knows what needs to be brought to the cross. Like Fenelon, I cringe at “the very thought of the cross coming to work in me.”  The Lord seeks out and desires to destroy the roots of self-love within my soul.  The deeper the roots the more His work is done in secret.  But I will feel the pain of something being uprooted.    

 The process of bearing the cross, that is, being crucified, can is slow and painful.  I will need to embrace the cross repeatedly for the same pattern of sin in my life. The deeper and more hidden a pattern of sin, the more painful it can be.  I simply don’t want to give up and die.  But God is patient in the process.

The process of bearing the cross and being crucified is  continuous.  Jesus made this clear when he said, “If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy to being mine” (Matt 10:38).  Taking up the cross and following means a willingness to accept the work of the cross in our lives.   

The Amplified translation of Gal 2:20 puts it in stark words.  “I have been crucified with Christ [that is, in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.”  Men there is no instant fix for getting rid of those “ingrained patterns of sin.”  When God deals with our old nature, Fenelon give fair warning, “He heads straight for the center of all that you hold most dear.”  

Again listen to Fenelon. “Often when  you suffer, it is the life of your self-nature that cause you pain.”  But Fenelon reminds us, “When you are dead you do not suffer.”  So guess what!  When you and I feel the pain, we are still holding on to our old patterns.  

“Death,” notes Fenelon, “is only painful to you when you resist it.”  I am at the place in my journey where I am willing to accept the pain.    His work in me is done beyond my understanding, in secret, so that it is all his work and not my attempts at self improvement 

What I especially don’t like about volunteering for my own death, is the humiliation of being aware of my faults.  What Fenelon observes is sure true for me. “The pain you feel at your own imperfection is worse than the faults themselves.”  

As you read this blog, you might be struggling with a hidden sin pattern in your life or you might be living with a kind of heaviness of spirit.  Is the Lord asking you to volunteer anew for your death.  Men there is no way around the spiritual reality that our walk with God is one of death and being raised to new life.  What God has for you is much better then what you strive to do on your own for him. 




Feeling like an orphan

Once a month Judy and I go to a prayer meeting.  The folks who attend are all interested in the healing ministry, which would include inner healing.  As Connie, the presenter was sharing about inner healing of family wounds, I suddenly became aware of my father, exposing as sense of inner loneliness and emptiness.  

The thought came to me, “my Dad left me orphaned as a boy.”  I thought that I had dealt with most of the wounds in my soul regarding my Dad.  A wound, which I was unaware of, was nowbeing exposed that had laid dormant in my soul. Let me give you fair warning men.  Some of the brokenness you  experience goes deep when it comes to a “distant” father.  

My father had his own abandonment issues.  I identify with Paul Auster, when he writes about wanting his father’s attention. “It was not that I felt he disliked me.  It was just that he seemed distracted, unable to look in my direction.  And more the anything, I wanted him to take notice of me.”  I know now that my father was not able or capable of reaching me at a soulful level. 

At my age, I have been going through some new and deeper times of loneliness.  Even though I have the most understanding and loving wife, I have struggled with loneliness.  It is hard to admit my sense of feeling abandoned.

My experience at the prayer meeting brought it all to the surface.  My father himself struggled with loneliness.  I sensed that when I visited him in his last days in a nursing home.  Now that I am older and in a sense, “set apart” because of age, I lament the feeling of loneliness.   Could it be true, when Auster observes, “You do not stop hungering for your father’s love even after you are grown up.”

I have been processing these feeling of  loneliness, due to my sense of being abandoned by my father.  I am reminded of Thomas Keating’s astute observation: “God simply moves downstairs, so to speak, and waits for us to come and join him.”  So what am I doing to meet God “downstairs.”

First and foremost, I confess and affirm that I have not been abandoned by my heavenly Father.  Jesus tells us, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:18)  Jesus has come to bring me home.  He knows the way home for me and my loneliness.

Secondly,  my experience was exposing a deep wound that I never realized was present in my story.  I have to process the wound.  Without feelings of self-pity, I ask the Lord for guidance, so that I might be specific in praying through this wound. It has not been easy – the wound goes deep.

Thirdly, I have in my wife, a competent spiritual guide, who can listen to my deepest thoughts and feelings, while giving me the clarity I need to heal the wound. 

Finally, when these feelings of loneliness and abandonment surface, I have a place to bring them.  I lift them up, and take them to Jesus, asking him for for three things: 1) the grace to surrender such deep feelings to him, 2) strength to want to grow in my relationship to Jesus and 3) the patience to allow him to do the work within me soul. 

The J-Curve

I would like to introduce you to the J-curve. I read about this concept in a review of new book by Paul Miller, entitled “The J-curve,” with the subtitle “dying and rising with Jesus in everyday life.” I have not read the book as of now, but I sure like the thesis Miller presents. “It’s simple, it’s brilliant: The Christian life is shaped like a capital J.  You descend on the left and rise on the right.” 

Miller writes, “If rising is embedded in dying, then not running from the customized dying that God permits in our lives is essential for resurrection.”  Many years ago, when I was a young Christian, trying to find my way as a follower of Jesus, I was struggling with how I might be able to live a Christian lifestyle, after living for myself, during my first eighteen years.    

I remember being fully committed.  I was all in for Jesus. So the issue was not my desire to follow Jesus.  The problem was my old nature, what Richard Foster calls “habitual patterns of sin.”  I was new believer, who had a lot to overcome.  I remember reading a small book entitled “The Calvary Way.”  The author talked about being broken before the Lord.  I was convicted as I read.

For the first time in understanding my new life in Christ, I realized that it would be a matter of death to my old self.  So the idea of “dying to self” and then “being raised with Christ” has remained an important foundation to my spirituality.  “You see” writes the author Roy Hession, “the only life that pleases God and that can be victorious, is His life…..we can never be filled with His life, unless we are prepared for God to bring our life constantly to death.”

Some have called it “the crucified life.”  Being asked to die is not something we men are naturally willing to embrace.  But that is exactly what the J-curve entails.  Remember men, Jesus calls us to come to him and die to ourselves.  “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambitions shoulder your cross and follow me.  If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it.  But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life” (Matt. 16:24-26)

Like I said, being asked to die and give your life to another is not easy.  But this is the way of  Jesus.  Like me, you will have your ups and downs with dying and being raised up.  I appreciate Miller’s illustration of  “the trapdoor.”  

We are not able to control the dying and the rising.  Miller says of himself, “I’ve had some long times when I was sure I was at the bottom.  I could begin to see some hope coming, and then there was a trapdoor, and I went down again.  Sometimes I’ve gone through a series of trapdoors and I keep thinking I’ve bottomed out.”

Take it from me, you are going to go through trapdoors when you least expect them.  You will know when you have fallen into one of them.  It is a dark, lonely space, void of peace, with little hope on the horizon.  Don’t fight it.  Surrender and die to your “selfish ambitions” and cry out to Jesus for mercy.  Remember to keep looking up and out as you cry for help.  He will hear you and rescue you.   


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