Friday, July 20, 2018

How Would You Behave In The Presence Of God? He Is Always With You.

Those who wait on the Lord…shall walk and not faint. —Isaiah 40:31

“To “walk and not faint” is the highest stretch possible as a measure of strength. The word walk is used in the Bible to express the character of a person— “…John…looking at Jesus as He walked…said, ‘Behold the Lamb of God!’ ” (John 1:35-36). .. Having the reality of God’s presence is not dependent on our being in a particular circumstance or place, but is only dependent on our determination to keep the Lord before us continually. Our problems arise when we refuse to place our trust in the reality of His presence. The experience the psalmist speaks of— “We will not fear, even though…” (Psalm 46:2)”  OSWALD CHAMBERS

Having an awareness of the presence of authority has an effect on behavior.  I remember words like “Mom’s coming!” or “The Teacher’s coming!” resulted in order being restored when only moments before there was chaos in the room.  When I commanded untis in the Army I can remember walking into the room and someone calling the room to attention.  The commander – not to be confused with the person Charley Elgin – had just entered the room.  If you are a believer, born again by the Spirit of God through faith in Jesus Christ, then there is no time that the presence of God is not with you.  And yet, we act as though the Spirit had stepped out of the room.  Why is that? I think, because we ignore His presence.  We are insensitive to it.  It’s like the teacher being in the room and the students behaving as if the teacher was not there.  Why would they do that? Because they don’t respect the authority of the teacher.  In the same way, if you don’t cultivate your spiritual nature – prayer – meditation on the Word of God – fellowship with spiritual Christians – then you will no longer acknowledge God’s authority in your life.  You don’t have to look far to see a Christian living in rebellion to the Lordship of Jesus.  

(John 14:15-17) “If you love me [Jesus], you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” Jesus said you are going to need help which is why you have the Spirit.  Don’t ignore the help you have been given. Do you love the Lord? Well, you heard Him.   CHARLEY

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Making Choices – There Are Really Only Two Options

You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. —John 13:13 

“Our Lord never insists on having authority over us. He never says, “You will submit to me.” No, He leaves us perfectly free to choose— so free, in fact, that we can spit in His face or we can put Him to death, as others have done; and yet He will never say a word. But once His life has been created in me through His redemption, I instantly recognize His right to absolute authority over me.” OSWALD CHAMBERS

I have often said that I wish menus at restaurants only had one choice. Then “I think I’ll have that” is what I would say.  So easy.  Instead I stare at a thousand choices and have no idea what I want.  All I know is that I am hungry.  Why else would I be in a restaurant?  Our new life in Christ is a bit like that.  God has purposefully given us choices.  He certainly didn’t have to.  He is the Creator.  He makes the rules. All of them good, but rules just the same.  He formed us.  He could have easily left the “choice part” out. Like our appendix.  Why put it in there if we don’t need it.  Some say because in ages past we did need it.  So it is kind of like buying a new car with an 8-track tape player in the dash.  But I digress (it’s one of my many talents!) 

God has given us the ability to choose who we will serve.  Him or the god of this world.  That would be Satan. So there are two items on our menu.  What to do.  Our flesh says pick the one that will satisfy my earthly passions.  God says pick the one that offers you what you really seek – love, joy, peace.  We are faced with this choice every day.  For the Saint, the first choice is called giving in to temptation and the second is called being obedient to the will of God.  We all struggle with choices every day.  Joshua said (Joshua 24:15) “And if it seem evil to you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” 

So what will you have to eat today?  CHARLEY

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

God’s Blessing Always Follows Obedience – Blessing Before Obedience Is Enabling

He said, "Who are You, Lord?" —Acts 9:5  

“It is not natural to obey, yet it is not necessarily sinful to disobey. … Jesus will never insist that I obey, but if I don’t …. I am backing away from the recreating power of His redemption. It makes no difference to God’s grace what an abomination I am, if I will only come to the light. But “Woe is me” if I refuse the light (see John 3:19-21).” OSWALD CHAMBERS 

“Trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”  Today obedience has a negative connotation.  If your dog does not listen to you, you send the dog to obedience school. If your children misbehave, you must correct them to change their behavior.  The thing is, unlike your dog, with respect to your children there must be a heart change.  I don’t want my children to fear me and that be the reason they do what I say.  I want them to trust me and know that I only have their best interest in mind. 

That is the way it is with us and God.  Obedience is born out of trust and trust is born out of faith. I often quote (Proverbs 3:5-6) “Trust in the Lord and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” Or some translations say “make your path straight”.  In other words obey God and trust that He knows best.  And that is where the trouble begins.  It started in the Garden. Satan suggested that God wanted to deny Adam and Eve what was best.  You are faced with choices every day.  Opportunities to choose God or choose another way.  That is called temptation, by the way.  (read 1 Corinthians 10:13)  The Word says (James 4:17) “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn't do it, it is sin for them.”  
Listen, blessing always follows obedience. Blessing before obedience is called enabling.  Faith and obedience come first.  In Psalm 51 David wrote “a broken and contrite heart is the sacrifice that God desires.” God doesn’t need our promises.  He doesn’t need our “stuff”.  He wants to have a relationship with us.  He wants the devotion of our hearts.  When Jesus asked Peter if Peter loved him, Jesus was asking Peter if he loved Jesus enough to lay his life down for Him and others.  It’s the same question that He asks of us.  So what do you say when He says .. “Do you love Me? Then do what I say” (Luke 6:46) CHARLEY

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

God Wants To Use You As A Stepping Stone For Others On The Path To Their Salvation

My speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom… —1 Corinthians 2:4

“Belief in Jesus is a miracle produced only by the effectiveness of redemption, not by impressive speech, nor by wooing and persuading, but only by the sheer unaided power of God. The creative power of redemption comes through the preaching of the gospel, but never because of the personality of the preacher. … If it is only because of my preaching that people desire to be better, they will never get close to Jesus Christ. “And I, if I am lifted up…, will draw all peoples to Myself” (John 12:32).” OSWALD CHAMBERS

I have often marveled at how God uses mere men and women to proclaim the Gospel to the world. But it is not the messenger but the message that brings salvation.  And not just any message.  I think we often get the “cart before the horse”.  I never precede God … The Spirit of God has preceded me.  I am but a part of the salvation process.  Paul said “Some plant and some water, but God brings the increase.”  (1 Corinthians 3:6) A seed was planted in my dad’s heart in 1951 on a hill in Korea.  A Chaplain gave him a bible with a reference to John 1:12 written on the inside cover. “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—”  It was not until 1969 did he pray to receive Jesus as his savior and Lord.  Don’t think more of your role in sharing the Gospel, but then, don’t think less of it either.  In His wisdom, God has chosen to use us for the hearing of the Gospel. 

(Romans 10:14-15) “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

Don’t believe for a minute that you have the power to save. At the same moment, don’t think that you telling someone about Jesus when the Spirit prompts you is not necessary.  You don’t know which stepping stone you are on the path someone takes to salvation.  But God does! CHARLEY

Monday, July 16, 2018

Living Like The God of Heaven Is With You, Because He is. Whom Or What Shall You Fear? No One and Nothing!

…how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! —Matthew 7:11 

“Fill your mind with the thought that God is there. And once your mind is truly filled with that thought, when you experience difficulties it will be as easy as breathing for you to remember, “My heavenly Father knows all about this!” This will be no effort at all, but will be a natural thing for you when difficulties and uncertainties arise.”  OSWALD CHAMBERS

So you sitting somewhere reading this.  Are you aware of the clothes that you are wearing?  I know that you know you are dressed, but do you feel the clothes?  Do you have a constant awareness of them?  Probably not.  Well, maybe the pants that are too tight around the waist or the shoes that look good but are “killing” your feet .. but they look good! My point is this.  God is sovereign.  One of His attributes is that He is omnipresent.  That word is not used much from the pulpits these days.  It means He is everywhere all the time.  You are sealed on the day of your salvation with the Holy Spirit.  (Ephesians 1:13-14) “When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”  That has given you a constant connection with God.  You no longer have to go to the temple to seek God.  You are the temple. (1 Corinthians 6:19) “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own” Where the Spirit was once in the Holy of Holies, the Spirit is now in us.  And as if that is not enough! (Romans 8:26) “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”  

God has made provision for us.  He is present even if we don’t feel His presence. There is nothing in your life that God is not aware of and bigger than.  He will be with you in the fire.  He will be with you when you are surrounded by troubles which would devour you.  He will be with you when your enemies number in the thousands.  When you stand before the giants.  When He leads you into unknown places.  God is always there! So rejoice and be glad!  (Joshua 1:9) “Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” CHARLEY

Friday, July 13, 2018

Do You Love God Or Do You Only Like God – How You Live Will Tell

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord… —Isaiah 6:1

“What I need is God’s surgical procedure— His use of external circumstances to bring about internal purification. Your priorities must be God first, God second, and God third, until your life is continually face to face with God and no one else is taken into account whatsoever.” OSWALD CHAMBERS 

If I were to tell you that You must love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, you would most certainly nod your head in agreement or maybe even shout amen.  Actually Jesus said that.  Read Matthew 22:37-39.  He said that all the law .. the essence of the direction that God has given us .. the foundation of our life with respect to God and man is summed up in two commands … Love God, first and love others next.  As you well know, that level of relationship is not automatic .. you can’t just flip a switch.  It requires that each of us lay our own life down - daily.  There is an old hymn that goes “All to Jesus I surrender.  All to Him I freely give.  I will ever love and trust Him.  In His presence daily live.”  In John 21 Jesus asked Peter, three times, “Do you love me?”  Recall Peter denied Jesus three times before Jesus’ crucifixion.  We need to be careful about our attitude toward Peter – wondering “How could Peter deny his relationship with Jesus so easily?”  We should be careful lest we go the “way  of Peter”.  When Peter denied Jesus he feared men more than God.  Remember, Peter was on his own at that point.  After Pentecost, Peter was filled with the Spirit of God.  The same Spirit that inhabits every Believer.  What God asks you to do, you cannot do on your own … it is spiritual that manifests itself in the natural.  We look at the natural … everyday living … as if it is separate from the spiritual .. it is not.  

Everything we do, think, speak, and desire must be in the context of who God is and our love for Him.  God’s expectation for that level of devotion is not reserved for the super-saints or the zealots …. It’s for me and for you.  You want to know what’s missing in your new life?  At the root, it’s the level of your love for God. CHARLEY

Thursday, July 12, 2018

When You Have A Heart For God You Have Humility Before God And Man

“We are not here to develop a spiritual life of our own, or to enjoy a quiet spiritual retreat. We are here to have the full realization of Jesus Christ, for the purpose of building His body. Am I building up the body of Christ, or am I only concerned about my own personal development? The essential thing is my personal relationship with Jesus Christ— “…that I may know Him…” (Philippians 3:10). To fulfill God’s perfect design for me requires my total surrender— complete abandonment of myself to Him. Whenever I only want things for myself, the relationship is distorted. And I will suffer great humiliation once I come to acknowledge and understand that I have not really been concerned about realizing Jesus Christ Himself, but only concerned with knowing what He has done for me.” OSWALD CHAMBERS

I met a guy yesterday while I was working on a house in Houston.  He had come to measure for replacement windows. As it turned out, he owned the business.  One of the first things you notice about this particular guy is that he is very strong .. Arnold Schwarzenegger strong.  It is obvious that he spends a lot of time in the gym.  Getting past that and the unspoken challenge to your own manhood, the next thing you notice is that he is very kind.  As we talked, I learned that he was a man of faith and a Brother in Christ. When I posted a picture of us on Facebook someone commented about his biceps. That is because they are disproportionately large for his stature.  But what you could not see on Facebook was the size of his heart and the depth of his faith in the Lord. Although he obviously was concerned about building up his body, He was more concerned about the Body of Christ.  He told me that he would not charge anything for the windows or the labor - it was a gift for Mrs. Smith, the home owner.  When I mentioned he might be recognized for it, he balked at the thought.  Why? Because with his heart from God comes humility before God.  In Micah 6:8 the question is asked “What does the Lord require of you, oh man?”  then the answer.  “But to do justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

If we do anything for God then we should be ready to give all the credit to God.  My new friend spoke a lot about God’s grace.  Unmerited favor.  He was shown grace in his life and was showing grace to others.  Showing grace and mercy to others will cost you something .. but when your heart is right, it is a price you will gladly pay.  (John 15:13) “No greater love has one man than this, but to lay down his life for his friends.”  That is not a simple act of benevolence .. it is your spiritual act of worship. (Romans 12:1-2). CHARLEY