Monday, July 30, 2012

Standing on the Right Ground

My Utmost For His Highest

‘ […] if we love someone, but do not love God, we demand total perfection and righteousness from that person, and when we do not get it we become cruel and vindictive; yet we are demanding of a human being something which he or she cannot possibly give. There is only one Being who can completely satisfy to the absolute depth of the hurting human heart, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. Our Lord is so obviously uncompromising with regard to every human relationship because He knows that every relationship that is not based on faithfulness to Himself will end in disaster.’ CHAMBERS

Martie used to jokingly say that she told other women I was her NPH – nearly perfect husband.  As flattering as that might sound, we both knew that I was far from perfect .. maybe not when compared to other men … but when compared to Jesus .. then, I don’t even show up on the radar scope … Is there someone in your life that you expect to be perfect?  Maybe you even demand that they be perfect?  It is not going to happen … so why do we do that to ourselves and others.  I think it is because we put our faith and confidence in those people .. that their behavior and ability to meet our expectations becomes our measure of peace and confidence.  When they don’t measure up … our world is rattled.

We need to cut each other some slack.  We know the verses .. ‘There is none righteous’ (Romans 3:10)  ‘All have sinned’ (Romans 3:23) yet we still expect others to be beyond where even we are.  There is only one Jesus .. one savior … one Lord … There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.’ (Ephesians 4:4-6)

Let your life song be ….. ‘My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus and His righteousness.  …. On Christ the solid rock I stand … all other ground is sinking sand … all other ground is sinking sand!’

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Cloudy Days

My Utmost For His Highest

‘Through every cloud He [God] brings our way, He wants us to unlearn something. His purpose in using the cloud is to simplify our beliefs until our relationship with Him is exactly like that of a child— a relationship simply between God and our own souls, and where other people are but shadows. Until other people become shadows to us, clouds and darkness will be ours every once in a while.’ CHAMBERS

So what must we unlearn?  Self-dependence.  That we actually know best .. at least better than God.  That God is our last resort when all else fails.  What we must learn is that God is our first and last choice.  That His ways are higher … they are not good … they are not better … they are best … God is about relationship .. His priorities are all wrapped around relationship … Why did He send His Son … to restore us in relationship … and to preserve that relationship for eternity.

Have you ever known someone who wanted to be around you because of what they could get from you?  The relationship had nothing to do with affection .. at least not for you .. but affection for what you had … prominence … wealth … authority … At first it may be hard to tell what their motive is, but eventually the reason for the relationship becomes apparent.  God knows the heart of every person.  He knows we struggle with a divided heart … and so the clouds roll in.

Are you at a place in your life where you can thank the Lord for the clouds? 1 Thessalonians 5:18  ‘in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.’

Can you see the bigger picture?  That God is bigger than any circumstance … that you can trust Him in every situation.  That there is more to life than life?  That there is an eternal aspect to our being that transcends the physical realities that we deal with every day?  That God is with us even in the clouds?

Romans 8:31-32  ‘What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  (32)  He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?’

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Saturday, July 28, 2012


My Utmost For His Highest

‘What is my vision of God’s purpose for me? Whatever it may be, His purpose is for me to depend on Him and on His power now. If I can stay calm, faithful, and unconfused while in the middle of the turmoil of life, the goal of the purpose of God is being accomplished in me. God is not working toward a particular finish— His purpose is the process itself. What He desires for me is that I see “Him walking on the sea” with no shore, no success, nor goal in sight, but simply having the absolute certainty that everything is all right because I see “Him walking on the sea” (Mark 6:49). It is the process, not the outcome, that is glorifying to God.’ CHAMBERS

Mark 6:45  ‘Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He sent the multitude away.’

Jesus had sent the disciples ahead .. they were doing what Jesus told them to do … then a wind arose on the sea .. and they were straining … struggling to continue … Why would Jesus put them in that place … isn’t our Christian life supposed to be smooth sailing?  Health, wealth and happiness?  Would God lead us to a difficult place where we had to trust in Him?  I think so … How would you respond?  Would you question God?  ‘Where were you God?’  His answer .. ‘Here’.  ‘Why did you let this happen to me?’  His answer .. “So you would turn to Me and trust Me.’

Is there a point in our lives when God will stop leading us to a place of testing?  I don’t think so.  You see, it is not the circumstance that determines whether I have peace, joy, patience, love, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).  It is the depth of the relationship I have with the Lord.  God teaches me to trust when I am in a difficult place .. in fact… that is the only place where I am teachable …

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Heart Check

My Utmost For His Highest

Those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart . . . . For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man . . . —Matthew 15:18-20

‘Am I prepared to trust the penetration of His Word into my heart, or would I prefer to trust my own “innocent ignorance”? If I will take an honest look at myself, becoming fully aware of my so-called innocence and putting it to the test, I am very likely to have a rude awakening that what Jesus Christ said is true, and I will be appalled at the possibilities of the evil and the wrong within me. But as long as I remain under the false security of my own “innocence,” I am living in a fool’s paradise. If I have never been an openly rude and abusive person, the only reason is my own cowardice coupled with the sense of protection I receive from living a civilized life. But when I am open and completely exposed before God, I find that Jesus Christ is right in His diagnosis of me.’ CHAMBERS

We should never underestimate the reality or strength of our fallen nature and what it is capable of.  I might think that I am a ‘good guy’.  Especially when compared to some other people.  But the potential and reality of sin is present in all of us.  The only ‘good’ thing in me is the Holy Spirit.  My fallen nature .. the natural man … will tell me that I am OK and that what I may think or say or do is not so bad.  But the Holy Spirit will convict me of my sin .. expose what is contrary to God … reveal the darkness and true nature of my heart.  If I compare myself to Jesus, I find that I am a man undone.  (Isaiah 6:5)

When Jesus said that what comes out of the mouth is given birth in the heart … He didn’t say .. except for Charley … he is different … what He said applies to everyone.  We don’t want to think about that … it doesn’t seem Christian … Paul wrote many words to the churches concerning the battle of the Spirit and the flesh.  Don’t allow yourself to be lulled into thinking that you are the exception … we must … we must … allow the Spirit to examine our hearts if we are to walk in a manner worthy of our calling in Christ Jesus.

Our purpose in this new life is to know Jesus and make Him known to the world. We don’t do that by trying to be good or trying to look good .. but by living by faith and in the power of the Spirit.  For this reason I … do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy;’ (Colossians 1:9-11)

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Do I Walk or Do I Ride

My Utmost For His Highest

‘The teachings of Jesus are all out of proportion when compared to our natural way of looking at things, and they come to us initially with astonishing discomfort. We gradually have to conform our walk and conversation to the precepts of Jesus Christ as the Holy Spirit applies them to our circumstances. The Sermon on the Mount is not a set of rules and regulations— it is a picture of the life we will live when the Holy Spirit is having His unhindered way with us.’ CHAMBERS

Can you recall how you react when you are in a dark room and someone turns the lights on, without warning?  It is a shock to your eyes, but then your eyes refocus .. your pupils get smaller and the light no longer hurts your eyes.  That is the feeling you have when the reality of Jesus’ teachings .. the Word of God … is made know to us by the Holy Spirit.  It adds new meaning to the idea that ‘I was blind but now I see’.  (2 Corinthians 4:3-4) ‘And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.’

Becoming aware of spiritual reality is as if you were in a dark room and surrounded by many things .. when the light came on .. you could suddenly see what was around you … So it is with our faith … we were living our lives totally unaware of the Spiritual reality around us .. then we were given sight by the Holy Spirit and those things are no longer hidden.  But we must be careful that we are more than hearers or seers of spiritual truth.  For spiritual understanding to have value, it must be applied to our everyday life.

Imagine you live 5 miles from work.  You have no car, so every day you walk to work.  Rain or shine, you walk.  You typically arrive a little late to work and your boss is becoming less and less tolerant of your tardiness.  Then, one day, you leave your home for work and there in front of your house is a new car.  There is a note under the windshield wiper that says, “I have given this to you  .. it’s paid for … use it and it will bring great blessing to you. Love Dad’.  You look at the new car with amazement and joy.  You sit in the driver’s seat.  Your start the car … you breathe in the smell of the new car ….. then you turn off the motor .. get out of the car …. close and lock the door … and walk to work.

That is the picture of many Christians who continue to live their lives in the same way .. with the same struggles …  after God has given them a great gift.   In Galatians 5:16-17 Paul said So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.’

I want to encourage you to live in the reality of your faith and not continue to walk in the way you did before you received your new life in Christ.  God has given you a great gift .. so that you can have a great life … not just in heaven .. but today …

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

He Starts With The Heart

My Utmost For His Highest

‘Jesus is saying, “If you are My disciple, you must be right not only in your actions, but also in your motives, your aspirations, and in the deep recesses of the thoughts of your mind.” Your motives must be so pure that God Almighty can see nothing to rebuke. Who can stand in the eternal light of God and have nothing for Him to rebuke? Only the Son of God, and Jesus Christ claims that through His redemption He can place within anyone His own nature and make that person as pure and as simple as a child. The purity that God demands is impossible unless I can be remade within, and that is exactly what Jesus has undertaken to do through His redemption. No one can make himself pure by obeying laws. Jesus Christ does not give us rules and regulations— He gives us His teachings which are truths that can only be interpreted by His nature which He places within us. The great wonder of Jesus Christ’s salvation is that He changes our heredity. He does not change human nature— He changes its source, and thereby its motives as well.’ CHAMBERS

Living our life in Christ is not dependent upon our ability to be good .. or even to think good thoughts .. but is a result of Christ in us.  I was blind but now I see … (John 9:25) It is because of Jesus that we have this new life.  Jesus said it is not the outside of the cup that makes it unclean.  (Matt 23: 24-26) He starts with the heart.

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Christ In Me

My Utmost For His Highest

Sanctification means the impartation of the holy qualities of Jesus Christ to me. It is the gift of His patience, love, holiness, faith, purity, and godliness that is exhibited in and through every sanctified soul. Sanctification is not drawing from Jesus the power to be holy— it is drawing from Jesus the very holiness that was exhibited in Him, and that He now exhibits in me. Sanctification is an impartation, not an imitation. Imitation is something altogether different. The perfection of everything is in Jesus Christ, and the mystery of sanctification is that all the perfect qualities of Jesus are at my disposal.’ CHAMBERS

When we become a Christian .. we are given the capacity to be like Christ.  That is because we have his very nature in us .. Galatians 2:20  I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

John 17:22-23  And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:  (23)  I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

We must be careful to not think of the ‘new life’ as something that will happen someday.  If you are a Christian, Christ is in you.  You have the capacity to live life fully the way God intended, today … like physical maturity you grow into the capacity that was imparted to you the day you became a Christian. It is a process …. It is a faith walk.  As you exercise your faith … as you practice the disciplines of the faith … you are transformed … you begin to reflect Jesus in all areas of your life, more and more.  The old is passing away and the new is coming .. 2 Corinthians 5:17.

Acts 4:13  Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.

People should see a difference in us.  If we are indeed growing in Christ .. people should see that … not because we share the plan of salvation with them every time we see them .. or because we thrust a Bible in their face at every opportunity … but because of the way we live our lives.  The fruit of the Spirit manifests itself in us.  Because there is something about us that is not ordinary in the sense that we do not live like others are living.  We don’t treat people the way others treat people.  Our affections are on things above not on this earth.  Colossians 3:1-3  If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.  (2)  Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.  (3)  For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Colossians 1:26-27  the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints.  (27)  To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Let your light shine today …

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You

Sunday, July 22, 2012

So The World May Know

My Utmost For His Highest

‘When the Holy Spirit begins to show us what sanctification means, the struggle starts immediately. Jesus said, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate . . . his own life . . . he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26). In the process of sanctification, the Spirit of God will strip me down until there is nothing left but myself’ CHAMBERS

Sanctification.  Now there is a big word.  And it is an important word for the Christian.  When we become Christians we are set apart from the world. We are the called … in the world but not of the world .. set apart for God … Ephesians 1:13-14   13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

But it means more than that.  It is not only a point in time.  It is a process that continues the rest of our life.  Romans 8:29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

God intends for our lives to reflect Jesus.  It is a transforming process.  You once lived one way .. and now you live another.  You once thought one way .. now you think another.  You once spoke one way .. now you speak another way.   Romans 12:2  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will. Paul wrote a lot of words to the churches he planted encouraging them to live differently … but they could not do that merely by choosing to do live differently.  By wanting to live a new life … Christians change from the inside out.  We are changed by the renewing of our minds.  The catalyst for the change is regeneration .. salvation … The power behind the change is the Holy Spirit … the means of the change is the Word of God and prayer … in other words … a relationship with the Father through Jesus.

The interesting thing is that we can stifle our spiritual growth .. we can disrupt the sanctification process …  by resisting the Spirit .. not reading the Word .. not seeking God out in prayer … by drawing close to the world … while we are doing it we know that it is not right, but we still do it …  This is what Jesus said about it as He prayed to the Father ...

John 17:14-21 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.  20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Not I But Christ

My Utmost For His Highest

‘As long as we have some self-righteous idea that we can carry out our Lord’s teaching, God will allow us to continue until we expose our own ignorance by stumbling over some obstacle in our way. Only then are we willing to come to Him as paupers and receive from Him. “Blessed are the poor in spirit . . . .” This is the first principle in the kingdom of God. The underlying foundation of Jesus Christ’s kingdom is poverty, not possessions; not making decisions for Jesus, but having such a sense of absolute futility that we finally admit, “Lord, I cannot even begin to do it.” Then Jesus says, “Blessed are you . . .” (Matthew 5:11). This is the doorway to the kingdom, and yet it takes us so long to believe that we are actually poor! The knowledge of our own poverty is what brings us to the proper place where Jesus Christ accomplishes His work.’ CHAMBERS

The fact is that we cannot be who Jesus wants us to be apart from Jesus.  When we become Christians .. which we could not do apart from Jesus, we accept the fact that we have a new life and then try to live it like we lived that old one.  It’s like some community revitalization projects I have seen.  Some organizations decides that they need to get a group of people out of the dilapidated homes they live in.  So they build some new ones and move the people there.  It is not long before that community starts to look like the one they came from.  Of course there is no small amount of frustration on the part of those who built the new community.  What happened is that you moved people from one place to another, but there was no heart change.  They continued to live in the same manner with the same priorities that they had before they moved.

So it is with Christians.  They take all of their ‘baggage’ and move into their new house (life) and then continue to live in the same way as they did before.  It's time we realize that we can’t live this new life using our old wisdom and ways .. that our live is totally dependent  upon God … ‘I can do all thing through Christ who gives me strength’ (Philippians 4:13)  ‘I am crucified with Christ … but not I but Christ lives in me (Galatians 2:20)

All to Jesus I surrender .. All to Him I freely give .. I will ever love and trust Him .. In His presence daily live …. Make that your prayer today and your commitment for a life time.  Walk in the power of Jesus presence.  Let your light shine.

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Friday, July 20, 2012

The More You Trust ... The More You Trust

My Utmost For His Highest

‘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)— will be ours once we are grounded on the truth of the reality of God’s presence, not just a simple awareness of it, but an understanding of the reality of it. Then we will exclaim, “He has been here all the time!” CHAMBERS

I am teaching from the Book of John to the Haitian Staff at Eswpa Timoun Children’s Home.  Yesterday I talked to them about the fact that God gave us His word so we would know how to live.  When we have questions in life, we should first look to what God said about it.  The may require some help since we may not be familiar enough with the Word to find that answers, but then it should be no problem to get help from another Christian.  Look for someone who can build you up in the Lord.  Joshua 1:8 says that meditating on the Word and doing what it says will make you prosperous (not talking about money and possessions) and successful …

Having the reality of God’s presence begins with spending time in the Word.  ‘Draw near to God and He will draw near to you’ (James 4:8) Seeking Him out … the more your become spiritually aware .. the more you are aware of His presence in your life.  (Psalm 139:7-10) Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? 8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 10 Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.

So we know that God is present … the next step is to walk in that reality … to trust Him … to realize that He is more than a notion .. a thought in our mind .. He is God .. Who has always existed .. our lives are but a puff of smoke in eternity … Our problems are overwhelming as the loom in front of us … but not for our God.  So back to one of my favorite verses … we should .. “Trust in the Lord with all our heart and not in our own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5-6)  The more you trust .. the more your trust …

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Fruit of Obedience

My Utmost For His Highest

‘If our Lord insisted on our obedience, He would simply become a taskmaster and cease to have any real authority. He never insists on obedience, but when we truly see Him we will instantly obey Him. Then He is easily Lord of our life, and we live in adoration of Him from morning till night. The level of my growth in grace is revealed by the way I look at obedience. We should have a much higher view of the word obedience, rescuing it from the mire of the world. Obedience is only possible between people who are equals in their relationship to each other; like the relationship between father and son, not that between master and servant. Jesus showed this relationship by saying, “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30).’ CHAMBERS

Whenever I hear the word obedience .. I think of controlling .. making someone do something they don’t want to do.  That may be true for the world, but for God? No.  We obey because we love Him and understand that what He wants us to do is for our benefit.  We can accept that God created us .. but we have a more difficult time accepting that His ways are better than ours … it is as if to say … I know better than you, God!  Can that be?  Now you may be thinking … but I do love God. I am just not ‘there’ yet.  The way you build a relationship is by spending time with the person. The depth of your love for the Lord is a result of your spending time with Him.  John 14:23-24  ‘Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.  (24)  He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me.’

It is an issue of the depth of love not the fact of love.  Matthew 22:37 says love God with all … not some .. not sometimes … that will only come if you are cultivating your relationship with Him everyday.  Don’t be content with ‘close enough’.  God has so much more for you than that.  As you spend more time with Him, you will find that your life reflects obedience to His Word.  Not because you are working harder at it, but because it is the fruit of that relationship.  If you are connected to the Vine (Jesus) you will produce the fruit of obedience.  It is a natural result …. And your life will be richer for it.

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Whole Heart

My Utmost For His Highest

Many people begin coming to God once they stop being religious, because there is only one master of the human heart— Jesus Christ, not religion. But “Woe is me” if after seeing Him I still will not obey (Isaiah 6:5 , also see Isaiah 6:1). Jesus will never insist that I obey, but if I don’t, I have already begun to sign the death certificate of the Son of God in my soul. When I stand face to face with Jesus Christ and say, “I will not obey,” He will never insist. But when I do this, I am backing away from the recreating power of His redemption.’ CHAMBERS

Many Christians have a religious spirit and not a true devotion to the Lord.  For many, going to church, to Sunday school, to events, and talking about Jesus is their idea of what it means to be a Christian .. a follower of Jesus Christ.  But Jesus wants to be more than the Lord of your activities .. He wants to be Lord of your heart.  In Matthew 22:37 Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul and mind. That goes way beyond your schedule. What you do should be a result of who you are .. what you do does not make you who you are.  Keith Greene, a Christian singer from the ‘70’s said ‘going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to McDonalds make you a hamburger.’

Being a disciple means that you are a follower of Jesus, but that you do what He does … Luke 6:40  A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.’

So what does it mean to be like Jesus?  Denying himself, laying his life down for others, one with the Father, obedient even to the point of death on the cross … silent before his accusers … committed to doing the will of the Father.  Ministered to those who needed spiritual healing.  Confronted the religious who promoted activities in the name of God which were absent from God.  Some years ago, I attended a Sunday School sponsored “Super Bowl” fellowship.  I was new, being in the Army, that was often the case.  At one point in the evening I initiated a discussion about the Lord and was asked why I was talking about Jesus .. this was a Super Bowl party.  Someone once said that if Jesus is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all.

Matthew 15:7-9 says that people praise God but their hearts are not surrendered to Him.  The Word says a double minded man is foolish in all of his ways .. (James 1) The context of that verse has to do with doubting … but isn’t that what we do when we don’t give the Lord our whole heart?  We are living like there must be more to life than living for the One who has given us Life?  Living half-heartedly brings instability .. What about yours?  Have you let life rule your heart?  Get right and shine the light.

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Putting On My Good News Shoes

My Utmost For His Highest

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.  Real and effective fasting by a preacher is not fasting from food, but fasting from eloquence, from impressive diction, and from everything else that might hinder the gospel of God being presented. The preacher is there as the representative of God— “. . . as though God were pleading through us . . .” (2 Corinthians 5:20). He is there to present the gospel of God. If it is only because of my preaching that people desire to be better, they will never get close to Jesus Christ.’ CHAMBERS
When you think about sharing your faith with someone, do you imagine that you have to say just the right things in just the right way to convince someone that they need Jesus?  That their salvation rests on your shoulders .. that if you mess it up .. they are going to hell and it’s your fault?  (Romans 1:16) ‘For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.’

We focus on the words and method when in fact salvation is spiritual not natural.  Salvation is dependent upon a spiritual understanding of salvation through Christ.  (1 Corinthians 12:3) Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

Now let’s look at (Romans 10:9)  If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.’

(Matthew 16:15-17) ‘He [Jesus] said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.’

God has chosen to use us in the process of salvation … there are people who are more educated – theologically speaking – than I – a lot of people – I cannot explain why God brings people to salvation in this way, but He does … It’s not like He needs us .. but He uses us … It is a mystery ….. I think our problem with sharing our faith is that we start focusing on ourselves … and it is not about us … we worry how people will react … we wonder if we will be rejected or criticized … that people may throw the baby (that would be you) out with the bath water .. but it is the Gospel they reject … It’s simply our responsibility to share it.

(Romans 10:15-17) ‘And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”  But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.’

So our role is not in the saving but in the telling.  Tell people about Jesus and trust God for the rest.  Let you light shine.

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Monday, July 16, 2012

He Knows My Name

My Utmost For His Highest

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. Before you formed this concept of divine control so powerfully in your mind, you used to go from person to person seeking help, but now you go to God about it. Jesus is laying down the rules of conduct for those people who have His Spirit, and it works on the following principle: God is my Father, He loves me, and I will never think of anything that He will forget, so why should I worry?’ CHAMBERS

Psalm 139:1-7 You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.  Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?

David knew that God is a present-God. That there was no place .. no circumstance .. where God was not present … We can acknowledged that truth in our mind .. saying “Sure I know God is everywhere.” But when it comes to living in that truth we fall short.  We think that we are alone .. God has gone to another place … that He is unaware of my circumstance .. or worse, doesn’t care … Think about your children … because you don’t intervene in their lives does not mean you don’t love them .. because you don’t help them do something that will bring more harm to them does not mean that you have forsaken them.  They may feel that way about you and you may feel the same way about God, but it is not true.  God’s love prevails … it does not end .. does not fail …

“I have a Maker, He formed my heart.  Before even time began my life was in His hands.  I have a Father.  He calls me His own.  He’ll never leave me, no matter where I go. He knows my name.  He knows my every thought.  He sees each tear that falls, and hears me when I call.”  (‘He Knows My Name’ by Tommy Walker)

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Show and Tell

My Utmost For His Highest

‘The greatest inspiration in Paul’s life was his view of Jesus Christ as his spiritual creditor. Do I feel that same sense of indebtedness to Christ regarding every unsaved soul? As a saint, my life’s spiritual honor and duty is to fulfill my debt to Christ in relation to these lost souls. Every tiny bit of my life that has value I owe to the redemption of Jesus Christ. Am I doing anything to enable Him to bring His redemption into evident reality in the lives of others? I will only be able to do this as the Spirit of God works into me this sense of indebtedness.’ CHAMBERS

Imagine that you are blind and among many others that are blind.  You are in a room with one door and it is closed and locked.  Everyone has been in the room for a long time and resolve themselves to that life.  One day, you discover that the door can be opened.  That you can get out of the room .. you can be free.  So what do you do?  Do you leave the room, thankful that you are free and leave the rest to struggle in darkness with no hope or do you tell them about the door?  But wait … what if they make fun of me?  What if they won’t listen?  The truth is, you have no control over their response to what you tell them, only the obligation to let them know.

So it is with telling people about Jesus.  Do you understand the significance of what Jesus has done for you and what has happened to you?  Do you understand that it is our obligation to Jesus and not just an option to tell others.  Is your life a testimony to the salvation you have experienced?  Does it reflect the fact that you are a new creation .. old things have passed away .. (2 Corinthians 5:17)?  Can people see that you are free?  Or does your life still reflect the bondage that you once lived in?  St. Francis of Assisi wrote, “Preach the gospel always and if you must, use words.”

Matthew 5:15-16 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)