Wednesday, October 31, 2012

God - Was that me or you?

The Trial of Faith
October 31, 2012
If you have faith as a mustard seed . . . nothing will be impossible for you —Matthew 17:20
‘[…] Yet God frequently has to knock the bottom out of your experience as His saint to get you in direct contact with Himself. God wants you to understand that it is a life of faith, not a life of emotional enjoyment of His blessings. The beginning of your life of faith was very narrow and intense, centered around a small amount of experience that had as much emotion as faith in it, and it was full of light and sweetness. […] Faith by its very nature must be tested and tried. And the real trial of faith is not that we find it difficult to trust God, but that God’s character must be proven as trustworthy in our own minds. Faith being worked out into reality must experience times of unbroken isolation. Never confuse the trial of faith with the ordinary discipline of life, because a great deal of what we call the trial of faith is the inevitable result of being alive. Faith, as the Bible teaches it, is faith in God coming against everything that contradicts Him— a faith that says, “I will remain true to God’s character whatever He may do.” The highest and the greatest expression of faith in the whole Bible is— “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15).’ CHAMBERS
There is a difference between your faith being tested and the natural consequences of what you do in life.  If you don’t manage your money well, make poor relationship choices .. live a life contrary to the Word of God, speed in your car, eat too much, practice habits that are harmful to your body … and then you reap the consequence of those choices .. those are not tests of your faith.  We might try to ‘pin’ it on being tested in our faith .. but it isn’t that at all.  In many cases .. it is simply sin and sin’s consequences ….
James 1:13-15  Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
We confuse being tempted with being tested.  Our flesh is tempted .. our faith is tested. In one case our heart is not right because of sin .. in the other case  our heart is not fully devoted to God.
Which one is it for you?  Actually if it the first, it is by definition the second … You cannot live a sinful life and be fully devoted to God .. yet you cannot not (I know a double negative) live a sinful life without being fully devoted to God … and once you are .. your faith will be tested … and then you will have the opportunity to say … “I will remain true to God’s character whatever He may do.”
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Lord I Believe, but ....

My Utmost For His Highest
October 30, 2012
Without faith it is impossible to please Him . . . —Hebrews 11:6
Faith in active opposition to common sense is mistaken enthusiasm and narrow-mindedness, and common sense in opposition to faith demonstrates a mistaken reliance on reason as the basis for truth. The life of faith brings the two of these into the proper relationship. Common sense and faith are as different from each other as the natural life is from the spiritual, and as impulsiveness is from inspiration. Nothing that Jesus Christ ever said is common sense, but is revelation sense, and is complete, whereas common sense falls short. Yet faith must be tested and tried before it becomes real in your life. [..]  Faith always works in a personal way, because the purpose of God is to see that perfect faith is made real in His children. [..] Faith is a tremendously active principle that always puts Jesus Christ first. The life of faith says, “Lord, You have said it, it appears to be irrational, but I’m going to step out boldly, trusting in Your Word” (for example, see Matthew 6:33). […] God brings us into particular circumstances to educate our faith, because the nature of faith is to make the object of our faith very real to us. […] Faith is the entire person in the right relationship with God through the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
When I think of faith my mind always goes to Hebrews 11:1 …. Substance of things hoped for  .. evidence of things not seen …. That is a good description but what does faith look like?  You say you have faith in Jesus … so what does that mean?  That you were saved from your sins? OK. But that is saving faith .. what about living faith (I just coined that so don’t try to Google it) We are called to a life that demands that we trust God and not ourselves .. Proverbs 3:5-6 are faith verses.  We are to live by faith. But in order for faith to grow , it must be tested.  In order to be tested, it must be put under pressure.  In order to be put under pressure, you must be in a place where you must make a choice .. trust God or trust yourself.
I was talking to a young man recently who was facing a really horrific event in his life.  One he never imagined he would ever face.  When it happened he came to see me.  He said that he wanted to leave the city, leave the country if he could .. he just wanted to get away.  I told him that I understood the feeling .. but discouraged him from acting on it.  That what he was talking about was impulse to what was happening and what he need to do was wait on God.  He could not see how that could possibly work out .. but he listened and it did.
We all will find ourselves in very difficult situations .. things that will make us want to run and hide .. to feel like we just can’t stand the pressure of the moment .. it’s at that moment that we find ourselves in the middle of a test … what do we do?  Philippians 4:6-7 says to be anxious for nothings .. but turn to God … He will give you the peace and assurance that you lack … not that the situation will go away, but you will see it and your future in a different light.  I encouraged the young man to read Psalm 5 … you might want to do the same ….
Psalms 5:1-3,11-12  Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation.  Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray.  My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.[…] But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.  For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Give Me A TIcket On An Airplane

My Utmost For His Highest
October 29, 2012
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him —2 Corinthians 5:21
‘The modern view of the death of Jesus is that He died for our sins out of sympathy for us. […] Our sins are removed because of the death of Jesus, and the only explanation for His death is His obedience to His Father, not His sympathy for us. We are acceptable to God not because we have obeyed, nor because we have promised to give up things, but because of the death of Christ, and for no other reason. […]
That Christ died for me, and therefore I am completely free from penalty, is never taught in the New Testament. What is taught in the New Testament is that “He died for all” (2 Corinthians 5:15)— not, “He died my death”— and that through identification with His death I can be freed from sin, and have His very righteousness imparted as a gift to me. The substitution which is taught in the New Testament is twofold— “[1] For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, [2] that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” The teaching is not Christ for me unless I am determined to have Christ formed in me (seeGalatians 4:19).’ CHAMBERS
Do you want Christ formed in you?  Are you willing to let God do a work in your life?  To lay your life down .. pick up your cross and follow Jesus?  When you fly in an airplane, do you think about all of the effort it took to build that machine you are taking for granted?  You pay your money, have a seat, and fly thousands of miles in a few hours.  Are you thinking about the great innovation air travel is? Or are you thinking about the crying baby behind you .. or no leg room .. or maybe they don’t have your favorite soft drink … We are an amazing bunch aren’t we?
As you live your life  .. as you live out today … think about the amazing work that Jesus did .. not just for you .. but for you … and the entire world … are you thinking about it?  He didn’t do that so you could sit in first class and feel blessed … but so that you could sit in coach and be a blessing … Point someone to Jesus today .. let your life bring glory to the Father … let Jesus be formed in you and let your light shine.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

You Are My All in All - Well Sort of

My Utmost For His Highest
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations . . . —Matthew 28:19
But Jesus said, in effect, “Don’t rejoice in successful service— the great secret of joy is that you have the right relationship with Me” (see Luke 10:17-20). The missionary’s great essential is remaining true to the call of God, and realizing that his one and only purpose is to disciple men and women to Jesus.
The challenge to the missionary does not come from the fact that people are difficult to bring to salvation, that backsliders are difficult to reclaim, or that there is a barrier of callous indifference. No, the challenge comes from the perspective of the missionary’s own personal relationship with Jesus Christ— “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” (Matthew 9:28). Our Lord unwaveringly asks us that question, and it confronts us in every individual situation we encounter. The one great challenge to us is— do I know my risen Lord? Do I know the power of His indwelling Spirit? Am I wise enough in God’s sight, but foolish enough according to the wisdom of the world, to trust in what Jesus Christ has said? Or am I abandoning the great supernatural position of limitless confidence in Christ Jesus, which is really God’s only call for a missionary? If I follow any other method, I depart altogether from the methods prescribed by our Lord— “All authority has been given to Me . . . . Go therefore. . .” (Matthew 28:18-19).
Our life in Christ starts and ends with Jesus.  The problem we have is that we focus on our circumstances, our sacrifice, even our service and it becomes the driving force on our lives … But .. what we do, how we live, what we think and say … it is all reflective of whether we are connected to the Vine.  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.’
Do you think about that each day? Or is your relationship a little less ‘intense’.  You accepted Jesus, but now you are living your life the best you can.  You will let Jesus know if you need His help.  I have known people who got married who essentially lived two separate lives.  They really only wanted a roommate with some commitment, not a life-mate requiring sacrifice.  It’s like Ephesians 5:25  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,’ When I tell some guys about that verse it is like I can see dread in their eyes as they start running through a list of things they might have to give up if they really did that.
That is how it is with us and the Lord.  If I really make Jesus the center of my life, there are some radical changes that would take place and I don’t know if I want to do that .. I like those things!  Matthew 16:24-26  Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.  For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
This is a song you can make a prayer today … and everyday ….  “ Jesus, be the center, be my source, be my light, Jesus.  Jesus, be the center, be my hope, be my song, Jesus. Be the fire in my heart, Be the wind in these sails, Be the reason that I live Jesus­. Jesus, be my vision, be my path, be my guide Jesus. Amen and Amen.  That is my prayer for you.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Friday, October 26, 2012

More Than A Do-Gooder

My Utmost For His Highest
October 26, 2012
Jesus said to them again, ’. . . As the Father has sent Me, I also send you’ —John 20:21
‘Personal attachment to the Lord Jesus and to His perspective is the one thing that must not be overlooked. In missionary work the great danger is that God’s call will be replaced by the needs of the people, to the point that human sympathy for those needs will absolutely overwhelm the meaning of being sent by Jesus. The needs are so enormous, and the conditions so difficult, that every power of the mind falters and fails. We tend to forget that the one great reason underneath all missionary work is not primarily the elevation of the people, their education, nor their needs, but is first and foremost the command of Jesus Christ— “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations . . .” (Matthew 28:19).’ CHAMBERS
That is exactly the problem in Haiti.  The needs are so overwhelming.  Saying ‘no’ in the face of obvious need is difficult.  Remembering that I am not God .. that I do not have the capacity to meet the need .. that I will be consumed if I try … is my challenge every day.  The need is so great that it can drown out the voice of the Spirit.
When Jesus was walking through the crowd .. Mark 5:30-31  And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, "Who touched My clothes?"  But His disciples said to Him, "You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, 'Who touched Me?' "
So many people, but it was that one person that He ministered to at that moment. That we would have discernment.  God will bring people along aour path  .. it does not matter where we are .. housewives, business people, people in full-time ministry (as if there is a difference) … we must be discerning .. we cannot do anything spiritual apart from His Spirit .. and all we do must be for His glory and not our own satisfaction.  We are not called to be do-gooders but good and faithful servants.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Victory in Jesus

My Utmost For His Highest

October 24, 2012

‘The proper perspective to maintain is that we are here for only one purpose— to be captives marching in the procession of Christ’s triumphs. We are not on display in God’s showcase— we are here to exhibit only one thing— the “captivity [of our lives] to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). How small all the other perspectives are! For example, the ones that say, “I am standing all alone, battling for Jesus,” or, “I have to maintain the cause of Christ and hold down this fort for Him.” But Paul said, in essence, “I am in the procession of a conqueror, and it doesn’t matter what the difficulties are, for I am always led in triumph.” Is this idea being worked out practically in us? Paul’s secret joy was that God took him as a blatant rebel against Jesus Christ, and made him a captive— and that became his purpose. It was Paul’s joy to be a captive of the Lord, and he had no other interest in heaven or on earth. It is a shameful thing for a Christian to talk about getting the victory. We should belong so completely to the Victor that it is always His victory, and “we are more than conquerors through Him . . .” (Romans 8:37).
We are to God the fragrance of Christ . . .” (2 Corinthians 2:15). We are encompassed with the sweet aroma of Jesus, and wherever we go we are a wonderful refreshment to God.’ CHAMBERS
Is that how you see your life?  Do you consider yourself a captive of Christ or merely an acquaintance … Do you see the difference?  As a captive … we must follow Him .. we have no choice .. we would never choose our own way over His … but as an acquaintance, obedience is optional … Your response should not be how you think you should be, but how you really are … Living the life Jesus calls us to requires complete surrender .. ‘All to Jesus I surrender .. all to Him I freely give’ .. have you ever sung that song?  Did you really mean it .. or did you really want to mean it?  Don’t you hate these questions?  Isn’t it OK to just get along and go along.  To not get carried away with this religion thing?  The next thing you know you will be asked to stop doing something or give something up!

Pardon my sarcasm .. but I look at my own life and the mark that Jesus has set and realize how far I have to go.  It is a daily battle of the will.  But there is victory in Jesus … Victory in Jesus, my savior forever, He sought me and bought me with His redeeming blood … “ Think about it Christian … If Jesus was willing to lay His life down for us, Shouldn’t we be willing to do the same for Him?

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Where Is Your Heart?

My Utmost For His Highest
October 25, 2012
I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some —1 Corinthians 9:22
‘A Christian worker has to learn how to be God’s man or woman of great worth and excellence in the midst of a multitude of meager and worthless things. Never protest by saying, “If only I were somewhere else!” All of God’s people are ordinary people who have been made extraordinary by the purpose He has given them. Unless we have the right purpose intellectually in our minds and lovingly in our hearts, we will very quickly be diverted from being useful to God. […] “I chose you . . .” (John 15:16). Keep these words as a wonderful reminder in your theology. It is not that you have gotten God, but that He has gotten you. God is at work bending, breaking, molding, and doing exactly as He chooses. And why is He doing it? He is doing it for only one purpose— that He may be able to say, “This is My man, and this is My woman.” We have to be in God’s hand so that He can place others on the Rock, Jesus Christ, just as He has placed us.’ CHAMBERS
What does it mean to follow Jesus once He has called you?  What has God called you to lay down and follow.  For the apostles, they laid down what they had in their hands .. nets, tax money, parents, whatever.  Would God really ask you to do that?  Is it possible that God has some higher purpose in the scheme of eternity for you that living your life like everyone else?  Are you willing to respond to respond like those men did?
I was talking with a missionary recently.  Her daughter is about to have a baby.  A wonderful thing.  In the context of family life, it is a wonderful time to see your children having children .. new life .. it is a joy to be around them.  But what is God has called you to serve in a place that would require you to not be around those children?  Are you ready to follow Jesus then?  In our American Christian culture, we cannot imagine anyone who would abandon their family to serve God .. that would be irresponsible, wouldn’t it?  Or is it that we find our comfort, joy and peace in our family more than in God? If we have a choice, we will choose family.  Doesn’t that seem noble .. right …
Are these thing mutually exclusive?  Not necessarily … so long as they are in their proper order.  But in light of God’s call on your life … if God sends you .. If He says follow me … you must go.  Now you might physically go .. but like the song says .. ‘I left my heart in San Francisco', our hearts may not be with our service … they may be back with whatever we left behind.  The rich young ruler, the man whose father had just died, Lot’s wife, and many others .. had something in their hearts that they were not willing to lay down to follow God’s call.
Examine your heart … is there something that you need to put on the altar?  It requires faith .. trust … sacrifice … Jesus does not stop to wait, He keeps walking … (Romans 12:1,2)
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Recipe for Success .. Pick up Your Cross Daily

My Utmost For His Highest
‘When we are born again, the Holy Spirit begins to work His new creation in us, and there will come a time when there is nothing remaining of the old life. Our old gloomy outlook disappears, as does our old attitude toward things, and “all things are of God” (2 Corinthians 5:18). How are we going to get a life that has no lust, no self-interest, and is not sensitive to the ridicule of others? How will we have the type of love that “is kind . . . is not provoked, [and] thinks no evil”? (1 Corinthians 13:4-5). The only way is by allowing nothing of the old life to remain, and by having only simple, perfect trust in God— such a trust that we no longer want God’s blessings, but only want God Himself.’ CHAMBERS
I preached at a church this past Sunday using this text .. 2 Corinthians 5.  The problem with letting the old things go is global .. it crosses cultures and generations .. it is the struggle of mankind .. not just mine.  I think we forget that at times.  That sin is a problem for everyone .. and salvation through Jesus is a solution for everyone … across time .. across continents …
At the same time … God has called us to a new life that is powered by His Spirit .. fueled by faith .. but still, we sometimes convince ourselves that we are the exception .. that some bias we hold on to .. some sin we have discounted as “OK” to hang on to … God understands!  When in fact .. it is quite the contrary ….. this life we have been called to is a holy calling … we should never be content with the influence of our old nature .. we should reject everything that sets itself up against the things of God .. and the work that He is doing in each of us.
We have to examine our hearts … don’t convince yourself that you are ‘good to go’ spiritually .. that there is nothing left in you of the old nature .. that thought in itself is proof that there is … Jesus said to pick our cross daily .. and follow Him.  Luke 9:23 ‘Then he [Jesus] said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”
A recipe for success in our faith walk … Let your light shine ….
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Father Does Know Best

My Utmost For His Highest
‘The Spirit of God witnesses to the redemption of our Lord, and to nothing else. He cannot witness to our reason. We are inclined to mistake the simplicity that comes from our natural commonsense decisions for the witness of the Spirit, but the Spirit witnesses only to His own nature, and to the work of redemption, never to our reason. If we are trying to make Him witness to our reason, it is no wonder that we are in darkness and uncertainty. Throw it all overboard, trust in Him, and He will give you the witness of the Spirit.’ CHAMBERS
When is it God and when is it you?  Sometimes it is hard to discern.  James 4:3You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” Do you want God’s best for your life? Or do you want what you think will make your life better?  There is a difference.  Have you ever seen a family where the child was dictating what was done?  When you see that you know that there is something amiss.  There is no way that the child can know what is best … in fact all the child knows is what it wants.
So it is with us … we know what we want and we present it to God .. with the expectation that if He is really God, if He really loves us .. He will give us what we want .. and if He doesn’t … well He is not much of a God then is He?  Are you thinking, I would never do that.  I think we all have demanded things of God.
Some want God to bless their choices … “I want to live my life the way I want to live it and God should bless me, and will if He is really God”  When Jesus was tempted in the desert He told Satan that you should not tempt God. Matthew 4:5,7Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. […] Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God’
So how do you not do those things?  By staying in tune with the Lord … trusting Him and not yourself (Prov 3:5-6) … laying your life .. hopes .. dreams .. desires .. on the altar …seeking Him through His Word …. Doing what He tells you to do even when it is contrary to what you prefer.  That is called walking humbly with God .. walking by faith and not by sight …
Living like that is not something you turn on and off like a light switch … it’s not like that $20.00 bill you keep tucked in your wallet or purse for emergencies … it is a way of life …
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Give It Up

My Utmost For His Highest
Am I willing to let God do in me everything that has been made possible through the atonement of the Cross of Christ? Am I willing to let Jesus become sanctification to me, and to let His life be exhibited in my human flesh?[…] It is a holiness based on agonizing repentance, a sense of inexpressible shame and degradation, and also on the amazing realization that the love of God demonstrated itself to me while I cared nothing about Him. […]The effect [of sanctification]  in me is obedience, service, and prayer, and is the outcome of inexpressible thanks and adoration for the miraculous sanctification that has been brought about in me because of the atonement through the Cross of Christ.’ CHAMBERS
Have you drawn a line in the sand with God?  The line marks the point to which you are willing to change .. to give up what you enjoy about the world … Are there areas – devotions – preferences  in your life that, if the holiness of God shined on them would reveal their true nature … In your heart you know it, but you really like them … and have resolved yourself to allowing them in your life .. I mean what does it hurt?
God has called us to be holy because He is holy .. this not a call to some Christians but to all Christians … it is not a call to give some of my life to Him but all of my life …. Every devotion .. every thought … to reject the idea that we can live with one foot in heaven and the other in the world.  When we live our lives like that .. it is difficult to see the value of faith. We view God as a holy waiter .. standing next to us, waiting to take our order … I need some money for this .. I need that relationship fixed … I need to get out of the trouble I am in.  I have forgotten that He is God and I am not.  That I was created for His glory not mine.  Have you ever seen parents that are tyrannized by their child?  That is what we try to do to God when we reject the sanctified life. It really doesn’t matter what Jesus did for us … we want our next need met .. and I am talking about NOW not later.
You might be thinking .. that is not me … be on your guard .. because it could be you in a moment .. with one thought … Our flesh is always waiting to take back the throne … that is why it is so important that you put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6) every day.  “All to Jesus I surrender .. all to Him I daily give. I will ever love and trust Him.  In His presence daily live.  I surrender all…”  What do you imagine the person who penned those lyrics was thinking about .. or going through?  Most likely the same things we do.
Is there something in your life .. maybe more than one thing .. that you need to surrender to the Lord?  Your light is not quite as bright as it once was or could be.  Lay it down Christian … let Jesus rule in your heart .. all of your heart … and let your light shine ….
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Friday, October 19, 2012

An Audience of One

My Utmost For His Highest
‘The great enemy of the Lord Jesus Christ today is the idea of practical work that has no basis in the New Testament but comes from the systems of the world. This work insists upon endless energy and activities, but no private life with God. The emphasis is put on the wrong thing. […] An active Christian worker too often lives to be seen by others, while it is the innermost, personal area that reveals the power of a person’s life. […]  The central point of the kingdom of Jesus Christ is a personal relationship with Him, not public usefulness to others.’ CHAMBERS
Matthew 6:5 “For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.”
It is so easy to bring human motivation into our Christian life and work.  We are to do everything to the glory of God, yet .. we make the work He has called us to, into a something that we do in our own strength and for own glory.  We receive praise from men for something that God has done through us .. or perhaps worse yet, we receive praise from men for something we have done .. in our own strength .. telling people it was God … Jesus called the men He was talking about hypocrites … harsh but descriptive … having the appearance of one thing and all the while being something else.
We live for an audience of One.  You don’t go to church to be seen by others … you don’t sing or pray to be heard by others … you don’t serve in some capacity to be recognized by others … you do those things to praise God and bring glory to Him.  To expand the kingdom .. point people to Jesus … and if you are not … you missed it ….
Take some time today to examine your motivations .. talk to God about it … and then do and serve in the power of His Spirit and in step with His purpose for your life … and let your light shine.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

You Want Me To Do What?

My Utmost For His Highest
The key to the missionary’s devotion is that he is attached to nothing and to no one except our Lord Himself. It does not mean simply being detached from the external things surrounding us. Our Lord was amazingly in touch with the ordinary things of life, but He had an inner detachment except toward God. External detachment is often an actual indication of a secret, growing, inner attachment to the things we stay away from externally.
The duty of a faithful missionary is to concentrate on keeping his soul completely and continually open to the nature of the Lord Jesus Christ. The men and women our Lord sends out on His endeavors are ordinary human people, but people who are controlled by their devotion to Him, which has been brought about through the work of the Holy Spirit.’ CHAMBERS
How can someone go off from the life they have had and do something totally different?  Leaving behind family, friends, the things they used to enjoy as leisure … earthly devotions.  Every Christian, not just missionaries, is faced with the choice of devotion.  The rich young ruler was faced with that choice … “Sell all you have and follow Me” Jesus told him.  The man left sad … Follow me, Jesus said to James and Andrew .. Matthew, Peter, and well .. you know the others .. they left what they were doing and followed Jesus. Did they stop fishing?  Not at first … But there is no record that after Jesus ascension and Pentecost that they ever returned to their nets.  Jesus made them ‘fishers of men’.
When we follow Jesus, we are asked to do what is contrary to what our culture values .. even what it calls ‘good’ and responsible.  (Matthew 12:47-49) “Someone told him [Jesus], “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers.” What is up with that?  Did Jesus forsake his affection for his family?  No.  But His affection for the work of his Father was greater … for the purpose He came to fulfill.  It’s all about perspective.  Remember at the cross, Jesus asked John to take care of his mother … (John 19:26)
What has God called you to do? Are you willing to let your natural affections take a second seat to the Lord?  Romans 12:1-2 says to lay your life down for God .. don’t try to follow after the world’s definition of ‘good’ but look to God.  He will not call you to something that He does not equip you for … and when you walk in that purpose … your life will shine like the sun …..
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Hello God, It's Me Again

My Utmost For His Highest
‘Prayer does not equip us for greater works— prayer is the greater work. Yet we think of prayer as some commonsense exercise of our higher powers that simply prepares us for God’s work. In the teachings of Jesus Christ, prayer is the working of the miracle of redemption in me, which produces the miracle of redemption in others, through the power of God. […] Prayer is the battle, and it makes no difference where you are. However God may engineer your circumstances, your duty is to pray. […] When you labor at prayer, from God’s perspective there are always results. What an astonishment it will be to see, once the veil is finally lifted, all the souls that have been reaped by you, simply because you have been in the habit of taking your orders from Jesus Christ.’ CHAMBERS
Prayer is an act of faith.  (James 5:16)The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” Why would God use something like prayer in the way He does?  When we pray .. we are saying … I must look to God for answers … He is the source of wisdom .. He is my provider … He is my strength and my shield.
Prayer is a spiritual weapon.  (Ephesians 6:12, 16-18)  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. […] above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints”
Prayer is our communication link with the Father .. “Earth to God .. Earth to God, Come in God” …. God had implemented wireless communication long before Marconi invented the radio or Al Gore invented the internet.  And the great thing is that when things get too difficult for us … God has given us a Helper .. the Holy Spirit … (Romans 8:25-27) “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. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
Why would we not want to pray?  Spend some time with the Father today.  It doesn’t have to be eloquent .. just from the heart …
(Philippians 4:6-7)Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;  and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Talk to Me --- Love God

My Utmost For His Highest
The key to the missionary’s difficult task is also not the key of common sense, nor is it the key of medicine, civilization, education, or even evangelization. The key is in following the Master’s orders— the key is prayer. “Pray the Lord of the harvest . . . . He owns the harvest that is produced through distress and through conviction of sin. This is the harvest for which we have to pray that laborers be sent out to reap. We stay busy at work, while people all around us are ripe and ready to be harvested; we do not reap even one of them, but simply waste our Lord’s time in over-energized activities and programs.’ CHAMBERS
Have you ever wondered why God would make prayer so significant to the Christian life?  In a practical sense .. what good does talking do?  Isn’t action better than talk?  My granddaughter reminded me that I don’t pay much attention to what people say until I see the proof in the way they live .. what they do.  So wouldn’t you think that doing for God would be better than talking to Him?
Be doers and not hearers only.  (James 1:22) Created in Christ Jesus for good works.  (Ephesians 2:10) Have you ever been focused on some task and you suddenly realized there was another person present? You might have said, “Oh, I am sorry.  I didn’t realize you were standing there.”  Awareness .. aware that God is present … aware that we are sent out by Him but not left on our own … His Spirit is in us.  Aware that there are many around us that are on the path to Hell.  The other day, before our staff bible study, I was asked .. “Why is the gate to hell so wide and the gate to heaven so small?” Doesn’t it make sense that God would make the gate to heaven wide so more people could go there?  My Haitian friends ask such good questions.
To have spiritual vision .. to see the fields .. we must be ‘tuned in’ to spiritual matters.  Of course, reading the Word is important, but so is communicating with the Father. Jesus set the example.  If He found it necessary, why would we not find it necessary as well.  Instead, we relegate prayer to something that can be done, but is really optional … we can get by without praying .. actually we can get by without reading the Bible … right? Well, no actually … both are critical to our spiritual health.  When the rich young ruler asked Jesus what he need to do to have eternal life, he really thought he was going to impress Jesus with his record of doing good things.  Then Jesus told him to sell everything and follow Him.  The guy left sad. Why isn’t doing enough?
Trust in the Lord and do not lean on your own understanding .. (Prov 3:5-6)  Prayer is vital to the Christian life and our effectiveness in ministry … we don’t have to understand it to do it … like turning on a light switch .. if you decide not to use lights until you understand how electricity works .. you may be in the dark for a long time … In the same way … spend time in prayer … draw close to the Father … and let your light shine before all men.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)