Monday, December 31, 2012

Keep in Step with God


My Utmost For His Highest

 
You shall not go out with haste, . . . for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard —Isaiah 52:12
 
Normally I use what Chambers comments on as a focal point for the Devotion, but today I am using the scripture reference.  I am writing this while I am in Alabama for a few weeks.  The year is just about to close so a new one can begin.  For the past few days I have been feeling the weight of what the Lord has us doing in Haiti.  I suspect it is a similar feeling to how Peter felt when he realized that he was walking on water and was no longer in the boat.  He was instantly in trouble but then he refocused on Jesus.  (Matthew 14:30-31). Have you ever had that problem?
 
The message in both Isaiah and Matthew is that God is with you .. you have nothing to fear.  Just keep in step with Him.  Trust Him and not yourself.  Be willing to go where it doesn’t make sense to go and watch God do something great.
 
Stay in step with God is my encouragement to you as the new year begins.  I pray that in 2013 your life will be a living testimony to God’s love, grace, mercy, and sufficiency.
 
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Walking in the Son-shine

My Utmost For His Highest
 
‘I must “walk in the light as He is in the light . . .”— not in the light of my own conscience, but in God’s light. If I will walk there, with nothing held back or hidden, then this amazing truth is revealed to me: “. . . the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses [me] from all sin” so that God Almighty can see nothing to rebuke in me. On the conscious level it produces a keen, sorrowful knowledge of what sin really is. The love of God working in me causes me to hate, with the Holy Spirit’s hatred for sin, anything that is not in keeping with God’s holiness. To “walk in the light” means that everything that is of the darkness actually drives me closer to the center of the light.’ CHAMBERS
 
Do you still struggle with sin in your life?  Or have you walked in the light for so long that you are no longer tempted and no longer act on temptation?  Does admitting that you continue to sin seem like ‘failure’ as a Christian.  That somehow you should have gotten beyond that hurdle … Does Billy Graham continue to sin?  My guess is, the answer is yes … Does this seem like an odd discourse?  My point is that we must be careful that we don’t live a Pharisaical life … where we preach one thing but secretly live another.  Not wanting to admit that we are not perfect, even if everyone already knows it.
 
What Chambers is saying is that sin should drive us to the light and not away from it.  That rather than view sin as failure we should see that it serves to make us aware of the great salvation that we enjoy … that we are no longer salves to sin, but we are vulnerable to it.  That we need the power of God in our lives to live the way He intended.  That so long as we walk this earth, we will have an attachment to the world and the old nature.  That we should never be comfortable with the fact that we sin, but know that the closer we are to the light, the less darkness will be an influence on us.  That we need Jesus just as much after salvation as before …. And that we are saved by grace though faith and not of works (by works – through works—with works – in our own strength)
 
So Christian – rejoice – rejoice in knowing that God has made a provision for you in Jesus.  That what we celebrated yesterday .. was the first of four of the most remarkable things that this world  ever has or will see – will ever know (1. His Birth, 2. His death, 3. His Resurrection, 4. His Return) … and that we are partakers of this wonderful gift of salvation … Hallelujah … Praise Jehovah .. Thank you Jesus – Mesi Jezi!
 
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Good News

My Utmost For His Highest
 
Jesus Christ was born into this world, not from it. He did not emerge out of history; He came into history from the outside. Jesus Christ is not the best human being the human race can boast of— He is a Being for whom the human race can take no credit at all. He is not man becoming God, but God Incarnate— God coming into human flesh from outside it. His life is the highest and the holiest entering through the most humble of doors. Our Lord’s birth was an advent— the appearance of God in human form.’ CHAMBERS
 
Jesus was born into the world … There is nothing that comes from this world that is holy enough to be acceptable to the Father.  For man to ever have a chance at redemption .. restoration … the only possibility was divine intervention.  I have heard this described in many ways in the past.  Jesus birth was necessary for the atonement of our sins as much as His death and resurrection.  He had appeared in the old testament on occasion … He existed from the beginning .. not since Bethlehem … but the form of man was necessary to fulfill the demands of the Law … Salvation is only possible through Jesus … there is no other solution … when He said “I am the way, I am the truth, I am the life”  that was a statement of fact … there is no other way to the Father .. for redemption … to escape the consequence of sin except through Jesus. The only solution was and is Jesus.
 
Our challenge is to understand and remember the significance of that fact .. and then let that fact influence every aspect of our lives.  Our natural life and its affections will dominate us if we are not careful.  Just look at the way we celebrate His birth as a man and savior.  We have a preoccupation with our flesh … what is supposed to be a celebration of His coming .. is really become a side note to the greater celebration of our affluence and lust for the things of this world.
 
At midnight Christmas eve, Jesus does not hand off the holiday to Santa.  Let this day be a reminder of the great blessing that God gave us in Jesus, the man ..  the Savior … If we are going to celebrate, let’s celebrate to Good News .. that Jesus is our Lord .. that we have eternal life – redemption in the Son.  Let God be glorified in our celebrations and not be lost under the discarded gift wrappings.
 
The source of our joy should be that Jesus is present and not the presents under the tree.
 
Luke 2:10-11  “.... the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”
 
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Monday, December 24, 2012

If Our God Is For Us

My Utmost For His Highest
 
When you really see Jesus, I defy you to doubt Him. If you see Him when He says, “Let not your heart be troubled . . .” (John 14:27), I defy you to worry. It is virtually impossible to doubt when He is there. Every time you are in personal contact with Jesus, His words are real to you. “My peace I give to you . . .” (John 14:27)— a peace which brings an unconstrained confidence and covers you completely, from the top of your head to the soles of your feet. “. . . your life is hidden with Christ in God,” and the peace of Jesus Christ that cannot be disturbed has been imparted to you.’ CHAMBERS
 
What are you feeling anxious about?  Nothing you say?  My faith is in the Lord, you say!  Then you are the exception .. maybe one in a million.  Anxiety results when you face life and depend upon yourself.  It is when doubt creeps in, fearing that things are not going to go well.
 
I am not suggesting that we do nothing but just stand and wait for the Lord to act.  What I am suggesting is that when our confidence is in God … what happens on this earth is not really of much consequence in the light of eternity.  There may be sorrow and disappointment, but we can stand against it .. we can have joy and peace in spite of what happens … because our confidence is in God and not in ourselves.
 
What is it that you are facing today?  These are some of the lyrics from a Chris Tomlin song,  Our God (Is Greater), “Our God is greater, our God is stronger,  God You are higher than any other  Our God is Healer, awesome and power  Our God, Our God... Into the darkness you shining Out of the ashes we Rise There's no One like You  None like You.... And if Our God is for us, then who could ever stop us And if our God is with us, then what can stand against? And if Our God is for us, then who could ever stop us And if our God is with us, then what can stand against? ….”
 
If our God is for us then who or what can stand against us?  Wonderful question.  The answer, of course, is nothing and no one. Does that mean that there will not be loss, no.  Will there be heartache, yes.  Will there be hardship, yes … But if we are in Christ … we are living in eternity … we live a life of faith … our response to our physical life is not one of fear but of hope …
 
Christian, be encouraged … walk in the newness of life … draw close to the Lord … stop wondering how you are going to keep going in light of what is happening around you …. The answer is that in your weakness, His strength is made perfect … 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 “ Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
 
Paul struggled with physical issues, but learned that his weakness pointed him to Jesus, the source of his strength.  That the absence of problems was not the way to peace and assurance .. Jesus is.,
 
Consider these verses … the promises in them, remembering that God’s Word is truth.
 
Psalm 20:6-7  “Now this I know: The Lord gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious  power of his right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”
 
1 Peter 5:7Cast all you cares on Him because He cares for you.”
 
Philippians 4:6-7Be anxious for nothing, but in everything with prayer and supplication, let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
 
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Finding Balance

My Utmost For His Highest
 
‘The great privilege of discipleship is that I can commit myself under the banner of His Cross, and that means death to sin. You must get alone with Jesus and either decide to tell Him that you do not want sin to die out in you, or that at any cost you want to be identified with His death. When you act in confident faith in what our Lord did on the cross, a supernatural identification with His death takes place immediately. And you will come to know through a higher knowledge that your old life was “crucified with Him” (Romans 6:6). The proof that your old life is dead, having been “crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20), is the amazing ease with which the life of God in you now enables you to obey the voice of Jesus Christ.
Every once in a while our Lord gives us a glimpse of what we would be like if it were not for Him. This is a confirmation of what He said— “. . . without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). That is why the underlying foundation of Christianity is personal, passionate devotion to the Lord Jesus. ‘ CHAMBERS
I have heard many people say that their priorities in life are God, family, and work (me included) … That sounds pretty Biblical – spiritual – but what does that mean practically .. living life day in day out?  It is not just a philosophy .. where we give mental assent to the idea .. but fail to apply it to our lives … Matthew 7:16-18 “You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.” In this case Jesus was talking about false profits, but it the principle that is the point.
 
When the basis of our life is our faith in Jesus .. when we are identified with Christ … every other aspect of our lives is unavoidably affected by it … but if we really serving something else .. the same is true … When Jesus describes Himself as the Vine and us as the branches in John 15, His point is that whatever we put our faith in will affect what is produced in our lives. Do you want to find balance in your life?  Start with Jesus.  You have to be willing to lose your life in Christ to save it … yes that verse reference  is about salvation , but it is also about living in a way that God intended us to live .. a life of balance .. of the things that define our life being in their proper order … all because you are abiding relationship with Jesus  
 
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

God's Plan and My Will

My Utmost For His Highest
 
Belief is not the result of an intellectual act, but the result of an act of my will whereby I deliberately commit myself. But will I commit, placing myself completely and absolutely on God, and be willing to act solely on what He says?’ CHAMBERS
 
God will always lead us to a place that is beyond our understanding .. our experience .. our self-confidence … our comfort zone … The reality that God operates in, is supernatural … sure, it manifests itself in the natural … but even that is a gift … so that we may see and believe.  Our propensity is to always turn to that which we can touch and see … In our puny faith … we need some physical assurances … but Jesus said … blessed are those who believe and have not seen … John 20:29
 
Does God have you in a place where you have to trust the unseen .. you know what the Word says … you know what the Spirit is saying .. yet, you struggle with yielding to what you know is true … it is a matter of the will.  It’s like climbing into a roller coaster for the first time .. or the 100th … you get that feeling in the pit of your stomach … fear … anxiety … the feeling that you are just about to lose control … you are placing yourself at the mercy of someone or something else … You know the truth .. but it is so difficult to yield yourself to it ….
 
God has so much more for you  … Jeremiah 29:11For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Go ahead .. let go and yield to His call …. You won’t be sorry.
 
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Telling Them Like It Is

My Utmost For His Highest
 
‘When you find yourself face to face with a person who is spiritually lost, remind yourself of Jesus Christ on the cross. If that person can get to God in any other way, then the Cross of Christ is unnecessary. If you think you are helping lost people with your sympathy and understanding, you are a traitor to Jesus Christ. You must have a right-standing relationship with Him yourself, and pour your life out in helping others in His way— not in a human way that ignores God. The theme of the world’s religion today is to serve in a pleasant, non-confrontational manner.’ CHAMBERS
 
Nicodemus came to Jesus at night.  He knew there was something not right in his life, but didn’t know what it was.  Jesus could have talked around the issue trying to be sensitive to Nicodemus’ struggle, but He didn’t.  John 3:3 ‘ Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”’  For some reason, we believe that telling someone they must be born again is offensive and we should not be offensive toward people.  Say a person is about to step in front of an oncoming truck.  You see it and quietly say .. “Look out.” The person steps into the street.  You certainly didn’t offend them.  If the Spirit of God is telling you to speak to a person, then you must speak.
 
The essence of life is found in Jesus.  The truth of that fact is hidden form those who are lost …  2 Corinthians 4:3-5  “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 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. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord […]”
 
God has chosen the Gospel to be the key to unlocking the door of eternal in life.  1 Corinthians 1: 20-23 “Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified.”
 
During this season the tension between the American culture  and God  is most evident … It is also during this time that hearts focused on family and relationships … If you should have the occasion to meet with Nicodemus this year ( could be a child, brother, mother, or friend) … share the message of life … they must be born again … that is the message of Christmas …. Jesus is the victor over sin and death … not merely the baby in a manger.
 
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tell Them About Jesus

My Utmost For His Highest
 
‘[…] If a person cannot go to God, it is because he has something secret which he does not intend to give up— he may admit his sin, but would no more give up that thing than he could fly under his own power. It is impossible to deal sympathetically with people like that. We must reach down deep in their lives to the root of the problem, which will cause hostility and resentment toward the message. People want the blessing of God, but they can’t stand something that pierces right through to the heart of the matter. If you are sensitive to God’s way, your message as His servant will be merciless and insistent, cutting to the very root.[…]’ CHAMBERS
 
Do you know someone who is struggling with life?  I think we all do.  It does not really matter what the issue they are struggling with is.  The solution to whatever the problem is starts with Jesus.  But turning to Jesus is often the last thing someone wants to hear when they are struggling with life.  That is not to say that there aren’t physical, relational  or emotional issues that must be tended to, but at the root of everything is our relationship with the Lord.  Think about this … God created .. man fell .. Jesus restored … that is the bigger – eternal - story that we all live in … if that is not right .. then the other things don’t really matter much …
 
When Jesus met people He always got down to what it was that kept them apart from God .. sin … He doesn’t say that He will remove the circumstance .. but He does say He will change how we look at our circumstances .. He gives us a new beginning …
 
The yielding of our lives to Jesus is a spiritual act … it is very personal between me and God … it is not something that someone else can force, coerce, or convince … instead our role to is merely to tell .. to encourage … and then to pray … the root is a spiritual problem and must be dealt with at the spiritual level.
 
Do you know someone who is struggling with life?  Tell them about Jesus.
 
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

What Do You Smell Like?


My Utmost For His Highest
 
‘[…] Being faithful to Jesus Christ is the most difficult thing we try to do today. We will be faithful to our work, to serving others, or to anything else; just don’t ask us to be faithful to Jesus Christ. Many Christians become very impatient when we talk about faithfulness to Jesus. Our Lord is dethroned more deliberately by Christian workers than by the world. We treat God as if He were a machine designed only to bless us, and we think of Jesus as just another one of the workers. The goal of faithfulness is not that we will do work for God, but that He will be free to do His work through us. God calls us to His service and places tremendous responsibilities on us. He expects no complaining on our part and offers no explanation on His part. God wants to use us as He used His own Son.’ CHAMBERS
 
So the challenge for us is to make sure we place our trust in God and not the world and then to bring glory to God through how lives .. where ever we are .. and whatever we put our hands to.
 
Why do you suppose it is so easy to be faithful to work?  We feel compelled to be to work on time.  “Well”, you say, “if I don’t do what I am expected to do then I won’t have a job.” And that is true. But the point is .. why are we more faithful to the demands of our boss than we are to the commands of the Lord?
 
I think it might be that we look at our work as the means of support for our family, our debt, are personal significance.  But isn’t God the one who does all of that? Isn’t He the Provider, the sustainer, the One who said we are so significant that He sent His Son to die for us?
 
Are you getting your back up about now?  Wanting to defend yourself? I am not telling you this so you will feel defensive.  I am telling you this so you will examine your priorities.  What or whom do you trust in, really?  What is the basis for your decisions?  Your financial security or the direction from God?  I am not saying you shouldn’t go to work today so you can pray and read your Bible. I am saying you need to  give your heart fully to God.  We should do everything with excellence, but not for recognition or self-promotion, but for the Lord.  When we go to work are serving Him, not our boss.
 
Colossians 3:22-24Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."

Likewise, our focus cannot be on how things are going at work or whether we like our job … but knowing that we are where God has planted us … and having confidence that He knows what He is doing.  I have heard many prayer requests like “Lord get me out of this job, I hate it.”  How did you get in the job?  When you did get that job, did you see it as God’s provision?   I believe that it is a false assumption that we must be comfortable and satisfied with our work for it to be the right place for us.   Our ministry  is to be the aroma of Christ, no matter what the circumstance. That goes beyond being devoted to our employer and loving our job.  The aroma cannot be released until the flask is broken.     2 Corinthians 2:14-15But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.
 
Keep your eyes on Jesus
 
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Needing a Course Correction

My Utmost For His Highest
 
The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him . . . —1 Corinthians 2:14
 
The gospel of God creates the sense of need for the gospel. Is the gospel hidden to those who are servants already? No, Paul said, “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe . . .” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). The majority of people think of themselves as being completely moral, and have no sense of need for the gospel. It is God who creates this sense of need in a human being, but that person remains totally unaware of his need until God makes Himself evident. Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you . . .” (Matthew 7:7). […] Jesus said, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself” (John 12:32). When we preach our own experiences, people may be interested, but it awakens no real sense of need. But once Jesus Christ is “lifted up,” the Spirit of God creates an awareness of the need for Him. The creative power of the redemption of God works in the souls of men only through the preaching of the gospel. It is never the sharing of personal experiences that saves people, but the truth of redemption. “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).’ CHAMBERS
 
Lifting Jesus up to those who are perishing …. I am just back from Haiti .. maybe two days … this year more than ever I see the contrast between the Church and the culture.  People on the street don’t say Merry Christmas .. they say ‘Happy Holidays’.  They don’t talk about Jesus … so as not to offend those who don’t believe in that stuff … The darker our culture becomes .. the more contrast there is between the dark and the light.
 
This is not some new phenomenon … this cycle has been seen for centuries … the American culture is in decay … we are morally bankrupt as a whole .. and cannot understand why we have the problems we have today … that is because the natural man does not receive the things of God … It’s time to refocus on Jesus … 1 Peter 1:18
 
1 Peter 1:13-21 “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you 21 who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”
 
Each successive generation moves further away from where we began when this country was founded.  There is a rule called the ‘1 in 60 rule’ that says if you veer 1 degree off course .. in 60 miles you will be 1 mile off course … the point is that when you get off course … you can’t stay on the same path and expect to reach your destination…. You will only move further and further away.  Take some time to point people to Jesus .. not just by what you say .. but by the way you live … Let your light shine … and pray that our nation will repent.
 
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Clean Your Feet First

My Utmost For His Highest
 
‘[…] Wrestling before God makes an impact in His kingdom. If you ask me to pray for you, and I am not complete in Christ, my prayer accomplishes nothing. But if I am complete in Christ, my prayer brings victory all the time. Prayer is effective only when there is completeness— “take up the whole armor of God . . . .”  Always make a distinction between God’s perfect will and His permissive will, which He uses to accomplish His divine purpose for our lives. God’s perfect will is unchangeable. It is with His permissive will, or the various things that He allows into our lives, that we must wrestle before Him. It is our reaction to these things allowed by His permissive will that enables us to come to the point of seeing His perfect will for us. “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God . . .” (Romans 8:28)[…]’ CHAMBERS
 
Do you think about your spiritual condition when you pray to God .. or do you just pray … Did you know that the presupposition to the command to “pray without ceasing”?  1 Thessalonians 5:16 “ Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
 
Before the high priest made a sacrifice for the nation on the day of atonement, he first made a sacrifice for his own sins,  Hebrews 7:27  “Unlike the other high priests, he [Jesus] does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people.” This verse has to do with Jesus as our high priest who is sinless.  My point is that we are not sinless .. but are forgiven .. but we still need to have our feet washed … John 13:10  “Jesus said to him, "He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean[…]"  and we should understand that coming before God in prayer is a highly spiritual act … and although simple .. should not be taken lightly.
 
It is about being spiritually aware throughout the day.  I find that thought very convicting …. Thank God for 1 John 1:9.
 
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Having a Change of Mind

My Utmost For His Highest
 
You cannot truly intercede through prayer if you do not believe in the reality of redemption. Instead, you will simply be turning intercession into useless sympathy for others, which will serve only to increase the contentment they have for remaining out of touch with God. True intercession involves bringing the person, or the circumstance that seems to be crashing in on you, before God, until you are changed by His attitude toward that person or circumstance. Intercession means to “fill up . . . [with] what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ” (Colossians 1:24), and this is precisely why there are so few intercessors. People describe intercession by saying, “It is putting yourself in someone else’s place.” That is not true! Intercession is putting yourself in God’s place; it is having His mind and His perspective.’ CHAMBERS
 
I thought intercession was praying so God would fix the problem … either the person or the circumstance .. not me!  This raises so many questions.  So where is the line drawn? When do we do something and when do we trust God to do something?  But then that is the point isn’t it.  God can do something through me or through someone else .. or not … the key is having His mind and perspective … Jesus was capable of doing many things in response to what was happening around Him .. He walked on water, raised the dead, headed the sick, resisted Satan … do you really think that a few Jews could subdue Him?  He chose to do the Father’s will.  He said they were one … If you had seen Jesus .. you had seen the Father … 1 Corinthians 2:15-18 “The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord  so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.”
 
Every day I am faced with challenges.  Things that challenge my patience, my compassion, my principles, and my faith. I know the way the Lord is leading me, yet, my flesh says .. you can handle this another way .. and yet, to my benefit,  the Spirit constrains me.  The Lord is teaching me meekness … not doing what I can do in my own power, but the Father’s will.  And how do you know the Father’s will?  Only by having a deep relationship with Him. Have I arrived? I don’t think so .. but I am on that path and my feet are moving .. so I am making progress.
 
Being a Christian is not about being a punching bag or easy mark.  It is about listening for God’s voice and walking in obedience to what you hear, even if it doesn’t make any sense. My goal is that one day when someone asks “What was Jesus like?” they will say, look at the guy over there .. that is what He was like … How about you?
 
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

If They Really Knew - Then What

My Utmost For His Highest
 
Personality is the unique, limitless part of our life that makes us distinct from everyone else. It is too vast for us even to comprehend. An island in the sea may be just the top of a large mountain, and our personality is like that island. We don’t know the great depths of our being, therefore we cannot measure ourselves. We start out thinking we can, but soon realize that there is really only one Being who fully understands us, and that is our Creator.’ CHAMBERS
 
Does anyone walking this planet know you, really?  Not the island that is exposed above the water, but the mountain that lies beneath.  Do they know that person who has doubts, fears, insecurities, sinful thoughts and desires?  Maybe your best friend or wife or husband … but maybe not even them.  There are some things that we may never share with anyone .. because of guilt, shame, or the fear that if it was known, we would be rejected.  But our God knows us all the way down to the sea floor … He knows the innermost parts … there is nothing that has not been exposed to God.  1 John 3:20 “[…] we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything
 
And yet He still loves us.  We, Christians, are such great pretenders.  We meet on Sunday morning and tell everyone how wonderful things are, but at the same time are carrying around so much inside. You can take heart in knowing that  “There's not a Friend like the lowly Jesus   No, not one! no, not one! None else could heal all our souls' diseases   No, not one! no, not one! Jesus knows all about our struggles;  He will guide 'til the day is done There's not a Friend like the lowly Jesus  No, not one! no, not one!”
 
When our identity is in Him,  when we know His forgiveness … there is no room for fear of rejection … the world may shun you, but God will embrace you …
 
1 John 4:17-19Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.”
 
Spend some time with Jesus today …
 
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

My Way or the High(er) Way

My Utmost For His Highest
 
The characteristics of individuality are independence and self-will. We hinder our spiritual growth more than any other way by continually asserting our individuality. If you say, “I can’t believe,” it is because your individuality is blocking the way; individuality can never believe. But our spirit cannot help believing. Watch yourself closely when the Spirit of God is at work in you. He pushes you to the limits of your individuality where a choice must be made. The choice is either to say, “I will not surrender,” or to surrender, breaking the hard shell of individuality, which allows the spiritual life to emerge. The Holy Spirit narrows it down every time to one thing (see Matthew 5:23-24). It is your individuality that refuses to “be reconciled to your brother” (Matthew 5:24). God wants to bring you into union with Himself, but unless you are willing to give up your right to yourself, He cannot. “. . . let him deny himself . . .”— deny his independent right to himself. Then the real life-the spiritual life-is allowed the opportunity to grow.’ CHAMBERS
 
Denying the right to yourself is a most difficult step in our new life. It is a reflection of the measure of trust that we have in God.  Some might argue that looking out for your best interest is a survival instinct in us.  That we want to preserve ourselves.  It’s only natural. And that is true, it is natural .. but, as Christians, we live a life that is super-natural.  Self-reliance is the bane of the Christian life.  Self-reliance takes many forms but the result is always the same .. we reject God and trust in ourselves.  How do we reject God?  We accumulate things to pad our existence and make our lives physically more comfortable … we accommodate the culture to avoid conflict and make our lives relationally for tolerable …and we  avoid the spiritual to make our lives less convicting.
 
But God said … not to accumulate, not to accommodate, and not to avoid but to lay your treasures up in heaven, to separate yourself from the patterns of this world, and to draw near to Him, not quenching the Spirit in us.  True independence … is not doing things our way … but finding freedom in Christ.  John 8:36So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
 
Matthew 16:24-26Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”
 
Losing your life to find it or save it makes no sense to the natural man.  It is counter-intuitive.  That is because it is spiritual truth .. it requires faith .. and the power of God’s Spirit to embrace it.
 
1 Corinthians 2:13-14This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.”
 
Every day presents a challenge to your faith.  It means that every day you must lay your life down at the foot of the cross … and look to the Son.
 
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)