Thursday, February 28, 2013

Who Is Doing This .. Me Or You?

My Utmost For His Highest

Many Christian workers have left Jesus Christ alone and yet tried to serve Him out of a sense of duty, or because they sense a need as a result of their own discernment. The reason for this is actually the absence of the resurrection life of Jesus. Our soul has gotten out of intimate contact with God by leaning on our own religious understanding (see Proverbs 3:5-6). […] We need to rely on the resurrection life of Jesus on a much deeper level than we do now. We should get in the habit of continually seeking His counsel on everything, instead of making our own commonsense decisions and then asking Him to bless them. He cannot bless them[…]. If we do something simply out of a sense of duty, we are trying to live up to a standard that competes with Jesus Christ. We become a prideful, arrogant person, thinking we know what to do in every situation. We have put our sense of duty on the throne of our life, instead of enthroning the resurrection life of Jesus. […] When we do something out of a sense of duty, it is easy to explain the reasons for our actions to others. But when we do something out of obedience to the Lord, there can be no other explanation-just obedience. That is why a saint can be so easily ridiculed and misunderstood.’ CHAMBERS
Have you ever asked the question .. "Who is doing this .. me or you?"
Matthew 25:31-46 describes two types of people .. sheep (those who belong to Jesus) and goats (those who don’t) I often refer to this passage when talking to people about the call to serve others. But the serving is a result of a relationship .. with Jesus … Anyone can give someone water to drink, food to eat, clothes to wear, medicine, encouragement … like Chambers says … that does not make you a Christian .. but even as a Christian, you can do these things and Jesus is nowhere to be found in the work .. it is all you … when we do this we can become prideful and arrogant in our serving .. as if we are the ‘provider’ and not God.  The truth of the matter is that everything we are is from God .. the brain we think with .. the hands we help with … the breath you just took while reading these words … they are a gift … and it is only in the context of the Lordship of Jesus does anything we do have value.
Does that sound extreme?  It should.  If we are Christians, we have a new life … a new purpose … and a new destiny.  We were called out of the old way of life … trusting fully in God and not in ourselves … taking credit for nothing .. because all credit belongs to Him.  The creator God.  Soli Gloria Deo – Glory to God Alone.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Singing Is Not Believing

My Utmost For His Highest
Suppose that you have a deep “well” of hurt and trouble inside your heart, and Jesus comes and says to you, “Let not your heart be troubled . . .” (John 14:1). Would your response be to shrug your shoulders and say, “But, Lord, the well is too deep, and even You can’t draw up quietness and comfort out of it.” Actually, that is correct. Jesus doesn’t bring anything up from the wells of human nature— He brings them down from above. We limit the Holy One of Israel by remembering only what we have allowed Him to do for us in the past, and also by saying, “Of course, I cannot expect God to do this particular thing.” The thing that approaches the very limits of His power is the very thing we as disciples of Jesus ought to believe He will do. We impoverish and weaken His ministry in us the moment we forget He is almighty. The impoverishment is in us, not in Him. We will come to Jesus for Him to be our comforter or our sympathizer, but we refrain from approaching Him as our Almighty God.
The reason some of us are such poor examples of Christianity is that we have failed to recognize that Christ is almighty. We have Christian attributes and experiences, but there is no abandonment or surrender to Jesus Christ. When we get into difficult circumstances, we impoverish His ministry by saying, “Of course, He can’t do anything about this.” We struggle to reach the bottom of our own well, trying to get water for ourselves. Beware of sitting back, and saying, “It can’t be done.” You will know it can be done if you will look to Jesus. The well of your incompleteness runs deep, but make the effort to look away from yourself and to look toward Him.’ CHAMBERS
 We sing things about God but don’t actually believe them.  We sing … ‘He is able, more than able to accomplish what concerns me today.  He is able, more than able to handle anything that comes my way.’ And then we resolve ourselves to the belief that He can’t help us with a particular problem.  ‘A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing’. Really?  Do you believe that you can always trust in God to take care of you?  ‘Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe.  Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.’ Do you believe that God has forgiven all of your sins? Or do you think that there are some that even God could not or would not forgive.  Do you believe that He forgave the thief on the cross?  Why?  You don’t even know why the thief was crucified.
This is a song that the Haitians students sing in our English class. ‘My God is so big, so strong and so mighty There's nothing my God cannot do. The mountains are His, The valleys are His, The stars are His handiwork too’
This is nothing your God cannot do!
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Do You Really Believe That?

My Utmost For His Highest
The woman said to Him, ’Sir, You have nothing to draw [water] with, and the well is deep’ —John 4:11
Have you ever said to yourself, “I am impressed with the wonderful truths of God’s Word, but He can’t really expect me to live up to that and work all those details into my life!” When it comes to confronting Jesus Christ on the basis of His qualities and abilities, our attitudes reflect religious superiority. We think His ideals are lofty and they impress us, but we believe He is not in touch with reality— that what He says cannot actually be done. Each of us thinks this about Jesus in one area of our life or another. […]  If we are honest, we will admit that we never have misgivings or doubts about ourselves, because we know exactly what we are capable or incapable of doing. But we do have misgivings about Jesus. And our pride is hurt even at the thought that He can do what we can’t. My misgivings arise from the fact that I search within to find how He will do what He says. My doubts spring from the depths of my own inferiority.’ CHAMBERS
Recently a volunteer asked me .. “What are you going to do about retirement?” In other worlds, “How are you going to take care of yourself after Haiti?” Good question.  The answer is “God will provide.” The condition of our obedience to His call to Haiti is not that we will have a good severance package or retirement plan.  We don’t trust God only when we are in Haiti and then trust in ourselves when we are not.  The wonderful question posed by the instructor of ‘The Truth Project’ by Focus on the Family.  “Do you believe that what you believe is really real?”
The answer to that question … the honest answer .. will reveal who you trust in .. God or yourself.  And that will determine how you live your life.  By the way, we have a great retirement plan .. in fact it is heavenly. What about you?
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Monday, February 25, 2013

What is Reasonable

My Utmost For His Highest
It was Paul’s delight to spend his life for God’s interests in other people, and he did not care what it cost. But before we will serve, we stop to ponder our personal and financial concerns— “What if God wants me to go over there? And what about my salary? What is the climate like there? Who will take care of me? A person must consider all these things.” All that is an indication that we have reservations about serving God. But the apostle Paul had no conditions or reservations. Paul focused his life on Jesus Christ’s idea of a New Testament saint; that is, not one who merely proclaims the gospel, but one who becomes broken bread and poured-out wine in the hands of Jesus Christ for the sake of others.’ CHAMBERS
Are you willing to follow Jesus no matter where He leads?  No matter what the destination or personal cost?  When  I preach here, I often talk to the people about our two natures .. the old and the new (2 Corinthians 5:17) and that the old does not want the new to prosper. There is a struggle between the two.  That is what Chambers describes … stopping to consider whether what God is asking us to do seems reasonable .. responsible … and natural … I have talked to many volunteers over the years who expressed a desire to serve as we do … but … there are issues they must consider .. the danger of financial loss … the uncertainty of their future when they are too old to serve … the list of reasonable concerns is very long .. and so ,, content with their evaluation of the viability of actually doing what God is calling them to do, they go home .. satisfied that they at least considered a life of service.
So what is the problem … actually it is the heart … you don’t have to move to Haiti to live for God .. to forsake the old and embrace the new … you can live that way .. today.  Probably the most visible group of people that live that way are the Amish.  At least they are on the exterior .. their lifestyle reflects a rejection of things of this world .. only embracing the necessities.  When we were in Waveland … we had some Amish working on one of the houses we were rebuilding … when I arrived to check on the progress, one of the young men was outside smoking a cigarette and the girls, dressed in their long dresses were singing along with music on a Country-Western station while they worked.
Not what you might expect .. but you see .. there is a struggle for all of us .. between the old and the new.  We can dress the outside up, but it is the inside where the sin resides and where the eternal change takes place. (Matthew 23:25-26)  "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence.  (26)  Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.
Is God speaking to you?  Search your heart.  Don’t trust in yourself for your good.  Trust God.   What will be your answer?
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

How Much Is Too Much?

My Utmost For His Highest
We have no right in Christian service to be guided by our own interests and desires. In fact, this is one of the greatest tests of our relationship with Jesus Christ. The delight of sacrifice is that I lay down my life for my Friend, Jesus (see John 15:13). I don’t throw my life away, but I willingly and deliberately lay it down for Him and His interests in other people. And I do this for no cause or purpose of my own. Paul spent his life for only one purpose— that he might win people to Jesus Christ.[…] Many of us are interested only in our own goals, and Jesus cannot help Himself to our lives. But if we are totally surrendered to Him, we have no goals of our own to serve.[…]’ CHAMBERS
I am thinking about the mountain of ministry opportunities that I have here in Jacmel, Haiti as I type this devotion.  Would God ask you to do more than what you or others might think possible?  I think so.  God calls us to do what is impossible – for men – but very possible for Him.  We have a tendency to look at life through the lens of our capacity and not the Lord’s. This work is not for the faint of heart.  It requires constant focus on the Lord.  If I start trusting on myself .. I am in immediate trouble.  Hmmm .. does this sound familiar to you?  It seems that you don’t have to be in Haiti to experience the very same thing.
If you are a Christian you are living a super-natural life.  You may not be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but you can do more than you ever imagined you could or would .. accomplishing things that have an eternal consequence.  So do this … get in tune with God  .. listen for His voice .. and then do what He says .. and don’t forget to trust Him!
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Reason We Serve Others

My Utmost For His Highest
Paul’s idea of service was to pour his life out to the last drop for others. And whether he received praise or blame made no difference. As long as there was one human being who did not know Jesus, Paul felt a debt of service to that person until he did come to know Him. But the chief motivation behind Paul’s service was not love for others but love for his Lord. If our devotion is to the cause of humanity, we will be quickly defeated and broken-hearted, since we will often be confronted with a great deal of ingratitude from other people. But if we are motivated by our love for God, no amount of ingratitude will be able to hinder us from serving one another.’ CHAMBERS
What is the condition for doing something for someone else?  That they appreciate it?  That they show gratitude?  You sacrifice your time, your effort, your money even; and do they even say thank you .. No! .. they just want more.  Don’t they deserve to get nothing?  Seems reasonable .. justifiable … you will find a whole crowd of people who will back you up on that.  Unfortunately, Jesus is not in that crowd.
Serving others cannot be conditioned upon how they respond to you .. but on how you respond to God. I know that I can’t help everyone .. but those I do help, I help because God has brought them to me .. Yes, but what if they abuse your help .. take advantage of it?  The question is not what they do with the what you give them .. but did God prompt you to help them.  When we look at people do we look at them with our natural or spiritual vision?  If we use our natural vision .. we will be decide if we think they are worthy of help … often based upon what they look like, what they say, or what they are doing … but if we use our spiritual vision … we will see the heart .. and hear God.
I have many people talk to me about guarding my time, not doing too much … for my benefit … but the fact of the matter is that if I was concerned about my benefit, I would not be in Haiti at all .. I would be relaxing on a lake fishing .. or sitting on a porch swing next to the love of my life .. reading book … or just enjoying the day.  But that is not what God has called me to.  He has called me to serve.  He brings the opportunities for serving to me .. I don’t have to look for them.
I am not serving to somehow gain God’s approval .. I am serving because Jesus is my example .. He is the Vine and I am the branch … and loving others is His command … How about you?
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Waiting on God

My Utmost For His Highest
If our hopes seem to be experiencing disappointment right now, it simply means that they are being purified. Every hope or dream of the human mind will be fulfilled if it is noble and of God. But one of the greatest stresses in life is the stress of waiting for God. He brings fulfillment, “because you have kept My command to persevere . . .” (Revelation 3:10).’ CHAMBERS
One of our greatest challenges in life is to wait on God and not just do it ourselves.  Or to not lose hope and let fear and stress set in. There is a hardware store that I use frequently here in Jacmel named Perseverance.  Every time I drive by that store it serves as a reminder that I am to persevere.  There are many opportunities every day for me to not wait on God, not trust Him, even to become anxious about what is happening.  Then I remember .. God is faithful .. He can and will do more than we can ask or think.
King Saul didn’t want to wait on God .. or Samuel .. one time, God removed His anointing … the next time .. God took the throne away from him … Does God expect us to wait and trust .. “YES”.  Are your hopes being purified?  Who or what are you looking to during that time?  They say that if you ever find yourself in quicksand that the thing you do not want to do is struggle … the more you try to get out .. the faster you will sink …. That’s pretty much the way it is with life … Those that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength.  They will mount up on wings as eagles.  They will run and not be weary .. they will walk and not faint … (Isaiah 40:31) Teach me Lord to wait .. to persevere!
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

It Starts With Surrender

My Utmost For His Highest
‘There are times when it seems as if God watches to see if we will give Him even small gifts of surrender, just to show how genuine our love is for Him. To be surrendered to God is of more value than our personal holiness. Concern over our personal holiness causes us to focus our eyes on ourselves, and we become overly concerned about the way we walk and talk and look, out of fear of offending God. “. . . but perfect love casts out fear . . .” CHAMBERS
Personal holiness follows surrender .. it’s not the other way around.  Ephesians 2:8-9 says we are saved by grace through faith not effort.  Our new life in Christ starts with surrender and then the 2 Corinthians 5:17 thing happens .. old things pass away .. and all things become new … So what does it mean to be “in Christ”
First, of course, we must believe in Him .. Romans 10:9 and then we must live a surrendered life Romans 12:1-2.  Let’s look at those verses … Verse 1 – surrender … Verse 2 - be holy.  Do you see the sequence.  We are the branches and He is the Vine.  Jesus said to Peter .. love me then serve me … John 21:15-19
So stop trying to be good and surrender to the One who is good.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

This Little Light of Mine

My Utmost For His Highest
‘When our purpose is to seek God and to discover His will for us, daydreaming is right and acceptable. But when our inclination is to spend time daydreaming over what we have already been told to do, it is unacceptable and God’s blessing is never on it. God will take the initiative against this kind of daydreaming by prodding us to action. His instructions to us will be along the lines of this: “Don’t sit or stand there, just go!” CHAMBERS
James 4:17  “[…] to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”  Do you know what it is you are supposed to do, where you are supposed to go, how you are supposed to live ..but it never has been a reality for you?  You have never acted upon what you know you are to do?  Sin means to miss the mark .. to live in disobedience toward God.  If you know what you are supposed to do .. you should do it .. not just think about it.
What keeps you from obeying? Do you love the world more than God? Are you afraid that God won’t take care of you? Are you afraid of losing relationships with people you care about? When Jesus was in the boat with the disciples and they woke Him up because they were afraid they were going to die, He asked them “Why is it that you are so fearful … why is it that you have no faith?” Mark 4:40.
Jesus might ask us the same questions.  The Christian life is more than a thought life .. it is to be lived out before a lost and dying world.  Let you light shine .. don’t hide it under a bushel basket … your life should be a beacon of hope to those who don’t know the Lord.
Matthew 5:13-16  "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.  "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

You want me to do What?

My Utmost For His Highest
‘Drudgery is one of the finest tests to determine the genuineness of our character. Drudgery is work that is far removed from anything we think of as ideal work. It is the utterly hard, menial, tiresome, and dirty work. And when we experience it, our spirituality is instantly tested and we will know whether or not we are spiritually genuine. Read John 13. In this chapter, we see the Incarnate God performing the greatest example of drudgery— washing fishermen’s feet. He then says to them, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14). The inspiration of God is required if drudgery is to shine with the light of God upon it. In some cases the way a person does a task makes that work sanctified and holy forever. It may be a very common everyday task, but after we have seen it done, it becomes different.’ CHAMBERS
Do you find satisfaction in what you do? For many people, their work .. vocation .. in or out of the home defines them.  But what if God called you to do something that seemed trivial .. menial .. well below what you are capable of.  Would you be willing to do that and be satisfied.  You see it is not the nature of your labor that is so important but the reason you are laboring at all.  Ephesian 2:10 says “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Serving God is not about personal fulfillment in the specific work that God calls us to .. but in knowing that the Master Craftsman has called us to serve. God does not have to use us, but He chooses to.  We get to be part of God’s master plan for the world and mankind.  That is huge, don’t you think?  And it doesn’t matter how menial the task might seem … it is all part of His plan.
Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus … if God wants to use you to sweep a room and you are a brain surgeon … sweep to His glory…. And praise Him for calling you to serve.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Moving On

My Utmost For His Highest
Rise, let us be going —Matthew 26:46
‘We will have times of despair caused by real events in our lives, and we will be unable to lift ourselves out of them. The disciples, in this instance, had done a downright unthinkable thing— they had gone to sleep instead of watching with Jesus. But our Lord came to them taking the spiritual initiative against their despair and said, in effect, “Get up, and do the next thing.” If we are inspired by God, what is the next thing? It is to trust Him absolutely and to pray on the basis of His redemption. Never let the sense of past failure defeat your next step.’ CHAMBERS
If you have lived, you have experienced either despair, regret or both. There are so many things in life that we have done or have been done to us that cause us to sink into despair… to want to give up. The Apostle Paul wrote; “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.  Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,  I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 3:12-14
We live in a fallen world. Bad things happen to both Christians and those who are not Christians. Sometimes it’s our fault and sometimes not.  The point today is that, in Christ, we can move on with our lives.  This does not mean that what happened does not matter or we should pretend it didn’t happen.  But, in Christ, we can find the strength to move beyond it.  Steven Curtis Chapman wrote a song “His Strength is Perfect”
“I can do all things .. Through Christ who gives me strength, .. But sometimes I wonder what He can do through me; .. No great success to show, No glory on my own, .. Yet in my weakness He is there to let me know . . . His strength is perfect when our strength is gone;..  He’ll carry us when we can’t carry on… Raised in His power, the weak become strong; .. His strength is perfect, His strength is perfect….We can only know .. The power that He holds .. When we truly see how deep our weakness goes; .. His strength in us begins .. Where ours comes to an end. .. He hears our humble cry and proves again ..”
2 Corinthians 12:9-10  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.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Tuned In To God

My Utmost For His Highest
But whenever God steps in, His inspiration is to do the most natural, simple things-things we would never have imagined God was in, but as we do them we find Him there.’ CHAMBERS
Have you ever been in a circumstance and wondered, “Where is God?”  When we walk by faith – in obedience to His Word – and His leading, we find Him there.  For Peter, he saw the Lord, responded to His call to get out of the boat … but then lost sight of Jesus and began to sink.  How often we charge off in some direction trusting in our own intellect and wisdom – depending upon a prayer we days two days ago or a verse we read last Sunday at church.  And when things go the wrong way, we ask “Where is God when I need Him?”
We will not receive God’s inspiration if we are not tuned into the Holy Spirit.  Matthew 22:37 says love God with everything you are – 24-7.  Do you? Or do you turn your relationship with Him on and off like a light switch.  Read Joshua 1:8-9.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

God and Gravity

My Utmost For His Highest
‘When God sends His inspiration, it comes to us with such miraculous power that we are able to “arise from the dead” and do the impossible. The remarkable thing about spiritual initiative is that the life and power comes after we “get up and get going.” God does not give us overcoming life—He gives us life as we overcome. When the inspiration of God comes, and He says, “Arise from the dead . . . ,” we have to get ourselves up; God will not lift us up. Our Lord said to the man with the withered hand, “Stretch out your hand” (Matthew 12:13). As soon as the man did so, his hand was healed. But he had to take the initiative. If we will take the initiative to overcome, we will find that we have the inspiration of God, because He immediately gives us the power of life.’ CHAMBERS
God blesses us in our obedience .. in our demonstration of our faith by our actions. This is not about trying to be holy .. or good enough.  It is to say that we must act on what we know and trust God in the doing.  Then He shows up.  We need to stretch out our hand … even walk on the water … defy what our natural wisdom would tell us is insanity or frivolity because we live and walk by faith and not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7) I am amazed at what God does through me.  Someone commented on the work we are doing in Haiti .. and I told him that it is not me, it’s God.  I am in over my head.  God asks me to do things that I do not, personally, have the capacity to do.  But He does.  I am reminded almost daily that I have feet of clay.  But God is able to exceedingly, abundantly more than I can ask or think. (Ephesians 3:20)
The challenge for us Christians is to trust God … trust Him like we trust gravity. Do you think about gravity?  You absolutely depend upon it .. everything on this earth depends upon it .. actually in the universe …  But do you wonder if it going to be there if you do something?  Probably no.  Our goal should be to live our lives in a manner where we don’t even think about whether God will be with us .. but we live in confidence that He is .. and then He does something really cool.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Friday, February 15, 2013

You've got to .. Go where you want to go .. Do what you want to do. Really?

My Utmost For His Highest
None of us lives to himself . . . —Romans 14:7
Has it ever dawned on you that you are responsible spiritually to God for other people? For instance, if I allow any turning away from God in my private life, everyone around me suffers. We “sit together in the heavenly places . . .” (Ephesians 2:6). “If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it . . .” (1 Corinthians 12:26). If you allow physical selfishness, mental carelessness, moral insensitivity, or spiritual weakness, everyone in contact with you will suffer. But you ask, “Who is sufficient to be able to live up to such a lofty standard?” “Our sufficiency is from God . . .” and God alone (2 Corinthians 3:5).’ CHAMBERS
When my mom became a Christian in 1969, none of the older children, the ones who were grown ... including me, really believed that she had changed.  We heard her words, but remembered what she had been like in the past. But as we watched her, we saw a new person.  The new life she lived had an effect on all of us.  People can pretend to be one way in front of other people for a short time.  But eventually they will drift back to who they really are.  Family members know all too well who they really are.  Our mom had a spiritual responsibility.  Her fulfilling that responsibility is, in part, why my wife and I are on the mission field today.
In the same we have a spiritual responsibility toward others.  God wants to use us as salt and light to draw others to Himself.  (Matthew 5:13-16) Does it matter what you do … what you say … how you live? You betcha! I have a problem with self-focus if I say .. I am not my brother’s keeper.  I am not responsible for anyone else.  I can do what I want and it won’t have an effect on anyone else.  Do you know what that is called … “a lie from hell”.
1 Corinthians 8:9-13  But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol's temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols?  And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?  But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.  Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.”
Paul was saying that even behavior that is OK before God should be avoided if it causes a Brother to stumble.  That is taking our Christian life to a whole new level.  Are you willing to go there?
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

It's Fundamental

My Utmost For His Highest
‘Sometimes God puts us through the experience and discipline of darkness to teach us to hear and obey Him. Song birds are taught to sing in the dark, and God puts us into “the shadow of His hand” until we learn to hear Him (Isaiah 49:2). […] After every time of darkness, we should experience a mixture of delight and humiliation. If there is only delight, I question whether we have really heard God at all. We should experience delight for having heard God speak, but mostly humiliation for having taken so long to hear Him! Then we will exclaim, “How slow I have been to listen and understand what God has been telling me!” And yet God has been saying it for days and even weeks. But once you hear Him, He gives you the gift of humiliation, which brings a softness of heart— a gift that will always cause you to listen to God now.’ CHAMBERS
How have your conversations with God been?  Communication with God  is not just us praying to Him.  But listening.  We can be so hard of hearing … stubborn even.  Our hearing becomes dull because we are so busy doing whatever it is that we are doing .. Whether for God or for ourselves.
Deuteronomy 26:17  “Today you have proclaimed the LORD to be your God, and that you will walk in His ways and keep His statutes, His commandments, and His judgments, and that you will obey His voice.”
Like the Jews following God, when we said yes to Jesus as Lord, we agreed to listen to Him.
John 10:27  “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”
We need to be more sensitive to the voice of our Lord.  We can only do that by being spiritually aware.  We can only do that by being intentional about reading the Word, praying .. doing the fundamentals.  When a football team is not playing well … often times the coach will take them back to the fundamentals of the game … If you can’t do those things, you can’t perform well.  If you can’t hear His voice, you need to go back to the fundamentals.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Are You Listening?

My Utmost For His Highest
We don’t consciously and deliberately disobey God— we simply don’t listen to Him. God has given His commands to us, but we pay no attention to them— not because of willful disobedience, but because we do not truly love and respect Him. “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). Once we realize we have constantly been showing disrespect to God, we will be filled with shame and humiliation for ignoring Him.’ CHAMBERS
I preached in a Haitian church last Sunday.  As I looked at the people and they looked at me, I wondered .. do they really hear me? I know they are listening .. at least they are not sleeping .. but do they hear what I am saying.  In Matthew 13:14-16 Jesus said, “In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.”
It is not when we hear with our ears, but with our heart that God’s truth brings change.  Mentally we receive the words, but they never make it to the place where our will resides.  The place where change happens.  Where we move from listening to the words to acting on them.  In 1 Corinthians 2:3-5 Paul said , “I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
I can never be persuasive enough to change a heart .. but the Spirit can be.  I pray that today you will hear the Lord speaking to you and your heart will say .. “Yes, Lord!”
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Completely Sanctified

My Utmost for His Highest

May the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely . . . —1 Thessalonians 5:23

Sanctification means being made one with Jesus so that the nature that controlled Him will control us. Are we really prepared for what that will cost? It will cost absolutely everything in us which is not of God.  Are we prepared to be caught up into the full meaning of Paul’s prayer in this verse? Are we prepared to say, “Lord, make me, a sinner saved by grace, as holy as You can”? Jesus prayed that we might be one with Him, just as He is one with the Father (see John 17:21-23). The resounding evidence of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life is the unmistakable family likeness to Jesus Christ, and the freedom from everything which is not like Him.’ CHAMBERS

Do you have control issues?  What I mean is do you have a struggle that rages within you.  The struggle I am referring to is between your flesh and spirit. Of all of the words that God could have shared with us .. He chose those that we read in the Bible.  Conclusion … they are important.  They are relevant .. they apply to us.  So when He says .. don’t love the world or the things of this world (1 John 2:15) … He says it because He knows that it will be a problem for us.  When He says you can’t love Me (God) and money (Matthew 6:24) … it is because it will be a problem for us. 
When He says “Be holy because I am holy”, (Leviticus 11:44) He knew that we will struggle with things that are unholy.  And when He says walk by the Spirit and not the flesh (Galatians 5:16) .. well, you get the idea.