Thursday, July 31, 2014

Being Statisfied With A Little Bit Of Sin

My Utmost For His Highest
‘Many of us appear to be all right in general, but there are still some areas in which we are careless and lazy; it is not a matter of sin, but the remnants of our carnal life that tend to make us careless. […] Not only must our relationship to God be right, but the outward expression of that relationship must also be right. […] It may be a problem arising from our impulsive nature, but again and again, with the most persistent patience, God has brought us back to that one particular point. Or the problem may be our idle and wandering thinking, or our independent nature and self-interest. […] Beware of becoming careless over the small details of life and saying, “Oh, that will have to do for now.” Whatever it may be, God will point it out with persistence until we become entirely His.’ CHAMBERS
I once heard rationalizing explained this way.  “When you rationalize, you are telling yourself rational lies.”  You are telling yourself things that make sense to you in an attempt to justify why you did, thought, or said something.  Sin can be like that old favorite chair or sofa that you love to settle into and get that feeling that for the moment, all is well.  That those little sins are just who you are.  They really don't matter.  Don’t be content with a limited level of righteousness.  Some sins seem so trivial … but the Word says “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10) 
Our God is holy and He has said that we are to be holy because He is holy.  We are his offspring.  We should reflect His character.  We should not be content with anything less. But .. remember that no amount of self-effort will make you holy … it is a spiritual condition that come out of the heart … and it begins with total devotion to the Lord.  The point is not to make you feel guilty about falling short as a Christian.  The point is to remind you that you are to put the world and sin behind you … not be comfortable with it .. that is your old nature at work ….
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Love Them Like Jesus Loves You

My Utmost For His Highest
‘[…] the disillusionment that comes from God brings us to the point where we see people as they really are, yet without any cynicism or any stinging and bitter criticism. […] if we love someone, but do not love God, we demand total perfection and righteousness from that person, and when we do not get it we become cruel and vindictive; yet we are demanding of a human being something which he or she cannot possibly give. There is only one Being who can completely satisfy to the absolute depth of the hurting human heart, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. […] Our Lord trusted no one, and never placed His faith in people, yet He was never suspicious or bitter. Our Lord’s confidence in God, and in what God’s grace could do for anyone, was so perfect that He never despaired, never giving up hope for any person. If our trust is placed in human beings, we will end up despairing of everyone.’ CHAMBERS
What do you expect from other people? What you yourself cannot achieve? Very often that is the case.  We are demanding of others and unforgiving.  We are like the unforgiving servant .. who wanted grace and mercy but was unwilling to give it.  Jesus said “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.”  (Matthew 7:2-5)   Rather than condemning the person .. do not sin in your heart against them … it only does you harm … instead why not pray for them .
We already know that we live in a fallen world .. why be surprised when people .. even Christians .. sin … let your light shine before all men … rather than condemn them, in your mind, to hell … point them to Jesus … to a new life … to redemption … love them like Jesus loves you …
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Time To Give It Up And Give It To Jesus

My Utmost For His Highest
‘In the Bible clouds are always associated with God. Clouds are the sorrows, sufferings, or providential circumstances, within or without our personal lives, which actually seem to contradict the sovereignty of God. Yet it is through these very clouds that the Spirit of God is teaching us how to walk by faith. […] Through every cloud He brings our way, He wants us to unlearn something. His purpose in using the cloud is to simplify our beliefs until our relationship with Him is exactly like that of a child— a relationship simply between God and our own souls, and where other people are but shadows. […] There is a connection between the strange providential circumstances allowed by God and what we know of Him, and we have to learn to interpret the mysteries of life in the light of our knowledge of God.’ CHAMBERS
It is really pretty simple .. God wants us to trust Him and not trust ourselves.  He wants us to learn to trust Him in difficult times and stop trusting ourselves and the despair that comes with our effort.  Have you been there?  A situation arises … you are desperate to solve the problem .. but there does not seem to be a solution .. only the pain, brokenness, and stress that you are facing.  So you deal with it . .suffer with it .. worry over it … 1 Peter 5:7 says ‘Cast all of your cares on Him because He cares for you’.  Proverbs 3:5-6 says to trust God not yourself.  Matthew 11:28 says “Come to Me [Jesus] all you that are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. John 16:33 says “These things I [Jesus] have spoken to you that you might have peace.  In the world you will have trouble, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
So what are you waiting for.  It’s time to give it up and give it to Jesus. What’s that? Control of your life and your trust in where the solutions will come from.  God does not promise to remove the problem, but to be with you through the storms.
‘Say to those who are fearful hearted, “do not be afraid. The Lord your God is strong, with His mighty arm, When you call on His name. He will come and save” He will come and save you, … Say to the weary one, “your God will surely come” He will come and save you… Lift up your eyes to Him, you will a-rise again He will come and save you’  He Will Come And Save You – Bob Fitts & Gary Sadler
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Living In The Reality Of God's Presence

My Utmost For His Highest
‘We have the idea that God is leading us toward a particular end or a desired goal, but He is not. The question of whether or not we arrive at a particular goal is of little importance, and reaching it becomes merely an episode along the way. What we see as only the process of reaching a particular end, God sees as the goal itself. […] What is my vision of God’s purpose for me? Whatever it may be, His purpose is for me to depend on Him and on His power now. If I can stay calm, faithful, and unconfused while in the middle of the turmoil of life, the goal of the purpose of God is being accomplished in me. God is not working toward a particular finish— His purpose is the process itself. […]  What people call preparation, God sees as the goal itself. […] God’s purpose is to enable me to see that He can walk on the storms of my life right now. If we have a further goal in mind, we are not paying enough attention to the present time.’ CHAMBERS
Every life experience has two possibilities .. it can move us closer to God or farther away.  God’s intention is always the former.  I have started a new approach to preaching in the Haitian churches .. I am preaching using their favorite hymns as an outline. Songs that they love to sing, most do not think past the singing .. they don’t think about what the person who penned the song intended people to understand.  What that person might have been experiencing when they wrote down the words.  Those songs .. worship songs .. give God the glory … often times birthed out of the struggle in daily living. I want them to see the spiritual reality … and so it us with us and God.
God wants us to see the spiritual reality of this life.  When we do, our response to life is completely turned around.  Henry Blackaby said “God is always at work around you” and “You come to know God by experience as you obey Him and He accomplishes His work through you.”  As you put your faith in God .. every day .. in every circumstance .. you see God at work in every situation .. you begin to manifest the fruit of the Spirit … even in the most difficult times.  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)  And in that you bring glory to God and draw others to Jesus.  Your ministry is today and it is now and it is right where you are.
“When it’s all been said and done. There is just one thing that matters.  Did I do my best to live for truth. Did I live my life for You.  When it's all been said and done. All my treasures will mean nothing.  Only what I've done for love's Reward will stand the test of time. Lord Your mercy is so great. That You look beyond our weakness. And find purest gold in miry clay. Making sinners into saints.”  Don Moen
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Friday, July 25, 2014

Let Jesus Be The Fire In Your Heart And The Wind In Your Sails

My Utmost For His Highest
‘The teachings of Jesus [the Beatitudes in Matthew 5] are all out of proportion when compared to our natural way of looking at things, and they come to us initially with astonishing discomfort. We gradually have to conform our walk and conversation to the precepts of Jesus Christ as the Holy Spirit applies them to our circumstances. The Sermon on the Mount is not a set of rules and regulations— it is a picture of the life we will live when the Holy Spirit is having His unhindered way with us.’ CHAMBERS
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, Blessed are those who mourn, Blessed are the meek, Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, Blessed are the merciful, Blessed are the pure in heart, Blessed are the peacemakers, Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.” (Matthew 5:3-11)
How do you respond to life?  To what happens to you.  To the way people treat you. What is at the core of your response? Is it you or is it Jesus? Are you busy trying to make life work? Trying to keep your head above water? Trying to keep your sanity? Jesus said “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30) This is not just some feel good philosophy … it is real and within your grasp … but you need to stop trying to live your life on your own and let Jesus reign in your heart.  Let Him be the source of your life.
Make this song your prayer and commitment today …
“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
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Three Things To Know About Temptations

My Utmost For His Highest
“ . . unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” —Matthew 5:20
‘The characteristic of a disciple is not that he does good things, but that he is good in his motives, having been made good by the supernatural grace of God. The only thing that exceeds right-doing is right-being. Jesus Christ came to place within anyone who would let Him a new heredity that would have a righteousness exceeding that of the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus is saying, “If you are My disciple, you must be right not only in your actions, but also in your motives, your aspirations, and in the deep recesses of the thoughts of your mind.” […] The purity that God demands is impossible unless I can be remade within, and that is exactly what Jesus has undertaken to do through His redemption.’ CHAMBERS
When you are faced with a temptation what is your response?  Do you try with all your might to resist it?  Do you resolve in your mind to not give in.  Do you exercise every bit of “won’t” power that you muster?  How is that working for you?  Where do those temptations come from? (James 1:14-15) “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.”   The Word says they come from inside .. not outside … And how do we deal with temptations? (1 Corinthians 10:13)  “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
Three things to know … 1. Temptations start inside not outside … 2. What you are tempted to do is not new … 3. God has made it possible to defeat the temptation …  Jesus, who was tempted in all ways (Hebrews 4:15) dealt with temptation in the desert with the Word of God.  (Psalm 119:11) “You Word had I hid in my heart that I might not sin against you” (give in to the temptation).  You can defeat temptation but only by the Spiritual power in you .. “Lord, You have my heart.  Let me search for yours. Let me be to you a sacrifice.  And I will praise you Lord. And I will sing of love come down. And as I seek Your face, I’ll see your glory here."
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Living Like Jesus

My Utmost For His Highest
‘The mystery of sanctification is that the perfect qualities of Jesus Christ are imparted as a gift to me, not gradually, but instantly once I enter by faith into the realization that He “became for [me] . . . sanctification . . . .” Sanctification means nothing less than the holiness of Jesus becoming mine and being exhibited in my life. The most wonderful secret of living a holy life does not lie in imitating Jesus, but in letting the perfect qualities of Jesus exhibit themselves in my human flesh. Sanctification is “Christ in you . . .” (Colossians 1:27). […] It is the gift of His patience, love, holiness, faith, purity, and godliness that is exhibited in and through every sanctified soul. Sanctification is not drawing from Jesus the power to be holy— it is drawing from Jesus the very holiness that was exhibited in Him, and that He now exhibits in me. Sanctification is an impartation, not an imitation. […]  the mystery of sanctification is that all the perfect qualities of Jesus are at my disposal. Consequently, I slowly but surely begin to live a life of inexpressible order, soundness, and holiness— “. . . kept by the power of God . . .” (1 Peter 1:5).’ CHAMBERS
As you read those words are you thinking “that could never be me”?  If you are a Christian it is you.  Christ-likeness is in you .. but you must release it.  The only way you can release it is to step aside and let Jesus reign .. let Him be Lord.  A saying that was popular a few years ago goes “If Jesus is not Lord of all, then He is not Lord at all”.   That may sound extreme, but you cannot have two masters .. God said that in His word .. you will love one and hate the other … Does your life reflect Jesus or does it reflect the world?  If you could step outside of yourself to watch and listen, what would you see and hear.  Based upon what you see and hear would you conclude that person is devoted to Jesus or to the world. 
Don’t accept mediocrity in your spiritual life … letting Jesus reign is your start to living in victory over the problems of life … not eliminating problems .. but living in spiritual victory over them.  You can have “patience, love, holiness, faith, purity, and godliness” in spite of the problems you face … don’t carry them on your own … you already know that does not work … “I heard about His healing, Of His cleansing power revealing.  How He made the lame to walk again  And caused the blind to see; And then I cried dear Jesus come and heal my broken spirit and somehow Jesus came and brought to me the victory!  Oh Victory In Jesus .. my Savior Forever He sought me and bought me with His redeeming blood.”
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Monday, July 21, 2014

It's All About Jesus And All About Grace

My Utmost For His Highest
‘[…] What is the point of presenting me with such a lofty ideal if I cannot possibly come close to reaching it? I would be happier if I never knew it. What good is there in telling me to be what I can never be— to be “pure in heart” (Matthew 5:8), to do more than my duty, or to be completely devoted to God? I must know Jesus Christ as my Savior before His teaching has any meaning for me other than that of a lofty ideal which only leads to despair. But when I am born again by the Spirit of God, I know that Jesus Christ did not come only to teach— He came to make me what He teaches I should be. […] As long as we have some self-righteous idea that we can carry out our Lord’s teaching, God will allow us to continue until we expose our own ignorance by stumbling over some obstacle in our way. Only then are we willing to come to Him as paupers and receive from Him. “Blessed are the poor in spirit . . . .” This is the first principle in the kingdom of God. The underlying foundation of Jesus Christ’s kingdom is poverty, not possessions; not making decisions for Jesus, but having such a sense of absolute futility that we finally admit, “Lord, I cannot even begin to do it.” CHAMBERS
Are you at that point in your life? Have you been trying to live the naturally impossible life? Trying to be righteous by your own effort?  The standards for new life that you live are beyond your reach.  You cannot possible attain what God has called you to … but you stumble along often wondering what the point is .. you continue to fall short .. and yet you continue to try living your new life in your own wisdom, on your own terms.
Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Meditate on that verse today.  It is no longer you but Jesus ….
“Weak and wounded sinner, Lost and left to die
O, raise your head, for love is passing by
Come to Jesus and live!
Now your burden's lifted And carried far away
And precious blood has washed away the stain, so
Sing to Jesus and live!
And like a newborn baby Don't be afraid to crawl
And remember when you walk Sometimes we
Fall on Jesus and live!” Chris Rice
It’s all about Jesus and all about Grace.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

What God Prefers OVer Sacrifice

My Utmost For His Highest
‘God teaches us by using these people who are a little better than we are; not better intellectually, but more holy. And He continues to do so until we willingly submit. Then the whole attitude of our life is one of obedience to Him. If our Lord insisted on our obedience, He would simply become a taskmaster and cease to have any real authority. He never insists on obedience, but when we truly see Him we will instantly obey Him. Then He is easily Lord of our life, and we live in adoration of Him from morning till night. The level of my growth in grace is revealed by the way I look at obedience. We should have a much higher view of the word obedience, rescuing it from the mire of the world.’ CHAMBERS
You will find that other Christians come across your path that are remarkably more spiritually mature than you are.  There is something in their character that enchants you (I have always been a better Christian after such encounters and thank God for them) .. God has shaped these people through their walk with Him.   But at the same time you are enchanted, God shows us that we fall short of where we know God wants us to be.  The hallmark of this new life we live is one of obedience motivated by love not personal sacrifices … we should not measure spiritual success by looking back at what we have cast aside to follow Jesus.  I have heard many people tell of what they have given up to follow Jesus … with a hint a pride … and people listening marvel at the sacrifices made … but read what His Word says ...
1 Samuel 15:22 ‘But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”
Psalm 51:16-17You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;  a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.’
The nearer you draw to God, the brighter His light will shine on your heart … you will know His will and you will find joy in obeying it.  Forsake the things that pull at your heart … that would draw you away from God … If you heart belongs to Him … then commit your ways to Him .. trust and obey for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Emperor's New Clothes .. Facing The Truth

My Utmost For His Highest
‘There can be no real disobedience, nor any moral virtue in obedience, unless a person recognizes the higher authority of the one giving the orders. If this recognition does not exist, even the one giving the orders may view the other person’s disobedience as freedom.’ CHAMBERS
I don’t know if you have ever heard the child’s story about the emperor’s new clothes. A man made imaginary clothes and convinced the emperor they existed .. The emperor believed him and no one in his court would dare say they did not see clothes.  It took a child to reveal the truth and make the way for everyone to agree that the emperor had no clothes on.
We can believe that the way we live and what we do is OK.  That we can define what is right and what is wrong … what is and what isn’t … if we have clothes on or if we don’t.  But the truth is that there is a greater truth than the one we conjure in our minds.  Jesus is the Truth.  He is the higher authority. We can choose to ignore Him and truth … but that does not mean that we have clothes on … that does not mean there is not a consequence.  … 1 John 5:11-12 “And this is the testimony [truth]: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”  People can deny Jesus but it doesn’t change things … you can live with sin and say it’s OK, people can pretend along with you, but that does not make it so.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

You Do Your Part - God Will Do His

My Utmost For His Highest
‘ My speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom . . . —1 Corinthians 2:4
Paul was a scholar and an orator of the highest degree; he was not speaking here out of a deep sense of humility, but was saying that when he preached the gospel, he would veil the power of God if he impressed people with the excellency of his speech. Belief in Jesus is a miracle produced only by the effectiveness of redemption, not by impressive speech, nor by wooing and persuading, but only by the sheer unaided power of God. The creative power of redemption comes through the preaching of the gospel, but never because of the personality of the preacher. […] The preacher is there as the representative of God— “. . . as though God were pleading through us . . .” (2 Corinthians 5:20). He is there to present the gospel of God. […]. “And I, if I am lifted up. . . , will draw all peoples to Myself” (John 12:32).’ CHAMBERS
Chambers was speaking to students in a Bible college when his wife recorded these words.  But the principles he shared are true for every Believer.  Many people don’t pray in public because they are afraid of how they might sound to others.  Many don’t share the Gospel for the same reason.  The truth is that it is not the eloquence of our speech that is effective.  It is the power of the Spirit behind them that brings change.  You do not have to know how to alliterate (that is where your main points all begin with the same letter .. something unique to the English language …)  to effectively present the Gospel.  You just have to be obedient.  God will give you the opportunity .. you don’t have to break doors down … but be ready … at all times … you do your part .. and God will do His.
1 Peter 3:15 “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have."
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

God will be there when no one else is

My Utmost For His Highest
‘Jesus is laying down the rules of conduct in this passage [Matthew 7:11] for those people who have His Spirit.  He urges us to keep our minds filled with the concept of God’s control over everything, which means that a disciple must maintain an attitude of perfect trust and an eagerness to as and to seek.  Fill your minds with the thought that God is there. And when your mind is truly filled with that thought, when you experience difficulties it will be easy as breathing for you to remember, “My heavenly Father knows all about this!” This will be no effort at all,  but will be a natural thing for you when difficulties and uncertainties arise.” CHAMBERS 
(John 16:32-33) ‘Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."’
When you are feeling alone or desperate, remember that you are not alone.  John 16:33 is quoted many times .. but verse 32 speaks to a great truth as well … God is with you … and if He is with you .. who can stand against you? The key is to be confident in that knowledge.  It is one thing to say “I know God is everywhere” (Psalm 139)  It is another thing, altogether, to face life with confidence in that truth.  Jesus told the disciples that His confidence was in God not men.  Though men may fail me .. though life may not go my way … my God is with me.  That is why Job could say “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” Peace is knowing that God is sovereign in every circumstance … I must trust Him (Proverbs 3:5,6).  You will not trust if you do not know.  Pursue God .. get to know Him deeply .. And even in those times of despair .. when you feel all is lost … that you are alone … that men have failed you … God … the sovereign Lord and Creator .. is with you. Amen
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Are Your Running On Empty?

My Utmost For His Highest
‘Paul sold himself to Jesus Christ and he said, in effect, “I am a debtor to everyone on the face of the earth because of the gospel of Jesus; I am free only that I may be an absolute bondservant of His.” That is the characteristic of a Christian’s life once this level of spiritual honor and duty becomes real. Quit praying about yourself and spend your life for the sake of others as the bondservant of Jesus. That is the true meaning of being broken bread and poured-out wine in real life.’ CHAMBERS
What are your priorities in life? Not what do you want them to be .. or wish they could be.  What are they.  Jesus said they are to love God, Love others, (Matthew 22:37-39) and don’t worry about you.(Matthew 6:25-34)  Do you remember the man who wanted to follow Jesus, but said .. first let me bury my father? (Matthew 8:21-22) Jesus response may seem harsh .. but I think the point is … the man’s heart was not fully committed to following Jesus.
What you think, what you say and what you do begins in the heart.  For many Christians their hearts are running on empty, spiritually.  When I stop at the gas station in Jacmel .. the guys riding the motorcycles put a dollar’s worth of gas in their tanks. Just enough to get by.  Don’t be like that.  Fill your tank every day …. Draw close to God … and let your love for Him and others flow from the abundance of your heart …. Fulfill your purpose ..
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Monday, July 14, 2014

So .. You want to be like Jesus

My Utmost For His Highest
‘When you are insulted, you must not only not resent it, but you must make it an opportunity to exhibit the Son of God in your life. And you cannot imitate the nature of Jesus— it is either in you or it is not. A personal insult becomes an opportunity for a saint to reveal the incredible sweetness of the Lord Jesus.[…] Never look for righteousness in the other person, but never cease to be righteous yourself. We are always looking for justice, yet the essence of the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount is— Never look for justice, but never cease to give it.’ CHAMBERS
Matthew chapter 5 is a difficult chapter for our flesh.  Jesus addresses character traits that spring from our spiritual nature .. not our old nature.  I don’t think there is a person who has not been treated unfairly .. in some hurtful manner at some point in their lives.  The question is, how to respond when it happens.  Our old nature certainly demands retribution .. a response in kind .. we must defend ourselves, mustn’t we?  Read Jesus words …
Matthew 5   “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”
Perhaps the greatest lesson I learned was from a friend who counselled me on how to respond to an injustice.  It was contrary to everything that was crying out within me. My flesh .. old nature .. was ready to devastate the person … instead .. I showed grace and mercy … I remained silent before my accuser … That struggle showed me that I had more pride in me than I had imagined.  It was the application of Matthew 5 living and relating. You want to be more like Jesus?
Mark 8:34  “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me.”
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

What Are You Doing With God's Blessings?

My Utmost For His Highest
‘Reconciliation means the restoring of the relationship between the entire human race and God, putting it back to what God designed it to be. This is what Jesus Christ did in redemption. The church ceases to be spiritual when it becomes self-seeking, only interested in the development of its own organization. […] We are not here to develop a spiritual life of our own, or to enjoy a quiet spiritual retreat. We are here to have the full realization of Jesus Christ, for the purpose of building His body. Am I building up the body of Christ, or am I only concerned about my own personal development? The essential thing is my personal relationship with Jesus Christ— “. . . that I may know Him. . .” (Philippians 3:10). To fulfill God’s perfect design for me requires my total surrender— complete abandonment of myself to Him. Whenever I only want things for myself, the relationship is distorted.’ CHAMBERS
2 Corinthians 5:17-18 says that we are a new creation, even though we continue to live in these bodies in this world.  But not only that, we have been given the “ministry” of reconciliation.  Our ministry is to restore others to God since we, ourselves, have been restored to Him. Imagine you are given some food with the intent that you should eat some but also give food to the hungry around you.  But you decide to keep the food for yourself.  You would be found unfaithful by the one who gave you the food and the charge to feed others. Years ago there was a television show called “Chico and the Man”.  Chico would say “It’s not my job, man”  So many Christians have that view when it comes to telling others about Jesus and the Cross. They resist sharing the spiritual and natural blessings that God has showered on them.
Luke 12:16-21  ‘And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”
Don’t keep God’s blessings for yourself ..
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Who Is In Charge Aorund Here?

My Utmost For His Highest
“Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass” —Psalm 37:5
‘In spiritual issues it is customary for us to put God first, but we tend to think that it is inappropriate and unnecessary to put Him first in the practical, everyday issues of our lives. […] Don’t plan without God. […] We get ourselves into circumstances that were not chosen by God, and suddenly we realize that we have been making our plans without Him— that we have not even considered Him to be a vital, living factor in the planning of our lives. And yet the only thing that will keep us from even the possibility of worrying is to bring God in as the greatest factor in all of our planning.’ CHAMBERS
Proverbs 16:9 “A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps”  God is sovereign over everything … and how much is everything? So often we live our lives as if we were independent of God … choosing what is right as if it a menu … on the left side you have the culture and the old nature.  On the right side, you have the Word of God.  “Now let me see, I’ll have one lust of the flesh,  pride of life , hold the guilt, and as a side .. the love of money sounds good … and for desert … hmmmmm …. How about a large serving of peace that passes all understanding with a scoop of patience. Oh and sweet tea.”
It is so easy to live our lives this way.  And when things go wrong .. we just try harder.  But that is like being in quicksand.  The harder you struggle the deeper you sink.  Galatians 5:16 “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” The problem you face with the problems you face is that you are trying to live your life with God in the stands as a spectator when He is, in fact, the Head Coach.
Do you want to be like Jesus?   John 5:30 “By myself I can do nothing; […] I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.”
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Friday, July 4, 2014

Standing Firm In The Face Of What Would Make Us Fear

My Utmost For His Highest
“Do not fret— it only causes harm” —Psalm 37:8
‘[…] It’s easy to say, “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him” (Psalm 37:7) until our own little world is turned upside down and we are forced to live in confusion and agony like so many other people. Is it possible to “rest in the Lord” then? If this “Do not” doesn’t work there, then it will not work anywhere. […] Resting in the Lord is not dependent on your external circumstances at all, but on your relationship with God Himself. Worrying always results in sin. […]  Our Lord never worried and was never anxious, because His purpose was never to accomplish His own plans but to fulfill God’s plans. Fretting is wickedness for a child of God.[…] All our fretting and worrying is caused by planning without God.’ CHAMBERS
All of have uncertain times.  We have been afraid of someone or something.  We have faced the death of loved ones.  Maybe our own.  Financial loss. Sickness.  Broken relationships.  Rejection. And then we hear Jesus say “Fear not” (Luke 12:7) “Do not worry” (Matt 6:25-34) “Why did you doubt?”  (Matt 14:31) “Where is your faith?” (Luke 8:25)
In each of these of these circumstances .. people were faced with the impossible .. but in the presence of Jesus .. all things are possible.  When I was a young boy, I visited my Dad every other weekend.  He eventually remarried.  Although his background was Episcopal, he and his wife attend a spiritualist church .. a place where mediums would call upon the dead. Of course when I was with him, he took me along.  I can remember that every Sunday they would sing “God I believe.  God I believe.  All things are possible.  God I believe.” As if to convince themselves that they could really communicate with the dead and departed as intercessors.  Of course we know that Jesus is our High Priest and the Holy Spirit is our connection to all things spiritual.  But, the song is true in so much as nothing is impossible for God.  But, it must be consistent with His revelation . .the Word of God … and not contrived to placate our fears and doubts.
I suspect that I may overuse Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.”  But, I always seem to be “running into it”. The success of our lives depends upon our being spiritually courageous … you know that courage is not the absence of fear … but action in spite of that which would make you fearful.  The problems are not necessarily going to go away … that someone will still have passed away … the illness may linger … you may lose your home or your car … but God will sustain you through it.
“He Knows My Name”  ‘I have a Father.  He calls me His own.  He’ll never leave me.  No matter where I go. He knows my name.  He knows my every thought. He sees each tear that falls.  And He hears me when I call.’
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)