Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Lesson In Trying To Live The Christian Life

My Utmost For His Highest
“The New Testament example of the Christian experience is that of a personal, passionate devotion to the Person of Jesus Christ. Every other kind of so-called Christian experience is detached from the Person of Jesus. There is no regeneration— no being born again into the kingdom in which Christ lives and reigns supreme. There is only the idea that He is our pattern. In the New Testament Jesus Christ is the Savior long before He is the pattern. Today He is being portrayed as the figurehead of a religion— a mere example. He is that, but He is infinitely more. He is salvation itself; He is the gospel of God! Jesus said, “…when He, the Spirit of truth, has come,…He will glorify Me…” (John 16:13-14). When I commit myself to the revealed truth of the New Testament, I receive from God the gift of the Holy Spirit, who then begins interpreting to me what Jesus did. The Spirit of God does in me internally all that Jesus Christ did for me externally.” CHAMBERS
My parents were born again when I was 19, serving in the Army in Vietnam.  When I returned home, I was met by  a very different family from the one that I had left.  I was very aware that although I was still part of the family, I was not part of the family.  Finally I associated the barrier with their new-found religion.  I craved a deeper relationship with them, so I figured all I had to do was do what they did and talk like they talked.  So that is what I did .. for a while at least.  It required a lot of restraint on my part, I slipped-up many times.  And still .. I felt that there was something missing.  It was not until 6 years later when Martie and I were, ourselves, born again did I understand what it was that was missing .. the Holy Spirit …salvation through Jesus Christ.  I was part of the physical family, but not part of the Spiritual family.
A lesson learned .. or should I say re-learned .. you cannot live the Christian life through your own effort or willfulness.  It is only by the power of the Spirit and the work of Jesus on the cross.
(1 Corinthians 2:14) “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Friday, November 28, 2014

Losing Your Spiritual Appetite

My Utmost For His Highest
“We have to realize that we cannot earn or win anything from God through our own efforts. We must either receive it as a gift or do without it. The greatest spiritual blessing we receive is when we come to the knowledge that we are destitute. Until we get there, our Lord is powerless. He can do nothing for us as long as we think we are sufficient in and of ourselves. We must enter into His kingdom through the door of destitution. As long as we are “rich,” particularly in the area of pride or independence, God can do nothing for us. It is only when we get hungry spiritually that we receive the Holy Spirit. […] He takes that which was “beyond” us and places it “within” us. And immediately, once “the beyond” has come “within,” it rises up to “the above,” and we are lifted into the kingdom where Jesus lives and reigns (see John 3:5).” CHAMBERS
Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.(John 3:5)
Spiritual hunger … it comes when we seek Jesus … but so often we never get hungry for the spirit because we have filled up on Junk Food.  We are born with a hunger for the things of this world.  When you are born again, that hunger is replaced by a hunger and thirst for the Word of God, one of the more notable proofs of our new birth.  But like the vegetarian diet we once followed, there comes a point where a craving for those things that we excluded from our diet, creep back in.  Be alert Christian, like that extra piece of pumpkin pie with whipped crème brings on the extra pounds, losing your appetite for spiritual things will happen without you being aware.  ELGIN
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

In The World But Not Of It

My Utmost For His Highest
“Our Lord was not a recluse nor a fanatical holy man practicing self-denial. He did not physically cut Himself off from society, but He was inwardly disconnected all the time. He was not aloof, but He lived in another world. In fact, He was so much in the common everyday world that the religious people of His day accused Him of being a glutton and a drunkard. Yet our Lord never allowed anything to interfere with His consecration of spiritual power. […] The Spirit of God has set a great many people free from their sin, yet they are experiencing no fullness in their lives— no true sense of freedom. The kind of religious life we see around the world today is entirely different from the vigorous holiness of the life of Jesus Christ. “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one” (John 17:15). We are to be in the world but not of it— to be separated internally, not externally (see John 17:16). […]  Consecration (being dedicated to God’s service) is our part; sanctification (being set apart from sin and being made holy) is God’s part.” CHAMBERS
I have wondered why God does not just takes us to heaven when we say “yes to Jesus”. When we are born again, we open our eyes and find ourselves standing before the throne.  In a way, that does happen.  Before I was a Christian, I was spiritually blind .. dead toward the things of God.  But now, I can see spiritual truth, I can understand it, and I am adopted into the family of God.  My challenge is to live my live as a child of the king while I am living in a world that is lost and dying.  My challenge is not join in with my culture and live in the manner I lived before my new birth.
The Father leaves us here to be living testimonies to His grace and mercy. To be salt and light to those who are perishing.  It would be a terrible thing to live our lives out and to have been indistinguishable from those we were to witness to.  To be so much like the world that no one had any idea that we were Christians.  Or worse for them to know we were Christians but see no reason to seek that life because they see no difference in our life choices.  Let your light shine for all to see. ELGIN
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Power Of The Cross

My Utmost For His Highest
“We lose power because we don’t focus on the right thing. The effect of the Cross is salvation, sanctification, healing, etc., but we are not to preach any of these. We are to preach “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). The proclaiming of Jesus will do its own work. […]  If I share my own words, they are of no more importance than your words are to me. But if we share the truth of God with one another, we will encounter it again and again. We have to focus on the great point of spiritual power— the Cross. If we stay in contact with that center of power, its energy is released in our lives. […] The feebleness of the church is being criticized today, and the criticism is justified. One reason for the feebleness is that there has not been this focus on the true center of spiritual power. We have not dwelt enough on the tragedy of Calvary or on the meaning of redemption.” CHAMBERS
It is the power of the cross that transforms lives.  It is cross that is the door to our new life.  We must be careful that we don’t focus solely on what has happened to us since the cross and don’t tell people about how it happened.  The Gospel is powerful.  Our testimony is a reflection of that power.  The focus must be on Jesus and the Cross and not us.  My changed life may interest people, but it won’t save them .. only the Gospel can do that. ELGIN
(Romans 1:16)  “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Keeping Your Eyes On Jesus

My Utmost For His Highest
“Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters…, so our eyes look to the Lord our God…” —Psalm 123:2
“This verse is a description of total reliance on God. Just as the eyes of a servant are riveted on his master, our eyes should be directed to and focused on God. This is how knowledge of His countenance is gained and how God reveals Himself to us (see Isaiah 53:1). Our spiritual strength begins to be drained when we stop lifting our eyes to Him. Our stamina is sapped, not so much through external troubles surrounding us but through problems in our thinking.” CHAMBERS
How much of your thought life is occupied by a focus on Jesus and your life in Him?  Is it limited to a quick devotion in the morning and prayers before your meals. Maybe an occasional conversation with another Believer during the week? It happens so subtly.  We have the best intentions, but then like our New Year’s resolutions, life seems to crowd Jesus out.  Before we know it, our pre-occupation with Jesus has been diluted to an occasional glance. This devotion you are reading may be but a token of attention to spiritual things. Like the man in the mirror in James, we see the reflection of Jesus, but when we turn away, we forget what we saw.   This new life requires discipline .. practice .. effort .. intentionality… mental focus .. and obedience.  ELGIN
(James 1:22-25) “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Doing Unto Others As You Would Have God Do Unto You

My Utmost For His Highest
“When we discern that other people are not growing spiritually and allow that discernment to turn to criticism, we block our fellowship with God. God never gives us discernment so that we may criticize, but that we may intercede.” CHAMBERS
This is one of the most difficult stumbling blocks in the Christian life to overcome.  When you recognize a fault in another person, you are faced with an immediate choice … do I pray for that person or do I judge and condemn them. Jesus spoke of the speck and the beam.  He told the parable of the unforgiving servant.  Why?  Because it is the nature of our flesh to judge others.  We see the faults in others and ignore or make excuses for our own.  We see forgiveness and understanding from God and yet are unwilling to extend that same grace, mercy and empathy to others.  We believe that somehow our ability to see the faults of others is a spiritual gift. When, in fact, it comes from our old nature not our new nature.  The unsaved can see that Christians are not living the very life they ask others to seek, and they call us hypocrites.  It does not require the Spirit in you to find fault.  It does require the Spirit in you, to have compassion and to lift the person up to the Father.  Think about this the next time someone disappoints you .. or fails to live the new life they have been called to … how should you respond to them?  The same way you want the Father to respond to you.  ELGIN
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Finding The Power To Forgive

My Utmost For His Highest
“God forgives sin only because of the death of Christ. God could forgive people in no other way than by the death of His Son, and Jesus is exalted as Savior because of His death. […] Anything that lessens or completely obliterates the holiness of God, through a false view of His love, contradicts the truth of God as revealed by Jesus Christ. Never allow yourself to believe that Jesus Christ stands with us, and against God, out of pity and compassion, or that He became a curse for us out of sympathy for us. Jesus Christ became a curse for us by divine decree. Our part in realizing the tremendous meaning of His curse is the conviction of sin. Conviction is given to us as a gift of shame and repentance; it is the great mercy of God. Jesus Christ hates the sin in people, and Calvary is the measure of His hatred.” CHAMBERS
Have you ever said or thought “I just can’t find it within me to forgive him or her”?  Our strength to forgive does not come from our sense of doing what is right, but from Jesus on the cross.  When we read the Bible we must remember that it is a spiritual book, not a secular self-help book. To obey the Word requires the Spirit of God.  Be careful that you don’t slip into the thinking that what you could not do on your own before you were born again, you can now do on your own.  To live the obedient Christian life requires the power of the Spirit of God.  Your ability to forgive someone is supernatural ..
I often tell people that you know that you have forgiven someone when you think about the person or the act and you no longer are angry or upset by the thought. Jesus is the propitiation for us … Romans 3:23-25  “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement (propitiation), through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.”   He satisfied God’s wrath on the cross for us … In the same way, we are to forgive others … just as we have been forgiven … not by willing it … not by trying to forgive .. or worse .. refusing to forgive … but showing grace and mercy toward others, just like God showed to us … that takes the power of the Spirit my friend.  Ephesians 4:32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.ELGIN
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Little Sins Are A Big Deal

My Utmost For His Highest
“In Him we have…the forgiveness of sins…” —Ephesians 1:7
“Beware of the pleasant view of the fatherhood of God: God is so kind and loving that of course He will forgive us. That thought, based solely on emotion, cannot be found anywhere in the New Testament. The only basis on which God can forgive us is the tremendous tragedy of the Cross of Christ. […] The only ground on which God can forgive our sin and reinstate us to His favor is through the Cross of Christ. There is no other way! Forgiveness, which is so easy for us to accept, cost the agony at Calvary. We should never take the forgiveness of sin, the gift of the Holy Spirit, and our sanctification in simple faith, and then forget the enormous cost to God that made all of this ours. Forgiveness is the divine miracle of grace. The cost to God was the Cross of Christ.” CHAMBERS
It is so easy to trivialize the sins we commit each day … not the big ones that might send you to prison .. but sins all the same.  (James 2:10) “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.”  Any sin will come between you and God.   (1 John 1:9) “Confess you sins … God will forgive you”  God loved us so much that He was willing to send His Son to pay the penalty of sin for us.  Jesus’ life was forfeit for all sin for all time.  Keep Jesus in the forefront of your life.  Bind yourself to the cross …  “If any man comes after Me, let him deny himself, pick up his cross (daily) and follow Me.”  (Matthew 16:24) Come to Jesus and live.  ELGIN
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

How Great The Father's Love For Us

My Utmost For His Highest
“Very few of us know anything about conviction of sin. We know the experience of being disturbed because we have done wrong things. But conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit blots out every relationship on earth and makes us aware of only one— “Against You, You only, have I sinned…” (Psalm 51:4). When a person is convicted of sin in this way, he knows with every bit of his conscience that God would not dare to forgive him. If God did forgive him, then this person would have a stronger sense of justice than God. God does forgive, but it cost the breaking of His heart with grief in the death of Christ to enable Him to do so. The great miracle of the grace of God is that He forgives sin, and it is the death of Jesus Christ alone that enables the divine nature to forgive and to remain true to itself in doing so. It is shallow nonsense to say that God forgives us because He is love. Once we have been convicted of sin, we will never say this again. The love of God means Calvary— nothing less! The love of God is spelled out on the Cross and nowhere else. The only basis for which God can forgive me is the Cross of Christ. It is there that His conscience is satisfied.” CHAMBERS
I don’t know if you have ever read about the great awakenings that have taken place in various countries in times past.  Great moves of the Holy Spirit sweeping across communities, even entire countries.  People would come under the conviction of the Holy Spirit and begin making public confession of their sins.  There was not room for judgment from others, only a sudden awareness by those confessing that they had sinned against God and needed forgiveness.  Lives were changed … communities transformed .. supernaturally.  That is the power of God.
We must be careful that we don’t trivialize our sin .. and think of it as a small thing.  Jesus went to the cross for us.  That is no small thing?  When Jesus healed the 10 lepers, only one, a Samaritan, came back to thank Him.  Jesus asked “Where are the other nine?” (Luke 17:12-19) The others had taken the healing and went back to what they were doing as if nothing had happened.  Ignoring the grace and mercy shown to them.  Each day is a day of grace and mercy for you and me.  Each day should be a day of thankfulness to the One who has saved us from an eternity in hell.  Who has forgiven us because of His great love and the sacrifice of His Son.  ELGIN
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Holding On When You Should Let Go

My Utmost For His Highest
“We are designed with a great capacity for God, but sin, our own individuality, and wrong thinking keep us from getting to Him. God delivers us from sin— we have to deliver ourselves from our individuality. This [delivering ourselves]means offering our natural life to God and sacrificing it to Him, so He may transform it into spiritual life through our obedience. God pays no attention to our natural individuality in the development of our spiritual life. His plan runs right through our natural life. We must […] not stand against Him by saying, “I can’t do that.” God will not discipline us; we must discipline ourselves. God will not bring our “arguments…and every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5)— we have to do it. Don’t say, “Oh, Lord, I suffer from wandering thoughts.” Don’t suffer from wandering thoughts. Stop listening to the tyranny of your individual natural life and win freedom into the spiritual life. […] It is what Paul meant in Galatians 2:20 when he said, “I have been crucified with Christ….” His individuality had been broken and his spirit had been united with his Lord; not just merged into Him, but made one with Him.” CHAMBERS
Be careful not to play the role of victim in your Christian life.  Where you feel like there are things that will never change .. it’s just the way you are!  You can’t do anything about it.  That thinking runs directly against what God has told us in His Word. And what you know to be true in your life.  You are rationalizing.  I was told once what rationalize means is that you are telling yourself “rational lies”.  You know that God has forgiven you in Jesus Christ.  You know that if you are in Christ .. the old has gone and the new has come.  You know that you have the Spirit of God in you as a promise and as a help.  You know you have the Word of God to show you the Truth.  And yet, in spite of all that, there are some things from your old life that linger … that are familiar … that continue to define you … perhaps once protected “the inner you” in some way.  In your heart you know they are contrary to your new life, that you should release them, that they are holding you back.  All of us struggle with these things at times in our lives … listen … we have to let them go … lay them on the altar … Even as you read these words, there may be something that comes to mind … lay it down … stop believing the rational lie … You can do it … by  the combination of your decision and faith in the power of Jesus in you.  You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength … (Philippians 4:13) ELGIN
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Obedience Starts In The Heart

My Utmost For His Highest
“My goal is God Himself…  At any cost, dear Lord, by any road.[…] There is no possibility of questioning God when He speaks, if He speaks to His own nature in me. Prompt obedience is the only result. When Jesus says, “Come,” I simply come; when He says, “Let go,” I let go; when He says, “Trust God in this matter,” I trust. This work of obedience is the evidence that the nature of God is in me. God’s revelation of Himself to me is influenced by my character, not by God’s character.[…] It is through the discipline of obedience that I get to the place where Abraham was and I see who God is. […] The promises of God are of no value to us until, through obedience, we come to understand the nature of God. We may read some things in the Bible every day for a year and they may mean nothing to us. Then, because we have been obedient to God in some small detail, we suddenly see what God means and His nature is instantly opened up to us. “All the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen…” (2 Corinthians 1:20). Our “Yes” must be born of obedience; when by obedience we ratify a promise of God by saying, “Amen,” or, “So be it.” That promise becomes ours.” CHAMBERS
Our first act of obedience is when we say “yes” to God’s offer of salvation in Jesus Christ.  From that point, we have the power to live the life that God has purposed for us, but it still requires our decision to live that life.  It requires our obedience to the voice of the Spirit when He says “This is the way, walk in it.”  Every day we are faced with choices … do we choose God or choose the world. We can’t do both, but still we try.  The level of a Christian’s devotion is not measured by their emotion .. but their obedience.  Obedience starts in the heart.  It is evidenced in the simple things … the way you speak, the way to treat people, your response to life’s events.  Obedience is a reflection of faith … if your faith is weak … you obedience to God will be lacking … It is one thing to speak of our new life in Christ .. but another to live it …
The Navigator Ministry uses a wheel to describe what it takes to be obedient.  The hub is Christ, at the center.  The four spokes are the Word, Prayer, fellowship, and witnessing.  The outer rim is the result .. the obedient Christian life. To grow as a Christian .. to be “successful” in the fulfillment of what God has intended for you, you must listen and then do.  Merely listening and agreeing is not enough. Jesus asked Peter “Do you love Me?”  When Peter said “yes”, then Jesus said “show Me”.  He is saying the same thing to us.  It is time to stop making excuses … and put feet to our words. ELGIN
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Having My Own Way Or Yielding To His

My Utmost For His Highest
“We can all see God in exceptional things, but it requires the growth of spiritual discipline to see God in every detail. Never believe that the so-called random events of life are anything less than God’s appointed order. Be ready to discover His divine designs anywhere and everywhere. [..]  If you are a saint and say, “I will never do this or that,” in all probability this will be exactly what God will require of you. [..]  It is the divine life that continually makes more and more discoveries about the divine mind. It is easier to be an excessive fanatic than it is to be consistently faithful, because God causes an amazing humbling of our religious conceit when we are faithful to Him.” CHAMBERS
The key to the Christian life is obedience to the will of the Father.  Submission to the Spirit of God.  Jesus modeled it during His earthly ministry.  The Christian life is not about personal commitment or idle resolutions to be a “better” Christian… but rather, quiet obedience to the voice of God.  I have known many Christians who were thrilled in their hearts when they had a Mount of Transfiguration experience (Matthew 17:1-5).  They were confident that life was going to be better .. their walk with the Lord would be stronger .. and that what they had experienced was the essence of what being a Christian meant. But it was not.  It was not long before the glory faded, and they found themselves in the same rut they were in before they climbed the mountain.  The life of a Christian is meant to be in the valley.  Lived, day by day, in humility. The failure in the Garden by the first Adam was marked by his disobedience to the will of the Father.  The victory on Calvary by the second Adam was marked by obedience to the will of the Father, even to death on the cross  (John 3:16)
You already know that obedience is a simple or easy thing. Most likely, you know that all too well.  As a Christian, you can do nothing in your own strength, except to say “yes” to the Lord.  God doesn’t want the promise of sacrifice … He wants a broken and contrite heart … obedience to His will.  What is it that you need to say “yes” to?  ELGIN
Have Thine Own Way
“Have Thine own way Lord.  Have Thine Own way.  Thou art the potter, I am the clay.  Mold me and make me, after Thy will. While I am waiting, yielded and still.”
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Consider Who Should Get The Credit

My Utmost For His Highest
'Stand in absolute adoring faith “in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God— and righteousness and sanctification and redemption…” (1 Corinthians 1:30). How dare we talk of making a sacrifice for the Son of God! We are saved from hell and total destruction, and then we talk about making sacrifices! We must continually focus and firmly place our faith in Jesus Christ— […]  the New Testament Jesus Christ, who is God Incarnate, and who ought to strike us dead at His feet. Our faith must be in the One from whom our salvation springs. Jesus Christ wants our absolute, unrestrained devotion to Himself. […] Our faith must be built on strong determined confidence in Him. […] Our lives should be an absolute hymn of praise resulting from perfect, irrepressible, triumphant belief.” CHAMBERS
In my experience, many Christians – with good intention – give praise to those who give up their lives in their culture to serve God in some fashion.  We label that sacrifice .. as if it somehow is a reflection of righteousness.  Actually it is a reflection of obedience .. the only thing we can and should take credit for .. the exercising of our free will.  Saying “yes” to God’s voice.  There is nothing that we can do in service to our Lord that can compare to what He did for us.  (Romans 5:8-10)  “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”
It is a temptation to take our eyes off of Jesus and look at His reflection in others and then associate the glory that belongs to Christ to the one who bears His resemblance.  Be careful that you keep Jesus in front of you.  That the knowledge and awareness of what He has done for you does not dim.  That the praise He is due is not supplanted by recognition of the faithfulness of a pastor or missionary or passionate Christian to the call of the Lord.  All praise and glory be to the One who has saved us through His great sacrifice.  Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God alone) ELGIN
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Consequence Of A Compromised Faith

My Utmost For His Highest
“What understanding do you have of the salvation of your soul? The work of salvation means that in your real life things are dramatically changed. You no longer look at things in the same way. Your desires are new and the old things have lost their power to attract you. One of the tests for determining if the work of salvation in your life is genuine is— has God changed the things that really matter to you? If you still yearn for the old things, it is absurd to talk about being born from above— you are deceiving yourself. If you are born again, the Spirit of God makes the change very evident in your real life and thought. […] What difference has my salvation and sanctification made? CHAMBERS
2 Corinthians 5:17 (I will let you look it up) is a verse that I share often when I speak in Haitian churches.  Many Haitians struggle with putting their belief in Voodoo, devotion to their culture, and identity in their ethnicity behind them.  It is easy to point at other people and discuss their failings in the faith,  so before you shake your head and tell me that you will pray for them, think about your own life.  The truth is, every Christian struggles with the very same challenges.  The labels may change .. for Christians in the US .. Voodoo can be replaced by materialism … money … trust in the government before God.  The point is that, as a Christian, each of us has been called to a new life .. empowered by the Spirit to live it, and given the Word to understand it.  Our citizenship is in heaven … but many of us prefer to maintain a dual citizenship.  One foot in heaven and one foot in the world.  The problem is, we live our lives satisfied with the compromise with our old nature.  And we miss the fullness of life that we might enjoy were we willing to pick up our cross and follow Jesus. The promise is, Jesus came that you might have life and have it abundantly, but it is up to you to fully embrace that new life. My job, if you will, is to remind you and encourage you to not be satisfied with anything less.  ELGIN
(John 10:9-11) “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.  The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep."
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Monday, November 10, 2014

What To Do What It's Cold Outside

My Utmost For His Highest
“I must learn that the purpose of my life belongs to God, not me. God is using me from His great personal perspective, and all He asks of me is that I trust Him. I should never say, “Lord, this causes me such heartache.” To talk that way makes me a stumbling block. When I stop telling God what I want, He can freely work His will in me without any hindrance. He can crush me, exalt me, or do anything else He chooses. He simply asks me to have absolute faith in Him and His goodness. Self-pity is of the devil, and if I wallow in it I cannot be used by God for His purpose in the world. Doing this creates for me my own cozy “world within the world,” and God will not be allowed to move me from it because of my fear of being “frost-bitten.”” CHAMBERS
Are you willing to be used by God in any way that He chooses?  The proof of that is not in the saying but in the doing. Most likely at some point in your journey with Him, God will lead you through some emotionally and physically perilous times.  The challenge is your willingness to be broken and poured out for His glory and the good of others. That is what Chambers is calling “Frost-bitten”.  When I was in the Army, I spent many days outside in freezing weather.  The cold seemed to go all the way to my bones.  Toes and fingers were numb, mustache frozen from my breath.  It would have been so nice to be some place warm and comfortable.  But, I had a mission to accomplish and that mission required me to be in the cold.  So, you press on whether in the Army or following the Lord.
God calls us to serve in difficult circumstances .. but not on our own.  Just like the Army equipped me with cold weather equipment, God equips us.  He never asks us to do something that we can do without His strength and provision.  It is only when we stop looking to Him and look to ourselves that we lose hope and confidence.  When we are facing great challenges in our walk with the Lord, we must remember His promise .... (Joshua 1:9) “Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." And then we must go!
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Friday, November 7, 2014

There Are No Coincidences In A Saint's Life

My Utmost For His Highest
“We know that all things work together for good to those who love God…” —Romans 8:28
“The circumstances of a saint’s life are ordained of God. In the life of a saint there is no such thing as chance. God by His providence brings you into circumstances that you can’t understand at all, but the Spirit of God understands. God brings you to places, among people, and into certain conditions to accomplish a definite purpose through the intercession of the Spirit in you. […]  All your circumstances are in the hand of God, and therefore you don’t ever have to think they are unnatural or unique. Your part in intercessory prayer is not to agonize over how to intercede, but to use the everyday circumstances and people God puts around you by His providence to bring them before His throne, and to allow the Spirit in you the opportunity to intercede for them. In this way God is going to touch the whole world with His saints.” CHAMBERS
God has a plan and a purpose. As Christians, we are part of the plan.  Martie and I could fill the pages of a book with examples of Divine circumstances.  God’s provision … God’s connections with people … impossible happenings in terms of our being able to orchestrate them … finding ourselves in awe of God’s provision in the right place at the right time .. knowing by the affirmation of the Holy Spirit in us, that it was indeed God at work.
In Experiencing God, Dr. Henry Blackaby wrote about seven realities concerning God and hearing His voice.  The fourth is that God speaks to us by His Holy Spirit, through prayer, the Word, circumstances, and other Believers (the Church).  There is nothing more satisfying than seeing God’s hand at work in our lives.  Orchestrating, as it were, the symphony of life.  Each note blending perfectly with the next.  Bringing harmony and beauty in the lives of His children.  With each impossible event comes a sweet and comforting reminder that God is sovereign and He is active in our lives and in the world around us.
God wants to use you for His purpose .. which is the redemption of the world .. it is a wonderful .. if not challenging .. life .. a journey that you will not regret embarking on … ELGIN
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Looking for Peace in All the Wrong Places

My Utmost For His Highest
“Is the Lord dealing with you in the same way? […]  Allow Him to drive His question home to you— “Do you believe this?” Are you facing an area of doubt in your life? Have you come, like Martha, to a crossroads of overwhelming circumstances where your theology is about to become a very personal belief? This happens only when a personal problem brings the awareness of our personal need.[…] But in intimate personal belief I commit myself spiritually to Jesus Christ and make a determination to be dominated by Him alone. Then, when I stand face to face with Jesus Christ and He says to me, “Do you believe this?” I find that faith is as natural as breathing. And I am staggered when I think how foolish I have been in not trusting Him earlier.”  CHAMBERS
What or who is it that dominates you?  The oppresses your spirit?  That stresses you out? Is it what others do or don’t do? What happens to you or does not happen to you? Is your happiness and peace in life dependent upon things happening in your way?  In The way you have decided they must?  If you want peace in your heart, it must begin with Jesus.  (John 14:27) “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  The peace that you find through faith in Jesus does not depend upon the absence of conflict, as it does in the world.  The world can be raging around you, but, you can be at peace in the midst of it.  Why? Because your peace .. the absence of fear and worry comes from Jesus not from the world.
(John 16:33) 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." Everyone will face difficulty in their lives … Jesus did not say that you would never have to deal with them … but as Christians we have a choice about how we respond to those difficulties. ELGIN
It Is Well with My Soul | Horatio G. Spafford
“When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul.
It is well with my soul, It is well, it is well with my soul."
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Beware Of Spiritual Pride

My Utmost For His Highest
“…but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings…” —1 Peter 4:13
“If you are going to be used by God, He will take you through a number of experiences that are not meant for you personally at all. They are designed to make you useful in His hands, and to enable you to understand what takes place in the lives of others. Because of this process, you will never be surprised by what comes your way. You say, “Oh, I can’t deal with that person.” Why can’t you? God gave you sufficient opportunities to learn from Him about that problem; but you turned away, not heeding the lesson, because it seemed foolish to spend your time that way. […]  It is only through our relationship with Jesus Christ that we can understand what God is after in His dealings with us. […]  People have sought to carry out God’s orders through a shortcut of their own. God’s way is always the way of suffering— the way of the “long road home.” […] Are we prepared for God to stamp out our personal ambitions? Are we prepared for God to destroy our individual decisions by supernaturally transforming them? It will mean not knowing why God is taking us that way, because knowing would make us spiritually proud. We never realize at the time what God is putting us through— we go through it more or less without understanding. Then suddenly we come to a place of enlightenment, and realize— “God has strengthened me and I didn’t even know it!”” CHAMBERS
I must always be on my guard that I do not attempt “define” my relationship with God and my experience as a Christian.  And become spiritually proud.  Luke 18:10-14  “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God.”
IF … I have given myself over to the leading and instruction of the Spirit, I must be careful that I don’t then, limit that leading and interrupt the instruction by turning to my own standards, my own judgments, my own expectations.  In other words, I become “God”.  That thinking is what got us into trouble to begin with.
God will bring people into our lives, not only for them to be ministered to, but for us to be taught, shaped, conformed into the image of Christ through that meeting.  It is so easy to miss. You encounter someone who rubs you the wrong way.  You immediately judge them, condemn them, and wish they would go away.  When in fact, God has brought them to you to show you something about yourself.  You are like the unforgiving servant .. wanting mercy instead of judgment, but unwilling to show the same.  You are viewing them through your natural vision and not as God sees them and you.  That is not to say that that they have not sinned or what they said or did was not hurtful.  The point is how we respond to life and people as Christians.  God did not condone our sin, but He loved us in spite of it and sent His Son to die for us.  If we embrace that as a treasure for us personally, what do you supposed God is wanting us to do in light of that treasure we hold? ELGIN
Matthew 10:8  “As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.”
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Monday, November 3, 2014

You Must Be Broken To Be Made Whole

My Utmost For His Highest
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me…” —Galatians 2:20
“These words mean the breaking and collapse of my independence brought about by my own hands, and the surrendering of my life to the supremacy of the Lord Jesus. No one can do this for me, I must do it myself. […] Has that breaking of my independence come? All the rest is religious fraud. The one point to decide is— will I give up? Will I surrender to Jesus Christ, placing no conditions whatsoever as to how the brokenness will come? […] The passion of Christianity comes from deliberately signing away my own rights and becoming a bondservant of Jesus Christ. Until I do that, I will not begin to be a saint.” CHAMBERS
The danger we all face is that we will choose to define the depth of our crucifixion.  Will we merely carry the cross for a ways.  Maybe to the hill. Jesus says lay down on the cross, let the nails be driven, and your body lifted up .. then die to yourself.  Sound morbid? Well, it is.  We are talking about the death of self.  No more excuses.  No more compromises.  No more accommodation of “socially acceptable” sins.  No more empty religion.  No more giving appearances.  But now, the life of Christ is flowing from our bodies.
Now, we are willing to go and do whatever the Lord wills.  We have forsaken our devotion to our old ways, habits, preferences and allowed the Spirit of God to search us and cleanse us.  We embrace the conviction of the Spirit over our sin, and we will sin.  We rejoice in hardship because with it brings glory to our Father as He carries us through it.  It is here that we find the peace that Jesus spoke of.  It is here that we find His strength in us.  And it is then we discover that only our faith and obedience can carry is to this place.
“Brokenness, brokenness is what I long for,  Brokenness is what I need
Brokenness, brokenness is what you want from me
So, take my heart and form it,  Take my mind and transform it
Take my will and conform it  To yours, to yours, oh Lord”
Pray it like you mean it!  ELGIN
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Obey God And Fulfill Your Purpose

My Utmost For His Highest
“The Lord does not give me rules, but He makes His standard very clear. If my relationship to Him is that of love, I will do what He says without hesitation. If I hesitate, it is because I love someone I have placed in competition with Him, namely, myself. Jesus Christ will not force me to obey Him, but I must. And as soon as I obey Him, I fulfill my spiritual destiny. My personal life may be crowded with small, petty happenings, altogether insignificant. But if I obey Jesus Christ in the seemingly random circumstances of life, they become pinholes through which I see the face of God. Then, when I stand face to face with God, I will discover that through my obedience thousands were blessed. When God’s redemption brings a human soul to the point of obedience, it always produces. If I obey Jesus Christ, the redemption of God will flow through me to the lives of others, because behind the deed of obedience is the reality of Almighty God.” CHAMBERS
(Note) Sorry for the void in devotions .. we have been traveling in Western Haiti and I was not well.
(Psalms 40:6-11) “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; My ears You have opened. Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require. Then I said, "Behold, I come; In the scroll of the book it is written of me. I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart." I have proclaimed the good news of righteousness In the great assembly; Indeed, I do not restrain my lips, O LORD, You Yourself know. I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart; I have declared Your faithfulness and Your salvation; I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth From the great assembly. Do not withhold Your tender mercies from me, O LORD; Let Your lovingkindness and Your truth continually preserve me.”
God prefers obedience to sacrifice.  We give up what has been given to us, as a sacrifice, and we think that a grand thing.  All of it comes from God.  No, what pleases God is when we exercise the free will He has created us with and we choose Him and not ourselves. Do your find delight in obeying Him? I didn’t ask if you delight in the idea of obeying Him, but in the actual doing.  Obedience is not an easy thing.  Yielding your will to God and not holding on to your own is not an easy thing. But, when you do it, you are fulfilled in a way that cannot be experienced through personal effort or feigned righteousness.  Like Lot’s wife you will be challenged to turn back and consider what you have left behind.  When you obey God, the world will see God through your life.  He has made us to be salt and light to a lost and dying world.  When you say no to God … you say no to your divine purpose.  ELGIN
“Do not withhold Your tender mercies from me, O LORD; Let Your lovingkindness and Your truth continually preserve me.”
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)