Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Only Resolution That Makes Sense - More Of Jesus - Less of Me

My Utmost For His Highest

“Our yesterdays hold broken and irreversible things for us. It is true that we have lost opportunities that will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future. Let the past rest, but let it rest in the sweet embrace of Christ. Leave the broken, irreversible past in His hands, and step out into the invincible future with Him.” CHAMBERS

There is an old hymn that describes what our attitude should be with regard to our past, our present and our future.

“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
Search me and try me, Master, today! Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now, As in thy presence Humbly I bow
Wounded and weary, Help me, I pray! Power, all power, surely is Thine Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!
Hold o'er my being absolute sway! Fill with Thy Spirit 'til all shall see Christ only, always, living in me.
Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!”  POLLARD, ADELAIDE

All of us have things in our past that we regret.  Satan, the god of this world, would have us cling to this things, so that they would define who we are today and limit what we will be in the future.  But Jesus has overcome sin and the grave. (1 Corinthians 15:17) In Him we have new life. (1 John 5:12) Old things are passed away. (2 Corinthians 5:17)  We are forgiven, in Christ. (Ephesians 4:32) It is Jesus that defines us now.  Of course that is not to say that we should continue on sin, but that we should not let our sins in the past be a wall that we cannot get by.  If you want to make a resolution for the next year .. make it that you will draw closer to Jesus .. “So turn your eyes upon Jesus.  Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”  Bòn Ane (Happy New Year) ELGIN

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

When Trying To Be Good Is A Bad Idea

“We want to cling to our natural virtues, while all the time God is trying to get us in contact with the life of Jesus Christ— a life that can never be described in terms of natural virtues. It is the saddest thing to see people who are trying to serve God depending on that which the grace of God never gave them. They are depending solely on what they have by virtue of heredity. God does not take our natural virtues and transform them, because our natural virtues could never even come close to what Jesus Christ wants. No natural love, no natural patience, no natural purity can ever come up to His demands. But as we bring every part of our natural bodily life into harmony with the new life God has placed within us, He will exhibit in us the virtues that were characteristic of the Lord Jesus.” CHAMBERS

(2 Corinthians 5:17) “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

A common mistake for Christians is to try to live their new life in the power of their old nature.  Christ-likeness is a result of a spiritual transformation that takes place on the inside of us.  It happens when the Holy Spirit takes up residence in us. (Ephesians 1:13-14)  And you …. were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” 

You could not be saved through your own effort … and you cannot live the Christian life through your own effort either.  (Ephesians 2:8-10) “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” It is a mystery how the transformation takes place .. it is a product of a heavenly equation of (your faith + your obedience + God’s Spirit + Jesus Atonement = transformed life).  You see, we cannot just decide that we will be good or do better next time.  That through our own effort we will be transformed.  Thinking that all we have to do is try harder.  That is simply our depending upon our will to do better .. to be better.  That thinking goes on the pile of unfulfilled New Year’s resolutions.  It’s not gonna happen!

You must put your trust in Jesus … lay down your life … your will … on the altar … transformation happens as the result of your relationship with Jesus.  You cannot ignore Him .. and expect there to be change … You may look good to the world … but be spiritually dead on the inside.  (Romans 12:1,2) “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” ELGIN

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Monday, December 29, 2014

Taking A Stand Against Cultural Tradition

“Don’t look at someone else and say, “Well, if he can have those views and prosper, why can’t I?” You have to “walk in the light” of the vision that has been given to you. Don’t compare yourself with others or judge them— that is between God and them. When you find that one of your favorite and strongly held views clashes with the “heavenly vision,” do not begin to debate it. If you do, a sense of property and personal right will emerge in you— things on which Jesus placed no value. He was against these things as being the root of everything foreign to Himself— “…for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15).” CHAMBERS

One of the biggest challenges that we face is not rejecting obvious sin, but in rejecting that sin which is not so obvious.  Sin that is hidden. Sin that is covered by a consensus that it is not really sinful but acceptable and encouraged behavior.  What I am referring to are the standards of behavior, what are defined by our culture as right or wrong, that which contradicts the Word of God. Things that we are taught by our parents and others in our culture that are contrary to the Word, but practiced anyway. 

Jesus addressed this problem with the Jews, a problem that is endemic to all cultures.  (Mark 7:6-9) “He answered and said to them, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: 'THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR FROM ME. AND IN VAIN THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE COMMANDMENTS OF MEN.' For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men— the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do." He said to them, "All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.” The problem started in the Garden, and since we all born with the sin of Adam, why should it be surprising that we struggle with this.

It is evident in our culture more than ever today.  Our children have been taught tolerance of what others do that is sinful, things promoted as good.  The next step after tolerance is the acceptance of something that is sinful as something that is not sinful.  The reason is that we stop looking to the Word as the standard of right and wrong and look to our culture instead.  (1 Peter 1:18-19)
 “knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” We forget that the Word of God is supreme over anything our culture .. to include our parents .. may say is right or wrong. 

We are to be salt in our culture which means that we are to be different … like light is to darkness …. Not conformed to this world but transformed (Romans 12:2). If we choose to live like the culture, we have lost our purpose and are good for nothing.   (Matthew 5:13)  "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.”  Standing up against the culture you live in is a difficult thing to do, but stand we must.  So stand up Christian and let your light shine to bring glory to the Father. ELGIN

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Friday, December 26, 2014

Living By The Power of His Spirit In The Light Of His Word

“I must "walk in the light as He is in the light . . ."- not in the light of my own conscience, but in God's light. If I will walk there, with nothing held back or hidden, then this amazing truth is revealed to me: ". . . the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses [me] from all sin" so that God Almighty can see nothing to rebuke in me. On the conscious level it produces a keen, sorrowful knowledge of what sin really is. The love of God working in me causes me to hate, with the Holy Spirit's hatred for sin, anything that is not in keeping with God's holiness. To "walk in the light" means that everything that is of the darkness actually drives me closer to the center of the light.” CHAMBERS

My problem with sin is that many times I find myself walking "in the light of my own conscience". Meaning that I decide what is an acceptable way of living ... what is OK for “me” to do and what is not OK for “me” … ignoring the Word of God and the Spirit of God.  In Ephesians 6:17 the Word is described as the sword of the Spirit. God’s Spirit with God’s Word work hand in hand for our good and God's glory.  The only reason we can approach God is because of the blood of Jesus and the Spirit of God which is in us.  The Spirit convicts me of sin (John 6:18).  My own conscience has some measure of good in it, but is flawed.  It is not sufficient to keep me from sinning.  The power needed for spiritual transformation, a changed life, comes from the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit. The Bible says to not quench the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19)which is to say that we have a choice about the influence of the Spirit and the Word in our lives... Submit to the Spirit of God ... choose to walk after the Spirit and not your flesh (Galatians 5:16) .. your old nature ... fulfill your purpose in Christ ... bring glory to God and let your light shine before all men.  ELGIN

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Jesus - I Wanna Hold Your Hand

My Utmost For His Highest

“When you really see Jesus, I defy you to doubt Him. If you see Him when He says, "Let not your heart be troubled . . ." (John 14:27), I defy you to worry. It is virtually impossible to doubt when He is there. Every time you are in personal contact with Jesus, His words are real to you. "My peace I give to you . . ." (John 14:27)- a peace which brings an unconstrained confidence and covers you completely, from the top of your head to the soles of your feet. ". . . your life is hidden with Christ in God," and the peace of Jesus Christ that cannot be disturbed has been imparted to you." CHAMBERS

When Peter walked out to Jesus, he was doing something that was humanly impossible …  walking on water.  When he took his eyes off of Jesus, he immediately began to sink. What happened?  You know, don't you!  It is the same thing that happens to us.  Our new life is totally dependent upon Jesus.  Are you lacking in some way that you know the Bible says you should not be? Do you consider your faith to be real, but the promises just out of reach?  Then what you need is more Jesus! (Matt 14:31) "Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him [Peter]. “You of little faith,” he [Jesus] said, “why did you doubt?” Then they both walked back to the boat together.  Did you catch that?  Peter walked on the water again, this time, arm in arm with Jesus.  ELGIN


"As I travel through this pilgrim land There is a friend who walks with me
Leads me safely through the sinking sand It is the Christ at Calvary.

This would be my prayer dear Lord each day To help me do the best I can
For I need Thy light to guide me day and night Blessed Jesus hold my hand.

Jesus hold my hand I need thee every hour Through this pilgrim land Protect me by thy power.
Hear my feeble plea O Lord look down on me When I kneel in prayer I hope to meet you there Blessed Jesus hold my hand.”

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)