Friday, July 31, 2015

Why You Really Should Go To Church.

“Let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” —James 1:4

“Not only must our relationship to God be right, but the outward expression of that relationship must also be right. Ultimately, God will allow nothing to escape; every detail of our lives is under His scrutiny. God will bring us back in countless ways to the same point over and over again. And He never tires of bringing us back to that one point until we learn the lesson, because His purpose is to produce the finished product. 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. Through this process, God is trying to impress upon us the one thing that is not entirely right in our lives. […]  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

There was a story I heard once about a new pastor who preached the same sermon for several weeks in a row.  When asked by the church leaders why he did that, he said “I am going to preach that sermon until I see that the church is doing what I am preaching about.”  We have a propensity to listen attentively to a sermon .. take notes .. and then immediately forget what we heard.  (James 1:23-25) “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror  and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”  When you listen to a sermon .. when you read the Word of God .. when you worship … the Spirit of God will speak to your heart.  We need to stop treating the pastor’s sermon like a lecture in a classroom.  The sermon is more than words or opinions, or should be, they should be words prompted by the spirit and grounded in scripture  .. life changing .. convicting … Paul said that when you hear or read the Word of God there are 5 purposes “…  useful for (1) teaching, (2)rebuking, (3)correcting and (4) training in righteousness, (5) so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

When I was in the Army, I would participate in what we called “in ranks inspections”.  This is where the soldiers would stand in formation and I would examine each one … uniform .. haircut .. shave … we had regulations for everything.  Sometimes I would ask “Do you know why you shine your boots?” Most often they would just look at me like “Duh!  So I can pass this inspection!” Respectfully of course.  And I would then tell them ..  to protect the leather .. not to make them shiny.  Boots are very important for a soldier.  So my point is this.  We can forget why we need to go to church.  It can become, “That’s what we do on Sunday.”  It has much more purpose than giving us another place to be in our busy schedule.  It is critical to our spiritual health and walk.  And when we go, we should not treat is like the man looking in the mirror.  Think about it.  ELGIN

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Three Fingers Pointing Back At You

Jesus did not commit Himself to them…, for He knew what was in man. —John 2:24-25

“[…]  (T)he 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. […]  According to our thinking, everything is either delightful and good, or it is evil, malicious, and cowardly.[…] Refusing to be disillusioned is the cause of much of the suffering of human life. And this is how that suffering happens— 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

We don’t really expect non-Christians to be perfect.  But we do have that expectation for Christians, well, except maybe one, ourselves.  How can we accept imperfection .. let’s call it sin … in a Christian?  Shouldn’t we demand that they be like Jesus?  That they not do things that are contrary to the Word of God? Isn’t it OK that we treat them with contempt?  Especially if the offense is against us?  Isn’t that what they deserve? Read these verses about  how we should treat one another …..

(Romans 12:10) “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;”
(Romans 14:13) “Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother's way.”
(Romans 15:7) “Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.”
(Ephesians 4:2) “with all lowliness and gentleness, with long-suffering, bearing with one another in love,”
(Ephesians 4:31-32) “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
(Colossians 3:12-13) “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, long-suffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”
(Hebrews 10:24) “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,”

That doesn’t leave much room for bitter attitudes does it?  For judging and condemning.  OK .. here are the capstone verses that all of these verses flow from …

(Matthew 22:37-40)  “Jesus said to him, 'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."

Doesn’t leave a lot of room for debate does it.  Do you see that when I judge and condemn others I sin?  Think about it.  ELGIN

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

God's Answer For Problem Solving

“[…] If there were never any clouds in our lives, we would have no faith. “The clouds are the dust of His feet” (Nahum 1:3). They are a sign that God is there. […] 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

Hebrews 11:1 says “faith is the substance of things hoped for .. the evidence of things not seen”  When the impossible enters our lives .. as Christians we have two choices … we can trust in God – Faith – or we can trust in ourselves which results in worry, being fearful, maybe even crawling into a figurative hole and pretending the problem is not there.  Our salvation provides eternal security … but it also provides strength for today and hope for tomorrow. (James 1:2-4)  “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”  When something tragic happens in your life, do you want to hear “Consider it joy?”.  Well, your flesh certainly does not. Look … everything that happens to us, we Christians, happens while we rest in the palm of God’s hand.  James is saying that you need to understand things in light of your spiritual nature.  All too often we respond to problems in our flesh .. we do not begin by trusting God, but by trusting ourselves. 

The problems we face will test our faith … we have an alternative to problem solving that the world does not have … we can trust God, no matter what happens … the question is .. will we?  “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus and His righteousness….On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground (e.g. self-confidence) is sinking sand”  We are saved by faith .. we persevere by faith … The depth and strength of our faith is dependent upon the strength and depth of our relationship with the Lord.  The breakfast cereal Wheaties used sports figures to encourage people to eat the cereal to be stronger.  The kids wanted to be like their sports heroes.  They used the slogan “You better eat your Wheaties.”  You want to have a strong faith?  You want to be like Jesus?  You want to be able to consider it pure joy? You better read the Word. Seek God first.   ELGIN.

“Great Is Thy Faithfulness”

“Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided; Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!”

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

How To Stand Under The Weight Of Your Trouble

“We should never have the thought that our dreams of success are God’s purpose for us. In fact, His purpose may be exactly the opposite. 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 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 He desires for me is that I see “Him walking on the sea” with no shore, no success, nor goal in sight, but simply having the absolute certainty that everything is all right because I see “Him walking on the sea” (Mark 6:49). It is the process, not the outcome, that is glorifying to God. […] 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. However, if we realize that moment-by-moment obedience is the goal, then each moment as it comes is precious.” CHAMBERS
“God is not interested in our comfort, but our character.” (Pastor Rick Warren)  We spend so much time asking God to take away the problem, when it might be that very problem that God is using to shape us for His purposes.  How do we know the difference? Actually it doesn’t matter what the difference is .. what matters is how we respond to life no matter what comes our way.  You cannot respond in a way that brings glory to God if you are living by the flesh and not the Spirit.  The flesh . .self-effort .. can never bring glory to God. Self-effort’s goal is to bring glory to self.  God can give you strength to go through difficult times, but most likely you will have to go through it ..  and perhaps suffer the consequence … but if you are viewing life through the prism of the power and presence of God … you will survive it.  In most times of crisis, fear shows its ugly head.  Jesus said we should not fear … but we should trust .. have faith.  Friend, if you are not cultivating your faith .. strengthening it day by day .. you are in trouble .. and when your faith is weak … you will not be able to stand under the weight of the trouble you face.  If you are one who thinks you can “fix” it, then you will have a struggle with self-effort resisting the Spirit.  Proverbs 3:5-6, my old friend, Trust God and Not Yourself.  Do it!  ELGIN

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)