Monday, August 31, 2015

The Price Of My Adoption -- Jesus Paid It All.

“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” —John 15:11

Joy should not be confused with happiness. In fact, it is an insult to Jesus Christ to use the word happiness in connection with Him. The joy of Jesus was His absolute self-surrender and self-sacrifice to His Father— the joy of doing that which the Father sent Him to do— “…who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross…” (Hebrews 12:2). “I delight to do Your will, O my God…” (Psalm 40:8). Jesus prayed that our joy might continue fulfilling itself until it becomes the same joy as His. Have I allowed Jesus Christ to introduce His joy to me? […]  the first thing that will hinder this joy is the subtle irritability caused by giving too much thought to our circumstances. Jesus said, “…the cares of this world,…choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful” (Mark 4:19). And before we even realize what has happened, we are caught up in our cares. […] Have the right relationship with God, finding your joy there, and out of you “will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38). […] Stop being hypocritical and proud, aware only of yourself, and live “your life…hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). A person who has the right relationship with God lives a life as natural as breathing wherever he goes.” CHAMBERS

Joy is a fruit of the Spirit.  The result of walking by the Spirit and not the flesh.  What does that mean?  It means that we live in a constant awareness of who we are in Christ.  We don’t submit to the desires of our flesh, making excuses for it so we won’t feel bad about ourselves.  It means we seek the Lord every day.  We focus on His Word.  We live in obedience to His Word.  We pray.  We do not forsake being with other Christians on days other than Sunday.  (Acts 17:28)  “‘For in Him we live and move and have our being.’”  We belong to God.   We are not our own.  We are His children.  The price of our adoption, Jesus paid it all.   Our joy should be absolute self-surrender and self-sacrifice to our Father— the joy of doing that which the Father created us to do.   (Ephesians 2:10) “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  Where do you find yourself today?  Are you living for God or yourself?  Do you need to make a course correction?  Have you wandered from the path?  Think about it.  ELGIN

"Jesus Paid It All"

"Jesus paid it all.  All to Him I owe.  Sin had left a crimson stain.  He washed it white as snow."

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Reason Why Your Faith Flourishes Or Fails

 “Every time you venture out in your life of faith, you will find something in your circumstances that, from a commonsense standpoint, will flatly contradict your faith. But common sense is not faith, and faith is not common sense. In fact, they are as different as the natural life and the spiritual. Can you trust Jesus Christ where your common sense cannot trust Him? Can you venture out with courage on the words of Jesus Christ, while the realities of your commonsense life continue to shout, “It’s all a lie”? […]  As soon as I say, “I believe ‘God shall supply all [my] need,’ ” the testing of my faith begins (Philippians 4:19). […] Faith must be tested, because it can only become your intimate possession through conflict. What is challenging your faith right now? The test will either prove your faith right, or it will kill it. […] The ultimate thing is confidence in Jesus. “We have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end…” (Hebrews 3:14). […] There is continual testing in the life of faith up to the point of our physical death, which is the last great test. Faith is absolute trust in God— trust that could never imagine that He would forsake us (see Hebrews 13:5-6).” CHAMBERS

We often place more confidence in our fear of what might happen [and most often never does happen] than we do in God’s sovereignty.  Hebrews 11:1 says faith is about having confidence in what we can’t see or touch.  That confidence is not in some event or promise, but in the Promise Giver.  Most of our worries have to do with our health, our financial security, our relationships.  Our focus is on ourselves and not our Lord.  Like Peter walking on the water … taking our eyes .. and confidence off of the One who calls us results in fear .. worry.  What are you worrying about today.  Are you facing a lion’s den, fiery furnace, or some other physical or financial threat?  Maybe God is calling you to a place that is uncertain and does not fit in with your plans (Prov 16:9).  God will most often take you through that trouble … not save you from it.  He will be with you … so when they look into the furnace, they will see a “fourth man walking”, the Lord Himself.  Reading the Bible, it is not hard to find examples of times when faith failed and when faith flourished.  The bottom line, it is all up to you … The Lord is with you .. .are you with Him?  You gotta have faith!  Think about it.  ELGIN

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Friday, August 28, 2015

God's Open Door Policy .. Talking With The Father

“…one of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, teach us to pray…"” —Luke 11:1

“Prayer is not a normal part of the life of the natural man. We hear it said that a person’s life will suffer if he doesn’t pray, but I question that. What will suffer is the life of the Son of God in him, which is nourished not by food, but by prayer. When a person is born again from above, the life of the Son of God is born in him, and he can either starve or nourish that life. Prayer is the way that the life of God in us is nourished. Our common ideas regarding prayer are not found in the New Testament. We look upon prayer simply as a means of getting things for ourselves, but the biblical purpose of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself. […] To say that “prayer changes things” is not as close to the truth as saying, “Prayer changes me and then I change things.” God has established things so that prayer, on the basis of redemption, changes the way a person looks at things. Prayer is not a matter of changing things externally, but one of working miracles in a person’s inner nature.”  CHAMBERS

A few thoughts on prayer.  First, the point of prayer. You would agree that God wants a relationship with us.  I mean, why else would have He sent Jesus?  A relationship that includes communication.  God is not a God of “I speak, you listen.”  He wants two way communication.  God speaks by His Spirit through prayer, the Word, circumstances, and other believers.  We speak back to God through prayer. There are tons of books on prayer.  The disciples asked Jesus how to pray.  He said, 1) acknowledge the Father, 2) acknowledge that His will is best, 3) ask Him to meet your daily needs, 4) guide us through the day, 5) acknowledge that He is worthy of all gory .. all credit. Reciting the Lord’s prayer is OK, but it can become a mantra of sorts, something that is said from memory and from the heart.  With the advent of newer translations, you don’t hear it so much anymore, but for many years, people thought they had to pray in King James language.  Like that was the heavenly language.  If language style were important, we would all have to learn Hebrew since that is what Jesus spoke.  Second, in the process of prayer, we focus on God and in doing so, as we make a habit of praying, we cause change to take place in the way we think, see the world and our circumstances.  Prayer is God focused not self-focused.  Have you ever been talking to someone who was not listening to you, but busy thinking about what they were going to say next?  You can see it in their eyes.   They are not nearly as concerned about hearing you as they are about hearing themselves.  The point of prayer is not so you can access God’s pocket book so you can get anything you want.  Some folks believe that if you name it .. you can claim it .. they believe that is what the Bible promises.

(James 4:2-4) You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”  What you pray about reveals your heart … “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”  (Matthew 12:34)  We are admonished to not crave the things of this world, so why do we?   And lastly - third, prayer is a privilege.  Through Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit, you have direct access to the Creator God.  Do you understand the significance of that?  In the Army, commanders have what is known as an “open door policy”.  What that means is that at certain times, anyone can come in to talk to the commander, without an appointment.  Normally there are many bosses in between.  But the lowliest privates can come by themselves and talk to the commander .. with no one else listening.  They will not be denied access.  God has an open door policy as well.  When Jesus died, the curtain in the temple was torn in two symbolizing that man was no longer denied access to the Father.  We have the privilege of speaking to the Father, with no one else listening.  Think about it.  ELGIN

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Slip Sliding Away, Drawn To The Old Way Of Life

“Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you…” —John 12:35

“The moment you forsake the matter of sanctification or neglect anything else on which God has given you His light, your spiritual life begins to disintegrate within you. Continually bring the truth out into your real life, working it out into every area, or else even the light that you possess will itself prove to be a curse.[…]  Our Lord said, “…unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20). In other words, you must be more moral than the most moral person you know. You may know all about the doctrine of sanctification, but are you working it out in the everyday issues of your life? Every detail of your life, whether physical, moral, or spiritual, is to be judged and measured by the standard of the atonement by the Cross of Christ.”  CHAMBERS

Have you ever wondered why the apostles need to write letters to the churches – the essence of the New Testament?  It is because it is so easy to neglect the Faith.  To slide back into the old ways of doing things .. the natural life.  They had to be reminded and encouraged.  Times and technology have changed, but the struggle has not.  This is what Paul wrote to Titus reminding him to remind others …

(Titus 3:1-8 ) “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone. At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.”

We all must be careful that that we are not drawn into living in the manner in which we once lived.  And if we are living that way, we must repent.  Think about it.  ELGIN

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

How Get Through The Turmoils Of Life

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you…” —John 14:27

“Are you severely troubled right now? Are you afraid and confused by the waves and the turbulence God sovereignly allows to enter your life? Have you left no stone of your faith unturned, yet still not found any well of peace, joy, or comfort? Does your life seem completely barren to you? Then look up and receive the quiet contentment of the Lord Jesus. Reflecting His peace is proof that you are right with God, because you are exhibiting the freedom to turn your mind to Him. If you are not right with God, you can never turn your mind anywhere but on yourself. […] With regard to the problem that is pressing in on you right now, are you “looking unto Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2) and receiving peace from Him? […] … if you only try to worry your way out of the problem, you destroy His effectiveness in you, and you deserve whatever you get. We become troubled because we have not been taking Him into account. When a person confers with Jesus Christ, the confusion stops, because there is no confusion in Him. Lay everything out before Him, and when you are faced with difficulty, bereavement, and sorrow, listen to Him say, “Let not your heart be troubled…” (John 14:27).” CHAMBERS

Sometimes we have to be reminded about certain immutable … never changing … facts.  When you were born again you were given a new nature.  That new nature is spiritual.  But, you are still subject to the effects of a fallen world.  Just because you are a Christian does not mean you will not suffer from a broken heart, illness, or financial hardship … what it means is that you have a capacity to endure all of those things by the power of the Spirit in you.  The fruit of the Spirit is (Galatians 5:22-23) “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”.  The fruit is a product of your relationship with the Lord.   The closer you draw to the Lord as you walk in obedience to the Word, the more you will see the fruit of that relationship.  (Romans 8:4-5) “do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.”  You must set your mind on the Spirit.

That means you can’t live your life any way you choose and then, like a light switch, turn on your Spiritual nature to get you out of a jam.  In fact, the point of the fruit of the Spirit will see you through a circumstance, and not save you from it.  Most of the trouble that we face is not something that leads to death.  Did you notice that “good health” is not one of the fruit?  Neither is financial prosperity.  Are you struggling with something that is sapping your strength .. interrupting your sleep? As hard as you pray, God may not make it go away, but He has already provided the means for you to endure it.  The world doesn’t need to see how a Christian lives with no problems … but instead how Christians endure in the midst of their troubles.  (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.”  Think about it.  ELGIN

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)