Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Why Does My Nest Does Not Look Like Yours?

My Utmost For His Highest
By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain… —1 Corinthians 15:10
“We say things such as, “Oh, I shouldn’t claim to be sanctified; I’m not a saint.” But to say that before God means, “No, Lord, it is impossible for You to save and sanctify me; there are opportunities I have not had and so many imperfections in my brain and body; no, Lord, it isn’t possible.” That may sound wonderfully humble to others, but before God it is an attitude of defiance. Conversely, the things that sound humble before God may sound exactly the opposite to people. To say, “Thank God, I know I am saved and sanctified,” is in God’s eyes the purest expression of humility. It means you have so completely surrendered yourself to God that you know He is true. […] There is only one relationship that really matters, and that is your personal relationship to your personal Redeemer and Lord. If you maintain that at all costs, letting everything else go, God will fulfill His purpose through your life.” CHAMBERS
I was talking with my grandson the other day when he said he had a question for me.  I thought “uh-oh” I wonder what that might be. And then to my great joy he said “I was reading Genesis chapters 1 and 2.  Genesis 1 says God created man in His image and Genesis 2 says God created Adam and Eve. I thought Adam was the first man.” I explained that the chapters were not meant to convey a lapse of time.  That Adam was the man that God created in His image. That is what differentiates us from the other animals, even the monkeys.  I went on to say that man has a choice to obey or not to obey and he chose the latter.” “Didn’t God know that man would do that before He created him?”, my grandson asked.  “Yes, He did.  God knew that giving man the ability to choose would mean that man would choose to go his own way, to abandon God, and would need a Redeemer.” I said, “God could have created us like the other animals where we were limited in what we do, how we live, but He didn’t.” I talked about the birds and how you can tell by looking at a bird’s nest, what kind of bird built it.  The reason is that a Robin, every Robin, even a “rockin’ Robin”, builds the exact same nest.  They have no choice.  Imagine what the world would be like of man was like the Robin, I said.  Every house everywhere in the world looked exactly the same.  Man is the glory of God’s creation.  But because of Adam, even with the creative abilities that man has, every man falls short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) Man needed a Savior.
To live the life that God intended, we must be one with the Father and one with our Savior (John 17:22-23).  We must be passionate about our relationship with Jesus.  Loving the Father with all of our hearts.  We must choose God over ourselves.  What is most important to you, the God who saved you or your salvation?  The gift should not hold a higher place than the Giver.  ELGIN
Oh Praise The Name Of Jesus
I cast my mind to Calvary   Where Jesus bled and died for me.
I see His wounds,His hands, His feet.  My Saviour on that cursed tree
His body bound and drenched in tears They laid Him down in Joseph's tomb.
The entrance sealed by heavy stone Messiah still and all alone
And then on the third at break of dawn,  The Son of heaven rose again.
O trampled death where is your sting?  The angels roar for Christ the King
He shall return in robes of white,  The blazing Son shall pierce the night.
And I will rise among the saints,  My gaze transfixed on Jesus' face
O praise the name of the Lord our God  O praise His name forever more
For endless days we will sing Your praise  Oh Lord, oh Lord our God

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Struggling With Your Faith? You Need More Jesus

My Utmost For His Highest
He will glorify Me… —John 16:14
“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
It’s the classic problem of wanting to be something by trying harder.  In this case, it is wanting to be like Jesus.  An admirable goal, but it cannot be achieved through self-effort or self-denial.  Only by the power of God and the working of the Holy Spirit in us.  (John 14:6) “I (Jesus) am the Way and the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through me.”  (John 15:5) “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”  Our new life is totally dependent upon Jesus.  If you are struggling in your faith, you need more Jesus not more effort.  (Matthew 11:28) “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I (Jesus) will give you rest.”  It’s true my friend.  ELGIN
Without Him I could do nothing Without Him I’d surely fail
Without Him I would be drifting Like a ship without a sail
Without Him I would be dying Without Him I’d be enslaved
Without Him life would be worthless But with Jesus thank God I'm saved
Oh Jesus, oh Jesus Do you know Him today Please don't turn Him away
Oh Jesus, my Jesus Without Him how lost I would be

Monday, November 28, 2016

How Is It With You And The Lord

My Utmost For His Highest
…being justified freely by His grace… —Romans 3:24
“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. The gift of the essential nature of God is placed and made effective in us by the Holy Spirit. He imparts to us the quickening life of Jesus, making us truly alive. 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
How is it with you and the Lord?  When I was asked that question by a pastor I met once, the question seemed inappropriate.  It was such a personal question, but then, as it settled in to my spirit, it was such a piercing question.  It caught me off guard.  I was ready for the typical social amenities where you meet someone and greet them with a few trite Christian phrases.  I call it the “grip and grin”.  But this was something different.  He asked me about what was important.  That was over 20 years ago, so apparently the question impacted me.  Our relationship with the Lord is the basis for our new life.  If we are not cultivating that relationship, then how can we possibly expect to be victorious in day to day living.  But we do anyway, don’t we?  His question was not intended to condemn me for where I should be but to encourage me to pursue where I could be in my relationship with Jesus and the Father.  That is what these devotions are all about.  Not telling you what you are doing wrong but reminding you about the new life you have been born in to.  There is a saying at work, “Showing them what right looks like.”  We all need that.  The world with all of its entanglements is like Kudzu.  If you don’t keep it cut back, it will take over.  So let me ask you.  How is it with you and the Lord?  ELGIN

Saturday, November 26, 2016

This New Life We Live Is All About Jesus And All About Grace

My Utmost For His Highest
…except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ… —Galatians 6:14
“If you want to know the power of God (that is, the resurrection life of Jesus) in your human flesh, you must dwell on the tragedy of God. Break away from your personal concern over your own spiritual condition, and with a completely open spirit consider the tragedy of God. Instantly the power of God will be in you. “Look to Me…” (Isaiah 45:22). Pay attention to the external Source and the internal power will be there. 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. In holiness movements and spiritual experience meetings, the focus tends to be put not on the Cross of Christ but on the effects of the Cross.”  CHAMBERS
When you share your testimony do you focus mostly on what Jesus did in your life.  I have heard some very compelling stories, but it generally tends to draw my attention to the person telling and not to the Person saving.  When you share the Gospel, you focus on what Jesus did on the cross and not what Jesus did for you.  The Gospel is the catalyst for salvation.  (Romans 1:16) “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes”  That is not to say your testimony cannot include the Gospel, and should, but it is the focus that I am referring to.  (1 Peter 3:15) “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear”  Please do not go away from this thinking I said “Don’t share your testimony.”  What I am saying is keep Jesus as the focus.  Jesus Saves!  ELGIN
At The Cross
Alas! and did my Savior bleed And did my Sovereign die
Would He devote that sacred head For sinners such as I
Thus might I hide my blushing face While His dear cross appears,
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness, And melt my eyes to tears.
But drops of grief can ne`er repay The debt of love I owe:
Here, Lord, I give my self away `Tis all that I can do.
At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light, And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight, And now I am happy all the day!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Getting Your Focus Right Will Get Your Life Right

My Utmost For His Highest
God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ… —Galatians 6:14
“When a person is newly born again, he seems inconsistent due to his unrelated emotions and the state of the external things or circumstances in his life. The apostle Paul had a strong and steady underlying consistency in his life. Consequently, he could let his external life change without internal distress because he was rooted and grounded in God. Most of us are not consistent spiritually because we are more concerned about being consistent externally. […] Get back to the foundation of the Cross of Christ, doing away with any belief not based on it. In secular history the Cross is an infinitesimally small thing, but from the biblical perspective it is of more importance than all the empires of the world. If we get away from dwelling on the tragedy of God on the Cross in our preaching, our preaching produces nothing. It will not transmit the energy of God to man; it may be interesting, but it will have no power. However, when we preach the Cross, the energy of God is released. “…it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.…we preach Christ crucified…” (1 Corinthians 1:21, 23).” CHAMBERS
The value of our faith is not that we will live a carefree, comfortable life.  The value of our faith is that we have eternal life and can stand in the face of any circumstance with confidence that “if God be for us, who can stand against us.” (Romans 8:31) I just had a conversation with someone about living the Christian life.  They explained that the reason they didn’t practice their faith was the fault of other people.  Our obedience should not be motivated by the actions of other people, but by our love for God.  That is not to say that other people cannot influence our choices made to not pursue God, but rather, the person I was talking to had chosen to focus on others and not God.  We are individually responsible to God for our obedience, our choices.  When people are around me who know who I am and what I believe, they try to be on their best behavior, to not say or do anything that is offensive.  Although my opinion is not the one that they should be focused on, it does reveal the condition of their heart. All too often our enthusiasm for our faith is dependent upon a preacher, a teacher, or other people who do or don’t do right in our view.  The reason is, we have lost focus on the Cross, the source of our faith and salvation. How about you?  Do you have a list of excuses as to why you have let your flame of faith die down? You need to get your focus right.  ELGIN
Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus | Helen H. Lemmel
O soul, are you weary and troubled? No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior, And life more abundant and free!
Through death into life everlasting He passed, and we follow Him there;
O’er us sin no more hath dominion— For more than conqu’rors we are!
His Word shall not fail you—He promised; Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying, His perfect salvation to tell!
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.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Want To Know What God Wants For Christmas, Your Undivided Devotion

My Utmost For His Highest
Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us! For we are exceedingly filled with contempt. —Psalm 123:3
“What we must beware of is not damage to our belief in God but damage to our Christian disposition or state of mind. […] Beware of “the cares of this world…” (Mark 4:19). They are the very things that produce the wrong attitudes in our soul. It is incredible what enormous power there is in simple things to distract our attention away from God. Refuse to be swamped by “the cares of this world.” […] 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
What can you not live without?  Your 4 bedroom house? Your job? Your automobiles? The opportunity for your children to go to a good school? Your confidence that you will have enough money to live like you want to live when you retire?  The cares of this world.  Finding Christians to agree the we should not “love the world or the things of this world” (1 John 2:15-17) not letting those things take on greater importance than our love for God and interfering with our relationship and obedience to God is easy.  Finding Christians, in this country, who are willing to actually do that, not so much.  The point is not that you actually must give up those things, but that you would gladly do it if called upon.
Someone asked me what I wanted for Christmas. My reply, I don’t need anything.  That was not received well so we settled on cookies.  You have heard or read, I am certain, “we need to put Christ back in Christmas”.  The Christmas season is probably the best example of the cares of this world nudging God aside.  People will go into debt to purchase gifts often with the hope that their tax return will cover the new debt. Paying excess income tax is their Christmas savings plan.  Do you see the craziness here?  Do you not see lust at work that is considered “normal” and acceptable?  By the way, what I am addressing is not a popular view. I am not saying don’t buy people gifts. I am saying, don’t let your love for things preempt your love for God. Or perhaps I should say, stop letting your love for things preempt your love for God.   ELGIN
Oh, How I Love Jesus | Frederick Whitfield
There is a Name I love to hear, I love to sing its worth;
It sounds like music in my ear, The sweetest Name on earth.
It tells me of a Savior’s love, Who died to set me free;
It tells me of His precious blood, The sinner’s perfect plea.
Oh, how I love Jesus, Oh, how I love Jesus,
Oh, how I love Jesus, Because He first loved me!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Nature Of God's Call Is Not What's Important, Obedience To That Call Is

My Utmost For His Highest
Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. —1 Corinthians 10:31
“Beware of allowing yourself to think that the shallow aspects of life are not ordained by God; they are ordained by Him equally as much as the profound. We sometimes refuse to be shallow, not out of our deep devotion to God but because we wish to impress other people with the fact that we are not shallow. This is a sure sign of spiritual pride. We must be careful, for this is how contempt for others is produced in our lives. And it causes us to be a walking rebuke to other people because they are more shallow than we are. Beware of posing as a profound person— God became a baby. To be shallow is not a sign of being sinful, nor is shallowness an indication that there is no depth to your life at all— the ocean has a shore. Even the shallow things of life, such as eating and drinking, walking and talking, are ordained by God. These are all things our Lord did. He did them as the Son of God, and He said, “A disciple is not above his teacher…” (Matthew 10:24).”  CHAMBERS
(1 Corinthians 12:14-25) “For the body is not one member, but many.  If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body.  And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body.  If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?  But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.  If they were all one member, where would the body be?  But now there are many members, but one body.  And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”  On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary;  and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.”
That is more scripture that I typically quote, however, it is necessary to make a point.  Paul is stressing the importance of every Believer in the plan and purpose of God.  So often we become so preoccupied with personal sanctification, which is important, that we lose sight of our personal significance in the Body. We mistakenly think the “real” spiritual work is ascribed to pastors, elders, deacons, teachers, or missionaries. Our job is limited to managing the sin in our life. Which is not true. Listen, it is not so important that you know what your role in the Body is, and you have a role, but that you have given God your whole heart.  That He is able to use you for His glory as salt and light in your generation.  When we are focused on Him, the significance of what specifically He calls us to do is not important anymore, only that we are obedient to the call no matter how insignificant we may think it is.  ELGIN

Monday, November 21, 2016

Living In Such A Manner That Your Life Shouts - Jesus Saves

My Utmost For His Highest
I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. —John 17:4
“Never build your case for forgiveness on the idea that God is our Father and He will forgive us because He loves us. That contradicts the revealed truth of God in Jesus Christ. It makes the Cross unnecessary, and the redemption “much ado about nothing.” 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. […] 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
Are you familiar with the phrase “God hates the sin but loves the sinner”?  Did you think that is a reference to a verse in the Bible?  Actually it’s not, although certainly it conveys Truth that is revealed in the Bible.  God does love us while we were yet sinners. (Romans 5:8) And He sent Jesus to die on the cross to defeat sin and restore mankind. (John 3:16) But that particular phrase is not in the Bible.  In fact, it’s a quote from St. Augustine. His Letter 211 contains the phrase “Cum dilectione hominum et odio vitiorum”, which means "With love for mankind and hatred of sins." Over time the quote as morphed into "love the sinner but hate the sin" or "hate the sin and not the sinner" (found in Mohandas Gandhi’s 1929 autobiography).  The point here is just because it sounds Biblical, it may not be directly Biblical.  We should test what we read and what we hear against the Scripture, just like the Bereans.  (Acts 17:11) “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”
So, to the point.  Man marvels at the order in the creation around him.  Many, because of their ignorance and blindness, attribute that order to everything but a creator God.  But, denial of truth does not change truth.  Sin – or more simply – the decision of man to bring disorder into God’s perfectly ordered creation through disobedience, became the barrier between man and God.  In my mind, it’s hard to imagine that God knew that Adam would disobey Him and yet God created Adam in spite of that knowing.  And yet, God does not make mistakes, He had a purpose in allowing it.  God had a choice in creating man.  He could have created us like the beasts with not ability to choose, but just to exists.  And so there must be some deeper reason for this drama to be played out.  I suspect that the point is that God is glorified in an even greater, more magnificent way through the redemption story.  God’s love, grace, and mercy where set on display in Jesus Christ.  Man was created in His image.  God created the fish in the sea, but there is no mention of His loving the fish, although He called their creation, good.  You, my friend, are part of a great story.  One in which you have a role.  As the Lord’s redeemed, you are to be a living testimony to God’s love, mercy and grace.  Your life is to shout – Jesus Saves – to the world by the way you live and love, both God and man.  Don’t miss it by limiting your life because you so focused on your personal needs being met.  Oh, looks like the curtain is raising on another day.  Don’t forget your lines.  ELGIN
Jesus Saves
We have heard the joyful sound: Jesus saves! Jesus saves!  Spread the tidings all around: Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Bear the news to every land, climb the mountains, cross the waves;  Onward! ’tis our Lord’s command; Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Waft it on the rolling tide: Jesus saves! Jesus saves!  Tell to sinners far and wide: Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Sing, you islands of the sea; echo back, you ocean caves;  Earth shall keep her jubilee: Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Sing above the battle strife: Jesus saves! Jesus saves!  By His death and endless life Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Shout it brightly through the gloom, when the heart for mercy craves;  Sing in triumph o’er the tomb: Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Give the winds a mighty voice: Jesus saves! Jesus saves!  Let the nations now rejoice: Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Shout salvation full and free; highest hills and deepest caves;  This our song of victory: Jesus saves! Jesus saves!

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Impossibility Of Loving God WIth Half A Heart - But We Try To Anyway

My Utmost For His Highest
If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. —John 8:36
“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 means offering our natural life to God and sacrificing it to Him, so He may transform it into spiritual life through our obedience.[…] 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. [...] We tend to rely on our own energy, instead of being energized by the power that comes from identification with Jesus.” CHAMBERS
The source transformation that takes place in a believer’s life is the power of God.  But the means by which that transformation is revealed is through obedience.  That seems to be a recurring theme doesn’t it?  It must be important to be mentioned so often in the Bible and in devotions that reflect on the teaching of the Bible.  If our primary purpose – our chief end – is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, shouldn’t that be important to us? I mean if that is the main thing in my life, shouldn’t it be a compelling aspect of my behavior?  Shouldn’t everything I do and say be couched in the context of bringing glory to God through my life?  Well, that begins and ends with obedience.  I must decide that my primary purpose is to bring glory to God and I must embrace that truth.  Once embraced, I must live it out.  And if it’s not.  If in your examining your life and you don’t get a resounding “That is true for me!” then something else is number one in your life.  You have become content with being half-hearted for God .. and that contentment has its root in obedience.  (Matthew 6:24) “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other.”  If you believe that you can embrace your culture and embrace God at the same time, stop it, you cannot.  It will always lead to you abandoning God.  Always. ELGIN
Knowing You Jesus - Graham Kendrick
All I once held dear built my life upon All this world reveres, and wars to own
All I once thought gain I have counted loss Spent and worthless now, compared to this
Now my heart's desire is to know you more To be found in you, and known as yours
To possess by faith what I could not earn All surpassing gift of righteousness
Oh to know the power of your risen life And to know you in your suffering
To become like you in your death my Lord So with You to live And never die
Knowing you, Jesus knowing you There is no greater thing
You're my all you're the best You're my joy, my righteousness And I love you ,Lord

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Do You Treat God Like The Maytag Repairman?

My Utmost For His Highest
By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing…I will bless you… —Genesis 22:16-17
“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. God will never be real to me until I come face to face with Him in Jesus Christ. […] 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.” CHAMBERS
When Lot and his wife left the city of Sodom before its destruction, it was for their benefit that God sent them out.  Yet, Lot’s wife regretted leaving, turned to look back and paid the price.  (Genesis 19:26)  When the young man said that he wanted to obey and follow Jesus but there were pressing earthly matters that he must tend to, Jesus rebuked him. (Luke 9:59)  Those examples are for our benefit.  Our tendency is to trust in our own wisdom.  To yield to our own devotions and desires.  Even when we know what we hear is right.  I would get really frustrated when my children would seek advice and then do something else, only to suffer the consequences. If we are not seeking God and looking to Him that is what we will do.  We will reject the best for something much less because our devotion is in something other than God.  God will not stop us from rejecting Him.  We are free to mess our lives up. But oh what blessings we miss.  I eventually had to resolve that all I can do is give my best advice and it my children reject it, then they must deal with the consequences and I will not help them “fix” whatever calamity ensues from their poor choices.  For most people, they don’t repent, but merely regret their choice didn’t work and seek ways to not suffer the consequences.  God has a fix for those consequences, His name is Jesus.  When we turn form God, and then repent, our sins are forgiven, but we must deal with the consequences.  For many people, they would prefer that God not forgive the sins, just fix the consequences.  Sound like a perversion of faith?  It is.  We treat God like the Maytag repairman.  “Stay out of my life until I break something and then fix it. I will call you we I need you.”  Lord forgive us.  ELGIN
I need thee every hour Most gracious Lord No tender voice like thine Can peace afford
I need thee, oh I need thee Every hour I need thee Oh bless me now my savior I come to thee

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Why You Need To Set Your Mind And Ways Aright

My Utmost For His Highest
…whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. —1 Corinthians 10:31
“We have a tendency to look for wonder in our experience, and we mistake heroic actions for real heroes. It’s one thing to go through a crisis grandly, yet quite another to go through every day glorifying God when there is no witness, no limelight, and no one paying even the remotest attention to us. If we are not looking for halos, we at least want something that will make people say, “What a wonderful man of prayer he is!” or, “What a great woman of devotion she is!” If you are properly devoted to the Lord Jesus, you have reached the lofty height where no one would ever notice you personally. […] The true test of a saint’s life is not successfulness but faithfulness on the human level of life. […] our purpose should be to display the glory of God in human life, to live a life “hidden with Christ in God” in our everyday human conditions (Colossians 3:3).”  CHAMBERS
Every day, in every way we have the opportunity to show Jesus to the world.  The way we live, what we value, how we treat other people.  From our lives should flow rivers of living water.  The source of that living water is the Spirit of God.  (John 7:37-39) “On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” For that to happen we must let the Spirit reign in us.  It is the work of the Spirit in the Believer’s life that people see.  The Spirit is the light, the glory, that shines out of us for the world to see. (Romans 8:3-5) “For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.”  And so set your mind and ways aright, let your light shine Christian! ELGIN
River Of Life
I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me
Makes the lame to walk and the blind to see
Opens prison doors and sets the captives free
I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me
Spring up oh well, within my soul
Spring up oh well and make me whole
Spring up oh well and give to me, that life abundantly

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Keeping The World In Your Peripheral Vision

My Utmost For His Highest
Peter…said to Jesus, "But Lord, what about this man?" Jesus said to him, "…what is that to you? You follow Me." —John 21:21-22
“One of the hardest lessons to learn comes from our stubborn refusal to refrain from interfering in other people’s lives. It takes a long time to realize the danger of being an amateur providence, that is, interfering with God’s plan for others. You see someone suffering and say, “He will not suffer, and I will make sure that he doesn’t.” You put your hand right in front of God’s permissive will to stop it, and then God says, “What is that to you?” Is there stagnation in your spiritual life? Don’t allow it to continue, but get into God’s presence and find out the reason for it. You will possibly find it is because you have been interfering in the life of another— proposing things you had no right to propose, or advising when you had no right to advise. When you do have to give advice to another person, God will advise through you with the direct understanding of His Spirit. Your part is to maintain the right relationship with God so that His discernment can come through you continually for the purpose of blessing someone else.”  CHAMBERS
Why did Jesus heal some and not others?  Why did He do anything at all?  In obedience to the Father's will, to fulfill the Father’s purposes and bring glory to Him.  In order for us to do what Jesus did, we must have spiritual discernment.  In order for us to do that, we must be in a heated pursuit of God.  Our focus must be primarily on God, all other things we see with our peripheral vision.  With our peripheral vision, we can see things on our left and our right, but only to the point that we are aware of them. Not to the point where we can discern every detail.  That is how it should be with our focus on God and this world.  The world should be in our peripheral vision, God at the center of our focus.  It is then that we are able to rightly discern others.  When we were living in Haiti, it was common for beggars to come to the window of our truck and ask for money.  Sometimes I would give them money and sometimes I would not.  Martie would ask me why I did, when I did.  My answer was that I always ask the Lord for discernment.  Sometimes He said give them money, and others He said don’t.  Does that sound too mystical to you?  No apologies.  That is the way I live my life and interact with the world.  This rule does not only apply to strangers, but to family as well.  There are times when a family member has a need, perhaps a great need, but the Lord holds your hand back from helping.  To know when that is requires spiritual discernment.  Your focus must be on God and the person must be in the periphery. Discerning when your response is out of emotion and when it is based upon the unction of the Spirit can be difficult.  If you do not keep God as you primary focus.  If you are not cultivating your new nature then it is virtually impossible.   ELGIN
God Bless You

Monday, November 14, 2016

Pressing On To The Higher Calling Of My Lord

My Utmost For His Highest
As for me, being on the way, the Lord led me… —Genesis 24:27
“Sanctification means that we are made the children of God. A child’s life is normally obedient, until he chooses disobedience. But as soon as he chooses to disobey, an inherent inner conflict is produced. On the spiritual level, inner conflict is the warning of the Spirit of God. When He warns us in this way, we must stop at once and be renewed in the spirit of our mind to discern God’s will (see Romans 12:2). If we are born again by the Spirit of God, our devotion to Him is hindered, or even stopped, by continually asking Him to guide us here and there. “…the Lord led me…” and on looking back we see the presence of an amazing design. If we are born of God we will see His guiding hand and give Him the credit.[…] 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.”  CHAMBERS
The Bible is God’s revealed will.  It teaches us about the nature of God and the nature of man.  It helps us to see the pitfalls that lay abundantly along the path of life.  It warns us of the dangers and the persistence of our old nature and its attempt to draw us back.  David wrote (Psalm 119:103) “How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth!” When I write these words, I think about the millions of Christians that do not have access to the written Word of God.  So many have not “tasted” the Word for themselves.  But those who are reading this devotion have the means and opportunity to enjoy the word, and yet because of technology and our affluence, the reading of the Word has lost its importance to many of us.  The Word is a lamp and a light (Palm 119:105).  The Word is the “tool” the Holy Spirit uses to shape our thinking, our understanding.  The Word steadies our footing on this earthly journey. The point of my writing this each morning is not to supplant your reading of the Word, but to encourage you to press on in your faith and pursuit of the sanctified life in Christ. Make regular reading the Word part of that pursuit.  ELGIN
Pressing On  Bob Dillon
Well I'm pressing on, Yes, I'm pressing on, Well I'm pressing on, To the higher calling of my Lord.
Many try to stop me, shake me up in my mind,
Say, "Prove to me that He is Lord, show me a sign."
What kind of sign they need when it all comes from within,
When what's lost has been found, what's to come has already been?
Well I'm pressing on, Yes, I'm pressing on, Well I'm pressing on, To the higher calling of my Lord.
Shake the dust off of your feet, don't look back.
Nothing now can hold you down, nothing that you lack.
Temptation's not an easy thing, Adam given the devil reign
Because he sinned I got no choice, it run in my veins.
Well I'm pressing on, Yes, I'm pressing on, Well I'm pressing on, To the higher calling of my Lord.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Live In Obedience To God And Live In Another Reality

My Utmost For His Highest
He said, "Take now your son…" —Genesis 22:2
“God’s command is, “Take now,” not later. It is incredible how we debate! We know something is right, but we try to find excuses for not doing it immediately. If we are to climb to the height God reveals, it can never be done later— it must be done now. And the sacrifice must be worked through our will before we actually perform it.[…] When God spoke, he did not “confer with flesh and blood” (Galatians 1:16). Beware when you want to “confer with flesh and blood” or even your own thoughts, insights, or understandings— anything that is not based on your personal relationship with God. […] Abraham did not choose what the sacrifice would be. Always guard against self-chosen service for God. Self-sacrifice may be a disease that impairs your service. If God has made your cup sweet, drink it with grace; or even if He has made it bitter, drink it in communion with Him. If the providential will of God means a hard and difficult time for you, go through it. But never decide the place of your own martyrdom, as if to say, “I will only go to there, but no farther.” […] God is working in us to reach His highest goals until His purpose and our purpose become one.”  CHAMBERS
Romans 12:2 cautions us to not be conformed to this world.  The world will tell you that sacrifice is unnecessary.  That what you should strive for is acceptance from your culture.  You should want to be like them, the way they live and what they value.  You should value their acceptance over God’s approval.  That you don’t want to be different .. that you should conform.  Every day you are faced with the choice .. obey God or not.  Each of us knows what to do, the problem is doing it.  Abraham trusted God foremost and obeyed immediately.  Now I have known people who went off “half-cocked” (meaning to speak or act impulsively and without proper preparation) acting on their own motivation, using the Lord’s name for legitimacy.  And I have known people who did not go or obey at all because of the pressure of the life they were living, acting as if God is not sufficient. 
That is not to say that there is no danger or risk from the world’s perspective in doing what the Lord directs us to do.  But we should not be looking at things form the world’s perspective.  We “should” be focused on the Lord.  Job said “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him.” (Job 13:15) The danger here is that you think that you could never be like Abraham, or Paul, or Peter, or some Christian that you hold in high regard.  My response to that thinking – that is not true.  The reality is that you are, but you choose to place your faith in things other than God.  (Proverbs 3:5,6) “Trust in the Lord with all ..”  That doesn’t leave much room for your culture, your friends, or your fears.  God is faithful and He is sovereign.  Living in obedience to God is living in another reality.  It is as close as a “Yes Lord, to Your will and to Your way.”  ELGIN

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Being Faithful In The Place God Has Put You.

My Utmost For His Highest
…fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ… —1 Thessalonians 3:2
“After sanctification, it is difficult to state what your purpose in life is, because God has moved you into His purpose through the Holy Spirit. He is using you now for His purposes throughout the world as He used His Son for the purpose of our salvation. […] God is using me from His great personal perspective, and all He asks of me is that I trust Him. […] 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.” CHAMBERS
I realize that the majority of the people that read what I write live what they would consider “normal” lives.  You don’t preach, maybe don’t teach, and you don’t live in a remote village on the plains of an African savannah. The people that Peter, Paul, and the others wrote to were just like you.  Yet, they were encouraged, just like you, as fellow laborers.  It doesn’t matter where you live, what you do, we all have the same basic purpose as Christians, to live our lives in such a way that God is glorified and Jesus is magnified. That people will see Jesus in every nook and cranny in our lives.  Not comparing ourselves to each other, but identifying with our Lord and living in obedience to the revelation given us by the Holy Spirit.
You should not say, “Oh I am not like him or I am not like her.”  It does not matter what your place is in this world or even what your position is in the Body of Christ.  (1 Corinthians 12:15-17) “If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?” What matters is that you have an eternal purpose in Christ and an eternal place in the heavenlies.  You have already been blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 1:3-4)  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.” What you need to do is walk out your new life, fulfill your purpose, and glorify God in every way, every day.  Trust me, that will keep you both busy and blessed.  ELGIN

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Want To Know How Many People I haved Saved? None But I Have Shared The Gospel With Thousands

My Utmost For His Highest
I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ… —Colossians 1:24
“The Christian worker has to be a sacred “go-between.” He must be so closely identified with his Lord and the reality of His redemption that Christ can continually bring His creating life through him. I am not referring to the strength of one individual’s personality being superimposed on another, but the real presence of Christ coming through every aspect of the worker’s life. When we preach the historical facts of the life and death of our Lord as they are conveyed in the New Testament, our words are made sacred. God uses these words, on the basis of His redemption, to create something in those who listen which otherwise could never have been created. […] We must make sure that we are living in such harmony with God that as we proclaim His truth He can create in others those things which He alone can do. […] The danger is to glory in men, yet Jesus says we are to lift up only Him (see John 12:32)." CHAMBERS
Recently our granddaughter asked if a young man could come to the house.  She needed to talk to him.  When asked what the subject was, she replied, “He needs Jesus.”  Oh that all of us would be so responsive to the Lord’s prompting to speak the Gospel.  She met with the young man, expecting a conversion on our front porch.  It didn’t happen, which confused her.  She was so confident that it was the right thing to do.  I explained to her that from the first time my parents shared the Gospel with me, I was 19 serving in the Mekong Delta, South Vietnam, until I yielded my heart to the Lord was 7 years.  I told her our responsibility is to speak when prompted.  It is God who calls and God who saves.  You have had and will have the opportunity to share your faith … meaning to share the Gospel, not just talk about yourself.  The telling of what happened to you does not save people, it only describes your spiritual journey.  (Romans 1:16) “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)  “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” No one is willing to receive the spiritual truth of that proclamation unless the Spirit of God is at work.  You cannot convince anyone through logic or argument of its truth.  Bottom line.  You do your part and let God do His.  ELGIN