Saturday, April 29, 2017

How To Live An Uncertain Life In An Uncertain World With Certainty

…it has not yet been revealed what we shall be… —1 John 3:2

{CHAMBERS} “Our natural inclination is to be so precise– trying always to forecast accurately what will happen next– that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing. We think that we must reach some predetermined goal, but that is not the nature of the spiritual life. The nature of the spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainty. […] Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life– gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. […] We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. […] The spiritual life is the life of a child. We are not uncertain of God, just uncertain of what He is going to do next.”

{ELGIN}  Have you ever heard someone ask “What am I going to do now?”  Maybe it was you.  You find yourself in a predicament that you did not expect .. or maybe that you brought on yourself and don’t know what to do about it.  That can be very stressful.  We desperately want to be in control of our lives but are not.  So much uncertainty in life and so little control. Jesus said (Matthew 6:25) “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your [b]life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” He also said (Matthew 16:25) “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”

If you lack spiritual perspective on this life and your faith is small, you will struggle.  What tomorrow brings may not be what you hoped for.  But of this you can be certain, the Father is already in tomorrow, waiting for you.  How you respond to uncertainty, and there will always be uncertainty, really gets down to how you are responding to God.  Those who have not been born again must carry the load of uncertainty on their own.  But Jesus said (Matthew 11:28-30)  “Come to me all you that are weary and heaven laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Stop struggling with uncertainty .. it is sure to come … Trust in the Lord the source of all certainty.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

When You Pray Do You Have The FaithTo Accept God's Answer?

Do you seek great things for yourself? —Jeremiah 45:5

{CHAMBERS} “God wants you to be in a much closer relationship with Himself than simply receiving His gifts— He wants you to get to know Him. […] There is nothing easier than getting into the right relationship with God, unless it is not God you seek, but only what He can give you.

If you have only come as far as asking God for things, you have never come to the point of understanding the least bit of what surrender really means. You have become a Christian based on your own terms. You protest, saying, “I asked God for the Holy Spirit, but He didn’t give me the rest and the peace I expected.” And instantly God puts His finger on the reason– you are not seeking the Lord at all; you are seeking something for yourself. […] “Your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him” (Matthew 6:8). Then why should you ask? So that you may get to know Him.[…] God always ignores your present level of completeness in favor of your ultimate future completeness. He is not concerned about making you blessed and happy right now, but He’s continually working out His ultimate perfection for you— “…that they may be one just as We are one…” (John 17:22).”

{ELGIN}  (James 4:2-3) “You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.”  Not everything you ask God to do is wrong, but then again not everything you ask for is right.  I am sure you have heard someone say “It doesn’t hurt to ask.”  If God is our father, then we are His children.  As His children we lack abilities and resources that He has.  We must go to him. If you recall Jesus in the Garden, He prayed to the Father asking if it is possible to “remove the cup from Him” but then he went on to say “not my will but your will be done”.  And then Jesus went to the Cross.  We must be willing to accept God’s will in our lives as well.  Don’t make getting what you want a proof of your faith.  But “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33)

“When peace like a river attendeth my way.  When sorrows like deep billows roll.  Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul.”  Find your rest and peace and satisfaction in the Lord, not in your circumstances.  “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Sleeping In The Rain - An Invisible Struggle - But God Knows


Trail Leading To Bwanef
I know that if you are reading these devotions then you have a heart for God.  Rather than write a devotion today, I am going to share some information with you. What you may not know is that our ministry, Pathfinder Mission, is supporting the building of single family dwellings in the Western region of Haiti.  We are working with 7 churches and communities.  I just received an email from a young pastor, Anderson Jeune, from Anse du Clerc Haiti. He is managing the identification of the families to be helped and the construction that is accomplished with Haitian workers.  The houses are simple, but offer shelter for the families and sanitation since we are also building a toilet and rain catch system with each home.  The Spirit prompted me to share his email with you.

{PASTOR ANDERSON} “Hello my brother. I told you that the mass-raising work will begin this week. But there is another problem. Since the beginning of the week the rain does not cease to fall at the level of the department of Grand'Anse, the road to go to Bwanef is impracticable declared the boss mason, it could not work under the rains. Here again there is another delay in the work of Bwanef. If the weather is fine the boss mason will work by the weekend because we can not waste materials because of the rain. I think you will understand me because I can not do anything about this situation. If [it] were [up to] me the houses should finish already because there are many kind who sleep in the rain and they need our help. They rely on God and you because they have no other people to help them. I hope God through you will deliver them from this painful misery by helping them get out in the rain especially during this rainy season that begins this weekend. May God give you strength, courage and money to help them and in return he will bless you and your family and all the people who help you in this important project”

Bwanef was ravaged by the hurricane Matthew.  We have been trying to rebuild the pastor’s house there. Bwanef is on the top of a mountain and getting building materials to Bwanef has been very difficult because of the rain and the fact that the donkeys the people of Bwanef used for transporting supplies from the valley were killed in the storm.  (We have identified 11 families who lost donkeys in Matthew for whom we will purchase adult donkeys . .something that is out of their reach)

I am sharing this with you to ask you to pray for the people in this region.  The Haitian children sing a song “Bondye pa bliye mewn, Li konnen nomn m’” God has not forgotten me.  He knows my name.  I am not asking you for money .. I ask God to provide that.  I am asking for your spiritual support for the people “who are sleeping in the rain”

Thank you and Bondye Beni’w – God Bless You.

If you want to know more about Pathfinder visit our website at

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

If You Are Walking In Darkness, Turn Your Light Back On

Be ready in season and out of season. —2 Timothy 4:2

{CHAMBERS} “The season does not refer to time; it refers to us. This verse says, “Preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season.” In other words, we should “be ready” whether we feel like it or not. If we do only what we feel inclined to do, some of us would never do anything. There are some people who are totally unemployable in the spiritual realm. They are spiritually feeble and weak, and they refuse to do anything unless they are supernaturally inspired. The proof that our relationship is right with God is that we do our best whether we feel inspired or not. One of the worst traps a Christian worker can fall into is to become obsessed with his own exceptional moments of inspiration. […] If you say you will only be at your best for God, as during those exceptional times […] You will never do anything unless God keeps you consciously aware of His inspiration to you at all times.”

{ELGIN} There are no times when you are not a witness to those around you.  God leads you into situations where you may share the Gospel or you may speak spiritual truth or you may act that spiritual truth out in the way you work, speak, or participate in whatever is going on around you.  We often live like we are two people.  Spiritual and worldly – when we feel each is appropriate. We really don’t like to think of ourselves as worldly, but we are.  If our “light” is not shining and reflecting Jesus, then we are reflecting our old nature and blending in with those who live in darkness.  (1 John 1:5-7) “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” 

God has you where you are for His purpose.  Sometimes you may feel inspired by the Spirit for a special purpose, but most times you will feel no special inspiration. But, you will always of the light, the Spirit of God.  Be alert … recognize when you are being drawn to the darkness .. tempted to blend in .. to be conformed .. to think that who you are in Christ has no place in other settings.  Your life is not your own. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God …. “

Monday, April 24, 2017

Don't Count The Chickens Feed The Hens

My Utmost For His Highest 

Do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you… —Luke 10:20

{CHAMBERS} “Never seek after anything other than the approval of God, and always be willing to go “outside the camp, bearing His reproach” (Hebrews 13:13). In Luke 10:20, Jesus told the disciples not to rejoice in successful service, and yet this seems to be the one thing in which most of us do rejoice. We have a commercialized view— we count how many souls have been saved and sanctified, we thank God, and then we think everything is all right. Yet our work only begins where God’s grace has laid the foundation. Our work is not to save souls, but to disciple them. Salvation and sanctification are the work of God’s sovereign grace, and our work as His disciples is to disciple others’ lives until they are totally yielded to God.”

{ELGIN} Most of the focus on training Christians is on evangelism not on discipleship.  Certainly evangelism is important … (Matthew 28:19) ”Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”  That is known as the great commission.  But, it is often overshadowed but the desire to share the Gospel.  Certainly one must be a Christian before one can be disciple.  Otherwise we will make people religious but lacking the power of God. We must share the Gospel with others. (1 Peter 3:15) “But in your hearts revere Christ as LORD. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” But that is not our only responsibility.  When I was in Vietnam I would receive reports daily from advisors who accompanied South Vietnamese units on missions. The minimum report I would receive was 1 Viet Cong killed, one M-26 hand grenade captured.  IT has been said that the entire population of Vietnam was “killed” more than once according to reports. We can become so preoccupied with “results”  as proof that what we are doing is effective that we deemphasize those things that are intangible, like spiritual growth and maturity.  The number of salvations on a mission trip is not the important point of the trip … obedience to God and trust that He will accomplish His purpose in your obedience is what is important.  When you are concerned about results .. numbers … you are in danger of robbing God of His glory. King David numbered the people .. and God was not pleased.  Something to think about.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Your Life Is A Mirror - Whose Reflection Do People See?

Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? —John 14:9

{CHAMBERS} “Our Lord must be repeatedly astounded at us— astounded at how “un-simple” we are. It is our own opinions that make us dense and slow to understand, but when we are simple we are never dense; we have discernment all the time. Philip expected the future revelation of a tremendous mystery, but not in Jesus, the Person he thought he already knew. The mystery of God is not in what is going to be— it is now, though we look for it to be revealed in the future in some overwhelming, momentous event. We have no reluctance to obey Jesus, but it is highly probable that we are hurting Him by what we ask— “Lord, show us the Father…” (John 14:8). His response immediately comes back to us as He says, “Can’t you see Him? He is always right here or He is nowhere to be found.” We look for God to exhibit Himself to His children, but God only exhibits Himself in His children. And while others see the evidence, the child of God does not."

{ELGIN}  If you want to be like Jesus then you must do what Jesus did.  What did He do?  He put His full trust in the Father, and obeyed the Father in all things.  Impossible you say? Possible I say, but it requires that we lay our lives down at the foot of the cross … every day.  Don’t expect perfection. If that were possible, then you could be Jesus .. but you are not.  You are a sinner saved by Grace, enlivened by the Spirit.  It is no longer you who lives, but Christ in you. (Galatians 2:20).  Our lives are short … a vapor … a grain of sand in the sands of time … but it is God’s intent to use that grain to bring glory to Him through His Son.  Having trouble with believing that people can see Jesus by looking at you?  If you want to be like Jesus then you must do what Jesus did.  What did He do?  He put His full trust in the Father and obeyed the Father in all things.  So how is that going for you?

Thursday, April 20, 2017

How To Stop Living A Christian Life That Is "Almost But Not Quite"?

My Utmost For His Highest 

All the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen… —2 Corinthians 1:20

{CHAMBERS}  “Jesus’ parable of the talents recorded in Matthew 25:14-30  was a warning that it is possible for us to misjudge our capacities. This parable has nothing to do with natural gifts and abilities, but relates to the gift of the Holy Spirit as He was first given at Pentecost. We must never measure our spiritual capacity on the basis of our education or our intellect; our capacity in spiritual things is measured on the basis of the promises of God. If we get less than God wants us to have, we will falsely accuse Him as the servant falsely accused his master when he said, “You expect more of me than you gave me the power to do. You demand too much of me, and I cannot stand true to you here where you have placed me.” When it is a question of God’s Almighty Spirit, never say, “I can’t.” Never allow the limitation of your own natural ability to enter into the matter. If we have received the Holy Spirit, God expects the work of the Holy Spirit to be exhibited in us.”

{ELGIN}  Do you ever feel like living the Christian life is too difficult?  It may not be for some people, but God expects too much.  Maybe you have given up trying and are content with living a life of partial obedience? No one knows. Well that is except for you and God that is.  Here is the deal.  What the Bible demands of you is impossible for you to live.  But don’t think there is no hope for you.  Don’t resolve yourself to a life of “almost but not quite”.  I am not suggesting that you will live a sin free life.  You will not be perfected until you are with Jesus, .. in heaven .. or in the air. But you can live a life confident of who you are in Christ all the while aware, actually reminded every day, of who you were.  Who you were is not who you are and who you are is not who you are going to be. You must keep that focus.  Keep a clean heart by taking your sins to the Lord (1 John 1:9)  every day.  Living the Christian life is impossible if you think you can do it on your own. Living the Christian life is a joy if you live it in the power of the Holy Spirit, knowing that you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength (Philippians 4:13).

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Temptation - I Hear You Knocking, But You Can't Come in

Joab had defected to Adonijah, though he had not defected to Absalom. —1 Kings 2:28

{CHAMBERS} “Joab withstood the greatest test of his life, remaining absolutely loyal to David by not turning to follow after the fascinating and ambitious Absalom. Yet toward the end of his life he turned to follow after the weak and cowardly Adonijah. Always remain alert to the fact that where one person has turned back is exactly where anyone may be tempted to turn back (see 1 Corinthians 10:11-13). You may have just victoriously gone through a great crisis, but now be alert about the things that may appear to be the least likely to tempt you. Beware of thinking that the areas of your life where you have experienced victory in the past are now the least likely to cause you to stumble and fall.[…] Unguarded strength is actually a double weakness, because that is where the least likely temptations will be effective in sapping strength. The Bible characters stumbled over their strong points, never their weak ones. “…kept by the power of God…”— that is the only safety. (1 Peter 1:5).”

{ELGIN} As a Christian there are a few things that are certain. One is that you are going to heaven.  You have eternal life in Jesus.  Another is that you are going to face temptation until you do .. go to heaven.  The question is .. How will you respond to it?  Temptation is not sin, but what you do with temptation can lead to sin.  (James 1:13-15) “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” 

You will face opportunities to sin by way of temptation every day.  First you must recognize that your struggle with temptation is a spiritual issue not a physical one. (Ephesians 6:12) “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  The point is that if you try to defeat temptation through shear will power or I suppose, more appropriately, “won’t” power, you will fail.  You are trying to do something that is impossible.  It’s likened to trying to save yourself.  You need faith and the Spirit of God to be saved, not works or personal effort. (Ephesians 2:8-9)  The next time you are tempted do what Jesus did … trust in God and His Word.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

To Hear God, You Must Stop - Look - Listen - And Then Obey

God called to him….And he said, "Here I am." —Exodus 3:4

{CHAMBERS} “When God speaks, many of us are like people in a fog, and we give no answer. Moses’ reply to God revealed that he knew where he was and that he was ready. Readiness means having a right relationship to God and having the knowledge of where we are. We are so busy telling God where we would like to go. […] Readiness for God means that we are prepared to do the smallest thing or the largest thing— it makes no difference. It means we have no choice in what we want to do, but that whatever God’s plans may be, we are there and ready. Whenever any duty presents itself, we hear God’s voice as our Lord heard His Father’s voice, and we are ready for it with the total readiness of our love for Him. […] A ready person never needs to get ready— he is ready. Think of the time we waste trying to get ready once God has called!”

{ELGIN}  Do you know someone that talks incessantly?  You don’t really don’t ever have a conversation.  You just listen to them talk.  You can’t seem to get a word in edgewise.  That is often how we interact with God.  We are doing all of the talking .. not listening.  Our concept of our relationship with God is that we ask and He does.  The idea of God speaking to us is not even on our radar.  But God does have something to say, if we will only be quiet and listen.  And after we have heard, you must obey.  Our new life should be lived in doing the will of the Father.

(Matthew 12:46-50) “While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”” So Jesus was saying that being like Jesus meant obeying the Father.  If you want to hear God you must Stop, Look, and Listen.  That was a saying that we were taught as children about crossing train tracks, but it applies to hearing God as well.  If you want to hear Him, you have to Stop with the business of your life (focus on the spiritual).  Look to heaven in prayer and reading the Word. And then be quiet and Listen for God to speak to you.  And when you do hear God, you must obey what He says .. do the will of your Father in heaven. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

How To Deal With The Problems That Are Weighing You Down

My Utmost For His Highest 

Cast your burden on the Lord… —Psalm 55:22

{CHAMBERS} “We must recognize the difference between burdens that are right for us to bear and burdens that are wrong. We should never bear the burdens of sin or doubt, but there are some burdens placed on us by God which He does not intend to lift off. […] If we set out to serve God and do His work but get out of touch with Him, the sense of responsibility we feel will be overwhelming and defeating. […] Many servants set out to serve God with great courage and with the right motives. But with no intimate fellowship with Jesus Christ, they are soon defeated. They do not know what to do with their burden, and it produces weariness in their lives.”

{ELGIN}  What is it that is weighing you down, today?  Jesus said (Matthew 11:28-30) “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”  That is not to say that the issue will go away.  But if you change how you are dealing with the issue and focus on Jesus, then “the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” 1 Peter 5:6-7 says “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”  The essence of the encouragement we find in the Word of God is to trust in the Lord. Listen, there are things that happen in life that will grind you down to powder if you are not careful.  They can affect your health, your sleep, cause you to do things that are not healthy for you … but to what end.  Stop trying on your own and look to the hills (Psalm 121).  The source of the problem may not go away, but your ability to cope will change.  If you can get the right perspective which only can come from the Lord.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Want To Be Like Jesus? Christian, You Already Are, Maybe More Than You Think

Death no longer has dominion over Him.…the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God… —Romans 6:9-11

{CHAMBERS} “Eternal life is the life which Jesus Christ exhibited on the human level. And it is this same life, not simply a copy of it, which is made evident in our mortal flesh when we are born again. Eternal life is not a gift from God; eternal life is the gift of God. […] “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you…” (Acts 1:8)— not power as a gift from the Holy Spirit; the power is the Holy Spirit, not something that He gives us. The life that was in Jesus becomes ours because of His Cross, once we make the decision to be identified with Him. […] Jesus came to give us an endless supply of life— “…that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19). […] Even the weakest saint can experience the power of the deity of the Son of God, when he is willing to “let go.” […] We have to keep letting go, and slowly, but surely, the great full life of God will invade us, penetrating every part. Then Jesus will have complete and effective dominion in us, and people will take notice that we have been with Him.”

{ELGIN} Jesus on Earth was God incarnate.  God in the flesh.  The God-man.  As Christians, we can all agree to that. He was also called the first born among many. (Romans 8:29) “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren”  Have you given that much thought?  We are like Jesus in that we are flesh but we have the very nature of God in us, God the Spirit. The Spirit that seals us and gives us the ability to understand the things of God – spiritual things – and the ability to relate to God .. His sons and daughters. My son and daughter have my DNA and in a similar way we have God’s. We have been born again by the Spirit. (John 3:5-6)  Do you walk and think and breathe with an awareness of this?  Is your focus on your Father.  Do you not know how great of a work God has wrought in you? That it is no longer you who live, but Christ lives in you? (Galatians 2:20)  As Christians, we are walking in eternity.  This mortal life will end one day, but that will not be the end of us.  (Galatians 5:24-25) “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Impossibility Of Keeping Secrets From God - What Were You Thinking?

My Utmost For His Highest 

If we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection… —Romans 6:5

{CHAMBERS} “The Spirit of Jesus entering me rearranges my personal life before God. The resurrection of Jesus has given Him the authority to give the life of God to me, and the experiences of my life must now be built on the foundation of His life. I can have the resurrection life of Jesus here and now, and it will exhibit itself through holiness. […] The Holy Spirit cannot be accepted as a guest in merely one room of the house— He invades all of it. And once I decide that my “old man” (that is, my heredity of sin) should be identified with the death of Jesus, the Holy Spirit invades me. He takes charge of everything. My part is to walk in the light and to obey all that He reveals to me. […] Just as there is only one kind of humanity, there is only one kind of holiness— the holiness of Jesus. And it is His holiness that has been given to me. God puts the holiness of His Son into me, and I belong to a new spiritual order.”

{ELGIN} I am sure you have heard the term “giving your heart to the Lord” to describe the new birth – salvation.  The problem is that what we intend to do, surrender all, often falls short after the emotion of the moment.  You see the truth is, that most of us struggle with giving our whole heart.  There are “rooms” in our lives that we keep under lock and key.  No one can enter, not even the Lord.  The thing is, He knows the rooms are there and He knows what lies behind the locked door.  His open invitation is to open the doors to all of the rooms in our hearts.  To surrender everything. To trust Him in everything. Those "old" things that we cling to are never good for us, but we have convinced ourselves that they are essential to our wellbeing.  If you have been born again, the only thing that is essential is Jesus.  All you have to do is believe it and then unlock and open those doors.  Expose what you are hiding to the Light. Stop living two lives. Fulfill your purpose which is to bring glory to God and enjoy Him forever.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Jesus - You Didn't Have To Do What You Did, But You Did, And I Thank You

Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory? —Luke 24:26

CHAMBERS} “Our Lord’s Cross is the gateway into His life. His resurrection means that He has the power to convey His life to me. When I was born again, I received the very life of the risen Lord from Jesus Himself. Christ’s resurrection destiny— His foreordained purpose— was to bring “many sons to glory” (Hebrews 2:10). […] He was God Incarnate. He rose to a life that had never been before. And what His resurrection means for us is that we are raised to His risen life, not to our old life. […] Paul’s determined purpose was to “know Him and the power of His resurrection” (Philippians 3:10).  Jesus prayed, “…as You have given Him authority over all flesh that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him” (John 17:2). The term Holy Spirit is actually another name for the experience of eternal life working in human beings here and now.”

{ELGIN}  When I was in Haiti, I was asked why we worship the cross.  At first I didn’t know why they would thing that.  Then I realized that we had a cross hanging on the wall in our home.  Many of the volunteers that came wore crosses around their necks.  So I could see why they might think we were preoccupied with the cross itself.  So I explained that the cross was a reminder that Jesus had risen.  The Catholic crucifix is a reminder that Jesus died on the Cross.  The Christian’s empty cross is a reminder that Jesus was raised from the dead, victorious over sin and death which is why we have hope.  There is no hope in His death, only in His resurrection.  But a cross on the wall or on a chain around the neck is not sufficient.  It is not the cross that saves, it is Jesus who suffered and died on that cross and who was raised on the third day.  (Mark 15:29-32) “Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!” In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.””

That was the last temptation the Jesus faced.  Even hanging on the cross was not too late to stop what was happening to Him.  He faced  the same temptation that he experienced in the desert.  “If you are the Son of God then …..”  prove yourself.  Jesus did not come to avoid the cross but to endure it.  For our sakes. Mesi Jezi.  Thank you Jesus.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Are You Serving On The Front Lines?

My Utmost For His Highest 

He commanded them that they should tell no one the things they had seen, till the Son of Man had risen from the dead. —Mark 9:9

{CHAMBERS} “Jesus said, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now” (John 16:12). We must have a oneness with His risen life before we are prepared to bear any particular truth from Him. Do we really know anything about the indwelling of the risen life of Jesus? The evidence that we do is that His Word is becoming understandable to us. God cannot reveal anything to us if we don’t have His Spirit. And our own unyielding and headstrong opinions will effectively prevent God from revealing anything to us. But our insensible thinking will end immediately once His resurrection life has its way with us.[…] But so many people do tell what they saw on the Mount of Transfiguration— their mountaintop experience. They have seen a vision and they testify to it, but there is no connection between what they say and how they live. Their lives don’t add up because the Son of Man has not yet risen in them. How long will it be before His resurrection life is formed and evident in you and in me?”

{ELGIN}  One thing that always dismays me is when someone says they are something and they are in fact but not in deed.  After I had returned from Vietnam, I mustered out of the Army and started college on the GI Bill.  One day I saw a guy wearing an Army field jacket with a patch on the sleeve representing the unit I had served with, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam.  I asked him, “What team were you with?” He looked at me strangely and said “What are you talking about?” I said, “What advisory team were you with in Vietnam?” To which he replied “I wasn’t in the Army, I got this jacket at the Salvation Army.” He looked like he was like me, but he wasn’t.  At another time, years later, I met a guy wearing a Vietnam Veteran’s hat.  I asked him where he had served. He replied, “I was in the Navy.  I was on a ship off of the coast of Vietnam.” He had not even gotten his boots muddy.  He was a veteran, during the war, but had not been in conflict. He was more like me, but he wasn’t like me.

I know many people who act like they are Christian, maybe even think they are. (2 Timothy 3:5) “They have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof.”  They look like you but do not have the Spirit of God in them.  Then there are others that are born again, but they have not progressed   beyond the point of conversion.  They bear the name, but not the spiritual experience.  In many ways they still identify more with the world than with the Word.  (Matthew 5:18) “They praise Me (God) with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me” We have been saved from the old way of life and its desires and into a new life and its blessings.  We have been called into the spiritual battle as soldiers of the cross.  Not to fight with natural weapons but with spiritual weapons. (Ephesians 6:12) “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  When someone asks did you serve? You can tell them, “I am serving”.  If they ask “Where did you serve?”  You can tell them “Wherever the Lord sent me.”  Perhaps you even have some battle scars to prove it. But more likely, the way you live your life will be even more telling. 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Why You Must Pick Up Your Own Cross

…who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree… —1 Peter 2:24

{CHAMBERS}  “The Cross of Christ is the revealed truth of God’s judgment on sin. Never associate the idea of martyrdom with the Cross of Christ. It was the supreme triumph, and it shook the very foundations of hell. There is nothing in time or eternity more absolutely certain and irrefutable than what Jesus Christ accomplished on the Cross— He made it possible for the entire human race to be brought back into a right-standing relationship with God. He made redemption the foundation of human life; that is, He made a way for every person to have fellowship with God.[…] The purpose of the incarnation was redemption. God came in the flesh to take sin away, not to accomplish something for Himself. […] The heart of salvation is the Cross of Christ. The reason salvation is so easy to obtain is that it cost God so much. The Cross was the place where God and sinful man merged with a tremendous collision and where the way to life was opened. But all the cost and pain of the collision was absorbed by the heart of God.”

{ELGIN} (Matthew 16:24-26) “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”  My cross is not the same as Jesus’ cross.  My cross represents a daily sacrifice of my flesh, my carnal nature.  Not wanting to cling to the old, but embracing the new. (2 Corinthians 5:17-19)  My life should shout that reconciliation with God is possible.  But if I am living with both feet planted firmly in the world and in heaven, that won’t happen.  Each day I must resolve to follow Jesus, in everything.  What is it that I can possibly give in return for the eternal salvation of my soul?  (Romans 12:1-2) “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  I can give Him my heart.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

What To Do When Your Flesh Is Tempted ... And It Will Be Tempted

My Utmost For His Highest

Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples…."Stay here and watch with Me." —Matthew 26:36, 38

{CHAMBERS}  “We can never fully comprehend Christ’s agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, but at least we don’t have to misunderstand it. It is the agony of God and man in one Person, coming face to face with sin. We cannot learn about Gethsemane through personal experience. Gethsemane and Calvary represent something totally unique— they are the gateway into life for us. It was not death on the cross that Jesus agonized over in Gethsemane. In fact, He stated very emphatically that He came with the purpose of dying. His concern here was that He might not get through this struggle as the Son of Man. He was confident of getting through it as the Son of God— Satan could not touch Him there. But Satan’s assault was that our Lord would come through for us on His own solely as the Son of Man.”

{ELGIN}  (James 1:12-14) “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.”  Just as Jesus the Son of God was not tempted, so you, the sons of God (the spiritual part of each of us) cannot be tempted. No the temptation comes to our flesh, the son of man part.  That is why it is so important to strengthen the spiritual part and not yield to the temptations of our flesh.

(1 Corinthians 10:13) “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”  God did not say “most” but “no – none – not any”.  So what is the way to escape? Your faith.  Your trust in God.  The fact that even though you may be tempted in the physical, it is an attack against the spiritual.  Our flesh is our weakness.  The enemy attacks the weakest part not the strongest.  Our spiritual part is impervious to Satan’s schemes.  When Jesus was tempted in the desert He did not try to “will” His way out of it.  Instead He responded with “It is written ….”  And so should we.  (Psalm 119:11) “Your Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin (give in to temptation) against You.”  We have the Spirit, we have the Word, and we have faith.  An unbeatable combination.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

What To Do When You Don't Believe

Indeed the hour is coming…that you will be scattered… —John 16:32

{CHAMBERS}  “Jesus was not rebuking the disciples in this passage. Their faith was real, but it was disordered and unfocused, and was not at work in the important realities of life. The disciples were scattered to their own concerns and they had interests apart from Jesus Christ. After we have the perfect relationship with God, through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, our faith must be exercised in the realities of everyday life. […] Are we prepared for this? It is certainly not of our own choosing, but God engineers our circumstances to take us there. Until we have been through that experience, our faith is sustained only by feelings and by blessings. But once we get there, no matter where God may place us or what inner emptiness we experience, we can praise God that all is well. That is what is meant by faith being exercised in the realities of life.”

{ELGIN} I have been teaching on the issue on our struggle with unbelief and its consequence in the Christian life.  On at least two occasions, Jesus confronted the disciples over unbelief.  Once was in the boat during a storm (Mark 4:35-41).  After Jesus had calmed the storm He asked the disciples, “Where is your faith?”  If you remember, they had to wake Him up to tell him they were going to die.  They should have gotten a clue when He was sleeping in the midst of their calamity.  (Philippians 4:6-7) “Be anxious for nothing …”  Even an angry sea.  The other time was on the water again.  This time Peter was walking on it.  (Matthew 14:29-31) “Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?””

Because our faith is not strong, we will turn to our flesh in times of trouble, and cast our faith aside.  The Lord told us we should not “lean in our own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5-6) but so often in times of difficulty we make a beeline to our own solutions rather than look to God.  How has that been working out for you?  Not so good for me.  The solution for us is the same as it was for the disciples.  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.”

Monday, April 3, 2017

What To Do About Strange Gods In Your Life

If you had known…in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. —Luke 19:42

{CHAMBERS} “Jesus entered Jerusalem triumphantly and the city was stirred to its very foundations, but a strange god was there– the pride of the Pharisees. It was a god that seemed religious and upright, but Jesus compared it to “whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness” (Matthew 23:27).  […] Do you have a strange god– not a disgusting monster but perhaps an unholy nature that controls your life? More than once God has brought me face to face with a strange god in my life, and I knew that I should have given it up, but I didn’t do it. […] It is a shocking thing that we can be in the exact place where the Spirit of God should be having His completely unhindered way with us, and yet we only make matters worse, increasing our blame in God’s eyes.[…] because you have never completely yielded your nature to Him.”

{ELGIN}  We all struggle with a “strange god” in our lives.  One or more things that our flesh clings to.  But we don’t want to talk about it and certainly not admit it to other Christians.  At the root of the problem is unbelief.  We believe that we must hold on to those things for our life to be right in our eyes. (leaning on our own “carnal” understanding) All the while knowing that it is those strange gods that keep us from total surrender to the sovereignty of God.  It’s a spiritual battle and you need spiritual strength to overcome it, to cast those gods out, to surrender to God fully.  Unfortunately we can get comfortable with those strange gods.  We can make room for them in our “religious” way of life.  I know the temptation and so do you.  The command to “Love God with all your heart” (Matthew 22:37) is appealing to us but is appalling to our old nature.  The only way you will cast those strange gods out of your life is to not make room for them.  If all you do is cast the god out but do not replace it with submission to God in that area of your life, the god will return (Matthew 12:43-45).