Friday, December 30, 2011

Dec 30 Devotional Thoughts

My Utmost For His Highest

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

My Thoughts

When we become Christians, God gives us a new way to deal with life … but too often we choose to deal with life the same way we always have … with our ‘natural virtue’  That means our natural wisdom and relational skills.  2 Corinthians 5:17 says that IF we are in Christ, we are NEW creations … old things have passed away .. all thing s are new … those ‘things’ include how we relate to the world and other people.  But we so often continue to try to resurrect the old things … why?  Because if we do things the old way we can do it without God and faith … we are in control … the amazing thing to me is that even though we repeatedly fail miserably … the world is crumbling around us …. we keep trying to do it our way … We are so determined to NOT trust in God but in ourselves …  What will it take for us to let go and let God? 

As I so often find … there is a common thread of emphasis between My Utmost for His Highest and Our Daily Bread … it is the Holy Spirits way of emphasizing a particular truth and confirming that it is from God and not my own imaginations. Today it is about trusting God and not myself to live this life.

Our Daily Bread

Romans 12:1-2

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

My Thoughts

It is so easy to follow after the pattern of the world .. to like what it likes and relate to people the way it relates to people … how is that?  This is what Galatians 5:19-26  says  ….

19 The acts of the flesh (The ways of the world) are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Do you see any of that in your relationships?  It is not of God … The problem is if you are not careful you will soon find yourself living that same life … it is natural so it is easy for us to get used to it ….

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

If you are a Christian then the Spirit of God is in you!  If you are living in the power of your flesh then the fruit of the Spirit will be absent in your life … you are supposed to be showing other people Jesus by the way you live and relate to others … it doesn’t matter what they do … but it does matter how you respond ….

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Responding to God's Call

My Utmost For His Highest Dec 22

“When God begins to draw me to Himself, the problem of my will comes in immediately. Will I react positively to the truth that God has revealed? Will I come to Him? To discuss or deliberate over spiritual matters when God calls is inappropriate and disrespectful to Him. When God speaks, never discuss it with anyone as if to decide what your response may be (see Galatians 1:15-16). Belief is not the result of an intellectual act, but the result of an act of my will whereby I deliberately commit myself. But will I commit, placing myself completely and absolutely on God, and be willing to act solely on what He says? If I will, I will find that I am grounded on reality as certain as God’s throne.”

To properly respond to God does not mean that we should not seek council on whether it is God’s call, but we should not ask others ‘Should I obey the call?’  That we MUST NOT do.  The call is between us and God … James 14:17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.  Pretty clear …. Belief is not intellectual or emotional … both are from natural source .. our own being and have nothing to do with God.  But, both intellect and emotion, seeming right at the time,  have led many people down a path that drew them away from God to a place of disappointment and heartache. 

When God calls us and we know it is God, it is not a time to do a cost analysis, use the classical problem solving model, Define the problem, identify alternative solutions, compare the advantages and disadvantages, choose an alternative and act on it.  We must be ‘willing to act solely on what He says’.  That is called living and walking by faith and not by sight ….

Friday, December 9, 2011

God has a plan and it's a great one

I watched a movie last night on HBO called the Adjustments Bureau with Matt Damon.  WHat the movie is about is the will of God and how He intervenes in human affairs to accomplish his purpose ... Although they did not acknowledge God directly or his gender ... They did acknowledge that there is someone superior to man who has a plan and we live our lives in the context of that plan ...Although there are several rough words in the movie ... nothing extreme, they did not use the Lord's name in vain .... no nudity ... It just seemed odd to me that Hollywood made a movie like that .... 

" It is not a question of giving up sin, but of giving up my right to myself, my natural independence, and my self-will. This is where the battle has to be fought. The things that are right, noble, and good from the natural standpoint are the very things that keep us from being God’s best. Once we come to understand that natural moral excellence opposes or counteracts surrender to God, we bring our soul into the center of its greatest battle. Very few of us would debate over what is filthy, evil, and wrong, but we do debate over what is good. It is the good that opposes the best."
That is what we struggle with.  The World says this is what defines a good parent or grand parent .. the Lord says .. Follow me ... The world behind me, the cross before me ... no turning back
"The higher up the scale of moral excellence a person goes, the more intense the opposition to Jesus Christ. “Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh . . . .” The cost to your natural life is not just one or two things, but everything. Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself. . .” (Matthew 16:24). That is, he must deny his right to himself, and he must realize who Jesus Christ is before he will bring himself to do it. Beware of refusing to go to the funeral of your own independence."  
That is the true struggle ... my way or his way ... it is when we become aware of his call to follow him that the struggle begins ... we must surrender .. which may mean abandoning everything we see as success or 'normal' and 'reasonable' for a life that is totally dependent upon Him ... do not marvel at what you have given up but marvel at the One you have given it to.  
"The natural life is not spiritual, and it can be made spiritual only through sacrifice. If we do not purposely sacrifice the natural, the supernatural can never become natural to us. There is no high or easy road. Each of us has the means to accomplish it entirely in his own hands. It is not a question of praying, but of sacrificing, and thereby performing His will."  
What a life we have been called to!