Saturday, June 30, 2012

What Matters To Me

My Utmost For His Highest

‘Wanting to make sure that my adversary gives me all my rights is a natural thing. But Jesus says that it is a matter of inescapable and eternal importance to me that I pay my adversary what I owe him. From our Lord’s standpoint it doesn’t matter whether I am cheated or not, but what does matter is that I don’t cheat someone else. Am I insisting on having my own rights, or am I paying what I owe from Jesus Christ’s standpoint?

Do it quickly— bring yourself to judgment now. In moral and spiritual matters, you must act immediately. If you don’t, the inevitable, relentless process will begin to work. God is determined to have His child as pure, clean, and white as driven snow, and as long as there is disobedience in any point of His teaching, He will allow His Spirit to use whatever process it may take to bring us to obedience. The fact that we insist on proving that we are right is almost always a clear indication that we have some point of disobedience. No wonder the Spirit of God so strongly urges us to stay steadfastly in the light! (see John 3:19-21).’ CHAMBERS

Now what do you think about those words?  It doesn’t matter if I am cheated or not?  That is not how I feel when someone cheats me!  Or tries to.  Do we believe that people will answer to God for what they do?  even if they don’t answer to men while they live?  Do we understand that there are eternal consequences.  That what we should be concerned about is what “I” do and not what someone else does?  We all answer to God.  So from the Lord’s standpoint, it doesn’t matter what people do to me .. what does matter is what I do to other people.  And when I start insisting that I be vindicated, the wrongdoers be punished for doing wrong to ME!  Then it is an indication of something going on inside me that is NOT godly.

Do you demand an eye for an eye or do you turn the other cheek and give him your cloak also?  God has called us to a new life and has given us the power to live it.  When we become aware of something in our lives that springs from the flesh and not the Spirit, we must deal with it quickly.  You can be sure that God will chasten us .. His chastening looks a lot like life … but we are His children and He chastens those He that He loves.

When this happens to you .. and it will,  receive it for what it is.  God is shaping you into a noble vessel .. for His purpose and His glory.  Yield to His Spirit, walk in the Truth, let your light shine in the darkness.

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Friday, June 29, 2012

What Are You Thinking?

My Utmost For His Highest

‘When God changes you through regeneration, giving you knew life through spiritual rebirth, your life initially has the characteristic of being maimed. There are a hundred and one things that you dare not do— things that would be sin for you, and would be recognized as sin by those who really know you. But the unspiritual people around you will say, “What’s so wrong with doing that? How absurd you are!” There has never yet been a saint who has not lived a maimed life initially. Yet it is better to enter into life maimed but lovely in God’s sight than to appear lovely to man’s eyes but lame to God’s. At first, Jesus Christ through His Spirit has to restrain you from doing a great many things that may be perfectly right for everyone else but not right for you.’ CHAMBERS

Since I have become a Christian many aspects of my life have changed.  There are many things that I once did and said that are no longer part of my life.  There are some things that are not contrary to the Word of God but, if I did them, I might cause another, younger saint to stumble.  1 Corinthians 8:13  Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.’

Paul is talking about eating food that is sacrificed to idols, in this case.  But the principle is that I am to be concerned about the affect my actions have on others.  When God asked Cain where his brother Able was , after Cain had killed him, his response was “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9)  In today’s vernacular he would have said, ‘This is not my day to watch him!’  Do you see the contrast between Paul and Cain?

Maybe there is something in your life, that you should stop doing for the good of your Brother … and you think, “Why should I stop doing that.  There is nothing wrong with it .. if they can’t handle it, that’s their problem not mine.” Really? Is that the attitude of someone who says they love their brother with a sacrificial love?  (John 15:13) The very fact that the thought entered my mind should be a warning .. there is something not right about that thought, that attitude.  Why is being able to do that particular thing so important to me?  John 13:34-35  ‘A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I [Jesus] have loved you, that you also love one another.  (35)  By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."’

Showing that kind of love to each other is a Christian distinctive.  It shouts .. THIS IS A FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST!.  Why?  Because the world says .. do what you want .. look out for yourself … live life to the fullest … get it while you can .. any way you can.  Jesus said “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life”  If we want to know the way .. if we want to know the truth … if we want to know life … we can find it in Him.  John 10:9-11  ‘I [Jesus] am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.   (10)  The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.  (11)  "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.’

So what is the Spirit saying to you  today?  Does your life shout ‘I am a disciple of Jesus’? Or is it hard to tell the difference between you and the guy next door who is on the fast track to hell?  You know what the ‘right’ answer is .. but what is the ‘truthful’ answer.  Your heart is telling you right now.

Matthew 5:16  ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.’

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Never Say Never

My Utmost For His Highest

‘Never choose to be a worker for God, but once God has placed His call on you, woe be to you if you “turn aside to the right hand or to the left” (Deuteronomy 5:32).[..] We are not here to work for God because we have chosen to do so, but because God has “laid hold of” us.[..] we never have this thought, “Well, I’m really not suited for this.” […]  Never water down the Word of God, but preach it in its undiluted sternness. There must be unflinching faithfulness to the Word of God’ CHAMBERS

Never Choose.  I have met people serving in very difficult circumstances .. in the name of God but not in the power of God.  During the Hurricane Katrina recovery in Mississippi, there were many people who came to help.  In some cases, they had the skills needed to build a house for example .. but they lacked the influence of Spirit so there was no eternal quality to what they did.  I am not suggesting the house they built would last forever if they were a Christian, but there were no spiritual seeds planted  … no light shining in the darkness … they had nothing eternal to offer the people they were helping.  God chooses you .. not the other way around … and when He does .. He will give you the spiritual power you need to accomplish His purpose.  Remember that, as a Christian, you have more to offer than a hand up – although you must meet the need also if you have it.

James 2:15-16  If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food,  (16)  and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?

But also remember the much more ......

Acts 3:4-8  And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, "Look at us."  (5)  So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them.  (6)  Then Peter said, "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk."  (7)  And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.  (8)  So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them--walking, leaping, and praising God.

Never have this thought. When God calls you to do something .. it is always God sized .. beyond you … that means that you will be stretched in your faith .. tested in your resolve … you, by yourself, are never able to do what God called you to do …

Zechariah 4:6  […] “'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' Says the LORD of hosts.”

When your knees get weak under the load that the Lord has placed on you .. remember when we are weak .. He is strong … that it is God and not us … The people of Israel refused to cross the Jordan because they were not focused on God but on themselves .. “We are like grasshoppers!”

Joshua 1:9  ‘Have I [God] not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."

Oh there is much more that can be said .. but that is for another time ..

Never water down the Word.  There are times when I am teaching or just talking that the Word comes to my mind .. but I think “To speak this now might offend someone .. or they will think that I am too stern .. or a fanatic.”  But when I do not say what the Lord has given me to say, I sin.  I miss the very eternal purpose that I am in that place at that moment.  I am more concerned about men and what they might do or think than about God and His eternal purposes.

We are admonished to “speak the truth in love.” (Ephesians 4:15)  But we must speak …. That does not mean that we should change what we know must be said so as to make it somehow softer .. easier to swallow … like blending food for a baby so it can eat a carrot …

Hebrews 4:12  For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

We must respect the power of the Spirit and the Word .. but we must do more that hold a high opinion of them, we must also obey them.  You do no favor by withholding the truth that the Spirit of God has prompted you to share … but it should never be with the intent to harm .. but always to move that person closer to an awareness of God …

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Losing Your Witness

My Utmost For His Highest

‘Jesus says, in effect, “Don’t worry about whether or not you are being treated justly.” Looking for justice is actually a sign that we have been diverted from our devotion to Him. Never look for justice in this world, but never cease to give it. If we look for justice, we will only begin to complain and to indulge ourselves in the discontent of self-pity, as if to say, “Why should I be treated like this?” If we are devoted to Jesus Christ, we have nothing to do with what we encounter, whether it is just or unjust.’ CHAMBERS

When you read those words, does it seem right to you?  I mean shouldn’t you be shown kindness?  Shouldn’t people that treat you poorly be dealt with – divinely?  Wouldn’t that make you feel better?  What did Jesus have to say about it?

Luke 6:27-31  "But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,  (28)  bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.  (29)  To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either.  (30)  Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back.  (31)  And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.

John 15:24-25  If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father.  (25)  But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, 'THEY HATED ME WITHOUT A CAUSE.'

Most of us will agree that concept is good .. but when you are being treated poorly how do you feel .. what is it that you must control?  I sometimes say, tongue in cheek, ‘I don’t want to lose my witness’ .. what I am really saying is I don’t want to act on what I am feeling and wanting to do.  You know what?  It’s too late at that point.  I have already missed it (the mark).

1 John 3:15  Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

1 John 4:19-21  We love Him because He first loved us.  (20)  If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?  (21)  And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.

You see it is the attitude of your heart .. it’s the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).  You don’t have to act on your sin to sin.  Thinking that so long as you didn’t do what you were thinking has stopped short of sin is not right thinking.

Matthew 5:27-28  "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY.'  (28)  But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Remember David on the roof?  He had already sinned before Bathsheba ever entered his house.  Pretty high standard isn’t it.  It cannot be achieved through determination .. will power .. or won’t power … but only by the power of God in us.  Are there things in your life that you have been accomodating?  Pretending that they didn’t matter .. Get your heart right … do not sin … James says that sin begins in our heart when we are tempted (James 1:12-15).. that is where it must end … It is only when we are spending time in the Word and with the Lord will we be able to stand against the tempatation, but … that is another devotion for another day …

Shine bright today

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Learning to Shine

My Utmost For His Highest

One of the greatest proofs that you are drawing on the grace of God is that you can be totally humiliated before others without displaying even the slightest trace of anything but His grace.  “. . . having nothing . . . .” Never hold anything in reserve. Pour yourself out, giving the best that you have, and always be poor. Never be diplomatic and careful with the treasure God gives you. “. . . and yet possessing all things”— this is poverty triumphant’ CHAMBERS

Have you ever wondered why some particular thing was happening to you, repeatedly … I mean why did God allow this into your life … what was He trying to teach you.  That has happened to me … a number of friends asked me .. why are you  so patient in this?  Good question, I thought.  Then I read this devotion … and the light came on!  God was teaching me humility through a very unpleasant circumstance.  God uses life to teach is spiritual truth .. .to shape us.

When I say that I want my life to reflect Jesus. Do I really?  [ A side note … I have noticed that phrases/words pop up in conversations every so often that seem to sweep the nation …. Heavy … Dude …Righteous …  Cool … Boss … Awesome …Sweet … and now it is Really?  And Seriously?]  Ok back to my point.

If I want to be like Jesus then I have to ask, ‘What is Jesus like?’    Acts 8:32-33  The place in the Scripture which he [the Ethiopian eunuch] read was this: "HE WAS LED AS A SHEEP TO THE SLAUGHTER; AND AS A LAMB BEFORE ITS SHEARER IS SILENT, SO HE OPENED NOT HIS MOUTH.  (33)  IN HIS HUMILIATION HIS JUSTICE WAS TAKEN AWAY, AND WHO WILL DECLARE HIS GENERATION? FOR HIS LIFE IS TAKEN FROM THE EARTH."

Oh that, is what Jesus is like. Am I willing to be silent like Jesus.. and in the culmination of my humility will I say “Father forgive them.”? Galatians 2:20  'I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.'

God is teaching me to be like Jesus by giving me opportunities to reveal the Christ-life in that is in me.  Remember the children’s song .. ‘Hide it under a bushel? No! I’m gonna let it shine!’  Hide what?  The light and life of Christ in you.  How do we let it shine?  Through the opportunities that living in a fallen world brings us …

So the next time you run into a situation where your flesh demands a response but your Spirit says .. be silent … yield to the Spirit .. .and let your light shine into the darkness.

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Monday, June 25, 2012

His Strength in My Weakness

My Utmost For His Highest

‘As a saint of God, my attitude toward sorrow and difficulty should not be to ask that they be prevented, but to ask that God protect me so that I may remain what He created me to be, in spite of all my fires of sorrow. Our Lord received Himself, accepting His position and realizing His purpose, in the midst of the fire of sorrow. He was saved not from the hour, but out of the hour.  We say that there ought to be no sorrow, but there is sorrow, and we have to accept and receive ourselves in its fires. If we try to evade sorrow, refusing to deal with it, we are foolish. Sorrow is one of the biggest facts in life, and there is no use in saying it should not be. Sin, sorrow, and suffering are, and it is not for us to say that God has made a mistake in allowing them.’ CHAMBERS

As Christians .. we are not protected from trouble or sorrow … it is a part of life … the difference is not in what kind of sorrow we encounter along the way, but in how we respond to it when it comes.  A Christian’s life is supposed to be a light in a dark world.  The other night I heard a  young man was saying that he understood that God was asking him to lay his life down to serve Him .. and that he would face difficult times … that he was prepared to do what was necessary and endure whatever came his way for the cause of Christ … That is a profound spiritual realization for any Christian … and a clear indication that hand of God on that person.

The majority of Christians that I have met do not have that deep understanding of life and faith.  They live their lives in hope that nothing bad will happen … and when it does … they want out of it and pray to that end.  They pray, ‘Lord .. get me out of this and let your rescue be the testimony of your power, grace and mercy.’  I think the prayer more pleasing to God would be .. ‘Lord give me the strength to endure .. not stumble in this trial …. To accept that in the midst of the trial, the light Christ will shine brightly through me … the more severe my circumstance … the greater the testimony to the world as I persevere in it.’

John 16:33  ‘These things I [Jesus] have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.’

You see it?  Jesus did not say that in Me you will not have any problems .. in Me you will never be sick … no … you are going to have problems in life .. but do you see the bigger picture?

James 1:2-3  My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,  knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.

1 Peter 1:6-9  In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,  (7)  that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,  (8)  whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,  (9)  receiving the end of your faith--the salvation of your souls.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10  Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.  (9)  And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  (10)  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Do we want to be a witness for Jesus?  What if that testimony takes the form of persevering through a great personal trial?  If our life is in Jesus.  If we are truly connected to the Vine.  Then our strength to endure will be found in Him.  So what are we to do?  Faint or stand … persevere or give up … trust in ourselves or seek God for strength …

My encouragement to you for today is .... that you will sincerely ask God for the strength to endure as an opportunity to show the power of God through your life.  Lift up Jesus through your trial and others will be drawn to Him.

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Call Me Crazy

My Utmost For His Highest

‘If you refuse to agree with the fact that there is wickedness and selfishness, something downright hateful and wrong, in human beings, when it attacks your life, instead of reconciling yourself to it, you will compromise with it and say that it is of no use to battle against it. Have you taken this “hour, and the power of darkness” into account, or do you have a view of yourself which includes no recognition of sin whatsoever? In your human relationships and friendships, have you reconciled yourself to the fact of sin? If not, just around the next corner you will find yourself trapped and you will compromise with it. But if you will reconcile yourself to the fact of sin, you will realize the danger immediately and say, “Yes, I see what this sin would mean.” The recognition of sin does not destroy the basis of friendship— it simply establishes a mutual respect for the fact that the basis of sinful life is disastrous.’ CHAMBERS

What is your experience with sin since you have become a Christian?  Do you find yourself still compromising with it?  You know that something is wrong, but you do it anyway.  People who care about you tell you to not do something, and you do it anyway?  The Spirit in you tells you that you should not do something … and you do it anyway?  Have you found that it has been disasterous in your life and relationships?  But you did it again … anyway?  Frustrating isn’t it?  Paul talked about this same frustration in Romans 7.

Romans 7:18-25  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.  (19)  For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.  (20)  Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.  (21)  I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good.  (22)  For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man.  (23)  But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.  (24)  O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?  (25)  I thank God--through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.

Like Paul, we know what we are doing is wrong, yet we do it anyway.  I have so been there.  If we try to reason with sin … resist sin by sheer determination .. compromise with sin … we will fail and the results will be disasterous … deadly even .. for us and others  .. sin will kill relationships … deeply wound the heart .. and separate us from intimate fellowship with God …

The problem is that we are trying to live our new life on our own power, through the strength of our will .. .even though we know we could not do it on our own before .. what makes us think that we can do it on our own now.  Ephesians 6  tells us to put on the full armor of God .. that our struggle with sin is a spiritual battle and we must use spiritual weapons to defeat it .. we cannot defeat sin on our own.

Someone once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.  So with respect to our battle with sin .. we are crazy to think that this time we will not give in if we are trusting in ourselves.

So what does that mean as far as you being a Christian?  That you have blown it .. that you had your pass to go to heaven taken away? NO!  But you do need to return to the One who saved you.  1 John 1:9 says that if [and when] we confess our sin He is faithful to forgive us and to cleanse us [restore us in fellowship with Him].

Put your trust in God and let your light shine

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Be Ready

My Utmost For His Highest

‘We have to recognize that sin is a fact of life, not just a shortcoming. Sin is blatant mutiny against God, and either sin or God must die in my life. The New Testament brings us right down to this one issue— if sin rules in me, God’s life in me will be killed; if God rules in me, sin in me will be killed. There is nothing more fundamental than that. The culmination of sin was the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and what was true in the history of God on earth will also be true in your history and in mine— that is, sin will kill the life of God in us. We must mentally bring ourselves to terms with this fact of sin. It is the only explanation why Jesus Christ came to earth, and it is the explanation of the grief and sorrow of life.’ CHAMBERS

That seems pretty straight forward doesn’t it?  Who or what controls my life … the great lie is to believe that ‘I’ do.  But we have a master .. whether we want one or not .. it is either sin or God.  Those have always been the choices.  We have a free will … we can choose one master or the other.  There is not third item on the menu.  Now some may argue .. I choose to believe there is no God .. Atheist .. it is a very lofty view … I think mostly educated people hold that view … but the fact is they are just in denial … agnostics are wanna be atheists … I’m not certain there is a God … so I will go the way of my brother the Ostrich and stick my head in the sand.  At least I don’t have to watch while the lion eats me.

Both views are a deception of sin.  The result is a rejection of God and the acceptance is sin as their master.  They just don’t know it .. they actually believe there is a third item on the menu.  I am teaching a Bible study with the Haitian staff at the Children’s Home.  We are studying the Book of John.  I was explaining to them that we have two choices … we can choose to go to heaven or we can choose to go to hell.  We can choose to believe in God or we can choose not to believe in God.  We can choose to live in the bondage of sin or in the freedom in Christ.

For the Christian there is more to the story … you see, the master “sin” may have been tossed out the door, but he waits crouched on the door step waiting for an opportunity.  He may never own you again, but he can still influence you if you are not on your guard.  In Hebrews 12:1  we are told to throw off the sin … the picture I have is sin leaping onto my back .. I grab it and throw it to the ground.  You have to be ready for it .. sin that is … because it will spring on you when you least suspect it … the element of surprise is important in any battle.  Many have fallen because they were not paying attention.   So be ready .. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” 1 Peter 5:8    You are in a spiritual battle every day.

 “[…] when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:20-24

Be Ready .. Shine Brightly

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Here Comes the Judge

My Utmost For His Highest

With what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you —Matthew 7:2
‘This statement is not some haphazard theory, but it is an eternal law of God. Whatever judgment you give will be the very way you are judged. There is a difference between retaliation and retribution. Jesus said that the basis of life is retribution— “with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” If you have been shrewd in finding out the shortcomings of others, remember that will be exactly how you will be measured. The way you pay is the way life will pay you back. This eternal law works from God’s throne down to us […] God looks not only at the act itself, but also at the possibility of committing it, which He sees by looking at our hearts. To begin with, we do not believe the statements of the Bible. For instance, do we really believe the statement that says we criticize in others the very things we are guilty of ourselves?’ CHAMBERS

It is one thing to say we believe the Bible is God’s Word .. it is Truth … and it is another thing to apply it to our lives.  This is one of those verses that we agree with .. when we don’t want other people judging us … but act as though it doesn’t apply when we are judging others.  Well, we aren’t really judging are we?  Isn’t it more like observation?  Maybe.  The question would be, what is going on in your heart?

God inspired the Word to teach us, guide us, correct us, rebuke us .. (2 Timothy 3:16).  So when we read something like Matthew 7:2 or Romans 2:1, we need to look at ourselves and not others … All have sinned (Romans 3:23) … there are none righteous (Romans 3:10)

The second greatest commandment in Matthew 22 says “Love your neighbor as yourself”.  In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 , Paul said that

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

If we are going to spend time doing something .. let’s love each other instead … Let your light shine before all men

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Getting in Tune

My Utmost For His Highest

‘Pray with the realization that you are perfect only in Christ Jesus, not on the basis of this argument: “Oh, Lord, I have done my best; please hear me now.” How long is it going to take God to free us from the unhealthy habit of thinking only about ourselves? We must get to the point of being sick to death of ourselves, until there is no longer any surprise at anything God might tell us about ourselves. We cannot reach and understand the depths of our own meagerness. There is only one place where we are right with God, and that is in Christ Jesus. Once we are there, we have to pour out our lives for all we are worth in this ministry of the inner life.’ CHAMBERS

Our Christian life is not about doing our best to find favor with God .. it is about being our best and the only way we can be our best is to be connected to the VineJohn 15:5  In the song “Come thou Fount”, one stanza says “Tune my heart to sing Thy praise”  Our life is like a guitar string that is out of tune.  Only people with a musical ear will know that it is not in tune … others will think it sounds fine .. that is until a chord is played and then the need for tuning will be very apparent.  I remember a few years ago my friend and Brother, Andrew, and I were preaching and leading worship at a revival in Waveland.  Andrew had laid is guitar down while I spoke.  Unknown to either of us, while I was speaking one of Andrew’s sons has accidentally de-tuned his guitar.  When Andrew came up to lead music, he played the first chord and strange sounds came from his guitar … it took us a minute to figure out what had happened … it would have been very awkward to retune his guitar at that point so Andrew decided we would sing without a guitar accompaniment  …….. God tunes our hearts not only so that the tone emanating from our life will be right, but so when played together with the other strings .. the sound will be wonderful .. rich … pleasing to the Father’s ears.  The song of salvation was meant to be sung with the accompaniment of the Saints … in harmony.

I play the guitar well enough to get a recognizable tune out of it, but when a skilled guitarist picks up the same instrument … you wonder how can such a magnificent sound come out of a guitar … so it is with us in God’s hands.  On our own, our ‘goodness’ might be recognizable to the world, but in the Master’s hands … we are a marvel and a testimony to God’s love, grace and mercy.

So today, tune up and let the world hear your song … to God’s glory and praise.

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Put Your Hope In God

My Utmost For His Highest

‘The fact that I am trying to be right with God is actually a sign that I am rebelling against the atonement by the Cross of Christ. I pray, “Lord, I will purify my heart if You will answer my prayer— I will walk rightly before You if You will help me.” But I cannot make myself right with God; I cannot make my life perfect. I can only be right with God if I accept the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ as an absolute gift. Am I humble enough to accept it? I have to surrender all my rights and demands, and cease from every self-effort. I must leave myself completely alone in His hands, and then I can begin to pour my life out in the priestly work of intercession’ CHAMBERS

Have you ever made a deal with God?  Promised that if some event happened or did not happen that you would respond to Him in some particualr way?  It reminds me of a term we used in the Army, .. ‘foxhole religion’.  That is when a soldier is facing certain death and he makes a deal with God .. get me out of this God and I will … or I will never again …. Then as soon as the danger has passed, the commitment … which could never have been fulfilled and never was going to be fulfileld … was forgotten by the one who made it.  They have ‘religion’ only while they are in the foxhole.  Do you find yourself in the foxhole of life?  Facing difficulties .. problems bigger than you are and then thinking if God would get me out of this … But maybe .. "in it" .. is just where He wants you to be .. maybe He is going to teach you something about trust and faithfulness while you are in that crucible.  Would God do that? Yes.

When we face difficulties and when we don’t, God doesn’t want promises .. He wants us  … surrendered to Him …Micah 6:8 … “What does the Lord require of you oh man?  But to do justly .. to love mercy … and to walk humbly with your God.’

See anything about me making promises in that verse?  Nope? Neither did I.  Philippians 4:6-7, 1 Peter 5:7 .. and other verses tell us to focus on God and not our problems … to put our full trust in Him and not ourselves … that theme is repeated over and over in the Bible because it is critical to living the life of faith and repeated over and over because we have such a hard time doing it …

‘Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.’ Psalm 42:5

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)