Sunday, September 30, 2012

Would God Really Do That? To Me?

My Utmost For His Highest
‘This call has nothing to do with personal sanctification, but with being made broken bread and poured-out wine. Yet God can never make us into wine if we object to the fingers He chooses to use to crush us. We say, “If God would only use His own fingers, and make me broken bread and poured-out wine in a special way, then I wouldn’t object!” But when He uses someone we dislike, or some set of circumstances to which we said we would never submit, to crush us, then we object. Yet we must never try to choose the place of our own martyrdom. If we are ever going to be made into wine, we will have to be crushed—you cannot drink grapes. Grapes become wine only when they have been squeezed.’ CHAMBERS
What is the source of your satisfaction in serving God? Is it where He has sent you? Is it what He has sent you to do?  Or perhaps it is the people that you are serving with.  Nothing wrong with those things, but as Rick Warren says “God is more concerned with our character than our comfort.’ Romans 8:29  “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
God uses life to do that shaping. molding, transforming. Being in the center of God’s will does not mean that you are necessarily comfortable or even happy.  In fact, things can get downright uncomfortable .. even dangerous to our health and life … There are many Christians who can’t imagine a loving God who would do that.  Those same Christians readily quote John 3:16 … but that was Jesus, God would not ask that of me .. would He?
2 Corinthians 4:7-12  ‘But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.  (8)  We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;  (9)  persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed-- (10)  always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.  (11)  For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.  (12)  So then death is working in us, but life in you.’
Christian, it is not about our happiness but our holiness … not our feelings but our faith … not our conform but our character … walking in that truth will be the best thing you have ever done … and let this be your anthem …. “Wherever He leads, I’ll go, wherever He leads I’ll go. I’ll follow my Christ, who loves me so .. wherever He leads I’ll go!”
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Called by God - Who Me?

My Utmost For His Highest
At any moment the sudden awareness of this incalculable, supernatural, surprising call that has taken hold of your life may break through—”I chose you . . .” (John 15:16). The call of God has nothing to do with salvation and sanctification. You are not called to preach the gospel [for example] because you are sanctified; the call to preach the gospel is infinitely different. Paul describes it as a compulsion that was placed upon him.[…] If a man or woman is called of God, it doesn’t matter how difficult the circumstances may be. God orchestrates every force at work for His purpose in the end. If you will agree with God’s purpose, He will bring not only your conscious level but also all the deeper levels of your life, which you yourself cannot reach, into perfect harmony.’ CHAMBERS
Rom_1:1  'Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God'
Rom_8:28  'And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.'
Rom_8:30  'Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.'
1Co_1:9  'God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.'
Eph_4:1  'I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called,'
This notion of calling can be a little confusing.  Reading the New Testament you see that the idea of calling does have to do with becoming a Christian .. to live a life apart from the world.  No longer drawn by the world’s song to indulge yourself and reject God, but rather to embrace God and reject the world. Many Christians spend their remaining life struggling as they try to resist responding to that song. Important as that calling is, that is not what Chambers is addressing.  Rather, he is speaking to the specific call on our lives .. the call to fulfill our purpose in this great story that God is writing … The pen is Jesus, the ink is the Church and the paper is time.
You have a specific purpose in the Body of Christ … you have been called to it.  Not everyone has been called to be a missionary to another people, a pastor, a teacher, an evangelist … but we have all been called to our place in the Body.  We tend to look at callings such as being a pastor as meaning that those people are somehow more important in the kingdom that others might be.  That is worldly thinking … Everyone is the same to the Father .. the power to do what He calls us to do is from Him .. not ourselves.  We can’t .. or shouldn’t .. take credit for it.  Apart from God we are spiritually impotent.  Incapable of doing anything, in our own power, that has eternal significance.
We honor men and women who are serving God in some manner, not because of what they are doing, but because of what they are allowing God to do through them.  That is not to say that some people are not smarter than other people, more gifted in music, more eloquent in speech .. but all of that is from God?  Those grey cells that they are using … God created them .. arranged them … So you might be thinking why some and not others .. or why not me?  That would be self-centered and not God centered thinking. It is so easy to compare ourselves to others and then look to God and ask why not me?  Paul wrote
Philippians 4:11-13  'Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:  I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.'
So the point is that you must know that you have been called .. and God’s desire is that you be faithful in that calling .. whatever it is …. Don’t use the world’s standards to judge your value in the kingdom of God.  Let your light shine and trust God to use it for His glory.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Friday, September 28, 2012

A Fatal Attraction

My Utmost For His Highest
'The rich young ruler had the controlling passion to be perfect. When he saw Jesus Christ, he wanted to be like Him. Our Lord never places anyone’s personal holiness above everything else when He calls a disciple. Jesus’ primary consideration is my absolute annihilation of my right to myself and my identification with Him, which means having a relationship with Him in which there are no other relationships. Luke 14:26  has nothing to do with salvation or sanctification, but deals solely with unconditional identification with Jesus Christ. Very few of us truly know what is meant by the absolute “go” of unconditional identification with, and abandonment and surrender to, Jesus.' CHAMBERS
Ok, so here we go again .... Laying all down .... it seems to be a recurring theme, doesn't it?  One thing I know, If The Lord says is once, it is important.  If He says it more than once ... well you can guess, can't ya?
It is hard to give it all up.  Oh we can give a lot, but many times there is something that we have tucked away ... a plan B if you will.  With God there is only one plan .. His ... The Bible is replete with stories about people who wanted to have a plan B .. As if they knew better than God ... when and if we were asked that question, our response would be .. No way ... we will trust God .. but if we are honest .. there is something that we want to hang on to. That perhaps we don't even realize that we have hidden.  Jesus says .. lay it down.
Maybe it's a retirement fund, a house that you want to live in one day, a job that you can go back to (if this does not work out) or maybe some things that you have in boxes that mean a lot to you.  And God is saying let them go.   He is not looking at the things you cherish, but your heart.
Do you remember the story about Lot's wife?  What was she thinking about when she looked back on those cities?  Was she remembering the children who stayed, the home she abandoned?  Her friends .. her dreams?  We won't ever know, but whatever it was, it was a fatal attraction ....
Give it all to the Lord ... don't look back ... give it all to Him and He will direct your path ... and where He guides He provides .....
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lord, You want me to do what?

My Utmost For His Highest
‘…the strictness of the rejection that He demands of me allows for nothing to remain in my life but my Lord, myself, and a sense of desperate hope. He says that I must let everyone else come or go, and that I must be guided solely by my relationship to Him.[…] We put our sense of loyalty to our relatives ahead of our loyalty to Jesus Christ, forcing Him to take last place. When your loyalties conflict, always obey Jesus Christ whatever the cost. […]This man had reservations about going. The exacting call of Jesus has no room for good-byes; good-byes, as we often use them, are pagan, not Christian, because they divert us from the call. Once the call of God comes to you, start going and never stop.’ CHAMBERS
Chambers is speaking to Luke 9:57-62.
"As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

Do you remember how the disciples responded to Jesus’ call to follow Him?  They left their nets, immediately ..
Matthew 4:18-22 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them,  and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
Have you ever felt that tension?  Obeying the Lord or rejecting Him for the “normal life”?  Would Jesus really ask you to leave your family to serve Him?  Wouldn’t you be a poor excuse for a parent if you left your children or your grandchildren to serve God in some strange place?  What if you missed a funeral of a loved one because you were in another land.  Don’t those seem like good reasons to say “Lord, I want to , but not now … there are things that I must tend to.”  Don’t you think the Lord already knows your circumstance?
Now before you start packing your bags, you must first be certain it is the Lord and not the emotion of the moment.  Is it something you want to do or something that the Lord has called you to do?  You can discern that through the Word, prayer, circumstances and others.  If you are married, certainly your spouse … assuming your spouse is a believer .. and walking by faith as you are.  Amos 3:3 asks the question, ‘How can to walk together unless they be agreed?”  The Lord will not speak to you and not your spouse … Charley’s interpretation of the Word … Now I did not say that it would not be challenging .. but you will both know that is the Lord’s will.  If one goes and one stays, they are both serving the Lord, but in different ways.  Oswald Chambers went to North Africa as a chaplain with the British Army and died from disease there .. leaving his wife and children behind .. yet his wife went on to compile My Utmost for His Highest and other works based upon Chambers sermons, writings, and lectures. That couple has deeply impacted many Christians over the years.
The bottom line is that you cannot reason your way through the Lord’s call … it’s spiritual and above human reason .. it requires faith and trust and obedience.  What is the Lord saying to you today?
‘Without Him I could do nothing, without Him I’d surely fail, without Him life would be hopeless, like a ship without a sail.’  Jesus is our sail and the Spirit is the wind … heave anchor .. and point your ship out to sea.  Then marvel at what the Lord does through your obedience.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Facing the Impossible

My Utmost For His Highest
‘Our Lord’s teaching can be summed up in this: the relationship that He demands for us is an impossible one unless He has done a super-natural work in us. Jesus Christ demands that His disciple does not allow even the slightest trace of resentment in his heart when faced with tyranny and injustice. No amount of enthusiasm will ever stand up to the strain that Jesus Christ will put upon His servant. Only one thing will bear the strain, and that is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ Himself— a relationship that has been examined, purified, and tested until only one purpose remains and I can truly say, “I am here for God to send me where He will.” Everything else may become blurred, but this relationship with Jesus Christ must never be.[…] We are drawn to God by a work of His supernatural grace, and we can never trace back to find where the work began. Our Lord’s making of a disciple is supernatural. He does not build on any natural capacity of ours at all. God does not ask us to do the things that are naturally easy for us— He only asks us to do the things that we are perfectly fit to do through His grace, and that is where the cross we must bear will always come.’ CHAMBERS
God places us in situations that require faith … that are beyond us .. impossible in our eyes … but not in His .. When you can do anything .. that would be our God .. then not being able to do it, never enters His mind … The Word tells us that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:13) Why? Because He can do all things.  I was just about to leave to go back to Haiti ..there is a lot going on .. and I am the one overseeing it.  Because of a leg infection, I have been delayed a week.  The first thought in my head was .. how are those things going to be accomplished without me.  People are depending upon me … then the Spirit reminded me .. that I am on God’s mission, not my own .. that He is not surprised by this … that I should not be anxious about this (Phil 4:6-7) This is a spiritual journey …
What is going on in your life that seems impossible?  If you are God’s child, take it to your Father … What has God called you to do that defies common sense?  Put your trust in Him.  1 Peter 5:7 says “Cast all your cares on Him because He cares for you”.  And in doing that your light will shine brighter.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Things That Impress God

My Utmost For His Highest
The sense of sacrifice in the Christian life is readily appealing to a new Christian. From a human standpoint, the one thing that attracts us to Jesus Christ is our sense of the heroic, and a close examination of us by our Lord’s words suddenly puts this tide of enthusiasm to the test […] Your sense of heroic sacrifice is not good enough. The thing the Holy Spirit will detect in you is your nature that can never work in His service. And no one but God can detect that nature in you. Do you have anything to hide from God? If you do, then let God search you with His light. If there is sin in your life, don’t just admit it— confess it. Are you willing to obey your Lord and Master, whatever the humiliation to your right to yourself may be? […] Never disregard a conviction that the Holy Spirit brings to you. If it is important enough for the Spirit of God to bring it to your mind, it is the very thing He is detecting in you. You were looking for some big thing to give up, while God is telling you of some tiny thing that must go. But behind that tiny thing lies the stronghold of obstinacy, and you say, “I will not give up my right to myself”— the very thing that God intends you to give up if you are to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.’  CHAMBERS
When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was He said there are two .. Love God and Love Others (Matt 22:37-39).  To love God means that you must surrender to Him and His will, to love others is to lay down your own life for them (John 15:13).  It is easy to talk about  .. even boast about .. the things you have given up to follow Jesus … there is some feeling of satisfaction like you have done a good thing .. and what others to know how ‘spiritual’ you are.  Although Jesus addressed the need for us to reject the things of this world as our source of satisfaction, Jesus didn’t say it was the third greatest commandment.
If you do the first two, devotion to material things will take care of itself.  The Bible says you cannot love God and money .. (Matt 6:24)  Loving God will take care of loving money.  And if you don’t love it, letting it and the things it buys, go will be of no significance to you.  But the sacrifices that are significant have to do with the loving God and others.  Submitting to the will of God in the face of all human reason … Treating others as more important than yourself.  Going to someone who has wronged you to be reconciled .. even if they reject you … asking for forgiveness when you have wronged another … those things that are done in secret .. not in front of a crowd … remaining silent before your accusers … letting God avenge your mistreatment … but also letting God rend your heart and take you through the fire.  These are not things that we boast about to others, but things we ponder as we consider how great is our God! Things that God receives as a fragrant offering from living sacrifices (Rom 12:1-2)
You shine brightest as you live for an audience of One.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Why Am I Doing This?

My Utmost For His Highest
The goal of the missionary is to do God’s will, not to be useful or to win the lost. A missionary is useful and he does win the lost, but that is not his goal. His goal is to do the will of his Lord.[…] Neither gratitude nor ingratitude turned our Lord even the slightest degree away from His purpose. […] There will be works of God exhibited through us, people will get blessed, and one or two will show gratitude while the rest will show total ingratitude, but nothing must divert us from going “up to [our] Jerusalem.”’ CHAMBERS
What is the reason you do things for others?  Does it bother you when the people you help are ungrateful or even worse; they use and abuse your generosity to their advantage and your detriment.  While we were in Mississippi, I can recall having conversations about that fact the some of the people did not appreciate what was done for them.  The same thing in Haiti.  Should  appreciation by the recipient of the blessing be a requirement for my obedience to do what I know the Lord has told me to do?  What was Jesus’ example in Luke 17?
(Luke 17:11-19 11) ‘Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy[a] met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
It all has to do with focus.  We should do what the Lord directs us to do and leave the outcome to Him.  It’s God who gives the increase .. not us … we are nothing but workers in His field.
(1 Corinthians 3:5-9)  What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.’
Be careful that you don’t begin to think more of yourself than you should.  Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.  Walk in the light that He has given you and leave the rest to Him.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Jesus is Lord .. Is He?

My Utmost For His Highest
To have a master and teacher is not the same thing as being mastered and taught. Having a master and teacher means that there is someone who knows me better than I know myself, who is closer than a friend, and who understands the remotest depths of my heart and is able to satisfy them fully. It means having someone who has made me secure in the knowledge that he has met and solved all the doubts, uncertainties, and problems in my mind. To have a master and teacher is this and nothing less— “. . . for One is your Teacher, the Christ . . .” (Matthew 23:8).[…] “You call Me Teacher and Lord . . .”— but is He? Teacher, Master, and Lord have little place in our vocabulary. We prefer the words Savior, Sanctifier, and Healer. […] If we are consciously aware that we are being mastered, that idea itself is proof that we have no master. If that is our attitude toward Jesus, we are far away from having the relationship He wants with us. He wants us in a relationship where He is so easily our Master and Teacher that we have no conscious awareness of it—a relationship where all we know is that we are His to obey.’ CHAMBERS
‘He is Lord, He is Lord.  He has risen from the dead and He is Lord.  Every knee shall bow and every tougue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord’
We acknowledge Jesus as Lord with our songs and our words .. but do we acknowledge Him with our lives?  All too often we refer to Him in the context of what He can do for us … Jesus said … If you love me, keep my commands.” (John 14:15) In John 21 when Jesus asked Peter if Peter loved Him.  Jesus said .. then do what I say.  What does Jesus say?  What are we supposed to do?  As Christians already know the Bible says.  Our problem is that we want to cut our own path, establish our own priorities.
Luke 6:46 “Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and don’t do what I say?”  Good question!  It’s one of those rhetorical questions … you know, the one that is asked that does not require an answer, because everyone knows the answer already.  Accepting Jesus as Lord is a one time decision … following Jesus as Lord is a daily … maybe even moment-by-moment decision. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”  (Joshua 24:15)
I pray that this will be your heart’s song today.  ‘I will serve Thee because I love Thee, You have given life to me. I was nothing before You found me, You have given life to me. Heartaches, broken pieces Ruined lives are why You died on Calvary.  Your touch was what I longed for You have given life to me’
Shine brightly Christian!
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Putting Things In Order

My Utmost For His Highest
‘We must continually keep our soul open to the fact of God’s creative purpose, and never confuse or cloud it with our own intentions. If we do, God will have to force our intentions aside no matter how much it may hurt. A missionary is created for the purpose of being God’s servant, one in whom God is glorified. Once we realize that it is through the salvation of Jesus Christ that we are made perfectly fit for the purpose of God, we will understand why Jesus Christ is so strict and relentless in His demands. He demands absolute righteousness from His servants, because He has put into them the very nature of God.’ CHAMBERS
In Rick Warren’s – Purpose Driven Life – the book beings with the sentence .. “It’s not about you”.  One of the great, if not the greatest, realization is that the world does not rotate around my life.  That I was created for God’s purpose.  I am given life for His purpose and not my pleasure.  That is not to say that we are to live like ascetic monks … isolated … and disengaged from the culture around us, denying ourselves of earthly pleasures.  But rather .. those earthly pleasures do not rule our lives … we care more about others than ourselves … we love God above all.  Our priorities are in the right order. God, others, me.
We understand that what we are given in this world, is for God’s purposes and not merely for our personal consumption.  The same grace and mercy the God has shown to us, we extend to others. Understanding that we are created for His purpose, we make it a point to know Jesus and make Him known.  That God would be glorified through our lives .. and we would not seek glory for ourselves.  I am often told that what Martie and I are doing is wonderful and people want to praise us for the work. I am always uneasy at those times … it is a temptation to receive that praise and not redirect it to the proper place .. the One who called us and saved us.
Are you living in a way that brings glory to God?  Would you be willing to take what you do and lay it at the feet of Jesus as an offering and testimony of your love for Him and commitment to Him?  Not trying to lay guilt on you, but, instead, to encourage you to examine your life and if there are some course corrections to be made, that you would make them .. live for an audience of One and let your light shine.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Why Do I Have to Be Nice?

My Utmost For His Highest
‘The example our Lord gave us here [ 1 John 1:7] is not that of a good person, or even of a good Christian, but of God Himself. “. . . be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” In other words, simply show to the other person what God has shown to you. And God will give you plenty of real life opportunities to prove whether or not you are “perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Being a disciple means deliberately identifying yourself with God’s interests in other people. Jesus says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).’ CHAMBERS
Do you know someone that rubs you the wrong way?  It may be their personality, maybe they are insensitive to others, demanding, self-focused, … you can add to the list … and they are a Christian.  You dread being around them.  That is one of those ‘real life opportunities’ that Chambers is referring to.  That feeling of dread is not spiritual discernment and it is not from God.  Our response to others is not supposed to be conditional .. but we are to show the love of Jesus to everyone.
Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.’ (Matthew 18:21-23)
It is that attitude that we are supposed to have towards others.  We really have no excuse for treating others poorly .. for harboring an attitude towards them … and certainly not encouraging others to think the same of them.  We are supposed to show grace and mercy to others .. in the same way that God has shown grace and mercy toward us. Of course, everyone will not be your best friend, but we must show everyone the love of Christ … just like He loves us.. ‘What does the Lord require of you? But to do justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.’ (Micah 6:8)
Are you thinking of someone as you read this.  Pray for them and ask the Lord to help you love them .. just like He does … and let your light shine.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Responding to Life

My Utmost For His Highest
‘We have the idea that we ought to shield ourselves from some of the things God brings around us. May it never be! It is God who engineers our circumstances, and whatever they may be we must see that we face them while continually abiding with Him in His temptations. They are His temptations, not temptations to us, but temptations to the life of the Son of God in us. Jesus Christ’s honor is at stake in our bodily lives. Are we remaining faithful to the Son of God in everything that attacks His life in us?
Are you going on with Jesus? The way goes through Gethsemane, through the city gate, and on “outside the camp” (Hebrews 13:13). The way is lonely and goes on until there is no longer even a trace of a footprint to follow— but only the voice saying, “Follow Me” (Matthew 4:19)’ CHAMBERS
Where is God? .. Why did God let that happen? .. What have I done wrong?  Those questions sound like they could have come from the book of Job or maybe out of my mouth.  Life is uncertain … when you focus your attention on your circumstances … but it is certain when you focus your attention on God.  Just when you thought you had everything in its place .. everything planned out … life happens and you find yourself scrambling to adjust .. frustrated by the uncertainty .. anxious about the outcome … Well maybe not ‘you’ but certainly other people you know.
God never stops being God and He never goes anywhere.  He is always sovereign .. always present …. even when we don’t feel like He is.  And what happens when we lose confidence in that?  When Jesus challenged Peter in John 21 … asking Peter if he loved Jesus … Jesus was setting Peter’s mind right … “Peter do you love me?  Then follow me.”  Peter had failed – big time – but Jesus knew Peter’s heart and his purpose.  Just like He knows yours.  Peter went on to lead the church in Jerusalem.  You may think but I am not Peter … Jesus chose him … remember, He chose you too …
(1 Thess 1:3-5) ‘We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.  For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction.’
(1 Peter 2:9) ‘But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.’
Some people imagine the Christian life is supposed to be perfect .. but it is not … it is fraught with trouble and challenges and disappointments … but Jesus said ‘Be of good cheer because I have overcome the world’’ (John 16:33)
Remember Christian … God is faithful ..and able .. and willing … meditate on that today … remember it … walk in it .. no matter what comes your way … and let your light shine brightly.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Turn to Good

My Utmost For His Highest
‘Temptation comes to me, suggesting a possible shortcut to the realization of my highest goal— it does not direct me toward what I understand to be evil, but toward what I understand to be good. Temptation is something that confuses me for a while, and I don’t know whether something is right or wrong. When I yield to it, I have made lust a god, and the temptation itself becomes the proof that it was only my own fear that prevented me from falling into the sin earlier.  Temptation is not something we can escape; in fact, it is essential to the well-rounded life of a person. Beware of thinking that you are tempted as no one else–what you go through is the common inheritance of the human race, not something that no one has ever before endured. God does not save us from temptations–He sustains us in the midst of them (see Hebrews 2:18 and Hebrews 4:15-16).’ CHAMBERS
Do you see temptation like that?  Not as being tempted to do something wrong, but to remember what is right?  Frankly, I had not.  1 Corinthians 10:13 suggests that temptation is something we need to escape from.  I mean, God gives us a way to escape doesn’t He?  But maybe the way to escape is to turn to something that is good instead of yielding to something that is not good. Think about Jesus in the wilderness.
(1 Peter 3:10-12)  He who would love life And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit.  Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it.  For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.
Jesus gives us an example of how it’s done in Matthew 4.  Faced with rejecting God, the Father, and trusting in himself, satisfying himself, or worshipping something other than the Father, Jesus turned to what is good .. ‘Man does not live by bread alone .. but by the Word, Do not put the Lord your God to the test, Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only’.
… I guess it boils down to a trust issue … when you are faced with a temptation or a problem in life .. where is the first place you turn?  To the Lord or to yourself.  Do you grapple with the issue or turn to what is Good.  What is that?  Jesus responded to someone who called Him “good teacher’ in Matthew 19 ….. ‘Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”’

Our immediate response to life depends upon what we have practiced … so it is with temptation.  We can’t ignore God and then expect that when temptation comes that we will choose to focus on good and reject evil.  That is not going to happen.  The only way we are going to turn toward what is good when faced with temptation is if we are abiding in the Vine. So ……….

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)