Friday, November 30, 2012

What Holds Your Life Together?

My Utmost For His Highest
There is only one relationship that really matters, and that is your personal relationship to your personal Redeemer and Lord. If you maintain that at all costs, letting everything else go, God will fulfill His purpose through your life. One individual life may be of priceless value to God’s purposes, and yours may be that life.’ CHAMBERS
Jesus Nut
What do you think about that? ‘There is only one relationship that really matters.’  On a helicopter there is a nut that the pilots call the “Jesus nut” because that is the only thing between you and Jesus.  That nut hold the main rotor system onto the mast.  If it comes off .. the helicopter becomes a big rock  in the sky. Not good! Pa Bon!  You might argue the Jesus nut is the only one that matters … certainly all of the other ones  .. there are hundreds .. have their purpose .. but they don’t matter if the Jesus nut is missing.
And that is Chambers’ point.  If your relationship with Jesus is not right .. If He is missing in your life … then the others don’t really matter least not in the eternal context .. well, not really in the natural context either.  Jesus keeps things together … Where is Jesus in your life .. where is He really .. not where is He supposed to be.  We know what the right answers are .. but often we fail in applying them to our lives. There is a bigger story … God’s plan for mankind … the spiritual context … everything else flows out from that …  the natural man thinks it is foolishness .. He thinks it is the other way around .. There is a term .. conventional wisdom .. it makes sense to men, but not necessarily to God.  It’s natural and seems right to our flesh.
1 Corinthians 1:21-29  For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.  For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom;  but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness,  but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.  Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.  (26)  For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;  and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,  that no flesh should glory in His presence.
John 14:6 Jesus reminds us that He is the way, truth and life … that doesn’t leave much room for other alternatives  
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Is Your Jesus on the Dashboard?

My Utmost For His Highest
‘[…] The New Testament example of the Christian experience is that of a personal, passionate devotion to the Person of Jesus Christ. Every other kind of so-called Christian experience is detached from the Person of Jesus. There is no regeneration— no being born again into the kingdom in which Christ lives and reigns supreme. There is only the idea that He is our pattern. In the New Testament Jesus Christ is the Savior long before He is the pattern. Today He is being portrayed as the figurehead of a religion— a mere example. He is that, but He is infinitely more. He is salvation itself; He is the gospel of God! Jesus said, “. . . when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, . . . He will glorify Me . . .” (John 16:13-14). When I commit myself to the revealed truth of the New Testament, I receive from God the gift of the Holy Spirit, who then begins interpreting to me what Jesus did. The Spirit of God does in me internally all that Jesus Christ did for me externally.’ CHAMBERS
There is a praise song …… “ More like you, Jesus more like you .. Fill my heart with Your desire to make me more like You.  More like You, Jesus, more like You, Touch my lips with holy fire And make me more like You.   Lord You are my mercy.   Lord You are my grace and all my deepest sins have forever been erased”
Jesus is more than an example to follow … the danger is that the reality of who He is will fade and He will become a symbol .. like the Jesus on the dashboard … I pray that your relationship with Jesus and your awareness of who Jesus is will remain fresh … in your mind and your heart.  That every day you will be in awe of who Jesus is and what He has done for you through His work on the cross ad resurrection.
“Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus, Vast unmeasured, boundless, free! Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me! Underneath me, all around me, is the current Of Thy love. Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above! “ Samuel Trevor Francis
Let the reality of His love roll over you like a mighty wave in the ocean.  And let your light shine.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Swimming in the Deep End

My Utmost For His Highest
As long as we are “rich,” particularly in the area of pride or independence, God can do nothing for us. It is only when we get hungry spiritually that we receive the Holy Spirit. The gift of the essential nature of God is placed and made effective in us by the Holy Spirit. He imparts to us the quickening life of Jesus, making us truly alive. He takes that which was “beyond” us and places it “within” us. And immediately, once “the beyond” has come “within,” it rises up to “the above,” and we are lifted into the kingdom where Jesus lives and reigns (see John 3:5).’ CHAMBERS
In this case .. rich means being full … It is so easy to become full of ourselves .. confident that we have a grip on life.  That we can do anything we set our mind to.  If we have problems, we can work them out.  We don’t need God except for the really hard things … He is our plan “G”.  When we are living our lives like that … we are living independently from God .. contrary to the teaching of His Word. Contrary to what we really know in our heart is truth.
Psalm 73:24-26  You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Can you say that?  Is God in first place in your heart?  Tough question .. we want the answer to be “yes” but is He really?  To live this new life, we must be deliberate .. disciplined … it must be a priority in my life .. not just an option .. if I happen to think about it.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9  "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!     You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.  "And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Does that sound like God wants us to have a casual .. optional relationship with Him?  If you lived like a Deuteronomy 6 man or woman, would people, even Christians, think you had gone off the deep end?  Is that life attitude just for the Old Testament?  It is not about what is on the outside but the inside that is the point here.   Read Matthew 22:37-38 and see what Jesus said about it.
God has so much more for us … for you … Time to take off those water wings and dive into the deep end of the pool.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


My Utmost For His Highest
‘[…]  The Spirit of God has set a great many people free from their sin, yet they are experiencing no fullness in their lives— no true sense of freedom. The kind of religious life we see around the world today is entirely different from the vigorous holiness of the life of Jesus Christ. “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one” (John 17:15). We are to be in the world but not of it— to be separated internally, not externally (see John 17:16)
We must never allow anything to interfere with the consecration of our spiritual power. Consecration (being dedicated to God’s service) is our part; sanctification (being set apart from sin and being made holy) is God’s part. We must make a deliberate determination to be interested only in what God is interested. The way to make that determination, when faced with a perplexing problem, is to ask yourself, “Is this the kind of thing in which Jesus Christ is interested [in], or is it something in which the spirit that is diametrically opposed to [what] Jesus is interested [in]?” CHAMBERS
Remember the WWJD bracelets?  That was such a fad for a while … I still see some folks wearing them from time to time.  How about a HWJLHLT bracelet.  How would Jesus live His life today?  No differently than He did 2000 years ago.  The culture was different.  Certainly the technology .. but the human condition is the same.  It doesn’t really matter where on the earth you live or what color your skin  is, our hearts .. the center of our being is the same .. we were all made in God’s image and have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  And Jesus is the way, truth and life for all of us.
That was true for Peter, James, John, Paul and Nicodemus. It is true for you and me and everyone we will ever meet or not meet. Chambers talks about consecration – being dedicated to God – there is also the issue of fidelity (like the Marines .. Semper Fidelis – Always Faithful)  Keeping us from the evil one, would mean that we would not only be set apart, but that we would be faithful to our Lord. Jesus prayed that because He knew it was a problem. And it is.  He knew that there would be a struggle between my flesh and the Spirit in me …and there is.
I am learning a Creole praise song .. Avec Ou .. Mwen Santi M’ Byen .. with you (Jesus) I feel right.  I picked that one because frankly it was simple in lyric and melody .. but more, even though I did not have the translation at first, it put my heart at ease.  I plan on using that song at our Thursday Bible studies.  Focusing on Jesus does put our hearts at ease … Spend some time today focused on Him .. remind yourself of the great salvation that you enjoy through Jesus .. and then ask yourself – HWJLHLT?
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Monday, November 26, 2012

It's About The Cross

My Utmost For His Highest
‘[…] Pay attention to the external Source and the internal power will be there. We lose power because we don’t focus on the right thing. The effect of the Cross is salvation, sanctification, healing, etc., but we are not to preach any of these. We are to preach “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). The proclaiming of Jesus will do its own work. Concentrate on God’s focal point in your preaching, and even if your listeners seem to pay it no attention, they will never be the same again. If I share my own words, they are of no more importance than your words are to me. But if we share the truth of God with one another, we will encounter it again and again. We have to focus on the great point of spiritual power— the Cross. If we stay in contact with that center of power, its energy is released in our lives. In holiness movements and spiritual experience meetings, the focus tends to be put not on the Cross of Christ but on the effects of the Cross.’ CHAMBERS
I was at a church yesterday, where a Haitian friend and co-laborer was preaching.  This man is not eloquent .. but God has gifted him as an evangelist.  As he preached, I watched the people respond to his words.  Not really his words, but God was speaking through him.  At the end of his sermon, he asked if anyone would like to receive Christ and two young men raised their hands. He prayed with them and then asked me to pray for them.  Then another man came forward asking for prayer so we prayed for him, then a woman came forward asking that I pray for her arm.  What was happening was that there was a focus on “the great spiritual power of God” and not on what men might do.  The tone of the service shifted from merely singing songs and listening to a preacher to experiencing God moving in the midst of the people.  The people were aware that the Spirit of God was at work …. It was very, very good.
That is the way it should be in our lives every day .. the energy of the Spirit, “released in our lives.”  We, evangelical Americans, have God in a box … where what He does in our lives can be controlled.  If we need some God, we just pour some out .. not too much, just one serving will do.  I want to encourage you to let God bring your life to overflowing with His presence.  Focus on the Cross and the power of the resurrection.  Let God loose in your life.  God is good …He loves you …..  and really does have a wonderful plan for your life.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Is He Calling You Out?

My Utmost For His Highest
Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters . . . , so our eyes look to the Lord our God . . . —Psalm 123:2
This verse is a description of total reliance on God. Just as the eyes of a servant are riveted on his master, our eyes should be directed to and focused on God. This is how knowledge of His countenance is gained and how God reveals Himself to us (see Isaiah 53:1). Our spiritual strength begins to be drained when we stop lifting our eyes to Him. Our stamina is sapped, not so much through external troubles surrounding us but through problems in our thinking. We wrongfully think, “I suppose I’ve been stretching myself a little too much, standing too tall and trying to look like God instead of being an ordinary humble person.” We have to realize that no effort can be too high. CHAMBERS
A good example of this is when Peter got out of the boat and walked to Jesus.  Peter acted out of faith  .. confidence in Jesus …that is until his flesh got the best of him … and he realized that what he was doing was impossible.  I find myself in that situation. I received a text from my sister in Illinois yesterday.  They were having a get together .. my sisters, my brother, and some of their children.  my brother told them that Martie and I were moving to Haiti and not coming back.  And so the text … “When were you going to tell us that you were living in Haiti forever?”  It was like a splash of cold water on my face.  It was like being asked the question “What are you  doing out of the boat? People can’t walk on water!”
Well actually they can, it just depends upon who they are with at the time.  God will take you places that you cannot go by yourself.  I received a phone call from Pastor Bichotte this morning.  He does not speak English.  He was telling me that I need to come to see him at 10:00 this morning.  I was able to stumble through the conversation, but all the while I was thinking .. I need a translator … I can’t do that by myself … but then I remembered my sister’s text and the Lord’s promise.  And I know, that it is time to get out of the boat.
How about you?  Is God calling you out?  Challenging you to go beyond what you or others think reasonable or even possible?  That is our God … yield to his call … keep your eyes fixed on Him and then step out ….
(BTW, I told my sister that we would not be here forever, only until God calls us home to heaven or to serve in another place)
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Looked in a Mirror Lately?

My Utmost For His Highest
Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters . . . , so our eyes look to the Lord our God . . . —Psalm 123:2
This verse is a description of total reliance on God. Just as the eyes of a servant are riveted on his master, our eyes should be directed to and focused on God. This is how knowledge of His countenance is gained and how God reveals Himself to us (see Isaiah 53:1). Our spiritual strength begins to be drained when we stop lifting our eyes to Him. Our stamina is sapped, not so much through external troubles surrounding us but through problems in our thinking. […]  your reliance on God is gone, and you are now relying on worldly opinion. The danger comes when, no longer relying on God, you neglect to focus your eyes on Him. Only when God brings you to a sudden stop will you realize that you have been the loser. Whenever there is a spiritual drain in your life, correct it immediately. Realize that something has been coming between you and God, and change or remove it at once.
Have you ever been talking to your children, giving them instructions .. and they say “I understand.”? When I hear that the question that comes to my mind almost immediately is “But will you do it?” The Bible is our guide … our operator’s manual … but … reading or hearing the Word is only half of the formula …
Matthew 7:24-27 24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
Jesus said that we are fools if we merely listen to the Word .. and don’t heed it …
James 1:21-24 “ But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.”
James said we are deceiving ourselves in thinking that hearing (or reading) is enough.  Going to the pool every day and sitting in the water does not make you a swimmer any more than just going to church faithfully every Sunday and sitting in a pew and not going to sleep makes you a better Christian …
It is a simple truth .. but for something being so simple .. why is it so difficult … because it is the nature of our flesh to seek its own way …. A disciple must be disciplined … “Prone to wander Lord I feel it, prone to leave the One I love.  Take my heart, Lord, take and seal it .. seal it for Thy courts above …”
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Three Things to Watch Out For

My Utmost For His Highest
Beware of “the cares of this world . . .” (Mark 4:19). They are the very things that produce the wrong attitudes in our soul. It is incredible what enormous power there is in simple things to distract our attention away from God. Refuse to be swamped by “the cares of this world.”
Another thing that distracts us is our passion for vindication. St. Augustine prayed, “O Lord, deliver me from this lust of always vindicating myself.” Such a need for constant vindication destroys our soul’s faith in God. Don’t say, “I must explain myself,” or, “I must get people to understand.” Our Lord never explained anything— He left the misunderstandings or misconceptions of others to correct themselves.
When we discern that other people are not growing spiritually and allow that discernment to turn to criticism, we block our fellowship with God. God never gives us discernment so that we may criticize, but that we may intercede.’ CHAMBERS
Three things that we need to watch out for.  1) The cares of this world that can consume us.  They can cause us to lose our spiritual focus.  They give us a spiritual ‘panic attack’. Sometimes we find ourselves in difficulties because we have made choices that satisfy our flesh, for a moment .. but result in stress and spiritual failure.  Things don’t go our way so we ‘make something happen’  which blows up in our face and we end up with even more problems than we started with. All the while wondering how we are going to ‘fix’ it.  That is not the life the Lord intended for us.
2) We do not need to justify ourselves before men.  If the Lord leads you to a place that others do not understand .. something they cannot reason their way through to understanding .. it is possible that the reason is that they are trying to use human wisdom to comprehend something that God is doing through you.  In John 10, the people were seeing and hearing the Messiah and prophecy fulfilled in front of them, but they refused to see it .. in this case because they were not His sheep … in the case of other Christians … it might be that the Lord has not given them understanding … what I am going to say can put you on a slippery slope … just because people don’t understand does not mean that God is not directing your steps.  There are some things about me that people may see as extreme, but I believe it is clearly discernment from God.  I should not try to vindicate myself before others, but follow God.  The slippery slope part is that you must be certain that it is God and not some notion that your flesh has given birth to … if that is the case, it will neither glorify God nor result in any good thing
3) One of the concerns I have about writing this BLOG is that people might think I am being judgmental or unduly critical.  When in fact, my purpose is to be like a lighthouse .. warning you away from the rocks … an encourager .. to move you from where you are to where God would have you be.  The difference between criticism and encouragement is not the issue that is addressed … it is the motivation behind what you are told about that issue.  In the one case, criticism, the motivation is to tear down, demean, discourage, to judge. On the other hand .. the encourager intends to take you from where you are to a higher place .. closer to God …  That is not to say that the Spirit will not convict you  and use that conviction to redirect you.
Christian .. you are not of this world any more than Jesus was of this world.  You are sanctified by the Spirit of God and heaven bound.  Walk in that truth.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Swim Safely

My Utmost For His Highest
To be shallow is not a sign of being sinful, nor is shallowness an indication that there is no depth to your life at all— the ocean has a shore. Even the shallow things of life, such as eating and drinking, walking and talking, are ordained by God. These are all things our Lord did. He did them as the Son of God, and He said, “A disciple is not above his teacher . . .” (Matthew 10:24).’ CHAMBERS
Shallow …. What is Chambers talking about? He is referring to the fact that everyone has many facets to their lives … from the mundane to the deeply spiritual.  The fact is that every facet is subject to obedience to the Lord.  There is not one part of our lives that can be held back … or held on to.  When Romans 12:1 says to offer yourself as a sacrifice .. it is all of you.  When Galatians 2:20 says you are crucified with Christ … it’s every facet of your life … When Matthew 16:24 says you must deny yourself .. and follow Jesus .. it is all of you.
In the book of Acts, chapter 5, we are told about Ananias and Sapphira.  They sold some land and told everyone that they had given all to the Lord, but they had not … in their case there was an extreme consequence. …  in our case .. although the result might not be physical death … our relationship with the Lord is affected.  We say we are “sold out”, “all in”, “totally surrendered” .. whatever the current buzz words are … that fact is .. we are not … we just give the Lord what we don’t want to hang on to .. there are things that we think and say are “optional” for us .. but in our hearts we know that they are not …
Here is an example.  Read Philippians 4:8-9 “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”
Do you guard your mind so you consider only these things … or do you absorb the culture and what it promotes as “normal” and acceptable?  When the beaches are polluted .. it is the shallow water that people are told not to get in to.  It is through the shallow things of life that we can become spiritually polluted … It is not just the shark swimming just off of the beach that we need to worry about so much as the pollution of the world that is in the water (activities) that we immerse ourselves in every day.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Amazing Love .. Amazing Grace ..Amazing God


‘Compared with the miracle of the forgiveness of sin, the experience of sanctification is small. Sanctification is simply the wonderful expression or evidence of the forgiveness of sins in a human life. But the thing that awakens the deepest fountain of gratitude in a human being is that God has forgiven his sin. Paul never got away from this. Once you realize all that it cost God to forgive you, you will be held as in a vise, constrained by the love of God.’ CHAMBERS
When we consider the idea of sanctification, the first part being set apart by God for God (2 Timothy 1:9) , or the second part – being changed from the inside out – (2 Corinthians 5:17), the only reason either is possible is because of Jesus and His sacrifice.  Our sins would not be forgiven if it had not been for Jesus.  We have plan A and plan B.  God only has one plan .. Jesus … John 14:6 … He is the way .. He is the truth .. He is the life .. no one can get to the Father any other way … He is the atoning sacrifice …
So when Paul wrote “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” in Romans 6, he was pointing to Jesus and the amazing fact that God showed us grace and mercy.  How can we continue to yield our bodies to sin in light of that miracle .. that we are now God’s possession.  Do you see things that way, or do you think that God is your possession?  Who is in charge of your life?  We must stop living for ourselves as if what Jesus did was merely a favor to us .. “Hey, Appreciate it Jesus, now let me get back to living for myself!”  …. How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?
Good question … what is your answer?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Jesus Really Is The Reason

My Utmost For His Highest
‘The great miracle of the grace of God is that He forgives sin, and it is the death of Jesus Christ alone that enables the divine nature to forgive and to remain true to itself in doing so. It is shallow nonsense to say that God forgives us because He is love. Once we have been convicted of sin, we will never say this again. The love of God means Calvary— nothing less! The love of God is spelled out on the Cross and nowhere else. The only basis for which God can forgive me is the Cross of Christ. It is there that His conscience is satisfied. Forgiveness doesn’t merely mean that I am saved from hell and have been made ready for heaven (no one would accept forgiveness on that level). Forgiveness means that I am forgiven into a newly created relationship which identifies me with God in Christ.’ CHAMBERS
Romans 1:18-20 “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”
The laws of nature are great examples of God’s justice.  Gravity is not arbitrary or conditional .. gravity is the same.. it never changes .. so much so that we can count on it .. put our faith in it.  So it is with God’s law and demand of holiness.  It never changes.  Even though God created us … and loved us … His demand for holiness was not diluted because of his love.  We call that ‘tough love’ when we are dealing with people who are doing things that are not right and we don’t want to enable them to continue to do those things.
So, since God’s demand for holiness, like His law of gravity, was not going to change … His love was expressed through Jesus .. who satisfied the demand for holiness by paying the price for our sin … The point today is that our tendency is that we focus on God’s love and not on the sacrifice … Oh we think about the sacrifice on the day we are saved and in the songs we sing … but does the sacrifice of Jesus change the way you live your life?
Jesus Christ, I think upon your sacrifice You became nothing, poured out to death. Many times, I wonder at your gift of life I'm in that place once again.
Now you are, exalted to the highest place King of the heavens, where one day I’ll bow. But for now, I marvel at this saving grace. I'm full of praise once again I'm full of praise once again
And once again I look upon the cross where you died. I´m humbled by your mercy and I´m broken inside. Once again I thank you, once again I pour out my life.” Matt Redmond
Or is Jesus just a way that you can get on God’s good side so you can enjoy the perks of being His son or daughter?  When Jesus said the He was the way, truth and life (John 14:6) … He meant 24x7x365xEternity … there will never be another way for the human race to overcome the righteous demands of God.  We need to walk in that truth every day.
I'm so glad I'm a part of the Family of God, I've been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His Blood! Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod, For I'm part of the family, The Family of God
As the earth’s gravity holds your feet to the ground today … be aware that Jesus is the reason you are not headed for hell … live your life like that matters … view the world with that perspective…and let God be glorified and Jesus lifted up … in everything your think, do and say
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Problems? I Don't Have Any Problems!

My Utmost For His Highest
God pays no attention to our natural individuality in the development of our spiritual life. His plan runs right through our natural life. We must see to it that we aid and assist God, and not stand against Him by saying, “I can’t do that.” God will not discipline us; we must discipline ourselves. God will not bring our “arguments . . . and every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5)— we have to do it. Don’t say, “Oh, Lord, I suffer from wandering thoughts.” Don’t suffer from wandering thoughts. Stop listening to the tyranny of your individual natural life and win freedom into the spiritual life.  “If the Son makes you free . . . .” Do not substitute Savior for Son in this passage. The Savior has set us free from sin, but this is the freedom that comes from being set free from myself by the Son. It is what Paul meant in Galatians 2:20 when he said, “I have been crucified with Christ . . . .” His individuality had been broken and his spirit had been united with his Lord; not just merged into Him, but made one with Him. “. . . you shall be free indeed”— free to the very core of your being; free from the inside to the outside. We tend to rely on our own energy, instead of being energized by the power that comes from identification with Jesus.’ CHAMBERS
Do you struggle with anything in your life?  Is there some issue … some past hurt that affects how you treat other people … anger, resentment, fear, whatever …. Jesus can and will set you free from that.  Maybe you have resolved that you will never be free from it .. that there is no way … you have tried everything .. prayed about it … read books … it just doesn’t seem to matter what you try .. that ‘thing’ is still there.  I know the feeling … it doesn’t matter how strong you are .. how determined you are .. this thing makes you weak .. helpless .. victimized … sad …. demoralized …  it is strong …
This thing that I am referring to is something that you don’t want others to know about.  If they did, they would think less of you .. maybe reject you … if they knew the real you …. A little factoid … the Creator of the universe already does.
I want to use some excerpts from the Celebrate Recovery Ministry to clarify this.  No, Celebrate recovery is not just for drug addicts or alcoholics .. it’s for people who struggle with a hurt, habit or hang-up which includes just about everybody on the planet.  The first step to dealing with this issue in your life is to admit that you can’t do it by yourself.  You are powerless .. you need the Lord’s help. In other words you have to stop trying to fix it by yourself.
“1. I admit that I am powerless to change my past. It hurt, I still remember it, but all the resentment in the world isn’t going to change it. I’m powerless to change my past.
2. I admit that I am powerless to control other people. I try, I like to manipulate them, I use all kinds of little gimmicks, but it doesn’t work. I am responsible for my actions, not theirs. I can’t control other people.
3. I admit that I am powerless to cope with my harmful habits, behaviors, actions. Good intentions are not enough. How many times have you tried and failed. Will power is not enough. You need something more than will power. You need a source of power beyond yourself. You need God, because He made you to need Him.”
The Lord has blessed me with a lot of ability .. but no matter how smart I am, no matter how strong I am, no matter what I might be able to do …there are areas in my life that I cannot control … but that does not stop me from trying … and failing.  Someone once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different outcome.
There are aspects of our lives that we cannot overcome … because we are not God .. We need God … we live in a fallen, sin-sick world … and it messes us up … and we can’t fix it … only God can and He did through Jesus … Jesus is the answer … It starts and ends with Jesus.  Stop trying to be God … instead make this your commitment ….
Philippians 3:10-14 ‘I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.’
Pursue God … seek first the kingdom of God … I am pretty sure you know all of these things already … but you have to put them into practice … and let God change you …
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)





Friday, November 16, 2012

Fill My Cup, Lord

My Utmost For His Highest
‘We have a tendency to look for wonder in our experience, and we mistake heroic actions for real heroes. It’s one thing to go through a crisis grandly, yet quite another to go through every day glorifying God when there is no witness, no limelight, and no one paying even the remotest attention to us. If we are not looking for halos, we at least want something that will make people say, “What a wonderful man of prayer he is!” or, “What a great woman of devotion she is!” If you are properly devoted to the Lord Jesus, you have reached the lofty height where no one would ever notice you personally. All that is noticed is the power of God coming through you all the time.
We want to be able to say, “Oh, I have had a wonderful call from God!” But to do even the most humbling tasks to the glory of God takes the Almighty God Incarnate working in us. To be utterly unnoticeable requires God’s Spirit in us making us absolutely humanly His. The true test of a saint’s life is not successfulness but faithfulness on the human level of life. We tend to set up success in Christian work as our purpose, but our purpose should be to display the glory of God in human life, to live a life “hidden with Christ in God” in our everyday human conditions (Colossians 3:3). Our human relationships are the very conditions in which the ideal life of God should be exhibited.’ CHAMBERS
How do you feel when someone gives you praise for what you are doing for the Lord?  Do you need that to continue to serve?  To be affirmed by others so you can believe you have personal value?  It is very common for people to look at your service and praise you for it.  Is there anything wrong in that?  Well, yes and no.  When men encountered angels in the Bible, the men wanted to worship the angels because of who they were.  But the angels always told them not to do that.  There is only One who deserves our worship.  When Jesus healed the blind man, the blind man worshipped Him and Jesus did not stop him .. why?  Because all … yes all .. the glory and honor and praise are His not ours.  It is like the coffee cup sitting on my desk taking credit for the coffee it holds.  I brewed the coffee and poured it in the cup.  Someone else picked the coffee beans, ground them and still someone else packaged them and sold them.  You see how ridiculous it is for the cup to claim anything but that it is being used by me?  It’s a nice looking cup … but unless I fill it, it cannot fulfill its purpose.
So it is with us.  Everything we do, we do for God’s glory and by His provision.  I would go so far to say that if we take credit for the work .. or receive the praise for what God has done for ourselves, we sin.  Sound extreme?  People want to praise me … what I tell them is to thank God for my obedience.   God has placed us in situations where it is clear to me that He has intervened … what we were asked to do was beyond us …. And people look at what we do and say kind things .. but I know that everything I am .. all that I can do … everything that I have done that is praiseworthy .. is because of God … I am just a coffee cup, waiting to be filled ….
How about you?  Do you prefer black or cream and sugar!
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)