Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Problem is not the What -- But the Will

My Utmost For His Highest
‘When God changes you through regeneration, giving you new 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. […] 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
(1 Corinthians 8:9-13)  But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol's temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols? And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.”
(1 Corinthians 6:12 NKJV)  All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful.”
Even though we have freedom in Christ, we are not free to do whatever we want … Even those things that are ‘OK’ to do, we may not do because we would cause a Brother to stumble in his faith.  You may ask Cain’s question.  “Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is Abel your brother?" He said, "I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?" (Genesis 4:9)  Are you willing to not do something for the benefit of others?  Most of us are willing to do something for someone.  But are you willing to ‘not do something’ for someone.  To say ‘no’ to yourself for the sake of another person? That requires the attitude of Jesus … a willingness to lay your life down for others.  Are you? Will you? And if you are asking yourself, what thing must I stop doing? You most likely already know.  It typically is not the “what” that is the problem, it’s the “will”.
(John 15:13) “No greater love has one man than this, that he lay down his life for his friend.”
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Friday, June 28, 2013

Speaking The Truth In Love

My Utmost For His Highest
‘Never water down the Word of God, but preach it in its undiluted sternness. There must be unflinching faithfulness to the Word of God, but when you come to personal dealings with others, remember who you are— you are not some special being created in heaven, but a sinner saved by grace.’ CHAMBERS
The Word of God never changes … God gave us the Word because He wanted us to know certain things about His nature and ours, and about His provision (through Jesus) and our purpose (in Jesus).  Speaking the Truth, in love, means telling people things that they may not want to hear, but what they need to hear.  Why? Because it is the truth.  When we dilute the Word, we modify the truth.  When we are prompted by the Spirit to speak .. and we don’t because we feel sorry for the person or people we are speaking to, we quench the Spirit. Sometimes we do this out of pity and other times out of fear … when instead we should speak out of obedience and by faith.
If you promised to never to raise your voice when speaking to your child, but then saw that child about to walk in front of an oncoming car, would you cry out in a loud voice to them?  Why? To save them from harm.  In the same way, we must be like Peter and John … speaking boldly before the people around us .. with confidence in the One who has called us and in the power of the One who prompts us to speak.
(Colossians 3:14-17 NKJV) “But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Life is not fair, but God is just

My Utmost For His Highest
‘The Sermon on the Mount indicates that when we are on a mission for Jesus Christ, there is no time to stand up for ourselves. 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?” CHAMBERS
Some years ago we were serving in a place where we were treated unjustly.  We were actually in shock … and vexed.  We did not know how to respond .. fortunately, God had already placed the right people around us at the right time and we received the right counsel from some wonderful Christian friends.  Their advice was to say nothing in our defense, but let God vindicate us.  Looking back … we were prideful in that we were disappointed that ‘we who were serving God’  were being treated poorly and unfairly, but why should we expect to be treated any differently than our Lord was treated?
1 Peter 4:12-16 NKJV ‘Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people's matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.’
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Now is the accepted time to pray

My Utmost For His Highest
‘It is not a question of praying and asking God to help you— it is taking the grace of God now. We tend to make prayer the preparation for our service, yet it is never that in the Bible. Prayer is the practice of drawing on the grace of God. Don’t say, “I will endure this until I can get away and pray.” Pray now — draw on the grace of God in your moment of need. Prayer is the most normal and useful thing; it is not simply a reflex action of your devotion to God. We are very slow to learn to draw on God’s grace through prayer.. […] Draw on His grace now, not later. The primary word in the spiritual vocabulary is now. Let circumstances take you where they will, but keep drawing on the grace of God in whatever condition you may find yourself. 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.’ CHAMBERS
(2 Corinthians 6:2 NKJV) “For He says: "IN AN ACCEPTABLE TIME I HAVE HEARD YOU, AND IN THE DAY OF SALVATION I HAVE HELPED YOU." Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
We often quote a portion of that verse when we are asking people to give their hearts to the Lord.  ‘Today is the day of salvation’ But there is more to it than that.  I was speaking and praying with an American pastor just this week … I told him about my oldest daughter and the physical challenges she was facing.  He asked if we could pray .. I told him that the best time to pray is always ‘now’.  So we did.
Our relationship with God .. our connection with Jesus is not supposed to be like a light switch .. something you can turn on and off … We to trust Him .. seek Him .. all the time in every circumstance … all the time  … God is faithful …
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Sin is a Four Letter Word

My Utmost For His Highest
‘Not being reconciled to the fact of sin— not recognizing it and refusing to deal with it— produces all the disasters in life. You may talk about the lofty virtues of human nature, but there is something in human nature that will mockingly laugh in the face of every principle you have. 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.” CHAMBERS
Do you know someone who does not struggle with the temptation to sin? Actually, you don’t.  Sin .. or the desire or temptation to sin … is something that all of us struggle with, but  … “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.” (James 1:12-16 NKJV)
There are some people who seem to have no problems … and we wonder .. “How do they do that?, How do they live a life free from the things that torment me?”  The answer is, not that they don’t face temptation, but that they respond to the temptation in a way that allows them to resist being drawn away to walk the path that leads to sin.  1 Corinthians 10:13 says that we are all tempted, but God has made a way to escape so that we can stand up against it.  Jesus gave us the example in the desert when He was tempted by Satan.   For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. “ (Hebrews 4:15-16 NKJV)
Living successfully in the face of the temptation to sin all boils down to one thing … your connection with Jesus .. are you abiding in the Vine .. or are you trying to produce fruit on your own.  Are you reading the Word of God (Psalm 119:11) .. or are you trying to use your own method ,, your “won’t power” … saying you won’t give in to the temptation … if you could do that successfully  .. Jesus could have stayed in heaven .. but you can’t so He didn’t.
“Weak and wounded sinner,  Lost and left to die,  O, raise your head for Love is passing by,[…] Come to Jesus and live”  Come to Jesus -- Chris Rice
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Friday, June 21, 2013

Prayer is not an Option

My Utmost For His Highest
‘[…] don’t worry anymore about yourself, but begin to do as Jesus Christ has said, in essence, “Pray for the friend who comes to you at midnight, pray for the saints of God, and pray for all men.” 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
What do you spend most of your time praying about .. or if you don’t pray that much .. thinking about in terms of your relationship with God?  Is it you? Or is it others. Part of the work of the Saint is intercession.  Well to be part of the work of the Saint, it has to be something the Saint “does”.  Think about this .. we have been given free access in to the presence of God through the work of Jesus.  That means that we can approach God not only for ourselves, but on behalf of others.  Two suggestions for you .. make prayer a routine like brushing your teeth .. it is something that you do .. not something that you will get to if you find time .. second … when someone asks you to pray, pray right then … not later .. later never finds its way to your schedule.  If God knows everything, why does He want us to pray? Can’t He do it without us? Yes, but for some reason .. He has chosen to use us in His redemption plan through witnessing and His ministering to others through our works and prayers.  Oh a final thought … “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17)  Prayer is not really an option.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Gonna Change My Ways

My Utmost For His Highest
‘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. There is a great deal of prayer that comes from actual disbelief in the atonement. Jesus is not just beginning to save us— He has already saved us completely. […] Whatever circumstances God may place you in, always pray immediately that His atonement may be recognized and as fully understood in the lives of others as it has been in yours. Pray for your friends now, and pray for those with whom you come in contact now.’ CHAMBERS
Have you ever thought, I just need to stop or start doing this or that and then I will be right spiritually. We can’t do anything but one thing to be righteous .. to live a crucified life in Christ .. by faith (Galatians 2:20) We have to stop trying to be good and to do good and trust in the One who is good. The Bible is replete with admonitions to trust God and turn from our own understanding and sin-flawed effort.  We must resist the temptation to focus in, on ourselves, and, instead, focus out on God and others (Matthew 22:37-29).  We look at others behavior but rather than pray for them as we should, we condemn them.  The Bible says to pray for each other (James 5:16) even those who don’t treat you well … (Matthew 5:44)
Well, that should keep you busy today!
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Why Do You Do What You Do?

My Utmost For His Highest
‘Our Lord’s primary obedience was to the will of His Father, not to the needs of people— the saving of people was the natural outcome of His obedience to the Father. If I am devoted solely to the cause of humanity, I will soon be exhausted and come to the point where my love will waver and stumble. But if I love Jesus Christ personally and passionately, I can serve humanity, even though people may treat me like a “doormat.” The secret of a disciple’s life is devotion to Jesus Christ, and the characteristic of that life is its seeming insignificance and its meekness. Yet it is like a grain of wheat that “falls into the ground and dies”— it will spring up and change the entire landscape (John 12:24).’ CHAMBERS
Do you have a problem serving people who are ungrateful?  Who want to take advantage of the situation and get more than they need.  In Mississippi we talked about the needy and the greedy.  There are always both.  The question that must be answered is .. Who called us to this work .. our answer is always God .. but then we act like we called ourselves.  When God sent His Son .. He knew about those who would reject Jesus .. who would crucify Him.  The issue is not the absence or presence of people who take advantage, who are not thankful .. the issue is, are we serving Jesus or some idea that we are doing good and should be appreciated for it.
"Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly. "And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. (Matthew 6:1-5)
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Are You Crazy?

My Utmost For His Highest
‘. . . Peter . . . walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid . . . —Matthew 14:29-30
We step right out with recognition of God in some things, then self-consideration enters our lives and down we go. If you are truly recognizing your Lord, you have no business being concerned about how and where He engineers your circumstances. The things surrounding you are real, but when you look at them you are immediately overwhelmed, and even unable to recognize Jesus. Then comes His rebuke, “. . . why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31). Let your actual circumstances be what they may, but keep recognizing Jesus, maintaining complete reliance upon Him.[…]  It is only through abandonment of yourself and your circumstances that you will recognize Him. You will only recognize His voice more clearly through recklessness— being willing to risk your all.’ CHAMBERS
The world sees faith as recklessness.  Even fanaticism.  Without the Spirit of God you cannot hear the voice of God.  Has He called you to get out of the boat?  To trust Him in an impossible situation? Don’t expect the world to understand.  1 Corinthians 2:14  “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”  In 2010, we were preparing to leave Waveland, MS.  I was speaking with a friend about where we were going.  When I said ‘God has called us to Haiti’, He looked me in the eyes and said, “Are you crazy?” Why would anyone want to go to that place?  I told him it was not my idea, but God was calling us there and we were going.
Understanding is not a requirement for obedience.  As I am typing this I am thing about children and their frequent response to being told to do something .. “Why”.  My response .. “You don’t need to know why, you need to trust me and do what I ask”. So it is with God. Hebrews 11:1
“Trust and obey, for there is no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey”
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Where is the Love?

My Utmost For His Highest
‘The average Christian is the most piercingly critical individual known. Criticism is one of the ordinary activities of people, but in the spiritual realm nothing is accomplished by it. The effect of criticism is the dividing up of the strengths of the one being criticized. The Holy Spirit is the only one in the proper position to criticize, and He alone is able to show what is wrong without hurting and wounding. It is impossible to enter into fellowship with God when you are in a critical mood. Criticism serves to make you harsh, vindictive, and cruel, and leaves you with the soothing and flattering idea that you are somehow superior to others. Jesus says that as His disciple you should cultivate a temperament that is never critical.’ CHAMBERS
Have you ever been there?  Are you there right now?  We can acknowledge that God loves us and we are to love others, and then God brings someone across our path who is very difficult to love.  Our response is to justify why they should not be loved by being critical of what they say or do.  Do we feel superior? Yes.  Do we want to admit that? No .. we want to justify it .. and we cannot … Do you know how great the love of God was that Jesus died for you?  You were a sinner who deserved hell … ‘But God demonstrates His own love for us, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us’ (Romans 5:8)    Did Jesus take on a superior attitude … no but that of a servant .. He laid His life down … And we are supposed to do the same thing .. It is not your superior spiritual nature that causes you to be critical of others .. it is your flesh … You are not the Holy Spirit … It is the beam in your eye that is reflected like a speck in your Brother’s eye that you are criticizing.  Nowhere in the Bible will you see an admonition to be critical of one another or judge one another … on the contrary, we are told to love one another … So where is the love?
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Define "All"

My Utmost For His Highest
John 15:13 No greater love …
‘If I am a friend of Jesus, I must deliberately and carefully lay down my life for Him. It is a difficult thing to do, and thank God that it is. Salvation is easy for us, because it cost God so much. But the exhibiting of salvation in my life is difficult. God saves a person, fills him with the Holy Spirit, and then says, in effect, “Now you work it out in your life, and be faithful to Me, even though the nature of everything around you is to cause you to be unfaithful.”[…] It is much easier to die than to lay down your life day in and day out with the sense of the high calling of God.’ CHAMBERS
How much is enough?  If I am to lay my life down for others .. how much is enough?  Normally this has to more to do with how much of the worldly pleasures and comforts must I sacrifice than anything else.  Well, at least for Americans.  Jesus made it clear what it meant to be His disciple .. to follow Him … it would cost us everything .. as I type this words to songs are running through my head .. ‘Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe..” ‘All I once held dear, built my life upon, All this world revers and wars to own .. All I once thought gain I have counted loss, spent and worthless now, compared to this … knowing you, Jesus”
Is that how you feel? Is that what you are committed to?  Jesus … the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6) … Someone once said that “if He is not Lord of all .. then He is not Lord at all.” Meaning, you can’t have it both ways.
Hebrews 12:1-2  “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Godly Habits

My Utmost For His Highest
‘No one is born either naturally or supernaturally with character; it must be developed. Nor are we born with habits— we have to form godly habits on the basis of the new life God has placed within us. We are not meant to be seen as God’s perfect, bright-shining examples, but to be seen as the everyday essence of ordinary life exhibiting the miracle of His grace.[…] I must realize that my obedience even in the smallest detail of life has all of the omnipotent power of the grace of God behind it. If I will do my duty, not for duty’s sake but because I believe God is engineering my circumstances, then at the very point of my obedience all of the magnificent grace of God is mine through the glorious atonement by the Cross of Christ.’ CHAMBERS
When we accept Christ … on the day of our conversion from the old life to the new life in Christ, we do not receive supernatural habits so we read the Bible .. pray … naturally do “Christian” things.  We have to form godly habits in much the same way that we form the habit of brushing our teeth or some other practice that becomes a part of who we are and what we do every day.  Living a successful Christian life is the result of developing those practices that reinforce our relationship with the Father through the Son by the power of the Spirit and the counsel of the Word.  We must be focused and intentional if we are to be consistent and successful in our walk of faith.
What should our focus be on? 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 [Paul], these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”
"Turn your eyes upon Jesus.  Look full in His wonderful face..  And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace."
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Do people see Jesus in you?

My Utmost For His Highest
‘Abide in Me . . . —John 15:4
[…] The Spirit of Jesus is put into me by way of the atonement by the Cross of Christ. I then have to build my thinking patiently to bring it into perfect harmony with my Lord. God will not make me think like Jesus— I have to do it myself. I have to bring “every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). “Abide in Me”— in intellectual matters, in money matters, in every one of the matters that make human life what it is. […] It does not matter what my circumstances are. I can be as much assured of abiding in Jesus in any one of them as I am in any prayer meeting. Think of the things that take you out of the position of abiding in Christ. You say, “Yes, Lord, just a minute— I still have this to do. Yes, I will abide as soon as this is finished, or as soon as this week is over. It will be all right, Lord. I will abide then.” Get moving— begin to abide now. In the initial stages it will be a continual effort to abide, but as you continue, it will become so much a part of your life that you will abide in Him without any conscious effort. Make the determination to abide in Jesus wherever you are now or wherever you may be placed in the future.’ CHAMBERS
When Jesus walked this earth … He gave us an example of what kind of relationship God wants with us.  Seeking the Father … submitting to His will “Not My will but Your will be done..” (Luke 22:42) Abiding in Christ is to walk with Him, obey Him, to be like Him … “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father” (John 14:9)  People should say that about us … “We see Jesus in you”.  In every circumstance in our lives, the nature of Jesus .. His character, His love … should be reflected … 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.”
No matter where you are or what you are doing ... let Jesus shine in you and through you ...
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Jesus Is

My Utmost For His Highest
They said to Him, ’Rabbi . . . where are You staying?’ He said to them, ’Come and see’ —John 1:38-39
‘Where our self-interest sleeps and the real interest is awakened. “They . . . remained with Him that day . . . .” That is about all some of us ever do. We stay with Him a short time, only to wake up to our own realities of life. Our self-interest rises up and our abiding with Him is past. Yet there is no circumstance of life in which we cannot abide in Jesus.[…] Put no conditions on your life— let Jesus be everything to you, and He will take you home with Him not only for a day, but for eternity.’ CHAMBERS
Abiding with and in Jesus is the secret to living a consistent spiritual life. Our life should be like the ocean … on the surface there may be huge waves, storms raging … but within .. under the surface .. there is calm … Jesus is the source of our new life .. He is our strength .. our peace … our salvation …
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Are You Serious?

My Utmost For His Highest
‘If I will simply come to Jesus, my real life will be brought into harmony with my real desires. I will actually cease from sin, and will find the song of the Lord beginning in my life.
Have you ever come to Jesus? Look at the stubbornness of your heart. You would rather do anything than this one simple childlike thing— “Come to Me.” If you really want to experience ceasing from sin, you must come to Jesus.
Jesus Christ makes Himself the test to determine your genuineness. Look how He used the word come. At the most unexpected moments in your life there is this whisper of the Lord— “Come to Me,” and you are immediately drawn to Him. Personal contact with Jesus changes everything. Be “foolish” enough to come and commit yourself to what He says. The attitude necessary for you to come to Him is one where your will has made the determination to let go of everything and deliberately commit it all to Him.’ CHAMBERS
The New Testament letters to the Christians .. yes .. to the Christians … were full of encouragement for them to continue in the faith .. to “Come to Jesus”, and not return to the way they once lived.
Colossians 3:5-10  “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.  Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience,  in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.  But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.  Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds,  and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him…”
Paul says the Colossians were having a problem … guess what .. we are all having a problem .. God .. by His Spirit .. included those admonitions for our benefit.  Not so we could read about how the Christians in Colossae struggled and thus feel sorry for them.  Sorry because they could not be like us, free of the “old man”, always walking in the newness of life. (tongue in cheek) Solomon said there is nothing new under the sun .. and nothing old for that matter … man is the same today as he was when Solomon lived and when Paul wrote those words.  The good news is .. so is Jesus … He is waiting …Christian … come to Jesus .. and live.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Monday, June 10, 2013

Staying Connected

My Utmost For His Highest
‘What is the greatest source of power in my life? Is it my work, service, and sacrifice for others, or is it my striving to work for God? It should be none of these— what ought to exert the greatest power in my life is the atonement of the Lord. It is not on what we spend the greatest amount of time that molds us the most, but whatever exerts the most power over us. We must make a determination to limit and concentrate our desires and interests on the atonement by the Cross of Christ.’ CHAMBERS
We must remember who we are in Christ .. and live in that awareness.  To abide in Christ is to be connected to the Vine .. to draw your strength and essence from Him.  "I [Jesus] am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5.  "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” John 15:7
You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” James 4:2-3
It is not “name it and claim it”  If we are abiding in Christ .. we see the whole world from a new perspective … What we want is what He wants … Our view toward life on this planet is radically changed … Has it for you?
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Half Hearted Faith

My Utmost For His Highest
‘Have you ever sought God with your whole heart, or have you simply given Him a feeble cry after some emotionally painful experience?’ CHAMBERS
We can’t live a “half-hearted” life and expect to be successful spiritually.  We are faced with trials every day .. we struggle with our past and can’t seem to overcome the burden that past has laid on us.
Matthew 8:24-26  “And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep.  Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, "Lord, save us! We are perishing!"  But He said to them, "Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?" Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.”
We, like the disciples, look at the circumstances and our inability to “fix” what is wrong.  And then we panic … All the while, the Lord, who is with us, is sleeping in the corner.  That should be a hint.  God wants us to completely trust Him.  No matter what comes our way, He is with us …
Matthew 14:28-31  “And Peter answered Him and said, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water."  So He said, "Come." And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.  But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!"  And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"
Sometimes, like Peter, we exercise faith but then the reality of the circumstances overwhelm us .. because we take our eyes off of Jesus.  We forget He is with us and think we are on our own and begin to sink.
Stop trying to live this life on your own … stop trusting in yourself and put your trust in God … He is with you and is stretching out his hand.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Look To Jesus And Live

My Utmost For His Highest
. . . work out your own salvation . . . for it is God who works in you . . . —Philippians 2:12-13
‘Your will agrees with God, but in your flesh there is a nature that renders you powerless to do what you know you ought to do. When the Lord initially comes in contact with our conscience, the first thing our conscience does is awaken our will, and our will always agrees with God. Yet you say, “But I don’t know if my will is in agreement with God.” Look to Jesus and you will find that your will and your conscience are in agreement with Him every time. What causes you to say “I will not obey” is something less deep and penetrating than your will. It is perversity or stubbornness, and they are never in agreement with God. The most profound thing in a person is his will, not sin. The will is the essential element in God’s creation of human beings— sin is a perverse nature which entered into people. In someone who has been born again, the source of the will is Almighty God.’ CHAMBERS
I was asked by one of the children, concerning baptism; “After I am baptized will I stop sinning?” I was surprised by the question but only because it came from a child.  It told me that the Spirit has awakened her to the reality of a Holy God and her tendency to stray from Him.  That her desire is to live a holy life, but she struggles with sin in her life.  Isn’t that true of all of us?  I am a child of God  .. but the perversion of sin and the stubborness of my flesh says … I can go my own way ….
Sanctification .. the process of being transformed into the image of Jesus requires work on our part … Salvation, of course, requires faith .. but there are things I must do to grow, mature, in my new life … If I don’t .. I will always struggle .. Paul wrote to the Corinthians “ And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ.  I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able;  for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?”  (1 Corinthians 3:1-3)
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)