Thursday, October 31, 2013

One Thing Remains - His Love Never Gives Up

My Utmost For His Highest
‘Faith, as the Bible teaches it, is faith in God coming against everything that contradicts Him— a faith that says, “I will remain true to God’s character whatever He may do.” The highest and the greatest expression of faith in the whole Bible is— “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15).’ CHAMBERS
I think God uses marriage – the life commitment between a man and a woman – as a way to show us what our relationship with Him is like.  In a marriage the two people experience heartache and joy. But the covenant they have made is not dependent upon those experiences.  It transcends what they experience.  They don’t abandon each other because of hardship … distress .. loss … sickness … or financial trouble … but they stay true to each other.  In the same way .. we have a Father in heaven who loves us and will never leave us … He is by nature faithful … He will be nothing else …. but we are not always the faithful partner … we find ourselves committed to a conditional relationship … so long as things go our way … we are in .. but if we have problems … well … we might just have to find someone else … Hosea and Gomer are a picture of how we often treat our relationship with God …
Living by faith is so much more than happy thoughts … or well-crafted words on an email … but living in the daily grind of life … facing whatever comes our way with confidence in our relationship with the creator God. Knowing that we have joy and peace not because of the circumstances that surround us, but because of the God who loves us.
(One Thing Remains)
“Higher than the mountains that I face,  Stronger than the power of the grave,  Constant through the trial and the change,  One thing… Remains
Your love never fails, never gives up  Never runs out on me
On and on and on and on it goes, It overwhelms and satisfies my soul, And I never, ever, have to be afraid  ....  One thing remains
In death, In life, I’m confident and covered by the power of Your great love,  My debt is paid, there’s nothing that can separate my heart from Your great love...”
Romans 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Letting God Have The Controls

My Utmost For His Highest
‘Common sense and faith are as different from each other as the natural life is from the spiritual, and as impulsiveness is from inspiration. Nothing that Jesus Christ ever said is common sense, but is revelation sense, and is complete, whereas common sense falls short. Yet faith must be tested and tried before it becomes real in your life. “We know that all things work together for good . . .” (Romans 8:28) so that no matter what happens, the transforming power of God’s providence transforms perfect faith into reality. Faith always works in a personal way, because the purpose of God is to see that perfect faith is made real in His children.[…] The life of faith says, “Lord, You have said it, it appears to be irrational, but I’m going to step out boldly, trusting in Your Word”’  CHAMBERS
We find ourselves there all of the time. This may sound pious perhaps, but unless you have the Spirit of God it is impossible to make any sense out of what God calls you to do.  The people consider the issue of God in this world without the capacity to understand God. Because they cannot understand Him, they reject Him.  They lack the faith ingredient, the Holy Spirit, in their lives. They see the effects of what God has done and is doing … but they refuse to ascribe them to a creator God … We must be careful … we have the capacity to trust in our flesh (our own understanding) and not in God as we live our lives.
We think we have things all figured out … to the point we think what God is going to do next .. and He surprises us.  The amazing thing is not what God does next but that He is doing it at all.  His love is amazing … and beyond comprehension.  He is the creator .. He does not need to do anything .. but He loves us and chooses to act on our behalf.  I don’t deserve it .. it doesn’t make any sense … well not common sense anyway … When God makes a left turn and you thought you were going to turn right .. trust God … He is not my co-pilot … He is the Captain of this ship.
When flying helicopters in the Army I was taught that you always made a positive three way transfer of the flight controls. If I was going to fly the aircraft I would say "I have the controls". The other pilot would say "you have the controls" and visually checked to see that my hands were on the controls. Then I would say "I have the controls".  It was when we were both certain he would release the controls.  God has the controls .. you can let go ...
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

More Like You, Jesus .. I Want To Be More Like You

My Utmost For His Highest
‘Our sins are removed because of the death of Jesus, and the only explanation for His death is His obedience to His Father, not His sympathy for us. We are acceptable to God not because we have obeyed, nor because we have promised to give up things, but because of the death of Christ, and for no other reason.’ CHAMBERS
Jesus set the example of obedience to the will of God.  You might be thinking, “Oh, sure, but Jesus is the Son of God.”  You are the son or daughter of God.  He has given you His Spirit … it is by the Spirit that we live this new life in Christ.  Doing the will of the father should be more than a philosophy but our passion and our preoccupation.  Jesus said “If you have seen Me you have seen the Father” in response to the request from His disciples.  That should be our response to the world.  “If you want to see Jesus, then look at my life … that is what Jesus looks like.” Can you say that?  Why not? Do you think that is impossible?  Then you must also think that there is error in the Bible.  Imagine running in a race that you are convinced that you cannot finish.  What is the point. Or maybe you can finish it ... but not on your own!
Hebrews 12:1-3 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Monday, October 28, 2013

It's Him Not Me!

My Utmost For His Highest
‘The salvation that comes from God is not based on human logic, but on the sacrificial death of Jesus. We can be born again solely because of the atonement of our Lord. Sinful men and women can be changed into new creations, not through their repentance or their belief, but through the wonderful work of God in Christ Jesus which preceded all of our experience (see 2 Corinthians 5:17-19). The unconquerable safety of justification and sanctification is God Himself. We do not have to accomplish these things ourselves— they have been accomplished through the atonement of the Cross of Christ.’ CHAMBERS
The trouble with saying “When I prayed to receive Christ or saying .. when I accepted Christ”, is the suggestion that there is a possibility that we had something to do with our salvation … when we understand that it is in Christ alone that we are saved … that we had nothing to do with the sacrifice for our sins .. that it was Jesus .. perhaps then we will stop trying to be good .. or worse pretending to be good … and accept that only “our Father in heaven is good”  (Matthew 19:17) Our connection to being right before a holy God is through Jesus to the Father (John 17:20-21).  God the Father is the source of all things.  He sent Jesus … He loved us first … He gave us the possibility of our new life because of that love.  We had nothing to do with the work … our only part was belief in that work … (1 John 3:1)  “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.”  Spend some time today with the One you loves you more than we can imagine .. more than we deserve …
Bondye Bon – Tout Tan – God is Good – All the time
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Following When Times Get Tough

My Utmost For His Highest
‘A Christian [..] has to learn how to be God’s man or woman of great worth and excellence in the midst of a multitude of meager and worthless things. Never protest by saying, “If only I were somewhere else!” All of God’s people are ordinary people who have been made extraordinary by the purpose He has given them. Unless we have the right purpose intellectually in our minds and lovingly in our hearts, we will very quickly be diverted from being useful to God. We are not workers for God by choice. Many people deliberately choose to be workers, but they have no purpose of God’s almighty grace or His mighty Word in them.  […] It is not that you have gotten God, but that He has gotten you. God is at work bending, breaking, molding, and doing exactly as He chooses. And why is He doing it? He is doing it for only one purpose— that He may be able to say, “This is My man, and this is My woman.” We have to be in God’s hand so that He can place others on the Rock, Jesus Christ, just as He has placed us.’ CHAMBERS
Some time back, at a meeting with other people serving in Haiti, I told them that if God had not called them to serve here, they should go home because serving here is hard with God … but is impossible without God.  I had no idea who was and who wasn’t called by God. But suspected there were some of both in the crowd.  Haitian pastors give me credit for the work here to which I reply “It is not me but God that you need to praise.”  In the old testament there are examples of angels – messengers sent by God – who told men to not worship them when the men tried to bow down before them. That was an example for messengers to be careful about taking credit for what God has done.  It is not just the purpose that makes us extra-ordinary but the power that is in us. God’s Spirit and anointing.  Be careful that you don’t confuse God’s working through you with your personal accomplishments.  The only thing that I have done of note is obey God.  Everything else is because of Him.  False humility – No – a clear understanding of the nature of our call to Haiti. Zechariah 4:6 “It’s not by [my] might nor by [my] power but by [His] Spirit, says the Lord God..”
That is not to say that the work we do will be easy … at the same time that God is using us to bless others and point them to Jesus … He is crushing us like grapes made into wine .. changing us from something that had little or no eternal value into something that was of great use for the kingdom.  It is when you are in the winepress that you will be challenged and will begin to wonder if maybe you should be someplace else …. It is then that your faith will be tested and your resolve challenged.  Do I continue to follow Jesus or do I go home .. back to Egypt .. back to times when it was not so difficult for me. For me?
“I have decided to follow Jesus .. no turning back .. no turning back .. No none go with me, I still will follow .. the world behind me, the cross before me .. no turning back .. no turning back”
How about you?
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Do I Smell Like Jesus or Gym Socks?

My Utmost For His Highest
‘[…] Paul said, in essence, “I am in the procession of a conqueror, and it doesn’t matter what the difficulties are, for I am always led in triumph.” Is this idea being worked out practically in us? Paul’s secret joy was that God took him as a blatant rebel against Jesus Christ, and made him a captive— and that became his purpose. It was Paul’s joy to be a captive of the Lord, and he had no other interest in heaven or on earth. It is a shameful thing for a Christian to talk about getting the victory. We should belong so completely to the Victor that it is always His victory, and “we are more than conquerors through Him . . .” (Romans 8:37).  “We are to God the fragrance of Christ . . .” (2 Corinthians 2:15). We are encompassed with the sweet aroma of Jesus, and wherever we go we are a wonderful refreshment to God.’ CHAMBERS
Do you see yourself as a captive to Jesus?  That would mean that you go where you are led.  You do what you are told.  You have no will of your own, only the will of the Master.  How does your spirit respond to that?  Is there hesitation?  It is one thing to sing “I am crucified with Christ” and another thing to live like it.  Be careful about having a form of righteousness.  One defined by you.  You know what it is to love, because God showed you in Jesus.  You know what it is to obey, because God showed you in Jesus.  You know what it is to trust, because God showed you … well you get the idea.
Haiti is a hot climate .. really hot … most people have a fragrance .. however I would not call it sweet … but every now and then … someone will pass by me and there is a fragrance in the air .. a sweet fragrance .. and just for a moment … my spirit is lifted … That is how it should be with us when we are with others.  When we are with people, no matter what they are like, there should be a sweet fragrance in the air because of the presence of Jesus in us … but unfortunately most of the time we smell like a pair of old, sweaty gym socks.
Colossians 3:15-17 (ESV) “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Doesn't leave much room for gym socks, does it?
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Loving God So I Can Love Others

My Utmost For His Highest
‘How are we going to get a life that has no lust, no self-interest, and is not sensitive to the ridicule of others? How will we have the type of love that “is kind . . . is not provoked, [and] thinks no evil”? (1 Corinthians 13:4-5). The only way is by allowing nothing of the old life to remain, and by having only simple, perfect trust in God— such a trust that we no longer want God’s blessings, but only want God Himself. Have we come to the point where God can withdraw His blessings from us without our trust in Him being affected? Once we truly see God at work, we will never be concerned again about the things that happen, because we are actually trusting in our Father in heaven, whom the world cannot see.’ CHAMBERS
If you were able to take a measurement of your life … as if your new life in Christ were a fluid that you could put in a measuring cup. The cup represents all of your life; How full would the cup be? ¼, ½,?  What remains unfilled in the cup is your old nature.  Does your life represent love . .toward God and others (Matt 22:37-39)?  Or does it represent love for yourself.  Here is a good indicator … see if this describes you … “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13)
Paul said earlier in that chapter …  “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”  It does not matter what we do if the motivation is not there … we are just making noise … and we are missing the point … John 15:13 “no man has a greater love than this .. than to lay down his life for his friends.”  If your measuring cup is not filling up... you, my friend, have a love problem. Go to the One who IS love. God is the One who fills it, not you.
“Fill my cup, Lord’  I lift it up, Lord.  Come and quench this thirsting in my soul.  Bread of Heaven feed me till I want no more. Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole.”
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Lord, I promise .....

My Utmost For His Highest
‘Why doesn’t God reveal Himself to you? He cannot. It is not that He will not, but He cannot, because you are in the way as long as you won’t abandon yourself to Him in total surrender. Yet once you do, immediately God witnesses to Himself—He cannot witness to you, but He instantly witnesses to His own nature in you. If you received the witness of the Spirit before the reality and truth that comes from obedience, it would simply result in sentimental emotion. But when you act on the basis of redemption, and stop the disrespectfulness of debating with God, He immediately gives His witness. As soon as you abandon your own reasoning and arguing, God witnesses to what He has done, and you are amazed at your total disrespect in having kept Him waiting.’ CHAMBERS
Have you ever made a promise to God?  Something like “Lord if you will just get me out of this, I promise that I will … Or I won’t .....”
Unfortunately that is not the way it works.  Obedience comes before blessing, not afterwards.  Obedience might be in the form of a changed heart and may not necessarily be in the form of an action, but it can’t be an empty promise.  God judges the heart .. not our words .. our promises to God are often like New Year resolutions.  To say I would really like to do something .. and I might … just thinking about it or writing it down does not count for much with God? About as much as thinking about getting out of the way of a bus on a busy highway.
We don’t get to define our relationship with God .. He does .. and He says lay your life down .. give up your rights .. trust Me. When you do that .. you will find yourself doing things that make no earthly sense … things that are contrary to the way you  might do things ... but the results will have eternal consequences … and God will bless you …. Joshua 1:8,9  “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, [let the Bible be your guide] so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. [obey God] Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Word of God, Speak It .. Think It .. Do It

My Utmost For His Highest
‘We must get rid of the plague of the spirit of this religious age in which we live. In our Lord’s life there was none of the pressure and the rushing of tremendous activity that we regard so highly today, and a disciple is to be like His Master. The central point of the kingdom of Jesus Christ is a personal relationship with Him, not public usefulness to others. […] strength lies in the fact that here you are immersed in the truths of God to soak in them before Him. You have no idea of where or how God is going to engineer your future circumstances, and no knowledge of what stress and strain is going to be placed on you either at home or abroad. And if you waste your time in over-activity, instead of being immersed in the great fundamental truths of God’s redemption, then you will snap when the stress and strain do come.’ CHAMBERS
It is so easy to involve yourself in activity and to occasionally think about God. In Experiencing God, Henry Blackaby said ‘You have heard it said don’t just stand there .. do something .. But God is saying . .don’t just do something . .stand there’ For us to be successful on our Christian walk .. in this life we live .. to stand under the strains of life … we must have a vital connection to the Vine.  Joshua 1:8,9 “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
The Word of God is powerful … keep it in mind … think about it during the day … keep it in front of you  … be mindful of God .. and you will be able to stand in the face of adversity.  This is not merely a promise .. encouraging words … that might be fulfilled … it is the truth from God.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Prove Your Love By Showing It

My Utmost For His Highest
‘Our Lord told us how our love for Him is to exhibit itself when He asked, “Do you love Me?” (John 21:17). And then He said, “Feed My sheep.” In effect, He said, “Identify yourself with My interests in other people,” not, “Identify Me with your interests in other people.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 shows us the characteristics of this love— it is actually the love of God expressing itself. […]  Faithfulness to Jesus Christ is the supernatural work of redemption that has been performed in me by the Holy Spirit— “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit . . .” (Romans 5:5). And it is that love in me that effectively works through me and comes in contact with everyone I meet.  […] The key to the missionary’s devotion is that he is attached to nothing and to no one except our Lord Himself. […] The duty of a faithful missionary is to concentrate on keeping his soul completely and continually open to the nature of the Lord Jesus Christ. The men and women our Lord sends out on His endeavors are ordinary human people, but people who are controlled by their devotion to Him, which has been brought about through the work of the Holy Spirit.’ CHAMBERS
How do you respond to the people you meet?  Is it based upon some predisposition?  Is it some assumption about people of a particular culture, ethnic group, economic status, faith, or geographic origin ( I myself am a Yankee who has repented in some people’s eyes).  Or do you see them the way Jesus would see them .. someone who desperately needs a relationship with their creator .. someone who is without hope except in Jesus … someone Jesus came to die for.  Do you communicate judgment .. superiority .. distance … rejection .. in your voice, your words, your attitude when you meet people?  Or do you reflect Jesus and the love He has for the world?  We cannot justify poor treatment of others because of our own fears, doubts and weaknesses … If we don’t show the love of Jesus to others .. who will … no one that’s who.  We love because God first loved us.  (1 John 4:19)
John 21:17 [And] Jesus said “Do you love Me {Put your name in here} … Feed My Sheep …”  In other words Jesus was saying .. “Show Me by loving others”
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Choosing To Pray

My Utmost For His Highest
‘Prayer does not equip us for greater works— prayer is the greater work. […] Prayer is the battle, and it makes no difference where you are. However God may engineer your circumstances, your duty is to pray. Never allow yourself this thought, “I am of no use where I am,” because you certainly cannot be used where you have not yet been placed. Wherever God has placed you and whatever your circumstances, you should pray, continually offering up prayers to Him. CHAMBERS
When you became a Christian, how did that happen?  You prayed.  Our life in Christ begins with prayer.  Our daily walk should continue in prayer.  Rather than try to figure it out .. we should talk to God about it.  If we draw conclusions which lead to actions that are devoid of prayer … it is very likely that the conclusion is ours alone and God was not included.  1 Peter 5:7Cast all your cares on HimPhilippians 4:6,7 “Be anxious for nothing but in everything with prayer and supplication let your requests be made known to God”  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  Ephesians 6:18 “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”
So how are you doing with that?  Personally I have a ways to go.  It is so easy to try to live the Christian life without prayer.  Huge mistake.  You don’t need to go to Christian book store and buy a how-to-pray book … you didn’t have it when you accepted Jesus as Lord … you just need to approach God with a pure heart and clean hands. Take time to pray .. do it today .. do it now.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

How to Stay Connected -- Take Time To Pray

My Utmost For His Highest
Pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest —Matthew 9:38
‘The key to the missionary’s difficult task is in the hand of God, and that key is prayer, not work— that is, not work as the word is commonly used today, which often results in the shifting of our focus away from God. The key to the missionary’s difficult task is also not the key of common sense, nor is it the key of medicine, civilization, education, or even evangelization. The key is in following the Master’s orders— the key is prayer. “Pray the Lord of the harvest . . . .” In the natural realm, prayer is not practical but absurd. We have to realize that prayer is foolish from the commonsense point of view.’ CHAMBERS
It is so easy to lose sight of who you are and what you are to be about.  We settle into what we consider to be “our” ministry .. even become protective of it, as if it were something that we had been given for our possession.  What we are called to do .. the field we labor in belongs to the Lord of the Harvest, not us.  We are not even leasing the field .. we are merely laborers in the field.  But, the temptation is to forget about Who sent us .. We were focused on Him when we first began .. when we were not so confident in what we were doing .. but now that we have some success and have our ministry legs under us, our inclination is to act less dependently upon the Lord.
God always calls you to something that is bigger than you are.  It is His work and always requires His Spirit to do it.  Maybe you have stopped listening to God’s voice.  How can you hear His voice? By His Spirit.  The Spirit speaks to you through prayer, the Word, circumstances, and other believers.  If you are not spending the time to hear from God, then you may very well be serving in your own strength.  Like Paul says in 2 Timothy 3, you have a form of godliness .. you are doing “good things” but you are denying the power of God … you are serving in your own power.
It is God who brings the increase .. not my working harder or longer … It is the Lord’s field and it is His harvest .. not mine.  My part in this ministry is to stay connected to the Source of power and to walk in obedience to what the Lord has said.  To go where He guides.  And how will I do that if I am not talking to Him?
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I am forgiven because Jesus was forsaken .. I'm accepted Jesus was condemned

My Utmost For His Highest
‘The greatest message of limitless importance is that “He Himself is the propitiation for our sins . . . .” The missionary’s message is not nationalistic, favoring nations or individuals; it is “for the whole world.” When the Holy Spirit comes into me, He does not consider my partialities or preferences; He simply brings me into oneness with the Lord Jesus.’ CHAMBERS
What is our message to a world that is crumbling around us? It should be … Don’t put your trust in the things of this world because they will fail you.  The economy, the form of government, affluence, culture, nationality, ethnic origin … they all mean nothing in the God’s eternal scheme.  Yet those things are often barriers for people – Christians – who will set themselves and their position, fleshly distinctions and preferences as most important in any relationship with another person.
But what connects Christians is the work of Jesus Christ on the cross and the presence of the Holy Spirit in each believer – not any of those other things.  Propitiation is a big word … but what it means is mercy … that through Jesus, God shows us mercy.  You probably have heard the phrase “I am throwing myself on the mercy of this court.”  … meaning don’t condemn me as I deserve, but spare me from the penalty of what I have done.  Because of Jesus, we can experience God’s mercy .. not because we were born in the right place, are the right color, belong to the right party … have the right heritage … but only because of Jesus.
Christians are very good at separating themselves from others … like the Pharisee and the publican or tax collector (Luke18:9-14) … praying … thinking that somehow they are better than others … when really we all deserve hell … but we get heaven because of Jesus.  Think about that today as you meet others … before you think harsh thoughts about someone  .. remember that even as God has shown us mercy, we should, in turn, show others mercy. (Matthew18:21-35)
"I'm alive  and well, the Spirit is within me, because You died and rose again.  Amazing love how can it be, that you my King would die for me.  Amazing love, I know it's true and it's my joy to honor You in all I do."  and say and think ....
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Jesus is the Truth

My Utmost For His Highest
‘“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you . . .” (John 15:7)— that is the way to keep going. Where we are placed is then a matter of indifference to us, because God sovereignly engineers our goings.  “None of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus . . .” (Acts 20:24). That is how to keep going until we are gone from this life.’ CHAMBERS
Do you think that truth is relative .. in other words that something is true some place but not others.  Absolute truth that comes from God is not relative .. and what we read in God’s Word is absolute truth.  Jesus “is” the Truth. (John 14:6) All things are summed up in Him.  I encourage Christians to read the Bible.  Have you wondered what the early Christians did without a Bible?  How could they maintain any level of spirituality?  What do people do today that don’t have a Bible or who can’t read?  How can they be “spiritual” if spirituality is based solely upon access to the written Word?  I have especially become aware of this issue since I started preaching in Haitian churches … do I tell them that the key to spiritual strength is reading the Word of God. So if they don’t have it or can’t read it, what does that mean?
It leads me to the inescapable conclusion that it is not the Bible but the Author that I need to focus on the most. The Bible is very important, but I am reminded that even though some believers do not have the written Word, they do have the Holy Spirit. There is no substitute for your relationship with the living Word.  Not even the Bible.  Our  relationship with Jesus is the most important aspect of our faith walk … I marvel at those Christians who new life is limited to a few snippets of the Word of God, perhaps translated and even paraphrased to fit their language.  They may never see a Bible in their lifetime.  Yet, they love Jesus and can walk in the Spirit.  We are richly blessed to be literate and access to the written Word, television, radio, the internet .. and are therefore without excuse.  Spend some time with the Truth today. Oh, and read your Bible, it is a blessing from God!
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Whose I am is who I am

My Utmost For His Highest
‘The true test of a person’s spiritual life and character is not what he does in the extraordinary moments of life, but what he does during the ordinary times when there is nothing tremendous or exciting happening. A person’s worth is revealed in his attitude toward the ordinary things of life when he is not under the spotlight.’ CHAMBERS
It is men who have defined the significance of the role that you will serve in as a Christian.  There are a few who do extraordinary things as they serve God.  But even then it is God and not they who are accomplishing those mighty acts. In Christ, every day is extraordinary .. or at least it should be.  We have been given a new – spiritual life when we are born again. (2 Corinthians 5:17) That life is not reserved for special events .. but it is meant for every day, 24x7, for eternity.  It is our new way of living … Often times we treat our spiritual nature like a light switch .. thinking we can just turn it on and off as needed.  You must be careful that you don’t deceive yourself.  In those times, you are not being spiritual, you are being religious … and Jesus condemned the religious during his ministry before the cross.
Who you are when you are alone .. or faced with someone who very disagreeable .. or are standing in the spotlight of some spiritual activity … should be the same person  .. having the same attitude.  Galatians 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, but not I but Christ lives in me. And the life I now life I live by faith in the Son of God Who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”  Everything we do … should be done with that understanding … everything we say or think should be said or thought in the light of who we are in Christ.  It doesn’t matter what you are doing at the time.  When we were serving on the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, someone asked me if I liked living in Mississippi.  I answered “There is nothing better than being in the center of God’s will for your life, geography has nothing to do with it. I love living in Mississippi because that is where God wants us. ”  The same goes for what you are doing … what you are doing or where you are living should have nothing to do with how you are behaving … It is all about Jesus .. not you
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Friday, October 11, 2013

When Not Seeing Is Believing

My Utmost For His Highest
“When He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was” —John 11:6
‘If God has given you a silence, then praise Him— He is bringing you into the mainstream of His purposes. The actual evidence of the answer in time is simply a matter of God’s sovereignty. Time is nothing to God. For a while you may have said, “I asked God to give me bread, but He gave me a stone instead” (see Matthew 7:9). He did not give you a stone, and today you find that He gave you the “bread of life” (John 6:35).’ CHAMBERS
The reference in John 11 is about Lazarus.  Lazarus, unknown to him, was part of the great revelation of God .. that God so loved the world … Lazarus was to be raised from the dead .. when it was the right time … and there was no way, humanly possible, that Lazarus could be revived,.  Yet, Lazarus walked out of the tomb at the sound of the Lord’s voice.  Mary and Martha were grieving over their brother’s death ..  it was as if the Lord had let them down … they knew that He could heal … why had He not come when they called on Him?  There was a greater purpose .. and it required that the Lord wait until Lazarus was dead for that purpose to be accomplished.
Sometimes, the Lord is silent .. sometimes He waits … but when He acts .. whatever and whenever that act is, it is always best.  Can we trust God that way.  Our tendency is to prescribe the solution and then wonder why the Lord does not answer our prayer.  His response to our prayers can sometimes challenge our faith when He doesn’t do what we want Him to do.  Once again my old friend Proverbs 3:5,6 comes to mind. We are not to trust in our own understanding … but acknowledge His sovereignty in all things .. trust Him even when we don’t see how any good can possibly result. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1) We have got to have faith in this life .. faith that God cares about us .. that He will always act for our good and His glory … Do you believe that? It’s true!
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Obedience Brings Understanding

My Utmost For His Highest
'All of God’s revealed truths are sealed until they are opened to us through obedience. You will never open them through philosophy or thinking. […] If you obey God in the first thing He shows you, then He instantly opens up the next truth to you. You could read volumes on the work of the Holy Spirit, when five minutes of total, uncompromising obedience would make things as clear as sunlight. Don’t say, “I suppose I will understand these things someday!” You can understand them now. And it is not study that brings understanding to you, but obedience. Even the smallest bit of obedience opens heaven, and the deepest truths of God immediately become yours. Yet God will never reveal more truth about Himself to you, until you have obeyed what you know already. […]’ CHAMBERS
Someone said that the only part of the Bible that you believe is the part you obey.  Henry Blackaby, in Experiencing God, said that if yo have a problem with obedience, you have a problem with loving God.  As Christians we don’t want to hear wither one of those. Even though most of us don’t make reading the Word a habit … and most of us struggle with our sin life … we don’t want to think that there is something that we, personally, can do.  But there is, it is a matter of our will.
It is through obedience that we have a deeper knowledge of God … it is through.  God never blesses us except when we are obedient.  To be obedient means that we are devoted to (love) God and place our faith in Him.  Living a life where we wish we were better Christians is not God’s intent for our new life in Christ.  There is a reason why Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God with every fiber of our being.  (Matt 22:37-38). 
The Navigator ministry uses an example of the obedient Christian life as a wheel with four spokes and a hub.  Jesus is the hub or the center .. the four spokes … two are vertical .. How you relate to God through … meditation on the word (2 Timothy 3:16, Joshua 1:8) and prayer (John 15:7, Philippians 4:6,7) … two are horizontal … How you relate to others … fellowship (Matthew 18:20, Hebrews 10:24, 25) and witnessing (Matthew 4:19, Romans 1:16).  The rim is the obedient Christian’s life.  The result of doing those things.  Keeping Christ at the center … and practicing the disciplines of our faith.
A friend of mine, Charlie Dokmo, discipled me when I was in school at Fort Knox.  As an Army Captain, Charlie was connected to the Navigator Ministry.  We lost touch with each other over the years, but the spiritual truths that he shared with me have stayed with me and I have used them many times, just like now, to encourage other Christians.
“All I once held dear, built my life upon.  All the world reveres and wars to own.  All I once thought gain, I have counted loss. Spent and worthless now, compared to this.  Knowing You, Jesus.  Knowing You .. there is no greater thing.
Now my heart's desire is to know You more, to be found in You and known as Yours, to possess by faith what I could not earn, all surpassing gift of righteousness.
Oh, to know the pow'r of Your risen life, and to know You in Your suffering, to become like You in Your death, My Lord, so with You to live and never die”  Knowing You
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)