Saturday, August 30, 2014

DOTS - Depends On The Spirit

My Utmost For His Highest
'The trap you may fall into in Christian work is to rejoice in successful service— rejoicing in the fact that God has used you. Yet you will never be able to measure fully what God will do through you if you do not have a right-standing relationship with Jesus Christ. If you keep your relationship right with Him, then regardless of your circumstances or whoever you encounter each day, He will continue to pour “rivers of living water” through you (John 7:38). […] Our tendency today is to put the emphasis on service. Beware of the people who make their request for help on the basis of someone’s usefulness. […] For the saint, direction and guidance come from God Himself, not some measure of that saint’s usefulness. It is the work that God does through us that counts, not what we do for Him.' CHAMBERS
What is the measure of effectiveness or success of what you do in Jesus name?  That is something that I am constantly on guard about.  We can’t see into the future .. we can’t see life change in people’s hearts or the generation effects of salvation .. the spiritual influence of godly parents versus unsaved parents. So we count things.  We measure things.  Many missionaries have served their entire time and not seen success as we would measure it.  What if God sees faithfulness as success.  What if God chooses to use us as a stepping stone rather than a super highway for others.  Would that be OK with you?  What if I could not tell people how many children are in the schools we support.  How many people have jobs because of it … or how many professions of faith we have seen. How would the supporters of this work respond?
We used an acronym in the army “DOTS” – depends on the situation.  I would change that for the purpose of this devotion to – depends on the Spirit.  We have not started a business here .. we are on a mission from God.  We have been called by God through His Spirit.  Some missionary friends of ours .. Ed and Ruth Messerschmitt .. now gone to be with the Lord ..  discipled us and would often say .. Where God Guides .. He Provides … If God is in it, it will prosper .. it will bear fruit … but it is not our choice how long that will take .. it depends upon God. If people won’t support the work … it is because the Spirit of God has not prompted them or because they have said “no” to the Spirit’s prompting.  In either case, it is not our problem.  Our place is to serve … what God provides is what he provides.  He knows what we need.  We must trust him.  King David wanted the people counted .. against the advice of Joab … they were counted .. why?  King David wanted to know how effective he was as king.  God became angry. Why? Because David was robbing God of His glory.  King David was taking credit for something that he had not accomplished.  The moral to the story … In our desire to know if we are doing what is right in the right way, we must be careful that we don’t do the same. It is lack of faith and pride that drives us to it.  Zechariah 4:6  “It’s not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord God of Hosts.” ELGIN
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Faith Tested Is Faith Trusted

My Utmost For His Highest
As soon as I say, “I believe ’God shall supply all [my] need,’ ” the testing of my faith begins (Philippians 4:19). When my strength runs dry and my vision is blinded, will I endure this trial of my faith victoriously or will I turn back in defeat? Faith must be tested, because it can only become your intimate possession through conflict. What is challenging your faith right now? The test will either prove your faith right, or it will kill it. […]The ultimate thing is confidence in Jesus. “We have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end . . .” (Hebrews 3:14). Believe steadfastly on Him and everything that challenges you will strengthen your faith. There is continual testing in the life of faith up to the point of our physical death, which is the last great test. Faith is absolute trust in God— trust that could never imagine that He would forsake us (see Hebrews 13:5-6).’ CHAMBERS
Faith tested is faith trusted.  How do you view your relationship with God in Jesus? Is it something that is there but has no practical value in living your life day to day.  Is the God who is there, there for when everything else fails? Your last resort.  If nothing else works then you will pray .. thinking you might as well “try” that.  Our relationship with the Father should be the beginning point … but the problem rests in not just that .. the problem is we trust most what we can see .. we trust most what we can do on our own.  When we can’t do something on our own .. when we can’t fix the problem … we panic … we become desperate … it shows that we have a weak relationship with the Lord … most Christians can talk a good game .. but when they are facing life … they falter in their faith …
Luke 8:22-25  “One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”
He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.”
Are you facing troubles that are beyond your ability to fix? Maybe it’s time to live by faith.  To trust God and not yourself.  The choice is yours … what you have been doing all of your life is not working … Even when the times are very difficult … when all is lost ….. to rest in Him.  Is your faith being challenged … Our God is faithful … but you have to stop controlling your life and give it to Him.  ELGIN
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Prayer - Expressions From The Heart

My Utmost For His Highest
‘Prayer is not a normal part of the life of the natural man. We hear it said that a person’s life will suffer if he doesn’t pray, but I question that. What will suffer is the life of the Son of God in him, which is nourished not by food, but by prayer. When a person is born again from above, the life of the Son of God is born in him, and he can either starve or nourish that life. Prayer is the way that the life of God in us is nourished. Our common ideas regarding prayer are not found in the New Testament. We look upon prayer simply as a means of getting things for ourselves, but the biblical purpose of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself.
To say that “prayer changes things” is not as close to the truth as saying, “Prayer changes me and then I change things.” God has established things so that prayer, on the basis of redemption, changes the way a person looks at things. Prayer is not a matter of changing things externally, but one of working miracles in a person’s inner nature.’ CHAMBERS
Have you been asked to pray amongst a group of people? Were you nervous or even fearful?  Or perhaps you heard someone pray and they prayed in another tongue – King James English. As if God wants us to communicate with Him in a language that only English speaking people can speak … a language that has not been used for centuries except in churches that use the King James version of the Bible. The truth …. God wants us to talk with him … He is quite capable of understanding you in your native tongue.  There are no special words or phrases that must be said .. although I find myself using them … God desires relationship with us .. and relationship includes conversation … Have you ever thought about what language God spoke to Adam and Eve in and what language they spoke?  So bottom line .. eloquence .. vocabulary … or language type does not matter … or even if you pray out loud or not.   As one pastor here says to the people …. Priye … priye … priye …  pray ..pray … pray. Then everyone starts praying, out loud at the same time … confusing? No .. it is beautiful … I imagine that is what God hears coming up to heaven … make your voice one that he hears …
Make it part of your life. Part of your routine … There is not a minimum  length of time you must pray for it to qualify as a “prayer”.. or a maximum number of words … just pray ..  Matthew 14:30  Peter said “Lord save me”  … three words .. read the Psalms .. you could think of those as prayer .. expressions from the heart.  So how about it? ELGIN
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Word of God - To Dilute It Is To Pollute It

My Utmost For His Highest
‘Beware of not acting upon what you see in your moments on the mountaintop with God. If you do not obey the light, it will turn into darkness. “If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:23). The moment you forsake the matter of sanctification or neglect anything else on which God has given you His light, your spiritual life begins to disintegrate within you. Continually bring the truth out into your real life, working it out into every area, or else even the light that you possess will itself prove to be a curse. […] Your theology [your understanding of your faith, your practice, and your experience; as it applies to your understanding of God and of God's relation to the world] must work itself out, exhibiting itself in your most common everyday relationships. Our Lord said, “. . . unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20). In other words, you must be more moral than the most moral person you know. You may know all about the doctrine of sanctification, but are you working it out in the everyday issues of your life? Every detail of your life, whether physical, moral, or spiritual, is to be judged and measured by the standard of the atonement by the Cross of Christ.’ CHAMBERS
Living a moral life does not mean living according to what the culture has accepted as moral, but what God says is moral.  The culture’s definition changes with time. Just read the news.  Isaiah 40:6-8 “All people are like grass, and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” The Bible says that men will call bad good and good – bad.  Isaiah 5:20 “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” It is God’s Word is that guides us.  His Word is truth.  Truth does not change.  I used to tell my children “Tell the truth .. you don’t have to remember the truth .. it doesn’t change .. lies you must remember.”  Be careful lest you fall!  Our nature is to water down the Word.  To dilute it so as to make the salt not so salty .. the light not so hurtful to the eyes.  We don’t want to offend … but Jesus is a Rock of offense to a lost and dying world.  To dilute it is to pollute it.
Be careful Christian.  Salt that has lost is saltiness is good for nothing.  Light that is hidden has no value.  Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.”  I imagine that is not where you intend to be but that is where you will be if you accommodate your culture .. and forsake your nature – your new nature in Christ.  ELGIN
“Thy Word”
“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path
When I feel afraid think I lost my way, Still You're there right beside me
Nothing will I fear,  As long as You are near and please be near me to the end
I will not forget your love for me and yet,  My heart forever is wandering
Jesus be my guide and hold me to Your side,  And I will love You to the end
Nothing will I fear,  As long as You are near and please be near me to the end
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path”
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Peace - Your Testimony In Times Of Trouble

My Utmost For His Highest
‘Are you severely troubled right now? Are you afraid and confused by the waves and the turbulence God sovereignly allows to enter your life? Have you left no stone of your faith unturned, yet still not found any well of peace, joy, or comfort? Does your life seem completely barren to you? Then look up and receive the quiet contentment of the Lord Jesus. Reflecting His peace is proof that you are right with God, because you are exhibiting the freedom to turn your mind to Him. If you are not right with God, you can never turn your mind anywhere but on yourself. Allowing anything to hide the face of Jesus Christ from you either causes you to become troubled or gives you a false sense of security. With regard to the problem that is pressing in on you right now, are you “looking unto Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2) and receiving peace from Him?’ CHAMBERS
What are you troubled about? Health, relationships, finances, career?  Godly peace is not the absence of turmoil.  We live in a fallen world. Our actions and the actions of others bring consequences.  But in the midst of the storm, you can be at peace.  When the disciples were in the boat in the midst of the storm, Jesus was sleeping.  (Luke 8:22-25) You would think that they would have gotten the idea that the situation was not as desperate as they were imaging. Instead they woke Jesus up to tell him they were going to drown.  We lose perspective like that.  We know who God is.  We know where He is.  We know there is nothing He cannot do, yet .. we worry .. not because of Him but because we are trusting in ourselves.  Jesus calmed the storm .. but He does not always do that .. sometimes we must ride the storm out … But we are not alone … Jesus can give us peace even though our world is crumbling around us.  John 14:27 “Peace I (Jesus) leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
The peace Jesus gives us, the fruit of the Spirit in us, makes no sense to the world … but it is a light that draws other to Jesus.  When you lift Jesus up through your life .. by showing His peace in your problems … people are drawn to God. John 12:32 “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” Your testimony in times of trouble is what the world needs to see. ELGIN
“The Anchor Holds” Words and music by Lawrence Chewning and Ray Boltz
“I have journeyed  Through the long, dark night  Out on the open sea
By faith alone,  Sight unknown,  And yet His eyes were watching me
The anchor holds,  Though the ship is battered
The anchor holds,  Though the sails are torn
I have fallen on my knees,  As I faced the raging seas
The anchor holds. In spite of the storm”
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Temptation To Look Back

My Utmost For His Highest
‘We will never know the joy of self-sacrifice until we surrender in every detail of our lives. […] We make it conditional by saying, “I’ll surrender if . . . !” Or we approach it by saying, “I suppose I have to devote my life to God.” We will never find the joy of self-sacrifice in either of these ways. But as soon as we do totally surrender, abandoning ourselves to Jesus, the Holy Spirit gives us a taste of His joy. The ultimate goal of self-sacrifice is to lay down our lives for our Friend (see John 15:13-14). When the Holy Spirit comes into our lives, our greatest desire is to lay down our lives for Jesus. […] Our Lord is our example of a life of self-sacrifice, and He perfectly exemplified Psalm 40:8, “I delight to do Your will, O my God . . . .” […] Have I ever yielded myself in absolute submission to Jesus Christ? If He is not the One to whom I am looking for direction and guidance, then there is no benefit in my sacrifice. But when my sacrifice is made with my eyes focused on Him, slowly but surely His molding influence becomes evident in my life (see Hebrews 12:1-2). CHAMBERS
Do you remember Lot’s wife?  Genesis 19  She looked back at the city.  Did you ever wonder why?  What was it that was in that city that she longed for? Husbands for her daughters. Friends perhaps. Maybe her home and the comfort that it brought. The Bible doesn’t tell us, but whatever it was, it was enough to cause her to disobey the command to not look back.  To prefer what she had left behind over what she was given.  To sacrifice does not mean to let go of something that has no value to you.  Sacrifice requires the giving up of something with great value.
At the point of sacrifice, the loss may seem insignificant compared to what it is exchanged for, but there will be days ,, at least there have been for me .. when those things will creep into your thoughts .. trying to make their way to your heart.  It might be thoughts of your family that you cannot see. Perhaps friends that you enjoyed spending time with.  Or perhaps the lack of personal hardship that you endure for the sake of the Cross.  Whatever it is, the temptation is to look back and desire that thing.  Be strong my friend … God has called you to higher ground … a better place … a place of fulfillment …  a place that He created you for … to accomplish a purpose that He intended.  ELGIN
Hebrews 12:1-2 “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.”
“Once Again” Matt Redmon
“Jesus Christ, I think upon Your sacrifice  You became nothing  Poured out to death
Many times, I've wondered at your gift of life  I'm in that place 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
Now You are exalted to the highest place  King of the Heavens, where one day I'll bow
But for now, I'll marvel at Your saving grace  I'm full of praise once again”
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Our Father Knows Best

My Utmost For His Highest
‘He [Jesus] does the things that no one else can ever do. Am I prepared […]? Jesus cannot come and do His work in me as long as there is anything blocking the way, whether it is something good or bad. When He comes to me, am I prepared for Him to drag every wrong thing I have ever done into the light? That is exactly where He comes. Wherever I know I am unclean is where He will put His feet and stand, and wherever I think I am clean is where He will remove His feet and walk away. Repentance does not cause a sense of sin— it causes a sense of inexpressible unworthiness. When I repent, I realize that I am absolutely helpless, and I know that through and through I am not worthy even to carry His sandals. Have I repented like that, or do I have a lingering thought of possibly trying to defend my actions? The reason God cannot come into my life is that I am not at the point of complete repentance.’ CHAMBERS
Matthew 8:18-20   “When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
Have you ever said that to Jesus?  I will follow you?  Jesus looked at the man’s heart and saw that his commitment was conditional … so long as he did not have to give up his home ….
Matthew 8:21-22   Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
Burying your father is not a bad thing … but God demands our complete devotion … Jesus saw the man’s heart and understood that his devotion to his family was greater that his love for God.
Luke 14:26  “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.”
Our love for God should make our love for other things look like hate in comparison.  Following Jesus does not mean that you must necessarily leave your home, your job, your way of life .. it means that you must love God “primye” first and most.
Luke 16:13 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
The point here is that there is no room for other things in your heart for a first love … you cannot do it .. no matter how much you want to believe you can.  One will always dominate … God, who created us said that ... He knows you ...
Luke 18:22-23  “When Jesus heard this [about the good things the man had done], he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy.”
What is in your heart that competes  with God for first place in your life?  You need to lay it down …
"He Knows My Name"
"I have a Father, He calls me His own.  He'll never leave me, no matter where I go.
He knows my name. He knows my every thought. He sees each tear that falls, and hears me when I call."
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Soli Deo Gloria ( Glory to God Alone )

My Utmost For His Highest
‘The true character of the loveliness that speaks for God is always unnoticed by the one possessing that quality. Conscious influence is prideful and unchristian. If I wonder if I am being of any use to God, I instantly lose the beauty and the freshness of the touch of the Lord. “He who believes in Me . . . out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38). And if I examine the outflow, I lose the touch of the Lord. Who are the people who have influenced us most? Certainly not the ones who thought they did, but those who did not have even the slightest idea that they were influencing us. In the Christian life, godly influence is never conscious of itself. If we are conscious of our influence, it ceases to have the genuine loveliness which is characteristic of the touch of Jesus. We always know when Jesus is at work because He produces in the commonplace something that is inspiring.’ CHAMBERS
A singer, Mac Davis, sang “Lord It’s Hard To Be Humble, When You Are Perfect In So Many Ways” which was intended as ‘tongue in cheek’.  But, it speaks to a problem that can easily beset us. (Hebrews 12:1-2) We can begin to think that the fruit that is born from our new life in Christ is a result of our efforts, abilities, and resourcefulness. The truth is, born again or not … God has given us everything .. every capacity … if anyone can give you credit for anything it would be that you obeyed God.  That’s it .. and that’s enough.  The fragrance of Christ should emanate from you .. as naturally as the breath from your lungs.  2 Corinthians 2:15 “For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.”  If you are aware of what Jesus is doing through you, it isn’t Jesus at work … but you trying to be like Jesus … there is a difference .. think about it.
ANDRAE CROUCH -  To God Be The Glory Lyrics
“How can I say thanks for the things you have done for me. Things so undeserved Yet you give to prove your love for me
The voices of a million angels Cannot express my gratitude. All that I am or ever hope to be I owe it all to Thee
Just let me live my life, And let it be pleasing, Lord to Thee. And should I gain any praise, Let it go to Calvary.
With His blood, He has saved me By His power, He has raised me. To God be the glory For the things he has done.
To God be the glory, To God be the glory, To God be the glory For the things He has done
With His blood, He has saved me, By His power, He has raised me. To God be the glory For the things he has done”
Soli Deo Gloria  ( Glory to God Alone )

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Jesus Is Our All In All

My Utmost For His Highest
‘Ask the Lord to put awareness of Himself in you, and your self-awareness will disappear. Then He will be your all in all. Beware of allowing your self-awareness to continue, because slowly but surely it will awaken self-pity, and self-pity is satanic. Don’t allow yourself to say, “Well, they have just misunderstood me, and this is something over which they should be apologizing to me; I’m sure I must have this cleared up with them already.” Learn to leave others alone regarding this. Simply ask the Lord to give you Christ-awareness, and He will steady you until your completeness in Him is absolute.’ CHAMBERS
John 16:33  “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
I saw a bumper sticker once … “No Jesus, No Peace; Know Jesus, Know Peace” That is basically what Oswald Chambers is saying … that is certainly what Jesus said.  When you are suddenly aware that you are feeling anxious/stressed … it is like the transition from being healthy to being sick.  The absence of pain, worry, a troubled mind, a broken heart … in the midst of circumstances that would cause anyone of those symptoms is an indication that you are spiritually aware of the presence of Jesus and the strength He gives you to endure.  But, as those feelings begin to creep in. just like a cold or flu might come upon you.  As they begin to dominate your thinking and become the motivation for your actions and attitude,  you must recognize that you are drifting away from Jesus.  You are becoming aware of your fallibilities … of your weakness and vulnerabilities.
2 Corinthians 12:9 ‘But he (Jesus) said to me (Paul), “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I (Paul) will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.’
When we were born again, it was at that point that we admitted that we needed a savior … after we are born again .. that need does not go away …
Galatians 2:20  “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
“All In All”
“You are my strength when I am weak.  You are the treasure that I seek.  You are my all in all.  Seeking you like a precious jewel, Lord to give up, I’d be a fool.”
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

You Of Little Faith, Why Did You Doubt?

My Utmost For His Highest
‘Never allow anything that divides or destroys the oneness of your life with Christ to remain in your life without facing it. Beware of allowing the influence of your friends or your circumstances to divide your life. This only serves to sap your strength and slow your spiritual growth. Beware of anything that can split your oneness with Him, causing you to see yourself as separate from Him. Nothing is as important as staying right spiritually. And the only solution is a very simple one— “Come to Me . . . .” The intellectual, moral, and spiritual depth of our reality as a person is tested and measured by these words. Yet in every detail of our lives where we are found not to be real, we would rather dispute the findings than come to Jesus.’ CHAMBERS
Matthew 14:25-33 “Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them (the disciples) , walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Our faith is easy when it is not being tested.  Hebrews 11:1 says faith is trusting in what we don’t see and what we hope for.  So Peter started out by trusting, responding to the word of Jesus.  But then he felt the salt water splashing his face.  He saw the wave rolling around him.  He realized that what he was doing was impossible … but there he was.  The moment he stopped trusting .. he started sinking.
That is the same way it is for us.  There are situations in our lives that tell us that what we are doing or trusting will happen is impossible.  That you cannot do this .. you cannot survive this .. you cannot bear this another minute … look to Jesus …
He Will Come And Save You
Say to those who are fearful hearted,  Do not be afraid  The Lord your God will come  And with His mighty arm  When you call on His Name  He will come and save you
Say those who are broken hearted  Do not lose your faith  The Lord your God will come  And with His loving hand  When you call on His Name  He will come and save you
He will come and save you Say to the weary one  Your God will surely come  He will come and save you
He will come and save you  Lift up your eyes to Him  You will arise again  He will come and save you”
You of little faith, why did you doubt?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Lord, I Give You My Heart

My Utmost For His Highest
“When he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich” —Luke 18:18-23
‘The rich young ruler went away from Jesus speechless with sorrow, having nothing to say in response to Jesus’ words. He had no doubt about what Jesus had said or what it meant, and it produced in him a sorrow with no words with which to respond. Have you ever been there? Has God’s Word ever come to you, pointing out an area of your life, requiring you to yield it to Him? Maybe He has pointed out certain personal qualities, desires, and interests, or possibly relationships of your heart and mind. If so, then you have often been speechless with sorrow. The Lord will not go after you, and He will not plead with you. But every time He meets you at the place where He has pointed, He will simply repeat His words, saying, “If you really mean what you say, these are the conditions.” “Sell all that you have . . .” (Luke 18:22). In other words, rid yourself before God of everything that might be considered a possession until you are a mere conscious human being standing before Him, and then give God that. That is where the battle is truly fought— in the realm of your will before God. […]. What Jesus says is difficult— it is only easy when it is heard by those who have His nature in them. Beware of allowing anything to soften the hard words of Jesus Christ.’ CHAMBERS
I have used this scripture reference so often when talking to people about what they value most.  We want it to be God, but when you boil it down … it is something else.  It is that something we trust in more than God .. that we worship .. that we hunger for … Matthew 6:24  “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Your old nature will convince you otherwise …. You can do both … all of that began in the Garden when Satan asked “Did God really say….?”  The young man wanted to be affirmed … he was good … he was kind … but God examines the heart … his heart belonged to something else … if he was going to have eternal life .. he had to give his heart to God and all of his devotion …. Matthew 22:37 “Love God with all your heart..”  The greatest commandment.
If things don’t seem to be quite right spiritually for you .. maybe you need to look at your heart.  If you have allowed other gods in … other things that you put your trust in other than Jehovah God … you need to step back … and reassess …. That is another word for repent!  If you have indeed given God your heart .. don’t try to take it back … ELGIN
Lord, I Give You My Heart – Hillsong
“This is my desire: to honor You. Lord with all my heart I worship You.  All I have within me, I give You praise.  All that I adore is in You.
Lord I give You my heart,  I give You my soul, I live for You alone.  Every breath that I take,  Every moment I'm awake,  Lord have Your way in me.”
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Are You Trusting In An Experience Or Jesus?

My Utmost For His Highest

‘When I have stubbornly doubted? (see John 20:24-29). Have I been doubting something about Jesus— maybe an experience to which others testify, but which I have not yet experienced? The other disciples said to Thomas, “We have seen the Lord” (John 20:25). But Thomas doubted, saying, “Unless I see . . . I will not believe” (John 20:25). Thomas needed the personal touch of Jesus. When His touches will come we never know, but when they do come they are indescribably precious. “Thomas . . . said to Him, ’My Lord and my God!’ ” (John 20:28).
When I have selfishly denied Him? (see John 21:15-17). Peter denied Jesus Christ with oaths and curses (see Matthew 26:69-75), and yet after His resurrection Jesus appeared to Peter alone. Jesus restored Peter in private, and then He restored him publicly before the others. And Peter said to Him, “Lord . . . You know that I love You” (John 21:17).’ CHAMBERS
When I was in Waveland, MS, I shared the Gospel with a young man who was struggling with life.  It is one of those calls that you get late at night .. a frantic parent .. asking for you to come over to help with a child in desperation.  As I talked with the young man, he shared that he had tried church.  He went to a particular church where the people would go forward, the pastor would walk by and touch them on their forehead and they would fall back as if in a swoon.  He said the preacher came to him, touched in on the forehead .. nothing happened .. touched him again .. nada .. touched him a third time … the same …so the young man watched as the pastor moved on … He told me .. “I wanted what they had .. but I was denied” …
I explained that what He needed was Jesus .. not an experience in the front of the church … Many of us are looking for an experience as proof of salvation .. something miraculous … something that we can set our faith on … thinking then .. perhaps then … we will have what those other people have … A surrendered heart is best demonstrated by how you live your life and not an experience in a church … One of the common complaints from wives whose husbands went to a Promise Keepers conference was that for two weeks .. life was wonderful .. then the glory faded and their husband slipped back into the same rut he had been in before the conference.  It is not an experience that matures you … that changes you .. that bears the fruit of the Spirit … (Galatians 5:22-25) it is you exercising the disciplines of your faith … fellowship with other Christians, reading and meditating on the Word of God, prayer, and sharing the Good News with others.
Friend if you have been trusting in an experience, but have never received Jesus as Lord … I want to encourage to do that today.  The experience won’t save you … it won’t change you for long … only Jesus can and will …
“Only Trust Him”
“Come, every soul by sin oppressed; There’s mercy with the Lord,  And He will surely give you rest By trusting in His Word.
For Jesus shed His precious blood  Rich blessings to bestow; Plunge now into the crimson flood That washes white as snow
Only trust Him, only trust Him, Only trust Him now; He will save you, He will save you, He will save you now.”
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Friday, August 15, 2014

How to Deal With Sin When It Comes Knocking

My Utmost For His Highest
‘“Whoever has been born of God does not sin. . .” (1 John 3:9). Am I seeking to stop sinning or have I actually stopped? To be born of God means that I have His supernatural power to stop sinning. The Bible never asks, “Should a Christian sin?” The Bible emphatically states that a Christian must not sin. The work of the new birth is being effective in us when we do not commit sin. It is not merely that we have the power not to sin, but that we have actually stopped sinning. Yet 1 John 3:9 does not mean that we cannot sin— it simply means that if we will obey the life of God in us, that we do not have to sin.’ CHAMBERS
Many times I have pointed people to Romans 7:21-25  where Paul talks about his struggle with sin in his life … “the things I don’t want to do (sin) I do and the things I want to do (live a sanctified life) I don’t do.  Then he asks the question, who will save me from this body of death.  In other words .. Paul knows he cannot defeat his sin nature .. nor can we defeat ours … only Jesus can and did.  Romans 7 is not intended to be an excuse for continuing to sin … but a reminder that we, by ourselves, are helpless against it.
When we are saved … born again … we don’t have to sin .. we choose to sin … 1 Corinthians 10:13 says God has given us a way to escape the temptation .. through Jesus, the Spirit and His Word …. But we have to choose it … you cannot ignore the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, and then expect somehow that you can use it effectively in a struggle with sin  … you cannot expect to ignore prayer with God and then somehow “send a quick one up when you are in trouble”.  If you want to be consistently successful in battling sin, you have to be consistent in the disciplines of your faith.
And if and when you do sin, well … read 1 John 1:9 ….  (by the way, I have hyperlinked the scripture references to Bible Gateway so you can read these verses now.)
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Saturday, August 9, 2014

What To Do Before You Pray

‘God always hears the prayers of His Son, and if the Son of God has been formed in me (see Galatians 4:19) the Father will always hear my prayers. But I must see to it that the Son of God is exhibited in my human flesh. “. . . your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit . . . ” (1 Corinthians 6:19), that is, your body is the Bethlehem of God’s Son. Is the Son of God being given His opportunity to work in me? Is the direct simplicity of His life being worked out in me exactly as it was worked out in His life while here on earth? When I come into contact with the everyday occurrences of life as an ordinary human being, is the prayer of God’s eternal Son to His Father being prayed in me?’ CHAMBERS
Do you think about your spiritual condition during the day? I mean do you think about the fact that when you sin .. by action or by thought .. that you have placed a barrier between you and God?  Did you know that not treating your spouse the way God says you should places a barrier between you and God?  1 Peter 3:7  “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” What?!?!?!  You mean that I don’t treat my wife like the Bible says to, I am sinning?  That’s right … James 4:17 “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”  The principle here is that we can’t just live our lives the way we want and then expect God to look past our sin.  He won’t do that … He can’t do that … He is holy … The point is that we must examine our hearts before we pray … Confess our sins .. 1 John 1:9 … and then approach the throne of grace with clean hands and pure hearts ….
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Friday, August 8, 2014

Putting First Things First

My Utmost For His Highest
‘Do I find myself continually saying in amazement to the commonsense part of my life, “Why did you want me to turn here or to go over there? ’Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?’ ” (Luke 2:49). Whatever our circumstances may be, that holy, innocent, and eternal Child must be in contact with His Father. Am I simple enough to identify myself with my Lord in this way? Is God’s will being fulfilled in that His Son has been formed in me (see Galatians 4:19), or have I carefully pushed Him to one side? Oh, the noisy outcry of today! Why does everyone seem to be crying out so loudly? People today are crying out for the Son of God to be put to death. There is no room here for God’s Son right now— no room for quiet, holy fellowship and oneness with the Father.’ CHAMBERS
Jesus was compelled to do his Father’s will. His concern for his earthly family was second to doing what the Father called him to.  As I read this I was reminded of the life that we have been called to.  Following God does not mean that you stop caring about other things .. it means that you have placed things in godly order.  First things first.  It is one thing to do something because you are so focused on yourself … it is another because you are so focused on God.  Do you say “no” to God because there are things that have taken His place in your life?  … The challenge for us is to not think that making God second to other things is reasonable .. and even preferred … There are a number of examples in the Bible that address this problem.  The principle at work is addressed in Matthew 6:24   “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”  We think .. we convince ourselves …. that we can love God and other things equally .. but God says you can’t.  By the way, He designed us .. He has some insight into our nature and tendencies.
Ok  here is a revelation (just kidding), God revealed what He revealed on the Bible for the purpose of sharing eternal truths with us.  He did not waste words.  If you read something in the Bible, it is there because we need to know about it.  His Word is Truth.  Truth does not change … not in time .. not in geography … not in culture … You can deny truth, but when you walk off the cliff … I promise, something bad is going to happen .. whether you want to believe it or not.  What is it that you have put ahead of God?  What truth are you denying? It’s time to get things in perspective .. get your priorities in order … and get about your Father’s business …
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Complete, Entire, Absolute ... Being Like Jesus ... No Middle Ground

My Utmost For His Highest
'We too often think of the Cross of Christ as something we have to get through, yet we get through for the purpose of getting into it. The Cross represents only one thing for us— complete, entire, absolute identification with the Lord Jesus Christ— and there is nothing in which this identification is more real to us than in prayer.' CHAMBERS
Matye 16:24 Haitian Creole Version (HCV)
24 ¶ Apre sa, Jezi di disip li yo: Si yon moun vle mache dèyè m', se pou li bliye tèt li. Se pou l' chaje kwa l' sou zepòl li, epi swiv mwen.
Matthew 16:24 New International Version (NIV)
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
It is the same in Haiti and in the U.S.  we must be willing to lay our lives down ... Offer ourselves as sacrifices .. If we are going to follow Jesus ... It is more than words ... Writing BLOGS. .. . Posting on Facebook, that is not enough. It is living a life that shows Jesus to others. Not just what we say .. But how we live ....
"I have decided to follow Jesus .. The world behind me .. the cross before me ... No turning back"
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Problem With Cutting Your Own Path

My Utmost For His Highest
‘If we are in fellowship and oneness with God and recognize that He is taking us into His purposes, then we will no longer strive to find out what His purposes are. As we grow in the Christian life, it becomes simpler to us, because we are less inclined to say, “I wonder why God allowed this or that?” And we begin to see that the compelling purpose of God lies behind everything in life, and that God is divinely shaping us into oneness with that purpose. A Christian is someone who trusts in the knowledge and the wisdom of God, not in his own abilities. If we have a purpose of our own, it destroys the simplicity and the calm, relaxed pace which should be characteristic of the children of God.’ CHAMBERS
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”  (Ephesians 2:10)
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
“In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,”(Ephesians 1:11)
God has a plan and He has a purpose.  Our challenge is to follow Him and not cut our own path.  Think of it this way.  There is a program called rails to trails where old rail lines are being converted to bike and hiking trails.  There are hundreds of miles of these things in the U.S.  OK, so you are walking on this path enjoying nature when off to the side of the trail you hear hacking and cursing.  Alarmed you go to see what the problem is.  There in the middle of a thicket of brambles is a man with a machete.  His clothes are torn, his arms bleeding from the thorns.  You ask, “Is there some way I can help you?  Is there a problem?”  He answers, “No I got this.  I am making a path so I can walk on it and enjoy nature.”  You say “Did you know that 20 yards that way there is already a path .. it has been built for exactly that purpose.” He responds … with a sympathetic look in his eyes, “That may be fine for you, but I think I know what I am doing.  Thanks anyway.”  And begins hacking at the brambles.
That is how it is with us and our plans.  We know God has a plan already but we choose to struggle to cut our own path.  We choose the difficult road rather than the one that is God designed that brings simplicity, calm, and relaxed pace which could be  characteristic of your life.  Sounds simple in the reading … but another story in the doing.  In order to live that kind of life you have to give up control to God … so what are you going to do .. continue hacking in the brambles or go to the path that God has already made for you?  The choice really is yours.
"Jesus, Hold My Hand"
“As I travel through this pilgrim land  I have a Friend who walks with me.  He'll lead me safely through this sinking sand It is the Christ at Calvary. This would be my prayer dear Lord each day  To help me do the best I can.  For I need Thy light to guide me day and night  Blessed Jesus hold my hand.
Jesus, hold my hand for I need You every hour  Through this pilgrim land protect me, me by Thy power.  Hear my feeble plea, oh Lord, look down on me Hear my feeble plea  O Lord look down on me  When I kneel in prayer I hope to meet you there Blessed Jesus hold my hand
Let me travel in the light divine That I may see the blessed way.  Keep me that I may be wholly Thine and sing redemption's song someday”
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)