Tuesday, September 30, 2014

So You Want To Be Like Jesus

My Utmost For His Highest
I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church . . . —Colossians 1:24
‘This call has nothing to do with personal sanctification, but with being made broken bread and poured-out wine. Yet God can never make us into wine if we object to the fingers He chooses to use to crush us. We say, “If God would only use His own fingers, and make me broken bread and poured-out wine in a special way, then I wouldn’t object!” But when He uses someone we dislike, or some set of circumstances to which we said we would never submit, to crush us, then we object. Yet we must never try to choose the place of our own martyrdom. If we are ever going to be made into wine, we will have to be crushed—you cannot drink grapes. Grapes become wine only when they have been squeezed. […] To be a holy person means that the elements of our natural life experience the very presence of God as they are providentially broken in His service. We have to be placed into God and brought into agreement with Him before we can be broken bread in His hands. Stay right with God and let Him do as He likes, and you will find that He is producing the kind of bread and wine that will benefit His other children.’ CHAMBERS
How do you view life’s circumstances? Do you see life through the prism of your old nature or your new nature.  In the physical context or the spiritual.  Think about this .. God, the Father .. used His Son’s pain and sacrifice for the good of others.  So you want to be like Jesus? When God allows difficult time to come your way … some relational .. emotional .. or physical challenge … how do you receive it? Do you ask, “Lord, why is this happening to me?” or do you say “Your will be done … take my life and let it be consecrated Lord for Thee!”  Is it OK for the Lord to make you broken bread and poured out wine for the benefit of other people .. even in the absence of your understanding how or to whom the benefit will come? Jesus said “This is my body, this is my blood” Do not miss the connection between His sacrifice and yours.
Is the experience painful?.. yes … will it cost you something? … yes … will it be worth it? … oh yes … it is a spiritual journey that is manifested in the physical/natural part of your life.  How you deal with it depends upon where you look for strength …. you will always need His strength to get through it … Perhaps you are going through something now or have in the past … consider what happens in your life from the proper perspective … from God’s perspective …. rest in His sovereignty and grace … even when life brings more than you think you can bear … ELGIN
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Monday, September 29, 2014

You Are Called To Love

My Utmost For His Highest
‘If you have ignored, and thereby removed, the great supernatural call of God in your life, take a review of your circumstances. See where you have put your own ideas of service or your particular abilities ahead of the call of God. Paul said, “. . . woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!” He had become aware of the call of God, and his compulsion to “preach the gospel” was so strong that nothing else was any longer even a competitor for his strength.  If a man or woman is called of God, it doesn’t matter how difficult the circumstances may be. God orchestrates every force at work for His purpose in the end.’ CHAMBERS
What has God called you to?  It may not be to be a preacher of the Gospel … but you have been called to something.
1 Corinthians 12:12-14,27-31  Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. […]  Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?  Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.”
1 Corinthians 13:13 “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
You may not have been called to preach but you were called to love.  (Matthew 22:37-39) To love God and then love others.  It doesn’t matter what part of the body you are.  The Gospel is an expression of God’s love toward us.  Our love should be a reflection of His.  Preachers tell people about God’s love in Jesus Christ.  We should show people that same love by the way we live, every aspect of our lives.  Are you resisting your call by clinging to bits and pieces of your old nature.  Let them go.  What you think brings you comfort and security actually is keeping you from being what God has intended you to be.  Fulfill your calling to the glory of the One who has called you. ELGIN
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

For Your Good and His Glory

My Utmost For His Highest
“Jesus . . . said to him, ’One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor . . . and come, take up the cross, and follow Me’”—Mark 10:21
“The rich young ruler had the controlling passion to be perfect. When he saw Jesus Christ, he wanted to be like Him. Our Lord never places anyone’s personal holiness above everything else when He calls a disciple. Jesus’ primary consideration is my absolute annihilation of my right to myself and my identification with Him, which means having a relationship with Him in which there are no other relationships. Luke 14:26 [ “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.”]  has nothing to do with salvation or sanctification, but deals solely with unconditional identification with Jesus Christ. Very few of us truly know what is meant by the absolute “go” of unconditional identification with, and abandonment and surrender to, Jesus.
“Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him . . .” (Mark 10:21). This look of Jesus will require breaking your heart away forever from allegiance to any other person or thing. Has Jesus ever looked in this way at you? This look of Jesus transforms, penetrates, and captivates. Where you are soft and pliable with God is where the Lord has looked at you. If you are hard and vindictive, insistent on having your own way, and always certain that the other person is more likely to be in the wrong than you are, then there are whole areas of your nature that have never been transformed by His gaze.” CHAMBERS
We must be careful when we share our story with people.  They seem to zero in on what we have “lost” and not what we have gained. The point of the rich young ruler is not about possessions.  It is about devotion and dependence.  The young man trusted more in money that in the Lord.  I think people, particularly people in the United States, see abandoning possessions as the epitome of spirituality … it is far from that … it is merely s condition of the heart and a necessity to go where the Lord leads.  The physical release of possessions is not the point.  The point is a change of heart where your trust shifts to the Lord and not what you can do or have.
From the beginning of your walk with the Lord, there has been a transforming work happening .. some growth is slow, some happens very quickly .. the rate of growth is a function of your willingness to release those things that you trust more than the Lord.  But we are all being shaped by God … conformed to the image of Christ.  2 Corinthians 5:17 “old things are passing away, all things are becoming new”  To live for Christ is to die to yourself.  When they Lord confronts you over a condition in your heart … don’t walk away sad … but embrace it .. yield to it … walk in it .. it's for your good and for His glory. ELGIN
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

What Really Has First Place In Your Heart?

My Utmost For His Highest
Luke 9:57-62  As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
These words destroy the argument of serving Jesus Christ because it is a pleasant thing to do. And the strictness of the rejection that He demands of me allows for nothing to remain in my life but my Lord, myself, and a sense of desperate hope. He says that I must let everyone else come or go, and that I must be guided solely by my relationship to Him. And He says, “. . . the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
Luke 9:59 . This man did not want to disappoint Jesus, nor did he want to show a lack of respect for his father. We put our sense of loyalty to our relatives ahead of our loyalty to Jesus Christ, forcing Him to take last place. When your loyalties conflict, always obey Jesus Christ whatever the cost.
Luke 9:61 . The person who says, “Lord, I will follow You, but . . .,” is the person who is intensely ready to go, but never goes. This man had reservations about going. The exacting call of Jesus has no room for good-byes; good-byes, as we often use them, are pagan, not Christian, because they divert us from the call. Once the call of God comes to you, start going and never stop.” CHAMBERS
These are hard words .. I have several conversations with people in ministry over the years who have said … the family must be first … my wife must be first … in the context of these verses, what do you think Jesus would say? That is saying my wife must be first … I love God, but not more than I love my wife.  Then who is your god?  If I were to say, “I love god but I love money more.” What would you say to that?  “Well the Bible says you cannot love God and money!” Replace money with any other noun you wish.  God must be first .. husband, wife, children, parents … the list goes on.
So what is at issue here?  Does God have your whole heart … Matthew 22:37-39  “Jesus replied: [to the question what is the greatest commandment] “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
How many things can be first?  That’s right .. one.  There are no “ties” in our relationship with God. He is either first or He is not.  God included this encounter between Jesus and the man in Luke because we need to know what it means to follow Jesus.  It does not mean to abandon your family .. reject them .. it means that obeying God has primacy in your life.  Your relationship with God is like the relationship of a prime number to the number 1.  A prime number in math, simply, is a number that cannot be divided by any other number but 1 or itself.  No other number can enter into the relationship between 1 and that number.  (Sorry if you don’t like math analogies.)   Your relationship is “prime” with God.  I will resist continuing with the analogy.
The bottom line … there are a number of “good” things that might cause you to not follow Jesus … Things that would cause you would turn away … you are tempted every day to choose something else … I want to encourage you to choose Jesus .. to live by faith … stop treating God like He is a divine waiter, standing by waiting to take your next order.  What He wants is of no consequence, it is all about what you want.  That is what the man in Luke was struggling with .. it is what we struggle with  … to offer ourselves as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1).  To take up our crosses and follow Jesus. ELGIN
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Friday, September 26, 2014

What To Do WHen Your Heart Is Not Right

My Utmost For His Highest
‘This verse says, “If you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you . . . .” It is not saying, “If you search and find something because of your unbalanced sensitivity,” but, “If you . . . remember . . . .” In other words, if something is brought to your conscious mind by the Spirit of God— “First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:24). Never object to the intense sensitivity of the Spirit of God in you when He is instructing you down to the smallest detail.’ CHAMBERS
If your actions ever wronged another person? Have you been hurtful?  Have you been unjust?  Your actions caused a rift between you and another person? Has the Holy Spirit brought that person to mind?  That is called the conviction of the Holy Spirit.  There is no place in the Christian’s life for sin.  You cannot approach a holy God with sin in your heart.  That sin might be against someone or it might be an attitude of your heart … whatever it might be, you must deal with it.  When the curtain that covered the access to the holy of holies was torn in two, Jesus gave us access to the Father.  But not under any circumstances … Before you enter God’s presence, you must “wash your feet”. It is so easy to become casual with the creator God, but in doing so, we deceive ourselves.  I am not referring to salvation .. but having a clean heart …
Don’t slip into the delusion that sin does not matter .. that God doesn’t care about it .. that Jesus paid the price for it .. so we can just move on and forget about our transgressions against God.  Not so. Paul wrote ….   Romans 6:1-4 “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”
In 2 Samuel 12, the prophet Nathan confronted King David over this sin.  He had Uriah killed so David could cover his sin with Bathsheba.  David could not go to Uriah in this case, but he realized that he was unclean before God.  Psalm 51 “Create in me a clean heart o God and renew a right spirit within me.”  Let that be your prayer today.  Set things right with men and with God. ELGIN
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

More Like Jesus - Less Like Me

My Utmost For His Highest
‘Our Lord’s teaching can be summed up in this: the relationship that He demands for us is an impossible one unless He has done a super-natural work in us. Jesus Christ demands that His disciple does not allow even the slightest trace of resentment in his heart when faced with tyranny and injustice. No amount of enthusiasm will ever stand up to the strain that Jesus Christ will put upon His servant. Only one thing will bear the strain, and that is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ Himself— a relationship that has been examined, purified, and tested until only one purpose remains and I can truly say, “I am here for God to send me where He will.” Everything else may become blurred, but this relationship with Jesus Christ must never be.[…] Jesus Christ has changed my nature by putting His own nature in me. […] If we are to be disciples of Jesus, we must be made disciples supernaturally. And as long as we consciously maintain the determined purpose to be His disciples, we can be sure that we are not disciples. Jesus says, […]  Our Lord’s making of a disciple is supernatural. He does not build on any natural capacity of ours at all. God does not ask us to do the things that are naturally easy for us— He only asks us to do the things that we are perfectly fit to do through His grace, and that is where the cross we must bear will always come.’ CHAMBERS
We face challenges everyday … people challenges … people doing things that are not right .. deceiving … for something another than the glory of God, but doing that thing in the name of God.  In the midst of that, most often we don’t think of it as a test. As Jesus shaping us to be His disciple .. to be like Him.  Many times resentment toward those people will creep in … resentment is just another form of judgment and condemnation … neither of which reflect the nature of Jesus. We cannot learn to be like Jesus if we are not faced with opportunities to be like Him.  When we face the opportunity the question is .. do we turn to ourselves or to Jesus for strength and wisdom.  Jesus said to turn the other cheek, go the extra mile, give him your coat also, pray for those who despitefully use you.  But what do we do? Get angry … judge the person .. condemn them … Oh Lord, we still have a long way to go … ELGIN
“More like You, Jesus. More like You.  Touch my lips with holy fire and make me more like you."
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

What Is Your Motivation For Serving?

My Utmost For His Highest
‘Neither gratitude nor ingratitude turned our Lord even the slightest degree away from His purpose to go “up to Jerusalem.” “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master” (Matthew 10:24). In other words, the same things that happened to our Lord will happen to us on our way to our “Jerusalem.” There will be works of God exhibited through us, people will get blessed, and one or two will show gratitude while the rest will show total ingratitude, but nothing must divert us from going “up to [our] Jerusalem.”’ CHAMBERS
We serve others not to receive praise from them but to receive praise from the Lord.  “Well done my good and faithful servant.” Matthew 25:21  Doing the will of the Father is our purpose.  In that process we will often bless the lives of others. Never expect gratitude from those you serve.  You may receive it, but most often you will not.  In nearly all of the cases, you will soon be forgotten by them.  Their remembrance and gratitude should never be a condition for your service. Your service should be motivated by your love for God and submission to His will.  “We love because God first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Monday, September 22, 2014

A New Way Of Thinking And Living

My Utmost For His Highest
‘To have a master and teacher is not the same thing as being mastered and taught. Having a master and teacher means that there is someone who knows me better than I know myself, who is closer than a friend, and who understands the remotest depths of my heart and is able to satisfy them fully. It means having someone who has made me secure in the knowledge that he has met and solved all the doubts, uncertainties, and problems in my mind. To have a master and teacher is this and nothing less— “. . . for One is your Teacher, the Christ . . .”’ (Matthew 23:8).  CHAMBERS
Do you believe that the Lord has met and solved all of the problems in your mind?  Notice Chambers did not say “life”.  We are going to have problems in our lives .. we live in a sin-sick world.  This world is a malformed version of what God intended but what sin produced.
Jesus said we will have trouble … so why do we act surprised when it comes our way?  But He has overcome the world .. 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.”
To rest in that knowledge you must trust Jesus … He must be your Lord.  Luke 6:46  “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” Jesus asks a good question, don’t you think?  If we love Him we will obey Him.
Trust and Obey
“When we walk with the Lord, in the light of His word,  What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,  And with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there's no other way  To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Trusting God, Or Are You Just Along For The Ride?

My Utmost For His Highest
‘Watch when God changes your circumstances to see whether you are going on with Jesus, or siding with the world, the flesh, and the devil. We wear His name, but are we going on with Him? “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more” (John 6:66).
John 6:56-58 “ Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”
This is probably one of the most difficult passages to read in the Bible, for me. What is Jesus talking about? But Jesus spoke of Spiritual things .. not natural.
John 8:42-47  Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46 Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”
Just like God sent manna from heaven to save Israel in the desert, He sent Jesus .. the Bread of heaven … to save us.  But the Jews that Jesus was speaking to did not understand that He was speaking of His being broken and poured out for them and they struggled .. many abandoned Him because they were only along for the ride.
When we face life and are confused .. disheartened .. it is because we are trying to understand it with the wisdom of our flesh and not from that which comes from the Spirit.  Then we lose heart and begin to question God’s competence and His faithfulness.  We feel as though we have been abandoned.  Dealing with the hard issues of life in our natural wisdom is like being in quicksand … the more we struggle, the deeper we sink.  Don’t forget who you belong to, Christian.  Look to the Father .. the source of all wisdom. ELGIN
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Dealing With Temptation

My Utmost For His Highest
‘A person’s inner nature, what he possesses in the inner, spiritual part of his being, determines what he is tempted by on the outside. The temptation fits the true nature of the person being tempted and reveals the possibilities of his nature. Every person actually determines or sets the level of his own temptation, because temptation will come to him in accordance with the level of his controlling, inner nature.
Temptation is not something we can escape; in fact, it is essential to the well-rounded life of a person. Beware of thinking that you are tempted as no one else–what you go through is the common inheritance of the human race, not something that no one has ever before endured. God does not save us from temptations–He sustains us in the midst of them (see Hebrews 2:18 and Hebrews 4:15-16).’ CHAMBERS
James 1:13-15  “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;  but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
When Jesus was tempted in the desert … Satan was speaking to the second Adam .. the man.  But there was no evil in Him.  Jesus responded with the Word.  We face temptations every day.  How do we respond to them.  One word .. do not dwell on them … but focus on the Word of God … resist the devil and he will flee.  If you dwell on the temptation and try to defeat it with your will power, you will fail.  Pastor Greg Laurie said “You can’t keep a bird from flying over your head , but you can keep it from making a nest in your hair.  Don’t dwell on the temptation because it will surely lead to sin. Instead use the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.  Psalm 119:11 “Your word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against you”
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Why Should I Pray?

My Utmost For His Highest
When you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place . . . —Matthew 6:6
‘The primary thought in the area of religion [read -- your faith] is— keep your eyes on God, not on people. […]Have no motivation other than to know your Father in heaven. It is impossible to carry on your life as a disciple without definite times of secret prayer. “When you pray, do not use vain repetitions . . .” (Matthew 6:7). God does not hear us because we pray earnestly— He hears us solely on the basis of redemption. God is never impressed by our earnestness. […] Prayer is coming into perfect fellowship and oneness with God. If the Son of God has been formed in us through regeneration (see Galatians 4:19), then He will continue to press on beyond our common sense and will change our attitude about the things for which we pray. We pray religious nonsense without even involving our will, and then we say that God did not answer— but in reality we have never asked for anything. […] Asking means that our will must be involved. Whenever Jesus talked about prayer, He spoke with wonderful childlike simplicity. […] But remember that we have to ask things of God that are in keeping with the God whom Jesus Christ revealed.’ CHAMBERS
I am sure that you have heard people pray in church.  I was telling the students in our Haitian bible study about King James English.  That some people believed that if you are going to talk to God, you must speak in the right language … so people will pray saying Thee and Thou and Art … and they never talk like that except when they pray. So I asked, if God hears in King James English .. what is the rest of the world to do?  Does God not hear their prayers?  I also have heard people pray with great passion .. great passion .. almost working themselves up into a sweat … even yelling at times .. as if increasing the volume will help get the words up to the Throne of Grace and the ears of God.
Here are some thoughts .. the Holy Spirit prays for us those things that are too hard for us to pray …Romans 8:26 “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”   Jesus, our high priest, is making intercession for us before the Father.  Hebrews 6:19-20 “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek."
The Bible tells us to pray … Prayer is a big deal.  It is probably the greatest weakness in the lives of most Christians.  Why must we pray .. if God knows everything? Because He wants us to. (really I could stop there) Because He, the creator God, said to. Because, somehow, it brings focus to our relationship  with Him. Because … it is an important part of spiritual warfare …. Prayer quickeneth (a little King James) our spirit … Ephesians 6:17-18 “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  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.” ELGIN
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Monday, September 15, 2014

It Doesn't Matter What I Think -- Or Does It?

My Utmost For His Highest
We have renounced the hidden things of shame . . .  —2 Corinthians 4:2
‘Have you “renounced the hidden things of shame” in your life—the things that your sense of honor or pride will not allow to come into the light? You can easily hide them. Is there a thought in your heart about anyone that you would not like to be brought into the light? Then renounce it as soon as it comes to mind—renounce everything in its entirety until there is no hidden dishonesty or craftiness about you at all. Envy, jealousy, and strife don’t necessarily arise from your old nature of sin, but from the flesh which was used for these kinds of things in the past (see Romans 6:19 and 1 Peter 4:1-3). You must maintain continual watchfulness so that nothing arises in your life that would cause you shame.[…] —God has called you to a higher standard. Never dull your sense of being your utmost for His highest—your best for His glory. […] Many people have turned back because they are afraid to look at things from God’s perspective. The greatest spiritual crisis comes when a person has to move a little farther on in his faith than the beliefs he has already accepted.’ CHAMBERS
The Bible says that out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.  But there is a part of us that goes unspoken.  It is our thought life.  Those things that we think about but don’t act on. Sinful things that remain hidden from others.  One problem .. Jesus said that it does not matter if we act on those thoughts .. the mere fact that we have them, is contrary to our new nature.
Matthew 5:28 “But I [Jesus] tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
1 John 3:15Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.”
James 1:14-15 “each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
Your thought life is not harmless.  Your hidden attitudes are of great spiritual consequence.   It is not a question of whether or not you act on them.  When you have sinned in your heart … you have sinned .. you don’t have to act it out.  You have the Spirit of Truth and the Word of Truth to guide you … yield to their conviction … glorify God in every part of your life .. seen and unseen. And let your light shine before all men. ELGIN
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

I Surrender All - Most

My Utmost For His Highest
‘True surrender is not simply surrender of our external life but surrender of our will […]It is only after we have begun to experience what salvation really means that we surrender our will to Jesus for rest. […]The surrender here is of my self to Jesus, with His rest at the heart of my being. He says, “If you want to be My disciple, you must give up your right to yourself to Me.” […]Beware of some surrender that you make to God in an ecstatic moment in your life, because you are apt to take it back again. True surrender is a matter of being “united together [with Jesus] in the likeness of His death” (Romans 6:5) until nothing ever appeals to you that did not appeal to Him.’ CHAMBERS
Surrender is a condition of the heart … to love God with “all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. (Luke 10:27)  .. is to be surrendered to God.  It’s a ‘not my will by your will be done’ way of living.  It is choosing God and not your own interests and allowing that choice to direct you in life.  Surrender is trusting God and not yourself.  Surrender is living a life that honors God and separates you from this world and what it has to offer.  Surrender sets you apart. Surrender is doing the right thing even when it means that you will not benefit from what you do. Surrender is the full expression of our love for God.  ELGIN
“My Will” DC Talk
“ I'm setting the stage for the things I love  And I'm now the man I once couldn't be  And nothing on earth could now ever move me  I now have the will and the strength a man needs
It's my will, I'm not moving.  'Cause if it's Your will, then nothing can shake me.  And it's my will to bow and praise You  I now have the will to praise my God
Complexity haunts me for I am two men.  Entrenched in a battle that I'll never win.  My discipline fails me, my knowledge it fools me.  But You are my shelter, all the strength that I need
I'm learning to give up the rights to myself,  The bits and the pieces I've gathered as wealth,  Could never compare to the joy that You bring me,  The peace that You show me is the strength that I need”
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Difficulties - For Our Good and God's Glory

My Utmost For His Highest
‘There are times in your spiritual life when there is confusion, and the way out of it is not simply to say that you should not be confused. It is not a matter of right and wrong, but a matter of God taking you through a way that you temporarily do not understand. And it is only by going through the spiritual confusion that you will come to the understanding of what God wants for you. (see Luke 11:5-8). Jesus gave the illustration here of a man who appears not to care for his friend. He was saying, in effect, that is how the heavenly Father will appear to you at times. You will think that He is an unkind friend, but remember? He is not. The time will come when everything will be explained. There seems to be a cloud on the friendship of the heart, and often even love itself has to wait in pain and tears for the blessing of fuller fellowship and oneness. When God appears to be completely shrouded, will you hang on with confidence in Him?’ CHAMBERS
You know all of the verses about God and His provision, His love, His grace, His mercy. Then you ask, “But why am I in this place?” We have an idea about what God should do .. if He really loves me … but He knows what is best to do .. and that best may make me a tad uncomfortable.  Well, maybe more than a tad.  The question is .. can we rest in knowing that in spite of what we are experiencing .. feeling .. losing … that Romans 8:28 is true .. all things will work together for good .. for our good.   Joseph told his brothers that ‘What men intended for evil God meant for good.”  That is after he was sold as a slave, by them, sent to prison for over 15 years … But God used all of it for His glory.  Genesis 50:20 Are you ready to bring glory to God through your circumstances .. difficult as it might be?  You won’t do it by will power … only by faith.  And as the man said to Jesus, ‘Lord I believe, but help me with my unbelief’.  Mark 9:17-26    ELGIN
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Point Is Not About Position or Dirty Feet - It's Serving And Sacrifice

My Utmost For His Highest
‘Jesus said, “I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you” (John 13:14-15). Notice the kind of people that God brings around you, and you will be humiliated once you realize that this is actually His way of revealing to you the kind of person you have been to Him. Now He says we should exhibit to those around us exactly what He has exhibited to us.’ CHAMBERS
John 13:14-15 “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”
A number of times while in Haiti, I have been asked not to do something by Haitians by virtue of the fact that I am a Director.  Carrying something when loading or unloading a truck .. for example.  Or that I should wear nice clothes all of the time because of my position. My behavior is contrary to what they imagine it should be given my “relative” importance.  That is what the disciples thought of Jesus.  That He should not wash feet.  But that was the point.  Matthew 20:28 “…. the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” The disciples’ problem was that they looked at Jesus through the prism of their natural understanding.  What Jesus did just did not make sense in that context.  But from God’s perspective .. it was the fulfillment of God’s plan that had been laid out by God from the beginning of time.
If you want to be great in God’s kingdom, learn to be a servant of all.  1 Kings 12 tells us about Rehoboam, the son of Solomon.  He chose to lord his authority over the people and not serve them … the kingdom divided and 10 tribes formed a new nation, without him. The lesson was about servant leadership, a lesson that a friend, Charlie Dokmo, taught me when I was a new lieutenant at Fort Knox in 1976.  Over the years, I have done my best to put it in to practice. ELGIN
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Hey Good Buddy - Ya Got Yer Ears On?

My Utmost For His Highest
‘So much Christian work today has never been disciplined, but has simply come into being by impulse! In our Lord’s life every project was disciplined to the will of His Father. There was never the slightest tendency to follow the impulse of His own will as distinct from His Father’s will— “the Son can do nothing of Himself . . . ” (John 5:19). Then compare this with what we do— we take “every thought” or project that comes to us by impulse and jump into action immediately, instead of imprisoning and disciplining ourselves to obey Christ. Practical work for Christians is greatly overemphasized today, and the saints who are “bringing every thought [and project] into captivity” are criticized and told that they are not determined, and that they lack zeal for God or zeal for the souls of others. But true determination and zeal are found in obeying God, not in the inclination to serve Him that arises from our own undisciplined human nature.’ CHAMBERS
Two opposite ends of the spectrum of Christian service.  On the one hand you have the Christian (we will call him Fred for reference) who will never step out in obedience to what the Lord has directed them to do, but will be content to sit in the stands and watch the game from afar.  On the other end, you have the Christian (Bob) who has great compassion for the needs seen and tries to meet them all.  In his mind it would be unconscionable to do otherwise.  The middle ground  is the Christian who hears the Lord voice and serves in the capacity that the Lord has purposed for him.  Just because we can .. does not mean we should.  To Fred that means you never should.  To Bob that means if you don’t you are disobedient.  Jesus did not keep himself separate from the crowds and yet, He did not physically heal or feed everyone he met. That is a temptation here in Haiti where you are surrounded by great needs … the question that must be answered is “Why did God send us here?” When answered, we must be busy about the work that He has given us to do.
Fred really can’t hear the Lord because the world is speaking so loudly that the Lord’s voice has been drowned out. Never say “Yes” is his mantra. Now Bob doesn’t bother to listen for the Lord.  He heard Him once, that was enough for a lifetime of service.  He knows all about the great commission and the great commandment … so move out of the way .. there is the Lord’s work to do!  Never say “No” is his mantra.
We have been called to serve.  Fred is content but walking in disobedience.  Bob is headed for burnout and ministry projects that wither and die because the Lord was not in it.  The world already has a Savior and it’s not Bob.  What we should do is simple .. listen for God – How does He speak .. by the Spirit through a combination of prayer, the Word, circumstances and other believers. So “put your ears on good buddy” … and be prepared to do as the Lord leads. ELGIN
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Living By The Credo - It Is Not That Bad

My Utmost For His Highest
‘It is only when God has transformed our nature and we have entered into the experience of sanctification that the fight begins. The warfare is not against sin; we can never fight against sin— Jesus Christ conquered that in His redemption of us. The conflict is waged over turning our natural life into a spiritual life. This is never done easily, nor does God intend that it be so. It is accomplished only through a series of moral choices. God does not make us holy in the sense that He makes our character holy. He makes us holy in the sense that He has made us innocent before Him. And then we have to turn that innocence into holy character through the moral choices we make. These choices are continually opposed and hostile to the things of our natural life which have become so deeply entrenched— the very things that raise themselves up as fortified barriers “against the knowledge of God.” We can either turn back, making ourselves of no value to the kingdom of God, or we can determinedly demolish these things, allowing Jesus to bring another son to glory.’ CHAMBERS
The conflict that is in each of us is one of obedience.  Who will we obey? The flesh or the Spirit?  Making moral choices means choosing to obey God .. to choose His will over the will of our natural life.  It is so easy to slip back into the natural life, doing what everyone else does.  What we read, what we watch, what we do, what we talk about.  That is not to suggest that every word we speak must include a quote from the Bible.  But every word we speak should be edifying … and consistent with what God has revealed about what we should say in His Word. What we listen to and what we watch on television or in movies should be consistent with who we are in Christ .. not who we are in our community or group of friends.  Philippians 4:8-9 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthythink about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice." How much time do you spend dwelling on these things?  Is you measure of a good movie that it can only have “X” number of profane words in it? Do you consider casual sex or homosexual relationships as “OK” on screen, even entertaining? What do you allow into your mind and ultimately your heart every day, in the name of “it’s not that bad”.
James 1:22-24  Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror  and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” We think about spiritual things .. some of us only on Sundays, but then we turn away and go back to “living”.  God inspired the words that were written, to be written, for our good and for His glory.  Joshua 1:8-9 says that if we obey the Word we will enjoy prosperity and success … this has nothing to do with money.  It has to do with the things that will be important to you when you are lying on your death bed.  Country Music singer Buck Owens sang “All you got to do is act naturally.”  It’s easy to do that, but that is not the life you have been saved to .. it is the life you were saved from …
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Consequences Of Our Sins

My Utmost For His Highest
He who believes in Me . . . out of his heart will flow rivers of living water —John 7:38
‘A river reaches places which its source never knows. And Jesus said that, if we have received His fullness, “rivers of living water” will flow out of us, reaching in blessing even “to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8) regardless of how small the visible effects of our lives may appear to be. We have nothing to do with the outflow— “This is the work of God, that you believe. . .” (John 6:29). God rarely allows a person to see how great a blessing he is to others.’ CHAMBERS
Do you have a lot of friends?  What is it that attracts them to you? Your personality, your possessions, or your prominence.  Or perhaps it is the fragrance of Christ … the love you show towards people that springs from the love that God has shown toward you.  The grace and mercy that you extend to people that springs from the grace and mercy that God has shown towards you.   The rivers of eternal waters have eternal consequences.  The source of the river is the power and presence of God in us.
There is an antithesis (love that word for some reason) to those rivers … the effects or consequences of sins of the fathers (parents) ripple through families for 3 or 4 generations.
For some time, people are making excuses for the crimes they committed saying they are a “product of their environment”.  On the opposite side, the parents want to believe that what they did .. the decisions they made … the sins they committed …. did no harm to anyone but themselves … blame and denial.  We are forgiven our sins but not necessarily excused from the consequences of those sins.  Once, I told my mom about the effects of sin on following generations one time and she became very angry with me.  I didn’t see that coming.  You see, she did want to think that her sins (we all have them) could affect her children and beyond. She certainly did not want that to be true.   But it is, nonetheless.  It is a Biblical truth and will stand for eternity, like it or not.
At the core of this issue is sin.  The simple solution is Jesus.  People talk about the positive example that I have been to others .. influencing how they live their lives.  (Wish I could take the credit for it .. but it is Jesus not me) But the principle is that what I do influences people.  What you do also influences people too.  Good or bad. Matthew 12:34  “…For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.”  Not only does what we say reflect our heart …. But what we do .. how we treat people …  My encouragement to you … let the living waters flow …. If you are going to influence someone, and you are, let it be with your new nature, not your old one. ELGIN
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Friday, September 5, 2014

Living By And Walking With The Spirit

My Utmost For His Highest
‘The disciples loved Jesus Christ to the limit of their natural capacity, but they did not fully understand His purpose. In the Garden of Gethsemane they slept as a result of their own sorrow, and at the end of three years of the closest and most intimate relationship of their lives they “all . . . forsook Him and fled” (Matthew 26:56).
“They were all filled with the Holy Spirit . . .” (Acts 2:4). “They” refers to the same people, but something wonderful has happened between these two events— our Lord’s death, resurrection, and ascension— and the disciples have now been invaded and “filled with the Holy Spirit.” Our Lord had said, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you . . .” (Acts 1:8). This meant that they learned to watch with Him the rest of their lives.’ CHAMBERS
Many Christians are in love with the idea of Jesus … but they don’t understand what it means to love Jesus.  We have the capacity to do good things.  To think good thoughts.  But God has called us to abandon what we “think” and embrace what He knows and who He is.  The disciples followed Jesus to the point where it no longer made sense to them.  Until it appeared that Jesus could no longer help them .. until it appeared Jesus could no longer help Himself.  Why? Because they lacked spiritual understanding.
But after Pentecost … after the fulfillment of Jesus promise that a Helper would be sent … John 14:26 “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”  John 16:7 “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.”
The Holy Spirit came and their lives were changed.  They understood like they had never understood before.  Their new lives …. our new lives are spiritual … but they are lived out in the physical.  Our goal must be to see the world the way God sees the world.  To have an understanding of life’s events from a new perspective.  To understand Jesus in a new way .. To see our purpose and understand the power to accomplish that purpose is by the Spirit.  Zechariah 4:6 ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts.
Are you living your life in Christ by your own determination?  It will fail you.  Are you trusting in your ability to make things happen? Remember Peter’s failing .. He was confident in his ability and he walked with Jesus. But when the time of testing came, what he trusted in failed him.  You need a spiritually strengthened perspective on your life and what is happening around you.  The only way you will get it, is to draw close to God.  The only way you will do that is to spend more time with Him.  Today would be a good day to start.  You can watch people jump off a high dive.  You can read about it.  You can imagine you’re taking the leap.  But until you actually do it, it will not be a reality.  Trust God!
Galatians 5:25 "If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit." ELGIN
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)