Tuesday, September 29, 2015

I Was An Old Chunk Of Coal, But Now I'm a Diamond For Jesus

…for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! —1 Corinthians 9:16

“We are inclined to forget the deeply spiritual and supernatural touch of God. […] God orchestrates every force at work for His purpose in the end. If you will agree with God’s purpose, He will bring not only your conscious level but also all the deeper levels of your life, which you yourself cannot reach, into perfect harmony.” CHAMBERS

(Ephesians 2:8-10)For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  God may not have called you to be a preacher, evangelist, or missionary.  But, He has called you to faithfulness. To obedience.  God uses each of us for His purpose.  You have value to God and to His purpose.  The challenge is to walk in that truth.  I find it remarkable that God would choose to reveal His Son in this way, but He has.  Look to the bigger story in your life.  There is an eternal purpose that you were created for . .that you were saved for … salvation is not just for your benefit.  God is using jars of clay to proclaim the good news .. in words and in living. That includes you!  Think about it.  ELGIN

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Monday, September 28, 2015

No Jesus, No Peace - Know Jesus, Know Peace

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 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.” CHAMBERS

The young man’s problem was not the absence of good deeds, the problem was a divided heart.  His trust was in his wealth.  Really in himself.  Do you know someone who tries really hard to do right?  The key to life is not in doing right but in being right.  We cannot be right if we are not totally devoted … committed to following Jesus.  That means that we know we can’t ever be good enough.  That all of our effort is vain.  Either St. Augustine or Blaise Pascal said that each of us has a God-shaped void that only God can fill.  We try to fill it with other things, but they never do.  You want to find peace?  It’s Jesus.  You want to find fulfillment?  It’s Jesus.  Someone once said, “I didn’t understand that Jesus is all I need until Jesus was all I had.”  In the face of whatever trouble might come our way, it is difficult to not do something. (I guess this is the day for quotes!)  Dr Henry Blackaby said “You have heard the saying ‘Don’t just stand there, do something.”, but God is saying ‘Don’t just do something, stand there’.”  That is hard for us to do.  Especially when the outcome is uncertain.  When the problem seems unsolvable.  You may not be spared from the consequence, but you don’t have to walk that road on your own. 

Losing all your possessions, facing a terrible illness or loss of someone you love .. those things are difficult, overwhelming.  Turn to Jesus and find peace and strength.  Stop trying to face life on your own. (John 4:10-14)  “ Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?” Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  ELGIN

“There Is A River”

“There is a river, and it flows from deep within. There is a fountain, that frees the soul from sin
Come to this water; there is a vast supply. There is a river, that never shall run dry.

There was a thirsty woman, She was drawing from a well. You see her life was ruined and wasted. And her soul was bound for hell.
Oh but then she met the Master And He told about her sin And he said "if you drink this water, You'll never thirst again. '”

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Sin - You Don't Have To Do What Your Are Thinking It To Be Found Guilty

If you…remember that your brother has something against you… —Matthew 5:23

“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. […] The true mark of the saint is that he can waive his own rights and obey the Lord Jesus.”   CHAMBERS

Can you think of a time when the Spirit has brought something or someone to mind and you quickly dispelled the thought?  When there is something “ungodly” that has taken up residence in our hearts, we really don’t want to think about it, do we?  We prefer to pretend that all is well and right in our little world spiritually.  But the Spirit of God has a purpose … (John 16:7,8,13) “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: …. he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak:”

Most of life is out of our control.  How people respond to us is up to them, not us.  But, how we respond to other people is up to us.  (Romans 12:17-19) “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”  says the Lord.”

I don’t think that the Lord is saying that if someone refuses to be reconciled to you that you can never come before God.  I do believe that the Word is saying that even if the other person does not change, you must forgive them.  “As far as it depends upon you”  Harbor no anger in your heart toward them.  Impossible you think? You are right, apart from the power of God in you that is.  We must be careful about trivializing the negative feelings we have towards others.  (1 John 3:15) “Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.”  Wow!  Anger is the fetal version of hate.  Sin begins in the heart . .that is  point when Jesus said  … (Matthew 5:8)  “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”  When we come before God, our hearts must be right . .clean of sin … Only then can our light shine.  Think about it.  ELGIN

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Friday, September 25, 2015

So You Think You Are Following Jesus

“Whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.” —Matthew 5:41

“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 supernatural 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. [..] 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. The Sermon on the Mount is not some unattainable goal; it is a statement of what will happen in me when Jesus Christ has changed my nature by putting His own nature in me. Jesus Christ is the only One who can fulfill the Sermon on the Mount. If we are to be disciples of Jesus, we must be made disciples supernaturally.” CHAMBERS

So you think you are a follower of Jesus.  In each of us, we have a sense of what is right and what is wrong.  Setting our own fallibility aside, which we are very good at by the way, we look at those who do what is wrong with indignation and maybe even contempt.  Especially if that wrong was directed at us, directly or indirectly.  The truth is that the wrongs others do toward us are no different than how we treated God before our conversion.  Yet, He showed grace and mercy to us.  Jesus died for us and did not treat us with indignation or contempt.  That is the attitude we are to have toward others.  How we respond reveals the depth of our faith and the quality of our relationship with Jesus.  When we are told to do something in the Bible, the Bible is never saying “Do this in your own strength”.  The only thing that we can do on our own that pleases God is to lay our lives down.  Everything else requires the power of God the dwells in you. 

So here is the deal.  As you live your life and things happen. (insightful huh?)   Some good, some bad.  Those things typically involve the choices and actions of other people.  The question is, are you going to respond with your old nature or with  your new, spiritual nature.  Jesus is saying, respond with your spiritual nature.  And when you do, God will be glorified through you.  When you are provoked, the flesh says “punch him in the nose”.  The Spirit says, “forgive and walk away.”  You think, I can’t forgive and walk away, I’ve tried.  Now you are getting the idea.  (Galatians 5:16-17)  “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other….”  Think about it.  ELGIN

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Unforgiveness Is A Problem Of Faith And Obedience

“If you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” —Matthew 5:23-24

“Never disregard a conviction that the Holy Spirit brings to you. If it is important enough for the Spirit of God to bring it to your mind, it is the very thing He is detecting in you. You were looking for some big thing to give up, while God is telling you of some tiny thing that must go. But behind that tiny thing lies the stronghold of obstinacy, and you say, “I will not give up my right to myself”— the very thing that God intends you to give up if you are to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.” CHAMBERS

OK, so here we go … I am certain I will be stepping on some toes here.  Mine are already hurting.  The danger we face is that we define our own holiness.  We want to live the Christian life .. to honor God … but there are some things that we have tucked away in our hearts.  Things that we know are not right, the Word tells us they aren’t, but still we hang on to them.  What is it?  Do we think that God will give us a wink and a nod about that person you have not forgiven or that you offended?  Have you rationalized those issues? (I once heard that rationalize means – rational lies!)  You are comfortable with hanging on to them.  And when you are with God they are the white elephant in the room.  Well, God has already spoken about it.  And you already know what He has said.  The problem is obedience and faith.  Unconfessed sin is a barrier to your relationship with the Father.  Think about it.  We approach a holy God with unclean hands and expect Him to ignore that.  By His nature, He cannot.  So what does that mean?  That means that He will not hear you until you confess and repent.  Does that sound radical .. harsh .. maybe unacceptable?  I think that is because we have minimized the idea of God being Holy, unapproachable when we have sin in our hearts, any sin,  and have maximized the idea of God wanting to bless us no matter how we are living or what sin we are harboring in our hearts.  It’s like “OK God, here I am.  This is what I want today.  Don’t look at my heart.  Don’t ask any questions Lord just give me, give me, give me!”  Think about it. And then confess to the Lord.  ELGIN

(1 Samuel 16:7) “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.””

(Psalm 18:20-24) “The Lord dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all his rules were before me, and his statutes I did not put away from me.  I was blameless before him, and I kept myself from my guilt. So the Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.”

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)