Friday, October 30, 2015

You Gotta Have Faith!

My Utmost For His Highest

“Without faith it is impossible to please Him…” —Hebrews 11:6

“Common sense and faith are as different from each other as the natural life is from the spiritual, and as impulsiveness is from inspiration. […] Yet faith must be tested and tried before it becomes real in your life. “We know that all things work together for good…” (Romans 8:28) so that no matter what happens, the transforming power of God’s providence transforms perfect faith into reality. Faith always works in a personal way, because the purpose of God is to see that perfect faith is made real in His children. […] Faith is a tremendously active principle that always puts Jesus Christ first. The life of faith says, “Lord, You have said it, it appears to be irrational, but I’m going to step out boldly, trusting in Your Word” (for example, see Matthew 6:33). Turning intellectual faith into our personal possession is always a fight, not just sometimes. God brings us into particular circumstances to educate our faith, because the nature of faith is to make the object of our faith very real to us. Until we know Jesus, God is merely a concept, and we can’t have faith in Him. But once we hear Jesus say, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9) we immediately have something that is real, and our faith is limitless. Faith is the entire person in the right relationship with God through the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.”  CHAMBERS

Typically I read Chamber’s devotion for the day and decide what parts of it I will share. But there are days when I have a hard time leaving parts out.  This is one of those days.  (Romans 1:16-17) “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.  For in it (the Gospel) the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”” As we respond to life in faith, God is revealed to us.  (Hebrews 11:1)  “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not see.”  Living by faith is supernatural.  It defies the natural, common sense, cultural convention, the way “your daddy” did things.  It is God’s convention.  The way He intended things to be.  Total trust in Him, even when you don’t understand what is happening .. but you know God is in it.  And the only way that you can know that is if you are sensitive to the spiritual.  And the only way you can be sensitive to the spiritual is if you are doing what you need to do to strengthen the influence of the Spirit in you.  You get the idea. 

I have had a number of conversations with people who are struggling with a decision about the direction they should go in life.  They know what God is telling them, that is not the problem.  Dr. Henry Blackaby, in Experiencing God, said that knowing you have heard God’s voice is not the problem most people have.  The problem is obeying what He says.  What God tells you to do requires faith.  To not worry requires faith. To be at peace in the midst of turmoil requires faith.  To exercise faith requires a close relationship with God.  Faith is not something you can pull out of your pocket when you are in a jam.  Faith is a way of life.  If you are struggling today, troubled about something that is going on in your life, then you need to look to God … that is exercising faith.  An absolute confidence in Him .. no matter what happens .. whether the problem goes away or not.  You can be confident in the midst of it. But you gotta have FAITH!  ELGIN

“Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”

“O soul are you weary and troubled?  No light in the darkness you see?  There's light for a look at the Saviour,  And life more abundant and free:
Through death into life everlasting  He passed, and we follow Him there;  Over us sin no more hath dominion  For more than conqu'rors we are!
His word shall not fail you He promised;  Believe Him and all will be well.  Then go to a world that is dying,  His perfect salvation to tell!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,  Look full in His wonderful face;  And the things of earth will grow strangely dim  In the light of His glory and grace.”

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)
Charley Elgin

Thursday, October 29, 2015

How To Live Above Your Circumstances

My Utmost For His Highest

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” —2 Corinthians 5:21

“[…] Our sins are removed because of the death of Jesus, and the only explanation for His death is His obedience to His Father, not His sympathy for us. We are acceptable to God not because we have obeyed, nor because we have promised to give up things, but because of the death of Christ, and for no other reason. We say that Jesus Christ came to reveal the fatherhood and the lovingkindness of God, but the New Testament says that He came to take “away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). And the revealing of the fatherhood of God is only to those to whom Jesus has been introduced as Savior. […] What is taught in the New Testament is that “He died for all” (2 Corinthians 5:15)— not, “He died my death”— and that through identification with His death I can be freed from sin, and have His very righteousness imparted as a gift to me. The substitution which is taught in the New Testament is twofold— “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”” CHAMBERS

It is good to remind ourselves of the price paid for our salvation.  Have you ever bought someone a gift, perhaps an expensive gift and they did not treat it well, in light of its value?  Your intent was to bless them.  To give them something that they could not give themselves.  Yet, they  treated it like it had not value.  Oh, if you asked them they would certainly say how much they appreciated it, but the fact of the matter was, they did not.  In much the same way, that is how we treat the great gift that God has given us in Jesus.  The way you live your life reveals how much you value your new life in Christ.  Think about it.  There are only two possibilities when you die.  You are going to spend eternity in hell or eternity in heaven.  In Christ, not only are we assured of a home in heaven, but the ability to cope with this life on earth that is supernatural.  When you add obedience to faith, the Spirit in you, and the Word of God, the result is the ability to live above your circumstances.  So, if a person who has been born again chooses to trust in themselves, ignore the leading of the Spirit, and disregard the Word of God, what does that tell you about how much they value the great gift they have been given in Christ.  Some have tossed their faith in a corner to gather dust.  James 2:17 “Faith without works is dead.”  Faith lying in the corner has no practical value.  It must be applied and to be applied, it must be valued.  It all boils down to Matthew 22:37.  Do you really love God with your all?  Do you really value what Jesus did for us on the cross?  Then Jesus is saying to you what He said to Peter in John 21:15-19, “Show Me.”  Think about it.  ELGIN

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Charley Elgin

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

God Is Good All The Time, And We Are Not

My Utmost For His Highest

“If when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” —Romans 5:10

“I am not saved by believing— I simply realize I am saved by believing. […] We can be born again solely because of the atonement of our Lord. Sinful men and women can be changed into new creations, not through their repentance or their belief, but through the wonderful work of God in Christ Jesus which preceded all of our experience (see 2 Corinthians 5:17-19). The unconquerable safety of justification and sanctification is God Himself. We do not have to accomplish these things ourselves— they have been accomplished through the atonement of the Cross of Christ. The supernatural becomes natural to us through the miracle of God, and there is the realization of what Jesus Christ has already done— “It is finished!” (John 19:30).” CHAMBERS

Jesus has already done for us what we could not do.  We cannot add to that.  If we attempt to somehow be like Jesus by trying harder, or wishing more, we will be sorely disappointed.  Acting like Jesus is vain religion, letting Jesus act through us is a life of faith.  That is not to say that we should not do what is right and good.  The question is what is the motivation for what we do.  In Mark 10:17-27, a man says to Jesus “Good Teacher” and Jesus responded “Why do you call me good?  Only my Father in heaven is good.”  What! Didn’t Jesus have to be “good” to die for us?  His point was that we understand the source of goodness.  All that is right comes from the Father.  Jesus always turned to the Father (the word “father” means source), not to Himself.  That is how all of our problems began in the world, when Adam turned to himself and away from God.

Do you want to live in a way that pleases your Father in heaven?  It begins, and ends, by yielding your life to the Lord.  Your life in Jesus is not like my comments that I put in ().  Something that is like a nice to know, but if absent would not affect what I have written.  Making your relationship the number one priority is your number one priority.  Do you dedicate time to pray, read and worship?  Or is that the first thing you trade off when the business of life crowds in on you?  To you praise God for His blessings in your life and then deny him on Sunday because you have other things to do which are more pressing?  How can you praise God for the provision on the one hand and then deny the Provider on the other?  We must be careful because the very thing that we are thankful for can become a wedge and drive us away from the One to whom we have given thanks.  Think about it.  ELGIN

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Charley Elgin

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Bible Is The Truth - Not Believing The Truth Does Not Change The Truth

My Utmost For His Highest

 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations… —Matthew 28:19

“Jesus Christ did not say, “Go and save souls” (the salvation of souls is the supernatural work of God), but He said, “Go…make disciples of all the nations….” Yet you cannot make disciples unless you are a disciple yourself. When the disciples returned from their first mission, they were filled with joy because even the demons were subject to them. But Jesus said, in effect, “Don’t rejoice in successful service— the great secret of joy is that you have the right relationship with Me” (see Luke 10:17-20). [Our] great essential is remaining true to the call of God, and realizing that his one and only purpose is to disciple men and women to Jesus. […] [Our] challenge comes from the perspective of the [our] own personal relationship with Jesus Christ— “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” (Matthew 9:28). […]  The one great challenge to us is— do I know my risen Lord? Do I know the power of His indwelling Spirit? Am I wise enough in God’s sight, but foolish enough according to the wisdom of the world, to trust in what Jesus Christ has said?” CHAMBERS

There are a couple points that we need to grasp from this.  First, our purpose is to share the Gospel, not save people. God saves people the work of His Son and by the power of His Spirit.  One of the greatest mysteries that I know of is that He has elected to use us in that process.  The second is having a belief and confidence that the Word is true.  In the Study, “The Truth Project”, the question is posed .. “Do you believe that what you believe is really real?”  Have you ever heard someone say, “Well it might be true for some people, but not for me.”?  What they really mean is that they believe that a circumstance or condition applies to some people but it does not them, personally.  That is not the Truth I am referring to.  Someone once said that if you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember what you said.  Why?  Because Truth does not change. But knowing the Truth and obeying the Truth are two different things.  If you don’t believe it, you won’t obey it.  I would ask Haitians, “What is 2 + 2?”  Their answer was –“Kat” – four. Then I would say “Do you know that is also 4 in the U.S., and every other country on earth?  And so is the Bible the same in every country on earth.  And when you ask how to you go to heaven, Jesus is the answer in every country on earth.”  John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except by Me.”  The Living Word is Truth and the written word, the Bible, is Truth.  Do you believe that?  If you said “yes” in your mind just now, then live like you do. Think about it.  ELGIN 

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Monday, October 26, 2015

"Have Bible - Will Travel" Accepting Your Call To Missions

My Utmost For His Highest

“Jesus said to them again, "…As the Father has sent Me, I also send you."” —John 20:21

“A missionary is someone sent by Jesus Christ just as He was sent by God. The great controlling factor is […] the command of Jesus. The source of our inspiration in our service for God is behind us, not ahead of us. […]  The goal is to be true to Him— to carry out His plans. […] We tend to forget that the one great reason underneath all missionary work is not primarily the elevation of the people, their education, nor their needs, but is first and foremost the command of Jesus Christ— “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…” (Matthew 28:19).” CHAMBERS

The words “missions” and “missionary” are not in the Bible.  “The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin missionem (nom. missio), meaning "act of sending" or mittere, meaning "to send".” (Wikipedia)   No matter where the words come from,  the command to go, the idea of being sent is clear.  Jesus said go … but go where?  (Acts 1:8) “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” The principle at work here is that we (none of us) are not to keep our faith to ourselves.  We are to share the Gospel with our families, our friends, our neighbors.  Imagine concentric circles (circles inside of circles).  The innermost circle is our family and the outermost circle is the uttermost parts of the earth.  We tend to associate missions with those outermost circles.  That is where missionaries go to do what they do.  The truth is that we are all called to be witnesses … to go … maybe only as far as our living room … but maybe to a grass hut.  Each of us must listen to and obey the voice of God in this matter. 

Unfortunately, many times we think of the work of missions as something for the “hired guns”.  People who will do our work for us, so then all we have to do is pray and give money to be obedient to the Lord’s command.  There was a television show on many years ago called “Paladin”, he had business cards that said “Have gun – will travel”.  For the right cause and for the right money, Paladin would go to right wrongs.  For the missionaries their cards might say “Have Bible – Will travel” with the difference is that they go for the cause of Christ – the Gospel and not for the money.  But, helping others fulfill their call to go and serve in the uttermost parts does not absolve us of our to missions to serve closer to or at home.  Each of us has a responsibility to be witnesses wherever the Lord might call us to.  Think about it.  ELGIN

Charley Elgin

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Close Only Counts In Horse Shoes And Hand Grenades

My Utmost For His Highest

 “Thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ…” —2 Corinthians 2:14

 "The proper perspective of a servant of God must not simply be as near to the highest as he can get, but it must be the highest. Be careful that you vigorously maintain God’s perspective, and remember that it must be done every day, little by little. Don’t think on a finite level. No outside power can touch the proper perspective. The proper perspective to maintain is that we are here for only one purpose— to be captives marching in the procession of Christ’s triumphs. We are not on display in God’s showcase— we are here to exhibit only one thing— the “captivity [of our lives] to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). How small all the other perspectives are! For example, the ones that say, “I am standing all alone, battling for Jesus,” or, “I have to maintain the cause of Christ and hold down this fort for Him.” But Paul said, in essence, “I am in the procession of a conqueror, and it doesn’t matter what the difficulties are, for I am always led in triumph.” Is this idea being worked out practically in us? Paul’s secret joy was that God took him as a blatant rebel against Jesus Christ, and made him a captive— and that became his purpose. It was Paul’s joy to be a captive of the Lord, and he had no other interest in heaven or on earth. […]  “We are to God the fragrance of Christ…” (2 Corinthians 2:15). We are encompassed with the sweet aroma of Jesus, and wherever we go we are a wonderful refreshment to God.” CHAMBERS

 There is a saying that I have not used for years, “Close only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades.”  The point being that often times we choose to be content with being close enough to the Lord when, in fact, there should be no distance between us.  It is not that we have attained perfection, but that we are in pursuit of it.  Not perfect in the sense that we no longer sin, but that we are already perfected in that we have forgiveness and eternal salvation through Jesus Christ. (Hebrews 10:14) “For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” Freedom from sin will not be in our grasp until we see Him face to face, but we press on toward that goal.  Not expecting perfection in one another, but, at the same time, not being content with our imperfection.  Encouraging one another to love and good works. (Hebrews 3:12-13) “See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” So how about it?  ELGIN

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Charley Elgin

Friday, October 23, 2015

Our Struggle With Surrendering Our Unbelief

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” —2 Corinthians 5:17

“[W]e must learn that God accepts nothing of the old life! Instead of being on the side of our prejudices, He is deliberately removing them from us. It is part of our moral education to see our prejudices put to death by His providence, and to watch how He does it. […] There is only one thing God wants of us, and that is our unconditional surrender.  When we are born again, the Holy Spirit begins to work His new creation in us, and there will come a time when there is nothing remaining of the old life. […] How are we going to get a life that has no lust, no self-interest, and is not sensitive to the ridicule of others? How will we have the type of love that “is kind…is not provoked, [and] thinks no evil”? (1 Corinthians 13:4-5). The only way is by allowing nothing of the old life to remain, and by having only simple, perfect trust in God— such a trust that we no longer want God’s blessings, but only want God Himself. […] Once we truly see God at work, we will never be concerned again about the things that happen, because we are actually trusting in our Father in heaven, whom the world cannot see.”  CHAMBERS

All we have to do is trust!  Pretty simple to say … not so simple to do.  Living the Christian life is not about “some” trust.  It’s about “total” trust.  There are just some things in our lives that we don’t want to give up control over.  Generally that happens because we have trusted in someone or something only to be disappointed when the person or thing failed us.  So we resolve in our minds, “I will never do that again!”  Someone once said that the only part of the Bible that you believe is the part that you obey.  Think about it, now!  If the Bible is Truth, then there is no room for doubt.  If God is the definition of love, and He is, then there is no possibility that He would fail you.  Bondye fidel!  God is faithful!  This is where faith comes in.  Do you believe or not.  The man said to Jesus in Mark 9:24, “I believe, but help me with my unbelief.”  What is it that you are holding back on, that is really holding you back?  Let’s say there is a woman who agrees to marry a man, and she does.  But then she tells him one night that she is going out on a date with her old boyfriend.  The husband says,” but you married me!”  She says, “That is true, but I am not giving up my boyfriend.” In the same way, we are not being faithful to God when we withhold trust in ourselves.  Think about your life.  This song might be your prayer.  What do you need to surrender? ELGIN

“I Surrender All”

“All to Jesus I surrender; All to Him I freely give; I will ever love and trust Him, In His presence daily live.
All to Jesus I surrender; Humbly at His feet I bow, Worldly pleasures all forsaken; Take me, Jesus, take me now.
All to Jesus I surrender; Make me, Savior, wholly Thine; Let me feel the Holy Spirit, Truly know that Thou art mine.
All to Jesus I surrender; Lord, I give myself to Thee; Fill me with Thy love and power; Let Thy blessing fall on me.”

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Getting Real - Are You really Devoted To God?

“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit…” —Romans 8:16

“[…] we want the witness of the Spirit before we have done what God tells us to do. […] you are in the way as long as you won’t abandon yourself to Him in total surrender. […] If you received the witness of the Spirit before the reality and truth that comes from obedience, it would simply result in sentimental emotion. But when you act on the basis of redemption, and stop the disrespectfulness of debating with God, He immediately gives His witness. […]Throw it all overboard, trust in Him, and He will give you the witness of the Spirit.” CHAMBERS

I believe that most Christians struggle with living a qualified faith.  What I mean by that is that we live mostly trusting our natural life while being aware that we have a new, spiritual one.  Our natural life is the superior, the one we prefer.  It’s not the one we know that is supposed to be superior since we are born again, but it is all the same.  Most often, we defer to our old nature, make excuses for it, and in doing so, we deny the Spirit that is in us, and walk in disobedience much of the time.  We may not be robbing banks … but we are robbing God by not giving Him what is His, our hearts and devotion.

Living life as God intended requires us to seek the things of the Kingdom first. Living the Christian life is really simple … just a few things to remember .. but it is not in the knowing, it’s in the doing.  I know a number of people that are very intelligent.  They understand what must be done.  They just don’t do it.  So they “debate with God” in terms of doing what is the right thing, living in a way that honors God, treating others in a way that demonstrates the love of God.  Each day, we must orient ourselves .. get our focus … set our minds … and not just let life happen. You may not be able to avoid the troubles that life brings, but you don’t have to face them on your own.  Friend, I want to encourage you to draw close to God and stop living life on your own where God is notional .. a fleeting thought … Trust me, it will be for your good and His glory. Think about it.  ELGIN

“Lord I’m Coming Home” William J. Kirkpatrick

“I’ve wandered far away from God, Now I’m coming home;  The paths of sin too long I’ve trod, Lord, I’m coming home.
I’ve wasted many precious years, Now I’m coming home; I now repent with bitter tears, Lord, I’m coming home.
I’m tired of sin and straying, Lord, Now I’m coming home; I’ll trust Thy love, believe Thy word, Lord, I’m coming home.
My soul is sick, my heart is sore, Now I’m coming home; My strength renew, my hope restore, Lord, I’m coming home.
My only hope, my only plea, Now I’m coming home; That Jesus died, and died for me, Lord, I’m coming home.”

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Significance Of You Being Satisfied With Insignificance

But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith… —Jude 20

“Most of us develop our Christianity along the lines of our own nature, not along the lines of God’s nature. […] Discipleship is built entirely on the supernatural grace of God. […] it [requires] the supernatural grace of God to live twenty-four hours of every day as a saint, going through drudgery, and living an ordinary, unnoticed, and ignored existence as a disciple of Jesus. It is ingrained in us that we have to do exceptional things for God— but we do not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things of life, and holy on the ordinary streets, among ordinary people— and this is not learned in five minutes.” CHAMBERS

Bringing glory to God by living the ordinary life.  Is that something that you see as somehow less spiritual than the person who goes to a distant land to face adversity and hardship in his service to the Lord?  It is not a matter of “what” you do that makes something spiritually significant.  It is a matter of how and why you do it.  Is God at the center of whatever you are doing.  When I attended my 20th class reunion, some years ago, I was chatting with a high school buddy.  Vocation became the subject of discussion, as it inevitably does with guys.  When he discovered what I was doing, a major in the Army who flies helicopters, he told me what he did, working for Caterpillar Tractor, in an apologetic way. Like somehow he was less of a man because of what I did compared to what he did. Frankly that irritated me a little so I asked him a few questions. Are you feeding your family?  Are they healthy? Are they happy? Do you have a house to live in?  Then I said, “Don’t apologize for being responsible in the way you take care of your family.”   We do the same things as Christians.  Our commonality is the need to walk in obedience to God, no matter what He might call us to.  If you compare yourself to other Christians, you are self-focused .. not Christ-focused.  So stop it and focus on walking in obedience and bringing glory to Him, no matter what God puts your hand to, no matter where you are. ELGIN

(1 Corinthians 12: 12-15,18-22,27)  “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 if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. […] But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!”  On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, […] Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”

Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)