Monday, February 29, 2016

What Jesus Will Do In Us Is More Important Than What Jesus Can Do For Us

My Utmost For His Highest
"What do you want Me to do for you?" He said, "Lord, that I may receive my sight." —Luke 18:41
“When Jesus asks what we want Him to do for us about the incredible problem that is confronting us, remember that He doesn’t work in commonsense ways, but only in supernatural ways.  Look at how we limit the Lord by only remembering what we have allowed Him to do for us in the past. We say, “I always failed there, and I always will.” Consequently, we don’t ask for what we want. Instead, we think, “It is ridiculous to ask God to do this.” If it is an impossibility, it is the very thing for which we have to ask. […] God will do what is absolutely impossible.  This man received his sight. But the most impossible thing for you is to be so closely identified with the Lord that there is literally nothing of your old life remaining. God will do it if you will ask Him. But you have to come to the point of believing Him to be almighty. We find faith by not only believing what Jesus says, but, even more, by trusting Jesus Himself. […] Once we see Jesus, the impossible things He does in our lives become as natural as breathing. The agony we suffer is only the result of the deliberate shallowness of our own heart. We won’t believe; we won’t let go by severing the line that secures the boat to the shore— we prefer to worry.”  CHAMBERS
The solution is simple … but at the same time … very difficult.  The reason it is so simple is Jesus is the answer … the reason it is so difficult … the answer requires faith and trust.  Can you imagine being blind.  No chance of seeing.  In fact, you don’t even know what seeing is .. but you know what the consequence of not seeing is.  Life is difficult.  Then, one day, you hear about Jesus.  That He can heal the sick, give sight to the blind.  And, for some reason that you do not understand, you believe that He can and will.  And now, because of your faith, you can see.  A new world of possibilities are opened to you.  I can describe how it feels to fly, but until you actually do it, you can only imagine.  Not until you do it yourself will you understand the reality of what I described to you.
There is a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson that I had to memorize in grade school, The Swing. “How do you like to go up in a swing, Up in the air so blue? Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing Ever a child can do! Up in the air and over the wall, Till I can see so wide, Rivers and trees and cattle and all Over the countryside—Till I look down on the garden green, Down on the roof so brown— Up in the air I go flying again, Up in the air and down!”  As I remember that poem, I also remember the feeling in my stomach as the swing rose until there was slack in the chain.  The feeling of joy that I had.  Such a simple thing.  But oh what great faith it took to trust my safety to the builder of that swing.  Life is like that as we walk with Jesus.  If we come to Him as a child (Matthew 18:3) “And he [Jesus] said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”  What is it in your life that you need to take to Jesus?  The blind man’s healing was a sign to the Jews.  The healing was a spiritual message delivered in a way that the lost could see.  But they focused on the one healed and not on the healer.  We become so focused on our problem that we miss the problem solver.  It is more important for us to have no problems in our lives than it is to walk with One who can bring healing.  It is not so much what Jesus can do for us as what He can do in us.  ELGIN
Charley Elgin

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Looking For Peace In All The Wrong Places

My Utmost For His Highest
Where then do You get that living water? —John 4:11
“The well is deep” — and even a great deal deeper than the Samaritan woman knew! (John 4:11). Think of the depths of human nature and human life; think of the depth of the “wells” in you. Have you been limiting, or impoverishing, the ministry of Jesus to the point that He is unable to work in your life? Suppose that you have a deep “well” of hurt and trouble inside your heart, and Jesus comes and says to you, “Let not your heart be troubled…” (John 14:1). Would your response be to shrug your shoulders and say, “But, Lord, the well is too deep, and even You can’t draw up quietness and comfort out of it […] We limit the Holy One of Israel by […] by saying, “Of course, I cannot expect God to do this particular thing.” The thing that approaches the very limits of His power is the very thing we as disciples of Jesus ought to believe He will do. […] The reason some of us are such poor examples of Christianity is that we have failed to recognize that Christ is almighty. […]  When we get into difficult circumstances, we impoverish His ministry by saying, “Of course, He can’t do anything about this.” We struggle to reach the bottom of our own well, trying to get water for ourselves. Beware of sitting back, and saying, “It can’t be done.” You will know it can be done if you will look to Jesus.”  CHAMBERS
(Philippians 4:6-9) “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 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 praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
Often times I refer to verses 6 and 7 as one thought, about not be anxious but turning to God and then verses 8 and 9 and what you should think about as a Christian. But, they are really connected.  We choose what we focus on and what we think about.  We must “stop”  when we are distressed and whatever we have “learned or heard or seen”  put into practice.  So we choose not to worry but to trust God.  We choose to focus our minds on what is right .. godly things … and then put those things into practice in our lives.  The result will be peace in the midst of the storm.  Peace which transcends earthly wisdom.  Your life may be falling apart … you might be facing a terminal illness … the loss of a loved one … great loss or hardship, but we can find peace – supernatural peace – in the midst of it.  But if you choose otherwise .. to not look to God, to trust in yourself, please do not ask God where He was or why He did not intervene.  I saw a saying once that went like this.  “God is nowhere” or “God is now here”  You can choose to live like the former is true, but it’s not.  Your God is close …..  ELGIN
I have journeyed,  Through the long, dark night,  Out on the open sea, By faith alone,  Sight unknown  And yet His eyes were watching me
I've had visions,  I've had dreams,  I've even held them in my hand, But I never knew,  They would slip right through,  Like they were only grains of sand
I have been young,  But I am older now,  And there has been beauty, These eyes have seen,
But it was in the night, Through the storms of my life, Oh, that's where God proved His love to me
The anchor holds Though the ship's been battered. The anchor holds Though the sails are torn
I have fallen on my knees As I faced the raging seas. The anchor holds In spite of the storm
Charley Elgin

Friday, February 26, 2016

Trying To Solve The Wrong Problems .. Searching For The Wrong Solutions

My Utmost For His Highest
The woman said to Him, "Sir, You have nothing to draw [water] with, and the well is deep." —John 4:11
“Have you ever said to yourself, “I am impressed with the wonderful truths of God’s Word, but He can’t really expect me to live up to that and work all those details into my life!” When it comes to confronting Jesus Christ on the basis of His qualities and abilities, our attitudes reflect religious superiority. We think His ideals are lofty and they impress us, but we believe He is not in touch with reality— that what He says cannot actually be done. Each of us thinks this about Jesus in one area of our life or another. These doubts or misgivings about Jesus begin as we consider questions that divert our focus away from God. While we talk of our dealings with Him, others ask us, “Where are you going to get enough money to live? How will you live and who will take care of you?” Or our misgivings begin within ourselves when we tell Jesus that our circumstances are just a little too difficult for Him. We say, “It’s easy to say, ‘Trust in the Lord,’ but a person has to live; and besides, Jesus has nothing with which to draw water— no means to be able to give us these things.” […] But we do have misgivings about Jesus. […] My misgivings arise from the fact that I search within to find how He will do what He says. My doubts spring from the depths of my own inferiority. If I detect these misgivings in myself, I should bring them into the light and confess them openly”  CHAMBERS
Do you find that it is easy to believe that Jesus can do something, but much harder to believe He “will” do something…. At least for you?  You find yourself in the middle of life’s circumstances.  Perhaps it is from your own making .. your own sin .. perhaps not … but the situation is impossible.  The woman at the well got water every day from that well.  She knew what it took to draw water there.  She also knew that Jesus did not have what He needed to draw the water from the well.  I am sure she was thinking “Seriously? This guy does not have a clue!”  But she was looking at the situation through her eyes and not His.  She saw the impossibility of the situation.  She had already predicted failure.  There was not any point … but Jesus was not bound by what she saw .. by the limitations that she resolved herself to … (John 4:10, 12-15) “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.” … “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.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
Was Jesus greater than Jacob?  What a question!  Do you look at your circumstances in terms of what men can do and think, “It’s not possible”?  Jesus told her what He had to give would last forever.  She was still stuck in the three dimensions of this world and asked for water that would allow her to not have to come to the well every day.  She wanted a physical solution.  Jesus said that answer you are looking for was in Him.  Then He went on to tell her why she came to the well when no one else from the village was there … shame and rejection … That He could fix the source of her trouble.  We struggle with the same thing.  Where are you looking for solutions?  Are you interested in the solution that Jesus is offering?  Or are you rejecting that as an impossibility or worse yet as unacceptable.   You want Jesus to prove Himself by fixing the relationship.  By solving the financial troubles.  By curing the illness.  Not by "just" being the God of all comfort, your strength, your peace …. That is nice but you want more … Jesus is the more that you are looking for, you just need to open your eyes and turn your heart toward Him. ELGIN
Charley Elgin

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Living The Christian Fantasy Life

My Utmost For His Highest
…though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved. —2 Corinthians 12:15
“Natural human love expects something in return. But Paul is saying, “It doesn’t really matter to me whether you love me or not. I am willing to be completely destitute anyway; willing to be poverty-stricken, not just for your sakes, but also that I may be able to get you to God.” “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor…” (2 Corinthians 8:9). And Paul’s idea of service was the same as our Lord’s. He did not care how high the cost was to himself— he would gladly pay it. It was a joyful thing to Paul. […] The real test of a saint is not one’s willingness to preach the gospel, but one’s willingness to do something like washing the disciples’ feet— that is, being willing to do those things that seem unimportant in human estimation but count as everything to God. It was Paul’s delight to spend his life for God’s interests in other people, and he did not care what it cost. But before we will serve, we stop to ponder our personal and financial concerns— “What if God wants me to go over there? And what about my salary? What is the climate like there? Who will take care of me? A person must consider all these things.” All that is an indication that we have reservations about serving God.” CHAMBERS
How important is it to you that the people around find salvation in Jesus? Really.  How important is it?  Is it important enough to show them Jesus through your own life?  Are you primarily focused on yourself and surviving?  Think about it.  What motivates you in terms of how you interact with others?  Must they treat you well first?  What you say, how you say it, what you do, how you do it .. do they shout “I am redeemed and Jesus is my Lord” to the world or “I am just like you struggling to survive, to get through the day, and I will treat you just like you treat me .. or worse.”?  A danger for all of us is that we live a fantasy life as Christians.  In our minds and imagination we are faithful children of God, but in reality we are just like the unforgiving servant. (Matthew 18:21-35)  Wanting forgiveness from God .. wanting grace and mercy .. wanting love and kindness from God .. but are unwilling to give it to others.  Do you treat other people harshly and feel justified .. thinking they get what they deserve?  Aren’t you glad you don’t get what you deserve?  Think about it.  ELGIN
“Redeemed”  Big Daddy Weave
I am redeemed, You set me free So I'll shake off theses heavy chains Wipe away every stain now I'm not who I used to be ….  I am redeemed
Seems like all I can see was the struggle Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past Bound up in shackles of all my failures Wondering how long is this gonna last
Then You look at this prisoner and say to me "son Stop fighting a fight that's already been won"
All my life I have been called unworthy Named by the voice of my shame and regret But when I hear You whisper, "Child lift up your head" I remember oh God, You're not done with me yet
I don't have to be the old man inside of me 'Cause his day is long dead and gone I've got a new name, a new life I'm not the same And a hope that will carry me home
Charley Elgin

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Six Ways You Are Like The Apostle Paul

My Utmost For His Highest
I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls… —2 Corinthians 12:15
“Once “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit,” we deliberately begin to identify ourselves with Jesus Christ’s interests and purposes in others’ lives (Romans 5:5). And Jesus has an interest in every individual person. We have no right in Christian service to be guided by our own interests and desires. In fact, this is one of the greatest tests of our relationship with Jesus Christ. The delight of sacrifice is that I lay down my life for my Friend, Jesus (see John 15:13). I don’t throw my life away, but I willingly and deliberately lay it down for Him and His interests in other people. And I do this for no cause or purpose of my own. Paul spent his life for only one purpose— that he might win people to Jesus Christ. Paul always attracted people to his Lord, but never to himself. He said, “I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22).” CHAMBERS
Do you think of yourself as being like Paul or being like one of the unnamed thousands that were saved after Pentecost that you never hear about?  Rather than think about what we do not have in common with Paul, the question is, “What do we have in common with Paul?”  First, we were busy living our own lives.  Doing what we thought was best for us to do.  Not caring much for Jesus.  Perhaps not liking to hear about him from our religious friends.  And then one day … we met Him on the road of life.  And it changed our lives, forever.  “The old passed away and the new had come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)  Second, the Lord gave us a mission. Unlike Paul, we were not made Apostles, but we were made ambassadors for Christ.  (2 Corinthians 5:20) From that point on, everything we did, everything we said, was to reflect Jesus.  Third, like Paul, we struggle with our flesh, doing what we don’t want to do and not doing what we are supposed to do. (Romans 7).  Fourth, like Paul, we face hardships, trials, disappointments, and like Paul must embrace the truth that we serve a God of all comfort who comforts us in our afflictions, giving us opportunity to bring that same comfort to other people.  (2 Corinthians 1:3-5)  Fifth, that like Paul we have this treasure – our salvation – in jars of clay.  (2 Corinthians 4:7)  Sixth, that we are able to live this new life by putting on the “full armor of God” (Ephesians 6)  This was not a theory Paul had, but they very way he lived his life.
So you see, you are like Paul in more ways than you thought .. or wanted to believe.  The fact is that like, us, Paul was a sinner saved by grace with a mission, like us, and was charged with letting his light shine in a world that is bound for Hell without Jesus.  It is time to put your light on “high beams”.  ELGIN
Charley Elgin

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

When You Serve God Which Leads To Serving Others, God is Glorified

My Utmost For His Highest

The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve… —Matthew 20:28

“Jesus also said, “Yet I am among you as the One who serves” (Luke 22:27). Paul’s idea of service was the same as our Lord’s— “…ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Corinthians 4:5). We somehow have the idea that a person called to the ministry is called to be different and above other people. But according to Jesus Christ, he is called to be a “doormat” for others— called to be their spiritual leader, but never their superior. Paul said, “I know how to be abased…” (Philippians 4:12). Paul’s idea of service was to pour his life out to the last drop for others. And whether he received praise or blame made no difference. As long as there was one human being who did not know Jesus, Paul felt a debt of service to that person until he did come to know Him. But the chief motivation behind Paul’s service was not love for others but love for his Lord. If our devotion is to the cause of humanity, we will be quickly defeated and broken-hearted, since we will often be confronted with a great deal of ingratitude from other people. But if we are motivated by our love for God, no amount of ingratitude will be able to hinder us from serving one another.”  CHAMBERS

There are a couple of points to be made here.  First … God has chosen to use us for His purpose.  Our focus must be on service not self.  As I typed that I thought about the core values of the Air Force.  Those things that are to be primary to the character of ever airman and civilian who serves.  There are three – Integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do.  I must say, I don’t always see those being played out in the lives of the people around me .. just as I don’t see those same Biblical values being played out in the lives of many Christians around me … I don’t pretend to understand fully why God has chosen to use us to show His glory to others, except when Jesus ascended there needed to be a replacement for Jesus .. that is us .. but we needed to be spiritually empowered, so God sent the Spirit.  The things we do for the Lord cannot not done by the power of our flesh or there is no glory for God.  There is no spiritual power behind our actions or our words.

The second point is that why we do what we do should not be motivated primarily for our love for others, but our love for God.  Through my own experience, I can promise you that you will serve many ungrateful people.  Ingratitude on the part of others is a fiery arrow from Satan.  Without the shield of faith, ingratitude can steal your joy and motivation, causing you to consider “what you have done” and lose sight of why you have done it. (Ephesians 6) Jesus brought salvation to a nation and they crucified Him.  Why should they treat you any different.  (John 15:20-21)  "Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me.” The pastor of the largest church in South Korea (830,000 members), Pastor Cho, told the missionaries sent from that church, “When people ask you why you are serving the way you are, tell them that Jesus came serving the Father to show the love of the Father to the world, and you are doing the same.”  In other words, point them to the Lord and don’t take credit for your service.  Interestingly, this same pastor was convicted of embezzlement from the church.  My point of adding that factoid, success in the kingdom does not ensure safety from sin.  (Genesis 4:7) “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”  ELGIN

Charley Elgin

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Are Christians Falling Victim To A Jedi Mind Trick?

This is a deviation from my usual devotions in that it is not based upon a My Utmost For His Highest devotion.
I have been watching the goings on in our culture since our return from Haiti, with some dismay.  It is not that I was mentally unaware of the moral degradation of our culture, but I did not see the spiritual significance.  I had a mental image this morning of Satan playing the role of Obi Wan Kenobi, waving his hand before the faces of Christians, saying, these are not the sins you have been warned to avoid.  I do not intend to make a political statement with what follows … but rather, to hopefully bring some spiritual light on what is happening.
I have been watching the presidential race with great interest.  On the one hand, Hillary Clinton has been accused of security violations that would have cost most government workers their jobs and perhaps even might have sent them to jail.  But no one is talking about it.  Donald Trump is obviously not a Christian, but has won over many evangelicals as a presidential hopeful.  It is as if Evangelicals are victims of a Jedi mind trick.  Obi Wan Kenobi said “ The Force can have a strong influence on the weak-minded."  The same might could (Alabama-speak) be said by Satan about weak minded Christians. Oh, oh did I just offended someone?  I don’t mean to offend, but to challenge.  I am not telling you who to vote for.  I am just encouraging you to not be deceived.
As Christians, we should not make excuses for our sins or for the sins of others.  Unfortunately many of the people that the press euphemistically refers to as Evangelicals are, in fact, people who sometimes go to church and are thought to be Christians.  Unfortunately, many of the people sitting in pews on Sunday are not actually Christian, but merely religious.  And just as unfortunately, many of the Christians who gather with them, have embraced the same secular culture and see nothing wrong with what the Bible clearly establishes as sinful acts.  Given the response of “evangelicals” in the primaries, thus far, integrity, purity, and other virtues are negotiable if it means that we might be safer or get more money, or have less taken away.  The government wants to be our god and, it seems, many “evangelicals” are bending their knees. However, apart from having the Spirit of God, those pundits do not have the capacity to understand what is happening.
Here is a simple test.  What is your favorite television show?  Your favorite movie?  Does it contain nudity, profanity, sexual promiscuity?  Do you minimize those things for the sake of a story line, a favorite actor, or your affection for a particular genre?  You … or more correctly .. your flesh is embracing what the Bible speaks against as something that is really “OK”.  Folks the Body of Christ in the United States is in spiritual trouble.  The pundits on the news channels are perplexed as to why one candidate who, by profession, embraces the faith, was not supported better by those who make the same claim, and instead, embraced someone who clearly does not embrace the faith.
So get to the point Charley!  Our calling is to render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s. (Matthew 22:21) “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” So the question is, for the Christian, what belongs to God?  The answer is simple .. you do.  (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God …..” Our devotion should not be offered to a politician .. or to our culture.  Here is another one … “Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength” (Matthew 22:37-38)  One more “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on (trust) your own understanding.  In all you ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.”  (Proverbs 3:5,6)
So what is Caesar’s with respect to voting?  Good question.  In my view, we should vote. We should vote for the one who best represents the Lord.  If there is no one who does, then vote for the one who best represents “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable”  (Philippians 4:8) , and if you can find none, don’t vote.  Let me debunk a myth.  We do not live in a Christian nation.  We live in a nation the was founded on Christian principles.  Principles that are no longer promoted by our government institutions but are rejected as “religious tenants”  that must not be promoted in public forums.  Should Christians be involved in government, absolutely.  We are called to be salt and light in every corner of our culture.  Should we accept the calling of “bad” as good because our culture demands it?  Absolutely not.  (Isaiah 5:20-25) “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight. Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine  and champions at mixing drinks, who acquit the guilty for a bribe,  but deny justice to the innocent. Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw and as dry grass sinks down in the flames, so their roots will decay and their flowers blow away like dust; for they have rejected the law of the Lord Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel. Therefore the Lord’s anger burns against his people;”   When we embrace the secular culture and its definition of what is good, we have lost our saltiness.   (Matthew 5:13) “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.”
Charley Elgin

Friday, February 19, 2016

Serving Others And Serving God - Just Like Jesus

My Utmost For His Highest
Arise, shine… —Isaiah 60:1
“Drudgery is one of the finest tests to determine the genuineness of our character. Drudgery is work that is far removed from anything we think of as ideal work. It is the utterly hard, menial, tiresome, and dirty work. And when we experience it, our spirituality is instantly tested and we will know whether or not we are spiritually genuine. Read John 13. In this chapter, we see the Incarnate God performing the greatest example of drudgery— washing fishermen’s feet. He then says to them, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14). The inspiration of God is required if drudgery is to shine with the light of God upon it. In some cases the way a person does a task makes that work sanctified and holy forever. It may be a very common everyday task, but after we have seen it done, it becomes different. When the Lord does something through us, He always transforms it. Our Lord takes our human flesh and transforms it, and now every believer’s body has become “the temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:19).” CHAMBERS
“The Practice Of The Presence Of God” is a book of collected teachings of Brother Lawrence (born Nicholas Herman), a 17th-century Carmelite monk.  Brother Lawrence was uneducated but well respected for his devotion to God and man.  One thing that he preferred not to do was work in the kitchen.  He worked in the kitchen of the monastery for over 15 years.  During that time, he influenced the lives of many people both within and outside of the monastery.  His day to day life was drudgery, but his faith shined brightly as he practiced the presence of God.  When we find ourselves in a difficult or unpleasant situation, our tendency is to behave as though we have been abandoned .. that somehow, God has “left for the day”, and we must suffer on our own.  Poor us!  The truth is that God is with us all the time.  It is just that we choose to focus on ourselves and our circumstances.  Confession.  Right now I am working as a computer engineer for the Air Force.  Something  that I don’t particularly care for.  My heart is elsewhere … my joy is in serving not sitting in a cubicle.  God has me “in the kitchen”.  The question is, will I be faithful “peeling potatoes” and will I let the light of Christ shine in my life?  Or will I complain about the fact that I am in a place other than my choosing?  The answer lies in what I choose to focus on.  You see, it doesn’t really matter where you serve.  What matters is how you serve.  Brother Lawrence was focused on serving others by serving God.  Just like Jesus.  If my focus is on the Father, then what I do for a living and where I do it, is really of no consequence.  No matter where I find myself, I must practice the presence of God.  Keep my focus on Him.  (Philippians 4:11-13) “…. I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”  When we lose our spiritual focus, discouragement creeps in.  When we become discouraged, we move farther away from God, not closer.  It is a dangerous place to be.  I have experienced some amazing things in my life.  Spiritually significant things.  But nothing more significant than my own salvation.  No matter what you face .. where you find yourself … you are sealed by the Spirit of God … there is a song the children at the orphanage in Jacmel would sing .. “Bondye pa bliye mwen, li konnen non’m”  God has not forgotten me.  He knows my name.  Something to keep in mind.  ELGIN
Charley Elgin

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Sin May Seem Inevitable, But Should Never Be Acceptable

My Utmost For His Highest

Rise, let us be going. —Matthew 26:46
“In the Garden of Gethsemane, the disciples went to sleep when they should have stayed awake, and once they realized what they had done it produced despair. The sense of having done something irreversible tends to make us despair. We say, “Well, it’s all over and ruined now; what’s the point in trying anymore.” If we think this kind of despair is an exception, we are mistaken. It is a very ordinary human experience. Whenever we realize we have not taken advantage of a magnificent opportunity, we are apt to sink into despair. […] We will have times of despair caused by real events in our lives, and we will be unable to lift ourselves out of them. […]  Never let the sense of past failure defeat your next step.”  CHAMBERS
How do you feel when you sin?  Frustrated with yourself?  You find yourself living out the struggle that Paul describes in Romans 7:18-19.  “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.”  It seems that sin is lurking at the door of my heart.  How can it be that I continue to sin when I have been redeemed.  It is a mystery, but God has a purpose in allowing it.  We need a redeemer.  Not just to the point of salvation, but forever.  Jesus is the way and the truth and the life. (John 14:6)  That was, is, and always will be true.  A preacher said for a Christian, life on earth is the worst hell we will ever know.  For the lost, life on earth is the best heaven they will ever know.  We live in a sinful world and will be tempted to sin and, I believe, will sin, until the day we pass.  Should our sin cause us to despair? Only to the point that we remember that we have this treasure in jars of clay. (2 Corinthians 4:7-9)  Should we just accept the fact that we will continue to sin?  No!  We should never find our sin acceptable or excusable. Each time we must go to the throne of grace and be cleansed from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9) Your struggle with sin is a spiritual battle. We will always need Jesus … we will always need the Spirit … to live this new life.  ELGIN
Charley Elgin

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Looking For A Cure For Discouragement?

My Utmost For His Highest
Arise and eat. —1 Kings 19:5
“The angel in this passage did not give Elijah a vision, or explain the Scriptures to him, or do anything remarkable. He simply told Elijah to do a very ordinary thing, that is, to get up and eat. […] When the Spirit of God comes to us, He does not give us glorious visions, but He tells us to do the most ordinary things imaginable. […] But whenever God steps in, His inspiration is to do the most natural, simple things— things we would never have imagined God was in, but as we do them we find Him there. […]  But we must take the first step and do it in the inspiration of God. […] As soon as we arise and obey, we enter a higher plane of life.”  CHAMBERS
Discouragement.  Have you ever been discouraged?  Think about the word … dis – couraged.  To not have courage.  Life on this planet can be and is very difficult.  We all face many trials and disappointments.  Challenges that leave us without the courage to press on … discouraged.  Jesus said (John 16:33) “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” What had He spoken?  Jesus had just told them that …. V 13 “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth.” V19-20 “I said, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me, and again a little while, and you will see Me’? Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy.” V 23-24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you.  Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.”
Jesus was encouraging the disciples to place their faith in Him and not in what they see or experience.  To not become discouraged by the events of life, but to be encouraged because they belonged to the Giver of life.  And so it is for us.  But we have to be reminded, now and again, of that truth.  If we are not intentionally seeking the Lord every day, discouragement is waiting like a bird of prey, ready to swoop down and snatch us up.  Like Elijah, the Spirit will say to us, arise and eat … not natural food, but spiritual food.  The cure for earthly discouragement is spiritual encouragement.  It is the remedy for what ills us.
(Joshua 1:9) “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  ELGIN
“Because He Lives”
“Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, All fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future, And life is worth the living just because He lives."
Charley Elgin

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Blessing Follows Obedience .. Obediance Follows Faith

My Utmost For His Highest
Arise from the dead… —Ephesians 5:14
“We all have many dreams and aspirations when we are young, but sooner or later we realize we have no power to accomplish them. We cannot do the things we long to do, so our tendency is to think of our dreams and aspirations as dead. But God comes and says to us, “Arise from the dead….” When God sends His inspiration, it comes to us with such miraculous power that we are able to “arise from the dead” and do the impossible. The remarkable thing about spiritual initiative is that the life and power comes after we “get up and get going.” God does not give us overcoming life— He gives us life as we overcome. When the inspiration of God comes, and He says, “Arise from the dead…,” we have to get ourselves up; God will not lift us up. Our Lord said to the man with the withered hand, “Stretch out your hand” (Matthew 12:13). As soon as the man did so, his hand was healed. But he had to take the initiative. If we will take the initiative to overcome, we will find that we have the inspiration of God, because He immediately gives us the power of life.”  CHAMBERS
Blessing follows obedience, not the other way around.  There is something called “foxhole religion”.  It originated with soldiers in a foxhole, facing death, promising God that if He would only save them from death, that they would follow Him. The trouble is, God sees the heart of man, and does not merely listen to words spoken.  We cannot live any way that we want and then pray, “God get me out of this jam!”  with no true intent to change the way we live.  God blesses us as we obey Him.  Jesus said to the man “Stretch out your hand.”  Anyone could have said that .. “Let me see your hand” … but Jesus spoke with supernatural authority.  The man had to have faith and more than that, he had to act on that faith.  And when he did, (Matthew 12:14) “So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other.”  The focus on or context of these passages is Jesus being tested and healing on the Sabbath.  It is easy to overlook the man who was healed.  Obedience begins in the heart . .with a right attitude toward God … followed by obedience … choosing God and rejecting the world … trusting God and not yourself … serving others and not yourself … (John 7:38) “Whoever believes in me (Jesus), as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”  James said “Faith without works is dead.”  Works are a result of faith and obedience.  That is the way it works Christian, so stretch out your hand and let the river flow.  ELGIN
“River of Life”
“I’ve got a river a life flowin’ out of me.  Makes the lame to walk and the blind to see.  Opens prison doors, sets the captives free.  I’ve got a river of live flowin’ out of me.
Spring up oh well and cleanse my soul.  Spring up oh well and make me whole.  Spring up oh well and give to me, that life abundantly”
Charley Elgin

Monday, February 15, 2016

Discipleship Is More Than Words . .It's Living Proof Of The Truth

My Utmost For His Highest
None of us lives to himself… —Romans 14:7
“Has it ever dawned on you that you are responsible spiritually to God for other people? For instance, if I allow any turning away from God in my private life, everyone around me suffers. […] If you allow physical selfishness, mental carelessness, moral insensitivity, or spiritual weakness, everyone in contact with you will suffer. […] “You shall be witnesses to Me…” (Acts 1:8). How many of us are willing to spend every bit of our nervous, mental, moral, and spiritual energy for Jesus Christ? That is what God means when He uses the word witness. […] Why has God left us on the earth? Is it simply to be saved and sanctified? No, it is to be at work in service to Him. Am I willing to be broken bread and poured-out wine for Him? Am I willing to be of no value to this age or this life except for one purpose and one alone— to be used to disciple men and women to the Lord Jesus Christ. My life of service to God is the way I say “thank you” to Him for His inexpressibly wonderful salvation.”  CHAMBERS
As a Christian, you are on a stage and the world is watching.  In Romans chapter 11, Paul said that the Gentile Christians should make the nation of Israel envious.  How?  The way the Gentile  Christians live and treat others, their relationship with God through Jesus,  is be a beacon of light that shines on the Messiah, the One they rejected. It reveals a life that they, themselves had an opportunity to experience.  But that is only if the Gentile Christians are living faithfully and fulfilling their purpose in Christ.  If a Christians is living in a way the reflects the world there is no spiritual attraction.  I was thinking about my mom after she became a Christian.  My sisters and I were skeptical about her “conversion”.  We had grown up with the unsaved mom, and knew what a terror she could be.  So we waited, watching, expecting the “old” mom to rise up once again.  But she didn’t.  Our testimony should begin at home.  People, who pretend to be spiritual, tend to let their “spiritual guard” down when they are home.  The problem is, their children and or spouse are watching.  It’s like when my dad told me to not ever smoke, as he puffed on a cigarette.
Making disciples is not just reading scripture to someone.  It is living life that reflects the scripture.  Do you lie in front of your children?  Do you allow things into your home through your TV or computers that are contrary to the Word of God.  Permitting those you are to be discipling to see and hear them.  If you say nothing you are giving your approval of what is seen or said.  Dr. James Dobson said, some years back, values are not taught, they are caught.  Do you know what happens when you lie to others because it is convenient at the time, you are teaching your children to lie and causing them to question your faith.  How often have you said, “tell them I am busy or not here”  which is a lie.  What you meant was “I don’t want to talk to them, but I don’t want to tell them that.”  You have discipled your children, but in the wrong way.  That does not point them to Jesus and a life lived in the power of the Spirit.  (Numbers 23:19) “God is not a man, that he should lie.”  You have shown them the way of the devil lived in the power of the flesh.  (John 8:44)  “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.”  Do you ever yell or raise your voice in anger at your children?  Do you love them?  Then you should show it. And after reading this, you need to repent, then do it.  ELGIN
(1 Corinthians 13:4-8  "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
Charley Elgin

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Devotion Is Not An Attitude It Is An Action, It's More Than Words

My Utmost For His Highest
Samuel answered, "Speak, for Your servant hears." —1 Samuel 3:10
“Just because I have listened carefully and intently to one thing from God does not mean that I will listen to everything He says. I show God my lack of love and respect for Him by the insensitivity of my heart and mind toward what He says. If I love my friend, I will instinctively understand what he wants. And Jesus said, “You are My friends…” (John 15:14). Have I disobeyed some command of my Lord’s this week? […] The goal of my spiritual life is such close identification with Jesus Christ that I will always hear God and know that God always hears me (see John 11:41). If I am united with Jesus Christ, I hear God all the time through the devotion of hearing. […] What hinders me from hearing is my attention to other things. It is not that I don’t want to hear God, but I am not devoted in the right areas of my life. I am devoted to things and even to service and my own convictions. […] I become deaf to Him because my attention is to other things— things which I think I must do. This is not living the life of a child of God. Have you heard God’s voice today?” CHAMBERS
Have you ever asked your child “Are you listening to me?”  Of course they can hear you.  That is not really what you were asking.  What you were really asking was “Are you going to accept my words and obey them?”  That can be very frustrating on the part of the parent. I know.  Jesus asked (Luke 6:46) “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”  In other words, don’t play games … don’t pretend …. Loving God is more than words.  There is no eternal or present value in pretending, feigning spirituality.  You may have cancer but pretend you don’t.  Pretending doesn’t change the facts and doesn’t remove the pain.   (John 14:23-26)  “Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. All this I have spoken while still with you. 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.””
The Holy Spirit is an advocate for God in our lives.  It’s His voice that we hear .. not audibly .. but in the inner man.  And if we are not listening to the Spirit, it’s a love and devotion problem.  Samuel was eager to hear from God and then obeyed what he heard.  We are not always so anxious to obey.  Why?  Because we lack devotion to God.  Devotion is not a desire to do the right thing .. it is doing the right thing.  Every day we face opportunities .. opportunities to hear God’s voice and opportunities to walk in the light. Because of our nature, we need to be encouraged to do that.  Be encouraged! (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22) “Do not quench the Spirit;  do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.”  ELGIN
“More Than Words”
“Sayin' I love you Is not the words I want to hear from you It's not that I want you Not to say it, but if you only knew
How easy it would be to show me how you feel More than words is all you have to do to make it real Then you wouldn't have to say that you love me Cause I'd already know”
Charley Elgin

Friday, February 12, 2016

Searching For Satisfaction? Look To The Hills

My Utmost For His Highest
They said to Moses, "You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die." —Exodus 20:19
“We don’t consciously and deliberately disobey God— we simply don’t listen to Him. God has given His commands to us, but we pay no attention to them— not because of willful disobedience, but because we do not truly love and respect Him. “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). Once we realize we have constantly been showing disrespect to God, we will be filled with shame and humiliation for ignoring Him.[…] we know that when God speaks we must either do what He asks or tell Him we will not obey. But if it is simply one of God’s servants speaking to us, we feel obedience is optional, not imperative. We respond by saying, “Well, that’s only your own idea, even though I don’t deny that what you said is probably God’s truth.”  CHAMBERS
What is it that causes us to love something or someone?  To want to give our life’s devotion and trust to it?  What is it that causes us to turn to something or someone else.  It is a choice we make.  I believe that we believe we can find greater satisfaction in the new something or that new someone.  When we are born again, we find ourselves in a place where we can find no greater satisfaction.  God is sufficient to meet all of our needs.  But that doesn’t prove to be sufficient does it?  Our wants rise up.  Our fears creep in.  And we turn from God and seek satisfaction from another source.  Ourselves, the world.  Our hearts are divided in their devotion.  When God said “you shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20), He was saying that we should look to Him as the source of our satisfaction in life.  Instead we live a life of feigned spirituality while we struggle in our vain quest to find satisfaction elsewhere.  Even that “form of godliness”  is evidence that we have abandoned our “first” love.  We think we can deceive others when it is God who sees the heart. Our focus turns from God to other gods as the source that will meet our needs.   Friend this is a persistent problem for us, which is why God has spoken to it so often in the Bible. What are you facing today that causes you to turn your eyes to something or someone else other than your father in heaven?  I want to encourage you to stop what you are doing and “look to the hills”.   ELGIN
(Psalm 121) “ I lift up my eyes to the hills— where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you— the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”  (my grandmother’s favorite psalm)
Charley Elgin

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

When Did You Last Clean Your Glasses?

My Utmost For His Highest
Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things… —Isaiah 40:26
The people of God in Isaiah’s time had blinded their minds’ ability to see God by looking on the face of idols. […] The real test of spiritual focus is being able to bring your mind and thoughts under control. Is your mind focused on the face of an idol? Is the idol yourself? Is it your work? Is it your idea of what a servant should be, or maybe your experience of salvation and sanctification? If so, then your ability to see God is blinded. You will be powerless when faced with difficulties and will be forced to endure in darkness. If your power to see has been blinded, don’t look back on your own experiences, but look to God. It is God you need.“  CHAMBERS
We must be careful that we don’t accept a form of godliness in the place of true godliness.  One of the things that Martie must constantly remind me of is to clean my glasses.  I really don’t remember smudging them with my fingers, but by the evidence of my fingerprints on the lenses, I do, and frequently apparently. So I clean my glasses and viola, I can see clearly.  Well, in a similar way, our lives become smudged in the course of our living with the fingerprints of the world and sin. So we no longer see clearly.  The funny thing about my glasses, my eyes adjust to the smudges, and I don’t realize that I am having a harder time seeing.  It takes someone else to make me aware that my glasses are dirty.  And so it is with life.  We adjust and accept something that is not spiritually normal as normal.  Until we are reminded that “our glasses need to be cleaned” by another saint or better yet, by the Holy Spirit and the Word. 
So accept this as a reminder.  Oh, I must add that I don’t always want to clean my glasses when I am reminded.  My flesh rises up in resistance to be told there is something wrong .. crazy isn’t it.  Why would I not want to accept help to be better?  The answer lies in my old, sinful nature.  (Psalm 119:105) (KJV)  “Thy Word is a light unto my path, and a lamp unto my feet”  My encouragement to you is .. check your glasses … as a reminder to me, I have placed a cleaning cloth next to my computer so each morning before I begin the day, I clean my glasses.  Start your day with clean glasses and a clean heart.  And see where the path leads you.  ELGIN
Charley Elgin