Thursday, March 31, 2016

What To Do When Another Christian Sins

My Utmost For His Highest
If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. —1 John 5:16
“If we are not heedful and pay no attention to the way the Spirit of God works in us, we will become spiritual hypocrites. We see where other people are failing, and then we take our discernment and turn it into comments of ridicule and criticism, instead of turning it into intercession on their behalf. God reveals this truth about others to us not through the sharpness of our minds but through the direct penetration of His Spirit. If we are not attentive, we will be completely unaware of the source of the discernment God has given us, becoming critical of others and forgetting that God says, “…he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death.” Be careful that you don’t become a hypocrite by spending all your time trying to get others right with God before you worship Him yourself.”  CHAMBERS
There are some things in the Bible that are unclear .. and have been for centuries.  What John means by a sin not leading to death is one of those.  There are opinions about what sin that might be, but it is unclear.  There are three things that the Bible is clear concerning 1 John 5:16.  First is that a Believer cannot lose their salvation.  The Bible is clear that we cannot. (2 Corinthians 1:22, Ephesians 1:13, John 10:28-29)  Second, is that we should pray for each other (James 5:16) and not judge and condemn each other (Matthew 7:1).  And third, is that we are to encourage each other to live a life of faithfulness toward God.  (Hebrews 3:13)
When you see another Christian sinning, recognition of the sin is not judgement .. it’s discernment.  What you choose to do with that discernment will either be an act of obedience or sin.  That’s right.  If you choose to judge and condemn, you are acting contrary to the Word which means that you are sinning.  The Bible does not say that you are to enable continued sin in the Believer’s life.  Looking past the sin.  Making excuses for the sin, never leads to forgiveness and healing, just more sin.  And if the person is not a believer?  Their sin is part of who they are.  What they need is Jesus.  So often Christians treat a lost person as if they are born again, when they are not.  That is a clear indication that the Christian does not understand the injustice they are doing to that lost person.  That does not mean that we should not be kind.  What it does mean is that we should not make excuses for people who are not Christians because we like being around them.  To embrace them and their lifestyle is to embrace sin.  Jesus walked among and ate with sinners, but was unblemished.  He did not make excuses for their sinful nature, but came to die for their salvation.  He came to minister to those people.  More often than not what happens to Christians is not ministry to the lost person, but rather gradually living as they live and doing as they do. (but that is another devotional topic)  Pray for each other … Encourage each other … Show the world your love for each other in the process   ELGIN
Charley Elgin

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

When God Won't Listen To A Christian's Prayer

My Utmost For His Highest
He…wondered that there was no intercessor… —Isaiah 59:16
“The reason many of us stop praying and become hard toward God is that we only have an emotional interest in prayer. […] Worship and intercession must go together; one is impossible without the other. Intercession means raising ourselves up to the point of getting the mind of Christ regarding the person for whom we are praying (see Philippians 2:5). […] When we lose sight of God, we become hard and dogmatic. We throw our petitions at His throne and dictate to Him what we want Him to do. We don’t worship God, nor do we seek to conform our minds to the mind of Christ. And if we are hard toward God, we will become hard toward other people. […]  Be a person who worships God and lives in a holy relationship with Him.”  CHAMBERS
Next to reading the Word of God, I think that prayer is the most neglect discipline in the Christian’s life.  Prayer is communication with our Father.  When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, Jesus began with “Our Father who is in heaven …”  (Luke 11:2) Prayer is vital.  Prayer is spiritual.  But prayer is useless if our hearts are not right.  God does not hear the prayers of those who are not His children.  And for those who are, He will not listen when we try to approach him with sin in our hearts.  It’s not like having a conversation with your earthly father.  You might talk to him and all the while you have deceit or some hidden sin in your heart.  Prayer is a spiritual act.  Prayer is a combination of thoughts – what it is that you are praying about, devotion – your love for God, and the Spirit – the enabler of your spiritual life.  The Word says the “the prayers of a righteous man are powerful and effective”  (James 5:16)  That would cause us to consider what is it that makes the man righteous … right before God … a pure heart and clean hands .. (Psalm 24:3-6) “Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, Nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive blessing from the Lord, And righteousness from the God of his salvation.”
We must pray, but our hearts must be right when we do.  We don’t get to define the conditions for our relationship with God. We don’t approach God in the wrong way intentionally, we do it without thinking.  Remember that when you pray, you are praying to your Father in heaven.  The Creator of the universe.  A friend of ours gave me simple reminder for how I should pray .. ACTS .. Adoration .. recognizing who God is … Confession … confessing my sins (1 John 1:9)Thanksgiving … thanking God for what He has done in my life … and lastly Supplication(Philippians 4:6-7) .  Oh, and the next time someone asks you to pray about something .. stop and pray right then … with them … You both will be glad you did.  ELGIN
Charley Elgin

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

I Got My Faith At The Salvation Army Thrift Store

My Utmost For His Highest
You also be ready… —Luke 12:40
“If we are going to be ready for Jesus Christ, we have to stop being religious. In other words, we must stop using religion as if it were some kind of a lofty lifestyle— we must be spiritually real. If you are avoiding the call of the religious thinking of today’s world, and instead are “looking unto Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2), setting your heart on what He wants, and thinking His thoughts, you will be considered impractical and a daydreamer.”  CHAMBERS
What does it mean to be “religious”?  It means that a person is following a way of life that has the appearance of living in the “Way”, but is actually following a modified version of Christianity.  It is estimated that there are 6.7 billion people in the world of which an estimated 2.1 billion (or 1/3 of the world's population) identifies themselves as Christian. Just because a person has a label does not mean that they are genuine.  After I returned from Vietnam, I enrolled at a local junior college. One day, I say a guy at school wearing an Army field jacket.  On the right sleeve was a patch (in the Army, if you have been in combat you wear the patch of the unit you served with on your right sleeve) for MAC-V (Military Assistance Command – Vietnam).  I had served with MAC-V in the Mekong Delta, Advisory Team 68. So I walked up to him and asked him what “team” he has served with.  I thought I was meeting someone who had served as I had.  He looked at me, confused.  So I asked again, pointing to the patch on his sleeve.  He said “Oh, I bought this jacket at the Salvation Army thrift store , man.”  I wanted to tell him to take the patch off of his sleeve because he was misrepresenting himself, but I just walked off shaking my head.
(Matthew 7:21-23) “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”
If you were from another country and the only thing you knew about the United States was what you read on our currency, you would think that people in this country followed and trusted God. I mean, it is written right on our currency.  Judging from the speed at which our country is moving away from God and Biblical values, my guess is that one day, any mention of God will be removed from our currency.  But I digress.  There is only one way to the Father – that is by faith in Jesus (John 14:6).  There are many people sitting in church, who bought their faith “at the Salvation Army thrift store”.  What they wear on their sleeve is not theirs.  There was a time when I wondered why a Pastor always talked about the way to Salvation in a church that was “on-fire” for the Lord.  But on reflection, I realized that many people in that church may be religious, but they might not be Christians.  Salvation comes through the hearing of the Gospel and something supernatural.  The yielding of our hearts to the Holy Spirit.  Don’t take it for granted that everyone around you is heaven-bound.  ELGIN
Charley Elgin

Monday, March 28, 2016

Living The Christian Life - Successfully - It's A Daily Thing

My Utmost For His Highest
"Let us go to Judea again." The disciples said to Him, "…are You going there again?" —John 11:7-8
“Just because I don’t understand what Jesus Christ says, I have no right to determine that He must be mistaken in what He says. […] I know when the instructions have come from God because of their quiet persistence. But when I begin to weigh the pros and cons, and doubt and debate enter into my mind, I am bringing in an element that is not of God. This will only result in my concluding that His instructions to me were not right. Many of us are faithful to our ideas about Jesus Christ, but how many of us are faithful to Jesus Himself? Faithfulness to Jesus means that I must step out even when and where I can’t see anything (see Matthew 14:29). But faithfulness to my own ideas means that I first clear the way mentally. Faith, however, is not intellectual understanding; faith is a deliberate commitment to the Person of Jesus Christ, even when I can’t see the way ahead.[…] “Whatever He says to you, do it” (John 2:5).”  CHAMBERS
There it is again, that obedience thing.  When the Lord says something once, that is sufficient.  But when the Lord addresses an issue more than once … there must be a very important reason.  (There are about 270 references to obedience in the Bible) The problem with obedience started in the Garden.  Adam and Eve thought they knew better than God.  They chose to ignore God, decide the God was wrong, and do things their own way.  You see the result … actually you are living the result of their choice.  If disobedience could lead to such an incredible disaster, requiring Jesus to die for us, why would we think it is not such a big deal now? Oh, you are thinking, “I know it’s a big deal.” OK, then why do you have such a big problem with obeying?  For the very reason that God chose to address it so often in the Bible.  Obedience to God requires submission to the Spirit of God. The first thing I must do is yield my heart …. If I don’t start there, I can never hope to be obedient.  The Spirit of God gives us power and understanding.  When Jesus said to “pick up your cross daily” (Luke 9:23), He was telling us that each day we must make a commitment … intentionally submitting to the leading of the Spirit.  Don’t depend getting a Spiritual charge on Sunday to be sufficient to see you through the week. It’s a daily thing … ELGIN
Charley Elgin

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Holding A Ticket For First Class, But Living In Coach

My Utmost For His Highest
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. —Matthew 5:8
“Purity is not innocence— it is much more than that. Purity is the result of continued spiritual harmony with God. We have to grow in purity. […]  God intentionally does not protect us from this possibility, because this is the way we recognize the necessity of maintaining our spiritual vision through personal purity. If the outer level of our spiritual life with God is impaired to the slightest degree, we must put everything else aside until we make it right. Remember that spiritual vision depends on our character— it is “the pure in heart” who “see God.” […] It is through our bodily life coming in contact with other people and other points of view that we tend to become tarnished. […] Our spiritual vision and understanding is immediately blurred when our “outer court” is stained. If we want to maintain personal intimacy with the Lord Jesus Christ, it will mean refusing to do or even think certain things. […] Say to yourself, “That man or that woman is perfect in Christ Jesus! That friend or that relative is perfect in Christ Jesus!”” CHAMBERS
There is a part of each Christian that cannot be affected by sin and the flesh … the Spirit of God. (Ephesians 1:13, 2 Corinthians 1:22) The Spirit sets us apart.  The Spirit is the catalytic element in us that makes conforming to the image of Christ possible.  When we sin .. when we chase after and embrace the desires of our flesh, we do not affect the holiness of the Holy Spirit … He cannot be touched by our sin … but we can quench His influence in our lives (1 Thessalonians 5:19).  Choosing our old life over our new life.  Disrupting the fulfillment of God’s purpose in our lives.  Sinning will not invalidate your “ticket” to heaven.  A song by the Beatles just came to my mind, “She’s Got A Ticket To Ride”.. she’s got a ticket to ride but she don’t care … that is the way that many Christians live their lives.  They embrace the culture, ignore the sin in their “outer courts”, and miss God’s best for their lives.  Still going to heaven … But your ticket is for first class and you are living in coach.  ELGIN
Charley Elgin

Friday, March 25, 2016

Would People Be Suprised To Know You Are A Christian?

My Utmost For His Highest
…the friend of the bridegroom… —John 3:29
“Goodness and purity should never be traits that draw attention to themselves, but should simply be magnets that draw people to Jesus Christ. If my holiness is not drawing others to Him, it is not the right kind of holiness; it is only an influence which awakens undue emotions and evil desires in people and diverts them from heading in the right direction. A person who is a beautiful saint can be a hindrance in leading people to the Lord by presenting only what Christ has done for him, instead of presenting Jesus Christ Himself. Others will be left with this thought— “What a fine person that man is!” That is not being a true “friend of the bridegroom”— I am increasing all the time; He is not.”  CHAMBERS
I was leaving work yesterday, when I happened to see two co-workers.  One of them I do not know well.  For some reason she asked me what I had done before I worked as a computer engineer with the Air Force.  I told her I had been on the mission field for 10 years.  Her response was, “I had no idea.”  In fact she said it three times.  As I drove home I could not help but wonder, “Why did she have no idea?”  Is it because I was not being a true friend to the Bridegroom?  That people at work don’t see enough Jesus in me?  I don’t mean that I should be more preachy.  But does my behavior at work “mark” me as someone who is different from the world?  Or am I viewed like everyone else?  True, I have never spoken to her beyond typical work conversations, but does my reputation precede me?
Yesterday morning, I got ready for work, before sun-up, which is typical for me.  ( I write these devotions before I go to work) Martie bought some dry shampoo for me so I don’t have to wash my hair so often.  Well, I reached into the cabinet, grabbed a can and sprayed the contents into my hair.  When I looked at the can, and saw that it was red and not white, I realized that I had just sprayed a healthy portion of the Old Spice body spray my granddaughter have given me at Christmas.  The aroma filled the bathroom.  Fortunately, I had the dry shampoo to lessen the consequence of my inattention. My desire is that the same way that the aroma from the body spray filled that bathroom, that the aroma of Christ will fill my work cubicle.  (2 Corinthians 2:15-16) “For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.”
All too often, Christians will cover the aroma up, like I did with the dry shampoo, and people around us don’t know who we belong to, and we avoid fulfilling our purpose.  Don’t let that be you.  ELGIN
Charley Elgin

Thursday, March 24, 2016

How To Know When To Stay Out Of God's Way

My Utmost For His Highest
He must increase, but I must decrease. —John 3:30
“When you see a person who is close to grasping the claims of Jesus Christ, you know that your influence has been used in the right direction. And when you begin to see that person in the middle of a difficult and painful struggle, don’t try to prevent it, but pray that his difficulty will grow even ten times stronger, until no power on earth or in hell could hold him away from Jesus Christ. Over and over again, we try to be amateur providences in someone’s life. We are indeed amateurs, coming in and actually preventing God’s will and saying, “This person should not have to experience this difficulty.” […] Beware of rejoicing with someone over the wrong thing, but always look to rejoice over the right thing. […] John (the Baptist) said this was his joy. It represents a stepping aside, an absolute removal of the servant, never to be thought of again. […] You may often have to watch Jesus Christ wreck a life before He saves it (see Matthew 10:34).” CHAMBERS
One pastor said “Often times, until Jesus is all you have, you don’t understand that Jesus is all you need.”  Perhaps you experienced that in your life or in the life of someone that you care about.  Very often God will use the circumstances of life to bring a person to the place where they must look up.  Or they might continue to resist God and go their own way, even to their own destruction.  Our temptation is to step in and try to save them.  We want to fix it.  We don’t want those we care about to be sad .. worried .. stressed … so we step in … intervene, and at the same time, we pray that God will speak to their heart that they might turn to Him.  So what if God is using their present circumstance to do that very thing, to answer your prayer.  Not every hardship is God-induced.  It requires Spiritual discernment to know the difference.  I did not say experience or human wisdom … spiritual wisdom.  The most important thing is salvation.  Do you believe that?
Let’s look at that.  What is most important … soothing your pride … paying a financial debt so your car is not repossessed … or knowing that you will be in heaven, forever. I suspect most will say the latter is … I mean that’s the “right” answer after all.  But how do we live those trials out will prove what we really believe is the most important?
You see, the pressure that people find themselves under is a result of their trying to live life on their own.  If they will yield their hearts to the Lord, He will give them that capacity to live life without pressure, even though bad or disappointing things might happen to them.  Living this mortal life successfully starts with a right relationship with the Creator.  Most of the problems you see people struggle with are not problems that lead to physical death.  It may well be that the best thing you can do for someone is to “stay your hand”, not help them out of the trouble.  Instead, point them to Jesus.  The thing is, they will not understand why you did what you didn’t do (think about that for a second) until they come to spiritual understanding.  In the mean-time they may accuse you of not caring .. of not loving them.  It is hard to watch people you care about, struggle.  But just like the butterfly freeing itself from the cocoon, you must not intervene, or what should have happened .. a butterfly being able to fly away, won’t happen.  ELGIN
Charley Elgin

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

How To Stop Living A Life Of Strife

My Utmost For His Highest
Where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal…? —1 Corinthians 3:3
“The natural man, or unbeliever, knows nothing about carnality. The desires of the flesh warring against the Spirit, and the Spirit warring against the flesh, which began at rebirth, are what produce carnality and the awareness of it. But Paul said, “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). In other words, carnality will disappear. Are you quarrelsome and easily upset over small things? Do you think that no one who is a Christian is ever like that? Paul said they are, and he connected these attitudes with carnality. Is there a truth in the Bible that instantly awakens a spirit of malice or resentment in you? […] If the Spirit of God detects anything in you that is wrong, He doesn’t ask you to make it right; He only asks you to accept the light of truth, and then He will make it right. A child of the light will confess sin instantly and stand completely open before God. But a child of the darkness will say, “Oh, I can explain that.” When the light shines and the Spirit brings conviction of sin, be a child of the light. Confess your wrongdoing, and God will deal with it. If, however, you try to vindicate yourself, you prove yourself to be a child of the darkness.” CHAMBERS
Living at peace and in harmony with others.  I watch so many people struggle in their relationships.  So many choose relationships that are ripe with strife.  And for some reason, they choose a life of strife over a life of peace and harmony.  If there is anger, resentment, distrust, lies, broken promises, unfaithfulness do you for one minute think that is coming from God?  Why would a person choose a life like?  I can answer that.  Because those choices have nothing to do with God, but the flesh getting what the flesh wants.  The Word says that we should not be unevenly yoked (2 Corinthians 6:14) .. married to an unbeliever … and yet, so many Christians date and marry non-Christians and then reap with result of that disobedience.  This is the bottom line – if we choose a way other than what God has shown us, we should not expect a good outcome.  But we do! Over and over.  If you sense some frustration in my writing .. it is because I am.  We cannot live other people’s lives .. to make heart-level choices for them.  Each of us is responsible to God. What we can do is pray that others who have chosen poorly, will turn their hearts and trust toward God.  When the “light shines and the Spirit brings conviction” they won’t quench the Spirit and refuse to repent.  If what I am writing this morning applies to you, don’t believe the father of lies, the devil, that it’s too late.  That you have gone too far.  You are never out of God’s reach.  He is always looking to the hill waiting for the prodigal to return.  His love never fails. Make this song your prayer and commitment.   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.
I need His cleansing blood I know, Now I’m coming home; Oh, wash me whiter than the snow, Lord, I’m coming home.
Coming home, coming home, Nevermore to roam; Open wide Thine arms of love, Lord, I’m coming home.
Charley Elgin

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

It All Starts In The Heart ... A Heart Undivided In Devotion

My Utmost For His Highest
Did not our heart burn within us…? —Luke 24:32
“Much of the distress we experience as Christians comes not as the result of sin, but because we are ignorant of the laws of our own nature. For instance, the only test we should use to determine whether or not to allow a particular emotion to run its course in our lives is to examine what the final outcome of that emotion will be. Think it through to its logical conclusion, and if the outcome is something that God would condemn, put a stop to it immediately. But if it is an emotion that has been kindled by the Spirit of God and you don’t allow it to have its way in your life, it will cause a reaction on a lower level than God intended. That is the way unrealistic and overly emotional people are made. And the higher the emotion, the deeper the level of corruption, if it is not exercised on its intended level. If the Spirit of God has stirred you, make as many of your decisions as possible irrevocable, and let the consequences be what they will. We cannot stay forever on the “mount of transfiguration,” basking in the light of our mountaintop experience (see Mark 9:1-9). But we must obey the light we received there; we must put it into action. When God gives us a vision, we must transact business with Him at that point, no matter what the cost.” CHAMBERS
Thinking something through to its conclusion before we do it.  That is a good thought, but most of what we do is a little more spontaneous than that.  What Chambers suggests requires self-control.  Our problem is that we lack self-control.  The self-control I am referring to is a result of the Spirit controlled life.  (Galatians 5:22-23) “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”  That is contrasted with (2 Timothy 3:2-4) “For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.”
Those verses present a sharp contrast.  You are either one or you are the other.  As a Christian, once you could only be the latter but have been called to a new life in Christ, reflecting Him, which is seen by the fruit of that new life.  In one case, your life is under control and in the other your life is out of control.  The quality of our Christian life is totally dependent upon our devotion toward God.  If you choose to ignore the spiritual disciplines, don’t expect to see spiritual fruit.  You will never be able to “think your actions through” if you are being driven by your flesh and not led by the Spirit.  Our flesh is in partnership with Satan.  Writing to the Jewish Christians who had been scattered, Peter encouraged them in (2 Peter 1:5-7)  “Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.”  What was the reason he referred to?  We are “partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.”
When we hear or read spiritual truth, our tendency is to think … “I need to do that.”  Forgetting that our new life is spiritual and, just like before we were born again, the spiritual life is impossible in our own effort.  We can live it only by the power of God in us.  (Galatians 2:20) “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”  You will find self-control only when you are Spirit-controlled.  It all starts with the heart.  Being devoted to God and not yourself.  ELGIN
Charley Elgin

Monday, March 21, 2016

Making The Choice To Live By Faith And Not Works Is Precious To God

My Utmost For His Highest
I have been crucified with Christ… —Galatians 2:20
“Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ….” He did not say, “I have made a determination to imitate Jesus Christ,” or, “I will really make an effort to follow Him” —but— “I have been identified with Him in His death.” […] “…it is no longer I who live….” My individuality remains, but my primary motivation for living and the nature that rules me are radically changed. I have the same human body, but the old satanic right to myself has been destroyed. “…and the life which I now live in the flesh,” not the life which I long to live or even pray that I live, but the life I now live in my mortal flesh— the life which others can see, “I live by faith in the Son of God….” This faith was not Paul’s own faith in Jesus Christ, but the faith the Son God had given to him (see Ephesians 2:8). It is no longer a faith in faith, but a faith that transcends all imaginable limits— a faith that comes only from the Son of God.”  CHAMBERS
Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites.  He did because they were living a lie.  (Matthew 23:25-28) “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” They believed that what they were doing was what living for God was all about.  The source of their life was not God it was their flesh.  They praised God, but their hearts were not devoted to God.  They could tell others how to live, but they, themselves, were not living the same way.
It is easy to condemn them, but it is also very easy to slip into the same way of living.  Being religious.  Looking good – spiritual, to people who can’t see your heart.  Afraid that someone might find out that we are not perfect.  Too late!  Oh how I wish that God had chosen another way for us after we are born again.  How I wish that there was not a continued struggle with my sin nature.  But there is something about our choosing that makes our following more precious to God.  When you were in school, you studied subjects.  Some you liked and some you did not.  But the most important part of the learning was not in the study .. or even in the grade your received … it was in the application of what you learned.  Sometimes it was difficult to see what value the subjects had to living.  But there was actually a great deal of thought that went into the decision to teach certain subjects.  The knowledge was going to be important for living, but only if applied.  It is the same way with Spiritual truth.  The Word is truth.  But, it has little value if not applied to living.  That is where the choosing comes in.  The Pharisees chose to not apply it to their lives but to use it as a club to oppress the people.  The Word gives life when applied to the heart.  Embrace the life that you live by faith in Jesus.  ELGIN
"The Love Of God"
The love of God is greater far  Than tongue or pen can ever tell  It goes beyond the highest star  And reaches to the lowest hell
The guilty pair, bowed down with care  God gave His Son to win  His erring child He reconciled  And pardoned from his sin
Could we with ink the ocean fill  And were the skies of parchment made  Were every stalk on earth a quill  And every man a scribe by trade
To write the love of God above  Would drain the ocean dry  Nor could the scroll contain the whole Though stretched from sky to sky
O love of God, how rich and pure!  How measureless and strong!  It shall forevermore endure  The saints' and angels' song”
Charley Elgin

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Living By Faith .... Not Understanding What Is Asked .... But Knowing Who Asked It

My Utmost For His Highest
He went out, not knowing where he was going. —Hebrews 11:8
“In the Old Testament, a person’s relationship with God was seen by the degree of separation in that person’s life. This separation is exhibited in the life of Abraham by his separation from his country and his family. When we think of separation today, we do not mean to be literally separated from those family members who do not have a personal relationship with God, but to be separated mentally and morally from their viewpoints. This is what Jesus Christ was referring to in Luke 14:26. Living a life of faith means never knowing where you are being led. But it does mean loving and knowing the One who is leading. It is literally a life of faith, not of understanding and reason— a life of knowing Him who calls us to go. Faith is rooted in the knowledge of a Person, and one of the biggest traps we fall into is the belief that if we have faith, God will surely lead us to success in the world. The final stage in the life of faith is the attainment of character, and we encounter many changes in the process.”  CHAMBERS
Are you willing to live your new life and live with the consequences?  Even if it means rejection?  Even if it means ridicule? Fractured relationships.  Are you willing to give up things that mattered to you, but are contrary to the essence of your new life?  Are you willing to follow the voice of God even when you have no idea how you will get along if you do?  There are many people who are attracted to the message of Jesus, but are not willing to follow Him where He will take them.
(John 6:60-68) “On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” ….  Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” … From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
When I was in Army Basic Training, my Drill Sergeant was SFC San Felix.  He was 6 feet 4 inches, with red hair and was from Puerto Rico.  He had a very heavy accent.  Sometimes you were not quite sure what he said.  To that he replied, I don’t care if you don’t understand me, you better do it!  So if it sounded like “push-up”  we got down and knocked out “20”.  Living this new life is …. Not About Understanding What Is Asked .. But About Knowing Who Asked It.  When you hear God’s voice .. when the Spirit says “This is the way” … when the truth of the Word leaps from the page and into your heart … you are at a decision point .. will I obey … will I follow … or “Do you want to leave Him too?”  Well …. Do you?  ELGIN
"Trust and Obey”
“When we walk with the Lord In the light of His word What a glory He sheds on our way
While we do His good will He abides with us still And with all who will trust and obey
But we never can prove The delights of His love Until all on the altar we lay
For the favor He shows For the joy He bestows Are for them who will trust and obey
Trust and obey For there's no other way To be happy in Jesus But to trust and obey”
Charley Elgin

Friday, March 18, 2016

Studying The Written Word Will Make You More Like The Living Word .. And That's The Truth!

My Utmost For His Highest
…perfecting holiness in the fear of God. —2 Corinthians 7:1
“God’s perspective is that through His promises I will come to recognize His claim of ownership on me. For example, do I realize that my “body is the temple of the Holy Spirit,” or am I condoning some habit in my body which clearly could not withstand the light of God on it? (1 Corinthians 6:19). God formed His Son in me through sanctification, setting me apart from sin and making me holy in His sight (see Galatians 4:19). But I must begin to transform my natural life into spiritual life by obedience to Him. […] And when He brings you conviction of sin, do not “confer with flesh and blood,” but cleanse yourself from it at once (Galatians 1:16). Keep yourself cleansed in your daily walk. I must cleanse myself from all filthiness in my flesh and my spirit until both are in harmony with the nature of God. Is the mind of my spirit in perfect agreement with the life of the Son of God in me, or am I mentally rebellious and defiant? Am I allowing the mind of Christ to be formed in me? (see Philippians 2:5). Christ never spoke of His right to Himself, but always maintained an inner vigilance to submit His spirit continually to His Father. I also have the responsibility to keep my spirit in agreement with His Spirit. And when I do, Jesus gradually lifts me up to the level where He lived— a level of perfect submission to His Father’s will— where I pay no attention to anything else. Am I perfecting this kind of holiness in the fear of God? Is God having His way with me, and are people beginning to see God in my life more and more?” CHAMBERS
Did you notice how many scripture references Chamber’s used? The Word of God is what conveys spiritual truth .. it is God speaking to us through the authors by His Spirit.  Ephesians 6 refers to the Word as the “sword of the Spirit”.  The Spirit, the Paraclete (comforter, intercessor, or advocate) was sent to teach, to show, to guide, to convict.  2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  At the root of everything Chambers, I, or anyone else for that matter has to say as spiritual encouragement to you, must be the Word of God.  The Word is the source of truth. Our culture may reject the truth, but it does not change the truth. That is why Martie and I have such a passion for getting the Bible into the hands of people both here in the States and in Haiti.  It is a source of blessing.  That is why it is so important for you to make personal reading of the Word a habit in your life.  ELGIN

Thursday, March 17, 2016

5 Simple Ways To Bring Glory To God

My Utmost For His Highest

We make it our aim…to be well pleasing to Him. —2 Corinthians 5:9

““We make it our aim….” It requires a conscious decision and effort to keep our primary goal constantly in front of us. It means holding ourselves to the highest priority year in and year out; not making our first priority to win souls, or to establish churches, or to have revivals, but seeking only “to be well pleasing to Him.” It is not a lack of spiritual experience that leads to failure, but a lack of working to keep our eyes focused and on the right goal. At least once a week examine yourself before God to see if your life is measuring up to the standard He has for you. Paul was like a musician who gives no thought to audience approval, if he can only catch a look of approval from his Conductor.[…] My worth to God publicly is measured by what I really am in my private life. Is my primary goal in life to please Him and to be acceptable to Him, or is it something less, no matter how lofty it may sound?” CHAMBERS

Living the Christian life is challenging.  But you know that already don’t you?  If we are to walk and live like the Word tells us, the walking and living requires thought .. determination. We have to be doers and not just hearers (James 1:22).  Deliberate.  It is so easy to not do and just listen.  It requires an awareness and encouragement.  You must associate with other Christians.  I remember a story about someone talking to Chuck Colson about the fact that he didn’t need anyone else.  Chuck walked up the  fireplace, took an ember out with tongs and stared ate the ember until it stopped glowing.  Then he said “that is what it’s like when a Christian goes it alone.”  You need to be around other Christians. (Hebrews 10:25) “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”  The Navigator ministry uses what is known as the “Wheel” to teach this point.  The hub of the wheel is Christ (at the center).  There are 4 spokes.  The two vertical spokes are prayer and meditation.  The two horizontal spokes are witnessing and the Word.  The wheel, itself, the result of practicing those five things, is an obedient Christian life.  Isn’t that what you want for you?  The quality and effectiveness of our new lives in Christ doesn’t just happen.  True, God gives us the capacity to live a spiritual existence, but it’s up to us as to what that will look like.  You must practice those five things.  Keep Christ at the center, read the Word, share your faith, meditate on spiritual truth, and pray.
The fact that you are reading this says you have spiritual interest.  I want to encourage you to live beyond merely being a hearer and be a doer of the Word.  Fulfill your purpose in Christ.  To and for the glory of God.  ELGIN
“I Will Offer Up My Life”  Matt Redman
I will offer up my life in spirit and truth , Pouring out the oil of love as my worship to You
In surrender I must give my ev’ry part, Lord, receive the sacrifice of a broken heart
You deserve my ev’ry breath, For You’ve paid the great cost
Giving up Your life to death, Even death on a cross
You took all my shame away, There defeated my sin
Opened up the gates of heav’n,  And have beckoned me in
Jesus, what can I give, what can I bring, To so faithful a Friend to so loving a King
Savior, what can be said, what can be sung , As a praise of Your name for the things You have done
Oh, my words could not tell not even in part, Of the debt of love that is owed by this thankful heart
Charley Elgin

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Guard Your Heart - Don't Dance With The Devil

My Utmost For His Highest
We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ… —2 Corinthians 5:10
Paul says that we must all, preachers and other people alike, “appear before the judgment seat of Christ.” But if you will learn here and now to live under the scrutiny of Christ’s pure light, your final judgment will bring you only delight in seeing the work God has done in you. Live constantly reminding yourself of the judgment seat of Christ, and walk in the knowledge of the holiness He has given you. Tolerating a wrong attitude toward another person causes you to follow the spirit of the devil, no matter how saintly you are. One carnal judgment of another person only serves the purposes of hell in you. Bring it immediately into the light and confess, “Oh, Lord, I have been guilty there.” If you don’t, your heart will become hardened through and through. One of the penalties of sin is our acceptance of it. It is not only God who punishes for sin, but sin establishes itself in the sinner and takes its toll. No struggling or praying will enable you to stop doing certain things, and the penalty of sin is that you gradually get used to it, until you finally come to the place where you no longer even realize that it is sin. No power, except the power that comes from being filled with the Holy Spirit, can change or prevent the inherent consequences of sin. “If we walk in the light as He is in the light…” (1 John 1:7). For many of us, walking in the light means walking according to the standard we have set up for another person. The deadliest attitude of the Pharisees that we exhibit today is not hypocrisy but that which comes from unconsciously living a lie.” CHAMBERS
Normally I glean a few spiritual nuggets from the Chambers devotion and leave the rest, but today there was nothing to leave out.  Accommodating sin is like a girl going to a dance and seeing her old boyfriend.  He asks her to dance, and she says, “yes”.  Just one dance, she is certain her date won’t mind. Accommodating sin .. is like dancing with the devil … but it was just a dance we say … harmless .. meaningless .. we came to the dance with our “date” Jesus and we will leave with him.  But what harm can one little dance do?  Problem is, it won’t be just one dance … The body of Christ in America is like the proverbial frog in the pot.  We are being cooked and don’t know it.  We have grown accustomed to sin, have embraced it, and no longer see it as sin.  We make excuses for it because we are still really in love with it.  We don’t want to let it go.  Even hearing that it is sin from the pulpit or in a Bible study no longer has an effect on us.  Our hearts have become hardened toward the truth.  You know it’s true.  That is not the life we have been called to .. it is the life we have been saved from.  Examine your heart .. do it today. (2 Corinthians 13:5) “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you….”  Then my friend lest you might think I am making this stuff up to make you feel guilt or something  …. (Proverbs 4:23-27) “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.” It’s in the Book, because it is a problem for us jars of clay.  ELGIN
“Guard Your Heart”  Steve Green
What appears to be harmless glance?  Can turn to romance  And homes are divided
Feelings that should never have been  Awakened within Tearing the heart in two,  Listen, I beg of you
Guard your Heart  Guard your Heart  Don't trade it for treasure  Don't give it away
Guard your Heart  Guard your Heart  As a payment for pleasure  It's high price to pay
For a soul that remains sincere with conscience clear  Guard your Heart
The human heart is easily swayed  And often betrayed at the hand of emotion You dare not leave the outcome to chance
You must choose in advance  Or live with the agony  Such needless tragedy
Guard your Heart
Charley Elgin

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

What To Do When Doubts And Fear Come Knocking

My Utmost For His Highest
As they followed they were afraid. —Mark 10:32
“At the beginning of our life with Jesus Christ, we were sure we knew all there was to know about following Him. It was a delight to forsake everything else and to throw ourselves before Him in a fearless statement of love. But now we are not quite so sure. Jesus is far ahead of us and is beginning to seem different and unfamiliar— “Jesus was going before them; and they were amazed” (Mark 10:32).[…] The discipline of dismay is an essential lesson which a disciple must learn. The danger is that we tend to look back on our times of obedience and on our past sacrifices to God in an effort to keep our enthusiasm for Him strong (see Isaiah 50:10-11). But when the darkness of dismay comes, endure until it is over, because out of it will come the ability to follow Jesus truly, which brings inexpressibly wonderful joy.”  CHAMBERS
Have you ever wondered about your salvation.  You consider your life .. your spiritual failures .. and wonder .. is this faith of mine real?  Did it take?  Am I just kidding myself?  Doubts … fears … uncertainty … it’s all part of the journey.  Take time to look back over your life.  Those times when you were the most uncertain … they have lost their clarity … only a vague memory remains.  The fact that you had those thoughts is proof in itself.  If you were not a Christian, it wouldn’t matter to you.  That is not to say that you should just “blow off” sin.  Of course you should be mindful of it … and you must address it with the Lord, but once confessed and forgiven, move on. If you are later convicted of it, please know that the conviction of sin forgiven comes from the accuser of the Brethren (Revelation 12:10) – Satan.  You, my friend, need to stand on the promises of God. You've got to say, "I hear you knocking, but you can't come in!"  ELGIN
“Standing On The Promises”
Standing on the promises of Christ my King, Through eternal ages let His praises ring, Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing, Standing on the promises of God.
Standing on the promises that cannot fail, When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail, By the living Word of God I shall prevail, Standing on the promises of God.
Standing on the promises I now can see Perfect, present cleansing in the blood for me; Standing in the liberty where Christ makes free, Standing on the promises of God.
Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord, Bound to Him eternally by love’s strong cord, Overcoming daily with the Spirit’s sword, Standing on the promises of God.
Standing on the promises I shall not fall, List’ning every moment to the Spirit’s call. Resting in my Savior as my All in all,   Standing on the promises of God.
Standing, standing, Standing on the promises of God my Savior; Standing, standing,   I’m standing on the promises of God.
Charley Elgin