Friday, September 29, 2017

You Have A Holy Calling - Yes, You

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

{CHAMBERS} “The realization of the call [of God] in a person’s life may come like a clap of thunder or it may dawn gradually. But however quickly or slowly this awareness comes, it is always accompanied with an undercurrent of the supernatural— something that is inexpressible and produces a “glow.” At any moment the sudden awareness of this incalculable, supernatural, surprising call that has taken hold of your life may break through— “I chose you…” (John 15:16). The call of God has nothing to do with salvation and sanctification. You are not called to preach the gospel because you are sanctified […] Paul describes it as a compulsion that was placed upon him. […] Paul said, “…woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!” He had become aware of the call of God, and his compulsion to “preach the gospel” was so strong that nothing else was any longer even a competitor for his strength.”

{ELGIN}  When you read something about the “call of God”  do you think of it in terms of something that happens to someone else but not you?  Have you relegated yourself to the nose-bleed section of the stadium seats while you watch the “called” take the field to do what they have been “called” to do?  I would suggest to you that being called is not limited to apostles, prophets, and teachers (1 Corinthians 12:28-29) Paul wrote “Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from[c] faith for his name’s sake.  And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ. To all …. who are loved by God and called to be his holy people. (Romans 1:5 -7)  Responding to God’s call is not so much about doing, but about being.  And because you “are”, you “do”.  Every Christian is called to obedience to the Word of God.  That obedience only happens by submitting to the will of God and the Spirit of God.  God has not given you a season ticket on the 50 yard line.  He has assigned you a position on the first string.  You must stop thinking of yourself as a non-essential part of the Body of Christ.  Every member is important, to say otherwise is to question the wisdom of God who established the Church on the Cornerstone .. even Jesus Christ.  So suit up my friend – it’s game time!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

All To Jesus I Surrender - Almost All Is Not Good Enough!

 Jesus…said to him, "One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor…and come, take up the cross, and follow Me." —Mark 10:21 

{CHAMBERS} “The rich young ruler had the controlling passion to be perfect. When he saw Jesus Christ, he wanted to be like Him. Our Lord never places anyone’s personal holiness above everything else when He calls a disciple. Jesus’ primary consideration is my absolute annihilation of my right to myself and my identification with Him, which means having a relationship with Him in which there are no other relationships. Luke 14:26 has nothing to do with salvation or sanctification, but deals solely with unconditional identification with Jesus Christ. Very few of us truly know what is meant by the absolute “go” of unconditional identification with, and abandonment and surrender to, Jesus.[…] “One thing you lack….” From Jesus Christ’s perspective, oneness with Him, with nothing between, is the only good thing. “…sell whatever you have….” I must humble myself until I am merely a living person. I must essentially renounce possessions of all kinds, not for salvation (for only one thing saves a person and that is absolute reliance in faith upon Jesus Christ), but to follow Jesus.”

{ELGIN} Have you made room for God in your heart?  If your heart was a house, have you given God a room in which to abide, albeit a nice room, or have you given him the whole house.  Each of us has at least a room or two that we have reserved for ourselves.  Like the little  girl that put a “no boys allowed” sign on her bedroom door.  We put a “God not allowed” on some doors.  Rooms that hold things that we love and do not want to give up.  Perhaps the right to do what we think is right.  Or perhaps some behaviors that are clearly contrary to our new nature, but to which we are emotionally dependent upon and find comfort in.  Emotionally and relationally unhealthy things.  Things that usurp the sovereignty of God, that occupy places that belong to God.  Like the rich young ruler who loved his wealth and possessions, there are things in our lives that prevent us from experiencing the joy, peace and assurance that comes from total surrender to God.

We were talking to a family member last night.  They are struggling with an issue, one that finds its genesis in poor choices they made for which they are under the strain from the consequences of those choices.  When Martie encouraged them to read the Psalms to find comfort, you could hear a change in the tone of voice.  There was a distance that had not been there.  It was clear that they were not interested in a spiritual solution.  They quickly diverted the subject from themselves to other people.  Like the woman at the well trying divert her conversation with Jesus because He was getting too close to the “thing” she was clinging to.  It broke my heart to see them turn away from God in the conversation. There are doors to rooms that we don’t want to give God entrance to.  Jesus said “pick up your cross”, “give up everything that competes with your devotion to God”.  The Psalmist wrote “Trust God with your all” Paul said “offer yourself as a living sacrifice.”  I say “Let the doors in your heart swing wide.” The young man did not lack good deeds, he lacked faith in God and devotion to God.  Don’t make the same mistake.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Resisting The Spirit Of God - Common As The Cold - Dangerous As A Cancer

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

{CHAMBERS} “This verse says, “If you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you….” It is not saying, “If you search and find something because of your unbalanced sensitivity,” but, “If you…remember….” In other words, if something is brought to your conscious mind by the Spirit of God— “First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:24). Never object to the intense sensitivity of the Spirit of God in you when He is instructing you down to the smallest detail.[…] Jesus does not mention the other person— He says for you to go. It is not a matter of your rights. The true mark of the saint is that he can waive his own rights and obey the Lord Jesus.[…] The process of reconciliation is clearly marked. First we have the heroic spirit of self-sacrifice, then the sudden restraint by the sensitivity of the Holy Spirit, and then we are stopped at the point of our conviction. This is followed by obedience to the Word of God.”

{ELGIN}  Has the Spirit of God ever spoken something to you that was contrary to what you wanted to do?  If you are born again and therefore have been sealed by the Spirit, He has.  Why? Because we tend to follow the ways of the flesh.  The Spirit convicts of sin, which is to say we are living or doing in a way that is contrary to the nature of God and our new nature.  The question is, “How do you respond when He speaks?”  Do you say “yes Lord”? Or do you “turn the music up to drown out His voice” because you don’t want to do the very thing He is saying – do? The Bible calls that quenching the Spirit or putting the fire out.  Oh Saint, this life we live in the flesh we live by faith.  (Galatians 2:20)  God will always prompt you to obedience.  To deal with those things that hinder your unfettered relationship with Him.  You cannot offer anything acceptable to God if you do not have “clean hands and a clean heart”.  If you choose to ignore the prompting of the Spirit you are doing nothing more than practicing vain religion.  Praising God with your lips while your heart is far from Him. (Matthew 15:8) You might as well be watching TV for all of the spiritual good that is being derived!  We are a stubborn lot.  Holding on to attitudes and habits that are clearly contrary to who we are in Christ. You are not alone in this struggle.  But God has given you the power to overcome, and the means to live in victory.  You must pick up your cross daily and yield your life to the leading of the Spirit.  That requires faith and that comes from God.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Abandoning The Things Of This World Starts In The Heart

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

{CHAMBERS} “Our Lord’s teaching can be summed up in this: the relationship that He demands for us is an impossible one unless He has done a supernatural work in us. […] No amount of enthusiasm will ever stand up to the strain that Jesus Christ will put upon His servant. Only one thing will bear the strain, and that is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ Himself— a relationship that has been examined, purified, and tested until only one purpose remains and I can truly say, “I am here for God to send me where He will.” Everything else may become blurred, but this relationship with Jesus Christ must never be.[…] If we are to be disciples of Jesus, we must be made disciples supernaturally. […] Jesus says, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you…” (John 15:16). That is the way the grace of God begins. […] Our Lord’s making of a disciple is supernatural. […] God does not ask us to do the things that are naturally easy for us— He only asks us to do the things that we are perfectly fit to do through His grace, and that is where the cross we must bear will always come.”

{ELGIN} Many of Chamber’s devotions were derived from his lectures at a Bible College.  He was speaking to men and women who had been called by God to service beyond what most of us are called to after our conversion.  But, the principles are the same.  Even the person with only one spiritual gift and that they consider to be almost non-essential (God does not agree with them by the way) faces the same challenges that every other saint faces in living their new life.  We are all called to abandon the same things, even though for most it will be an abandonment in the heart, while with a few, it will require physical abandonment.  It is one thing to say that you love God more than your family, it is quite another to leave your family and go on Mission for God.  It is one thing to say that you do not love the things of this world, it is quite another to sell your house and put your retirement at risk in order to go where God has said “Go!”.

I would find it very difficult to write these things to you if I had no intention of doing them myself.  When I was on staff with Promise Keepers in the ‘90s, there was a saying that was popular among us.  “You can’t teach what you don’t know, you can’t lead where you won’t go, and you can only recreate what you are.”  The secret to going is obedience and faith.  Faith comes from God and obedience comes from a “broken and contrite heart”, wholly submitted to the will of God.  Every step you take for God requires the power of God.  It is a glorious life .. living by faith and not by sight.  The person who abandons in the heart is no less faithful than the one who abandons physically in response to the call of God.  The point is being obedient to God no matter what He calls you to do. So when the Spirit whispers in your ear, “This is the way walk in it.”  (Isaiah 30:21) Walk on! … to the glory of God and in testimony to a world that needs Jesus.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

If You Are Going To Follow Jesus, You Can't Take Your Eyes Off Of Him

He…said to them, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem…" —Luke 18:31

{CHAMBERS} “In our natural life our ambitions change as we grow, but in the Christian life the goal is given at the very beginning, and the beginning and the end are exactly the same, namely, our Lord Himself. We start with Christ and we end with Him— “…till we all come…to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ…” (Ephesians 4:13), not simply to our own idea of what the Christian life should be. The goal of the missionary is to do God’s will, not to be useful or to win the lost. A missionary is useful and he does win the lost, but that is not his goal. His goal is to do the will of his Lord.[…] “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master” (Matthew 10:24). In other words, the same things that happened to our Lord will happen to us on our way to our “Jerusalem.” There will be works of God exhibited through us, people will get blessed, and one or two will show gratitude while the rest will show total ingratitude, but nothing must divert us from going “up to [our] Jerusalem.” “…there they crucified Him…” (Luke 23:33). That is what happened when our Lord reached Jerusalem, and that event is the doorway to our salvation. The saints, however, do not end in crucifixion; by the Lord’s grace they end in glory.”

{ELGIN}  What is it that expect from your new life?  If indeed you are “picking up your cross daily and following Jesus.” (Matthew 16:24)  There is a danger that we “rattle off” verses, perhaps secretly “smug” with the fact that we know them, but don’t stop to consider what they mean If we should actually apply them to our lives.  Consider your cross in the context of Jesus' cross.  The Cross was the will of the Father, the very reason Jesus came to this earth to begin with.  I just watched a Tim Tebow clip on Facebook where he was talking about painting John 3:16 on his face when he was quarterback at the University of Florida.  John 3:16.  God sent His Son to pay the penalty for our sins.  He sent Jesus to be crucified.  Jesus laid down everything in Heaven to sacrifice Himself for us.  “No greater love has one man than this, but to lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13) So what do you imagine picking up your cross entails?  To do the will of the Father means that we must obey Him, even when it costs us something, maybe everything.  And it will.  Following Jesus means that our value system must change.  Are you more concerned about your 401K than if your heart is OK with God?  I think many people are afraid that God will ask them to abandon what they treasure.  Guess what, He already has.  Following Jesus means to choose the Father.  Martie and I are in the middle of a transition in our lives.  We are trying to figure out how to distance ourselves from the things that we had wrapped ourselves up in  - house, car, job, etc – those things are normal - reasonable -  responsible - parts of the earthly, secular life, but can prove to be stumbling blocks as we follow Jesus.

Paul said (Hebrews 12:1-3)  “….  let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Fixing your eyes on Jesus, like Peter had to do as he sank into the sea.  If you are going to follow Jesus you have to look to Jesus.  Have you ever followed someone in a crowd of people?  It can be a challenge.  If you lose sight of that person, you may feel a little panic – your heart rate increases – you become anxious.  Is that how you feel about Jesus?  It should be.  Jesus did not say pick up your cross – and then do your own thing.  He added, follow Me.  If you don’t do both, you can’t be His disciple.  You will certainly be saved, but you will not be living the life God intended.  Your life will not reflect Jesus … (Isaiah 64:6) “all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags”  You can’t do this on your own. Your effort was not good enough before your new birth and it’s not good enough now.  Lay it down and pick up your cross .. then follow Jesus in obedience to the will of God and His glory. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Sin Is The Same In All Generations - And So Is The Solution To Sin - The Gospel - Jesus Saves!

You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am ….I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master… —John 13:13, 16

{CHAMBERS} “To have a master and teacher is not the same thing as being mastered and taught. […] Our Lord never takes measures to make me do what He wants. Sometimes I wish God would master and control me to make me do what He wants, but He will not. And at other times I wish He would leave me alone, and He does not. “You call Me Teacher and Lord…”— but is He? Teacher, Master, and Lord have little place in our vocabulary. We prefer the words Savior, Sanctifier, and Healer. The only word that truly describes the experience of being mastered is love, and we know little about love as God reveals it in His Word. […] Our Lord was not simply God’s servant— He was His Son. “…though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience…” (Hebrews 5:8). He [Jesus]wants us in a relationship where He is so easily our Master and Teacher that we have no conscious awareness of it— a relationship where all we know is that we are His to obey.”

{ELGIN} “When we walk with the Lord in the light of his word, what a glory he sheds on our way! While we do his good will, he abides with us still, and with all who will trust and obey. Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”  There are probably not too many Millennials who would know that hymn.  John Stammis, the author, wrote over 100 hymns. I often wonder what the song writer had experienced that was the inspiration for the words he penned.  But then, the nature of man does not change from generation to generation, even if we want to believe that it has.  If you consider people in the context of their flesh, the cultural and generational accoutrements may morph over the years .. I am typing this not writing with  a quill and ink.  As many as 100 people, virtually around the world,  will have read these words by the end of the day using computers, laptops, tablets, and even phones … incredible, No?  But the spiritual nature of man has not changed and won’t change.  In every generation, until Jesus returns, there will be sheep and goats.  Those who belong to the Creator god and those who belong to the god of this world.  And for us sheep, our challenge across the generations is to trust and obey.

(Luke 6:46- 49) [Jesus asked] ““Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”  Our children would sing that song “Don’t build your house on the sandy land”  I used to think it had to do with salvation, but it actually has to do with obedience.  Think about it the goats do not call Him Lord.  I once heard someone say “If Jesus is not Lord OF all, then He is not Lord AT all.”  God demands everything if we want to follow Jesus.  No other gods, our whole heart, a living sacrifice, picking up our cross and going where He leads, living by faith , walking with the Spirit.  That has not changed since Jesus spoke the words during His ministry and will not change, ever.  We spend a lot of effort trying to figure out how to reach each generation .. how to attract them to the Light.  God has already implemented a “trans-generational” solution.  (John 12:32) “ when I [Jesus] am lifted up from the earth, [I] will draw all people to myself.” Having trouble with obedience?  We all do to some extent.  Walk with the Lord in the light of His word .. what a glory He sheds on our way!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Challenge Of Rejecting The Reasonable For The Impossible

 A.W. Tozer “I claim the holy right to disappoint men in order to not disappoint God.”

{ELGIN} A friend posted that quote from A.W. Tozer this morning on Facebook.  It pricked my heart and resonated with my spirit, so I thought I would share it with you.  Sorry Oswald!  Sometimes - perhaps often times - we are faced with a choice ... men or God - God's ways are not our ways - but we would like to change that. If what God asks you to do does not conform to conventional wisdom there are two possibilities - 1 - God is indeed at work or - 2 - It's not God at all. You need the wisdom of God to know the difference - But nonetheless - when it is God - the opinions of men should not matter. Men will ask, "But what about .... ". God says "Go". He will say .. "sell everything ... pick up your cross .... love me with everything ... your whole heart .... If you love Me, obey Me." It's your choice who you obey. We choose God. The going will always require faith and obedience.

It would be a wonderful thing if the world was in sync with God, but we know that is not the case.  Trying to balance the two is what most of us try to do.  And it seems so reasonable when we do.  The problem is, that one will go wanting because of the other.  “No one can serve two masters .. you will love one and hate the other”  (Matthew 6:24)  If you turn to the world for answers when God has spoken and made His will clear, you will most often be tempted to disobey God to choose something more reasonable in the eyes of man.  Well-meaning Christians will speak to you about making other choices or at least delaying your obedience.  It is like the serpent in the Garden asking “Did God really say?”  [I am not calling my Christian friends serpents!]  Their counsel is well intentioned but, on the whole, with selfish motive.  Their arguments are logical even reasonable, except for one thing.  God said “Go”.  Jesus asked his disciples “Where is your faith?” “Why did you doubt?”  Instead of looking to Him, they were looking at the natural laws .. the impossibility of the situation … fear and doubt set in.  In our life, personally, God gives and He takes away … It is not our lot to accumulate possessions, for long any way.  It is not a question of how much of the world and its relationships that you must lay down at Jesus feet.  The question is “Are you willing to lay down whatever is in the way of what God has called you to?”  Like Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love Me [Jesus] more than these?” (John 21:15)  Well …. Do You? Then Jesus said to Peter - "Show Me"

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Your New Life Is About BE-ing and Not Merely DO-ing - And That Starts With Your Heart

…be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. —Matthew 5:48

{CHAMBERS}  “Our Lord’s exhortation to us in Matthew 5:38-48 is to be generous in our behavior toward everyone. Beware of living according to your natural affections in your spiritual life. Everyone has natural affections— some people we like and others we don’t like. […] God will give you plenty of real life opportunities to prove whether or not you are “perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Being a disciple means deliberately identifying yourself with God’s interests in other people. […] The true expression of Christian character is not in good-doing, but in God-likeness. If the Spirit of God has transformed you within, you will exhibit divine characteristics in your life, not just good human characteristics. God’s life in us expresses itself as God’s life, not as human life trying to be godly. The secret of a Christian’s life is that the supernatural becomes natural in him as a result of the grace of God, and the experience of this becomes evident in the practical, everyday details of life, not in times of intimate fellowship with God.”

{ELGIN}  When the rich young man approached Jesus (Mark 10:17-22)  I think the man was certain that he had done everything right.  He had not murdered anyone, not committed adultery, not stolen, had not born false witness, not defrauded, and had honored his father and mother. But Jesus told him there was something that he lacked and then told him to sell everything and give it to the poor.  You see, God looks at the heart of man, man looks at the deeds of man.  God wants our total devotion (Matthew 22:37), man is satisfied with a form of godliness.  We think that the answer is in the “DO-ing”, when the answer is really in the “Be-ing”.  The young man went away sad because what he offered Jesus as proof that he should be given eternal life was a not good enough.  Jesus asked for the very thing that the man loved more than God – money and possession.  The man had it backwards. 

Doing good does not result in being good.  Being good results in doing good.  James wrote that faith without producing works is dead (James 2:17)  Because of our faith, the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) should be evident in us.  Good works are a natural result of true faith.  Not the other way around.  True faith is not a result of good works. (Ephesians 2:8) “We are saved by grace through faith, not of works.”  The young man was doing the right thing for the wrong reason.  King David said “Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me. …. For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51)  Is there something in your heart that demands your devotion above God?  Something that you trust in more than the One who is trust worthy.  Our redeemer is faithful and true and is deserving of our total devotion.  Take some time to examine your heart … let the Holy Spirit search in those locked closets and clean them out.  Fulfill the purpose for which you were created and saved.  Bringing glory to God begins with a heart totally devoted to Him.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Are You A Jesus Follower And A God Truster? Or Merely A Wanna Be? Your Life Will Shout The Truth Out!

You are those who have continued with Me in My trials. —Luke 22:28

{CHAMBERS} “It is true that Jesus Christ is with us through our temptations, but are we going on with Him through His temptations? Many of us turn back from going on with Jesus from the very moment we have an experience of what He can do. Watch when God changes your circumstances to see whether you are going on with Jesus, or siding with the world, the flesh, and the devil. We wear His name, but are we going on with Him? “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more” (John 6:66). […] Are you going on with Jesus? The way goes through Gethsemane, through the city gate, and on “outside the camp” (Hebrews 13:13). The way is lonely and goes on until there is no longer even a trace of a footprint to follow— but only the voice saying, “Follow Me” (Matthew 4:19).”

{ELGIN} Who do you identify with? I mean, when you describe yourself, how do you describe yourself?  By your occupation, what part of the country you live in, your family name, your ethnicity, culture, gender, religion, or some other earthly attribute?  “But if anyone is in Christ, old things have passed away, all things are becoming new.”  (2 Corinthians 5:17) Can you get your mind and life around that?  You are a Jesus follower and a God “truster”.  You are a child of the Creator God.  Your citizenship is in heaven.  “You have been crucified with Christ, nevertheless you live, but not you, Christ lives in you [in the form of the Holy Spirit], and the life you now live in the flesh, you live by faith in the Son of God who loved you and gave Himself up for you.” (Galatians 2:20) 

So I suppose the more appropriate question would be, “How should you describe yourself in light of whose you are?”  You see in the first case, all of those adjectives describe worldly attributes.  But that was the “old” you.  The you that went their own way.  Trusted in themselves.  Defined what to do and when and how to do it.  But not so for you, Christian.  Not so for you.  The disciples that stopped following Jesus had a problem with a divided heart.  They still trusted in the natural even though they were witnessing the supernatural. They had a divided heart and found it difficult to follow Jesus.  If you are not totally devoted to God you will have a problem identifying with God and following Him when the way proves difficult.  (Romans 12:1-2)  “I [Paul] appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  And I appeal to you as well.  Follow Jesus and let your light shine.

Monday, September 18, 2017

WDJD - What DID Jesus Do - He Obeyed The Will Of The Father

We do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. —Hebrews 4:15

{CHAMBERS} “Until we are born again, the only kind of temptation we understand is the kind mentioned in James 1:14, “Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.” […] Satan does not tempt us just to make us do wrong things— he tempts us to make us lose what God has put into us through regeneration, namely, the possibility of being of value to God. […] After Jesus’ baptism, having accepted His mission of being the One “who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29) He “was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness” (Matthew 4:1) and into the testing devices of the devil. Yet He did not become weary or exhausted. He went through the temptation “without sin,” and He retained all the possessions of His spiritual nature completely intact.”

{ELGIN} (1 John 2:15-17) “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”  Jesus was tempted as we are tempted.  Temptation has the same root source … the old nature.  Temptation is the considering of an opportunity to do your own thing and disregard God.  For you to decide what is best for you, what is right.  When Jesus was tempted in the desert (Matthew 4:1-14) the first temptation (lust of the flesh) was to satisfy His flesh, “turn stones into bread”.  He had not eaten for 40 days!  Seems reasonable, but then most sin seems reasonable.  It was well with his power to do it.  He had turned water into wine. But that was really not the point of the temptation.  It was to choose something other than God.  “Man does not live by bread alone but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”  Often what seems innocent can be deadly to our spiritual relationship with the Father.  The second temptation was to throw himself off of a pinnacle and the angels would catch him. (Pride of life) “You shall not put the Lord, your God to the test”.  You want God to prove you have value to Him.  He already has. The third temptation, (lust of the eyes), “[Satan] showed Him [Jesus] all the kingdoms of the world and their glory;  and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” Jesus replied “You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.” 

The things of this world are merely enticements for you to place your trust elsewhere.  For many, many people, they don’t own possessions, the possessions own them.  I know many Christians who say no to God because they are shackled by the things of this world.  Satan is called the god of this world.  (2 Corinthians 4:4)  He could offer everything Jesus saw to Jesus because it was his dominion.  We say God owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10) as if to justify our lust for possessing “the cattle”.  We, in fact, are God’s possession.  Bought with a price.  We belong to God and should face temptation to act otherwise with the power of the Word of God, just like Jesus did.

(1 Peter 2:9) “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.”

Friday, September 15, 2017

When You Think You Can't Go Any Further, God will Be Your Second Wind

We have renounced the hidden things of shame…  —2 Corinthians 4:2

{CHAMBERS} “Have you “renounced the hidden things of shame” in your life— the things that your sense of honor or pride will not allow to come into the light? You can easily hide them. Is there a thought in your heart about anyone that you would not like to be brought into the light? Then renounce it as soon as it comes to mind— renounce everything in its entirety until there is no hidden dishonesty or craftiness about you at all. Envy, jealousy, and strife don’t necessarily arise from your old nature of sin, but from the flesh which was used for these kinds of things in the past (see Romans 6:19 and 1 Peter 4:1-3). You must maintain continual watchfulness so that nothing arises in your life that would cause you shame.[…] Never dull your sense of being your utmost for His highest […] Many people have turned back because they are afraid to look at things from God’s perspective. The greatest spiritual crisis comes when a person has to move a little farther on in his faith than the beliefs he has already accepted.”

{ELGIN}  When I was in the Army, we would do a lot of physical exercise as a unit.  I can remember with one particular unit in the Aviation Squadron of 3rd Armored Cavalry in El Paso, Texas,  I had a squadron commander that trained us for war.  Not just physically, but mentally.  We had a saying “you fight the way you train”.  Well, in one case he used our physical training to help us with mental toughness.  We were used to running a particular route.  Early in the morning – 5:30 early – we call it O-dark thirty. We knew the land marks for our 3 to 4 mile run.  We knew when we were half way and we knew when we were at the finish.  By then, we were ready to hear “Quick time – march”, which means – stop running and walk in civilian vernacular.  Well, one day we got to the “finish line”, but we kept running.  We were always exhausted by the time we got to that point, but he kept running.  You are already thinking I can’t go on, and I am thrilled we are at the finish line – but the squadron commander kept us running right past the point where we could not go on!  We ran for another half mile or so.  What was the lesson?  We can do more than we think we can.  War is very demanding on the body and the mind.  You must be able to go beyond yourself. God will call you to go beyond yourself ... how ... He will be your second wind.

And such is our life of faith.  (2 Timothy 4:7) “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”  Paul said that in the face of great personal trials.  He had gone beyond himself many times, running on faith – Spirit power, and not his own determination and wisdom. (1 Corinthians 9:24-25) “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.”  Not falling out of the run requires discipline and faith.  In our runs in the Army, there were always people who would fall out, who could not go on, who lost heart and confidence.  They fell by the wayside.  The same way with our faith.  I am not talking about loss of salvation.  The people I mentioned were still in the Army, they needed more physical training so they could serve in the manner that was expected of them.  And so it is with us as Christians.  There are many who don’t have the faith to keep up with where God wants to take them.  They need more training .. more confidence .. more encouragement.

I remember taking a PT test in the Armor Officer Basic Course.  That test is something you must pass.  Well, a friend of mine stopped running during the two mile run.  He had a look of pain and exhaustion on his face.  I stopped too so I could encourage him to finish.  The evaluators called out to me and told me to keep going and leave him behind.  I could not and would not.  He finished .. passed, barely.  But he passed.  So did I, but helping him cost me something. (John 15:13) “No greater love has one man than this, to lay down his life for his friends”  I am not bragging, I am making a point.  We are supposed to encourage one another to love and good works. (Hebrews 10:24-25) “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”  Some need more encouragement than others . .who do you know that needs to be encouraged in their faith .. to continue to run and not fall out .. even when they think they can’t go on?  But know this .... helping them will cost you something.  Be willing to pay the price and bring glory to God.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

What To Say When God Changes Course In Your Life - "Aye, Aye Sir!"

…the simplicity that is in Christ.  —2 Corinthians 11:3

{CHAMBERS} “Simplicity is the secret to seeing things clearly. A saint does not think clearly until a long time passes, but a saint ought to see clearly without any difficulty. You cannot think through spiritual confusion to make things clear; to make things clear, you must obey. In intellectual matters you can think things out, but in spiritual matters you will only think yourself into further wandering thoughts and more confusion. If there is something in your life upon which God has put His pressure, then obey Him in that matter. Bring all your “arguments and…every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” regarding the matter, and everything will become as clear as daylight to you (2 Corinthians 10:5). Your reasoning capacity will come later, but reasoning is not how we see. We see like children, and when we try to be wise we see nothing (see Matthew 11:25). Even the very smallest thing that we allow in our lives that is not under the control of the Holy Spirit is completely sufficient to account for spiritual confusion, and spending all of our time thinking about it will still never make it clear. Spiritual confusion can only be conquered through obedience. As soon as we obey, we have discernment. […] when our natural power of sight is devoted and submitted in obedience to the Holy Spirit, it becomes the very power by which we perceive God’s will, and our entire life is kept in simplicity.”

{ELGIN}  (2 Corinthians 5:7) “We walk by faith and not by sight.”  What does that mean? I guess we should look at the substance of faith to understand … a supernatural trust in things hoped for … and confidence in things not seen (Hebrews 11:1)  You think you are on one course, you commit to it and then, the Captain of the ship says “full steam ahead,  heading to 270 degrees!”  What!  That is not in “my” plan.  Everyone is expecting me to travel on a 090 degree course .. or maybe sit at anchor for a while.  Perhaps confusion or doubt will overcome you at that point, because we don’t understand or don’t want to understand is … maybe I misunderstood the order .. or maybe the Captain wants me to go in that direction next week .. you know, later, when it is more convenient for everyone.  When I can afford it financially or when it won’t inconvenience anyone.  It’s the common temptation to choose what is humanly reasonable over what is spiritually responsible. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

I am writing about a radical faith … not a misdirected one.  The world will tell you that you are misdirected if what you do does not make any sense to them.  If they can think of another way to do something that is less intrusive on others.  When God speaks, you must obey . .even in the face of the opposition of human convention. You might be thinking .. what does this have to do with me?  God has not asked me to go to Africa, or even Florida to help the people there.  Maybe not.  But He has asked you to change the course of your life.  To go in a new direction.  To obey His commands.  And what might those be?  To love Him above all, to love others, to abandon your devotion to the things of this world. (Matthew 22:37-39) To lay your life down. (Romans 12:1-2)  Pick up your cross daily and follow Jesus.  (Luke 9:23) So how is that going for you?  My wife and I are living what I call the “extreme” Christian life.  In the past 15 years we have done things in response to God’s redirection that frankly make people thankful they are not us.  Few are called to follow the course that He has set for us.  I do not say that pridefully.  We have said “Aye, aye Sir” and moved out smartly.  He has been the source of our strength ..the provider of what we needed it when we needed it.  He is the Captain and we are part of the crew.  He will do the same in your life but perhaps in a different context.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with your being right where you are so long as God has put you  there and your are faithful to obeying His orders.  Are you?  Then rejoice and praise the Lord! And if not .. repent!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Beware The Temptation To Trade What Is Best To Merely Get What Is Good!

My Utmost For His Highest

I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. —John 17:4

{CHAMBERS}  “True surrender is not simply surrender of our external life but surrender of our will— and once that is done, surrender is complete. The greatest crisis we ever face is the surrender of our will. Yet God never forces a person’s will into surrender, and He never begs. He patiently waits until that person willingly yields to Him. And once that battle has been fought, it never needs to be fought again.[…]  It is only after we have begun to experience what salvation really means that we surrender our will to Jesus for rest. Whatever is causing us a sense of uncertainty is actually a call to our will— “Come to Me.” And it is a voluntary coming.[…] “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself…” (Matthew 16:24). The surrender here is of my self to Jesus, with His rest at the heart of my being. He says, “If you want to be My disciple, you must give up your right to yourself to Me.” And once this is done, the remainder of your life will exhibit nothing but the evidence of this surrender, and you never need to be concerned again with what the future may hold for you. Whatever your circumstances may be, Jesus is totally sufficient (see 2 Corinthians 12:9 and Philippians 4:19).[…]  Beware of some surrender that you make to God in an ecstatic moment in your life, because you are apt to take it back again. True surrender is a matter of being “united together [with Jesus] in the likeness of His death” (Romans 6:5) until nothing ever appeals to you that did not appeal to Him. And after you surrender— then what? Your entire life should be characterized by an eagerness to maintain unbroken fellowship and oneness with God.”

{ELGIN}  One of the dangers that we face as we travel through this life is the danger of wanting what is good and being willing to “trade” what is best to get it.  Where has God placed you to fulfill His purpose for you?  (Ephesians 2:10) “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  Surrender means that you stop resisting.  You hands are held high, your heart is yielded.  Your cry is “Have your own way Lord.  Have your own way.  You are the potter and I am the clay.  Mold me and make me after your will.  While I am waiting, yielded and still.”  But .. all too often we want to be the captain of our destiny.  The good .. the reasonable … rises up in our hearts .. the question is raised .. why can’t I be like everyone else .. why won’t He just let me be like everyone else.  There is the possibility of a mutiny in your heart.  Oh friend, don’t you see that what you are experiencing is natural, predictable.  It’s the battle between the flesh and the Spirit.  In Psalm 51, David wrote  … “You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;  you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;  a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.” 

Don’t expect the world to praise you for choosing God over everything else.  In fact, they may find opportunity to condemn you for it.  Certainly there are those who say that “God told them”, when in fact, they are at the helm of their lives.  They use God as a banner, but they are not devoted to Him, only themselves.  Time will tell.   Like the wheat and the tares, it is often hard to distinguish, until it is time to bear fruit.  I often used the analogy of a mango tree when I preached in Haiti.  You may call yourself a mango tree, but if your branches do not bear mangos but oranges instead, you are not a mango tree.  In the same way, if you say you are called by God but there is no Spiritual fruit on your branches, then you are not called by God.  I am not speaking about counting the number of souls saved through your work as proof, although that may certainly be some of the fruit.  Do people see Jesus in you?  Do you bear witness to God and give Him glory or do you seek affirmation from men.  (John 12:43) “they loved human praise more than praise from God”

So, all that said, what is the point.  As Christians, the life we are to live is described best in Galatians 2:20.  “ I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”  Living by faith … going when He says go .. doing when He says do … in this life of faith the way is steep and rocky.  It will exhaust you if you try to go it alone, in your own strength, under your own will-power.  Your new life requires total dependence upon the One who called you to it.  The minute you try to do it yourself, try to make a course change, you will feel the weight that only God can lift.  That should be a reminder that you do all things through and only through Christ Who gives you supernatural strength, born out of your faith in Him and surrender to Him.  Believe me, I know.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Obedience Does Not Require Understanding .. It Requires Trust

Jesus answered and said, "You do not know what you ask." —Matthew 20:22

{CHAMBERS} “There are times in your spiritual life when there is confusion[…]. It is not a matter of right and wrong, but a matter of God taking you through a way that you temporarily do not understand. And it is only by going through the spiritual confusion that you will come to the understanding of what God wants for you. […]  (see Luke 11:5-8). Jesus gave the illustration here of a man who appears not to care for his friend. He was saying, in effect, that is how the heavenly Father will appear to you at times. You will think that He is an unkind friend, but remember— He is not. The time will come when everything will be explained. […]  (see Luke 11:11-13). Jesus said that there are times when your Father will appear as if He were an unnatural father— as if He were callous and indifferent— but remember, He is not. “ […]  (see Luke 18:1-8). “When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). Will He find the kind of faith that counts on Him in spite of the confusion? Stand firm in faith, believing that what Jesus said is true, although in the meantime you do not understand what God is doing.”

{ELGIN}  Understanding is not a pre-condition for God’s expectation that we obey Him.  There is something called Root-cause analysis that is intended to ferret out the true source of a particular problem.  One method is called the 5-Whys.  No – not 5 Guys, 5-Whys.  You keep asking why to every answer to why until you get to the root cause.  Perhaps you remember the saying, “For the want of a nail a shoe was lost, for the want of a shoe a horse was lost, for the want of a horse a king was lost, for the want of a king a kingdom was lost.”  The root cause of losing the kingdom was the loss of a nail in the horse’s shoe.  Well, we ask “why” of God often as a pre-condition for obeying Him.  Have your children ever challenged you as their parent with “Why”?  “Because I said so!” was often my answer.  In a great respect that should be sufficient with God.  We understand His nature.  We understand that there are things that we don’t know, we don’t know.  God sees from beginning to end.  Jesus asked the question (Matthew 7:9-11) ““Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”  Of course this had to do with praying to God, but the expectation is the same.  God will do what is best for us and what will bring glory to Him as we obey Him.  It is critical that you know it is God.  If it is in His Word, His Word is truth (John 17:17)  You must be a Christian to know His voice (John 10:27)  And that means your heart must be right, as a result of submitting your life to the Spirit of God.  Ignoring God and going your own way is not good, in fact, it’s sin.  (James 4:17) “Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.”

“Yes Lord, yes.  I will trust you and obey.  Yes Lord yes, to your will and to your way.  When your Spirit speaks to me, with my whole heart I’ll agree. And I will answer Yes, Lord .. .Yes!”  But friend, don’t stop with Yes … James reminds us that faith without works (stepping out in obedience by faith) is dead.  – of no practical value.

Monday, September 11, 2017

What To Do When God Says Go And The World Says No!

If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. —John 13:14

{CHAMBERS} “Ministering in everyday opportunities that surround us does not mean that we select our own surroundings— it means being God’s very special choice to be available for use in any of the seemingly random surroundings which He has engineered for us. The very character we exhibit in our present surroundings is an indication of what we will be like in other surroundings.  The things Jesus did were the most menial of everyday tasks, and this is an indication that it takes all of God’s power in me to accomplish even the most common tasks in His way. Can I use a towel as He did? Towels, dishes, sandals, and all the other ordinary things in our lives reveal what we are made of more quickly than anything else. It takes God Almighty Incarnate in us to do the most menial duty as it ought to be done.[…] We have to go the “second mile” with God (see Matthew 5:41). Yet some of us become worn out in the first ten steps. Then we say, “Well, I’ll just wait until I get closer to the next big crisis in my life.” But if we do not steadily minister in everyday opportunities, we will do nothing when the crisis comes.”

{ELGIN}  Having a conversation with our 16 year old granddaughter about our leaving Alabama to go to Texas to serve God and others, she asked why we decided to go to Texas.  It made me realize that people looking in from the outside, the appearance is that we have decided to do something different with our lives.   Actually, it was not our decision.  I explained to her about how God speaks to His children and the responsibility we have to obey His voice. (John 14:15) “If you love me [Jesus], you will obey my commandments.”  Seems simple doesn’t it?   But when faced with the resistance of the flesh, it may seem simple but it is not necessarily easy.  The natural battling against the supernatural. That is why there is such an emphasis to crucify the flesh and submit to the Spirit.  The life Jesus showed us is polar opposite to the world’s convention.  The first will be last.  If you want to be great, be a servant.  Love yourself last. There is no greater demonstration of love than to lay your own life down.  I recall a friend talking to me about what Martie and I would do have leaving Mississippi following 5 years of disaster relief work.  I told him that we were going to Haiti.  He got close to me, looked in my eyes and asked, “Are you crazy?!?”  To which I replied, “It is not my idea, it is God’s calling.”

Following the leading of God very often makes no sense to the natural man.  Even to many Christians.  And with respect to Christians, reading about faith and exercising faith are two, totally different things.  Many are content to leave faith in the theoretical.  Sure we can pray when we or someone else is sick or has a great need.  But c’mon! God would not ask us to do something contrary to what we know is wise in the eyes of the world, would He?  I mean that can’t be God can it? What about retirement?  What about a place to live when you are old?  What about …. What about ????  (Luke 9:23) “And he [Jesus] said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”  (1 John 2:15) “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”  What do you trust in?  You will love –be devoted to – allow to control your choices – the things you trust in.    (Romans 12:1,2)  “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Friday, September 8, 2017

The Trouble With Living In The World Of "Yes Lord"

…casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God… —2 Corinthians 10:5

{CHAMBERS} Determinedly Demolish Some Things. Deliverance from sin is not the same as deliverance from human nature. […] There are some things over which we are not to fight, but only to “stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord…” (see Exodus 14:13). But every theory or thought that raises itself up as a fortified barrier “against the knowledge of God” is to be determinedly demolished by drawing on God’s power, not through human effort or by compromise (see 2 Corinthians 10:4). It is only when God has transformed our nature and we have entered into the experience of sanctification that the fight begins. The warfare is not against sin; […] The conflict is waged over turning our natural life into a spiritual life. This is never done easily, nor does God intend that it be so. […] God does not make us holy in the sense that He makes our character holy. […] These choices [choosing God] are continually opposed and hostile to the things of our natural life which have become so deeply entrenched— the very things that raise themselves up as fortified barriers “against the knowledge of God.” We can either turn back, making ourselves of no value to the kingdom of God, or we can determinedly demolish these things [that which opposes God], allowing Jesus to bring another son to glory (see Hebrews 2:10).

{ELGIN}  When God calls you to action, it is necessary to abandon the comforts that your natural life may afford and follow Jesus.  Paul said, (2 Timothy 2:3-4) “Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.  No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.”  When you hear His voice very often the first thing that rises up are all of the earthly, reasonable considerations that a “responsible” person would make.  Things that would exalt themselves against the knowledge of God.  What finds of things?   (Luke 9:59-60) “He [Jesus] said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.””  What?!?!? What is wrong with burying your father? Nothing, very reasonable, responsible thing to do. But when faced with the choice, you must choose God.  Jesus was telling him that there was a competition in the man’s heart.  His love of other things, even something like your love for your family, was exalted above God.  (Luke 14:26-27)  “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”  Not even your family can hold a higher place than the Lord.  (Luke 18:22-23) “When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy.”  The man Jesus was talking to was doing good things, but good is not good enough.  Good very often exalts itself against God.  (Matthew 22:37)  “Love God with all your heart”  That does not leave room for anything else.

Right now Martie and I are dealing with everything I have written this morning.  The good, the reasonable standing in defiance to the best, that being the will and way of God.  The church in Houston that we are meeting with this week made a commitment last January.  They committed to saying “yes” to God, no matter what God says. (by the way, it is very important that you know it is God speaking and not man.  If you act on anything other than God’s direction, you might find yourself in deep water)  And don’t forget, what I am writing about is a spiritual act not a mortal decision.  But it is the realm of the flesh that will rise up in the face of God’s leading.  Dr. Henry Blackaby said, “It’s not really a problem of knowing what God has said to you, it is a problem of obeying what you heard Him say.”  Bottom line … living in the world of “Yes Lord” requires faith (Hebrews 11:1) .. trusting in what is hoped for and not seen.  You can only do that with the help of the One who has called you.  Trust God.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

You Were Made New To Let The River Flow!

The water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. —John 4:14

{CHAMBERS} “[…] Was Jesus saying to stay focused on the Source so that you may be blessed personally? No, you are to focus on the Source so that out of you “will flow rivers of living water”— irrepressible life (John 7:38).  We are to be fountains through which Jesus can flow as “rivers of living water” in blessing to everyone. Yet some of us are like the Dead Sea, always receiving but never giving, because our relationship is not right with the Lord Jesus. As surely as we receive blessings from Him, He will pour out blessings through us. […] Stay at the Source, closely guarding your faith in Jesus Christ and your relationship to Him, and there will be a steady flow into the lives of others with no dryness or deadness whatsoever.”

{ELGIN}  It is curious that Jesus used the analogy of water, the pool of Siloam, washing in the river Jordan, drinking from Jacob’s well.  Our bodies are 65% water.  All of it is composed of two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen, H2O.  Elements that are found naturally on this earth of ours.  But that is not what Jesus was talking about.  He was talking about supernatural water that comes from a supernatural source.  The thirst that it satisfies is not a natural thirst. It is a longing for restoration to what God intended, relationship with Him, the Creator.  And that can only come through the great Reconciler, Jesus Christ.  But, it does not stop there.  Once we drink from the well that will never run dry, we then become sources ourselves.  Not by ourselves, but rather conduits of the water, water spigots if you will.  That water should flow from us naturally.  Revealing Jesus to everyone we meet. Offering them the water that will quench their thirst, forever.  That does not mean that you will become a preacher or evangelist.  It means that you “should” become a witness.  Not only ready to share the Gospel, but living your new life in Christ by walking in submission to the leading of the Spirit.  Loving God and loving people and not the world.  Showing grace and mercy.  The same grace and mercy that you have been shown.  Showing people the same compassion that Jesus showed us.  Many of us want the water to flow in, but don’t let it flow out.  Like the man who buried his talent in the ground and didn’t use it for its intended purpose.  (Matthew 25:14-30) The reason he was given it in the first place.  My advice and encouragement to you …. Let the River flow!