Archive for April, 2012

God Is Always The Same

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By Max Lucado

 

 

 

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  James 1:17

God will always be the same!  No one else will.

Lovers call you today and scorn you tomorrow.  Companies follow pay raises with pink slips.  Friends applaud you when you drive a classic and dismiss you when you drive a dud.

Not God.  God is always the same.  James 1:17 says, “With God, there is no variation or shadow due to change.”

Catch God in a bad mood?  Won’t happen.  Can your fear exhaust his grace?  A sardine will swallow the Atlantic first.  Do you think he’s given up on you?  Wrong!  Did he not make a promise to you?  What he says he will do, he does.  What he promises, he makes come true.  God is not a human being, and he will not lie.

God is never sullen or sour, sulking or stressed.  His strength, truth, ways, and love never change.  He is the same yesterday and today and forever!

The Christian’s Struggle

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The very foundation of Salvation is grounded in the realization that God’s unmerited love toward us is greater than any other power—Including death!!  Romans 8:35-39, Ephesians 3:14-21

 

 

  Pastor Dennis Smith

The Christian’s Struggle

 

I titled today’s devotional, “The Christian’s Struggle,” because the nonbeliever doesn’t have the struggle that the Christian has.  The unconverted man doesn’t have the Spirit of God and is controlled only by his carnal mind.  According to Paul, the carnal mind is “enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be” (Rom. 8:7).  The non-Christian obeys for personal, selfish reasons, because of social pressure, etc.  Or perhaps he was raised in a principled home and has a conscience that leads him to live a respectable life.

 

The Christian, on the other hand, obeys God because the Spirit of God has put the desire to obey in his heart:

 

“But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered” (Rom. 6:17).

 

The born-again individual very much wants to carry out God’s will in his life.  Paul calls this delighting “in the law of God according to the inward man” (Rom. 7:22).  Under the new covenant promise, the Holy Spirit begins writing God’s law in his heart and mind (Heb. 8:8-10 and 2 Cor. 3:3).

 

However, the new believer discovers very quickly that there is another very strong desire in him – the desire for sin.  Now that he has the Spirit of God, he is aware of his sinful desires, whereas before, many of those desires didn’t really concern him.  So the Christian discovers that there are now two natures residing in him: one that desires to follow sin, and the other that desires to obey God.  Paul very clearly describes this intense conflict, experienced by every Christian, in Romans 7:14-25:

 

“For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.  For what I am doing, I do not understand.  For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.  If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good.  But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.  For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.  Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.  I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good.  For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man.  But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.  O wretched man that I am!  Who will deliver me from this body of death?  I thank God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!  So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.”

 

Every Christian can identify with the struggle Paul describes.  Christians often experience this struggle day after day, month after month, and year after year, and never obtain the victory they want to have over sin.  Every Christian is well aware of the fact that there is a “law of sin” dwelling within them that is waging war against the God-given desire to obey His law.  As Paul states, he delighted in God’s law.  He very much wanted to obey God in all things; however, he found that it was impossible for him to do so.  His sinful nature constantly sought to make him a slave to the law of sin.

Recognizing the impossibility of obeying God because of the power of sin in his life, Paul cries out, “What a wretched man I am!  Who will rescue me from this body of death?”  He then declares that deliverance from the law of sin can happen “through Jesus Christ our Lord” (verses 24, 25, NIV).

 

In Romans 8:1-4, Paul gives the solution to this problem in the believer’s life.  The solution to the Christian’s dilemma is to allow Christ Jesus, through the law of the Spirit of life, to set us free from the law of sin and death.  Put another way, we must let Jesus live out His life in us through the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  This is what Paul calls “walking in the Spirit.”  He further elaborates on this in his letter to the Galatians:

 

“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.  For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish” (Gal. 5:16, 17).

 

Paul tells us that the righteous requirements of the law will be fulfilled “in us” when we have Jesus living in us through the baptism of the Holy Spirit:

 

“That the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Rom. 8:4).

 

We have the “assurance” of salvation when we “trust” Jesus with our lives, that’s it.  Once we trust Jesus, He, our great Heavenly Physician, will perfectly heal and restore us, thus our assurance is in Jesus, not in ourselves or our future. Salvation is Now!!   1John 5:11-13,   1 John 3:2,   John 17:3

The Movement Continues

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I Was Hungry  Matthew 25:35

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The belief of French philosopher Voltaire: The Bible and Christianity would pass within a hundred years. He died in 1778. The movement continues.

The pronouncement of Friedrich Nietzsche in 1882: “God is dead.” The dawn of science, he believed, would be the doom of faith. Science has dawned; the movement continues.

The way a Communist dictionary defined the Bible: “It is a collection of fantastic legends without any scientific support.” Communism is diminishing; the movement continues.

The discovery made by every person who has tried to bury the faith: The same as the one made by those who tried to bury its Founder: He won’t stay in the tomb.

The facts. The movement has never been stronger. Over one billion Catholics and nearly as many Protestants.

The question. How do we explain it? Jesus was a backwater peasant. He never wrote a book, never held an office. He never journeyed more than two hundred miles from his hometown. Friends left him. One betrayed him. Those he helped forgot him. Prior to his death they abandoned him. But after his death they couldn’t resist him. What made the difference?

The answer. His death and resurrection.
For when he died, so did your sin.
And when he rose, so did your hope.
For when he rose, your grave was changed from a final residence to temporary housing.

The reason he did it. The face in your mirror.

The verdict after two millenniums. Herod was right: there is room for only one King.

The Sabbath Rest

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Jesus said”Come apart and rest awhile” Mark 6:31

Might I add, “Come apart and rest awhile or YOU WILL COME APART”!!

True rest comes only from Jesus!! “Come unto Me and I will give you rest”! Matthew 11:28-29.

God’s Sabbath rest is a symbol of true deliverance from trying to save myself!! “For he who has entered His rest has himself ceased from his works as God did from His” Hebrews 4:1,4,9-10.

May you truly rest  from striving to save yourself!!

Happy Sabbath!!

Please Enjoy This Post By Pastor Dennis Smith!!

Wayne

 

                                                                          Pastor Dennis Smith

The gospel is taught in the Creation story.  In Genesis we read: “Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished.  And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done” (Gen. 2:1, 2).

Here we discover that God worked, then rested.  The situation for Adam was just the opposite.  First, he entered into God’s rest, since the seventh-day Sabbath was his first full day of life.  After entering God’s rest on the seventh day, he then worked.

The same sequence is true concerning our redemption.  In Christ, God completed the work of redemption through His sinless life, death, and resurrection.  We begin experiencing God’s redemptive work in our lives by resting in what God has already done for us.  We rest in the fact that Jesus died for our sins and has given to us eternal life as a free gift.  We rest in the fact that we have Christ’s righteousness covering us. We also rest in the fact that at the cross the power of our sinful nature was broken, and we are now free to serve God.  Daily, we rest in the fact that Christ lives in us and will live out His life in and through us if we simply choose to let Him.

Once believers rest in these truths, they are able then to “work,” or faithfully serve and obey God in life and ministry. This rest is necessary for them to faithfully serve God.  By rest I mean that they accept by faith what God has done for their redemption, and trust implicitly in Christ.

In Hebrews 4 we find a similar description of the concept of rest in the story of Israel’s failure to enter into God’s rest during their wilderness sojourn:

“There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.  For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.  Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall after the same example of disobedience” (Heb. 4:9-11).

God’s Word is very clear about the concept of rest.  When we enter into God’s rest we cease our own efforts.  We are told that it is important for us to seek to enter into this rest.  Otherwise, we will fail in our obedience to God because of unbelief.

The only way to gain victory over temptation and sin is to rest in the fact that Jesus abides in us and to allow Him to live out His life in and through us. We must rest in that truth through belief and not hinder God’s work of redemption in our life by trying to work or exert our own effort to obey.  Our part is to believe and choose to let Christ live out His life in us. We are to rest in His completed work. This resting in Christ is the true meaning of the Sabbath rest God calls us to experience:

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God.  In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day.  Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it” (Ex. 20: 8-11).

Our part is to choose and to believe.  This requires 100 percent surrender to Christ 100 percent of the time.

 We have the “assurance” of salvation when we “trust” Jesus with our lives, that’s it.  Once we trust Jesus, He, our great Heavenly Physician, will perfectly heal and restore us, thus our assurance is in Jesus, not in ourselves or our future. Salvation is Now!!  1John 5:11-13,   1 John 3:2,   John 17:3

 

Behold, I am Coming Quickly! Revelation 22:12,17,20

Jesus Is About To Come!!

What Do You Want?—Daily Devotion By Oswald Chambers

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 By Oswald Chambers

Author of:“My Utmost for His Highest”

Devotion For April 27th 

“Seekest thou great things for thyself?”

Jeremiah 14:5

Are you seeking great things for yourself? Not seeking to be a great one, but seeking great things from God for yourself. God wants you in a closer relationship to Himself than receiving His gifts, He wants you to get to know Him. A great thing is accidental, it comes and goes. God never gives us anything accidental. There is nothing easier than getting into a right relationship with God except when it is not God Whom you want but only what He gives.

If you have only come the length of asking God for things, you have never come to the first strand of abandonment, you have become a Christian from a standpoint of your own. “I did ask God for the Holy Spirit, but He did not give me the rest and the peace I expected.” Instantly God puts His finger on the reason – you are not seeking the Lord at all, you are seeking something for yourself. Jesus says – “Ask, and it shall be given you.” Ask God for what you want, and you cannot ask if you are not asking for a right thing. When you draw near to God, you cease from asking for things. “Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him.” Then why ask? That you may get to know Him.

Are you seeking great things for yourself? “O Lord, baptize me with the Holy Ghost.” If God does not, it is because you are not abandoned enough to Him, there is something you will not do. Are you prepared to ask yourself what it is you want from God and why you want it? God always ignores the present perfection for the ultimate perfection. He is not concerned about making you blessed and happy just now; He is working out His ultimate perfection all the time – “that they may be one even as We are.”

The Supreme Climb—Daily Devotion By Oswald Chambers

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 The Grand Canyon

 

 

 

 

 

 

  By Oswald Chambers

Author of:“My Utmost for His Highest”

Devotion For April 26th

 

 

“Take now thy son . . and offer him there for a burnt-offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.”

Genesis 22:2

Character determines how a man interprets God’s will (cf. Psalm 18:25-26). Abraham interpreted God’s command to mean that he had to kill his son, and he could only leave this tradition behind by the pain of a tremendous ordeal. God could purify his faith in no other way. If we obey what God says according to our sincere belief, God will break us from those traditions that misrepresent Him. There are many such beliefs to be got rid of, e.g., that God removes a child because the mother loves him too much – a devil’s lie! and a travesty of the true nature of God. If the devil can hinder us from taking the supreme climb and getting rid of wrong traditions about God, he will do so; but if we keep true to God, God will take us through an ordeal which will bring us out into a better knowledge of Himself.

The great point of Abraham’s faith in God was that he was prepared to do anything for God. He was there to obey God, no matter to what belief he went contrary. Abraham was not a devotee of his convictions, or he would have slain Isaac and said that the voice of the angel was the voice of the devil. That is the attitude of a fanatic. If you will remain true to God, God will lead you straight through every barrier into the inner chamber of the knowledge of Himself; but there is always this point of giving up convictions and traditional beliefs. Don’t ask God to test you. Never declare as Peter did – “I will do anything, I will go to death with Thee.” Abraham did not make any such declaration, he remained true to God, and God purified his faith.

Instant In Season—Daily Devotion By Oswald Chambers

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Photo by Charles Mills

Oswald Chambers - Author of "My Utmost for His Highest"

Devotion For April 25th

“Be instant in season, out of season.”

2 Timothy 4:2

Many of us suffer from the morbid tendency to be instant “out of season.” The season does not refer to time, but to us – ‘Be instant in season, out of season,” whether we feel like it or not. If we do only what we feel inclined to do, some of us would do nothing for ever and ever. There are unemployables in the spiritual domain, spiritually decrepit people, who refuse to do anything unless they are supernaturally inspired. The proof that we are rightly related to God is that we do our best whether we feel inspired or not.

One of the great snares of the Christian worker is to make a fetish of his rare moments. When the Spirit of God gives you a time of inspiration and insight, you say – “Now I will always be like this for God.” No, you will not, God will take care you are not. Those times are the gift of God entirely. You cannot give them to yourself when you choose. If you say you will only be at your best, you become an intolerable drag on God; you will never do anything unless God keeps you consciously inspired. If you make a god of your best moments, you will find that God will fade out of your life and never come back until you do the duty that lies nearest, and have learned not to make a fetish of your rare moments.

The Warning Against Wantoning—Daily Devotion By Oswald Chambers

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Photo by Charles Mills

  By Oswald Chambers

Author of:“My Utmost for His Highest”

Devotion For April 24th   

“Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you.”

Luke 10:20

As Christian workers, worldliness is not our snare, sin is not our snare, but spiritual wantoning is, viz.: taking the pattern and print of the religious age we live in, making eyes at spiritual success. Never court anything other than the approval of God, go “without the camp, bearing His reproach.” Jesus told the disciples not to rejoice in successful service, and yet this seems to be the one thing in which most of us do rejoice. We have the commercial view – so many souls saved and sanctified, thank God, now it is all right. Our work begins where God’s grace has laid the foundation; we are not to save souls, but to disciple them. Salvation and sanctification are the work of God’s sovereign grace; our work as His disciples is to disciple lives until they are wholly yielded to God. One life wholly devoted to God is of more value to God than one hundred lives simply awakened by His Spirit. As workers for God we must reproduce our own kind spiritually, and that will be God’s witness to us as workers. God brings us to a standard of life by His grace, and we are responsible for reproducing that standard in others.

Unless the worker lives a life hidden with Christ in God, he is apt to become an irritating dictator instead of an indwelling disciple. Many of us are dictators, we dictate to people and to meetings. Jesus never dictates to us in that way. Whenever Our Lord talked about discipleship, He always prefaced it with an “IF,” never with an emphatic assertion – “You must.” Discipleship carries an option with it.

What You Will Get—Daily Devotion By Oswald Chambers

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   By Oswald Chambers

Author of:“My Utmost for His Highest”

Devotion For April 28th  

“Thy life will I give thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest.”

Jeremiah 14:5

This is the unshakable secret of the Lord to those who trust Him – “I will give thee thy life.” What more does a man want than his life? It is the essential thing. “Thy life for a prey” means that wherever you may go, even if it is into hell, you will come out with your life, nothing can harm it. So many of us are caught up in the shows of things, not in the way of property and possessions, but of blessings. All these have to go; but there is something grander that never can go – the life that is “hid with Christ in God.”

Are you prepared to let God take you into union with Himself, and pay no more attention to what you call the great things? Are you prepared to abandon entirely and let go? The test of abandonment is in refusing to say – “Well, what about this?” Beware of suppositions. Immediately you allow – What about this? – it means you have not abandoned, you do not really trust God. Immediately you do abandon, you think no more about what God is going to do. Abandon means to refuse yourself the luxury of asking any questions. If you abandon entirely to God, He says at once, “Thy life will I give thee for a prey.” The reason people are tired of life is because God has not given them anything, they have not got their life as a prey. The way to get out of that state is to abandon to God. When you do get through to abandonment to God, you will be the most surprised and delighted creature on earth; God has got you absolutely and has given you your life. If you are not there, it is either because of disobedience or a refusal to be simple enough.

The Worship Of The Work—Daily Devotion By Oswald Chambers

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I Am A Very Proud Uncle!!!! My Great Nieces Ella and Zoe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  By Oswald Chambers

Author of:“My Utmost for His Highest”

Devotion For April 23rd 

“Labourers together with God.”

1 Corinthians 3:9

Beware of any work for God which enables you to evade concentration on Him. A great many Christian workers worship their work. The one concern of a worker should be concentration on God, and this will mean that all the other margins of life, mental, moral and spiritual, are free with the freedom of a child, a worshipping child, not a wayward child. A worker without this solemn dominant note of concentration on God is apt to get his work on his neck; there is no margin of body, mind or spirit free, consequently he becomes spent out and crushed. There is no freedom, no delight in life; nerves, mind and heart are so crushingly burdened that God’s blessing cannot rest. But the other side is just as true – when once the concentration is on God, all the margins of life are free and under the dominance of God alone. There is no responsibility on you for the work; the only responsibility you have is to keep in living constant touch with God, and to see that you allow nothing to hinder your co-operation with Him. The freedom after sanctification is the freedom of a child, the things that used to keep the life pinned down are gone. But be careful to remember that you are freed for one thing only – to be absolutely devoted to your co-Worker.

We have no right to judge where we should be put, or to have preconceived notions as to what God is fitting us for. God engineers everything; wherever He puts us our one great aim is to pour out a whole-hearted devotion to Him in that particular work. “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.”

The Light That Fails—Daily Devotion By Oswald Chambers

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Snow and water

By Oswald Chambers, author of "My Utmost for His Highest"

Devotion For April 22nd

“We all with open face beholding … the glory of the Lord.”

2 Corinthians 3:18

A servant of God must stand so much alone that he never knows he is alone. In the first phases of Christian life disheartenments come, people who used to be lights flicker out, and those who used to stand with us pass away. We have to get so used to it that we never know we are standing alone. “All men forsook me . . notwithstanding the Lord stood with me” (2 Tim. 4:16-17). We must build our faith, not on the fading light, but on the light that never fails. When “big” men go we are sad, until we see that they are meant to go, the one thing that remains is looking in the face of God for ourselves.

Allow nothing to keep you from looking God sternly in the face about yourself and about your doctrine, and every time you preach see that you look God in the face about things first, then the glory will remain all through. A Christian worker is one who perpetually looks in the face of God and then goes forth to talk to people. The characteristic of the ministry of Christ is that of unconscious glory that abides. “Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him.”

We are never called on to parade our doubts or to express the hidden ecstasies of our life with God. The secret of the worker’s life is that he keeps in tune with God all the time.