Friday, October 28, 2011

Justification by Faith

 by Oswald Chambers, October 28

 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. —Roman 5:10

I am not saved by believing; I realize I am saved by believing. It is not repentance that saves me; repentance is the sign that I realize what God has done in Christ Jesus. The danger is to put the emphasis on the effect instead of on the cause. It is my obedience that puts me right with God, my consecration.
Never! I am put right with God because prior to all, Christ died.
When I turn to God and by belief accept what God reveals I can accept, instantly the stupendous Atonement of Jesus Christ rushes me into a right relationship with God; and by the supernatural miracle of God’s grace I stand justified, not because I am sorry for my sin, not because I have repented, but because of what Jesus has done. The Spirit of God brings it with a breaking, all-over light, and I know, though I do not know how, that I am saved.
The salvation of God does not stand on human logic; it stands on the sacrificial Death of Jesus. We can be born again because of the Atonement of Our Lord. Sinful men and women can be changed into new creatures, not by their repentance or their belief, but by the marvelous work of God in Christ Jesus which is prior to all experience.

The impregnable safety of justification and sanctification is God Himself. We have not to work out these things ourselves; they have been worked out by the Atonement. The supernatural becomes natural by the miracle of God; there is the realization of what Jesus Christ has already done –

“It is finished.”

Sunday, September 4, 2011

His! by Oswald Chambers

September 04, 2011

They were Yours, You gave them to Me . . . —John 17:6

A missionary is someone in whom the Holy Spirit has brought about this realization: “You are not your own” (1 Corinthians 6:19). To say, “I am not my own,” is to have reached a high point in my spiritual stature. The true nature of that life in actual everyday confusion is evidenced by the deliberate giving up of myself to another Person through a sovereign decision, and that Person is Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit interprets and explains the nature of Jesus to me to make me one with my Lord, not that I might simply become a trophy for His showcase. Our Lord never sent any of His disciples out on the basis of what He had done for them. It was not until after the resurrection, when the disciples had perceived through the power of the Holy Spirit who Jesus really was, that He said, “Go” (Matthew 28:19; also see Luke 24:49 and Acts 1:8).

“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26). He was not saying that this person cannot be good and upright, but that he cannot be someone over whom Jesus can write the word Mine. Any one of the relationships our Lord mentions in this verse can compete with our relationship with Him. I may prefer to belong to my mother, or to my wife, or to myself, but if that is the case, then, Jesus said, “[You] cannot be My disciple.” This does not mean that I will not be saved, but it does mean that I cannot be entirely His.

Our Lord makes His disciple His very own possession, becoming responsible for him. “. . . you shall be witnesses to Me . . .” (Acts 1:8). The desire that comes into a disciple is not one of doing anything for Jesus, but of being a perfect delight to Him. The missionary’s secret is truly being able to say, “I am His, and He is accomplishing His work and His purposes through me.”

Be entirely His!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

6 Habits That Produce a Great Life

H.A.B.I.T.S.  -  by Pastor Allen Foxworth, Deltona Lakes Baptist Church

Sometime back Stephen R. Covey wrote a book titled, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The book identifies 7 habits that will make the reader more effective in his personal and public life. Additionally, it claims that "this is powerful advice that will help you live a happier and more fulfilled life." (Available on cd for $49.95) How about a better deal than that?

The following is 6 HABITS that will produce perseverance, joy and fulfillment in life no matter how good or bad things get! The only cost is the time to read this article and the effort to implement the habits. WHAT A GREAT DEAL!

H. Hang Time with God

The most important habit we can develop is to spend time with God daily. The more the better, but remember God values quality above quantity. Choose a place and a time where there is the least chance of being interrupted. I have a place on my porch that I use. Praying or singing is allowed, but also listening. It may feel awkward at first but stay with it? It takes a little time to learn to  "Be still, and know that I am God." (Psalm 49:10)

A. Accountability

Last year we emphasized every attendee being a part of an accountability group. Here is the problem; many people have stopped their accountability groups. Just because the banner is down, doesn't mean the practice of accountability should end. Strong Christians have trustworthy accountability partners (note more than one). Begin today to gather a group of 3 - 5 devoted believers as accountability partners. "Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." (Ecclesiastes 4:12 NIV)

B. Bible Study

To love God, we must first know God. We get to know God through reading the Bible. There are two ways we need to study the Bible. Alone (during our "hang time") and together in a small group (accountability thing). The Bible describes God's personality, it helps us to experience Him, it describes His attributes, and most importantly it repeatedly affirms His love for us. There are more than 7,000 promises God makes to us in the Bible. How many of them can you name? "But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation." (Psalm 13:5 NIV)

I. Involved in Church Ministry

We serve God by serving His children. Not only those who are physically children, but all believers. We are all God's children. There are a multitude of ways to be involved in the church. Things like being a hall monitor for Kidz Force or watching the parking lot on Wednesdays. Spending one Sunday a month as a greeter or at the welcome center. Volunteering to help put up decorations for a church member or at the church once a year. Showing up for one or more of the quarterly work days we have at the church. These are only a few of the ways to be involved. There are way too many to name them all here.

T. Tithing

Why is money the second biggest reason people give for not attending a worship service (the biggest reason is hypocrites in the church)? It takes about $10K a week to pay the electric, water, montage, insurance, repairs, paper, Bible study materials, copy machines, office supplies, cleaning supplies, building maintenance supplies, alarm system, various licenses for audio and video, wages for nursery workers, maintenance and custodial staff, office staff, and pastors. In addition to that a % of each offering goes to support over 10,000 missionaries (in and out of the U.S.) through the Cooperative Program and Florida Baptist Convention. The main reason to tithe is BECAUSE GOD COMMANDS IT! "A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD." (Leviticus 27:30 NIV) P.S. Before someone says, "That's an Old Testament idea," check this out... "Well then," he (Jesus) said, "give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God." (Luke 20:25 NLT)

S. Sharing God's Love

Deltona Lakes Baptist Church (the people, not the building) is organized around two key quotes from Jesus. The first is known as the Great Commandments. The second as the Great Commission. The Great Commandments tell us to "Love God and Love People." (Matthew 22:37-38 paraphrased) The Great Commission tells us, "As you are going through life, make disciples of those you meet, baptize them, and teach them to obey God's commands." (Matthew 28:19 paraphrased) When we start developing the H.A.B.I.T. part of HABITS, the S. naturally begins to happen. After all, God wants EVERYONE to know HIM and love HIM.

What HABITS do you have? Class 201 is all about developing and maintaining these HABITS.

Friday, May 13, 2011

I Don't Know Where the Door Is

"I believe, but I'm working on the "really" believing part."

That's what one of my dearest friends said when I told her how I had finally asked Jesus Christ to come into my heart and save me. What does it mean to "really believe" or have enough "faith" and to know, "really" know that I will go to heaven.

I used to think that "faith" was one step into the dark... and then one more. Sounds more like stepping into an elevator shaft, doesn’t it?

I learned that faith was not blind trust, but believing in a person and what he did for me. When I understood that Jesus died for me, my sins, then I simply had to admit, "Yeap, I did that! Forgive me."

And, he already did, 2,000 years ago. I just had to accept his free gift of salvation and then I went from having religion, to having a relationship.

He says that he stands at the door of our heart waiting for us to simply open it and let him in. It is amazing how simple it is for us to realize that and do it.

There was a young girl in my class at church who said she did that when she was four years old. She went sobbing to her mother and said, "Mommy, I want Jesus to come into my heart, but I don't know where the door is!"

How sweet is that. You don't have to know how to fly a plane, the pilot does. You don't have to know how to do brain surgery, the doctor does. And you trust them without hesitation.

You don't have to know where the door is, He does... you just have to ask him to "come on in!" That's really believing.

I tell others, "Lord help me to pray (he taught his disciples), the best I know how, I put my trust in you. Forgive me of my sin, come into my heart and save me."

He never fails, never.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Puraquequara - PQQ


My wife and I were eating at La Hacienda, a Mexican restaurant in Orange City, Florida when she asked me how to pronounce an entrĂ©e that had too many L's and R's for my fat tongue to roll through. She was disappointed that the smartest man in the world couldn't say it. (I’m affectionately known as the smartest man in the world at home, but that’s another story.)

I said, "Oh yeah, pronounce this," as I wrote on my napkin, "PURAQUEQUARA."

"Purr - a - key..... I don't know." She stuttered.

I said, "In Brazil the R's are like D's in this word and it's pronounced, Puda - Kay - Qua - Da.”

I repeated it and she was amused… for a moment.

When the waiter asked for our orders I said, “She would like Number 7, please.” (Smartest man in the world strikes again!)

After we finished eating, one of the four people across from us got up and asked me, "Excuse me, did you say 'Puraquequara'?"

"WOW!" I said, "You must be with New Tribes Mission."

He was, but now he is a pilot for Wycliffe Associates.

He said, “The man sitting next to me is Dave Sharp. His dad built and named Puraquequara; it's the only place in the world with that name."  PQQ, as the students call it, is a New Tribes Mission’s boarding school for missionary kids. It’s about a thousand miles up the Amazon River, near Manaus.

I said, “Yes, I heard his name when I was in training with New Tribes in Pennsylvania.”

The pilot, Dave Byron said, “My wife grew up at New Tribes in Pennsylvania.”

She was Becky Sanford, daughter of Dick and Lucille Sanford. Her Dad was the northeast representative for New Tribes. Becky was in high school when I was in training there.

Dave Byron said that although he is a pilot, he's been tasked with writing the Crisis Response Plan for the missionaries in Peru.... and he doesn't have a clue where to begin.

Amazing how God used the word ‘Puraquequara’ to bring us together, isn’t it.

I told him that I might know something about that, I'm been a Risk Manager for 17 years and write disaster and crises response plans. I also know an organization of risk managers that are responsible for their faculty and students traveling abroad. I was a member of the University Risk Management and Insurance Association for eight years.

A few weeks later, I met Dave for breakfast in Sanford. We went over a lot of plans I wrote or stole from the Internet and then I hooked him up with Vincent Morris, Risk Manager of Wheaton College. And wouldn’t you know it, Vince was at the annual URMIA conference when I called and was being honored as Risk Manager of the Year. God always sends His best, doesn’t he!

Dave’s experience on the field was the greatest starting point. He just needed help in getting the creative juices flowing. I was just thrilled to see God take the smartest man in the world and allow him to be a servant again for a cause so dear to his heart.

God sure has a great sense of humor, doesn't he!

Puraquequara indeed!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

My Dad

My Dad

I was married, in college and a soon to be Dad the night I got saved. I couldn’t wait for the weekend to come to drive back home to Sanford to see my family. Mainly, because we stayed with one of our parents, they fed us and always sent us home with a care package of canned food and more utensils.

As soon as I walked in the house I told my mother, “Mom, I got saved.”

She was very happy for me, but it wasn’t a minute before my Dad came into to the room. He walked up to me, got in my face and said, “Boy, I’ve got to put up with that from your Uncle Bill, but this is my house and you can either shut up or leave.”

I just stood there. I couldn’t get over the people that weren’t as excited about me getting saved as I was. I honored my father and shut up. Dad and I continued to do a lot together; he was a jack-of-all-trades, my fishing buddy, but most of all, my Dad.

I moved back to Sanford about a year later and not much had changed in my life. I had a lot of friends, but one couple was special. (With two kids named Punky and Beaver, they had to be.) When I talked to Tom about the Bible, something was different.

It was like when Cleopas and the other disciple that walked with Jesus along the Emmaus Road. They said, “Did not our hearts burn within us as He talked with us by the way, and while He opened up the scriptures?”

My heart began to burn within me. I knew something was wrong, but not why. So, I decided that I wanted to change some of the things I was doing and that I was going to go to church. I was going to say no to “sin” in my life. It was a Wednesday night, and they had a service, so I went, and I went by myself.

Everyone was on one side of the building and the preacher wasn’t on the stage, he was in front with a little pedestal. I sat in back.

After a prayer, a guy raised his hand and said that he needed money to buy a new spark plug for the church lawn mower, “All approve say aye.”

“Aye,” Motion approved.”

Then they sang and the preacher gave a Bible study.

But he didn’t preach, he talked, and others would raise their hand and talk back.

Wow, this was different. After the lesson I raised my hand. “Yes, George?”

“Do you do this every Wednesday night?” I asked.

“Pretty much,” the preacher replied.

I said, “We’ll I like it.”

“Come back next Wednesday, then,” he said.

As I pulled into my driveway, there were two teenagers telling dirty jokes. It reminded me of another one, but I paused and said, “Nope.” Then I got out of the van with my Bible and said, “Sounds like you boys should have been in church tonight.”

"Tonight? We don’t have church on Wednesday,” they said they attended All Souls Catholic around the corner from where I lived on Elm Street.

I pulled a Gospel tract out of my Bible that I found at the church and read it to them. Then I asked, "What do you think, do you want to do that?”

One said no and walked off, the other, named David, said, “Yeah... I’d like to do that.”

Well, I didn’t have a clue what to say next so I asked him to come inside. We sat on the couch and I read the tract to him again and asked, “You still want to do that?”

His eyes were getting red and he almost whispered, “Yeah, I do.”

I still had no clue what to say or do next. I was laying in bed when I got saved so I said, “Come on, let’s go in the bed room!” We sat on the edge of the bed, David had his head down in his hands and I could hear his tears dropping on the carpet. I said, “Just a minute.”

I turned to the side and said, “Lord, I don’t know what to do!”

I didn’t hear a voice or anything, but it was like, “Thank you, let me do this.”

I felt a sweet peace and turned to David and said, “Just say, ‘Lord help me to pray' and tell Him what you want to do.”

He did, he prayed, and it was sweet, and just like when I got saved, he got real happy about it. I went into the kitchen and called the preacher. I said, “This boy just got saved, tell him what he did,” and handed the phone to David.

While David was on the phone I looked down and saw a pack of cigarettes in my pocket. I was embarrassed. I snuck them out and hid them in the bottom of the trash can. I was ashamed that David might see them. The strange thing was I just sat through a church service with them in my pocket and lit one up in the parking lot as I was driving off. Didn’t bother me a bit.

Even though I had been saved a few years, I did not know that the Holy Spirit lived in me. And when I started saying “No” to what I wanted to do, His presence became real. He was there all the time, longing to have a relationship with me.

Almost thirteen years later, I went over to pick my Dad up to go fishing. It was 5:30 in the morning and he always had breakfast ready when I got there. I walked into the kitchen, breakfast was ready, but Dad was back in his den.

He came into the room, slowly, and with his usual limp on his right side. He held up a little red booklet and said, “Hey boy, I did that.”

As I walked over to see what it was, he reached out and handed it to me. It was only 2 by 2 ½ inches, but the title stood out like BOX CAR letters! It read: Personal Bible, Verses of Comfort, Assurance and Salvation.

Dad reached over and flipped to the back pages where his name was signed at the bottom of a prayer that read, “God be merciful to me a sinner! I believe Christ died for me and that His Precious blood will cleanse me from all my sin. By faith I now receive the Lord Jesus Christ into my heart as my Lord and Savior; trusting Him for the salvation of my soul. Help me Lord to do thy will each day. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen”

He wrote in the margin around that prayer, “3-11-79 Born-Again Praise the Lord.”

Dad was 58 years old when he was “born again.” A Methodist preacher from Tampa held a revival at my Dad’s church and Dad went and knelt at the altar the night before.

My Dad died when he was 80. Like you, I get excited when I read, “Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions…I go to prepare a place for you… so that where I am there you may be also.”

Every time I see the sun gleaming through a huge cloud in the eastern sky, I think, “Wow, now would be good time!”

I want to be alive to hear the Shout and the sound of the trumpet as we meet our Lord in the air! But, as I walk by those Jasper walls and along the River of Life, the next sound I want to hear is, “Hey, boy!” And I will, because someone shared the Gospel story with my Dad and he was ready to listen.