Monday, April 20, 2009

Can you or can't you?

Sorry, I missed last week! I'll catch back up on the series I am working on for Tuesdays. So, here's a special Monday post that has no relevance to the series I've been working on!

I've been doing my daily devotions through Oswald Chambers' magnificent daily guide called My Utmost for His Highest. If you've never picked this book up, I highly encourage it. He's a brilliant thinker and he really challenges me sometimes. Today was one of those occasions. There's a sentence right in the middle of the reading that got me thinking.

He says, " If we have received the Holy Spirit, God expects the work of the Holy Spirit to be manifested in us."

He prefaces this statement with a paragraph about the servant saying to his Master, "I can't" and "You expect more than you give me the power to do!"

Aren't you glad that it's not like that with God? In my ministry here at High Street, I'm realizing that I am trying something that is big! I realize that God has called me to do something huge.

There are some days where I leave this place and feel like saying to God, "You expect more than you give me the power to do!"

It's on those days that I fall on my face before my Master and beg for his forgiveness, because I am positive that I am absolutely wrong.

Today is a good day for me. I've been extremely encouraged in the past week by the people around me. If you're working around a youth pastor, let me tell you, there is a lot of value in encouraging that person. She will thrive on your encouragements. Take some time this week to send her an encouraging note, letting her know that you appreciate what she's doing with the youth in your church.

So, in light of the fact that I'm having a good day, let me tell you, it's clear to me that the things that are happening here at High Street are because of God. I usually take the blame for failures, but give all the praise to God after a success.

Right now, I feel successful.

Back to the original statement from Chambers. Have you received the Holy Spirit? Does your life manifest Holy Spirit-work? The Holy Spirit is a power-bringing entity.

If you have received the Holy Spirit, you have no right to say to God, "I can't." Because, with the Holy Spirit, you can. If you feel like you can't, ask God to remind you of who He is, and just how big He is. You won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Day By Day

In my pursuit of God, I search for Holiness. Because of my neurosis, I live my life in the fear of falling apart. I live my life in a constant state of unease and worry. I am constantly worrying that my failures are going to keep me from Heaven.

I do continue to wrestle with whether I think perfection is attainable in this life. Jesus called the woman caught in adultery to “Go and sin no more.” Why would he call her to that if it was an impossible goal? He didn’t say, “Okay, go, try your hardest not to sin anymore!”

The early church fathers also believed that it was possible to not sin. The earliest Christian works are ripe with calls to perfection. They believed that after baptism, people would stop sinning.

Let’s be honest, it is much easier to be a Christian when we don’t believe that we have to be perfect. Is this why we have such a difficulty with Christian Perfection?

And you can see why I am crippled with fear. I don’t understand.

Here’s what I do understand. I am fully aware of the fact that I am supposed to give everything I have to God. I’ve always made these commitments to God. The most popular one for me is, “I’ll commit to reading my Bible every day for the rest of my life!”

I’m so sincere. I really want to read my Bible and practice intimacy with God. But I always fail.

Seriously, I have yet to make it through that commitment.

So, what’s my problem? Am I not holy enough? Am I not perfect enough? Have I not been Entirely Sanctified?

Perhaps it’s a daily commitment to God.

Lord, I commit to practicing intimacy with you, today.

Tomorrow, I’ll make a similar commitment.

Is that what holiness is?

Maybe they were right when they said that the three things to pray daily were to see God more clearly, to love God more dearly and to follow Him more nearly. Perhaps that’s true holiness, doing it each and every day.

These three things, I do pray, day-by-day.