Giving My Best to God

Posted November 17, 2011 by Joe Chase
Categories: Blessings, christian living, Divine Nature, Repentance

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Can you imagine someone standing before the altar of God to give a second rate sacrifice? Israel was guilty of that in Malachi’s day.

“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the LORD of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name?’ By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, ‘How have we polluted you?’ By saying that the LORD’s table may be despised. When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the LORD of hosts” (Malachi 1:6-8)

Singing, praying, giving, serving and any other sacrifice to God must be our best. We have to watch ourselves carefully because the devil certainly tempts us to give less than our best. I remember an older preacher saying he always tried to be in bed before 10:00 on Saturday nights so he would be completely rested and be able to give his best the next day. I wonder if we might not benefit from that mentality? Do we sometimes stay up too late so we are bleary-eyed during worship? Can we be so rushed from getting ready that our hearts are not able to focus on the Holy One? My mother always layed out our clothes when we were children so everything was ready first thing Sunday morning. As we grew older she encouraged us to do the same.

Can it happen that we get so involved in recreation that our financial contribution to God suffers? Do we give only what is left and not what is right? Do we use all our energy earning a living so that God’s work gets only the leftovers at the end of a hard week? So often the Devil fills our lives with urgent things that steal away from the important and necessary. Our Father deserves much more than the minimums and the scrapings of what is left over.

Pray today for God to help us order our lives so we can give Him what is rightfully His. God gave a principle that should still be observed today…

But if ithas any blemish, if it is lame or blind or has any serious blemish whatever, you shall not sacrifice it to the LORD your God. (Deuteronomy 15:21)

It’s Cool

Posted November 5, 2011 by Joe Chase
Categories: Blessings, christian living, Encouragement

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It was 37 degrees this morning here in East Texas. I wore a jacket and a hat. It is nice.

Cool is a blessing. God made us so we can feel temperatures. We rejoice in the cool and are driven to pray for relief from oppressive heat. Pretty cool that cool is so cool. Enjoy the simple blessing of feeling the cool.

Remember even God enjoyed the cool of the evening (Gen. 3:8ff).

Becoming Less

Posted October 22, 2011 by Joe Chase
Categories: christian living

Tags: , ,

Theodore Monod penned the lyric “None of Self and All of Thee.” That song has always been a hard one for me to sing with complete honesty. It is a lot like “I Surrender All.” I believe you can sing a lie as easily as tell one. The very genesis of sin is selfishness. We are often seeking “What do I want today.”

It is a purposeful person who seeks the Lord over self. The life of “More of Thee” is certainly one of self-denial. How do I learn to seek God first and then my own desires? How do I develop my mind to put away desire for selfish pursuits and fulfillments? I’ll admit that I am not really that good at it. Far too often I put my wants ahead of my duty to God. My weakness shames me more often than I like to admit.

The writer of Hebrews tells us of a few power things that will help us live “self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age” (Titus 2:12)

 

  1. The Powerful Word of God (Hebrews 4:12). Spend time treasuring up the word of God will help us not to sin (Psalm 119:11). Bible knowledge and obedience sets us free (John 8:32). God’s book certainly reveals to us how to “flee lust” (2 Tim 2:22), hold fast to righteousness and scriptural instruction (2 Thes 2:15). It is an anchor to bind our affections to the Lord. Daily use of God’s Word will certainly help us to give less attention to our evil desires and more to the Lord’s will.
  2. God’s All Seeing Eye (Hebrews 4:13). Knowing that God watches us should give us pause before we jump into selfish, self-willed living. As children we were much better behaved when our parents watched than when they were absent. Remember also that God is not watching us to just to crush us for wickedness. He is there to help us live better.
  3. The Great High Priest Jesus (Hebrews 4:14, 15). Jesus offered sacrifice for our sins. He is in the presence of God working on our behalf. This perfect high priest who is the source of our salvation written in his innocent blood (Heb 5:9; Acts 4:11,12; 1 Peter 1:18,19). You could never ask for greater help or motivation for putting God first. Gratitude for all that Jesus is doing will drive us to submission more and more as we contemplate it.
  4. The Power of Prayer (Hebrews 4:16). Don’t discount the help that comes from asking the Father for help. He loves to give to us all things that pertain to life and godliness (Jam 1:5; 17; 2 Pet 1:3). If we ask anything in the name of Christ we can receive it (Luke 11:19; John 16:23). Try asking God to help you become less you will receive grace to become just that.

 

Through Jesus I ask you Father please help me put you and your reign in my life first. Help my desires to dissipate while a love for you flourishes. Thank you for all the help you’ve already provided.

 

Oh, the bitter pain and sorrow
That a time could ever be,
When I proudly said to Jesus,
“All of self, and none of Thee.”
All of self, and none of Thee,
All of self, and none of Thee,
When I proudly said to Jesus,
“All of self, and none of Thee.”

Yet He found me; I beheld Him
Bleeding on th’ accursed tree,
And my wistful heart said faintly,
“Some of self, and some of Thee.”
Some of self, and some of Thee,
Some of self, and some of Thee,
And my wistful heart said faintly,
“Some of self, and some of Thee.”

Day by day His tender mercy,
Healing, helping, full and free,
Brought me lower while I whispered,
“Less of self, and more of Thee.”
Less of self, and more of Thee,
Less of self, and more or Thee,
Brought me lower while I whispered,
“Less of self, and more of Thee.”

Higher than the highest heaven,
Deeper than the deepest sea,
Lord, Thy love at last has conquered:
None of self, and all of Thee.”
None of self, and all of Thee,
None of self, and all of Thee,
Lord, Thy love at last has conquered:
None of self, and all of Thee.”

 

If you need prayer or help serving the Lord please contact me at Contact Me By Email


 

Why Did God Make Me Like This?

Posted October 19, 2011 by Joe Chase
Categories: Encouragement

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On a recent Facebook post, I read from a mother with a little girl with several birth abnormalities; “My little girl asked me today, “Why did God make me like this?” The loving mother shocked by the question answered, “you are beautiful and God doesn’t make mistakes.” That answer was enough for this little girl who ran off to play again.

I’ve known several parents of children with various physical, developmental and mental struggles and issues. I applaud them for their hard work in caring for their children. Most of those parents relate to me the joys of having a special needs child. They tell stories of how the struggles are difficult but never a burden. I am grateful for parents who see the blessings in the difficulties.

What strikes me most is that a child who is discovering that she is different from other children is able to rest in the assurance that her parents love her and that God is caring for her too. I look at myself and see so many shortcomings, brokenness, frailty, failure and wonder “why did God make me this way?” Why do I find sin easier than doing right. Why is my heart easily swayed away from good to bad? I recall that Paul said very similar things in Romans chapter seven. In deep frustration with his frailty he questions; “Who will deliver me from this body of death?” He calls himself a “wretched man.” That is a common chord between Paul and me.

It takes some serious self-examination and Bible study to remember that God’s grace and love is sufficient to overcome my faults. Though I am unworthy God is kind enough to fix me in my weakness and then strengthen me to become whole in Christ (Rom 5:8; 2 Cor 5:21; Phil 4:13). I am learning that it is my weakness that leads me to God’s strength. My frailty is fixed by the “Great I Am.” Today, I celebrate the joy of knowing God loves me. My journey to heaven isn’t threatened by my weakness if I will let Him guide and protect me.

Dear God, Thanks for helping me see you when all I can see is my own sins, sorrows and shaking faith. Forgive me for failing and cleanse me so I can be all you long for me to be.

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Great Soul Winners Are Purposeful

Posted September 27, 2011 by Joe Chase
Categories: Encouragement

People are not evangelistic by accident. They make up their mind that they will take the Lord’s work seriously and then adjust their lives to include this necessary work. As a full-time paid preacher I discovered evangelism is easily crowed out by important “church work.” Days can be overrun with hospital visits, writing sermons, editing the bulletin, making class preparation, counseling, teaching Bible classes at the building. The overwhelming amount of office work can stymie all evangelistic effort. It’s easy to have only Christian friends. It’s easy to pursue only good works within the “house of God.”

Seeking the lost was much easier before I started preaching full-time. Working outside of the church building offered a lot more opportunities to befriend non-churched people. I am not saying that everyone in our assembly is a saint but most of them are. Week after week my work focuses more on keeping the saved, saved than on seeking the lost. How did this happen? It is sort of the nature of church work to become a keeper of the flock instead of building a flock. So, my goal is to change that in my work.

Here is a prayerful plan of purpose for being more evangelistic:

Set a Specific Goal. Having a goal and committing to reaching it will pave the way to changing my schedule to include opportunities for evangelism. If I have a goal of evangelizing 12 people this year that means I have to find the time to do that. I need to find the places to do it and look for ways to follow through with it.

Plan The Plan. We fail to reach goals because we don’t plan for reaching them. Success is seldom unplanned. Good plans lead to finding a way to succeed when none seems to exist. Prayer and good hard brain strain is called for to decide how you are going to meet 12 new people this year and make opportunity to tell them about Jesus.

Work the Work. I wonder how many really wonderful plans are lost in committee? Hours of strategy laid out but never put into play. Getting things done happens when we get things done. Going from dream to actuality will only happen when we roll up our sleeves and start working the carefully laid out plan.

Recommit Every Day. People stay committed only when they review their success or failure and then adjust their efforts to accomplish their intended goal. Look at your goal, see if your plan is still viable, then follow through with enthusiastic work to reach your goal. Did I find a person this month to befriend? Did I make efforts to make a relationship with that person? Did I develop some interest in spiritual matters with that person? Did I tell them about Jesus? Which of these things needs changing to be successful?

Enjoy the Rewards. Nothing makes work more satisfying than seeing it completed. Sharing the gospel with people is a great work with many rewards. Not everyone you tell about Jesus will follow him but, you are successful when you plant the seed. You will make a lot of friends in this effort. Celebrate every victory and bask in the joys that come in ways you will not know until they come to you.

I pray that your goal will be to take Jesus with you everywhere you go. I hope you find a lot of open hearts who will receive the message of Christ. We’ve got to be ready to meet and befriend all kinds of people in all kinds of places. That is exciting let’s get purposeful with our Lord’s commission.

Share with us some of your goals for reaching out to the world with the message of Jesus. Do you have a successful plan? Make a comment or send me an email.

Joe Chase

You Will Mess Up, What You Need to Know When You Do

Posted September 27, 2011 by Joe Chase
Categories: christian living, Kindness, Repentance, Sorrow, Unconditional Love

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The Devil really loves to blind us to simple truths. When he can get us to forget the nature and work of God he can discourage us enough to give up. Don’t let that happen. You should treasure these thoughts in your heart so you never forget them.

  • You are loved by God (Eph 5:1; John 3:16)
  • He showed his love when we deserved it the least (Rom 5:8).
  • There is nothing in this world or the heavens that can separate us from God’s love (Rom 8:38-39).
  • The sacrifice of Jesus blood covers all the sins we confess before God (1 John 1:7-9).
  • You can repent of any sin and God will remove it from you (Acts 3:19).
  • Once a sin is forgiven it is gone for good you’ll never be held accountable for that sin again (Psalm 103:12).
  • It’s not to late to change and follow Jesus (Heb 7:25).

Confession and asking for forgiveness brings back the “joy of God’s salvation” (Psalm 51:23). It restores us to God’s grace and mercy. Sadly, we can easily forget that when we head away from God into sin.

The Devil is a liar (John 8:44), he deceives you into living below the privileges given by Christ. Don’t let him win when you falter and sin. Instead, turn your heart toward God and bask in his forgiving grace. God loves the contrite and penitent (Psalm 51:17; Isaiah 66:2). He is overflowing with love for all of us (Psalm 51:1). He is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9), including those who have fallen back or fallen away.

Restoration and full fellowship comes to all who seek God’s forgiveness. No matter what your sin is God’s kindness, grace and mercy is greater.
God is calling today, he is pleading with us to come partake of His mercy and love. What are you waiting for? Come home today!

Volunteers? Maybe Not

Posted September 13, 2011 by Joe Chase
Categories: christian living

Tags: , , ,

For many years now I’ve heard “church work is done by volunteers.” Now I’m wondering if that is really the best way to describe the work and workers. For too long church rolls have bloated with names of people who believe they can attend, work, share, fellowship etc. as much or as little as they choose. After all participation is voluntary. But is it really? It is immature to believe that I can do as little as I please in service to God and still be considered part of the church.
The Scriptures reveal that once a person chooses to follow Christ he then must give his all. He must deny himself take up Christ’s cross and follow everyday. A once per week, month or sporadic following is really worse than not following at all. Lukewarm, halfhearted commitment leads to harsh judgment from Christ (Rev 3:16). Paul describes his following of Christ as servant, soldier, prisoner. None of those sound like partial commitment.
The family of God should be able to count on 100% of its members being 100% committed to 100% of its work and worship. Just as Paul considered his responsibility to Christ a duty, privilege and obligation so ought we.
Volunteer organizations even have an expectation of participation of its members. Lions, Elks, Rotarians all have written guidelines demanding commitment and involvement from their members. Isn’t our pursuit in Christ more weighty than these others? The Lord has a right to demand our best efforts for the Kingdom.
Service by guilty conscience is a burden both to the worker and the church they serve. Guilt driven commitment leads to joyless service it is much better when people serve from a love and gratitude.
Low commitment levels usually result from low expectations, immaturity and failure to be challenged to grow up to perfection in Christ.
We’ve bought into the idea that church is a volunteer effort and we should not expect everyone to participate. With that attitude we are defeated before we begin. No army would go into the field equipped like that. We need to teach and encourage people to give their best all the time to the Lord. Our leaders need to cast a vision and set the example for us to follow.
Christians need to see their importance within the local body of Christ. We should understand that my effort is not only needed but desperately needed. I need to see myself as an essential part of the working of the church. When individuals view themselves as irrelevant, or unnecessary for any work they will not commit their whole heart.
As disciple mature they will see more and more their value to the body. Their history of work and dedication will prove to them how necessary they are to the success of every effort. The skill honed by years of service is of greater value as time advances.
I may have come to Christ voluntarily but what I give now that I promised Him my allegiance is my obligation and duty. Not one born of guilt or compulsion but of appreciation, devotion and love for the Lord.