Archive for December, 2005

Deserter Or Disciple?

Today’s My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers.

‘From that time many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him.’ – John 6:66

When God gives a vision by His Spirit through His word of what He wants, and your mind and soul thrill to it, if you do not walk in the light of that vision, you will sink into servitude to a point of view which Our Lord never had. Disobedience in mind to the heavenly vision will make you a slave to points of view that are alien to Jesus Christ. Do not look at someone else and say – Well, if he can have those views and prosper, why cannot I? You have to walk in the light of the vision that has been given to you and not compare yourself with others or judge them, that is between them and God. When you find that a point of view in which you have been delighting clashes with the heavenly vision and you debate, certain things will begin to develop in you – a sense of property and a sense of personal right, things of which Jesus Christ made nothing. He was always against these things as being the root of everything alien to Himself. “A man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things that he possesseth.” If we do not recognize this, it is because we are ignoring the undercurrent of Our Lord’s teaching.

We are apt to lie back and bask in the memory of the wonderful experience we have had. If there is one standard in the New Testament revealed by the light of God and you do not come up to it, and do not feel inclined to come up to it, that is the beginning of backsliding, because it means your conscience does not answer to the truth. You can never be the same after the unveiling of a truth. That moment marks you for going on as a more true disciple of Jesus Christ or for going back as a deserter.

Continuous Conversion

Today’s My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers.

‘Except ye be converted, and become as little children� .’ – Matthew 18:3

These words of Our Lord are true of our initial conversion, but we have to be continuously converted all the days of our lives, continually to turn to God as children. If we trust to our wits instead of to God, we produce consequences for which God will hold us responsible. Immediately our bodies are brought into new conditions by the providence of God, we have to see that our natural life obeys the dictates of the Spirit of God. Because we have done it once is no proof that we shall do it again. The relation of the natural to the spiritual is one of continuous conversion, and it is the one thing we object to. In every setting in which we are put, the Spirit of God remains unchanged and His salvation unaltered, but we have to “put on the new man.” God holds us responsible every time we refuse to convert ourselves, our reason for refusing is wilful obstinacy. Our natural life must not rule, God must rule in us.

The hindrance in our spiritual life is that we will not be continually converted, there are wadges of obstinacy where our pride spits at the throne of God and says – I won’t. We deify independence and wilfulness and call them by the wrong name. What God looks on as obstinate weakness, we call strength. There are whole tracts of our lives which have not yet been brought into subjection, and it can only be done by this continuous conversion. Slowly but surely we can claim the whole territory for the Spirit of God.

Where The Battle’s Lost And Won

Today’s My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers.

‘II thou wilt return, O Israel, saith the Lord� .’ – Jeremiah 4:1

The battle is lost or won in the secret places of the will before God, never first in the external world. The Spirit of God apprehends me and I am obliged to get alone with God and fight the battle out before Him. Until this is done, I lose every time. The battle may take one minute or a year, that will depend on me, not on God; but it must be wrestled out alone before God, and I must resolutely go through the hell of a renunciation before God. Nothing has any power over the man who has fought out the battle before God and won there.

If I say, “I will wait till I get into the circumstances and then put God to the test,” I shall find I cannot. I must get the thing settled between my self and God in the secret places of my soul where no stranger intermeddles, and then I can go forth with the certainty that the battle is won. Lose it there, and calamity and disaster and upset are as sure as God’s decree. The reason the battle is not won is because I try to win it in the external world first. Get alone with God, fight it out before Him, settle the matter there once and for all.

In dealing with other people, the line to take is to push them to an issue of will. That is the way abandonment begins. Every now and again, not often, but sometimes, God brings us to a point of climax. That is the Great Divide in the life; from that point we either go towards a more and more dilatory and useless type of Christian life, or we become more and more ablaze for the glory of God – My Utmost for His Highest.

Merry Christmas

The Drawing Of The Father

Today’s My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers.

‘No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him.’ – John 6:44

When God draws me, the issue of my will comes in at once – will I react on the revelation which God gives – will I come to Him? Discussion on spiritual matters is an impertinence. Never discuss with anyone when God speaks. Belief is not an intellectual act; belief is a moral act whereby I deliberately commit myself. Will I dump myself down absolutely on God and transact on what He says? If I will, I shall find I am based on Reality that is as sure as God’s throne.

In preaching the gospel, always push an issue of will. Belief must be the will to believe. There must be a surrender of the will, not a surrender to persuasive power, a deliberate launching forth on God and on what He says until I am no longer confident in what I have done, I am confident only in God. The hindrance is that I will not trust God, but only my mental understanding. As far as feelings go, I must stake all blindly. I must will to believe, and this can never be done without a violent effort on my part to disassociate myself from my old ways of looking at things, and by putting myself right over on to Him.

Every man is made to reach out beyond his grasp. It is God who draws me, and my relationship to Him in the first place is a personal one, not an intellectual one. I am introduced into the relationship by the miracle of God and my own will to believe, then I begin to get an intelligent appreciation and understanding of the wonder of the transaction.

Experience Or Revelation

Today’s My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers.

‘We have received’ the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.’ – 1 Corinthians 2:12

Reality is Redemption, not my experience of Redemption; but Redemption has no meaning for me until it speaks the language of my conscious life. When I am born again, the Spirit of God takes me right out of myself and my experiences, and identifies me with Jesus Christ. If I am left with my experiences, my experiences have not been produced by Redemption. The proof that they are produced by Redemption is that I am led out of myself all the time, I no longer pay any attention to my experiences as the ground of Reality, but only to the Reality which produced the experiences. My experiences are not worth anything unless they keep me at the Source, Jesus Christ.

If you try to dam up the Holy Spirit in you to produce subjective experiences, you will find that He will burst all bounds and take you back again to the historic Christ. Never nourish an experience which has not God as its Source and faith in God as its result. If you do, your experience is anti-Christian, no matter what visions you may have had. Is Jesus Christ Lord of your experiences, or do you try to lord it over Him? Is any experience dearer to you than your Lord? He must be Lord over you, and you must not pay attention to any experience over which He is not Lord. There comes a time when God will make you impatient with your own experience – I do not care what I experience; I am sure of Him.

Be ruthless with yourself if you are given to talking about the experiences you have had. Faith that is sure of itself is not faith; faith that is sure of God is the only faith there is.

Dispensationalism – I haven’t Forgotten

I have just been a bit busy lately. I do plan to get on to Lesson 3, as well as a response to Allen’s post on lesson 2.

Besides planning for Christmas, I have been busy:

  • at work – this is great, but does cut down on the amount of time I can spend blogging
  • working on my private pilot’s license – I hope to have it by the end of January (that’s the goal, hopefully the weather will cooperate)
  • working on our house – We painted one bedroom and finished another
  • working on my computer – I got some spyware (stay away from shady software), and suspect I may have a keylogger. I am trying to prepare it to format and do a fresh install. Once I have that done, I want to add a hard drive and dual-boot either (K)Ubuntu or Debian Sarge (likely (K)Ubuntu).
  • planning a vacation – My wife and I, along with her sister & brother-in-law and brother, are going to a tropical locale soon

I plan on getting more done as far as my Dispensationalism lessons as time permits over the next few weeks. Stay Tuned!

The Right Light of Work

Today’s My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers.

I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Me. – John 12:32

Very few of us have any understanding of the reason why Jesus Christ died. If sympathy is all that human beings need, then the Cross of Christ is a farce, there was no need for it. What the world needs is not “a little bit of love,” but a surgical operation.

When you are face to face with a soul in difficulty spiritually, remind yourself of Jesus Christ on the Cross. If that soul can get to God on any other line, then the Cross of Jesus Christ is unnecessary. If you can help others by your sympathy or understanding, you are a traitor to Jesus Christ. You have to keep your soul rightly related to God and pour out for others on His line, not pour out on the human line and ignore God. The great note to-day is amiable religiosity.

The one thing we have to do is to exhibit Jesus Christ crucified, to lift Him up all the time. Every doctrine that is not imbedded in the Cross of Jesus will lead astray. If the worker himself believes in Jesus Christ and is banking on the Reality of Redemption, the people he talks to must be concerned. The thing that remains and deepens is the worker’s simple relationship to Jesus Christ; his usefulness to God depends on that and that alone.

The calling of a New Testament worker is to uncover sin and to reveal Jesus Christ as Saviour, consequently he cannot be poetical, he must be sternly surgical. We are sent by God to lift up Jesus Christ, not to give wonderfully beautiful discourses. We have to probe straight down as deeply as God has probed us, to be keen in sensing the Scriptures which bring the truth straight home and to apply them fearlessly.

What to Concentrate On

Today’s My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers.

I came not to send peace, but a sword. – Matthew 10:34

Never be sympathetic with the soul whose case makes you come to the conclusion that God is hard. God is more tender than we can conceive, and every now and again He gives us the chance of being the rugged one that He may be the tender One. If a man cannot get through to God it is because there is a secret thing he does not intend to give up-‘I will admit I have done wrong, but I no more intend to give up that thing than fly.’ It is impossible to deal sympathetically with a case like that: we have to get right deep down to the root until there is antagonism and resentment against the message. People want the blessing of God, but they will not stand the thing that goes straight to the quick.

If God has had His way with you, your message as His servant is merciless insistence on the one line, cut down to the very root, otherwise there will be no healing. Drive home the message until there is no possible refuge from its application. Begin to get at people where they are until you get them to realize what they lack, and then erect the standard of Jesus Christ for their lives-‘We never can be that!’ Then drive it home: ‘Jesus Christ says you must.’ ‘But how can we be?’ ‘You cannot, unless you have a new Spirit’ (Luke 11:13).

There must be a sense of need before your message is of any use. Thousands of people are happy without God in this world. If I was happy and moral till Jesus came, why did He come? Because that kind of happiness and peace is on a wrong level; Jesus Christ came to send a sword through every peace that is not based on a personal relationship to Himself.

Wrestling Before God

Today’s My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers.

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God,. . . praying always. . . – Ephesians 6:13

You have to wrestle against the things that prevent you from getting to God, and you wrestle in prayer for other souls; but never say that you wrestle with God in prayer, it is scripturally untrue. If you do wrestle with God, you will be crippled all the rest of your life. If, when God comes in some way you do not want, you take hold of Him as Jacob did and wrestle with Him, you compel Him to put you out of joint. Don’t be a hirpler in God’s ways, but be one who wrestles before God with things, becoming more than conqueror through Him. Wrestling before God tells in His Kingdom. If you ask me to pray for you and I am not complete in Christ, I may pray but it avails nothing; but if I am complete in Christ, my prayer prevails all the time. Prayer is only effective when there is completeness- ‘Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God.’

Always distinguish between God’s order and His permissive will, i.e., His providential purpose towards us. God’s order is unchangeable; His permissive will is that with which we must wrestle before Him. It is our reaction to the passive will of God that enables us to get at His order. ‘All things work together for good to them that love God’-to those who remain true to God’s order, to His calling in Christ Jesus. God’s permissive will is the means whereby His sons and daughters are to be manifested. We are not to be like jelly-fish saying-‘It’s the Lord’s will.’ We have not to put up a fight before God, not to wrestle with God, but to wrestle before God with things. Beware of squatting lazily before God instead of putting up a glorious fight so that you may lay hold of His strength.