Archive for January, 2006

Do You See Your Calling?

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

Separated unto the Gospel. – Romans 1:1

Our calling is not primarily to be holy men and women, but to be proclaimers of the Gospel of God. The one thing that is all important is that the Gospel of God should be realized as the abiding Reality. Reality is not human goodness, nor holiness, nor heaven, nor hell, but Redemption; and the need to perceive this is the most vital need of the Christian worker to-day. As workers we have to get used to the revelation that Redemption is the only Reality. Personal holiness is an effect, not a cause, and if we place our faith in human goodness, in the effect of Redemption, we shall go under when the test comes.

Paul did not say he separated himself, but-‘when it pleased God who separated me . . . .’ Paul had not a hypersensitive interest in his own character. As long as our eyes are upon our own personal whiteness we shall never get near the reality of Redemption. Workers break down because their desire is for their own whiteness, and not for God. ‘Don’t ask me to come into contact with the rugged reality of Redemption on behalf of the filth of human life as it is; what I want is anything God can do for me to make me more desirable in my own eyes.’ To talk in that way is a sign that the reality of the Gospel of God has not begun to touch me; there is no reckless abandon to God. God cannot deliver me while my interest is merely in my own character. Paul is unconscious of himself, he is recklessly abandoned, separated by God for one purpose-to proclaim the Gospel of God (cf. Rom. 9:3).

The Dilemma of Obedience

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

And Samuel feared to shew Eli the vision. – 1 Samuel 3:15

God seldom speaks to us in startling ways, but in ways that are easy to misunderstand, and we say, ‘I wonder if that is God’s voice?’ Isaiah said that the Lord spake to him “with a strong hand,? that is, by the pressure of circumstances. Nothing touches our lives but it is God Himself speaking. Do we discern His hand or only mere occurrence?

Get into the habit of saying, “Speak, Lord,? and life will become a romance. Every time circumstances press, say, “Speak, Lord?; make time to listen. Chastening is more than a means of discipline, it is meant to get me to the place of saying, “Speak, Lord.? Recall the time when God did speak to you. Have you forgotten what He said? Was it Luke 11:13, or was it 1 Thess. 5:23? As we listen, our ear gets acute, and, like Jesus, we shall hear God all the time.

Shall I tell my ‘Eli’ what God has shown to me? That is where the dilemma of obedience comes in. We disobey God by becoming amateur providences-I must shield ‘Eli’, the best people we know. God did not tell Samuel to tell Eli; he had to decide that for himself. God’s call to you may hurt your ‘Eli’; but if you try to prevent the suffering in another life, it will prove an obstruction between your soul and God. It is at your own peril that you prevent the cutting off of the right hand or the plucking out of the eye.

Never ask the advice of another about anything God makes you decide before Him. If you ask advice, you will nearly always side with Satan: “Immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood.?

Look Again and Think

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

Take no thought for your life. – Matthew 6:25

A warning which needs to be reiterated is that the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the lust of other things entering in, will choke all that God puts in. We are never free from the recurring tides of this encroachment. If it does not come on the line of clothes and food, it will come on the line of money or lack of money; of friends or lack of friends; or on the line of difficult circumstances. It is one steady encroachment all the time, and unless we allow the Spirit of God to raise up the standard against it, these things will come in like a flood.

‘Take no thought for your life.’ ‘Be careful about one thing only,’ says our Lord-‘your relationship to Me.’ Common sense shouts loud and says-‘That is absurd, I must consider how I am going to live, I must consider what I am going to eat and drink.’ Jesus says you must not. Beware of allowing the thought that this statement is made by One Who does not understand our particular circumstances. Jesus Christ knows our circumstances better than we do, and He says we must not think about these things so as to make them the one concern of our life. Whenever there is competition, be sure that you put your relationship to God first.

‘Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.’ How much evil has begun to threaten you to-day? What kind of mean little imps have been looking in and saying-‘Now what are you going to do next month-this summer?’ ‘Be anxious for nothing,’ Jesus says. Look again and think. Keep your mind on the ‘much more’ of your Heavenly Father.

Look Again and Consecrate

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

If God so clothe the grass of the field … shall He not much more clothe you? – Matthew 6:30

A simple statement of Jesus is always a puzzle to us if we are not simple. How are we going to be simple with the simplicity of Jesus? By receiving His Spirit, recognizing and relying on Him, obeying Him as He brings the word of God, and life will become amazingly simple. “Consider,” says Jesus, “how much more your Father Who clothes the grass of the field will clothe you, if you keep your relationship right with Him.” Every time we have gone back in spiritual communion it has been because we have impertinently known better than Jesus Christ. We have allowed the cares of the world to come in, and have forgotten the “much more” of our Heavenly Father.

“Behold the fowls of the air” – their main aim is to obey the principle of life that is in them and God looks after them. Jesus says that if you are rightly related to Him and obey His Spirit that is in you, God will look after your ‘feathers.’

“Consider the lilies of the field” – they grow where they are put. Many of us refuse to grow where we are put, consequently we take root nowhere. Jesus says that if we obey the life God has given us, He will look after all the other things. Has Jesus Christ told us a lie? If we are not experiencing the “much more,” it is because we are not obeying the life God has given us, we are taken up with confusing considerations. How much time have we taken up worrying God with questions when we should have been absolutely free to concentrate on His work? Consecration means the continual separating of myself to one particular thing. We cannot consecrate once and for all. Am I continually separating myself to consider God every day of my life?

Leave Room for God

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

But when it pleased God . . . . – Galatians 1:15

As workers for God we have to learn to make room for God- to give God ‘elbow room.’ We calculate and estimate, and say that this and that will happen, and we forget to make room for God to come in as He chooses. Would we be surprised if God came into our meeting or into our preaching in a way we had never looked for Him to come? Do not look for God to come in any particular way, but look for Him. That is the way to make room for Him. Expect Him to come, but do not expect Him only in a certain way. However much we may know God, the great lesson to learn is that at any minute He may break in. We are apt to overlook this element of surprise, yet God never works in any other way. All of a sudden God meets the life-‘When it was the good pleasure of God . . . .’

Keep your life so constant in its contact with God that His surprising power may break out on the right hand and on the left. Always be in a state of expectancy, and see that you leave room for God to come in as He likes.

The Overmastering Direction

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

I have appeared unto thee for this purpose. – Acts 26:16

The vision Paul had on the road to Damascus was no passing emotion, but a vision that had very clear and emphatic directions for him, and he says, “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.” Our Lord said, in effect, to Paul – Your whole life is to be overmastered by Me; you are to have no end, no aim, and no purpose but Mine. “I have chosen him.”

When we are born again we all have visions, if we are spiritual at all, of what Jesus wants us to he, and the great thing is to learn not to be disobedient to the vision, not to say that it cannot be attained. It is not sufficient to know that God has redeemed the world, and to know that the Holy Spirit can make all that Jesus did effectual in me; I must have the basis of a personal relationship to Him. Paul was not given a message or a doctrine to proclaim, he was brought into a vivid, personal, overmastering relationship to Jesus Christ. Verse 16 is immensely commanding – “to make thee a minister and a witness.” There is nothing there apart from the personal relationship. Paul was devoted to a Person not to a cause. He was absolutely Jesus Christ’s, he saw nothing else, he lived for nothing else. “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.”

E-Z on T.V.

The local Fox affiliate is doing a story that they asked me to participate in. I can’t get into what it’s about at this time, but wanted to share this picture. My wife and I went to the studio on Saturday, and while we were there, got a short tour. This is a rare “Echo Zoe” glimpse at me, sitting at the news desk on the set.

Fox

Transformed by Insight

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

We all, with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image. – 2 Corinthians 3:18.

The outstanding characteristic of a Christian is this unveiled frankness before God so that the life becomes a mirror for other lives. By being filled with the Spirit we are transformed, and by beholding we become mirrors. You always know when a man has been beholding the glory of the Lord, you feel in your inner spirit that he is the mirror of the Lord’s own character. Beware of anything which would sully that mirror in you; it is nearly always a good thing, the good that is not the best.

The golden rule for your life and mine is this concentrated keeping of the life open towards God. Let everything else-work, clothes, food, everything on earth-go by the board, saving that one thing. The rush of other things always tends to obscure this concentration on God. We have to maintain ourselves in the place of beholding, keeping the life absolutely spiritual all through. Let other things come and go as they may, let other people criticize as they will, but never allow anything to obscure the life that is hid with Christ in God. Never be hurried out of the relationship of abiding in Him. It is the one thing that is apt to fluctuate but it ought not to. The severest discipline of a Christian’s life is to learn how to keep “beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord.?

Are You Fresh For Everything?

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

‘Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ – John 3:3

Sometimes we are fresh for a prayer meeting but not fresh for cleaning boots!

Being born again of the Spirit is an unmistakable work of God, as mysterious as the wind, as surprising as God Himself. We do not know where it begins, it is hidden away in the depths of our personal life. Being born again from above is a perennial, perpetual and eternal beginning; a freshness all the time in thinking and in talking and in living, the continual surprise of the life of God. Staleness is an indication of something out of joint with God – “I must do this thing or it will never be done.” That is the first sign of staleness. Are we freshly born this minute or are we stale, raking in our minds for something to do? Freshness does not come from obedience but from the Holy Spirit; obedience keeps us in the light as God is in the light.

Guard jealously your relationship to God. Jesus prayed “that they may be one, even as we are one” – nothing between. Keep all the life perennially open to Jesus Christ, don’t pretend with Him. Are you drawing your life from any other source than God Himself? If you are depending upon anything but Him, you will never know when He is gone.

Being born of the Spirit means much more than we generally take it to mean. It gives us a new vision and keeps us absolutely fresh for everything by the perennial supply of the life of God.

Vision and Darkness

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

An horror of great darkness fell upon him. – Genesis 15:1

Whenever God gives a vision to a saint, He puts him, as it were, in the shadow of His hand, and the saint’s duty is to be still and listen. There is a darkness which comes from excess of light, and then is the time to listen. Genesis 16 is an illustration of listening to good advice when it is dark instead of waiting for God to send the light. When God gives a vision and darkness follows, wait. God will make you in accordance with the vision He has given if you will wait His time. Never try and help God fulfil His word. Abraham went through thirteen years of silence, but in those years all self-sufficiency was destroyed; there was no possibility left of relying on common-sense ways. Those years of silence were a time of discipline, not of displeasure. Never pump up joy and confidence, but stay upon God (cf. Isaiah 1:10,11).

Have I any confidence in the flesh? Or have I got beyond all confidence in myself and in men and women of God; in books and prayers and ecstasies; and is my confidence placed now in God Himself, not in His blessings? “I am the Almighty God” – El-Shaddai, the All-Powerful God. The one thing for which we are all being disciplined is to know that God is real. As soon as God becomes real, other people become shadows. Nothing that other saints do or say can ever perturb the one who is built on God.