Archive for December, 2011

Yesterday—Daily Devotion By Oswald Chambers

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   By Oswald Chambers

Author of: “My Utmost for His Highest”

Devotion For December 31st

“The God of Israel will be your reward.”

Isaiah 52:12

Security from Yesterday. “God requireth that which is past.” At the end of the year we turn with eagerness to all that God has for the future, and yet anxiety is apt to arise from remembering the yesterdays. Our present enjoyment of God’s grace is apt to be checked by the memory of yesterday’s sins and blunders. But God is the God of our yesterdays, and He allows the memory of them in order to turn the past into a ministry of spiritual culture for the future. God reminds us of the past lest we get into a shallow security in the present.

Security for To-morrow. “For the Lord will go before you.” This is a gracious revelation, that God will garrison where we have failed to. He will watch lest things trip us up again into like failure, as they assuredly would do if He were not our rereward. God’s hand reaches back to the past and makes a clearing-house for conscience.

Security for To-day. “For ye shall not go out with haste.” As we go forth into the coming year, let it not be in the haste of impetuous, unremembering delight, nor with the flight of impulsive thoughtlessness, but with the patient power of knowing that the God of Israel will go before us. Our yesterdays present irreparable things to us; it is true that we have lost opportunities which will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future. Let the past sleep, but let it sleep on the bosom of Christ.

Leave the Irreparable Past in His hands, and step out into the Irresistible Future with Him.

“And Every Virtue We Possess”—Daily Devotion By Oswald Chambers

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By Oswald Chambers

Author of: “My Utmost for His Highest”

Devotion For December 30th

“All my fresh springs shall be in Thee.”

Psalm 87:8

Our Lord never patches up our natural virtues, He re-makes the whole man on the inside. “Put on the new man,” i.e., see that your natural human life puts on the garb that is in keeping with the new life. The life God plants in us develops its own virtues, not the virtues of Adam but of Jesus Christ. Watch how God will wither up your confidence in natural virtues after sanctification, and in any power you have, until you learn to draw your life from the reservoir of the resurrection life of Jesus. Thank God if you are going through a drying-up experience!

The sign that God is at work in us is that He corrupts confidence in the natural virtues, because they are not promises of what we are going to be, but remnants of what God created man to be. We will cling to the natural virtues, while all the time God is trying to get us into contact with the life of Jesus Christ which can never be described in terms of the natural virtues. It is the saddest thing to see people in the service of God depending on that which the grace of God never gave them, depending on what they have by the accident of heredity. God does not build up our natural virtues and transfigure them, because our natural virtues can never come anywhere near what Jesus Christ wants. No natural love, no natural patience, no natural purity can ever come up to His demands. But as we bring every bit of our bodily life into harmony with the new life which God has put in us, He will exhibit in us the virtues that were characteristic of the Lord Jesus.

“And every virtue we possess
Is His alone.”

Continuous Conversion—Daily Devotion By Oswald Chambers

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    By Oswald Chambers

Author of: “My Utmost for His Highest”

Devotion For December 28th

 

 


“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—Daily Devotion By Oswald Chambers

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  By Oswald Chambers

Author of: “My Utmost for His Highest”

Devotion For December 27th

“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.

Placed In The Light—Daily Devotion By Oswald Chambers

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Charles Mills  Photo

 

 

By Oswald Chambers

Author of: “My Utmost for His Highest”

Devotion For December 26th

“If we walk in the light, as He is in the light the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

1 John 1:7

To mistake conscious freedom from sin for deliverance from sin by the Atonement is a great error. No man knows what sin is until he is born again. Sin is what Jesus Christ faced on Calvary. The evidence that I am delivered from sin is that I know the real nature of sin in me. It takes the last reach of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, that is, the impartation of His absolute perfection, to make a man know what sin is.

The Holy Spirit applies the Atonement to us in the unconscious realm as well as in the realm of which we are conscious, and it is only when we get a grasp of the unrivalled power of the Spirit in us that we understand the meaning of 1 John 1:7, “the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin.” This does not refer to conscious sin only, but to the tremendously profound understanding of sin which only the Holy Ghost in me realizes.

If I walk in the light as God is in the light, not in the light of my conscience, but in the light of God – if I walk there, with nothing folded up, then there comes the amazing revelation, the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses me from all sin so that God Almighty can see nothing to censure in me. In my consciousness it works with a keen poignant knowledge of what sin is. The love of God at work in me makes me hate with the hatred of the Holy Ghost all that is not in keeping with God’s holiness. To walk in the light means that everything that is of the darkness drives me closer into the centre of the light.

His Birth And Our New Birth—Daily Devotion By Oswald Chambers

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 MERRY CHRISTMAS

 

 

 

By Oswald Chambers

Author of: “My Utmost for His Highest”

Devotion For December 25th

“Behold, a virgin shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”

Isaiah 7:14

His Birth in History. “Therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35.) Jesus Christ was born into this world, not from it. He did not evolve out of history; He came into history from the outside. Jesus Christ is not the best human being, He is a Being Who cannot be accounted for by the human race at all. He is not man becoming God, but God Incarnate, God coming into human flesh, coming into it from outside. His life is the Highest and the Holiest entering in at the Lowliest door. Our Lord’s birth was an advent.

His Birth in Me. “Of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.” (Gal. 4:19.) Just as Our Lord came into human history from outside, so He must come into me from outside. Have I allowed my personal human life to become a “Bethlehem” for the Son of God? I cannot enter into the realm of the Kingdom of God unless I am born from above by a birth totally unlike natural birth. “Ye must be born again.” This is not a command, it is a foundation fact. The characteristic of the new birth is that I yield myself so completely to God that Christ is formed in me. Immediately Christ is formed in me, His nature begins to work through me.

God manifest in the flesh – that is what is made profoundly possible for you and me by the Redemption.

The Hidden Life—Daily Devotion By Oswald Chambers

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By Oswald Chambers

Author of: “My Utmost for His Highest”

Devotion For December 24th

 

“Your life is hid with Christ in God.”

Colossians 3:3

The Spirit of God witnesses to the simple almighty security of the life hid with Christ in God and this is continually brought out in the Epistles. We talk as if it were the most precarious thing to live the sanctified life; it is the most secure thing, because it has Almighty God in and behind it. The most precarious thing is to try and live without God. If we are born again it is the easiest thing to live in right relationship to God and the most difficult thing to go wrong, if only we will heed God’s warnings and keep in the light.

When we think of being delivered from sin, of being filled with the Spirit, and of walking in the light, we picture the peak of a great mountain, very high and wonderful, and we say – “Oh, but I could never live up there!” But when we do get there by God’s grace, we find it is not a mountain peak, but a plateau where there is ample room to live and to grow. “Thou hast enlarged my steps under me.”

When you really see Jesus, I defy you to doubt Him. When He says – “Let not your heart be troubled,” if you see Him I defy you to trouble your mind, it is a moral impossibility to doubt when He is there. Every time you get into personal contact with Jesus, His words are real. “My peace I give unto you,” it is a peace all over from the crown of the head to the sole of the feet, an irrepressible confidence. “Your life is hid with Christ in God,” and the imperturbable peace of Jesus Christ is imparted to you.

 

 

How Can I Personally Partake In The Atonement?—Daily Devotion By Oswald Chambers

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By Oswald Chambers

Author of: “My Utmost for His Highest”

Devotion For December 23rd

“But God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Galatians 6:14

The Gospel of Jesus Christ always forces an issue of will. Do I accept God’s verdict on sin in the Cross of Christ? Have I the slightest interest in the death of Jesus? Do I want to be identified with His death, to be killed right out to all interest in sin, in worldliness, in self – to be so identified with Jesus that I am spoilt for every thing else but Him? The great privilege of discipleship is that I can sign on under His Cross, and that means death to sin. Get alone with Jesus and either tell Him that you do not want sin to die out in you; or else tell Him that at all costs you want to be identified with His death. Immediately you transact in confident faith in what Our Lord did on the Cross, a supernatural identification with His death takes place, and you will know with a knowledge that passeth knowledge that your “old man” is crucified with Christ. The proof that your old man is crucified with Christ is the amazing ease with which the life of God in you enables you to obey the voice of Jesus Christ.

Every now and again, Our Lord lets us see what we would be like if it were not for Himself; it is a justification of what He said – “Without Me ye can do nothing.” That is why the bedrock of Christianity is personal, passionate devotion to the Lord Jesus. We mistake the ecstasy of our first introduction into the Kingdom for the purpose of God in getting us there; His purpose in getting us there is that we may realize all that identification with Jesus Christ means.

The Gospel According to Mary

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The glad tidings of Genesis 3:15—namely, that God will give Eve an offspring who will crush the serpent’s head—creates faith. Yet it also initiates a war between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent that will become the story behind all of the stories in the Bible. Upon giving birth to her firstborn son, Eve exclaimed, “Behold, I have brought forth [the] man!” Yet he was not the promised Messiah, but the first antichrist. Already in Genesis 4, the serpent seeks to destroy the seed of the woman who will crush his head, as Cain slays Abel. Yet God replaces Abel with Seth. Each time the baton falls from the hands of one bearer of the promise, God raises up another runner to pass it to the next. This is the ultimate reason why every mother in Israel was so concerned about having children. Who will continue this relay race? God promised a Savior of the world to Abraham and Sarah through Sarah’s womb, yet she was nearly a century old. This royal couple had to believe God’s promise in spite of everything that they saw in their circumstances or experienced in their own life. They were not holier than others; in fact, they both questioned God’s promise even up to the moment when Sarah gave birth to Isaac. Yet they were blessed and in their seed all the families of the earth would be blessed. By the way, when Paul speaks of Adam and Eve in 1 Timothy 2:15 and adds that enigmatic line about women being “saved through childbirth,” I believe that this is what he had in mind. Many evangelical commentators treat this as a more generic ethical encouragement to motherly domesticity, but that seems to me to be another form of salvation by works. Israel’s mothers were not trying to save themselves by their act of childbearing; rather, they were longing to give birth to the long-awaited Messiah.

God’s promise is tied to history—so tied to it, in fact, that the Messiah can only come through a single line. The scarlet cord of redemption was threaded through the smallest eye of the thinnest needle. At key junctures, it seemed as if the serpent had triumphed. There was young Joash, the only royal survivor of the wicked Queen Athaliah’s purge of the House of David. Besides direct assisination, the serpent also attempted to lure Israel into apostasy. Eventually, Israel was sent into exile for having so thoroughly violated the covenant. Yet even in Babylon, mothers of Israel continued to hope in the promise that one day, one of them—or one of their daughters—might be the mother of the Messiah.

And now, the great Caesar Augustus reigns over most of the civilized world, including Palestine, under Quirinius, Governor of Syria. Herod is the puppet-king of the Jews, who fancies himself the messianic heir. Not being a lineal descendent of David, neither his pedigree nor his rebuilding of the Temple impress the Pharisees with his credentials as the messianic heir. From the perspective of the Gospels, particularly in his massacre of Bethlehem’s infants, he is just another antichrist.

It is into this world of competing kings and their kingdoms that we discover an obscure girl in an equally obscure part of the world, who receives the most extraordinary announcement and becomes the first evangelist of the Gospel!!

We have the “assurance” of salvation when we “trust” Jesus with our lives, that’s it.  Once we trust Jesus, He, our great Heavenly Physician, will perfectly heal and restore us, thus our assurance is in Jesus, not in ourselves or our future. Salvation is Now!!  1John 5:11-13,   1 John 3:2,   John 17:3

 

The Drawing Of The Father—Daily Devotion By Oswald Chambers

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   By Oswald Chambers

Author of: “My Utmost for His Highest”

Devotion For December 22nd

“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.

 

Why is This Happening?

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Pastor Dennis Smith

There will be experiences we will be led to go through in this life that we may not understand why God is allowing them to happen.  At such times it is vital we realize that Christ still resides in us and will manifest Himself in and through us during any crisis.  We must rest in that fact if we desire to maintain His peace.

Paul was called to go through many trials and tribulations.  He lists a few of them when he shares his thorn in the flesh experience (2Corinthians 12:7-10).  He asked God to remove them, but God said, “No,” to his request.  The reason was that through these difficulties God’s power and character would rest on Paul and shine out through him.  Some of the thorns Paul encountered were according to his own words: infirmities, reproaches, necessities, persecutions, and distress for Christ’s sake.

These experiences made Paul feel weak, helpless and vulnerable.  He realized the value in all this when he stated, “when I am weak, then am I strong;” meaning God’s strength would be manifested in and through him when he realized his utter weakness.

At first these difficulties challenged him and were confusing; he didn’t understand.  That is why he prayed three times for God to remove them.  Then when he came to see the reason God left them in his life he could say, “most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”  He could actually thank God for these thorns.

Paul came to realize these “thorns” were opportunities for God by His power to more fully manifest the character of Christ in and through him.  These thorny experiences and trials are not circumstances we would choose for ourselves.  However, God in His great wisdom chooses them for us.  They are His means of discipline.  In Hebrews we read about God’s discipline.

 

“For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.  If ye edure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?…Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” Hebrews 12:6-7, 11

 

These difficult situations are times that try our faith; we are tempted to distrust God – to question His leading and loving care for us.  In this context we are told:

 

“For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.  Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.”  Hebrews 12:3-4

 

The striving mentioned here is the faith challenge we will face at such times of trial.  The trial of the cross was not easy for Christ to go through.  He prayed three times for it to be removed.  His faith was challenged, yet He remained faithful to His Father.   During our times of trial we will face such challenges to trust God and rest in the fact that He will fulfill His word to work all things together for our good (Romans 8:28).  If we remain faithful to Him through the difficulty it will bring forth the  “peaceable fruit of righteousness” in our life.

Please Visit Pastor Smith’s Website

    We have the “assurance” of salvation when we “trust” Jesus with our lives, that’s it.  Once we trust Jesus, He, our great Heavenly Physician, will perfectly heal and restore us, thus our assurance is in Jesus, not in ourselves or our future. Salvation is Now!!  1John 5:11-13,   1 John 3:2,   John 17:3