Archive for February, 2012

The Initiative Against Drudgery—Daily Devotion By Oswald Chambers

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By Oswald Chambers

Author of:“My Utmost for His Highest”

Devotion For February 19th 

 

“Arise, shine.”

Isaiah 60:1

We have to take the first step as though there were no God. It is no use to wait for God to help us, He will not; but immediately we arise we find He is there. Whenever God inspires, the initiative is a moral one. We must do the thing and not lie like a log. If we will arise and shine, drudgery becomes divinely transfigured.

Drudgery is one of the finest touchstones of character there is. Drudgery is work that is very far removed from anything to do with the ideal – the utterly mean grubby things; and when we come in contact with them we know instantly whether or not we are spiritually real. Read John 13. We see there the Incarnate God doing the most desperate piece of drudgery, washing fishermen’s feet, and He says – “If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.” It requires the inspiration of God to go through drudgery with the light of God upon it. Some people do a certain thing and the way in which they do it hallows that thing for ever afterwards. It may be the most commonplace thing, but after we have seen them do it, it becomes different. When the Lord does a thing through us, He always transfigures it. Our Lord took on Him our human flesh and transfigured it, and it has become for every saint the temple of the Holy Ghost.

The Initiative Against Despair—Daily Devotion By Oswald Chambers

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   By Oswald Chambers

Author of:“My Utmost for His Highest”

Devotion For February 18th

 

“Rise, let us be going.”

Matthew 26:46

The disciples went to sleep when they should have kept awake, and when they realized what they had done it produced despair. The sense of the irreparable is apt to make us despair, and we say – “It is all up now, it is no use trying any more.” If we imagine that this kind of despair is exceptional, we are mistaken, it is a very ordinary human experience. Whenever we realize that we have not done that which we had a magnificent opportunity of doing, then we are apt to sink into despair; and Jesus Christ comes and says – “Sleep on now, that opportunity is lost for ever, you cannot alter it, but arise and go to the next thing.” Let the past sleep, but let it sleep on the bosom of Christ, and go out into the irresistible future with Him.

There are experiences like this in each of our lives. We are in despair, the despair that comes from actualities, and we cannot lift ourselves out of it. The disciples in this instance had done a downright unforgivable thing; they had gone to sleep instead of watching with Jesus, but He came with a spiritual initiative against their despair and said – “Arise and do the next thing.” If we are inspired of God, what is the next thing? To trust Him absolutely and to pray on the ground of His Redemption.

Never let the sense of failure corrupt your new action.

The Inspiration Of Spiritual Initiative—Daily Devotion By Oswald Chambers

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The very foundation of Salvation is grounded in the realization that God’s unmerited love toward us is greater than any other power— including death.   Romans 8:35-39, Ephesians 3:14-21

 

  By Oswald Chambers

Author of:“My Utmost for His Highest”

Devotion For February 17th

 

“Arise from the dead.”

Ephesians 5:14

All initiative is not inspired. A man may say to you – “Buck up, take your disinclination by the throat, throw it overboard, and walk out into the thing!” That is ordinary human initiative. But when the Spirit of God comes in and says, in effect, “Buck up,” we find that the initiative is inspired.

We all have any number of visions and ideals when we are young, but sooner or later we find that we have no power to make them real. We cannot do the things we long to do, and we are apt to settle down to the visions and ideals as dead, and God has to come and say – “Arise from the dead.” When the inspiration of God does come, it comes with such miraculous power that we are able to arise from the dead and do the impossible thing. The remarkable thing about spiritual initiative is that the life comes after we do the “bucking up.” God does not give us overcoming life; He gives us life as we overcome. When the inspiration of God comes, and He says – “Arise from the dead,” we have to get up; God does not lift us up. Our Lord said to the man with the withered hand – “Stretch forth thy hand,” and as soon as the man did so, his hand was healed, but he had to take the initiative. If we will do the overcoming, we shall find we are inspired of God because He gives life immediately.

True Love

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  The very foundation of Salvation is grounded in the realization that God’s unmerited love toward us is greater than any other power— including death.   Romans 8:35-39, Ephesians 3:14-21

 
It was a busy morning, about 8:30, when an elderly gentleman in his
80’s, arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb. He said he was in
a hurry as he had an appointment at 9:00 am.

I took his vital signs and had him take a seat, knowing it would be over
an hour before someone would to able to see him.

I saw him looking at his watch and decided, since I was not busy with
another patient, I would evaluate his wound.

On exam, it was well healed, so I talked to one of the doctors, got the
needed supplies to remove his sutures and redress his wound.

While taking care of his wound, I asked him if he had another doctor’s
appointment this morning, as he was in such a hurry. The gentleman told
me no, that he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with
his wife.

I inquired as to her health. He told me that she had been there for a
while and that she was a victim of Alzheimer’s Disease. As we talked, I
asked if she would be upset if he was a bit late. He replied that she no
longer knew who he was, that she had not recognized him in five years
now.

I was surprised, and asked him, “And you still go every morning, even
though she doesn’t know who you are?”

He smiled as he patted my hand and said, “She doesn’t know me, but I
still know who she is.”

I had to hold back tears as he left, I had goose bumps on my arm, and
thought, “That is the kind of love I want in my life.”

I hope you share this with someone you care about. I just did.

The Inspiration Of Spiritual Initiative—Daily Devotion By Oswald Chambers

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 By Oswald Chambers

Author of:“My Utmost for His Highest”

Devotion For February 16th

 

“Arise from the dead.”

Ephesians 5:14

All initiative is not inspired. A man may say to you – “Buck up, take your disinclination by the throat, throw it overboard, and walk out into the thing!” That is ordinary human initiative. But when the Spirit of God comes in and says, in effect, “Buck up,” we find that the initiative is inspired.

We all have any number of visions and ideals when we are young, but sooner or later we find that we have no power to make them real. We cannot do the things we long to do, and we are apt to settle down to the visions and ideals as dead, and God has to come and say – “Arise from the dead.” When the inspiration of God does come, it comes with such miraculous power that we are able to arise from the dead and do the impossible thing. The remarkable thing about spiritual initiative is that the life comes after we do the “bucking up.” God does not give us overcoming life; He gives us life as we overcome. When the inspiration of God comes, and He says – “Arise from the dead,” we have to get up; God does not lift us up. Our Lord said to the man with the withered hand – “Stretch forth thy hand,” and as soon as the man did so, his hand was healed, but he had to take the initiative. If we will do the overcoming, we shall find we are inspired of God because He gives life immediately.

The Holy Spirit and Obedience

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The very foundation of Salvation is grounded in the realization that God’s unmerited love toward us is greater than any other power— including death.   Romans 8:35-39, Ephesians 3:14-21

 

 

Please Visit Pastor Dennis Smith’s Web Site

One of the purposes of the Holy Spirit is to help us to reflect Jesus more fully in our lives.  God’s goal is that Christ be seen in us, that we be a living letter revealing the character of Christ.  Another purpose of the Spirit’s infilling is to receive power for witnessing.

In today’s devotional we will focus on reflecting Jesus’ character.

The professed Christian can participate in two kinds of obedience.  First is what I call external obedience.  This could lead to legalism if the believer obeys the law of God because they are seeking the reward of salvation on this basis alone.  God wants us to trust Him and obey Him from the heart.  The second form of obedience is internal obedience, and occurs because of a deep, inner desire within the believer to obey God.  External obedience without heart obedience is unacceptable to God:

“For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering.  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart – these, O God, You will not despise” (Ps. 51:16, 17).

These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me” (Matt. 15:8).

I came across an illustration many years ago that clarifies the difference between external and internal obedience.  Let’s say my father died, and I’m not sure if I should mourn his death, or not, so I go to a friend and ask his advice.  We discuss whether or not I should mourn.  My friend finally says, “After all, he was your father, and you are his son.  So I think you should mourn his death.”  On his advice I begin mourning my father’s death.  I think it becomes obvious that my mourning in this case would not be genuine mourning from the heart.  Rather, it would be external mourning because it was my obligation, as my father’s son, to mourn his death.  True mourning would come spontaneously from the heart.  I couldn’t help mourning if it were genuine mourning.  The same is true of obedience to God.  When one is in right relationship with God through the infilling of the Spirit, obedience springs naturally and spontaneously from the heart without even thinking about it.  Temptations to disobey will come; however, they will be much weakened in influence by the strong desire God has placed in the heart to obey.

Through the baptism, or infilling of the Holy Spirit, God’s law is written in our hearts, and we obey from the heart.  This does not fully happen when we accept Christ and are baptized by water.  Paul states that we must continually be “filled with the Spirit,” which is necessary for God’s law to continue to be written on our heart:

“And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation: but be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18).

This “internal” obedience,  springs from daily experiencing the baptism of the Holy Spirit:

“All true obedience comes from the heart.  It was heart work with Christ.  And if we consent, He will so identify Himself with our thoughts and aims, so blend our hearts and minds into conformity to His will, that when obeying Him we shall be but carrying out our own impulses.  The will, refined and sanctified, will find its highest delight in doing His service.  When we know God, as it is our privilege to know Him, our life will be a life of continual obedience.  Through an appreciation of the character of Christ, through communion with God, sin will become hateful to us” (The Desire of Ages, P. 668).

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

Am I My Brother’s Keeper?—Daily Devotion By Oswald Chambers

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Nantucket

 

 

 

 By Oswald Chambers

Author of:“My Utmost for His Highest”

Devotion For February 15th

 

“None of us liveth to himself.”

Romans 14:7

Has it ever dawned on you that you are responsible for other souls spiritually before God? For instance, if I allow any private deflection from God in my life, everyone about me suffers. We “sit together in heavenly places.” “Whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it.” When once you allow physical selfishness, mental slovenliness, moral obtuseness, spiritual density, everyone belonging to your crowd will suffer. “But,” you say, “who is sufficient for these things if you erect a standard like that?” “Our sufficiency is of God,” and of Him alone.

“Ye shall be My witnesses.” How many of us are willing to spend every ounce of nervous energy, of mental, moral and spiritual energy we have for Jesus Christ? That is the meaning of a witness in God’s sense of the word. It takes time, be patient with yourself. God has left us on the earth – what for? To be saved and sanctified? No, to be at it for Him. Am I willing to be broken bread and poured out wine for Him? To be spoilt for this age, for this life, to be spoilt from every standpoint but one – saving as I can disciple men and women to the Lord Jesus Christ. My life as a worker is the way I say “thank you” to God for His unspeakable salvation. Remember it is quite possible for any one of us to be flung out as reprobate silver – “. . . lest that by any means when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”

 

How’s Your Love Life?

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For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died;  and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.   2 Corinthians 5:14-15

 

 Part of godliness is loving—as He loved—sacrificially, selflessly. Loving others not just with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.

 

Post By Kay Arthur

In light of the fact that it is February—the month in which we celebrate Valentine’s Day—may I ask you a very personal question? “How’s your love life?”

The reason I ask is because your love life, my love life, is a very strong indicator of our relationship with God.

So how about three more heart-searching questions? Questions you might want to bring before God in prayer, asking Him to show you exactly where you really are. I know that as I have examined myself—and continue to do so—God is showing me how much I have to learn—where I fail, where I am weak and how much I need to grow in love. My cry has been, “Lord, teach me about love.” What’s your cry in respect to love?

Here, dear one, are the questions:

First, how well do you love God? And what about others? How do you do in that arena?

Second, whom do you love the most? God? Others? Yourself?

Third, how dwells the love of God in you? Do you know anyone who needs loving? Whether he or she is lovable or not, have you made yourself available to God to be His means of loving that person?

Two months ago we celebrated Christmas—a  holiday that in the most incredulous of ways not only reminds us of God’s unfathomable love for us, but for the world . . . most of whom do not even know He came or Who He was—Who He is! And if they do know His name, too often it is only as an expletive. John 3:16 tells us that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.

The baby placed in Mary’s womb supernaturally was the very Son of God . . . the only begotten of the Father . . . born to die. God incarnate—living in flesh just like ours. Tempted but without sin. The One deemed the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world by tasting death (and the separation it brings) for every man. The One forsaken by the Father so that you and I would be accepted as Beloved—and never, ever forsaken or forgotten.

And what were we like when God expressed such love towards us? Romans 5:6-8 tell us Jesus Christ died for us when we were without hope. Without hope because we were without God. He loved us when we were ungodly, helpless sinners—enemies!

And when we finally responded to His wooing and believed, God’s Word says, “I will call . . . her who was not beloved, ‘beloved'” (Romans 9:25; Hosea 2:23).

As the ancient hymn writer put it, “Amazing love! How can it be, that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?”

As I write this, I think of a testimony—the story of Serge LeClure. At the age of eight Serge was taken from his hardworking, loving, single mother and committed to a home for delinquent boys—a home where he would be “properly cared for.” The “care” turned out to be abuse, bullying and rape. It was a “care” he constantly ran from, a “care” that caused him not to care! But he did learn to survive—through hate.

Serge rose to the top as a gang leader at fifteen. As a dealer in drugs, he received over a million dollars for his services. He also spent twenty-one years in prison, six of which were in solitary confinement. Through a chain of events in prison, he came in touch with people who endured embarrassment, harassment and much more, for the sole purpose of telling others about the love of God. For two years, Serge observed love in action—genuine caring. At the age of thirty-eight, Serge LeClure knelt on the cement floor of his cell and received the tangible gift of God’s love by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.

He rose from the floor a new creature—set free from his addiction to drugs. The unlovable was loved, the condemned prisoner was pardoned, the incorrigible tempered, the sinner deemed a saint, set apart for God. And all because of the love of God! As 1 John 4:10  says, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation [the satisfaction] for our sins.”
This is the power of God’s love.

The power to love. A power given to each of us who believe on His name. A love that becomes the distinguishing evidence of our salvation according to 1 John 3:10 and 14; 4:7 and 20 and 5:1.

So how’s your love life? Do you love God? God says we are to love Him with all our heart, mind, body, soul and strength. But not only God; we are to love others. Those who are genuinely born of God not only love the Father, but the child born of Him. Thus Jesus gave His disciples a new commandment: we are to love one another even as He loves us (John 13:34 and 35). It would be time well invested to meditate on the ways He expressed His love toward us, toward others, even toward the one who would betray Him.

And what is it that keeps us from loving like this?

John, the apostle of love, tells us in his first epistle by way of a warning: “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away . . .” (1 John 2:15 and 16).

Yet the world is so very present, isn’t it? So alluring! So tangible! So appealing to our flesh, our ego, our desire to be, to attain, to “make it”! But you have to ask yourself, will it last? Is it worth what you pay in time, in energy, in relationships?

Ours is a culture of concupiscence—a culture that has infiltrated the church. We have a love of softness. We are told, “You deserve it! You earned it. You owe it to yourself to be good to yourself!” Oh Beloved, we hear it and we believe it. We have so loved softness that we have not endured hardship as a soldier of Christ. We have not disciplined ourselves for the sake of godliness.

And part of godliness is loving—as He loved—sacrificially, selflessly. Loving others not just with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. When we love His way, then we assure our heart before Him, and we have confidence in the coming day of judgment, because as He is in this world, so are we. They know we are His disciples by our love—His love unleashed in us to overflow on the world about us.
So, how is your love life, Beloved?

 

 I am the rose of Sharon,
And the lily of the valleys.   Song of Solomon 2:1

The Discipline Of Heeding—Daily Devotion By Oswald Chambers

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 By Oswald Chambers

Author of:“My Utmost for His Highest”

Devotion For February 14th 

 

“What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.”

Matthew 10:27

At times God puts us through the discipline of darkness to teach us to heed Him. Song birds are taught to sing in the dark, and we are put into the shadow of God’s hand until we learn to hear Him. “What I tell you in darkness” – watch where God puts you into darkness, and when you are there keep your mouth shut. Are you in the dark just now in your circumstances, or in your life with God? Then remain quiet. If you open your mouth in the dark, you will talk in the wrong mood: darkness is the time to listen. Don’t talk to other people about it; don’t read books to find out the reason of the darkness, but listen and heed. If you talk to other people, you cannot hear what God is saying. When you are in the dark, listen, and God will give you a very precious message for someone else when you get into the light.

After every time of darkness there comes a mixture of delight and humiliation (if there is delight only, I question whether we have heard God at all), delight in hearing God speak, but chiefly humiliation – What a long time I was in hearing that! How slow I have been in understanding that! And yet God has been saying it all these days and weeks. Now He gives you the gift of humiliation which brings the softness of heart that will always listen to God now.

The Devotion Of Hearing—Daily Devotion By Oswald Chambers

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 By Oswald Chambers

Author of:“My Utmost for His Highest”

Devotion For February 13th

“Speak; for Thy servant heareth.”

1 Samuel 3:10

Because I have listened definitely to one thing from God, it does not follow that I will listen to everything He says. The way in which I show God that I neither love nor respect Him is by the obtuseness of my heart and mind towards what He says. If I love my friend, I intuitively detect what he wants, and Jesus says, “Ye are My friends.” Have I disobeyed some command of my Lord’s this week? If I had realized that it was a command of Jesus, I would not consciously have disobeyed it; but most of us show such disrespect to God that we do not even hear what He says, He might never have spoken.

The destiny of my spiritual life is such identification with Jesus Christ that I always hear God, and I know that God always hears me (John 11:41). If I am united with Jesus Christ, I hear God, by the devotion of hearing all the time. A lily, or a tree, or a servant of God, may convey God’s message to me. What hinders me from hearing is that I am taken up with other things. It is not that I will not hear God, but I am not devoted in the right place. I am devoted to things, to service, to convictions, and God may say what He likes but I do not hear Him. The child attitude is always, “Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth.” If I have not cultivated this devotion of hearing, I can only hear God’s voice at certain times; at other times I am taken up with things – things which I say I must do, and I become deaf to Him, I am not living the life of a child. Have I heard God’s voice to-day?

Is Your Hope In God Faint And Dying?—Daily Devotion By Oswald Chambers

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 By Oswald Chambers

Author of:“My Utmost for His Highest”

Devotion For February 12th


“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose imagination is stayed on Thee.”

Isaiah 26:3

Is your imagination stayed on God or is it starved? The starvation of the imagination is one of the most fruitful sources of exhaustion and sapping in a worker’s life. If you have never used your imagination to put yourself before God, begin to do it now. It is no use waiting for God to come; you must put your imagination away from the face of idols and look unto Him and he saved. Imagination is the greatest gift God has given us and it ought to be devoted entirely to Him. If you have been bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, it will be one of the greatest assets to faith when the time of trial comes, because your faith and the Spirit of God will work together. Learn to associate ideas worthy of God with all that happens in Nature – the sunrises and the sunsets, the sun and the stars, the changing seasons, and your imagination will never be at the mercy of your impulses, but will always be at the service of God.

“We have sinned with our fathers; . . . and have forgotten” – then put a stiletto in the place where you have gone to sleep. “God is not talking to me just now,” but He ought to be. Remember Whose you are and Whom you serve. Provoke yourself by recollection, and your affection for God will increase tenfold; your imagination will not be starved any longer, but will be quick and enthusiastic, and your hope will be inexpressibly bright.