What Do You Want?

sad dog
Do you seek great things for yourself? —Jeremiah 45:5

Are you seeking great things for yourself, instead of seeking to be a great person? God wants you to be in a much closer relationship with Himself than simply receiving His gifts— He wants you to get to know Him. Even some large thing we want is only incidental; it comes and it goes. But God never gives us anything incidental. There is nothing easier than getting into the right relationship with God, unless it is not God you seek, but only what He can give you.

If you have only come as far as asking God for things, you have never come to the point of understanding the least bit of what surrender really means. You have become a Christian based on your own terms. You protest, saying, “I asked God for the Holy Spirit, but He didn’t give me the rest and the peace I expected.” And instantly God puts His finger on the reason– you are not seeking the Lord at all; you are seeking something for yourself. Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you…” (Matthew 7:7). Ask God for what you want and do not be concerned about asking for the wrong thing, because as you draw ever closer to Him, you will cease asking for things altogether. “Your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him” (Matthew 6:8). Then why should you ask? So that you may get to know Him.

Are you seeking great things for yourself? Have you said, “Oh, Lord, completely fill me with your Holy Spirit”? If God does not, it is because you are not totally surrendered to Him; there is something you still refuse to do. Are you prepared to ask yourself what it is you want from God and why you want it? God always ignores your present level of completeness in favor of your ultimate future completeness. He is not concerned about making you blessed and happy right now, but He’s continually working out His ultimate perfection for you— “…that they may be one just as We are one…” (John 17:22).

by Oswald Chambers

Ways we Become Old

Genesis 47:7-9

Sometimes the best way to understand a concept is by studying its opposite. Rently we learned how to stay young while growing old. Today we will take a look at some of the ways that we can age ourselves.

Jacob was a man who made himself old by looking at his circumstances from a negative perspective. Our passage today reveals that he was dissatisfied with his life. Although there are many qualities in Jacob that we can admire, this is not one of them.

Our focus will determine our level of satisfaction in life. Those who stay young in spirit regularly look for evidence of the Almighty in their lives—ways He is working, providing, loving, and guiding. Without this perspective, the pain and problems of life can take center stage, which can easily lead to discouragement and grumbling.

We can also age ourselves by carrying burdens that believers are not meant to bear. Jesus Christ invites the weary and heavy-laden to come to Him and find rest (Matthew 11:28-30). He wants us to get under His yoke and allow Him to carry our load of cares and concerns. Our Savior has a solution for every burden and wants to help us transfer them to Him.

What are you carrying that is aging your body, soul, and spirit? Try Jesus’ solutions: For a bitter, unforgiving spirit, forgive; for guilt, confess; for regret over past sin, believe Christ has already forgiven you; and for anxiety, cast it on God, because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).

Habitation for God

“Until I find out a place for the LORD, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob. Lo, we heard of it at Ephratah: we found it in the fields of the wood. We will go into his tabernacles: we will worship at his footstool.” (Psalm 132:5-7)

These fascinating verses may well have a double meaning. First, a retrospective reference to David’s desire to build a temple for God and, second, a prophecy concerning a still future habitation for God. Ephratah was the same as Bethlehem, the birthplace of both David and his greater son, Jesus.

The writer of this psalm may have been King Hezekiah, a contemporary of the prophet Micah, who had written: “Thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, . . . out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2). He was also a contemporary of Isaiah, who had written concerning this same coming Son: “His name shall be called . . . The mighty God” (Isaiah 9:6).

David had desired to build an earthly habitation for the mighty God of Israel; Isaiah had said this “mighty God” would be “a child born” and “a Son given”; and Micah said He would be born in Bethlehem Ephratah. Our psalmist must have been thinking about these truths when he saw, through the future eyes of those “in the fields of the wood,” “at Ephratah,” this “place for the LORD,” who then would go to “worship at His footstool.”

Some 800 years later, “there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the fields” at Bethlehem Ephratah, when a great host of angels told them the promised Savior had come, directing them to go to His “habitation” to worship Him. And that was where they did, indeed, find Him, “wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger” (Luke 2:8, 12), and they were the very first to “worship at his footstool.” HMM

Pray Without Ceasing

Pray without ceasing. —1 Thessalonians 5:17

I knew of an able preacher greatly used of the Lord in evangelism and Bible conferences. He was a busy, busy man. There came the occasion when someone frankly asked him, “Doctor, tell us about your prayer life. How do you pray? How much do you pray?”

The man was embarrassed as he replied, “I must confess to you something I have not confessed before. I do not have the time to pray as I used to. My time alone with God has been neglected.”

Not too long afterward, that preacher sustained a serious failure. It brought his ministry to an abrupt end, and he was put on the shelf.

If we want to be honest with God, we will take solemnly the admonition to pray without ceasing. God’s work on this earth languishes when God’s people give up their ministries of prayer and supplication. I cannot tell you why this is true, but it is true.

Deliver me from neglect and keep me faithful in the high priority of prayer. Then guard me from that “serious failure.” Amen.

Christian Couples: Heirs Together of the Grace of Life

…Giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life…. 1 Peter 3:7

The Scriptures teach that the Christian husband and wife are heirs together of the grace of life—that they are one in Jesus Christ, their Saviour!

I suppose there are many Christian husbands whose prayers are not being answered and they can think up a lot of reasons. But the fact is that thoughtless husbands are simply big, overbearing clods when it comes to consideration of their wives.

If the husband would get himself straightened out in his own mind and spirit and live with his wife according to knowledge, and treat her with the chivalry that belongs to her as the weaker vessel, remembering that she is actually his sister in Christ, his prayers would be answered in spite of the devil and all of the other reasons that he gives.

A husband’s spiritual problems do not lie in the Kremlin nor in the Vatican but in the heart of the man himself—in his attitude and inability to resist the temptation to grumble and growl and dominate!

There is no place for that kind of male rulership in any Christian home. What the Bible calls for is proper and kindly recognition of the true relationships of understanding and love, and the acceptance of a spirit of cooperation between the husband and wife.

Enoch Escaped Death

By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death… he had this testimony, that he pleased God. HEBREWS 11:5

The Genesis record concerning Enoch should speak to us of our own troubled times—for that is the purpose of the Word of God. It should be our concern that we hear and that we obey!

The faith and deportment of the man Enoch compose a vivid picture—a powerful object lesson—to encourage every believer in his or her faith. There is only one conclusion to be drawn—Enoch was translated into the presence of God because of his faith, and thus he escaped death!

It is my strong conviction that Enoch’s experience of translation is a type, or preview, of the coming rapture of the Church, the Bride of Christ, described in the Scriptures.

It is evident that there was no funeral for Enoch. Perhaps members of his family did not fully understand his walk with God, but they could answer with the facts! “He is gone! We thought he was extreme in his beliefs but now he is gone, and we are still here in a troubled world!”

Lord, some days it is especially good to know that there will be an eternal reward for those who walk in close fellowship with You.