Is My Sacrifice Living?

Abraham built an altar…; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar… —Genesis 22:9

This event is a picture of the mistake we make in thinking that the ultimate God wants of us is the sacrifice of death. What God wants is the sacrifice through death which enables us to do what Jesus did, that is, sacrifice our lives. Not— “Lord, I am ready to go with You…to death” (Luke 22:33). But— “I am willing to be identified with Your death so that I may sacrifice my life to God.”

We seem to think that God wants us to give up things! God purified Abraham from this error, and the same process is at work in our lives. God never tells us to give up things just for the sake of giving them up, but He tells us to give them up for the sake of the only thing worth having, namely, life with Himself. It is a matter of loosening the bands that hold back our lives. Those bands are loosened immediately by identification with the death of Jesus. Then we enter into a relationship with God whereby we may sacrifice our lives to Him.

It is of no value to God to give Him your life for death. He wants you to be a “living sacrifice”— to let Him have all your strengths that have been saved and sanctified through Jesus (Romans 12:1). This is what is acceptable to God.

by Oswald Chambers

Self-Reliance: An Unwise Habit

Psalm 55:22

Imagine walking through a crowded airport. You cannot move without bumping into someone, you’re late for your flight, and the wheels just broke on your over-packed suitcase. With no other option, you are forced to carry the luggage in your arms and slowly maneuver through the congested lobby toward the ticketing area.

Almost immediately, a young man approaches and offers to carry your bags, but you refuse, saying, “No, thanks. I can do it myself.” Realizing that the ticket counter is two levels up, you make your way to the stairs. Someone asks, “Wouldn’t it be easier to take the elevator? It’s right over there.” But you reply, “No, I can do it myself.”

As you finally make it to the top of the staircase, your arms feel numb from the pressure of your bags. Your legs are starting to buckle from the weight. Your back aches from supporting the heavy load. Then you spot a collection of unused baggage carts but ignore them, thinking, No, I can do it myself.

This is a silly story, isn’t it? Who would prefer to carry such a heavy burden, ignoring every opportunity to set it down? Yet many believers are doing just that.

Our heavenly Father has called us to lay our cares at His feet. But when we fail to come to Him in prayer, we are just as foolish as the person staggering through the airport, mumbling, “I can do it myself.”

Are you trying to carry a burden that is greater than you can bear? Don’t ignore God’s offer to help. The truth is, we really can’t “do it ourselves”—and He never wanted us to try.

Hastening His Coming

“Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?” (2 Peter 3:12)

Exactly how can we “hasten unto the coming of the day of God”? The answer is by bringing its coming closer. In fact, the phrase can just as well be understood as “hastening the coming.”

Although the Scriptures give us many signs to know when Christ’s return is near, Jesus said that no one could determine the exact time—not even He, Himself! “Of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father” (Mark 13:32). In His self-limited human nature, He did not know because, apparently, it depended in some way on what His disciples would do to “hasten his coming” after He went back to heaven.

When He left them, He said: “Ye shall be witnesses unto me . . . unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). This was a command, but it was also a prophecy: “Ye shall be witnesses” to the very last tribe on earth. In His Olivet discourse, He had said: “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14). Sometime, somehow, every tribe will be reached, because John, in his vision, saw a great multitude “of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues” in heaven (Revelation 7:9).

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise” to return, but He does desire “that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9), and we should “account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation” (2 Peter 3:15). No one but the Father knows just when the last convert from the last tribe will be won, but if we “love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8), we can “hasten his coming” by doing all we can to get the gospel to the ends of the earth. HMM

People Follow Leaders

Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. —1 Corinthians 11:1

The history of Israel and Judah points up a truth taught clearly enough by all history, viz., that the masses are or soon will be what their leaders are. The kings set the moral pace for the people….

Whatever sort of man the king turned out to be, the people were soon following his leadership. They followed David in the worship of Jehovah, Solomon in the building of the Temple, Jeroboam in the making of a calf and Hezekiah in the restoration of the temple worship.

It is not complimentary to the masses that they are so easily led, but we are not interested in praising or blaming; we are concerned for truth, and the truth is that for better or for worse religious people follow leaders. A good man may change the moral complexion of a whole nation; or a corrupt and worldly clergy may lead a nation into bondage….

Today Christianity in the Western world is what its leaders were in the recent past and is becoming what its present leaders are. The local church soon becomes like its pastor.

Strengthen us in the power of Your Holy Spirit, that we might be leaders worth following. Amen.

True Worship: Fully Seeking the Lord We Adore

O come, let us worship and bow down…. Psalm 95:6

An old creed says that we worship one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.

If we could set forth all of God’s attributes and tell all that He is, we would fall on our knees in adoring worship.

The Bible tells us that God dwells in light that is unapproachable, whom no man can see or has seen, and whom no man can see and live.

It says that God is holy and eternal and omnipotent and omniscient and sovereign, and that He has a thousand sovereign attributes. And all of these should humble us and bring us down!

I have come to believe that no worship is wholly pleasing to God until there is nothing in us displeasing to God. If there is anything within me that does not worship God, then there is nothing in me that worships God perfectly.

Note that I am not saying that God must have a perfection of worship or He will not accept any worship at all. I would not go so far; if I did, I would rule myself out. But, I do say that the ideal God sets before us is to worship as near to perfectly as we can. Faith and love and obedience and loyalty and high conduct of life—all of these must be taken as burnt offerings and offered to God!

True worship seeks union with its beloved, and an active effort to close the gap between the heart and the God it adores is worship at its best!

Benefits of Grace

But now in Christ Jesus ye… are made nigh by the blood of Christ. EPHESIANS 2:13

Only a believing Christian can testify, “I am a sinner—saved by the grace of God!” But that is not the whole story. All that we have is cut of His grace. Jesus Christ, the eternal Word who became flesh and dwelt among us, is the open channel through whom God moves to provide all the benefits He gives, both to saints and to sinners—yes, even to sinners!

Even though you may still be unconverted and going your own way, you have received much out of the ocean of His fullness. You have received the pulsing life that beats in your bosom.

You have received the brilliant mind and the brain without which you could not function. You have received a memory that strings the events you cherish as a jeweler strings pearls into a necklace.

When we say to an unbelieving man, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ,” we are actually saying to him: “Believe on the One who sustains you and upholds you and who has given you life. Believe in the One who pities you and spares you and keeps you. Believe on the One out of whom you came!”

Lord, You are such a merciful God! Your offer of salvation is available to all men, women and children. You send Your rain on both the just and the unjust. Lord, open my eyes to those in my sphere of influence who don’t know You.