Have You Ever Been Alone with God? (2)

When He was alone…the twelve asked Him about the parable. —Mark 4:10

His Solitude with Us. When God gets us alone through suffering, heartbreak, temptation, disappointment, sickness, or by thwarted desires, a broken friendship, or a new friendship— when He gets us absolutely alone, and we are totally speechless, unable to ask even one question, then He begins to teach us. Notice Jesus Christ’s training of the Twelve. It was the disciples, not the crowd outside, who were confused. His disciples constantly asked Him questions, and He constantly explained things to them, but they didn’t understand until after they received the Holy Spirit (see John 14:26).

As you journey with God, the only thing He intends to be clear is the way He deals with your soul. The sorrows and difficulties in the lives of others will be absolutely confusing to you. We think we understand another person’s struggle until God reveals the same shortcomings in our lives. There are vast areas of stubbornness and ignorance the Holy Spirit has to reveal in each of us, but it can only be done when Jesus gets us alone. Are we alone with Him now? Or are we more concerned with our own ideas, friendships, and cares for our bodies? Jesus cannot teach us anything until we quiet all our intellectual questions and get alone with Him.

by Oswald Chambers

Principles of Prosperity

Psalm 24:1-2

Remember the truth that God owns it all? When we have a firm grasp of this concept and apply it to our thinking and handling of money, we will have mastered the first principle of prosperity. If we realize that everything we see in our world is His, then we will begin to realize that we literally own nothing; we are merely stewards handling the wealth of our Master. As money managers, we must understand that we do not have the right to dictate how it is to be spent or invested; only God does. He is still in control, and He wants to have the final word in the matter.

The second principle of prosperity is that God wants His resources used in a way that glorifies Him. Not only does He own it all and have the right to tell us how to manage it, but He also expects us to obey. Our obedience in money matters brings Him glory. The Lord wants us to keep this in mind as we put His resources into circulation to accomplish His work, to meet basic needs, and to provide enjoyment.

So for the New Year, ask God these three questions: How much do You want to be designated for Your work? What proportion should go to meet my basic needs and the needs of others? How much do You want me to utilize to enjoy life?

When we accept that God owns it all, that we are His money managers and our resources are to be used to glorify Him, then we will be satisfied with His choices for how to use the money we have. How satisfied are you?

King of All the Earth

“For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding.” (Psalm 47:7)

This stirring psalm of praise which celebrates the reign of Christ over all the earth, finds its primary fulfillment in Christ’s second coming and full reign over His Kingdom. The reader is exhorted to “sing praises unto our King” (v. 6). The reign of Christ certainly gives cause for celebration. His arrival forces the psalmist to proclaim, “O clap your hands, all ye people” (v. 1).

What has happened to make this Kingship such cause for celebration? After all, “by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible or invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him” (Colossians 1:16). He belongs on the throne. We should expect to find Him there. However, even though there is a sense in which He reigns today, the sad fact remains that another has usurped rule.

This usurper can be none other than Satan, who not only claims rule of the creation for himself but who spoiled the original perfection of the creation which now “groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” (Romans 8:22). He has encouraged men to accept the mindless concept of evolution, and even denies Christ recognition as Redeemer, as the humanist’s creed “We will save ourselves!” boasts.

But all is not lost! Our text assures us that Christ will reclaim His Kingdom: “He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet. . . . God reigneth over the heathen” (vv. 3, 8). Christ the Creator, the Redeemer, the Heir, has conquered the enemy and soon will assume His rightful throne—“the throne of his holiness” (v. 8), “greatly exalted” (v. 9). Then we shall join the redeemed of the ages, and “shout unto God with the voice of triumph” (v. 1). JDM

Personal Feeding on God’s Word

O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day. —Psalm 119:97

I remember James M. Gray, the noted Bible teacher, telling of a Christian brother, a Michigan farmer, whose spiritual life had suddenly blossomed until there was an overflowing of God’s presence. Many in the man’s community recognized the change in his life and personality and sought spiritual counsel from him. Dr. Gray had opportunity to ask the man about the transformation of his spiritual life and witness.

“Dr. Gray, I began to devote myself to the Scriptures for my own need,” the man humbly explained. “Something happened when God opened my spiritual understanding as I studied the book of Ephesians. I cannot really explain what the Lord is doing for me and through me, but it has come through prayerful meditation in the Word of God.”

None of us can expect to get the rich, transforming blessings from God apart from the Scriptures….

Too many of us ministers and Sunday school teachers are content to reach for a commentary on the Scriptures. What we need most is to search the Scriptures for ourselves.

Deliver me today from the shortcuts, and help me to discipline myself to long, concentrated study of the Scriptures themselves. Amen.

Feeling Right: Not the Same As Being Right

The lord of that servant shall come… and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites…. Matthew 24:50, 51

It appears that too many Christians want to enjoy the thrill of feeling right but are not willing to endure the inconvenience of being right!

The glaring disparity between theology and practice among professing Christians is a more destructive evil in its effect upon the Christian religion than communism, Romanism and liberalism combined.

So wide is the gulf that separates theory from practice in the church that an inquiring stranger who chances upon both would scarcely dream that there was any relation between them.

An intelligent observer of our human scene who heard the Sunday morning sermon and later watched the Sunday afternoon conduct of those who had heard it would conclude that he had been examining two distinct and contrary religions!

Christians habitually weep and pray over beautiful truth, only to draw back from that same truth when it comes to the difficult job of putting it in practice.

The average church simply does not dare to check its practices against biblical precepts. It tolerates things that are diametrically opposed to the will of God. This can be explained only by assuming a lack of integration in the religious personality. The mind can approve and the emotions enjoy while the will drags its feet and refuses to go along!

And since Christ makes His appeal directly to the will, are we not justified in wondering whether or not these divided souls have ever made a true commitment to the Lord?

The Wonder of Redemption

For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. COLOSSIANS 2:9

My brethren in the Christian faith, stand with me in defense of this basic doctrine: The living God did not degrade Himself in the Incarnation. When the Word was made flesh, there was no compromise on God’s part!

It is plain in the ancient Athanasian Creed that the early church fathers were cautious at this point of doctrine. They would not allow us to believe that God, in the Incarnation, became flesh by a coming down of the Deity into flesh, but rather by the taking of mankind into God. That is the wonder of redemption!

In the past the mythical gods of the nations were not strangers to compromise. But the holy God who is God, our heavenly Father, could never compromise Himself!

He remained ever God, and everything else remained not God. That gulf still existed even after Jesus Christ had become man and dwelt among us. This much, then, we can know about the acts of God—He will never back out of His bargain. This amazing union of man with God is effected unto perpetuity!

Heavenly Father, thank You for making it possible for mankind to become redeemed. Praise to the most high God!