VIDEO This Is Now

Jan 6, 2014

Music video by Casting Crowns performing This Is Now (Official Lyric Video)

God’s Overpowering Purpose

I have appeared to you for this purpose… —Acts 26:16

The vision Paul had on the road to Damascus was not a passing emotional experience, but a vision that had very clear and emphatic directions for him. And Paul stated, “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision” (Acts 26:19). Our Lord said to Paul, in effect, “Your whole life is to be overpowered or subdued by Me; you are to have no end, no aim, and no purpose but Mine.” And the Lord also says to us, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go…” (John 15:16).

When we are born again, if we are spiritual at all, we have visions of what Jesus wants us to be. It is important that I learn not to be “disobedient to the heavenly vision” — not to doubt that it can be attained. It is not enough to give mental assent to the fact that God has redeemed the world, nor even to know that the Holy Spirit can make all that Jesus did a reality in my life. I must have the foundation of a personal relationship with Him. Paul was not given a message or a doctrine to proclaim. He was brought into a vivid, personal, overpowering relationship with Jesus Christ. Acts 26:16 is tremendously compelling “…to make you a minister and a witness….” There would be nothing there without a personal relationship. Paul was devoted to a Person, not to a cause. He was absolutely Jesus Christ’s. He saw nothing else and he lived for nothing else. “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).

by Oswald Chambers

A Passion to Serve God

Ephesians 2:8-10

Oswald Chambers, author of My Utmost for His Highest, died in 1917 at age 43. His influence, however, lives on. Almost a century later, God is still using this man’s book to speak to hearts; I am one of the many convicted by his words. Chambers’ message has lasted because he gave priority to things of eternal value rather than to things of the world.

Sadly, many people choose an existence with no enduring significance. Setting out to make as much money as possible, please oneself, and retire to enjoy the good life is unbiblical. Worthwhile living involves giving ourselves unreservedly to God so He can use us in any way He sees fit. Christians like Chambers, who make a lasting impact in their sphere of influence, have a passion to serve the Lord. They look for ways to express their love and devotion to Him.

As citizens of a heavenly kingdom, believers should see their job title as “servant of almighty God.” Perhaps you are thinking, I have a secular job or My life doesn’t matter much. Friend, if you are determined to find ways to be useful for the kingdom, God will supply tasks of eternal value. Be sensitive to people in need. Share your faith with those who hurt. Whether through your vocation or in your community, make yourself available to individuals who need help. Tell others what the Lord is doing in your life.

You are called to serve God where you are. We have all been given the work of evangelists and teachers (Matt. 28:19) as well as the task of caring for those who are in need (Isa. 1:17; Gal. 6:2). There is much work to be done.

Paul’s Growth

“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” (Romans 12:3)

Many times today we look at Paul and wish to be greatly used of God as he was. But Scripture teaches us that use of Paul as a role model requires a proper view of Paul—his humility and his submission to Christ.

Paul didn’t start out as a humble servant. In fact, before his conversion, he was quite proud of his pedigree (Philippians 3:4-6). He was the overseer at the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7:58). He was fanatical, the haughty persecutor of the early church (8:3). In grace, he was informed of his error by “Jesus whom thou persecutest” (9:5), and soon Paul recognized the worthlessness of his background and human achievement, and counted all these things “but dung, that I may win Christ” (Philippians 3:8).

Once his view of Christ was proper, Paul’s view of himself began to decrease. In A.D. 56 or so, Paul, who had been set apart for a ministry to the Gentiles “from my mother’s womb” (Galatians 1:15), called himself “the least of the apostles, that am not meet [fit] to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Corinthians 15:9-10).

While in prison several years later, Paul wrote to the Gentile churches he had founded, marveling that this ministry was given “unto me, who am less than the least of all saints” (Ephesians 3:8). Shortly before he was beheaded in prison for his faith, he testified “that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief” (1 Timothy 1:15).

As Paul grew older, his evaluation of his own worth decreased. As one draws closer and closer to the light, he is able to see more clearly his own unworthiness. JDM

God Is In That!

And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, by stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. —Acts 4:29-30

Some are concerned because there are not more miracles and wonders wrought in our midst through faith. In our day, everything is commercialized. And I must say that I do not believe in commercialized miracles.

“Miracles, Incorporated”—you can have it!

“Healing, Incorporated”—you can have that, too!… I have my doubts about signs and wonders that have to be organized, that demand a letterhead and a president and a big trailer with lights and cameras. God is not in that!

But the person of faith who can go alone into the wilderness and get on his or her knees and command heaven—God is in that. The preacher who will dare to stand and let his preaching cost him something—God is in that. The Christian who is willing to put himself in a place where he must get the answer from God and God alone—the Lord is in that!

Lord, forgive me for so often trying to box up my plans and organize Your work so it can all be controlled and explained. Take over, Lord, and do Your thing, not mine, today. Amen.

Walking a Tightrope between Two Kingdoms?

..For I do always those things that please him. John 8:29

We who follow Christ are aware of the fact that we inhabit at once two worlds, the spiritual and the natural.

As children of Adam we do live our lives on earth subject to the limitations of the flesh and the weaknesses and ills to which human nature is heir.

In sharp contrast to this is our life in the Spirit. There we enjoy a higher kind of life; we are children of God. We possess heavenly status and enjoy intimate fellowship with Christ!

This tends to divide our total life into two departments, as we unconsciously recognize two sets of actions, the so-called secular acts and the sacred.

This is, of course, the old “sacred-secular” antithesis and most Christians are caught in its trap. Walking the tightrope between two kingdoms they find no peace in either.

Actually, the sacred-secular dilemma has no foundation in the New Testament. Without doubt a more perfect understanding of Christian truth will deliver us from it.

The Lord Jesus Christ Himself is our perfect example and He lived no divided life. God accepted the offering of His total life and made no distinction between act and act. “I do always the things that please Him,” was His brief summary of His own life as related to the Father.

We are called upon to exercise an aggressive faith, in which we offer all our acts to God and believe that He accepts them. Let us believe that God is in all our simple deeds and learn to find Him there!

Bringing Us to Glory

For it became him… bringing many sons unto glory. HEBREWS 2:10

As Christian believers (I am assuming you are a believer), you and I know how we have been changed and regenerated and assured of eternal life by faith in Jesus Christ and His atoning death. On the other hand, where this good news of salvation by faith is not known, religion becomes an actual bondage. If Christianity is known only as a religious institution, it may well become merely a legalistic system of religion, and the hope of eternal life becomes a delusion.

I have said this much about reality and assurance to counter the shock you may feel when I add that God wants to fully prepare you in your daily Christian life so that you will be ready indeed for heaven! Many of us have been in God’s household for a long time. Remember that God has been trying to do something special within our beings day after day, year after year.

Why? Because His purpose is to bring many sons—and daughters too—unto glory!

Dear Jesus, thank You for Your faithfulness in my life—even when I ignore You. Today I want to be especially attuned to Your holy presence in each of my activities.