Mar 15, 2007
Everlasting God by Lincoln Brewster
Mar 15, 2007
Everlasting God by Lincoln Brewster
What Is That to You?
Jesus said to him, “. . . You follow Me.” —John 21:22
Social media is useful for many things, but contentment is not one of them. At least not for me. Even when my goals are good, I can become discouraged by continual reminders that others are accomplishing them first or with greater results. I am prone to this kind of discouragement, so I frequently remind myself that God has not short-changed me. He has already given me everything I need to accomplish the work He wants me to do.
This means I don’t need a bigger budget or the assurance of success. I don’t need a better work environment or a different job. I don’t need the approval or permission of others. I don’t need good health or more time. God may give me some of those things, but everything I need I already have, for when He assigns work He provides the resources. My only assignment is to use whatever time and talents He has given in a way that blesses others and gives God the glory.
Jesus and Peter had a conversation that got around to this subject. After making breakfast on the shore of Galilee, Jesus told Peter what would happen at the end of his life. Pointing at another disciple, Peter asked, “What about him?” Jesus responded, “What is that to you?”
That is the question I need to ask myself when I compare myself to others. The answer is, “None of my business.” My business is to follow Jesus and be faithful with the gifts and opportunities He gives to me.
In what ways do I need to learn not to compare myself with others? How has God blessed me to fulfill His purposes?
Share your answers to these questions with others at http://www.odb.org
Resentment comes from looking at others; contentment comes from looking at God.
By Julie Ackerman Link
Getting There 3
…come, follow Me. —Luke 18:22
Where our individual desire dies and sanctified surrender lives. One of the greatest hindrances in coming to Jesus is the excuse of our own individual temperament. We make our temperament and our natural desires barriers to coming to Jesus. Yet the first thing we realize when we do come to Jesus is that He pays no attention whatsoever to our natural desires. We have the idea that we can dedicate our gifts to God. However, you cannot dedicate what is not yours. There is actually only one thing you can dedicate to God, and that is your right to yourself (see Romans 12:1). If you will give God your right to yourself, He will make a holy experiment out of you— and His experiments always succeed.
The one true mark of a saint of God is the inner creativity that flows from being totally surrendered to Jesus Christ. In the life of a saint there is this amazing Well, which is a continual Source of original life. The Spirit of God is a Well of water springing up perpetually fresh. A saint realizes that it is God who engineers his circumstances; consequently there are no complaints, only unrestrained surrender to Jesus. Never try to make your experience a principle for others, but allow God to be as creative and original with others as He is with you.
If you abandon everything to Jesus, and come when He says, “Come,” then He will continue to say, “Come,” through you. You will go out into the world reproducing the echo of Christ’s “Come.” That is the result in every soul who has abandoned all and come to Jesus.
Have I come to Him? Will I come now?
by Oswald Chambers
The Lord wants us to reach our full potential—to become the people He’s designed us to be and achieve the tasks He’s planned for us to do. In our pressurized society, we need to have balanced schedules if we’re going to live according to God’s purposes.
Consider the following five areas. When any is out of balance, our relationship with the Lord and others will be affected, diminishing our effectiveness as servants of Christ.
1. To develop our relationship with the Lord and receive guidance, our top priority should be to spend private time with Him each day.
2. Time with family and friends is also essential because relationships are such an important part of God’s plans for our lives.
3. The area in which we are most likely to become imbalanced is our work. Although the Lord doesn’t approve of laziness, He doesn’t want us to be overly consumed with our careers either.
4. If we are to accomplish the Lord’s purposes in our lives, we need to take care of our bodies, allocating adequate time for exercise, rest, and recreation.
5. The Scriptures also clearly command meeting together regularly with other believers for worship (Hebrews 10:24-25). While some people have limitations that hinder doing this, most of us have no excuse for being too busy for church.
These general areas all need space in your life, but I cannot tell you how to allocate time for them. The Lord has specific plans for each person, and He is the only one who can accurately direct your schedule. Seek His guidance, listen for His voice, and make the changes He brings to mind.
“Thou shalt not commit adultery.” (Exodus 20:14)
This commandment’s obvious application is for marital fidelity. God created one man and one woman for that man (Genesis 1:26; 2:18; 1 Corinthians 11:9).
Adam recognized the sanctity of marriage (Genesis 2:23-25). Christ verified and reaffirmed this fidelity (Matthew 5:27; 19:4-6). Adultery “murders” a marriage and was punished with the death penalty (Leviticus 20:10).
The Bible also gives several parallel restrictions. Pre-marital sex is forbidden (Deuteronomy 22:20-21; 1 Corinthians 6:13-18), as is the practice of prostitution (Leviticus 19:29). The perversion of homosexuality is forbidden (Deuteronomy 23:17-18), as was the practice of religious sexual rites (Hosea 4:12-14).
The purpose of these social restrictions in the Mosaic Law is to set a clear and visible distinction between God’s people and the rest of the nations. God abhorred such behavior (Leviticus 20:23) because these sins defiled the land (Leviticus 18:24-28). Perhaps even more damning than the physical sins was the false worship of other gods (Jeremiah 3:20).
The Lord Jesus clearly equated lust and adultery (Matthew 5:28), noting that the heart is the source of all evil actions (Matthew 15:19). In fact, in the New Testament, any worldly association is whoredom and such friendship is enmity with God (James 4:4).
Unfortunately, we are surrounded by an overt promotion of such behavior, enticing all to engage freely. It is distributed to us through books, movies, TV, Internet, music, fashion, and associations. Surely, it is clear that the Christian must conform to biblical standards, not the world’s tolerance or permission (1 John 2:15-17). HMM III
And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. —Genesis 17:1
Without argument, most things are at their best when they are fulfilling their purpose and design.
For instance, a piano is made with a specific purpose: to produce music.
However, I happen to know that someone once stood on a piano in order to put a fastener of some kind in the ceiling. Some artistic women have used piano tops as family picture galleries. I have seen piano tops that were cluttered filing cabinets or wide library shelves.
There is an intelligent design in the creation of a piano. The manufacturer did not announce: “This is a good piano. It has at least nineteen uses!” No, the designer had only one thought in mind: “This piano will have the purpose and potential of sounding forth beautiful music!”…
Do not miss the application of truth here. God was saying to Abraham, “You may have some other idea about the design and purpose for your life, but you are wrong! You were created in My image to worship Me and to glorify Me. If you do not honor this purpose, your life will degenerate into shallow, selfish, humanistic pursuits.”
Lord, so many lives today have indeed degenerated into “shallow, selfish, humanistic pursuits.” Work through me this week to help people with whom I come in contact to see the one purpose for which You created us. Amen.
Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they… may enter in through the gates into the city. Revelation 22:14
The command to love God with our whole being has seemed to many persons to be impossible of fulfillment, and it may be properly argued that we cannot love by fiat.
Love is too gentle, too frail a creature to spring up at the command of another. It would be like commanding the barren tree to bring forth fruit or the winter forest to be green.
What then can it mean?
The answer is found in the nature of God and of man.
God being who He is must have obedience from His creatures. Man being who he is must render that obedience, and he owes God complete obedience whether or not he feels for Him the faintest trace of love in his heart.
It is a question of the sovereign right of God to require His creatures to obey Him.
Man’s first and basic sin was disobedience. When he disobeyed God he violated the claims of divine love with the result that love for God died within him.
Now, what can he do to restore that love to his heart again?
The heart that mourns its coldness toward God needs only to repent its sins, and a new, warm and satisfying love will flood into it. For the act of repentance will bring a corresponding act of God in self-revelation and intimate communion.
Once the seeking heart finds God in personal experience there will be no further problem about loving Him.
And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. MATTHEW 24:12
The first and greatest commandment is to love God with every power of our entire being. Where love like that exists, there can be no place for a second object.
Yet popular Christianity has as one of its most effective talking points the idea that God exists to help people to get ahead in this world! The God of the poor has become the God of an affluent society. We hear that Christ no longer refuses to be a judge or a divider between money-hungry brothers. He can now be persuaded to assist the brother that has accepted Him to get the better of the brother who has not!
Whoever seeks God as a means toward desired ends will not find God. God will not be one of many treasures. His mercy and grace are infinite and His patient understanding is beyond measure, but He will not aid men in selfish striving after personal gain. If we love God as much as we should, surely we cannot dream of a loved object beyond Him which He might help us to obtain!
Lord, show me what it means to love You as You commanded—with all my heart, soul, strength, and mind (see Luke 10:27).