And After That What’s Next To Do?

…seek, and you will find… —Luke 11:9

Seek if you have not found. “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss…” (James 4:3). If you ask for things from life instead of from God, “you ask amiss”; that is, you ask out of your desire for self-fulfillment. The more you fulfill yourself the less you will seek God. “…seek, and you will find….” Get to work— narrow your focus and interests to this one thing. Have you ever sought God with your whole heart, or have you simply given Him a feeble cry after some emotionally painful experience? “…seek, [focus,] and you will find….”

“Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters…” (Isaiah 55:1). Are you thirsty, or complacent and indifferent— so satisfied with your own experience that you want nothing more of God? Experience is a doorway, not a final goal. Beware of building your faith on experience, or your life will not ring true and will only sound the note of a critical spirit. Remember that you can never give another person what you have found, but you can cause him to have a desire for it.

“…knock, and it will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9). “Draw near to God…” (James 4:8). Knock— the door is closed, and your heartbeat races as you knock. “Cleanse your hands…” (James 4:8). Knock a bit louder— you begin to find that you are dirty. “…purify your hearts…” (James 4:8). It is becoming even more personal— you are desperate and serious now— you will do anything. “Lament…” (James 4:9). Have you ever lamented, expressing your sorrow before God for the condition of your inner life? There is no thread of self-pity left, only the heart-rending difficulty and amazement which comes from seeing what kind of person you really are. “Humble yourselves…” (James 4:10). It is a humbling experience to knock at God’s door— you have to knock with the crucified thief. “…to him who knocks it will be opened” (Luke 11:10).

We can understand the attributes of God in other ways, but we can only understand the Father’s heart in the Cross of Christ. The Highest Good—Thy Great Redemption, 558 L

OSWALD CHAMBERS

Victory Over Weakness

Judges 16:1-31

Parents often try to give their children every advantage in the hope that they’ll become successful adults. As Christians, we especially want to help our kids increase in knowledge of God and His Word, love for Jesus, appreciation for the body of Christ, and the desire to serve the Lord. Children frequently have great enthusiasm for the things of the Lord. But as they grow older, we sometimes see them falling away from the faith.

Samson is an example of such unfortunate drifting. Despite his godly upbringing, sexual temptations eventually became overly attractive to him.

Scripture reveals several occasions where Samson gave in to his lust. For instance, he desired a pagan woman from Timnah, and despite his parents’ warning, he broke God’s command by marrying her (Judg. 14:1-3). A second incident nearly led to his death; he survived only because of his supernatural strength. (Judg. 14:12-20.) Perhaps the most tragic example was his betrayal by Delilah, the ungodly woman he loved. Lust prevented him from seeing her true nature. As a result, Samson was captured and blinded by the Philistines.

Left unchecked, sin will permeate and dominate our lives, while affecting others with its repercussions. The first step toward success is to become aware of our weaknesses. Next, we must admit helplessness to overcome them on our own. Finally, it’s important to acknowledge God’s sufficiency to rescue us. In the end, Samson recognized his need for God and prayed for strength to strike back at the Philistines (Judg. 16:28). If we share Samson’s perspective, we will be able to obey God’s commands and gain victory.

Esteem Others

“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” (Philippians 2:3)

In this verse, Paul challenged us to refrain from any “strife” or “vainglory”—words that seem a bit stern in the colloquial terms of our day.

Eritheia is the Greek word for “strife”—a contentious political maneuvering for greater power. “Vainglory” is similar. It comes from the Greek word kenodoxia, an empty pride or groundless glory. Both are rather unpleasant descriptions of the foolish and sinful human behavior that is seen all too often among God’s people: “Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another” (Galatians 5:26).

On the contrary, we are challenged to “esteem” the others in our fellowship as “better than” ourselves. The precise words in this instruction insist that we are to use deliberate and careful judgment in our evaluation of others in our relationships as being more “excellent” than what we have thought of ourselves.

Now, that goes against most of what we have been taught in our Western educational systems. Self-esteem is de rigueur in our schools, songs, movies, and television programs. In fact, “positive thinking” and “prosperity thinking” are very little more than self-esteem dressed up in religious terms.

In the biblical “body” analogy, we are told that “those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour . . . having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked” (1 Corinthians 12:23-24).

God thinks differently. We are told to think of each other like God thinks. HMM III

Free Will versus Sovereignty

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve… but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. —Joshua 24:15

The matter of man’s free will versus God’s sovereignty can be explained in this way: God’s sovereignty means that He is in control of everything, that He planned everything from the beginning. Man’s free will means that he can, anytime he wants, make most any choice he pleases (within his human limitations, of course). Man’s free will can apparently defy the purposes of God and will against the will of God. Now how do we resolve this seeming contradiction?…

Here is what I see: God Almighty is sovereign, free to do as He pleases. Among the things He is pleased to do is give me freedom to do what I please. And when I do what I please, I am fulfilling the will of God, not controverting it, for God in His sovereignty has sovereignly given me freedom to make a free choice.

Even if the choice I make is not the one God would have made for me, His sovereignty is fulfilled in my making the choice. And I can make the choice because the great sovereign God, who is completely free, said to me, “In my sovereign freedom I bestow a little bit of freedom on you. Now ‘choose you this day whom ye will serve’ (Joshua 24:15).”

May I use my free will wisely, Lord, and choose wisely whom I will serve. May I be in complete submission to Your will. Amen.

False Pretender

When the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions. (Matthew 19:22)

All persons who are alienated from God and outside of Christ are part and parcel of a mighty deception!

They are called upon to pretend that they can have peace of mind within and that they can be relatively happy and make a big success of their human lives if they have youth and wealth and morality and high position.

In that sense of what is going on all around us, David never had to apologize for writing that “every man is a liar!” The whole human concept of success and happiness and inner peace, based upon who we are and what we have, is completely false.

The rich young ruler who came to question Jesus had wealth, morality, position and youth. But his very first question gave the clue to his own inner emptiness of life: “What good thing should I do, that I may have eternal life?”

He knew very well that there is not a person alive who has eternal youth or eternal position or eternal righteousness. So, like every other man, he had to make a choice!

A garrison is not free from danger while it hath an enemy lodged within

A garrison is not free from danger while it hath an enemy lodged within.”

You may bolt all your doors, and fasten all your windows, but if the thieves have placed even a little child within doors, who can draw the bolts for them, the house is still unprotected. All the sea outside a ship cannot do it damage till the water enters within and fills the hold. Hence, it is clear, our greatest danger is from within. All the devils in hell and tempters on earth could do us no injury if there were no corruption in our nature. Alas, our heart is our greatest enemy; this is the little homeborn thief.