Dec 11, 2008
Choose this day who you will serve.
…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?
To live a life alone with God does not mean that we live it apart from everyone else. The connection between godly men and women and those associated with them is continually revealed in the Bible, e.g., 1 Timothy 4:10. Not Knowing Whither, 867 L
2 Chronicles 20:5-12
Christians today can learn some valuable lessons from the prayers found in the Old Testament. When Jehoshaphat petitioned for divine help, he struck a balance between asking the Lord to meet his needs and proclaiming God’s greatness. Likewise, our requests should be made with recognition of who God is. Otherwise, the focus of our prayers can become need, weakness, failure, or fear.
Jehoshaphat cried out to God about his terrible predicament, but he also exalted the Lord’s attributes, acknowledging the great things He had done for them. When we pray with this attitude, we become stronger, bolder, and more forthright. That’s why knowing the Word of God is so important. When we read about how the Lord has worked in the lives of others, we better understand His awesome power and might. Then we can look to the men and women of the Old Testament as an example and begin to pray in a similar way. God’s wonder-working power is still available to us today, and He wants His children to access it.
By proclaiming, “Power and might are in Your hand so that no one can stand against You” (2 Chron. 20:6), Jehoshaphat was praising God and at the same time reminding himself of the Lord’s greatness. As you pray, speak to God of His mercy, talk to Him about His grace, and recall His mighty power.
Do you want to revolutionize your prayer life? If you give as much attention to declaring the attributes of the Lord as you do to making requests, your prayers will take on a whole new dimension. They’ll cease to be self-centered and instead will become God-centered.
“In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.” (Proverbs 10:19)
The book of Proverbs has much wise counsel concerning the use of the tongue. It contains, for example, no less than 27 sober warnings against speaking lies! There are also at least eight condemnations of gossiping. For example: “A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter” (11:13).
Then there are warnings against using the tongue to criticize, or to slander, or to hurt. A good example is in 12:18: “There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health,” and also in 18:8: “The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.”
Too much talking is also dangerous, as our text for the day points out, for it often results in sin. In this connection, one of the most picturesque proverbs is the following: “A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike” (27:15). The virtues of silence are graphically pointed out in 17:27-28: “He that hath knowledge spareth his words: . . . Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.”
Similarly, there are many promised blessings to those who speak carefully and graciously: “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver” (25:11). “The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning” (16:21). “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life” (15:4). “The tongue of the just is as choice silver” (10:20). “A soft answer turneth away wrath” (15:1). “A word spoken in due season, how good is it!” (15:23).
May we, indeed, learn to make our speech like choice silver, apples of gold, and a tree of life! HMM
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. —Psalm 23:1-2
God’s sovereignty means that if there’s anybody in this wide world of sinful men that should be restful and peaceful in an hour like this, it should be Christians. We should not be under the burden of apprehension and worry because we are the children of a God who is always free to do as He pleases. There is not one rope or chain or hindrance upon Him, because He is absolutely sovereign.
God is free to carry out His eternal purposes to their conclusions. I have believed this since I first became a Christian. I had good teachers who taught me this and I have believed it with increasing joy ever since. God does not play by ear, or doodle, or follow whatever happens to come into His mind or let one idea suggest another. God works according to the plans which He purposed in Christ Jesus before Adam walked in the garden, before the sun, moon and stars were made. God, who has lived all our tomorrows and carries time in His bosom, is carrying out His eternal purposes.
Forgive me for my worry, Father. I know I can be at peace when I have such a calm Shepherd, a sovereign God working out His eternal purpose in my life. Amen.
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!
But we do not observe God’s hand as much as we should. Our good puritanic forefathers, when it rained, used to say, that God had unstopped the bottles of heaven. When it rains nowadays, we think the clouds have become condensed. If they had a field of hay cut, they used to plead of the Lord that he would bid the sun shine. We, perhaps, are wiser, as we think; and we consider it hardly worth while to pray about such things, thinking they will come in the course of nature. They believed that God was in every storm; nay, in every cloud of dust. They used to speak of a present God in everything.