The Bewildering Call of God

Jesus called His disciples
’. . . and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished.’ . . . But they understood none of these things . . . —Luke 18:31, 34

God called Jesus Christ to what seemed absolute disaster. And Jesus Christ called His disciples to see Him put to death, leading every one of them to the place where their hearts were broken. His life was an absolute failure from every standpoint except God’s. But what seemed to be failure from man’s standpoint was a triumph from God’s standpoint, because God’s purpose is never the same as man’s purpose.

This bewildering call of God comes into our lives as well. The call of God can never be understood absolutely or explained externally; it is a call that can only be perceived and understood internally by our true inner-nature. The call of God is like the call of the sea— no one hears it except the person who has the nature of the sea in him. What God calls us to cannot be definitely stated, because His call is simply to be His friend to accomplish His own purposes. Our real test is in truly believing that God knows what He desires. The things that happen do not happen by chance— they happen entirely by the decree of God. God is sovereignly working out His own purposes.

If we are in fellowship and oneness with God and recognize that He is taking us into His purposes, then we will no longer strive to find out what His purposes are. As we grow in the Christian life, it becomes simpler to us, because we are less inclined to say, “I wonder why God allowed this or that?” And we begin to see that the compelling purpose of God lies behind everything in life, and that God is divinely shaping us into oneness with that purpose. A Christian is someone who trusts in the knowledge and the wisdom of God, not in his own abilities. If we have a purpose of our own, it destroys the simplicity and the calm, relaxed pace which should be characteristic of the children of God.

by Oswald Chambers

Clearing Up Conversion Confusion

God gave us the Bible so we could know Him and live in a way that pleases Him. He desires that we truly understand His teachings and how they apply to our life. Simply put, the Lord wants us to trust in Him with complete confidence.

We have an enemy, however, who attempts to undermine that confidence at every turn. We’ve all been there—joyfully moving along through life, sure of our salvation, and then, BAM! We stumble into sin, and our feelings take over. The devil uses our remorse and conflicting emotions to eat away at our confidence. We think, There’s no way I can be saved. If I were truly saved, I would never have done such a thing. Overwhelmed by feelings of regret and shame, we find our faith coming under fire.

It’s amazing how effectively our fleeting emotions can undermine assurance in God’s promises. But we shouldn’t really be surprised. After all, we’ve been conditioned to let our feelings lead us through life. “If it feels good, do it”—a popular saying from the ’60s—is still an all-too-common idea today.

Yet the Lord does not speak in feelings; He speaks in truth. Whenever your emotions contradict the Bible, you can be sure that the Scriptures are reliable. For a believer, “feeling saved” is as irrelevant as a husband or wife “feeling married.” You either are or you’re not; feelings simply do not make it so.

Have your feelings of regret stolen your confidence in eternal salvation? Lay them before the Lord today, and embrace the certainty that comes only with His truth.

A Mind to Work

“So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work.” (Nehemiah 4:6)

The ambitious project of rebuilding Jerusalem’s wall, with all its gates and other structures, was completed in less than two months (Nehemiah 6:15), for all “the people had a mind to work.” This was in spite of the danger from the external enemies who wanted to delay the work if they could.

The third chapter of Nehemiah has a remarkable list of the workmen on the wall. Men of all walks of life participated, each with an assigned portion of the work as organized by Nehemiah. The first verse of the chapter tells of the work done by Eliashib, the high priest, and all the other priests; the last verse lists the contribution of the goldsmiths and the merchants. There were the Nethinims (v. 26), apothecaries (v. 8), rulers (i.e., “mayors,” vv. 9, 12, 14-16), and various others. At least one man even had his daughters working (v. 12). Only the nobles of the Tekoites “put not their necks to the work of their LORD” (v. 5).

This would be a good model for any doctrinally sound, Bible-believing church, school, or other Christian ministry. It’s a lesson we would do well to learn. The mission and its goal are surely more important than the special desires or interests of any individual or group. At the same time, enforced cooperation will only breed resentment and inefficiency. The people themselves must be led to understand it as not just a job to do, but as a divine calling they themselves must have “a mind to the work.” Otherwise they should probably be encouraged to work elsewhere.

The early Christians served “daily with one accord . . . and singleness of heart, . . . And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:46-47). That’s the way it should be. HMM


But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. —Hebrews 2:9

Nothing anywhere in this vast, complex world is as beautiful and as compelling as the record of the Incarnation, the act by which God was made flesh to dwell among us in our own human history. This Jesus, the Christ of God, who made the universe and who sustains all things by His powerful word, was a tiny babe among us. He was comforted to sleep when He whimpered in His mother’s arms. Great, indeed, is the mystery of godliness….

Jesus has been in our world. He spoke and taught about all these things and about everything that concerns us. The record shows that His listeners were amazed and astonished, almost to the point of being frightened. “The people were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one having authority” (Matthew 7:28-29). “Never man spake like this man” (John 7:46)….

Where can we look in all the vast creation around us to find anything as beautiful—as utterly, awesomely, deeply beautiful—as the Incarnation? God became flesh to dwell among us, to redeem us, to restore us, to save us completely.

Lord, I am inspired by Your beauty. Thank You for the glory I will one day share because Jesus came to redeem, to restore and to save me. Amen.

Are You Too Timid to Resist?

Speak every man truth with his neighbor; for we are members one of another. (Ephesians 4:25)

The clever proponents of evil political ideologies are spending millions to make us Americans ashamed to love our country. They use every means possible to persuade our own people that there is little left worth defending and certainly nothing worth dying for.

They are building in the public mind a picture of an American as a generous, tolerant, smiling chap who loves baseball and babies, and who subscribes wholly to the doctrine of the brotherhood of man—so everything is going to be all right!

From our point of view, these concepts are having their effects on the nation’s religious life, especially among Protestants.

Let a man rise to declare the unique Lordship of Jesus Christ and the absolute necessity of obedience to Him, and he is at once branded as a hate-monger and a divider of men.

The devil has brainwashed large numbers of religious leaders so successfully that they are now too timid to resist him! And he, being the kind of devil he is, takes swift advantage of their cowardice, erecting altars to Baal everywhere!

My very feebleness is the reason

It is true I am weak in faith, and prone to fall, but my very feebleness is the reason why I should always be where thou feedest thy flock, that I may be strengthened and preserved in safety beside the still waters. Why should I turn aside? There is no reason why I should, but there are a thousand reasons why I should not, for Jesus beckons me to come. If he withdraw himself a little, it is but to make me prize his presence more. Now that I am grieved and distressed at being away from him, he will lead me yet again to that sheltered nook where the lambs of his fold are sheltered from the burning sun.