Are You Ready in Season?

Be ready in season and out of season —2 Timothy 4:2

Many of us suffer from the unbalanced tendency to “be ready” only “out of season.” The season does not refer to time; it refers to us. This verse says, “Preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season.” In other words, we should “be ready” whether we feel like it or not. If we do only what we feel inclined to do, some of us would never do anything. There are some people who are totally unemployable in the spiritual realm. They are spiritually feeble and weak, and they refuse to do anything unless they are supernaturally inspired. The proof that our relationship is right with God is that we do our best whether we feel inspired or not.

One of the worst traps a Christian worker can fall into is to become obsessed with his own exceptional moments of inspiration. When the Spirit of God gives you a time of inspiration and insight, you tend to say, “Now that I’ve experienced this moment, I will always be like this for God.” No, you will not, and God will make sure of that. Those times are entirely the gift of God. You cannot give them to yourself when you choose. If you say you will only be at your best for God, as during those exceptional times, you actually become an intolerable burden on Him. You will never do anything unless God keeps you consciously aware of His inspiration to you at all times. If you make a god out of your best moments, you will find that God will fade out of your life, never to return until you are obedient in the work He has placed closest to you, and until you have learned not to be obsessed with those exceptional moments He has given you.

By Oswald Chambers

Characteristics of a Generous Spirit

2 Corinthians 8:1-15

When we hear of a need, we may desire to give—but then our bank account convinces us doing so is impossible. Although we realize that generosity should characterize believers, sometimes it seems the only way to be generous is to be wealthy.

The Christians in Macedonia prove that this is not the case. Using them as a model of generosity, Paul motivated the Corinthians to follow through on their original commitment to support the church in Jerusalem. Through the example of the Macedonian churches in today’s reading, we see what characterizes a generous spirit.

A generous person is sensitive to the needs of others.
Although the Macedonian believers were suffering from affliction, their own troubles didn’t prevent them from feeling compassion for the needs of fellow Christians (2 Cor. 8:2).

A generous spirit sees needs as opportunities. Far from dreading needs, they actually begged Paul to let them help support the saints in Jerusalem (2 Cor. 8:4).

Liberality flows from a life surrendered to God. Before offering their gifts, these believers first gave themselves to the Lord in obedience to His will (2 Cor. 8:5).

Generosity is not an emotion but a decision. The Corinthian church was also moved to contribute, but they may have discovered what we often do—that “readiness to desire” generosity is not the same as “completion of it” (2 Cor. 8:11).

A generous spirit has nothing to do with how much money we have, but rather how much of us the Lord has. When we are fully surrendered to Him, He provides the grace we need to share whatever we have—whether time, treasure, or talent.

Compound Names of Jehovah

In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” (Jeremiah 23:6)

There are seven compound names of Jehovah in Scripture which together provide profound insight into the person and work of our Lord. The first of these identifies Jehovah, the God of the Covenant, with the Creator “the LORD God [’Jehovahelohim’] [who] made the earth and the heavens” (Genesis 2:4).

On finding a ram to sacrifice in place of his son, Isaac, “Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh [the Lord will provide]” (Genesis 22:14).

Contingent upon their keeping the law, God promised the people of Israel that “I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee [literally, ‘Jehovah-rapha’]” (Exodus 15:26).

Fresh from a miraculous victory in the first battle of the people of Israel, “Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi [Jehovah the Victor]” (Exodus 17:15).

Once the Lord had commissioned Gideon to lead the people of Israel out of bondage, “Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovahshalom [Jehovah sends peace]” (Judges 6:24).

In a passage concerning the future regathering and conversion of Israel quoted in our text, we see that Israel refers to the “LORD our righteousness [’Jehovah-tsidkenu’].”

Finally, in the last verse of his book, Ezekiel describes the absorbing charm of the heavenly city and the One who will preside over it, claiming, “The name of the city from that day shall be, The LORD is there [’Jehovah-shama,’ Jehovah the indweller]” (Ezekiel 48:35).

And best of all, He is all seven to us. JDM

The Seeking Heart Finds God

And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. —Jeremiah 29:13

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 answer to that question is given in one word: Repent.

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. To know Him is to love Him and to know Him better is to love Him more.

Lord, I mourn my coldness toward You and repent, that I may enter into a loving, intimate relationship with You. Amen.

“Top Side of Our Soul”

To open their eyes and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God. (Acts 26:18)

It is certainly a reality in our day that too few men and women are willing to keep the “top side” of their souls open to God and to His light from heaven.

You may wonder about such expression as the “top side” of the soul, but I do think it is in line with Bible teaching, and certainly in line with all Christian experience.

The heart and soul are open to God in some people’s lives, but certainly not in others.

We should be aware that man’s forgiveness is not always like God’s. When a man makes a mistake and has to be forgiven, the shadow may still hang over him among his fellows.

But when God forgives, He begins the new page right away. Then when the devil runs up and says, “What about his past?” God replies, “What past? He has been forgiven!”

Now, I think that kind of forgiveness and justification and acceptance with God depends upon a person’s willingness to keep the “top side” of the soul open to God and His saving grace!

If the most precious are tried in the fire

If the most precious are tried in the fire, are we to escape the crucible? If the diamond must be vexed upon the wheel, are we to be made perfect without suffering? Who hath commanded the wind to cease from blowing because our bark is on the deep? Why and wherefore should we be treated better than our Lord? The First-born felt the rod, and why not the younger brethren? It is pride which would choose a downy pillow and a silken couch for a soldier of the cross. Wiser far is he who, being first resigned to the divine will, groweth by the energy of grace to be pleased with it, and so learns to gather lilies at the cross-foot, and, like Samson, to find honey in the lion.