VIDEO God’s Purpose or Mine?

God’s Purpose or Mine?

He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side… —Mark 6:45

We tend to think that if Jesus Christ compels us to do something and we are obedient to Him, He will lead us to great success. We should never have the thought that our dreams of success are God’s purpose for us. In fact, His purpose may be exactly the opposite. We have the idea that God is leading us toward a particular end or a desired goal, but He is not. The question of whether or not we arrive at a particular goal is of little importance, and reaching it becomes merely an episode along the way. What we see as only the process of reaching a particular end, God sees as the goal itself.

What is my vision of God’s purpose for me? Whatever it may be, His purpose is for me to depend on Him and on His power now. If I can stay calm, faithful, and unconfused while in the middle of the turmoil of life, the goal of the purpose of God is being accomplished in me. God is not working toward a particular finish— His purpose is the process itself. What He desires for me is that I see “Him walking on the sea” with no shore, no success, nor goal in sight, but simply having the absolute certainty that everything is all right because I see “Him walking on the sea” (Mark 6:49). It is the process, not the outcome, that is glorifying to God.

God’s training is for now, not later. His purpose is for this very minute, not for sometime in the future. We have nothing to do with what will follow our obedience, and we are wrong to concern ourselves with it. What people call preparation, God sees as the goal itself.

God’s purpose is to enable me to see that He can walk on the storms of my life right now. If we have a further goal in mind, we are not paying enough attention to the present time. However, if we realize that moment-by-moment obedience is the goal, then each moment as it comes is precious.

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

The truth is we have nothing to fear and nothing to overcome because He is all in all and we are more than conquerors through Him. The recognition of this truth is not flattering to the worker’s sense of heroics, but it is amazingly glorifying to the work of Christ. Approved Unto God, 4 R


Are You Doing God’s Will or Your Own? – Paul Washer

Bees and Snakes

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7:11

Some problems have Daddy’s name written all over them. For instance, my kids recently discovered bees had moved into a crack in our concrete front porch. So, armed with bug spray, I went out to do battle.

I got stung. Five times.

I don’t like being stung by insects. But better me than my kids or wife. Taking care of my family’s well-being is at the top of my job description after all. My children recognized a need, and they asked me to address it. They trusted me to protect them from something they feared.

In Matthew 7, Jesus teaches that we too should bring our needs to God (v. 7), trusting Him with our requests. To illustrate, Jesus gives a case study in character: “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?” (vv. 9–10). For loving parents, the answer is obvious. But Jesus answers anyway, challenging us not to lose faith in our Father’s generous goodness: “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (v. 11).

I can’t imagine loving my kids more. But Jesus assures us that even the best earthly father’s love is eclipsed by God’s love for us.

Father, thank You for loving us so much more than even the best father here ever could. Help us to do as Jesus said with everything that’s on our hearts; to ask, seek, and knock in our relationship with You.

We can rely on our Father for everything we need.

By Adam Holz 

INSIGHT

The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5–7) focuses on the attitudes and actions that are to characterize “citizens” who live under God’s rule. Yet an even more intimate relationship comes into play in the sermon. A common thread that runs through the chapters is a “family focus” or, more specifically, a “Father focus.” In Matthew 5:9 Jesus declared, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (emphasis added). And when followers of Christ display heaven’s light by the way they live, the “Father in heaven” gets the credit (v. 16). Showing love for one’s enemies also demonstrates kinship with our heavenly Father (vv. 43–48).

Those who engage in holy habits (6:4, 6, 18), including prayer, do so with the knowledge that the primary audience is their Father in heaven. The King who rules over all is “our Father” and cares enough to hear our prayers for all our needs. Thus, we can confidently address Him, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name” (v. 9).

When you pray this week, reflect on the fact that you are praying to the One Scripture calls our heavenly Father.

Arthur Jackson

The Age of Accountability

Deuteronomy 11:18-20

I recall an interesting conversation I once had with a young first-time mom while she allowed me to hold her infant son. I commented, “It’s hard to believe that they are born with a sinful nature.” She protested, and I thought it best not to argue with her. But I would have liked to call her a couple of years later when the boy was a toddler to see if she thought any differently!

At one point or another, all of us have felt a tug to do something that we knew was wrong. As adults and believers, we’ve learned that giving in to temptation is a sin against God. But small children do exactly as their nature dictates. Mother says, “Don’t touch,” but they reach out anyway. Little ones do not yet see the wisdom of following a parent’s rules. Boys and girls must be taught to recognize the difference between good and evil before they can make the wise choice to do right.

In the early years, a child is in a state of innocence. He is neither righteous nor saved, but he is safe from God’s wrath—if he dies, he goes to heaven. We saw in yesterday’s devotion that this state of innocence is referenced in Scripture (Deuteronomy 1:39; Isa. 7:16), confirming that there is a period of time when children are not morally accountable for their conduct.

The age when a child comes to understand moral responsibility is different for each one. As children grow, they develop the spiritual capacity to pursue righteousness or knowingly give in to evil. The years of innocence are the time for parents to impart sound biblical training and lessons on obedience so that when they’re older, they “will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6).

Remembering the Day of Rest

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates.” (Exodus 20:8-10)

The Hebrew word for “remember” actually means to “mark” or “set aside.” The Israelites didn’t need to be told to “remember” the sabbath, because all nations had been keeping time in weeks ever since creation (Genesis 2:1-3). (Note the references to the sabbath in the sending of God’s manna, prior to the giving of this commandment [Exodus 16:23-29].) But they did need to be reminded to mark it as a holy or rest day, as God had done in that first week.

The Hebrew word for “sabbath” does not mean “Saturday” any more than it means “Sunday.” It means, simply, “rest” or “intermission.” The institution of the sabbath (that is, one day out of every seven days to be “set aside” as a day of rest, worship, and remembrance of the Creator) was “made for man” and his good (Mark 2:27). It was even of benefit to the animals used by man (note the mention of “cattle” in the commandment). It had been a pattern observed since the completion of God’s six days of creation and making all things at the very beginning of world history (note Genesis 2:1-3; Exodus 20:11).

It is still appropriate today, as well. “There remaineth therefore a rest [that is, ‘a sabbath-keeping’] to the people of God” (Hebrews 4:9). All men have a deep need to remember their Creator and His completed work of creation at least once each week, as well as His completed work of salvation—especially in these days when both of these finished works are so widely denied or ignored. HMM

Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom

Luke 23:39-43

Luke 23:39-42

Dr. Hanna has beautifully said: “Here, amid the triumph of enemies, and the failure of the faith of friends, is one who discerns, even through the dark envelope which covers it, the hidden glory of the Redeemer, and openly hails him as his Lord and King. Marvellous, indeed, the faith in our Lord’s divinity which sprung up so suddenly in such an unlikely region. Are we wrong in saying that, at the particular moment when that testimony to Christ’s divinity was borne, there was not another fill believer in that divinity but the dying thief?… And what a tenderness of conscience is here; what deep reverence for God; what devout submission to the divine will; what entire relinquishment of all personal grounds of confidence before God; what a vivid realising of the world of spirits; what a humble trust in Jesus; what a zeal for the Saviour’s honour; what an indignation at the unworthy treatment he was receiving! May we not take that catalogue of the fruits of genuine repentance which an apostle has drawn up for us, and applying it here, say of this man’s repentance: Behold what carefulness it wrought in him; yea, what clearing of himself; yea, what indignation; yea, what fear; yea, what vehement desire; yea, what zeal; yea, what revenge! In all things he approved himself to be a changed man, in all the desires and dispositions and purposes of his heart.”

Luke 23:43

The dying Saviour reigns on the cross, and allots a place in paradise to his companion in death. Here is no hint of purgatory, the pardoned thief is with Jesus that very day. So also shall all believers be with Jesus immediately they leave the body.

Matthew 27:45-49

Matthew 27:46

A cry in which every word is emphatic. Read it over as many times as there are words, and see a new force of meaning each time. Jesus cried in this manner, that none of his saints might ever need to do so.

Matthew 27:47

Thus jesting at his prayer. Oh, horrid cruelty!

John 19:28-30

John 19:28-30

What a grand utterance! Now are we safe, for salvation is complete.

Matthew 27:51-54

Matthew 27:53

These were early proofs of his resurrection power. These firstfruits prove that the harvest is sure.

 

Are You Part Of A Worldwide Body?

For the body is not one member, but many… Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. (1 Corinthians 12:14, 27)

Stating it in the most simple terms, the Christian Church, called to be the Body of Christ on earth, is the assembly of redeemed saints.

We meet in local congregations and assemblies, yet we know that we are not an end in ourselves. If we are going to be what we ought to be in the local church, we must come to think of ourselves as a part of something more expansive, something larger that God is doing throughout the world.

There is an important sense here in which we find that we “belong”—belonging to something that is worthy and valuable, and something that is going to last forever!

These are considerations concerning the whole Church, the Body of Christ, and the fact that in our local congregation we have the joyful sense of belonging to an amazing fellowship throughout the world. Every believing church has a part with us and we a part with them.

Brethren, the Church must have the enabling and the power of the Holy Spirit and the glow of the Shekinah glory—God within us. For then, even lacking everything else, you still have a true church!

 

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time

“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.” 1Peter 5:6

This is tantamount to a promise: if we will bow down, the Lord will lift us up. Humility leads to honor: submission is the way to exaltation. That same hand of God which presses us down is waiting to raise us up when we are prepared to bear the blessing. We stoop to conquer. Many cringe before men, and yet miss the patronage they crave; but he that humbles himself under the hand of God shall not fail to be enriched, uplifted, sustained, and comforted by the ever-gracious One. It is a habit of Jehovah to cast down the proud, and lift up the lowly.

Yet there is a time for the Lord’s working. We ought now to humble ourselves, even at this present moment; and we are bound to keep on doing so whether the Lord lays His afflicting hand upon us or not. When the Lord smites, it is our special duty to accept the chastisement with profound submission. But as for the Lord’s exaltation of us, that can only come “in due time,” and God is the best judge of that day and hour. Do we cry out impatiently for the blessing? Would we wish for untimely honor? What are we at? Surely we are not truly humbled, or we should wait with quiet submission. So let us do.

 

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