VIDEO Readiness For The Call

God called to him….And he said, “Here I am.” —Exodus 3:4

When God speaks, many of us are like people in a fog, and we give no answer. Moses’ reply to God revealed that he knew where he was and that he was ready. Readiness means having a right relationship to God and having the knowledge of where we are. We are so busy telling God where we would like to go. Yet the man or woman who is ready for God and His work is the one who receives the prize when the summons comes. We wait with the idea that some great opportunity or something sensational will be coming our way, and when it does come we are quick to cry out, “Here I am.” Whenever we sense that Jesus Christ is rising up to take authority over some great task, we are there, but we are not ready for some obscure duty.

Readiness for God means that we are prepared to do the smallest thing or the largest thing— it makes no difference. It means we have no choice in what we want to do, but that whatever God’s plans may be, we are there and ready. Whenever any duty presents itself, we hear God’s voice as our Lord heard His Father’s voice, and we are ready for it with the total readiness of our love for Him. Jesus Christ expects to do with us just as His Father did with Him. He can put us wherever He wants, in pleasant duties or in menial ones, because our union with Him is the same as His union with the Father. “…that they may be one just as We are one…” (John 17:22).

Be ready for the sudden surprise visits of God. A ready person never needs to get ready— he is ready. Think of the time we waste trying to get ready once God has called! The burning bush is a symbol of everything that surrounds the person who is ready, and it is on fire with the presence of God Himself.

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

The sympathy which is reverent with what it cannot understand is worth its weight in gold.  Baffled to Fight Better, 69 L


Exodus 3-4 – 2011 – Skip Heitzig

When God calls you, how do you respond? Do you make excuses–running in the opposite direction? In this study from the book of Exodus, we see the Lord present Moses’ calling on a silver platter. As we examine his encounter at the burning bush, let’s explore five common excuses for disobeying God’s will.

This teaching is from our series Exodus – 2011 with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Church.

Hard Ground and Tender Mercy

Praise be to the Lord. Ruth 4:14

When James was just six years old, his older brother David died tragically in an ice-skating accident. It was the day before David’s fourteenth birthday. In the years that followed, James tried his best to console his mother, Margaret, who in her deep grief sometimes reminded herself that her elder son would never have to face the challenges of growing up. In James Barrie’s fertile imagination, decades later that same idea would burgeon into inspiration for a much-loved children’s story character who never aged: Peter Pan. Like a flower pushing its way through pavement, good emerged even from the hard ground of unthinkable heartache.

How comforting is the thought that God, in an infinitely more creative way, is able to bring good out of our most difficult circumstances. A beautiful illustration of this occurs in the Old Testament story of Ruth. Naomi lost her two sons, leaving her without means or support. Her widowed daughter-in-law Ruth chose to remain with Naomi to help provide for her and to serve her God (Ruth 1:16). In the end, God’s provision brought them unexpected joy. Ruth remarried and had a child, “and they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David” (4:17). He would also be listed among the ancestors of Jesus (Matthew 1:5).

God’s tender mercy reaches beyond our ability to fathom and meets us in surprising places. Keep looking! Perhaps you’ll see it today.

By:  James Banks

Reflect & Pray

When have you seen God bring unexpected good out of difficult circumstances in your life? How can you share what He’s done with others?

Loving God, I thank You that one day You’ll wipe every tear from my eyes because You’re greater than every heartache or difficulty I’ll ever face

Sunday Reflection: Seeking Safety

To get the most out of this devotion, set aside time to read the Scripture referenced throughout.

Here’s a hard question: If we know and believe worshipping idols cannot satisfy us, why do we still struggle to choose loving God over being devoted to the things of this world?

Perhaps one of the reasons we turn away from the Lord is because He requires authenticity and righteousness that our idols don’t. When we construct our idols, we can control them—ultimately, that puts us in charge. But we cannot control God.

In Psalm 135, we read that idols “have mouths, but they do not speak; they have eyes, but they do not see; they have ears, but they do not hear, nor is there any breath at all in their mouths. Those who make them will be like them, yes, everyone who trusts in them” (Psalm 135:16-18).

An idol—which doesn’t issue commands, hold us accountable, or hear if we’re being untruthful—can in many ways feel safer than the Lord. But we have to ask another difficult question: Is false security worth it?

Think about it
• How can idolatry provide a false sense of safety? By contrast, how does God give you real safety (though it may not always feel easy or comfortable)?

The First Day of the Week

“And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” (Acts 20:7)

Given the fact that everything about God’s Word was specifically inspired by its Author, it is appropriate that this important phrase, “the first day of the week,” occurs exactly eight times in the Bible. The first six of these (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:2, 9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1, 19) all stress the fact that it was on this day that the greatest event in history (since the creation) had taken place. The creation of the universe had taken place on the first day of the week, and now its Creator had conquered sin and death itself on that day. In the Bible, of course, the number “seven” represents completeness, so “eight” represents a new beginning—a new creation, a resurrection.

The last two references tell us just how the early Christians remembered this day. Our text verse tells us this was a day on which the disciples assembled together, had a preaching service, and then “broke bread.” This was not a special assembly called just for Paul, for he had already been waiting there six days (see the previous verse). This was about 25 years after the resurrection itself, and the Jewish believers were evidently still observing the seventh day as a rest day, but then they also observed the first day of the week as the time to commemorate the Lord’s death in “breaking of bread” to celebrate His resurrection and especially to hear the preaching of His Word. The final reference tells us one other vital thing they did: “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him” (1 Corinthians 16:2). The first day of the week should always be a time of remembering Him in these joyful ways, for He is our living Lord and Savior. HMM

Much Every Way

Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and mere is nothing too hard for thee. —Jeremiah 32:17

When Tennyson wrote “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of,” he probably uttered a truth of vaster significance than even he understood. While it is not always possible to trace an act of God to its prayer-cause, it is yet safe to say that prayer is back of everything that God does for the sons of men here upon earth. One would gather as much from a simple reading of the Scriptures.

What profit is there in prayer? “Much every way.” Whatever God can do faith can do, and whatever faith can do prayer can do when it is offered in faith. An invitation to prayer is, therefore, an invitation to omnipotence, for prayer engages the Omnipotent God and brings Him into our human affairs. Nothing is impossible to the man who prays in faith, just as nothing is impossible with God. This generation has yet to prove all that prayer can do for believing men and women.   SOS033

Lord, this is a truth with implications too vast for our finite comprehension. Thank You that you use the prayers of believers to engage Your omnipotence. Amen.

Tozer on Christian Leadership

Not Waste but Glory

My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. —Psalm 84:2

In our private prayers and in our public services we are forever asking God to do things that He either has already done or cannot do because of our unbelief. We plead for Him to speak when He has already spoken and is at that very moment speaking. We ask Him to come when He is already present and waiting for us to recognize Him. We beg the Holy Spirit to fill us while all the time we are preventing Him by our doubts.

Of course the Christian can hope for no manifestation of God while he lives in a state of disobedience. Let a man refuse to obey God on some clear point, let him set his will stubbornly to resist any commandment of Christ, and the rest of his religious activities will be wasted….”To obey is better than sacrifice.” (1 Samuel 15:22) I need only add that all this tragic waste is unnecessary. The believing Christian will relish every moment in church and will profit by it. The instructed, obedient Christian will yield to God as the clay to the potter, and the result will be not waste but glory everlasting. BAM102

Speak, Thy servant heareth,

Be not silent, Lord;

Waits my soul upon Thee

For the quickening word. HCL205

Tozer on the Holy Spirit.

A Crisis and A Process

Philippians 3:12

The question is sometimes debated whether the experience of holiness is gained instantly or gradually. The answer is that the life of holiness is both a crisis and a process. There can be no experience without a beginning, but no beginning can be maintained without growth.

First there must be a beginning. There arises an awareness of personal need which draws a man on to an act of full surrender. The forgiven soul awakes to the truth that forgiveness is not enough. Blessed is the man whose iniquity is forgiven—but that act of divine grace arouses in him a longing to be like the One to whom he owes his forgiveness.

Or the beauty of holiness as seen in another life may awaken this desire. Here is the magic of Christian love shining in other eyes and the light of Christian joy illuminating another face. What could be more inviting? True Christian living not only is good but looks good. Grace and charm are never far apart.

The life that is wholly forgiven needs to be wholly possessed. And to be fully possessed requires a full surrender. Need, of which I am made conscious by a variety of reasons, may drive me to my knees in total surrender.

God’s answer is to grant me of His Spirit according to my capacity to receive. In faith believing I receive of His Spirit. That is the beginning.

The beginning, but not the end. This is the commencement of the life of holiness, not its crown. And a start loses all meaning unless there is a continuance.

The crisis must be followed by a process. In the initial act of surrender I receive the fullness of the Spirit according to my capacity to receive. But that capacity grows with receiving—as a bandsman’s facility to play grows with playing, or to speak with speaking or to follow his craft by practicing it. I learn by doing, not less in matters of the heart than of the hands. A full surrender is the beginning of the life of holy living; the end of that experience I do not—I cannot—see. There’s a long, long trail a-winding between start and finish.

At no point is the believer ever as good as he can be. Ever must there be growth in grace, and every day of growth will prepare the way for days of further growth. Just as the longer a musician practices his art, the more sensitive becomes his ear to any untunefulness, so the closer a believer draws to Christ, the more sensitive will he become to anything un-Christlike.

Frederick Coutts, The Call To Holiness