VIDEO Get Moving on Flag Day!

Abide in Me… —John 15:4

In the matter of determination. The Spirit of Jesus is put into me by way of the atonement by the Cross of Christ. I then have to build my thinking patiently to bring it into perfect harmony with my Lord. God will not make me think like Jesus— I have to do it myself. I have to bring “every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). “Abide in Me”— in intellectual matters, in money matters, in every one of the matters that make human life what it is. Our lives are not made up of only one neatly confined area.

Am I preventing God from doing things in my circumstances by saying that it will only serve to hinder my fellowship with Him? How irrelevant and disrespectful that is! It does not matter what my circumstances are. I can be as much assured of abiding in Jesus in any one of them as I am in any prayer meeting. It is unnecessary to change and arrange my circumstances myself. Our Lord’s inner abiding was pure and unblemished. He was at home with God wherever His body was. He never chose His own circumstances, but was meek, submitting to His Father’s plans and directions for Him. Just think of how amazingly relaxed our Lord’s life was! But we tend to keep God at a fever pitch in our lives. We have none of the serenity of the life which is “hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3).

Think of the things that take you out of the position of abiding in Christ. You say, “Yes, Lord, just a minute— I still have this to do. Yes, I will abide as soon as this is finished, or as soon as this week is over. It will be all right, Lord. I will abide then.” Get moving— begin to abide now. In the initial stages it will be a continual effort to abide, but as you continue, it will become so much a part of your life that you will abide in Him without any conscious effort. Make the determination to abide in Jesus wherever you are now or wherever you may be placed in the future.

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

The life of Abraham is an illustration of two things: of unreserved surrender to God, and of God’s complete possession of a child of His for His own highest end.
Not Knowing Whither


The Benefits of Abiding in Christ, Part 1 (John 15:4–11)

The Kingdom of God

The kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Mark 10:14

My mother has been committed to many things over the course of her life, but one that has remained constant is her desire to see little children introduced to Jesus. Of the few times I’ve witnessed my mother display disagreement publicly, all were when someone attempted to cut a children’s ministry budget in favor of what they felt were more “serious” expenditures. “I took off one summer when I was pregnant with your brother, but that’s it,” she told me. I did a little family math and I realized my mom had been working with children in the church for fifty-five years.

Mark 10 records one of the endearing stories in the Gospels commonly titled “The Little Children and Jesus.” People were bringing children to Jesus that He might touch and bless them. But the disciples tried to prevent this from happening. Mark records Jesus as “indignant”—and rebuking His very own disciples: “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (v. 14).

Charles Dickens wrote, “I love these little people; and it’s not a slight thing when they, who are so fresh from God, love us.” And it’s not a slight thing when we, who are older, do all we can to make sure the little children are never hindered from the ever-fresh love of Jesus.

By:  John Blase

Sunday Reflection: In Body and Spirit

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

Some Christians mistakenly think the soul is all that matters and the physical body only gets in the way. But when God created the human body, He called it good (Gen. 1:31).

Perhaps the confusion stems from what Paul meant when comparing the “flesh” with the “Spirit” (Galatians 5). In using the word flesh, he was speaking not of the body but of the false self—the part of us prone to fear, selfishness, pride, and more. Our physical self, just as much as our spiritual being, belongs to God and is an instrument for His use; both are in fact part of the new creation we become in Jesus. And so, our true self has a redeemed soul as well as a redeemed body.

Genesis 2:7 says God “formed the man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.” And we’ll be physical beings in eternity as we’re transformed “into conformity with [Christ’s] glorious body” (Phil. 3:21). To discover the fullness of your true identity as God’s child, embrace both the spirit and the body He’s given you.

Think about it
• In what ways or circumstances are you reminded that your body is part of your true identity in Christ? What makes it difficult to accept that?

The Proverbial Tongue

“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

“Follow Me”

Mark 1:16-20

THE call of the fishermen disciples by the sea (Matt. 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20) was really a second call, a call to service. Peter, Andrew and John were already disciples, having first followed Christ as recorded in John 1:35-51.

Notice that our Lord uses the same figure for their new work as the work they had been following: “fishers of men.” The Lord exalts and spiritualizes our work, transforms it into a heavenly calling. Here, certainly, is a call to soul-winning, a vocation not popular with many Christians. Some, falling back upon predestination, argue that God will convict and save those whom He chooses. That is true, but one of the means He uses to convict the unsaved is the ministry of a personal worker.

The disciples followed “straightway,” which implies that much still must be learned. Peter followed in much self-will and had to be humbled and broken in self before he could respond to the later “follow Me” of Tiberias (John 21:19). The two “follow Me’s” in his life are full of meaning for us: it is not every one who has followed from Galilee who will follow from Tiberias.

In Luke 5:1-11 we have an incident probably parallel to this call by Galilee. After teaching in Peters boat, our Lord ordered them to launch into the deep and let down their nets for a draught. “For a draught,” mind you—He expected results. Our Lord often orders us into deep water after we have toiled all night in vain. Notice the “nevertheless” in Peter’s reply, “We have taken nothing; nevertheless at Thy word….” We must come to the end of self, our own striving, and then obey His word. From “we” to “Thy” is a transition for the Christian fisherman that never fails to obtain results.

The results were overwhelming. Where they had failed all night they made their greatest catch. We have come, today, to where we expect little when we fish for souls. Much striving without our Lord has produced nothing—and we neither hear nor heed His command. He Himself is not in the boat, that is the trouble. We have improved nets and standard instructions and good intentions, but the nets are not filled. We are not working in His fellowship and at His word.

Peter was convicted at the wonder of the catch and fell at the Lord’s knees confessing his sinfulness. True success does not elate us with ourselves but convicts us of our sinfulness. Our Lord’s reply shows that He meant to join the lesson taught there with spiritual soul-winning: “Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.”

Meager results among Christians and churches are excused today with many flimsy arguments: we need not expect great revivals, we are told; it is the last days, and conditions are as in the days of Noah. To save our faces and keep the appearances going, children are graded into church from the Sunday schools. The real trouble is, we are toiling in our own strength; the Lord is not in the boat, and we are not obeying His word. Christians and churches venture on campaigns and programs of their own while the Lord is left out and His instructions are ignored.

If we met these conditions, once more the nets would fill, we should overcome at His feet, and He would commission us afresh to fishing for men.

Believing—We Receive

Whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you.—John 15:16

An important step to help you access the power of the Spirit is to reach out in faith and receive the fullness of all that God has for you. We enter into all God’s blessing by faith. As a child of God, you are heir to all that the Father has—Himself. So reach out and take Him now. Jesus said, “If anyone is thirsty, he should come to Me and drink” (Jn 7:37).

Are you thirsty? Then drink. “Now this is the confidence we have before Him: Whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for” (1Jn 5:14-15). Here are the principles:

Confidence—”the confidence we have before Him.”

Conversing—”we ask anything.”

Condition—”according to His will.”

Conviction—”we know that He hears whatever we ask.”

Consequence—”we know that we have.”

Follow the principles one by one. Have confidence in the character of God. Converse with Him and tell Him your need—to be filled to overflowing with His Holy Spirit. Believe that the condition is met and your asking is in harmony with His will. Remind yourself that He hears your request and that He is flooding your whole being with His power. Have the boldness to take what is there. Faith will turn it to fact; fact will turn it to feeling. Welcome His coming in whatever manner He comes. You are thirsty—so drink … and drink … and drink.

Prayer

O Father, how can I thank You enough for bringing me to this moment? It is an end, yet it is a beginning. I know that life is ahead of me, for life is within me. I am grateful beyond words. Amen.

Further Study

Ac 7:42-56; Jn 20:22; Eph 3:19; 5:18

What was said of Stephen?

What is Paul’s exhortation?

Living the Holy Life

Romans 12:2

Many of us have lived long enough to have observed a radical shift in moral attitudes in the western world that threatens the fabric of our society. However, there are those who constantly press for further changes that would permit greater laxity. They insist that all citizens should possess, as of right by law, the maximum possible degree of free choice for the exercise of sexual enjoyment in whatever form they desire, provided others are not directly harmed or unwillingly involved.

Such an arrangement strikes at the root of Christian ethics, typical of the insidious philosophy held in common by most advocates of “the new morality.” Thrusting this line of thought still further, any individual should be free to create his own private criteria for conduct. Adoption of private moral standards eventually would lead to moral anarchy.

The argument also overlooks the inherent sinfulness of man. Our strong instinctual drives tend to get out of hand unless harnessed by a stronger power.

Another component in the philosophy on which modern moral permissiveness is grounded is that morals are derived from our culture and do not find their foundation in God. Christians are not blind to the influence of inheritance, custom and culture on the behavioral patterns. But they believe that God’s Word, illumined by the Holy Spirit, reveals the basic moral pattern for men.

Not the times in which we live, but the Bible is the measuring rod for the Christian’s practice as well as his faith.

Is it possible to maintain Christian standards of conduct and behavior in a world that stands in irrevocable opposition to the spirit of Jesus? The real answer is found in the biblical doctrine of holiness. The dilution or deletion of this doctrine would result in an emasculated gospel. Will you join me in fervent prayer for a revival of holiness teaching and holy living among God’s people? Let us give the Holy Spirit’s sanctifying work its proper place in teaching and personal experience.

Clarence D. Wiseman, The Privilege of All Believers