VIDEO Do You See Your Calling?

…separated to the gospel of God… —Romans 1:1

Our calling is not primarily to be holy men and women, but to be proclaimers of the gospel of God. The one all-important thing is that the gospel of God should be recognized as the abiding reality. Reality is not human goodness, or holiness, or heaven, or hell— it is redemption. The need to perceive this is the most vital need of the Christian worker today. As workers, we have to get used to the revelation that redemption is the only reality. Personal holiness is an effect of redemption, not the cause of it. If we place our faith in human goodness we will go under when testing comes.

Paul did not say that he separated himself, but “when it pleased God, who separated me…” (Galatians 1:15). Paul was not overly interested in his own character. And as long as our eyes are focused on our own personal holiness, we will never even get close to the full reality of redemption. Christian workers fail because they place their desire for their own holiness above their desire to know God. “Don’t ask me to be confronted with the strong reality of redemption on behalf of the filth of human life surrounding me today; what I want is anything God can do for me to make me more desirable in my own eyes.” To talk that way is a sign that the reality of the gospel of God has not begun to touch me. There is no reckless abandon to God in that. God cannot deliver me while my interest is merely in my own character. Paul was not conscious of himself. He was recklessly abandoned, totally surrendered, and separated by God for one purpose— to proclaim the gospel of God (see Romans 9:3).

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

The Christian Church should not be a secret society of specialists, but a public manifestation of believers in Jesus.  Facing Reality, 34 R


Not Ashamed of the Gospel (Romans Chapter 1)

Unanswered Prayers

How long, Lord, how long? Psalm 6:3

Are we there yet? Not yet. Are we there yet? Not yet. That was the back-and-forth game we played on the first (and definitely not the last) sixteen-hour trip back home to Arkansas from Colorado when our children were young. Our oldest two kept the game alive and well, and if I had a dollar for every time they asked, well, I’d have a stack of dollars. It was a question my children were obsessed with, but I (the driver) was equally obsessed wondering, Are we there yet? And the answer was, Not yet, but soon.

Truth be told, most adults are asking a variation on that question, although we may not voice it out loud. But we’re asking it for that same reason—we’re tired, and our eyes have grown “weak with sorrow” (Psalm 6:7). We’re “worn out from [our] groaning” (v. 6) about everything from the nightly news to daily frustrations at work to never-ending health problems to relational strains, and the list goes on. We cry out: “Are we there yet? How long, Lord, how long?”

The psalmist knew well that kind of weariness, and he honestly brought that key question to God. Like a caring parent, He heard David’s cries and in His great mercy accepted them (v. 9). There was no shame for asking. Likewise, you and I can boldly approach our Father in heaven with our honest cries of “How long?” and His answer might be, “Not yet, but soon. I’m good. Trust Me.”   

By:  John Blase

Reflect & Pray

Why are you weary right now and wondering, How long, Lord? What is it about God that shows He’s trustworthy?

Father in heaven, the burdens of this world have me asking, “How long?” Thank You for welcoming such prayers, and please give me the strength to trust You in life’s journey

Sunday Reflection: Just a Little Patience

The Bible shows us that if we wait on God, He will act for us

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

Think back to when you were a child.  One word you likely detested hearing was wait. It’s a difficult thing, being patient—especially when it keeps you from something you deeply desire. But your parents had a reason for making you wait (Matt. 7:9-11).

Whatever we felt as children, it’s safe to say that in adulthood the stakes are often higher. We might be waiting for healing, a life-altering opportunity, or the return of a prodigal. Whatever we long for, the Bible tells us God “acts in behalf of one who waits for Him” (Isa. 64:4). Think of Mary and Martha in John 11, waiting for Jesus to rescue their brother Lazarus from illness. No matter how long the delay, the Lord is working in our best interest, even when there’s no visible evidence. In the end, it’s what He wants for us that matters—nothing short of resurrection.

Think about it

• Are there any areas in your life where your impatience is causing a problem? Are there areas in which you find it easier to be patient? List the ways that waiting is a strength or weakness for you, and form a prayer asking God to help you grow.

A New Song

“O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory.” (Psalm 98:1)

The theme of singing is frequently found in the Bible. Probably the first song ever sung was by God’s angels at the time of creation as God laid the cornerstone of the earth, “when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (Job 38:7).

There are nine occasions when a “new song” was to be sung by the people of God. The very first, appropriately, was to extol God’s Word and His creation. “Sing unto him a new song;…For the word of the LORD is right,” and then “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made” (Psalm 33:3-6). Then the second new song is placed prophetically on the lips of Christ, representing His thoughts on the cross after His sufferings were finished and He had paid the redemption price for all our sins. “He brought me up also out of an horrible pit,…And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God” (Psalm 40:2-3).

The next has to do with spreading the good news. “O sing unto the LORD a new song:…shew forth his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people” (Psalm 96:1-3). The fourth is our text, focusing on Christ’s future coming as King. The next three new songs (Psalms 144:9; 149:1; Isaiah 42:10) continue that great theme.

Finally, there are two new songs to be sung by the redeemed in heaven (Revelation 5:9; 14:3). We shall then all be singing to the Lord Jesus Christ: “Thou art worthy…for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:9-10). HMM

Rest

He lets me lie down in green pastures;

He leads me beside quiet waters (Psalm 23 v. 2).

Just as the ark of the covenant went ahead of Israel to find places of rest, so the Lord guides us to refreshment and relaxation. He provides green pastures and quiet waters. He doesn’t want us to work nonstop.

Sometimes, I need to be intellectually “driven” in my work, I used to work on a fairly regular basis with the London Symphony musicians doing recording projects. On many occasions I would fly all night to London, write music the first day, record the following day, write all that night, and record the next day. By that time I was more like a zombie than an arranger-composer badly in need of rest.

A shepherd thinks in terms of the needs of his flock just as a father thinks in terms of the needs of his family. God has taken on a flock, a family. He is involved with us, bound up with us, and deeply concerned about meeting our innermost personal needs. Modern psychology has pointed out how essential it is for normal, emotional development that we have an adequate father. Ultimately, only our Heavenly Father is adequate.

I want the Lord to balance my life today, to define my lifestyle and my priorities, to deliver me from neurotic activity and workaholism, and to keep me from trying to meet my own needs through work and achievement instead of through him.

Personal Prayer

Lord, help me to turn over to you the pressure and stress that I feel. Teach me to relax in your Spirit.

A Shepherd’s Perspective

My Creator—Shepherd

by Phillip Keller

“It is a staggering fact that Christ, the Creator of an enormous universe of overwhelming magnitude deigns to call Himself my Shepherd and invites me to consider myself His sheep—His special object of affection and attention. Who better could care for me?”

A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 © 1970.

“Jehovah”, No Such Word

God replied to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.”—Exodus 3:14

Honoring the name of God is not just esteeming the letters in His name, nor speaking His name in hushed or quiet tones. The ancient Israelites attached such a sacredness to the name of God that they would not say it aloud. They thought that hallowing God’s name meant hallowing the name itself. How utterly foolish and absurd! They paid honor to the actual letters of God’s name, yet, on occasion, thought nothing about disobeying His Word and denying His truth.

One great Hebrew scholar points out that there is no such word as “Jehovah” in the Hebrew language, although it appears in English translations of the Old Testament. The name of God in Exodus 3:14, where the Almighty gave His name to Moses—(“I AM WHO I AM”)—is Yahweh, the English equivalent of which is “Jehovah.” The Israelites would not say the word “Yahweh,” and eventually the vowels were taken out and mixed with the consonants of another Hebrew word to form the word “Adonai.” This was done as a device to avoid having to say the real word “Yahweh.” How ridiculous can you get?

Let us be quite clear, then, about what Jesus meant when He taught us to pray, “Your name be honored as holy.” God’s name stands for who He is—His mercy, His compassion, His love, His power, His eternity, and so on. When, as God’s children, we come to Him to honor His name, we do more than enter into a religious routine. We contemplate all that His name stands for and reverence Him for who He is.

Prayer

Father, I see that prayer, true prayer, is not just a technique; it is an art. Help me to learn this art and to implement what You are teaching me in my prayer life day by day. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Further Study

Gn 15; 22:14; Ex 15:26; 17:15; Jdg 6:24; Ps 23:1; Jr 23:6; Ezk 48:35

List some of the names of God.

What do they mean?

My Bible

Psalm 119:11

Josef Korbel endured 10 harsh years in a communist prison camp, where despite severe punishment and constant threats of death, the Brigadier continued his Christian witness.

My poor fellow prisoners all over the forced labor camps and in the prison cells were often downhearted and even desperate, ready to commit suicide. It often happened that a verse from the Word of God, which I quoted to them from memory, was a source of help and encouragement. Then I had an idea, and much later in a forced labor camp I was able to realize it.

At that time we were working on buildings and so it was easy to get brown paper from cement sacks. Taking a clean part from such a sack, I made a little notebook, using a piece of thin wire to pin it together.

Although it was against the rules of the camp to possess a pencil, I had a little stump hidden in my jacket. With this I wrote many beautiful Bible verses I knew by heart. Soon my notebook was full and I started to lend it to fellow prisoners, who were sad and downhearted.

After a while my “Bible” was in such demand, that men had to wait for days until it was their turn to get it. Shabby, mended and worn out from hiding it under ragged jackets, this “Bible” was a source of much blessing.

“Joe, is your Bible back?” they would ask. “Remember it is my turn now to get it.” I was so glad to see the eagerness in their eyes.

Once we got a hint that there would be a search of the camp. On such days the guards inspected every corner of the cells, including the ceiling and the floor boards, looking for knives, pencils, needles, notebooks, family photos and like articles that were strictly forbidden.

What should I do with my Bible? I wondered. At last I took it with me to the working place, hoping that we would have no personal inspection. I managed to get it safely there, and rolling it up I inserted it in one of the hollow bricks which were piled up.

“I shall take it out again tomorrow,” I thought. However the next day the pile of bricks was not there any more. The night shift used them and so my “Bible” was somewhere in the wall of a newly built house and lost. I never had the opportunity of making another one, but the Lord’s Word was kept hidden safely in my heart (Ps. 119:11).

Josef Korbel, When the Gates Were Opened