Peter…said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “…what is that to you? You follow Me.” —John 21:21-22
One of the hardest lessons to learn comes from our stubborn refusal to refrain from interfering in other people’s lives. It takes a long time to realize the danger of being an amateur providence, that is, interfering with God’s plan for others. You see someone suffering and say, “He will not suffer, and I will make sure that he doesn’t.” You put your hand right in front of God’s permissive will to stop it, and then God says, “What is that to you?” Is there stagnation in your spiritual life? Don’t allow it to continue, but get into God’s presence and find out the reason for it. You will possibly find it is because you have been interfering in the life of another— proposing things you had no right to propose, or advising when you had no right to advise. When you do have to give advice to another person, God will advise through you with the direct understanding of His Spirit. Your part is to maintain the right relationship with God so that His discernment can come through you continually for the purpose of blessing someone else.
Most of us live only within the level of consciousness— consciously serving and consciously devoted to God. This shows immaturity and the fact that we’re not yet living the real Christian life. Maturity is produced in the life of a child of God on the unconscious level, until we become so totally surrendered to God that we are not even aware of being used by Him. When we are consciously aware of being used as broken bread and poured-out wine, we have yet another level to reach— a level where all awareness of ourselves and of what God is doing through us is completely eliminated. A saint is never consciously a saint— a saint is consciously dependent on God.
WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS
If there is only one strand of faith amongst all the corruption within us, God will take hold of that one strand. Not Knowing Whither, 888 L
I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.Exodus 4:12
Since age eight, Lisa had struggled with a stammer and became afraid of social situations that required her to talk with people. But later in life, after speech therapy helped her overcome her challenge, Lisa decided to use her voice to help others. She began volunteering as a counselor for an emotional distress telephone hotline.
Moses had to face his concerns about speaking to help lead the Israelites out of captivity. God asked him to communicate with Pharaoh, but Moses protested because he didn’t feel confident in his speaking ability (Exodus 4:10). God challenged him, “Who gave human beings their mouths?” Then He reassured Moses saying, “I will help you speak and will teach you what to say” (vv. 11–12).
God’s response reminds us that He can work powerfully through us even in our limitations. But even when we know this in our hearts, it can be hard to live it out. Moses continued to struggle and begged God to send someone else (v. 13). So God allowed Moses’ brother Aaron to accompany him (v. 14).
Each of us has a voice that can help others. We may be afraid. We may not feel capable. We may feel we don’t have the right words.
God knows how we feel. He can provide the words and all we need to serve others and accomplish His work.
The only furniture in the Most Holy Place, as it was designed by God, was the ark of the covenant, which was a box made of acacia wood and covered with gold. Its lid was called the mercy seat, or the place of propitiation. Inside were the two tablets of the Ten Commandments, but these were covered up by the mercy seat, indicating that through Christ’s propitiation on our behalf, the broken law (the Ten Commandments that were broken) has been covered by His propitiation. On either end of the mercy seat was a cherub. The two cherubs faced one another, looking toward the center of the mercy seat with their wings stretched out over them and their wing tips touching over the center of the mercy seat.
The mercy seat was God’s throne—He sits on a throne of mercy that covers the broken law. The two cherubs with their faces turned inward toward one another, their wing tips touching, represent the place of fellowship. So, this is a place of mercy and a place of fellowship—but it is also a throne, the seat of God as King.
In that piece of furniture there was no representation of God Himself, which was forbidden for the Israelites. But God did come in and take His place on that seat in the form of the shekinah glory—the visible, sensory presence of almighty God. The Most Holy Place was in total darkness; it had no natural or artificial illumination. But when the shekinah presence of God came in, then God was taking His place on the throne.
In Hebrews 10 we are invited into the Most Holy Place to “draw near to God” (verse 22, NIV). We are invited to take our place with Christ on the throne. We are to come by “a new and living way” (verse 20, NIV). This new and living way is Jesus.
Thank You, Lord, that I can draw near to You by the blood of Jesus. I proclaim that I come to the Most Holy Place by Jesus, “the new and living way.” I shall draw near to the Most Holy Place. Amen.
To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces … — 1 Peter 1:1 NIV
A Dr. Morrison went on a great preaching mission and spent two years preaching the Gospel in scores of different countries. About the time he got back, Teddy Roosevelt returned from big game hunting in Africa. The nation honored him with a ticker-tape parade and tens of thousands of people turned out to celebrate his return.
When Dr. Morrison arrived in his small hometown late at night, there was no one at the train station to greet him. There was one light bulb hanging from a cord, swaying and swinging in the breeze, but not a single person was there.
As he picked up his bags and started up a long hill to the little town, his heart was heavy. He said, “O Lord, Teddy Roosevelt went to shoot animals and he came back and they gave him a ticker-tape parade. I’ve been all over the world. I was almost killed in Borneo, and I was almost eaten in New Guinea, and several times I almost lost my life to preach the Gospel for the glory of your Son. I come home and there’s nobody here to greet me. Lord, I just don’t understand it.” He said that it seemed there in the darkness, as the breeze blew across his face, he could almost hear a voice coming out of Heaven that said, “You’re not home, yet.”
Question to ponder: When you think of your homecoming, what do you think you will say to Jesus?
Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. —2 Corinthians 3:17
The Spirit is also a volitional flame. Here as elsewhere the imagery is inadequate to express all the truth, and unless care is taken we may easily gain a wrong impression from its use. For fire as we see and know it every day is a thing, not a person, and for that reason it has no will of its own.
But the Holy Spirit is a Person, having those attributes of personality of which volition is one. He does not, upon entering the human soul, void any of His attributes, nor does He surrender them in part or in full to the soul into which He enters. Remember, the Holy Spirit is Lord….
Now it hardly need be said that the Sovereign Lord will never abandon the prerogatives of His Godhood. Wherever He is He must continue to act like Himself. When He enters the human heart He will be there what He has always been, Lord in His own right. POM106-107
The yielding up of the soul to the disposal of Christ, is an act of the mind which cannot be separated from living faith. DTC108
Moses [He] persevered, as one who sees Him who is invisible.—Hebrews 11:27
What is it that prompts some people to take more interest in the principles of godliness than in God Himself? I think one reason could be that we are more comfortable dealing in the realm of the visible than the invisible. We prefer to work with things we can touch, handle, and apply so that we feel an immediate impact rather than to launch out into the unseen and to simply trust.
I often saw people come up against this problem in the days when much of my time was spent in personal counseling. I would bring people to a place where they could accept that the roots of their problem lay in a deficient relationship with God. However, when a movement of simple basic trust toward Him was called for, terror would appear for a moment in their eyes, and they would say: “Give me some steps I can take to deal with my problem, some principles I can follow that will act as a ladder on which I can climb out of this pit.”
We all find it easier to do than to be; we prefer a plan to follow rather than a Person to trust. What our carnal nature hates to be faced with is the challenge of throwing ourselves in utter dependency on a God who is invisible and intangible. Yet this is what a relationship with God entails. The thing that marks Moses out as outstanding in the chapter before us today is not his works but his faith. He persevered because he saw Him who is invisible. It is possible to see the invisible, but it is possible only to the eye of faith.
My Father and my God, help me recognize this terrible tendency in myself to be more comfortable with working than trusting. Let Your Word reach deep into my heart today. Teach me how to be. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger. . . —Ephesians 4:26
Few things are more destructive to Christians than anger. Anger causes us to lose our self-control and to say and do things we would otherwise never consider. Anger, if allowed to remain, turns into bitterness that eats away at our hearts. Scripture consistently commands believers to put away anger and lists it as one of the sins of the flesh (Eph. 4:31).
At times, we try to defend our anger by citing Ephesians 4:26. As additional proof we argue that Jesus cleansed the temple in “righteous indignation.” Ephesians refers to anger that does not lead to sin. Jesus was capable of being angry without sinning. When Jesus cleared the temple, Scripture does not indicate that He was angry (Matt. 21:12–14; Mark 11:15–18; Luke 19:45–46).
We must be careful not to justify our anger with Scripture. Ephesians 4:31 commands us to put away all anger. That does not mean that we cease to have strong convictions or lose our desire for justice. It does mean we refuse to allow the sins of others to cause us to sin. Anger does not bring about God’s redemptive work; far more often it hinders what God is working to accomplish.
If you feel that you have a righteous anger because of something that has happened, see if you are holding anger in your heart without sin. Is your anger turning into bitterness? Is your anger causing you to speak in an unchristian manner to someone or to gossip about them? Is your anger causing you to make excuses for your own ungodly behavior? Is your anger preventing you from acting in a loving, redemptive, and Christlike way toward someone? You must examine any anger within you and allow God to remove any sinful attitudes that your anger may have produced.