Devotional Thoughts For Today

Then tidings came to Joab: for Joab had turned after Adonijah, though he turned not after Absalom. And Joab fled unto the tabernacle of the LORD, and caught hold on the horns of the altar. 

1 Kings 2:28

Joab stood the big test, he remained absolutely loyal and true to David and did not turn after the fascinating and ambitious Absalom, but yet to wards the end of his life he turned after the craven Adonijah. Always remain alert to the fact that where one man has gone back is exactly where any one may go back (see 1 Cor. 10:13). You have gone through the big crisis, now be alert over the least things; take into calculation the "retired sphere of the leasts."

"Kept by the power of God" – that is the only safety.

How often do we hear of "men of God" who are tempted and fall? How many of these men make the same mistakes over and over (or make the same mistakes others have made)? Why don't we learn from the mistakes of others? If someone has fell "over" some sin in the past, what makes us–me–any different?

In aviation, crashes are studied to the nth degree. They study the accidents to learn from them. That way, the knowlegde learned can be passed along to everyone else. They can take that information and learn from it. If Flight XYZ crashed because situation 1, situation 2, and action 5 caused it, current pilots will learn and not so action 5 when faced with similar situations. Why should we do nothing less in our Christian lives?

I heard a man speak about what Josh McDowel requires people to setup for him when he is in town. He has a male stay in the hotel room next to his. Any phone calls, any delivereis, anything that comes for Josh goes to the guy in the next room first. Think about this for a second. If he always does this, no one could stick an accusation on Josh of receiving inappropriate material on the road. He cannot do anything with the delivery person who comes because he never sees them.

Just like everyone else in this world, we are only human. We can fall. ""Kept by the power of God" – that is the only safety."

Talents

14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.
19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
20And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

How many of us have read the parable in Matthew 25 and thought "Ok, I need to do something for God?" Well, Today's My Utmost for His Highest has a thought provoking view of this parable: 

The servant justified himself in everything he did and condemned his lord on every point…. Have we been slandering God by daring to worry when He has said: "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you"? Worrying means exactly what this servant implied – "I know You mean to leave me in the lurch." The person who is lazy naturally is always captious – "I haven't had a decent chance," and the one who is lazy spiritually is captious with God. Lazy people always strike out on an independent line.

Never forget that our capacity in spiritual matters is measured by the promises of God. Is God able to fulfil His promises?

I have never thought about this parable in this way, but it makes you think. Yes, we say we need to work for God, blah blah blah; however, do we really seek God? Everything points back to the fact that God wants a relationship with us. He doesn't care about rituals, He doesn't care about going to church, He doesn't care about any of the "standard" stuff. What He wants is for us to Love him, follow Him, and seek after Him.

Getting Caught Up

I got behind and I had several My Utmost for His Highest devotionals to read today.

Never allow a feeling which was stirred in you in the high hour to evaporate. Don't put your mental feet on the mantelpiece and say – "What a marvellous state of mind to be in!" Act immediately, do something, if only because you would rather not do it. If in a prayer meeting God has shown you something to do, don't say – "I'll do it"; do it! Take yourself by the scruff of the neck and shake off your incarnate laziness. Laziness is always seen in cravings for the high hour; we talk about working up to a time on the mount. We have to learn to live in the grey day according to what we saw on the mount.

How many times do we tell God "I'll do it" only to put it off or get caught up in our day-to-day lives of "just doing everything" that God and what he wants falls by the wayside. Life isn't easy. We need to work at it.

When God speaks, many of us are like men in a fog, we give no answer. Moses' reply revealed that he was somewhere. Readiness means a right relationship to God and a knowledge of where we are at present. We are so busy telling God where we would like to go. The man or woman who is ready for God and His work is the one who carries off the prize when the summons comes. We wait with the idea of some great opportunity, something sensational, and when it comes we are quick to cry – "Here am I." Whenever Jesus Christ is in the ascendant, we are there, but we are not ready for an obscure duty.

Obeying God

Today's My Utmost for His Highest used the scriptrure John 11:7-8:

7-Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again.
8-His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again?

Just because we don't understand what God is telling is or what God is doing doesn't mean it is the wrong thing. We need to continue on in our Christian walk doing what God tells us. Oswald Chambers puts it this way: 

Are you debating whether to take a step in faith in Jesus or to wait until you can see how to do the thing yourself? Obey Him with glad reckless joy. When He says something and you begin to debate, it is because you have a conception of His honour which is not His honour. Are you loyal to Jesus or loyal to your notion of Him? Are you loyal to what He says, or are you trying to compromise with conceptions which never came from Him? "Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it."

Christian Growth

Sunday's My Utmost for His Highest used the scriptrure Revelation 4:1:

After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.

Oswald Chambers made the point that God calls us higher (closer to Him) in our Christian walks. He also proposed an interesting way to determine if you are growing or not: 

Compare this week in your spiritual history with the same week last year and see how God has called you up higher. We have all been brought to see from a higher standpoint. Never let God give you one point of truth which you do not instantly live up to. Always work it out, keep in the light of it.

Being the "geek" that I am, I immediately wished we had a way we could quantify our spiritual progress and enter it into an Excel spreadsheet or database. Then, we could graph that and determine in an instant if we were growing or not.

One interesting thing about Mr. Chmbers' way to guage is to "…Compare this week in your spiritual history with the same week last year…." He doesn't say compare it to last month or last week: he uses the last year. That is interesting because we all have our ups and downs in the short term, but our long term trend should be to get closer to God. If you need an example, think of the stock market. The market may go up or down in the short-term, but the long term trend is up. In the same way, we may have our short-term ups and downs, but our long-term trend should be up…up towards God.

Devotional Thoughts

Over the weekend, one of the My Utmost for His Highest readings dealt with our attitudes towards God and being made "holy." The scripture reference was from the story of the rich young ruler:

Mark 10:

24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!
25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
26 And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?
27 And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.
28 Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.
29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's,
30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.
31 But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.

The main verse was verse 28. Oswald Chambers had this to say about that:

Beware of an abandonment which has the commercial spirit in it – "I am going to give myself to God because I want to be delivered from sin, because I want to be made holy." All that is the result of being right with God, but that spirit is not of the essential nature of Christianity. Abandonment is not for anything at all. We have got so commercialized that we only go to God for something from Him, and not for Himself. It is like saying, "No, Lord, I don't want Thee, I want myself; but I want myself clean and filled with the Holy Ghost; I want to be put in Thy show room and be able to say – 'This is what God has done for me.'" If we only give up something to God because we want more back, there is nothing of the Holy Spirit in our abandonment; it is miserable commercial self-interest.

That hit me like a ton of bricks! We should want to abandon everything and serve God simply to serve God. How many times in our Christian walk do we want to "get away" to be "made right?" God will make that happen, but we should want to serve Him. And we should want to serve Him because we love Him.

I'm not bashing modern hymns or choruses here, but have you looked at many? Have you noticed how selfish they tend to be? Now, there are hymns that are equally selfish, and there are great choruses too. Yesterday in church, we sang How Great Thou Art and it was wonderful. Here are the words:

O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made,
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy pow'r throughout the universe displayed

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee;
How Great Thou Art, How Great Thou Art.
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee,
How Great Thou Art, How Great Thou Art!

When through the woods and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees,
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur,
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze;

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee;
How Great Thou Art, How Great Thou Art.
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee,
How Great Thou Art, How Great Thou Art!

And when I think that God His Son not sparing,
Sent him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin;

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee;
How Great Thou Art, How Great Thou Art.
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee,
How Great Thou Art, How Great Thou Art!

When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration
And there proclaim, My God, How Great Thou Art!

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee;
How Great Thou Art, How Great Thou Art.
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee,
How Great Thou Art, How Great Thou Art!

Our God…the one true God. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The creator of the universe. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords. My savior. How great Thou art!

Daily Devotion Thoughts

For those of you who are more curious about what my pastor said, today's My Utmost for His Highest sums it up:

Acts 26:19: Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision

If we lose the vision, we alone are responsible, and the way we lose the vision is by spiritual leakage. If we do not run our belief about God into practical issues, it is all up with the vision God has given. The only way to be obedient to the heavenly vision is to give our utmost for God's highest, and this can only be done by continually and resolutely recalling the vision. The test is the sixty seconds of every minute, and the sixty minutes of every hour, not our times of prayer and devotional meetings.

"Though it tarry, wait for it." We cannot attain to a vision, we must live in the inspiration of it until it accomplishes itself. We get so practical that we forget the vision. At the beginning we saw it but did not wait for it; we rushed off into practical work, and when the vision was fulfilled, we did not see it. Waiting for the vision that tarries is the test of our loyalty to God. It is at the peril of our soul's welfare that we get caught up in practical work and miss the fulfilment of the vision.

This is the most difficult part for me…waiting. I usualy have the mindset of "Do something, even if it's wrong." But God wants us to wait on Him. Things will happen in his time. Remember, Jesus was only in "ministry" for 3 years. He waited 30 years till the time was right. Who among us would claim that Jesus was ineffective because He waited? Even if we have to wait 10, 20, or 30 years for God to get us where He needs us, we will accomplish much more for Him than we ever could by our own means.

My Utmost for His Highest

Well, today's My Utmost for His Highest reading really hit me hard today. The scripture used is John 4:11: 

The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?

Here is the excert of the reading I received in the e-mail today from StudyLight.org

"I am impressed with the wonder of what God says, but He cannot expect me really to live it out in the details of my life!" When it comes to facing Jesus Christ on His own merits, our attitude is one of pious superiority – Your ideals are high and they impress us, but in touch with actual things, it cannot be done. Each of us thinks about Jesus in this way in some particular. These misgivings about Jesus start from the amused questions put to us when we talk of our transactions with God – Where are you going to get your money from? How are you going to be looked after? Or they start from ourselves when we tell Jesus that our case is a bit too hard for Him. It is all very well to say "Trust in the Lord," but a man must live, and Jesus has nothing to draw with – nothing whereby to give us these things. Beware of the pious fraud in you which says – I have no misgivings about Jesus, only about myself. None of us ever had misgivings about ourselves; we know exactly what we cannot do, but we do have misgivings about Jesus. We are rather hurt at the idea that He can do what we cannot.

My misgivings arise from the fact that I ransack my own person to find out how He will he able to do it. My questions spring from the depths of my own inferiority. If I detect these misgivings in myself, let me bring them to the light and confess them – "Lord, I have had misgivings about Thee, I have not believed in Thy wits apart from my own; I have not believed in Thine almighty power apart from my finite understanding of it."

This weekend, I was really bummed out, depressed, and overwhelmed. I feel like I'm supposed to do this Mission Service Corps stuff, but I end up and take my eyes off God–just like Peter did when he walked on the water–and get overwhelmed. Then, on top of that, I start to wonder if that is what God really wants me to do. Or, am I going down that path because that is what I want to do. Then, I start to wonder why no one has called me. Tons of people at work have resumes out, and they are getting called. Why not me?

Please pray with me that God will reveal His will to Cyndi and me. Additionally, pray for us that we will go where He wants us to go and do what He wants us to do.