Monday, December 7, 2009

My Utmost for His Highest

Is My Sacrifice Living?
(Jan. 8)

"Abraham built an altar..., and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar..." (Genesis 22:9)

This event is a picture of the mistake we make in thinking that the ultimate God wants of us is the sacrifice of death. What Gods want is the sacrifice through death which enables us to do what Jesus did, that is, sacrifice our lives. Not---"Lord, I am ready to go with You... to death" (Luke 22:33). "But---I am willing to be identified with Your death so that I may sacrifice my life to God."
We seem to think that God wants us to give up things! God purified Abraham from this error, and the same process is at work in our lives. God never tells us to give up things just for the sake of giving them up, but He tells us to give them up for the sake of the only thing worth having, namely, life with Himself. it is the matter of loosening the bands that hold back our lives. Those bands are loosened immediately by identification with the death of Jesus. Then we enter into a relationship with God whereby we may sacrifice our lives to Him.
It is of no value to God to give Him your life for death. He wants to be a "living sacrifice"--- to let Him have all your strengths that have been saved and sanctified through Jesus (Romans 12:1). This is what is acceptable to God.

My Utmost for His Highest

Intimate with Jesus
(Jan. 7)

"Jesus said to him, 'Have I been with you so log, and yet you have not known Me, Philip?" (John 14:9)

These words where not spoken as a rebuke, nor even with surprise; Jesus was encouraging Philip to draw closer. yet the last person we get intimate with is Jesus. Before Pentecost knew Jesus as the One who gave them power to conquer demons and to bring about a revival (see Luke 10:18-20). it was a wonderful intimacy, but there was much closer intimacy to come: "...I have called you friends..." (John 15:15). True friendship is a rare on earth. It means identifying with someone in thought, heart, and spirit. The whole experienced of life is designed to enable us to enter into this closest relationship with Jesus Christ. We receive His blessings and know his Word, but we do really know Him?
Jesus said, "It is to your advantage that I go away..." (John 16:7). He left that relationship to lead them even closer. it is a joy to Jesus when a disciple takes time to walk more intimately with Him. The bearing of fruit is always shown in Scripture to be the visible result of an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ (see John 15:1-4).
Once we get intimate with Jesus we are never lonely and we never lack for understanding or compassion. We can continually pour out our hearts to Him without being perceived as overly emotional or pitiful. The Christian who is truly intimate with Jesus will never draw attention to himself but will only show the evidence of a life where Jesus is completely in control. This is the outcome of allowing Jesus to satisfy every area of life to its depth. The picture resulting from such a life is that of the strong, calm balance that our Lord gives to those who are intimate with Him.

My Utmost for His Highest

(Jan. 6)

"He moved from there to the mountain east of Bethel on the west and Ai on the east, there he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD" (Genesis 12:8).

Worship is giving God the best that He has given you. Be careful what you do with the best you have. Whenever you get a blessing from God, give it back to Him as a love-gift. Take time to meditate before God and offer the blessing back to Him in a deliberate act of worship. If you hoard it to yourself, it will turn into a spiritual dry rot, as the manna did when it was hoarded (see Exodus 16:20). God will never allow you to keep a spiritual blessing completely for yourself. It must be given back to Him so that He can make it a blessing to others.
Bethel is the symbol of fellowship with God; Ai is the symbol of the world. Abram "pitched his tent" between the two. The lasting value of our public service for God is measured by the dept of the intimacy of our private times of fellowship and oneness with Him. Rushing in and out of worship is wrong every time--there is always plenty of time to worship God.
Days set apart for quiet can be a trap , detracting form the need to have daily quiet time with God. That is why we must "pitched out tents" where we will always have quiet times with Him, however noisy our time with the world may be. There are not three levels of spiritual life--worship, waiting, and work. Yet some of us seems to jump like spiritual frogs from worship to waiting, and from waiting to work. God's idea is that the three should go together as one. They were always in the life of our Lord and in perfect harmony. It is a discipline that must be developed; it will not happen overnight.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My Utmost for His Highest

The Life of Power to Follow
(Jan. 5)

"Jesus answered him, 'Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward."
(John 13:36)

"And when had spoken this, He said to him, 'Follow Me' " (John 21: 19). Three years earlier Jesus had said, "Follow Me" (Matthew 4:19), and Peter followed with no hesitation. Then irresistible attraction of Jesus was upon him and he did not need the Holy Spirit to help him do it. later he came to the place where he denied Jesus, and his heart broke. Then he received the Holy Spirit and Jesus said again, "Follow Me" (John 21:19). Now no one is in front of Peter except the Lord Jesus Christ. The first "Follow Me" was nothing mysterious; it was and external following. Jesus is now asking for an internal sacrifice and yielding (see 21:18).
Between these two times Peter denied Jesus with oaths and curses (see Matthew 26:69-75). But then he came completely to the end of himself he would ever rely on again. In his state of destitution, he was finally ready to receive all that the risen Lord had for him. "...he breathed on them, and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit' " (John 20:22). No matter what changes God has performed in you, never rely on them. Build only on a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ, and on the Spirit He gives.
All our promises and resolutions end in denial because we have no power to accomplish them. When we come to the end of ourselves, not just mentally but completely, we are able to "receive the Holy Spirit." "receive the Holy Spirit"---the idea is that of invasion. There is now only One who directs the course of your life, the Lord Christ.

My Utmost for His Highest

Why Can I not Follow You Now?
(Jan. 4)

"Peter said to Him, 'Lord why can I not Follow You now?' "
(John 13:37)

There are times when you cannot understand why you cannot do what you want to do. When God brings a time of waiting, and appears to be unresponsive, don't fill it with busyness, just wait. The time of waiting may come t teach you the meaning of sanctification---to be set apart from sin and made holy---or it may come after the process of sanctification has begun to teach you what service means. Never run before God gives you His direction. If you have the slightest doubt, then He is not guiding. Whenever there is doubt---wait.
At first you may see clearly what God's will is---the severance of a friendship, the breaking off of a business relationship, or something else you feel is distinctly God's will for you to do. But never act on the impulse of that feeling. If you do you will cause difficult situations to arise which will take years to untangle. Wait for God's timing and He will do it without any heartache or disappointment. When it is a question of the providential will of God, wait for God to move.
Peter did not wait for God. He predicted in his own mind where the test would come, and it came where he did not expect it. "I will lay down my life for your sake." Peter's statement was honest but ignorant. "Jesus answered him, '... the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times' " (13:38). This was said with a deeper knowledge of Peter than Peter had of himself. He could not follow Jesus because He did not himself or his own capabilities well enough. Natural devotion maybe enough to attract us to Jesus, to make us feel His irresistible charm, but it will never make us disciples. Natural devotion will deny Jesus, always falling short of what it means to truly follow Him.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My Utmost for His Highest

Clouds and Darkness
(Jan. 3)

"Clouds and darkness surround Him..."
(Psalm 97"2)

A person who has not been born again by the Spirit of God will tell that the teachings of Jesus are simple. But when he is baptized by the Holy Spirit, he finds that "clouds and darkness surround Him..." When we come into close contact with the teachings of Jesus Christ we have our first realization of this. The only possible way to have full understanding of the teachings of Jesus is through the light of the Spirit of God shining inside us. If we have never had the experience of taking our casual, religious shoes off our casual, religious feet---getting rid of all the excessive informality with which we approach God--it is questionable whether we have ever stood in His presence. The people who are flippant and disrespectful in their approach to God are those who have never been introduced to Jesus Christ. Only after the amazing delight and liberty of realizing what Jesus Christ does, comes the impenetrable "darkness" of realizing who He is.
Jesus said, "The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life" (John 6:63). Once, the Bible was just so many words to us--"clouds and darkness"--then, suddenly, the words become spirit and life because Jesus re-speaks them to us when our circumstances make the words new. That is the way God speaks to us; not by visions and dreams, but by words. When a man gets to God, it is by the most simple way---words.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

My Utmost for His Highest

Will You Go Out Without Knowing?
(Jan. 2)

"He went out, not knowing where he was going."
(Hebrews 11:8)

Have you ever "gone out" this way? If so, there is no logical answer possible when anyone asks what you are doing. One of the most difficult questions to answer in Christian work is, "What do you expect to do?" You don't know what you are going to do. The only thing you know is that God knows what He is doing. Continually examine your attitude toward God to see if you are willing to "go out" in every area of your life, trusting in God entirely. It is this attitude that keeps you in constant wonder, because you don't know what God is going to do next. Each morning as you wake, there is a new opportunity to "go out" building your confidence in God. " not worry about your life...nor about the body..." (Luke 12:22). In other words, dont worry about the other things that concerned you you did, "go out."
Have you been asking God what He is going to do? He will never tell you. God does not tell you what He is going to do--He reveals to you who he is. Do you believe in a miracle-working-God, and will you "go out" in complete surrender to Him until you are not surprised one iota by anything He does.
Believe God is always the God you know Him to be when you are nearest to Him. Then think how unnecessary and disrespectful worry is! Let the attitude of your life be a continual willingness to "go out" in dependence upon God, and your life will have a sacred and inexpressible about it that is very satisfying to Jesus. You must learn to "go out" through your convictions, creeds, or experiences until you come to the point in your faith where there is nothing between yourself and God.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

My Utmost for His Highest

Let us keep to the point
(Jan. 1)

" earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death."
(Philippians 1:20)

My Utmost For His Highest. " earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed..." We will all feel very much ashamed if we do not yield to Jesus the ares of our lives He has asked us to yield to Him. It's as if Paul is saying, "My determined purpose is to be mu utmost for His highest-- my best for His glory." To reach that level of determination is a matter of of the will, not of debate or of reasoning. It is absolute and irrevocable surrender of the will at that point. an undue amount of thought and consideration for ourselves is what keeps us from making that decision, although we cover it up with the pretense that it is others that we are considering. When we think seriously about what it will cost others if we obey the call of Jesus, we tell God He doesn't know what our obedience will mean. Keep to the point---He does know. Shut out every other thought and keep yourself before God in this one thing only---my utmost for His highest. I am determined to obey absolutely and entirely for Him alone.

My unstoppable Determination for His Holiness. "Whether it means life or death---it makes no difference!" (see 1:21) Paul was determined that noting would stop him from doing exactly what God wanted. But before we choose to follow God's will, a crisis must develop in our lives. This happens because we tend to be unresponsive to God's gentle nudges. He brings us to the place where He asks us to be our utmost for Him and we begin to debate. He then providentially produces a crisis where we have to decide---for or against. That moment becomes a great crossroads in our lives. If a crisis has come to you on any front, surrender your will to Jesus absolutely and irrevocably.