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.