Sunday, January 17, 2010

My Utmost for His Highest

Have you ever been alone with God?
(Jan. 13)

"When He was alone. . . the twelve asked Him about the parable."
(Mark 4:10)

His Solitude with Us. When God gets us alone through suffering, heartbreak, temptation, disappointment, sickness, or by thwarted desires, a broken friendship, or a new friendship----when He gets us absolutely alone, and we are totally speechless, unable to asked even one question, then He begins to teach us. Notice Jesus Christ's training of the twelve. It was the disciples, not the crowd outside, who were confused. His disciples constantly asked Him questions, and He constantly explained things to them, But they didn't understand until after they received the Holy Spirit (see John 14:26).
As you journey with God, the only thing He intends to be clear is the way he deals with your soul. The sorrows and difficulties in the lives of others will be absolutely confusing to you. We think we understand another person struggle until God reveals the same shortcomings in our lives. There are vast areas of stubbornness and ignorance in the holy Spirit has to reveal in each of us. but it can only be done when Jesus gets us alone. Are we alone with Him now? Or are we more concerned with our own ideas, friendships, and cares for our bodies? Jesus cannot teach us anything until we quiet all our intellectual questions and get alone with Him.

My Utmost for His Highest

Have you ever been alone with God?
(Jan. 12)

"When they were alone, He explained all things to His disciples".
(Mark 4:34)

Our Solitude with Him. Jesus doesn't take us aside and explain things to us all the time; He explains things to us as we are able to understand them. The lives of others are example for us, but God requires us to examine our own souls . It is a slow work---so slow that it takes God all of time and eternity to make a man or woman conform to His purpose. We can only be used by God after we allow Him to show us the deep, hidden areas of our own character. It is astounding how ignorant we are about ourselves! We don't even recognized the envy, laziness, or pride within us when we see it. But Jesus will reveal to us everything we have held within ourselves before His grace began to work.
How many of us learned to look inwardly with courage?
We have to get rid of the idea that we understand ourselves. That is always the last bit of pride to go. The only One who understands us is God. The greatest curse in our spiritual life is pride.If we have ever had a glimpse of what we are like in the sight of God, we will never say, "Oh, I 'm so unworthy." We will understand that this goes without saying. But as long as there is any doubt that we are unworthy, Jesus, can't teach us anything. He will allow us t experience heartbreak or the disappointment we feel when our intellectual pride is wounded. He will reveal numerous misplaced affections or desires---things over which we never thought He would have to get us alone. Many things are shown to us, often without effect. But when God gets us alone over them, they will be clear.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

My Utmost for His Highest

What My Obedience to God Costs Other People
(Jan. 11)

"As they led Him away, they laid hold a certain man, Simon..., and on Him they laid the cross that he might bear it after Jesus."
(Luke 23:26).

If we obey God, it is going to cost other people more than it costs us, and that where the pain begins. If we are in love with our Lord, obedience does not cost us anything---it is a delight. But to those who do not love Him, our obedience does cost a great deal. If we obey God, it will mean that other people's plans are upset. They will ridicule us as if to say, "You call this Christianity?" We could prevent the suffering, but not if we are obedient to God. We must let the cost be paid.
When our obedience begins to cost others, our human pride entrenches itself and we say, "I will never accept anything from anyone." But we must, or disobey God. We have no right to think that the type of relationships we have with others should be nay different from those the Lord Himself had ( see Luke 8:1-3).
A lack of progress in our spiritual life results when we try to bear all the costs ourselves. And actually, we cannot. Because we are all so involved in the universal purposes of God, others are immediately affected by our obedience to Him. Will we remain faithful in our obedience to God and be willing to suffer the humiliation of refusing to be independent? Or will we do just the opposite and say, "I will not cause other people to suffer"? We can disobey God if we choose, and it will bring immediate relief to the situation, but it will grieve our Lord. If, however, we obey God, He will care for those who have suffered the consequences of our obedience. We must simply obey and leave all the consequences with Him.
Beware o0f the inclination to dictate to God what consequences you would allow as a condition of your obedience.

My Utmost for His Highest

The Opened Sight
(Jan. 10)

"I now send you, to open their eyes... that they may receive forgiveness of sins...."
(Acts 26:17-18).

This verse is the greatest example of the true essence of the message of a disciple Christ in all of the New Testament.
God's first sovereign work of grace is summed up in the words, "...that they may receive forgiveness of sins..." When a person fails in his personal Christian life, it is usually because he has never received anything. The only sign that a person is saved is that he has received something from Jesus Christ. Our job as workers for God is to open people's eyes so that they may turn themselves from darkness to light. But that is not salvation; it is conversion---only the effort of an awakened human being. i do not think it is too broad a statement to say that the majority of so-called Christians are like this. Their eyes are open, but they have received nothing. Conversion is not regeneration. This is a neglected fact in our preaching today. When a person is born again, he knows that it is because he has received something as a gift from Almighty God and not because of his own decision. People may make vows and promises, and may be determined to follow through, but none of this is salvation. Salvation means that we are brought to the place where we are able to receive something from God on the authority of Jesus Christ, namely, forgiveness of sins.
This is followed by God's second mighty work of grace: "...and inheritance among those who are sanctified..." In sanctification, the one who has been born again deliberately gives up his right to himself to Jesus Christ, and identifies himself entirely with God's ministry to others.

My Utmost for His Highest

Prayerful Inner-searching
(Jan. 9)

"May your whole spirit, soul,and body be preserved blameless... "
(1 Thessalonians 5:23).

"Your whole spirit..." The great, mysterious work of the Holy Spirit is in the deep recesses of our being which we cannot reach. Read Psalm 139. The psalmist implies--"O Lord, You are the God of the early mornings, the God of the late nights, the God of the mountain peaks, and the God of the sea. But, my God, my soul has horizons further away than those of the early mornings, deeper darkness than the nights of the earth, higher peaks than any mountain peaks, greater depths than any sea in nature. You who are the God of all these, be my God. I cannot reach to the heights or to the depths; there are motives I cannot discover, dreams I cannot realize. My God, search me."
Do we believe that God can fortify and protect our thoughts process far beyond where we can go? "...the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:7). If this verse means cleansing only on our conscious level, may God have mercy on us. The man who has been dulled by sin will say that he is not even conscious of it. But the cleansing from sin we experience will reach to the heights and depths of our spirit if we will "walk in the light as He is in the light" (1:7). The same Spirit that fed the life of Jesus Christ will feed the life of our spirit. It is only when we are protected by God with the miraculous sacredness of the Holy Spirit that our spirit, soul, and body can be preserved in pure uprightness until the coming of Jesus--no longer condemned in God's sight.
We should more frequently allow our minds to meditate on these great, massive truths of God.