Mar 062012
 

“I met God in the morning”

I met God in the morning
when the day was at its best,
And His Presence came like sunrise,
Like a glory in my breast.

All day long the Presence lingered,
All day long He stayed with me,
And we sailed in perfect calmness
O’er a very troubled sea.

Other ships were blown and battered,
Other ships were sore distressed,
But the winds that seemed to drive them,
Brought to me a peace and rest.

Then I thought of other mornings,
With a keen remorse of mind,
When I too had loosed the moorings,
With the presence left behind.

So, I think I know the secret,
Learned from many a troubled way:
You must seek Him in the morning
If you want Him through the day!
By Bishop Ralph Cushman

Aug 242011
 

The Spiritual Search
“What man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?” (Matthew 7:9 ). The illustration of prayer that our Lord used here is one of a good child who is asking for something good. We talk about prayer as if God hears us regardless of what our relationship is to Him (see Matthew 5:45 ). Never say that it is no tGod’s will to give you what you ask. Don’t faint and give up, but find out the reason you have not received; increase the intensity of your search and examine the evidence. Is your relationship right with your spouse, your children, and your fellow students? Are you a “good child” in those relationships? Do you have to say to the Lord, “I have been irritable and cross, but I still want spiritual blessings”? You cannot receive and will have to do without them until you have the attitude of a “good child.” We mistake defiance for devotion, arguing with God instead of surrendering. We refuse to look at the evidence that clearly indicates where we are wrong. Have I been asking God to give me money for something I want, while refusing to pay someone what I owe him? Have I been asking God for liberty while I am withholding it from someone who belongs to me? Have I refused to forgive someone, and have I been unkind to that person? Have I been living as God’s child among my relatives and friends? (see Matthew 7:12 ). I am a child of God only by being born again, and as His child I am good only as I “walk in the light” (1 John 1:7 ). For most of us, prayer simply becomes some trivial religious expression, a matter of mystical and emotional fellowship with God. We are all good at producing spiritual fog that blinds our sight. But if we will search out and examine the evidence,we will see very clearly what is wrong—a friendship, an unpaid debt, or an improper attitude. There is no use praying unless we are living as children of God. Then Jesus says, regarding His children, “Everyone who asks receives …” (Matthew 7:8 ).

Mar 272011
 

Spiritual Vision Through Personal Character
“Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place …”
(Revelation 4:1 ).
A higher state of mind and spiritual vision can only be achieved through the higher practice of personal character. If you live up to the highest and best that you know in the outer level of your life, God will continually say to you, “Friend, come up even higher.” There is also a continuing rule in temptation which calls you to go higher; but when you do, you only encounter other temptations and character traits. Both God and Satan use the strategy of elevation,but Satan uses it in temptation, and the effect is quite different. When the devil elevates you to a certain place, he causes you to fasten your idea of what holiness is far beyond what flesh and blood could ever bear or achieve. Your life becomes a spiritual acrobatic performance high atop a steeple. You cling to it, trying to maintain your balance and daring not to move. But when God elevates you by His grace into heavenly places, you find a vast plateau where you can move about with ease.
Compare this week in your spiritual life with the same week last year to see how God has called you to a higher level. We have all been brought to see from a higher viewpoint. Never allow God to show you a truth which you do not instantly begin to live up to, applying it to your life. Always work through it, staying in its light.
Your growth in grace is not measured by the fact that you haven’t turned back, but that you have an insight and understanding into where you are spiritually. Have you heard God say, “Come up higher,” not audibly on the outer level, but to the innermost part of your character?
“Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing …?” (Genesis 18:17 ). God has to hide from us what He does, until,due to the growth of our personal character, we get to the level where He is then able to reveal it.

Mar 142011
 

Yielding
“… you are that one’s slaves whom you obey …” (Romans 6:16 ).
The first thing I must be willing to admit when I begin to examine what controls and dominates me is that I am the one responsible for having yielded myself to whatever it may be. If I am a slave to myself, I am to blame because somewhere in the past I yielded to myself. Likewise, if I obey God I do so because at some point in my life I yielded myself to Him.
If a child gives in to selfishness, he will find it to be the most enslaving tyranny on earth. There is no power within the human soul itself that is capable of breaking the bondage of the nature created by yielding. For example, yield for one second to anything in the nature of lust, and although you may hate yourself for having yielded, you become enslaved to that thing. (Remember what lust is—“I must have it now,” whether it is the lust of the flesh or the lust of the mind.) No release or escape from it will ever come from any human power, but only through the power of redemption. You must yield yourself in utter humiliation to the only One who can break the dominating power in your life, namely, the Lord Jesus Christ. “… He has anointed Me … to proclaim liberty to the captives …” (Luke 4:18 and Isaiah 61:1 ).
When you yield to something, you will soon realize the tremendous control it has over you. Even though you say, “Oh, I can give up that habit whenever I like,” you will know you can’t. You will find that the habit absolutely dominates you because you willingly yielded to it. It is easy to sing, “He will break every fetter,” while at the same time living a life of obvious slavery to yourself. But yielding to Jesus will break every kind of slavery in any person’s life.

Feb 212011
 

“She has done a good work for Me” (Mark 14:6 ).
If what we call love doesn’t take us beyond ourselves, it is not really love. If we have the idea that love is characterized as cautious, wise, sensible, shrewd, and never taken to extremes, we have missed the true meaning. This may describe affection and it may bring us a warm feeling, but it is not a true and accurate description of love.
Have you ever been driven to do something for God not because you felt that it was useful or your duty to do so, or that there was anything in it for you, but simply because you love Him? Have you ever realized that you can give things to God that are of value to Him? Or are you just sitting around daydreaming about the greatness of His redemption,while neglecting all the things you could be doing for Him? I’m not referring to works which could be regarded as divine and miraculous, but ordinary, simple human things—things which would be evidence to God that you are totally surrendered to Him. Have you ever created what Mary of Bethany created in the heart of the Lord Jesus? “She has done a good work for Me.”
There are times when it seems as if God watches to see if we will give Him even small gifts of surrender, just to show how genuine our love is for Him. To be surrendered to God is of more value than our personal holiness. Concern over our personal holiness causes us to focus our eyes on ourselves, and we become overly concerned about the way we walk and talk and look, out of fear of offending God. “… but perfect love casts out fear …” once we are surrendered to God (1 John 4:18 ). We should quit asking ourselves, “Am I of any use?” and accept the truth that we really are not of much use to Him. The issue is never of being of use, but of being of value to God Himself. Once we are totally surrendered to God, He will work through us all the time.

Feb 202011
 

“Arise, let us go from here” (John 14:31 ).
Daydreaming about something in order to do it properly is right, but daydreaming about it when we should bedoing it is wrong. In this passage, after having said these wonderful things to His disciples, we might haveexpected our Lord to tell them to go away and meditate over them all. But Jesus never allowed idledaydreaming. When our purpose is to seek God and to discover His will for us, daydreaming is right andacceptable. But when our inclination is to spend time daydreaming over what we have already been told to do,it is unacceptable and God’s blessing is never on it. God will take the initiative against this kind of daydreamingby prodding us to action. His instructions to us will be along the lines of this: “Don’t sit or stand there, just go!”
If we are quietly waiting before God after He has said to us, “Come aside by yourselves …” then that ismeditation before Him to seek His will (Mark 6:31 ). Beware, however, of giving in to mere daydreaming onceGod has spoken. Allow Him to be the source of all your dreams, joys, and delights, and be careful to go andobey what He has said. If you are in love with someone, you don’t sit and daydream about that person all thetime—you go and do something for him. That is what Jesus Christ expects us to do. Daydreaming after Godhas spoken is an indication that we do not trust Him.

Feb 172011
 

“Arise and eat” (1 Kings 19:5 ).
The angel in this passage did not give Elijah a vision, or explain the Scriptures to him, or doanything remarkable. He simply told Elijah to do a very ordinary thing, that is, to get up and eat.If we were never depressed, we would not be alive—only material things don’t sufferdepression. If human beings were not capable of depression, we would have no capacity forhappiness and exaltation. There are things in life that are designed to depress us; for example,things that are associated with death. Whenever you examine yourself, always take into accountyour capacity for depression.
When the Spirit of God comes to us, He does not give us glorious visions, but He tells us to dothe most ordinary things imaginable. Depression tends to turn us away from the everyday thingsof God’s creation. But whenever God steps in, His inspiration is to do the most natural, simplethings—things we would never have imagined God was in, but as we do them we find Himthere. The inspiration that comes to us in this way is an initiative against depression. But we musttake the first step and do it in the inspiration of God. If, however, we do something simply toovercome our depression, we will only deepen it. But when the Spirit of God leads usinstinctively to do something, the moment we do it the depression is gone. As soon as we ariseand obey, we enter a higher plane of life.

Feb 102011
 

“Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things …” (Isaiah 40:26 ).
The people of God in Isaiah’s time had blinded their minds’ ability to see God by looking on the face of idols. But Isaiah made them look up at the heavens; that is, he made them begin to use their power to think and to visualize correctly. If we are children of God, we have a tremendous treasure in nature and will realize that it is holy and sacred. We will see God reaching out to us in every wind that blows, every sunrise and sunset, every cloud in the sky, every flower that blooms, and every leaf that fades, if we will only begin to use our blinded thinking to visualize it.
The real test of spiritual focus is being able to bring your mind and thoughts under control. Is your mind focused on the face of an idol? Is the idol yourself? Is it your work? Is it your idea of what a servant should be, or maybe your experience of salvation and sanctification? If so, then your ability to see God is blinded. You will be powerless when faced with difficulties and will be forced to endure in darkness. If your power to see has been blinded, don’t look back on your own experiences, but look to God. It is God you need. Go beyond yourself and away from the faces of your idols and away from everything else that has been blinding your thinking. Wake up and accept the ridicule that Isaiah gave to his people, and deliberately turn your thoughts and your eyes to God.
One of the reasons for our sense of futility in prayer is that we have lost our power to visualize. We can no longer even imagine putting ourselves deliberately before God. It is actually more important to be broken bread and poured-out wine in the area of intercession than in our personal contact with others. The power of visualization is what God gives a saint so that he can go beyond himself and be firmly placed into relationships he never before experienced. ChambersOswald Chambers, 1874–1917

Feb 052011
 

“If I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all” (Philippians 2:17 ).

Are you willing to sacrifice yourself for the work of another believer—to pour out your life sacrificially for the ministry and faith of others? Or do you say, “I am not willing to be poured out right now, and I don’t want God to tell me how to serve Him. I want to choose the place of my own sacrifice. And I want to have certain people watching me and saying, ‘Well done.’ ”
It is one thing to follow God’s way of service if you are regarded as a hero, but quite another thing if the road marked out for you by God requires becoming a “doormat” under other people’s feet. God’spurpose may be to teach you to say, “I know how to be abased …” (Philippians 4:12 ). Are you readyto be sacrificed like that? Are you ready to be less than a mere drop in the bucket—to be so totally insignificant that no one remembers you even if they think of those you served? Are you willing to give and be poured out until you are used up and exhausted—not seeking to be ministered to, but to minister? Some saints cannot do menial work while maintaining a saintly attitude, because they feel such service is beneath their dignity.
My Utmost for His Highest  by Oswald Chambers

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