Friday, May 22, 2015

The Desires of Your Heart

Devotional Hours with the Bible, Volume 3: Chapter 12 - The Desires of Your Heart

      Psalm 37:4

      "Delight yourself in the LORD--and He will give you the desires of your heart!"

      The young people who have read "The Arabian Nights" will remember the strange story of 'Aladdin', who possessed a magic lamp--which commanded the services of certain genie. By rubbing the lamp, Aladdin got whatever he wished--and grew rich and great. But that is only an impossible story of fantasy.

      Yet in this Psalm, we have a promise which seems to tell us of a way in which we can get anything we wish. "Delight yourself in the LORD--and He will give you the desires of your heart!" It is not by rubbing a magic lamp, however, that we can get what we desire. True religion is not magic. Yet some people seem almost to think that it is. Simon Magus thought so, and tried to buy the secret. A man who has lived a wicked life, never giving God a thought, when thinking that he is about to die--is greatly alarmed, sends for a minister, thinking that thus he can have heaven opened for his soul. It is not in this way--that a desire for heavenly blessedness can be gratified.

      What is it to delight ourselves in the Lord? It means to love God--to love to be with Him, to love to please Him, to love His ways, to love His service.

      We know what it is to delight ourselves in a friend. You love your friend so much that when you are with him, you are perfectly happy. You have no wish ungratified; you need nothing else to complete your contentment; your soul finds its home in him.

      This is the ideal in marriage--that the two who wed shall delight in each other. They should meet each other's desires and yearnings. They should be one in interest, in purpose, in the aims of life.

      Yesterday I had a letter from the Pacific Coast, from one I have never seen--but whom I have sought to help. She is considering the question of marriage and she writes of the young man: "I love him very dearly and yet I hesitate to give my life into his keeping. He is noble and kind and worthy--but in some respects he is far from being the man I have always had in mind in thinking of marriage. There is something lacking. There is a need in my life which is not met in his--the perfect union in consecration to God." There may be true love there--but there is not yet full, undisturbed delight in the friend. There is not complete accord, there is not perfect confidence, there is not absolute trust. All these elements are essential in delight in a friend.

      To delight in God, also implies the qualities of love, trust, confidence, accord of will. There is a cluster of counsels in this Psalm which belong together:

      "Trust in the Lord."
      "Delight yourself also in the Lord."
      "Commit your way unto the Lord."

      "Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him."

      "Trust in the Lord." You cannot delight yourself in God--if you do not trust Him. Trust implies confidence. John leaned upon his Master's bosom that dark night of the betrayal. The distress of the disciples was terrible. They could not understand. It looked as if all their hopes were in ruin. Yet see John leaning on Jesus' bosom--calm, quiet, unafraid. You remember, too, what Jesus said to His disciples that night, as He comforted them: "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me." They could not understand, and He could not explain the mystery of their sorrow, so that they could understand. Then He asked them to trust in the darkness, just to believe that nothing was going wrong. We must trust God--if we would delight in Him. If there is not absolute trust, there cannot be delight.

      "Delight yourself also in the Lord." Delight means joy, and if there is the slightest fear, there will be pain, a feeling of insecurity, a dread of something going wrong, or that something will go wrong. Trust in the Lord is necessary, to delight in Him.

      "Commit your way unto the Lord." There will come hours of uncertainty in every life, Hours when we shall not know what to do, which way to take, where to find help. Then it is, that we should learn that Christ is not only our Savior from sin--but the Lord also who orders all our ways. There seem to be a great many people who can trust God for the salvation of their souls--but who have not learned to trust Him with the choosing of their ways, the direction of their affairs, the care of their lives. They fret and worry continually. We have not learned the full meaning of trust--until we have formed the habit of committing all our way unto the Lord. The reason for worrying, which is so common a habit, even among Christians, is that people do not roll their way upon God. If they only knew this blessed secret--they would not worry any more. Only think what it would mean to worrying people, if they understood this and instead of being anxious about every little thing--would take it to the Lord in prayer and let the peace of God keep their hearts and their thoughts in holy quiet.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Crucified Life

By Watchman Nee

      You believe in the death of the Lord Jesus and you believe in the death of the thieves with Him. Now what about your own death? Your crucifixion is more intimate than theirs. They were crucified at the same time as the Lord but on different crosses, whereas you were crucified on the selfsame cross as He, for you were in Him when He died. How can you know? You can know for the one sufficient reason that God said so. It does not depend on your feelings. If you feel that Christ has died, He has died; and if you do not feel that He has died, He had died. If you feel that you have died, you have died; and if you do not feel that you have died, you have nevertheless just as surely died. These are divine facts. That Christ has died is a fact, that the two thieves have died is a fact, and that you have died is a fact also. Let me tell you, You have died! You are done with! You are ruled out! The self you loathe is on the Cross of Christ. And "he that is dead is freed from sin" (Romans 6:7 Amplified). This is the Gospel for Christians.
Our crucifixion can never be made effective by will or by effort, but only by accepting what the Lord Jesus did on the Cross. Our eyes must be opened to see the finished work of Calvary. Some of you, prior to your salvation, may have tried to save yourselves. You read the Bible, prayed, went to church, gave alms. Then one day your eyes were opened and you saw that a full salvation had already been provided for you on the Cross. You just accepted that and thanked God, and peace and joy flowed into your heart. And now the good news is that sanctification is made possible for you on exactly the same basis as that initial salvation. You are offered deliverance from sin as no less a gift of God's grace than was the forgiveness of sins.

      For God's way of deliverance is altogether different from man's way. Man's way is to try to suppress sin by seeking to overcome it; God's way is to remove the sinner. Many Christians mourn over their weakness, thinking that if only they were stronger all would be well. . . If we are preoccupied with the power of sin and with our inability to meet it, then we naturally conclude that to gain the victory over sin we must have more power. . .

      But this is altogether a fallacy; it is not Christianity. God's means of delivering us from sin is not by making us stronger and stronger, but by making us weaker and weaker. That is surely rather a peculiar way of victory, you say; but it is the divine way. God sets us free from the dominion of sin, not by strengthening our old man but by crucifying him; not by helping him to do anything, but by removing him from the scene of action.

For years, maybe, you have tried fruitlessly to exercise control over yourself, and perhaps this is still your experience; but when once you see the truth you will recognize that you are indeed powerless to do anything, but that in setting you aside altogether God has done it all. Such discovery brings human striving and self-effort to an end (The Normal Christian Life, pp. 35-37).

The Revelatory Light of Scripture

By A.W. Tozer

       Among men, questions usually have more than one side; sometimes they have many. Pros and cons are often balanced so finely against each other that it is virtually impossible to know where the right lies. But with God there is only one side. God's side is good and holy and all other sides are wrong, the degree and seriousness of the wrong increasing as we move away from the center of God's will. 

      Our desire for moral self-preservation should dictate that we come over immediately onto God's side and stay there even if (as is likely) it may result in our being out of accord with man's philosophies and man's moral codes. We cannot win when we work against God, and we cannot lose when we work with Him.

      Now, how can we know for certain which side is God's side? No one in this late day should need to ask that question, but since it is being asked in all sincerity by many, we are glad to give the answer. There is a Book which says of itself, "And God spoke all these words," and about which it is said, "Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up to glory" (1 Timothy 3:16). Acquaintance with this Book will bring light to all dark paths and show us the right side of all questions. Of course, that Book is the Bible.

What glory gilds the sacred page, Majestic like the sun! It gives a light to every age; It gives, but borrows none.

The Glory That Excels

By Oswald Chambers

      'The Lord ... hath sent me that thou mightest receive thy sight.'
      Acts 9:17

      When Paul received his sight, he received spiritually an insight into the Person of Jesus Christ, and the whole of his subsequent life and preaching was nothing but Jesus Christ - "I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." No attraction was ever allowed to hold the mind and soul of Paul save the face of Jesus Christ.

      We have to learn to maintain an unimpaired state of character up to the last notch revealed in the vision of Jesus Christ.
      The abiding characteristic of a spiritual man is the interpretation of the Lord Jesus Christ to himself, and the interpretation to others of the purposes of God. The one concentrated passion of the life is Jesus Christ. Whenever you meet this note in a man, you feel he is a man after God's own heart.

      Never allow anything to deflect you from insight into Jesus Christ. It is the test of whether you are spiritual or not. To be unspiritual means that other things have a growing fascination for you.

      "Since mine eyes have looked on Jesus,
      I've lost sight of all beside,
      So enchained my spirit's vision,
      Gazing on the Crucified."

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Building For Eternity

By Oswald Chambers

      'For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?'
      Luke 14:28

      Our Lord refers not to a cost we have to count, but to a cost which He has counted. The cost was those thirty years in Nazareth, those three years of popularity, scandal and hatred, the deep unfathomable agony in Gethsemane, and the onslaught at Calvary - the pivot upon which the whole of Time and Eternity turns. Jesus Christ has counted the cost. Men are not going to laugh at Him at last and say - "This man began to build, and was not able to finish."
The conditions of discipleship laid down by Our Lord in vv. 26, 27 and 33 mean that the men and women He is going to use in His mighty building enterprises are those in whom He has done everything. "If any man come to Me, and hate not...he cannot be My disciple." Our Lord implies that the only men and women He will use in His building enterprises are those who love Him personally, passionately and devotedly beyond any of the closest ties on earth. The conditions are stern, but they are glorious.

All that we build is going to be inspected by God. Is God going to detect in His searching fire that we have built on the foundation of Jesus some enterprise of our own? These are days of tremendous enterprises, days when we are trying to work for God, and therein is the snare. Profoundly speaking, we can never work for God. Jesus takes us over for His enterprises, His building schemes entirely, and no soul has any right to claim where he shall be put.

Living With Eternity's Values In View

By A.W. Tozer 

The spiritual man habitually makes eternity-judgments instead of time-judgments. By faith he rises above the tug of earth and the flow of time and learns to think and feel as one who has already left the world and gone to join the innumerable company of angels and the general assembly and Church of the First-born which are written in heaven.

Such a man would rather be useful than famous and would rather serve than be served. And all this must be by the operation of the Holy Spirit within him. No man can become spiritual by himself. Only the free Spirit can make a man spiritual.

James Smith - The Omnipotent Savior! (Christian devotional)