Open on the inside?

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Of the various conflicts we face as disciples of Jesus perhaps the easiest to avoid are the inner conflicts of conscience. While external conflicts, with people and circumstances, cannot easily be denied, we are able to shut up the voice of conscience, to shut out the voice of God, and go our own way. Sooner or later we come to our senses. This first of three brief posts on the theme of conscience comes from Oswald Chambers…

‘A conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.’ Acts 24:16

“God’s commands are given to the life of His Son in us, consequently to the human nature in which His Son has been formed, His commands are difficult, but immediately we obey they become divinely easy. Conscience is that faculty in me which attaches itself to the highest that I know, and tells me what the highest I know demands that I do. It is the eye of the soul which looks out either towards God or towards what it regards as the highest, and therefore conscience records differently in different people. If I am in the habit of steadily facing myself with God, my conscience will always introduce God’s perfect law and indicate what I should do. The point is, will I obey? I have to make an effort to keep my conscience so sensitive that I walk without offence. I should be living in such perfect sympathy with God’s Son, that in every circumstance the spirit of my mind is renewed, and I ‘make out’ at once “what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

“God always educates us down to the scruple. Is my ear so keen to hear the tiniest whisper of the Spirit that I know what I should do? “Grieve not the Holy Spirit.” He does not come with a voice like thunder; His voice is so gentle that it is easy to ignore it. The one thing that keeps the conscience sensitive to Him is the continual habit of being open to God on the inside. When there is any debate, quit. ‘Why shouldn’t I do this?’ You are on the wrong track. There is no debate possible when conscience speaks. At your peril, you allow one thing to obscure your inner communion with God. Drop it, whatever it is, and see that you keep your inner vision clear.”

From Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest

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Just wait?

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If we begin our life as a disciple of Jesus under the delusion that it is a life we have been called to because of some quality we possess; leadership skills, talents, an ability to persist with any task that we ‘set our mind to’, we, like the apostle Peter, may face some sifting along the way. Did it never occur to us just how messy a life of genuine discipleship looks? Even Peter found just staying awake to pray with Jesus for one hour proved too difficult. Talk about missed opportunities for ministry! This third brief post on the theme of waiting for God comes from Oswald Chambers…  

 ‘Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10 ESV

“Tenacity is more than endurance, it is endurance combined with the absolute certainty that what we are looking for is going to transpire. Tenacity is more than hanging on, which may be but the weakness of being too afraid to fall off. Tenacity is the supreme effort of a man refusing to believe that his hero is going to be conquered. The greatest fear a disciple has is not that he will be damned, but that Jesus Christ will be worsted, that the things He stood for – love and justice and forgiveness and kindness among men – will not win out in the end; the things He stands for look like will-o’-the-wisps.  Then comes the call to spiritual tenacity, not to hang on and do nothing, but to work deliberately on the certainty that God is not going to be worsted. If our hopes are being disappointed just now, it means that they are being purified. There is nothing noble the human mind has ever hoped for or dreamed of that will not be fulfilled. One of the greatest strains in life is the strain of waiting for God.  Remain spiritually tenacious.”

Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest

Waiting?

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Previously (Jul/Aug 2015) Patience was the theme of three brief posts. Patience may or may not imply that we are actively ‘waiting’ for something or some-one. When we have lost hope, patience may just imply silent, uncomplaining suffering, but while we keep hope, especially in God’s grace and power, and we wait for Him, that implies so much more. This first of three brief posts on the theme of Waiting for God comes from Charles Spurgeon…

Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you,
    and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
    blessed are all those who wait for him.

Isaiah 30:18 ESV

Spurgeon wrote…

“God often delays in answering prayer. We have several instances of this in sacred Scripture. Jacob did not get the blessing from the angel until near the dawn of day-he had to wrestle all night for it. The poor woman of Syrophoenicia was answered not a word for a long while. Paul besought the Lord thrice that “the thorn in the flesh” might be taken from him, and he received no assurance that it should be taken away, but, instead … a promise that God’s grace should be sufficient for him.

If thou hast been knocking at the gate of mercy, and hast received no answer, shall I tell thee why the mighty Maker hath not opened the door and let thee in? Our Father has reasons peculiar to himself for thus keeping us waiting.

Sometimes it is to show his power and his sovereignty, that men may know that Jehovah has a right to give or to withhold. More frequently the delay is for our profit. Thou art perhaps kept waiting in order that thy desires may be more fervent. God knows that delay will quicken and increase desire, and that if he keeps thee waiting thou wilt see thy necessity more clearly, and wilt seek more earnestly; and that thou wilt prize the mercy all the more for its long tarrying. There may also be something wrong in thee which has need to be removed, before the joy of the Lord is given. Perhaps thy views of the Gospel plan are confused, or thou mayest be placing some little reliance on thyself, instead of trusting simply and entirely to the Lord Jesus….

Thy prayers are all filed in heaven, and if not immediately answered they are certainly not forgotten, but in a little while shall be fulfilled to thy delight and satisfaction. Let not despair make thee silent, but continue instant in earnest supplication.”

From C H Spurgeon in Morning and Evening

Fake it ’til you make it?

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“Serve the Lord with gladness.” Psalm 100:2 ESV

It’s hard to be good, and sometimes ‘fake it til you make it’ makes a weird sort of sense to us when we are struggling. But surely that’s not the best we have to cling to, is it? when all the love and power and grace of God in Christ waits within us, when the Spirit of Christ Himself waits to work in and through us, reminding us that we are, after all (and what a relief this is) called to be fruit-bearers, and not fruit-makers.
This final brief post on the theme of service comes from Charles Spurgeon…

Spurgeon writes…. “Delight in divine service is a token of acceptance. Those who serve God with a sad countenance, because they do what is unpleasant to them, are not serving him at all; they bring the form of homage, but the life is absent. … The angels of God serve him with songs, not with groans…. Service coupled with cheerfulness is heart-service, and therefore true. … Cheerfulness is the support of our strength; in the joy of the Lord are we strong.  The man who is cheerful in his service of God, proves that obedience is his element… Do you serve the Lord with gladness? Let us show to the people of the world, who think our religion to be slavery, that it is to us a delight and a joy! Let our gladness proclaim that we serve a good Master.”

From Charles Spurgeon in Morning and Evening

My Own Little Bit?

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When God made Adam and Eve in His image, He set them in Eden and revealed to them that to bear His image was to reflect Him in every way that a creature may reflect its Creator; it was to be His representative in the Garden and to work His work there. This second of three brief posts on the theme of service comes from Oswald Chambers…

Oswald Chambers writes…. “The call of God is not a call to any particular service; my interpretation of it may be, because contact with the nature of God has made me realize what I would like to do for Him. The call of God is essentially expressive of His nature; service is the outcome of what is fitted to my nature. The vocation of the natural life is stated by the apostle Paul – “When it pleased God to reveal His Son in me that I might preach Him” (i.e. sacramentally express Him) “among the Gentiles…”

Service is the overflow of superabounding devotion; but, profoundly speaking, there is no call to that, it is my own little actual bit, and is the echo of my identification with the nature of God. Service is the natural part of my life. God gets me into a relationship with Himself whereby I understand His call, then I do things out of sheer love for Him on my own account. To serve God is the deliberate love-gift of a nature that has heard the call of God. Service is expressive of that which is fitted to my nature; consequently when I receive His nature and hear His call, the voice of the Divine nature sounds in both and the two work together. The Son of God reveals Himself in me, and I serve Him in the ordinary ways of life out of devotion to Him.”

From Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest