What God wants….

Utmost

And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head.  
Mark 14:3 ESV

 I remember a debate, years ago, about whether, in Christ, we are ‘saved to serve’? Well, yes and no. When we are genuinely saved, we will serve, because ‘faith without works is dead’. Yes, we are saved by faith alone, but no, faith is never alone. As a child, faith taught me, ‘Jesus loves me…’. Only later did I begin to think I needed to (or even could) do something more to earn or to keep his love. The right response to love is love, though love, like faith, is never alone. This final brief post on the theme of our abandonment to God also comes from Oswald Chambers…

Oswald Chambers writes…. “Have I ever been carried away to do something for God not because it was my duty, nor because it was useful, nor because there was anything in it at all beyond the fact that I love Him? Have I ever realised that I can bring to God things which are of value to Him ….? Not Divine, colossal things which could be recorded as marvelous, but ordinary, simple human things which will give evidence to God that I am abandoned to Him? Have I ever produced in the heart of the Lord Jesus what Mary of Bethany produced?

“There are times when it seems as if God watches to see if we will give Him the abandoned tokens of how genuinely we do love Him. Abandon to God is of more value than personal holiness. Personal holiness focuses the eye on our own whiteness; we are greatly concerned about the way we walk and talk and look, fearful lest we offend Him. Perfect love casts out all that when once we are abandoned to God.

“We have to get rid of this notion – ‘Am I of any use?’ – and make up our minds that we are not, and we may be near the truth. It is never a question of being of use, but of being of value to God Himself. When we are abandoned to God, He works through us all the time.”

From Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest

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A Self (less) Giver?

Utmost

 

Christmas seems long past. Some gifts go on giving; gifts and givers remembered happily together.
O. Henry’s story, The Gift of the Magi, (a young husband sells his cherished pocket watch to buy his wife a comb for her beautiful hair – the young wife sells her hair to buy a chain for his watch) impressed me, even as a child, as an illustration of giving, and of love. This second brief post on the theme of our abandonment to God also comes from Oswald Chambers…

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 ESV

“Salvation is not merely deliverance from sin, nor the experience of personal holiness; the salvation of God is deliverance out of self entirely into union with Himself. My experimental knowledge of salvation will be along the line of deliverance from sin and of personal holiness; but salvation means that the Spirit of God has brought me into touch with God’s personality, and I am thrilled with something infinitely greater than myself; I am caught up into the abandonment of God….

“Abandonment never produces the consciousness of its own effort, because the whole life is taken up with the One to Whom we abandon. Beware of talking about abandonment if you nothing about it, and you will never know anything about it until you have realised what John 3:16 means; that God gave Himself absolutely.

“In our abandonment we give ourselves over to God just as God gave Himself for us, without any calculation. The consequence of abandonment never enters into our outlook because our life is taken up with Him.”

From Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest

From Him, Through Him, To Him?

living sacrifice

Paul, at the end of Romans 11, asks, ‘Who has given a gift to (the Lord) that he might be repaid?’ then adds, ‘For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.’ Then Paul appeals (Romans 12:1) that we give ourselves to God as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable, an offering of spiritual worship. We give ourselves up to God, by His Grace, for His Glory. This first of three brief posts on the theme of abandonment to God comes from Oswald Chambers…

Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.
Mark 10:28 ESV

 “Our Lord replies, (to Peter) in effect, that abandonment is for Himself, and not for what the disciples themselves will get from it. Beware of an abandonment which has the commercial spirit in it – ‘I am going to give myself to God because I want to be delivered from sin, because I want to be made holy.’…

Abandonment is not for anything at all.

We have got so commercialized that we only go to God for something from Him, and not for Himself. It is like saying – ‘No, Lord, I don’t want Thee, I want myself; but I want myself clean and filled with the Holy Ghost; I want to be put in Thy showroom and be able to say – ‘This is what God has done for me.’

If we only give up something to God because we want more back, there is nothing of the Holy Spirit in our abandonment; it is miserable commercial self-interest. That we gain heaven, that we are delivered from sin, that we are made useful to God – these things never enter as considerations into real abandonment, which is a personal sovereign preference for Jesus Christ Himself….”

From Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest

I fear…I feel…?

Spurgeon

My times are in your hand…
Psalm 31:15

David, in deep trouble, prayed, ‘My times are in your hand’. But he confessed that was not his first response. ‘I had said in my alarm, ‘I am cut off from your sight.’ (Psalm 31:22 ESV). Most of us come to faith by way of fear. This final brief post on the theme of our times also comes from Charles Spurgeon…

Charles Spurgeon preached…. ‘If the case is in His hand, what need can there be for you to be prying and crying? You were worrying this morning, and fretting last night and you are distressed now, and will be worse tomorrow morning. May I ask you a question? Did you ever get any good by fretting? When there was not rain enough for your farm, did you ever fret a shower down? When there was too much wet, or you thought so, did you ever worry the clouds away? Tell me, did you ever make a sixpence by worrying? It is a very unprofitable business.

‘Do you answer, “What, then, are we to do in troublous times?”

‘Why, go to Him into whose hand you have committed yourself and your times. Consult with infinite wisdom by prayer; console yourself with infinite love by fellowship with God. Tell the Lord what you feel, and what you fear. Ten minutes’ praying is better than a year’s murmuring.’

From a sermon delivered by Charles Spurgeon on Sunday morning May 17th, 1891 at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

Bundles of joy?

SpurgeonMy times are in your hand… Psalm 31:15

If men rise up to pursue you and to seek your life, the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living in the care of the Lord your God.
1 Samuel 25:29 ESV.

Abigail’s assurances to David in 1 Samuel 25 may also be taken as a comfort to us in Christ. Perhaps the image of being ‘bound in the bundle of the living in the care of the Lord (our) God’ was fresh in David’s mind when he wrote ‘My times are in your hand’. This second brief post on the theme of our times also comes from C. H. Spurgeon…

Charles Spurgeon said, ” Whatever is to come out of our life is in our heavenly Father’s hands. …. The ultimate results of His work of grace upon us, and of His education of us in this life, are in the highest hand.

“We are not in our own hands, nor in the hands of earthly teachers, but we are under the skillful operation of hands which make nothing in vain. The close of life is not decided by the sharp knife of the fates, but by the hand of love.

“We shall not die before our time; neither shall we be forgotten and left upon the stage too long. Not only are we ourselves in the hand of the Lord, but all that surrounds us. Our times make up a kind of atmosphere of existence, and all this is under divine arrangement. We dwell within the palm of God’s hand. We are absolutely at His disposal, and all our circumstances are arranged by Him in all their details. We are comforted to have it so.” 

From a sermon delivered by Charles Spurgeon on Sunday morning May 17th, 1891 at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.