"Look Again and Consecrate"

If you don’t have a copy of Oswald Chamber’s My Utmost for His Highest, I suggest you get one. I bought a copy for very cheap at a CBD Warehouse sale, but I think you can get them for relatively cheap elsewhere. Much of what Chambers has written has brought challenge and encouragement in my personal walk with Jesus Christ. I found today’s entry both challenging and encouraging, and wanted to share it here with all of you:

Look Again and Consecrate

“If God so clothes the grass of the field…, will He not much more clothe you…?” (Matthew 6:30).

A simple statement of Jesus is always a puzzle to us because we will not be simple. How can we maintain the simplicity of Jesus so that we may understand Him? By receiving His Spirit, recognizing and relying on Him, and obeying Him as He brings us the truth of His Word, life will become amazingly simple. Jesus asks us to consider that “if God so clothes the grass of the field…” how “much more” will He clothe you, if you keep your relationship right with Him? Every time we lose ground in our fellowship with God, it is because we have disrespectfully thought that we knew better than Jesus Christ. We have allowed “the cares of this world” to enter in (Matthew 13:22), while forgetting the “much more” of our heavenly Father.
“Look at the birds of the air…” (6:26). Their function is to obey the instincts God placed within them, and God watches over them. Jesus said that if you have the right relationship with Him and will obey His Spirit within you, then God will care for your “feathers” too.
“Consider the lilies of the field…” (6:28). They grow where they are planted. Many of us refuse to grow where God plants us. Therefore, we don’t take root anywhere. Jesus said if we would obey the life of God within us, He would look after all other things. Did Jesus Christ lie to us? Are we experiencing the “much more” He promised? If we are not, it is because we are not obeying the life God has given us and have cluttered our minds with confusing thoughts and worries. How much time have we wasted asking God senseless questions while we should be absolutely free to concentrate on our service to Him? Consecration is the act of continually separating myself from everything except that which God has appointed me to do. It is not a one-time experience but an ongoing process. Am I continually separating myself and looking to God every day of my life?

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God’s Grace

I’ve been reading Twelve Extraordinary Women by John MacArthur, and reading about Sarah. And, of course, because she was married to Abraham, it talks about him in that chapter as well. And something hit me while I was reading. I was blown away by God’s amazing grace, which reflects every facet of His character that is good, and ultimately points to His glory. In showing unmerited grace, He was showing that He was God, and that He had the power to keep His promises, unaffected by the sinful acts of man. MacArthur says, “To this aged man who had managed to father only one son (and that by less than honorable means), God said, ‘I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come form you’ ([Genesis] 17:6, NKJV)” (page 43). He was, of course, referring to the time before the promised son Isaac was actually born. And though it’s a fact that I’ve known for a very long time, it hit me in a fresh new way today: God’s promise to Abraham in no way depended on Abraham. It didn’t depend on his faith, his action, his goodness or badness. God didn’t threaten to take it away when Abraham lied about Sarah being his wife, or even when he followed his wife’s scheme to try and bring about the fulfillment of God’s promise by sleeping with her handmaid. It was an unconditional promise. God was faithful even when the recipient of that promise wasn’t.

What blows me away is not only God’s ability to keep the promise despite human intervention, but His grace in doing so. He didn’t tell Abraham, “Forget it; you blew it. I’m finding someone else to be the father of many nations, to be the one through whose line my promised Messiah will eventually be born.” It didn’t depend on Abraham; it was dependent on God and His character alone.

Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar all faced painful consequences for trying to meddle in God’s plan. So I’m not suggesting that you and I can do whatever we want because God’s promise to love us no matter what. There will still be consequences to pay for sin, albeit that we will never face the ultimate punishment for such if we are God’s children. But what’s comforting here is that God is God and He will do what He pleases. He is perfectly capable to carry out His will in His time, even if I try to do the job myself and make a mess of things. It makes me remember that I am awfully small, and God is awfully big. And that’s a good thing to remember.