Tuesday, October 27, 2020

The Method of Missions by Oswald Chambers

 

The Method of Missions

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…  MATTHEW 28:19

Jesus Christ did not say, “Go and save souls” (the salvation of souls is the supernatural work of God), but He said, “Go…make disciples of all the nations….” Yet you cannot make disciples unless you are a disciple yourself. When the disciples returned from their first mission, they were filled with joy because even the demons were subject to them. But Jesus said, in effect, “Don’t rejoice in successful service— the great secret of joy is that you have the right relationship with Me” (see Luke 10:17-20). The missionary’s great essential is remaining true to the call of God, and realizing that his one and only purpose is to disciple men and women to Jesus. Remember that there is a passion for souls that does not come from God, but from our desire to make converts to our point of view.

The challenge to the missionary does not come from the fact that people are difficult to bring to salvation, that backsliders are difficult to reclaim, or that there is a barrier of callous indifference. No, the challenge comes from the perspective of the missionary’s own personal relationship with Jesus Christ— “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” (Matthew 9:28). Our Lord unwaveringly asks us that question, and it confronts us in every individual situation we encounter. The one great challenge to us is— do I know my risen Lord? Do I know the power of His indwelling Spirit? Am I wise enough in God’s sight, but foolish enough according to the wisdom of the world, to trust in what Jesus Christ has said? Or am I abandoning the great supernatural position of limitless confidence in Christ Jesus, which is really God’s only call for a missionary? If I follow any other method, I depart altogether from the methods prescribed by our Lord— “All authority has been given to Me….Go therefore…” (Matthew 28:18-19). From My Utmost for His Highest Updated Edition

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

The vital relationship which the Christian has to the Bible is not that he worships the letter, but that the Holy Spirit makes the words of the Bible spirit and life to him.

from The Psychology of Redemption, 1066 L

Suffering Alone by Charles Stanley

Psalm 88

When we face hard times, it’s important to remember the One who promises to be by our side. While Paul was suffering from a thorn in the flesh, God told him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). In other words, “I’ll take care of you.” 

But Jesus doesn’t set aside a reserve of grace and assistance to help us six months from now. We get exactly what we need when we need it. He says, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you” (Heb. 13:5 NLT). Jesus won’t break that promise, and we can find strength in Him. 

We may never know why friends or loved ones forsake us in a time of need, but as painful as their abandonment may be, we can let it teach us to rest in God. Sometimes the only way we will learn to lean on the Lord is by finding that all other supports are gone. 

At some point, we all experience heartache. But one thing is certain: Jesus will be standing by our side to strengthen and deliver us in our time of need. One day we’ll have the privilege of looking back over our life and seeing how He proved His faithfulness over and over again.

New Leaves Push out the Old by Adrian Rogers

New Leaves Push out the Old

Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

Our eyes delight to see those trees in autumn which turn glorious colors, then drop their leaves one by one. But there are certain trees that hold their leaves until spring. They wither and turn brown, but they don’t drop. Not until spring do these trees lose their leaves—when the new leaves push out the old leaves.

That’s exactly what happens to our old habits and our old lives when we find the Lord Jesus. The new life pushes that old life off.

It’s not a matter of plucking off this leaf and knocking off that leaf. The Christian life is not forged in that manner. Our new life replaces our old life when we are born again.

Choosing Hope by Lisa M. Samra

Choosing Hope

Lisa M. Samra

But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord. Micah 7:7

Micah 7:2–7


I am one of millions of people worldwide who suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder), a type of depression common in places with limited sunlight due to short winter days. When I begin to fear winter’s frozen curse will never end, I’m eager for any evidence that longer days and warmer temperatures are coming.

The first signs of spring—flowers successfully braving their way through the lingering snow—also powerfully remind me of the way God’s hope can break through even our darkest seasons. The prophet Micah confessed this even while enduring a heart-rending “winter” as the Israelites turned away from God. As Micah assessed the bleak situation, he lamented that “not one upright person” seemed to remain (Micah 7:2).

Yet, even though the situation appeared dire, the prophet refused to give up hope. He trusted that God was at work (v. 7)—even if, amid the devastation, he couldn’t yet see the evidence.

In our dark and sometimes seemingly endless “winters,” when spring doesn’t appear to be breaking through, we face the same struggle as Micah. Will we give into despair? Or will we “watch in hope for the Lord”? (v. 7).

Our hope in God is never wasted (Romans 5:5). He’s bringing a time with no more “winter”: a time with no more mourning or pain (Revelation 21:4). Until then, may we rest in Him, confessing, “My hope is in you” (Psalm 39:7).

Where do you find hope in dark times? In what “winter” season has God given you the hope you needed?

Heavenly Father, during difficult seasons of life, it’s easy for me to be discouraged; in those hard times, help me place my hope in You. And in every season of my life, help me share with others the peace found in life with You.

True Colors by Billy Graham

 True Colors

There is an old story that tells about a pig. . . . The farmer brought the pig into the house. He gave him a bath, polished his hooves, put some Chanel No. 5 on him, put a ribbon around his neck, and put him in the living room. The pig looked fine. He made a nice and companionable pet for a few minutes. But as soon as the door was opened, the pig left the living room and jumped into the first mud puddle that he could find. Why? Because he was still a pig at heart. His nature had not been changed. He had changed outwardly but not inwardly. . . . 

You can take a man—dress him up, put him in the front row in church, and he almost looks like a saint. He may fool even his best friends for a while, but then put him in his office, or in the club on Saturday night, and you will see his true nature come out again. Why does he act that way? Because his nature has not been changed. He has not been born again.

Daily Prayer

Almighty God, there are times when I debase my Christian walk and slip again into the mire. Cleanse and strengthen me, for Jesus’ sake.

““For God watches how people live; he sees everything they do.”

‭‭Job‬ ‭34:21‬ ‭NLT‬‬

THIRST FOR TRUTH / Draw Near Bible App

THIRST FOR TRUTH

Terror struck with fiery fangs that April morning in 1906 when the San Andreas Fault settled, shaking San Francisco to the ground. While thousands fled the burning city, one man rode into town, notebook in hand, to learn how people felt and reacted in crisis. William James, famed psychologist, had a thirst for truth which made him explore, experiment, change, and grow. He made himself forget preconceived ideas to become as impressionable as a child so he could learn truth.

Jesus says if a man is to come into the Kingdom, he must learn to come clean; that is, with the slate of his mind wiped clean of his ambitions, his ideals, and his own ideas of religion. A child presents himself to learn, and this is what Christ means when He says we are to come as children.

So often we come to Christ with our fists closed and we cannot receive. If we could learn to wipe our minds clean of all our own ideas and let Him lead us into truth, we would really come into His Kingdom. He desires to write His will on our hearts, but we must come as children if He is to do it.

“Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭18:3-4‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Who’s Influencing You? by Greg Laurie

 Who’s Influencing You?

“Then the foreign rabble who were traveling with the Israelites began to crave the good things of Egypt. And the people of Israel also began to complain. ‘Oh, for some meat!’ they exclaimed” (Numbers 11:4 nlt).

The Bible calls them “foreign rabble,” “mixed multitude,” or even “riffraff,” depending on the translation you’re reading. So who were these people? It appears they weren’t believers. They joined the Israelites as they left Egypt.

They probably were impressed with the wonder-working God of Israel, and they, too, wanted to escape. Although they’d left Egypt, apparently Egypt never left them.

And when they started to complain, the Israelites started to complain: “We remember the fish we used to eat for free in Egypt. And we had all the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic we wanted. But now our appetites are gone. All we ever see is this manna!” (Numbers 11:5–6 nlt).

The foreign rabble were a bad influence on God’s people. And I find it interesting that they hated manna. Even though it was bread from Heaven, sent by God, they said, “We hate it. We don’t want that manna in our lives.”

This is why the apostle Paul warns, “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14 nkjv).

The Message puts it this way: “Don’t become partners with those who reject God. How can you make a partnership out of right and wrong? That’s not partnership; that’s war. Is light best friends with dark?”

Here’s a real test of your spiritual life: Do you look forward to Bible study, or do you dread it? That’s an indication of where you are spiritually, because a hungry believer is a healthy believer.

So think about who influences you. Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future. If you spend your time hanging around with people who don’t share your beliefs as a Christian, they can influence you and bring you down. Be very careful.

October 27 / Streams in the Desert

 All thy waves and thy billows are gone over me (Psalms 42:7).

They are HIS billows, whether they go o'er us,
Hiding His face in smothering spray and foam;
Or smooth and sparkling, spread a path before us,
And to our haven bear us safely home.
They are HIS billows, whether for our succor
He walks across them, stilling all our fear;
Or to our cry there comes no aid nor answer,
And in the lonely silence none is near.
They are HIS billows, whether we are toiling
Through tempest-driven waves that never cease,
While deep to deep with clamor loud is calling;
Or at His word they hush themselves in peace.
They are HIS billows, whether He divides them,
Making us walk dryshod where seas had flowed;
Or lets tumultuous breakers surge about us,
Rushing unchecked across our only road.
They are HIS billows, and He brings us through them;
So He has promised, so His love will do.
Keeping and leading, guiding and upholding,

To His sure harbor, He will bring us through.
--Annie Johnson Flint

Stand up in the place where the dear Lord has put you, and there do your best. God gives us trial tests. He puts life before us as an antagonist face to face. Out of the buffeting of a serious conflict we are expected to grow strong. The tree that grows where tempests toss its boughs and bend its trunk often almost to breaking, is often more firmly rooted than the tree than the tree which grows in the sequestered valley where no storm ever brings stress or strain.

The same is true of life. The grandest character is grown in hardship.
--Selected

Changeless in a Changing World by Alistair Begg

 

Changeless in a Changing World 

We have all become like one who is unclean. 

Isaiah 64:6

The believer is a new creature; he belongs to a holy generation and a peculiar people. The Spirit of God is in him, and in every respect he is far removed from the natural man. But for all that the Christian is still a sinner. He is so because of the imperfection of his nature, and he will continue as such to the end of his earthly life. The dirty fingers of sin leave marks on our cleanest clothes. Sin spoils our repentance, before the great Potter has finished it upon the wheel. Selfishness defiles our tears, and unbelief tampers with our faith.

The best thing we ever did apart from the merit of Jesus only added to the number of our sins; for when we have been most pure in our own sight, still, like the heavens, we were not pure in God's sight; and as He charged His angels with folly, so He must charge us with it, even in our most angelic frames of mind. The song that seeks to emulate the angels' melodies has human discords in it. The prayer that moves the arm of God is still a bruised and battered prayer, and only moves that arm because the sinless One, the great Mediator, Jesus, has stepped in to take away the sin of our supplication. The most golden faith or the purest degree of sanctification to which a Christian ever attained on earth has still so much dross in it as to be only worthy of the flames.

Every night we look in the mirror we see a sinner and need to confess, “We have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.” How precious then is the blood of Christ to hearts like ours! How priceless a gift is His perfect righteousness! And how bright is the hope of perfect holiness in heaven! Even now, though sin dwells in us, its power is broken. It remains, but it no longer reigns; we are in bitter conflict with it, but we are dealing with a vanquished foe. In a little while we will enter victoriously into the city where nothing defiles.

Give a Little Grace by Debbie Holloway

Give a Little Grace

by Debbie Holloway

Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters(Romans 14:1).

Winter weather is pretty bipolar in the great Commonwealth of Virginia. One day it can be warm and sunny, and the next day you curse your bad luck for not wearing earmuffs and gloves when you walk out the door. However, when bad weather is forecast, local reactions are solidly predictable, specifically when it comes to “preparation” and driving in abnormal road conditions.

“Snow? SNOW? IT’S GOING TO SNOW?!”

People around here freak out and buy a lot of bread and milk when storms are predicted. If your significant other suggests, “Hey, we’re out of ____, can you stop by Wal-Mart?” on the evening a snowstorm is predicted to hit: forget about it; society is on crazy pills. Additionally, nobody around here can drive in the snow either. Obviously greater caution is called for with icy and slippery road conditions, but people see white stuff and generally throw out every rule they ever learned about How to Be a Good Driver.

Such reactions generate a lot of scorn from imported northerners. After all, children in Michigan attend school daily in the wintery months in upwards of a foot of snow. Why do Richmond kids get classes canceled at the forecast of snow? There is definitely impatience and indignation – and no doubt it is well-deserved!

After doing a fair amount of grumbling during our recent snows, I thought, Hmm, this seems familiar… spiritually...

Isn’t it easy to find ourselves being “northerners” when we find ourselves around those at different points in their spiritual walks? We find it easy to look down upon, mock, or judge people who have difficulty living with restraint, modesty, chastity, gentleness, or a host of other spiritual virtues. We roll our eyes at people unfamiliar with the Bible, who can’t rattle off verses by memory as quickly as their ABCs.

Essentially, we are impatient with those who have less (or different) theological, spiritual, or biblical exposure and knowledge. But how is that fair? In reality, many people are ill-prepared simply because of their upbringing. Many come to Christ as adults, out of nonbelieving families. Many people don’t have much time (or the inclination!) to devote to in-depth biblical or theological study. Many people grew up in a church where only the most basic of Gospel truths were touched on, and become paralyzed when more complex life situations rear their ugly heads.

Should all Christians have an intense drive to make themselves as knowledgeable and as spiritually “prepared” as possible? Well, yes. But we live in a busy, imperfect world full of busy, imperfect people. Everyone’s experience is different; everyone is part of a unique story.

So when the “snowstorms” of life come, don’t mock the “southerners” in your midst who freak out. Instead, be there for them. Extend grace, love, and friendship. Not everyone can be prepared for what seems like No Big Deal to you. Everyone’s hard place deserves validation in a Kingdom of God marked by compassion, equality, forgiveness, and love.

Intersecting Faith and Life: The next time you hear someone complain about someone else (say, a crazy driver) – let it remind you that everyone’s story is unique, and every situation has a context.

Further Reading

Romans 14:1
1 Corinthians 12:25

The Importance of Knowing God’s Word / Senior Living

The Importance of Knowing God’s Word

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. - 2 Timothy 3:16-17

A church pastor visited the sixth grade Sunday School class one day, and listened as the teacher taught some of the Old Testament. At the end, the pastor asked, “Does anyone know who knocked down the walls of Jericho?”

Two boys answered, “Pastor, we don’t know who did it, but it sure wasn’t us.”

Shocked, he turned to the teacher and asked, “What do you think of that answer?” The teacher replied, “Pastor, they’ve always been honest. If they said they didn’t do it, I believe them.”

The pastor huffed off and went out into the hallway where he saw the chairman of the church board. He told him what had just happened. “Can you believe that?” the pastor sighed.

The chairman of the board looked at him and said, “Pastor, let’s not fuss about who did what. We’ll just fix the walls and pay for it out of the General Fund.”

All kidding aside, I think most Christians today would agree there’s a surprising lack of biblical literacy even among churchgoers these days. And much of it has to do with the fact that too many people who know the Bible well aren’t stepping up to pass their knowledge onto others.

So if you’d put yourself in the camp of those who know the Bible well, make it a point to teach others. And if you don’t, find someone who can teach you!

Prayer Challenge:

Pray that God would help you find a relationship where you’re either teaching or learning the Bible.

Questions for Thought:

Why do you think it’s so important to know God’s Word?

Who in your life today could you either teach or learn from about the Bible?

Rewards by David Jeremiah

 

Rewards
 
And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance.
Colossians 3:23-24
 
The dictionary offers two definitions for the word reward. The first is a sum of money given for the detection of a criminal. The other is an award given in return for faithful service. The second definition describes the biblical concept of our heavenly rewards. In a way we don’t fully understand, God will reward His faithful servants for their earthly lives and labor. Some of these rewards are described as crowns. The Bible talks about the Victor’s Crown (1 Corinthians 9:24-27); the Crown of Rejoicing (1 Thessalonians 2:19); the Crown of Righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8); the Crown of Life (James 1:12); and the Crown of Glory (1 Peter 5:4).

Recommended Reading:
1 Corinthians 3:5-8

Perhaps the greatest possible reward in heaven will simply be the words from Jesus: “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).

Let’s labor for His Name’s sake without becoming weary (Revelation 2:3), and trust God to richly welcome us to heaven when our earthly work is done.
 
Our rewards in heaven are a result of God’s crowning His own gifts.
Augustine

October 27 / Wisdom from the Psalms

Psalm 129:2

Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth: yet they have not prevailed against me.
 
Saundra was handicapped. Her hands were twisted beyond usefulness, and she had lived with them since birth. They caused her not only physical pain, but emotional anguish as well. Throughout her childhood, cruel children had mocked her. The damage done to her self-esteem was immense, and for a long period she believed that she could never do anything. In college she had met a friend who led her to Christ. In Christ she found a new desire to succeed and beat her affliction. She received a Master's degree in Therapy and Handicapped Services and became national spokeswoman for a handicap-awareness campaign. Though her detractors had always had something to say, Saundra prevailed and rose above her handicap.
 
The Lord gives us all the ability to rise above the things that limit us. If we will only lean upon Him, He will give us the will and drive to succeed in every situation. His power can be our power when we call upon His holy name.
 
PrayerThere are times, dear Lord, when I feel I don't amount to much. My self-image is bruised, and my determination is crushed. Be with me in those times, and lift me up. Amen.
 

Monday, October 26, 2020

What is a Missionary? by Oswald Chambers

 

What is a Missionary?

Jesus said to them again, "…As the Father has sent Me, I also send you."  JOHN 20:21

A missionary is someone sent by Jesus Christ just as He was sent by God. The great controlling factor is not the needs of people, but the command of Jesus. The source of our inspiration in our service for God is behind us, not ahead of us. The tendency today is to put the inspiration out in front— to sweep everything together in front of us and make it conform to our definition of success. But in the New Testament the inspiration is put behind us, and is the Lord Jesus Himself. The goal is to be true to Him— to carry out His plans.

Personal attachment to the Lord Jesus and to His perspective is the one thing that must not be overlooked. In missionary work the great danger is that God’s call will be replaced by the needs of the people, to the point that human sympathy for those needs will absolutely overwhelm the meaning of being sent by Jesus. The needs are so enormous, and the conditions so difficult, that every power of the mind falters and fails. We tend to forget that the one great reason underneath all missionary work is not primarily the elevation of the people, their education, nor their needs, but is first and foremost the command of Jesus Christ— “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…” (Matthew 28:19).

When looking back on the lives of men and women of God, the tendency is to say, “What wonderfully keen and intelligent wisdom they had, and how perfectly they understood all that God wanted!” But the keen and intelligent mind behind them was the mind of God, not human wisdom at all. We give credit to human wisdom when we should give credit to the divine guidance of God being exhibited through childlike people who were “foolish” enough to trust God’s wisdom and His supernatural equipment. From My Utmost for His Highest Updated Edition

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

The great word of Jesus to His disciples is Abandon. When God has brought us into the relationship of disciples, we have to venture on His word; trust entirely to Him and watch that when He brings us to the venture, we take it.

The Method of Missions by Oswald Chambers

  The Method of Missions Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…    MATTHEW 28:19 Jesus Christ did not say, “Go and save souls” ...