Monday, December 9, 2019

The Opposition of the Natural by Oswald Chambers

The Opposition of the Natural
Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  GALATIANS 5:24
The natural life itself is not sinful. But we must abandon sin, having nothing to do with it in any way whatsoever. Sin belongs to hell and to the devil. I, as a child of God, belong to heaven and to God. It is not a question of giving up sin, but of giving up my right to myself, my natural independence, and my self-will. This is where the battle has to be fought. The things that are right, noble, and good from the natural standpoint are the very things that keep us from being God’s best. Once we come to understand that natural moral excellence opposes or counteracts surrender to God, we bring our soul into the center of its greatest battle. Very few of us would debate over what is filthy, evil, and wrong, but we do debate over what is good. It is the good that opposes the best. The higher up the scale of moral excellence a person goes, the more intense the opposition to Jesus Christ. “Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh….” The cost to your natural life is not just one or two things, but everything. Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself…” (Matthew 16:24). That is, he must deny his right to himself, and he must realize who Jesus Christ is before he will bring himself to do it. Beware of refusing to go to the funeral of your own independence.
The natural life is not spiritual, and it can be made spiritual only through sacrifice. If we do not purposely sacrifice the natural, the supernatural can never become natural to us. There is no high or easy road. Each of us has the means to accomplish it entirely in his own hands. It is not a question of praying, but of sacrificing, and thereby performing His will. From My Utmost for His Highest Updated Edition
WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS
There is no allowance whatever in the New Testament for the man who says he is saved by grace but who does not produce the graceful goods. Jesus Christ by His Redemption can make our actual life in keeping with our religious profession.
from Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 1465 R

Conviction Versus Condemnation by Charles Stanley

Our heavenly Father desires that we walk closely with Him. To help us, the Holy Spirit guides us on the right path and redirects us when we are headed in the wrong direction. In other words, He convicts us when we are in danger of straying. 
Conviction is God’s loving hand steering us back to the path that leads to life. To better understand the concept, picture a parent whose toddler begins to chase a ball into a busy street. The youngster has only one desire at that moment: to retrieve the toy. The parent, however, would be negligent if he or she did not stop the child. 
We, like the toddler in this example, view our life from a limited perspective. If our heavenly Father stops us from achieving a desire, it seems frustrating. But we must remember that the Almighty is acting out of His love for us. 
Conviction begins even before salvation. The Holy Spirit reveals our wrongs to help us recognize that we need forgiveness. When we accept Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf and choose to follow Him, we are born again. Only then are we free from the penalty of sin. At the same time, we are still human and will make some poor choices. So, even after we are His children, God continues to redirect us. 
Conviction is different from condemnation. Remember that “God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:17). So though believers at times will sin, they are justified by Christ’s sacrifice and free from condemnation (Rom. 8:1).

The Why of Christmas by Greg Laurie

The Why of Christmas
For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost. (Luke 19:10 nlt)
All around us are reminders that Christmas is here. Frankly, it seems to get earlier every year. I think I maybe even saw Christmas decorations for sale in August.
Even so, I love to hear those great Christian Christmas songs being played wherever I go. Suddenly I’m hearing the name of Jesus in public, and there's something very special about that.
This month we talk a lot about the where and the what surrounding Jesus’ birth. But I want to focus for a moment on the why. Jesus was born in a stable in Bethlehem to save us from our sins.
In fact, Jesus revealed to a man named Zacchaeus the reason He came to this earth. When Jesus showed up in Jericho, it was a big deal. Zacchaeus couldn’t see above the crowd, but no one wanted anything to do with him because he was a tax collector. That means he took advantage of people. He effectively ripped them off. Therefore, he didn’t have a friend in town.
So Zacchaeus climbed a tree to get a view of Jesus. Imagine his shock when Jesus stopped, looked up, and called him by name. Jesus said, “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today” (Luke 19:5 nlt).
After all, how can you reach a sinner if you don’t spend some time with him? That day Zacchaeus walked into his home a sinner, and he walked out a saint. And that is what spending time with Jesus will do.
There in the home of Zacchaeus, Jesus revealed the reason He came. He said, “Salvation has come to this home today. . . . For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost” (verses 9–10 nlt).
That’s why Jesus came—to seek and save lost people.

Our Guiding Light by Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Our Guiding Light

Jennifer Benson Schuldt

You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light. 2 Samuel 22:29


At a museum, I lingered near a display of ancient lamps. A sign revealed they were from Israel. Decorated with carved designs, these oval-shaped clay vessels had two openings—one for fuel, and one for a wick. Although the Israelites commonly used them in wall alcoves, each was small enough to fit in the palm of a person’s hand.

Perhaps a little light like this inspired King David to write a praise song in which he said, “You Lord are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light” (2 Samuel 22:29). David sang these words after God gave him victory in battle. Rivals from both inside and outside his own nation had been stalking him, intending to kill him. Because of his relationship with God, David didn’t cower in the shadows. He moved forward into enemy confrontations with the confidence that comes from God’s presence. With God helping him, he could see things clearly so he could make good decisions for himself, his troops, and his nation.

The darkness David mentioned in his song likely involved fear of weakness, defeat, and death. Many of us live with similar worries, which produce anxiety and stress. When the darkness presses in on us, we can find peace because we know God is with us too. The divine flame of the Holy Spirit lives in us to light our path until we meet Jesus face to face.
Why can you trust God to help you with your fears? What can you do to seek God’s guidance in your life?

God, please assure me of Your presence when I’m afraid. Help me to remember that You’ve defeated spiritual darkness through Your death and resurrection.

The Throne of Grace by Billy Graham

The Throne of Grace

Praying is simply a two-way conversation between you and God. Thousands of people pray only when they are under great stress, or in danger, overcome by uncertainty. I have been in airplanes when an engine died; then people started praying. I have talked to soldiers who told me that they never prayed until they were in the midst of battle. There seems to be an instinct in man to pray in times of trouble. We know “there are no atheists in foxholes,” but the kind of Christianity that fails to reach into our everyday lives will never change the world. Develop the power of prayer. Man is more powerful when he is in prayer than when he is behind the most powerful guns. A nation is more powerful when it unites in earnest prayer to God than when its resources are channeled into defensive weapons. The answers to all our problems can be had through contact with almighty God.

Daily Prayer

My time spent in prayer with You, dear Lord, is the highlight of my day. To know You are waiting to have this communion humbles me. Yet You say I can come boldly—this I do now, knowing You hear me!
“Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭4:16‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Bad Choices in Your Past? by Adrian Rogers

Bad Choices in Your Past?
What man is he that feareth the Lord? Him shall He teach in the way that He shall choose. Psalm 25:12
You are free to choose. You are not free, however, not to choose. After you make a choice, your choice chooses for you. 
There are always consequences for your choices. Always. If you choose to step off the roof of a ten-story building, you are not then free to choose the consequence of your choice. Your choice has chosen for you. 
God's will is for your welfare as well as His glory.  God's will is what you would choose for yourself…if you had enough sense to choose it.  Don't be afraid of the will of God.  The will of God will never lead you where the grace of God cannot keep you.
What if you make a bad choice? What is God’s reaction? First, He is in control. Your choices will not take Him by surprise. Thanks to God, He can prevail over our bad choices to restore us into fellowship with Himself!
Are the consequences of your past bad choices reverberating even today? If you’ve asked for forgiveness, believe God’s Word that He has forgiven you! And share your insight with someone who is younger in the faith than you.

December 9 / Streams in the Desert

For this our light and transitory burden of suffering is achieving for us a weight of glory (2 Cor. 4:17). (Weymouth)
The question is repeatedly asked--Why is the life of man drenched with so much blood, and blistered with so many tears? The answer is to be found in the word "achieving"; these things are achieving for us something precious. They are teaching us not only the way to victory, but better still the laws of victory. There is a compensation in every sorrow, and the sorrow is working out the compensation. It is the cry of the dear old hymn:
"Nearer my God to Thee, nearer to Thee,
E'en tho' it be a cross that raiseth me."
Joy sometimes needs pain to give it birth. Fanny Crosby could never have written her beautiful hymn, "I shall see Him face to face," were it not for the fact that she had never looked upon the green fields nor the evening sunset nor the kindly twinkle in her mother's eye. It was the loss of her own vision that helped her to gain her remarkable spiritual discernment.
It is comforting to know that sorrow tarries only for the night; it takes its leave in the morning. A thunderstorm is very brief when put alongside the long summer day. "Weeping may endure for the night but joy cometh in the morning."
--Songs in the Night
There is a peace that cometh after sorrow,
Of hope surrendered, not of hope fulfilled;
A peace that looketh not upon tomorrow,
But calmly on a tempest that it stilled.
A peace that lives not now in joy's excesses,
Nor in the happy life of love secure;
But in the unerring strength the heart possesses,
Of conflicts won while learning to endure.
A peace there is, in sacrifice secluded,
A life subdued, from will and passion free;
'Tis not the peace that over Eden brooded,

But that which triumphed in Gethsemane.

The Opposition of the Natural by Oswald Chambers

The Opposition of the Natural Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.    GALATIANS 5:24 The...