When I am between Bible studies, I commonly use the classic My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers, as the launching point for my prayer and devotional time. This week the page-long devotional for May 15 has hung in my heart, so much so that I have been re-reading it. This week I am sharing the key sentences that are still gripping my heart today, in hopes that your heart enjoys them too.
That ye may know what is the hope of His calling… Ephesians 1:18
Remember what you are saved for–that the Son of God might be manifested in your mortal flesh.
Ah, my purpose. To become a frame for the character of Jesus to be displayed in all I do and say. I want to crucify my mortal, selfish, sinful flesh so people can see the character of Jesus instead.
Bend the whole energy of your powers to realize your election as a child of God; rise to the occasion every time.
I am improving. On most mornings I get out of bed thinking first of my role as a child of God, not as wife, mother or professor. I give God the day (Luke 9:23), asking the Holy Spirit to take over all parts of my life and be who people interact with all day long. I am reminded that rising to the occasion every time is possible in the power of His Spirit. There are no loopholes that excuse me, ever.
You cannot do anything for your salvation, but you must do something to manifest it, you must work out what God has worked in. Are you working it out with your tongue, and your brain, and your nerves?
Good news is that more of Jesus is displayed in me today than was in my 20’s. Regarding today’s status report, however, my tongue needs work. My words are usually fine, but that tone… There is still work to be done. My brain? God gave me one. I use it to blog, write, speak, pray and converse. I also use it to think, sometimes too critically. My nerves? Makes me think of the excuse commonly used for bad behavior, “You are getting on my nerves.” No excuses. Ever. Not when we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us to live the moments for us. I still leave rooms with frayed nerves to roll my eyes or mutter. (Not pray, mutter.)
If you are still the same miserable crosspatch, set in your own way, then it is a lie to say that God has saved and sanctified you.
I am not sure I was ever a crosspatch, but crosspatch still exists in my tone. I want it gone. And crosspatch still exists in the Church; People talking about Jesus without looking like Jesus. It destroys His name. It makes us liars. This week I listened to a podcast about a woman who went to an abortion clinic and “Christians” threw trash on her as she entered. She found the experience confirming. “Yes, I am trash.” The trash throwers sped her journey into the clinic instead of providing hesitation and an opportunity to be loved.
God is the Master Engineer, He allows the difficulties to come in order to see if you can vault over them properly–
I forget that every difficulty is a test. They aren’t personal. Everyone has them. And I forget that I can be a master gymnast even with a bad back and middle-aged body. I want to vault properly.
It does not matter how it hurts as long as it gives God the chance to manifest Himself in your mortal flesh.
I had a contractor stand in my driveway this week and tell me that many marriages would not have survived what my husband and I have just endured. People are watching, even my contractor. It is in moments like this that I realize that yes, my purpose is to manifest the Son of God in my mortal flesh no matter what. It all matters, every time.
May God not find the whine in us anymore, but may He find us full of spiritual pluck and athleticism, ready to face anything He brings.
I think this sentence was mostly the reason I have re-read this page multiple times this week. I basically had a friend recently tell me I whined. She did not use that word specifically, but this is what she was trying to say. May God not find the whine in me anymore. When I whine I am forgetting my purpose, to see difficulties as an opportunity to vault properly, display the Son of God to all who are watching, to live out my salvation. I like the phrase, “spiritual pluck.” I want to be full of it.
The only aim in life is that the Son of God may be manifested, and all dictation to God vanishes.
I am bending focused energies on this right now–to not dictate to God what His will should be for me. He decides where I live, what my kids choose as careers, what my job is, what my husband’s job is, what my schedule entails each day. Since God is perfect, His way is best. I am letting Him decide. May I stay in this place of trust for a long, long time.
…we are here to submit to His will so that He may work through us what He wants. When we realize this, He will make us broken bread and poured-out wine to feed and nourish others.
I hesitate to embrace “make goals and achieve them” approaches to life, even in the church. The Bible tells me that by dying to my desires and will I become the empty vessel needed for Jesus to shine magnificently through me. Surrender is the only path that enables me to offer Jesus to others, not just words about Jesus, but offering the opportunity to offer the character of Jesus. If I am all about me in any way whatsoever, then I only offer powerless inadequate me instead of infinite, perfect Him.
I am going to a new neighborhood soon. May I be broken bread and poured-out wine (instead of whine).
Picture Explanation: The pool has opened and perfecting stunts has begun.
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