Monday, November 25, 2013

One Thing

Psalm 27:4 - One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple. (NKJV)

 I was working on memorizing Psalm 27 recently and one night while reciting and meditating on it, the Lord stopped me in my tracks with one phrase from verse 4: “One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek…”

“One thing I have desired…” Just one. Not two, not many things, one thing. Then the question came, “Daughter, what one thing do you desire of Me?”

I have had experience many times of my heart being “smote” and it happened again in this moment. I knew in an instant that my “one thing” was not purely what David’s was, that is, “…that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.” In other words, David’s “one thing” was simply to walk in deep fellowship with God. That was all he wanted, and nothing else mattered. Of course, it’s not like I didn’t want that, but I realized that yet again, I desired something else a little more than God Himself.

Idolatry is incredibly subtle. It sneaks its way into our hearts, often simply taking a good thing and loving it just a little too much. It takes over our attention and thoughts, it makes us excited and passionate… but it’s not HIM. And anything that comes between us and God is sinful.

In the Old Testament, God did not dwell with His people as He does now. In order to be in God’s presence you had to go to the Temple. But now, we have the Spirit of God living in us. But just because we have the amazing blessing of God living in us does not mean we have practical fellowship with Him. To have fellowship is to have a close relationship. With God it involves a renouncing of other “lovers” and a dependence solely on Him. Just like any other relationship it takes effort and time, but we easily get distracted by other things. To walk in fellowship with God means a daily (more like hourly) commitment to pursuing that relationship first and foremost. But it's worth it, for He is infinitely better than anything else we could desire.

May this be our daily prayer...

One thing I have earnestly desired of You, Lord, and that I will seek and pursue: That I may truly live and walk in Your presence all the days of my life, to behold more and more of Your beauty and great worth and to walk in close fellowship with You.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Others May, You Cannot

Others May, You Cannot
By G.D. Watson

If God has called you to be really like Jesus He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility. God’s call will put such demands of obedience on you that you will not be able to follow other people, or measure yourself by other Christians. At times, He will let other people do things which He will not let you do.

Other Christians who seem very religious will push themselves, pull wires, and work schemes to carry out their plans. You cannot, and if you attempt it, you will meet with failure and rebuke from the Lord.

Others may boast of themselves, of their work, of their successes, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing, and if you begin it, He will lead you to despise yourself and all your good works.

Others may be allowed to succeed in making money, or may have a legacy left to them, but it is likely God will keep you poor. God wants you to have something far better than gold, namely, a helpless dependence upon Him, that He may demonstrate His faithful love for you in supplying your needs day by day.

God may let others be honored and put forward, and keep you hidden in obscurity in order to produce some fragrant fruit for His coming glory which can only be produced in the shade. He may let others be great, but keep you small. He may let others do a work for Him and get the credit for it now. The reward for your work is held in the hands of Jesus and you will not see it until He comes.

The Holy Spirit will put a strict watch over you with a jealous love. He will rebuke you for the little words and feelings or for wasting your time. So make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign, and has a right to do as He pleases with His own. He does not owe you an explanation of these mysteries. But if you give yourself to be His child, He will wrap you up in a jealous love, and give you the precious blessings for those who belong, heart and soul, to Him.

Settle it forever, then, that you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit. It is His option to tie your tongue, or chain your hand, or close your eyes in ways that He does not seem to use with others. And when you are so possessed by the living God that your heart delights over this peculiar, personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of Heaven.

This essay was originally written as a tract by G.D. Watson (lived 1845-1924). 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Reading List (November 2013)

I finished all 3 books I was reading/started last month, and I read 2 more short ones and have started on the next ones! :-D  My goal now is about one book a week, although I tend to read multiple books at once! However, I am reminding myself not to neglect my Bible reading (or do a little less because I’m reading other things). Bible first!!! Also, this month I am doing a 30-day devotional from the back of Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ book Choosing Gratitude. Very appropriate for November! 

Recently Finished:
The Power of Prayer in a Believer’s Life by C.H. Spurgeon.
Excellent! Very convicting. J I love reading Spurgeon, I am so inspired by his passion! Favorite quote:  “If you would reach to something higher than ordinary experience, look to the Rock that is higher than you, and look with the eye of faith through the windows of importunate prayer. To grow in experience, there must be much prayer.”

The Gospel Call & True Conversion by Paul Washer.
A very solid Biblical exploration of conversion and what the life of a true believer should look like. Really thorough explanations on what it means to believe, receive Christ, and receiving Him as Savior AND Lord, what regeneration is (chapter 9), and the whole book is packed with God’s promises to complete His work that He began in us.
Favorite quote: “The goal of the Christian life is the pursuit of an intimate knowledge of God that leads to a greater estimation of His worth, a greater satisfaction and joy in His person, and a greater giving of oneself for His glory. As the old catechism states, ‘Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever’.” p. 16-17

When People Are Big and God is Small by Edward T. Welch.
This is a really helpful, practical book! This was my 2nd time reading this one! It’s a great resource for helping you see God as greater than yourself and your feelings, as well as other people, trials and circumstances. I highly recommend it!
Favorite quote: “To look to Christ to meet our perceived psychological needs is to Christianize our lusts. We are asking God to give us what we want so we can feel better about ourselves, or so we can have more happiness, not holiness, in our lives.”

The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness by Tim Keller.*
Short little book, but excellent! I SO need to think about myself less!
Favorite quote:  “The essence of Gospel-humility is not thinking more of myself or thinking less of myself, it is thinking of myself less.”

Trusting the Shepherd – Insights from Psalm 23 by Haddon Robinson*
Another short book – a really insightful exploration of the 23rd Psalm.
Favorite quote: “We don’t need courage to fight our own spiritual battles. We have an enemy not made of blood and flesh, an enemy we cannot see or touch. He is an enemy who would destroy us if he could. What kind of courage does a Christian need? We need courage to trust the Shepherd. If we know that He is nearby, we simply trust ourselves to Him and go back to grazing again. And that takes courage!” (p. 70)

Currently Reading:
The Hobbit by J.R. Tolkien*
A Gospel Primer by Milton Vincent*
Are Miraculous Gifts For Today? – Four Views by Wayne Grudem
Addictions – A Banquet in the Grave by Edward T. Welch* (I’m reading this as a study with a friend, so it may take longer to get through.)

Next books I want to read:
Jefferson Lies – exposing the myths you’ve always believed about Thomas Jefferson by David Barton
Hole in Our Holiness by Kevin DeYoung
The Bookends of the Christian Life by Jerry Bridges
Accidental Pharisees – Avoiding Pride, Exclusivity, and Other Dangers of Overzealous Faith by Larry Osborne

*an addition from last month’s log.