MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST

 

Praying to God in Secret

When you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place…  Matthew 6:6

The primary thought in the area of religion is— keep your eyes on God, not on people. Your motivation should not be the desire to be known as a praying person. Find an inner room in which to pray where no one even knows you are praying, shut the door, and talk to God in secret. Have no motivation other than to know your Father in heaven. It is impossible to carry on your life as a disciple without definite times of secret prayer.

“When you pray, do not use vain repetitions…” (Matthew 6:7). God does not hear us because we pray earnestly— He hears us solely on the basis of redemption. God is never impressed by our earnestness. Prayer is not simply getting things from God— that is only the most elementary kind of prayer. Prayer is coming into perfect fellowship and oneness with God. If the Son of God has been formed in us through regeneration (see Galatians 4:19), then He will continue to press on beyond our common sense and will change our attitude about the things for which we pray.

“Everyone who asks receives…” (Matthew 7:8). We pray religious nonsense without even involving our will, and then we say that God did not answer— but in reality we have never asked for anything. Jesus said, “…you will ask what you desire…” (John 15:7). Asking means that our will must be involved. Whenever Jesus talked about prayer, He spoke with wonderful childlike simplicity. Then we respond with our critical attitude, saying, “Yes, but even Jesus said that we must ask.” But remember that we have to ask things of God that are in keeping with the God whom Jesus Christ revealed. From My Utmost for His Highest Updated Edition

Bible in One Year: Proverbs 25-26; 2 Corinthians 9

 

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

It is perilously possible to make our conceptions of God like molten lead poured into a specially designed mould, and when it is cold and hard we fling it at the heads of the religious people who don’t agree with us.

from Disciples Indeed

 

 
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Bear The Cross

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And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”—Luke 14:27 (NKJV)

What do marriage, parenting, and starting a small business have in common? Hint: Think cost.

Got it yet? Well, while it takes money to enter into each of these endeavors, what is undeniably requires is commitment. A person must count the cost before entering in. This is exactly what Jesus implies in today’s verse.

This warning comes on the tail end of parables Jesus shares with invitations to follow Him, but it springboards into analogies describing how emotionally and spiritually invested a person needs to be. And it begins by bearing the cross.

This is why: At the time of Jesus’ ministry, the Roman Empire was the governing authority in Israel. As such, the Roman method of execution was crucifixion. When Jesus said that following Him would include “bearing one’s cross,” it meant followers would undergo harrowing hardships.

Initially, Jesus had many followers. He was known for His many miracles. Who wouldn’t like that? Even now, people flock to outreaches because they see what the church is providing. They get on board because they love the outward benefits, not fully realizing the cost involved with surrendering to Jesus, truly knowing Him, and abiding in Him. Yes, salvation is free (Ephesians 2:8), but along with that we give our lives over to Jesus. It’s a transfer of ownership, and it’s very difficult to do.

When witnessing for Christ, we want to be honest about what the commitment involves. Like Andrew said to Peter, we should boldly proclaim, “We have found the Messiah” (John 1:41 NKJV)! But good discipleship also includes mentoring a new believer and helping him or her overcome the stumbling blocks of this world and the love of the world (1 John 2:15-17). We must point them to Jesus’ words to take up their cross daily (use Luke 9:23-26). We ought to show them Paul’s letter to the Romans that appealed to them to present themselves as a “living sacrifice” and to be transformed by the renewing of their minds, which is pleasing to God (Romans 12:1). We need to remind them the cost is high to follow Jesus, but higher still is the price we pay when we reject Him.

The cross Jesus bore—shedding His blood—purchased our freedom from sin and death. It was the highest cost God could bear, and Jesus counted the cost with His words, “Not My will, but Your will be done” (Luke 22:42). Let’s echo that commitment.

DIG: What does “counting the cost” mean?

DISCOVER: In what ways have you taken up your cross? (It’s an individual endeavor.)

DO: Use your experience of investing in the kingdom of God to encourage a new believer.