Keep Recognizing Jesus by Oswald Chambers

Matthew 14:28-31

28 Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”

29 “Yes, come,” Jesus said.

So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.30 But when he saw the strong[d] wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.

31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,”Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”

Keep Recognizing Jesus

The wind really was boisterous and the waves really were high, but Peter didn’t see them at first. He didn’t consider them at all; he simply recognized his Lord, stepped out in recognition of Him, and “walked on the water.” Then he began to take those things around him into account, and instantly, down he went. Why couldn’t our Lord have enabled him to walk at the bottom of the waves, as well as on top of them? He could have, yet neither could be done without Peter’s continuing recognition of the Lord Jesus.

We step right out with recognition of God in some things, then self-consideration enters our lives and down we go. If you are truly recognizing your Lord, you have no business being concerned about how and where He engineers your circumstances. The things surrounding you are real, but when you look at them you are immediately overwhelmed, and even unable to recognize Jesus. Then comes His rebuke, “…why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31). Let your actual circumstances be what they may, but keep recognizing Jesus, maintaining complete reliance upon Him.

If you debate for even one second when God has spoken, it is all over for you. Never start to say, “Well, I wonder if He really did speak to me?” Be reckless immediately— totally unrestrained and willing to risk everything— by casting your all upon Him. You do not know when His voice will come to you, but whenever the realization of God comes, even in the faintest way imaginable, be determined to recklessly abandon yourself, surrendering everything to Him. It is only through abandonment of yourself and your circumstances that you will recognize Him. You will only recognize His voice more clearly through recklessness— being willing to risk your all.

One of God’s Great “Don’ts” by Oswald Chambers

Psalm 37:8 (NASB)

Cease from anger and forsake wrath;
Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing.

One of God’s Great “Don’ts”

Fretting means getting ourselves “out of joint” mentally or spiritually. It is one thing to say, “Do not fret,” but something very different to have such a nature that you find yourself unable to fret. It’s easy to say, “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him” (Psalm 37:7) until our own little world is turned upside down and we are forced to live in confusion and agony like so many other people. Is it possible to “rest in the Lord” then? If this “Do not” doesn’t work there, then it will not work anywhere. This “Do not” must work during our days of difficulty and uncertainty, as well as our peaceful days, or it will never work. And if it will not work in your particular case, it will not work for anyone else. Resting in the Lord is not dependent on your external circumstances at all, but on your relationship with God Himself.

Worrying always results in sin. We tend to think that a little anxiety and worry are simply an indication of how wise we really are, yet it is actually a much better indication of just how wicked we are. Fretting rises from our determination to have our own way. Our Lord never worried and was never anxious, because His purpose was never to accomplish His own plans but to fulfill God’s plans. Fretting is wickedness for a child of God.

Have you been propping up that foolish soul of yours with the idea that your circumstances are too much for God to handle? Set all your opinions and speculations aside and “abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1). Deliberately tell God that you will not fret about whatever concerns you. All our fretting and worrying is caused by planning without God.

The Good or The Best? by Oswald Chambers

Genesis 13:9 (NLT)

The whole countryside is open to you. Take your choice of any section of the land you want, and we will separate. If you want the land to the left, then I’ll take the land on the right. If you prefer the land on the right, then I’ll go to the left.”

The Good or The Best?

As soon as you begin to live the life of faith in God, fascinating and physically gratifying possibilities will open up before you. These things are yours by right, but if you are living the life of faith you will exercise your right to waive your rights, and let God make your choice for you. God sometimes allows you to get into a place of testing where your own welfare would be the appropriate thing to consider, if you were not living the life of faith. But if you are, you will joyfully waive your right and allow God to make your choice for you. This is the discipline God uses to transform the natural into the spiritual through obedience to His voice.

Whenever our right becomes the guiding factor of our lives, it dulls our spiritual insight. The greatest enemy of the life of faith in God is not sin, but good choices which are not quite good enough. The good is always the enemy of the best. In this passage, it would seem that the wisest thing in the world for Abram to do would be to choose. It was his right, and the people around him would consider him to be a fool for not choosing.

Many of us do not continue to grow spiritually because we prefer to choose on the basis of our rights, instead of relying on God to make the choice for us. We have to learn to walk according to the standard which has its eyes focused on God. And God says to us, as He did to Abram, “…walk before Me…” (Genesis 17:1).

God’s Assurance by Oswald Chambers

Hebrews 13:5-6

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say,

“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?”

God’s Assurance by Oswald Chambers

My assurance is to be built upon God’s assurance to me. God says, “I will never leave you,” so that then I “may boldly say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear’ ” (Hebrews 13:5-6). In other words, I will not be obsessed with apprehension. This does not mean that I will not be tempted to fear, but I will remember God’s words of assurance. I will be full of courage, like a child who strives to reach the standard his father has set for him. The faith of many people begins to falter when apprehensions enter their thinking, and they forget the meaning of God’s assurance— they forget to take a deep spiritual breath. The only way to remove the fear from our lives is to listen to God’s assurance to us.

What are you fearing? Whatever it may be, you are not a coward about it— you are determined to face it, yet you still have a feeling of fear. When it seems that there is nothing and no one to help you, say to yourself, “But ‘The Lord is my helper’ this very moment, even in my present circumstance.” Are you learning to listen to God before you speak, or are you saying things and then trying to make God’s Word fit what you have said? Take hold of the Father’s assurance, and then say with strong courage, “I will not fear.” It does not matter what evil or wrong may be in our way, because “He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you….’ ”

Human frailty is another thing that gets between God’s words of assurance and our own words and thoughts. When we realize how feeble we are in facing difficulties, the difficulties become like giants, we become like grasshoppers, and God seems to be nonexistent. But remember God’s assurance to us— “I will neverforsake you.” Have we learned to sing after hearing God’s keynote? Are we continually filled with enough courage to say, “The Lord is my helper,” or are we yielding to fear?

From Oswald Chamber’s My Utmost for His Highest

I Know This About You. by Pastor Andy

Psalm 69:1-8

1Save me, O God,
for the floodwaters are up to my neck.
2Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire;
I can’t find a foothold.
I am in deep water,
and the floods overwhelm me.
3I am exhausted from crying for help;
my throat is parched.
My eyes are swollen with weeping,
waiting for my God to help me.
4Those who hate me without cause
outnumber the hairs on my head.
Many enemies try to destroy me with lies,
demanding that I give back what I didn’t steal.
5O God, you know how foolish I am;
my sins cannot be hidden from you.
6Don’t let those who trust in you be ashamed because of me,
O Sovereign lord of Heaven’s Armies.
Don’t let me cause them to be humiliated,
O God of Israel.
7For I endure insults for your sake;
humiliation is written all over my face.
8Even my own brothers pretend they don’t know me;
they treat me like a stranger.

I Know This About You.

I have a core philosophy on leadership. Are you ready? It’s not easy to comprehend. Okay, maybe it’s not so difficult…here it is.

Everyone is a leader.

You are a leader. If no one else, you are leading your family. Most likely you are leading beyond this. It could be coaching ball team, managing a few people at work or running an organization.

You are a leader.

With the Positives…

I’ve found there are a lot of positives with leading. Along with finding pleasure in those under me doing great work, there is also the simple fact that more gets done without me involved. My household is a great example.

Kia and I have delegated some of our household chores to our kids – dishes, laundry, some meals, etc. It’s incredible after years of doing all of these things to have them done without my involvement (though breaking up disputes is a regular occurrence).

I remember the pleasure when all my children were able to dress themselves. Now I can tell them to get up, get dressed and have no part in the process.

As much as that sounds like parenting…it’s really leading. I’m leading my kids to adulthood – responsibility, autonomy, decision making, etc.

You are a leader.

…Comes Responsibility.

Yet with all of the positive that comes with leading, there also responsibility. It’s why so many people don’t like the idea of leadership.

I’ll be honest with you. Most of the time, I don’t feel the full weight of the responsibility on me. I don’t mean the day to day, get-the-job-done responsibility. I feel that. I mean the larger, these-are-my-people responsibility. Too often, I miss it.

Recently, I got a (good) wake up call.

O God, you know how foolish I am;
my sins cannot be hidden from you.

Don’t let those who trust in you be ashamed because of me,
O Sovereign lord of Heaven’s Armies.
Don’t let me cause them to be humiliated,
O God of Israel.  -Psalm 69:5-6

As parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, Sunday School teachers and even friends of children, we are in a precious place. We are leading children – not just into physical and emotional maturity, but more importantly, we are lead children into spiritual maturity.

As I read those verses from Psalm 69, I realized my mistakes, can lead them astray. My words, my actions, even my thoughts, can destroy the faith of a child.

I hope that’s a wake up call for you too. You are leading your child’s spiritual life.

You are a leader.

Will you lead well?

Let me give you one piece of advice on how to lead your child well spiritually. I’ve become more and more aware of this in the last several years. It became super clear in a book I read about intimacy last year.

Donald Miller, in his book Scary Close, made this observation about the teenage and adult children of his friends. The ones who were the most mature (held your eye, had real conversations, weren’t overly dialed into their phones) had one thing in common. They all had parents who were open, honest and vulnerable with their children.

My advice? Be vulnerable. Share your weaknesses. Be honest about your mistakes.

Kids are dying to know we are human. They need to see it. God already knows we are foolish; they need to see it too. When you do, faith will become real in their lives.

When we are open and honest about our small mistakes and short-comings, something amazing happens. We are less likely to fall into large, image shattering sins.

This week, I challenge you to find one opportunity to be real with your family. Show a weakness. It’s okay. It’s better than okay. It’s leading well.

And there is one thing I know about you.

You are a leader.

Open Up the Heavens | Vertical Church Band