This is what greeted me yesterday morning...
"My eager desire and hope being that I may never feel ashamed, but that now as ever I may do honour to
Christ in my own person by fearless courage."
What a challenge for the new year!
I love Oswald Chamber's My Utmost for His Highest. I have been reading it since sometime in my teen years. For several years since our last move, it was relegated to an obscure bookshelf, and I just recently pulled it down and am rediscovering what is evidently nothing short of pure inspiration to Mr. Chambers from the Holy Spirit.
Are you familiar with it? For so long when I first read it, I was almost daily astounded at how it spoke directly to whatever I was currently struggling with and needing encouragement in. And I'm not talking about a general feeling of "Oh, what a funny coincidence." I mean more like blown away. I have since heard other people say that same thing. While I try and read it out of my book, I also subscribe to the daily devotional in my google reader. You can subscribe to the feed here. I would encourage you to check it out. It is motivating, encouraging, and often challenging.
So back to yesterday. What struck me is that the past couple of weeks I feel as if I've come to another one of those crossroads in life. The place where I have to choose, again, to die to self, and submit to what I feel the Lord is calling me to do. It's nothing huge in so far as *what* it is, though I'm sure it's huge in the grand scheme of things, it's just another layer of selfishness coming off. You know, the whole "he who loses his life for My sake will find it" sort of stuff. And boy is that hard sometimes. But yet, whenever I look back as these various points in my life, I can see the tremendous fruit and blessing that has come of it when I have, through the grace of God, chosen to go His way.
Oftentimes when I come to these places, it is a gradual building of consciousness. Usually, it begins with my being overwhelmingly and increasingly frustrated at something, and gradually, as I become more and more desperate for God to step in, He causes me to realize it is yet another place of choosing His way over my own. Sadly to say, for me, I usually drag this out much longer than necessary! But thankfully, the Lord is faithful and continues to lead me in the way I need to go.
So it was just in the last few days, Monday specifically, where I was once again desperate and crying out to the Lord for change and breakthrough in some areas of weakness and frustration, asking Him for specific answers, that as I was napping, and going in and out of that place of consciousness, that I felt His answer. And it very much had to do with my laying down *my* life for His way. Sounds simple, but it came to me clearly and I felt as if I came out of a fog.
And as the new year dawned, I read these thoughts from the 1 January devotional...
"...We shall all feel very much ashamed if we do not yield to Jesus on the point He has asked us to yield to Him. Paul says-'My determination is to be my utmost for His highest.' To get there is a question of will, not of debate nor of reasoning, but a surrender of will, an absolute and irrevocable surrender on that point. An overweening consideration for ourselves is the thing that keeps us from that decision..."
"...Shut out every other consideration and keep yourself before God for this one thing only - My Utmost for His Highest. I am determined to be absolutely and entirely for Him and for Him alone."
"...God's order (sometimes) has to work up to a crisis in our lives because we will not heed the gentler way. He brings us to the place where He asks us to be our utmost for Him, and we begin to debate; then He produces a providential crisis where we have to decide-for or against, and from that point the "Great Divide" begins. If the crisis has come to you on any line, surrender your will to Him absolutely and irrevocably."
So I've been really thinking about it and figuring out what specific changes I need to make in obedience to His leading, and so I have greeted the new year. Hoping, desperately hoping for more of Him. That He would come and be here. In this place.
Come, Lord. We need you. We are desperate for more of You. Be here. With me. In this place.