Never Loving the Gifts Over the Giver shared by Jon Gaus

The Supremacy of Jesus Christ

By Oswald Chambers

The holiness movements of today have none of the rugged reality of the New Testament about them. There is nothing about them that needs the death of Jesus Christ. All that is required is a pious atmosphere, prayer, and devotion. This type of experience is not supernatural nor miraculous. It did not cost the sufferings of God, nor is it stained with “the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 12:11). It is not marked or sealed by the Holy Spirit as being genuine, and it has no visual sign that causes people to exclaim with awe and wonder, “That is the work of God Almighty!” Yet the New Testament is about the work of God and nothing else.

The New Testament example of the Christian experience is that of a personal, passionate devotion to the Person of Jesus Christ. Every other kind of so-called Christian experience is detached from the Person of Jesus. There is no regeneration— no being born again into the kingdom in which Christ lives and reigns supreme. There is only the idea that He is our pattern. In the New Testament Jesus Christ is the Savior long before He is the pattern. Today He is being portrayed as the figurehead of a religion— a mere example. He is that, but He is infinitely more. He is salvation itself; He is the gospel of God!

Jesus said, “…when He, the Spirit of truth, has come,…He will glorify Me…” (John 16:13-14). When I commit myself to the revealed truth of the New Testament, I receive from God the gift of the Holy Spirit, who then begins interpreting to me what Jesus did. The Spirit of God does in me internally all that Jesus Christ did for me externally.

Getting Real with David In Prayer! by Jon Gaus

 Jon GausIMG_5578.jpeg

The Holy Spirit has included over two-hundred separate prayers in the Bible. These prayers are from many different people in many different situations of life and death. It’s not surprising that the prolific psalmist David has the most prayers recorded in the Scriptures at more than seventy-five. As we read through David’s many prayers, one pattern we notice is that he had no problem getting real with God! David believed that God knew him thoroughly and that God discerned all of his thoughts and that greatly affected the way he prayed.

David’s prayers are very real and raw as he spills out his heart before the Lord. Listen to how David describes pouring out his soul to God, “With my voice I cry out to the Lord; with my voice I plead for mercy to the Lord. I pour out my complaint before Him; I tell my trouble before Him.” Psalm 142:1-2. We can feel everything inside of David come rushing out in wave upon wave of emotion, grief, questions, and pleading before the throne of God. There doesn’t seem to be much filtering or hesitation here but instead the freedom to be transparent with the Lord. Let’s also notice that even though David is real and raw in his prayers, he never crosses over into flippancy or blasphemy. Though he asks lots of questions of God he never questions God’s character, and we shouldn’t either.

As we are growing as disciples of Jesus and we are learning more and more about prayer from the Word and Spirit, at times there can be the tendency to slip into “paralysis by analysis” in our daily prayer lives. We want to make sure we say everything right and in the right order and prayer becomes much more a stiff, religious duty than the delight and freedom of a relationship. Really good friends can spill their hearts out to one another without worrying about a filter. This is exactly how our Heavenly Father is inviting and exhorting us to communicate with Him, real and raw. Remember, He knows us thoroughly and He has called us His friends!

A Powerful Pattern of Prayer!

By JON GAUS

There are 650 prayers contained in the Bible.  We can learn much about the power of prayer by studying these prayers, looking at who prayed them and observing the circumstances in which they were prayed.  In 2 Chronicles 20 we find the nation of Judah in deep trouble surrounded by several enemy nations who are conspiring to attack.  The King of Judah, Jehoshaphat, is a good king but the scriptures tell us he was filled with fear.  In his desperation, Jehoshaphat calls on the entire nation to turn to the Lord in prayer and fasting.

As Jehoshaphat stands and leads the people in calling out to God, we see that he has a very strategic and powerful pattern to his prayer.  Jehoshaphat begins his prayer by worshipping God for His omnipotence and supremacy by praying, “O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you.” (2 Chronicles 20:6). By starting his prayer this way Jehoshaphat redirects the focus of the people from the threats of their enemies to their awesome, unconquerable God. Next in his prayer, Jehoshaphat recounts how faithfully God has provided in the past by praying, Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?” (2 Chronicles 20:7).  Here, Jehoshaphat is reminding God’s people that God is always faithful and always keeps His promises.

The way Jehoshaphat closes his prayer models for us the kind of humility and surrender that God honors. He closes by praying, “For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” (2 Chronicles 20:12).   Here, Jehoshaphat is modeling for the people a heart that desires God’s will and God’s way as he places their entire situation back into the hands of the Lord.  As chapter 20 goes on to report, God honored and answered this prayer of Jehoshaphat’s by completely destroying the enemies of Judah as the people worshipped and trusted in God alone.  As we grow in prayer and as intercessors, this prayer by Jehoshaphat is a powerful model for us to emulate as we seek to make ourselves small, make God big, and always place the battle back into His hands.

Abiding in Christ

Highly recommended by Jon Gaus

Many of us have been greatly blessed and greatly challenged by the deep, penetrating daily treasures found in Oswald Chambers, “My Utmost for His Highest.” If you are like me, you’ve probably had seasons in which you feasted on these meaty thoughts each day and then had other seasons when you moved onto other daily devotionals.

Below is one of my favorite (and I believe most penetrating and inspiring) of this humble servant’s anointed offering…enjoy and read twice:)


Transformed by Beholding

By Oswald Chambers

We all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image… 2 Corinthians 3:18

The greatest characteristic a Christian can exhibit is this completely unveiled openness before God, which allows that person’s life to become a mirror for others. When the Spirit fills us, we are transformed, and by beholding God we become mirrors. You can always tell when someone has been beholding the glory of the Lord, because your inner spirit senses that he mirrors the Lord’s own character. Beware of anything that would spot or tarnish that mirror in you. It is almost always something good that will stain it— something good, but not what is best.

The most important rule for us is to concentrate on keeping our lives open to God. Let everything else including work, clothes, and food be set aside. The busyness of things obscures our concentration on God. We must maintain a position of beholding Him, keeping our lives completely spiritual through and through. Let other things come and go as they will; let other people criticize us as they will; but never allow anything to obscure the life that “is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). Never let a hurried lifestyle disturb the relationship of abiding in Him. This is an easy thing to allow, but we must guard against it. The most difficult lesson of the Christian life is learning how to continue “beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord….”

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Good Friday: Why the Cross is So Wonderful!

By: Jon Gaus

The CROSS…How can a cruel instrument of torture and excruciating death, be seen by some as wonderful and beautiful?”

The future of everything and everyone who ever existed, hinges on what happened that day on the hill outside of Jerusalem called Golgotha …God’s perfect justice AND God’s prefect mercy, met in JESUS on the cross. If the human race was ever going to be free from the curse of our sins & death, if we were ever going to escape the God’s righteous wrath against our sins…it had to be JESUS on that cross!

JESUS is the “Only One!” The “Only One” uniquely qualified to restore our relationship with God the Father, AND to SAVE US from a just, eternal punishment in HELL. JESUS IS the perfect & awesome mediator!

2 Timothy 2 proclaims…“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the MAN Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all”

While we were still His enemies…Christ suffered and died for us IN LOVE!

1 John 4:10 This is love, not that we have loved God…but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Ephesians 2:4–5 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the GREAT LOVE with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ.”

As one N.T. scholar has stated, “The One from whom we needed to be saved, is the One who saved us!…Now that’s GRACE & LOVE!

JESUS IS…the only one qualified to redeem mankind and all of creation, because He is the only one who is fully God AND fully man! Since, sin was committed by man, therefore sin must be atoned for by “a man.” Only a “prefect human being” can be a substitute for other human beings! But, as God’s Word states…”For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God!”

We DESPERATELY needed a divine rescue….we DESPERATELY needed a qualified Savior! And the Father, whom we rejectedwe offended and we rebelled against… He sent us JESUS…fully God and fully man, who was tempted just as we are tempted… but remained without sin.

JESUS would let NOTHING STOP HIM in His mission to rescue you and me from sin, death and eternity in Hell! MANY forces tried to stop him from making it to the cross!

Shortly after His birth, the blood-thirsty King, Herod tried to murder Jesus and stop God’s plan of redemption…but The Father sent His ministering angels to rescue Joseph, Mary and Jesus.

As Jesus began His earthly ministry, SATAN came at Him FullForce in the wilderness to tempt Him with the “All the Kingdoms of this World” and to stop Him short of the cross, but Jesus used the power of the Word to continue toward Calvary.

After feeding the 5000, the crowd, wanting an earthly King, (not realizing they desperately needed a “crucified Savior”) tried to stop Jesus from going to the cross, but, in love for sinners…He kept traveling straight toward Calvary!

Even one of those closest to Him…tried to keep Jesus from the cross! Matthew 16 reports it this way…

“Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and be killed… and on the third day be raised. PETER took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord!” This Shall NEVER happen to you. But Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get behind me Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

JESUS, authoritative, fearless, in total control, face set on Calvary…BUT the moment we get to “Garden of Gethsemane”, it radically changes! Jesus knows what’s in store for Him. It’s been a planned “covenant” between He, the Father and the Spirit since eternity past. Jesus has been warning His disciples for months…YET as he forges ahead to the cross, the Gospel of Matthew tells us he began to “be gripped by a shuddering terror” that sent him falling on his face.

Jesus made it clear to His disciples he had the power to stop this at any time, but as the Jonathan Edwards has stated, “you and I were hanging over the “flames of hell” by a thin thread…and Jesus willingly came to our rescue!

So horrific is the burden on Jesus, of what lies ahead, he cannot even remain upright, and he turns to Peter and John and says “My soul is sorrowful even to death…” He actually “draws near to dying” in His human experience in the garden.

THEN, THE CROSSa place of excruciating suffering and death for common criminals!

Within the first hour of being nailed to the cross the criminal experiences the inability to push himself upward to breathe. Air can be drawn into the lungs but not exhaled. He fights to raise himself in order to get even one small breath. Finally, “carbon dioxide” builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream.

Certainly not a quick death…crucifixion is hours of limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rending dislocations, growing asphyxiation, searing pain as tissue is torn from his lacerated back as he moves up and down against the rough wood of the cross.

Then, a “greater agony” begins: a deep, crushing pain in the chest as the pericardium (the sack that surrounds the heart) slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart.

After hours of this torture…its almost over — the compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissues — the tortured lungs are making a frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air. He can feel the “chill of death” creeping through his tissues. Finally…after hours of excruciating torture…the body succumbs to physical death.

As “unthinkable” as it is that the “CREATOR himself…JESUS” would “willing” suffer such a torturous, shameful death by those He creates…on a tree that He created…the historic truth is, “thousands of men” were executed by crucifixion before Jesus…and “thousands” died by crucifixion after Jesus.

NO, “Christ’s suffering” goes much, much deeper than that! Beyond the physical torture of crucifixion…Jesus is bearing three “much greater” agonies on the cross:

First, God the Son, who for eternity has existed in “full divine glory” and “full divine holiness”, is about to have the vile, evil, putrid sins of the whole world, including yours and mine, cast upon Him FULLY!

As 2 Corinthians 5:21 describes, “He became sin who knew no sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God!”

Jesus was also in the “deepest agony” because He knew He was about to have the Father’s full, righteous wrath against all sin poured out fully onto Him…..the wrath of God against sin that had been stored up since Adam’s fall, extending past the cross to your sins and mine, all the way to the end of human history…a torment “infinitely” beyond the pain of physical suffering!

Because Jesus knew He was about to drink fully, of the cup of the Father’s righteous wrath against sin…He prayed to the Father to “take away the cup of wrath…if possible”, if there was any other way!

God’s Word clearly teaches that JESUS was laying down His life willingly, He “had the power” to stop the crucifixion at any time…but out of a “covenant obedience & love to the Father” and out of “perfect, merciful love” for you and I, He ENDURED to the end. As one theologian has described it: “In love, Jesus looks down from the cross at you and me and whispers our name and says, “I drain this cup fully for you, for you who have lived in defiance of me, for you who have hated me, for you who have opposed Me, I drink it all…for you!”

The third horrific torment Jesus knew was coming, was that for the first time in all eternity, He would be separated from the perfect, unity and fellowship of the Trinity! Our finite minds cannot fathom what it was like for God the Son, to have God the Father forsake Him and turn his gaze away from him for those hours on the cross bearing our sin!

The infinite unity and fellowship of the Trinity (that has eternally existed) has to be broken by the Father, because in His perfect holiness, the Father cannot look upon the most obscene mass of sin in the history of the world…resting on one man…His own Son!

So why do some see the cross as WONDERFUL and BEAUTIFUL?

Because Jesus willing went to the cross to experience the Father’s full wrath against our sins… so we will never have to!

Because Jesus, for the first time in eternity was totally alone and forsaken… so we will never have to be!

This is why, we come together on GOOD FRIDAY and remember, and worship and grow in MORE love and graditude toward JESUS our SAVIOR & LORD!