from – the Oswald Chambers daily devotionals’ website

IMG1476Let Us Keep To The Point

1 January

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. — Philippians 1:20 (Moffatt)

My Utmost for His Highest. “My eager desire and hope being that I may never feel ashamed.” 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, though we put it that we are considering others.

When we consider what it will cost others if we obey the call of Jesus, we tell God He does not know what our obedience will mean.

Keep to the point; He does know. 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.

My Undeterredness for His Holiness. “Whether that means life or death, no matter!” (v.21.) Paul is determined that nothing shall deter him from doing exactly what God wants. God’s order 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.

>>> 2012 is a significant year for the world, our nation, and the borough of Thurrock. Looking ahead, there’s a packed diary…

  • the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee at the start of June
  • Euro 2012 in Poland and the Ukraine in June-July
  • the Olympic Torch coming to the borough on 6 July
  • the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games throughout July, August and September
  • GSUS LIVE coming to (so far) 5 local secondary schools in September-October
  • National Prayer Event – 80,000 believers at Wembley Stadium! Sunday 23 September
  • the continuing challenge of following up from Rock Thurrock

Emerging in Thurrock are redemptive projects like the Foodbank and the Lightship Cafe at Grays beach – it’s an exciting time to be a Traveler on the Way, an In-breather of the Life, and a Believer in the Truth.

>>> In the background, the threat of civil unrest, economic collapse, more natural disasters, and rumours of war. But the UK still has a major part to play in bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Europe and around the glove, to be a light in an ever-darkening world. And Thurrock has its geographic/historic/spiritually strategic place on the Thames Gateway from which we are called to play our part. The growing poverty we see in our communities mirrors the spiritual poverty of the church – we must turn back to God, return to our First Love.

>>> This is the kairos time for the church to step up to the plate, and be prepared to give itself away, to spend itself on behalf of others – to die to itself and to the world, and come fully alive in the abundant life of Christ; reposition ourselves under the One Head of the Body of which we are the parts; become fully obedient to the King of the Kingdom in which we are but subjects; and allow the Bridegroom to purify his Bride, because his love for her is perfect, irresistible and inevitable.

>>> The theme of Sydney Harbour’s iconic New Year fireworks’ display is “Time to Dream” (I am watching it live on the news as I write this). Consider these quotes from theologian Walter Brueggemann:

We now know that human transformation does not happen through didacticism or through excessive certitude, but through the playful entertainment of another scripting of reality that may subvert the old given text and its interpretation and lead to the embrace of an alternative text and its redescription of reality.


I want to consider preaching as a poetic construal of an alternative world. The purpose of such preaching is to cherish the truth, to open the truth from its pervasive reductionism in our society, to break the fearful rationality that keeps the news from being new…
After the engineers, inventors, and scientists, after all such control through knowledge, ‘finally comes the poet’. The poet does not come to have a say until the human community has engaged in its best management. Then perchance comes the power of poetry – shattering, evocative speech that breaks fixed conclusions and presses us always toward new, dangerous, imaginative possibilities.

(No, I don’t fully understand it either. But soak in the essence of it. It’s time to dream.)

>>> A Scripture for the Nation: if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

>>> A Scripture for the Year: Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18-19

>>> A Scripture for the World:
At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens. The words once more indicate the removing of what can be shaken— that is, created things— so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:26-29 (see below for other versions)

>>> A Scripture for the Borough:
The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the LORD will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs.
I will put in the desert the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive. I will set pines in the wasteland, the fir and the cypress together,
so that people may see and know, may consider and understand, that the hand of the LORD has done this, that the Holy One of Israel has created it. Isaiah 41:17-20

>>> Pray for all the above – and pray in the New Year with More Than Gold using the resources found here:

So be sure you do not refuse to hear the voice of God! For if they who refused to hear those who spoke to them on earth did not escape, how little chance of escape is there for us if we refuse to hear the one who speaks from Heaven. Then his voice shook the earth, but now he promises: ‘Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven’.
This means that in this final “shaking” all that is impermanent will be removed, that is, everything that is merely “made”, and only the unshakeable things will remain. Since then we have been given a kingdom that is “unshakeable”, let us serve God with thankfulness in the ways which please him, but always with reverence and holy fear. For it is perfectly true that our ‘God is a burning fire’. Hebrews 12:25-29 (JB Phillips)

So don’t turn a deaf ear to these gracious words. If those who ignored earthly warnings didn’t get away with it, what will happen to us if we turn our backs on heavenly warnings? His voice that time shook the earth to its foundations; this time—he’s told us this quite plainly—he’ll also rock the heavens: “One last shaking, from top to bottom, stem to stern.” The phrase “one last shaking” means a thorough housecleaning, getting rid of all the historical and religious junk so that the unshakable essentials stand clear and uncluttered.
Do you see what we’ve got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God. For God is not an indifferent bystander. He’s actively cleaning house, torching all that needs to burn, and he won’t quit until it’s all cleansed. God himself is Fire! Hebrews 12:25-29 (The Message)

>>> Yesterday’s photo depicted looking back as the past recedes; today’s, looking forward as the future slips into the ever-present plain-as-day now.

Transformation Thurrock wishes you a Happy and Peaceful New Year in Jesus Christ.
Tim Harrold