December 4

Today's Bible Reading
     II Chronicles 3-4
     I John 3
     Nahum 2
     Luke 18
''Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, ''Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished”. (Luke 18:31) ''. ..but they understood  none of these things . . ." (Luke 18:34b)
            When Jesus Christ took on human flesh to dwell among us, it was the first step in surrendering to the call of God the Father upon His life. Jesus responded to what seemed like absolute disaster. Then when Jesus called His Disciples to see Him put to death, leading every one of them to the place where their hearts were broken , it seemed that He was calling them also to disaster.
            Our Lord's life was an absolute failure from every standpoint except God's, but what seemed to be failure from man's standpoint was a triumph from God 's standpoint because God's purpose is never the same as man's purpose.
             Now this bewildering call of God has come into our lives as well. This call can never be understood absolutely or explained externally; it is a call that can only be perceived and understood internally by our true inner nature. The call of God is like the call of the sea - no one hears it except the person who has the nature of the sea in him. When one is called of God, however, he can never get away from that call. When we are called of God, we begin to see that the compelling purpose of God lies behind everything in life,and that God is divinely shaping us into oneness with that purpose. A Christian is someone who trusts in the knowledge and wisdom of God, not on his own abilities. If we have a purpose of our own, it destroys the simplicity and the calm, relaxed pace which should be the characteristic of the Children of God.
            Did you notice that Jesus was calling the Disciples, at this point in their lives, up to Jerusalem? Jerusalem in the life of our Lord represents the place where He reached the culmination of His Father's will. Jesus said, ''I do not seek my own will, but the will of the Father who sent Me'' (John 5:30). The culmination and completion of the Father's will in the life of our Lord was in Jerusalem.  It wasthere that He went to the Cross and was resurrected.
            The greatest thing for us to remember is that we go up to Jerusalem to fulfill God's purpose, not our own. In the natural life,our ambitions are our own, but in the Christian life we have no goals of our own.  We talk so much today about our decisions for Christ and our decisions for this and that, but in the New Testament, the only aspect that is brought out is the compelling purpose of God.  Jesus said, ''You did not choose Me, but I chose you…" (John 15:16) He took the Disciples aside and gave them this word. What a privileged group it is to be taken aside by our Lord. Never underestimate that privilege when the Lord Himself takes you aside and gives you a compelling call, specific plan, and purpose in your life. Never fear to obey it, whatever that call  might be.
            A call of God and the pilgrimage that follows it may sometimes seem very strange. A missionary is used fully when he does win the lost, but that it is not his goal. His goal is to do the will of His Lord, and to be like his Lord. It will be tough…it will seem like Friday,but Sunday's coming!
            As you obey the Word of God and pray for the peace of Jerusalem, pray also for the conversion of the people of Israel. Perhaps the greatest outreach challenges are the following: The Ethiopian Jews (Falasha) have become a disillusioned, impoverished underclass. Pray also for the Russian and Ukrainian Jews which are now the largest component of the population. One of the greatest challenges to the Gospel is the ultra-orthodox Haredi. They represent only 1O% of the population, and yet have more political leverage than the 83% who are secular Jews. Of course, pray for the Arabs because 97%are Muslim. Don't forget to remember the Christian community,which represent about 100,000 people in Israel.
''Be always displeased with what thou art if thou desirest to attain to what thou art not; for where thou hast pleased thyself, there thou abidest."