Category Archives: My Utmost for His Highest Scripture of the Day

Mark 9:2-10

After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus.

Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.)

Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”

Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus.

As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 10 They kept the matter to themselves, discussing what “rising from the dead” meant.

Mark 9:2-10

Dear God, verse 2 is the verse of the day from Oswald Chambers’s My Utmost for His Highest. I thought the first few words of his thoughts were a good place to start with this passage:

We have all experienced times of exaltation on the mountain, when we have seen things from God’s perspective and have wanted to stay there. But God will never allow us to stay there. The true test of our spiritual life is in exhibiting the power to descend from the mountain. If we only have the power to go up, something is wrong. It is a wonderful thing to be on the mountain with God, but a person only gets there so that he may later go down and lift up the demon-possessed people in the valley.

The part of you not wanting us to stay there. I guess this is why I’ve always had an issue with monks. It feels like they’ve made an intentional choice to avoid the valley as much as possible. I might be wrong and this might be unfair. Perhaps their valley is being there to greet those who come to their monasteries to find a mountain of their own. But I suppose it seems like a…I almost said selfish, but it’s not selfish because they deny themselves a lot. I guess I’ll say it seems like a decision that does not accomplish as much in the world as you might otherwise through their lives. But again, I don’t understand it and I could be totally wrong about this. I guess I’m just acknowledging where my judgment of monks comes from and thinking through the idea that there is likely more to it than I understand because I haven’t take the time to learn more about it.

I was in our church group last week, and the women had just come back from an ACTS retreat the weekend before. One of them mentioned not wanting to lose the high of the experience of being there with you. It reminded me of a song by Charlie Peacock called “Monkeys at the Zoo.”

It’s about coming back from a mountaintop experience: “Will it be different now or the same? Will I have learned anything? Or was it just a way to spend a day or two set aside for thinking thoughts about you? If that’s all it was, I had a good time…”

I’ve been to several mountaintop experiences and I’ve had that experience of coming back motivated but then not doing the little things to discipline myself to carry you into the valley. I expect the work that others did to provide my mountaintop experience will be enough to sustain me. But that’s like going to a tennis camp, working with a coach to improve my game, and then returning home and not doing anything to sustain my level of tennis. But then when someone asks me to play on the weekend I’m terrible. Why? Because I didn’t put in the work on my own.

It was April 2000 when I returned from a mountaintop experience at Laity Lodge. You laid it on my heart to start taking scripture and journaling to you about it. Praying to you about it. Ironically, I started by taking the My Utmost for His Highest verse of the day and praying over it without looking at his commentary. That was over 22 years go. Now I’ve done thousands and thousands of these prayers through journaling. In the aggregate, I can certainly see that it has changed my life.

Father, help me to keep disciplining myself to spend this quality time with you. I was talking to someone yesterday about how much time my wife and I spend talking to each other. We spend over an hour every day catching up and talking. We also pray together nearly every day. Those are great things and they make all of the difference in the world in our relationship. I need to do the same with you. Not that I need to spend an hour praying every day (although it probably wouldn’t hurt), but I certainly need to spend an hour every day exposing myself to you in some way. Maybe not all at once, but cumulatively. Praying. Listening to Christian music. Listening to Christian podcasts or the Bible in a Year podcast. I need to make sure my mind is on the things of you every day. That’s the best way for me to hear your Holy Spirit talk to me. That’s the best way to feel you presence and follow the nudging of my heart. That’s the way to expose the soil of my heart to the seeds you might want to be planting that day. Really, God. Thank you for everything. I’m here to meet with you. Won’t you meet with me?

In Jesus’s name and through the grace you extend to me through his life, death and resurrection and I pray,



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July 7 Reading from “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers

“If we are going to live as disciples of Jesus, we have to remember that all efforts of worth and excellence are difficult. The Christian life is gloriously difficult, but its difficulty does not make us faint and cave in— it stirs us up to overcome. Do we appreciate the miraculous salvation of Jesus Christ enough to be our utmost for His highest— our best for His glory?” (Excerpted from the July 7 reading in My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers)

Dear God, to be stirred up for you can be a wonderful thing. It can take the staleness that life can sometime become and infuse energy and vision. But it doesn’t happen by accident. I can’t just cruise along and then one day your inspiration falls on me. Well, I guess it could, but that will take very intentional action on your part. No, it’s most likely to come when I take moments like this to spend time with you. When I set up meetings with others to plan and then invite you into the process.

I have a meeting set up today with another agency in town. I asked for the meeting. I’ve asked them to think about some of the needs in our community and how they think our agency might respond to them. This process will push me out of my comfort zone, but my prayer is that you will meet me in it, speak to me in your still small voice, and then inspire me to do what you see that needs done.

Father, I give you a lot…well, I give you a bit. I give you some. But I don’t give you my utmost. I still keep quite a bit for myself. For my comfort. For my leisure. And it’s important that I take Sabbaths and not burn out, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about giving my utmost for your highest. Help me to get there.

In Jesus’s name I pray,



My Utmost Fo His Highest by Oswald Chambers — June 30 (Updated Edition by James Reimann)

Agree with your adversary quickly… —Matthew 5:25

In this verse, Jesus Christ laid down a very important principle by saying, “Do what you know you must do— now. Do it quickly. If you don’t, an inevitable process will begin to work ‘till you have paid the last penny’ (Matthew 5:26) in pain, agony, and distress.” God’s laws are unchangeable and there is no escape from them. The teachings of Jesus always penetrate right to the heart of our being.

Wanting to make sure that my adversary gives me all my rights is a natural thing. But Jesus says that it is a matter of inescapable and eternal importance to me that I pay my adversary what I owe him. From our Lord’s standpoint it doesn’t matter whether I am cheated or not, but what does matter is that I don’t cheat someone else. Am I insisting on having my own rights, or am I paying what I owe from Jesus Christ’s standpoint?

Do it quickly— bring yourself to judgment now. In moral and spiritual matters, you must act immediately. If you don’t, the inevitable, relentless process will begin to work. God is determined to have His child as pure, clean, and white as driven snow, and as long as there is disobedience in any point of His teaching, He will allow His Spirit to use whatever process it may take to bring us to obedience. The fact that we insist on proving that we are right is almost always a clear indication that we have some point of disobedience. No wonder the Spirit of God so strongly urges us to stay steadfastly in the light! (see John 3:19-21).

“Agree with your adversary quickly….” Have you suddenly reached a certain place in your relationship with someone, only to find that you have anger in your heart? Confess it quickly— make it right before God. Be reconciled to that person— do it now!

Dear God, I’m often surprised where a scripture will take Mr. Chambers. I know these are excerpts from sermons and lessons he taught that his wife put together into these daily devotions ten years after his death, but still, I think would have loved hearing some of his sermons.

It was towards the end of today’s devotion that caught my eye. It was about not putting off repenting before you, but doing it now. Here, I won’t do it justice.

Do it quickly— bring yourself to judgment now. In moral and spiritual matters, you must act immediately. If you don’t, the inevitable, relentless process will begin to work. God is determined to have His child as pure, clean, and white as driven snow, and as long as there is disobedience in any point of His teaching, He will allow His Spirit to use whatever process it may take to bring us to obedience. The fact that we insist on proving that we are right is almost always a clear indication that we have some point of disobedience.

Basically, he’s saying I should save myself some trouble and be used by you as soon as possible. Why wait?

I heard an interview with Rob Lowe tonight. He was talking about getting sober 30 years ago. He said the biggest obstacle to him getting sober was the thought that all of the fun would be gone. “What, I can’t have some champagne to celebrate the New Year? I can’t have a drink with my friends to celebrate the birth of a child?” But he went on to say that he has had more fun after getting sober than he ever did doing alcohol and drugs and, as he put it, that’s saying something considering how much he did in the 80s.

So his point was, if you are waiting because you think you are going to be giving up fun, don’t wait. There is more fun and freedom on the other side. The same is true for my sinful pleasures to which I still stubbornly hold. There is more freedom and joy to be had when the Holy Spirit is able to grow good fruit in me. Satan lies when he says that sin is where the fun is because in sin there is only bondage. You offer freedom from that bondage and that is the only place where I will find love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, kindness, and self control (Galatians 5:22-23)

Father, Help me to search my heart moment by moment so that I can always be willing to let go of what I think will bring me joy and cling to the one true source of joy. And help me to not worry abut my neighbor or adversary owes me, but help me to focus on what I own my adversary. You didn’t call me to look out for my rights, but to simply love you and love others.

In Jesus’s name I pray,



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My Utmost For His Highest for June 27, 2020 — by Oswald Chambers

Excerpt from second half:
…Jesus says, in effect, “Don’t worry about whether or not you are being treated justly.” Looking for justice is actually a sign that we have been diverted from our devotion to Him. Never look for justice in this world, but never cease to give it. If we look for justice, we will only begin to complain and to indulge ourselves in the discontent of self-pity, as if to say, “Why should I be treated like this?” If we are devoted to Jesus Christ, we have nothing to do with what we encounter, whether it is just or unjust. In essence, Jesus says, “Continue steadily on with what I have told you to do, and I will guard your life. If you try to guard it yourself, you remove yourself from My deliverance.” Even the most devout among us become atheistic in this regard— we do not believe Him. We put our common sense on the throne and then attach God’s name to it. We do lean to our own understanding, instead of trusting God with all our hearts (see Proverbs 3:5-6).

Dear God, the Mr. Chambers’s verse that launched this devotion was from the beginning of Jeremiah, and I found myself not totally agreeing with his first paragraph. I almost stopped reading. Then I got to the sentence that said:

Jesus says, in effect, “Don’t worry about whether or not you are being treated justly.” Looking for justice is actually a sign that we have been diverted from our devotion to Him.

Justice, justice, justice. I’m not judging anyone else for looking for justice (such as Black Lives Matter). Sometimes we simply have to defend ourselves. But for me in my life, I tend to look for justice in the wrong places. With my wife. With my children. At work. But that puts my eyes on me and what I deserve as opposed to worshipping you, considering my life worth nothing to me (Acts 20:24), and then distributing generous amounts of free mercy.

Then I read on and saw this:

Never look for justice in this world, but never cease to give it. If we look for justice, we will only begin to complain and to indulge ourselves in the discontent of self-pity, as if to say, “Why should I be treated like this?”

How many times have I said, “Why should I be treated like this?” Countless. Countless. And what good did it do me? All it did was feed my self pity, and that’s exactly where Satan wants me–eyes on me and not on you.

I suppose in terms of Black Lives Matter and racism, disrespect of law enforcement, crime, and shattered lives, it is up to Christians to not fight for justice for ourselves personally, but to fight for the justice for others. And I’ve seen a lot of people doing that. I’ve seen a lot of those who are white and don’t experience racial discrimination march, protest, and stand up for those who face terrible types of discrimination. That is a great way of giving justice and being able to keep our eyes on you at the same time.

Father, show me how to be part of giving justice to those around me. Give me the courage I need to step out and fight for justice for others. I’ll admit that I’d rather sit in my home, enjoy my advantages as a white male, and survive another day. But your Holy Spirit can’t grow my heart if I do that. If I do that then I won’t be about giving justice to others. I’ll just be about putting my eyes on me and taking them off of you. I know that is the last thing I should do.

In Jesus’s name I pray,



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My Utmost for His Highest

Dear God, I was reading a friend’s blog this morning–it’s a weekly that I never miss. He talked about finding work that is within your gifting and how there is really nothing quite like it. I resonated with it. I’m in a job right now that I really do love, and my skillset seems to fit what’s required of me to be effective. It stretches me. It stretches my faith. I’m still wholly dependent upon you for the success of the organization, and I still do my best to give you the glory for the good that we do. But I feel really good about my career and am not seeking anything else.

As Fred’s blog progressed, however, he talked about Peter and how Jesus called him out of his natural proclivity for fishing and made him a “shepherd” instead. This wasn’t necessarily in Peter’s gifting, but he certainly had specific gifts of personality and ability that he brought to the job. One gift was his boldness. The church needed Peter in a way that it didn’t need John. For example, in Acts 3:1-10 Peter and John are walking to the Temple when a man “crippled from birth” calls to them for money. “Peter looked at him, as did John.” (verse 4) But it was Peter who spoke. It was Peter who called on Jesus’ power to heal the man. John was great, but he was often just a witness. The church wouldn’t have grown nearly as much if John had been the rock on which Jesus built his church. Being a “shepherd” might not have been in Peter’s wheelhouse, but it wasn’t “Peter’s Utmost for Peter’s Happiest.” It’s “Peter’s Utmost for Your Highest.” (For anyone reading this, this title and these quoted phrases are a reference to a daily devotion by Oswald Chambers called “My Utmost for His Highest.”)

This part of Fred’s blog got me to thinking about the things I’ve been called to do at which I didn’t turn out to be very good. One was parenting a teenager. Maybe there are a lot of people who would say that no one is good at parenting a teenager–and there might be some truth to that. For me, however, this is an area at which I feel like a complete failure. My children are older now and out of the house, but I still feel like I am an inadequate father for them. My prayer is that you are giving something that they specifically need through me of which I’m not aware. You made me their parent for a reason. I know I’ve prayed for them every day. I have faith that you have your hand directing their lives in ways that I cannot see. Part of that faith is believing that there is something I’m giving them as a father that I can’t see either.

Father, I give you my utmost for your highest in every aspect of my life. Of course, I will fail at this pledge, but I promise I’m not intentionally holding anything back. At this point, while my happiness is not irrelevant, it is certainly secondary (or even tertiary) to your will, your plan, and my duty to love you with all of my strength and love my neighbor as myself. You might now have happiness for me down this path, but I am assured by your word that you have peace for me there.

In Jesus’ name I pray,



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Blessings – Laura Story

Give your burdens to the Lord,
and he will take care of you.
He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.

Psalm 55:22

Dear God, this was the verse from My Utmost for His Highest today, and Oswald Chambers’ take on it was really good. I even forwarded it to a friend this morning who has been going through some trials. Here are some excerpts that I liked:


“We must distinguish between the burden-bearing that is right and the burden-bearing that is wrong. We ought never to bear the burden of sin or of doubt, but there are burdens placed on us by God which He does not intend to lift off, He wants us to roll them back on Him.”


This is what caught my eye immediately. How often do we try to get rid of the burdens you want us to bear so that you can shape us into who you know we can be, but we will hold on to the burden of shame and secrecy that comes with sins we commit and maybe even the sins committed against us? There is a song called “Blessings” by Laura Story that perfectly describes how your burdens might be shaping us. I’ll paste the lyrics at the end of this prayer.


“Many workers have gone out with high courage and fine impulses, but with no intimate fellowship with Jesus Christ, and before long they are crushed.”


I am guilty, guilty, guilty of this. I am so guilty of this. I get an idea and then I trust in myself to try to pull it off. But the times in my life when I have seen the most success from my work are the times when I have earnestly prayed to you. Now there have been situations about which I have prayed and you didn’t answer quickly and they went a different direction than I hoped. I have been disappointed in you. There have been times I have yelled at you. But I truly know that whenever I go “out with high courage and fine impulses,” but I don’t lead with an earnest seeking of you then even if things turn out okay there is not nearly as much joy and victory in them.


“Commit to God whatever burden He has placed on you. Don’t just cast it aside, but put it over onto Him and place yourself there with it.”


I need to not only embrace my burden, but put myself there with it. I love that! I love the idea of not just throwing my burden to the cross, but also putting me there with the burden. After all, I am the one with whom the burden resides. I remember when my children were young and I was struggling to parent them, I asked a friend, “How do I turn my children over to God? I don’t know what that looks like because I am still responsible for them.” But reading this, I think the answer is that I put myself there with them, in your loving arms.

Father, help me to lead with you today. Please bless the fruit of my work. Whether it is with my wife, my children, my job, or my family and friends, bless my path. Be glorified in me and through me so that others might see you when they see me.

In Jesus’ name I pray,




“Blessings” Laura Story

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
And all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not,
This is not our home
It’s not our home

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near

What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise


Matthew 5:8

God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.

Matthew 5:8

Dear God, this one verse was the focus for the My Utmost for His Highest devotion today so I thought I would just spend a little time with just these words.

So what does it mean to 1.) have a pure heart and 2.) see you? I think having a pure heart starts with, in my own eyes, me becoming less and less and you becoming more and more. The more I decrease and the more you increase in my own eyes the less I seek out worldly pleasures that will feed my ego, and look to worldly things to heal my emotional wounds. I love to get praise and attention. If I’m not getting what I want, I love to feel sorry for myself. All of that leads to an impure heart.

So what does seeing you mean? I assume it means seeing you in the afterlife, but I think it means something now too. I think it means that I get to lose myself in you and that enables me to both know you better and see the world and others the way you see it. In our church group last night, we talked about not judging others. I think that only truly happens when we have allowed ourselves to “decrease” to the point where we only see you and love others through your perspective on them.

Father, I will continue on this journey. I am not there yet. I still have so much desire for personal acclamation. I’m sorry for that. But, with your help, I will get better today. I worship you as my Lord and my God.

In Jesus’ name I pray,



Purifying Hope

“Perseverance is our supreme effort of refusing to believe that our hero is going to be conquered. Our greatest fear is not that we will be damned, but that somehow Jesus Christ will be defeated. Also, our fear is that the very things our Lord stood for— love, justice, forgiveness, and kindness among men— will not win out in the end and will represent an unattainable goal for us. . .If our hopes seem to be experiencing disappointment right now, it simply means that they are being purified.”

Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, February 22

Dear God, this was an interesting read this morning. I was uninspired by the “verse of the day” from Bible Gateway, so I went to my back-up source for daily inspirationMy Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. I normally just read the verse he has for today and go from there, but today I was moved by his own words. That’s what I’ve quoted above.

I don’t think I had thought before about the idea of being afraid of Jesus losing. The idea that, in the end, good loses to evil. Not on an earthly level. Good loses to evil all of the time in my daily life. No, I’m talking about the heavenly realm where one day there will be no more tears. Where God is in His Heaven and all is right with the world. Where there is a joyful peace that is indescribable. That’s what I’ve really put my hope in. And not only for me. I’ve put my hope in that for all of the victims of evil in this world. “Hold on, sex trafficking victim. I’ll do what I can now, but your day will come.” “Hold on, victim of genocide in Syria. Your day will come.”

There are really two things that are happening in Mr. Chambers’ words above. First, there is the part about Jesus and “good” losing, but then there is the second part about our hopes being purified. In this case, I think purified means “made realistic” or “made true.” Especially as Americans, we are often taught that we can hope for anything material—career, money, power, fame, etc. And while that is true, it is foolishness to hope for those things and combine it with the hope that we have for joy and peace. “If our hopes seems to be experiencing disappointment right now, it simply means that they are being purified.” That disappointment is the process of you separating our hope for the material from our hope for peaceful joy. Ultimately, our hope for peaceful joy will not be in the ego of watching who our children become or what we accomplish here on earth. Our hope for peaceful joy will be solely focused around how tied in we are to you and our expectation that, in the very end, Jesus wins, God is in His Heaven, and all is right with the world.

Father, thank you for purifying my heart. Thank you for guiding me through pain and being patient with me while I go through the agonizing death of my ego as it relates to my material accomplishments. My hope isn’t in my marriage, my kids, my job, my church, or my friends. My hope is simply in the fact that, in the end, you win. Help me to be faithful to that hope and whatever you want me to do as a part of your Kingdom.

In Jesus’ name I pray,



Acts 26:17b-18

Yes, I am sending you to the Gentiles to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me.’

Acts 26:17b-18

Dear God, what is it about our souls that needs to be forgiven by you? Yes, I know that this passage is about being forgiven so I can be set apart for you as well, but it’s undeniable that there is something in my souls that needs forgiveness from you for the things I’ve done.

I think there are very few truly evil people in the world. I think most that do bad things and even appear evil from the outside are acting out of their own damage, but if you reveal their sin to them then forgiveness will free them. I wonder if the difference with a truly evil person is that they have somehow internally died to the need for your forgiveness and they lack the ability to feel remorse for anything. That is the person about whom I need to be concerned and fearful.

Father, thank you for the freedom you give me through the forgiveness available to me through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Thank you for giving me access to a relationship with you and a pathway to peace and wholeness. And thank you for welcoming me into to your Kingdom, both here on Earth and in Heaven.

In Jesus’ name I pray,



Isaiah 52:11-12

Get out! Get out and leave your captivity, where everything you touch is unclean. Get out of there and purify yourselves, you who carry home the sacred objects of the Lord. You will not leave in a hurry, running for your lives. For the Lord will go ahead of you; yes, the God of Israel will protect you from behind.

Isaiah 52:11-12

Dear God, I’ve always struggled with getting anything out of the passages from the prophets. It has always felt like if I take a couple of verses like this out of context and try to apply them to my current reality then I am being foolish. But both of my sources for daily scripture (Bible Gateway and “My Utmost for His Highest”) had passages from Isaiah today so I thought I would just talk to you about this concept.

I suppose just about anything I read in the Bible is is set in someone else’s context and not my own, but at least those contexts are usually presented in a smaller package so I can see what similarities there might be between my life and the situation about which I’m reading. But the prophets are usually a little more vague, and include prophecy that you’d have to be a biblical scholar to link to reality. So, whether it’s right or wrong, I’ve usually ignored the prophets to some extent.

I guess I will add that a couple of years ago I heard some good teaching out of Habakkuk at a retreat that, when a scholar opened up the context for me, really had a lot to teach me about a error in my own thinking. Maybe that will be my journal for tomorrow.

Father, help me to be who and what you need me to be today. Love through me. Please take care of my wife and me during our long drive. Ordain my steps and help me to turn loose of my own self-perceived wisdom and submit to your glory and grace.

In Jesus’ name I pray,