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Posts Tagged ‘Oswald Chambers’

A father called his son to him and said, “I have a gift for you.  Do you want it?”

The son eagerly acknowledged his desire for the gift.  The father opened up his wallet and gave his son a $100 bill.  The son grabbed it and said, “Wow! Thanks Dad” before running off with the money.

As the child ran away, the father said, “Wait I have more!”  But the child did not hear him and the father was not able to give the child the full gift.

When God blesses us, most of us run-off before receiving the full blessing which God has to give us.  We tend to be satisfied with God’s first gift and never claim His whole gift.

In Deuteronomy God tells Moses to move off the mountain in Horeb, which is where God had appeared to Moses in the burning bush and where God had given him the Ten Commandments.  Obviously, Horeb was a cherished spot for Moses.

God wanted Moses to leave the mountain because God had promised to give Moses and the Israelites, a land of their own … The Promised Land.  As long as Moses remained at Horeb, which he cherished, he would never receive the full gift God had for Him.

The land God promised Moses was “hill country …fertile lowland … by the seacoast” (Deuteronomy 1:6–8).  It sounds like prime real estate on the coast of northern California.  It was a better place than a spot in Horeb, which was located in the midst of a barren desert.

If Moses had his way, he would have stayed on at Horeb with his cherished memories and God’s people would have remained impoverished immigrants.

When we accept and run with the first portion of God’s blessings, the forgiveness of sins, and do not linger for the next portion of God’s blessings, the gift of the Holy Spirit, we impoverish ourselves.

It is best to hunger for the fulness of God, than to be satisfied with a bread crumb which has fallen from His table.

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Have you been asking God what He is going to do?

As a faithful Christian, I want to sync my plans with God’s plans.  In order to do this, I simply need to know His plans.

According to Oswald Chambers, this is easier said than done.  Chambers writes: God will never tell you what He is going to do. (1)

In Jeremiah when God said:

“I know the plans I have for you, plans for your welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (2)

He did not promise to tell us those plans.

In the verses that follow God’s announcement that He has plans for you, God tells us how we learn of those plans:

“Call upon me and come and pray to me.  When you seek me and find me with all your heart, you will find me.” (3)

The only way to know God’s plans is to know Him.

God likes to keep it simple!

“Know God, know His plans!”

That’s a good plan for your new year.

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  1. Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year (Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering, 1986).
  2. Jeremiah 29:11.
  3. Jeremiah 29:12-13

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Consecration is our part, sanctification is God’s part. (1)

What must I do to inherit eternal life? (2)

I am not certain Christians ask this question anymore.  We have become so enamored with the world that we, in the terms of Joel O’Steen, “Want our best life now!”

Not me, I want my best life after my death.

I already know that this worldly life is short and full of toil and angst.  Even if I inherit my father’s DNA, his family lives to a 100, my life will be short.  Even if I count my blessings everyday, my life will still be a rose garden, a life full of beauty in the midst of thorns.

Most of us assume that we must provide our own transport and fuel to get to heaven.  Most of us assume that we enter heaven on the basis of what we have done in life.  That is not God’s way.

In the world’s economy, we earn grace.  In God’s economy, grace if given by God.

God asks us to dedicate our life to Him.  He then, takes care of the rest. He will sanctify us, make us fit for heaven.

It bugs me that I cannot earn my way into heaven.  I can only earn my way into hell.

God wants my heart.

God wants your heart.

When God has your heart, He has your life, both now and for evermore.

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  1. Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year (Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering, 1986).
  2. Luke 10:25 and Luke 18:18.

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The Crucible of Love

 

Love is easy when it blesses.  

 

But what happens to you when love lacks benefit, becomes a cross to bear, or a curse upon you?

 

Oswald Chambers asks a question which causes me to pause: 

Have you come to the place where God can withdraw His blessings and it does not affect your trust in Him? (1)

 

I would be lying if I claimed that a withdrawal of God’s blessing would not affect my trust in Him.  

 

This is why I cling to these verses:

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for God is with me; His rod and His staff, they comfort me.

 

Nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (2)

 

In those times when doubt has crept into my heart and mind these verses remind me that God never withdraws His blessing from me.  

 

I may perceive God has withdrawn His blessing, but He does not.  

 

God sends His blessings in comforts and in difficulties, in joy and in sorrow, in praise and in discipline, in gain and in loss. 

 

Knowing this sustains me when His love is greater than a warm fuzzy for the day.

 

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  1. Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year (Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering, 1986).
  2. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Psalm 23:4, Romans 8:39, and Hebrews 4:16.

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Rescue the perishing, care for the dying; 

Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save. (1)

Fanny Crosby wrote this hymn, Rescue The Perishing, following a personal experience at the New York City Bowery Mission.  Even though she was a famous Gospel songwriter, she went to the mission regularly to care for the men living there.

She was blind before she was 6 weeks old.  Her father died when she was 3.  She overcame tremendous difficulty, but never forgot that others lived in hardship.  She dedicated the last 25 years of her life to working in Gospel Rescue Missions.  When she died in 1915, she left money in her will to establish a home for homeless men.

Her music was about Jesus’ love for the poor and mercy for the sinner.  Her life reflected her faith in who Jesus was and how Jesus called us to live.

In contrast to her life …. many churches, pastors, and Christians …. seek to live a victorious life, which they believe can only be found in worldly success and excess.

Joel O’Steen’s book, Your Best Life Now, which unfortunately remains a best seller, preaches a prosperity gospel, which claims that God promises prosperity to Christians. The gospel he preaches is in sharp contrast to the one Fanny Crosby lived and Jesus taught.

Oswald Chambers wrote:

It is in the valley that we have to live for the glory of God. It is in the sphere of humiliation that our faithfulness is revealed.  God wants us at the drab commonplace pitch. (2)

While the Majesty of God is revealed in the marvels of creation, the Glory of God is revealed at the cross.

Where are you living out your faith?

Jesus said, “There is no greater love than to give up your life!” (3)

Jesus practiced what He preached.

He wishes the same for you and me.

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  1. Refrain of the hymn Rescue The Perishing, by Fanny J. Crosby, 1820–1915. Music by William Doane.
  2. Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year (Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering, 1986).
  3. John 15:13

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Give Jesus Christ a chance, give Him elbow room … 

because the devil doesn’t get lazy around you. (1)

Most Christians only pray when they are desperate.

As Screwtape might say to Wormwood in C. S. Lewis’ book, The Screwtape Letters:

“Never let them think they need to pray.  Let them have enough confidence in themselves and fate that they do not ask Jesus to intervene.  This way they create more space for our tempting ploys.”

Prayer is a bother to us because we have nothing measurable to show for it at the end of the day.  

This is why many pastors rarely pray.

How do you explain to the Church Board that the 3 hours you spent in prayer this morning was productive work, while Mr Jones and Mrs. Smith were at nursing home ailing in loneliness, while Darrin was off being a teenage derelict, and while the homeless at the shelter needed someone to cook them breakfast?

Let’s be honest, what would impress your boss and friends the most?

Tell them you woke up at 6 AM and prayed for 3 hours for the Spirit of God to mold your heart and mind, to send Jones and Smith a friend, to get Darrin on track, and to motivate volunteers to work at the homeless shelter.

Or

Tell them that you woke up at 6 AM to serve breakfast at the homeless shelter, then met with Darrin before he went to school, and visited with Smith and Jones as you passed the nursing home before arriving at the office at 9 AM.

No contest here.  We know who will get the big raise.

Genuine praise, adoration, and glory comes to the man, woman, or child who works for God serving the needy, while pleasing pleasant platitudes are offered for prayers.

At the end of Luke 10, when Martha complained to Jesus that her sister avoided kitchen work to listen to him, Jesus said:

“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” (2)

In Luke 11:1, Jesus is praying and one of his disciples said, “Jesus teach us how to pray!”

We all need more knee time with God.

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  1. I compiled this quote by combining two statements, the first from Oswald Chambers and the latter from Martin Luther.  Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year (Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering, 1986).  Luther, Martin; Galvin, James C. (2009-05-19). Faith Alone: A Daily Devotional (p. 240). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
  2. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Luke 10:41–42.

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We always know when Jesus is at work because 

He produces in the commonplace something that is inspiring. (1)

Yesterday after teaching a class on Living in the Spirit, for the Men’s Recovery program at the Rockford Rescue Mission, I was feeling a bit of smug pride that I had taught so well.

As my students departed one of them came forward saying, “Here’s the way I see it!”  He erased a portion of my scribbled drawings, add a few lines and circles of his own.  By doing so, he illuminated the teaching of scripture in a better way.

Oswald Chambers speaks of the ministry of the unnoticed when he comments on Jesus’ teaching, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” (2)

In the past (and I am certain, into the future), I have prided myself on my ministry to the unnoticed.  In a quiet and humble way, I want others to notice when I am ministering to the unnoticed.

But this is not what Jesus was teaching.  He was teaching something much deeper, richer, more profound.

The poor in spirit are a blessing because they draw attention to God and not to themselves when they minister to others in simple commonplace ways.

Big things draw attention, but it is the little things which change the world.

The servant of Christ is never bigger than the person he serves!

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  1. Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year (Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering, 1986).
  2. Matthew 5:3.

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