Thursdays With Oswald—The Honor Of A Saint

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

The Honor Of A Saint 

     It is up to us to live the life of a saint in order to show our gratitude to God for His amazing salvation, a salvation which cost us nothing but which cost God everything. In this passage [Galatians 2:20] Paul describes how this point of honor was reached in his life—“I have been crucified with Christ…and that life which I now live in the flesh….” The word “now” is very annoying, if only Paul had said “hereafter”—“This is the kind of life I am going to live after I am dead and in heaven; down here I am compassed about with infirmities and am a miserable sinner.” But he did not, he said “now,” “that life which I now live in the flesh…” i.e., the life men could see, “… I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God.” … 

     When the Spirit of God is in us He gives us intuitive discernment, we know exactly what He wants; then the point is, are we going through identification with our Lord in order that that intuitive light may become the discipline of our lives? It is this practical aspect that has been ignored. We have not sufficiently emphasized the fact that we have to live as saints, and that in our lives the honor at stake is not our personal honor, but the honor of Jesus Christ.

From Our Place Of Help

One question comes to my mind when I read this: Is Jesus Christ being honored by the way I live now?

How To Study Your Bible

How To Study Your BibleMaybe first we should ask, “Why should we study the Bible?” Many people loudly proclaim, “All that is needed for salvation is faith in Jesus.” This is correct, but remember this—Faith [for salvation] comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word of Christ (Romans 10:17).

Then after our faith in Jesus brings us the forgiveness for our sins, there is an ongoing process of walking out our faith, something the Bible calls sanctification. Here again the Bible plays a vital role. Jesus prayed for His followers this way: Sanctify them by the truth; Your Word is truth (John 17:17).

The bottom line … Our Christian walk is nearly impossible to maintain without the resources found in the Scriptures! 

But the Bible is a large book, and many people don’t know where or how to begin to study it. That’s why we are taking the time to learn together some practical ideas for studying God’s Word.

Please join us at Calvary Assembly of God over the next few weeks as we learn the practices which will help us make the most of our time studying the Bible. If you cannot join us in person, we will be broadcasting all of our messages live on Periscope (follow @craigtowens to be notified when the broadcasts begin).

If you are ready to take your Bible study to a new level, please join us beginning this Sunday!

8 Quotes From “Light & Truth—Acts and the Larger Epistles”

Light & Truth [Acts]Horatius Bonar had great insight into the application of Scriptures. Check out my review of this commentary from Dr. Bonar by clicking here. Below are a few quotes that caught my attention. The reference in brackets after the quote is the biblical passage on which Bonar is commenting.

“Our Bible is of God; yet it is also of man. It is both divine and human. It comes to us from God’s Spirit; it comes also from man’s spirit. It is written in the language of the earth, yet its words are the words of him ‘Who speaketh it from heaven.’ Natural, yet supernatural; simple, yet profound; undogmatical, yet authoritative; very like a common book, yet very unlike also; dealing often with seeming incredibilities and contradictions, yet never assuming any need for apology, or explanation, or retraction; a book for humanity at large, yet minutely special in its fitnesses for every case of every soul; throughout its pages, from first to last, one unchanging estimate of sin as an infinite evil, get always bringing out God’s gracious mind toward the sinner, even in his condemnation of the guilt; such is the great Book with which man has to do, which man has to study, out of which man has to gather wisdom for eternity.” [Acts 1:1

“One of the great characteristics of the whole interval between Christ’s first and second coming is the world’s rage, secret and open, against the Father and the Son. … It is very useless anger. It accomplishes nothing. It is like an angry child striking a huge rock with its fist. It is the mere display of impotent hatred, or the temporary gratification of their dislike of God, and their rejection of His purpose regarding His Son. … It calls light darkness, and darkness light; good evil, and evil good; but the light and the darkness, the good and evil, still remain as they were. All the enlightenment of the age, all the appliances of modern progress, are impotent against God and His Christ, against His truth, and His church, and His Word.” [Acts 4:25]

“This is one of the many repetitions of the Pentecostal scene which occurred in early days. Most unscriptural is the statement of some that the giving of the Spirit at Pentecost was a thing done once for all, not to be repeated, and that we are not to pray for or expect such things again. The whole of the ‘Acts of the Apostles’ is a direct refutation of this piece of human fancy. Wherever the apostles went there was a repetition of Pentecost, whether at Jerusalem, or Samaria, or Antioch, or Corinth. Every conversion is the repetition of Pentecost; it is doing the same thing for an individual soul as was done for three thousand then, by a similar process, and by the same power—the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Ghost is the heritage of the church. The Old Testament saints possessed Him; and still more the New. This is our heritage, the heritage of every believing man.” [Acts 11:15

“Beware of seeking anything less than the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Our whole life is to be a reception of the Spirit. He is to be continually coming down on us, and filling us. Let us open our mouth wide that He may fill it. Let us beware of anything that would present itself as a substitute for the living Spirit. Many such things may we expect in these last days from satan as an angel of light.” [Acts 11:15]

“We are tempted in our day to be ashamed of the gospel. It is thought to be bare, unintellectual, almost childish by many. Hence, they would overlay it with argument and eloquence, to make it more respectable and more attractive. Every such attempt to add to it is being ashamed of it.” [Romans 1:16

“We must have a righteousness, else we cannot stand before God; we cannot have merely a religion.” [Romans 4:6-8]

“The prodigal did not work for the ‘best robe,’ but got it all ready-made from his father’s hands; Joseph did not work for his coat of many colors, but received it as the gift of his father’s love; Adam did not work for the skins with which the Lord God clothed him: so it is with the sinner in his approach to God, and in God’s approaches to him. ‘Righteousness without works’ is given him; nay, put upon him as a raiment, a divine raiment, to fit him for drawing near to God.” [Romans 4:6-8

“When the night is darkest, and the stars are hidden, and the clouds are black, then we think most of the clear fair day, and long for its dawn. When the storm is roughest, with the waves and wind roaring around the laboring vessel, then we are troubled, and look eagerly out for the glad and sunny calm. When winter binds the earth in its chain of frost, and wraps it in snow and ice, then we begin to ask for spring, with its flowers, and songs, and verdure. So with the saint, as represented by the apostle here. This is night, and storm, and winter to him; he is ever thinking of the day, and the calm, and the spring.” [Romans 8:19-23]

More quotes coming soon…

Light & Truth—Acts And the Larger Epistles (book review)

Light & Truth [Acts]Horatius Bonar has given us a fantastic companion for our Bible reading time. This is my second review of his Light And Truth series (the first review on the Gospels may be read here). This installment covers the biblical books of Acts, Romans, and 1 & 2 Corinthians.

Bonar grew up in a pastoral home, with plenty of other pastors and evangelists in his family tree. You might say that he was weaned on Scripture and its application to our lives. This Bible-based heritage comes through in all he writes. By no means, though, does Bonar simply ride the coattails of his esteemed family, but he is quite brilliant in his own Holy Spirit-inspired insights.

Bonar’s commentaries are not a verse-by-verse exposition of the Scripture. Instead, he may just take one or two verses and “go deep” with them. A short passage may be taken apart word by word, and many rich applications are thus brought forth.

As I am reading through the New Testament, I am finding Horatius Bonar to be a helpful “tour guide” on my journey.

Asyougo

AsyougoA little habit started for me as a kid. I’d put things on the bottom steps of the stairway, so I’d be sure to see them and grab them as I went upstairs to my bedroom. After awhile, everyone in our family had his or her own “step.” I called these asyougos: as you go upstairs, please take these with you. The principle was pretty simple, as I would naturally see these things going about my regular route.

Jesus had a similar idea for His followers: Go into all the world and preach the Good News to all creation (Mark 16:15). The verb tense and definition of the word go literally means that Jesus said, “Asyougo into all the world, preach the Good News.

In fact this is exactly how Jesus lived His life. As He went about His normal life, His life intersected with people who needed Good News (check out Mark 10:17, 46; Luke 8:4, 42; 17:11; and John 9:1 as examples).

Peter summed up all of Christ’s life like this: God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how He went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with Him (Acts 10:38).

Jesus lived an asyougo lifestyle, He called us to do the same, and He empowered us to live our asyougo lifestyle with the same power He had (Matthew 28:18-19; Acts 1:8).

Here’s the big idea—We don’t need to go anywhere special to find people who need Good News…

  • asyougo to school, you will attend class with them
  • asyougo to work, you will work alongside them
  • asyougo to the grocery store, you will interact with them
  • asyougo to do yard work, you will talk over the backyard fence with them
  • asyougo out to eat, you will sit next to them

People who need the life-changing, disease-healing, sin-forgiving power of Jesus are all around you. ASYOUGO share the Good News of Jesus Christ with them!

The 10 Commandments Of Using Social Media

#strugglesI found a ton of great content in Craig Groeschel’s latest book #struggles. This book focuses on the proper balance between technology and personal relationships. Near the end of the book, Craig shared his 10 Commandments for Christians to use social media in a God-honoring way…

  1. Put God first in all you say and post.
  2. Love others as you want to be loved.
  3. Use social media to facilitate, not to replace, real relationships.
  4. Use social media instead of being controlled by it as an idol.
  5. Turn your virtual other cheek to posts that offend you.
  6. Do not post out of emotion.
  7. Always reflect Jesus, loving God whether online or off.
  8. Do not use social media to fuel temptations.
  9. Form your own opinions; do not follow the crowd.
  10. Do not base your identity on what people think.

You can read my book review of #struggles by clicking here.

I also shared some quotes from #struggles here and here. I also shared a special set of quotes from this book directed at online gossip, which you can read here.

Thursdays With Oswald—At Home With Jesus

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

At Home With Jesus

     Beware of the people who tell you life is simple. Life is such a mass of complications that no man is safe apart from God. Coming to Jesus does not simplify life, it simplifies my relationship to God. … 

     God’s idea is that individual Christians should become identified with His purpose for the world. When Christianity becomes over-organized and denominational it is incapable of fulfilling our Lord’s commission; it doesn’t “feed His sheep,” it can’t (see John 21:15-17). …  

     If my religion is not based on a personal history with Jesus it becomes something I suffer from, not a joyous thing, but something that keeps me from doing what I want to do. 

From Disciples Indeed

Jesus came to give us life to the full. He didn’t come to help simplify life or organize our religion. The key word for our relationship with Jesus is personal. He wants you, not your religious ideas or religious activities.

Jesus died for you. Jesus lives for you. And Jesus wants to live in and through you. Jesus replied, “All who love Me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and We will come and make Our home with each of them (John 14:23).

Will you let Him be at home with you?

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