Thursdays With Oswald—The Memory Of Sin

Oswald ChambersThis is a periodic 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 Memory Of Sin

     No aspect of Christian life and service is in more need of revision than our attitude to the memory of sin in the saint. When the Apostle Paul said “forgetting those things which are behind,” he was talking not about sin, but about his spiritual attainment. Paul never forgot what he had been; it comes out repeatedly in the Epistles—“For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle” (1 Corinthians 15:9); “unto me who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given” (Ephesians 3:8); …sinners, of whom I am chief” (1 Timothy 1:15). …

     If one wants a touchstone for the depth of true spiritual Christianity, one will surely find it in this matter of the memory of sin. There are those who exhibit a Pharisaic holiness, they thank God with an arrogant offensiveness that they are “not as other men are”; they have forgotten the horrible pit and miry clay from whence they were taken, and their feet set upon a rock through the might of the Atonement. … 

     May the conviction of God come with swift and stern rebuke upon any one who is remembering the past of another, and deliberately choosing to forget their restoration through God’s grace. When a servant of God meets these sins in others, let him be reverent with what he does not understand and leave God to deal with them. 

From Conformed To His Image (emphasis added)

These are good questions for Christians to ask themselves regularly: (1) Am I remembering the sins of others the way I would want others to remember my sins? (2) Am I remembering my forgiven sins the way that God remembers them (Psalm 103:10-12)?

Links & Quotes

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“It has pleased God to give each one of us the same amount of time each day, week, month, and year. Time is a gift of God, and He expects us to use it wisely, in ways that overcome the foolishness of living apart from God and glorify Him in all the details of our lives (Psalm 90:12; Ephesians 5:15-17; 1 Corinthians 10:31). … The challenge of the spiritual life is to claim all our time and construct all our activities in order to pursue what we desire as the life of following Jesus. Anything that doesn’t contribute to that objective distracts from it. … What do the time and activities of your life reveal about what you desire in life and what you’re depending on to give your life purpose and joy?” —T.M. Moore

If you haven’t checked out The Bible Project videos lately, please visit their YouTube channel. They have some really cool stuff that give you an overview of a book of the Bible, and some of the major themes in the Bible. Each video is only 5-7 minutes long, but there is a ton of good insight packed into that time.

“If God did not love us unconditionally, He would not penetrate our unattractive lives, bring us to faith, unite us to Christ, give us His Spirit, and make us progressively like Jesus.” —John Piper

“The Word of God is an expansive Word; ever widening its dimensions; growing upon us; never old, ever new; in which we make continual discoveries; the same tree, but ever putting forth new branches and leaves; the same river, but ever swelling and widening; losing none of its old water, yet ever receiving accessions.” —Horatius Bonar

Planned Parenthood’s love/hate relationship with science.

The Federalist shares 10 reasons it makes zero sense to support abortion.

Parents & teachers, check out what Tim Elmore says we often forget when we are helping our students solve problems.

Links & Quotes

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“Parents! I do hope you are all endeavoring to bring your children to Christ by teaching them the things of God. Let them not be strangers to the plan of salvation. Never let it be said that a child of yours reached years in which his conscience could act, and he could judge between good and evil, without knowing the doctrine of the atonement, without understanding the great substitutionary work of Christ. Set before your child life and death, hell and heaven, judgment and mercy, his own sin, and Christ’s most precious blood; and as you set these before him, labor with him, persuade him, as the apostle did his congregation, with tears and weeping, to turn unto the Lord.” —Charles Spurgeon

“The role of God’s Word is to feed faith’s appetite for God. And, in doing this, it weans my heart away from the deceptive taste of lust. … As I pray for my faith to be satisfied with God’s life and peace, the sword of the Spirit carves the sugar coating off the poison of lust. I see it for what it is. And by the grace of God, its alluring power is broken.” —John Piper

“This triangle of truisms, of father, mother and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.” —G.K. Chesterton

“Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them, but they start talking to you, they bring back the problems of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking … yourself is talking to you!” —Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Planned Parenthood updates:

Ultrasounds = good for saving babies, bad for Planned Parenthood’s business.

Earlier this week I shared a list of companies who support Planned Parenthood (at least PP had listed them as supporters on its website). Here’s what these companies said when they were contacted by The Daily Signal. Good news: It appears that many of them are not supporting PP financially.

PP cartoonHopefully this cartoon doesn’t describe you… (click the link or the picture to see the rest of it).

Salty Disciples

The hope of gloryWho are Christ’s disciples? Is it only the people who walked Earth at the same time and place as Jesus? Was it an exclusive club of the 12 men Jesus selected as His apostles? Can anyone be a disciple of Jesus Christ?

Great questions!

First of all we must know that discipleship is not something we DO; it’s who we ARE. We have to start thinking of discipleship like a job search, where we need to have the right education and experiences that will build up our spiritual resume, and then Jesus will “hire” us to be one of His disciples.

We do the being, and Jesus does the preparingAnd Jesus said to them, Come after Me and BE My disciples, and I will MAKE you to become fishers of men (Mark 1:17, AMP). We are to just BE with Jesus, and being with Him will prepare us to be made into something else.

We don’t negotiate with Jesus on how much time we can give Him. We don’t say, “As soon as I get through this busy time in my life I’ll follow you” or “After the kids are grown, then I’ll have more time for you” or “As soon as I get my business situation taken care of.” Jesus wants us to come to Him just as we are right now—Simply put, if you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it good-bye, you can’t be My disciple. (Luke 14:33, MSG)

As a disciple of Jesus we don’t try to act a certain way, we simply AREYou ARE the salt of the earth… (Matthew 5:13). We can do this because of the Atonement (or as Oswald Chambers says, the “at-onement”). You are in Christ, and He is in you—when God sees you, He sees Jesus; when others see you, they see Jesus. 

Here’s the amazing thing: God wants to use you to show Jesus to others. God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ IN you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).

Make it your goal to simply be with Christ, and then be prepared for His God’s glory to be on display in you. You will then BE salt and light to a needy world!

Thursdays With Oswald—Christ’s Perfection In You

Oswald ChambersThis is a periodic 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.

Christ’s Perfection In You

     Paul does not say, nor does the Spirit of God say anywhere, that after we are born again of the Spirit of God, Jesus Christ is put before us as an Example and we make ourselves holy by drawing from Him. Never! Sanctification is Christ formed in us; not the Christ-life, but Christ Himself. In Jesus Christ is the perfection of everything, and the mystery of sanctification is that we may have in Jesus Christ, not the start of holiness, but the holiness of Jesus Christ. …  

     Those of you who are hungering and thirsting after holiness, think what it would mean to you to go out tonight knowing that you may step boldly into the heritage that is yours if you are born of the Spirit, and realize that the perfections of Jesus are yours by His sovereign gift in such a way that you can prove it experimentally!

From Our Brilliant Heritage (emphasis added)

Oswald Chambers says there are three Mysteries that are impossible for us to fully grasp with our natural minds: (1) The Triune God—Father, Son and Spirit all equally God; (2) The Incarnation of Jesus—fully Man and fully God; and (3) Christ in us.

Yes, it’s a mystery, but it’s true! Jesus doesn’t want to be your Example. He wants to be in you, and wants you to be in Him. His desire is that you are at-onement (that’s what the word atonement means) with Him, so that when people look at you they see Jesus.

You don’t have to earn this, or try to work it up in your life. If you have invited Jesus into your life, He truly is IN you—all of His perfection is IN you! Ask the Holy Spirit to make this real to you today.

17 Final Quotes From “Not Knowing Where”

Not Knowing WhereI’ve been sharing some of the amazing quotes from Oswald Chambers’ book Not Knowing Where. Here is the last set of quotes from this book.

“The natural life is not spiritual, it can only be made spiritual by deliberately casting it out and making it the slave instead of the ruler. … Jesus Christ cannot give me a meek and quiet spirit, I have to take His yoke upon me; that is, I have to deliberately discipline myself. … If we do not resolutely cast out the natural, the supernatural can never become natural in us.”

“Remember, Abraham had to offer up Ishmael before he offered up Isaac. Some of us are trying to offer spiritual sacrifices before we have sacrificed the natural. The only way we can offer a spiritual sacrifice to God is to do what He tells us to do, discipline what He tells us to discipline.”

“Common sense is not faith and faith is not common sense; they stand in the relation of Ishmael and Isaac, of the natural and spiritual, of individuality and personality, of impulse and inspiration. Faith in antagonism to common sense is fanaticism, and common sense in antagonism to faith is rationalism. The life of faith brings the two into right relationship.”

“We have the idea that the body, individuality, and the natural life are altogether of the devil; they are not, they are all of God, designed by God, and it is in the human body and in the natural order of things that we have to exhibit our worship of God. The danger is to mistake the natural for the spiritual, and instead of worshiping God in my natural life to make my natural life God.”

“How am I going to find out what the will of God is? In one way only, by not trying to find out. If you are born again of the Spirit of God, you are the will of God, and your ordinary common sense decisions are God’s will for you unless He gives an inner check. When He does, call a halt immediately and wait on Him. Be renewed in the spirit of your mind that you may make out His will, not in your mind, but in practical living. God’s will in my common sense life is not for me to accept conditions and say—‘Oh well, it is the will of God,’ but to apprehend them for Him, and that means conflict, and it is of God that we conflict. Doing the will of God is an active thing in my common sense life.”

“As Abimelech rebuked Abraham when he was in the wrong (see Genesis 20), and Abraham in his turn rebuked Abimelech, so in the same way the children of men from time to time rebuke the children of God, and the children of God rebuke the politics of natural men. Compromise with each other or unity between them is immoral. Arbitration until He comes Whose right it is to reign is the God-ordained program.”

“The very nature of faith is that it must be tried; faith untried is only ideally real, not actually real. Faith is not rational, therefore it cannot be worked out on the basis of logical reason; it can only be worked out on the implicit line of living obedience.”

“God does not further our spiritual life in spite of our circumstances, but in and by our circumstances.”

“To say ‘Here I am’ when God speaks, is only possible if we are in His presence, in the place where we can obey.” 

“God never fits His Word to suit me; He fits me to suit His Word.”

“True faith does not so much take God at His Word as take the Word of God as it is, in the face of all difficulties, and act upon it, with no attempt to explain or expounded.”

“The path to God is never the same as the path of God. When I am going on with God in His path, I do not understand, but God does; therefore I understand God, not His path.”

“Christ died in the stead of me. I, a guilty sinner, can never get right with God, it is impossible. I can only be brought into union with God by identification with the One Who died in my stead. No sinner can get right with God on any other ground than the ground that Christ died in his stead, not instead of him.” 

“The maturity of character before God is the personal channel through which He can bless others. If it takes all our lifetime before God can put us right, then others are going to be impoverished.”

“The genius of the Spirit of God is to make us pilgrims, consequently there is the continual un-at-home-ness in this world (cf. Philippians 3:20).”

“It is impossible for a saint, no matter what his experience, to keep right with God if he will not take the trouble to spend time with God. In order to keep the mind and heart awake to God’s high ideals you have to keep coming back again and again to the primal source.”

“Bitterness and cynicism are born of broken gods; bitterness is an indication that somewhere in my life I have belittled the true God and made a god of human perfection.”

You can read other quotes I’ve shared from Not Knowing Where by clicking here, here, and here.

And my book review of Not Knowing Where is here.

…And Then A Miracle Occurs

The Miracle of JesusLast week I shared how important it is for us to remember what we were before meeting Christ, and what we now are after meeting Him (you can click here to read that post). But we need to spend some time looking at how we went from “were” to “are.”

First, we need to recall how bad we really were without Christ. We were…

  • …dead (Ephesians 2:1)—this is a rotting corpse.
  • …separated (2:12)—we faced a gaping, unbridgeable, uncrossable chasm.
  • …alienated (4:18)— we were completely shut-out from fellowship with God.
  • …given over (4:19)—this implies an open betrayal which resulted in us running the opposite direction from God.

“The man on the street would simply shrugged his shoulders at this charge and say, ‘Sure, no one’s perfect.’ Even we Christians talk about failures and defeats, but the Bible uses other terms. It speaks of wickedness and rebellion (Leviticus 16:21). The Bible speaks of King David as despising God (2 Samuel 12:9-10). It charges another man of God with defying the word of the Lord… (1 Kings 13:21). It is evident by these descriptive synonyms for sin—rebellion, despising, defying—that God takes a far more serious view of sin than the man on the street or even most Christians.” —Jerry Bridges, in Transforming Grace (bold font added)

…and then a miracle occurs! You who once WERE far away [dead, separated, alienated, disgustingly sinful] HAVE BEEN brought near through the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:13). Jesus Himself becomes our salvation … He IS the miracle! Notice the wording here—

  • He Himself IS our peace (v. 14a)
  • HE has made the two one (v. 14b)
  • abolishing IN His flesh (v. 15a)
  • create IN Himself (v. 15b)
  • IN this one Body…by which HE put to death their hostility (v. 16)
  • THROUGH Him we both have access to the Father (v. 18)

Jesus Himself IS (1) our peace, (2) our reconciliation, and (3) our atonement.

Not only must we always remember what we WERE and what we ARE, but remember the MIRACLE whereby this transformation could happen: The blood of Jesus spilled for us on the Cross!

We’ll be continuing our walk through the Book of Ephesians next Sunday, and I’d love to have you join us.

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