Thursdays With Oswald—New Healthy Habits

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.

New Healthy Habits

When the Spirit of God brings a Word of God to us, are we going to wake up and lay hold [Ephesians 5:14-18] of it, or remain in the condition St. Augustine was in—“a little more worldliness; a little less intensity”? … When God tells us to do a thing He empowers us to do it, only we must do the doing. … All we need is grit and gumption and reliance on the Holy Spirit. We must bring the same determined energy to the revelations in God’s Book as we bring to earthly professions. Most of us leave the sweat of brain outside when we come to deal with the Bible. …

When in your soul’s vision you see clearly what God wants, let me advise you to do something physical immediately. If you accompany a moral or spiritual decision with a physical effort you give the necessary initiative to form the new habit. …

How are we going to find out the will of God? “God will communicate it to us.” He will not. His will is there all the time, but we have to discover it by being renewed in our minds, by taking heed to His Word and obeying it. If we are not going to be “conformed to this world; but transformed,” we must use our brains. God does the spiritual, powerful part we cannot do; but we have to work it out, and as we do the obeying we prove… “what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” [Romans 12:1-2].

From The Moral Foundations Of Life

Everything we need to form new, healthy, God-pleasing habits has already been given to us in the Bible. Now we need to put our brains and our bodies to work—

God’s Word + Holy Spirit revelation + Concentration + Physical obedience = 

New God-honoring habits

Links & Quotes

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Some good reading from today…

“The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.” —Mother Teresa

A challenging word from John Stonestreet: The Pornification Of The Church.

“Here is no need to expound fuller what the Christian Scripture teaches on this point of feelings. It subjects the whole mind to God’s governance and assistance, and all the passions unto it, in such manner that they are all made to serve the increase of justice.” —Augustine

“…For we are not under law in Christ’s church, but under grace, and grace will prompt you to do more than law might suggest….” —Charles Spurgeon

A great story about Pittsburg Pirate star Andrew McCutchen and his parents.

Ryan Anderson has 7 reasons why the current homosexual “marriage” debate is nothing like the debate on interracial marriage.

Apparently we cannot win: the change from CFCs to HFCs in our spray cans is repairing the ozone but raising the earth’s temperature. Oh, wait a minute: this isn’t settled science, but merely someone’s “model” based on “what the data suggests.” Sounds a lot like faith to me!

The Love In The Law

Love In The LawWhen I say “Law” what sort of words come to your mind. Do you think of words like: restrictive? killjoy? barriers? hindrances? no fun?

If you’re a Christian, perhaps the same descriptive words come to mind when you think of biblical commandments. Maybe you think, “Don’t do that” (or for those of you who think in King James English: Thou shalt not).

But if we think of the law/commandments that way, that also means we have to think of the Lawgiver that way. In other words, God becomes a Policeman. He is closely watching to see who will break His laws so that He can dispense the appropriate punishment. After all, if the laws are a bunch of no-nos, then Someone has to be watching for law-breakers and handing out the penalties.

If that’s the case, what do we do with the Bible’s description of God that says “God is love”? If the Lawgiver is Love, how does that change our view of the laws themselves?

It must mean that God’s laws are an expression of His love. It must mean that His love is in the laws He has given us.

It must mean that God’s laws are NOT no-nos, BUT yes-yeses. 

Join us this Sunday at Calvary Assembly of God as we talk about The Love In The Law. We’ll be working our way through the Ten Commandments, especially looking at God’s love that make each commandment a giant YES for our lives. Prayerfully, this series will completely change how we view God’s laws and commands.

Taste And See (book review)

Taste & SeeTaste And See is made up of 140 short, powerful thoughts from the pen of John Piper. As the title advises, these are thoughts that you will want to chew on slowly, enjoying the flavorful way Pastor Piper brings Scripture to bear on our daily lives.

Each day’s reading is short (perhaps three pages long at the most), so you would almost think you could speed-read right through it. But the limited number of words for each reading is in no way an indication of the weight of those words. Some devotionals convicted me; some brought me to tears; some made me angry; but all of them made me think differently.

If you are already familiar with John Piper’s books, Taste And See will be a welcome addition to your library. If you haven’t read anything from him yet, this book will be an excellent introduction to this wise and gentle pastor/author.

Taste And See is part of a verse of Scripture which says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the the one who takes refuge in Him” (Psalm 34:8). Indeed, the best part of Pastor Piper’s writings is that you will taste and see more clearly how good and worthy of praise God is!

Links & Quotes

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Some good reading & watching from this weekend…

“Our mistake is that we want God to send revival on our terms. We want to get the power of God into our hands, to call it to us that it may work for us in promoting and furthering our kind of Christianity. We want still to be in charge, guiding the chariot through the religious sky in the direction we want it to go, shouting ‘Glory to God,’ it is true, but modestly accepting a share of the glory for ourselves in a nice inoffensive sort of way. We are calling on God to send fire on our altars, completely ignoring the fact that they are our altars and not God’s.” —A.W. Tozer

Eric Metaxas has a great take on depression in his post Depression And Black Dog Beliefs.

[VIDEO] I’m not a huge Duck Dynasty fan, but this short quote from Phil Robertson is pure gold!

Paleontologists has found the bones of a huge dinosaur called Dreadnoughtus, that was bigger than a 737 airplane! It sounds a lot like what God described to Job.

Earth has a new address. Our home supercluster is called Laniakea (for the Hawaiian word meaning immeasurable heaven).

Whether you are a Detroit Tigers fan or not, this is a great story about teammates and friends.

“We are atheists in this matter of prayer compared to the early church. Many today look upon secret prayer as hard work and boring, so they do it only occasionally. Can you imagine a husband and wife living in the same house, hardly ever speaking and yet in public speaking as if they were intimate? So some treat our blessed Lord! Prayer, hidden secret prayer, is the mightiest weapon God has given His people; yet it is neglected, disdained, and seldom used.” —David Wilkerson

“Kindness is an inner desire that makes us want to do good things even if we do not get anything in return.” —Emmanuel Swedenborg

“Now if God be wisdom, as truth and Scripture testify, then a true philosopher is a lover of God.” —Augustine

God’s Pursuit Of Man (book review)

God's Pursuit Of ManA.W. Tozer was a prophet in his time, and his words still carry the same weight every time I read them. God’s Pursuit Of Man is a thus-saith-the-Lord wakeup call to realize how much God wants to be in a close relationship with us.

Each chapter took me deeper and deeper into God’s presence. Tozer uses the Scripture in a way that cuts through all of the excuses and posturing, and made me come face-to-face with what God really wants. He wants me. All of me.

As I read Tozer’s words, and then allowed the Holy Spirit to let those words sink in, I discovered more and more how much further I could be going into God’s presence. I realized I have as much of God in my life as I want.

But I want more. I want to answer a resounding “Yes!” to God’s passionate pursuit of me. If you want that too, this book is for you.

My Accent

My AccentThe prophet Amos opens his book with these words: The words of Amos…. Amos was the one God chose to deliver His message, and Amos never forgot that, not did he let his audience forget.

It’s not a filler phrase, but it becomes the accent by which everyone knew Amos’ voice. Over 40 times in this short book Amos uses phrases like “says the Lord,” or “declares the Sovereign Lord.” Amos constantly reminded himself and anyone who heard him speak that he was not speaking his own thoughts, but he was speaking God’s Word.

I wonder: What accent do people hear when I speak?

I want to be so full of God’s Word and His Spirit that the “says the Lord” accent is my accent.

When I speak I want people to not hear me but hear the God Who speaks through me.

My words are fallible, but God’s Word is perfect.

Jesus said that my words reflect what’s in my heart. May my accent make it so evidence that my heart is full of the Word of God.

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