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

8 Quotes About The Holy Spirit From “God’s Pursuit Of Man”

God's Pursuit Of ManA.W. Tozer shows how important the Holy Spirit is in bringing us into a deeper relationship with the fullness of the Godhead in his book God’s Pursuit Of Man. Check out some quotes on this subject.

“One of the most telling blows which the enemy ever struck at the life of the Church was to create in her a fear of the Holy Spirit.” 

“The true Christian ideal is not to be happy but to be holy. The holy heart alone can be the habitation of the Holy Ghost.”

“For the Holy Spirit is not a luxury, not something added now and again to produce a deluxe type of Christian once in a generation. No, He is for every child of God a vital necessity, and that He fill and indwell His people is more than a languid hope. It is rather an inescapable imperative.” 

“God will not surprise a doubting heart with an effusion of the Holy Spirit, nor will He fill anyone who has doctrinal questions about the possibility of being filled.”

“If the Spirit takes charge of your life He will expect unquestioning obedience in everything. He will not tolerate in you the self-sins even though they are permitted and excused by most Christians. By the self-sins I mean self-love, self-pity, self-seeking, self-confidence, self-righteousness, self-aggrandizement, self-defense.”

“However wonderful the crisis experience of being filled with the Spirit, we should remember that it is only a means toward something greater: that greater thing is the lifelong walk in the Spirit, indwelt, directed, taught and empowered by His mighty Person.”

“We must make our thoughts a clean sanctuary for His holy habitation. He dwells in our thoughts, and soiled thoughts are as repugnant to Him as soiled linen to a king.” 

“The Spirit indwelt life is not a special deluxe edition of Christianity to be enjoyed by a certain rare and privileged few who happen to be made of finer and more sensitive stuff than the rest. Rather, it is the normal state for every redeemed man and woman the world over.”

You can read some other quotes from this book by clicking here.

You can read my review of God’s Pursuit Of Man by clicking here.

Links & Quotes

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Some good reading from today…

“The book of Acts is the account of holy men and women seeking the Lord’s face. From beginning to end, it tells of how prayer moves God. Whether in the Upper Room, in prisons, in some secret house hiding from authorities, or in Simon’s house on a street called Straight— they prayed! In the morning and sometimes all night, they prayed without ceasing. Cornelius prayed always and Peter prayed on rooftops. By the seashore, in the temple, or in the desert, they called upon the Lord continually. They spent hours and days shut in with God, until they received dear, detailed guidance. And what incredible specifics God gave them.”  Read more of David Wilkerson’s post Seeking The Face Of The Lord.

Chuck Colson on the value and testimony in doing good work.

“For of Him, besides these benefits whereof we have spoken partly such as are left to the administration of nature and bestowed both upon good and bad, we have a particular bounty of His love peculiar only to the good. For although we can never yield Him sufficient thanks for our being, life, sense, and understanding of Him, yet for that He has not forsaken us when we were involved in sin, when we turned away from His contemplation, and were blinded with love of black iniquity; for that He has sent us His Word, His only Son, by whose incarnation and passion for us we might conceive how dearly God esteemed us, and by that singular sacrifice be purged from our guilt, and by the illumination of His Holy Spirit in our hearts, tread down all difficulties, and ascend to that eternal rest, and ineffable sweetness of His contemplation—what heart, how many tongues, can suffice to return sufficient thanks for this last benefit.” —Augustine

“Self-righteousness is terrible among God’s people. If we feel that we are what we ought to be, then we will remain what we are. We will not look for any change or improvement in our lives. This will quite naturally lead us to judge everyone by what we are. This is the judgment of which we must be careful. To judge others by ourselves is to create havoc in the local assembly.” —A.W. Tozer

Tim Elmore on this generation’s Nomophobia. And check out his newest book 12 Huge Mistakes Parents Can Avoid.

Read this (even if you don’t think you need to): 4 Signs You May Be Addicted To Busyness.

13 Quotes From “God’s Pursuit Of Man”

God's Pursuit Of ManA.W. Tozer paints such a vivid picture of God’s desire for us to be in a deeper relationship with Him. I love it! You can read my full book review by clicking here. Below are some quotes I especially appreciated from God’s Pursuit Of Man.

“We habitually stand in our now and look back by faith to see the past filled with God. We look forward and see Him inhabiting our future; but our now is uninhabited except for ourselves. Thus we are guilty of a kind of temporary atheism which leaves us alone in the universe while, for the time, God is not.” 

“Whatever else it embraces, true Christian experience must always include a genuine encounter with God. Without this, religion is but a shadow, a reflection of reality, a cheap copy of an original once enjoyed by someone else of whom we have heard. It cannot but be a major tragedy in the life of any man to live in a church from childhood to old age and know nothing more real than some synthetic god compounded of theology and logic, but having no eyes to see, no ears to hear and no heart to love.”

“Self-righteousness is an effective bar to God’s favor because it throws the sinner back upon his own merits and shuts him out from the imputed righteousness of Christ.” 

“Every man looks to his fellow men because he has no one else to whom he can look. David could say, ‘Whom have I in heaven but Thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee’ (Psalm 73:25). But the sons of this world have not God; they have only each other, and they walk holding to each other and looking to one another for assurance like frightened children. But their hope will fail them, for they are like a group of men, none of whom has learned to fly a plane, who suddenly find themselves aloft without a pilot, each looking to the other to bring them safely down. Their desperate but mistaken trust cannot save them from the crash which must certainly follow. … Yet in their pride men assert their will and claim ownership of the earth. Well, for a time it is true that this is man’s world. God is admitted only by man’s sufferance. He is treated as visiting royalty in a democratic country. Everyone takes His name upon his lips and (especially at certain seasons) He is feted and celebrated and hymned. But behind all this flattery men hold firmly to their right of self-determination. As long as man is allowed to play host he will honor God with his attention, but always He must remain a guest and never seek to be Lord. Man will have it understood that this is his world; he will make its laws and decide how it shall be run. God is permitted to decide nothing. Man bows to Him and as he bows, manages with difficulty to conceal the crown upon his own head.”

“The degree of blessing enjoyed by any man will correspond exactly with the completeness of God’s victory over him.”

“A thousand years of remorse over a wrong act would not please God as much as a change of conduct and a reformed life. … We can best repent our neglect by neglecting Him no more. Let us begin to think of Him as One to be worshiped and obeyed. Let us throw open every door and invite Him in. Let us surrender to Him every room in the temple of our hearts and insist that He enter and occupy as Lord and Master within His own dwelling.”

“God made man in His own image and placed within him an organ by means of which he could know spiritual things. When man sinned that organ died. ‘Dead in sin’ is a description not of the body nor yet of the intellect, but of the organ of God-knowledge within the human soul. Now men are forced to depend upon another and inferior organ and one furthermore which is wholly inadequate to the purpose. I mean, of course, the mind as the seat of his powers of reason and understanding. Man by reason cannot know God; he can only know about God.” 

“The danger is that we think of ‘the power of God’ as something belonging to God as muscular energy belongs to a man, as something which He has and which might be separated from Him and still have existence in itself. We must remember that the “attributes” of God are not component parts of the blessed Godhead nor elements out of which He is composed. A god who could be composed would not be God at all but the work of something or someone greater than he, great enough to compose him. We would then have a synthetic god made out of the pieces we call attributes, and the true God would be another being altogether, One indeed who is above all thought and all conceiving.”

“Christianity takes for granted the absence of any self-help and offers a power which is nothing less than the power of God. This power is to come upon powerless men as a gentle but resistless invasion from another world, bringing a moral potency infinitely beyond anything that might be stirred up from within. This power is sufficient; no additional help is needed, no auxiliary source of spiritual energy, for it is the Holy Spirit of God come where the weakness lay to supply power and grace to meet the moral need.” 

Man, who moved out of the heart of God by sin, now moves back into the heart of God by redemption. God, who moved out of the heart of man because of sin, now enters again His ancient dwelling to drive out His enemies and once more make the place of His feet glorious.”

“To will the will of God is to do more than give unprotesting consent to it; it is rather to choose God’s will with positive determination. As the work of God advances, the Christian finds himself free to choose whatever he will, and he gladly chooses the will of God as his highest conceivable good.” 

“That terrible zone of confusion so evident in the whole life of the Christian community could be cleared up in one day if the followers of Christ would begin to follow Christ instead of each other.”

“Religious contentment is the enemy of the spiritual life always.”

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.

Spirit-led

John GunnI love when this happens.

I love when the Holy Spirit takes over, and throws our agenda out the window.

I love when we let the Holy Spirit have His way.

Our special guest, John Gunn, came to Calvary A/G today with a word to share with us. But as the service progressed, and as our missionary guest shared some words she felt were specific to us, Pastor Gunn yielded to the Spirit’s prompting.

I love when a man of God says, “I had a message prepared for today, but I’m not going to share it. God has given me something else to share.”

It was a timely, anointed, powerful word. It was exactly what I needed to hear.

Thank you, John, for being sensitive to the Holy Spirit.

Thank You, Holy Spirit, for speaking to us through Your servants.

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