Thursdays With Oswald—Prayer Is The Work

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.

Prayer Is The Work 

     The key to the missionary problem is in the hand of God, not of man, and according to Our Lord, the key is prayer, not work, as that word is popularly understood, because work may mean evading spiritual concentration. Our Lord says—“Pray therefore…” [Matthew 9:38]. … 

     We are apt to think of prayer as a common-sense exercise of our higher powers in order to prepare us for work; whereas in the teaching of Jesus, prayer is not to fit us for the “greater works,” prayer is the work. Prayer is the outcome of our apprehension of the nature of God, the means whereby we assimilate more and more of His mind, and the means whereby He unveils His purposes to us. …  

     God is not impressed by our earnestness, He nowhere promises to answer prayer because of our agony in intercession, but only on the ground of Redemption. We have “boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,” and in no other way. … 

     The armor is for the battle of prayer [see Ephesians 6:11-20]. “Take up the whole armor of God … stand therefore …” and then pray. The armor is not to fight in, but to shield us while we pray. Prayer is the battle. … 

     We have to live depending on Jesus Christ’s wisdom, not on our own. He is the Master, and the problem is His, not ours. We have to use the key He gives us, the key of prayer. Our Lord puts the key into our hands, and we have to learn to pray under His direction. That is the simplicity which He says His Father will bless.

From So Send I You

In light of these thoughts from Oswald Chambers, how does this change your view of prayer?

Thursdays With Oswald—The Destination Is Not The Goal

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 Destination Is Not The Goal

     In natural life we have ambitions and aims which alter as we develop; in the Christian life the goal is given at the beginning, viz., Our Lord Himself. “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” [Ephesians 4:13]. We do not start with the idea of what the Christian life should be, we start with Christ, and we end with Christ. Our aims in natural life continually alter as we develop, but development in the Christian life is an increasing manifestation of Jesus Christ. …  

     “And He went on His way through cities and villages, teaching, and journeying on unto Jerusalem” (Luke 13:22). Our Lord was not fanatical. Had He been a fanatic, He would have said—“Because I am going up to Jerusalem there is no need to stay in this village or that; I have only one duty, and that is to go up to Jerusalem.” Our Lord took plenty of time to do His duty in the cities and villages that He went through on His way to Jerusalem. Nothing made Him hurry through the villages where He was persecuted, or linger in those where He was blessed. …  

     The aim of the missionary is not to win the heathen, not to be useful, but to do God’s will. He does win the heathen, and he is useful, but that is not the aim; his aim is to do the will of his Lord.

From So Send I You 

The Christian’s goal is not Heaven. The Christian’s goal is not winning a bunch of people to Christ. The Christian’s goal is not even being an effective Christian.

The Christian’s goal is to be like Jesus, making Him increasingly visible in my daily life.

God will do amazing things through us as we journey through this life, and Heaven is a wonderful reward for a Christian. But those things should never be our focal point. May our focal point always be this: I want to know Jesus more, and I want His life to be seen in me. I want His will to be done, and His glory to be seen.

Thursdays With Oswald—God’s Purpose For Israel And Me

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.

God’s Purpose For Israel And Me

     God created the people known as Israel for one purpose, to be the servant of Jehovah until through them every nation came to know Who Jehovah was. … The election of the nation by God was not for the salvation of individuals; the elect nation was to be the instrument of salvation to the whole world. The story of their distress is due entirely to their deliberate determination to use themselves for a purpose other than God’s. … Israel is still in the shadow of God’s hand, in spite of all her wickedness. God’s purposes are always fulfilled, no matter how wide a compass He may permit to be taken first. … 

     When we are born from above the realization dawns that we are built for God, not for ourselves. … 

     The creative purpose of God for the missionary is to make him His servant, one in whom He is glorified. When once we realize this, all our self-conscious limitations will be extinguished in the extraordinary blaze of what the Redemption means. We have to see that we keep the windows of our soul open to God’s creative purpose for us, and not confuse that purpose with our own intentions. … 

     A saint is made by God…. Then do not tell God He is a bungling workman. We do that whenever we say “I can’t.” To say “I can’t” literally means we are too strong in ourselves to depend on God. “I can’t pray in public; I can’t talk in the open air.” Substitute “I won’t,” and it will be nearer the truth. The thing that makes us say “I can’t” is that we forget that we must rely entirely on the creative purpose of God….

From So Send I You

Oswald Chambers draws the analogy between why God called Israel, and why He called you. God desired to use Israel to show all nations His love, and He still desires to do the same thing with every single one of His saints today.

In order for God to use you, first be aware that He does indeed want to use you. He created you for His plan and purpose. Next, be open to how your life can glorify God. Take your eyes off you and put them on Him. Finally, stop saying “I can’t.” If God has created you to do something for Him, you most certainly can do it in His power and anointing.

Will you let God use you for His glory today?

Thursdays With Oswald—What Does It Mean To ‘Confess’ Christ?

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.

What Does It Mean To ‘Confess’ Christ? 

     We receive the Spirit of Christ as a gift, but we do not receive His mind, we have to construct that [see Philippians 2:5], and this is done in the same way that we construct the natural mind, viz., by the way our disposition reacts when we come in contact with external things. …  

     “You call Me Master and Lord, and rightly so, for that is what I am”; but does it mean any more to us than the mere saying of it? “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you should do as I have done for you” and we cannot do it by sentiment. It was in the hour when Jesus knew “that the Father had put all things under His power, and that He had come from God and was returning to God” that He began to wash the disciples’ feet; and it is when we realize our union with Jesus Christ as our Lord and Master that we shall follow His example. [see John 13:1-4, 12-15] … 

     To “confess” Christ means to say, not only with the tongue, but with every bit of our life, that Jesus has come into our flesh.

From So Send I You

It’s one thing to say, “I am a Christian,” and it’s a completely different thing to live like Christ.

The Holy Spirit will continually bring a Christian into situations where we had the opportunity to develop the mind of Christ. As we develop His mind in us, it will naturally mean that we will “confess” Christ with our thoughts, words, and actions.

My prayer is that we will continually be focused on our Christ-like “confession.”

Thursdays With Oswald—Is Jesus My Master?

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.

Is Jesus My Master?

     To have a master and to be mastered are not the same thing, but diametrically opposed. If I have the idea that I am being mastered, it is a sure proof that I have no master. If I feel I am in subjection to someone, then I may be sure that that someone is not the one I love. To have a master means to have one who is closer than a friend, one whom I know knows me better than I know myself, one who has fathomed the remotest abyss of my heart and satisfied it, one who brings me the secure sense that he has met and solved every perplexity of my mind—that, and nothing less, is to have a master. … 

     Our Lord never takes measures to make us obey Him. Our obedience is the outcome of a oneness of spirit with Him through His Redemption. That is why, whenever Our Lord talked about discipleship, He prefaced it with an “IF”—“you do not need to unless you like”; but—“If any man will be My disciple, let him deny himself.” 

From So Send I You

After reading Oswald Chambers’ definition of a loving master, would you say Jesus is your Master?

After reading what Chambers says about obedience being an expression of love, would you say you obey your master out of love or out of duty?

How you answer these questions makes all the difference in how you live as a disciple of Jesus.

Thursdays With Oswald—Ordinary Preparation For Extraordinary Service

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.

Ordinary Preparation For Extraordinary Service

     What are the workshops that supply the munitions for God’s enterprises? The workshop of missionary munitions is the hidden, personal, worshiping life of the saint. …  

     We imagine we should be all right if a big crisis arose; but the crisis only reveals the stuff we are made of, it does not put anything into us. “If God gives the call, of course, I shall rise to the occasion.” You will not, unless you have risen to the occasion in the workshop. If you are not the real article before God there, doing the duty that lies nearest, instead of being revealed as fit for God when the crisis comes, you will be revealed as unfit. … 

     “Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He came forth from God and goeth unto God…”—we might have expected the record to go on: “He was transfigured before them”; but we read that the next thing Our Lord did was of the most menial commonplace order—“He took a towel, and girded Himself. Then He began to wash the disciples’ feet.” Can we use a towel as Our Lord did? Towels and basins and feet and sandals, all the ordinary sordid things of our lives, reveal more quickly than anything what we are made of. It is not the big occasions that reveal us, but the little occasions. 

From So Send I You

Are you spending time every day abiding with Jesus and worshiping Him? Are you willing to do “the little things” that God gives you to do?

These are the things that will make God’s saints ready for “the big things” that come along. Don’t look for the big things, just do the ordinary things God desires of you every day, and then you will be more than ready for the extraordinary things in which God places you.

Thursdays With Oswald—What Is A Missionary?

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.

What Is A Missionary?

     A missionary is a saved and sanctified soul detached to Jesus. The one thing that must not be overlooked is the personal relationship to Jesus Christ and to His point of view; if that is overlooked, the needs are so great, the conditions so perplexing, that every power of mind and heart will fail and falter. We are apt to forget that the great reason for missionary enterprise is not first the elevation of the people; nor first the education of the people; nor even first the salvation of the people, but first and foremost the command of Jesus Christ—“Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations.” If we are going to remain true to the Bible’s conception of a missionary, we must go back to the source—a missionary is one sent by Jesus Christ as He was sent by the Father. … 

     In revising the lives of men and women of God and the history of the Church of God, there is a tendency to say—“How wonderfully astute those men and women were! How perfectly they understood what God wanted of them!” The truth is that the astute mind behind these men and women was not a human mind at all, but the mind of God. We give credit to human wisdom when we should give credit to the Divine guidance of God through childlike people who were foolish enough in the eyes of the world to trust God’s wisdom and supernatural equipment, while watching carefully their own steadfast relationship to Him. … 

     The special person called to do missionary work is every person who is a member of the Church of Christ. The call does not come to a chosen few, it is to everyone of us.

From So Send I You

Are you a Christian? Then Jesus calls you His missionary too!

Do you feel equipped to be a missionary? Jesus said all that is required for missionary service is a total reliance on Him.

With that in mind, go be Christ’s missionary to your world today!

Thursdays With Oswald—Second Mile Christianity

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.

Second Mile Christianity

     To go the second mile means always do your duty, and a great deal more than your duty, in a spirit of loving devotion that does not even know you have done it. … The supreme difficulty is to go the second mile with God, because no one understands why you are being such a fool. The summing up of Our Lord’s teaching is that it is impossible to carry it out unless He has done a supernatural work in us. … 

     The interests of the Son of God and of the disciple are to be identical. How long it takes to manifest that identity depends on the private history of the disciple and his Lord. … 

     We do not need the grace of God to stand crises; human nature and pride will do it. We can buck up and face the music of a crisis magnificently, but it does require the supernatural grace of God to live twenty-four hours of the day as a saint, to go through drudgery as a saint, to go through poverty as a saint, to go through an ordinary, unobtrusive, ignored existence as a saint, unnoted and unnoticeable. The “show business,” which is so incorporated into our view of Christian work today, has caused us to drift far from Our Lord’s conception of discipleship. It is instilled in us to think that we have to do exceptional things for God; we have not. We have to be exceptional in ordinary things, to be holy in mean streets, among mean people, surrounded by sordid sinners. That is not learned in five minutes. 

From So Send I You

Jesus calls His disciples to go the second mile. Others won’t understand us, and few (if any) people will applaud us for doing so.

Like a novice runner, maybe we can’t go the whole second mile the first time out. Maybe not even the second or third time. But can we go a bit further the second time than we did the first? And a bit further the third time than we did the second? That’s what discipleship is all about: Letting Jesus help us go a bit further each time.

If you stick with it, soon you will be going the second mile and not even realize it. Other may not realize it either, but God always sees when we do, and He is pleased!

Thursdays With Oswald—What’s Holding You Back?

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.

What’s Holding You Back?

[In these quotes, Oswald Chambers is commenting on a story recorded in Mark 10:17-22.]

    One thing you lack.” Do I really want to be perfect? Do I really desire at all costs to every other interest that God should make me perfect? Can I say with Robert Murray McCheyne—“Lord, make me as holy as You can make a saved sinner”? Is that really the desire of my heart? … 

     “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor…. Then come follow Me.” These words mean a voluntary abandoning of riches and a deliberate, devoted attachment to Jesus Christ. We are so desperately wise in our own conceit that we continually make out that Jesus did not mean what He said, and we spiritualize His meaning into thin air. Jesus saw that this man depended on his riches. If He came to you or me He might not say that, but He would say something that dealt with whatever He saw we were depending on. …

     Never push an experience you have had into a principle by which to guide others. If you take what Jesus said to this man and make it mean that He taught we were to own nothing, you are evading what He taught, by making it external. Our Lord told the rich young ruler to loosen himself from his property because that was the thing that was holding him. …

     One of the most subtle errors is that God wants our possessions. He does not; they are not of any use to Him. He does not want my property, He wants myself.

From So Send I You

God wants you. All of you. He wants you without any strings attached to anything else.

“Is that really the desire of my heart?”

Listen closely to His voice. What is He asking you to loosen your hold on, so that you can hold on exclusively to Him? Don’t let temporary things hold you back from being perfectly His forever!

Thursdays With Oswald—The One God Uses

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 One God Uses

     Missionary enterprise, to be Christian, must be based on the passion of obedience, not on the pathos of pity. … In the New Testament the emphasis is not on the needs of men, but on the command of Christ, “Go ye.” … 

     Any sense that the cause of Christ will be benefited if I give myself to it, or any trace of listening to the suggestion of others that I should be of value in my Lord’s service, receives no encouragement from Jesus. … 

     What is the test we put first for work at home or abroad? Sentimentally, we put the call of God first, but actually we are inclined to fix on the abilities of certain people. Our Lord pays not the remotest attention to natural abilities or natural virtues; He heeds only one thing—Does that man discern Who I am? does he know the meaning of My Cross? The men and women Jesus Christ is going to use in His enterprises are those in whom He has done everything. … 

     The one who says “Yes, Lord, but…” is always the one who is fiercely ready, but never goes. … 

     Beware of the inclination to dictate to God as to what you will allow to happen if you obey Him.

From So Send I You

God uses specific people for His service. They are ones who are:

  • Obedient to His call to “Go”
  • Humble
  • Changed from the inside out by Christ’s Atonement
  • Quick to follow
  • Not dictating to God the “where” or “when” or even the outcome of their obedience

Are you one whom God can use?

%d bloggers like this: