Thursdays With Oswald—The Love Behind The Warning

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 Love Behind The Warning

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” —Jesus (Matthew 7:13-14) 

     Always distinguish between warning and threatening. God never threatens; the devil never warns. A warning is a great arresting statement of God’s, inspired by His love and patience. …

     It is the great patience of God that gives the warning, “The way of transgressors is hard.” Go behind that statement in your imagination and see the love of God. God is amazingly tender, but the way of transgressors cannot be made easy. God has made it difficult to go wrong, especially for His children. … 

     If Jesus came to be a teacher only, He had better have stayed away. What is the use of teaching a human being to be what no human being can be—to be continually self-effaced, to do more than his duty, to be completely disinterested, to be perfectly devoted to God? If all Jesus came to do was to teach men to be that, He is the greatest taunter that ever presented any ideal to the human race. But Jesus Christ came primarily and fundamentally to regenerate man. He came to put into any man the disposition that ruled His own life, and immediately that is given to a man, the teaching of Jesus begins to be possible. 

From Studies In The Sermon On The Mount

The opposite of love is not hate; it’s apathy. If God didn’t love us, He wouldn’t care what road we attempted to take. But He does love us, so He tells us the one and only way to get to Him: Jesus Christ is THE way. 

Chambers is exactly right when He says that Jesus was not just a great Teacher. If that’s all that Jesus came to do, we would be miserable people because we could never walk the narrow road that He taught. But Jesus came to enable and empower us to walk that road. He came to purchase our atonement (our “at-onement” with Him) so that we could live out all that He taught. 

Jesus is a Teacher, but He is also the Enabler that makes it possible for us to obey His teaching. For that, we should be eternally grateful! 

No Apathetic Christians Allowed!

Healthy love loves God and then serves God by loving and serving others. Quite simply—love loves.

But my question is how does love love?

Sometimes we can get a fuller definition of a word by looking at its opposite. So what’s the opposite of love? It isn’t hate because hate is actually the flip side of love. That means our hatred for anything that comes against the object of our love is just as strong as our love is.

The opposite of love is apathy.

Apathy means without pathos (or feeling). Specifically, without feeling that moves us to action. So in order for love to love, it needs pathos as its fuel.

For example. If you hear a coworker mention her frustration with construction slowing down her morning commute, apathy says, “Bummer!” and does nothing else. But love fuel by pathos says, “I found an alternate route that I can share with you.”

When a friend tells you about his frustration with trying to lose weight, apathy says, “Good luck!” Pathos love says, “Here’s the diet that worked for me” or “I’ll go to the gym with you.”

Love is fueled by pathos to: speak out, act out, and reach out.

When Peter was describing the ministry of Jesus, he said, “He went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil” (Acts 10:38).

As His follower, we are supposed to feel the needs of the hurting and confused around us, and then let that pathos fuel our love to go around doing good:

  • When you hear someone asking for help, offer help.
  • When you see someone who is down, be their friend.
  • When you don’t see a neighbor for a couple of days, check on them.
  • When you meet someone looking for answers, invite them to church with you.
  • When a friend is sick, send a card, bring a meal, or mow their lawn.

These kinds of good deeds make Jesus happy (see Matthew 25:40) because it’s a tangible way to love God and then serve God by loving and serving others.

BE LIKE JESUS—GO AROUND DOING GOOD! 

There should never, ever be such a thing as an apathetic Christian!

Save Souls Sinking Into Hell

These are sobering words from Charles Spurgeon…

C.H. Spurgeon“Men can be so careless about the ruin of men’s souls. Let us hear the cry of ‘Fire! fire!’ in the streets, and our heart is all in trepidation lest some poor creature should be burned alive; but we read of hell, and of the wrath to come, and seldom do our hearts palpitate with any compassionate trembling and fear. If we are on board a vessel, and the shrill cry is heard, ‘Man overboard!’ whoever hears of a passenger wrapping his overcoat around him, and lying down upon a seat to contemplate the exertions of others? But in the church, when we hear of thousands of sinners sinking in the floods of ruin, we behold professed Christians wrapping themselves up in their own security, and calmly looking upon the labours of others, but not even lifting a finger to do any part of the work themselves. If we heard tomorrow in our streets the awful cry, more terrible than fire, the cry of ‘Bread! bread! bread!’ and saw starving women lifting up their perishing children, would we not empty out our stores? Who among us would not spend our substance to let the poor ravenous creatures satisfy the pangs of hunger? And yet, here is the world perishing for lack of knowledge. Here we have them at our doors crying for the bread of heaven, and how many there are that hoard their substance for avarice, give their time to vanity, devote their talents to self-aggrandisement, and centre their thoughts only on the world or the flesh! Oh! could you once see with your eyes a soul sinking into hell, it would be such a spectacle that you would work night and day, and count your life too short and your hours too few for the plucking of brands from the burning.” (emphasis added)

Links & Quotes

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Do you suffer from any of these? Things that hold us back from serving others.

Dave Barringer shares 10 subtle actions that you should pay attention to in your marriage.

“Let me warn you of second-hand spirituality; it is a rotten soul-deceiving deception. Beware of all esteeming yourself according to the thoughts of others, or you will be ruined. … O I do pray you, do not be satisfied with being persuaded into something like an assurance that you are in Christ, but do know Him—know Him for yourself.” —Charles Spurgeon

“Sinning is believing a false promise from the world above a true promise from God.” Read more in Jared Mulvihill’s post We Should Be Weeping.

Eurasia Northwest has a really cool infographic on the use of healing words in the Bible.

Seth Godin says, “The chances that everyone is going to applaud you, never mind even become aware you exist, are virtually nil. Most brands and organizations and individuals that fail fall into the chasm of trying to be all things in order to please everyone, and end up reaching no one. That’s the wrong thing to focus on. Better to focus on and delight almost no one.” Check out the rest of his post Almost No One.

[VIDEO] This year’s NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers is doing some cool stuff for kids―

10 Quotes From “How Do You Kill 11 Million People?”

How Do You KillAndy Andrews pulls no punches in this amazing book: How Do You Kill 11 Million People? You can read my full book review by clicking here. Below are some of the more noteworthy quotes I highlighted in this book.

“The punishment which the wise suffer who refuse to take part in the government, is to live under the government of worse men.” —Plato

“The past is what is real and true, while history is merely what someone recorded.”

“How fortunate for leaders that men do not think. Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.” —Adolf Hitler

“It is a fact that fewer than 10 percent of Germany’s population of 79.7 million people actively worked or campaigned to bring about Hitler’s change. Even at the height of its power in 1945, the Nazi political party boasted only 8.5 million members. So the remaining 90 percent of Germans—teachers and doctors and ministers and farmers—did . . . what? Stood by? Watched? Essentially, yes.”

“The danger to America is not a single politician with ill intent. Or even a group of them. The most dangerous thing any nation faces is a citizenry capable of trusting a liar to lead them.”

“Have you ever wondered why America doesn’t have a balanced budget? Have you ever in your life heard of a politician who wasn’t for a balanced budget? Have you ever heard a politician speak in favor of a complicated tax code that ordinary citizens would find difficult to understand? Then why do we have a complicated tax code that ordinary citizens find difficult to understand? Meet the 545 men and women who enact every law, propose every budget, and set every policy enforced on the citizens of the United States of America: one president, nine Supreme Court justices, one hundred senators, and 435 members of the House of Representatives. By the way, have you ever noticed that if any one of us lies to them, it is a felony? But if any one of them lies to us, it is considered politics.”

“During the past quarter century, no presidential election has been won by more than ten million ballots cast? Yet every federal election during the same time period had at least one hundred million people of voting age who did not bother to vote!”

“History shows that any people who are sheeplike in following their leadership (so long as their personal self-interests are satisfied) may one day awaken to find that their nation has changed in dramatic ways.”

“If we don’t demand honesty and integrity from America’s leadership now—and reward that integrity with our votes—our leaders will lack the fortitude to make the hard decisions that must be made to change course.”

“Now, more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature. … If [one hundred years from now] the next centennial does not find us a great nation … it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.” —President James A. Garfield, in his address to Congress on the centennial of our country (1876)

Links & Quotes

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Some good reading and watching from today…

[VIDEO] John Maxwell says the joy-ratio of giving-to-receiving is 10-to-1.

“Faith never knows where it is being led, it knows and loves the One Who is leading. … Faith is not resignation to a power we do not know; faith is committal to One Whose character we do know because it has been revealed to us in Jesus Christ.” —Oswald Chambers

“The devil’s master strategy for us Christians then is not to kill us physically (though there may be some special situations where physical death fits into his plan better), but to destroy our power to wage spiritual warfare. And how well he has succeeded. The average Christian these days is a harmless enough thing. God knows.” —A.W. Tozer

Some have argued that aborting a baby diagnosed with cystic fibrosis is humane and ethical. This kid proves them wrong.

Seth Godin with a really good reason why you should vote tomorrow.

…and The Gospel Coalition reminds Christians why they should vote.

 

Links & Quotes

Some good reading from today…

“The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid ‘dens of crime’ that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labor camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice.” —C.S. Lewis

Excellent post: How The Church Should Talk About Sex.

“As in our Lord’s life His teaching was always connected with healing, He would have the church also take a very deep interest in the bodily sorrows of the people as well as in their spiritual needs. It will be a very great pity if ever it should be thought that benevolence is divorced from Christianity.” —Charles Spurgeon

Eric Metaxas has a powerful call-to-action regarding the Houston government’s abuse of power in their subpoenas of pastor’s sermons. You can also sign a petition supporting free speech and freedom of religion at Houstonproblem.com.

Where Are The Churches Of Courage?

EinsteinI am becoming more and more concerned about pastors and churches who will not take a stand. So many seem apathetic to what is happening in our world, seldom taking a stand or speaking out against unbiblical cultural trends or the misdeeds of evil.

If not Christians or churches, then who will speak up for truth?

“Being a lover of freedom, when the [Nazi] revolution came, I looked to the universities to defend it, knowing that they had always boasted of their devotion to the cause of truth; but no, the universities were immediately silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers, whose flaming editorials in days gone by had proclaimed their love of freedom; but they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks. … Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler’s campaign for suppressing truth. I never had any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration for it because the Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual and moral freedom. I am forced to confess that what I once despised I now praise unreservedly.” —Albert Einstein

Pastor, are you standing “squarely across the path” of the things “suppressing truth”? Are you teaching and arming your congregations to do the same?

21 Quotes From “All In”

All InAll In by Mark Batterson is the sequel to his fantastic book on prayer called The Circle Maker. All In is the challenge to followup our prayer times with bold action. You can read my full book review by clicking here. These are some of the quotes I especially liked from All In—

“When did we start believing God wants to send us to safe places to do easy things?”

“You cannot be in the presence of God and be bored at the same time. For that matter, you cannot be in the will of God and be bored at the same time.”

“The Rich Young Ruler may rank as one of the most religious people in the pages of Scripture. The text tells us that he kept all the commandments. He did nothing wrong, but you can do nothing wrong and still do nothing right. By definition, righteousness is doing something right. We’ve reduced it to doing nothing wrong. … [Jesus] asks the Rich Young Ruler to ante up everything. Why? Because He loved the Rich Young Ruler too much to ask for anything less! We focus on what Jesus asked him to give up but fail to consider what He offered up in exchange.”

“God cannot reveal His faithfulness until we exercise our faith.”

“The first step is always the longest and the hardest. And you can’t just take a step forward into the future. You also have to eliminate the possibility of moving backward into the past.”

“One of our fundamental spiritual problems is this: we want God to do something new while we keep doing the same old thing.”

“When we cling too tightly to what God did last, we often miss what God wants to do next.”

“We all want to spend eternity with God. We just don’t want to spend time with Him. We stand and stare from a distance, satisfied with superficiality. We Facebook more that we seek His face. We text more than we study The Text. And our eyes aren’t fixed on Jesus. They’re fixed on our iPhone and iPads—emphasis on ‘i.’ Then we wonder why God feels so distant.”

“You cannot go to church because you are the church. … Your workplace is your mission field. Your job is your sermon. Your colleagues are your congregation.”

“Our lack of guts is really a lack of faith. Instead of playing to win, we play not to lose.”

“There are two kinds of people in the world—those who ask why and those who ask why not. Going all out is asking why not. Why people look for excuses. Why not people look for opportunities. Why people are afraid of making mistakes. Why not people don’t want to miss out on God-ordained opportunities.”

“We treat failure and success like their antonyms. Failure is a part of every success story. Think of it as the prologue.”

“No matter what tool you use in your trade—a hammer, a keyboard, a mop, a football, a spreadsheet, a microphone, or an espresso machine—using it is an act of obedience. It’s the mechanism whereby you worship God. It’s the way you do what you are supposed to do.”

“I’ve discovered that if I don’t take the first step, God generally won’t reveal the next step.”

“It doesn’t matter what you do, God wants to help you do it. He wants to favor your business plan, your political campaign, your manuscript, your lesson plan, your legal brief, your film, and your sales pitch. But you’ve got to position yourself for that favor by acting in obedience. And if God knows He’ll get the glory, He will bless you beyond your ability, beyond your resources.”

“Courage doesn’t wait until situational factors turn in one’s favor. It doesn’t wait until a plan is perfectly formed. It doesn’t wait until the tide of popular opinion is turned. Courage only waits for one thing: a green light from God. And when God gives the go, it’s full steam ahead, no questions asked.”

“Opportunities typically come disguised as impossible problems.”

“When it comes to sinful rationalizations, we are infinitely creative. But it’s our rationalizations that often annul His revelations. When we compromise our integrity, we don’t leave room for divine intervention. When we take matters into our own hands, we take God out of the equation. When we try to manipulate a situation, we miss out on the miracle.”

“Integrity won’t keep us from getting thrown into a fiery furnace, but it can keep us from getting burned.”

“It’s much easier to act like a Christian than it is to react like one!”

“There has never been and never will be anyone like you, but that isn’t a testament to you. It’s a testament to the God who created you. And that means no one can worship God like you or for you. You are absolutely irreplaceable in God’s grand scheme. And God is jealous for you—all of you.”

Apathy Is Not An Option

The old joke goes like this –

Q: What’s the difference between ignorance and apathy?

A: I don’t know and I don’t care.

Corny, I know, but it does make a point.

For followers of Jesus Christ, sometimes ignorance of a situation is acceptable. But apathy is never an option. In other words, you may not know what’s happening around you, but once you know, you’re on the hook. You cannot do nothing. Especially when people need help.

Nowhere in Scripture will you ever see something like this –

  • “If you feel like helping the poor, go for it. If you don’t feel like it, that’s okay.”
  • “It’s okay to look away from the hurting.”
  • “If you’re too busy to get involved, God will understand.”
  • “If it makes you uncomfortable to see that, just pretend you didn’t see it.”

Nope. I cannot do that and call myself a follower of Jesus.

Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins. (James 4:17, NIV)

The consistently righteous man knows and cares for the rights of the poor…. (Proverbs 29:7, AMP)

The godly care about the rights of the poor; the wicked don’t care at all. (Proverbs 29:7, CEV)

Get informed and then get involved.

I‘d love to hear where have you gotten involved.

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