Thursdays With Oswald—An Aroma From God’s Garden

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.

An Aroma From God’s Garden

     [Oswald Chambers is speaking about how the prodigal son returned home.] 

     Did the father send any message to the far country after the younger boy? There is no record of any message being sent. What did the younger boy have to do? He had to do exactly what is recorded in Hosea long before that picture was painted by Our Lord—he had to return. Drawn by God? It does not say so. Read the fourteenth chapter of Hosea: “I will heal their backsliding” [Hosea 14:4]; but the backslider has to get up first, leave the pigs and what pigs eat, and go back to where he came from. Help granted him? None whatever. Messages from the home country? Not one. Tender touches of God’s grace on his life? No. Can you picture that prodigal son returning, a degraded, sunken, sin-stained man, going back in all the cruel, bald daylight? Oh, it is a hard way to go back out of the backslider’s hell; a hard, hard way! Every step of it is cruel, every moment is torture. But what happened? Before that younger son had gotten very far, the father saw him “and ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him”!

     Worker for God among backslidden souls, remember God’s way, put the sting, if you can, into the backslider’s soul that he may get up and come back to God, and what has he to do? Take with him words and say, “Forgive all my sins and receive me graciously” [Hosea 14:2]. Did the prodigal son take with him words? He did, he rehearsed them over and over again where he was amongst the pigs—“I will say to my father this and that,” he had it all by heart. Does Hosea say the same? He does: “My sins have been my downfall” [Hosea 14:1]. … 

     I just said now that no message was sent to the far country; God sends none, but, worker for God, will you be a message from the Father? Will you so bathe your life in the atmosphere of prayer that when you come in contact with a backslidden soul, it will awaken a remembrance of the Father, awaken a remembrance of what that soul once was? Will you let your life be like a bunch of flowers from the Father’s home garden, just awakening for one moment a remembrance of what life once was, and then pass on, and pray and watch, and you will be mightily rewarded by God when you see that poor backslidden soul get up and go back to God, taking with him words and saying, “My sins have been my downfall.” 

From Workmen Of God

What about you, my friend? Do you love the prodigals enough to be the Father’s message from home to them?

Thursdays With Oswald—Backsliding

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.

Backsliding

     The tendency to rest in any of the blessings which are the natural outcome of union with God is the beginning of backsliding. … 

     If God were to remove from us as saints the possibility of disobedience there would be no value in our obedience, it would be a mechanical business. … The possibility of disobedience in a child of God makes his obedience of amazing value. … 

     If we have received the life of Jesus, it is unconscious blasphemy in God’s sight to stop short of attaining anything He reveals as possible for us. … If once we deliberately stop short and refuse to let God’s life has its way with us, we shall revile the truth because it has not been reached.

From The Philosophy Of Sin

Oswald Chambers is reminding us that there is no standing still for the saint. We cannot say, “That’s good enough, I don’t want any more,” or “It’s so wonderful here, I don’t want to move on.” Either of those attitudes sets us up to begin to slide backward from our relationship with God.

“But,” someone might say, “the next level God is calling me to seems so difficult. Staying where I am seems safer than attempting something where I might fall flat on my face spiritually!” Chambers reminds us that obedience to what God calls us to do is “of amazing value” to Him. Also, a littler later on, Oswald Chambers encourages us with these words: “All God’s commands are enablings.” In other words, what God calls us to do, His Spirit enables us to do.

Don’t stay where you are and risk backsliding away from Him. Press on! Press forward! Keep obeying what God is revealing to you!

11 More Quotes From “Our Portrait In Genesis”

The Complete Works Of Oswald ChambersOswald Chambers’ book Our Portrait In Genesis is an excellent companion book when you read the book of Genesis from the Bible. I’ve already shared a few quotes from this book here, and here. Below are a few more I found highlighter-worthy.

“Degeneration and backsliding are by no means one and the same. Degeneration begins in almost imperceptible ways; backsliding in the Scriptural use of the term is a distinct forsaking of what I know of God and a deliberate substitution of something other (cf. Jeremiah 2:13). … If I maintain my right to my natural self I will begin to degenerate and get out of God’s purpose. … If I refuse to sacrifice the natural, the God-life in me is killed.”

“To experience conviction of sin is not a cause for misgiving, but an occasion for understanding the impossible things God has done in the Redemption.”

“All through, a personal crisis ought to serve as an occasion for revealing the fact that God reigns, as well as compelling us to know our own character.”

“We have the notion that it is only when we are pure and holy that God will appear to us; that God’s blessing is a sign that we are right with Him. Neither notion is true. Our Lord took care to say that God makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends His rain on the just and on the unjust. God’s blessings are not to be taken as an indication of the integrity of the character blessed, yet on the other hand the discernment of God’s character is determined entirely by the individual character of the person estimating God. ‘With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful’ (Psalm 18:25). The way I discern God’s character is determined by my own character. God remains true to His character, and as I grow in integrity I discern Him. Jacob’s undeservedness, and the fact that God continually blesses him, are brought out very clearly all through his life.”

“‘I can’t understand why I have no confidence in God’; the reason may be a matter of digestion, not enough fresh air, or sleep, too much tea—something slight. It is the shallow things that put us wrong much more quickly than the big things. The great object of the enemy of our souls is to make us fling away our confidence in God; to do this is nothing less than spiritual suicide. When we experience misgiving because we have sinned there is never any ambiguity as to its clause, the Holy Spirit brings conviction home like a lightning flash.”

“Prayer in distress dredges the soul (cf. Psalm 107). It is a good thing to keep note of the things you prayed about when you were in distress. We remain ignorant of ourselves because we do not keep a spiritual autobiography.”

“That is always the test of the reality of sanctification, not so much that I have received something, but that I have ceased to be my old self.”

“The warrior of God is not the man of muscle and a strong jaw, but the man of un-utterable weakness, the man who knows he has not any power; Jacob is no longer strong in himself, he is strong only in God, his life is no longer marked by striving, but by reliance on God. You cannot imitate reliance on God.”

“Authority never comes from you, but from God through you, therefore let God introduce or withhold as He chooses.”

“Beware of saying, ‘Oh well, it doesn’t matter much what I think about in secret’; it does, for the opportunity will come when what you think about in secret will find expression and spurt out in an act. The Bible always speaks of sin as it appears in its final analysis. Jesus does not say, ‘You must not covet because it will lead to stealing’; He says, ‘You must not covet because it is stealing.’ He does not say, ‘You must not be angry with your brother because it will lead to murder’; He says, ‘You must not be angry with your brother because it is murder.’”

“Four times over in this chapter [Genesis 39] is this statement made, ‘the Lord was with Joseph.’ It is the presence of God that is the secret of victory always. The fear of the Lord creates an atmosphere in which impure thoughts and unholy desires die a natural death.”

You can also read my review of this book by clicking here.

11 Quotes From “Pleasure & Profit In Bible Study”

Pleasure & ProfitD.L. Moody’s book Pleasure & Profit In Bible Study is a Bible study rejuvenator for both the novice and experienced reader of the Bible. You can read my full book review by clicking here. Below are some of the quotes I especially appreciated in this book.

“The more you love the Scriptures, the firmer will be your faith. There is little backsliding when people love the Scriptures.” 

“I believe we should know better how to pray if we knew our Bibles better. … And if we feed on the Word, it will be so easy then to speak to others; and not only that, but we shall be growing in grace all the while, and others will take notice of our walk and conversation.”

“It is a very interesting fact that of the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament, it is recorded that our Lord made quotations from no less than twenty-two. … About 850 passages in the Old Testament are quoted or alluded to in the New…. In the Gospel by Matthew there are over a hundred quotations from twenty of the books in the Old Testament. In the Gospel of Mark there are fifteen quotations taken from thirteen of the books. In the Gospel of Luke there are thirty-four quotations from thirteen books. In the Gospel of John there are eleven quotations from six books. In the four Gospels alone there are more than 160 quotations from the Old Testament. … In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians there are fifty-three quotations from the Old Testament; sometimes he takes whole paragraphs from it. In Hebrews there are eighty-five quotations, in that one book of thirteen chapters. In Galatians, sixteen quotations. In the book of Revelation alone, there are 245 quotations and allusions.”

“It is very important that every Christian should not only know what the Old Testament teaches, but he should accept its truths, because it is upon this that truth is based. Peter said the Scriptures are not given for any private interpretation, and in speaking of the Scriptures, referred to the Old Testament and not to the New. … If the Old Testament Scriptures are not true, do you think Christ would have so often referred to them, and said the Scriptures must be fulfilled? When told by the tempter that He might call down the angels from heaven to interpose in His behalf, he said: ‘Thus it is written.’ Christ gave Himself up as a sacrifice that the Scriptures might be fulfilled. Was it not said that He was numbered with the transgressors? And when He talked with two of His disciples by the way journeying to Emmaus, after His resurrection, did He not say: ‘Ought not these things to be? am I not to suffer?’ And beginning at Moses He explained unto them in all the Scriptures concerning Himself, for the one theme of the Old Testament is the Messiah. … Christ referred to the Scriptures and their fulfillment in Him, not only after He arose from the dead, but in the book of Revelation He used them in Heaven. He spoke to John of them on the Isle of Patmos, and used the very things in them that men are trying to cast out. He never found fault with or rejected them.”

“Prophecy is history unfulfilled, and history is prophecy fulfilled. … Between 500 and 600 hundred Old Testament prophecies have been remarkably and literally fulfilled, and 200 in regard to Jesus Christ alone. Not a thing happened to Jesus Christ that was not prophesied from 1700 to 400 years before He was born.”

“Someone has said that there are four things necessary in studying the Bible: Admit, submit, commit and transmit. First, admit its truth; second, submit to its teachings; third, commit it to memory; and fourth, transmit it. If the Christian life is a good thing for you, pass it on to some one else.”

“Application to the Word will tend to its growth within and its multiplication without.”

“We learn that Christ prayed when he was baptized, and nearly every great event in His ministry was preceded by prayer. If you want to hear from Heaven you must seek it on your knees.”

“If you want to reach people that do not agree with you, do not take a club to knock them down and then try to pick them up. When Jesus Christ dealt with the erring and the sinners, He was as tender with them as a mother is with her sick child.” 

“Let us go to the Bible and see what that old Book teaches. Let us believe it, and go and act as if we believed it, too.”

“But we can not be ready if we do not study the Bible. So whenever you hear a good thing, just put it down, because if it is good for you it will be good for somebody else; and we should pass the coin of heaven around just as we do the coin of the realm.”

11 Quotes From “A Call To Prayer”

A Call To PayerJ.C. Ryle makes the case for more prayer in his book A Call To Prayer. You can read my book review by clicking here. These are a few of the quotes I thought were thought provoking.

“But this I do say, that not praying is a clear proof that a man is not yet a true Christian. He cannot really feel his sins. He cannot love God. He cannot feel himself a debtor to Christ. He cannot long after holiness. He cannot desire heaven. He has yet to be born again. He has yet to be made a new creature. He may boast confidently of election, grace, faith, hope, and knowledge, and deceive ignorant people. But you may rest assured it is all vain talk if he does not pray.”

“We live in days of abounding religious profession. There are more places of public worship now than there ever were before. There are more persons attending them than there ever were before. And yet in spite of all this public religion, I believe there is a vast neglect of private prayer.”

“Diligence in prayer is the secret of eminent holiness.”

“Bibles read without prayer; sermons heard without prayer; marriages contracted without prayer; journeys undertaken without prayer; residences chosen without prayer; friendships formed without prayer; the daily act of private prayer itself hurried over, or gone through without heart: these are the kind of downward steps by which many a Christian descends to a condition of spiritual palsy, or reaches the point where God allows him to have a tremendous fall. This is the process which forms the lingering Lots, the unstable Samsons, the wife-idolizing Solomons, the inconsistent Asas, the pliable Jehoshaphats, the over-careful Marthas, of whom so many are to be found in the church of Christ.”

“You may be very sure men fall in private long before they fall in public. They are backsliders on their knees long before they backslide openly in the eyes of the world. Like Peter, they first disregard the Lord’s warning to watch and pray, and then like Peter, their strength is gone, and in the hour of temptation they deny their Lord.”

“Prayer can lighten crosses for us, however heavy. It can bring down to our side One who will help us to bear them. Prayer can open a door for us when our way seems hedged up. It can bring down One who will say, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’ Prayer can let in a ray of hope when all our earthly prospects seem darkened. It can bring down One who will say, ‘I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.’ Prayer can obtain relief for us when those we love most are taken away, and the world feels empty. It can bring down One who can fill the gap in our hearts with Himself, and say to the waves within, ‘Peace; be still.’ Oh that men were not so like Hagar in the wilderness, blind to the well of living waters close beside them.”

“There is not a single good reason that you can show for living without prayer.”

“Wait not because you feel unworthy. Wait for nothing. Wait for nobody. Waiting comes from the devil. Just as you are, go to Christ. The worse you are, the more need you have to apply to Him. You will never mend yourself by staying away.”

“Fear not because your prayer is stammering, your words feeble, and your language poor. Jesus can understand you.”

“It should not be enough to confess we are sinners: we should name the sins of which our conscience tells us we are most guilty. It should not be enough to ask for holiness; we should name the graces in which we feel most deficient. It should not be enough to tell the Lord we are in trouble; we should describe our trouble and all its peculiarities.”

“Sermons and books and tracts, and committee meetings and the company of good men, are all good in their way, but they will never make up for the neglect of private prayer.”

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