Thursdays With Oswald—His!

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.

His!

     “They were Yours; You gave them to Me” (John 17:6). It is this aspect of a disciple’s life that is frequently forgotten. We are apt to think of ourselves as our own, of the work as our work. A great point in spiritual nobility has been reached when we can really say, “I am not my own.” … The Son of God is the Highest of all, yet the characteristic of His life was obedience. We have to learn that God is not meant for us, it is we who are meant for God. … “Do you not know…you are not your own” [1 Corinthians 6:19]. 

     His! Does that apply to us? Have we realize that our body is not our own, but His—“the temple of the Holy Ghost”! Have we realized that our hearts and affections are not our own, but His? If so, we shall be careful over inordinate affection. Have we realized that all the ambitions of life are His? We are out for one thing only, for Jesus Christ’s enterprises. …  

     “Since you have kept My command to endure patiently” [Revelation 3:10]. This is not the patience of pessimism, nor of exhaustion, but the patience of joyfulness because God reigns. It may be illustrated by likening the saint to a bow and arrow in the hand of God. God is aiming at His mark, He stretches and strains until the saint says—“I cannot stand anymore,” but God does not heed. He goes on stretching until His purpose is in sight, then He lets fly, and the arrow reaches His mark. … 

     It takes the endurance which comes from a vision of God to go on without seeing results. We are not here for successful service, but to be faithful. Had Jesus any results? Before we go into work for Him we must learn that the disciple is not above his master. We cannot be discouraged if we belong to Him, for it was said of Him—“He shall not fail nor be discouraged” [Isaiah 42:4]. Discouragement is “disenchanted egotism.” “Things are not happening the way I expected they would, therefore I am going to give it all up.” To talk like that is a sure sign that we are not possessed by love for Him, but only by love for ourselves. Discouragement always comes when we insist on having our own way. 

From So Send I You

Can Jesus say of you that you are His? Are you trying to make your own way, or are you simply following Jesus? Are you letting God stretch you until He is ready to release you, or are you becoming exhausted and discouraged in the waiting? Is your love for Jesus absolute, or does it come with conditions?

Thursdays With Oswald—God’s Plan For Building Spiritual Muscles

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 Plan For Building Spiritual Muscles

     If a man has used his arm only for writing, and then becomes a blacksmith, he will groan for days with the tremendous pain in the deltoid muscle until by practice the time comes when there is no more pain because the muscle has become rightly adjusted to its new work. 

     The same thing happens spiritually, God begins to teach us how to walk and over and over again we begin to howl and complain. May God save us from the continual whine of spiritual babes—“Teach us the same things over and over again, don’t give us the revelations of God which are painful, give us the ‘simple gospel,’ what we have always believed, don’t tell us of things we have never thought about before, because that causes pain” (Hebrews 5:12). Of course it does. 

     Thank God there is a pain attached to being saved, the pain of growing until we come to maturity where we can do the work of a son or daughter of God. … 

     Look back over your life in grace, whether long or short, and ask yourself which are the days that have furthered you most in the knowledge of God—the days of sunshine and peace and prosperity? Never! The days of adversity, the days of strain, the days of sudden surprises, the days when the earthly house of this tabernacle was strained to its last limit, those are the days when you learned the meaning of this passion of “Go.” 

From The Philosophy Of Sin

The only way to build physical muscles is to push them beyond their comfort level.

The only way to build physical stamina is to run farther than you have run before.

The only way God can build our spiritual muscles—and our spiritual stamina—is to push us beyond our comfort zone, to challenge us to go deeper and farther than we’ve gone before. Don’t push Him away. God loves you too much to leave you where you are!

Poetry Saturday—The Friends Beside Us

Oswald ChambersWhen the powers of hell prevail
   O’er our weakness and unfitness,
Could we lift the fleshly veil,
   Could we for a moment witness
      Those unnumbered hosts that stand
      Calm and bright on either hand—
Oh! what joyful hope would cheer!
   Oh! what faith serene would guide us!
Great may be the danger near,
   Greater are the friends beside us. —Anonymous, quoted by Oswald Chambers in Not Knowing Where

 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, Who for the joy set before Him endured the Cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him Who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. —Hebrews 12:1-3

How Bad Guys Can Help You

Bad guysThe Old Testament prophet Jeremiah never held back when God told him to speak up. As you might imagine, this didn’t make Jeremiah too popular among the people who weren’t doing things God’s way. In fact, many of them started a plot on how they could eliminate Jeremiah.

God gave Jeremiah the heads-up on the bad guys who were trying to take him out (Jeremiah 11:18), to which Jeremiah said, “Go get ‘em, God!” (11:20). God promised Jeremiah that He would indeed take care of them (11:21-22). So Jeremiah pulled up a chair to watch how God was going to punish them. I’m not sure exactly what Jeremiah thought would happen, but one thing I do know: he certainly thought it would happen right away.

“God? Hello! Are You going to take care of these bad guys? Didn’t You say You’d get ‘em? I’m waiting. Anytime now You can zap ‘em with lightning … or make them fat and ugly … or at least give them bad breath and make them lose their jobs. Anything? Hello? Hey, what is going on here?! Not only are you not punishing them, it looks like things are actually going better for them! What in the world are You doing?!?” (12:1-2)

Ever been there where it looks like the bad guys are not only getting away with their badness, but even being blessed in the process?

God told Jeremiah that He was using these bad guys to actually help Jeremiah. God had big plans for Jeremiah’s life, but He needed Jeremiah to be stronger and have greater endurance. God said it this way—

If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in a safe country, how will you manage in the thickets? (12:5)

God reassured Jeremiah that the evildoers would indeed be punished but—and this is the important thing—God would do it in His own time (12:13).

In the meantime, God was going to use these bad guys to bless Jeremiah with increased strength and endurance, if Jeremiah would allow God to mold him and teach him.

Do you have some bad guys in your life? Hang in there! God doesn’t waste a thing. He is using even these evil people to bless you and accomplish His plans (Romans 8:28).

Links & Quotes

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Some great reading & watching from this weekend…

TOMORROW is our annual United Service in Cedar Springs. I have the privilege of sharing the Word this year. Stoked!

“You that have ability, and have talents, devote yourselves to God’s cause. Give yourselves up to his ministry. I would to God there were more of those who are successful in professions, men who either in medicine or law would attain eminence, who would consecrate their talents to the ministry….” —Charles Spurgeon

“There is a reason why Jesus not only calls us to simplicity and brevity, but also to persistence and tenacity [in prayer]. The demand for prevailing prayer exposes those who pray in a passing away, as if they are just trying to cover all their bases. They are not looking to God as their only hope. They are trying God out alongside other resources. Such praying does not prevail.” —John Piper

“Above all, grieve not the Spirit. Quench not the Spirit. Vex not the Spirit. Drive Him not to a distance, by tampering with small bad habits and little sins. Little jarrings between husbands and wives make unhappy homes; and petty inconsistencies, known and allowed, will bring in a strangeness between you and the Spirit. … The man who walks with God in Christ most closely, will generally be kept in the greatest peace. The believer who follows the Lord most fully and aims at the highest degree of holiness will ordinarily enjoy the most assured hope, and have the clearest persuasion of his own salvation.” —J.C. Ryle

Amazing discoveries! Life under Antarctic’s ice.

A great reminder from Steve Lindeman, the newest pastor in Cedar Springs: Rules.

[VIDEO] John Maxwell talks about the advantages of endurance.

I love Sarah Palin’s classy response to Richard Dawkins’ crude and insensitive tweet.

9 Quotes From “Sidelined”

SidelinedSidelined was a book I could hardly put down: such a compelling story of love, and family, and overcoming adversity! You can read my full book review by clicking here. Below are some quotes I highlighted in this book, unless otherwise noted all of the quotes are from Coach Pagano.

“We can! We will! We must! By any means necessary—we have no choice—we will win.”

“We were determined to create a culture where guys couldn’t wait to come to work. We wanted people who would be excited about getting up in the morning and being here. … We wanted a workplace where people are honest and forthright with each other. We wanted open communication to be practiced daily. We wanted every person in the building to be treated with the dignity that every human being deserves. Sure, we’re tough guys, and we like to joke and trash talk sometimes as part of our fun. But there has to be a limit to that kind of behavior, and we wanted everyone to respect each other more than anything else. A joke’s only funny if we all share in it together at no person’s expense. And when we make mistakes or do something wrong, we don’t deny it. We want a place that if we are going to eat crow, we are going to eat it while it’s hot!”

“…My condition will not determine my position. I understand the condition, but choose to focus on my position. That is to stay positive and serve….” (part of a letter to his team before the Green Bay Packers game)

“Endurance is not just the ability to bear a hard thing, but to turn it into glory.” —William Barclay

“You brought the spiritual plane. That’s why your leadership goes beyond coaching. You set an example as a spiritual leader, and that’s what inspires people.” —Kevin Elko

“Coaching is a profession of love. You can’t coach people unless you love them.” —Eddie Robinson

“People sometimes ask me what we look for in a player—how we know he’ll be a good fit for our program. It’s a hard question to answer because there are so many variables. … We also go beyond all the facts and stats and determine if these are what we like to call ‘horseshoe guys.’ The horseshoe emblem of the Colts shows seven nails or studs. Each one represents a quality we want in a player/leader for our team—smart, tough, dynamic, physical, character, integrity, and respect. … Players who want to be a part of something bigger. Something great.”

“Part of the reason I couldn’t remain disappointed after our lost to the Ravens [in the playoffs] was that I knew we had built our foundation on solid rock. We had established something that wasn’t going to dry up and blow away in a matter of weeks or months. Our team was committed to building a program for sustained success. We called it ‘building the monster.’ We wanted to take our building blocks of athleticism, talent, and skill and bring them to life with our commitment, character, and determination.”

“Cancer can take away a lot—your hair, your appetite, your energy, and, yes, sometimes your very life. But cancer cannot take away the love that passes between you and the special people in your life. It can’t take away the support and encouragement, the creativity and beauty, the connections and relationships to others who are fighting alongside you. No matter how hard it tries, cancer can never contain the human spirit or diminish the power of faith.”

Links & Quotes

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These are links to articles and quotes I found interesting this weekend.

[VIDEO] This is dead-on right! The problems with ObamaCare run much deeper.

Now President Obama is using ObamaCare to hide illegal aliens from the law!

[VIDEO] John Maxwell says, “this isn’t a sexy word,” but it is imperative: Endurance.

“This poor Bible is become an almost obsolete book, even with some Christians. There are so many magazines, periodicals, and such like ephemeral productions, that we are in danger of neglecting to search the Scriptures.” —Charles Spurgeon

4 Reasons Why Friends With Benefits Is A Really Bad Idea

A great reminder about the blessing of being able to relax in God.

Soon scientists will be able to create a ‘mug shot’ from your DNA.

The pro-abortion crowd likes to say legalized abortion makes life safer for women. But these facts show they are dead wrong!

“You may wonder how many times the Lord will forgive you for indulging the same sin again and again. Rest assured, His incredible forgiveness is unlimited. Every time you sin, you can go to Jesus and find deliverance. Yet the Lord’s forgiveness is not unwise or blind. To be sure, our heavenly Father forgives us, but at a certain point He punishes us to keep us from continuing in sin. … What, exactly, does it mean to fear the Lord? It means being able to say, ‘I know my Father loves me. I am safely, forever His, and I know He will never abandon me. He feels my pain whenever I struggle and He is patient with me as I war against sin. He is always ready to forgive me whenever I call on Him, but I also know He is not going to allow me to keep disobeying His Word. My heavenly Father will not spare me—because He loves me deeply.’” —David Wilkerson

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