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?

3 Manger Lessons

Only Luke uses the Greek word for manger in all of the New Testament, with three of those instances being closely linked with the story of Christ’s birth in Bethlehem (Luke 2:4-16).

Luke is a prolific writer, but also a very specific writer. Luke uses more unique Greek words in his two books of the Bible than any other New Testament author. Because Luke is so precise, we need to pause to ask: what message was Luke trying to highlight in the fact that Jesus was born in a manger.

Here are three manger lessons…

  1. The manger shows us God’s PLAN.

The birthplace of Jesus was predicted 700 years before He was born (Micah 5:2). God moved the heart of the most powerful man in the world (Caesar Augustus) to issue a decree that would bring a nearly unknown Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem, and cause them to cross paths with a bunch of unnamed shepherds.

  1. The manger shows us God’s PRIORITY.

Jesus was not born to a handsome family (Isaiah 53:2), nor was He born to an influential family (Philippians 2:7). If He had been born to the high and mighty class, He would not only be unmoved by the desperate conditions of the least and the lost, but He would also be inaccessible to them.

Think about this—Who would you be more likely to have access to: a King or a peasant? Jesus came not to be served but to serve (Matthew 20:25-28).

  1. The manger shows us God’s PLEASURE.

God is pleased to deliver His good news to the disempowered, the downcast, the over-burdened, the desperate (Luke 2:14; Matthew 11:25-26). And what is this good news? The good news is that Jesus came to make it possible for us to be linked with Him forever! (see Matthew 11:28-30).

Jesus was born in a manger to show us that (1) God’s plans always prevail; (2) His priority is to rescue those who are unable to rescue themselves; and (3) He has immense pleasure to yoking us to Him forever and ever! 

May this good news of Christ in manger bring you joy this Christmas season!

We also looked at some other powerful Advent stories in our Carols Of Christmas series. You can read about the lessons from O Come Emmanuel and Silent Night! Holy Night!

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?

The Mystery & Meaning Of Marriage

John Piper’s insight of both the Old Testament and New Testament meaning of marriage is profound!

Here are the links to the Scriptures he references:

Piper’s conclusions:

  1. God modeled marriage on the covenant love between Christ and the church.
  2. Therefore, marriage has always been a witness (or a drama or a parable) of covenant love between Christ and the church.
  3. Therefore, the roles of husband and wife derive from the roles God designed for Christ and the church.
  4. Therefore, confusing or minimizing these roles obscures the meaning of marriage as a drama of the covenant love between Christ and the church.
  5. Therefore, let every husband seek to love and lead and nourish and protect like Christ, and let every wife love her husband and honor his Christ-like role, joining hands in Christ-exalting mission as God meant for the church to do.

Thursdays With Oswald—Am I Ready For God To Use 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.

Am I Ready For God To Use Me?

That life is not as idle ore, 
But iron dug from central gloom, 
And heated hot with burning fears, 
And dipt in baths of hissing tears, 
And batter’d with the shocks of doom 
To shape and use. —Alfred Lord Tennyson

     You have had the vision, but you are not there yet by any means. You have seen what God wants you to be but what you are not yet. Are you prepared to have this “iron dug from central gloom” battered into “shape and use”? “Battering” conveys the idea of a blacksmith putting good metal into right useful shape. The batterings of God come in commonplace days and commonplace ways, God is using the anvil to bring us into the shape of the vision. … 

     It is when we are going through the valley to prove whether we will be the “choice” ones, that most of us turn tail; we are not prepared for the blows that must come if we are going to be turned into the shape of the vision.” 

    He [God] never is in a hurry. We are in such a frantic hurry. We get down before God and pray, then we get up and say, “It is all done now,” and in the light of the glory of the vision we go forth to do the thing. But it is not real, and God has to take us into the valley and put us through fires and floods to batter us into shape, until we get into the condition in which He can trust us with the reality of His recognition of us. … 

     Let God put you on His wheel and whirl you as He likes, and as sure as God is God and you are you, you will turn out exactly in accordance with the vision He gave you. Don’t lose heart in the process. 

From So Send I You

Has God given you a vision for your life? If so, don’t get discouraged at the time God is taking to ‘batter’ you into shape. Don’t lose heart, He knows what He is doing. When God says you are ready to go, the fulfillment of His vision is going to be so much grander than what you ever would have achieved on your own!

9 Quotes From “Know Who You Are”

Tim Tebow is not only an upbeat athlete, he is an enthusiastic encourager to others too. His latest book is called Know Who You Are—Live Like It Matters. Although mainly written to help homeschool families with some journaling ideas, this book is jam-packed with uplifting thoughts. You can check out my full book review by clicking here.

“The world does not define you: Not the clothes you wear. Not the kind of music you listen to. Not the mistakes you’ve made. Not the trophies you’ve won. You are not defined by what others think of you, good or bad, or how many people follow or like you on Instagram or Snapchat or Facebook. You are not defined by the talents you have or don’t have. There is only one thing, one Person, who defines your identity. His name is Jesus Christ.”

“If you do the right thing just to do the right thing, you’re going to wear yourself out at some point. We should always do the right thing because we want to honor Jesus, because we want to be like Him in everything we think, say, and do. … This is why we seek to have integrity. This is why we build good character. This is why we do the right thing. Because Jesus did it first and our mission is to be like Him.”

“What happens when we hide God’s Words in our hearts? We grow our faith. When we grow our faith, we root our identity deeper and deeper in Whose we are. We become empowered with what we need so we can face the highs and lows of life.”

“When our identity is grounded in God, we live differently. Our priorities change. Our relationships reflect this truth—or at least they should. We aren’t desperate for attention because God fulfills all our needs. Instead of using people to make us look good, we learn how to be faithful friends. We treat others with love, respect, and kindness. We watch what we say. We apologize when we make mistakes.”

“If you hear a rumor about someone else, stop it from going any further. Don’t repeat it. You can also turn the conversation into something positive. Say something nice about that person. Show some grace. That’s a sure way to honor God and fan the flames of love.”

“If we mean it when we say ‘I’m sorry,’ do you know what that does for us? It keeps our hearts tender. Not weak, just open to God shaping us into the young men and women He has created us to be.”

“We live in such a me-focused world. We take pictures of ourselves all the time. We tell the world on Facebook and Instagram what we’re doing, what we like, where we are going. We want all eyes on us. But that’s not what we’re called to do as Christians. We’re called to be others-minded. We are called to love others. We’re called to serve others. We are called to be like Jesus to a world who doesn’t know Him.”

“The stand you take may not be the biggest deal to the entire world, but it can be a big deal for one person. For instance, you don’t have to feed all of Africa, but feeding one person can have more of an impact than you may realize.”

“We are never going to be perfect in this life. But we can stretch and we can change. If you want to live bigger, you need to grow. No matter how many times you get knocked down or mess up, you need to hold on to God’s promises. You need to believe that He has a better plan. You need to cling to His truth. And day by day, moment by moment, you will become more and more like Jesus.”

10 Quotes From “The Servant As His Lord”

Whenever I read an Oswald Chambers’ book, I know I’m going to get exceptional content that is really going to make me think. The Servant As His Lord lived up to my expectations! I have shared several passages from this book already in my weekly “Thursdays With Oswald” posts (more about that in a moment), but here are a few more quotes I wanted to pass along to you.

“I continually come across people with rusty ‘thinkers,’ they think about their business but about nothing else, and the forces within have become desperately weak; consequently when tribulation comes their minds are confused, and the result is that errors come into the life. If the forces within are strong and healthy they give us warning and enable us to crush in a vice on the threshold of the mind everything that ought not to come there. God can impart to a man the power to select what his mind thinks, the power to think only what is right and pure and true.”

“God has no favorites, but when we let Him have His right of way through us He begins to unveil something more of His purposes in our lives. … Is tribulation making you wilt? making you swoon for sympathy? making you stagnate? It is an easy business to want to get away from tribulation, but fighting makes us strong, gloriously strong.”

“God grant we may be so filled with the Holy Spirit that we listen to His checks along every line. No power can deceive a child of God who keeps in the light with God. I am perfectly certain that the devil likes to deceive us and limit us in our practical belief as to what Jesus Christ can do. There is no limit to what He can do, absolutely none. ‘All things are possible to him that believeth.’ Jesus says that faith in Him is omnipotent. God grant we may get hold of this truth.”

“Look at the world either through a telescope or a microscope and you will be dwarfed into terror by the infinitely great or the infinitely little. Naturalists tell us that there are no two blades of grass alike, and close inspection of a bee’s wing under a microscope reveals how marvelously it is made. What do I read in the Bible? I read that the God of heaven counts the hairs of our heads. Jesus says so. I read that the mighty God watches the sparrows so intimately that not one of them falls on the ground without His notice. I read that the God who holds the seas in the hollow of His hand and guides the stars in their courses, clothes the grass of the field. Through the love of God in Christ Jesus we are brought into a wonderful intimacy with the infinitely great and the infinitely little.”

“The great need today amongst those of us who profess sanctification is the patience and ability to work out the holiness of God in every detail of our lives.”

“We are only safe in taking an estimate of ourselves from our Creator, not from our own introspection.”

“There is no one in the world more easy to get to than God. Only one thing prevents us from getting there, and that is the refusal to tell ourselves the truth.”

“God does not do what false Christianity makes out—keep a man immune from trouble, there is no promise of that; God says, ‘I will be with him in trouble.’ … No matter what actual troubles in the most extreme form get hold of a man’s life, not one of them can touch the central citadel, that is, his relationship to God in Christ Jesus.”

“The afflictions after sanctification are not meant to purify us, but to make us broken bread in the hands of our Lord to nourish others.”

“If we are self-willed when God tries to break us and will do anything rather than submit, we shall never be of any use to nourish other souls; we shall only be centers of craving self-pity, discrediting the character of God.”

“Thursdays With Oswald” is a weekly feature where I share a longer section from an Oswald Chambers book, along with a thought or two of my own. You can subscribe to my blog and get notified each time I share one of these posts, or you can type Thursdays With Oswald in the search box.

You can read my review of The Servant As His Lordclicking here by .

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