No Looking Back

…He steadfastly set His face… (Luke 9:51). 

Jesus wasn’t about to be deterred, delayed, or detoured from fulfilling His Father’s mission. 

Some of the other Bible translations fill in this meaning:

  • resolutely (NLT) 
  • steadfastly and determinedly (AMP) 
  • gathered up His courage and steeled Himself (MSG)
  • “to turn in a certain direction, confirm it, and resolutely follow it” (Strong’s Concordance)

Jesus could do this for at least three reasons—

  1. He knew “the time had come” (see v. 51 and John 13:1, 3) 
  2. He knew the joy at the end of the journey (Hebrews 12:2)
  3. He knew His Father loved Him (John 3:35, 5:20, 10:17)

A mark of a godly leader is one who resolutely follows God. No matter what!

Jesus calls His followers to the same path He walked—“No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62)

It’s hard because people reject a resolute man. 

It’s hard because the accommodations along the way are uncertain. 

It’s hard because I have to give up my right to myself. 

But the reward is incomparable—Heaven forever with Jesus!

This is part 33 in my series on godly leadership. You can check out all of my posts in this series by clicking here.

Thursdays With Oswald—Isaiah 6

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.

Isaiah 6

[These are the notes on Oswald Chambers’ lecture on Isaiah 6.]

     My vision of God depends upon the state of my character. Character determines revelation. … Until I am born again and enter the Kingdom of God I see only along the line of my prejudices. …  

     The purpose of the vision is to enable me to see “the arm of the Lord” behind all circumstances (see Isaiah 53:1). God never gives a man the power to say “I see” until his character proves itself worthy of its purification. What hinders the purging of our perception is that we will build our faith on our experiences instead of on the God who gave us the experiences. My experience is the evidence of my faith, never the ground of it, and is meant to reveal to me a God who is bigger than any experience. …  

     The symbol of the live coal ‘from off the altar’ represents the twofold nature of the substitution of Christ, not only Christ for me, but Christ in me. … 

     God only gives us visions of Himself for one purpose, that we may work them out into character. … After God has given us a time of face-to-face contact with Himself and then puts us into tumults, the temptation is to sit down and say “Where is the blessedness I had when I first knew the Lord?” The Spirit of God holds us steady until we learn to know God, and the details of our lives are established before Him, then nothing on the outside can move us.

From Notes On Isaiah

There are specific reasons God will give us a clearer revelation of Himself—

  1. to purify godly character in us
  2. to help us deal with our own sin
  3. to see God at work in everyday affairs
  4. to keep us energized through trying times
  5. to make us more aware of what Jesus has done for us and in us
  6. to be His messenger among needy people

God doesn’t give visions or revelations just to thrill us or give us an experience. God is perfectly purposeful in everything He does. His visions are for His glory.

Horatius Bonar On What Happens When You Pray

light-and-truth-revelationThis incense was to be ‘offered with’ or ‘laid upon’ so as to cover or envelope the ‘prayers of all saints’—yes, all saints, from Able downwards; for this seems to be the gathering into one of all prayers from the beginning, that at length they may be answered (Luke 18:3, 7). Upon the golden altar in front of the throne the prayers of the saints of all ages have been laid; there they have accumulated; the unanswered ‘How longs?’ not forgotten.

Not one petition, even the poorest or feeblest, has dropped from that altar, or been swept away, or lost in the process of time. All, all are there. In themselves the are poor, having no fragrance; but their intrinsic imperfection cannot change the nature of that altar on which they are laid. There they are preserved— each sigh, each tear, each cry, from child or aged man, from the chief of sinners, from the thief upon the cross, from the chamber of weakness and sorrow, from the crushed spirit and the broken heart—there they are: the groanings that cannot be uttered; the ‘God be merciful to me, a sinner;’ the ‘How long?’ of the tortured martyrs; the moan of the suffering saint upon his tossing sick-bed—there they are: the father’s prayer, ‘Lord, save my child;’ the child’s prayer, ‘Lord, save my father’— there they are: the pleadings for the church of God, for the overthrow of Antichrist, for the binding of satan, for the deliverance of earth, for the consummation of the eternal purpose! Not one cry lost; not one petition gone astray. All there!

There is no such thing as unanswered prayer. Delay will only add to the fullness of the answer, and increase our joy when it comes. And it will come. He is faithful that promised. He cannot deny Himself.” —Horatius Bonar, in Light & Truth: Revelation (emphasis mine)

Locked Up On Purpose

charles-henry-parkhurst‘Before this faith came, we were held prisoners…locked up until faith should be revealed’ (Galatians 3:23). God still causes us to be ‘locked up until faith’ is learned. Our own nature, circumstances, trials, and disappointments all serve to keep us submissive and ‘locked up’ until we see that the only way out is His way of faith. … Are you in some terrible trouble? Have you experienced some distressing disappointment, sorrow, or inexpressible loss? Are you in a difficult situation? Cheer up! You have been ‘locked up’ to faith. Accept your troubles in the proper way and commit them to God. Praise Him ‘that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him’ (Romans 8:28) and that He ‘acts on behalf of those who wait for Him’ (Isaiah 64:4).” —Charles Henry Parkhurst

Thursdays With Oswald—Don’t Rush God’s Timing

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.

Don’t Rush God’s Timing 

     Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, he was a mighty man and a great statesman, and when he saw the oppression of his people he felt that God had called him out to deliver them, and in the righteous indignation of his own spirit he started to right their wrongs. God is never in a hurry. After the first big strike for God and for the right things, God allowed Moses, the only man who could deliver his own people, to be driven into the desert to feed sheep—forty years of blank discouragement. 

     Then when God appeared and told him to go and bring forth the people, Moses said—“Who am I, that I should go?” … At first, Moses was certain he was the man, and so he was, but he was not fit yet. He set out to deliver the people in a way that had nothing of the stride of God about it. Moses was right in the individual aspect, but he was not the man for the work until he had learned communion with God, and it took forty years in the desert while God worked through him in ways of terrific personal enlargement before he recognized this.

     We have to learn that our individual effort for God is an impertinence, our individuality must be rendered incandescent by a personal relationship to God, and that is not learned easily. 

From The Place Of Help (emphasis added)

Do you feel like God has called you to do something great for Him? You’re right, He has! But don’t rush His timing. Listen to the counsel of wise people in your life, pray about it, count the cost, and let God prepare you for it. He has perfect timing … don’t rush Him!

Links & Quotes

link quote

“The world has put a little letter before the word ‘musing,’ and these are the days, not for musing, but for a-musing. People will go anywhere for amusement; but to muse is a strange thing to them, and they think it dull and wearisome. … Now there is much virtue in musing, especially if we muse upon the best, the highest, and the noblest of subjects. If we muse upon the things of which we hear and read in sacred Scripture, we shall do wisely. It is well to muse upon the things of God, because we thus get the real nutriment out of them. A man who hears many sermons, is not necessarily well-instructed in the faith. We may read so many religious books, that we overload our brains, and they may be unable to work under the weight of the great mass of paper and printer’s ink. The man who reads but one book, and that book his Bible, and then muses much upon it, will be a better scholar in Christ’s school than he who merely reads hundreds of books, and muses not at all.” —Charles Spurgeon

“Patients do not serve their physicians. They trust them for good prescriptions. The Sermon on the Mount is our Doctor’s medical advice, not our Employer’s job description.” —John Piper

“Every time I open my Bible I will read it as the Word of ‘God, that cannot lie;’ and when I get a promise or a threatening, I will either rejoice or tremble because I know that these stand fast.” —Charles Spurgeon

I can use this: 25 habits to get a better night’s sleep.

Rev. Tim Dilena has an amazing reminder of God’s perfect timing in sending Jesus to earth—He Couldn’t Have Timed It Any Better.

“Given the Greek and Roman acceptance of homosexuality, it is difficult to overstate the courage and conviction required by the early Church to write and speak out on behalf of a biblical, sexual ethic.” Read more in the article When Christians Rejected Homosexuality.

Eric Metaxas shares some good news from Baltimore.

11 More Quotes From “Not Knowing Where”

Not Knowing WhereHere are even more quotes from Oswald Chambers in his book Not Knowing Where, using the life of Abraham as the basis for a great study of our lives of faith. You can read my review of this book by clicking here, and you can see other quotes by clicking here and here.

“By means of intercession we understand more and more the way God solves the problems produced in our minds by the conflict of actual facts and our real faith in God. … Repetition in intercessory importunity is not bargaining, but the joyous insistence of prayer.” 

“If I cannot see God in others, it is because He is not in me. If I get on my moral high horse and say it is they who are wrong, I become that last of all spiritual iniquities, a suspicious person, a spiritual devil dressed up as a Christian. Beware of mistaking suspicion for discernment, it is the biggest misunderstanding that ever twisted Christian humility into Pharisaism. When I see in others things that are not of God, it is because the Spirit of God has revealed to me my own meanness and badness; when I am put right with God on the basis of His Redemption and see those things in others, it is in order that God may restore them through my intercession.”

“The tendency to do instead of to devote oneself to God, is nearly always the sign of a smudged purity of relationship to God.” 

“The error is putting prudence in competition with God’s will, weighing pros and cons before God when He has spoken. Always beware when you want other people to commend the decision you have made, because it is an indication that you have trusted your wits instead of worshiping God. … We have to watch that we use our wits to assist us in worshiping God and caring out His will, not in carrying out our own will and then asking God very piously to bless the concoction. Put communion with God on the throne and then ask God to direct your common sense to choose according to His will. Worship first and wits after.”

“We have to be careful lest we blind ourselves by putting up our own standards instead of looking at the standard God puts up. If we put a saint up as a standard, we blind ourselves to ourselves; it is personal vanity makes us do it. When we put God’s standard up, viz., Himself, there is no room for personal vanity.”

“The grace of God makes us honest with ourselves.”

“Always beware when you are perfectly certain you are right, so certain that you do not dream of asking God’s counsel.”

“Sanctification is not something our Lord does in me; sanctification is Himself in me.”

“The majority of us know nothing about waiting, we don’t wait, we endure. Waiting means that we go on in the perfect certainty of God’s goodness—no dumps or fear.”

“Your anxiety proves that you do not believe in the goodness of God an atom, and it postpones the time of His performance.”

“God’s ways turn man’s thinking upside down.” 

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