This 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.
It is the plough that prepares the ground for sowing the seed. The hard way through the field is the same soil as the good ground, but it is of no use for growing corn because it has never been ploughed. …
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly corrupt: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). The way through the field which has been battered hard by men’s feet is an illustration of the human heart. The human heart should be the abode of God’s Holy Spirit, but it has been trampled hard by passions until God has no part in it, and the plough has to come into the desecrated place. …
Standing corn has to be cut down and go through the process of reaping, threshing, grinding, mixing and baking before it is good for food; and sanctified souls must be told that their only use is to be reaped for God and made into bread for others. It is time we got away from all our shallow thinking about sanctification. …
The sound of millstones is music in the ears of God. The worldling does not think it music, but the saint who is being made into bread knows that his Father knows best, and that He would never allow the suffering if He had not some purpose. …
“Be content, ye are His wheat growing in our Lord’s field. And if wheat, ye must go under our Lord’s threshing instrument, in His barn-floor, and through His sieve, and through His mill to be bruised, as the Prince of your salvation, Jesus, was (Isaiah 53:10), that ye may be found good bread in your Lord’s house” (Samuel Rutherford). …
When by the sanctifying power of the grace of God we have been made into bread, our lives are to be offered first of all to Jesus Christ. … The saints who satisfy the heart of Jesus make other saints strong and mature for God.
From The Sacrament Of Saints
Do you want to be useful for God? Then you must let Him prepare you to be bread that He can use to nourish others. Chambers reminds us that this preparation process entails the painful processes of ploughing, reaping, threshing, grinding, mixing and baking. But God knows best! He only allows this pain so that He can use you to bless others.
John Wooden won the right way: with principle and integrity. And his wins were not short-lived, but they can last a lifetime. Check out a few quotes from Winning With Principle, a collection of quotes from Coach. You can read my full book review by clicking here.
“You learn as much from those under your supervision as they do from you.”
“Truth will always stand the test of scrutiny.”
“There is no substitute for hard work. If you are looking for the easy way, the shortcut … you’ll not be developing your talents.”
“The best competition I have is against myself to become better.”
“Time spent getting even would be better spent getting ahead.”
“Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of the self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.”
“There is nothing stronger than gentleness.”
“You can do more good by being good than any other way.”
“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.”
“Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.”
“Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.”
“Players with fight never lose a game; they just run out of time.”
“The shining trophies on our shelves can never win tomorrow’s game.”
“Always try to be better today than you were yesterday.”
“Success is never final; failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.”
“Things turn out the best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”
“Consider the rights of others before your own feelings and the feelings of others before your own rights.”
Some good reading from today…
“The mind may be compared to a garden, which it is as necessary to cultivate as any plot of earth, if order and beauty are to be manifested through it. … Ideas, as well as flowers, in order to attain their full beauty, must be kept free from encumbering influences, whatever tends to weaken or degrade or detract from planned perfection.” —Joyce Mayhew
“I thank my Master that He does not say to the sinner, ‘Come half way and meet Me,’ but He comes ‘where he is.’” —Charles Spurgeon
“On the basis of grace as taught in the Word of God, when God forgives a man, He trusts him as though he had never sinned. God did not have mental reservations about any of us when we became His children by faith. When God forgives a man, He doesn’t think, ‘I will have to watch this fellow because he has a bad record.’ No, He starts with him again as though he had just been created and as if there had been no past at all! That is the basis of our Christian assurance—and God wants us to be happy in it.” —A.W. Tozer
“Always keep in contact with those books and those people that enlarge your horizon and make it possible for you to stretch yourself mentally.” —Oswald Chambers
A few checklist items for a growING Christian (from Philippians 4:4-9):
I observe four things about this list:
This is a rather short list, but it’s filled with a lifetime of growING opportunity.
If I decide today that I want to be growING… the Father will bring me into more opportunities where the Holy Spirit will help me develop and exhibit the qualities of Jesus Christ.
Are you ready to do some growING today?
Intelligent people are always ready to learn. Their ears are open for knowledge. (Proverbs 18:15)
Futurist Alvin Toffler:
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot unlearn, learn, and relearn.”
In Moses’ instructions to the priests, he said, “You must distinguish between the holy and common, between the unclean and the clean.”
Why? Because these men were to be leaders. He went on to say, “You must teach the Israelites all the decrees.”
If I’m going to be a leader, I must be able to distinguish.
Here’s where the Holy Spirit is challenging me. I am working on distinguishing between…
Good and Best
Acceptable and Excellent
Common and Holy
Ordinary and Extraordinary
Want and Need
Present and Participant
Quantity and Quality
I am certain that this list is just a start, and that it’s going to be a lifetime pursuit.
Part two of our Spiritual Self-Defense series went well last night. Considering this was a difficult concept to wrap our finite, human brains around, I felt that everyone was tuned in. Trying to wrestle with the concepts of God as omnipresent, the unique Three-in-One arrangement of the Trinity, or Jesus as fully God and fully Man are not easy. But it is so important to keep learning and keep growing in our understanding of who God is.
Some people bail out too quickly. “It’s too hard,” they complain, and then walk away. But we have to keep stretching.
A couple of thoughts I’m pondering today:
“If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.” —Augustine
“It seems that when we encounter a hard truth about God, we either bend our understanding to Him or bend Him to our understanding.” —Chris Tomlinson
I want to believe the Bible more, so I’m asking the Holy Spirit to continue to bend me and shape me to the deeper truths about God.
It’s hard for me to believe that you are a decade-and-a-half old. Wow, time seems to fly by, but the memories I’ve made watching you grow up are always with me. What an incredible young man you are!
Believe it or not, you have been a huge factor in my own growth and maturity. I can remember the moment you were born how I cried with an absolutely unspeakable joy! I had never known such an immediate explosion of love before. Falling in love with your Mom was a love that grew little by little—and still is growing today. But the love that burst upon me the moment you were born was a Niagara Falls of love all at one instant. As I held you in the first couple of days, it dawned on me in such a new way, “This is how my Heavenly Father must feel about me.”
That’s the day that my relationship with God went to an entirely different level. Partly contributing to this was the responsibility of being your Dad, and knowing how I had to be a better man to train you up in the way you should go. But part of my motivation to get closer to God was that you taught me what kind of love God had for me. I didn’t want to fail you or Him, so I made a conscious decision to rededicate myself to getting even closer to God. And in the process, I got even closer to you, to your Mom, and to everyone else I loved.
And that passion to keep growing hasn’t stopped. You still motivate me today to get better and better as a follower of Jesus and as your Dad. The more I see you mature, the prouder I become of you, and the more I feel the need to push through to the next level. I want to keep on growing so that I can always be there for you.
I love you, Harrison. Thank you for challenging me to be a better Dad and a more passionate follower of Christ.