Thursdays With Oswald—When You Can’t Do Anything To Help

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.

When You Can’t Do Anything To Help

     One of the first things a worker for God has to learn by experience is that strangely obvious lesson, that none of us can understand the cases we meet to work with. Then how can we work for the cure of them? Remember the first principles we laid down: By knowing Jesus Christ for ourselves experimentally, and then by relying on the Holy Spirit. …  

     In Goethe’s writings, in 1824 he writes: “I will say nothing against the course of my existence, but at the bottom of it has been nothing but pain and burden, and I can affirm that, during the whole of my seventy-five years, I have not had four weeks of genuine well-being. It has been the perpetual rolling of a rock that must be raised up again.”

     Robert Louis Stevenson said that three hours out of every five he was insane with misery. John Stuart Mill said that life was not worth living after you were a boy.

     This is not fiction, these are human facts. What does Christian Science do—ignores them! New Thought—ignores them! Mind Cure—ignores them! Jesus Christ opens our eyes to these facts, but here comes the difficulty: how am I to get Jesus Christ in contact with these sick souls?

In the first place, will you realize that you do not know how to do it? … If you get your little compartment of texts, and search them out and say, ‘I know how to deal with this soul,’ you will never be able to deal with it; but if you realize your absolute helplessness and say, ‘My God, I cannot touch this life, I do not know where to begin, but I believe Thou canst do it,’ then you can do something. …  

     God grant us the grace so to rely on the Holy Ghost, to so know our ignorance, so to get out of the way with our knowledge, that we will let the Holy Ghost bring the Majestic Christ face to face with the diseased, sick folk we meet. … God grant we may so rely on the Holy Spirit that we allow Him to introduce through the agony of our intercession…the Living, Mighty Christ! … Blessed be the name of God, there is no case too hard for Jesus Christ! …  

     God grant that we may be so centered in Him that He can use us in that wonderful way.

From Workmen Of God

How to help those in need:

  1. Admit that we can’t help them
  2. Ask the Holy Spirit to enable us to help them
  3. Share only what the Spirit tells us to share
  4. Intercede in prayer for our friend

“God grant that we may be so centered in Him that He can use us in that wonderful way.” Amen!

Help!

David and his men are on the run from King Saul, but they hear that the small town of Keilah is being harassed by the Philistines. The bad guys are stealing the harvest from the people of Keilah, making it a very real possibility that they would starve during the upcoming winter. In his usual habit, David prays and asks God if he should help the people of Keilah, and God gives him the go-ahead to attack.

David and his men defeat the Philistines, not only returning the crops that had been stolen but also delivering some livestock that they took from the defeated Philistines. You might expect that David and his men were given a ticker-tape parade. Instead, as soon as David was within the city’s walls, he finds out that the people of Keilah are planning to sell him out to King Saul. Talk about ingratitude!

David and his men flee to the Desert of Ziph, where they won’t be a bother to anyone. Except the Ziphites get word to King Saul that they will gladly turn him over to the King whenever he asks for it.

What is David’s response? As usual, it’s prayer. His prayer is short and straight to the point—

Help, Lord, for the godly are no more; the faithful have vanished from among men.

In other words, David asks God, “Where have all the decent people gone?” It’s no different in our day, as Paul told his friend Timothy that people will only become more hypocritical liars, with their conscience not bothering them a bit!

What I love about David’s prayer is that he quotes God back to God. Check out the quotation mark: “Because of the oppression of the weak and the groaning of the needy, I will now arise. I will protect them from those who malign them.” And then David is quick to add that God’s words never fail! 

I am convinced that our spiritual battles are largely lost or won in our minds. We need to recall God’s Word—Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail (Lamentation 3:21-22).

So we cry, “Help!” to God because He is the only One who can help us: The Lord is my Helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? (Hebrews 13:6).

But David has an important question to ask: “How long do we continue to call for help?” Have you ever asked God that?

Jesus said that the key to our successful praying is for us to remain in Him and for His Words to remain in us, like a branch remains connected to the vine (John 15:7). So let me ask you a question: How long should the branch remain connected to the vine before it’s ready to go off on its own?

The answer is simple—if the branch wants to remain alive and fruitful, it must stay in relationship with the vine forever!

So once again, look at how Jesus answers the “How long?” question—Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking reverently and the door will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7)

“Help!” is a great prayer that God loves to answer. “How long” do we pray that prayer? Until it’s answered … keep on, keep on, KEEP ON!

10 Commitments For Dads (book review)

With Father’s Day just around the corner, I’ve got a great book that every Dad needs to check out. Think of this book from Josh McDowell as a Father’s Day gift you will give to yourself and to your family. The book is called 10 Commitments For Dads.

Whether you are a soon-to-be-Dad, a rookie Dad, a veteran Dad, or a Granddad, there is always more to learn and more to do for our kids. Since God has placed His precious children under our care, it’s wise to seek practical, biblically-sound counsel to help us do the best we can. Right at the outset of this book Josh lists seven objectives Dads need to strive for before our kids leave home:

  1. Form a right relationship with God
  2. Develop healthy relationships with others
  3. Have a healthy self-image
  4. Resist sexual pressure
  5. Be a person of integrity
  6. Develop deep and convictions
  7. Know how to handle success and cope with failure

This requires some diligence on a part, beginning with listening to the wise advice Josh shares in this book.

A commitment is not a guarantee, but it is rooted in a strong passion to do the very best that we can do. As Josh leads us through these 10 commitments, you will learn from some of Josh’s successes and missteps, you will learn what the Bible has to say, and you will learn the “whys” behind the “how-to’s” of fatherhood.

10 Commitments offers no quick-fixes for fatherhood, but it does offer hope for those Dads and Granddads who are willing to let God help them do their very best. I would encourage you to also use this book as a discussion starter. You will need the help of your wife, a friend, or a pastor to be at your very best, and the concepts presented in this book are great starting points for evaluations and conversations with your helpers.

Go get this book for yourself, Dad, and then enjoy many, many happy Father’s Days!

I am a Harvest House book reviewer.

Peace In The Face Of Cancer (book review)

My Mom has cancer. Chances are very good that you or someone very close to you will be rocked with a cancer diagnosis during your lifetime. What do you say? What do you do when it feels like the bottom just dropped out of your life? Here is an excellent resource you simply must have close at hand: Peace In The Face Of Cancer by Lynn Eib.

Lynn is both a cancer survivor and a long-time patient advocate in an oncologist’s office, so right from the opening pages you will feel the compassionate care and knowledgeable insight Lynn brings to those with this medical turmoil swirling around them.

Lynn is also a seasoned writer, so she brings her word craft to this book, making it accessible for anyone. Whether you are the one with cancer, a caregiver to a loved one with cancer, or just someone who wants to be an empathetic friend, Lynn writes in a style that benefits everyone.

And, most importantly for me, Lynn is a committed Christian. Her faith in Jesus Christ brought her a solid hope in the midst of cancer’s uncertainty, and she has a way of imparting this sense of peace in page after page.

Peace In The Face Of Cancer is written in 40 short chapters, each targeting a specific aspect of cancer that both patients and caregivers will find extremely helpful.

I am a Tyndale book reviewer.

Streams In The Desert (book review)

streams-in-the-desertGod said, “Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth; do you not perceive and know it and will you not give heed to it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:19). This verse perfectly sums up the dominant message in Lettie Cowman’s book Streams In The Desert.

Everyone has been there: things haven’t gone as we planned … we’re not sure how we could have ended up in such a dry, barren place … it seems like nothing is working out right … we begin to think that even God has lost sight of us. But it’s in this painful, desert place that God is ready to do something unheard of!

Lettie Cowman knew the pain of sickness and disappointment and thwarted dreams. Yet in the midst of her desert place, as she poured out her raw emotions, she began to see a river springing up in her wilderness. This book is a heaven-sent blessing to anyone in those dark, barren places.

Each day you will get a glimpse of God’s spring, as Lettie shares her personal discoveries, insights from Scripture, quotes from other desert wanderers, poems of reflection, and even prayers for help. Each day’s short reading is thirst-quenching and soul-satisfying.

If you are going through a desert place, get a copy of this book for yourself. If you have a friend who is struggling, buy a copy for them, and find times to get together to discuss each day’s reading. There’s a reason why this book has stood the test of time and has been an immense help to so many throughout the years.

I Stand At The Door And Knock (book review)

I Stand At The Door And KnockCorrie ten Boom is an amazing woman! She hid the Jews from the Nazis, was arrested for this “crime,” experienced unimaginable horrors in a concentration camp, and was miraculously released from prison just before all the women in her group were executed. And still she remained steadfast in her trust of God. I Stand At The Door And Knock is a collection of 40 of her radio broadcasts, especially directed to others going through difficult times.

Because these are radio transcriptions, each message feels very conversational and Corrie relates many of her personal experiences to her audience. All of this makes her message more believable to those struggling with challenges.

Each message concludes with a prayer that Corrie prayed for her listening audience, and I love how she ended nearly every prayer. She said, “Hallelujah! Amen.” In other words, she was already rejoicing in the answer to prayer as she finished praying it! What an inspiring woman!

If you are going through a difficult time—of if you know someone who is—and perhaps feel like no one knows how big your struggle is, this book will “speak your language.” These are honest, comforting words from someone who truly was battle-tested and came through victorious.

Poetry Saturday—Red Sea Place

 

Annie Johnson FlintHave you come to the Red Sea place in your life,
Where, in spite of all you can do,
There is no way out, there is no way back,
There is no other way but through?
Then wait on the Lord, with a trust serene,
Till the night of your fear is gone;
He will send the winds, He will heap the floods,
When He says to your soul, “Go.”

And His Hand shall lead you through, clear through,
Ere the watery walls roll down;
No wave can touch you, no foe can smite,
No mightiest sea can drown.
The tossing billows may rear their crests,
Their foam at your feet may break,
But over their bed you shall walk dry-shod
In the path that your Lord shall make.

In the morning watch, ‘neath the lifted cloud,
You shall see but the Lord alone,
When He leads you forth from the place of the sea,
And your fears shall pass as your foes have passed,
You shall no more be afraid;
You shall sing His praise in a better place,
In a place that His Hand hath made. —Annie Johnson Flint
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