Thursdays With Oswald—What Makes Life Worth Living?

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.

What Makes Life Worth Living? 

     Think of the devastations and havoc throughout the world just now. What is going to make up to the people who are broken? To say that “every cloud has a silver lining” is a kind lie. Unless a man can get into a relationship with the God Whom the Bible reveals, life is not worth living. …  

     Solomon says whether you are wise or foolish, upright or not, a king or tyrannized over by a king, successful or a failure, in society or solitary, stubborn or sagacious, all alike ends the same way. All is passing, and we cannot find our lasting joy in any element we like to touch. It is disastrous for a man to try and find his true joy in any phase of life, or in the fulfillment of ambition, or in physical or intellectual solitariness, or in society; he will find his joy only in a personal relationship to God. …

     When once a man is there, he receives a hundredfold more of all he gave up to get there, and he never demands an infinite satisfaction from those other relationships. The man or woman who does not know God demands an infinite satisfaction from other human beings they cannot give, and in the case of the man, he becomes tyrannical and cruel. It springs from this one thing, the human heart must have satisfaction, but there is only one Being Who can satisfy the last abyss of the human heart, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ.

From Shade Of His Hand

As a Christian, you have an opportunity to show people how much joy there is for a life in Christ. And then Peter tells us to be ready to tell people the Source of your joy (see 1 Peter 3:15-16).

Do you have the spiritual courage and moral backbone to show and tell? Chambers says, “The Christian faith is exhibited by the man who has the spiritual courage to say that that is the God he trusts in, and it takes some moral backbone to do it.”

Let’s do this!

Thursdays With Oswald—Jesus Makes Joy Possible

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.

Jesus Makes Joy Possible

     “These things have I spoken unto you,” said Jesus, “that My joy may be in you.” What joy did Jesus have? He failed apparently in everything He came to do; all His disciples forsook Him, He was crucified, and yet He talked of His joy. The joy of Our Lord lay in doing what the Father sent Him to do. His purpose was not to succeed, but to fulfill the design of His coming—“For I am come down from heaven not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me.” … 

     “God shall judge the righteous and the wicked.” But who is God? I have never seen God, or spoken to Him. An omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent Being does not amount to anything to me; He is an abstract finding of man’s intellect. Can God take on hands and feet and man’s way of doing things, and manifest Himself on the plane on which we live? The Bible says that that is what God did do. Jesus Christ lived a human life on this earth…. What Jesus Christ exhibited was not omnipotence and omniscience and omnipresence, but absolute holiness in human flesh, and He said “he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father.” … 

     The essence of Christianity is not adherence to principles; but a personal relationship to God through Jesus Christ at work in the whole of my life. 

From Shade Of His Hand

Are you basing your “success” on what you are accomplishing? If so, prepare yourself for disappointment.

But if you define “success” as a growing relationship with Jesus Christ, be prepared for an eternity of limitless joy!

Thursdays With Oswald—Cynical Or Satisfied

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.

Cynical Or Satisfied

     It is no use trying to find true joy in being either a fool or a wise man. Solomon drives us back every time to the one thing, that a man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him for ever. … 

     The only way we can enjoy our “tree of life” is by fulfilling the purpose of our creation. Jesus Christ prayed “that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.” The thing that kept Jesus Christ all through was not that He held aloof from actual things, but that He had a kingdom within. … Our Lord’s whole life was rooted and grounded in God, consequently He was never wearied or cynical. 

From Shade Of His Hand

In this book, Oswald Chambers is commenting on Solomon’s words in Ecclesiastes. Solomon tried everything he could think of to try to make sense of life and to try to find lasting joy. But everything he tried left him flat.

That’s because we weren’t created to find ultimate fulfillment or purpose in the things of earth, but to find purpose, joy and contentment in a personal relationship to our Creator. Jesus lived His life on earth as a blazing example of a what a joy-filled, purpose-centered, God-glorifying life looks like. The wonder of the Incarnation is that He shows us the kind of eternal life we were meant to have.

So here’s the choice Solomon presents to us: Try to find fulfillment under the sun and end up cynical, or find fulfillment in the Son of God and know truly satisfying, eternal joy. Which will you choose this Advent season?

The Dawning Of Indestructible Joy (book review)

the-dawning-of-indestructible-joySometimes I am concerned that even those who know the story of the Incarnation of Jesus miss out on the stunningly powerful miracle that took place in Bethlehem. Instead of being awed by the majesty of Christ’s First Advent, we merely give lip service to His birth. John Piper’s book The Dawning Of Indestructible Joy will give you a fresh perspective of the miracle of Christ’s birth and all that it means.

The Dawning Of Indestructible Joy is written in 25 chapters, building an exciting countdown from December 1 until Christmas morning. Each day John Piper will awaken your heart and mind again to the unimaginable gifts that Jesus Christ made available to us through His incarnation. Gifts such as freedom from sin, intimacy with God, eternal life, and soul-lifting joy.

Each chapter is short enough to serve as an ideal family reading time, perhaps each evening around the dinner table in December. The Scripture passage for each day is short enough, too, for everyone to memorize so that they are prepared to share with anyone else the joy that comes with the miracle of the Advent.

Make this book a part of your family Christmas tradition.

Thursdays With Oswald—Happiness Or Holiness?

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.

Happiness Or Holiness?

     “Beauty” means the perfectly ordered completeness of man’s whole nature. When once a man’s mind is upset, that beauty begins to go, the equilibrium is upset. This accounts for the characteristic tendency abroad today: ignore sin, deny it ever was; if you make mistakes, forget them, live the healthy minded, open-hearted, sunshiny life, don’t allow yourself to be convicted of sin. … 

     Happiness means we select only those things out of our circumstances that will keep us happy. It is the great basis of false Christianity. The Bible nowhere speaks about a “happy” Christian; it talks plentifully of joy. … Happiness would be alright if things were reasonable; it would be ideal if there were no self-interest, but everyone of us is cunning enough to take advantage somewhere, and after a while my inclination is to get my happiness at your cost. … 

     What kind of peace had Jesus Christ? A peace that kept Him for thirty years at home with brothers and sisters who did not believe in Him; a peace that kept Him through three years of popularity, hatred, and scandal; and He says, “My peace I give unto you”; “let not your heart be troubled,” i.e., “see that your heart does not get disturbed out of its relationship to Me.”

     But remember Jesus Christ has to upset the old equilibrium first. When a man is probed into by the Spirit of God, the waters of his conscious life get troubled and other ideas emerge. If I am going to follow the dictates of the Spirit of God and take up the attitude of Jesus Christ to things, it will produce an earthquake in my outlook. … “If you would be My disciple, says Jesus that is the cost.” …

     Take up any attitude of Jesus Christ’s and let it work, and the first thing that happens is that the old order and the old peace go. You cannot get back peace on the same level. If once you have allowed Jesus Christ to upset the equilibrium, holiness is the inevitable result, or no peace forever (Matthew 10:34). 

From The Shadow Of An Agony

Quite simply: I can live for my own happiness, or I can allow my “happiness” to be momentarily upset by allowing the holiness of God to reign in my heart.

Happiness eventually comes to an end, but holiness ultimately leads to the enjoyment of God forever!

The choice is yours: “IF you would be My disciple….”

Putting Afflictions In Perspective

gurnall-afflictionsWe all go through difficult times. There is not one person on planet Earth who doesn’t face times of adversity and trial. But Christians can put these challenging times in perspective…

“Job found his legacy through the grief he experienced. He was tried that his godliness might be confirmed and validated. In the same way, my troubles are intended to deepen my character and to clothe me in gifts I had little of prior to my difficulties. … Apparent adversity will ultimately become an advantage for those of us doing what is right, if we are willing to keep serving and to wait patiently.” —Lettie Cowman

“Afflictions are a spade which God uses to dig into His people’s hearts to find the gold of faith.” —William Gurnall

“That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our inner strength in the Lord is growing every day. These troubles and sufferings of ours are, after all, quite small and won’t last very long. Yet this short time of distress will result in God’s richest blessing upon us forever and ever! So we do not look at what we can see right now, the troubles all around us, but we look forward to the joys in heaven which we have not yet seen. The troubles will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.” —2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Poetry Saturday—In The Center Of The Circle

FullSizeRenderIn the center of the circle
   Of the will of God I stand:
There can come no second causes,
   All must come from His dear hand.
All is well! for ‘tis my Father
   Who my life hath planned.
Shall I pass through waves of sorrow?
   Then I know it will be best;
Though I cannot tell the reason,
   I can trust, and so am blest.
God is Love, and God is faithful,
   So in perfect Peace I rest.
With the shade and with the sunshine,
   With the joy and with the pain,
Lord, I trust Thee! both are needed,
   Each Thy wayward child to train,
Earthly loss, did we but know it,
   Often means our heavenly gain. —I.G.W. (from Streams In The Desert)
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