Thursdays With Oswald—My God-Given Vocation

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.

My God-Given Vocation

     The vocation of our Lord had accepted was that of sin-bearer, not of dominating world-lord. satan’s aim was to get Him to fulfill His vocation on another line, “There is no need to die for sin, You can fulfill Your vocation by a ‘short cut’ and evade the Cross.” Our Lord came here for one purpose only—to bear away the sin of the world in His own Person on the Cross. He came to redeem man, not to set them a wonderful example. … 

     Have we accepted that kind of vocation, or are we only concerned that we get deep conscious communion with God? The acceptance of the saint for himself is that he is concerned about nothing at all saving this one thing, “that I might finish my course with joy,” not happiness. Joy is the result of the perfect fulfillment of what a man is created for. Happiness depends on things that happen, and may sometimes be an insult. It is continually necessary to revert to what the New Testament asks us to accept about ourselves. 

     Have we received to this ministry from Jesus, “As Thou hast sent Me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world”? How did the Father send Him? “For I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me.” The first obedience of Jesus was to the will of His Father, not to the needs of men. Then our first accepted vocation is not to help men, but to obey God, and when we accept that vocation we enter into relationship with the despised and the neglected. 

From The Psychology Of Redemption

Do I sometimes wish God would give me a “bigger ministry”? Or that He would use me in more visible ways? Am I looking for applause or recognition?

Jesus prayed, “Not My will, but Yours be done.” And He taught us to pray, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done.”

If I truly accept the vocation God has given me, I will see that it is the same vocation He gave Jesus: to go to the “despised and neglected,” and in the process to be despised and rejected by the world, just as Jesus was. But I’m not looking for the applause of men; I just want to obey God regardless of the personal cost. This is my God-given vocation.

Poetry Saturday—Garden Of Trust

FullSizeRenderBuild a little fence of trust
Around today;
Fill the space with loving work,
And therein stay;
Look not through the sheltering bars
Upon tomorrow;
God will help thee bear what comes
Of joy or sorrow. —Mary Frances Butts

Thursdays With Oswald—What Does Your Religion Mean?

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 Does Your Religion Mean? 

     To believe is literally to commit. Belief is a moral act, and Jesus makes an enormous demand of a man when He asks him to believe in Him. To be “a believer in Jesus” means to bank our confidence in Him, to stake our soul upon His honor. …

     Many of us use religious jargon, we talk about believing in God, but our actual life proves that we do not really believe one tithe of what we profess. … “The unsearchable riches of Christ”—yet we often live as if our Heavenly Father had cut us off with a shilling! We think it is a sign of real modesty to say at the end of a day—“Oh well, I have just got through, but it has been a severe tussle.” We carry our religion as if it were a headache, there is neither joy nor power nor inspiration in it, none of the grandeur of the unsearchable riches of Christ about it, none of the passion of hilarious confidence in God. …

     Christianity is the vital realization of the unsearchable riches of Christ. …

     We have made Christianity to mean the saving of our skins. Christianity means staking ourselves on the honor of Jesus; His honor means that He will see us through time, death and eternity. … 

     Why do you pray? Why are you religious? Because of a consuming passion for a particular set of your beliefs to be enthroned and proved right, or because of a consuming passion for Jesus Christ? 

From The Place Of Help

Wow, those are excellent questions to consider—What do I think Christianity really is? Do I really believe what Jesus did for me, or is it just jargon I use? Am I consumed in my passion for Christ, or is it only something I profess when things are going my way?

9 Quotes From “Your Joy Will Turn To Sorrow”

Your Sorrow Will Turn To JoyAlthough Your Joy Will Turn To Sorrow is intended to be read each morning and evening of Holy Week (check out my book review here), the content is so good that it will benefit you anytime you decide to read it! Here are some quotes that especially caught my attention.

“The only Savior who truly saves, only saves through suffering. The Cross was the only means of making us sinners right before a holy God. Our salvation was purchased with suffering, and it will be sealed and preserved with suffering (James 1:2-4), not comfort. We are promised comfort in the Christian life (2 Corinthians 1:4), but not the cheap, temporal imitation we’ve grown accustomed to in our modern world.” —Marshall Segal

“Jesus did not come to purchase the approval of others. No, He ‘was despised and rejected by men; a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as One from whom men hide their faces He was despised’ (Isaiah 53:3). Why? Because it is God’s approval we desperately need. And God’s approval doesn’t come by popular opinion, but by divine intervention—the substitution of His own Son in our place.” —Marshall Segal

“The irony of Mark 14 is that Judas could see the value of the ointment rolling down Jesus’ head, but he couldn’t see the value of Jesus. He was a pawnbroker with cataracts. That’s why he took such offense at the woman. The woman, on the other hand, could see both the value of the ointment and the value of Jesus. That’s why she broke the flask.” —Jonathan Bowers

“No one understands better than God how difficult it can be for a human to embrace the will of God. And no human has suffered more in embracing the will of God the Father than God the Son. When Jesus calls us to follow Him, whatever the cost, He is not calling us to do something He is either unwilling to do or is never done Himself.” —Jon Bloom

“So, now, we say with an entirely different meaning, let His blood be on us, not defiantly as the crowds that crucified Him, but desperately—with gratitude and hope and adoration—as those who depend wholly on His sacrifice. Jesus, let Your blood be on us. Let it cover us. Let the blood that flows from Your head, Your hands, Your feet wash over us and cleanse us from all our iniquity. We proclaim Jesus’ death. We rejoice in his death, not because we believe He was a fraud or a lunatic, but because it is by His death, by His wounds, by His blood that we are healed.” —Marshall Segal

“Jesus spoke of this joy as He faced the torture of Good Friday. He faced denial, faced betrayal, faced beatings, faced splinters and nails and spears—He could not stop talking about joy! Only joy would keep Him going. Joy was on His mind, joy was on His tongue, and joy was drawing Him, not away from suffering, but into it (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus went to the Cross for joy: to buy joy, create joy, and offer joy. As the world celebrated the savage killing of God, out of this sea of foaming rebel hostility emerged a blood-bought, inextinguishable joy.

“If the killing of the Author of life could not extinguish this joy Jesus speaks about, nothing can—and nothing ever will. No opposition from the world, no opposition to the gospel, and no cultural despising of Christ will overcome the resurrection joy of Jesus.” —Tony Reinke

“If Christ is still dead, death reigns, and all our joys our vain. So hoard every plastic Easter egg you find, because whatever you find inside is all the joy you have to grab. Or, as Paul says, ‘If the dead are not raised, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die’ (1 Corinthians 15:32). But if death is dead, and if the dead are raised—if Christ is risen from the dead!—brothers and sisters, let us feast and celebrate, for the daunting light of our inextinguishable and inexhaustible eternal pleasures have broken into the darkness, offering us a life of joy in Christ that cannot fade or rust or be stolen away!” —Tony Reinke

“Easter has now become our annual dress rehearsal for that great coming Day. When our perishable bodies will put on the imperishable. When the mortal finally puts on immortality. When we join in the triumph song with the prophets and the apostles, ‘O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ (Hosea 13:14; 1 Corinthians 15:55).” —David Mathis

“Indeed, even agony will turn to glory, but Easter doesn’t suppress our pain. It doesn’t minimize our loss. It bids our burdens stand as they are, in all their weight, with all their threats. And this risen Christ, with the brilliance of the indestructible life in His eyes, says, ‘These too I will claim in the victory. These too will serve your joy. These too, even these, I can make an occasion for rejoicing. I have overcome, and you will more than conquer.’ 

“Easter is not an occasion to repress whatever ails you and put on a happy face. Rather, the joy of Easter speaks tenderly to the pains that plague you. Whatever loss you lament, whatever burden weighs you down, Easter says, ‘It will not always be this way for you. The new age has begun. Jesus has risen, and the Kingdom of the Messiah is here. He has conquered death and sin and hell. He is alive and on His throne. And He is putting your enemies, all your enemies, under His feet.’” —David Mathis

Your Sorrow Will Turn To Joy (book review)

Your Sorrow Will Turn To JoyHoly Week is always a good time to slow down to take a closer look at the events leading up to Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. I never want to “go through the motions” and miss out on some new revelation of all that Jesus did for us. An excellent companion for this journey is Your Sorrow Will Turn To Joy by the writers at Desiring God.

This book covers the eight days of Holy Week, from Palm Sunday to Resurrection Sunday. Each day has an insightful reading selection for both the morning and evening. The authors pulled together the accounts from all four of the Gospels, to offer unique insights and observations on each step of Christ’s journey to the Cross, the grave, and the empty tomb. As I read, I marveled again at the amazing love God showered on us!

The good folks at Desiring God have made this book available free of charge in its ebook format. Otherwise, the paperback can be purchased at a nominal cost.

Pick up a copy and read through it on the next Holy Week, and I promise you will see something fresh about the joy that Christ’s finished work on Calvary brings to those who will believe in Him!

Links & Quotes

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“Don’t dare to be different, dare to be yourself—if that doesn’t make you different then something is wrong.” —Laura Baker

“Real joy is to be found in the presence of God, with Jesus Christ, secure and loved forever and ever (Psalm 16:11). Knowing the presence of God is the unique privilege of all who have made the Kingdom turn. God never changes in His love for us, and Jesus Christ holds us fast forever, regardless of the outward circumstances of our lives. The result of experiencing this is joy.” —T.M. Moore

“We can do nothing unless by a supernatural grace of God. It is God who gives the will. It is God who gives the power.” —John Calvin

“How singularly does God, in political events, prepare men’s minds for the particular phase which His church assumes! … I cannot go into the question now, but every Christian student of history knows that the circumstances of the outward world have ever been arranged by God so as to prepare the way for the advance of His great cause.” —Charles Spurgeon

“There is no such thing as genuine knowledge of God that does not show itself in obedience to His Word and will.” —Sinclair B. Ferguson

Eric Metaxas reminds us why Darwinism cannot explain religion. Check out Saber-tooth Psychology.

New emails continue to show the tragedy that Benghazi is. Hold our leaders accountable!

Tim Elmore explains how leading and following must go hand-in-hand.

[VIDEO] John Maxwell challenges us to enrich other people’s lives—

Links & Quotes

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“The experience of being married and bringing up a family cannot have the old bittersweet of first falling in love. But it is futile (and, I think, wicked) to go on trying to get the old thrill again: you must go forward and not backward. Any real advance will in its turn be ushered in by a new thrill, different from the old: doomed in its turn to disappear and to become in its turn a temptation to retrogression.” —C.S. Lewis

“We who trust in Jesus are the happiest of people, not constitutionally, for some of us are much tried and are brought to the utter depths of poverty, but inwardly, truly, our heart’s joy is not to be excelled.” —Charles Spurgeon

Good word: Purity is more than saving sex for marriage.

Live Action shares 10 reasons why women should be pro-life.

John Knight writes very movingly about The Blind Eyes of Abortion. His concluding sentence is brilliant: “The killing ends when heart-eyes are opened and stony hearts, which champion abortion, are turned to flesh (Ezekiel 36:26) and find the practice unthinkable.”

[VIDEO] A very cool look at the authors of the Gospels—

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