Thursdays With Oswald—No Undercover Christians

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.

No Undercover Christians

     The illustrations our Lord uses are all conspicuous—salt, light, and a city set on the hill. There is no possibility of mistaking them. …  

     “You are the salt of the earth.” Some modern teachers seem to think our Lord said, “You are the sugar of the earth,” meaning that gentleness and winsomeness without curativeness is the ideal of the Christian. Our Lord’s illustration of a Christian is salt, and salt is the most concentrated thing known. Salt preserves wholesomeness and prevents decay. It is a disadvantage to be salt. Think of the action of salt on a wounded, and you will realize this. If you get salt into a wound, it hurts, and when God’s children are amongst those who are “raw” their presence hurts. The man who is wrong with God is like an open wound, and when “salt” gets in it causes annoyance and distress and he is spiteful and bitter. … How are we to maintain the healthy, salty tang of saintliness? By remaining rightly related to God through Jesus Christ. …  

     “You are the light of the world.” Light cannot be soiled; you may try to grasp a beam of light with the sootiest hand, but you leave no mark on the light. A sunbeam may shine into the filthiest hovel in the slums of the city, but it cannot be soiled. … Thank God for the men and women who are spending their lives in the slums of the earth, not as social reformers to lift their brother men to cleaner sties, but as the light of God, revealing a way back to God. 

From Studies In The Sermon On The Mount

God wants you to be His salt and light in the world. Are you willing to do that? 

Salt preserves, but it also stings as it does so. Some people will lash out at you for being salt in their presence, but keep on loving them with the love of Jesus. 

Light guides, but it also reveals unpleasant things. Some people will lash out at you for revealing sinful things, but keep on loving them with the love of Jesus. 

Don’t let the hostile reaction of people send you “underground.” Keep being conspicuously, unmistakably God’s salt and light in a world that is in desperate need of cleansing and illumination! 

Holiday To Do List

Christmas To Do listThis is a pretty good list!

  1. Buy Be presents
  2. Wrap gifts someone in a hug
  3. Send gifts peace
  4. Shop for Donate food
  5. Make cookies love
  6. See Be the lights

May we all keep in mind that Jesus is the reason for the season—

  1. He came as Emmanuel to be God with us
  2. His blessings envelope us
  3. He came to bring peace on earth
  4. He provides our daily bread
  5. He is love
  6. And He calls us to be His light to the world

(I found this picture online but cannot find out who created it. If someone knows, please tell me, as I would love to give them proper credit.)

Irresistible Light

Halo“Blessed rather are those who hear the Word of God and obey it.” (Luke 11:28)

There are a lot of things we want to call “blessed.” Sometimes we almost use that word as a lucky charm: “I was blessed by…” or “Isn’t a blessing that….”

As Jesus is speaking, someone interrupts Him to say His mother is blessed. Jesus didn’t disagree, but He went back to why Mary was blessed—she heard God speak and she obeyed Him.

All the blessings I could ever need are listed in God’s Word. All I have to do to receive those blessings is obey.

As Jesus goes on, He makes clear that reading and obeying what the Word says will ensure “that the light within you is not darkness” (v. 35). This, then, will make me a better witness for Christ, as the result of this inner light appears outside too: “as when the light of a lamp shines on you” (v. 36).

Does this “lamp that shines on you” look like a halo? Perhaps. But a life that shines with the blessings of God—which come from obedience to His Word—is unmistakable and irresistible! That sounds like a halo to me!

Links & Quotes

link quote

10 facts on the great commissionJeffrey Kranz from The Overview Bible Project has a nice post called 10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About The Great Commission.

“The purpose of the salt in the steak is to do its work so quietly that it changes the nature of what it invades without calling attention to itself. … Salt must get into something in order to have effect, where it indelibly stamps its own character upon what it invades.” —George O. Wood

Good counsel for my fellow pastors: “One great and general rule is, ask advice of Heaven by prayer about every part of your preparatory studies; seek the direction and assistance of the Spirit of God, for inclining your thoughts to proper subjects, for guiding you to proper Scriptures, and framing your whole sermon both as to the matter and manner, that it may attain the divine and sacred ends proposed.” —Isaac Watts

Culture’s Big Lie About Marriage addresses head-on the way culture wants to bend and redefine marriage.

February 27 is the day to shine a light on slavery and sex trafficking around the world. Check out the END IT movement and mark your red “X.”

“I hope the doctrine that Christians ought to be gloomy will soon be driven out of the universe. There are no people in the world who have such a right to be happy, nor have such cause to be joyful as the saints of the living God.” —Charles Spurgeon

Earth Day And The Christian

Earth Day 2013Some Christians I know shy away from being involved with anything that’s even remotely related to Earth Day. They tell me that Earth Day seems too “earthy” or even “worldly” for them. I disagree. For the Christian, I believe there are a couple of principles that converge and therefore compel us to be involved.

The first principle is mankind’s original mandate. When God created Adam and Eve and placed them in His garden, He gave them the responsibility and privilege of caring for His creation. They were to care for both the plants and animals, making sure a healthy environment was maintained for them to be fruitful (see Genesis 1:26-28 and 2:15).

The second principle is Christ’s directive. Jesus told Christians to shine like lights and season like salt, “that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16). Even Jesus Himself “went around doing good” (Acts 10:38).

So when there’s an opportunity to care for our environment by doing “good deeds,” I’m going to take advantage of that every single time!

Saturday, April 26, beginning at 10am, is the annual Earth Day and Cedar Creek cleanup in Cedar Springs. I will be there along with a number of other folks from Calvary Assembly of God. I encourage others in Cedar Springs to join us. If you live in a different community, find an activity in which you can get involved and let your light shine brightly and lovingly in your city.

Thursdays With Oswald—Consecration Isn’t Just For Ministers

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.

Oswald Chambers

Consecration Isn’t Just For Pastors 

     Consecration is not the giving over of the calling in life to God, but the separation from all other callings and the giving over of ourselves to God, letting His providence place us where He will—in business, or law, or science; in workshop, in politics…. We are to be there working according to the laws and principles of the Kingdom of God…. 

     “Business is business” is not true for the Christian. Business is a sphere of labor in the world where a man exhibits the laws and principles of the Kingdom, otherwise he is a coward, a deserter, and a traitor to that Kingdom. 

From Christian Disciplines 

Jesus calls all Christians to be salt and light; to season and shine wherever God has placed us. We are consecrated for service to God is we are working by biblical principles, no matter what job we happen to be doing.

24 Quotes from “Andrew Murray’s Daily Reader”

Andrew Murray Daily ReaderOver the course of the last year in reading Andrew Murray’s Daily Reader, I literally took down over 40 pages of Murray’s quotes! The quotes I have listed below are not my favorites, but just some of the quotes from the first few pages of my notes. You can read my book review of this truly amazing devotional book by clicking here.

“The true practice of Christianity strives toward having the character of Christ so formed in us that in our most common activities His temper and disposition will be displayed.”

“May this high privilege awaken your desire for relationship with God, to dwell in sweet fellowship with Him and He with you. May it become impossible for you to be satisfied with anything less.”

“The power to believe a promise depends entirely on our faith in the one who promises. It is only when we enjoy a personal loving relationship with God Himself that our whole being is opened up to the mighty influence of His holy presence and the capacity will be developed in us for believing that He gives whatever we ask.” 

“Sin consists in nothing but this, that man determined to be something and would not allow God to be everything.”

“Even as believers we often make it our first aim to find out who we are, what we desire, what pleases us and makes us happy. Then we bring in God in the second place to secure this happiness.” 

“Nothing except constant fellowship with God can teach you as His child to hate sin as God hates it. Nothing but the close fellowship of the living Christ can make it possible for you to understand what sin is and to detest it. Without this deeper understanding of sin, we cannot truly appropriate the victory that Christ made possible for us.”

“To pray constantly only for ourselves is a mark of failure in prayer. It is in intercession for others that our faith and love and perseverance will be stirred up and that the power of the Spirit will be found to equip us for bringing salvation to people.” 

“Here is God’s provision for our holiness, God’s response to our question ‘How can we be holy?’ When we hear the call ‘Be holy, even as I am holy,’ it seems as if there is, and ever must be, a great gulf between the holiness of God and that of humankind. But in Christ is the bridge that spans the gulf—or better, His fullness has filled it up.”

“To worship is our highest privilege. We were created for fellowship with God: of that fellowship, worship is the most sublime expression. All the disciplines of the Christian life—meditation and prayer, love and faith, surrender and obedience—culminate in worship. Recognizing what God is in His holiness, His glory, and His love; realizing what I am as a sinful creature and as the Father’s redeemed child, in worship I gather up my whole being and present myself to my God. I offer Him the adoration and the glory that is due Him. The truest, fullest, and nearest approach to God is worship.”

“We are in such a habit of evaluating God and His work in us by what we feel that it is very likely that on some occasions we will be discouraged because we do not feel any special blessing. Above everything, when you wait on God, do so in the spirit of hope. It is God in His glory, His power, and His love who is longing to bless you.”

“I would like to convince every believer that Jesus loves you; He does not wish to be separated from you for a moment. He cannot bear it. No mother has delighted more in the baby in her arms than does Christ delight in you. He wants both intimate and unceasing fellowship with you. Receive it, dear believer, and say, ‘If it is possible, God helping me, I must have this filling of the Holy Spirit so that I may know and sense the presence of Jesus always dwelling in my heart.’” 

“Discovering the New Testament standard of commitment is not an easy matter. Our preconceived opinions blind us; our surroundings will exercise a powerful influence. Unless there is a sincere desire to truly know the entire will of God, and a prayerful dependence on the Holy Spirit’s teaching, we will search in vain.”

“If you would be full of the Spirit, be full of the Word. … Just as the Scriptures were spoken and written down as men were moved by the Spirit of God, it is only by the Spirit of God that they can be fully understood.” 

“Our waiting on God can have no higher goal than to have His light shine on us and in us and through us all day.”

“May our daily lives be the bright and blessed proof that a hidden power dwells within, preparing us for the glory to be revealed. May our abiding in Christ the Glorified One be our strength to live to the glory of the Father, our enabling to share in the glory of the Son.” 

“Take every opportunity to humble yourself before God and man. Accept with gratitude everything that God allows from within or without, from friend or enemy, in nature or in grace, to remind you of your need for humbling and to help you in it. Reckon humility to be the mother-virtue, your very first duty before God, the one perpetual safeguard of the soul, and set your heart upon it as the source of all blessing. The promise is divine and sure: He that humbles himself shall be exalted.”

“Love for God and love for our neighbor are inseparable; prayer from a heart that is not right with God or that cannot get along with others can have no real effect. Faith and love are interdependent.”

“In the annoyances of daily life, we must be careful not to excuse a hasty temper, sharp words, or rash judgment by saying that we meant no harm, that we did not hold the anger long, or that it is too much to ask of our human nature not to behave in such a manner. Instead, we must seek to forgive as God in Christ has forgiven us, diffusing anger and judgment.”

“God has called us to live a life in the supernatural. Allow your devotional time each day to be as the open gate of heaven through which light and power stream into your waiting heart and from which you go out to walk with God all day.”

“Every soul is worth more than the world and nothing less than the price paid for it by Christ’s blood. Each is within reach of the power that can be tapped through intercession. We have no concept of the magnitude of the work to be done by God’s intercessors or we would cry out to God for an outpouring of the Spirit of intercession.”

“Prayer and the Word are inseparably linked; power in the use of either depends upon the presence of the other. The Word gives you a subject for prayer. It shows you the path of prayer, telling you how God would have you come. It gives you the power for prayer—courage in the assurance that you will be heard. And it brings you the answer to prayer as it teaches what God will do for you. On the other hand, prayer prepares your heart to receive the Word from God himself, to receive spiritual understanding from the Spirit, and to build faith that participates in its mighty working.” 

“God’s purpose was to bring us back to Himself as our Creator, in whose fellowship and glory our happiness can alone be found. God could attain His purposes and satisfy the love of His own heart only by bringing us into complete union with Christ, so that in Him we can be as near to God as Christ is. Oh, the mystery of the love of God!”

“The knowledge of God’s Father-love is the first and simplest—but also the last and highest—lesson in the school of prayer. It is in personal relationship to the living God and fellowship with Him that prayer begins.” 

“As one of His redeemed ones you are His delight, and all His desire is to you, with the longing of a love that is stronger than death, and which many waters cannot quench. His heart yearns for you, seeking your fellowship and your love. If it were needed, He would die again to possess you. As the Father loved the Son, and could not live without Him—this is how Jesus loves you. His life is bound up in yours; you are to Him inexpressibly more indispensable and precious than you can ever know.”

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