Thursdays With Oswald—Becoming Bread

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.

Becoming Bread

     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.

How Guys Unintentionally Sabotage Their Relationships

There is a relationship killer that seems to be particularly hard for men. It’s hard because men’s brains are designed in a way that sometimes prohibits them from even seeing this issue.

Bill & Pam Farrel wrote a book called Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti. The Farrels identify how men tend to compartmentalize their lives. That is, guys can be so absorbed in one “box” in their life that they are completely oblivious to the other boxes. For instance, when a man is at work he seldom thinks about the other areas of his life (his wife, his kids, the bills that need to be paid, what he’s going to have for lunch).

In addition, men’s brains are also designed to stay in those boxes where things can be quickly fixed. A guy likes fixing things, so the boxes where he can do something and see an immediate result is a box he’s going to keep going back to again and again.

Here’s the trouble… Relationships don’t fit in nice, neat boxes. Neither are relationships something that can be “fixed.” And relationships are never, ever fixed or improved quickly.

So if a guy isn’t aware of these things, he can be unintentionally sabotaging the relationships around him.

King David illustrated this in his unintentional lack of involvement in three of his sons’ lives—

  • Amnon pursued an unhealthy relationship with his step-sister. David got mad but never did anything about it (2 Samuel 13:21).
  • Absalom got revenge for what Amnon did and then fled the country. When David finally allowed him to return to Israel, they never met to resolve what went wrong (2 Samuel 14:28).
  • Adonijah wanted to be king after David, but the Bible says, “His father had never interfered with him by asking, ‘Why do you behave as you do?’” (1 Kings 1:6).

Dave Wills wrote, “We all tend to craft a self-focused view of the world where we emerge as either a hero or a victim in every scene. We’re never the villains in the story. The truth is, though, that we’ve all been the bad guy more often than we’d like to admit. A life of love requires that we look in the mirror and give an honest and humble self-assessment.”

The way to defeat this relationship killer is to become aware of it through humble self-assessment. David learned this truth and shared his prayer with us: “Search me, O God. Show me any areas in my life where I am off-track” (Psalm 139:23-24).

In response to this prayer, the Holy Spirit must have showed David how he had unintentionally starved his relationships with Amnon, Absalom, and Adonijah, because he became highly involved in his son Solomon’s life.

So much so that as Solomon talked to his children about how they should live, he also told them where he had learned how to do this—his father taught him (Proverbs 4:1-4).

Guys, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been unintentionally in another box. It doesn’t matter how strained the relationship may have become. If you will humbly ask God to search you, reveal to you where you’ve messed up, and ask Him to help you get better … your relationships WILL begin to improve!

Don’t wait another day to pray that “Search me” prayer!

10 Quotes From “The Servant As His Lord”

Whenever I read an Oswald Chambers’ book, I know I’m going to get exceptional content that is really going to make me think. The Servant As His Lord lived up to my expectations! I have shared several passages from this book already in my weekly “Thursdays With Oswald” posts (more about that in a moment), but here are a few more quotes I wanted to pass along to you.

“I continually come across people with rusty ‘thinkers,’ they think about their business but about nothing else, and the forces within have become desperately weak; consequently when tribulation comes their minds are confused, and the result is that errors come into the life. If the forces within are strong and healthy they give us warning and enable us to crush in a vice on the threshold of the mind everything that ought not to come there. God can impart to a man the power to select what his mind thinks, the power to think only what is right and pure and true.”

“God has no favorites, but when we let Him have His right of way through us He begins to unveil something more of His purposes in our lives. … Is tribulation making you wilt? making you swoon for sympathy? making you stagnate? It is an easy business to want to get away from tribulation, but fighting makes us strong, gloriously strong.”

“God grant we may be so filled with the Holy Spirit that we listen to His checks along every line. No power can deceive a child of God who keeps in the light with God. I am perfectly certain that the devil likes to deceive us and limit us in our practical belief as to what Jesus Christ can do. There is no limit to what He can do, absolutely none. ‘All things are possible to him that believeth.’ Jesus says that faith in Him is omnipotent. God grant we may get hold of this truth.”

“Look at the world either through a telescope or a microscope and you will be dwarfed into terror by the infinitely great or the infinitely little. Naturalists tell us that there are no two blades of grass alike, and close inspection of a bee’s wing under a microscope reveals how marvelously it is made. What do I read in the Bible? I read that the God of heaven counts the hairs of our heads. Jesus says so. I read that the mighty God watches the sparrows so intimately that not one of them falls on the ground without His notice. I read that the God who holds the seas in the hollow of His hand and guides the stars in their courses, clothes the grass of the field. Through the love of God in Christ Jesus we are brought into a wonderful intimacy with the infinitely great and the infinitely little.”

“The great need today amongst those of us who profess sanctification is the patience and ability to work out the holiness of God in every detail of our lives.”

“We are only safe in taking an estimate of ourselves from our Creator, not from our own introspection.”

“There is no one in the world more easy to get to than God. Only one thing prevents us from getting there, and that is the refusal to tell ourselves the truth.”

“God does not do what false Christianity makes out—keep a man immune from trouble, there is no promise of that; God says, ‘I will be with him in trouble.’ … No matter what actual troubles in the most extreme form get hold of a man’s life, not one of them can touch the central citadel, that is, his relationship to God in Christ Jesus.”

“The afflictions after sanctification are not meant to purify us, but to make us broken bread in the hands of our Lord to nourish others.”

“If we are self-willed when God tries to break us and will do anything rather than submit, we shall never be of any use to nourish other souls; we shall only be centers of craving self-pity, discrediting the character of God.”

“Thursdays With Oswald” is a weekly feature where I share a longer section from an Oswald Chambers book, along with a thought or two of my own. You can subscribe to my blog and get notified each time I share one of these posts, or you can type Thursdays With Oswald in the search box.

You can read my review of The Servant As His Lordclicking here by .

The Servant As His Lord (book review)

One of the most straight-talking, tell-it-like-it-is Christian speaker and author is Oswald Chambers. No one could ever accuse him of sugar-coating the Christian walk! In The Servant As His Lord, Chambers takes an unflinching look at the difficulty a Christian will have in living as his Lord, Jesus Christ, did.

As is the case with nearly all of Oswald Chambers’ books, The Servant As His Lord is a compilation of three sources: lectures, sermons, and essays for some small pamphlets. Biddy Chambers, his wife, often recorded Oswald’s sermons via shorthand and then put them into a book form at a later date.

The material in this book was all recorded during the height of The Great War (or what we now refer to as World War I). Many Christians were quite shaken in their faith during this time, questioning why God’s followers should have to go through such horrific things. Oswald Chambers, as he always did, never dodged the question nor made excuses, but simply stated: Jesus suffered pain, ridicule, and injustice while on earth, and His followers will too. The servant will be as his Lord.

Even though this book addresses some heavy topics, it’s not at all a “downer” for the reader. Quite the contrary! This book is actually very encouraging for the Christian going through any kind of difficulty or trial, knowing that Jesus not only went through the same thing, but that He is walking with us through our own trials.

This is definitely one of Chambers’ meatier books, but it is well worth the mature Christian’s time to study these wise and encouraging words.

Poetry Saturday—If All My Days Were Sunny

If all my days were sunny, could I say,
“In His fair land He wipes all tears away”?

If I were never weary, could I keep
This blessed truth, “He gives His loved ones sleep”?

If no grave were mine, I might come to deem
The Life Eternal but a baseless dream.

My winter, and my tears, and weariness,
Even my grave, may be His way to bless.

I called them ills; yet that can surely be
Nothing but love that shows my Lord to me!

—Anonymous

Absolute Surrender (book review)

absolute-surrenderAnyone who calls himself a Christian is more than likely searching and striving for a way to become a closer follower of Jesus Christ. That, says Andrew Murray in this book, is where that Christian will perpetually remain stuck. Rev. Murray makes the case that the only way for a Christian is Absolute Surrender.

Andrew Murray never pulled his punches when he spoke and wrote. Whether he was challenging fellow pastors or the congregation in his church, he spoke directly and authoritatively, like a New Testament apostle. For instance, he warned, “The great hindrance to trust is self-effort. So long as you have got your own wisdom and thoughts and strength, you cannot fully trust God.”

In nine short chapter, Rev. Murray brilliantly shows how God’s Word calls the Christian to absolutely, unreservedly yield to Jesus. We cannot progress in our Christian walk by our own best efforts, but we must daily make the decision to surrender to His hand.

In one sense this is an easy book to read. Rev. Murray doesn’t use big words or deep theological concepts. But in another sense, it’s a very challenging book, in that I found the Holy Spirit convicting me through Murray’s biblical messages. In the opening pages, Rev. Murray asks a simple question: Are you willing to surrender yourselves absolutely into His hands? If you can answer “yes” then this book is for you; if your answer is “no” or “I’m not sure” then you should probably wait awhile before attempting to read Absolute Surrender.

David Wilkerson On Great Personal Testing

David Wilkerson“During a recent time of great personal testing, I asked the Lord, ‘If there are lessons I need to know from this present trial, please teach me.’

“The Spirit spoke clearly to my heart: ‘Your present affliction has nothing to do with chastening. In fact, it has nothing at all to do with this world. Your intense, long-lasting trial has to do with eternity. I am preparing you for your service and ministry in My Kingdom.’

“Dear saint, I believe we are being weaned from everything that is of this world. The pains we are experiencing right now are awful birth pangs. God has allowed us to be so weakened of human strength that we will stop all our striving and let Him take us the rest of the way.” —David Wilkerson

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