Thursdays With Oswald—No Fear Of Death

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 Fear Of Death

     Death means extinction of life as we understand it; our dead are gone and have left an aching void behind them. They do not talk to us, we do not feel their touch, and when the bereaved heart cries out, nothing comes back but the hollow echo of its own cry. The heart is raw, no pious chatter, no scientific cant can touch it. It is the physical calamity of death plus the thing behind which no man can grasp, that makes death so terrible. …

     Every attempt to comfort a bereaved soul apart from the revelation of Jesus Christ brings a vain speculation. We know nothing about the mystery of death apart from what Jesus Christ tells us; but blessed be the Name of God, what He tells us makes us more than conquerors, so that we can shout the victory through the darkest valley of the shadow that ever a human being can go through. … 

     Jesus Christ can deliver from the dread of death—“that through death He might bring to naught him that had the power of death, that is the devil” [Hebrews 2:14]. Death has no terror for the man who is rightly related to God through Jesus Christ. … 

     It is not within the power of human tongue or archangel’s tongue to state what an awful fact death is, and what a still more awful fact life is. But thank God, there is the greatest deliverance conceivable from all that life may bring and from all that death may bring. Jesus Christ has destroyed the dominion of death, and He can make us fit to face every problem of life, more than conqueror all along the line.

From The Fighting Chance 

Through His death on the Cross and bodily resurrection from the grave, Jesus Christ has defeated Death for all who place their faith in this victory He won for us (see 1 Corinthians 15:55-57).

The Apostle Paul tells us that Christians grieve when a loved one dies, but we don’t grieve as those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). When one who knows Jesus as their Savior dies, we have a rock-solid, unshakable hope that they are fully alive with Christ in Heaven, and that we who also know Jesus as Lord and Savior will one day be reunited with them.

So for the Christian, death brings absolutely no fear! 

11 Quotes From “Your Next 24 Hours”

your-next-24-hoursHal Donaldson makes the case that a revolution of kindness can be started by what you do in the next 24 hours. It’s a great book! Check out my review of Your Next 24 Hours by clicking here, and then enjoy some of these quotes that I found enlightening.

“Think of your heart as a bank vault that’s packed with the currency of love and kindness. When that currency is hoarded—it is wasted. But when it is invested in the lives of others, it pays great dividends. With each disbursement, you give others strength, hope, and value.”

“You have a unique capacity to bring hope and beauty to the world. Don’t waste your precious energy using the wrong ruler. Granted, not everyone will acknowledge your unique gifts. But don’t allow how others see you to dictate how you see yourself. The words they use to describe you don’t define you. You can’t control how they respond to you, but you can influence what they have to respond to.”

“If all you possess are two hands, collect trash along the way. If all you own is a smile, use it to befriend someone who is lonely. If all you have is an umbrella, share it with someone who is quivering in the rain. If all you have is a kind word, encourage those who think the world is against them. To the lonely, rain-soaked, and downtrodden, your resourcefulness is their miracle.” 

“If enough families are built on a foundation of kindness, communities will see crime rates fall, domestic disputes decline, suicides drop, teen pregnancies wane, and cases of child abuse fade.”

“Whenever you see injustice, it’s safer to ignore it and do nothing. When you raise your voice in defense of others, you put yourself at risk. Retreating will protect you temporarily, but that approach only perpetuates more injustice and suffering. Don’t allow the threat of retaliation to make you a spectator.”

“From a heart of kindness, will you stand and say, ‘There are no second class citizens—nor should anyone be made to feel like one. Every life is precious to God and must be treasured, because “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”?’ Remember, your voice is a vote for justice; your silence may be interpreted as a vote for injustice.”

“To offer the right prescription of hope and encouragement, you need to be emotionally and spiritually prepared.” 

“No life experience should be wasted, because crises teach patience, empathy, and perseverance.”

“Make it your goal to do more for your friends and family members than they do for you. When they are facing hardship, make an effort to be by their side. They may not know how to ask for help, so don’t be afraid to be proactive.” 

“Occasional kindness has limited power. But relentless kindness has the power to restore, inspire, rescue, and unite.”

“Your acts of kindness are an outward expression of the love and happiness that are in your heart.” 

I’ll be sharing more quotes from this wonderful book soon. To be notified right away when these quotes are posted, enter your email address to subscribe. Also be sure to follow me on Twitter and Tumblr, where I share quotes from Hal Donaldson and other thought-provoking people every day.

Christlike Wives And Husbands

like-jesusTime after time Peter calls Christians to live a counter-cultural lifestyle. The most countercultural example we have ever seen is Jesus Christ.

Peter shows us how Jesus—in the most excruciating situation possible—lived. Heading into the torture of crucifixion

  • He was submissive to His Father’s will
  • He remained focused on the future glory, not just the immediate pain
  • He continued to be a servant-hearted leader
  • He spoke to those around Him respectfully
  • He extended mercy to His tormentors
  • He prayed for (and purchased with His blood) His tormentors’ forgiveness

Peter then tells Christian wives and husbands they are to behave in the same way as Jesus. Wow!

More specifically Peter challenges Christlike wives to be:

  1. Submissive to their husbands—I like how the Amplified Bible says this in verse 1: “subordinate, not as inferior, but out of respect for the responsibilities entrusted to husbands and their accountability to God, and so partnering with them.
  2. Christlike in their behavior.
  3. Distinctive by their purity.
  4. Reverent to God, by honoring the image of God in their husbands.
  5. Beautiful from the inside out.
  6. Consistently doing what is right
  7. Not swayed by fear—“do what is right without being frightened by any fear [that is, being respectful toward your husband but not giving in to intimidation, nor allowing yourself to be led into sin, nor to be harmed]” (v. 6 AMP).

Likewise Peter challenges Christlike husbands to be:

  1. Submissive to their wives—remember the in the same way phrase? That applies to the men too. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. … Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her (Ephesians 5:21, 24).
  2. Considerate of her—the King James Version says, “dwell with them according to knowledge.” That word for knowledge means to study your wife and know what she likes and doesn’t like.
  3. Respectful in the way he treats his wife.
  4. Treating her as a partner and heir in your spiritual heritage.
  5. Understanding the part she plays in your spiritual development—“The same goes for you husbands: Be good husbands to your wives. Honor them, delight in them. As women they lack some of your advantages. But in the new life of God’s grace, you’re equals. Treat your wives, then, as equals so your prayers don’t run a ground” (v. 7 MSG).

Here are two questions I think Christian wives and husbands need to seriously consider: Are you thinking about your role as a husband or wife in biblical terms or cultural terms? If you are thinking in cultural terms, are you willing to try it God’s way?

Our Christian marriages should be “alien” to the way the world operates; they should be counter-cultural. That kind of marriage is what points people to a relationship with Jesus!

Charles Spurgeon To Christians: Don’t Be Afraid

C.H. Spurgeon“Poverty, you may walk through my door, but God is already in my house, and He has chosen me. Sickness, you may intrude into my life, but I have a cure standing ready—God has chosen me. Whatever occurs in the valley of tears, I know He has chosen me. Dear Christian, do not be afraid, for Jesus is with you. Through all your fiery trials, His presence is both your comfort and safety. He will never forsake those He has chosen for His own. ‘Do not be afraid, for I am with you’ (Genesis 26:24) is His unfailing word of promise to His chosen ones who are experiencing ‘the furnace of affliction.’” —Charles Spurgeon

21 Benefits From Doing Things God’s Way

got wisdom?I was reading Proverbs 3 this morning, and the opening words are, “My son, do not forget my teaching….” As if to emphasize why we shouldn’t forget how God tells us to live, Solomon lists at least 21 benefits that come from doing things God’s way―

  • A life worth living
  • Tranquility
  • Favor
  • Good reputation with God and people
  • God will keep you on track
  • Health and strength
  • Overflowing success
  • God’s discipline
  • Wisdom and understanding
  • Better return on investments
  • Riches and honor
  • Peace
  • Blessing
  • Safety
  • Sweet sleep
  • Fearlessness
  • Confidence
  • God’s friendship
  • A blessed home life
  • Grace
  • Honor

Now that’s a list worth having! And it’s all there for the one who will heed God’s Word and obediently live out what He says.

4 Notes On Haggai

(c) Laura Kranz at The Overview Bible Project (see my note below)

(c) Laura Kranz at The Overview Bible Project (see my note below)

The prophet Haggai wrote one of the shortest books in the Old Testament, and his recorded ministry only spans five months(!) in 520 B.C. But in this short book I find four really cool things—

(1) God uses His people at specific times for specific purposes. All of Haggai’s messages from God have a very precise date stamp on them, so we know exactly when  they were delivered. Also, most of his messages say something like, “The word of God came through Haggai to Zerubbabel [or to Joshua, or to the people, or to the priests].” If God used Haggai like this, isn’t it likely that He is using you or I at specific times and for specific purposes?

(2) God invites us to “give careful thought” to His messages. Five times God says, “Give careful thought to your ways” (1:5, 7; 2:15, 18). This phrase literally means to take a strong hold on each thought and examine it intensely. This thought process is always connected to another phrase: “This is what the Lord Almighty says….” In other words, we are to thoughtfully examine our lifestyle with God’s Word being the standard of measurement (cf. 2 Corinthians 10:5).

(3) Obeying God’s Word brings God’s “stirring.” When God says move and we move, His Spirit will energize our spirit, and empower our lives for action. God never calls us to do something without giving us the empowerment to do it.

(4) I need to act courageously. God calls us to “be strong” (three times in 2:4) “and work, for I am with you.” Courageous action after God has stirred us up drives out fear. On the flip side, inactivity because of fear almost always leads to more fear and more inactivity.

Don’t ever let the category “minor prophet” trick you into thinking God doesn’t have a major message to share with you. Just one word from God is more powerful than we can ever imagine!

(The portrait of Haggai in this post was created by Laura Kranz at The Overview Bible Project. She and her husband Jeffrey do some amazing things that will add insight to your Bible study time. Click here to read my review of their book The Illustrated Guide To The Authors Of The Bible. And while you’re on their website, subscribe to some of the cool guides that regularly get emailed out.)

Links & Quotes

link quote

Some good reading from today…

“Are you allowing satan to magnify the memories of your spiritual failures? He will always keep them before you unless you take your stand and move up in faith. … Remember, the Bible does not teach that if a man falls down, he can never rise again. The fact that he falls is not the most important thing—but rather that he is forgiven and allows God to lift him up.” —A.W. Tozer

Christian leadership is not about being a lone ranger. Here are 12 benefits of team leadership.

Parents & grandparents, you should be aware of the sex education curriculum the US government has proposed.

George Whitfield was a very well-read, articulate preacher. Here are 13 powerful quotes from him.

“Away with tears and fears and troubles! United in wedlock with the eternal Godhead Itself, our nature ascends into the Heaven of Heavens. So it would be impious to call ourselves ‘miserable.’ On the contrary, Man is a creature whom the Angels—were they capable of envy—would envy. Let us lift up our hearts!” —C.S. Lewis

Pastor Saeed Abedini has been held in an Iranian prison for two years. This letter that he wrote to his daughter for her 8th birthday is both moving and convicting. I hope I could be as faith-filled as he is if I was in a similar situation.

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