Saturday In The Psalms—Generations

I will utter dark sayings of old, which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord… (Psalm 78:3-4).

If George Santayana* was right about the dangers of unlearned history lessons for the general population, he identified something even more vital for those who follow God.

Asaph recounts a history of God’s people where God blessed them, the people became complacent in His blessing, until they turned from God and became subject to His wrath. The cycle, sadly, repeats again and again.

Asaph wants today’s generation to learn this lesson and to break this cycle. 

He calls on this generation to continually remind the next generation of God’s blessings for obedience, and God’s judgment for disobedience—

Make them known to their children (v. 5).

The children who would be born, that they may arise and declare them to their children (v. 6)

For today’s parents this means…
No complacency. 
No assumptions. 
No letting kids “figure it out on their own.” 
Constant diligence.
Constant communication.

May this generation speak words of life to the generation to come!

* George Santayana said, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” And he also noted, “A child educated only in school is an uneducated child.”

 

A Leader Must Be Consistent

There was a man…whose name was Job (Job 1:1).

Job is described by the author of this book like this: “that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil. … This man was the greatest of all the people of the East” (vv. 1, 3).

God Himself described Job like this: “There is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil” (1:8). Even after Job’s calamities, God repeats this description and adds, “and still he holds fast to his integrity” (2:3).

satan acknowledged that Job feared God (1:9). But that slanderer accused Job of being a mercenary—that is, he said Job only feared and obeyed God because of what he got out of the bargain (1:10). But the liar missed something: Job’s obedience came before God’s blessing, and Job’s worship came after Job lost all his earthly possessions.

“In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong” (1:22), and “in all this Job did not sin with his lips” (2:10).

A mark of a godly leader is one who acts consistently in good times and bad times.

It’s a good question for godly leaders to ask: why do I obey God? why do I trust Him? why do I fear Him? is it so that I can get something out of it? is it because I’ve already received something? is it so that I can avoid punishment?

Or do I obey, trust, and fear God because He is worthy of all that—and more!—regardless of anything else? Godly leaders consistently ask both sets of questions and answer an assured “Yes” to the last question.

This is Part 14 in my series on godly leadership. You can check out all of my posts on this topic by clicking here.

Thursdays With Oswald—Is Jesus My Master?

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.

Is Jesus My Master?

     To have a master and to be mastered are not the same thing, but diametrically opposed. If I have the idea that I am being mastered, it is a sure proof that I have no master. If I feel I am in subjection to someone, then I may be sure that that someone is not the one I love. To have a master means to have one who is closer than a friend, one whom I know knows me better than I know myself, one who has fathomed the remotest abyss of my heart and satisfied it, one who brings me the secure sense that he has met and solved every perplexity of my mind—that, and nothing less, is to have a master. … 

     Our Lord never takes measures to make us obey Him. Our obedience is the outcome of a oneness of spirit with Him through His Redemption. That is why, whenever Our Lord talked about discipleship, He prefaced it with an “IF”—“you do not need to unless you like”; but—“If any man will be My disciple, let him deny himself.” 

From So Send I You

After reading Oswald Chambers’ definition of a loving master, would you say Jesus is your Master?

After reading what Chambers says about obedience being an expression of love, would you say you obey your master out of love or out of duty?

How you answer these questions makes all the difference in how you live as a disciple of Jesus.

Thursdays With Oswald—The One God Uses

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.

The One God Uses

     Missionary enterprise, to be Christian, must be based on the passion of obedience, not on the pathos of pity. … In the New Testament the emphasis is not on the needs of men, but on the command of Christ, “Go ye.” … 

     Any sense that the cause of Christ will be benefited if I give myself to it, or any trace of listening to the suggestion of others that I should be of value in my Lord’s service, receives no encouragement from Jesus. … 

     What is the test we put first for work at home or abroad? Sentimentally, we put the call of God first, but actually we are inclined to fix on the abilities of certain people. Our Lord pays not the remotest attention to natural abilities or natural virtues; He heeds only one thing—Does that man discern Who I am? does he know the meaning of My Cross? The men and women Jesus Christ is going to use in His enterprises are those in whom He has done everything. … 

     The one who says “Yes, Lord, but…” is always the one who is fiercely ready, but never goes. … 

     Beware of the inclination to dictate to God as to what you will allow to happen if you obey Him.

From So Send I You

God uses specific people for His service. They are ones who are:

  • Obedient to His call to “Go”
  • Humble
  • Changed from the inside out by Christ’s Atonement
  • Quick to follow
  • Not dictating to God the “where” or “when” or even the outcome of their obedience

Are you one whom God can use?

The Joy Of Understanding

Then Ezra read from the Book of the Law in the open square… (Nehemiah 8).

I love the simplicity of this! No sermon; just a straightforward reading of God’s Word. And look at how everyone responded…

  • “The ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law”
  • There was a respect for the Word of God and the God of the Word—“When he opened it all the people stood up…[then] they bowed their heads and worship the Lord with their faces to the ground”
  • The religious leaders “helped the people to understand the Law”
  • “So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them understand the reading”

The result—“And all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions [to those in need] and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them.

A mark of a godly leader is one who helps people make sense of God’s Word.

And when the people understand the Word, they are more likely to joyfully put it into practice.

This is Part 10 in my series on godly leadership. To read my other posts, please click here.

Thursdays With Oswald—Hearing God’s Voice

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.

Hearing God’s Voice

     Very few of us hear the call of God because we are not in the place to answer. …

     Most of us have no ear for anything but ourselves, anything that is not “me” we cannot hear. We are dead to, and without interest in the finest music, we can yawn in a picture gallery, and be uninspired by a sunrise or a sunset. That is true not only of the soul’s denseness to natural beauties, or to music and art and literature, but true with regard to the awakening of the soul to the call of God. To be brought within the zone of God’s voice is to be profoundly altered. … 

     The call to service is the result of my obedience to the realized call of God. … God does not have to come and tell me what I must do for Him, He brings me into a relationship with Himself wherein I hear His call and understand what He wants me to do, and I do it out of sheer love to Him. To serve God is the deliberate love gift of a nature that has heard the call of God.

From So Send I You

According to Oswald Chambers, we can hear God’s voice clearly when: (a) we make it a priority to remain in His presence, and (b) we listen to God’s voice with an attitude of loving obedience. What do you think?

One thing absolutely clear: responding to God’s voice is always “I get to!” and never “I have to.”

8 Quotes From “Paths To Power” by A.W. Tozer

As I said in my book review, A.W. Tozer’s words frequently make me say both “Ouch!” and “Amen!” Maybe you’ll feel the same thing in these few quotes.

“Left to herself the Church must have perished as a thousand abortive sects had done before her, and have left nothing for a future generation to remember. That the Church did not so perish was due entirely to the miraculous element within her. That element was supplied by the Holy Spirit who came at Pentecost to empower her for her task. For the Church was not an organization merely, not a movement, but a walking incarnation of spiritual energy. …

“In short, the Church began in power, moved in power, and moved just as long as she had power. When she no longer had power she dug in for safety and sought to conserve her gains. But her blessings were like manna: when they tried to keep it overnight it bred worms and stank. So we have had monasticism, scholasticism, institutionalism; and they have all been indicative of the same thing: absence of spiritual power.” 

“The weakness in our message today is our overemphasis on faith with a corresponding underemphasis on obedience. This has been carried so far that ‘believe’ has been made to double for ‘obey’ in the minds of millions of religious persons.”

“In every denomination, missionary society, local church, or individual Christian this law operates. God works as long as His people live daringly; He ceases when they no longer need His aid.” 

“To any casual observer of the religious scene today, two things will at once be evident: one, that there is very little sense of sin among the unsaved, and two, that the average professed Christian lives a life so worldly and careless that it is difficult to distinguish him from the unconverted man.”

“It is always dangerous to isolate a truth and then press it to its limit without regard to other truth.”

“It may be stated as an axiom of the Christian system that whatever makes sin permissible is a foe of God and an enemy of the souls of men.”

“Some time after Pentecost a group of believers met to pray for strength and power to meet the emergency then facing them, and to enlist the help of God on their behalf. ‘And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the Word of God with boldness’ (Acts 4:31). Some of these were of the original number filled at Pentecost. It is hardly conceivable that God acted contrary to His own will in filling them again after Pentecost. Still other outpourings are recorded in Acts 8, 10 and 19. All these occurred some years after the original act.

“In brief, the teaching of the New Testament is that the outpouring at Pentecost was the historic beginning of an era which was to be characterized by a continuous outpouring of the Holy Spirit.”

“This anti-emotionalism, though it is sponsored by some good people and travels in pretty orthodox company, is nevertheless an unwarranted inference, not a scriptural doctrine, and is in violent opposition to psychology and common sense. Where in the Bible are feeling and faith said to be at odds? The fact is that faith engenders feeling as certainly as life engenders motion. We can have feeling without faith, it is true, we can never have faith without feeling. Faith as a cold, unemotional light is wholly unknown in the Scriptures.”

%d bloggers like this: