The Personal Element

It is the personal element that Christian discipleship needs to emphasize. ‘The gift without the Giver is bare.’ The call of this age is a call for a new discipleship, a new following of Jesus, more like the early, simple, apostolic Christianity when the disciples left all and literally followed the Master. Nothing but a discipleship of this kind can face the destructive selfishness of the age, with any hope of overcoming it. … But if our definition of being a Christian is simply to enjoy the privileges of worship, be generous at no expense to ourselves, have a good, easy time surrounded by pleasant friends and by comfortable things, live respectably, and at the same time avoid the world’s great stress of sin and trouble because it is too painful—if this is our definition of Christianity, then surely we are a long way from following the steps of Him who trod the way with tears of anguish for a lost humanity.” —Rev. Maxwell in Charles Sheldon’s In His Steps (emphasis mine)

Don’t Throw Out The Message

An important reminder—Don’t throw out the message because of the messenger.

“Beware of seeking out inconsistencies in God’s children in order to evade obeying God’s message yourself. If there comes to you a message on personal holiness, beware of the tendency that puts you on the watch to see if that person is consistent; the reason you watch is that you want to evade obeying God’s message. There is an antipathy to the message of holiness which prides itself on being amazingly shrewd, and whenever a man of God is known to fall, there is a sigh of relief—‘Well, that saves me, I have always been suspicious about this holy life,’ and under the affectation of profound sadness there is a glow of relief on the inside. The trick is as old as the Garden of Eden.” —Oswald Chambers

Thursdays With Oswald—Jeremiah 9

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.

Jeremiah 9

[These are notes from Oswald Chambers’ lecture on Jeremiah 9.] 

    Jeremiah states that wisdom and enlightenment are not to be found among the infatuated people, they have been swept away from right judgment by false prophets who taught that everything develops along a natural rational line. That was the infatuation in Jeremiah’s day, and in our own day the proclaimers of the truth of God are in the minority; men won’t listen to them.

     There are those who say there is no such thing as the supernatural incoming of Jesus Christ, either in history or in the human heart. Our Lord Jesus Christ is not Someone Who has sprung from human nature by evolution: He is Someone Who has come crushing into the human nature by the superb miracle of the Incarnation. The supernatural is the only explanation of our lives if we are right with God, and at any moment God may tumble our lives up as He likes. The question is, are we willing to let Him? We have to maintain our personal relationship to God in Christ Jesus, no matter what happens. The one thing that is of value to God in a human life is a personal relationship of holiness to God, and every part of physical, mental, moral life and of Christian work that is not so related will be desolated and burnt as rubbish.

     The characteristic of life today is that the gospel of, ‘Cheer up, look on the bright side,’ is being preached on all sides. Our Lord says, in effect, that every happiness and peace and well-being that is based on the ignoring of a relationship to God will end in dirges and woes, disasters and terrors.

From Notes On Jeremiah

This statement arrested my attention—At any moment God may tumble our lives up as He likes. The question is, are we willing to let Him?

That is the true question for all followers of Jesus Christ: Am I willing to let Him have His way with my life?

11 More Quotes From “#struggles”

#strugglesCraig Groeschel nailed the tension between technology and relationships in his timely book #struggles. He doesn’t advocate getting rid of technology, but he does make a great case for not allowing technology to diminish our flesh-and-blood relationships. You can read my review of #struggles by clicking here. Below are some more quotes that caught my eye from this book.

“The highest percentage of consumers of pornography our children aged twelve to seventeen.”

“We have access to many opportunities online that—without accountability—can turn technological blessings into curses.”

“Over time and with repeated use, technology is eroding both our moral beliefs and our commitment to acting on what we believe. According to one study, ‘Roughly two-thirds (67 percent) of young adult men and one-half (49 percent) of young adult women now believe that viewing pornography is acceptable.’ … Times have changed. But that doesn’t mean morality should.” 

“If you want to live in a way that honors our Savior—if you want to follow Jesus in a sin-saturated, selfie-centered world—then you will have to be different. … Our convictions must be guided by God’s timeless principles, not by the ever-eroding popular opinion on whatever happens to be acceptable now.”

“Most people I know you don’t plan to ruin their lives. I don’t know anyone who thinks, ‘If I can connect with an old boyfriend on Facebook, I can totally wreck my life. I can almost guarantee an ugly divorce full of expensive lawyers helping us fight over custody rights for the kids. I can devastate my husband and drop a nuclear bomb of pain into my kids’ lives. And I can spend the next years of my life trying to forgive myself, rebuild my life, and regain my name.’ No one plans like that, but these things happen every day. Same with pornography. I don’t know a single man who wanted to crush the wife he loves when she discovered his ‘little secret.’ But one glance followed by another click often leads to an addiction that seems impossible to overcome.”

“When you think about it, no one stumbles into righteousness. People fall into sin and every day. But no one just falls into holiness. It requires making deliberate, prayerful choices and walking an intentional path.”

“Here’s what many people miss: when we misuse technology, we’re robbing ourselves of the peace we so desperately crave, because even the momentary escape is followed by waves of intense guilt. We want to numb the pain, but on the other side of our binge, the pain is still there, only worse. We love the momentary distraction, but then reality screams at us and our responsibilities pile up. We love the thrill of the lust, but the fear of getting caught haunts us and robs us of sleep and peace. Like a person dying of thirst who gulps salt water, that which is supposed to satisfy only intensifies our need. So life goes on as usual. More stress. More anxiety. More worries. And less peace.”

“Now is a great time to be brutally honest. Are you addicted to something online? Looking lustfully? Spending uncontrollably? Surfing endlessly? Playing continually? Gambling consistently? Scrolling incessantly?”

“If you are checking multiple times a day to see what people are saying about you, let’s call that what it is: idolatry. If your identity comes more from who follows you, who Likes you, what they say and what they think about you rather than who God says you are, it’s time to take this issue to God.”

“When our minds are idle, we’re not thinking about anything meaningful, and when we’re not intentionally living, it can be so easy to shift into neutral. When we don’t have a specific destination in mind, any road will do. And if our time and our resources aren’t precious, if we’re not doing anything important, it can be so easy to just pick up our phone, unlock the screen, and wonder aimlessly through cyberspace, wasting our time and our thoughts.”

“Maybe it’s time to power down and take a cyber Sabbath. Maybe it’s time to remember what life is like without your phone, tablet, or laptop. Maybe it’s time for your soul to rest.”

You can check out the other quotes I shared from #struggles by clicking here.

9 More Quotes From “Every Man’s Battle”

Every Man's BattleFellas, don’t use the “I’m a guy and I can’t help it” excuse for your lust or your pornography viewing. You can do better than that! Check out my review of Every Man’s Battle by clicking here, and then read some of the quotes I highlighted below.

“Regarding sexual purity, God knows the provision He’s made for us. We aren’t short on power or authority, but what we lack is urgency. We must choose to be strong and courageous to walk into purity. The millisecond it takes to make that choice, the Holy Spirit will start guiding you and walking through the struggle with you.”

“Some hard questions:

  • How long do I intended to stay ensnared?
  • How long must my family wait?
  • How long before I can look God in the eye?
  • How long are you going to stay sexually impure?
  • How long will you rob your wife sexually?
  • How long will you stunt the growth of oneness with your wife, a oneness you promised her years ago?”

“God is waiting for you. But He is not waiting by the altar, hoping you’ll drop by and talk for a while. He is waiting for you to rise up and engage in the battle.”

“Holiness is not some nebulous thing. It’s a series of right choices. You needn’t wait for some holy cloud to form around you. You’ll be holy when you choose not to sin.”

“You can expect an inner ‘urge to fail.’ You’re accustomed to satisfying a portion of your sexual hunger through your eyes, anytime and anywhere you please. Your body will fight for these highs. As you advance in purity, the part of your sexual hunger, once fed by your eyes, remains unfed and doesn’t just disappear. This demanding hunger runs to the only available pantry left to you: your wife.”

“The magazines at the supermarket checkout might say, ‘Fantasize to a better sex life.’ The talk shows may say, ‘Let variety improve your sex life—adultery can be good!’ But in God’s kingdom, obedience always ends in joy, peace, and in this case, thrills. You can count on a sexual payoff from obedience.”

“Your mind is orderly, and your world-review colors what comes through it. The mind will allow these impure thoughts only if they ‘fit’ the way you look at the world. As you set up the perimeter of defense for your mind, your brain’s world-view will be transformed by a new matrix of allowed thoughts, or ‘allowables.’ Within the old matrix of your thinking, lust fit perfectly and in that sense was ‘orderly.’ But with a new, purer matrix firmly in place, lustful thoughts will bring disorder. Your brain, acting as a responsible policeman, nabs these lustful thoughts even before they rise to consciousness. Essentially the brain begins cleaning itself, so elusive enemies like double entendres and daydreams, which are hard to control on the conscious level, simply vanish on their own.”

“God loves pop quizzes, but He doesn’t test our knowledge with them. He tests our character.”

“Great marriages may seem rare these days, but God didn’t intend it that way. By God’s way of thinking, a vibrant, cherishing relationship is quite normal and should be quite common because, believe it or not, you already have what it takes to walk faithfully. … You and your wife already have what it takes to sculpt a glorious image of Christ’s relationship to the church, a masterpiece so lovely it will draw men and women to Christ simply by their looking at the two of you together.”

You can read other quotes from this book by clicking here.

10 Quotes From “Every Man’s Battle”

Every Man's BattleGuys, you need to read Every Man’s Battle (check out my book review to find out why I say this). Fellas, we can be the men that God desires us to be! Check out some quotes from this powerful book.

“Your purity must not depend upon your mate’s health or desire. God holds you responsible.”

“Why do we find it so easy to mix our standards of sexual sin and so difficult to firmly commit to true purity? Because were used to it. We easily tolerate mixed standards of sexual purity because we tolerate mixed standards in most other areas of life.”

“While in business it’s profitable to seem perfect, in the spiritual realm it’s merely comfortable to seem perfect. It is never profitable. … Excellence is a mixed standard, while obedience is a fixed standard. We want to shoot for the fixed standard.”

“I was asking myself, ‘How far can I go and still be called a Christian?’ The question I should have been asking was, ‘How holy can I be?’”

“We have countless churches filled with countless men encumbered by sexual sin, weakened by low-grade sexual favors—men happy enough to go to Promise Keepers but too sickly to be promise keepers. A spiritual battle for purity is going on in every heart and soul. The costs are real. Obedience is hard, requiring humility and meekness, very rare elements indeed. … If we don’t kill every hint of immorality, we’ll be captured by our tendency as males to draw sexual gratification and chemical highs through our eyes. … As we ask ‘How holy can I be?’ We must pray and commit to a new relationship with God, fully aligned with His call to obedience.”

“Your body isn’t reliable for any spiritual battle, much less the battle for sexual purity and obedience. … Your body often breaks ranks, engaging in battle against you. This traitorous tendency pushes our sexual drive to ignore God’s standards. When this sexual drive combines with our natural male arrogance and our natural male desire to drift from the straight life, we’re primed and fueled for sexual captivity.”

“For males, impurity of the eyes is sexual foreplay…because foreplay is any sexual action that naturally takes us down the road to intercourse. Foreplay ignites passions, rocketing us by stages until we go all the way. God views foreplay outside marriage as wrong. … It’s critical to recognize visual sexual impurity as foreplay.” 

“If we get into sexual sin naturally—just by being male—then how do we get out? We can’t eliminate our maleness, and we’re sure we don’t want to. For instance, we want to look at our wives and desire them. They’re beautiful to us, and we’re sexually gratified when we gaze at them, often daydreaming about the night ahead and what bedtime will bring. In its proper place, maleness is wonderful. Yet our maleness is a major root of sexual sin. So what do we do? We must choose to be more than male. We must choose manhood. … Our Heavenly Father also exhorts us to be men. He wants us to be like Him. When He calls us to ‘be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect,’ He’s asking us to rise above our natural tendencies to impure eyes, fanciful minds, and wandering hearts. His standard of purity doesn’t come naturally to us. He calls us to rise up, by the power of His indwelling presence, and get the job done.”

“The hands of Jesus…never touched a woman with dishonor. … Jesus not only never touched a woman with dishonor, He never even looked at a woman in dishonor. Could I say that? … ‘Oh, don’t be so hard on yourself,’ one might say. ‘It’s natural for a male to look. That’s part of our nature.’ But what you’re doing is stealing. The impure thought life is the life of a thief. You’re stealing images that aren’t yours. … When we’re thieves with our eyes, we’re embezzling sexual gratification from areas that don’t belong to us, from women who aren’t connected to us.”

“When God looks around, He’s not looking for a man’s man but for ‘God’s man.’ His definition of a man—someone who hears His word and acts upon it—is tough, but at least it’s clear.”

Watch for more quotes soon…

Links & Quotes

link quote

Some good reading & watching from today…

“The true measure of ministry effectiveness is the extent to which we are able to lead God’s people into greater love for Him and His Kingdom.” —T.M. Moore

“Tragedy is that our attention centers on what people are not, rather than on what they are and who they might become.” —Brennan Manning

“The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved.” —Mother Teresa

“Holiness is not the luxury of the few; it is a simple duty, for you and for me.” —Mother Teresa

The devil does not need to bother about us as long as we remain ignorant of the way God has made us and refuse to discipline ourselves; inattention and our own slovenliness will soon run away with every power we have.” —Oswald Chambers 

“There is something which we can do which God does. He does good to all His creatures, and we can do good also. He bears witness to His Son Jesus, and we can bear witness too.” —Charles Spurgeon

[VIDEO] Ken Davis always cracks me up. Check out this clip Arm Vs. Airbag.

Why do people get so annoyed over anything that looks “religious” to them. For people who claim God doesn’t exist, atheists get awfully mad at Him!

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