Thursdays With Oswald—The Golden Rule Is The Golden Measure

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 Golden Rule Is The Golden Measure

     Christian grace comprehends the whole man. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” Salvation means not only a pure heart, an enlightened mind, a spirit right with God, but that the whole man is comprehended in the manifestation of the marvelous power and grace of God, body, soul, and spirit are brought into fascinating captivity to the Lord Jesus Christ. …  

     The limit to the manifestation of the grace of God in us is our body, and the whole of our body. We can understand the need of a pure heart, of a mind rightly adjusted to God, and a spirit indwelt by the Holy Spirit, but what about the body? That is the margin of righteousness in us. We make a divorce between a clear intellectual understanding of truth and its practical outcome. Jesus Christ never made such a divorce; He takes no notice of our fine intellectual conceptions unless their practical outcome is shown in reality. … 

     So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 7:12). Our Lord’s use of this maxim is positive, not negative. … What would we like other people to do to us? “Well,” says Jesus, “do that to them; don’t wait for them to do it to you.” The Holy Ghost will kindle your imagination to picture many things you would like others to do to you, and this is His way of telling you what to do to them. …  

     This verse is our Lord’s standard for practical ethical conduct. … We are to be written epistles, “known and read of all men.” There is no allowance whatever in the New Testament for the man who says he is saved by grace but who does not produce the graceful goods.  

From Studies In The Sermon On The Mount

It’s pretty simple—is the Holy Spirit prompting you to do good to others? Are you obeying? 

If so, then you are living epistle that allows everything to read of God’s love through your life. 

If not, you’re lack of “graceful goods” is showing you don’t really understand what “saved by grace” means, and neither are you letting others see that wonderful reality. 

Christianity In Practical Working Order

“God has loved me to the end of all my sinfulness, all of my self-will, all of my stiff-neckedness, all my pride, all my self-interest; now He says—‘Love one another, as I have loved you.’ I am to show my fellow men the same love that God showed me. That is Christianity in practical working order.” —Oswald Chambers, in Run Today’s Race

Good Religion Must Be Practical

“Religion which has no practical impact on our daily lives quickly becomes a vague, abstract notion that amounts to nothing. Yet many have nothing more than an empty profession to prove they are Christians. …

“A good Christian but a nagging wife, a godly man but a negligent father—these are contradictions that cannot be reconciled. The man who does not walk uprightly in his own house is nothing more than a hypocrite at church. If you are not a Christian in your shop, you are not a Christian in your closet—even though you may pray there.” —William Gurnall, in The Christian In Complete Armor

More quotes from this book can be found here and here.

11 Quotes From “Shade Of His Hand”

The book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible can be a challenging read for many people. In Shade Of His Hand, Oswald Chambers walks us through this biblical book of wisdom chapter-by-chapter. Shade is a great companion for your personal Bible study time in Ecclesiastes. Check out my full book review by clicking here.

Below are just a few of the many (many!) passages I highlighted in Shade. Some of the longer passages I have already shared in my weekly “Thursdays With Oswald” posts. You can read those by clicking here.

“We always get out of touch with the Bible attitude to things when we come to it with our own conclusions.”

“The intellectual order of life does not take things as it finds them, it makes us shut our eyes to actual facts and try to live only in the ideal world. … Solomon is fearless in facing facts as they are. … It is not a question of living a blind life in the brain away from actuality, not of living in dawns or on mountain tops; but of bringing what you see there straight down to the valley where things are sordid, and living out the vision there.”

“Unless you bank your faith in God, you will not only be wrongly related in practical life and have your heart broken, but you will break other things you touch.”

“Almighty God does not matter to me, He is in the clouds. To be of any use to me, He must come down to the domain in which I live; and I do not live in the clouds but on the earth. The doctrine of the Incarnation is that God did come down into our domain. The Wisdom of God, the Word of God, the exact expression of God, was manifest in the flesh.”

“To serve God in order to gain heaven, is not the teaching of Christianity. Satisfaction cannot be found in gain, but only in a personal relationship to God. … A man is not to serve God for the sake of gain, but to get to the place where the whole of his life is seen as a personal relationship to God.”

“Whenever we put theology or a plan of salvation or any line of explanation before a man’s personal relationship to God, we depart from the Bible line, because religion in the Bible is not faith in the rule of God, but faith in the God Who rules.”

“Sometimes it is cowardly to speak, and sometimes it is cowardly to keep silence. In the Bible the great test of a man’s character is his tongue (see James 1:26). The tongue only came to its right place with in the lips of the Lord Jesus Christ, because He never spoke from His right to Himself. He Who was the Wisdom of God Incarnate, said ‘the words that I speak unto you, I speak not of Myself.’ … We are either too hasty or too slow; either we won’t speak at all, or we speak too much, or we speak in the wrong mood. The thing that makes us speak is the lust to vindicate ourselves.”

“The general history of Christianity is that it has been tried and abandoned because it is found to be difficult; but wherever it has been tried and honorably gone on with, it has never failed.”

“The Christian faith is exhibited by the man who has the spiritual courage to say that that is the God he trusts in, and it takes some moral backbone to do it.” 

“We reap terrific damage to our own characters when we vow and do not perform. … Promises are a way of shirking responsibility.”

“It is appalling to find spiritual people when they come into a crisis taking an ordinary common-sense standpoint as if Jesus Christ had never lived or died.”

More quotes from Shade Of His Hand are coming soon…

Practical Prayer

Practical PrayerI remember when I was searching for my first job, and I kept getting turned down because I didn’t have any “experience.” And I kept thinking, “How am I supposed to get any experience if you won’t hire me?!” It’s frustrating being in a place where the only way you can get the job is to have experience, which you can’t get because you don’t have the job!

Sadly, I think this is how many people—even many Christians—feel about prayer. Read the rest of this entry »

How To Study Your Bible

How To Study Your BibleMaybe first we should ask, “Why should we study the Bible?” Many people loudly proclaim, “All that is needed for salvation is faith in Jesus.” This is correct, but remember this—Faith [for salvation] comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word of Christ (Romans 10:17).

Then after our faith in Jesus brings us the forgiveness for our sins, there is an ongoing process of walking out our faith, something the Bible calls sanctification. Here again the Bible plays a vital role. Jesus prayed for His followers this way: Sanctify them by the truth; Your Word is truth (John 17:17).

The bottom line … Our Christian walk is nearly impossible to maintain without the resources found in the Scriptures! 

But the Bible is a large book, and many people don’t know where or how to begin to study it. That’s why we are taking the time to learn together some practical ideas for studying God’s Word.

Please join us at Calvary Assembly of God over the next few weeks as we learn the practices which will help us make the most of our time studying the Bible. If you cannot join us in person, we will be broadcasting all of our messages live on Periscope (follow @craigtowens to be notified when the broadcasts begin).

If you are ready to take your Bible study to a new level, please join us beginning this Sunday!

2015 Year-End Review

Theme for 2016The last Sunday of each year I take some time with our church family to look back to review what we’ve learned. Then we look forward to a theme God is impressing on us for the new year. Check it out here—

15 Invaluable Laws Of Growth & JumpStart Your Growth (two book reviews)

15 Invaluable Laws of GrowthWhen you read a John Maxwell book, you are going to get a full serving of practical counsel to help you soar. I just finished reading 15 Invaluable Laws Of Growth, and my highlighter almost ran dry marking all of the helpful passages!

Dr. Maxwell states right up front that no one grows by accident, but we need to have a plan to help us grow. Consider this book your growth manual from someone who has the life experience to back-up his words of wisdom. Every chapter builds on the ones before to help you remove any hindrances to your growth.

Not only are Maxwell books instructional, they are motivational as well. I have heard him say numerous times, “Hi, my name is John, and I’m your friend.” Indeed this book feels like a wise friend is sitting across the table from you, giving you pearls of wisdom and practical steps to apply that wisdom, as well as cheering you on to success.

JumpStart Your GrowthA great companion to 15 Laws is JumpStart Your Growth. This book is designed for you to read one selection each day for three months. You will be reminded of a principle John taught you in 15 Laws, but then you will find a blank journal page with a suggested exercise for that day. I would highly recommend reading JumpStart right after you complete 15 Laws, so that you are putting into practice the phenomenal truths you were just taught.

I am a Center Street book reviewer.

P.S. Look for some great quotes from these two books coming soon to this blog!

Sit Walk Stand

Sit Walk StandThis coming Sunday we begin a new series at Calvary Assembly of God called Sit Walk Stand: A Study In The Book Of Ephesians.

Why Ephesians? Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones, who preached 232 sermons on this book to his packed-out church, said, “It is very difficult to speak of Ephesians in a controlled manner because of its greatness. Many have tried to describe it. One writer has described it as the crown and climax of Pauline theology. Another has said that it is the distilled essence of the Christian religion, the most authoritative and most consummate compendium of our holy Christian faith. What language! And it is by no means exaggerated.”

It is my desire that the congregation of Calvary Assembly of God be as biblically literate as I can encourage and resource them to be. So Tom Kaastra, a 38-year veteran pastor, is going to co-teach with me, and we’re going to spend the next 6-weeks mastering this powerful epistle. Then we’ll pick it up again around this same time next year, as we continue our way through the entire letter.

The name of our series—Sit Walk Stand—comes from Watchman Nee, who wrote, “Of all Paul’s epistles, it is in Ephesians that we find the highest spiritual truths concerning the Christian life. The letter abounds with spiritual riches, and yet at the same time is intensely practical.”

Please join us this Sunday at 10:30am.

Thursdays With Oswald—Heavenly Minded & Earthly Good

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

Heavenly Minded & Earthly Good 

     Entire sanctification puts a man’s breast and back as either should be, places his feet on earth and his head in Heaven, and gives him the royal insignia of the saints. 

From Christian Disciplines

Have you ever heard it said of someone, “He’s so heavenly minded that he’s no earthly good”? They are saying that man has ideas which sound spiritual but aren’t very practical.

Isn’t it also true that someone could be “so earthly minded that he’s no heavenly good”? Yes, sadly, many people fall into this category!

Oswald Chambers is saying that those people who allow the Holy Spirit’s total sanctification process in their lives are both heavenly minded and earthly good. Or, as Chambers says in If Ye Will Ask, “Jesus Christ does not make monks and nuns, He makes men and women fit for the world as it is (see John 17:15).”

Christians should be the most practical people on earth, because their feet remain on earth while their mind and hearts remain in Heaven, hearing and applying God’s timeless and practical truths. True Christians should sound and live differently.

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