Thursdays With Oswald—How God Prepares Us For His Service

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.

How God Prepares Us For His Service 

     Preparation is not something suddenly accomplished, but a process steadily maintained. It is easy to imagine that we get to a settled state of experience where we are complete and ready; but in work for God it is always preparation and preparation. … 

     In writing to the Philippians Paul mentions two “perfections”: “not as though I…were already perfect” (3:12); “Let us therefore, as many be perfect…” (3:15). The first refers to the perfection of attainment; the second to the perfection of adjustment to God. … When we are sanctified, we are perfectly adjusted to God, but we have done nothing yet, we are simply perfectly fit to begin. … Think of Christ’s eyes fastening on us and pointing us out before God as He says—“Father, that is My work; that is the meaning of Gethsemane, that is the meaning of Calvary. I did all that man’s work in him, all that woman’s work in her; now You can use them.” … 

     When we are first put right with God, it is the great general principles that are at work, then God begins to make the conscience sensitive here and there. Don’t quench the Spirit. His checks are so tiny that common sense cannot detect them. … When He checks, never debate, but obey at once. … He does not come with a voice like thunder, with strong emphatic utterance—that may come ultimately; but at the beginning His voice is as gentle as a zephyr. At the same time it carries an imperative compulsion—we know the voice must be obeyed. The “go” of preparation is to let the Word of God scrutinize.

From So Send I You

When we invited Jesus into our lives to be our Lord and Savior, we are perfectly ready to be used in service for God.

Now begins the saint-ifying process. The Holy Spirit will gently, but insistently, point out what we need to address. The more sensitive we are to those “checks,” and the quicker we are to obey the Spirit’s prompting, the better prepared we are to answer God’s call to “go.”

Are you letting the Voice of God scrutinize you, so that you can be prepared to be used in service for Him?

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Thursdays With Oswald—Ready For God … No Matter What

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.

Ready For God—No Matter What

     The greatest need of the missionary is to be ready to face Jesus Christ at any and every turn…. The great battle all along is not so much against sin, as against being so absorbed in work that we are not ready to face Jesus Christ. … This attitude of being ready to face Him means more and more disentanglement from so-called religious work, and more and more intense spiritual reality in so-called secular work. The whole meaning of the Christian life from Our Lord’s standpoint is to be ready for Him. … 

     Jesus appears in the most illogical connections, where we least expect Him…. When we are rightly related to God, life is full of spontaneous joyful uncertainty and expectancy—we do not know what God is going to do next; and He packs our life with surprises all the time. …  

     Readiness implies a right relationship to God and a knowledge of where we are at present. We are so busy telling God where we should like to go. Most of us are waiting for some great opportunity, something that is sensational, then we cry—“Here am I; send me.” … But readiness for God and for His work means that we are ready to do the tiniest thing or the great big thing, it makes no difference. … 

     Remember there is no such thing as prominent service and obscure service; it is all the same with God. 

From So Send I You (emphasis mine)

I fear that many Christians have the idea that “missionary work” or “ministry work” is a separate calling from their “real work.” But according to both the biblical examples and these thoughts from Oswald Chambers, ALL work can be spiritual / missionary / ministry work if we are simply ready for God to use us.

What about you? Are you ready to be surprised by God? Are you ready to be His ministry whenever and wherever He wants to use you?

Thursdays With Oswald—Am I Ready For God To Use Me?

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.

Am I Ready For God To Use Me?

That life is not as idle ore, 
But iron dug from central gloom, 
And heated hot with burning fears, 
And dipt in baths of hissing tears, 
And batter’d with the shocks of doom 
To shape and use. —Alfred Lord Tennyson

     You have had the vision, but you are not there yet by any means. You have seen what God wants you to be but what you are not yet. Are you prepared to have this “iron dug from central gloom” battered into “shape and use”? “Battering” conveys the idea of a blacksmith putting good metal into right useful shape. The batterings of God come in commonplace days and commonplace ways, God is using the anvil to bring us into the shape of the vision. … 

     It is when we are going through the valley to prove whether we will be the “choice” ones, that most of us turn tail; we are not prepared for the blows that must come if we are going to be turned into the shape of the vision.” 

    He [God] never is in a hurry. We are in such a frantic hurry. We get down before God and pray, then we get up and say, “It is all done now,” and in the light of the glory of the vision we go forth to do the thing. But it is not real, and God has to take us into the valley and put us through fires and floods to batter us into shape, until we get into the condition in which He can trust us with the reality of His recognition of us. … 

     Let God put you on His wheel and whirl you as He likes, and as sure as God is God and you are you, you will turn out exactly in accordance with the vision He gave you. Don’t lose heart in the process. 

From So Send I You

Has God given you a vision for your life? If so, don’t get discouraged at the time God is taking to ‘batter’ you into shape. Don’t lose heart, He knows what He is doing. When God says you are ready to go, the fulfillment of His vision is going to be so much grander than what you ever would have achieved on your own!

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.

Of Antichrist And His Ruin (book review)

Of Antichrist And His RuinAs I was finishing up reading through the Bible this time, I especially noticed in the last couple of books quite a few mentions of the Antichrist. Wanting to dig a little deeper on this subject, I turned to a man who so throughly knew Scripture: John Bunyan and his book Of Antichrist And His Ruin.

The Antichrist is not something we can just brush off and say, “Well, that’s end-times stuff and doesn’t really concern Christians. After all, won’t we already be in Heaven when the Antichrist appears on earth?” But John, in his first epistle warns us—

This is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. (1 John 4:3, emphasis added)

Wow, even in the first century, John already saw the spirit of the Antichrist at work. How much more so should Christians today prepare themselves for this onslaught of evil!

I didn’t want any “pop theology” or well-intentioned ideas about the Antichrist, I wanted to know what the Bible said about it. Speaking of John Bunyan, Charles Spurgeon said, “Prick him anywhere—his blood is Bibline, the very essence of the Bible flows from him. He cannot speak without quoting a text, for his very soul is full of the Word of God.”

Indeed, Bunyan’s work in Of Antichrist is a compilation of all the biblical texts, put together in a way that makes sense. Of course, the English is sometimes a bit challenging to follow, since Bunyan wrote over 400 years ago. But if you are interested in the biblical facts about the Antichrist described in the Bible, this must be your go-to source!

Thursdays With Oswald—Don’t Rush God’s Timing

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.

Don’t Rush God’s Timing 

     Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, he was a mighty man and a great statesman, and when he saw the oppression of his people he felt that God had called him out to deliver them, and in the righteous indignation of his own spirit he started to right their wrongs. God is never in a hurry. After the first big strike for God and for the right things, God allowed Moses, the only man who could deliver his own people, to be driven into the desert to feed sheep—forty years of blank discouragement. 

     Then when God appeared and told him to go and bring forth the people, Moses said—“Who am I, that I should go?” … At first, Moses was certain he was the man, and so he was, but he was not fit yet. He set out to deliver the people in a way that had nothing of the stride of God about it. Moses was right in the individual aspect, but he was not the man for the work until he had learned communion with God, and it took forty years in the desert while God worked through him in ways of terrific personal enlargement before he recognized this.

     We have to learn that our individual effort for God is an impertinence, our individuality must be rendered incandescent by a personal relationship to God, and that is not learned easily. 

From The Place Of Help (emphasis added)

Do you feel like God has called you to do something great for Him? You’re right, He has! But don’t rush His timing. Listen to the counsel of wise people in your life, pray about it, count the cost, and let God prepare you for it. He has perfect timing … don’t rush Him!

17 Quotes From John Maxwell In “15 Invaluable Laws Of Growth”

15 Invaluable Laws of GrowthJohn Maxwell books almost exhaust my highlighter because of all the great content I am trying to take in! You can read my book review of 15 Invaluable Laws Of Growth by clicking here. Below is the first batch of quotes from this book.

“No one improves by accident. Personal growth doesn’t just happen on its own. And once you’re done with your formal education, you must take complete ownership of the growth process, because nobody else will do it for you.”

“I had to get started if I wanted to find the best way. It’s similar to driving on an unfamiliar road at night. Ideally, you would like to be able to see your whole route before you begin. But you see it progressively. As you move forward, a little more of the road is revealed to you. If you want to see more of the way, then get moving.”

“You discover the reasons to stay with growth only if you stick with it long enough to start reaping the benefits.”

“Preparation (growth) + attitude + opportunity + action (doing something about it) = luck”

“The greatest danger you face in this moment is the idea that you will make intentional growth a priority later.” 

“Guard your self-talk. Whether you know it or not, you have a running conversation with yourself all the time. What is the nature of yours? Do you encourage yourself? Or do you criticize yourself? If you are positive, then you helped to create a positive self-image. If you’re negative, you undermine your self-worth. … If we want to change our lives, we have to change the way we think of ourselves. If we want to change the way we think of ourselves, we need to change the way we talk to ourselves.”

“Stop comparing yourself to others. … What happens when you compare yourself to others? Usually it’s one of two things: either you perceive the other person to be far ahead of you and you feel discouraged, or you perceive yourself to be better than the other person, and you become proud. Neither of those is good for you, and neither will help you to grow. Comparing yourself to others is really just a needless distraction. The only one you should compare yourself to is you. Your mission is to become better today than you were yesterday.”

“Motivation gets you going, but discipline keeps you growing.”

“If you don’t try to create the future you want, you must endure the future you get.”

“I’ve never known anyone who said, ‘I love problems,’ but I’ve known many you have admitted that their greatest gains came in the middle of their pain.”

“Life’s difficulties do not allow us to stay the same. They move us. The question is, in which direction will we be moved: forward or backward? When we have bad experiences, do we become bitter or better? Will those experiences limit us or lead us to grow?”

“If you have ever settled for the status quo and then wondered why your life isn’t going the way you’d hoped, then you need to realize that you will only reach your potential if you have the courage to push yourself outside your comfort zone and break out of a mind-set of mediocrity. You must be willing to leave behind what feels familiar, safe, and secure. You must give up excuses and push forward. You must be willing to face the tension that comes from stretching toward your potential.”

“Where do you find the internal impetus for stretching? Measure what you’re doing against what you’re capable of. Measure yourself against yourself. … The greatest stretching seasons of life come when we do what we have never done, push ourselves harder, and reach in a way that is uncomfortable to us. That takes courage, but the good news is that it causes us to grow in ways we thought were impossible.”

“Even the bad choices can ultimately help us to change for good, because they clarify our thinking and show us ourselves.”

“When it comes to growth and success, immediate gratification is almost always the enemy of growth. We can choose to please ourselves and plateau, or we can delay our gratification and grow. It’s our choice.”

“Stop thinking ‘more work’ and start thinking ‘what works?’ Asked most people how they can increase the capacity and they’ll tell you by working more. There’s a problem with that solution. More work will not necessarily increase your capacity. More of the same usually results in more of the same, when what we actually want is better than what we have.”

“I believe it honors God when we enjoy life and live it well. That means taking risks—sometimes failing, sometimes succeeding, but always learning.” 

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