Thursdays With Oswald—Out Of The Soup And Into God

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.

Out Of The Soup And Into God

     As long as we have our morality well with in our own grasp, to talk about Jesus Christ and His Redemption is “much ado about nothing”; but when a man’s thick hide is pierced, or he comes to his wits’ end and enters the confines of an agony, he is apt to find that there is a great deal from which he has been shut away, and in his condition of suffering he discovers there is more in the Cross of Christ than intellectually he had thought possible.

     Beware of believing that the human soul is simple; look at yourself, or read the 139th Psalm, and you will soon find the human soul is much too complex to touch. When an intellectualist says that life is simple, you may be sure he is sufficiently removed from facts to have no attention paid to him. Things look simple as he writes about them, but let him get “into the soup,” and he will find they are complicated. The only simple thing in human life is our relationship to God in Christ.

     Circumstances are the things that twist a man’s thinking into contortions. … 

     The problem I am up against is the muddle inside. Can I see a way out there? Is the God I have only an abstraction? If so, don’t let me treat Him as anything else. Or is He One with Whom I can get into a personal relationship, One Who will enable me to solve my problems? 

From The Shadow Of An Agony

Problems tend to make crystal-clear the difference between how we thought things worked and how they actually work.

This is equally true of those who think they have God all figured out. Then along comes a trial, a pain, a tragedy and they realize they don’t have all the answers. What then?

Then it’s time, as Chambers suggests, to return to something like Psalm 139 to see how intimately God knows you, and to see that your dark time did not take Him by surprise. Getting “into the soup” may be just the thing to help you get into God. It’s so true: “The only simple thing in human life is our relationship to God in Christ.”

May all your problems draw you deeper into Jesus Christ!

12 More Quotes From “Chase The Lion”

chase-the-lionI loved Chase The Lion by Mark Batterson! If this book doesn’t inspire you to do great things for God, I’m not sure what will. Be sure to check out my review of this book by clicking here, and then enjoy some more quotes from this amazing book.

“You may doubt yourself because of your lack of education or lack of experience. But if God has called you, you aren’t really doubting yourself. You’re doubting God. God doesn’t call the qualified. God qualifies the called.”

“An opportunity isn’t an opportunity if you have to compromise your integrity. It’s the decisions when no one is looking that will dictate your destiny. In fact, your integrity is your destiny! Killing Goliath was an epic act of bravery. Not killing Saul was an epic act of integrity.”

“One of the most important decisions you make every single day is what time you set your alarm to go off.”

“God doesn’t promise us happily ever after. He promises so much more than that—happily forever after.”

“In God’s kingdom the outcome isn’t the issue. Success isn’t winning or losing; it’s obeying. … In God’s book success is spelled stewardship. It’s making the most of the time, talent, and treasure God has given you. It’s doing the best you can with what you have, where you are.”

“Just as courage is not the absence of fear, success is not the absence of failure. Failure is a necessary step in every dream journey.”

“Fighters don’t walk away when the going gets tough; they fight to the finish for their convictions. Fighters don’t give up when everyone is against them; they fight against the status quo. And fighters don’t shrink back when the odds are against them; they fight for what they believe in.”

“It’s okay to talk to God about your problems, but at some point you have to flip the script. You need to talk to your problems about God.”

“Valor is less an action and more a reaction. If you judge a person by his or her actions, you’re judging a book by its cover. Reactions are far more revealing than actions. How you react in difficult circumstances is the litmus test of character. And you never really know how you’ll react until you’re the one who crosses paths with a lion. Valor is running toward trouble when everyone else is running away. Valor is going above and beyond the call of duty. Valor is putting yourself in the line of fire for someone else.”

“You know why some of us have never killed the giant, chased the lion, or walked on water? We’re afraid of looking foolish. But it’s the fear of looking foolish that is foolish!”

“Sometimes the circumstances we’re trying to change are the very circumstances God is using to change us. … Instead of expending all your energy trying to get out of them, get something out of them.”

“Don’t be in such a hurry to begin the next chapter of your life that you fail to ace the lessons the current chapter is trying to teach you.”

You can check out the first set of quotes I shared from Chase The Lion by clicking here. And be sure to follow me on Tumblr and Twitter, where I daily share quotes from all sorts of inspirational authors.

12 Quotes From “Think On These Things”

think-on-these-thingsJohn Maxwell’s books always inspire me to think differently. In Think On These Things—the first book Maxwell wrote—we get to see the seed thoughts that would appear in fuller form in his later books. Be sure to check out my review of Think On These Things by clicking here, and then enjoy a dozen John Maxwell quotes.

“Your life today is a result of your thinking yesterday. Your life tomorrow will be determined by what you think today.”

“The truth of a man is known not by how he acts when he is in control but how he reacts when things are beyond his control.”

“Your willingness to learn and adjust positively from mistakes and shortcomings will largely determine how far you will travel the road to success.”

“A thankful heart is one that has had time to count blessings.”

“Our spiritual, physical, and emotional condition will greatly determine how we react to situations. The better we feel, the more capable we will be to evaluate difficult situations and make important decisions.”

“If you haven’t made any mistakes lately, I question if you are trying hard enough. … When you make a mistake, you can resolve never to make another one. But that is impossible. You can decide that mistakes are too costly and become fearful of them, that that fear will keep you from fulfilling your potential. You can constantly think about your mistakes and live with regret, but that is self-torture. Finally, you can learn from your mistakes and become a better person, and that is progress.”

“Success is never instantaneous. It is never an accident. Success is continuous. It takes growth and development. It is achieving one thing and using that as a stepping-stone to rise higher up the mountain of accomplishment.”

“No problem will leave you the same person after it has gone. Problems are the great dividers between success and failure. How you handle them will determine on which side you will live.”

“An experience is not a failure if it prods us to keep on trying. An experience is not a failure if through it we discover how we failed and put that knowledge to good use. An experience is not a failure if through it we discover our own true selves. An experience is not a failure if through it we become better-disciplined individuals.”

“Problems are reminders. They remind us that we need God’s help to handle the upheavals of life.”

“Experience is a hard teacher. She gives the test first and the lesson afterward. Experience is yesterday’s answer to today’s problems.”

“It is vitally important to realize that either the situations around us control our lives or we control them.”

Rewards And Consequences

Rewards and ConsequencesThe Bible consistently gives us—right up front—the rewards for right living, and the consequences for wrong living. No one ever has to be surprised. 

For example, take this message from Jesus in Luke 6.

  1. If you don’t want others to judge you, don’t be judgmental (v. 37).
  2. If you don’t want to be condemned by others, don’t condemn others (v. 37).
  3. If you want to be forgiven, forgive others first (v. 37).
  4. If you want to receive, be the first to give to others (v. 38).
  5. If you want to teach, find a good teacher and then be a good learner first (vv. 39-40).
  6. If you want to help others with their problems, first look in the mirror at yourself (vv. 41-42).
  7. If you want to speak good words, put good words inside yourself (vv. 43-45).
  8. If you want to stand strong through adversity, build on the right foundation (vv. 46-49).

God doesn’t miss a thing! He told us how to stay in the place where He can bless us, and how we can avoid life’s negative consequences.

We would all do well to hear these words and put them into practice (v. 47)!

9 Quotes From C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis at his deskYesterday I posted a review on an innovative book The Surprising Imagination Of C.S. Lewis. Truly this man’s literary output during his lifetime, and his works’ staying power after his lifetime, is amazing. Here are a few quotes from this prolific author.

“We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade, the presence of God. The world is crowded with Him. He walks everywhere incognito. And the incognito is not always hard to penetrate. The real labor is to remember, to attend. In fact, to come awake. Still more, to remain awake.” —C.S. Lewis

“Humanity does not pass through phases as a train passes through stations: being alive, it has the privilege of always moving yet never leaving anything behind. Whatever we have been, In some sort we are still.” —C.S. Lewis

“God saw the Cross in the creation of the first nebulae.” —C.S. Lewis 

“Nothing can deceive unless it bears a plausible resemblance to reality.” —C.S. Lewis

“The real way of mending a man’s taste is not to denigrate his present favorites, but to teach him how to enjoy something better.” —C.S. Lewis 

“Coming to understand anything we must reject the facts as they are for us in favor of the facts as they are.” —C.S. Lewis

“The terrible thing, the almost impossible thing, is to hand over your whole self—all your wishes and precautions—to Christ. But it is far easier than what we are all trying to do instead. For what we are trying to do is to remain what we call ‘ourselves,’ to keep personal happiness as our great aim in life, and yet at the same time be ‘good.’ We are all trying to let our mind and heart go their own way—centered on money or pleasure or ambition—and hoping, in spite of this, to behave honestly and chastely and humbly. And that is exactly what Christ warned us you could not do.” —C.S. Lewis 

“The real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other Voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day.” —C.S. Lewis

“‘Be ye perfect.’ I think He meant ‘The only help I will give is help to become perfect. You may want something less: but I will give you nothing less.’” —C.S. Lewis 

“That is why we must not be surprised if we are in for a rough time. When a man turns to Christ and seems to be getting on pretty well (in the sense that some of his bad habits are now corrected) he often feels that it would now be natural if things went fairly smoothly. When trouble comes along—illnesses, money troubles, new kinds of temptation—he is disappointed. These things, he feels, might have been necessary to rouse him and make him repent in his bad old days; but why now? Because God is forcing him on, or up, to a higher level: putting him into situations where he will have to be very much braver, or more patient, or more loving, than he ever dreamed of being before. It seems to us all unnecessary: but that is because we have not yet had the slightest notion of the tremendous thing He means to make of us.” —C.S. Lewis

I previously posted quotes from C.S. Lewis here, here, and here.

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.” 

Links & Quotes

link quote

“The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.” —C.S. Lewis

My thankful lips shall loud proclaim the wonders of Thy praise,
And spread the savor of Thy Name where’er I spend my days. —Isaac Watts

“A sure sign of spiritual growth is that you take every problem and crisis immediately to Jesus. You have learned that you have a place to go.” —David Wilkerson“If you want to walk as Jesus walked, you can’t allow your human passions to be inflamed by headlines. Christ died for every lost soul on this earth, including abortion doctors, murderers, rapists, child molesters.” —David Wilkerson

Proud of our State Governor Rick Snyder for signing the bill that protects our freedom of religion.

Another man I have always admired is Ronald Reagan. Yesterday was the anniversary of his powerful speech at the Berlin Wall. The Daily Signal has some pictures from that memorable day, and here is the video of President Reagan’s words—
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