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.
Living In The Now
Jesus did not use figurative language in talking about the Hereafter. He said: “Let not your heart be troubled”—“My Business is with the Hereafter.” Our business is to live a godly life in the present order of things, and not to push out beyond the durations God has placed as limits. …
I have no power to choose whether or not I will take the consequences of my choice; no power to say whether or not I will be born…but I have power to choose which way I will use the times as they come. …
Jesus Christ taught a reasonable life on the basis of faith in God—“Be carefully careless about everything saving your relationship to Me. Don’t be disturbed today by thoughts about tomorrow, leave tomorrow alone, and bank in confidence on God’s organization of what you do not see. Yesterday is past, there is no road back to it, tomorrow is not; live in the immediate present, and yours is the life of a child.” …
Jesus Christ deliberately chose “the long, long trail”; we choose “the short cut,” and continually go wrong until we understand the meaning of the 23rd Psalm, “The Lord is my Shepherd, He leads me in the right paths.”
From Shade Of His Hand
In Shade Of His Hand, Oswald Chambers is taking an in-depth look at the book of Ecclesiastes. In chapter 3 of Ecclesiastes, Solomon says there is a time for everything.
Chambers reminds us that we don’t choose the time we will be born, and we don’t choose the time we will die—God alone chooses those. But everything between birth and death is our choice. Jesus taught us that our choices and our level of joy in the moment will be much better if we seek God’s wisdom for all of those choices we make.
The Songs Of Ascent in the Psalms imply this, since the pilgrims are ascending from a valley to the place of worship in Jerusalem. But this idea of going through a valley is especially seen in Psalm 121.
The song starts by saying I lift my eyes up to the hills. He then sings that he found his help in God. This idea of help is not what we think of in today’s world. It’s not like dialing 9-1-1, reporting our need, and waiting for help to arrive. It’s not even like driving to a hospital, checking into the emergency room, and waiting for a doctor to see us.
The idea of help in the Bible is a picture of surrounding. It’s not something we have to wait to arrive, but something—or should I say Someone—Who is already right there!
In verses 4-8 the phrase watch over is used five times. This too gives us the idea of the closeness of our help. The Hebrew word translated watch over has four powerful word pictures:
I especially like the picture of shepherd, because of another valley reference. The opening words to Psalm 23 are, “The Lord is my Shepherd.” Then we read what the Good Shepherd does for His sheep when they are in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Our Shepherd…
Then adding a couple of more blessings from Psalm 121, we see He…
11. Never lets our foot slip (121:3)
12. Never sleeps or slumbers, so that we can rest securely (121:3-4)
Remember these songs of ascent are sung by those coming out of the valley. They are sung to remind us of God’s deliverance, they are also sung as encouragement to those still in the Valley.
Jesus went through the darkest Valley anyone has ever gone through. It wasn’t just the valley of the shadow of death, He went through death, hell and the grave. He overcame for you and me! He now walks with us in our valleys. He says to us, “I’ve been there, done that, and have the scars to prove it. I will never leave you or forsake you. I know this valley. I know how to get you out of this valley. Trust Me!”
We, too, who have been through the valleys and are now singing the song of ascent, need to sing loudly for those who are still in the valleys. We need to sing songs of assurance to them: “I have been in that same valley. I know how dark it is. But I know God watched over me and brought me safely through. Now I have a much better vantage point. And I say to you, trust Him! He is watching over you too. He will not let your foot slip. He will not sleep or slumber. He will protect you, and anoint you, and feed you, and give you His own dear presence. Don’t stop walking!”
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Some good reading for today…
“What you do with television in your home will help determine whether you and your family will be dumbed down. Let me suggest that you not watch (or let your kids watch) shows that play to the lowest common denominator in humanity… shows that are written and produced for, yes, I’ll say it…dumb people. You might think they’re harmless and amusing, but are they really the best use of your time and, more importantly, your brain?” Read more from Mark Atteberry in his post The Dumbing Down Of America.
A great question: Where is the outrage over the bombardment of civilians in Israel?
David Wilkerson reminds us of the loving heart of Jesus our Shepherd.
A really cool story about the Cadbury family (who founded the Cadbury Chocolate company).
Tim Elmore shares the good news and bad news in his post Teen Trends.