Thursdays With Oswald—Jeremiah 14

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 14

[These are notes from Oswald Chambers’ lecture on Jeremiah 14.] 

     While one desire remains unsatisfied, God is not Lord over all. That means we must quit some desires or else quit God. Most of us bring our desires to God and He has to wither them. When we delight in God He gives us our desires because they are in accordance with His will (see Psalm 37:4). 

From Notes On Jeremiah 

Wow, there’s a lot to contemplate in that short statement. 

Oswald Chambers references this verse: Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4). 

And then there’s this—You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11). 

Some things I’m contemplating:

  • Do I have unsatisfied desires? 
  • Have I taken that desire into God’s presence? 
  • If so, why does it still feel “unsatisfied”?

11 Quotes From “The Way Of Abundance”

Ann Voskamp speaks lovingly to the hurting and broken. She never condemns them for their brokenness, nor does she encourage them to stay in their difficult place. Instead, Ann brings a new perspective to the path of healing; a path that allows our brokenness to become our givenness to other broken and hurting people. This is The Way Of Abundance. Be sure to check out my full book review by clicking here. 

“Go fall in love with grace and mercy and the only One who has ever loved you to death—and back to the realest, abundant life. Because the world is begging us all to get out of bed and live given, get out of bed and sacrifice for someone hurting, for someone different, for someone forgotten or marginalized, to hold the hand of someone who doesn’t look like a us, to lean in and listen to someone angry and grieving and doubting the likes of us, to give a bit of ourselves to those who feel like they aren’t given much real space at the table.” 

“The real Jesus turns our questions of why—why this brokenness, why this darkness?—and says, ‘You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here.’ ‘This happened so the power of God could be seen in him’ [John 9:3]. There’s brokenness that’s not about blame. There’s brokenness that makes a canvas for God’s light to be lavishly splashed across the darkness. There’s brokenness that carves windows straight into our souls. Brokenness cracks open a soul so the power of God can crack the darkness in the world.” 

“When you aren’t afraid of being afraid, you transform fear into friend. … Feelings can accompany you, but they don’t get to control you. Feelings get to inform you, but they don’t get to form you. Feelings get to keep you company, but they don’t get to keep you in bondage. Only God keeps you.” 

“We are always lost until our heart makes its home inside of someone else. Our lives are unfulfilling if we only let our hearts fill us instead of filling other people’s broken places. The art of living is believing there is enough love in you, that you are loved enough by Him, to be made into love to give. Fulfilling lives happen when we give our hearts to fill other people’s empty spaces.” 

“There are really only two choices when begging temptation looks you square in your twitching eye: there is either the pain of self-denial, or the pain of self-destruction. … They’ll tell you there’s no such thing called temptation anymore, only repressed self-limitation. They’ll tell you temptation isn’t an issue for the sophisticated. And all I want to say: just don’t say you’re a follower of Christ if you’re actually following your own heart.” 

“Shame dies when stories are told in safe places. … Shame gets unspeakable power only if it’s unspeakable.” 

“The only way to live a truly remarkable life is not to get everyone to notice you, but to leave noticeable marks of His love everywhere you go.” 

“When you feel basically respectable, you want religion. And when you know you feel the brokenness of rejection, you want the gospel. In religion, it’s the ‘respectable’ who search for a God to impress. But in the Gospel, it’s God who searches for the brokenhearted rejected to save.” 

“Never fear the moments you imagine will freeze you: unexpected blasts of cold can be what draws you nearer to the flame of His love.” 

“The body of Christ must recapture its vision as the only collective in the world that exists for its nonmembers. … We are a community that will not dish out condemnation but courage, that will lean in and listen long and love large.” 

“You love as much as you are willing to be inconvenienced. … The brokenness of people is never truly an intrusion. Loving the broken people when it is inconvenient is the way to have fuller inclusion in the life of Christ.” 

The Way Of Abundance (book review)

About a year ago I read and reviewed The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp. And now that I share a review of her newest book—The Way Of Abundance—you might be tempted to think that brokenness and abundance sound contradictory, but you would be wrong! 

In The Broken Way, Ann wrote, “Unless we die, unless we surrender, unless we sacrifice, we remain alone. Lonely. But if we die, if we surrender, if we sacrifice, that is when we experience the abundance, that is when we dance in communion. The life that yields the most—yields the most” (emphasis mine). 

Now in The Way Of Abundance, she shares this opening thought, “What would happen if the scars you carry are what God uses to carry Christ to a scarred and broken world? Weak is the real strong. Brokenness is the real abundance” (emphasis mine). 

Brokenness cannot stop meaningfulness. God wants to work through your brokenness to do something abundantly more than you can even imagine. And He can and will do it if only you will yield your pain to Him. 

The Way Of Abundance is given to us in 60 shorter devotional-style chapters. It’s a two-month journey into getting to see our pain, disillusionment, brokenness, and questions in a new light. It’s a journey to get us to change the focus from our brokenness to Christ’s abundance, and in so doing, discovering how Christ can enrich the world through our yieldedness. 

What I wrote a year ago is just as true for this book: “This is a book of healing. A book that will remind you that you are not alone in your pain, in your questions, in your searching for answers. This book is a gift to anyone who feels broken, cut up, cut off, or beaten down.” 

Read this book for yourself. Read this book for other broken people. Read this book with other broken people. And then watch the abundance of Christ’s life explode like you’ve never imagined! 

I am a Zondervan book reviewer. 

Saturday In The Proverbs—Do You *Really* Want To Hear This? (Proverbs 8)

[Each chapter in the Book of Proverbs contains thoughts that fit into a theme; they are not just random thoughts gathered together. In this “Saturday In The Proverbs” series, I will share a theme that I see in each chapter. But the cool thing about God’s Word is that you may see an entirely different theme. That’s great! If you do, I would love for you to share it in the comments below.]

Does not wisdom cry out…? (Proverbs 8:1).

Wisdom is accessible to all. Wisdom is not hiding; she is in plain sight and calls out to everyone (vv. 2-4). The question is: Do I want to find Wisdom? Do I really want to hear what she has to say? 

The Apostle Paul tells us to take all our thoughts captive and filter out the thoughts that aren’t obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). In other words, I need to eliminate the thoughts that are impure, false, vile, discouraging, unloving, proud, or un-praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). 

Wisdom herself says her words are: 

  • excellent
  • right
  • truthful
  • righteous
  • pure
  • easy to understand
  • sound
  • strengthening

The rewards for really listening to Wisdom’s words are pretty great too: 

  • treasures 
  • righteousness
  • justice
  • God’s blessings
  • eternal life
  • God’s favor

So with all that in mind, how would you answer the question now: Do you really want to hear what Wisdom has to say to you?

8 Quotes From “How To Listen So People Will Talk”

In How To Listen So People Will Talk you will learn some invaluable skills for taking your relationships and your leadership deeper. Becky Harling has given us an amazing resource! Check out my full book review by clicking here. 

“Honestly, it’s impossible to be a good listener without developing a humble spirit. Think about it. When you’re listening and fully engaged, you allow the other person to have all the attention. Listening forces you to lay aside your agenda. It challenges you to let go of your need to share your opinions, theories, and assumptions in favor of listening to another’s feelings, thoughts, and sentiments. That decision can only come from a heart of humility.” 

“Resist the urge to dive in with your own story. … Whenever you dive in with your own story, you are stealing the microphone from the person who is telling their story. … The best advice is to remember to let someone be the star of their own show. Keep the focus on the person talking.” 

“How is it that we who have problems ourselves are so quick to try to fix someone else’s problem? James was spot on when he wrote, ‘Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak’ (James 1:19). I’d like to suggest that a great paraphrase for this verse is, ‘Let everyone be quick to listen and slow to give advice!’” 

“Don’t tell people what to do; ask them questions. … You gain greater insight, they gain greater self-awareness, and the two of you grow closer. … When we dare to ask someone what they want, we give them the opportunity to verbalize their need. … The best questions allow people to explore what’s in their hearts.” 

“When you validate another person’s feelings, you’re basically saying, ‘Your feelings make sense.’ You compassionately acknowledge that the person’s feelings are important and that those feelings are understandable. You don’t correct feelings or instruct a person on how to feel. You simply offer understanding. … Validating someone’s feelings doesn’t necessarily mean you agree with the actions of the other person. … Feelings are neither right nor wrong. They’re just feelings. It’s what we do with those feelings that determines whether or not we sin. … Validate feelings, but only validate actions that line up with Scripture.” 

“In your relationships, what does it look like for you to mimic Jesus and show others how valuable they are? How does your face send the signal, ‘I want to hear what you have to say’? Your nonverbal signals act as a green light, inviting others to share their feelings.” 

“Conflict can be transformational. In the chaos of an argument, if you will listen to understand and focus on meeting the others need, you’ll be more able to work as a team, coming up with a solution that satisfies both. In the end, your relationship will emerge stronger and more resilient.” 

“People are dying to feel heard, and unless we’ve purpose in our hearts to offer our full presence to others, we’ll drift through life distracted and dishonor those who matter to us in the process.” 

Questions To Ask Myself

“When you are tempted to walk toward vanity, look at Christ’s holy walk and ask yourself…

  • Am I like Him in my thoughts and in the way I spend my time?
  • If He were physically living on earth right now, would He do what I am doing?
  • Would He not choose His words more carefully than I do?
  • Would silly speech come from His lips?
  • Would He enjoy my friends?
  • Would He spend a fortune pampering His body, and swallow enough food at one meal to feed hungry people for a week?
  • Would He be fashion-conscious, even if that made His appearance ridiculous and offensive?
  • Would His hands be busy with games that drive time away?
  • Should I do anything that would make me unlike Christ?”

—William Gurnall, in The Christian In Complete Armor

A Leader Must Be Consistent

There was a man…whose name was Job (Job 1:1).

Job is described by the author of this book like this: “that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil. … This man was the greatest of all the people of the East” (vv. 1, 3).

God Himself described Job like this: “There is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil” (1:8). Even after Job’s calamities, God repeats this description and adds, “and still he holds fast to his integrity” (2:3).

satan acknowledged that Job feared God (1:9). But that slanderer accused Job of being a mercenary—that is, he said Job only feared and obeyed God because of what he got out of the bargain (1:10). But the liar missed something: Job’s obedience came before God’s blessing, and Job’s worship came after Job lost all his earthly possessions.

“In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong” (1:22), and “in all this Job did not sin with his lips” (2:10).

A mark of a godly leader is one who acts consistently in good times and bad times.

It’s a good question for godly leaders to ask: why do I obey God? why do I trust Him? why do I fear Him? is it so that I can get something out of it? is it because I’ve already received something? is it so that I can avoid punishment?

Or do I obey, trust, and fear God because He is worthy of all that—and more!—regardless of anything else? Godly leaders consistently ask both sets of questions and answer an assured “Yes” to the last question.

This is Part 14 in my series on godly leadership. You can check out all of my posts on this topic by clicking here.

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