Thursdays With Oswald—Second Mile Christianity

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.

Second Mile Christianity

     To go the second mile means always do your duty, and a great deal more than your duty, in a spirit of loving devotion that does not even know you have done it. … The supreme difficulty is to go the second mile with God, because no one understands why you are being such a fool. The summing up of Our Lord’s teaching is that it is impossible to carry it out unless He has done a supernatural work in us. … 

     The interests of the Son of God and of the disciple are to be identical. How long it takes to manifest that identity depends on the private history of the disciple and his Lord. … 

     We do not need the grace of God to stand crises; human nature and pride will do it. We can buck up and face the music of a crisis magnificently, but it does require the supernatural grace of God to live twenty-four hours of the day as a saint, to go through drudgery as a saint, to go through poverty as a saint, to go through an ordinary, unobtrusive, ignored existence as a saint, unnoted and unnoticeable. The “show business,” which is so incorporated into our view of Christian work today, has caused us to drift far from Our Lord’s conception of discipleship. It is instilled in us to think that we have to do exceptional things for God; we have not. We have to be exceptional in ordinary things, to be holy in mean streets, among mean people, surrounded by sordid sinners. That is not learned in five minutes. 

From So Send I You

Jesus calls His disciples to go the second mile. Others won’t understand us, and few (if any) people will applaud us for doing so.

Like a novice runner, maybe we can’t go the whole second mile the first time out. Maybe not even the second or third time. But can we go a bit further the second time than we did the first? And a bit further the third time than we did the second? That’s what discipleship is all about: Letting Jesus help us go a bit further each time.

If you stick with it, soon you will be going the second mile and not even realize it. Other may not realize it either, but God always sees when we do, and He is pleased!

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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.

Thursdays With Oswald—Making Saints

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.

Making Saints 

     It is not sufficient for a Christian to walk in the light of his conscience; he must walk in a sterner light, in the Light of the Lord. … 

     I am not judged by the light I have, but by the light I have refused to accept. … This is the condemnation, that the Light, Jesus Christ, has come into the world, and I preferred darkness, i.e., my own point of view. The characteristic of a man who begins to walk in the light is that he drags himself into the light all the time. He does not make excuses for things done in the dark, he brings everything to the light, and says, “This is to be condemned; this does not belong to Jesus Christ,” and so keeps in the light. … 

     The New Testament view of a saint is a more rugged type. You and I are a mixture of dust and Deity, and God takes that sordid human stuff and turns it into a saint by Regeneration. A saint does not mean a man who has not enough sin to be bad, but a man who has received from Jesus Christ a new heredity that turns him into another man. … 

     Conscience and character in the saint, then, means the disposition of Jesus Christ persistently manifested.

From The Shadow Of An Agony 

In order to become the saints God intends for us to be, Oswald Chambers says one big thing is required of Christians: Constantly bringing our thoughts and actions into the Light of Jesus.

I think this is what Paul means when he tells us to take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). And this is certainly what David invited when he prayed, Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23-24).

I pray we will always be bringing our thoughts and actions into the Light, and never preferring the darkness of our own point of view!

Rethinking Addiction

AddictionThis is a fascinating video that may just revolutionize the way you think about addictions and addicts.

Near the 4:45 mark of the video the statement is made about a new way of interacting with others. This, I believe, is what the Christian church should be doing. If we aren’t, I doubt we are living out the good news that Jesus taught. If you want to do an interesting study, check out how many times the phrase “let us” is used in the New Testament. Also note that the word saint never appears in the New Testament in the singular, but it is always saintS. This tells me that we were designed to be together.

“Human beings have a deep need to bond and form connections. It’s how we get our satisfaction. If we can’t connect with each other, we will connect with anything we can find—the whirr of a roulette wheel or the prick of a syringe…. We should stop talking about ‘addiction’ altogether, and instead call it ‘bonding.’ A heroin addict has bonded with heroin because she couldn’t bond as fully with anything else.” —Johann Hari

What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comment below?

Thursdays With Oswald—Becoming A Real Saint

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 A Real Saint

     The real life of the saint on this earth, and the life that is most glorifying to Jesus, is the life that steadfastly goes on through common days and common ways, with no mountain-top experiences. We read that John the Baptist “looked upon Jesus as He walked…”—not at Jesus in a prayer meeting or in a revival service, or Jesus performing miracles; he did not watch Him on the Mount of Transfiguration, he did not see Him in any great moment at all, he saw Him on an ordinary day when Jesus was walking in an ordinary common way, and he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” That is the test of reality. …

     God’s purpose is to make us real, that is, to make us perfectly at one with all our own powers and perfectly at one with God, no longer children but understanding in our heads as well as in our hearts the meaning of the Redemption, and slowly maturing until we are a recommendation to the redeeming grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

From The Philosophy Of Sin

Oh, how I want to be a real saint!

Not someone who only shines for Christ when I have a mountain-top experience, but one who shines brightly for Him every day, in every common setting. What an amazing thing for my life to be a recommendation to the redeeming grace of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Thursdays With Oswald—The New Life In 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.

The New Life In Me

     Oswald Chambers points out several things which affirms that one has experienced the new birth of salvation.

     “If Christ is formed in us, the great characteristic is that we know Him and perceive Him for ourselves. We do not need anyone to tell us about Him now, He is our Lord and Master.” 

     “Where do we go in a crisis? If we are born from above and Jesus Christ is Lord and Master, we will go direct as a homing pigeon to Him.” 

     “When Christ is formed in us, we are a satisfaction to our Lord and Master wherever He places us. The point of importance is to know that we are just exactly where He has engineered our circumstances. There is no ‘foreign field’ to our Lord.” 

     “Another evidence of new birth is that we see the rule of God. We no longer see the haphazard of chance for fate, but by the experience of new birth we are in able to see the rule of God everywhere. … We all see the common occurrences of our daily life, but who amongst us can perceive the arm of the Lord behind them? The saint recognizes in all the ordinary circumstances of his life the hand of God and the rule of God, and Jesus says we cannot do that unless we are born from above. … Nothing happens by chance to a saint, no matter how haphazard it seems. It is the order of God.” 

     “Do we seek to stop sinning, or have we stopped sinning? We are always inclined to make theoretical what God makes practical. Learned divines and others talk about the sin question, and make it a doctrinal matter of dispute. In the Bible it is never, Should a Christian sin? The Bible puts it emphatically: A Christian must not sin. … 

     “When we are born into the new realm the life of God is born in us, and the life of God in us cannot sin (1 John 3:9). That does not mean that we cannot sin; it means that if we obey the life of God in us, we need not sin. God never takes away our power to disobey; if He did, our obedience would be of no value, for we should cease to be morally responsible. By regeneration God puts in us the power not to sin.” 

From The Psychology Of Redemption

As you read through this list, what do you think? Are you trying to be a Christian, or are you letting this new birth simply do its work in you?

Thursdays With Oswald—The Honor Of A Saint

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 Honor Of A Saint 

     It is up to us to live the life of a saint in order to show our gratitude to God for His amazing salvation, a salvation which cost us nothing but which cost God everything. In this passage [Galatians 2:20] Paul describes how this point of honor was reached in his life—“I have been crucified with Christ…and that life which I now live in the flesh….” The word “now” is very annoying, if only Paul had said “hereafter”—“This is the kind of life I am going to live after I am dead and in heaven; down here I am compassed about with infirmities and am a miserable sinner.” But he did not, he said “now,” “that life which I now live in the flesh…” i.e., the life men could see, “… I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God.” … 

     When the Spirit of God is in us He gives us intuitive discernment, we know exactly what He wants; then the point is, are we going through identification with our Lord in order that that intuitive light may become the discipline of our lives? It is this practical aspect that has been ignored. We have not sufficiently emphasized the fact that we have to live as saints, and that in our lives the honor at stake is not our personal honor, but the honor of Jesus Christ.

From Our Place Of Help

One question comes to my mind when I read this: Is Jesus Christ being honored by the way I live now?

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