Thursdays With Oswald—Isaiah 42

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.

Isaiah 42

[These are notes on Oswald Chambers’ lecture on Isaiah 42.] 

     If you want to know what a servant of God is to be like, read what Isaiah says in this chapter and the following ones about the great Servant, Jesus Christ. The characteristics of the great Servant must be the characteristics of every servant; it is the identification of the servant of God with the immortal characteristics of God Himself.

     In service for God we have to be abandoned to Him, let Him put us where He will, whether He blesses us or crushes us with burdens, we have nothing to do with what it costs. … May God make us understand that if we are in His service He will do exactly what He likes with us. We are not saved and sanctified for ourselves, but for God to crush us with burdens if He chooses. … A servant of Jesus Christ is one who is willing to go to martyrdom for the reality of the Gospel of God. …  

     The servant is absorbed in Jesus as He was in God. The mark of false service is the self-conscious pride of striving after of God’s favor. … 

     The whole conception of the work of a servant of God is to lift up the despairing and the hopeless. Immediately you start work on God’s line He will bring the weak and infirm round you, the surest sign that God is at work is that that is the class who come—the very class we don’t want, with the pain and the distress and limitation. We want the strong and robust, and God gathers round us the feeble-minded, the afflicted and weak. Pain in God’s service always leads to glory. We want success, God wants glory. 

From Notes On Isaiah 

God calls His followers to be servus servorum Dei: a servant of the servants of God. We don’t seek glory for ourselves, but we seek glory solely for God. We live our lives just as Jesus demonstrated: “Not My will, but Yours be done.” 

Are you living as a true servant of God? 

10 Quotes From “The Servant As His Lord”

Whenever I read an Oswald Chambers’ book, I know I’m going to get exceptional content that is really going to make me think. The Servant As His Lord lived up to my expectations! I have shared several passages from this book already in my weekly “Thursdays With Oswald” posts (more about that in a moment), but here are a few more quotes I wanted to pass along to you.

“I continually come across people with rusty ‘thinkers,’ they think about their business but about nothing else, and the forces within have become desperately weak; consequently when tribulation comes their minds are confused, and the result is that errors come into the life. If the forces within are strong and healthy they give us warning and enable us to crush in a vice on the threshold of the mind everything that ought not to come there. God can impart to a man the power to select what his mind thinks, the power to think only what is right and pure and true.”

“God has no favorites, but when we let Him have His right of way through us He begins to unveil something more of His purposes in our lives. … Is tribulation making you wilt? making you swoon for sympathy? making you stagnate? It is an easy business to want to get away from tribulation, but fighting makes us strong, gloriously strong.”

“God grant we may be so filled with the Holy Spirit that we listen to His checks along every line. No power can deceive a child of God who keeps in the light with God. I am perfectly certain that the devil likes to deceive us and limit us in our practical belief as to what Jesus Christ can do. There is no limit to what He can do, absolutely none. ‘All things are possible to him that believeth.’ Jesus says that faith in Him is omnipotent. God grant we may get hold of this truth.”

“Look at the world either through a telescope or a microscope and you will be dwarfed into terror by the infinitely great or the infinitely little. Naturalists tell us that there are no two blades of grass alike, and close inspection of a bee’s wing under a microscope reveals how marvelously it is made. What do I read in the Bible? I read that the God of heaven counts the hairs of our heads. Jesus says so. I read that the mighty God watches the sparrows so intimately that not one of them falls on the ground without His notice. I read that the God who holds the seas in the hollow of His hand and guides the stars in their courses, clothes the grass of the field. Through the love of God in Christ Jesus we are brought into a wonderful intimacy with the infinitely great and the infinitely little.”

“The great need today amongst those of us who profess sanctification is the patience and ability to work out the holiness of God in every detail of our lives.”

“We are only safe in taking an estimate of ourselves from our Creator, not from our own introspection.”

“There is no one in the world more easy to get to than God. Only one thing prevents us from getting there, and that is the refusal to tell ourselves the truth.”

“God does not do what false Christianity makes out—keep a man immune from trouble, there is no promise of that; God says, ‘I will be with him in trouble.’ … No matter what actual troubles in the most extreme form get hold of a man’s life, not one of them can touch the central citadel, that is, his relationship to God in Christ Jesus.”

“The afflictions after sanctification are not meant to purify us, but to make us broken bread in the hands of our Lord to nourish others.”

“If we are self-willed when God tries to break us and will do anything rather than submit, we shall never be of any use to nourish other souls; we shall only be centers of craving self-pity, discrediting the character of God.”

“Thursdays With Oswald” is a weekly feature where I share a longer section from an Oswald Chambers book, along with a thought or two of my own. You can subscribe to my blog and get notified each time I share one of these posts, or you can type Thursdays With Oswald in the search box.

You can read my review of The Servant As His Lordclicking here by .

9 Quotes From “Leadership Promises For Every Day”

leadership-promisesLeadership Promises For Every Day is a devotional book for leaders and aspiring leaders. A passage from the Bible is combined with a passage from one of John Maxwell’s outstanding books. It’s an excellent way to start your day! If you haven’t already, check out my review of this book here, and then enjoy a few quotes—

“How many leaders have ruined their lives and damaged the lives of others through immorality? Character has become a crucial issue today precisely because of the myriad of leaders in the political, business, and religious worlds who have fallen morally. No doubt they fall partly because the enemy has targeted leaders for attack. Leaders need to remember that they influence many others beyond themselves; they never fall in a vacuum. They also need to realize that replacing fallen leaders is a slow and difficult process.”

“Our goal among brothers should not be to punish or excommunicate, but to restore. Confrontation is a redemptive act of leadership.”

“Leaders need to respond to individuals based on their needs rather than their faults. … Good leaders do this well. They don’t lead out of a predetermined package of behaviors, but size up every situation and discern what must happen to reach the desired goal.”

“People rise or fall to meet our level of expectations for them. If you express skepticism and doubt in others, they’ll return your lack of confidence with mediocrity. But if you believe in them and expect them to do well, they’ll wear themselves out trying to do their best.”

“Leaders must constantly ask if their plans fit God’s revealed will for them and their organization. Then they must ask if their plans remain relevant to the needs of their mission, their values, their vision, and their long-range objectives. Finally, they need to ask if their plans fit the needs of their culture and time.”

“We need to remember that when people follow behind us, they can only go as far as we go. If our growth stops today, our ability to lead will stop along with it. Neither personality nor methodology can substitute for personal growth. We cannot model what we do not possess. Begin learning and growing today, and watch those around you begin to grow.”

“Servanthood is not about position or skill. It’s about attitude.” 

“People who blame others for their failures never overcome them. They simply move from problem to problem. To reach your potential, you must continually improve yourself, and you can’t do that if you don’t take responsibility for your actions and learn from your mistakes.”

“Laughter breeds resilience. Laughing is the quickest way to get up and get going again when you’ve been knocked down.”

I am always sharing great quotes from John Maxwell and others on Twitter and Tumblr. If you’re not following me there, please do so!

Thursdays With Oswald—Is Your Christianity Actual Or Only Ideal?

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.

Is Your Christianity Actual Or Only Ideal? 

     Christianity is not adherence to a set of principles—righteousness, goodness, uprightness—all these things are secondary. The first great fundamental thing about Christianity is a personal relationship to Jesus Christ which enables a man to work out the ideal and actual as one in his own personal life. … 

     We are not built for mountains and dawns and artistic affinities; they are for moments of inspiration, that is all. We are built for the valley, for the ordinary stuff of life, and this is where we have to prove our mettle. A false Christianity takes us up on the mount and we want to stay there. “But what about the devil-possessed world?” “Oh, let it go to hell! We are having a great time up here.” … It is a great thing to be on the mount with God, and the mountains are meant for inspiration and meditation; but a man is taken there only in order that he may go down afterwards among the devil-possessed and lift them up. … 

     God won’t clear up our social conditions; Jesus Christ is not a social Reformer, He came to alter us first, and if there is any social reform done on earth, we will have to do it. … 

     If we cannot live in the demon-possessed valley, with the hold of God on us, lifting up those who are down by the power of the thing that is in us, our Christianity is only an abstraction.

From The Shadow Of An Agony

Jesus Christ did not stay on the mountaintops with His Father, aloof from the needs of people. He went away for times of refreshing, but always came back to the messiness of people’s lives.

Can the same be said of our Christianity? Are we content with merely knowing we are going to Heaven? Or are we daily going into the valleys to rescue those oppressed and held captive by the devil?

Ideal Christianity wants to be alone with Jesus on the mountain. Actual Christianity—that Jesus modeled for us—meets with Christ on the mountain only to be strengthened for the work in the valley. 

Is your Christianity actual, or only ideal?

17 More Quotes From “Our Brilliant Heritage”

Our Brilliant HeritageThis is the second batch of quotes from Our Brilliant Heritage. You can read the first set of quotes here, and my review of this book is posted here.

“God does not supply us with character, He gives us the life of His Son and we can either ignore Him and refused to obey Him, or we can so obey Him, so bring every thought and imagination into captivity, that the life of Jesus is manifested in our mortal flesh. It is not a question of being saved from hell, but of being saved in order to manifest the Son of God in our mortal flesh. Our responsibility is to keep ourselves fit to manifest Him.” 

“We cannot do anything for our salvation, but we must do something to manifest it; we must work it out. Am I working out my salvation with my tongue, with my brain, and with my nerves?”

“We are not called to success but to faithfulness.”

“The marvelous thing about spiritual wealth is that when we take our part in that, everyone else is blessed; whereas if we refused to be partakers, we hinder others from entering into the riches of God.”

“It is a crime to allow external physical misery to make us sulky with God. There are desolating experiences, such as the Psalmist describes in Psalms 42-43, and he says, ‘Then will I go…unto God my exceeding joy’—not ‘with joy,’ but unto God Who is my joy. No calamity can touch that wealth. No sin is worse than self-pity because it puts self-interest on the throne; it ‘makes the bastard of self seem in the right’; it obliterates God and opens the mouth to spit out murmurings against God; and the life becomes impoverished and mean, there is nothing lovely or generous about it.” 

“The witness of the Holy Spirit is that we realize with growing amazement Who Jesus is to us personally, our Lord and Master. The baptism of the Holy Ghost makes us witnesses to Jesus, not wonder-workers. The witness is not to what Jesus does, but to what He is.”

“When we say—‘But it is common sense to do this and that,’ we make our common sense Almighty God, and God has to retire right out, then after a while He comes back and asks us if we are satisfied.”

“There is no condition of life in which we cannot abide in Jesus. We have to learn to abide in Him wherever we are placed.”

“Pride is the deification of myself.” 

“‘Oh, I’m no saint.’ To talk like that is acceptable to human pride, but it is unconscious blasphemy against God. It literally means I defy God to make me a saint. The reason I am not a saint is either that I do not want to be a saint or I do not believe God can make me one.”

“The greatest hindrance of our spiritual life lies in looking for big things to do; Jesus Christ ‘took a towel….’”

“We say we do not expect God to carry us to heaven on ‘flowery beds of ease,’ but we act as if we did!”

“We can all shine in the sun, but Jesus wants us to shine where there is no sun, where it is dark with the press of practical things.”

“Our Lord never taught us to deny sin: sin must be destroyed, not denied. Nothing sinful can ever be good.”

“Never say you will pray about a thing; pray about it. … It is not part of the life of a natural man to pray. We hear it said that a man will suffer in his life if he does not pray; I question it. What will suffer is the life of the Son of God in him, which is nourished not by food but by prayer.”

“The five minutes we give to the words of Jesus the first thing in the morning are worth more than all the rest of the day.”

“Are we in the habit of listening to the Words of Jesus? Do we realize that Jesus knows more about our business than we do ourselves? Do we take His Word for our clothes, our money, our domestic work; or do we think we can manage these things for ourselves?” 

Around, Awake, Aware

Fathers DayThe statistics on fatherless homes are quite alarming:

  • 63 percent of teen suicides are from fatherless homes;
  • 90 percent of homeless children and runaways are from fatherless homes; and
  • 71 percent of all high school dropouts are from fatherless homes.

Since the latest numbers tell us that 40% of babies are now born to unwed mothers, we could have a potential societal collapse looming! But there is good news: It’s not too late to do something about this. We—the men in the Church—can make a difference. A father has life-changing power. Not simply someone who is a biological father, but someone who will step into a fatherly role to invest in a person’s life.

God chose David His servant and took him from the sheep pens; from tending the sheep He brought him to be the shepherd of His people Jacob, of Israel His inheritance. And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them. (Psalm 78:70-72)

God is looking for men who are His servants; men who don’t want to plan their own course, but who say, “I am Your servant; use me however You see best.”

David was given a ragtag bunch of men, which the Bible describes as “in distress, in debt or discontented” (1 Samuel 22:2). With integrity and skill David poured into their lives, so that by the end of his life this ragtag group became heroes (see 2 Samuel 23:8-39).

Throughout Scripture God calls men to step into the lives of the fatherless. These distressed, indebted, discontented children of today need a father who is:

  • Around physically—Ephesians 6:2 (it’s hard to honor an absentee father)
  • Awake emotionally—Ephesians 6:4a (one who won’t exasperate them)
  • Aware spiritually—Ephesians 6:4b (one who will bring them up in…the Lord)

We can be a part of reversing the downward slide of our culture.

Hear me, God-fearing men: countless distressed, fatherless kids could become our generation’s mighty warriors because of your investment! 

Links & Quotes

link quote

Fellas, you need to check this out: 5 More Things Men Should Do To Protect Their Marriage.

This is an amazing admission from a medical doctor who is also an abortion provider: “If a woman with a serious illness―heart disease, say, or diabetes―gets pregnant, the abortion procedure may be as dangerous for her as going through pregnancy … with diseases like lupus, multiple sclerosis, even breast cancer, the chance that pregnancy will make the disease worse is no greater than the chance that the disease will either stay the same or improve. And medical technology has advanced to a point where even women with diabetes and kidney disease can be seen through a pregnancy safely by a doctor who knows what he’s doing. We’ve come a long way since my mother’s time…. The idea of abortion to save the mothers’ life is something that people cling to because it sounds noble and pure―but medically speaking, it probably doesn’t exist. It’s a real stretch of our thinking.” ―Dr. Don Sloan, M.D.

“The Word says, ‘Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world’ (1 John 2:15). Jesus warned, ‘Beware of covetousness: for a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things which he possesses’ (Luke 12:15). Things—our possessions—can tie us down to this world. While heaven and hell prepare for war, we go shopping. Eternal values are at stake! The end of all we know is near—and we are busy playing with our toys!” —David Wilkerson

“The blood of Christ doesn’t cover your sins, conceal your sins, postpone or diminish your sins.  It takes away your sins, once and for all! So…since you are saved, you can serve!” Read more from Max Lucado in Saved To Serve.

Dr. Tim Elmore writes about 2 essential ingredients to form a young leader. You should read the whole post, but the two ingredients are quite surprising: problems and empowerment.

[VIDEO] An excellent explanation on what sources are used to determine the text of the Bible―

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