Thursdays With Oswald—Take The Initiative

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.

Take The Initiative 

     In every place you are in, insist on taking the initiative for God.

     Looking for opportunities to serve God is an impertinence; every time and all the time is our opportunity of serving God.

From Run Today’s Race

Run Today’s Race contains short statements from Oswald Chambers intended to stimulate Christians to ponder things like:

  • Do I think I can only do big things for God in special moments?
  • Do I realize that I am always salt and light wherever I go and whatever I am doing?
  • Instead of looking for opportunities, am I seizing the opportunities God is continually giving me?

Poetry Saturday—A Man

Edgar A. GuestA man doesn’t whine at his losses,
A man doesn’t whimper and fret,
Or rail at the weight of his crosses
And ask life to rear him a pet.
A man doesn’t grudgingly labor
Or look upon toil as a blight;
A man doesn’t sneer at his neighbor
Or sneak from a cause that is right.

A man doesn’t sulk when another
Succeeds where his efforts have failed;
Doesn’t keep all his praise for the brother
Whose glory is publicly hailed;
And pass by the weak and the humble
As though they were not of his clay;
A man doesn’t ceaselessly grumble
When things are not going his way.

A man looks on woman as tender
And gentle, and stands at her side
At all times to guard and defend her,
And never to scorn or deride.
A man looks on life as a mission.
To serve, just so far as he can;
A man holds his noblest ambition
On earth is to live as a man. —Edgar A. Guest

No Apathetic Christians Allowed!

Healthy love loves God and then serves God by loving and serving others. Quite simply—love loves.

But my question is how does love love?

Sometimes we can get a fuller definition of a word by looking at its opposite. So what’s the opposite of love? It isn’t hate because hate is actually the flip side of love. That means our hatred for anything that comes against the object of our love is just as strong as our love is.

The opposite of love is apathy.

Apathy means without pathos (or feeling). Specifically, without feeling that moves us to action. So in order for love to love, it needs pathos as its fuel.

For example. If you hear a coworker mention her frustration with construction slowing down her morning commute, apathy says, “Bummer!” and does nothing else. But love fuel by pathos says, “I found an alternate route that I can share with you.”

When a friend tells you about his frustration with trying to lose weight, apathy says, “Good luck!” Pathos love says, “Here’s the diet that worked for me” or “I’ll go to the gym with you.”

Love is fueled by pathos to: speak out, act out, and reach out.

When Peter was describing the ministry of Jesus, he said, “He went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil” (Acts 10:38).

As His follower, we are supposed to feel the needs of the hurting and confused around us, and then let that pathos fuel our love to go around doing good:

  • When you hear someone asking for help, offer help.
  • When you see someone who is down, be their friend.
  • When you don’t see a neighbor for a couple of days, check on them.
  • When you meet someone looking for answers, invite them to church with you.
  • When a friend is sick, send a card, bring a meal, or mow their lawn.

These kinds of good deeds make Jesus happy (see Matthew 25:40) because it’s a tangible way to love God and then serve God by loving and serving others.

BE LIKE JESUS—GO AROUND DOING GOOD! 

There should never, ever be such a thing as an apathetic Christian!

Are You Healthy Enough To Love Serving Others?

Jesus was wholly healthy. That is to say, He was healthy in every aspect of His life—mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally (see Luke 2:52). This is important to note because Christians are called to be healthy in all of these same areas.

The phrase Dr. Luke uses about Christ’s growth is a telling one: Jesus grew in favor with men. People liked having Jesus around. The word for favor is from the same root word where we also get grace. So Jesus was a graceful man.

What does it mean when someone is graceful? It means they are pleasant to be around … you feel safe around them, knowing they will never belittle you or put you down … their focus is on your agenda, not their own … they are a “there you are!” person, not a “here I am!” person.

Bottom line: they are filled with love for others.

Jesus was healthy in His mind, His body, His spirit and His emotions, which allowed Him to be in a unique place where He fully knew how powerful He was, yet He chose to use His power not for His own benefit, but to serve others (see John 13:1-4).

Healthy love loves God and then serves God by loving and serving others. Only a wholly healthy person can truly serve with a right attitude…

  • People with unhealthy thoughts won’t serve because they don’t know they’re supposed to serve.
  • People with unhealthy bodies can’t serve because their disease won’t let them.
  • People with unhealthy spirits shouldn’t serve because they are promoting hypocrisy.
  • People with unhealthy emotions don’t serve because their attitude gets in the way.

Jesus not only told us His loving service was an example for us (John 13:15-17), but He went on to say that our loving service would be an example for others (vv. 34-35).

Healthy love loves God and then serves God by loving and serving others.

Do you have that kind of healthy love? Are you becoming wholly healthy enough to serve?

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What do I know that I’m not yet doing?
  2. What will it take for me to turn knowing into doing?
  3. Can people tell I am growing wholly healthier year by year?

11 Quotes From “Your Next 24 Hours”

your-next-24-hoursHal Donaldson makes the case that a revolution of kindness can be started by what you do in the next 24 hours. It’s a great book! Check out my review of Your Next 24 Hours by clicking here, and then enjoy some of these quotes that I found enlightening.

“Think of your heart as a bank vault that’s packed with the currency of love and kindness. When that currency is hoarded—it is wasted. But when it is invested in the lives of others, it pays great dividends. With each disbursement, you give others strength, hope, and value.”

“You have a unique capacity to bring hope and beauty to the world. Don’t waste your precious energy using the wrong ruler. Granted, not everyone will acknowledge your unique gifts. But don’t allow how others see you to dictate how you see yourself. The words they use to describe you don’t define you. You can’t control how they respond to you, but you can influence what they have to respond to.”

“If all you possess are two hands, collect trash along the way. If all you own is a smile, use it to befriend someone who is lonely. If all you have is an umbrella, share it with someone who is quivering in the rain. If all you have is a kind word, encourage those who think the world is against them. To the lonely, rain-soaked, and downtrodden, your resourcefulness is their miracle.” 

“If enough families are built on a foundation of kindness, communities will see crime rates fall, domestic disputes decline, suicides drop, teen pregnancies wane, and cases of child abuse fade.”

“Whenever you see injustice, it’s safer to ignore it and do nothing. When you raise your voice in defense of others, you put yourself at risk. Retreating will protect you temporarily, but that approach only perpetuates more injustice and suffering. Don’t allow the threat of retaliation to make you a spectator.”

“From a heart of kindness, will you stand and say, ‘There are no second class citizens—nor should anyone be made to feel like one. Every life is precious to God and must be treasured, because “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”?’ Remember, your voice is a vote for justice; your silence may be interpreted as a vote for injustice.”

“To offer the right prescription of hope and encouragement, you need to be emotionally and spiritually prepared.” 

“No life experience should be wasted, because crises teach patience, empathy, and perseverance.”

“Make it your goal to do more for your friends and family members than they do for you. When they are facing hardship, make an effort to be by their side. They may not know how to ask for help, so don’t be afraid to be proactive.” 

“Occasional kindness has limited power. But relentless kindness has the power to restore, inspire, rescue, and unite.”

“Your acts of kindness are an outward expression of the love and happiness that are in your heart.” 

I’ll be sharing more quotes from this wonderful book soon. To be notified right away when these quotes are posted, enter your email address to subscribe. Also be sure to follow me on Twitter and Tumblr, where I share quotes from Hal Donaldson and other thought-provoking people every day.

Your Next 24 Hours (book review)

your-next-24-hoursWhen it comes to compassionate actions that are changing the world, Hal Donaldson—who founded the Convoy of Hope—knows what he’s talking about! Hal is passionate in letting everyone know that they, too, can be world changers. That message comes through loud and clear in his book Your Next 24 Hours.

Hal Donaldson turned a near-devastating situation in his young life into a relentless pursuit to show others the kindness he was shown. Throughout this book, he shares his personal story, as well as stories from some well-known people, and some not-so-well-known folks. In story after story one message becomes crystal clear: You don’t have to have a lot of money or celebrity status to do something kind for someone else.

Each 24-hour day presents us with abundant opportunities to see a pain that needs to be addressed, to show kindness, to do something that touches another life for good. And just in case you’re having a difficult time coming up with some world-changing ideas, Donaldson shares a few “Kind Ways” at the end of each chapter which anyone can do.

As he opens the book, Hal reminds us, “The enemies of kindness are fierce, and you’re only one person. But what if every person was a relentless force for good? Overnight, a revolution of kindness would dethrone a culture of greed and self-centeredness. The world would be a different place. You have more power and influence than you think.” (emphasis mine)

I am very excited to recommend this book to you! Already I have shared some of the “Kind Ways” with others and have used some of them myself. I’m excited to see a revolution of kindness that begins in the lives of each person who reads Your Next 24 Hours!

I am a Baker Books reviewer.

9 Quotes From “The Bad Habits Of Jesus”

the-bad-habits-of-jesusLeonard Sweet explores how revolutionary Jesus Christ’s public ministry was in his outstanding book The Bad Habits Of Jesus. Check out my book review by clicking here, and then enjoy some of these quotes I especially liked.

“As the church we can be Jesus to the world, but only if we are not afraid of the spit in the dirt. To lose our earthiness is to lose our humility, which, in the end, is to lose our humanity.”

“It’s easier to donate money than to put our hand in the hand of a man or a woman who looks dirty, down, and drowned with mud. Yet the church of Jesus is not meant to be a hideaway but a hostel for all of God’s dirtiest who need restoration and healing.”

“Jesus didn’t procrastinate due to slackness or indecision or perfectionism or fear of moving forward. Jesus delayed doing what He wanted or needed to do because the timing wasn’t right, because He was telling time by His Father’s clock and making the most of the time His Father had given Him.”

“Sometimes delay is the best strategy for dealing with a problem, especially problems that have not been prayed over enough in the heart or played about enough in the mind.”

“We especially need to learn to wait on Jesus, which has both a Martha and a Mary meaning. There is the ‘waiter’ meaning of ‘waiting on Jesus,’ which means serving Him by serving others. To put the interests of others before our own is not to be weak but to be strong enough to transcend selfishness. That’s why love is only for the strong, not for the weak. Only the strong can love. … Then there is the ‘await’ meaning of ‘waiting on Jesus,’ which means patiently waiting without hating or wearing out the carpets with our pacing and fretting, sitting at His feet upon His arrival, leaning into His presence, and learning to put on the mind of Christ.” 

“We all need the pendulum swing of snatching spaces of solitude and setting tables of sociability. In fact, the more plugged in and connected we are, the more we need to unplug and disconnect. A world of presence needs a time of absence.”

“Sometimes the Prince of Peace was a disturber of the peace so that He could be God’s purveyor of true peace.”

“When political correctness takes over in the church, it’s no longer about Jesus. … The Gospel becomes not God’s Good News but our own good intentions. … Jesus’ bad habit of not being afraid to offend so offends our PC sense of rectitude that He would be liable to be arrested for indecency.”

“When people today work for the church instead of working for God, love a denomination more than they love God, cherish their traditions more than they cherish their relationship with God, then they steal what is due only God.”

I will be sharing more quotes from this book soon. If you would like to be notified as soon as these quotes are posted, simply enter your email address in the box in the right column and click “Sign me up!” You can also follow me on Twitter and Tumblr where I share inspiring and thoughtful quotes ever day.

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