Thursdays With Oswald—When You Can’t Do Anything To Help

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.

When You Can’t Do Anything To Help

     One of the first things a worker for God has to learn by experience is that strangely obvious lesson, that none of us can understand the cases we meet to work with. Then how can we work for the cure of them? Remember the first principles we laid down: By knowing Jesus Christ for ourselves experimentally, and then by relying on the Holy Spirit. …  

     In Goethe’s writings, in 1824 he writes: “I will say nothing against the course of my existence, but at the bottom of it has been nothing but pain and burden, and I can affirm that, during the whole of my seventy-five years, I have not had four weeks of genuine well-being. It has been the perpetual rolling of a rock that must be raised up again.”

     Robert Louis Stevenson said that three hours out of every five he was insane with misery. John Stuart Mill said that life was not worth living after you were a boy.

     This is not fiction, these are human facts. What does Christian Science do—ignores them! New Thought—ignores them! Mind Cure—ignores them! Jesus Christ opens our eyes to these facts, but here comes the difficulty: how am I to get Jesus Christ in contact with these sick souls?

In the first place, will you realize that you do not know how to do it? … If you get your little compartment of texts, and search them out and say, ‘I know how to deal with this soul,’ you will never be able to deal with it; but if you realize your absolute helplessness and say, ‘My God, I cannot touch this life, I do not know where to begin, but I believe Thou canst do it,’ then you can do something. …  

     God grant us the grace so to rely on the Holy Ghost, to so know our ignorance, so to get out of the way with our knowledge, that we will let the Holy Ghost bring the Majestic Christ face to face with the diseased, sick folk we meet. … God grant we may so rely on the Holy Spirit that we allow Him to introduce through the agony of our intercession…the Living, Mighty Christ! … Blessed be the name of God, there is no case too hard for Jesus Christ! …  

     God grant that we may be so centered in Him that He can use us in that wonderful way.

From Workmen Of God

How to help those in need:

  1. Admit that we can’t help them
  2. Ask the Holy Spirit to enable us to help them
  3. Share only what the Spirit tells us to share
  4. Intercede in prayer for our friend

“God grant that we may be so centered in Him that He can use us in that wonderful way.” Amen!

8 Quotes From Gordon MacDonald In “Ordering Your Private World”

In the quiet solitude of our inner lives is where real growth takes place. Or said another way: if we won’t make time to order our private world, our public world will be limited in its scope and effectiveness. Gordon MacDonald unpacks some fantastic principles to help us in his newly updated and expanded book Ordering Your Private World. Check out my full book review by clicking here, and then enjoy these quote from Gordon MacDonald.

“There is a busyness that reflects a plan of activity, a pattern of priorities, and a sense of purposefulness. It is a good and satisfying busyness through which one grows and increases competence. But there is also a busyness (a destructive busyness, actually) that reflects a chaotic way of life—a way of doing in which one is simply responding to the next thing in the day. The next thing! It makes no difference whether it has significance; it’s just the next thing, and one does it because it’s there to do.”

“A soul—our spiritual space—is empty when one tries to do soul-based things but makes little or no effort to keep that soul filled.”

“Driven people boast of their drivenness. They have forgotten how to play. Spiritual activity seems a waste of time. They are usually too busy for the pursuit of ordinary relationships in marriage, family, or friendship, or even to carry on a relationship with themselves—not to speak of one with God. Because driven people rarely think they have accomplished enough, they seize every available minute to attend more meetings, to study more material, to initiate more projects. They operate on the precept that a reputation for busyness is a sign of success and personal importance. Thus, they attempt to impress people with the fullness of their schedules.”

“Our careers, our assets, our natural and spiritual gifts, our health—are these things owned, or merely managed in the name of the One who gave them? Driven people consider them owned; called people do not. When driven people lose those things, it is a major crisis. When called people lose them, nothing of substance changes. The private world remains the same, perhaps even stronger.”

“It is worth taking time to ask how Our Lord’s command of time is demonstrated. … The first thing that impresses me is that Jesus clearly understood His mission. … A second insight into Jesus’ personal organization of time is that He understood His own limits. … Jesus included a third important element in His strategy of time budgeting, for He set time aside for the training of the Twelve.”

“Unmanaged time flows toward my weaknesses. Unmanaged time comes under the influence of dominant people in my world. Unmanaged time surrenders to the demands of all emergencies. Unmanaged time gets invested in things that gain public acclamation.”

“The unthinking Christ-follower does not realize it, but he is dangerously absorbed into the culture about him. Because his mind is untrained and unfilled, it lacks the ability to produce the hard questions with which the world needs to be challenged. The private world of a Christ-follower will be weak, defenseless, and disorganized if serious attention has not been given to this sector of intellectual growth.”

“We do not develop our intellects merely for our own personal advancement, but we put our thinking power to work for the use of others. … As my mind grows, it may make possible the growth of others.”

Poetry Saturday—Desire

Matthew ArnoldThou, who dost dwell alone;
Thou, who dost know Thine own;
Thou, to whom all are known,
From the cradle to the grave—
Save, O, save!

From the world’s temptations;
From tribulations;
From that fierce anguish
Wherein we languish;
From that torpor deep
Wherein we lie asleep,
Heavy as death, cold as the grave—
Save, O, save!

When the soul, growing clearer,
Sees God no nearer;
When the soul, mounting higher,
To God comes no nigher;
But the arch-fiend Pride
Mounts at her side,
Foiling her high enterprise,
Sealing her eagle eyes,
And, when she fain would soar,
Make idols to adore;
Changing the pure emotion
Of her high devotion,
To a skin-deep sense
Of her own eloquence;
Strong to deceive, strong to enslave—
Save, O, save! —Matthew Arnold

12 More Quotes From “The Place Of Help”

The Place Of HelpAs always, there are more quotes from Oswald Chambers’ books than I have space to share them. So here are a few more from The Place Of Help.

“If we are going to be used by God, He will take us through a multitude of experiences that are not meant for us at all, but meant to make us useful in His hands. There are things we go through which are unexplainable on any other line, and the nearer we get to God the more inexplicable the way seems. It is only on looking back and by getting an explanation from God’s Word that we understand His dealings with us.”

“The essence of Christianity is that we give the Son of God a chance to live and move and have His being in us, and the meaning of all spiritual growth is that He has an increasing opportunity to manifest Himself in our mortal flesh.”

“Temptation is a short cut to what is good, not to what is bad. satan came to our Lord as an angel of light, and all his temptations center around this point—‘You are the Son of God, then do God’s work in Your own way; put men’s needs first, feed them, heal their sicknesses, and they will crown You King.’ Our Lord would not become King on that line; He deliberately rejected the suggested short cut, and choose the long trail, evading none of the suffering involved (cf. John 6:15).”

“God expects His children to be so confident in Him that in a crisis they are the ones upon whom He can rely. … God expects of us the one thing that glorifies Him—and that is to remain absolutely confident in Him, remembering what He has said beforehand, and sure that His purposes will be fulfilled.”

“God has never promised to keep us immune from trouble; He says ‘I will be with him in trouble,’ which is a very different thing.”

“The Bible characters never fell under weak points but on their strong ones; unguarded strength is double weakness.”

“Do we trust in our wits or do we worship God? If we trust in our wits, God will have to repeat the same lesson until we learn it.”

“The coming of Jesus Christ is not a peaceful thing, it is a disturbing thing, because it means the destruction of every peace that is not based on a personal relationship to Himself.” [Matthew 10:34]

“The peace that Jesus gives is never engineered by circumstances on the outside; it is a peace based on a personal relationship that holds all through. ‘In the world ye shall have tribulation: … in Me … peace.’”

“God is a holy God, and the marvel of the Redemption is that God the Holy One puts into me, the unholy one, a new disposition, the disposition of His Son.”

“In the Sermon on the Mount our Lord teaches us not to look for justice, but never to cease to give it. That is not commonsense, it is either madness or Christianity.”

“When the love of God is in me I must learn how to let it express itself; I must educate myself in the matter; it takes time. Acquire your soul with patients, says Jesus [Luke 21:19]. Never give way to this spirit—‘Oh well, I have fallen again, I will stay down now.’ Have patience with yourself, and remember that this is salvation not for the hereafter, but for the here and now.”

You can read the first set of quotes from The Place Of Help by clicking here.

My review of The Place Of Help is here.

And be sure to look for “Thursdays With Oswald” to read quotes and thoughts from the current Chambers’ book I am reading.

Poetry Saturday—On A Theme From Nicholas Of Cusa

C.S. Lewis at his deskWhen soul and body feed, one sees
Their differing physiologies.
Firmness of apple, fluted shape
Of celery, or tight-skinned grape
I grind and mangle when I eat,
Then in dark, salt, internal heat,
Annihilate their natures by
The very act that makes them I.

But when the soul partakes of good
Or truth, which are her savoury food,
By some far subtler chemistry
It is not they that change, but she,
Who feels them enter with the state
Of conquerors her opened gate,
Or, mirror-like, digests their ray
By turning luminous as they. —C.S. Lewis

Links & Quotes

link quote

No matter how loving Christians are, and no matter how carefully we present our beliefs, people will still be offended. Check out this short video from Alan Shlemon at Stand To Reason.

“I am considering not how, but why, [God] makes each soul unique. If He had no use for all these differences, I do not see why He should have created more souls than one. Be sure that the ins and outs of your individuality are no mystery to Him; and one day they will no longer be a mystery to you. The mould in which a key is made would be a strange thing, if you had never seen a key: and the key itself a strange thing if you had never seen a lock. Your soul has a curious shape because it is a hollow made to fit a particular swelling in the infinite contours of the Divine substance, or a key to unlock one of the doors in the house with many mansions. For it is not humanity in the abstract that is to be saved, but you—you, the individual reader, John Stubbs or Janet Smith. Blessed and fortunate creature, your eyes shall behold Him and not another’s. All that you are, sins apart, is destined, if you will let God have His good way, to utter satisfaction.” —C.S. Lewis in The Problem Of Pain

“One doesn’t realize in early life that the price of freedom is loneliness. To be happy one must be tied.” —C.S. Lewis

Eric Metaxas asks, “What’s the difference between evolutionary theory and an octopus?” You will love his answer!

“We make a mistake as Christians if we hold the view that all non-Christian culture is worthless and should be avoided. This is simply not the case. God has given gifts for making culture to every human being, and very often those who do not know Him are capable of making artifacts, establishing institutions, or promoting conventions that actually are very useful for human flourishing. This is a measure of God’s common grace to all people. Believers must not despise such gifts, and we must not ignore or avoid them. … We do not repudiate those unbelieving aspects of culture which are good and useful. Rather, we appropriate all such forms, learning as much as we can about them and considering ways they might be put to use for the glory of God.” —T.M. Moore

Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood wanted to rid society of “human weeds,” and in 1925 she wrote, “We must clear the way for a better world; we must cultivate our garden.” Read more here.

“There is no rule binding with iron force upon you, for we are not under law in Christ’s church, but under grace, and grace will prompt you to do more than law might suggest….” —Charles Spurgeon

“We wouldn’t dare rob somebody of his gold watch or bank account. Yet God states clearly that slandering someone’s name is robbery of the worst kind. And we can do it in the subtlest of ways: by pointing an accusing finger, questioning one’s character, passing on tidbits of gossip. Indeed, three of the most damning words we can speak are, ‘Have you heard?’ The mere suggestion of the question robs a person of something valuable. And it defiles our own mouth.” —David Wilkerson

Frank Turek has an interesting look at the Kim Davis situation in Kentucky.

Save Souls Sinking Into Hell

These are sobering words from Charles Spurgeon…

C.H. Spurgeon“Men can be so careless about the ruin of men’s souls. Let us hear the cry of ‘Fire! fire!’ in the streets, and our heart is all in trepidation lest some poor creature should be burned alive; but we read of hell, and of the wrath to come, and seldom do our hearts palpitate with any compassionate trembling and fear. If we are on board a vessel, and the shrill cry is heard, ‘Man overboard!’ whoever hears of a passenger wrapping his overcoat around him, and lying down upon a seat to contemplate the exertions of others? But in the church, when we hear of thousands of sinners sinking in the floods of ruin, we behold professed Christians wrapping themselves up in their own security, and calmly looking upon the labours of others, but not even lifting a finger to do any part of the work themselves. If we heard tomorrow in our streets the awful cry, more terrible than fire, the cry of ‘Bread! bread! bread!’ and saw starving women lifting up their perishing children, would we not empty out our stores? Who among us would not spend our substance to let the poor ravenous creatures satisfy the pangs of hunger? And yet, here is the world perishing for lack of knowledge. Here we have them at our doors crying for the bread of heaven, and how many there are that hoard their substance for avarice, give their time to vanity, devote their talents to self-aggrandisement, and centre their thoughts only on the world or the flesh! Oh! could you once see with your eyes a soul sinking into hell, it would be such a spectacle that you would work night and day, and count your life too short and your hours too few for the plucking of brands from the burning.” (emphasis added)

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