Thursdays With Oswald—Fiery Furnace

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.

Fiery Furnace 

   Faith means, whether I am visibly delivered or not, I will stick to my belief that God is love. There are some things only learned in a fiery furnace.

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 only believe it because I can see it, or can I trust God even without seeing the reason for my trial?
  • Am I fully convinced of God’s unlimited love for me?
  • Have I learned lessons from my fiery trials in the past?
  • How can I help other brothers and sisters who may be in a fiery trial now?

Godly Leaders Raise Up Godly Leaders

“…as the hand of the Lord my God was upon me…I gathered leading men of Israel to go up with me” (Ezra 7:28).

A mark of a godly leader is one who raises up other godly leaders. He doesn’t want to walk alone; he doesn’t want to keep God’s blessings to himself. He knows that there can never be too many God-fearing leaders.

How did Ezra raise up more godly leaders?

  1. Ezra made sure his team had everyone it needed to be successful. When he discovered his team had no Levites to oversee functions in the temple, he made an appeal for a Levite to join his team. “Then, by the good hand of our God upon us” God sent Ezra nearly 250 Levites (Ezra 8:18-20)!
  2. Ezra made sure his team would be adequately cared for. He prayed and fasted as he asked for God’s direction and protection for his team (vv. 21-23).
  3. Ezra trusted his teammates. He entrusted them with precious, irreplaceable treasures (vv. 24-34).

What Ezra did became contagious. The leading men that came to follow Ezra all brought other potential leaders with them as well.

Godly leaders are never content arriving at their destination alone—they want as many other godly leaders alongside them as possible.

My prayer—God, place Your good hand on me to empower me to raise up godly leaders.

Poetry Saturday—Presumption

Whenever I am prone to doubt or wonder—
   I check myself, and say, “That mighty One
Who made to the solar system cannot blunder—
   And for the best all things are being done.”
Who sent the stars on their eternal courses
   Has fashioned this strange earth by some sure plan.
Bow low, bow low to those majestic forces,
   Nor dare to doubt their wisdom, puny man.

You cannot put one little star in motion,
   You cannot shape one single forest leaf,
Nor fling a mountain up, nor sink an ocean,
   Presumptuous pigmy, large with unbelief.
You cannot bring one dawn of regal splendor,
   Nor bid the day to shadowy twilight fall,
Nor send the pale moon fourth with radiance tender—
   And dare you doubt the One who has done it all?

“So much is wrong, there is such pain—such sinning.”
   Yet look again—behold how much is right!
And He who formed the world from its beginning
   Knows how to guide it upward to the light.
Your task, O man, is not to carp and cavil
   At God’s achievements, but with purpose strong
To cling to good, and turn away from evil.
   That is the way to help the world along. —Ella Wheeler Wilcox

10 Quotes From “Legacy Leadership”

I just finished an outstanding reading plan on YouVersion called Legacy Leadership by Dr. J. Lee Whittington. For anyone interested in the biblical concept of servant-leadership, I highly recommend you check out this reading plan.

Here are a few quotes I especially liked…

“Legacy Leadership is a process of intentional influence that takes place in the context of a relationship.”

“There is a recurring pattern of affirmation and exhortation in Paul’s leadership. He provided a dynamic balance between challenging his followers to grow and acknowledging their progress. He was affirming, but never content.”

“There is a growing trend to attack, criticize, and resent anyone who has talent or achievements that sets them apart from others. This tendency extends to those who resent the efforts of leaders who challenge the status quo. Opponents of change initiatives often attempt to marginalize leaders by attacking their character and questioning their motives. If the messenger is flawed, then the message and vision they offer cannot be trusted. As disappointing as it is, these challenges come with the territory of leadership.

“If I am to lead with integrity, I must always confront my own lack of integrity. This demands a willingness to constantly reflect on my motives and the courage to confront my own hypocrisy. It also requires me to allow myself the discomfort of inviting the scrutiny of both the Lord and others who care enough to confront me about my motives, my attitudes, and my behavior.”

“The most effective leaders are able to exert influence without asserting their formal authority. … Paul deliberately chose to forego the legitimate, reward, and coercive power inherent in his position. Instead, he leaned into another base of power: referent power. Referent power is based on respect and admiration. When this is present, the followers identify with and want to emulate their leader. This power base does not come from the leader’s position or control of resources. Rather, it is based on the leader’s character and integrity. Referent power is based on who the leader is.”

“Legacy Leaders do not lead from a distance. They imitate Jesus who said, ‘I am among you as one who serves’ (Luke 22:27). They are comfortable sharing their lives with their followers.”

“The best relationships between a leader and their followers are those that are characterized by a great deal of mutual trust and shared information. The responsibility for creating this type of relationship rests squarely on the shoulders of the leader.”

“Authentic leaders have a seamless link between their values and their actions. But the congruence between values and attitudes is just the starting point for authentic leadership.  From the perspective of scripture, a leader’s attitudes and actions must be anchored to God’s standards. When a leader’s enacted values are in congruence with their espoused values, and those espoused values are in turn anchored to God’s principles, the leader had moral authority.”

“It’s easy to critique the authenticity of others.  But, if we are really serious about developing our own authenticity, we must focus on ourselves. I read this statement several years ago: ‘If we are to be people of integrity, we must constantly confront our lack of integrity.’”

“Legacy Leaders embrace the principles of servant-leadership and understand that the conscious choice to lead comes after the desire to serve. This inclination is not natural. It must be energized by continuous reliance on the empowering presence of God’s Spirit.”

God’s Good Word

“…it happened after this…” (2 Kings 6:24).

After what? After God thwarted Syria’s attack against Israel. Later Syria tried again, and the king of Israel forgot what God had done in the past and instead blamed the prophet Elisha for Syria’s oppression (see v. 31).

How quickly we are to forget what God has done! How quick we are to abandon His Word? How quick we are to let our eyes see the problems and instead of the Provider!

Elisha again spoke “according to the word of the Lord” and everything transpired “just as the man of God had spoken” (7:16-18).

As William Gurnall said, “If you have God’s good Word, you do not have to fear the world’s bad words.” 

My prayer—O God, may I be quick to remember Your words and Your past victories; quick to look to You as my Provider and not to look to my problems.

Poetry Saturday—Wait, Trust, Rest

butterflyWait patiently wait,
God never is late;
Thy budding plans are in Thy Father’s holding,
And only wait His grand divine unfolding.
Then wait, wait,
Patiently wait.
Trust, hopefully trust,
That God will adjust
Thy tangled life; and from its dark concealings,
Will bring His will, in all its bright revealings.
Then trust, trust,
Hopefully trust.
Rest, peacefully rest
On thy Savior’s breast;
Breathe in His ear thy sacred high ambition,
And He will bring it forth in blest fruition.
Then rest, rest,
Peacefully rest! —Mercy A. Gladwin

Poetry Saturday—Rest

clouds-and-water“I’m too tired to trust and too tired to pray, 
Said one, as the over-taxed strength gave way. 
The one conscious thought by my mind possessed, 
Is, oh, could I just drop it all and rest.

 

“Will God forgive me, do you suppose, 
If I go right to sleep as a baby goes, 
Without an asking if I may, 
Without ever trying to trust and pray?

 

“Will God forgive you? why think, dear heart, 
When language to you was an unknown art, 
Did a mother deny you needed rest, 
Or refuse to pillow your head on her breast?

 

“Did she let you want when you could not ask? 
Did she set her child an unequal task? 
Or did she cradle you in her arms, 
And then guard your slumber against alarms?

 

“Ah, how quick was her mother love to see, 
The unconscious yearnings of infancy. 
When you’ve grown too tired to trust and pray, 
When over-wrought nature has quite given way:

 

“Then just drop it all, and give up to rest, 
As you used to do on a mother’s breast, 
He knows all about it—the dear Lord knows, 
So just go to sleep as a baby goes;

 

“Without even asking if you may, 
God knows when His child is too tired to pray. 
He judges not solely by uttered prayer, 
He knows when the yearnings of love are there.

 

“He knows you do pray, He knows you do trust, 
And He knows, too, the limits’ of poor weak dust. 
Oh, the wonderful sympathy of Christ, 
For His chosen ones in that midnight tryst,

 

“When He bade them sleep and take their rest, 
While on Him the guilt of the whole world pressed—
You’ve given your life up to Him to keep, 
Then don’t be afraid to go right to sleep.” —Ella Conrad Cowherd
%d bloggers like this: