Posted by Gary on April 26, 2010
While I may have some areas of theological difference with Oswald Chambers I believe his insights into the daily living of the Christian life are inspired of God. “My Utmost for His Highest” is without doubt one of the most insightful, diagnostic devotionals ever. It is not easy reading and I don’t believe it is for everyone but say a prayer and then read and read again and you will find tremendous insights that get right down to the very root of your heart before God. Watch out, there will be some painful moments.
The reading for April 25 entitled, “Instant In Season” spoke to me and I needed to hear it. Some of us are very prone to insist on burning bushes and mountain top experiences in our life with God. God grants them at times and then we insist that we need them every day and all the time which God is not willing to do. How faithful to God are we when feelings are not welling up? I’ll let Chambers take it from here with a little underlining from me:
Be instant in season, out of season.” 2 Timothy 4:2
Many of us suffer from the morbid tendency to be instant “out of season.” The season does not refer to time, but to us – ‘Be instant in season, out of season,” whether we feel like it or not. If we do only what we feel inclined to do, some of us would do nothing for ever and ever. There are unemployables in the spiritual domain, spiritually decrepit people, who refuse to do anything unless they are supernaturally inspired. The proof that we are rightly related to God is that we do our best whether we feel inspired or not.
One of the great snares of the Christian worker is to make a fetish of his rare moments. When the Spirit of God gives you a time of inspiration and insight, you say – “Now I will always be like this for God.” No, you will not, God will take care you are not. Those times are the gift of God entirely. You cannot give them to yourself when you choose. If you say you will only be at your best, you become an intolerable drag on God; you will never do anything unless God keeps you consciously inspired. If you make a god of your best moments, you will find that God will fade out of your life and never come back until you do the duty that lies nearest, and have learned not to make a fetish of your rare moments.
Posted by Gary on January 29, 2010
Titus 2:14 “who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.”
From J.C. Ryle’s sermon on zeal:
“Zeal in religion is a burning desire to please God, to do His will, and to advance His glory in the world in every possible way. It is a desire which no man feels by nature—which the Spirit puts into the heart of every believer when he is converted—but which some believers feel so much more strongly than others, that they alone deserve to be called zealous men.
This desire is so strong when it really reigns in a man, that it impels him to make any sacrifice—to go through any trouble, to deny himself to any amount—to suffer, to work, to labor, to toil—to spend himself and be spent, and even to die—if only he can please God and honor Christ.
A zealous man is pre-eminently a man of one thing. It is not enough to say that he is earnest, hearty, uncompromising, thorough-going, whole-hearted, fervent in spirit. He only sees one thing—he cares for one thing—he lives for one thing—he is swallowed up in one thing—and that one thing is to please God.
Whether he lives—or whether he dies; whether he has health—or whether he has sickness; whether he is rich—or whether he is poor; whether he pleases man—or whether he gives offence; whether he is thought wise—or whether he is thought foolish; whether he gets blame—or whether he gets praise; whether he gets honor—or whether he gets shame—for all this, the zealous man cares nothing at all. He burns for one thing, and that one thing is to please God, and to advance God’s glory. If he is consumed in the very burning, he is not worried—he is content.
—J.C. Ryle from “Be Zealous”
Sound like you?
Posted by Gary on December 18, 2008
I have found another treasure. I have related in other posts how God brought John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress” into my life and has used it to help me more than any other book except the Bible.
Having read Pilgrim’s Progress, I later came across another of Bunyan’s books entitled, “The Holy War”. It is another allegory, meaning that it is a story with people, places and events that all signify something spiritual. A person’s name for example will teach you something, like “Hopeful” or the town named, “Vanity Fair” from Pilgrim’s Progress.
I have had the Holy War for some time and even started it a few years ago. I thought it was pretty good but found I could put it down which I could not do with Pilgrim’s Progress.
I recently found myself in need to decide about something to read to my children (having recently finished “Little Pilgrim’s Progress”). I thought I might try the Holy War but wondered about the antiquated English. I knew I would have to “translate” on the fly and wondered if the story would hold their interest.
The story is about a great king named “Shaddai” (Genesis 17:1-Shaddai meaning “Almighty”). Shaddai builds a city which He names, “Mansoul”. The town of Mansoul is approached by an enemy of the King’s named “Diablous” who entices the town to surrender itself to him. Diablous lies about the great king Shaddai and makes many promises to the people of the town, primarily that they will be able to govern themselves and choose their own life as opposed to being under the restrictive, oppressive rules (so he lied and said) of King Shaddai.
The story tells of King Shaddai’s determination to take back his beloved town of Mansoul. The town of Mansoul has five gates one for example is the Eye Gate, another the Ear Gate (you can ponder the importance of these). Under Shaddai the town was governed by powerful leaders like Mr. Understanding and Mr. Conscience but now these men are given to the influence and power of Diablous.
The King sends threats of war to retake the town. His threats (and offers of mercy) are extended through Captain Conviction and Captain Execution. But the townspeople refuse to listen (Diablous all the while stirring them up in their resistance against King Shaddai).
Eventually King Shaddai decides to send His Son, Prince Emmanuel to wage war and win back the town of Mansoul.
My friends, there is much more to say. I will post further on some particulars but I will stop now and urge you to read the Holy War. You can read it online here or buy it here for an amazing $4.99 (How is it that true treasure in Christian books can be bought for nothing and are found in bargain bins? I’m glad in one way but it is tragic revealer of where we are when gems are sold for pennies and heresy and trash are given the prominent place in our Christian bookstores and their prices would lead us to think that something very faithful and helpful is contained within).
I don’t know what you’re reading right now but I would suggest that the next book you read be the Holy War. You will need to take your time. You will have to do some God guided thinking or you will miss much of the treasure, stop and consider every name and every event carefully. I guarantee you that a humble, determined reading of this book will be food for your soul.
(I will relate that recently my in-laws were with us for a visit and one evening I was reading aloud to my children and my father-in-law idled over to the living room listening. He eventually sat down next to me to listen. When I stated at a certain point that I was going to stop for the night my children moaned in unhappiness and asked for more. My father-in-law then sincerely said, “Yes, read some more” and I did).