Bless-ed discouragement?

Utmost

Of any sorrows we feel as Christians, our pangs of self-pity at the ‘cost’ of our submission to Jesus probably reveal the most about our maturity as disciples on any given day; about where we are at in our growth into the likeness of the One who gave up everything for us. This final brief post on the theme of sorrow also comes from Oswald Chambers…

 

23 But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich.
Luke 18:23 ESV

“The rich young ruler went away expressionless with sorrow; he had not a word to say. He had no doubt as to what Jesus said, no debate as to what it meant, and it produced in him a sorrow that had not any words. Have you ever been there? Has God’s word come to you about something you are very rich in – temperament, personal affinity, relationships of heart and mind? Then you have often been expressionless with sorrow. The Lord will not go after you, He will not plead, but every time he meets you on that point He will simply repeat – ‘If you mean what you say, those are the conditions.’

“Sell all that thou hast’ – undress yourself morally before God of everything that might be a possession until you are a mere conscious human being, and then give God that. That is where the battle is fought- in the domain of the will before God. Are you more devoted to your idea of what Jesus wants than to Himself? If so, you are likely to hear one of His hard sayings that will produce sorrow in you. What Jesus says is hard, it is only easy when it is heard by those who have His disposition. Beware of allowing anything to soften a hard word of Jesus Christ’s.

“I can be so rich in poverty, so rich in the consciousness that I am nobody, that I shall never be a disciple of Jesus; and I can be so rich in the consciousness that I am somebody – that I shall never be a disciple. Am I willing to be destitute of the sense that I am destitute? This is where discouragement comes in. Discouragement is disenchanted self-love, and self-love may be love of my devotion to Jesus.

From Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest

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Clouds? Of course!

 

Utmost

Farmers have a truer view of clouds than any city kid like me. They see the potential for fruit in a cloud; they see the life in a cloud, where I tend to see unwanted interruptions to my life. What if I am just as mistaken about other things? This second brief post on the theme of sorrow also comes from Oswald Chambers…

 

“Behold, He cometh with clouds.” Rev. 1:7 KJV

Oswald Chambers writes… In the Bible clouds are always connected with God. Clouds are those sorrows or sufferings or providences, within or without our personal lives, which seem to dispute the rule of God. It is by those very clouds that the Spirit of God is teaching us how to walk by faith. If there were no clouds, we should have no faith. ‘The clouds are but the dust of our Father’s feet’. The clouds are a sign that He is there. What a revelation it is to know that sorrow and bereavement and suffering are the clouds that come along with God! God cannot come near without clouds, He does not come in clear shining….

There is a connection between the strange providences of God and what we know of Him, and we have to learn to interpret the mysteries of life in the light of our knowledge of God. Unless we can look the darkest, blackest fact full in the face without damaging God’s character, we do not yet know Him.”

Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest

 

 

 

Surprised by sorrow?

Utmost


The pursuit of happiness, like the hunt for any elusive (and at times it may seem mythical) creature, turns out never to be an entirely merry chase, and, anyway, perhaps, we will only find what we are looking for in the last place we would ever choose to look. This first of three brief posts on the theme of sorrow comes from Oswald Chambers…

 

“What shall I say? Father, save me from this hour?
But for this cause came I unto this hour.
Father, glorify Thy name.”
John 12:27-29 RV

Oswald Chambers wrote…. “My attitude as a saint to sorrow and difficulty is not to ask that they may be prevented, but to ask that I may preserve the self God created me to be through every fire of sorrow. Our Lord received Himself in the fire of sorrow, He was saved not from the hour, but out of the hour.

We say that there ought to be no sorrow, but there is sorrow, and we have to receive ourselves in its fires. If we try and evade sorrow, refuse to lay our account with it, we are foolish. Sorrow is one of the biggest facts in life; it is no use saying sorrow ought not to be. Sin and sorrow and suffering are, and it is not for us to say that God has made a mistake in allowing them.

Sorrow burns up a great amount of shallowness, but it does not always make a man better. Suffering either gives me my self or it destroys my self. You cannot receive your self in success, you lose your head; You cannot receive your self in monotony, you grouse; The way to find your self is in the fires of sorrow. Why it should be so is another matter, but that it is so is true in the scriptures and in human experience. You always know the man who has been through the fires of sorrow and received himself, you are certain you can go to him in trouble and find that he has ample leisure for you. If a man has not been through he fires of sorrow, he is apt to be contemptuous, he has no time for you. If you receive yourself in the fires of sorrow, God will make you nourishment for other people.

From Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest

 

He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Isaiah 53:3 ESV

looking to Jesus,
the founder and perfecter of our faith,
who for the joy that was set before him
endured the cross, despising the shame,
and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:2 ESV

A good long look?

Morgan

To you I lift up my eyes,     
O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
Psalm 123:1 ESV

At times, our guilt, our fear, and even our anger towards God, lead us all to hide from him rather than to look for him. To come to the point where we are able to turn and look at Him (and to bear the experience of God looking back) is a work of His Grace. This final brief post on the theme of looking to God comes from Dr. G. Campbell Morgan…

Campbell Morgan writes…. “…The atmosphere of this song is that of those who were in circumstances very far from the ideal celebrated in the previous Psalm. Their experience was not that of peace and prosperity, but that of turmoil and adversity. Nevertheless, because of their spiritual apprehension of the ideal, they were able thus to lift up their eyes to God, and wait His deliverance.

“The nature of that waiting is beautifully set forth in the figure employed, that of servants and handmaidens. These look to the hands of their master and mistress, and that statement has a threefold suggestiveness.
The first is that of dependence.
The hands of master and mistress provide all that is needed for the sustenance of their servants.
The second is that of submission.
The hands of master and mistress direct the service of servants.
The third is that of discipline.
The hands of master and mistress correct the servants of the household.

“Here, then, is the true way of looking for help from (God). It is that of dependence, obedience and response to correction. When the eyes lifted to Him are those of such as fulfil these conditions, the help sought is ever found, the mercy of (God) is ever active towards them.”

From Dr. G Campbell Morgan in Searchlights From the Word