Reflections from sitting with Jesus // Reading and digesting Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest / April 13th, 2017)
Recently someone asked me why I liked Oswald Chambers' writings and devotionals so much. After over forty-six years of daily study of My Utmost from His Highest (well, perhaps 95% of 365 days a year!), Chambers has been the most consistent source for unfolding the scriptures for me. I quickly responded that he is a teacher that has helped me see God in the Bible (Romans 10:14-15).
“For Chambers, the Christian life is authenticated when the indwelling Spirit applies the principles of Christ to the particular circumstances in which the believer is placed. It is doctrine in work clothes…” (Publisher’s Foreword, Sermon on the Mount)
That one sentence sums up our school at A Place for the Heart, The 18 Inch Journey; You really don’t fully know or understand God's principles and doctrine until you’ve experienced it. Experience is the “work clothes” that comes from applying His truth to our lives. So, why did I think of you this morning? Why was I so burdened from the Lord to write this?
Love. Love for Him and love for you that you might get it.
Today’s Chamber's devotion (April 13) had a particular significance that might relate to the world you live in. Yes, the world you work in and move through. The world in which you touch lives and daily have to overcome unsurmountable difficulties and challenges.
Please read this particular devotion from My Utmost for His Highest. If you don’t have the book, buy it. If you can’t afford it, I will buy it for you. Or, Google it online; it’s free! But before you read it, give yourself a break. Please, please, let Him have all of you. I know how hard that must be with so many pressing things around you. Perhaps what God is really doing is telling me to pray for your daily life, that somehow you can find time and space to sit with Him as He daily knocks on the door of your heart and asks:
“May I come in? I want to dine with you and have a moment, however brief it may be. You can look into my eyes and read my heart for you. I want you to know that I am your burden-bearer. I want to carry your burdens more than you can imagine. It hurts me when you do what you do without my help. I died for the privilege of BEING everything you need and more. Yes, I long for you to learn how to live by my Spirit and live in my Power, too. I told you that once the Holy Spirit had come you would have power. I want you to have the power to do what my servant Ken Helser was prompted by me to share with you. Yes, my servant Oswald Chambers learned this in his lifetime and has written it for you. So, read it with me. Again, this is my heart for you…”
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR BURDEN IS OVERWHELMING // April 13
“Cast all your burdens on the Lord…” (Psalm 55:22)
"We must recognize the difference between burdens that are right for us to bear and burdens that are wrong. We should never bear the burdens of sin or doubt, there are some burdens placed on us by God which He does not intend to lift off. God want us to roll them back on Him–– to literally “cast your burden,” which He has given you, “on the Lord…” If we set out to serve God and do His work but get out of touch with Him, the sense of responsibility we feel will be overwhelming and defeating… for many servants set out to serve God with great courage and the right motives. But with no intimate fellowship with Jesus Christ, they are soon defeated. They do not know what to do with their burden, and it produces weariness in their lives.”
As I copy this word for word (not copy and paste), I am fully passionate about the wisdom that God wants to teach me, first of all. If I don’t get it for myself and merely push it off on you, well, I am not very loving am I? No, I must always be careful to let the sword of the Spirit do surgery on me before I slice you with it! Gosh, that’s big. But I sense with love and desire to pray for you, that you get this wisdom. We must learn the difference between burdens. Some burdens the enemy presses on your shoulders to carry through condemnation, especially religious condemnation that often screams, “YOU CAN DO MORE!” And then there are burdens pressed upon you by God. The burden of the Lord is one that you carry just enough of to see it and understand it in order to roll it over upon Him. I love that Isaiah saw this about the Savior: "the government will be upon his shoulders” (Isaiah 9:6).
I am simply passing on the life I got this morning while I’ve been sitting with God in my “Jesus chair”–– that’s the one I have set aside to be with Him in His presence. This is where I listen, pray, love, worship, study, journal, process, whatever–– just to hang out with God. He wants to hang out with me much more than I want to hang out with Him. He loves these times more than I do. And He loves your journaling–– the writing of your most honest heart and then your writing of His voice back to you as you hear Him. He enjoys that more than you do. Why? The answer is what I recently texted to a friend, who I was trying to convince to take time to learn to journal:
Journaling is more valuable to God than to you. That’s not a rebuke, it’s just true. He loves when His children allow Him to write the thoughts, wisdom, knowledge and plans of His heart over them. Over and over again He has spoken to me, “I get more out of this than you do.” How? How does God get more out of it than we do? Well, don’t you love it when your own children want to hear what you have to say? When was the last time one of your children jumped up on your lap and asked, “Daddy, what’s on your heart today? Please tell me. I want to write it down, so I can go back, read it, remember it and keep it for the rest of my life!” Don’t you just wish...
It’s harder to relate to the above if you don’t have a child, but try to find a young child this week–– perhaps a grandchild, nephew or niece–– and set them in your lap. Ask them if there’s anything they’d like to know about yourself or life. Watch the joy that comes to them simply because you want to spend time with them, just them. That’s intimacy. God wants you to enjoy such intimacy that you are able to distinguish the burdens He wants you to carry and the ones He longs to free you from.
“Cast all your burdens (cares or anxieties) on the Lord because he cares for you" (I Peter 5:7).
From the Heart of Papa Ken