For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things.
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.
[Philippians 3:18-21 NKJV]
Patiently waiting for the ferry to dock at Oban - October 2019
To wait upon The Lord demonstrates patience; something in short supply nowadays it seems. We want to get where we are going fasterThe KJV Bible calls patience ‘long suffering’.
Isaiah says [40:13] “but those that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength”. That renewal only comes through patiently waiting. Why you might ask does The Lord need us to wait; probably because He know what we are like - He knows the stuff we are made of and thus the surest way to get us to be the best.
Jesus never rushed things because He was constantly directed by Father God, who takes deliberate time with us, and we can only appreciate God’s point-of-view by a long discipline. The Army never gives a trainee an assault rifle until the trainee is fully prepared, so God does not ‘let us loose’ until we understand what He has placed in our hands, so to speak.
Many have wondered why, throughout the Gospels, the disciples seemed to miss what Jesus was saying. They were in training, and their mid-steps are ours also. Peter famously was always running ahead of himself. It was only when he learned to ‘wait upon the Lord’ that he was ready to fulfil what Jesus knew was his part; ‘upon this rock I will build My Church’.
When God brings a blank space, see that you do not fill it in, but wait. The blank space may come in order to teach you what sanctification means; or it may come after sanctification to teach you what service means. Never run before God's guidance. If there is the slightest doubt, then He is not guiding. Whenever there is doubt – don't. [Oswald Chambers “My Utmost For His Highest”]
We have three different videos today as we couldn’t decide which to go with. Two are very different versions of the same song and the third is a ‘classical’ rendition of the original verses in Isaiah.
“They That Wait Upon The Lord” - Walk of Grace Church
“They That Wait Upon The Lord” - sung by Mercy Mushaisano
“But They That Wait Upon The Lord” (Newlove Annan)
OSWALD CHAMBERS — THE DISCIPLINE OF PATIENCE
Sunday 26th July 2020
To “wait on the Lord” and to “rest in the Lord” is an indication of a healthy, holy faith, while impatience is an indication of an un-healthy, un-holy unbelief.
...and everyone who was willing and whose heart moved him came and brought an offering to the Lord ... all who were willing, men and women alike, came and brought jewellery and gold, brooches, ear-rings, rings and ornaments ... Every skilled woman spun with her hands and brought what she had spun ... And all the women who were willing and had the skill spun the goat hair … all the Israelite men and women who were willing brought to the Lord freewill offerings for all the work.
[Exodus 35: 20-29, NIV]
Today we are reproducing a recent word from Ellel Ministries. We had felt to bring a meditation on giving thanks, but this seemed to express it so well, that it seemed the best thing to do was to pass it on ...
So What Is Gratitude?
Well, here I was, challenged to make a study on the subject of gratitude. No verses given. So, where does the Bible tell us about gratitude? We’re told to do it. But what is it?
I’d just been reading Exodus and the above verses came to mind. This is about people giving with incredible generosity toward the materials required for the making of the Tabernacle. And then I thought about something Paul says about giving: ‘Each person should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver’ (2 Corinthians 9:7-11).
So why should I think of generous giving when I am meant to be thinking about gratitude?
I started a different way. When do I feel gratitude? I thought of a time when I had felt really pleased with something I had been given.
Last Christmas I was given a present of a casserole I had wanted very much. My son, Mark, had carefully consulted with me and we went together to the shop to buy it. I was so pleased with it! I washed it, I found it a place to live, I chose a dish I wanted to cook in it. I know I sent a WhatsApp picture to Mark to show him my first cooked dish about to be served up in my new casserole. I wanted to share with him how pleased I was with my new gift. My response and enthusiasm came out of that being pleased with my gift! That’s gratitude. It’s an emotion. It’s not just saying “Thank you”, politely. It’s about expressing my happiness when I receive something.
So now I understand why the first verses that came to mind when I thought about gratitude were the verses talking about generous giving. God loves it when we are so happy with what we have received from Him that we want to give freely in response. He loves us to sing, and to thank Him. But most of all I believe our Father is delighted when our gratitude to Him spills over in generosity of lifestyle to others, and back to our Father.
Prayer: God, I want to express today, in my life, something of the joy I feel deep inside of me for all that I have so richly received from You. Help me to respond by giving generously out of a full heart of gratitude to You. Amen.
Sue Griffiths Sue Griffiths Sue is married to Richard and they enjoy their grown-up children and grandkids. Currently, she and Richard are hosting Explore A for a second time round at Ellel Grange -and loving it because on this course people’s lives change as they find healing and release in God’s kingdom. Sue loves doing creative things with stitching and fabrics, gardening and cooking. And walking in the big wide open spaces of Northumberland where she lives.
“Thank You, Lord” — Don Moen
OSWALD CHAMBERS — RUN TODAYS RACE
Saturday 25th July 2020
When I want to debate about doing what I know to be supremely right I am not in touch with God.
"If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
[John 14:15-18 NKJV]
Jesus promised that He would send a helper, a ‘comforter’, the Holy Spirit of Truth, who would abide with us ... and will be in us!
‘Abide’ is an amazing word with an amazing number of synonyms. It describes a state of being with The Lord which none of these other words begin to express adequately. It is inclusive and intimate, and transcends time and place (see Strong’s definition below). It is an unconditionally unlimited way to live ... or abide.
One of the greatest of the Psalms, Psalm 91 is a favourite for many and beautifully and poetically captures what it means to ‘be one with Christ’.
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust.”
Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, not of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
Our Father gives and gives and gives selflessly and we are deeply comforted; but behind the words is the father’s heart, which gently reminds us that ‘abiding’ is not just about us. The focus of our abiding is Him; the selflessness is a two-presence relationship. Unless we concern ourselves fully on Him, we are not “he who dwells in the secret place of the Most High”
Abide is menō (μένω; a primary verb) and means to stay (in a given place, state, relation or expectancy): — abide, continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand, tarry (for), to remain.
Abide in reference to place: to sojourn, tarry, not to depart, to continue, to be present, to be held, kept, continually.
Abide in reference to time: to continue to be, not to perish, to last, endure of persons, to survive, live.
Abide in reference to state or condition: to remain as one, not to become another or different, to wait for, await one
“Abide With Me” — Hayley Westenra
OSWALD CHAMBERS — RUN TODAY’S RACE
Friday 24th July 2020
Never misunderstand the shadow of God’s Hand; when He leaves you alone it is assuredly to lead you into the inner meaning of Philippians 3:10.
Philippians 3:10 NKJV — that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,
Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.
[Psalm 37:3-5 NKJV]
The other day I mentioned how great it was to see some of our family and the grandchildren again after so many months, and the joy of meeting Zoe, the new baby, who is an absolute delight. (See Let Us Draw Near). If ever there was a reason to give thanks to The Lord, that was it, and such a wonderful answer to prayer.
The Psalms are full of exhortations to do just that, but not just when our prayers are answered. Delight yourself also in The Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. So it is not just performing a duty of prayer, but of taking a continuing joy in communicating with our heavenly Father, not only expressing our deepest desires to Him, but hearing from Him — expressing His love for us and feeding us with His way and His truth and filling us with His life. As with so many things in our relationship with Him, this rejoicing in Him brings His evergreen response to us to our attention which builds our delight in Him. An upward spiral of delight, springing from our trust in His hand upon us.
Such delight in Him is in more need in these dramatic times than ever before. There seems to be a growing realisation that the coronavirus Covid-19 is now part of our lives. It is not going away and can only be kept under control by a universal change in our past behaviour when in the company of others. We need the never-ceasing love and tender care of The Lord at all times. Only He will get us through the fiery trial of our faith. Take delight in Him today, for He delights in us.
“Soul’s Desire” — Robin Mark
OSWALD CHAMBERS — RUN TODAY’S RACE
Thursday 23rd July 2020
Looking for opportunities to serve God is an impertinence; every time and all the time is our opportunity of serving God.
Now the rest of the people—the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the Nethinim, and all those who had separated themselves from the peoples of the lands to the Law of God, their wives, their sons, and their daughters, everyone who had knowledge and understanding --
these joined with their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse and an oath to walk in God's Law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the LORD our Lord, and His ordinances and His statutes:
[Nehemiah 10:28-29 NKJV]
The Nethinim sound like a people from the imagination of J R R Tolkien, but they were temple workers (some sources say slaves) assigned to the Levites and priests for service in the sanctuary. They seem to have been a low caste of person, but here in Nehemiah they are included with “the rest of the people”.
To understand this better, we need to see the context. The previous 27 verses give a list of over 80 names of priests, Levites and leaders (including Nehemiah), who sealed the covenant. This group of “high heid yins” were known as “The Great Synagogue”, which in time became the Sanhedrin.
The others “took a curse and an oath to walk in God’s Law”. In this number were the Nethinim, who were the lowest level of ministry in the temple, despite — if the story is accurate — being descended from “the Kedeshot”, or sacred prostitutes.
They were given the honour of service in the temple as told in Joshua, at which time The Nethinim were known as Gibeonites, although this may be inaccurate. Nonetheless their role in the temple fits that of the duties given to the Gibeonites ...
This we will do to them: We will let them live, lest wrath be upon us because of the oath which we swore to them.” And the rulers said to them, “Let them live, but let them be woodcutters and water carriers for all the congregation, as the rulers had promised them.”
[Joshua 9:20-21 NKJV]
All very interesting, but what, you might ask, can this show us? Simply this; that as a result of a promise, these people were saved and taken into the House of God to be servants with essential duties there. No matter what your background or sinful nature might be, The Lord always has a place for you in His house. That is His promise.
Incidentally, a meaning of “Nethinim” is “one given to God”.
“The Promise” — The Martins
OSWALD CHAMBERS — RUN TODAYS RACE
Wednesday 22nd July 2020
Be simply and directly and unmistakably His today.
GEORGE and GILL STEWART