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]
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.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.
By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.
[Hebrews 11:1-3 NKJV]
I can honestly say that I am constantly amazed by things that the Bible says. This statement that by faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God is incredible. Do I understand such a fantastic assertion?
Hebrews 11 is the great paean to faith, building to an incontrovertible testimony of the value and need for faith by relating some of the great examples of faithful men and women.
That expression the worlds were framed could be restated as eternity was made perfect by the word of God. Another way would be to say that God created all things in all times - that He is our All in All. That surely is our understanding.
For the LORD is the great God, and the great King above all gods. In His hand are the deep places of the earth; the heights of the hills are His also. The sea is His, for He made it; and His hands formed the dry land.
[Psalm 95:3-5 NKJV]
Now I understand and can state unequivocally I know whom I have believed ...
“I Know Whom I Have Believed” — Fountainview Academy
OSWALD CHAMBERS — RUN TODAYS RACE
Tuesday 21st July 2020
It is one thing to go through a crisis grandly, and another thing to go through every day glorifying God when nobody is paying any attention to you.
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself.
[Ephesians 1:7-9 NKJV]
We have redemption through His blood. Jesus gave His life for me; He died so that I might live. And not just I, but every 'I' who chooses Him, so that 'I' is no longer 'I', but only Him. “‘Tis no longer I that liveth, but Christ that liveth in me”, in the words of the song.
Redemption is deliverance from sin, salvation and atonement for guilt; it is buying back something that was mis-sold in the first place and Jesus made that purchase by His death on the cross. We have been bought at a price. He makes that purchase today in a constant renewal and refreshing.
I remember being told of the ‘death to self’ message and thinking that it seemed like a total elimination of what I thought of as the essence of me — and thus becoming a non-person. But that is in no way what is meant; The Lord intends a completely new creation of the self we are, with the life of Christ working within. I am still me, but being ‘regenerated’; washed clean by the blood of the lamb. What He is doing is building holy character, burning off the dross to reveal the gold within. Gold tried in the fire.
“Redeemed By The Blood Of The Lamb” — Bill and Gloria Gaither
OSWALD CHAMBERS — RUN TODAYS RACE
Monday 20th July 2020
Lack of hospitality and disbelief in holiness go together. God’s Home is so sacred that He gave His only begotten Son to make it hospitable to us.
Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
[Hebrews 10:19-22 NKJV]
We have been a bit out of sync the last three days as we have managed to travel to catch up with the grand-daughters for the first time in several months and to meet our newly-minted lamb, Zoe, born in early May.
So wonderful to be allowed to be near family once again. We hope and pray that the predictions of a resurgence of the virus prove wrong and that such visits can become a regular occurrence one again.
The Lord also wants us to draw near to Him with a true heart and full assurance of faith, and just as we have to be coronavirus-free to visit our natural family, He needs us to be washed with pure water, the pure water of His word, having been brought into the holiness of His presence by that new and living way — His blood.
The verses above, when read with the natural eye, appear strange, but when seen through the lens of The Holy Spirit, they are some of the most amazing words ever written. What a wonderful Saviour, friend and Comforter we have in Him.
“I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God ...”
“I’m So Glad I’m a Part of The Family of God”
OSWALD CHAMBERS — RUN TODAY’S RACE
Sunday 19th July 2020
To bridle the tongue does not mean to hold your tongue, that might mean “If I speak, I would say something!” It means to have the tongue under the control of a disciplined heart; that tongue need never apologise.
1 Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD!
2 Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart!
3 They also do no iniquity; they walk in His ways.
4 You have commanded us to keep Your precepts diligently.
5 Oh, that my ways were directed to keep Your statutes!
6 Then I would not be ashamed, when I look into all Your commandments.
7 I will praise You with uprightness of heart, when I learn Your righteous judgments.
8 I will keep Your statutes; Oh, do not forsake me utterly!
[Psalm 119:1-8 NKJV]
When we read the Bible we do not always see how beautifully structured it is. Nowhere is this more easily ascertained than in the Psalms.
The Psalms are actually 5 books, each book in order corresponding to the first 5 books in the Bible, ‘The Pentateuch’. Psalm 119 comes from — for want of a better description — the Deuteronomy Book of Psalms.
It is in a form known as an acrostic. The verses are divided into 22 sections of 8 verses, each section representing the 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet, and each line in a section beginning with that letter.
The Psalm glorified God and His Word, concentrating on 8 words to do so. These are:
Psalm 119 can be seen as 22 short prayers, each extolling His wonders and goodness. The first prayer is established by the first letter of the alphabet, Aleph; thus each line — in Hebrew, of course — begins with that letter.
The theme for this first letter’s verses has been described as QUICKENING BY THE WRITTEN WORD, and the lines follow this pattern ...
119:1. The way.
119:2. Condition. Happy. Third Person
119:3. They, upright.
119:5. My ways.
119:6. Condition. Not ashamed. First Person.
119:7. I, upright.
You can see that the second four lines brings the general expression of the first four lines and makes it personal.
And is this formality in presentation important and rewarding? I find it so, although it is not essential to knowing our loving and compassionate God. However, He is a God of order — He is nowhere to be found in chaos or confusion — and in such expression of order shown right throughout scripture, we have the pure uncluttered untainted dependable word of God, revealing much to us about His nature. You cannot trust chaos.
“Blessed Be Your Name” — Matt Redman
OSWALD CHAMBERS — RUN TODAY’S RACE
Saturday 18th July 2020
The new life will manifest itself in conscious repentance and unconscious holiness, never the other way about. The bedrock of Christianity is repentance. If you ever cease to know the virtue of repentance, you are in darkness.
GEORGE and GILL STEWART