Posted tagged ‘Oswald Chambers’

Blessed

January 8, 2010

For Christmas in 1996 my good friend Bruce Barbour gave me the devotional book, My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers.  Of all the books I have been given, I think perhaps this one has had the biggest impact in my life.

Of course, like many people, I didn’t bother to crack this little book until I faced the first really major crisis in my life in 2001.

Since 2001 I have spent many mornings with Oswald.  Bruce gave me an idea that has been a huge blessing to me.

Each day I read, I write a short note or prayer about what is going on.  My first diary is jammed with notes from different years, and every year it’s great to see what God has done, and to be reminded that the present crisis will also be handled by God, just like He took care of the previous ones.

For example, through the years on Jan 8th I prayed about:

A new business we started that tanked
A book deal
Blessings for a seminar
A family member with cancer
A family member with serious immune issues
A family member who had a heart cath
An old friend battling alcoholism

Reflecting on every one of these it is truly amazing how God has worked.  I am so blessed!

My recommendation for you in 2010 – spend some daily time with God, and write your thoughts down.  He doesn’t need you to write them down, but you will be blessed when you see His hand in your life as you look back.

A New Door

August 5, 2009

“The main thing about Christianity is not the work we do, but the relationship we maintain and the atmosphere produced by that relationship.”  Oswald Chambers

I remember as a young boy when Dad became a Christian.  I have heard him say many times that on July 4th, 1972, he claimed his “dependence” on Jesus Christ.  I know that many of you reading this are from different faiths, or perhaps don’t recognize any faith, and that’s ok.  I think you will get a little bit of insight into the freedom of “dependence.”

Being young and looking forward to having independence I didn’t really fully get what Dad was saying.  Now I get it.  It doesn’t take many years of life to understand that we can work really hard, produce really good results, and still get “whacked”!  I have gotten countless emails from good people suffering in this economy experiencing this very thing.  It is very common for people to believe that they are worth less because their “worldly results” are not what they should be.

The good news is that God does not value the results we produce, but rather how we handle the process and the relationship we have with Him.  And here is how the freedom of “dependence” really worked for Dad.  Dad’s early career was filled with as many or even more failures than successes.  Only when he focused on his relationship and the process did his career really take off.  Why?  Because it allowed him to be bold knowing that he was not responsible for the results, only his relationship with God and the process of doing things the right way.  This freedom of “dependence” allowed him to do things and take chances he never would have been brave enough to do on his own.

Here is an illustration that I read recently that explains this.  Imagine that you are at a crossroads in your life and a “new door” is before you.  You are very concerned about going through the door because you are not sure you can produce the results that are required on the other side of the door.  You know you don’t want to stay where you are, but at the same time you are very fearful you won’t be able to “make it” on the other side of the door.

Now imagine a dog and his master.  The dog is in one room, and the master is in the other.  The dog has never been to the room the master is in.  The master calls the dog and the dog does everything it can to go through the door!  Why?  Because the dog doesn’t care about the new room, it only wants to be with his master!

Are you at a crossroads in your life?  Is there a “new door” that you know you should go through but you are fearful?  Walk through the door and focus on the relationship and the process.  What is in the room does not matter, only Who.

Counter Culture

July 30, 2009

I was reading Oswald Chambers yesterday and he wrote something that really hit the “truth” button in my soul:

“It is the process, not the end, which is glorifying to God.”

In our culture of instant gratification and results, we spend all of our time praising the “smart” people, the “winners,” those who are on the podium and have all of the appearances of success.  Many are worthy of praise, but at the end of the day, by what definition are they successful?

Are they successful because of what they achieved?

Or

Are they successful because of how they achieved it?

This concept is completely counter-culture.  In our “the ends justify the means” society, people continually make “deals” with themselves, others, and the devil, that are clearly morally wrong because it will allow them to get what they want or what others want, faster.

Our culture has also trapped itself.  It is no longer acceptable or politically correct to allow God to be part of the discussion in public debate.  After all, how can you ask people to make “moral” decisions based on “moral law” unless there is a “moral law giver”?  So down the road we go.  The news is filled with scandal about back room political deals and financial corruption because the “the end justifies the means.”

Yet there is great hope in this simple concept.  Are you here to please God, or to please man?  It matters not where you start in life, either as a citizen of a third world country with little opportunity or as someone who is extremely blessed to be born in a country like America.  As far as God is concerned, it is not what you achieve, but how you achieve, that matters.

Next time you have to make a tough choice, or even a simple one like “how hard am I going to work today,”  just remember:

“It is the process, not the end, which is glorifying to God.”

Trust

April 25, 2009

I was spending some time yesterday with my good friend, Oswald Chambers http://budurl.com/df8m .  I feel like I know him, even though he died years before I was even born, but his devotional book lives on and has impacted countless lives.  It’s refreshing to know that the answers to life’s toughest problems don’t change.

I came up with a little drawing that I am very proud of, not because it is a good drawing, but because it is a good visual of the difference between worry, fear and burdens, and trust, faith and peace.  The funny thing is the load doesn’t change that much, but how you carry it totally changes, and that totally changes your life.

The drawing is a picture of a teeter-totter, or a see-saw if you prefer.  On one side is your life’s burdens and the other side is you.  When you are very young you don’t have many burdens and it’s pretty easy to lift the weight.  You may not even know you really have burdens and responsibility.  But as time goes by, the burdens get bigger.  Things like your job, family responsibility, sickness, heartbreak, disappointment and failures start to add up.  Before you know it your feet are off the ground!

Then you learn a few things and you stop being so self-centered.  You start serving your family and your fellow man.  This makes your side of the teeter-totter a little longer, giving you more leverage.  This works great until you get whacked!  (And the fact is, we all get whacked at some time in our lives.)  You may even create a little more leverage by doing things for God and “serving” Him.  That feels great for a while, but it is very tiresome balancing yourself at the end of your side, lifting your burdens and spending so much time serving Him.  And then you learn that serving Him doesn’t keep you from getting whacked.  If anything, it pretty much guarantees you will get whacked in a big way!

And then, just when it seems your feet will never touch the ground again, a quiet voice says to you, “Trust Me, let Me carry your burdens.”  So you step out on your teeter-totter to a part of it you had never seen before, and you put your feet down on the planks of Trust and Faith and you walk towards God.  You realize that serving Him is not about the results you get, but instead just doing what He asks you to and leaving the results up to Him.  Your worry, fear, and burdens begin to melt and become weightless, not because they have gone away, but because you have given them to God.  You finally understand that you still get to do the work, but as long as you are focused on Him you don’t have to worry about the results – He has that covered.

I know there are readers of this blog from all over the world from many different faiths or even no faith.  You might even be wondering why this subject is included in a primarily business blog.  I thought you might like a little insight into what I believe, and why I have so much hope in such a tough time, and why, despite whatever circumstances may be going on, I have so much joy in doing the work because I don’t have to carry the fear and the worry.

(Forgive my bad drawings below!)

blog-teeter-totter2