Thursday, January 2, 2014


MY UTMOST for HIS HIGHEST
Daily Meditations 
by Oswald Chambers

Oswald Chambers 1905

You shall not go out with haste, . . . for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard —Isaiah 52:12

Security from Yesterday. “. . . God requires an account of what is past” (Ecclesiastes 3:15). At the end of the year we turn with eagerness to all that God has for the future, and yet anxiety is apt to arise when we remember our yesterdays. Our present enjoyment of God’s grace tends to be lessened by the memory of yesterday’s sins and blunders. But God is the God of our yesterdays, and He allows the memory of them to turn the past into a ministry of spiritual growth for our future. God reminds us of the past to protect us from a very shallow security in the present.

Security for Tomorrow. “. . . the Lord will go before you . . . .” This is a gracious revelation— that God will send His forces out where we have failed to do so. He will keep watch so that we will not be tripped up again by the same failures, as would undoubtedly happen if He were not our “rear guard.” And God’s hand reaches back to the past, settling all the claims against our conscience.

Security for Today. “You shall not go out with haste . . . .” As we go forth into the coming year, let it not be in the haste of impetuous, forgetful delight, nor with the quickness of impulsive thoughtlessness. But let us go out with the patient power of knowing that the God of Israel will go before us. Our yesterdays hold broken and irreversible things for us. It is true that we have lost opportunities that will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future. Let the past rest, but let it rest in the sweet embrace of Christ.
Leave the broken, irreversible past in His hands, and step out into the invincible future with Him.


16 comments:

  1. FT,
    Thanks for alerting us to Chambers's daily devotionals available online.

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  2. Good morning, AOW. A very great friend of mine -- a woman doctor who had served as a medical missionary to India for 35 years -- urged me to buy Chambers' book many years ago, and I did. I've never been sorry for having taken her good advice. I've met very few true Christians in my time, but she certainly proved that they do exist.

    I don't follow Mr. Chamber's exhortations slavishly. Perhaps he presents too much of a challenge? He can be exceedingly austere at times. However, when the tumult of modern life makes me fear for my sanity (as frankly it should any decent person) I find myself turning to God, the Bible and Mr. Chambers for help. Invariably I am aided and encouraged.

    Man's knowledge, which has increased by leaps and bounds over the past three centuries -- and latterly by jet-propulsion -- often does little but frighten and confuse, because so much of it has deliberately chosen to omit any mention -- or even the faintest thought -- of God from its development.

    Knowledge, money, technical facility, physical prowess, and political power very quickly become detrimental to human existence when those key elements are divorced from a sedulously cultivated, prayerful sense of moral responsibility for the ramifications of one's discoveries and superior knowledge.

    Daily prayer and meditation is a great help in clearing one's mind of terror, confusion, the urge to complain -- or worse -- to give up "The Good Fight."

    That expressing such thoughts is derisively regarded as "sanctimonious" by the prevailing cynicism of our age has had tragic consequences the worst of which has been the emergence of "What's in it for me?" as a dominant force in charting one's course and choosing one's leaders, etc.

    As you see from the invariably tepid, sometimes outright contemptuous response encouraging words, inspirational thinking, and affirmation of virtue draw, fighting The Good Fight has always been, and is likely to remain, an uphill battle.

    Giving up or giving in, however, is unthinkable.

    Our individual resistance to negative thinking is vital to the health and strength of Civiization.

    Yesterday's story-video of the astonishing 110-year-old Alice Herz Sommer, a venerable Jewish lady who has suffered much loss and the worst kind of ill treatment, yet remains positive about life, has a realistic perspective on history, accepts horror and misfortune as part of the natural course of human events, and manages to find something beautiful and encouraging to look forward to each day is a great case in point.

    How much attention did she get? Two perfunctory responses! That was all.

    We MUST strive to reverse the tide of relentless negativism that has long flooded and now threatens to engulf our Civilization.

    Prayer -- meaning earnest, ever hopeful contemplation of the combined powers of Truth, Mind, Soul, Spirit, Principle and Love -- has the power to preserve us, Materiality on which we've placed far too much emphasis and in which we've had far too much faith in the past hundred years most emphatically does not.

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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  3. If self introspection can be considered a form of meditation, and I believe it is when truly honest, it too is very uplifting.

    Nature and the malevolent cosmos are both awe inspiring and beautiful. Recognizing that humans are essentially but mere speck of momentary life against the drop back of eternity is humbling.

    When I become negative during a general slump I have but to look into the eyes of my five year old grandson and sense his unbounding energy and curiosity to know things will turn out okay.

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    Replies
    1. Empathy for others, those who are different than ourselves, often called trying to walk around in their shoes for a brief time can be quite satisfying. How so? Because it helps one to understand and eventually be more accepting of those not like ourselves.

      By conventional definitions I am an atheist. I do belive true spirituality has unusual power to heal and improve ones brief esistence on this planet we call earth.

      I am matter, since matter can not be destroyed, it merely changes form, I shall exist forever. As we all will.

      I do not need religion, of any kind, to improve my life or live a fullfilling and satisfying life. I but need to respect others as I do myself and not go out of my way to hurt others.

      My most rewarding experiences in life have been when I could help someone else with a problem they were having. Even if it was just listening actively to what they wanted to say.

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  4. Personally, I believe over the years I've moved on, maybe "progressed" if that's the correct word in a progressive political universe. Moved on from seeking the utopia of greed through the virtue of selfishness, if you will, an evolution from Randoid Randisim. I'm sure Ducky will be pleased with my evolutionary "progress".

    But I have to say I haven't entered the camp of the true believing bible thumping Christian. I can accept the possibility of the existence of God, although from my long ago experience with church attendance I would have to say there were very few of what I would consider good people or good Christians, but more hypocrites than you'd find on the street, congregating in the church singing hymns, quoting scripture and belonging to outside secret societies or societies of secrets.

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  5. Sorry, FT, it reads like a twelve step program or a poor man's Kierkegaard.

    You can't avoid bumping into existentialism in some form.

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  6. I'm sorry too, Ducky, -- for YOU.

    I often wonder if you have ever approached anything without doing your utmost to find fault with it?

    It's too bad there are no twelve-step programs for Recovering Leftists, because you are in desperate need of one.

    I should have collected and stored your comments, as I've found the hin und da for the past ten or twelve years. ff you could see yourself as others see you, I'm sure you'd want very quickly to get in closer touch with your better angels.

    At any rate, I hope things go well for you this New Year. I know you do have the capacity to enjoy yourself, and I hope you do more of it than ever before.

    Remember that silly little rhyme than ends: "Keep your upon the doughnut and not upon the hole?"

    It offers some very sound advice.

    Cheerio!

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  7. Did anyone besides me watch yesterday's video featuring Alice Herz Sommers?

    You'd be foolish to miss it. Such testimony from truly enlightened souls who've been through the mill and survived to enjoy life as a serene centenarian, are rare, and much deserving of respectful attention.

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  8. Did anyone besides me watch yesterday's video featuring Alice Herz Sommers?

    AOW raises her hand and says, "I did!"

    Of course, most in today's blogosphere would rather roll around in the sewer of negativity. **sigh**

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  9. I included a video of her on my blog a month or so ago.

    She is a remarkable woman.

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  10. I watched the video of Alice Herz Sommer. Thought she was a genuinely nice lady, whose lived a long hard life, able to give a great interview without holding grudges and submitting to the "woe is me" syndrome at an advanced age. Takes some doing for a lady who's been through what she has endured.

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  11. Yes, Miss Shaw, you did, and that was how I discovered Alice. I'm sure I thanked you for it at the time, and posted enthusiastic remarks about her at your place.

    Such a great individual -- and I rarely use that adjective casually -- deserves all the attention she could possibly get, not so much for HER sake, but for OURS.

    I found her complete lack of bitterness, and any apparent desire to "get even" truly inspiring. She may identify herself as Jewish, but in fact her approach to living is more in accord with the Christian Gospel than the attitude many self-identified Christians exhibit.

    Alice Herz Sommer incredibly admirable, saintly figure, totally lovable who should be regarded as a superb model for us all.

    Her speech is so exactly like that of my piano teacher at the conservatory it was uncanny when I first heard her, but Alice's temperament is far more benign than my teacher's, who was a real tartar -- a rigid disciplinarian of the Old School.

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  12. I'm glad you appreciated her, Waylon. I found her piano playing still vital and powerfully expressive at age 110, which is astonishing all by itself.

    She had had a successful concert career before the Nazi's nabbed her. I wish she had recorded when in he prime. I'd love to know her whole story. She has written a BOOK too -- some years ago -- which ought to fill in many gaps. I'm dying to see if I can get on my Kindle.

    She came from a very fine, cultivated family who was on friendly terms with several of the greatest minds of thhe pre-war era. Incredibly good background, and -- if you noticed the picture under the video -- she was also a great beauty.

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  13. Hoping for only good things for you this new year, my friend.

    Andie

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  14. Thank you, Andie, and the same to you. I loved your post on your own New Year's Tradition. Very lovely!

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