Abandoned To God

As previously posted, I am a fan of Oswald Chambers. One of the books I “recently” (a few months ago) read is Abandoned to God. It was probably the first book I’ve ever read, including the Bible, that I heavily noted, and highlighted. I even went so far as to take notes in a separate notebook.

OC was, to my surprise, an artist/poet of no small amount of talent. He thought that’s where he would be used by God. He never suspected, and even resisted the idea, that God would use him directly in missionary, evangelical service. But, as we all know that’s exactly what happened.

Bold as it might sound, I found parallels between his (OC) life and mine. I spent much of my life doing “one thing” and I was (and still am), according to others, quite gifted at it. Yet, despite years of experience, and education, I find myself working at other tasks to pay the bills, while God seems to keep the doors shut to a full time position doing “it”. True, I keep my hand in “it” as much as possible, and recently some unexpected doors have opened but it is still a challenge to keep the faith and trust in God.

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Simplify …

Over the past (many?) years I have read, concurrently, several different devotionals: Daily Bread, Days of Praise, and In Touch. More than a year ago I added Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest to the list. Several months ago I added George MacDonald’s Diary of an Old Soul. Recently I began working my way through The Psalms … in Scots Gaelic. One of my goals is to learn the language, and the Psalms in Scots Gaelic are one tool I am hoping will facilitate that learning curve.

The end effect of these multiple devotionals, not surprisingly, is lack of focus and a not terribly satisfying experience.

Therefore, earlier this year I decided to limit my devotional reading to My Utmost (which is being replaced by The Collected Works of Oswald Chambers) and Diary of an Old Soul, along with the Psalms and an occasional foray into the 3 volume Treasury of David, by Charles Spurgeon. One of the most important reasons for my choices is that I am drawn to Scotland, and particularly the Gaelic culture of Scotland.

Scotland has a rich Christian history and it is my dream/hope to visit Scotland again and again (having made three trips between May 2009 and May 2010) to drink deeply of her heritage, or ideally move to the Hebrides and work with/minister to the folk that live there. Far fetched? Impossible dream? Perhaps. But more than one person has suggested to me that God has given to me this desire of my heart, and we know that with Him all things are possible.

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George MacDonald’s Diary of an Old Soul

Well, I’ve had my copy of Diary of an Old Soul for several days. It is not what I expected; it’s written in a “poetry/prose” style that is very different from that of Oswald Chambers. However, I take comfort in the forward, written by Alvin N. Rogness, which advises readers that Mr. MacDonald’s content is not always easy to grasp, but is worth the time and effort.

For those who are interested, Mr. MacDonald was a direct descendant of the survivors of the Glencoe Massacre, and a writer of fantasy and fiction who influenced C.S. Lewis, J. R.R. Tolkien, Madeleine L’Engle. One of my friends from church, Tom , has read MacDonald’s fiction, and I intend to continue to study his diary.

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Choosing suffering versus choosing God’s will even if it means suffering

Another reference from Oswald Chambers great My Utmost For His Highest.


My wife and I discussed that very topic after I kept “going back” to that day’s devotional. The challenge is to know whether we have chosen the suffering: a bad job, poor relationship, etc. , or if “it” is God’s will for our lives.

I confess that I do not know whether or not my “suffering” (such as it is) is indeed God’s deliberate will for my life or is it the consequences of my actions, or the actions of others? Perhaps I may never know until a day when I will not even care.

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The relationship, an Old Soul’s Diary, and Still Higher for His Highest

During my Monday morning Old Gold (a mens group) meeting one of our group talked about his feeling there is something he is supposed to be doing but can’t quite grasp it, and needs The Lord to show him the path. I responded “Join the club. Been in that position for 5 years.” Eventually though I realized what I need to get is that my first priority needs to be my relationship to God, through Christ, and all else will fall into place.

Oswald Chambers wrote about that very thing in today’s My Utmost for His Highest: “We must never allow anything to injure our relationship with God; if it does get injured we must take time and get it put right. The main thing about Christianity is not the work we do, but the relationship we maintain and the atmosphere produced by that relationship. That is all God asks us to look after, and it is the one thing that is being continually assailed. “

On other subjects, I found, when ordering a book for my wife, that Mr Chambers wrote a follow-up to My Utmost, and it’s called Still Higher for His Highest. That and Diary of an Old Soul, by George MacDonald, will soon be in my hands and serve, along with My Utmost as my daily devotional readings.

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The Fires of Sorrow

A late entry written just after reading from Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, June 25.

“If a man has not been through the fires of sorrow, he is apt to be contemptuous, he has no time for you. If you receive yourself in the fires of sorrow, God will make you nourishment for other people.”

Soon after my wife and I were married, I expressed an interest in “being more than an …”.The detail of what I was doing, or wanted to do, is irrelevant; what is relevant is that God granted me that request but ultimately it has led to sorrow, and hopefully finding myself,and God’s plan for my life.

One of the things that my wife and I have discussed, and she was not sure how she felt aboutwhat I was saying, was my belief that God/Christ, until He became human like us, could notidentify with our situation. He did not know what it was to be hungry, tired, sick, in pain,etc. Now that He (Christ) knows, He is indeed the perfect intercessor because He can turn to the Father when we lose our patience, or whatever, due to pain, hunger, cold, etc. and say”Father, please forgive your child. I know what it’s like to hurt, to be tired, to be hungry,to be sick, to feel abandoned.”

My point here is that until, and unless, you (or I) actually experience a particular type of tragic event, or loss, we cannot possibly empathize with someone who is experiencing,or has experienced, that type of sorrow or pain. God has called me to a place, and througha valley, where I lost my job, my house, my money, many of my possessions, etc. and there is stillno end in sight. However, I have learned more about myself, some of which I did not like,and my relationship with my wife is improving. Additionally, my faith is being strengthened… although it’s not always pleasant. It’s much like exercising; you get stronger throughsome sort of physical pain or discomfort.

Os Hillman, in his book The Upside of Adversity, refers to these times as”Joseph and the Pit” experiences. Not enjoyable, perhaps not even understandable, but(hopefully?) necessary in order to prepare one for a service to Him that is unlike anyever imagined. So, I hold onto the hope/belief that I am being prepared forsome sort of ministry/service that will require me to be able to empathize with more than I was able when life was good.

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Behold, I am making all things new …

A quote from the Bible to be sure.

But for this blog it’s a reference to deciding, after three years of irregular, and primarily sarcastic, or politically oriented posts, to delete the past and start afresh. My new focus
will be inspiration and positive news.

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